Saturday, November 28, 2015

And from Russia...

Here's a bleak assessment by one of the few remaining Yabloko members in public office. Putin has failed in Ukraine and is kicking out the refugees he encouraged to flee Ukraine. Everyone is unhappy, poverty and authoritarianism prevail. In other words, the situation in Russia is normal.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Democrats vs. Liberty

Here's one for you: according to Pew Research, more than one third of Democrats favor censorship.  The problem is particularly pronounced among young people (and it is a very serious problem, by the way), where 40% support censorship.  It's a reasonable bet t
hat they are overwhelmingly of the left.

It's important to understand the constituency of the leftwing political class.  Those answering yes to the survey agreed that if some "minority" deems an idea offensive, the government should be able to block it.  Given that anything said by a white person, a conservative, or a libertarian will offend someone of today's left, and given that anyone can claim minority status and get away with it (excepting Rachel Dolezal, of course), this position is simply carte blanche for the left to censor all discussion, theorizing, and inquiry that it finds politically inconvenient.

The First Amendment currently prevents the silencing of the American citizen, just as the Second Amendment currently prevents the disarming of the American citizen.  No doubt both free speech and freedom to own the means of self-defense will shortly come under another assault by Barack Obama and members of his party, given today's shootings at Planned Parenthood in Colorado.  I expect that establishment Republicans will join in (at least those not running for president).  It will not be libertarians or conservatives who will attack liberty.  Let this be a lesson to us.

Barack Obama engages in "by far the most aggressive assault" on transparency

From NYT:

“'This is by far the most aggressive assault on the inspector general concept since the beginning,' said Paul Light, a New York University professor who has studied the system. 'It’s the complete evisceration of the concept. You might as well fold them down. They’ve become defanged.'”

It's far worse than anything done by George W. Bush, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D, VT): "The Obama administration’s stance has 'blocked what was once a free flow of information' to the watchdogs, Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said at a hearing."

Coverups include possible murders by DEA agents, shooting down of aircraft by DEA, DoJ's "Fast and Furious" operation to ship guns to Mexican drug cartels in order to discredit the Second Amendment, rapes committed by Peace Corps volunteers, as well as malfeasance by EPA, Commerce Department, and the U.S. Postal Service.

Read the article, and then note my prediction: this ongoing scandal will receive no further attention from the mainstream media, which works as a branch of the Democrat Party, nor from the Republican establishment, which has no interest in checking the burgeoning power of the federal government.  And further, Obama's fans among the general public will take no notice, and attempts to explain these matters to them, accompanied by evidence, will almost always be rejected.  I will put my own prediction to the test over Christmas break, as I have a number of friends who remain Obama loyalists.  Expect a report at some point.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015: Why I am thankful

I liked last year's Thanksgiving post so much I am doing a 2015 version.  I am thankful because:

1. We remain free, and fighting.  There are even a number of positive developments for those of us interested in liberty.  At least three or four presidential candidates seem as though they would actually reverse the course of the ever-expanding federal monster for a change (Cruz, Paul, Fiorina, possibly Carson... maybe even Rubio or Trump, although I am extremely suspicious of them), and they are handily beating the political establishment favorites.  Also, the Convention of States Movement is gathering steam.  This strikes me as the most likely way we could actually get the federal government restricted to its proper, minimalist role.  And if polls are to be believed, the American people seem, by and large, utterly opposed to the crap the Democrats are trying to force down our throats -- gun control, Obamacare, & "Syrian" refugees galore, to name a few.

2. I have Julie, Chaos, a large number of friends and students and colleagues for whom I'm thankful.  Adam Smith argued that our greatest sources of pleasure are good relations with good people.  I have these.

3. Life is fun.  That's important.  For some specifics, read on.

As usual, we began the day with a hard series of workouts.  After my usual stretching warmup, I ran 2 miles at ultramarathon pace (slow) followed by 4 x 0.25 miles (400 m.) a good bit faster than my current 5K pace.  That's a hard workout by itself.  Julie and Chaos also ran, but only did the 2 miles.

