Saturday, February 28, 2015

Watching the spring come

I have retired; technically, as of tomorrow, though my last work day was yesterday.

Lazily reading in bed, I see through my back bedroom window, through the naked branches of big maples, bright sunshine on the snow amidst the underbrush on the opposite hillside, beyond the creek.

This morning it was six degrees, Fahrenheit, at daybreak, and now it is twenty-seven at 2:45 pm.

It is the last day of February, 2015, an exceptionally cold month of an exceptionally cold but late starting winter.

For the first time in many years, I can watch the spring change nature.

A Leftist/Jihadi alliance?

Islamic State throws another gay man off a building, crowd stones him

When Pamela Geller and I ran ads highlighting the mistreatment of gays in Islamic law, the San Francisco City Council issued a resolution condemning not that mistreatment, but our ads. 

Gay advocates such as Theresa Sparks and Chris Stedman attacked us for daring to call attention to the institutionalized mistreatment of gays under Islamic law. 

Their gay advocacy doesn’t extend to standing up to Sharia oppression of gays, even though that oppression is far more virulent and violent than anything from “right-wing extremists” in the U.S. 

And you can’t blame them: given the Leftist/jihadist alliance, it’s clear that if they spoke out against Sharia mistreatment of gays, they would no longer be invited to the best parties, and might even be branded as “right-wing.” 

Their moral cowardice and duplicity, however, are obvious.

As I write, American bigots of the right strive to guarantee Christian bakers the right to refuse to sell wedding cakes to same-sex couples in the face of furious denunciations of their cruel intolerance.

Justifying "Selma"

Lyndon Johnson was a civil rights hero. But also a racist.

The left never liked LBJ, anyway.

Actually, they hated him.

Ask Bill Ayers and Ms Dohrn.

The Jeremiah Wright of the administration

Eric Holder's parting shot: It's too hard to bring civil rights cases

Gut reaction?

No, it's not.

He and Rev. Al agree.

Do they want the law to follow the standards of liberal media?

White guy shoots black guy; it's racism and murder, case closed.

And Malcolm X?

Really?

Reality based religion

On the same day C&L was shocked to announce both that Franklin Graham does not believe in Allah although he does believe in Jesus and that some Christian groups actively proselytize Jews.

No surprise, I suppose, from people who, out of willful blindness and constant effort, have no idea what the several religions actually teach and believe.

The Cold War was simpler

Franklin Graham: Our Government Has Been ‘Infiltrated By Muslims’

FG is not the first to sound this Cold War theme, substituting "Muslims" for "Communists."

The substitution is not quite fair.

"Islamists" for "Communists" is better, though still not altogether fortunate.

Still, you do have to wonder, not whether there has been "infiltration" but how far it has gone and how much it has mattered.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A reason to prefer Hillary to other Democrats

Clinton leads General, Primary

She beats everybody on the GOP side.

Biden and Warren lose to Jeb Bush.

Etc.

And she way, way leads everybody else among Democrats for the nomination.

Allah made them do it

ISIS video shows militants smashing ancient Iraq artifacts

Remember what the Taliban did?

Buddhas of Bamiyan

These guys are their coreligionists.

“Illegal aliens are undermining national security”

Phooey.

All of the guys who did the 9/11 attacks entered the US legally.

What will the House do about Homeland Security?

A clash of ethics and science

First full body transplant is two years away, surgeon claims

Now that's an interesting story.

Who is Jihadi John?

Mohammad Emwazi, a 26-year-old west Londoner and university graduate

A 1st generation Kuwaiti immigrant.

Gimme that Old Time Religion

7th Century, or so.

ISIS destroys thousands of books and manuscripts in Mosul libraries

Reports this week that Mosul’s central library has been ransacked by Isis and 100,000 books and manuscripts burned has cast an international spotlight on a new wave of destruction that has been raging through the northern Iraqi city since last summer.

Earlier this month the head of the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) voiced alarm over “one of the most devastating acts of destruction of library collections in human history.” 

Director general Irina Bokova said the destruction involved museums, libraries and universities across Mosul.

I think this is right

I wrote this in a comment to somebody else's post, elsewhere.

I suppose I should say that though blacks are considerably more hostile to whites than whites are toward blacks, both individually and as groups, whites are far more numerous, more wealthy, and more powerful.

Hence the difference in impact of the hostilities in question.

Blacks feel it a lot more because they are a lot more exposed to it, personally.

I also wrote this.

It is not a privilege not to suffer from the bias of others.

It is a disadvantage to suffer from such a bias.

Whites are not privileged.

Others are disadvantaged.

Everyone knows this.

Speaking of white privilege rather than non-white disadvantage is not an error and not without consequence or purpose.

It is another example of malicious, racist PC propaganda encouraging hatred, resentment, and blame of white people by non-whites.

Malice and racism displayed on this blog by writers of posts and comments every day.

It is as though a blind or deaf person spoke with bitter resentment of sighted or hearing people as privileged.

An inconvenient truth

Kerry Blasts Netanyahu: He's 'Wrong' On Iran Deal Like He Was On Iraq War

Kerry voted for the Iraq War resolution in 2002, himself, like all the Democrats who were afraid to oppose it for fear of punishment by voters or others.

Which makes this blast a bit awkward.

The bullshit goes on

Gov. Scott Walker: I refuse to take the media's bait

He says his refusal to answer questions is bold defiance of enemy media.

Uh huh.

There has been much discussion about a media double standard where Republicans are covered differently than Democrats, asked to weigh in on issues the Democrats don't face. 

As a result, when we refuse to take the media's bait, we suffer.

I felt it this week when I was asked to weigh in on what other people said and did and what others' beliefs are. 

If you are looking for answers to those questions, ask those people.

I will always choose to focus on what matters to the American people, not what matters to the media.

No he was asked his own view on the origin of the human species, the president's patriotism, and Rudy Giuliani's comments thereon.

No one has spoken of a double standard but Republicans worried their answers might alienate people whose votes they expect they will need, and their media defenders.

He also writes,

Americans believe our nation is facing some substantial challenges. 

Some of us do, anyway.

Government spending is out of control. 

No it's not; the government is seriously underfunded because of the refusal of the Republican Party to make the rich people and corporations they represent pay enough taxes.

Terrorists seek to destroy our way of life. 

Who, the Aryan Nation? The Michigan militia?

Our economic recovery has been slow. 

Yes, because Republicans like himself have resisted Keyenesian initiatives for the last 7 years, preferring a job and wage-killing policy of austerity.

Our borders aren't secure. 

Well, it's a relative thing.

The federal government has usurped powers that rightly belong to our states.

Not that I can see.

And every day across Wisconsin, and as I travel the nation, I hear from people who share with me their worries about — and their hopes for — our country.

Baloney.

This guy could wind up the Republican candidate and would be the most conservative Republican candidate since Reagan and maybe even since Goldwater.

Being an uncritical war lover, he would be fine with the neocon wing.

Being a union-busting, bare-knuckle capitalist kind of guy, he would be fine with the plutes.

