Saturday, November 21, 2015

Have the Awful Climate Change Deniers Turned a Cartoonist?!

For a cartoonist living in a period of unprecedented™ global warming, Wiley Miller sure doesn't seem to be showing a lot of responsibility in his choice of subjects!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

How Come So Much of What Honest Abe Spoke of 150 Years Ago Seems Relevant Today?

Today is the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address (thanks to Duncan Hill).

This brings us to a post from five years ago:

How come so much of what Abraham Lincoln spoke of 150 years ago seems relevant today?

A careful reading of Abraham Lincoln's speeches seems to bring up pertinent comments on or about: the stimulus, the ever-increasing debt and deficits, the arguments for reforming (and ditching) the Constitution, the Democrats' double standards, and the caricature made of the Republican Party and their members (such as Sarah Palin) and like-minded people (such as the tea partiers) contrasted with the heroic image bestowed upon the Democrats and progressives' standard-bearers (such as Barack Obama), and the élites of the East Coast, the Ivy League universities, and Hollywood.

Incidentally, Dan Greenberg's and my graphic novel biography of Honest Abe, The Life & Times of Abraham Lincoln, is slated for publication later this year…

Doesn't Abraham Lincoln's Speech in the Illinois Legislature on the State Bank (January 11, 1837) sound somewhat like the sub-prime mess, the stimulus, and the search for ever-larger deficits?
It is an old maxim and a very sound one, that he that dances should always pay the fiddler. Now, sir, in the present case, if any gentlemen, whose money is a burden to them, choose to lead off a dance, I am decidedly opposed to the people's money being used to pay the fiddler …

These capitalists generally generally act harmoniously, and in concert, to fleece the people, and now, that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people's money to settle the quarrel.

… I make the assertion boldly, and without fear of contradiction, that no man, who does not hold an office, or does not aspire to one, has ever found any fault of the Bank. … No, Sir, it it the politician who is the first to sound the alarm, (which, by the way, is a false one.) It is he, who, by these unholy means, is endeavoring to blow up a storm that he may ride upon and direct. It is he, and he alone, that here proposes to spend thousands of the people's public treasure…
Doesn't Abraham Lincoln's June 20, 1848, Speech on Internal Improvements (first para below) and his February 13, 1848, letter to a Josephus Hewett (second para) sound like he is talking to those who wish to ditch or at least reform the Constitution and the Electoral College?
I now wish to submit a few remarks on the general proposition of amending the constitution. As a general rule, I think, we would much better let it alone. No slight occasion should tempt us to touch it. Better not take the first step, which may lead to a habit of altering it. Better, rather, habituate ourselves to think of it, as unalterable. It can scarcely be made better than it is. New provisions, would introduce new difficulties, and thus create, and increase appetite for still further change. No sir, let it stand as it is. New hands have never touched it. The men who made it, have done their work, and have passed away. Who shall improve, on what they did?

I was once of your opinion … that presidential electors should be dispensed with; but a more thorough knowledge of the causes that first introduced them, has made me doubt. Those causes were briefly these. The convention that framed the constitution had this difficulty: the small states wished to so frame the government as that they might be equal to the large ones regardless of the inequality of the population; the large ones insisted on equality in proportion to population. They compromised it, by basing the House of Representatives on population, and the Senate on states regardless of population; and the executive on both principles, by electors in each state, equal in numbers to her senators and representatives. Now, throw away the machinery of electors, and the compromise is broken up, and the whole yielded to the principle of large states. … Have you reflected on these things?

Doesn't Abraham Lincoln's 1854 Fragments on Government sound like he is (re)asserting what true Americans stand for — belief in the individual and the common man?
Most governments have been based, practically, on the denial of equal rights of men … ours began, by affirming those rights. They said, some men are too ignorant, and vicious, to share in government. Possibly so, said we; and, by your system, you would always keep them ignorant, and vicious. We proposed to give all a chance; and we expected the weak to grow stronger, the ignorant, wiser; and all better, and happier, together.
Moreover, with regards to Washington politicos trying to submit every part of society (and their allegedly ignorant, vicious members) to government control:
This is a world of compensations, and he who would be no slave, must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves.
Doesn't Abraham Lincoln's Speech on the Sub-Treasury at Springfield (December 26, 1839) sound somewhat like he is refuting what the holier-than-thou Democrats insist is the difference between themselves and the greedy, flawed, treacherous members of the demonized opposition party?
Mr. Lamborn [a prominent Democrat] insists that the difference between the Van Buren party [the Democrats], and the Whigs [to a certain extent, the forerunners of the Republicans] is, that although, the former sometimes err in practice, they are always correct in principle — whereas the latter are wrong in principle — and the better to impress this proposition, he uses a figurative expression in these words: "The Democrats are vulnerable in the heel, but they are sound in the head and the heart."

