Well, there goes the #guncontrol narrative: Armed guard at Atlanta school stops shooter

January 31, 2013

One of the arguments gun control advocates have made in the wake of the massacre at the Sandy Hook elementary school is that an armed defender would do no good, perhaps be even more dangerous to children and staff than simply hiding, or… something. (1)

I guess the administrators of Price Middle School in Atlanta didn’t get the memo, because  an armed security guard disarmed a psycho student with a gun, preventing a potential slaughter:

Atlanta’s police chief says an armed officer working at a city middle school where a student was shot was able to disarm the suspect, also a student, moments after the shooting. 

Authorities say a 14-year-old boy was shot in the back of the neck Thursday at Price Middle School and his injury does not appear to be life-threatening. The suspect was taken into custody.

Once again, the best defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

via Dana Loesch.

RELATED: This isn’t the only time an armed defender has saved lives: an off-duty cop recently prevented a workplace massacre in Texas, while Columbine might well have been much worse, had it not been for the presence of an armed deputy on campus.

Footnote:
(1) Maybe they’ve seen that bizarre DHS “What to do in a mass-shooting situation” video.

Edit: On rereading the original article, there’s nothing to clearly indicate the guard was an off-duty police officer, though many “armed resource officers” are police working a second job. I’ve altered the text for accuracy’s sake.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


French minister commits unpardonable sin of telling truth: “We’re broke.”

January 31, 2013

And he’s deep in la merde, for it:

Michel Sapin made the gaffe in a radio interview, which left French President Francois Hollande and other ministers racing to undo the potential damage to the country’s reputation as a solid economy for investors.

On Monday, Mr Sapin said: “There is a state but it is a totally bankrupt state. That is why we had to put a deficit reduction plan in place, and nothing should make us turn away from that objective.”

The comments came as Mr Hollande attempts to improve the image of the French economy after pledging to reduce the country’s deficit by cutting spending by 60bn euros (£51.5bn) over the next five years and increasing taxes by 20bn euros.

It came as several high profile individuals, including the actor Gérard Depardieu, have left the country to avoid punitive taxes. Last week it transpired that Bernard Arnault, France’s richest man, had transferred his entire fortune to Belgium, where he hopes to gain citizenship.

Pierre Moscovici, the finance minister, said the comments by Mr Sapin were “inappropriate”. He added: “France is a really solvent country. France is a really credible country, France is a country that is starting to recover.”

Why do Moscovici’s claims remind me of Baghdad Bob?

Sapin later tried to “clarify” what he meant, saying France could still pay its bills, and he’s technically right; they’re not in danger of defaulting,  yet.

But what’s truly interesting is the public reaction to Minister Sapin’s description of France as a “bankrupt state”  — most of the public agrees with him:

But it now transpires that a large majority of his fellow countrymen share Mr Sapin’s view. In all 63 per cent agree that “in France, the state is bankrupt”, with 45 per cent saying the claim was “more or less justified” and 17 per cent feeling it was “totally justified”, according to a CSA poll for BFM TV.

You would think that, realizing that their nation is in a fiscal mess, French voters would not have voted for a government who only solution was to jack up taxes to confiscatory levels, leading to an exodus the most productive members of their population. Instead, they throw public fits over the least adjustment to their unsupportable welfare state. They see the problem, but they don’t see that it is them.

But before we in the States point and laugh too hard at France (some is always justified), keep one thing in mind: their debt-to GDP ratio (how much they owe vs. how wealth the nation creates) is at 91 percent. Imagine your credit card debt amounting to nine-tenths of your annual income, and you can see why someone would say they’re broke.

And in the United States? As of 2012, that same ratio stood at an estimated 100.8%, skyrocketing under Obama.

Merde, indeed.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The #guncontrol crowd’s portrait of a mass killer is all wrong

January 31, 2013

That’s the gist of a report from the Department of Homeland Security, working with local New Jersey police. The gun-control legislation passed in New York and introduced by Senator Feinstein in Congress, and all the demands of the gun-grabbing crowd, have nothing to do with reality:

This is what a mass killer looks like, according to a Department of Homeland Security analysis. He works alone. He uses a semi-automatic handgun. He’s a he. And he probably didn’t serve in the U.S. military.

That’s the conclusion of a November 28 analysis by the New Jersey branch of the Department of Homeland Security’s partnership with state and local law enforcement. The so-called intelligence “Fusion Center” sifted through data on 29 major mass killings in the U.S. since 1999, starting with the Littleton, Colorado school shooting. Its practical advice is to be more concerned by your co-worker with the bad hygiene who mutters about putting his “things in order” than by the war veteran in the next cubicle.

The basic pattern found by the New Jersey DHS fusion center, and obtained by Public Intelligence (.PDF), is one of a killer who lashes out at his co-workers. Thirteen out of the 29 observed cases “occurred at the workplace and were conducted by either a former employee or relative of an employee,” the November report finds. His “weapon of choice” is a semiautomatic handgun, rather than the rifles that garnered so much attention after Newtown. The infamous Columbine school slaying of 1999 is the only case in which killers worked in teams: they’re almost always solo acts — and one-off affairs. In every single one of them, the killer was male, between the age of 17 and 49.

