(Video) Does Free Speech offend you?

August 31, 2015

Yesterday I wrote about politically-correct silliness at Wesleyan University, head-shaking but largely harmless identity politics.

Today’s video, however, takes a look at a far grimmer trend at our colleges and universities: the assault on free speech in the name of not hurting anyone’s feelings.

What were once places of free inquiry and defenders of intellectual liberty are more and more becoming places where speech –and, by extension, thought– is controlled by a progressive “PC police.” The irony is rich, because it’s the intellectual descendants of the free speech movement of the Sixties who have become the new enemies of freedom of speech.

Meet the new Boss, same as the old Boss.

via Prager University

RELATED: The narrator of the video, Greg Lukianoff, has written two books about the assault on free speech at our universities — Freedom from Speech and Unlearning Liberty.


(Video) Was slavery the cause of the Civil War?

August 10, 2015

civil war blue grey

That’s always an intriguing question for those interested in the US Civil War and US History in general: why did such a promising young nation tear itself apart in a conflict that cost perhaps more than 800,000 lives? (1) Aside from slavery, proffered explanations include economic and other regional differences between North and South; discriminatory tariffs (from the Southern point of view) and unfair internal improvements; and federal violations of the Constitution against “states’ rights.”

But, to this armchair historian, these and other reasons never felt sufficient to justify the turmoil of the late 1850s and the carnage of 1861-1865. For me, at least, it always comes back to slavery, that “peculiar institution” about which northerners and southerners held increasingly mutually exclusive opinions.

In the video below from Prager University, Colonel Ty Seidule, head of the Department of History at West Point, makes the argument that the war was about slavery, period:

And I agree with him. Col. Seidule refers a couple of times to the secession declarations of the southern states, asserting that each one (2) wrapped its arguments around the core of preserving slavery. And historian William C. Davis in his history of the Confederacy, “Look Away,” marshals strong evidence that the Confederate constitutional convention, held at Montgomery, Alabama, focused on the need to preserve and expand slavery. Finally, there’s this from the famous “Cornerstone Speech” of CSA Vice President Alexander Stephens:

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

Seems pretty clear, no?

Davis and many, many others saw slavery as an existential sine qua non for the new nation. If the United States was conceived in liberty and was unimaginable without it, the Confederate States and Southern society were founded on the bedrock of human bondage — and were equally inconceivable without it. With their very reason for existence threatened, secession and civil war became almost inevitable. Without slavery, there would likely have been no Republican Party committed to abolition, nor any reason to secede on the election of Lincoln.

Anyway, this isn’t meant to bash modern Southerners, and I recognize the sore spot created by the anti-Southern bigotry that grew rife after the massacre in Charleston and the nonsense over the CSA flag. It annoyed me, too.

But I think honesty and a sober assessment of the historical evidence requires a recognition of the truth.

Slavery was at the root of the Civil War.

PS: Sorry there were no posts the last few days. It turned into a busy, busy Friday and weekend.

Footnotes:
(1) Consensus estimates of total casualties hover around 600,000, but recent research indicates the toll of dead and wounded may well have been much higher.
(2) Unless I misheard him, the Colonel is wrong in this assertion. Several of the secession declarations make no mention of slavery — Florida’s, for example. But many do at length, and I think this shows the importance of slavery to the new nation overall.


Are jihadis stalking military families in Colorado and Wyoming?

August 5, 2015
"Still the JV?"

The JV comes to the Rockies?

Via Dana Loesch.

As I’ve often said after 9/11, they’re still trying to kill us. We may be tired of war, but the enemy isn’t. And, thanks to our now-supine military posture in the Middle East, these refugees from a medieval psych ward are carrying out their oft-repeated threats to bring the fight to us. Here. In the United States.

In Greeley and Cheyenne:

An alert has been issued by the FBI to all law enforcement agencies in Colorado and Wyoming involving U.S. military families and concerns about who may be watching them.

The alert says Middle Eastern men are approaching families of U.S. military members at their homes in Colorado and Wyoming. It mentions Greeley and Cheyenne, Wyoming as the specific areas.

In one case last May the wife of a military member was approached in front of her home by two Middle Eastern males. The men stated that she was the wife of a U.S. interrogator. When she denied their claims the men laughed. The two men left the area in a dark-colored, four-door sedan with two other Middle Eastern males in the vehicle.

The woman had observed the vehicle in the neighborhood on previous occasions,” the alert states.

Similar incidents in Wyoming have been reported to the FBI throughout June 2015.

“On numerous occasions family members of military personnel were confronted by Middle Eastern males in front of their homes.”

The FBI’s alert says Middle Eastern men attempted to gain personal information about military members and family members through intimidation. Those family members reported feeling scared.

The alert says the men haven’t been identified and the FBI isn’t sure if the incidents all involve the same men.