He has already smashed up public employees unions and right now he is pushing right to work legislation.

Demanding we secure our borders leaves unanswered - effectively dodges - all the important questions what to do about illegals already here.

A matter of normal employee discipline, I would imagine

Obama: 'Consequences' for ICE Officials Who Don't Follow Executive Amnesty

Does the WS find this idea shocking?

Would they prefer the anarchy of employee nullification in the name of the Constitution?

Is this supposed to enrage the sovereign citizens, jury nullificationists, and other crackpots of the right wing fringe?

Some points about Mackie's moral skepticism and my own

Mackie holds the following in his Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong.

His own moral skepticism is the claim that there are no objective values.

An account of values should treat all alike, moral, non-moral, aesthetic, and any others

The thesis at issue is ontological; theses about meaning follow to suit.

Moral skepticism is a 2nd order view.

First order moral skepticism is either the view that “all morality is tripe” or that conventional morality is deeply immoral.

Moral claims like “rape is wrong” entail assertions about properties like “rape has the property of wrongness (the property something has just in case it is wrong).”

(A nominalist would not accept that, but never mind.)

Assuming Russellism about descriptions, that no such property exists, and modus tollens, moral claims turn out to be false.

Mackie offers a detailed characterization of what, as he thinks, moral properties would have to be like in order for moral truths to have the practical significance they are generally thought to have.

He argues that no such properties exist or could exist (he evidently thinks the first does not entail the second).

It seems to be his view that if properties of that description did exist they would be what moral terms in moral use denote.

I hold the following in various posts on this blog.

My moral skepticism is the claim that moral terms in moral use fail to denote, though they purportedly denote.

My account does not treat all value judgments alike, handling moral claims one way (“taboo theory”) and judgments of non-moral value another (subjective naturalism).

My theses are semantic; ontological issues such as his are interestingly related but not primary

Moral skepticism (whether his or mine) is a 2nd order view.

First order moral skepticism is the belief that moral assertions, common ones if not all, are all false.

The belief that moral claims like “rape is wrong” entail explicit property ascriptions like “rape has the property that something has just in case it is wrong” is part of the moral delusion (though not for nominalists, I suppose).

Both quoted expressions contain a moral term – “wrong” – in moral use and so are meaningless and hence neither true nor false.

Mackie’s position seems incoherent.

Consider that if there is no such property as wrongness then either “wrong” denotes something else or it fails to denote.

Mackie would agree the former is out of the question, and the latter entails that moral claims are meaningless, not false.

Most people who concern themselves with such things seem to think that properties are necessary.

The characterization he offers is fairly broad and drawn from common beliefs about the practical import of moral truths.

Mackie gives no argument why there could not be many such properties, even well-known and readily discernible to us, while moral terms in moral use nevertheless fail to denote.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Can't wait to see how legal marijuana will do

Tobacco 'kills two in three smokers'

Looks like if the tens of millions who smoke all their lives did not do that the bills for Social Security and Medicare would be vastly higher.

Whereupon the whine would be that too many people were living too long and "we can't afford it."

A bum rap

Not that he didn't do it.

Looks like the man is far too mentally ill for this to be the right outcome.

‘American Sniper’ jury finds ex-Marine guilty of murder

And during the 2 hours they took to reach a verdict they had lunch, said Joe Scarborough this morning.

Seems like Old Times

When I entered college at Holy Cross many decades ago, there was a locked section in the library where books on the Papal Index were kept.

To read them you needed special, written permission; I forget from whom.

So far as I know, all or most of them were available from the public libraries and many were in print in cheap paperbacks on sale in the college bookstore, some specially ordered and prescribed for courses.

Anyway, while I was there, the rules changed and the door was opened, permanently.

A tardy victory for the movement of secularization and liberalization sweeping the Occident.

But as we know, while the left pretended back them to be about free speech they never really were.

They were about disempowering Christian censorship and replacing it with liberal and radical left censorship.

‘Mein Kampf’: A historical tool, or Hitler’s voice from beyond the grave?

I have a very old paperback copy at home.

I read it in high school, if I recall correctly, and again at some point while in college, though I don't think it was actually assigned for any course.

I am not pleased with the idea that anybody could have the power or the self-conceit to decide whether or not I am to be allowed to read a book, the reading of which poses only the danger of political, moral, philosophical, or religious dissent from some supposed norm.

Not even my parents did that, though out of ordinary or sensible parental curiosity they once in a while asked what I was reading, if they came upon me reading a book, as I would ask them.

For that matter, I was not happy with the attitude of the "responsible" press toward publication of the manifesto of the Unabomber, back in the day.

True, instructions for how to make a nuclear bomb in your basement out of household chemicals ought not to be in general circulation, I agree.

But that is not what this is about.

And how do you like these apples?

Although authorities here struck deals with online sellers such as Amazon.com to prohibit sales in Germany, new copies of “Mein Kampf” have become widely available via the Internet around the globe.

In early 2002 I had an email exchange with Amazon about their insistence on publishing instructions on how to make bombs in your own home.

They insisted it was their right and goal to make available absolutely everything in print.

But not any more?

Or not in Germany, anyway.

As I recall, Mein Kampf is a very poor book and does not reflect well on either the education or intelligence of its author.

The Turner Diaries, I think, is far more frightful, to tell the truth - again, based on recollection.

All the to-do reminds me of the absurd reputation of Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will, one of the most boring and silly movies ever made, with its hours of flabby old guys marching about in cub scout uniforms.

Almost as numbing as Andy Warhol's Empire.

A tie, maybe, with Birth of a Nation.

Is she a Republican?

Patricia Arquette Ignored Feminism's Racist History—And Its Triumphs

PA seized the chance to make feminist propaganda.

Now the left is beating her up about it.

Of course he did

John Lewis Saw 'The Scars And Stains Of Racism' In Giuliani's Remark

No evidence to support that.

The guy left plenty of social media and Internet tracks, and that's where it would show if the accusation was true.

Nope.

But he's a white American gun-toter and they were Muslims, so no matter what the race-baiting liberal media will call it that way.

Larry Wilmore: Chapel Hill Shooter Was 'Racist Elmer Fudd,' Like Zimmerman

There was and has been nothing to show that about Zimmerman, either, and they've had him under an oppo-research microscope since the day of the shooting.

Their hatred of him is positively relentless.

Let them die

That's the GOP motto, and don't you forget it.

HHS: There is no administrative fix if Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare subsidies

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

GW and AM. Now that's funny.

Oscars 2015: Is John Travolta's touchy-feely style inappropriate?

Jeez.

Wasn't there some senator some years back who got thrown out of the senate for constantly pawing women?

Doesn't seem to have helped, much.

Name began with a "P"?

Got it!

Bob Packwood

Bob Packwood

Metaphor? Hyperbole?

Bill O'Reilly didn't claim to have been in the Falklands.

There was never any question, I believe, that he was talking about an incident in Buenos Aires and his description of the demonstrations there as "a war zone" did not mean that.

I never pay any attention to Bill-O and I have no regard for him, but this looks like a bum rap.

