Saturday, July 23, 2016

¡NO PASARÁ EL COCA-COLA! In the Wake of Obama's Cuba Accord, Le Canard Enchaîné Shows the Castros' New-Found Love for "the Empire"

¡NO PASARÁ EL COCA-COLA!

In the Wake of Obama's Cuba Accord, Le Canard Enchaîné
Posted a Kiro Cartoon Showing the Castros' Love for "the Empire"

More on Cuba on the No Pasarán blog…

Founded in 1916, the satirical weekly is fêting its 100th birthday this July…

Friday, July 22, 2016

Some Questions for the GOP's Cruz Despisers


Some questions are in order:

1) Isn't it true that most Republicans are not known for accusing their adversaries or their challengers (inside the party or outside, i.e., Democrats) — or one of their parents — of having been involved in the JFK assassination, or in the the Reagan assassination attempt, or in the Challenger explosion, etc…

(With Democrats, it's a different story, obviously, as they accused all conservatives in Dallas, in Texas, in the South, even in the entire nation of having somehow caused the death of Camelot's noble young president. Which, not entirely incidentally, is far from a bad reason to vote against the Democrats…)

Wouldn't Trump's immediate counter-attack on Heidi Cruz mean instead that if there is someone in the cry-baby department too thin-skinned for politics, it is him?

Related: If Somone Ought to "Get Over It", in Order to Unify the Party, and Forgive and Forget, Shouldn't That Person Be… Donald Trump?!

For your information, I read on a blog a couple of hours ago (I've searched for the link for 15-20 minutes, but I can't find it again) that at the 1976 convention, Ronald Reagan also gave a rousing speech while refraining from expressly supporting Gerald Ford…

2) Couldn't the assertion that Ted Cruz not being liked, by his fellow politicians in DC, be — very easily — construed as a good thing? Couldn't someone not willing to play by the rules of, being disrespectful of, the Washington establishment be construed as a good thing? Not wanting to raise taxes, not wanting to add ever more rules and red tape, not wanting to add ever more functionaries to the rolls of the federal bureaucrats, shouldn't we wish for that in all our politicians, rather than taking without a grain of salt those peoples' (self-serving) opinions about one of their number not being a player?

Do you want to hear me tell the truth? I would love to see a leader come in the Oval Office, who is not lauded, à la Obama, as a charismatic revolutionary, as a Che Guevara come to help the poor, to feed the sick, to lead the people towards a bright new future. A boring president? One who keeps speaking of little else than his faith and the Constitution and following the law? Yay-es! Bring it on!!

Related: If it's true that Ted Cruz as “dishonest,” or “unlikable,” how can we support him for President?
 … how can we hand the reins to that so-called “jerk,” Ted Cruz? Well, we happen to know him quite well. And we know that the vast majority of these characterizations are completely false; that Senator Cruz is an honest and decent man; that the negative portrayals of him are purposeful and a direct consequence of his willingness to fight for the American people against the massive power of the ruling class that our founding fathers predicted would occur; and that it would be an incredible disservice for you not to take a serious look at him as the only nominee who will lead this country away from its current path and toward the American promise of freedom, security and prosperity our children deserve.

3) As for Donald Trump, isn't it true that there is — unfortunately — a far wider problem regarding the man? Isn't it true that there are doubts, perhaps even serious doubts, regarding his conservative credentials? (For instance, his being pals with the… Clintons (!) and his having adopted conservative policies only a year or so ago, his having indeed lauded Democratic policies in the past and even endorsed Hillary for president.)

CERTAINLY, all the above is not a reason to vote for Hillary Clinton. Far from it.

HERE IS WHAT IT BOILS DOWN TO: there are many who are truly frightened at the prospect of a set-up, one in which the White House and the Democrats (and ostensibly through no fault of Trump's) have maneuvered and manipulated to get the only candidate in the GOP set up as a candidate who could possibly be beaten by an Obama successor after eight years of Obama in the White House. Not to mention creating a truly untenable reputation for the Republican Party while helping Democrats get elected to the House and perhaps take over the Senate. Examples? For instance, by the mainstream media bringing to a complete halt the (lucrative) Republican debates as soon as Donald Trump emerged on top — while giving said Trump 2 billion dollars in free advertising as part of their "news" operations.

