The Bookworm Beat 1/4/2016 — the “I’ve got a secret” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I have sitting in front of me a piece of a very juicy story that’s happening in real-time — and I can’t do anything about it right now! Two things stop me: The first is that, as I said, I currently only have a piece, and I need more information to understand fully what is going on; the second is that I don’t know yet whether what’s happening is operating under a confidentiality agreement.

The fact that I got some of the information means that someone (and I know who) violated confidentiality, but the whole thing is too sensitive for me to charge into. I’m going to keep an eye on things, though, and I’ll let you know when/if I have a real story. Meanwhile….

On guns, using Alinsky against the Alinsky-ites

Saul Alinksy may have had an ugly ideology, but he was a master tactician. One of his mandates is that you have to make your political enemy play by his own rules. The Virginia GOP is making noises about doing just that, although I doubt GOPers will have the courage of their convictions:

Virginia’s radically anti-gun Governor and Attorney General were probably quite pleased with themselves when they spitefully severed concealed carry agreements with 25 states, including all but one of its neighbors.

They probably didn’t anticipate the backlash they’ve received, which includes calls to recall or impeach Attorney General Mark Herring, and pushes for legislation that will both strip elected officials of the ability to make such unilateral decisions, and get a little payback.

Herring’s announcement came three weeks before the start of the General Assembly session, which is controlled by Republicans. In November, a bill was filed that would require Virginia to recognize permits from other states. If approved, it would reverse Herring’s ruling.

Carrico said he’ll address the issue come January.

“A lot of the governor’s power is deferred to the General Assembly at that point and I’ll be getting with my collegues to circumvent everything this governor has done on this point,” he said. “I have a budget amendment that I’m looking at to take away his executive protection unit. If he’s so afraid of guns, then I’m not going to surround him with armed state policemen.”

Read more here.

It would be fruitless and damaging to try stripping Hillary Clinton of her Secret Service detail. Having said that, it would be brilliant if, at every campaign stop, people ask her why, because she is such a strong anti-gun campaigner, she shouldn’t be stripped of that armed coverage.  And I’d love to see the same question asked of Obama at town halls.

I suspect both will reply that they need security because they’re targets.  Statistically speaking, though, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the average citizen of Chiraq is just as likely to be a target — the only difference is that the Chiraquian cannot defend himself (or have others defend him).

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Government-imposed minimum wages: A world that cultivates every person’s inner Veruca Salt

veruca-salt-now2

A month ago, my Facebook feed (which reflects the fact that many of my friends are Progressives) was suddenly overrun by a series of posters, all pointing out that minimum wage work is insufficient to support the cost of a two bedroom apartment.  It’s unlikely that the new minimum wage laws that went into effect on January 1, 2016, in 14 states will change these charts:

minimum wage won't afford two bedroom apartment

Also, in a charming irony, that problem is worse in most blue states compared to most red ones, as you’ll see if you compare the two charts below:

Minimum wage two bedroom apartment

red state - blue state

There are three major bad ideas packed into the notion that minimum wage should be the Rolls Royce of salaries.

The first problem is basic economics: The reality is that a higher minimum wage benefits the few over the many:

Increasing the minimum wage is an inefficient way to reduce poverty, according to a Fed research paper that comes amid a national clamor to hike pay for workers at the low end of the salary scale.

David Neumark, visiting scholar at the San Francisco Fed, contends in the paper that raising the minimum wage has only limited benefits in the war against poverty, due in part because relatively few of those falling below the poverty line actually receive the wage.

Many of the benefits from raising the wage, a move already undertaken by multiple governments around the country as well as some big-name companies, tend to go to higher-income families, said Neumark, who also pointed to research that shows raising wages kills jobs through higher costs to employers.

On its face, then, the charts’ premise, which is that higher minimum wages will see everyone in better homes, is wrong.

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On Syrian refugees: Risky until proven safe

Media IslamAlthough the question of Muslim refugees is no longer front page news, the Left is still keeping up the relentless drumbeat that those of us who oppose unfettered Syrian and Islamic immigration into America are racist, “Islamophobic,”* and unconstitutional.  We’re told it’s wrong of us to judge the many by the bad actions of a few and that we’re running counter to our legal system’s insistence that people are innocent until proven guilty.

This is misdirection.  We are not as a nation trying to obtain a criminal conviction against today’s immigrant because of a specific terrorist act committed by yesterday’s immigrant.  Instead, we are engaging in intelligent risk analysis which is consistent with American law and tradition, with sanity, and with national survival.  We aren’t doing anything that shames us.

That we shouldn’t be embarrassed hasn’t stopped the Left, of course, I keep seeing posts and articles by or about this good Muslim or that group of good Syrian Muslims. Today’s example, from the WaPo, is about Syrian refugees in England who helped out when floods hit:

According to reports in the Guardian newspaper and elsewhere, a group of Syrian refugees has been working in Littleborough, Greater Manchester, shoveling sand into sandbags to help avert more flooding.

“We saw the pictures on TV and wanted to help,” Yasser al-Jassem, a 35-year-old teacher, told the Guardian, adding that the people of Greater Manchester had been good to him and others in his group and that they wanted to help in response.

Good for those guys!  That’s precisely what people who have been given refuge in another land should be doing.  I wish all of them were moved by that spirit of gratitude.  I’d love to see thousands of stories precisely like that one.

In addition to the “watch these Muslims being good citizens” stories, I also keep seeing posts and articles in which Muslims state “I, personally, am a good person, so you need to get off my back and start using my example as a reason to stop judging all Muslims as potential terrorists.”  The most recent example of that phenomenon, again from the WaPo, was the stridently self-righteous post from Rana Elmir, the deputy director of the Michigan chapter of the ACLU, saying that she is not her Muslim brother’s keeper:

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The Bookworm Beat 12-12-15 — the “hopeful pessimist” open thread

Woman-writing-300x265[This is a long one, good for a cozy read on a winter day.]