The Falklands controversy

And what about tobacco use?

Marijuana Is Now Legal In Alaska

Are superannuated hippies and drug addicts undermining the constitutional position of the entire federal regime of drug control?

Of the FDA?

And are they hypocritically interfering with alcohol or tobacco use?

This won't keep hope alive

They played chicken and chickened out.

Greece has lost the gamble

Damned shame.

Weird lie or weird mistake

The 82nd is pretty much an elite unit, anyway.

So why?

VA Secretary Robert McDonald Apologizes for Misstating He Served in Special Forces

Monday, February 23, 2015

Not the same

To expound what justice does to and within its possessor, whether gods and men notice or not.

And to show justice is of value in itself, for its own sake.

Plato, Republic, Book 2.

German appeals to one's sense of humor

Flughafenrestaurantmanagerausbildungsprogramm.

Training program for managers of airport restaurants.

What's that?

“We remind the public that downloading extremist material may constitute an offence.”

In America, land of the free? - not to mention the First Amendment.

Terror threats against malls

We make people take a test to drive a car or fix somebody's plumbing

But anybody can be a parent.

Pox parties

If I were an Egyptian . . .

If I were an Egyptian Copt, a woman, a gay, a Muslim apostate, a critic of religion, an agnostic or atheist, etc, etc. - heck, if I were I, but Egyptian, I would prefer rule by the army to a democracy guaranteed to lead straight to Islamic theocracy.

I would feel exactly the same way in most Muslim majority countries.

Given a chance, Muslims not only vote overwhelmingly for theocracy, they vote for constitutions that formally institutionalize it like that of the Islamic Republic of Iran so as to make it proof against second thoughts on the part of the same voters who created it in the first place.

So far as I know, the Iranian constitution is the only constitution in the region that explicitly limits democracy not to prevent clerical domination of power but to ensure it.

Egyptian activist Alaa Abd El Fattah sentenced to five years in jail

As it used to do in Turkey - but no more - and as it has done in various other Muslim countries in the last few decades, the army in Egypt intervened to save their country from democratically installed Islamism.

And yet many Occidentals, having learned nothing from all the disasters since the fall of the Shah, still favor the view that democracy is preferable to military rule, even if it leads to Islamic clericalism and Shariah.

Occidentals who are furious when Christians in some Western countries are able to use democracy to keep abortion illegal, or to keep same-sex marriage impossible, or to keep divorce illegal or at any rate very difficult, or to keep contraception illegal.

Occidentals who are delighted when US judges appeal to a constitution that exists only in their imaginations to stop the law enforcing those very same Christian moral norms, not accepted by liberals.

They let this woman out of the house without a nurse?

Is it really so hard to discern the attractions of a journey, especially one with an altruistic and religious purpose, to girls who may have led very sheltered lives?

And besides it's a free country, she says. So there.

Mary Dejevsky writing at The Guardian.

If Britons want to join Isis, let them go

Reportedly, the girls are 14 and 15 years old.

To those Britons wanting to join Isis, I would say: let them go. 

This is more a family matter than a cause for national breast-beating, and I see no reason why police officers have to be sent, at great expense, in an effort to rescue these girls from themselves.

The parents are frantic, as you would expect.

That one was stupid, too

O said in 2008 that he opposed stupid wars like the one in Iraq that he was against from the first day, but he was OK with the invasion and war for regime change in Afghanistan.

But as I have said since that other first day, that one was stupid, too.

We are still paying for our stupidities in the name of democracy throughout the whole region.

The longest war

Punitive strikes would have been fine.

Bill Kristol on Morning Joe says O is no patriot

Today on Morning Joe, Bill Kristol agreed with Rudy that the president is no patriot and does not love America.

Mika B was positively sputtering with outrage, but never mind that.

Think of this.

Rudy and others on the right have taken the opportunity to claim the whole left - meaning the children of Zinn, of course - is alienated and doesn't even like America.

There is truth to that, but it's not such important truth as this.

It's really the American right, conservative in name only but radical and almost revolutionary in fact, that can't stand today's America, our America, the progressive and modern America with a strong national government that insists both on regulating the economy and on taxing the plutocracy to support numerous ventures, all for the public good.

The FDA, the EPA, the DOA, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and Obamacare are just the most obvious cases.

Have you heard them lately bitching about Food Stamps?

Have you heard them bitching about disabled people receiving help?

The so-called conservatives are the ones who hate modern America, the America the progressives built over more than a century; they refuse loyalty to it, want to tear it down and destroy it, and constantly threaten violence against it.

Who does not know these faux conservatives lionize a man who made himself beloved among them by proposing to drown the US government in a bathtub?

And it is the progressives who fight an unending battle against these revolutionaries of the right, defending the progressive America, the America of today, against their hatred and their constant attacks.

As for the patriotism of the right, it is a fraud.

It is not America that they love but a romanticized, nostalgic, blurred, and selective picture of the American past when the ordinary people, if not slaves or indentured servants, were dirt poor, ignorant, and absolutely desperate all the same, all the time, and excluded from political power or cultural influence.

Not bad for the robber barons, the plutocrats, and the slavocrats, America was hellish for the ordinary folks working 12 and 14 hour days, six days a week, for just enough to pay the slumlord to pack a dozen people into a bare and unheated room.

Take a trip to your library, if it hasn't closed yet for the last time.

Browse a while in Jacob Riis.

Like the children of Zinn, no progressive loves or ever loved that America.

But the running dogs of the plutocracy do, and did then, as well.

And their nostalgia for the theocracies of colonial New England are just completely mad.

Nobody today but a fool kids himself he would want to live in such a nightmarish clerical dictatorship.

Update.

Yes, the CW has this exactly backwards.

Has done for years.

Charles Blow

Conservatism is rooted in preservation; progressivism advances alteration.

And this.

“All men are created equal” is an exquisite idea, but one that wasn’t fully embraced when the words were written. 

We, the American people, have pushed this country to consider that clause in the broadest possible interpretation for hundreds of years.

In fact, conservatives rejected that idea the day it was written into the Declaration, rejected it explicitly in defenses of slavery before the Civil War, and continue to reject it explicitly in defenses of massive and growing economic inequality and constitutional changes to further limit democracy and enhance political inequality in America.

They reject universal suffrage in principle.

Many of them flatly and publicly reject popular election of senators.

Some reject popular election of members of the Electoral College.

All seem to reject popular, direct election of the president.

Is there any part of the actual America that they do like?

Not a whole lot.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Is Obama a Christian?

I don't know whether he's a Christian, a Muslim, an atheist, a Mormon, a Unitarian, a vague religious liberal, or a secret Buddhist.

He has professed to be a Christian, but he professed to oppose gay marriage right through the 2008 primaries and the general election and for years after than, and now it turns out he was lying all along.

I don't know whether he's a Christian.

The claim of Rev. Wright and many others that he is really the same as him, as Al Sharpton, and as Jesse Jackson on race and has been lying to America about it since before his election gets more credible by the day.

On the advice of Lee Atwater, Bush I disguised himself as an ordinary American clod to get elected and maintain public support.