The first branch of the figure, that the Democrats are vulnerable in the heel, I admit is not merely figuratively, but literally true. Who that looks but for a moment at their Swartwouts, their Prices, their Harringtons, and their hundreds of others [who have also handled the nation's purses in, uh, less than an honest way], scampering away with the public money to Texas [then an independent republic], to Europe, and to every spot of the earth where a villain may hope to find refuge from justice, can at all doubt that they are most distressingly affected in their heels with a species of "running itch."

It seems that this malady of the heels, operates on these sound-headed and honest-hearted creatures, very much like the cork-leg, in the comic song, did on its owner: which, when he had once got started on it, the more he tried to stop it, the more it would run away. At the hazard of wearing this point thread bare, I will related an anecdote, which seems too strikingly in point to be omitted.

A witty Irish soldier, who was always boasting of his bravery, when no danger was near, but who invariably retreated without orders at the first charge of an engagement, being asked by his Captain why he did so, replied: "Captain, I have as brave a heart as Julius Caesar ever had; but some how or other, whenever danger approaches, my cowardly legs will run away with it." So with Mr. Lamborn's party. They take the public money into their hand for the most laudable purpose, that wise heads and honest hearts can dictate; but before they can possibly get it out again their rascally "vulnerable heels" will run away with them.

Seriously: this proposition of Mr. Lamborn is nothing more or less, than a request that his party may be tried by their professions instead of their practices. Perhaps no position that the party assumes is more liable to, or more deserving of exposure, than this very modest request.
Doesn't Abraham Lincoln's demonstration of the Democrats' double standards in the 1852 election between his party's Millard Fillmore and the Democrats' Franklin Pierce remind you somewhat of the clueless-Palin-vs.-dream-candidate-Obama double standards during the campaign?
O ho! Judge [Douglas]; it is you, is it, that thinks a man [or a woman] should furnish proof of superiority of statesmanship, before he [or she] is looked to as a candidate for the first office? Do please show us those proofs in the case of your "gallant and honest man, Frank Pierce." Do please name a single one that you consider such. What good thing, or even part of a good thing has the country ever enjoyed, which originated with him? What evil thing has been averted by him? Compare his proofs of statesmanship with those of Mr. Fillmore, up to the times respectively when their names were first connected with presidential elections.

Doesn't Abraham Lincoln's "few words" defending maligned Republicans and conservative principles "to the Southern people" during his Cooper Union speech of February 27, 1860, sound like he is speaking about principled Republicans and earnest tea partiers to today's Democrats, élite Easterners, university professors (and students), Hollywood bigwigs, and other self-declared liberals and progressives?
You consider yourselves a reasonable and a just people; and I consider that in the general qualities of reason and justice you are not inferior to any other people. Still, when you speak of us Republicans, you do so only to denounce us a reptiles, or, at the best, as no better than outlaws. You will grant a hearing to pirates or murderers, but nothing like it to "Black Republicans." In all your contentions with one another, each of you deems an unconditional condemnation of "Black Republicanism" as the first thing to be attended to. Indeed, such condemnation of us seems to be an indispensable prerequisite — license, so to speak — among you to be admitted or permitted to speak at all. Now, can you, or not, be prevailed upon to pause and to consider whether this is quite just to us, or even to yourselves? Bring forward your charges and specifications, and then be patient long enough to hear us deny or justify.

And — mournfully — this from Abraham Lincoln January 27, 1838, Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield:
At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mourning "all lives lost to gun violence" is like calling the people murdered on 9/11 victims of “airplane violence”

If only france had sensible gun control laws, the Paris attacks of November 13th would not have happened
writes Benny Huang acidly, with irony galore.
Okay, everyone knows that isn’t true. france has gone way beyond “sensible” gun control laws and has, for all practical purposes, banned civilian ownership of firearms. It didn’t stop last week’s surreal carnage—and it won’t stop the next attack either.

Freelance reporter David Axe explained on the Daily Beast how fully automatic rifles have come to contaminate la République française. … As David Axe explains, it isn’t particularly difficult to obtain an AK-47 in france today—provided you have the proper underworld connections. The underworld, by definition, is the domain of the criminal class, so it should come as no surprise that bad guys can get their hands on serious firepower without much difficulty.