While the FBI is cautious in what it says to the press, they, the DoD, and Homeland Security have to be taking this seriously. Both al Qaeda and ISIS have repeatedly threatened to launch jihad attacks in the United States, and I for one take them at their word. We’ve already suffered attacks in the past –Little Rock, Ft. Hood, the D.C. sniper, and Chattanooga, to name a few– and the failures of our foreign policy since Obama took charge (and especially his pusillanimous reaction to the threat from ISIS) has only emboldened them. This is why the George W. Bush administration, whatever else it got wrong, had the right idea to take the fight to the enemy on their turf, to not give them a chance to attack us at home, again.

The Obama administration rejected that strategy, and now what are very likely jihadis are here to strike terror into our hearts per Muhammad’s command, for example in Qu’ran 8:60:

And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.

Emphasis added.

I hope those military families are well-armed.


Fast & Furious: gun used in Garland, TX, jihad attack obtained via US “sting” operation?

August 1, 2015
Fatwa this!

An explosive convergence

We are going to be paying for the Obama administration’s madness for years to come:

Five years before he was shot to death in the failed terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, Nadir Soofi walked into a suburban Phoenix gun shop to buy a 9-millimeter pistol.

At the time, Lone Wolf Trading Co. was known among gun smugglers for selling illegal firearms. And with Soofi’s history of misdemeanor drug and assault charges, there was a chance his purchase might raise red flags in the federal screening process.

Inside the store, he fudged some facts on the form required of would-be gun buyers.

What Soofi could not have known was that Lone Wolf was at the center of a federal sting operation known as Fast and Furious, targeting Mexican drug lords and traffickers. The idea of the secret program was to allow Lone Wolf to sell illegal weapons to criminals and straw purchasers, and track the guns back to large smuggling networks and drug cartels.

Instead, federal agents lost track of the weapons and the operation became a fiasco, particularly after several of the missing guns were linked to shootings in Mexico and the 2010 killing of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona.

Soofi’s attempt to buy a gun caught the attention of authorities, who slapped a seven-day hold on the transaction, according to his Feb. 24, 2010, firearms transaction record, which was reviewed by the Los Angeles Times. Then, for reasons that remain unclear, the hold was lifted after 24 hours, and Soofi got the 9-millimeter.

(…)

A day after the attack, the Department of Justice sent an “urgent firearms disposition request” to Lone Wolf, seeking more information about Soofi and the pistol he bought in 2010, according to a June 1 letter from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, to U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch.

Though the request did not specify whether the gun was used in the Garland attack, Justice Department officials said the information was needed “to assist in a criminal investigation,” according to Johnson’s letter, also reviewed by The Times.

The FBI so far has refused to release any details, including serial numbers, about the weapons used in Garland by Soofi and Simpson. Senate investigators are now pressing law enforcement agencies for answers, raising the chilling possibility that a gun sold during the botched Fast and Furious operation ended up being used in a terrorist attack against Americans.

Among other things, Johnson is demanding to know whether federal authorities have recovered the gun Soofi bought in 2010, where it was recovered and whether it had been discharged, according to the letter. He also demanded an explanation about why the initial seven-day hold was placed on the 2010 pistol purchase and why it was lifted after 24 hours.

You can scroll back through the Gunwalker archives here or read Katie Pavlich’s excellent book on Operation Fast and Furious for background on this bloody fiasco. (Also, investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s archive) One point to emphasize is that Lone Wolf Trading was “known” for selling guns illegally because it was pressured by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms into cooperating with this “felony stupid” program, one that supplied guns to Mexican drug cartels and resulted in the deaths of over 300 Mexican civilians, police, and military, as well as two or three US federal officers.

It must be noted that Soofi bought his gun not as a straw buyer for the cartels, and the system did at first flag him, then let him pass. But questions abound: why was he flagged in the first place?  Was he thought to be a cartel-buyer? Did they have some other reason to suspect him? Would he have been blocked, having lied on his forms, if not for Operation Fast and Furious? And why was the hold released?

Though Soofi wasn’t walking the gun to Mexico, he did try to kill Americans for the horrid crime of exercising their right to free speech and criticizing Islam. And he may well have used a gun he obtained with the help of the United States Department of Justice and its subordinate agencies, all headed by then-Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama.

We’re not done bleeding for their incompetence.

via Katie Pavlich


Seattle: #RaiseTheWage, choose to work less

July 26, 2015
Didn't pay attention

Seattle economics adviser

Okay, I have to admit it: I was wrong about the choices facing business owners when a jurisdiction mandates a minimum wage increase. On several occasions, I’ve written something like the following:

Labor is a cost, because the business owner has to provide wages and, often, benefits that cost him more money. When a government mandate increases that cost, the business owner has three choices: pass the cost along to the customer, who may decide it’s too much and stop shopping there; cut employee hours and stop hiring to save on labor costs, thus costing potential jobs and putting a burden on workers still employed; and, finally, just decide it’s not worth it anymore and close up shop. In the low-margin bookseller business, Borderlands’ owner chose the last course as the only one viable.

Well, it seems I didn’t figure on one other possibility: employees demanding to work fewer hours.

Evidence is surfacing that some workers are asking their bosses for fewer hours as their wages rise – in a bid to keep overall income down so they don’t lose public subsidies for things like food, child care and rent.