Who knows what any of these people really think or are really like?

Misery loves company

I’m gay. And I want my kid to be gay, too.

Compare.

"I'm blind/deaf/crippled and I want my kid to be blind/deaf/crippled, too."

"I'm a drunk and a drug-addict and I want my kid to be a drunk and a drug addict, too."

Vegetarianism and animal rights

The new, post-Christian, PC morality police include powerful contingents of animal-rights advocates and vegetarians.

Another of the annoying aspects of the long, slow death of God in Western culture.

McGrath 'regrets' hunting safari

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bogeyman

Could be the best episode so far of a series that seems better than the book it’s based on.

Backstrom is less anti-PC, less clownish, less a joke or the butt of jokes, and more House-like than he has been.

No comedy this time, but the outcome in which Backstrom is shown to have erred by overestimating the evil at hand is only an aspect of the show’s numerous weekly and sometimes seemingly ambivalent concessions to an American audience that requires God, an afterlife, and the triumph of good at the end of every hour, even when the title character is an atheist with a considerably darker view of things than that.

(Remember the cowardly and dramatically absurd ending of the first season of True Detective?)

In that regard the show is almost as flabby as Inherit the Wind, a brilliant and relentless attack on American Protestant fundamentalism with a disappointing ending in which the religious liberalism of Bert Cates (a fictionalized John Scopes) triumphs in the person of Henry Drummond (Clarence Darrow) over the atheist nihilism of E. K. Hornbeck (H. L. Mencken).

Our culture may be getting less Christian and more secular every day, but it may turn out that while we will surrender God, the Devil, human immortality, and the soul we will never give up our view of human life as an epic of moral conflict in which the righteous ultimately win all or most of the episodic battles, or anyway those we are forced to watch.

Powerful testimony to the enduring, if partial, dominance of a mythic view of the world as old, at least, as Zoroaster.

When we give that up, if ever, we will finally have given up the myth of meaning.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Shooting deer in Mt Lebo

Corralling, shooting of deer may begin next week in Mt. Lebanon

Bird Park is a postage stamp of trees, brush, and rough terrain surrounded by closely packed houses in a working class area and very close to the borough's high school.

So that's where they intend to entrap deer as they pass through the borough and shoot them dead.

Against free trade

Pat Buchanan protests once again against the neoliberals and cosmopolitans of both parties who want to turn the world into one common market, one "level playing field" for global capitalism freed of the nation state to roam unhindered, security provided by every night watchman state but especially by the US military.

Against the wind.

Fast tracking trade deals

Niagra Falls frozen over

Photo from The Guardian


Photo gallery

What is an "establishment candidate"?

Somebody the money guys like?

Is that it?

Only that?

Jeb's Bushian Speech

Anyone who expected more from perhaps the leading establishment contender for the Republican presidential nomination had to be disappointed.

Mother of God, Paul Wolfowitz is back?!

Bush I and Bush II were not at all the same.

Bush I ignored the neocon war lovers in his administration and refused to knock Saddam Hussein out of power.

Bush II lapped up their every damned fool notion and royally screwed up the whole region for more than a decade, at enormous cost in blood, treasure, and safety to the American people and greatly to the disadvantage of his beloved ally, Israel.

Bush III has nothing but praise for the policies and decisions of The Decider, Bush II.

But the base doesn't like him much, just as they didn't really like Bushes I and II, because while very, very conservative they aren't quite true-blue conservative enough.

If I were a fiscal conservative, I'd begin to suspect that Jeb Bush is as much of a big-government Republican as his big brother. 

He wants to spend more on the Pentagon, invest in infrastructure and education, spur the economy to 4 percent annual growth -- if I didn't know better, I'd say it all sounds almost Keynesian. 

Oh yes, he says he also wants to reform entitlement programs and balance the budget. 

Just like his brother, the "compassionate conservative" who tried to partially defund Social Security and set it on a course of complete abolition in favor of tax-sheltered private saving and investing, hiding the reality of the thing behind the fraudulent description, "privatization."

PC misreporting or catering to the self-absorption of the white majority?

Both, really.

Son died fighting for ISIS, mom wants to fight propaganda

ISIS recruits from Europe, Canada, and America are overwhelmingly 1st, 2nd, or 3rd generation Muslim immigrants.

A bare handful are converts to Islam from non-Muslim white families.

But they get to be the poster children for "homegrown terrorism."

Theirs is the pale suburban face our responsible media like to put on it.

Islamic roots of ISIS

Nonsense about terrorism's 'root causes'

So if it's clearly not deprivation that is driving much Islamist terrorism, what is?

For that we must turn to ideology, specifically religious ideology. 

And this is where the Obama administration has to perform some pretzel logic. 

It is careful to explain that the war on ISIS is not a war on Islam and that ISIS' ideology is a perversion of the religion. 

Fair enough. 

But the administration seems uncomfortable with making the connection between Islamist terrorism and ultra-fundamentalist forms of Islam that are intolerant of other religions and of other Muslims who don't share their views to the letter.

ISIS may be a perversion of Islam, but Islamic it is, just as Christian beliefs about the sanctity of the unborn child explain why some Christian fundamentalists attack abortion clinics and doctors. 

But, of course, murderous Christian fundamentalists are not killing many thousands of civilians a year. 

More than 80% of the world's terrorist attacks take place in five Muslim-majority countries -- Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria -- and are largely carried out by groups with Islamist beliefs.

. . . . 

ISIS' distinctive black flags are a reference to a supposed saying of the Prophet Mohammed that "If you see the black banners coming from the direction of Khorasan then go to them, even if you have to crawl, because among them will be Allah's Caliph the Mahdi." 

In other words, coming out of Khorasan, an area that now encompasses Afghanistan, will come an army that includes the Mahdi, the Islamic savior of the world. 

The parent organization of ISIS was al Qaeda, which, of course, was headquartered in Afghanistan at the time of the 9/11 attacks.

Last year, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi named himself caliph, which means that in his own mind and in the eyes of his followers he is not only the leader of ISIS but the overall leader of Muslims everywhere. 

These beliefs may seem like a crazy delusion to most of us, but it's important to understand that they are theological in nature, and this theology is rooted in ultra-fundamentalist Islam.

ISIS sees itself as the vanguard army that is bringing back true Islam to the world. 

This project is of such cosmic importance that they will break any number of eggs to make this omelet, which accounts for their murderous campaign against every ethnic group, religious group and nationality that they perceive as standing in their way. 

ISIS recruits also believe that we are in the end times, and they are best understood as members of an Islamist apocalyptic death cult.


What does that mean for policy makers? 

It means that the only truly effective challenges to this reasoning must come from Islamic leaders and scholars who can make the theological case that ISIS is an aberration. 

This, too, is an Islamic project; it is not a jobs project.

The Hate Whose Name They Dare Not Speak

A farrago of claptrap

WSJ calls for more war, again

Blah, blah, blah.

War, war, war.