I’m a pessimist. I’ve learned through experience that most things go wrong, whether in the world or in my life. Still, I never completely lose hope. If I didn’t have hope, frankly, I would stop moving entirely.

Despite the knowledge that my best laid plans will gang [mostly] aft agley, I wake up every morning with slightly more than half my brain saying “this time the good thing will happen,” and slightly less than half warning “you know it won’t.” The first part gets me out of bed with the sun, the second part gives me insomnia with the moon.

Anyway, that oxymoronic attitude infuses my blog. I’m never surprised when I read about Progressive perfidy, Islamist terrorism, or human stupidity and cruelty, but I always think, maybe something will change . . . maybe it will be better. And on that note, I offer you a cornucopia of things, both old and new, that acknowledge the bad, but perhaps hold out hope for the good.

If Imam Obama doesn’t speak for sharia, who does?

Obama, whose resume does not include either professional or amateur level knowledge about Islam, nevertheless is very keen to tell us each time there’s an Islamic terror attack anywhere in the world that the perpetrators are un-Islamic and do not speak for Islam. Rather than confound Obama with complicated doctrinal questions, Roger Kimball asks one very important one: So Who Does Speak for Islam, President Obama? Kimball even offers a few suggested answers to that question:

Saudi Arabia? It is the world’s most important Sunni Muslim state. One of the most ghastly things about ISIS is its followers’ penchant for beheading people, yet in 2015 alone, our “ally” Saudi Arabia has beheaded 151 people. I am surprised the number is not higher; the list of things that are capital offenses in Saudi Arabia is long and varied.

Apostasy makes the list. If you decide that Allah is not for you, it’s off with your head.

Want a glass of wine? Think twice. The consumption of intoxicants is on the list, as is consensual homosexual sex, adultery, and “sorcery or witchcraft.”

So, presumably, Obama would not let Saudi Arabia speak for Islam.

How about the world’s largest Shia state, Iran? Does it speak for Islam? If not, why not? Because it is just as much a barbaric cesspool as Saudi Arabia?

You see how it’s going to proceed. Last night, Barack Obama was at pains to distance us from “those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.” Well, with that statement Obama forbids the majority of the world’s Muslims, including the denizens of Islam’s chief states, from speaking for Islam.

Let’s forget conquest and terror: there are millions of folks who call themselves Muslims, yet want nothing to do with jihadist violence. Do they speak for Islam?

Well, if they affirm Sharia — Islamic law — then they cannot in principle affirm “the values of religious tolerance,” etc., so Obama does not allow these Muslims to speak for Islam, either.

Using Trump’s statements about Muslim immigration as the first step in an intelligent immigration plan

If Donald Trump were an artist, he would not be a delicate miniaturist or a meticulous late-medieval Flemish craftsman. Instead, he would be Jackson Pollock or possibly Jeff Koons. He’s creating something all right, but there’s a destructive edge to his creative acts.

Thus, when Donald Trump announced, less than tactfully, that all Muslim immigration ought to step pending Congress’s ability to figure out what’s going on with Muslim immigrants (both ordinary and refugee), he created an immediate furor. There was that the destructive part of his creativity.  But Trump also said something that needs to be said, which is that the American government fails in its obligation to protect Americans against enemies both foreign and domestic when it willingly lets foreign enemies turn into domestic ones.

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Post-Obama, Ted Cruz is the best candidate to repair our badly damaged Constitution

Constitution President Write LawAs spelled out to the credulous public, Trump’s proposal was to ban all Muslims forever. That’s a bad idea. It’s unreasonably xenophobic, and it prevents America from welcoming Muslims who are not religious zealots and who look favorably upon an open, pluralist society that respects the separation of church and state.

In fact, though, that’s not what Trump proposed.  What he proposed, inarticulately on day one and more articulately on day two, is that the US pause all Muslim immigration.  This pause will give Congress time to study the problem of jihadists and extremists coming in with ordinary Muslim folks, and to craft legislation that will provide maximum protection for Americans.

Phrased that way, a pause is not a bad idea. After all, when you live in America, and especially when you’re a citizen, you have distinct constitutional rights, one of which is the right to have your government protect you from foreign enemies who wish to become domestic.

Of course, if you are a citizen of another nation living outside of America’s borders, you have no constitutional rights whatsoever, including the right of automatic entry. The endless debate over Latin American illegals (and yes, people can be illegal if their status is such that they shouldn’t be here at all) has muddied the waters, at least in weak liberal minds.

Anyway, based upon people’s short attention spans and the misleading headlines, people on both the Left and the Right instantly began shouting out an opinion about whether an American president has the constitutional power to ban Muslims. Let me keep the answer to that one short: Yes, the president has that power. Democrat presidents have done it before, and there’s no reason a vaguely Republican businessman can’t do it again if he’s in the White House.

But why go that far? That is, why implicate the constitution at all? As Obama has shown us with his south of the border shenanigans, the president in his management capacity can simply issue signing or executive orders opening and closing the borders at his whim.