They also don’t have military training. Veterans are justifiably angered by the Hollywood-driven meme of the unhinged vet who takes out his battlefield stress on his fellow Americans. (Thanks, Rambo.) In only four of the 29 cases did the shooter have any affiliation with the U.S. military, either active or prior at the time of the slaying, and the fusion center doesn’t mention any wartime experience of the killers. Yet the Army still feels the need to email reporters after each shooting to explain that the killer never served.

In other words, “wrong person, wrong weapon.” But that’s immaterial to the gun-control posse, since their objective is really to make it incrementally harder for law-abiding people to obtain weapons, until it reaches the point where no one will bother trying — a de facto ban. That’s why facts and truth don’t matter to them: the strategy is to go for the scariest looking weapons first and play on people’s emotions, as well as tarring (again, law-abiding) people who buy such weapons as themselves objects of fear. The goal is not public safety, but abolition.

Thankfully, this latest federal effort looks to be going nowhere, but the fact-free assault on our natural right to keep and bear arms goes on in the state capitals. We need to carry the fight and the truth there, too.

As Mr. Jefferson said: “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”

via Ace of Spades, which has a picture you must see.

RELATED: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is rapidly becoming my new hero. Check out this video of him taking the Senate hearing on gun violence to school with facts and truth, all while being polite and respectful to the opposition. This is how you get the message across.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Israel blasts Syrian convoy in Lebanon: was it carrying chemical weapons?

January 30, 2013

If PJM’s Barry Rubin is right, it’s the development many have feared: a desperate, vengeful Bashar Assad giving WMDs to the genocidal jihadists of Hizbullah:

It has been reported that a number of Israeli planes flew over Lebanon and attacked a convoy near the Syrian-Lebanese border. The fact that this comes shortly after Hizballah and Syrian forces had moved in growing numbers toward known chemical-weapons storage areas implies that the Syrian regime was in the act of shipping chemical weapons to the Lebanese Shia Islamist group (which also happens to dominate the Lebanese government and to be involved in a lot of anti-Israel terrorism) Hizballah. This story has not yet been confirmed by Israel.

During the 2006 Israel-Hizballah war, Israel frequently hit convoys delivering weapons to Lebanon the moment they crossed the Syria-Lebanon border, showing a very strong intelligence capacity on such events.

The Israeli position has been that it will not allow any transfer of advanced weapons by the Syrian regime to either Hizballah or radical Lebanese Sunni groups. Israel had previously made this point clear through public statements to the Syrian government. It has not been explicitly reported whether the weapons on the convoy were chemical ones.

While Israel isn’t commenting officially, a retired general gave what may be an oblique confirmation:

But Brigadier General Amnon Sofrin, a retired army intelligence officer and former head of intelligence for the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, gave a press conference in which he made the following points.

 “I think that if we have solid evidence shared by our own partners all over the world, that chemical warheads are being transferred from Syria to Lebanon, to Hezbollah, I think that no one will condemn Israel for trying to prevent it.”

This should be read as explaining that Israel notified the United States and others of its intelligence information prior to the attack.

Given relations between the Obama administration and the Israeli government, you can bet Jerusalem was not asking for permission, either.

Rubin speculates that these may also have been Russian surface-to-air missiles, meant to shoot down Israeli recon drones so they couldn’t spot later transfers of chemical weapons.  Regardless, this is ominous news. The common wisdom has been that the Assad regime is either doomed or will soon be reduced to a small rump state in the mountains. The question, then, is what becomes of the chemical weapons they’re known to have? (Including those that may have been smuggled from Saddam’s Iraq as it fell?)

The danger is not just that these would be given to Hizbullah in some last act of revenge, though that would be a potential nightmare for Israel. There is also the grave risk that these weapons could fall into the hands of al Qaeda-aligned Syrian rebels, who might then pass them along al Qaeda Central.

And you just know whom Zawahiri would love to unleash these on, if he could get his mitts on them.

This is a good moment to remember that we are still at war, that there are still very determined people on a religious mission to see us dead or subjugated.  They take this very seriously, and so should we.

And I hope, behind the empty brags of having al Qaeda “on the run,” so does President Obama.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Horrific: Cannibalism in North Korea

January 30, 2013
Hope and Change?

At least he’s well-fed.

This is the end-state of totalitarianism, if it doesn’t reform like China or collapse on itself like East Germany and the USSR — parents eating their children:

A starving man in North Korea has been executed after murdering his two children for food, reports from inside the secretive state claim.

A ‘hidden famine’ in the farming provinces of North and South Hwanghae is believed to have killed up to 10,000 people and there are fears that incidents of cannibalism have risen.

The grim story is just one to emerge as residents battle starvation after a drought hit farms and shortages were compounded by party officials confiscating food.