The war-party right, and by no means just in WSJ, is screaming this morning about the existential threat posed to Western Civilization by ISIS and calling for - dare I say it? - a new Crusade to subjugate if not eliminate at least Jihader Islam if not Islam sans phrase.

Rudy has gone well over the top and plainly intends to stay there.

The Paranoid Style of Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani's disgusting attack on Barack Obama

He has done us the great disservice of focusing the morning's nonsense on the wholly unhelpful and silly question, does O love America?

Some days more than others, I'll wager.

And most likely some days - maybe most days, I don't know - not so much, as I have myself noted in other posts.

All the same, though his approach to the question of how far Islam is implicated in, uh, the Islamic fundamentalism and Islamic violence of Islamic Jihaders and terrorists all over the world is sometimes just too preciously PC not to be annoying, it is not clear there is anything to be gained by a shift in rhetoric and there does seem to be much to lose.

And the most immediate losers are apt to be those who have far more to lose than we, the Muslim leaders and states opposed to the Jihaders and their ideology, and so in varying degrees actively on the same side as we are.

And leaving talk about talk aside, recall that in truth America does not need to fight a war against ISIS at all and has much, much less reason for concern about the rise of Muslim neo-medievalism than those same anti-medievalist governments I just mentioned and, after them, non-Muslim states or regions right on the borders of Muslim lands.

Rudy is right

Kevin Williamson takes the opportunity of Rudy's remarks to walk right around both Rudy's topic - O the foreigner - and the more relevant and more American problem of black alienation in order to excoriate contemporary progressivism, the progressivism of the children of Zinn, among the more moderate of whom O seems pretty clearly to be found.

And what he says of them is more caricature than characterization.

I don't recall Holden Caulfield being a child of Zinn, but it's been a long time since I read Catcher in the Rye.

The reality based agenda

We are required to join the pretense of men pretending they are women by calling them "she" and "her."

We are required to join the fantasies of tomboys by letting them play army and calling them "sir" instead of "ma'am."

We are required to join the pretense of silly gays that they are or could be a married couple, forming their own nuclear family, by the legal pretense of same sex marriage when even civil unions are a bit of a stretch.

We are required to pretend that homosexuality is not per se a sexual disorder or a disorder of desire.

We are required to pretend that Islam is not and has not been through most of its history, when Muslim lands were not subject to rule by others, the most dangerous religion in the world, and that its central "holy book" and central prophetic figure are not just what you would expect of the most successful self-perpetuating mass murder cult in history.

We are required to pretend that organizations akin to The Nation of Islam and people urging essentially their message and acting out their hate are the victims of racism.

If you are wearing this T shirt you are probably a racist

Selma cast, T shirt, etc

No surprise, though, since the movie was a racist lie that defamed not only LBJ but the tens of millions of white people of America who supported him, MLK, and the civil rights movement.

All because the racist who controlled its message "didn't want to make another white savior movie" and the 'savior' was inconveniently white.

You know, sort of like Lincoln, the entire white abolitionist movement, and the Union armies, a few black battalions apart.

And the Radical Republicans and the people who kept voting for them, etc., etc.

A movie that told the truth wouldn't feed the hate quite as well and would undermine racial self-esteem.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

How O will be remembered

The Obama Years

This piece was published today on the web and the comments are closed already at 1505 hrs EDT.

Seems odd.

Anyway, I just wanted to say I think O will be remembered rightly as one of the greatest and most historically effective progressive presidents, behind FDR and Johnson.

His impact on race politics has been relatively minor (compared to LBJ, say) but probably good on the whole.

His impact on recovery from the crash of 2008 was very positive (Charles Blow reports he says he's proud of "saving the economy") and his impact on many other class issues, especially Obamacare, has been excellent.

Just as millions of Americans, including millions too stupid to know who their friends are, have lived longer and better lives because of FDR and LBJ, millions will because of Barack Hussein Obama II.

(Why was he never known as BHO?)

Of course, today's progressivism is not my grandfather's progressivism (Wilson sent him to France in 1917 with Blackjack Pershing) nor even mine, so today's progressives judge these matters a little differently.

For the new progressives who put such issues ahead of those of class, pride of place goes to his successes in advancing gay rights and next in line comes his packing the federal judiciary with nominees who were much more often women than in the past, and minorities in numbers far out of proportion to their percentage of the population.

Maybe the American Political Science Association only places him 18th, but I rate him much higher.

End Cold War II, please

Putin Paranoia

Pat Buchanan writes.

At the Cold War’s end, Yugoslavia split into seven nations, the USSR into 15. 

Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo, even Slovenia briefly, had to fight to break free. 

So, too, did the statelets of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in breaking from Georgia, and Transnistria from Moldova.

Inside Russia there are still minorities such as the Chechens who wish to break free. 

And in many of the new nations like Ukraine, there are ethnic Russians who want to go home.

Indeed, a spirit of secessionism pervades the continent of Europe.

But while London permitted the Scottish secessionists a vote, Madrid refuses to concede that right to the Basques or Catalans. 

And some of these ethnic minorities may one day fight to break free, as the Irish did a century ago.

Yet of all of the secessionist movements from the Atlantic to the Urals, none imperils a vital interest of the United States. 

None is really our business. 

And none justifies a war with Russia.

Hear, hear.

But then he asks,

Indeed, what is it about this generation of Americans that makes us such compulsive meddlers in the affairs of nations we could not find on a map? 

To which I reply, what the hell Americans are those, Pat?

It's all about those loons in DC with their goddamn globalist national vanity and the stinking bastards of the military-industrial complex always looking to drum up work.

Them and the idiot Wilsonian do-gooders of both parties who insist on us being, for all purposes, everywhere, in connection with all issues and conflicts, the "indispensable nation."

Police are thugs way too free with their weapons

Mother calls 911 for help with mentally ill son, police shoot and kill him. He had a red broom.

They should be disarmed, like Bobbies.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The president's editorial

Our fight against violent extremism

On the whole, not silly though, at times, prudently deceptive.

The problem really is Islam, the real thing, the fundamental texts and traditions, the historic faith.

The handful of Muslim liberals calling for a more tolerant and much less violent understanding of Islam, far from proving the contrary, prove the point by deploring that there has been no Muslim Enlightenment and trying themselves to somehow get one off the ground.

A Muslim Letter Concerning Toleration

(Locke was not prepared to tolerate Catholics or atheists, by the way. Not such a great example of modern liberality as all that.)

Think as well of Sisi's exasperated call at al-Azhar University for a "religious revolution" in Islam.

To demand it is to confess one is needed and there is not, right now, anything in authoritative Muslim teaching or theology that supports liberalism and toleration.

It is to admit that everything in authoritative Muslim teaching and theology opposes both and lies ready to hand as what it has always been, an ideology of violence, slaughter, and conquest in the name of God.

But I don't see that anything is to be gained - and much could be lost - if the national political and cultural leaders of the West start to say so.

But this is silly liberal nonsense.

[G]roups like al Qaeda and ISIL exploit the anger that festers when people feel that injustice and corruption leave them with no chance of improving their lives. 

The world has to offer today's youth something better.