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Stuck on Stupid: Progressive Facebook edition (Part 2)

facebook-thumbs-downIt’s not a very deep dive to plumb the depths of Leftist intellectual positions on most issues, but it’s still a worthwhile exercise to expose the fallacies that they use to try to dominate the debate on pressing issues — with the most pressing issue being whether to admit Syrian refugees.  The easiest place for me to find examples of Leftist thought is my Facebook feed. Because I’ve spent my life in Blue enclaves, almost all of my friends — and they are really nice people in day-to-day interactions — are Progressives.  It gives me pleasure to deconstruct some of their more foolish or vicious posters:

I have to admit that these first two posters are my favorite “stupid Progressive Facebook” posts.  Because Thanksgiving is coming up, both chide anti-refugee conservatives for forgetting that the first Thanksgiving came about because the indigenous people in North America extended a welcoming hand to European immigrants.

Whenever I’ve seen one of these posters pop up on my Facebook feed, I’ve left a polite comment to the effect that we all learned in public school (thanks to Howard Zinn and others) that the Europeans, once having gotten a foothold in North America, promptly turned around and murdered as many Native Americans as possible. If they couldn’t murder them, they dispossessed them of their land and otherwise marginalized them.  There’s certainly a lesson to be learned here but the lesson isn’t to welcome refugees, it’s to cry out “For God’s sake, don’t let them in!”

Indians refusing pilgrims

Pilgrims should be supportive of immigration

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Stuck on Stupid: Progressive Facebook edition (Part 1)

facebook-thumbs-downMy Progressive Facebook friends have received their marching orders from Democrat central and the result has been a cascade of stupid cluttering up my Facebook feed. (This is the curse of a life spent living in Blue zones.) Lest I say something unforgivable to people whose good will I need in order for my children and me to get through our daily lives, I’m venting my spleen here.

I’ll start with my own Congressman, Jared Huffman, who is more than adequately filling Lynn Woolsey’s shoes, since she’s hard Left and not very bright:

Jared Huffman on refugees

If you’ll bear with me, let me just break out the problems with that self-congratulatory paragraph:

Ignoring the ad hominem attack with which Huffman begins his post, let’s get to the “factual statements.”  First, he says that “[t]hese people [are] overwhelmingly women and children. . . .”  Really?  That’s not what the demographics in Europe were.  In Europe, according to the UN, a source I’m sure Huffman trusts implicitly, the fleeing refugees were overwhelmingly men:  In the beginning, the UN was reporting that 72% of the refugees were men.  That number has since dropped to 62%, although I have to admit that I don’t trust the UN not to have fiddled with the numbers after the outcry about a huge tide of military-aged Muslim men swarming Europe. So no, if Europe is anything to go by, we’re not getting the widows and orphans.  We’re getting the fighting men.

Widows and orphans amongst refugees

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The Bookworm Beat 11-5-15 — Guy Fawkes edition, Part 2

Woman-writing-300x265I’ve still got a few more things I want to share with you tonight, so consider this Part 2 for the day (with Part 1 here).

The coming (and inevitable) Leftist implosion

Every time I read a Kevin Williamson article, I like his writing and thinking just a little bit more. In one of his latest outings, about the inevitable fissures on the Left (as exemplified by (1) the way Black Lives Matters activists are attacking old, white Bernie and Hillary, and (2) the way the black/Hispanic majority in very Leftist Houston nevertheless voted down men in women’s restrooms), Williams has the following wonderful lines:

The challenge for the Left is that while the Republican party is mainly a coalition of ideologies, the Democratic party is mainly a coalition of interest groups, and the current model of Democratic politics — poor and largely non-white people providing the muscle and rich white liberals calling the shots — is unsustainable. The social attitudes of non-white voters are pretty plainly not those of white liberals, and, at the same time — and probably more significant — the economic interests of white liberals are pulling away from those of the people in whose interest they purport to act. Hispanic immigrants and urban blacks make below-average wages; public-school administrators and other government employees make wages that are well above average. There aren’t a lot of people in Cleveland’s Glenville who give a fat furry rat’s patootie how much interest Caitlyn from Bryn Mawr is paying on the student loans that financed her women’s-studies degree. If you’re wondering why Democrats lean so deeply into the racial rhetoric — Joe Biden’s shameful “They want to put y’all back in chains!” etc. — that’s a big part of your answer.

Rich Lowry’s article nails why I don’t trust Rubio

Marco Rubio is bright, articulate, focused, conservative, and telegenic. I ought to like him . . . but I just don’t. I’ve been pfumphering around for a while trying to put my finger on my problem with him and I think it really does boil down to his support for amnesty:

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The Bookworm Beat 9-8-15 — the “busy world” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265My apologies for my blog silence yesterday. I hope to make up for it now with a substantial round-up, some of which I compiled, and some of which comes from a friend who insists on remaining anonymous:

Your daily “Hillary is toast” report

As you know, Hillary did a national interview — fairly softball really — with Andrea Mitchell, who has long been a Hillary fan.  Mitchell has now published her post interview take on it all (emphasis added):

MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell said Tuesday she was concerned the Hillary Clinton campaign would have cut off her interview with the candidate if she asked too many questions about Clinton’s private email server at the State Department.

Clinton sat down with Mitchell on Friday and the main topic from the start was her use of a private, unsecured server as secretary of state, which has caused serious problems for her campaign with questions about her honesty, trustworthiness, and handling of classified material. While other presidential candidates have made dozens of media appearances, Clinton has given just threenationally televised interviews since her campaign began.

“We were told we had a 15-minute interview,” Mitchell said. “I asked more than 12 minutes on emails before I felt, out of concern that they would cut it off, obviously, that I had to move on, so I couldn’t ask everything that I did want to ask, but I think we did get a good chance to ask a lot of questions and discover that she did not have an answer for why she did the personal server in the first place.

Even members of the drive-by media are shaking their heads that Hildabeast has not come up with a believable lie for why she ran a personal server.  There is only one obvious reason, but they claim to be mystified.