Following this we went in and made dressing for the turkey.  I always do this from scratch, following the method taught me by my mother.  It's far better than anything from a box and a lot more fun.  We then stuffed the turkey, popped it into the oven, and headed out for round two (after phone conversations with my good friends in D.C., Gene and Karin, with whom I've spent a number of happy Thanksgivings, both in the U.S. and Ukraine, and with Sterling B. in Texas -- Sterling spent a very memorable Thanksgiving with me and my entire family in Montana some years back).

Round two consisted of a complex of deadlifts, pushups, and box jumps, followed by kettlebell squats, pullups, and leg raises.  I then topped this off with 100 sledge hammer blows (50 right handed and 50 left), a few kettlebell presses, and another dozen pullups.  (Totals: 54 deadlifts of 135lb , 72 gap pushups, 81 box jumps, 50 squats with 1 pood kettlebell, 62 dead hang pullups, and 130 leg raises.)  Julie did a different workout, emphasizing kettlebell swings with 1, 1.25, 1.5, and 2 pood bells, for about 200 swings and 3 tons of weight.  By the time dinner was ready, we both were well into calorie deficit for the day.  I am pretty sure I will be sore in numerous places tomorrow, but since I only ate once today, I won't be fatter!

This tire needs to be whacked...

Calorie deficit

Thanksgiving meal

Chaos, prepare for turkey

Appetite courtesy of kettlebell

Genuine whipped cream -- the ONLY thing to put on your pie!

Happy Thanksgiving!

From "all of us" at Unforeseen Contingencies.

Thanksgiving is an American national holiday.  The purpose is, in the words of George Washington, "that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us."

It's an American holiday (there are similar holidays elsewhere, but each is an independent holiday with a different origin and history) but everyone everywhere who loves reason and liberty should join in.  We have much for which to be thankful.  And we will have much more.

(Read the entirety of George Washington's proclamation of Thanksgiving here.)

Democrat National Committee supports radical Islam

What other conclusion could be drawn from this?  They can't be much clearer.  Some comments...

First, every Republican seen in the video takes pains to specify that it is radical Islam that threatens us.  No one comes close to suggesting that all Muslims are terrorists.  That's obvious.  The DNC is simply lying when they claim these Republicans are saying all Muslims are terrorists.  DNC knows this (it's obvious, after all) and is willing to lie as part of a smear campaign... SOP for the left.

Second, radical Islam is much more than just terrorism.  Obviously most Muslims are not terrorists (that would be one billion plus terrorists!) but apparently less obvious to some, most radical Islamists are not terrorists.  Terror is a tactic or a method, and I suspect most Islamists think it is a poor one, perhaps even an immoral one.  There are plenty of other way to try to spread sharia and to bring non-Muslims under Muslim political control, as some Muslim Brotherhood operatives are aware.  Blasphemy laws, death penalty for homosexuality, death penalty for adultery, jizya and forced "conversion," ... there is no place for any of this in a free society, which means there's no place for sharia and no place for a literal interpretation of the Koran.

Third, DNC posted this less than one week after the massacres in Beirut, Paris, and Bamako.  This is what DNC is worried about, "islamophobia."  The Democrat Party leadership: bad people.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Go get 'em!

French aircraft taking off to bomb Daesh (a.k.a. ISIS), shortly after the attacks in Paris.

I think this is beautiful, not just from an aesthetic standpoint, but also from a moral one.  These jets taking off in the dark of night are beautiful.  But in addition, it is a good thing to be intolerant of evil.  It is an evil set of ideas that motivates Daesh, evil that is so great and so destructive it must be hunted out of existence.  If that means killing every last one of their adherents, so be it.

Status report: Ugh!

I had hoped to get a number of posts up by now, but have had far too many other things going on.  This November has proven to be one of the busiest months I've had in a while.  I finally have a short breathing spell, mostly because today I have been out sick.  Nothing serious, I think.  Yesterday I underwent a routine medical procedure, merely part of a checkup, and the entire affair, plus an incipient cold, left me a bit indisposed.  Ugh.

(I suppose I've been a bit cryptic here, but the curious can refer to the footnote.*  I suppose you should read it, because that's where the punch line is buried.  But read the rest of the post first.)