Governments that deny human rights play into the hands of extremists who claim that violence is the only way to achieve change. 

Efforts to counter violent extremism will only succeed if citizens can address legitimate grievances through the democratic process and express themselves through strong civil societies. 

Those efforts must be matched by economic, educational and entrepreneurial development so people have hope for a life of dignity.

Really?

More attempts to export democracy and a new wave of nation building, though our American interventions up to now have nearly always led to chaos?

Phooey.

Believers in the West since the Enlightenment have less and less wanted to trust religious authorities with political power or to allow the law to enforce either the faith or the morals of their various religions.

The rejection has become all the more thorough and uncompromising since the mid-20th Century.

It has been facilitated by NT and history-based Christian acceptance of the separation of Church and State and in some degree legitimated by persistent strands of Christian thought that have all along rejected reliance on the state for enforcement of Christianity.

Too, it helps that the Bible is a huge book not much read even by literate and educated believers, and anyway little (but not nothing) is in the NT to encourage Christian use of the state to enforce or spread Christian belief or Christian morals.

But Islam has no such traditions, just as it has had no Reformation and remains untouched by the European Enlightenment.

And the Koran is quite short, widely read by literate Muslims, and every bit as blood-curdling as it is made out to be.

Some people think the only solution to the problem of savage Muslim religious violence from domestic issues like honor killings, beheadings of apostates, or the flogging of rape victims to Jihader terrorism and conquest is for Islam to disappear.

Failing that the problem cannot be solved, but only combated, hedged in, and lived with as people used to live with malaria.

Flare-ups needn't be fatal but are all too frequent, and there will always be another.

That is where we are.

ISIS reportedly burned 45 alive in a recently captured town

ISIS burned 45 people to death in seized Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi, police chief says

Muslim Denial

Sudan President: CIA, Mossad behind Boko Haram, Islamic State

And this one puts modern creationists, Christian and Muslim, to shame.

Muslim cleric denies heliocentrism.

Reaching across the centuries to Cardinal Bellarmine, he is.

The ancient Biblical view is that the Earth is flat.

But the Fathers may already have rejected that in favor of the Greek view that the Earth is round, widespread by their time, and Bellarmine was enforcing a Church doctrine that the scriptures cannot be interpreted in a manner contradicted by the common consent of the Fathers.

Flat Earth and Round

OT cosmology

Of course, from the quoted parts we see in Spencer it may be this cleric is actually a flat Earther, and not a geocentrist at all.

Graeme Wood had it right, and the usual suspects are damning him for it

Graeme Wood

Think Progress says "Nope."

Imagine Marx and Engels had only written The Communist Manifesto and yet American liberals insisted Lenin was totally wrong and true Marxism does not at all teach world revolution.

Much as liberal theologians have sometimes argued that the virgin birth, the miracles of Jesus, his crucifixion, death, and resurrection, the promise of an eventual general resurrection, and the expectation of an imminent end of the world are not essential to Christianity.

But there is only one New Testament, and they are all there.

Why are these sensible analogies?

There is only one Koran.

It is what it is.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The real Islamphobia

9/11 in the US and Spain's later 3/11 convinced very nearly everybody but the truthers and the fringey left that Muslim terrorism was a much bigger threat to the US and the entire West than it is and licensed the American government to carry out numerous useless countermeasures many of which have been insanely expensive and some of which have been horrifically bloody.

Airport and homeland security.

The war in Afghanistan.

The war in Iraq.

Meddling in Libya, Syria, and Egypt.

And these last have been so inept and stupid that they have given rise to vast new opportunities for successful Jihad by creating violent chaos where there had previously been peace and order.

On the other hand, Anders Breivik convinced only the fringey left that the threat of popular hostility toward Muslims is much greater than it is, in the US and in Europe as well.

And so as I noted the other day the left is seizing the improbable occasion - while admitting it is improbable - of the Chapel Hill killings to lambaste organizations, websites, and individuals for inciting anti-Muslim sentiment.

It has been pointed out, evidently to no effect, that very few Americans have any exposure to the supposed Islamophobe propaganda.

But huge numbers of Americans are exposed almost daily to news of unrelenting and global Muslim violence, accompanied by nearly constant incitement to fear and dread.

Anne Applebaum is one of those who have it right about the danger posed to the West by Muslim terrorism.

Too bad she has it so wrong about Russia.

Anyway, this constant propaganda of fear and exaggeration of the threat to America, the West, and the whole world is the real Islamophobia.

Like this.

What Is the Point of This Week's Terror Summit?

WSJ on the terror summit

It is true that the threat exemplified by ISIS is Jihader Islam and nothing else.

It is true that while efforts of past and current American presidents to avoid saying or even seeming to say that the enemy is Islam per se are perfectly sensible if equivocal and not entirely candid, the tendency of the current White House to join the left in identifying the threat as "religious extremism" in general is cowardly, weaselly, and even ridiculous.

Does the president think the world today faces a threat from the Inquisition? From the Crusades?

Is that why this summit is even on the books?

And how Islamic can you get?

These guys are so Koranic it's impossible to deny the central place of Islam's holiest and foundational text in legitimating Jihad and other forms of barbarous violence.

What ISIS wants

Real Islamophobia lies not in recognizing the special, even global threat posed uniquely in our time by violent Islam and no other religion, primarily to Muslims but also to very nearly any non-Muslims within reach of Jihader attack.

Nor does it lie in recognizing the Jihaders' completely accurate claim to be followers of genuine and authentic, true-blue Islam rather than some perversion of it.

Real Islamophobia lies in greatly exaggerating the threat Jihaders pose to the Occident and in particular to the Western Hemisphere.

And on that basis insisting on even further useless, expensive, horrifically bloody, and doubtless counter-productive military action, along with other absurd, illegal, and even unconstitutional anti-terrorist and anti-Jihader undertakings.

That is the real Islamphobia.

And that is the real harm it has done and continues to do.

50 shades of whatever

Nobody on the left minds that it's porn.

They mind that it's not politically correct porn.

You know.

Girls on top.

That kind of thing.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Chapel Hill, again

Hate crimes? Not.

Facts don't matter, do they?

Scarborough gets it totally wrong

Just another ignorant "opinion leader" with a big mouth.

Joe Scarborough: Islamic jihadis like “ultrafundamentalist Christians”

Protestant fundamentalism is a real thing with a real history and real theology.

This suggestion is totally grotesque.

Robert Spencer,

[T]here have been over 25,000 acts of jihad terror since 9/11, all justified by their perpetrators by invoking Islamic teachings, and exactly zero acts of terror committed by fundamentalist Christians who pointed to the Bible to justify their violence. 

But such distinctions will never get a hearing on MSNBC.

OK, it was a crappy book

Backstrom

The idiot logic of Zionism never changes

Out of the frying pan . . .

Netanyahu urges Jews to move to Israel after Copenhagen attacks

Once a moron, always a moron.

Egypt vs ISIS

Egypt is bombing ISIS targets in Libya and calling for a broader war on ISIS.