Finally, let me direct you to Trump supporter (and Trump VP short-lister) Newt Gingrich (thanks to Austin Bay) who said that
I think you misunderstood one paragraph that Ted Cruz, who is a superb orator, said, and I just want to point it out to you, Ted Cruz said you can vote your conscience for anyone who will uphold the Constitution. In this election, there is only one candidate who will uphold the Constitution. … So to paraphrase Ted Cruz, if you want to protect the Constitution of United States, the only possible candidate this fall is the Trump-Pence Republican ticket.
Indeed, Sean Cash asks:
When he asked people to vote for a candidate who shares your values and would defend the constitution, why didnt you think he was talking about Trump?
Which brings us to The Federalist, in which Sean Davis points out that
Trump's campaign could've made lemonade out of Cruz's speech. Instead, it opened the wound Cruz caused and squirted lemon juice into it. … A savvy, disciplined campaign could have used the three words from Cruz that set off a political firestorm — “vote your conscience” — to the campaign’s advantage.

 … The only sensible Trump response to “vote your conscience” and “vote for freedom and candidates with principles” was to thank Cruz for the rousing speech and his commitment to conservative principles. Praise him for his defense of freedom, and then turn his call to “vote your conscience” into an endorsement of Trump’s agenda. After all, there’s only one candidate in the race who wants to put America first, there’s only one candidate who wants to keep America safe, there’s only one candidate who has what it takes to Make America Great Again.

If you believe in restoring American greatness, then your conscience can only tell you one thing: vote Trump. If you believe in restoring the values that made America the greatest in nation in history, then your conscience can only tell you one thing: vote Trump. If you believe that strong leadership and a commitment to the American people are what’s required to keep this country strong, then your conscience can only tell you one thing: vote Trump.

That’s all Trump’s team had to do.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

If Somone Ought to "Get Over It", in Order to Unify the Party, and Forgive and Forget, Shouldn't That Person Be… Donald Trump?!

In response to his non-endorsement of Donald Trump during his speech at the GOP convention in Cleveland, Ted Cruz is told, "why can't you get over it?", "this is politics", to "forgive and forget," to "unify" the party…

Those all sound like very good advice, and very sound recommendations, but the question becomes, why don't people give this advice to the appropriate person?

Why, to be specific, don't they give these recommendations to… Donald Trump?

As the Texas senator explained the next morning to the Texas Delegation:
That pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander and attack Heidi, that I'm going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say "Thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father." …/… neither he [Trump] nor his campaign has ever taken back a word they said about my family.
Isn't it Donald Trump that it is up to to get over it, to say "this is politics", to forgive and forget, and to unify the party? 

In other words, isn't it up to the Donald to make amends?

Related: Some Questions for the the GOP's Cruz Haters

PS: In answer to the question,
What about the personal attacks against Melania that started this whole thing?
I replied as follows:
Was that attack (not those attacks), that meme, really, on Melania made by Ted or by his campaign? They certainly say it wasn't. Although a pro-Cruz Tea Party was behind it, they deny all involvement. You think that they are lying? Sure, that happens.

But the attacks on Heidi (also a meme) and on Ted's father (something far far worse) were certainly made by the Donald and by his campaign. Doesn't it seem that accusing another candidate's father of not only being involved in murder, but to be a conspirator in one of the 20th century's grandest tragedies, might — generously — be described as "beyond the pale" (not to mention, uh, ludicrous)?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What If… Hillary Has Been Planning All Along to Drop Out of the Presidential Race


You're right.

Call me crazy.

But what if — with the Democratic primary following the Republican one — Hillary Clinton — along with the top honchos of the Democrat Party — had been planning all along to drop out of the presidential race, once Donald Trump is nominated?