Undercover reporters from Asia Press told the Sunday Times that one man dug up his grandchild’s corpse and ate it. Another, boiled his own child for food.

Despite reports of the widespread famine, Kim Jong Un, 30, has spent vast sums of money on two rocket launches in recent months.

There are fears he is planning a nuclear test in protest at a UN Security Council punishment for the recent rocket launches and to counter what it sees as US hostility.

One informant was quoted as saying: ‘In my village in May a man who killed his own two children and tried to eat them was executed by a firing squad.’

The government had apparently been requisitioning stealing food from the countryside to make sure those allowed to live in the capital (and thus most likely to be seen by foreigners) had plenty to eat. Then a drought hit, crops failed, and the last shreds of humanity fell away.

Meanwhile, Boy-Emperor Kim Jong Un and his disgusting toadies throw a banquet to celebrate their latest toys.

I’ve often described North Korea as “the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a nation.” Scratch that. It’s the world’s largest abattoir.

Republican insiders "help" Paul Ryan

North Korean country home cooking

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Irony alert: Eyes finally open, liberals hope for military coup in Egypt

January 30, 2013

From Andy McCarthy’s post at NRO’s “The Corner” blog on commentators rising calls for the Egyptian military to intervene as that country starts to fall apart:

Here’s the really interesting part: The [Egyptian] Left does not have the numbers needed to defeat the Islamists at the ballot box. That is why the latter have won election after election, usually by overwhelming numbers, thus putting Islamists firmly in charge of the government and ensuring passage of the sharia constitution. So what has finally happened: the Left-leaning press in the West is suddenly discovering that maybe popular elections do not equal democracy after all. Maybe there really is something to the notion that democracy is not merely a procedural means by which majorities achieve power; maybe democracy, as us Islamophobes have been contending all along, really is a culture that is committed to equality and respect for such minority rights as freedom of conscience and speech.

The liberal left’s obsession with procedure, seeing elections as synonymous with democracy, is a good portion of what lead to the folly of the Obama administration’s support for democratic-in-name-only “Arab Spring” revolutions in the Sunni Arab world. Instead we cut the legs out from under a friendly but authoritarian regime in Egypt, in the process doing untold damage to 30 years of American policy in the region, and we removed a cruel, crazy, but nevertheless harmless to us dictator in Libya, creating chaos in North Africa. (c.f., Mali)

But, at least, they’d have elections, so all would be good. Majority rule, and all that.

Except that the majority is turning out to be the very groups most hostile to the democracy we hold dear. smiley d'oh!

And now that their Wilsonian unicorn dreams have turned into nightmarish reality, they want a military coup.

Welcome to the waking world, kiddies.

PS: Longtime readers will recall that I supported the liberation of Iraq under George W. Bush, including the effort to help democratic, constitutional government to take root there. I still think it was worth trying –for reasons local to Iraq, I felt it was the one country in the Arab world in which this might work– but, thanks to the Obama administration’s precipitous and premature bug-out from Iraq, my opinion of that country’s democratic future has become much bleaker.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Aide to Egyptian President Morsi: The Holocaust was faked

January 29, 2013

Consider this to be another example in support of this post: Holocaust denial is antisemitism, it is Jew-hatred, and it is endemic at the highest levels of the Egyptian government:

To Celebrate Holocaust Remembrance Day two days ago,   Fathi Shihab-Eddim, a senior figure close to President Morsi who is now responsible for appointing the editors of all state-run Egyptian newspapers called the Holocaust a hoax cooked up by U.S. intelligence operatives and claimed the 6 million Jews who were killed by Nazis simply moved to the U.S.

“U.S. intelligence agencies in cooperation with their counterparts in allied nations during World War II created it [the Holocaust] to destroy the image of their opponents in Germany, and to justify war and massive destruction against military and civilian facilities of the Axis powers, and especially to hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the atomic bomb,” Shihab-Eddim said. “The myth of the Holocaust is an industry that America invented,”

Remember, it was the Obama administration’s deft deployment of “smart power” that helped bring to power a Muslim Brotherhood-controlled government in the largest nation in the Arab world. A government that drinks deeply from the well of Islamic antisemitism. Great job, guys!

Read the rest at Yid With Lid.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Did an Iranian nuke facility go boom? I think so…

January 29, 2013
"Seen over Fordow?"

Seen over Fordow?

The key is found not in what governments are saying, so much, but in what they are doing, which in turn lends perspective to their words.

Background: A few days ago, a report appeared on World Net Daily that there had been a massive explosion at Fordow, one of Iran’s major nuclear facilities, where centrifuges enrich uranium to a level at which it could be used as a warhead on a missile. I ignored the story, largely because WND has as much credibility for news as Timothy Geithner does for economics.