In my previous post I made several predictions.  At times like these, I hate it when I'm right.  First, I predicted that French Muslims would say they felt no outrage over the attacks and no sympathy for the victims.  I was correct, according to BBC.  A few comments from the banlieues: "...don't you think they exaggerate the Paris attacks when there are more Syrians dying everyday?" ... "...France has been asking for it because of its intervention in Syria.  The Paris attacks lasted three hours - but this happens everyday in Syria."

There's schizophrenia for you... she's angry that homicidal maniacs in Syria are butchering people, but she can't feel sympathy when said maniacs also attack France... because France has tried to stop them.  Ugh!

But it's not just French Muslims.  In Turkey, soccer fans booed and shouted praises to Allah when asked to observe a moment of silence in respect for the victims of the Paris attacks.  Ugh!!!

My second prediction was that Daesh's attacks would be defended by leftist students in the U.S.  Reality has one-upped me on that one.  Dan Kimmel, a Democrat running for state legislator in Minnesota, tweeted following the attacks: "ISIS isn’t necessarily evil.  It is made up of people doing what they think is best for their community."  He claims the tweet was in response to the Saturday night Democrat presidential debates, not the Paris attacks.  I suppose we could cut him some slack -- watching that could drive anyone insane.  But no, no slack.  The earlier beheadings, gang rapes, genocides, mass enslavements, bombing of passenger aircraft... these are acts of pure evil.

Please note this carefully.  This is why multiculturalism is so dangerous and so evil.  A progressive, rather mainstream Democrat publicly stated "ISIS isn’t necessarily evil.  It is made up of people doing what they think is best for their community."

No civilized human being could possibly believe this, unless s/he had gone mad.  Multiculturalism is a doctrine of madness, and it drives its exponents into madness.

Mr. Kimmel did subsequently drop out of the race (thank GATU) and apologized, saying his tweet was "poorly worded" and didn't convey his meaning.  No, Mr. Kimmel, it wasn't poorly worded, it was wrong, and betrays both madness and an evil within you.  You apologized for murderers and rapists who intend to kill me, you, your would-be constituents, and anyone else who doesn't submit.  That's both crazy and evil.  UGH!!!

*My medical procedure?  You're sure you really want to know?  OK, it was a colonoscopy that my doctor has been badgering me to get.  This involved 40 hours of fasting, consumption of one gallon of noxious liquid the medicoes refer to as "prep" and various subsequent unpleasantries, the least of which was no sleep, getting an IV stuck into my arm (I must say, though, my nurse did it so smoothly it felt like a gentle touch of her hand), and then getting doped to the gills.  Most of what happened yesterday seemed like a dream, I again slept poorly, and woke up this morning feeling drunk and not quite able to walk correctly and with a cold besides.  Fun.  But the medical report is that I am perfectly fine, colonwise.  They gave me some very interesting pictures of what they saw, but I cannot figure out how to post them.

I will say, though, that everyone I dealt with at the University of Michigan Medical Center struck me as being a first class professional, and despite my grumpy tone I am deeply grateful to them, for this and for previous services, and think that what they do is one of the greatest things humans have ever done: combine science and caring to save and improve lives.  ...the exact opposite of Daesh!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Islam in Paris

I had hoped to blog this evening, but have spent the evening listening to reports from Paris. I don't feel much like writing now. I'm horrified and disgusted, but not at all surprised. The events in Paris are horrific. They will be repeated, and we'll have them here, it's already too late to avert that. But I'm hoping that this terrible attack will wake people up, and we'll begin starting to fight back, before things get much worse... we'll have to do this despite and against our "leaders," but so be it. All the better, in fact. Let this be the end of multiculturalism, political correctness, and Islamophilia.

One other prediction -- after the jihadist attacks in Paris are finished and things settle down, numerous Muslim immigrants in France will say they don't feel any sympathy for the victims nor outrage over the attacks. Similarly, on American college campuses, leftist students will defend the attacks. I'm reminded of something President Al Sisi said... that Muslims should realize they are making themselves a threat and an object of fear for non-Muslims, and that they had better stop. Yes. These attackers, but also their supporters and anyone with sympathy for them, is an enemy of the civilized world. I predict that at some point the world will wake up and deal with them appropriately.

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