Drop out in favor of a far more electable Democrat?

And have that Democrat run along the problem-riddled New York billionaire? 

Joe Manchin? Evan Bayh? Andrew Cuomo? Terry McAuliffe? Amy Klobuchar?
Even Joe Biden or Al Gore?!

Yes, I know it sounds crazy. I know it doesn't sound like Hillary's — or Bill's — personality to bow out in favor of a fellow politician.

But after eight years of let's-bash-Americans policies, I am far less willing to dismiss crazy conspiracy theories out of hand…

This hasn't been on my mind incessantly, but for a month or so, maybe more, it has been bugging me on and off, and t'is what came up again upon reading Matthew Sheffield's Praxis article (thanks to Ed Driscoll) on a somewhat different subject.

Let us hope, let us pray, that I am indeed crazy…

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

How to Know Whether We Live in a Democracy or Whether We Are in the Throes of Populism

From Mumbai, Anand Pandya writes:
Nassim Nicholas Taleb has put it best:
“When people vote the way of the intellectual-yet-idiot elite, it is ‘democracy’. Otherwise it is misguided, irrational, swayed by populism and a lack of education.” 
Or, as I like to put it:

When the left wins elections, it is the proof that democracy is at work.
When the right wins elections, it means we are in the throes of populism.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Disastrous Claims About Rising Sea Levels Run Into One (Un?)fortunate Fact


The worsening of tidal flooding in American coastal communities is largely a consequence of greenhouse gases from human activity,
writes Justin Gillis as he claims that the Seas Are Rising at Fastest Rate in Last 28 Centuries,
and the problem will grow far worse in coming decades, scientists reported Monday.
Those emissions, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, are causing the ocean to rise at the fastest rate since at least the founding of ancient Rome, the scientists said. They added that in the absence of human emissions, the ocean surface would be rising less rapidly and might even be falling.

The increasingly routine tidal flooding is making life miserable in places like Miami Beach; Charleston, S.C.; and Norfolk, Va., even on sunny days.

Though these types of floods often produce only a foot or two of standing saltwater, they are straining life in many towns by killing lawns and trees, blocking neighborhood streets and clogging storm drains, polluting supplies of freshwater and sometimes stranding entire island communities for hours by overtopping the roads that tie them to the mainland.

Such events are just an early harbinger of the coming damage, the new research suggests.

 … scientists … also confirmed previous forecasts that if emissions were to continue at a high rate over the next few decades, the ocean could rise as much as three or four feet by 2100.

Experts say the situation would then grow far worse in the 22nd century and beyond, likely requiring the abandonment of many coastal cities.
As I wrote in a post at the time of the New York Times article five months ago:
think of New York City, of Miami, of Galveston, of San Francisco, of Tokyo, of Sydney, of Goa, of Alexandria, of Saint Tropez, of Copenhagen.

Correct me if I am wrong, but in the past 5 years, in the past 50 years, even offhand in the past 500 years (?), has the sea level in any of those places risen by even one inch, by even one centimeter?
To the Gray Lady's February article, of course, we must add John Raphael's recent Nature World News report on another study, one that finds that Antarctic Sea Ice Continues to Expand Despite Global Warming.

This is of course to everything the drama queens have been telling us for years, so the authors of the study in the journal Nature Geosciences must scramble to dig up an explanation. (how 'bout "natural climate fluctuation"? Alright; that'll do.)

Does part of the opening sentence contain the kicker?
 … the increase of sea ice in the Antarctic despite global warming caused by climate change
That must be the first time that I read the expressions global warming and climate change in the same sentence. I thought the second was supposed to replace the first.

But no, it turns out that the one (global warming) is caused by the other (climate change). You might be forgiven for thinking that the leftists' main object is to confuse us.