Egypt hits back

Twenty-one Egyptian Christians were kidnapped in the Libyan coastal city of Sirte in two separate incidents in December and January. 

They were reportedly from impoverished villages and went to Libya looking for work.

Although the ISIS video showed around a dozen men being beheaded, officials said that all 21 Christians were believed to have been killed.

Egypt is already fighting against ISIS-allied militants on its own territory in the Sinai Peninsula, where dozens of people were killed in a series of attacks in January.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Ah, the Crusades

Of course, if conservatives can justify the Crusades as a counter-attack against the Muslim conquest that happened some four hundred years earlier, can't Muslims justify war on Israel as a counter-attack against the Jewish invasion and conquest?

Admitting from the outset what is highly questionable, that these long struggles really were wars undertaken in obedience to God.

Anyway, one assumes the Muslim position - if they were interested in appealing to principles they and the Christians could consistently agree upon, which they are not - would have to be that after a few centuries those who were invaders become lawful or anyway morally rightful occupants, so that efforts to reconquer are themselves righteous only before that length of time has elapsed.

And that very nearly immediate counter-attack continuously kept up for as long as it takes thereafter is righteous.

Of course, the whole question of Israel is ordinarily seen by pro-Arabs in the secular and 20th Century context of colonialism and national liberation.

But never mind.

All this blather is not about getting God on one's side, but justice, decency, humanity, and moral righteousness.

What we secular moderns have instead of God's will.

There truly are hate crimes involving Muslims. They almost always look like this one.

So close to always as makes no never-mind.

Denmark on Edge as Second Shooting Within Hours Rocks Capital

A gunman opened fire on a Copenhagen cultural center, killing one man and wounding three police officers in what authorities called a terror attack against a free speech event featuring an artist who had caricatured the Prophet Muhammad.

After searching for the gunman for hours, police reported another shooting near a synagogue in downtown Copenhagen after midnight Sunday. 

One person was shot in the head and killed and two police officers were shot in the arms and legs, police said, adding it wasn't clear whether the two incidents were linked. 

The gunman fled on foot, and police warned people to be vigilant and follow the instructions of officers flooding the city center.

Speaking of real victims of actual hate crimes.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Balls

[Grimaldi has early onset Alzheimers. He has explained he has forgotten his doctor's name but it can be found on his prescription medications.]

"And there's no one close to you who would know things like that?" Alm said. 

"How you spend your days, I mean?" he clarified.

"Fortunately not," Grimaldi said with a smile. 

"Fortunately I am entirely alone in life. Who would want to subject someone they love to the sort of person I've become?"

He who kills the dragon, Leif G Perrson.

Abuse of "they" to avoid "he."

Btw, mockery of PC is one thing, plain racism another.

Not amusing.

Snow

Four or five inches already and it's still coming down hard.

US out of the fight!

ISIS Should Ring an Arab Alarm

Everyone in the Middle East, it appears, wants the United States to fight their wars for them. 

But as they look out for their interests first, it is time we started looking out for ours first.

ISIS is not our problem.

Making themselves easy to help

Crowds attack Ebola facility, health workers in Guinea

Crowds destroyed an Ebola facility and attacked health workers in central Guinea on rumours that the Red Cross was planning to disinfect a school, a government spokesman said on Saturday.

Red Cross teams in Guinea have been attacked on average 10 times a month over the past year, the organisation said this week, warning that the violence was hampering efforts to contain the disease.

Can't be helping recruitment, either.

Of course he does

Dad in Chapel Hill says it was a hate crime

Backstrom

Backstrom, TV’s new nihilistic slob and detective Lieutenant, always suspects the worst in people.

Not without its comic side, this outlook plays a crucial role in his (we are told) exceptional success as a case solver.

And that is an essential feature of noir; you cannot go wrong thinking the worst of people.

Backstrom’s particular way of expressing this is sometimes an anti-PC provocation, sometimes as part of petty squabbling, sometimes to get a rise out of a witness, colleague, or suspect, and sometimes for comic effect.

And that’s a notable point.

Backstrom isn’t House, neither the show nor the character.

The former show is almost a police procedural sitcom, while nobody would ever have thought of House as any kind of sitcom.

And Backstrom the character is a bit of a buffoon, a bit of a clown, often the butt of jokes and even physical comedy.

This takes out the string and makes him, on the whole, harmless.

House was not a figure of fun, and certainly was not harmless.

All the same, reviewers cannot put two words together about Backstrom without droning on about whether and how far any network can be allowed to put on anyone who is so transparently hostile to PC, as such, and apparently pays no price.

Walks like a duck, eats like a squirrel

Imagine that Howard Zinn, Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, and Catharine MacKinnon had a man child by Bill Ayers.

O sometimes talks like he’s that guy.

He sometimes seems to act like him, too.

Still "palling around with terrorists"?

Other times, he talks like Hubert Humphrey or LBJ making a speech about building the Great Society.

But he governs like Billary Clinton.

Go figure.

Friday, February 13, 2015

And we thought they had it licked.

Sierra Leone quarantines 700 homes after Ebola case

Nope.

We're number one? Only in national vanity.

Did you know the US is 36th, globally, in life expectancy?

ISIS and kidnapped Coptic Egyptians in Libya

Egypt poised for Libya evacuations as Isis hostage photos emerge

Libya is an absolute mess.

Great idea, taking down Khaddafi.

Glad we got involved.

Swell move, like so many others by interfering American boobs bent on making the world a better place.

An important player in the current game of chicken, Greece vs the German bankers

Yanis Varoufakis

“I was told, once, by a leftwing scholar that as a Marxist you have to do two things: always be optimistic and always have a view about everything. That advice still sounds good to me.”

At 53, Varoufakis is still clear that he “understands the world better” as a result of having read Marx. 

But he no longer considers himself a diehard leftie, whatever others may think. 

Rather, he says, he is a libertarian or erratic Marxist, who can marvel at the wondrousness of capitalism but is also painfully aware of its inherent contradictions, just as he is “the awful legacy” of the left. 

“It is a system that produces massive wealth and massive poverty,” proclaims the economist who taught at the universities of East Anglia, Cambridge, Glasgow and Sydney after gaining his doctoral degree at the University of Essex. 

“I don’t think you can understand capitalism until and unless you understand those contradictions and ask yourself if capitalism is the natural state. I don’t think it is. That’s why I am a leftwinger.”

He spent the last three years teaching in Texas.

(Natural state?)

Varoufakis’ academic speciality, appropriately, is game theory.

. . . . 

Alone among finance ministers, he has his own Facebook page dedicated to supporters and called V for Varoufakis.

Website

Facebook

“We are a party of the left, but what we are putting on the table is essentially the agenda of a reformist bankruptcy lawyer from the City of London,” he says. 

“The bailout was not a bailout of Greece in 2010, it was a bailout of the German and French banks. The German public was misled into thinking that this was money going to the Greeks, the Greek public was misled into thinking that this was our salvation.”

Not the sort of person the left would ideally prefer to carry its standard

Argentina's president formally charged over alleged terrorist attack cover-up

And not only because she's a kook.