Full Life Care, a home nursing nonprofit, told KIRO-TV in Seattle that several workers want to work less.

“If they cut down their hours to stay on those subsidies because the $15 per hour minimum wage didn’t actually help get them out of poverty, all you’ve done is put a burden on the business and given false hope to a lot of people,” said Jason Rantz, host of the Jason Rantz show on 97.3 KIRO-FM.

And…

The notion that employees are intentionally working less to preserve their welfare has been a hot topic on talk radio. While the claims are difficult to track, state stats indeed suggest few are moving off welfare programs under the new wage.

A minimum wage is a form of economic redistribution and welfare, taking money from business owners and giving it to the employees in the name of “fairness” and “justice.” The idea, as averred in the last quoted paragraph, is to help get people off government aid. Good intentions, no?

Well, we all know what’s said about using good intentions as paving material. Like so many welfare programs, the minimum wage creates a perverse incentive to not increase one’s income, for fear of losing desirable benefits. Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute has a wonderful chart and post explaining this very problem, what he calls a “poverty trap.” By raising the minimum wage, in addition to all the other problems it causes, Seattle is creating its own poverty trap, one that encourages people to work less.

Now how, I ask progressives, is that “progress?”

PS: Read the whole article for other problems caused by Seattle leftists’ good intentions arrogant, economically ignorant self-righteousness.


The 2015 El Niño is shaping up to be a big one

July 23, 2015

Phineas Fahrquar:

The last predicted El Nino was a washout, as I recall, but, with California parched, let’s hope this one comes through. Read on for Anthony Watts’ warning though, that climate alarmists will almost certainly blame this on “global warming.” Sigh…

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

1997-2015-el-nino

From NOAA NNVL:

July 2015 Ocean Temperatures –
Conditions are currently warming up in the Pacific, and the NOAA Climate Prediction Center expects a greater than 90% chance that El Niño will continue through the winter and most likely into the spring. This image shows the July 13-19, 2015 sea surface temperature departure from the 1981-2010 average. In addition to the warmer than normal waters generated by the El Niño conditions, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is also creating persistently higher than normal sea surface temperatures in the northeastern Pacific.

El Niño conditions are on the rise in the Pacific Ocean, this could potentially become a record event that might even beat the great 1997 El Niño as seen in the image above. We aren’t there yet, but the Climate Prediction Center has an advisory out that suggests we might be soon.

California could see an end to their drought situation, with the…

View original 260 more words


Must be a coincidence: San Francisco raises minimum wage, Chipotle’s raises prices

July 7, 2015
No way!!

No way!! Magical thinking doesn’t work??

I predicted this from the start. Oh, okay, I didn’t predict exactly *this*, per se, but, on the occasion of a popular San Francisco bookstore closing because of the minimum wage hike, I wrote the following:

Labor is a cost, because the business owner has to provide wages and, often, benefits that cost him more money. When a government mandate increases that cost, the business owner has three choices: pass the cost along to the customer, who may decide it’s too much and stop shopping there; cut employee hours and stop hiring to save on labor costs, thus costing potential jobs and putting a burden on workers still employed; and, finally, just decide it’s not worth it anymore and close up shop. In the low-margin bookseller business, Borderlands’ owner chose the last course as the only one viable.

Borderlands Bookstore chose option three: close the doors and put everyone out of work. It just wasn’t worth it to fight to stay in business anymore.

Let us not be surprised, then, that the Chipotle’s restaurant chain chose option one: pass the costs on to the consumer.

• In our weekly survey of ten of Chipotle’s markets, we found the company implemented price increases in half of the surveyed markets this week—San Francisco, Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Orlando. In most markets, the price increases have been limited to beef and average about 4% on barbacoa and steak, toward the lower end of management’s expectation for a 4% to 6% price increase on beef.

• San Francisco, however, saw across-the-board price increases averaging over 10%, including 10% increases on chicken, carnitas (pork), sofritas (tofu), and vegetarian entrees along with a 14% increase on steak and barbacoa. We believe the outsized San Francisco price hike was likely because of increased minimum wages (which rose by 14% from $10.74 per hour to $12.25 on May 1) as well as scheduled minimum wage increases in future years (to $13 next year, $14 in 2017, and $15 in 2018).

Say it after me, kiddies: Economics wins; math wins. Rinse, repeat. No matter what the progressive tooth fairy told the San Francisco Board of Commissars Supervisors, when you mandate a wage increase, something has to give. In this case, the “giver” is “Workaday Joe,” the poor sap who has to bear the brunt of this and other increases to his cost of living.

Not that the limousine liberals of the Bay Area will notice, however: they either can afford higher prices, or they have expense accounts that can afford them. Regardless, they can continue feeling good about themselves.

And that’s all that matters to them.

via Moe Lane

RELATED: At Power Line, Scott Johnson looks at the killing of a woman by an illegal alien taking advantage of San Francisco’s “sanctuary” laws and meditates on its deep meaning.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,961 other followers