Friday, July 15, 2016

A Dozen Years Later: “France is today, clearly, the country the most threatened” in Europe by ISIS


“France is today, clearly, the country the most threatened” in Europe by Islamic State (IS), said Patrick Calvar, the head of the internal intelligence service, to a parliamentary commission in May.
Thus reported The Economist last week. [Note: this post, slightly redacted now, was prepared a couple of days before the terrorist truck attack in Nice on Bastille Day (July 14).]
The underlying threat remains terrorism, and the alert level is still at its highest (“imminent attack”). Last month two police-force members were murdered in a terrorist attack in a suburb west of Paris.

 … in France “the threat is permanently high.” Tight perimeter security at football stadiums, and at the walled open-air “fan zones”, has rendered such venues relatively secure—despite hooliganism at early matches. But fears continue over “soft” targets such as public transport, shopping streets and other crowded places. “We know that [IS] is planning new attacks,” said Mr Calvar.

The French response to this threat has been two-fold: a strengthened military and security presence backed by sweeping powers granted to the police under the state of emergency imposed last November, together with reinforced intelligence. Under Operation Sentinelle, 10,000 soldiers are on patrol across France, putting a strain on the armed forces. Soldiers have become a familiar sight on the Paris underground, and up and down the Champs-Elysées. At the same time, the government has boosted intelligence spending. The number of domestic agents will rise from 3,200 to 4,400 by 2018.

The call to armes 

A dozen attempted terrorist attacks have been thwarted in France in the past year. The shortcomings of counter-terrorism operations, however, were underlined on July 5th by a cross-party parliamentary inquiry into the attacks in Paris on November 13th. Sébastien Pietrasanta, the Socialist rapporteur, pointed to the “limited impact” of the state of emergency. It enabled the police to make some useful searches and arrests at first, but these no longer justify the emergency powers. The government may lift it after the Tour de France ends. Moreover, said Mr Pietrasanta, Operation Sentinelle was “unsustainable in the long run”, and soldiers were “worn out”.
This excerpt is here for one reason: Ten to 15 years ago, French activists would pride themselves, with clear Schadenfreude towards the obtuse they-deserve(d)-it Americans, that, as Frenchmen, they had nothing to fear from Al Qaeda-like terrorist groups. Since Chirac and De Villepin had opposed the 2003 invasion of Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Islamic terrorists would clearly not take action against any members of this enlightened people. (This is easy to think when one ignores the fact that terrorist attacks usually ignore the nationality of their intended victims — wouldn't the Shoe Bomber have had French people among his victims had his December 2001 plane attempt been successful?)

In the wake of the Nice terrorist attack less than 12 hours ago, this post will probably be taken as insensitive and even outrageous. But the fast is, that the question remains: Is there any reason to suspect that any of these people have taken the time to put into doubt that self-serving "opinion" of the past 15 years?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The FBI's on-the-spot revision of federal law; Or, do you know the difference betwen Hillary Clinton and Richard Nixon?


Laws are just words on a page to be rewritten by and for powerful people
notes Benny Huang acidly.
The rule of law died a little last Tuesday when FBI director James Comey announced the Bureau’s findings concerning Hillary Clinton and her illegal email server. After a short speech in which he detailed the findings of the investigation, he recommended against charging her with anything.

You didn’t think it would happen any other way, did you? I certainly didn’t. As blatant as her lawbreaking was—some of which was not even discussed in Comey’s speech—it seemed fanciful to believe that Hillary Clinton, the ultimate insider, would actually do the perp walk. As a former First Lady, former senator, and former Secretary of State, she is for all practical purposes above the law. Her consciousness of this fact enables her bad behavior.

Comey’s rationale for not referring the Clinton case for prosecution defied all logic and, according to former assistant US Attorney Andy McCarthy, represented an on-the-spot revision of federal law. McCarthy wrote:
“There is no way of getting around this: According to Director James Comey (disclosure: a former colleague and longtime friend of mine), Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation of Section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18): With lawful access to highly classified information she acted with gross negligence in removing and causing it to be removed it from its proper place of custody, and she transmitted it and caused it to be transmitted to others not authorized to have it, in patent violation of her trust. Director Comey even conceded that former Secretary Clinton was ‘extremely careless’ and strongly suggested that her recklessness very likely led to communications (her own and those she corresponded with) being intercepted by foreign intelligence services.”
Yes, she did all of things and more. According to Director Comey, Hillary’s saving grace was her supposed lack of intent to break the law. She didn’t mean to do what she did, you see. There are two responses to this.