The problem is getting worse. In 2012, a young Muslim shot up a Jewish school in Toulouse, killing a teacher and three students. In January, a team of Muslim terrorists attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a left-wing satire magazine that regularly mocked religion—and didn’t spare Islam. There was also the attempted shooting spree in August of this year by a Muslim terrorist onboard an Amsterdam-to-Paris train that was thankfully thwarted by an American trio.

And that’s just the terrorism! France also suffers from ordinary violent crime, centered in its immigrant ghettoes, of course. The city of Marseille in the south of France has become something of a war zone in recent years, earning it the ignominious title “the most dangerous city in Europe.” Turf wars are fought with the same full-auto Kalashnikovs used in the most recent Paris attacks. “Marseille is sick with its violence,” then-Interior Minister Manuel Valls said in 2013.

If the recent Paris attacks prove anything it’s that mass shootings are not a uniquely American phenomenon. Some people will surely argue that the US still leads the world in violent rampages and that any comparison between us and them would be a false one. Of course, I don’t mean to imply that the US, when compared to Western Europe, has an equal number of spree killings, or even a proportional number of spree killings, but I will posit that the explanation for the disparity has little to do with differences in our laws.

The second amendment to the Constitution has been the law of the land since 1791. For the better part of two hundred years Americans managed to keep and bear arms with very few instances of people “going postal.” But then things began to change.

People were shocked when, in 1966, a man named Charles Whitman climbed the clock tower at UT-Austin and began sniping at students below. Stuff like that just didn’t happen in those more innocent times. In the decades that followed, the situation only worsened. The killing seemed to be everywhere in the 1990s—Jonesboro, Arkansas, Springfield, Oregon, and Paducah, Kentucky. The levy broke in 1999 when two teenagers in Colorado laid siege to their high school, killing thirteen people before committing suicide. Since then the massacres have all become a blur—Newtown, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Charleston, the Sikh Temple. It never seems to end.

Liberals have indicted guns. They believe that banning them would be a quick fix and it’s what they strongly imply we should do—usually before issuing heated denials that anyone wants to trample your second amendment rights. They just want a few “common sense” controls to make sure guns don’t fall into the wrong hands, or so they say. But of course they want to ban guns and that’s why they look to European nations like France as their model. Spree killings just don’t happen there—except when they do.

Contrary to gun control propaganda, Europe has not escaped the modern scourge of spree killings. Norway’s tough gun control laws didn’t stop the monstrous Anders Brevik from killing 77 people, mostly children, in 2011. Germany’s tough gun control laws didn’t prevent Robert Steinhäuser from killing sixteen people at an Erfurt high school in 2002, nor did they prevent Tim Kretschmer from killing sixteen people “for fun” at a Winnenden secondary school in 2009. The Czech Republic’s gun control laws didn’t stop a gunman from shooting up a popular restaurant in 2015, killing nine. And of course France’s tough gun control laws didn’t stop the most recent attacks, the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the foiled train shooting, the Toulouse Jewish day school shooting, or even armed street crime.

Banning guns won’t get to the root of the problem, it will only disarm the victims. But just what is the problem? I would argue that we have two.

The first of these problems is a creeping darkness of the soul. I believe Mike Huckabee summed it up well when he remarked, in the aftermath of the Oregon community college shooting that “We have not so much a gun problem, we have a problem with sin and evil.” His remark did not sit well with liberals who were leery of his religious overtones. Also, they don’t want to admit that the revolutionary changes that have swept through society since the 1960s have been anything but positive. Instead they talk about guns. They would have us believe that the roots of our problem are as old as our Constitution and the bitter-clinger frontiersmen who built this country. To them it’s not evil, it’s “gun culture.”

 … The other problem is even more difficult to talk about. It’s called jihad. This unholy “holy war” is responsible for not only the Paris attacks but also the Fort Hood massacres and the military recruiting station shootings in Chattanooga and Little Rock.

If liberals are loathe to discuss the sin and evil problem, they are even more reluctant to talk about jihad because it feels like racism. Take for example the recent tweet from Moms Demand Action, a Michael Bloomberg-funded gun control group which advocates European-style gun control here in America. You’d think they’d keep quiet at a time when their preferred policies failed so miserably but they just couldn’t resist. “We are united in mourning all lives lost to gun violence” they proclaimed. Gun violence? Oh, I suppose that some of the people in Paris were killed with guns—and others with bombs—but none were killed by “gun violence.” They were killed by crazy-ass Muslim violence. Why can’t they bring themselves to say it?