Then again…

Lee Smith has weighed in on Israeli actions around the time of this possible event, and his analysis has me saying “Hmmm…”:

Over the weekend there was news of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet’s “intense” consultations. According to reports, Jerusalem has deployed two Iron Dome missile defense batteries to the north—one near the port city of Haifa, and another in the Galilee region—a move that Israeli spokesmen explain is only part of a regular, scheduled rotation all over the country. However, taken in tandem with Jerusalem’s public concerns that Bashar al-Assad’s beleaguered regime may itself use chemical weapons against Israel or transfer them to Hezbollah or that the arsenal may fall into the hands of Islamist rebels, the speculation is that the Iron Dome batteries have been moved to intercept Syrian missiles carrying chemical weapons.

However, there is no obvious reason why Assad is more likely to use or transfer those weapons now more than any other time during the last two years since the uprising began; or why the rebels are more likely now to appropriate them and divert resources from their existential war with the regime to tangle with Israel. Perhaps more to the point, the Iron Dome is not designed to intercept the kind of missiles that can carry chemical weapons payloads. The likelier scenario is that Israel is girding itself in the event that Hezbollah is called upon to retaliate for the Fordow operation, using the Iranian-supplied rockets and missiles that Iron Dome is designed to stop.

Add to this Iranian denials that anything happened (1), American doubts that anything happened (2), and the Israelis mostly keeping quiet (3), and the astute reader is left with one conclusion:

Something happened. Something big. And a good thing it is, too, for the Iranian leadership is far too dangerous to ever let have nuclear weapons.

And lest you think this is too big and too far away for the Israelis, bear in mind that they and we were also behind  Stuxnet.

As I like to say in situations like these: “Oh, those wacky Jews!” (4)

via Power Line

Footnotes:
(1) Of course they would. If you were them, would you admit your archenemy had just broken one of your favorite toys?
(2) Of course we would. Publicly. If we were involved, or if the Israelis warned us. If they didn’t involve us, which may be wise, then our doubts would serve to confuse Tehran.
(3) Of course they would. Not only does Israel rarely talk about intelligence operations, but, if this really happened, the last thing they want to do is rub Tehran’s nose in it and force them to retaliate.
(4) It’s the First Rule of Mideast Politics: “Do not [mess] with the Israelis!”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


An excellent review of Islamic antisemitism

January 29, 2013

Hamas Antisemitism Islam

Apologists for Islam often try to argue that the virulent Jew-hatred that seems so pervasive in the faith isn’t really a part of “true Islam.” Instead, they argue, it’s a result either of a) being taken out of context, b) the historic wrongs done to Arabs by the Zionists and the West with the creation of Israel, or c) the evil outside influence of Western totalitarianisms, such as Nazism or Communism, which Arabs were drawn to out of opposition to the colonial powers.

Not so.

As Dr. Andrew Bostom demonstrates in a long, but very educational essay at PJM, Jew-hatred has a history within mainstream Islam dating back to the earliest days — to the Qur’an, itself. From that point, he traces the thread of antisemitism through medieval, mainstream commentators to modern exponents, such as Egyptian President (and Muslim Brotherhood member) Muhammad Morsi, who was recently exposed referring to Jews as the “descendants of apes and pigs.”

Here’s an excerpt:

Indeed, the Koran’s overall discussion [6] of the Jews is marked by a litany of their sins and punishments, as if part of a divine indictment, conviction, and punishment process. The Jews’ ultimate sin and punishment are made clear: they are the devil’s minions (4:60 [30]) cursed by Allah, their faces will be obliterated (4:47 [31]), and if they do not accept the true faith of Islam — the Jews who understand their faith become Muslims (3:113 [32]) — they will be made into apes (2:65/ 7:166), or apes and swine (5:60), and burn in the Hellfires (4:55 [33], 5:29 [34], 98:6 [35], and 58:14 [36], 15 [37],16 [38],17 [39],18 [40],19 [41]).

Classical Koranic commentators [6] such as Tabari (d. 923), Zamakshari (d. 1143), Baydawi (d. 1316), and Ibn Kathir (d. 1373), when discussing Koran 5:82 [12], which includes the statement “Thou wilt surely find the most hostile of men to the believers are the Jews,” concur on the unique animus of the Jews towards the Muslims, which is repeatedly linked to the curse of Koran 2:61/2:90-91/3:112.

For example, in his commentary on Koran 5:82, Tabari writes [6]:

“In my opinion, [the Christians] are not like the Jews who always scheme in order to murder the emissaries and the prophets, and who oppose God in his positive and negative commandments, and who corrupt His scripture which He revealed in His books.”

Between 2004 and 2010, Muhammad Morsi repeated direct citations of or references to Koran 5:60 [14], 5:64 [42], and 5: 82 [12] during interview discussions of the Jews and Israel.

I strongly commend the whole article to your attention. Antisemitism is not a late arrival in Islam, nor is it the result of contact with the Nazis (1). Rather, as Dr. Bostom shows, enmity with the Jews is a core, defining tenet of the faith, which shapes Muslim attitudes toward Israel to this day. Any attempt to bring peace between the two sides must take this religious imperative toward hate into account.