First, yes there was her intention. Hillary Clinton didn’t set up her illegal email server by accident. She didn’t use it for all of her correspondence by chance. She didn’t wipe the server by bumbling error, an issue I noticed Comey did not even address.

But the second response is even more important: intent is not the legal standard; negligence is. Even his whitewash investigation found that she and her staff were “extremely careless” with classified information. Carelessness is a synonym for negligence.

So Hillary will skate. Director Comey dished out the only punishment she will likely ever face—a stern talking-to. Start printing invitations for the Inaugural Ball—Hillary’s going to be our next president!

 … It should be noted here that at least Nixon paid some price: the not insignificant loss of his elected office. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is on the fast track to becoming the next president. That’s the difference.

 … She can store top secret and special access program materials on a secret email server that is vulnerable to hackers. She can wipe that server when it is subpoenaed. When caught, she can lie under oath to Congress about the whole affair. She can stonewall investigators and throw a fit in hearings. “What difference does it make” if it’s illegal?

The rule of law is crumbling in this country. Like most nefarious phenomena, it’s difficult to pinpoint a starting point. Powerful people have been getting away with illegal behavior for quite a long time—but was it always this blatant? I don’t think so.

These days it’s all right out in the open. We’re starting to look like some kind of banana republic where this week’s junta leader rules by fiat. We’ve got a coterie of junta leaders, I suppose—the president, Supreme Court justices, a few powerful secretaries. But it’s the same crap.

Once you understand that laws are just a lot of useless paper, all of our endless squabbling seems pretty silly. What’s the point of learned men standing around in a courtroom arguing the finer points of the law when in the end it means whatever the judge decides it means?

 … Who cares what the law actually says? Let’s determine what Congress meant, rather than what was debated and voted on. In an odd turn of events, the Court handed down another opinion that same day concerning marriage. In Obergefell v. Hodges, the Court found that the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868, guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. Am I supposed to believe that the men who labored over, passed, and ratified that amendment intended to radically redefine marriage? It seems that intent is only important when it helps judges get where they want to go.

These people are just making it up as they go along. They decide the hot button issues of the day according to their preferences then go in search of a justification. No justification is too lame because they’re the supremes and we’re not.

This is the way we do things in America these days. The law isn’t really the law. Powerful people do whatever the heck they feel like doing and if the law gets in their way it is magically rewritten on the spot. Sometimes it’s the FBI director who decides to change the plain meaning of a statute. Sometimes it’s a judge. It can be the president, or even on occasion, a backroom bureaucrat. Beneath the tissue-thin pretense of an orderly, principled system, it’s actually just a naked power struggle—and we’re losing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

How Boris Johnson was brought to his knees by the 'cuckoo nest plot'


All of a sudden, the leaking of the Sarah Vine email did not seem so accidental after all. Was it deliberately given to Sky News to undermine Mr Johnson and pave the way for a Gove challenge?
As Theresa May (not to be confused with Teresa May) becomes head of the UK's Tories and enters 10 Downing Street, the Daily Telegraph's Gordon Rayner has a longish story on how Boris Johnson was brought down as front runner for both posts (cheers to Ed Driscoll for the Instalanche).

Incidentally: did you know that Boris is a dual citizen, or, rather, that the then-mayor of London was a dual citizen, until he renounced his U.S. citizenship last year? Can you guess who he had been hounded by into returning his U.S. passport in 2015?
Update: something to think about, when you learn that Theresa May has just made Boris the country's foreign secretary in her new cabinet.
With two hours to go until the launch of Mr Johnson’s leadership bid, [Michael Gove (Sarah Vine's husband)], the man who was supposed to be making up the “dream ticket” with him, had not so much stabbed him in the back as run him through with a pikestaff.