Meanwhile, Hildabeast spoke at a Labour Day event that included this gem:

“We’re going to go back to enforcing labor laws,” Clinton said. “I’m going to make sure that some employers go to jail for wage theft and all the other abuses that they engage in.”

She has apparently gone full Lenin and business owners are the new Kulaks.  That said, there are two things Hildabeast should not be doing at this point: one is wear an orange jumpsuit, the other is use the word “jail.”

At NRO, Shannen Coffin has a great deal of fun with Hillary’s latest excuse for her private email, private server and numerous email shenanigans, that she simply “wasn’t thinking.”  My but she took a lot of actions unconsciously.

It seems the Hot Air crowd has reached the same conclusion that my friend did as soon as he saw the second review panel’s determination of the top secret information Hillary had on her server.  The argument had been that possibly they were discussing information that had somehow become available through public sources, such as a foreign news report.  That is no longer at issue.  It is now beyond question that Hillary committed multiple crimes and the DOJ cannot ignore it without applying a clear legal double standard:

The FBI and the Department of Justice will have to take some kind of action at this point. A federal grand jury will get them off the hook politically, at least for a short period of time, and that may be their best option under the weight of a presidential campaign.

Oh, one more thing:  Since it’s from the National Enquirer, we know it’s true that Hillary really is a lesbian (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Donald Trump exaggerates his tough guy capabilities

Donald Trump, who has the same military record as Obama, Hillary, Hildabeast, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren, says in an interview “I always felt that I was in the military. . . . Trump said that his five years at the New York Military Academy provided him with “more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military.”

If you want to anger millions of Americans who have actually been in and understand the challenges and sacrifices, eh, couldn’t think of a better way to do it.  Having experienced an extremely tough military training, followed by actual infantry service at the front lines, my anonymous friend can assure you, there is only the tiniest of comparisons between even the toughest military college and the actual infantry — plus there is that tiny bit about not having people shoot at you or engaging in training events that could claim your life.

One can only imagine what the Iraq and Afghanistan vets are feeling.  Oh, and to put this in perspective, Trump got four deferments from the Vietnam Draft.

There’s nothing green about “green energy”:

I’ve been sounding the drumbeat for years — green energy is a resource hog.  In order to get to market, green energy products suck up fossil fuel, coal, food crops, and vast tracks of land — and that doesn’t even touch upon the tax payer dollars green energy gobbles up.

It is unlikely that solar power, wind power, or biofuels will ever compete with traditional energy sources.  Until we are willing to rely on nuclear power or until cold fusion is a reality, we have to figure out how to use existing energy sources in a more clean and efficient way, rather than wasting our time with the other stuff.

Anyway, that’s my story, and at the very least, Professor A J Trewavas, who represents Scientific Alliance Scotland, agrees with me:

Renewables use sun, water, wind; energy sources that won’t run out. Non-renewables come from things like gas, coal and uranium that one day will. But unless electricity and motorised transport are abandoned altogether, all “renewables” need huge areas of land or sea and require raw materials that are drilled, transported, mined, bulldozed and these will run out. Wind turbine towers are constructed from steel manufactured in a blast furnace from mined iron ore and modified coal (coke). Turbine blades are composed of oil-derived resins and glass fibre. The nacelle encloses a magnet containing about one third of a tonne of the rare earth metals, neodymium and dysprosium. Large neodymium magnets also help propel electric cars.

Currently China provides 95 per cent of rare earths; proven reserves of dysprosium will likely run out in 2020. Processing one tonne of ore generates about one tonne of radioactive waste, 12 million litres of waste gas containing dust concentrate, hydrofluoric acid, sulphur dioxide, sulphuric acid and 75 thousand litres of waste water. Baotou, in China, mines and processes much of the rare earth ores. The town abuts a five-mile-wide, toxic, lifeless, radioactive lake of processed wastewater. Local inhabitants have unusually high rates of cancer (particularly in children), osteoporosis, skin and respiratory disease. This unseen environmental destruction may be far off but no less damaging.

Read more here.

You may also enjoy watching Ted Cruz school two greenies who try to play gotcha with him.  They’re somewhat handicapped by the fact that their combined IQs don’t equal his.  It’s also rather scary to watch them stick to message like two cheaply programmed robots.  It’s quite obvious that Cruz’s straightforward, easy-to-understand information does not penetrate their sealed-off brain chambers.

Notes on Islam and the refugee issue

If you have only one article you can read today about Europe’s suicidal approach to the stream of Muslims storming her borders, read David P. Goldman’s “The Price of Europe’s fecklessness“:

In Luis Bunuel’s eponymous 1961 film, the young postulant Viridiana leaves her convent to claim her uncle’s rural estate, and creates a refuge for local beggars. They ransack her house in a bachannalia staged to lampoon the Last Supper, and a couple of them rape her. The classic film should be mandatory viewing for European officials caught up in refugee euphoria. This is going to end very, very badly.

The Europeans, to be sure, are a pack of cynical hypocrites. If they had cared about Syrians, they might have sent a couple of brigades of soldiers to fight ISIS. But not a single European will risk his neck to prevent humanitarian catastrophe. The last time European soldiers got close to real trouble, in Srebrenica in 1995, Dutch peacekeepers stood aside while Bosnian Serbs massacred 8,000 Muslims.

The horror has now piled up on Europe’s doorstep, thanks evidently to the skill of Turkish gangs who have turned the Turkey-to-Balkans smuggling route into a superhighway. Europe said and did nothing while the global refugee count exploded from 40 million in 2010 to 60 million in 2014, according to the UN High Commission on Refugees, but was shocked, shocked to find such people on its doorstep.

Read the rest here.