This unwillingness to talk about radical Islam in connection with terroristic violence does us all a disservice because it lets the perps off the hook. It would be like calling the people murdered on 9/11 victims of “airplane violence.” Yes, airplanes played a role in what happened that day but no one was killed by a 747. They were killed by Mohammad Atta and eighteen of his buddies, all Muslims.

Guns are liberals’ favorite patsy, the inanimate objects they like to blame when they can’t—or won’t—account for what really ails us.

The November 13 attacks targeted activities that are dear to Parisians, symbols of the French joie de vivre

  … reports say at least 129 people died and more than 350 were wounded in last Friday’s attacks 
writes Carine Martinez-Gouhier at the Federalist;
99 people are still in critical condition. Terrorists all carried powerful rifles and suicide bomb vests, which they did not hesitate to detonate. Not only were those attacks the most deadly Paris has known in the past decades, they are likely to tremendously impact the way of life of Parisians and French people in the months to come. …

The Terrorists Chose Specifically French Targets

 … In their statement claiming responsibility for the attacks, ISIS declared targets were carefully chosen in advance. In fact, while the Charlie Hebdo attack aimed to suppress free speech, the November 13 attacks targeted activities that are dear to Parisians, symbols of the French joie de vivre: restaurants where diners were enjoying food and drinks on a Friday night, a soccer game (soccer is France’s favorite sport), and a legendary Parisian concert venue.

The attacks were obviously meant to make as many victims as possible and to change the way the French would go about their life. French President Francois Hollande started this by asking Parisians to stay home. But his recommendation was probably not necessary.

 … By definition, terrorism is meant to create a state of fear in the population. Economically, this is not good for France, of course, which is already struggling to reach an estimated 1.1 percent growth rate for 2015. More worrisome is how the country might be politically impacted by the attacks. The temptation to turn to populist voices may be easy. Although the next presidential election will take place in 2017, results from regional elections next month might give us a hint (supposing people will go out to vote). Marine Le Pen’s far-right Front National Party might end up gaining more support following the events.

Mourn, Then Take Action

What can be done, then?
The French should first give themselves time to mourn their dead. Three days of national mourning started on Sunday, November 15. Emotional reactions to the attacks should then be followed by serious questioning about the effectiveness of several policies.

There are times in life when one wishes to be wrong. Sadly, I can’t say we did not see these attacks coming. Not only had ISIS warned France several times, but it is no secret that some areas of France, and some suburbs of Paris, have become fertile breeding ground for Islamization of young people and weapons trafficking. This problem should be addressed without having to play contortionist to avoid hurting the feelings of anyone.

France has very restrictive speech laws. Forbid people to engage in open debate, and unscrupulous politicians will exploit fears. Open debate would bring additional ideas, probably good and bad, on how to better fight the enemy we are facing. Anyone who opposes the attacks should be able to understand that. To use a popular expression these days, the victims of the attacks received no trigger warnings (no pun intended) before being executed in cold blood. Censoring fears will not help.

A good example would start with debating allowing the French to be able to carry guns to defend themselves and their loved ones, if necessary. Do we need further evidence that strict gun laws do not prevent criminals from obtaining deadly weapons to commit their crimes? The police will never be able to react soon enough to all dangerous situations, not to mention cases like Friday’s attacks, in which the goal is to kill as many people as possible. Someone carrying a gun might not have stopped the attacks, but the death toll might have been reduced. After the November 13 attacks, the French deserve to at least have the opportunity to debate whether gun control has made their livee safer.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Paris Attacks Are the Work of Islam Itself, Writes Salem Ben Ammar

In the post entitled The Paris Attacks Are the Work of Islam, and the Beginning of the End of Our Humanity, Dreuz's Salem Ben Ammar presents a controversial theory about the Jihadists.

In related news, leftist journalists are quietly scrubbing the pro-refuge tenor of their pre-attack articles

Revising History: Quietly, Leftist Journalists Are Scrubbing the Pro-Refuge Tenor of Their Pre-Attack Articles

Without warning, without an apology, and without an explanation, the headline of a 14-month-old  France Inter article was changed over the weekend, leading the Dreuz blog to write France Inter insults us, then changes its titles to his its error.

France Inter's September 2014 title read: Réfugiés: le fantasme de l’infiltration terroriste (Refugees: The Fantasy of the Terrorist Infiltration).

Two days after the Paris attacks (see a picture of the Bataclan carnage), "in order to hide the evidence of their incompetence" writes Christian Larnet, the title was changed to Des terroristes parmi les migrants? (Terrorists Among the Migrants?).