The Telegraph understands that Sir Lynton [Crosby, Mr Johnson’s campaign manager] asked Mr Gove whether he had told Mr Johnson. He had not, but said he intended to. The call, however, was never made.

By noon, Mr Johnson, the front-runner for the Tory leadership, was no longer a runner at all, ousted by what was being called a “cuckoo nest plot”. Having been comprehensively stitched up by his running mate and several other “supporters”, he threw in the towel, his ambitions in ruins. …/…

'Gove is a ----!'

Perhaps Mr Johnson should have seen it coming. The history of the Conservative Party is, after all, littered with the shattered careers of leadership front-runners who were knifed by their colleagues: Maudling, Heath, Heseltine, Clarke, Portillo, Davis. …/…

A 'creepy operation'

“Boris was cavalier with assurances he made,” he said. “We're picking a Prime Minister to lead the country, not a school prefect.” With Mr Boles also gone, one Johnson supporter said: “He hasn’t been double crossed, he has been triple crossed. This seems to have been a pretty well developed, quite creepy operation.”

Sources have told The Telegraph that Mr Gove had told Theresa May about his intention to run even before he told Sir Lynton Crosby, such was the cold-bloodedness of the ambush. …/…

'It makes House of Cards look like Teletubbies'

Her performance was masterful: if anyone doubted Mrs May had the ruthlessness required to be Prime Minister, they would soon have their answer.

She talked about people in Westminster who did not understand what it was like to struggle for money and who needed reminding that politics “isn’t a game”. She was not, she said, a “showy” politician enamoured of “gimmicks” (instantly conjuring an image of Mr Johnson dangling from a zip wire), she did not go drinking in the Commons bars or tour the TV studios, “I just get on with the job in front of me”. No-one needed subtitles to explain who she was referring to.

Mrs May also knows that the most devastating thing you can do to an opponent is to turn them into a laughing stock.  …/…

Johnson-backer Nigel Evans MP was asked whether Mrs May had stabbed Mr Johnson in the front after Mr Gove had stabbed him in the back.

“That’s about it,” he said. “It makes House of Cards look like Teletubbies.”

Over at camp Boris, MPs were withdrawing their support by the minute. The 97 backing him were now down to 47, and Mr Johnson’s team realised they had been undone by what they referred to as a “cuckoo nest plot”. For months Mr Johnson had nurtured Mr Gove’s grand plan for Brexit, only to be kicked out when it finally hatched.

Mr Johnson, feeling “sad, disappointed and betrayed”, according to one source, decided he could not go on.
Related: Boris Johnson's heart not in Brexit, ex-aide Guto Harri says (BBC)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Stories About the NRA and Blacks That the National News Media Does Not Tell Usl


Colion Noir makes some points regarding the national Rifle Association.

2:22:
If any organization acts in a racist manner towards [blacks'] gun rights, it's you — the national news media! You call the NRA racist — while in the same breath telling blacks like me that we shouldn't own guns. Because we can't be trusted to not just kill each other.
2:40:
The Democratic Party invented gun control after slavery — to keep guns out of the hands of black people. And they haven't stopped since. But you don't tell that story either.
In related matters: Fox News:
Only days after watching five of his officers gunned down by an anti-white anti-cop shooter, Dallas Police Chief David Brown on Monday offered some advice to protesters who remain upset about recent police shootings: Join us.
Even as sometimes violent demonstrations against police continued Sunday night throughout the nation, in cities from Baton Rouge to Los Angeles, Brown made his argument for disaffected civilians to put down cardboard signs and pick up a badge.

“Become a part of the solution,” Brown said during a Monday news conference. “We’re hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in. And we’ll put you in your neighborhood, and we’ll help you resolve some of the problems you’re protesting about.”

Brown knows something about becoming part of the solution. Dallas’ top cop since 2010, Brown joined the department in 1983 after, he said, watching his friends swallowed up by the crack cocaine epidemic.

“It broke my heart and it changed what I wanted to do,” he said.