Meanwhile, although I’m not feeling the love for Hungary lately because its antisemitic elements have been growing strong, credit must go where credit is due: Hungary seems to be the only European nation that’s figured out that taking in massive numbers of Muslims, especially young men of military age, is not a good idea:

One of the few European voices of sanity comes from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (here, here) He has identified the issue with clarity, so, therefore and of course, he is being called right-wing, nationalist, and–wait for it–fascist. Orban has written that,

We must acknowledge that the European Union’s misguided immigration policy is responsible for this situation. . . . We shouldn’t forget that the people who are coming here grew up in a different religion and represent a completely different culture. Most are not Christian, but Muslim… That is an important question, because Europe and European culture have Christian roots . . .

Daniel Greenfield, meanwhile, reminds us that the Syrian refugee crisis is not our problem because much of what we’re seeing is an illusion:

The Syrian refugee crisis that the media bleats about is not a crisis. And the Syrian refugees it champions are often neither Syrians nor refugees. Fake Syrian passports are cheaper than an EU politician’s virtue and easier to come by. Just about anyone who speaks enough Arabic to pass the scrutiny of a European bureaucrat can come with his two wives in tow and take a turn on the carousel of their welfare state.

Or on our welfare state which pays Christian and Jewish groups to bring the Muslim terrorists of tomorrow to our towns and cities. And their gratitude will be as short-lived as our budgets.

The head of a UNHCR camp called Syrian refugees “The most difficult refugees I’ve ever seen. In Bulgaria, they complained that there were no jobs. In Sweden, they took off their clothes to protest that it was too cold.

In Italy, Muslim African “refugees” rejected pasta and demanded food from their own countries. But the cruel Europeans who “mistreat” migrants set up a kitchen in Calais with imported spices cooked by a Michelin chefdetermined to give them the stir-fried rabbit and lamb meatballs they’re used to. There are also mobile phone charging stations so the destitute refugees can check on their Facebook accounts.

It had to be done because the refugees in Italy were throwing rocks at police while demanding free wifi.

This is the tawdry sense of entitlement of the Syrian Muslim refugee that the media champions.

I will add only that some Americans do bear moral responsibility for what’s going on, because they elected Obama, and it is his Middle Eastern policies — from his kowtowing to Iran, to backing off from his Syrian red line (in deference to Iran), to failing to support Iran’s Green revolution, to ousting Egypt’s Mubarak, to backing the Muslim Brotherhood, to destroying Qadaffi’s stable Libya — that created the utter chaos that is today’s Middle East.  I think these Americans should do penance, but that penance does not include inviting the Middle East’s murderous chaos into our borders.

There are some other lying liars, the ones who defamed Israel, which is the only stable, true democracy in the Middle East, and created false martyrs out of the murderous Muslims surrounding them, who also need to do everlasting penance for their negative impact on the Middle East.  But first, they need to be educated.  This video might enlighten them about the nature of the “concentration camp” they claim Israel created in Gaza (soundtrack is NSFW; images should be mandatory viewing for everyone in America and Europe):

Name-calling aside, it’s not conservatives who are racists

This PragerU video is almost a year old, but it’s been making the rounds again.  I gather that the combination of the “Black Lives Matter” movement and the usual election-time slanders thrown at conservatives have renewed interest in the topic of alleged conservative racism versus actual Leftist racism. Here’s some intellectual ammunition for you as the Leftist rhetoric heats up:

Money laundering for the Left

A friend of mine points out that much of what the Left does is set up programs that launder tax payer money and then send it to Leftist coffers. Here are a couple of links that support that premise.

First, Labor Day is now yesterday’s news.  Starting today, let’s really do something for the working stiff.  Get rid of public sector unions.

Second, watch Obama’s un-elected administrative bureaucracy grow and grow and grow:

In 2014, 3,291 pages of new laws were passed by Congress – the branch of government with the constitutional authority to…

Posted by United States Senator Mike Lee on Monday, January 26, 2015

(If that FB post/video didn’t load, you can see it here.)

For an infinitesimally small minority, transgenders sure make a lot of noise

As a society, we are currently being asked to turn ourselves inside out for transgenders. Cops need to be trained to identify dead trans bodies in a non-offensive way:

The training comes two months after a Tampa transgender woman’s murder — and law enforcement’s handling of it — captured national attention.

After 25-year-old India Clarke’s body was found in a Tampa park July 21, law enforcement identified her by the name and gender she was born with even though she had identified as female for years. Backlash from across the country followed, surfacing a discussion about how law enforcement handle the identities of transgender people.

Officers can’t rely on anatomy or what is on a person’s driver’s license to identify them and generally they should use pronouns based on a person’s outward appearance — or avoid them if unsure.

You see, even when investigating murder — a particularly fact-based activity — ideology must trump reality.

Also, at a San Francisco school, all bathrooms are now unisex. I especially love the quotation that the school’s principal attributed to one parent:

“There’s no need to make them gender-specific anymore,” he said, adding there has been no pushback from parents. “One parent said, ‘So, you’re just making it like it is at home.’”

I don’t know about you, but my home bathroom doesn’t have stalls around multiple toilets, with the stalls open at both top and bottom for prying eyes. It makes you wonder what’s going on in San Francisco homes.

A friend of mine had the perfect solution: If you’re going to have group toilet facilities, you need to have one facility for those humans with penises and one for those without. End of story.

But I opened this by saying that we’re turning upside down for a very small group. How small? Well, I’m too lazy to research it, but I can tell you that even uber-Leftist Harvard, which must be lusting after trans students in the same way it once lusted after Fauxcahontas (boasting rights, you know), has only 6 students, or one-half of one percent of its entering class, identify as “transgender.”