RELATED: Former Federal Prosecutor Andrew McCarthy looks at our fatuous sale of warplanes and tanks to Morsi’s Egypt: “Apes, Pigs, and F-16s.” Dr. Bostom has written three major works documenting Islam, its ideology, and its jihad against the non-Muslim world: The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism; The Legacy of Jihad; and Sharia vs. Freedom. I consider these essential reading.

Footnote:
(1) It would be wrong to say Nazism and Communism had no influence in the Arab Islamic World, however. But it’s my belief that their antisemitism and totalitarianism found a sympathetic audience, rather than introducing an alien idea. What these two ideologies did, especially Nazism, was give Islam the vocabulary and ideological tools to translate its medieval antisemitism to the world of the 20th and 21st centuries.


January 29, 2013

Phineas Fahrquar:

Wow. And here I thought California had a monopoly on stupid, petty bureaucrats.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

As a public finance economist, I normally focus on big-picture arguments against excessive government.

If the public sector is too large, for instance, that undermines economic growth by diverting resources from the productive sector of the economy.

The damage is then compounded by a needlessly destructive and punitive tax system.

But I’ve also discovered that it helps to personalize the analysis by pointing out examples of ridiculous and wasteful behavior by government.

From England: The world’s most useless sign

That’s one of the reasons I share horror stories as part of the U.S. vs U.K. government stupidity contest.

Some actions by government, however, belong in a different category. I’m not sure what word I would choose to describe them – perhaps venal, evil, despicable, reprehensible, or disgusting would be good options.

Am I being overly dramatic? Perhaps, but is there any other reaction when the government persecutes a…

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DHS: “We can buy assault weapons to protect ourselves; you can’t. Hah-hah!”

January 28, 2013

Since the Newtown school massacre, there have been renewed calls for bans on so-called “assault rifles.” There was a march in D.C. this last weekend, and Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Nannystate) introduced legislation to ban all sorts of weapons, mostly based on cosmetic factors that scare lefties, but make no difference in the weapon’s lethality. One of the most common arguments made is that you “just don’t need” such a weapon to defend yourself. (1)

But those are the rules for peasants such you and me. If you work for the Department of Homeland Security, well, that’s different:

The Department of Homeland Security is seeking to acquire 7,000 5.56x45mm NATO “personal defense weapons” (PDW) — also known as “assault weapons” when owned by civilians. The solicitation, originally posted on June 7, 2012, comes to light as the Obama administration is calling for a ban on semi-automatic rifles and high capacity magazines.

Citing a General Service Administration (GSA) request for proposal (RFP), Steve McGough of RadioViceOnline.com reports that DHS is asking for the 7,000 “select-fire” firearms because they are “suitable for personal defense use in close quarters.” The term select-fire means the weapon can be both semi-automatic and automatic. Civilians are prohibited from obtaining these kinds of weapons.

The RFP describes the firearm as “Personal Defense Weapon (PDW) – 5.56x45mm NATO, select-fire firearm suitable for personal defense use in close quarters and/or when maximum concealment is required.” Additionally, DHS is asking for 30 round magazines that “have a capacity to hold thirty (30) 5.56x45mm NATO rounds.”

Republican New York state Sen. Greg Ball also issued a press release this week bringing attention to the weapons purchase request.

Calls made to DHS seeking information regarding whether or not the RFP was accepted and fulfilled were not immediately returned on Saturday.

Let’s keep this straight, shall we? When you want an AR-15 for home defense, you’re a dangerous, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, Bible and Constitution (and wife) beating radical who finds his manhood enhanced by getting your hands on an “assault weapon.” And should you want a magazine that holds ten or more rounds… You’re just fantasizing about shooting up a mall, aren’t you?

But, when the DHS wants its agents to have similar weapons… Those aren’t “assault weapons,” silly! Those are for “personal defense!” And, unlike you, they really do need high-capacity magazines! Ten rounds? Bah! Let’s go for 30! And the option for full auto-fire!

Why? Well… because, it’s not the same thing, you bitter-clinger!

In all seriousness, I have no problem with DHS buying weapons for its agents’ personal defense; they do dangerous work in the service of the nation. But shouldn’t ordinary, law-abiding Americans have the right to make the same choices for themselves and their families?

Scratch that. It’s not “have the right,” which implies a debatable question or request. No, Americans have that right as an inalienable natural right that preexists government, and the Second Amendment is a recognition of that right, not a grant.

So, if the managers of DHS can decide that they and their people need these weapons for their personal defense, shouldn’t the government acknowledge that individuals have that same right?

via John Kass

Footnote:
(1) With the usually unspoken corollary: “And you don’t get to make that choice for yourself, either.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


January 27, 2013

Phineas Fahrquar:

My vote would be for Labor to get the ax, first, but HUD makes a very worthy choice. (Sorry about the image size. The reblog feature evidently does weird things with images…)

Originally posted on International Liberty:

I was asked last week which entitlement program is most deserving of reform.

While acknowledging that Social Security and Medicare also are in desperate need of modernization, I wrote that Medicaid reform should be the first priority.

But I’d be happy if we made progress on any type of entitlement reform, so I don’t think there are right or wrong answers to this kind of question.