Keeping those teeny-tiny numbers in mind, it’s one thing for us not to discriminate actively against people who are different (a type of prejudice Muslims feel comfortable engaging in); it’s quite another thing to turn our institutions upside down and inside out for people whose numbers as a proportion of the overall population probably hover around 1%.

The future is nearly here and it’s scary

This is an eye opening article on the capabilities of 3D printers to manufacture not merely guns, but eventually WMD.  It will mean that anyone having a bad day and access to a 3D printer, likely to become ubiquitous over the decades, will also potentially be able to kill a lot of people on that day.  I suspect the article it is a bit over-done as to the nuclear, since it would require many specialized materials not likely to be available on the open market, but perhaps not as to the bio and chemical.  And the DNA sequence for small pox is in fact openly available on the web.

Just so you understand what’s really going on with our immigrants

The illegal immigration movement in America and La Raza are not about making sure legal immigrants get equal treatment under the law, which would be a reasonable thing to do. There’s a different agenda at play.

When politics still involved intelligence and class

Nowadays, the premier Democrat candidate (that would be Hillary) is corrupt and clueless, and just wishes the American public weren’t so stupid. Meanwhile, the Republicans have arrayed themselves in their usual circular firing squad, using up all their ammunition on each other rather than challenging Leftist in politics, media, and society.

Once upon a time, though, pundits on both sides had a bit more to say — even though, already then, Alinsky tactics were the Left’s favorite approach to destroying the opposition. Never argue issues; always destroy people.

Incidentally, if you’d like guidance on standing against the Left’s Social Justice Warriors and their Alinsky tactics of personal destruction, check out Vox Day’s SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police. Except for the fact that it’s absolutely horrifying to read about Social Justice Warriors, it’s a great book, and one that every conservative should read. After all, none of us know when we won’t be the SJW’s next target.

And some fun stuff that’s NOT POLITICS

On the lighter side of the news . . .  a massive great white shark catching its lunch has Aussie tv presenters swear off swimming in the ocean:

The “Un-Strike”; or, the case for ICE agents to ignore Obama and enforce immigration laws

Illegal not a race a crimeThe Third World is moving in on the First World in numbers that probably haven’t been seen since the barbarians made their moves against Rome. In Europe, there’s a race to see which nation can commit suicide faster. Here at home, Donald Trump has become a single issue candidate, but what an issue: America, he states firmly, needs to start enforcing her own immigration laws by deporting illegal immigrants. A recent poll indicates that almost 60% of Americans agree with Trump:

The latest IBD/TIPP Poll asked 913 adults coast to coast if they “support or oppose mandatory deportation of illegal immigrants in the U.S.” Not surprisingly, 87% of Trump supporters back the proposal.

What’s surprising is that 59% of the overall public does as well. Mandatory deportation gets majority support in all age groups except 18-24, every income group, among both women and men, at every level of educational achievement, and in rural, urban and suburban regions.

More interesting still is the fact that 64% of independents and 55% of moderates support deportation.

Even among Hispanics, the poll found 40% backed mandatory deportation — although the sample size is too small to make much of that number.

It’s no wonder Americans are upset. Last summer, tens of thousands of children poured across America’s southern border, and the Obama administration, rather than returning them to Mexico and allowing that nation (which has singularly stringent immigration laws) to deal with them, quickly dispersed them — and their contagious diseases and gang members — throughout America. The administration showed a blatant disregard for the statutory immigration scheme that Congress, which rumor has it represents the American people, has enacted.

This year a young woman named Katie Steinle, while walking in San Francisco, which has styled itself as a “sanctuary city” (meaning that, with federal connivance, it blatantly flouts immigration laws), was shot to death by an illegal alien. Not only was he an illegal alien, but he was a five-time deportee who had actually been in custody, but was on the streets because of the City’s and the federal government’s “catch-and-release-back-in-the-U.S.” program. Steinle’s family is now suing San Francisco’s uber-Leftist Sheriff, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and The Bureau of Land Management.

The Steinles’ decision to include Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) in the lawsuit really started me thinking about the rank-and-file agents in ICE, including what they are supposed to do, what they actually do, and what they want to do. According to ICE’s own website, the agents in Enforcement and Removal Operations (“ERO”) have an explicit mandate to serve as the police force carrying out the nation’s immigration laws against those who enter or remain in this country in violation of those same laws.

ICE’s self-described mission, and the specific tasks underlying that mission are quoted in full below although, if long government paragraphs bore you, you can skip most of it. The gist is that ICE agents are supposed to apprehend bad guy aliens, stop manifestly illegal aliens at the border, and to catch and get rid of illegal aliens already in the country. Priority goes to the seriously bad aliens, but everyone is theoretically on the “if you’re not here legally, you need to leave” list:

To identify, arrest, and remove aliens who present a danger to national security or are a risk to public safety, as well as those who enter the United States illegally or otherwise undermine the integrity of our immigration laws and our border control efforts. Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) upholds America’s immigration laws at, within and beyond our borders through efficient enforcement and removal operations.

Means of effectuating the mission:

ERO enforces the nation’s immigration laws in a fair and effective manner. It identifies and apprehends removable aliens, detains these individuals when necessary and removes illegal aliens from the United States.

ERO prioritizes the apprehension, arrest and removal of convicted criminals, those who pose a threat to national security, fugitives and recent border entrants. Individuals seeking asylum also work with ERO.

ERO transports removable aliens from point to point, manages aliens in custody or in an alternative to detention program, provides access to legal resources and representatives of advocacy groups and removes individuals from the United States who have been ordered to be deported.

FY 2014 ICE Immigration Removals

In addition to its criminal investigative responsibilities, ICE shares responsibility for enforcing the nation’s civil immigration laws with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). ICE’s role in the immigration enforcement system is focused on two primary missions: (1) the identification and apprehension of criminal aliens and other removable individuals located in the United States; and (2) the detention and removal of those individuals apprehended in the interior of the U.S., as well as those apprehended by CBP officers and agents patrolling our nation’s borders.

In executing these responsibilities, ICE has prioritized its limited resources on the identification and removal of criminal aliens and those apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States. This report provides an overview of ICE Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 civil immigration enforcement and removal operations.

The flood of illegal immigrants at the border; the blind-eye that’s turned on people who are here illegally, whether because they sneaked in or overstayed their welcome; and the catch-and-release practice that led to Katie Steinle’s death all seem to indicate that rank-and-file ICE agents are slackers. In fact, they’re not.

The reality is that ICE agents on the ground want to do their jobs. When they apprehend illegal aliens in the act of crossing the border, they want to turn them right around. When they discover that the driver who just rear-ended a little old lady is here illegally, they want to send her back to her country of origin. When they know that the Mexican or Saudi student has overstayed his visa, they want to kick him out. But they can’t.

As Chris Crane, President of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council (118) of the American Federation of Government Employees testified before Congress, that orders from above — that is, the orders from the Obama administration — are that ICE agents must refrain from carrying out their duties under the law. Unlike the website blather above, Crane’s February 5, 2013, testimony, much of which I’ve excerpted here, deserves to be read at length. I’ve added to the testimony only by inserting bracketed references to the federal laws that the administration is forcing the agents to violate:

However, ICE agents do believe in law enforcement and the rule of law. Most Americans going about their daily lives believe that ICE agents and officers are permitted to enforce the laws of the United States. However, ICE agents and officers would tell America a much different story.

The day-to-day duties of ICE agents and officers often seem in conflict with the law as ICE officers are prohibited from enforcing many laws enacted by Congress; laws they took an oath to enforce. ICE is not guided in large part by the influences of powerful special interest groups that advocate on behalf of illegal aliens. These influences have in large part eroded the order, stability and effectiveness of the agency, creating confusion among all ICE employees. For the last four years it has been a roller coaster for ICE officers with regard to who they can or cannot arrest, and which Federal laws they will be permitted to enforce. Most of these directives restricting enforcement are given only verbally to prevent written evidence from reaching the public.

Most Americans would be surprised to know that immigration agents are regularly prohibited from enforcing the two most fundamental sections of United States immigration law. According to ICE policy, in most cases immigration agents can no longer arrest persons solely for entering the United States illegally [in direct contravention of 8 U.S. Code §§ 1225 and 1227]. Additionally, in most cases immigration agents cannot arrest persons solely because they have entered the United States with a visa and then overstayed that visa and failed to return to their country [in direct contravention of 8 U.S.Code § 1227]. Essentially, only individuals charged or convicted of very serious criminal offenses by other law enforcement agencies may be arrested or charged by ICE agents and officers for illegal entry or overstay.

In fact, under current policy individuals illegally in the United States must now be convicted of three or more criminal misdemeanors before ICE agents are permitted to charge or arrest the illegal alien for illegal entry or overstaying a visa, unless the misdemeanors involve the most serious types of offenses such as assault, sexual abuse or drug trafficking [in contravention of 8 U.S. Code § 1227]. With regard to traffic violations, other than DUI and fleeing the scene of an accident, ICE agents are also prohibited from making an immigration arrest of illegal aliens who have multiple convictions for traffic related misdemeanors.

[snip]

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which prevents the deportation of many aliens brought to the U.S. as children, is for the most part applied by ICE immigration agents to adults held in state correctional facilities and jails pending criminal charges. News has spread quickly through illegal alien populations within jails and communities that immigration agents have been instructed by the agency not to investigate illegal aliens who claim protections from immigration arrest under DACA. ICE immigration agents have been instructed to accept the illegal alien’s claim as to whether he or she graduated or is attending high school or college or otherwise qualifies under DACA. Illegal aliens are not required to provide officers with any type of proof such as a diploma or transcripts to prove that they qualify before being released. Even though the immigration officer generally has no proof that the alien qualifies under DACA, officers may not arrest these aliens unless a qualifying criminal conviction or other disqualifier exists. As one immigration agent stated last week, “every person we encounter in the jails now claims to qualify for release under DACA.”

[snip]

Also important to understand, pressures from special interest groups have resulted in the majority of ICE agents and officers being prohibited from making street arrests. Most officers are only allowed to work inside of jails hidden from public view, and may only arrest certain individuals who have already been already been arrested by police departments and other Federal agencies. As a general rule, if ICE agents or officers are on duty in a public place and witness a violation of immigration law, they are prohibited from making arrests and from asking questions under threat of disciplinary action.

[snip]

In Salt Lake City, Utah, three ICE agents witnessed an individual admit in open court to a Federal Immigration Judge that he was in the United States illegally. ICE agents waited until the alien left the hearing and then politely asked him to accompany them, never using handcuffs in the course of the arrest. An immigration attorney and activist called the ICE Field Office Director in Salt Lake City verbally complaining that ICE officers had arrested an illegal alien. The ICE Field Office Director responded by ordering that all charges against the illegal alien be dropped and that the alien be released immediately. While the ICE Director ordered the immigration violator to be set free, the Director also ordered that all three ICE agents be placed under investigation for no other reason than arresting an illegal alien.

The administration, of course, contends that it’s just allocating resources. The ICE agents’ complaints, however, make it clear that they are ready, willing, and able to carry out their mandate, but are being instructed not to do so — and that their jobs are on the line if they refuse to slack off.