We have the same type of question this week. A reader sent an email to ask “Which federal department should be abolished first?”

I guess this is what is meant when people talk about a target-rich environment.

We have an abundance of candidates, including the Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, Department of Commerce, Department of Transportation, etc.

But if I have to choose, I think the Department of Housing and Urban Development should be first on…

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January 27, 2013

Phineas Fahrquar:

The right to defend one’s property, one’s liberty, and one’s life is a right that pre-exists any government. It is a natural right of all human beings, something that is recognized by the Bill of Rights, rather than granted. Thus I’m not surprised to this survey show that a majority of Americans would engage in civil disobedience, should the government act against the Second Amendment.

In fact, it’s already happening in New York.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

I periodically share public opinion data, either because I’m encouraged by the results or because I think that the research helps show how to frame issues.

Examples include polling data on personal retirement accounts, the dangers of big government, support for spending caps, and viability of class warfare tax policy.

But I’ve been very narrowly focused. Just about all the polls I’ve shared have been about some aspect of fiscal policy.

So I was very interested to see a new poll about issues related to the Second Amendment, and I was particularly gratified to see that an overwhelming majority of gun owners would not surrender their constitutional rights if the jackals in Washington approved a gun ban.

Second Amendment Poll Defy Govt

For more information, here’s part of a Washington Times report on the new polling data.

Question 46 in the wide-ranging survey of more than 1,000 registered voters asks if…

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January 26, 2013

Phineas Fahrquar:

Danggit, Illinois has passed us in California again in the race to financial suicide! Sacramento Democrats, you have absolute control of the legislature, and your duty is clear. I have faith you can take us all the way. (But will you respect us in the morning?)

Originally posted on WGN-TV:

[trib_ndn vid=24274573]
A warning came Saturday morning from state treasurer Dan Rutherford (R) IL State Treasurer. The Standard and Poor’s downgrade from A to A-minus puts Illinois last on the list– and means a higher cost to borrow money.
capitol
On Wednesday, the state will issue $500 million in new bonds to pay for roads and other transportation projects. Rutherford says the credit downgrade will cost taxpayers an additional $95 million in interest,

When compared to a perfect triple-a bond rating enjoyed by other11 states including neighboring Indiana, Iowa and Missouri.

“Our problem in Illinois is that we have not substantively and fairly addressed the state public pension issue.”

Rutherford points to Governor Quinn and the democratically controlled general assembly for making matters worse in the last two years– raising taxes but not acting on pension reform.

“This problem didn’t come along just now it’s been accumulating for actually decades. Each…

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European Union or EUSSR? Brussels demands power to regulate press, fire journalists

January 25, 2013
"Under state control"

“Enemy of the State”

If anyone had any notion that the European Union was anything but a bureaucratic dictatorship, this should open their eyes:

A European Union report has urged tight press regulation and demanded that Brussels officials are given control of national media supervisors with new powers to enforce fines or the sacking of journalists.

The “high level” recommendations that will be used to draft future EU legislation also attack David Cameron for failing to automatically implement proposals by the Lord Justice Leveson inquiry for a state regulation of British press.

A “high level” EU panel, that includes Latvia’s former president and a former German justice minister, was ordered by Neelie Kroes, European Commission vice-president, last year to report on “media freedom and pluralism”. It has concluded that it is time to introduce new rules to rein in the press.

“All EU countries should have independent media councils,” the report concluded.

“Media councils should have real enforcement powers, such as the imposition of fines, orders for printed or broadcast apologies, or removal of journalistic status.”

As well as setting up state regulators with draconian powers, the panel also recommended that the European Commission be placed in overall control in order to ensure that the new watchdogs do not breach EU laws.

(Emphases added)

I’m sure these new powers, if granted, will be used only for the common good, to ensure fair, sensitive journalism — as determined by a bunch of Eurocrats.

The danger of this is obvious: the power to fine or fire is the power to dictate, and the only reporters to retain their jobs will be those who say things pleasing to the mandarins in Brussels. It would be the death knell of free speech in Europe, for free speech is meaningless if it doesn’t include the right to say things that make the powerful uncomfortable, or even simply to offend. A free, unfettered press is essential to a democratic society, and if the press is fettered, so is the citizen, who becomes a subject. The society is no longer free.

The article points out that these proposed regulations are aimed largely at the British press, which has a large Euro-skeptic element and regularly ticks off the European Union elite.  Quite unsurprisingly, then, the Brussels initiative has set up howls of outrage in Britain, from whom we inherited our traditions of free speech and press freedom. With Prime Minister Cameron promising a referendum on a new arrangement, one can only hope the majority of Britons will see the danger of staying a part of this “brave new Euro-world” and vote to get the hell out.

Indeed, they may already ready be headed for the door.

PS: This article reminds me yet again how rare, fragile, and precious our traditions of free speech –the ability to speak one’s mind to the powerful without fear of reprisal– really are. In Europe, where on the Continent the governing tradition is top-down, the natural reaction of the government is to suppress annoying speech. (And in America, we see twitches of that from the Left.) Even in Australia, the people of which are our close political cousins, there is no recognized natural right of free speech. It is a right that we must not only assert and defend, but actively exercise, especially when it itself is under threat.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


January 25, 2013

Phineas Fahrquar:

And if you don’t believe it can happen here, click the link, read, and get angry.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

The welfare state creates some amazingly pathetic and disgusting individuals.

But I’ve never found a match for Olga, a Greek woman who thinks it is government’s job to take care of her from cradle to grave.

At least not until now. I’m excited to announce that Olga has a soulmate named Natalija. She’s from Lithuania, but she now lives in England, and she doubtlessly will inspire Olga on how to live off the state.

UK Welfare Horror StoryHere’s some of what The Sun reported about this very successful moocher.

Natalija Belova…

View original 859 more words


The Unaccountable Government: in which @JimGeraghty depresses me

January 24, 2013

The depressing part, of course, is that he’s right.

Departing Secretary of State Clinton yesterday appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to finally give an accounting for her department’s performance during and after the Benghazi fiasco. The standout moment came when Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) asked her to explain how the administration could claim for several days that the assault arose from a demonstration in front of the embassy, when anyone could see from the video feed that there was no demonstration.

Her exasperated answer (1) is already infamous:

“What difference does it make?”

It matters for a lot of reasons, not least simple questions of the honesty and competence Americans should be able to expect of their government — their employees. Jonathan Tobin at Commentary provides a good rebuttal about why it makes a difference, and I’ll refer you to that.

But this goes beyond the events at and after Benghazi, maddening as those are. It speaks to the responsibility of government officials in general to the voters and taxpayers — the “owners,” as Clint Eastwood once said. We so often hear pious words about “accepting responsibility” and being “accountable,” but it’s an act, especially for progressives. Crocodile tears and feigned outrage and declarations of pride are all shields thrown up to deflect a real accounting, aided and abetted by hacks who put defending “one of their own” ahead of the nation’s interest. (For a nauseating example, see ST’s post on California Senator Boxer’s staged outrage when Senator Paul dared to take Hillary to task.)

In a thoughtful post at NRO’s Campaign Spot, Jim Geraghty identifies the overall problem — there are no standards, anymore:

If the decision making before, during, and after the Benghazi attack is insufficient to get anyone fired, what decision in government will ever warrant that consequence? If Democrats on Capitol Hill can’t take off their partisan blinders for one day to attempt to hold people accountable for decision-making that resulted in American deaths at the hands of extremists, and then lying to the public about it, then when will they ever? If Hillary Clinton can exclaim that it doesn’t matter that the administration spent five days talking about a video when the video had nothing to do with it, and everyone on her side applauds, why should she or anyone else ever respond to an accusation with anything but audacious defiance?

This is it, folks. This is the government we have, and the lack of a public outcry about Benghazi ensures this is the government we will have for the foreseeable future.

The lack of public outrage is part of the problem, I’ll agree. It’s a result of too much trust in government officials, too little adult supervision of them, and a mainstream media that covers for those it favors  — Democrats.

But it’s not just Benghazi. After 9/11, no one from the Clinton administration was genuinely held responsible for what happened, though many of the problems that left us open to attack developed under their watch. When the housing market collapsed in 2008, Democrats again escaped accountability, even though the policies that lead to the bubble and its bursting were largely of their origin.

I’m not excusing Republicans completely; the evasion of responsibility is a bipartisan problem common to the Beltway elite in general, though the Republicans rarely have the MSM covering for them.  But contrast Hillary’s empty declarations and Potemkin outrage with the actions of the Bush administration after the 2006 election, which cost the Republicans the House and Senate, largely because the public was upset over how the war in Iraq was being conducted: Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was fired, generals were sacked, and Bush went before the nation to take responsibility and pledge to fix the problem — and then actually followed through.

Bush was accountable.

And that’s what makes Jim’s analysis so depressing. Not just that we have to deal with four more years of the Obama administration’s arrogance, but that the entire leadership of one of our major political parties feels that it simply shouldn’t have to answer for itself, that democratic audit of its actions is almost an insult. This, I maintain, is partly a function of progressivism, itself: society is too complex to be governed by citizens and their representatives, and so much of it should be left to bureaucratic experts to run. And if one is an expert, one of the elite, then to be questioned seriously by one of the hoi polloi (in this case, a senator from flyover country — and a Tea Party favorite, at that) is exasperating. They just don’t understand, after all. (2)

It’s not democratic, it’s not representative, but it is a problem. A serious one.

And, at the moment, I’m not sure how it gets solved.

Footnote:
(1) Like most members of the limousine liberal ruling class, she was probably exasperated that someone would dare question her at all.
(2) Many Republicans have a similar arrogance, but that comes from being Beltway dinosaurs, not philosophy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Michigan Teachers Union to members: “Pay up or we’ll sue!”