ICE agents are so frustrated about their inability to protect America’s sovereignty (i.e., her ability to control her borders and make her own decisions, even misguided ones, about the level of legal immigration she wants) that several of them filed suit against the Obama administration begging to be allowed to do their jobs, at least as regards those phony DREAMers. Sadly, the suit failed:

In an Order issued July 31 (full embed at bottom of post), the Judge agreed with the government on the jurisdiction issue, finding that although the government violated the law, these plaintiffs could not bring suit and the court therefore lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the plaintiffs’ claims.  The Court dismissed the case “without prejudice,” meaning that the dismissal was not binding and that some person not bound by CSRA could raise the same issues as to which the Court found illegality. . . .

The current situation when it comes to ICE and the Obama administration can be summed up as follows:

1. Congress has passed laws empowering the federal government, through its agents, to

a. Block manifestly illegal immigrants as they cross the border;

b. Deport people who entered the country legally but overstayed their right to be here and who cannot prove that they are subject to an exception, such as the DREAM Act; and

c. Deport manifestly illegal aliens in the country who have been caught engaging in any type of criminal conduct, above and beyond the baseline criminal act of being in the country illegally.

2. ICE agents believe themselves capable of carrying out these statutory mandates. That is, they believe their abilities extend beyond merely apprehending the worst behaved criminal illegal aliens.

3. Both directly and indirectly — through explicit mandates, oral orders passed through the chain of command, and pressure regarding job security — the Obama administration blocks ICE agents from carrying out their statutory responsibilities.

4. Representatives for ICE agents have tried both through lawsuits and Congressional testimony to change the administration’s ukase on enacting the immigration laws, but with no success.

When I discussed this situation with a friend, I threw in the off-the-cuff remark that “the agents should strike.” This is an impossibility, of course. Federal agencies are barred by law from striking, something Ronald Reagan established definitively in 1981 when he fired the air traffic controllers following a walk-out.

But if ICE agents can’t “walk off” the job, can they “walk on” the job, so to speak? That is, does concerted ICE agent action constitute a strike if the agents insist on carrying out their duties when the administration insists instead that they violate the law? I did a little research and it seems entirely possible that the agents do not run afoul of strike laws if they ignore executive orders and insinuations that they cannot perform their jobs in accordance with Congressional mandates.

The controlling authority here is 5 USCA § 7311. That statute provides in relevant part as follows:

An individual may not accept or hold a position in the Government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia if he—

[snip]

(3) participates in a strike, or asserts the right to strike, against the Government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia. . . .

In the context of § 7311(3), the word “strike” is a term of art with a very specific meaning. It doesn’t mean just “oppose the executive branch.” Instead, it means to refuse to work, whether by slowing down or stopping altogether. Anything else is not a “strike” as contemplated by the statute:

These concepts of ‘striking’ and ‘participating in a strike’ occupy central positions in our labor statutes and accompanying caselaw, and have been construed and interpreted many times by numerous state and federal courts. ‘Strike’ is defined in § 501(2) of the Taft-Hartley Act to include ‘any strike or other concerted stoppage of work by employees * * * and any concerted slowdown or other concerted interruption of operations by employees.’ On its face this is a straightforward definition. It is difficult to understand how a word used and defined so often could be sufficiently ambiguous as to be constitutionally suspect. ‘Strike’ is a term of such common usage and acceptance that ‘men of common intelligence’ need not guess at its meaning. Connally v. General Construction Co. [269 U.S. 385, 391, 46 S.Ct. 126, 127, 70 L.Ed. 322 (1926)], supra, at 391, 46 S.Ct. at 127.

[snip]

We stress that it is only an actual refusal by particular employees to provide services that is forbidden by 5 U.S.C. § 7311(3) and penalized by 18 U.S.C. § 1918.

United Federation of Postal Clerks v. Blount (D.D.C. 1971) 325 F.Supp. 879, 884 aff’d, (1971) 404 U.S. 802 [92 S.Ct. 80, 30 L.Ed.2d 38] (emphasis added).

The above definition appears to be the last, best word on the subject. As far as I can tell, at least in the context of § 7311(3), no other federal court has challenged United Federation of Postal Clerks regarding this definition.

What this means, at least in theory, is that ICE workers can do an “un-strike.” They can challenge the administration by doing their job. Sure, it’s risky. If only five agents do that — if they proactively turn illegal aliens back at the border rather than housing and distributing them throughout America — not only will they be fired, their protest-by-actually-doing-their-job won’t make the newspaper.  They will be martyrs without a cause.

However, if the vast majority of ICE agents take a public stand by actually carrying out their jobs, the administration has a problem, especially because a significant majority of Americans support deporting illegal aliens. Moreover, if the administration tries to discipline or fire thousands of agents for actually doing their jobs it will find itself in the midst of a PR firestorm, not to mention that it will lack any authority whatsoever to fire employees for doing their job.

Just imagine the administration trying to defend its decision to fire agents who are actually working. To date, the administration’s rationale for ignoring huge sections of the federal immigration scheme is that the executive has the right to allocate limited resources. According to Obama & Co., ICE resources are so limited that just about the only thing ICE can do is get rid of violently criminal illegal aliens. That statement will fall part if the administration is seen trying to block agents who say that they are easily able to enforce immigration laws other than those limited to violent felons. At that point, the administration either has to fall in line with the ICE agents or think really fast to explain why it’s ordering its employees to violate federal law.

Anyway, that’s my theory. I’m not an immigration lawyer, so what I don’t know far exceeds what I do know. I would appreciate anyone who can educate me further about whether I’m on the right track here or have derailed completely.