January 23, 2013
"Your MEA shop steward"

“Your MEA shop steward”

And if they don’t, is the next step leg-breaking? Faced with members oddly deciding to keep their money after Michigan passed a right-to-work law, the leadership of the Michigan Education Association sent a memo to locals telling them to monitor incoming dues and, if it declines, be prepared to take their own members to court:

Steven Cook, president of the Michigan Education Association, circulated an email to local unions officials and staff instructing them to monitor revenue streams in light of the right-to-work laws, which are set to go into effect on March 27, 2013. The law allows workers to opt out of union membership unless they have an existing contract with their employer.

“We will use any legal means at our disposal to collect the dues owed under signed membership forms from any members who withhold dues prior to terminating their membership in August,” Cook wrote.

The tone of the message shocked labor reform activists.

“The level to which the MEA appears to be willing to go after its own members—the same ones whose interest they claim to represent—is amazing,” said Mike Van Beek, director of education policy at the Mackinac Center. “When it comes to their revenue, we know where their priorities stand.”

Yeah, and I bet they play this old BTO song before hitting up reluctant members:

Except, unlike the guy in the alley, the union doesn’t say “please.”

Sadly, these suits seem to have a solid legal footing in Michigan; the MEA has sued before and won. But, given the recent report on declining union membership even in public unions, it looks like a short-lived victory, at best:

The union membership rate fell from 11.8 percent to 11.3 percent of all workers, the lowest level since the 1930s.

Total membership fell by about 400,000 workers to 14.4 million. More than half the loss – about 234,000 – came from government workers including teachers, firefighters and public administrators.

The losses add another blow to a labor movement already stretched thin by fighting efforts in states like Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan to curb bargaining rights and weaken union clout.

(…)

Losses in the public sector are hitting unions particularly hard since that has been one of the few areas where membership was growing over the past two decades. About 51 percent of union members work in government, where until recently, there had been little resistance to union organizing.

That began to change when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a law in 2011 eliminating most union rights for government workers. The state lost about 46,000 union members last year, mostly in the public sector.

Union officials blame losses on the lingering effects of the recession, as well as GOP governors and state lawmakers who have sought to weaken union rights.

Much to the benefit of their states overall, if the results in Wisconsin and Indiana are to be believed.

Meanwhile, like dinosaurs raging at the asteroid about to rock their world, the unions are denying the inevitable: they’re out of date, obsolete. The proof lies in their own “clients’” actions: when given a choice, they prefer to keep their money. They don’t want what the unions are offering. And the more unions resort (revert) to thuggery to keep members and their dues, the more people will make the same choice, when given the power to decide that they should have by right.

(clip art courtesy of Clipart Mojo)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) #Benghazi: Sen. Rand Paul to Hillary – “I would have relieved you.”

January 23, 2013

Yes! Exactly!

It’s the eternal way in Washington: “We are all responsible” means “No one is responsible” means “Don’t hold me responsible.”

Especially when the person saying it really is one of those responsible.

I’m liking Rand Paul a lot right now.

via the Washington Free Beacon

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Benghazi — There are still a few genuine reporters left

January 23, 2013
US Consulate, Benghazi

The dead would like answers, too.

Some of you may recall that I’ve in the past praised Sharyl Attkisson of CBS for her work on the Fast and Furious scandal. For a long time, she was almost the only MSM reporter asking serious questions about what happened in that “felony stupid” fiasco

Sharyl’s also been digging into the massacre at our consulate in Benghazi last September 11th, in which our ambassador and three other Americans died at the hands of Al Qaeda-aligned terrorists. While she’s had plenty of questions for the White House, the most transparent administration ever has given no answers. Frustrated with the stonewalling, Attkisson yesterday took to Twitter to ask her questions before the public. Here are is a series of particular interest to me:

Remember that guy who was rousted out of his home by the LA Sheriffs in the dark of the night because he had the temerity to exercise his right to free speech? (Please, the parole violation was just a fig leaf of an excuse, if that.) That’s who Attkisson is talking about.

To continue:

…and…

Love this next one:

And finally…

Naturally, the mooks of Chicago-on-the-Potomac have refused to answer any of these or Attkisson’s other questions.

Secretary Clinton is scheduled to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee today on the Benghazi massacre… assuming she doesn’t have another concussion. I would right a fat check to any congressman on the committee who asked Clinton these questions, refused to let her dodge answering, and demanded to know how, in her opinion, the video maker’s arrest and imprisonment comports with the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and his natural right of free speech. (1)

Meanwhile, I’ll continue hoping for more real reporters like Sharyl Attkisson, instead of the progressive cheering section that comprises most of the MSM. (Not that I’ll hold my breath; none of these questions are difficult to think of. The media’s shame is that there are so few willing to ask them.)

via Ace, who has a great post on “old school journalism.”

Footnote:
(1) Again, don’t try to tell me this was all over a parole violation. If you believe that, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

UPDATE: Clinton has begun her opening statement — no mention of the video maker’s arrest.  As Bryan Preston concludes, it’s either “stunningly incomplete, if not blatantly dishonest.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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