O had best protect those Americans

The Republicans will not be the only ones calling for his scalp if he doesn't take care.

ISIS is not really his or our problem, but the American troops and others he put there so close to those devils are very much his problem.

ISIS militants seize western Iraqi town, menace base housing U.S. personnel

Apparently some US military are there to train Iraqis.

Hollywood on the bathroom floor

That's where my wife leaves the fan mags, within easy reach of the commode.

No, not for use as TP.

I note Hollywood's unsubtle exploitation of Bruce Jenner's private life to mainstream the fiction that there are such things as transgendered people.

Conceding (of course!) the main issue of public interest - that there is such a thing as gender re-assignment surgery - they report as controversial only the trivial matter, from the public point of view, of one man's personal decision and the family squabbling involved.

But then, these are among the people who said there was no reason to regard Divine as a man.

Yet that does not seem to have been his own view of himself or his work.

Patricia Arquette Praises Bruce Jenner's Transition

His so-called transition may be interrupted by the legal consequences of a traffic accident less than a week ago for which he may be at fault.

Even as it becomes less credible, FBI decides to investigate

FBI opens inquiry

Why are they looking into it?

Because the families of the slain insist it was a hate crime, when you come down to it.

Why do they so insist?

Because they are profoundly aggrieved and angry.

His neighbors feared him

History is not about your selfies or your grocery lists

Print out digital photos or risk losing them, Google boss warns

A very little of that sort of thing goes a long way, as crucial or even just useful historical evidence.

Think Herculaneum.

Think Samarra.

Now if somebody could just figure out Harappan.

The charge of the bulls does not relent

Market breaks 18,000 ceiling

Blame Bolivarian socialism or capitalism, as you prefer

Pharmacy shelves are bare in Venezuela

Obamacare subsidies and legislative intent

Chuck Grassley Reportedly Called Supreme Court Case Attacking Obamacare ‘Ridiculous’

Ian Millhiser.

Grassley’s views were first reported by Steven Brill, the author of a recent book on the Affordable Care Act, during an appearance last week on MSNBC. 

Brill was discussing King v. Burwell, a lawsuit that seeks to cut off tax subsidies that help millions of Americans pay for health insurance in states that opted to have the federal government set up their health exchange rather than doing it themselves. 

According to Brill, when he asked Grassley about King, the senator initially “didn’t even know what the suit was about.”

Once Brill explained the suit to Grassley, the senator responded “oh, that’s ridiculous. We obviously meant that the subsidies would go to the federal exchange and not just the state exchange,” according to Brill.

Nor was Grassley alone in this view. 

Rather, Brill says that when the suit was filed, he asked “all the Republican staffers” who worked on the bill about this suit, and “they laughed at it.”

Grassley and the Republican staffers interviewed by Brill join a wealth of Republican lawmakers and conservative operatives who once understood that the Affordable Care Act guarantees tax credits in all fifty states, although many of these individuals have since changed their view now that King gives them an incentive to say that the law says something else. 

A short list of Obamacare opponents who previously indicated that the law provides tax credits regardless of who operates a particular state’s exchange includes Republican Governors Dave Heineman (R-NE), Nikki Haley (R-SC), Bob McDonnell (R-VA) and Scott Walker (R-WI), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-WI), and the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Church and state: A different kind of hoax

Have you heard of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

No?

Google it.

This Satanist organization is likely staffed by people of much the same ilk, only with a more rowdy sense of humor and a more assertive political agenda.

These hi-jinks amuse many liberals and other secularists no end.

Satanic Temple Victory Could Mean Big Things For The Separation Of Church And State

Ian Millhiser.

The Satanic Temple, it should be noted, is not an organization of Devil worshipers. 

Rather, it is a group that combines intentionally provocative tactics with an aggressive rationalism. 

One of the Satanic Temple’s “fundamental tenets” is that “[b]eliefs should conform to our best scientific understanding of the world. 

We should take care never to distort scientific facts to fit our beliefs.”

The Fist Amendment forbids the Congress to make any law abridging free speech, etc.

A local school district is not the Congress.

Deciding who can and who can't use school space for what activities is not making a law.

But, anyway . . .

So little time, so much nonsense

Muslim Student Murders A Wakeup Call For Atheists: We’re Capable Of Violence, Too

Starting with the finger-waving title.

Amanda Marcotte, notorious feminist virago, gets straight to it with an attack on Bill Maher, Sam Harris, and their poisonous Islamophobia.

It didn't take long for the left to turn from implausible attacks on the Chapel Hill shooter as a hate criminal to attacks on one of their standard targets, atheists prepared to face and state the fact that Islam is in our time a particularly nasty source of religious violence.

Attacks which, she says, are quite justified whether or not Hicks acted out of hate or was simply the rage-filled nut he seems to have been.

As an aside, I note this remark.

Unlike all the major world religions, atheists have no history of violence being done in the name of atheism—at best, you can try to round up some communist violence, but that’s hardly the same thing.

Pshaw, what an ignorant girl.

A good deal of communist, anarchist, and other left wing violence against churches, clergy, and the religious took place all over the world during the 20th Century, motivated by exactly the sort of anti-theist views she says characterize the contemporary atheist movement.

Atheism is a relatively new movement; people who don’t believe have always been with us, but it’s only been in recent years that atheism has really developed as an identity and a community, with a growing online presence, bestselling books and popular documentaries, and regular and growing conferences and conventions for non-believers to congregate in. 

. . . . 

We are not content simply to not believe, but are outspoken and aggressive in pointing out the logical fallacies of belief while also criticizing the negative influence faith has on society.

Leave aside her characterizing the ridicule and abuse, whether moderate or extreme, that make up the bulk of popular atheist polemics as "pointing out fallacies of belief" and "criticizing the negative influence" of faith.

Historically, a good many atheists have viewed religion as at least in net or often or sometimes a force for peace and social cohesion among humans otherwise little inclined to either.

But the contemporary atheist movement to which AM belongs is in some degree tainted by a different atheist tradition that has viewed religion as in net and sometimes entirely pernicious.

And revolutions of the left and revolutionary movements from the 18th Century through the 20th, at least, have often engaged in very serious and extensive anti-religious violence intended to combat this evil, or even rid the world of it.

Not that I mean to say she or today's atheist movement in general would favor any such thing.

Just a point in passing.

Juan Cole on the side of our enemies, the Islamonuts

Well there's a shock.

‘American Terrorist': Middle East reacts to Murder of 3 Muslim-American Students in N Carolina

He reports this anti-American propaganda as if the incident at Chapel Hill provoked sincere concern in the Muslim world.

In this he echoes, as does this Muslim propaganda, the constant leftist and black accusations of white racism, themselves mere propaganda both expressing and aiming to encourage hate.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Constitutional government. What's the point of getting it in writing, again?

Doesn't mean a damn thing to her, I see.

What that old thing, the US constitution, actually says.

It's actual text is just a set of pegs on which to hang political bullshit.

And, since about the middle of the 20th Century, the Supreme Court's judicial bullshit.

Like theologians and the Bible, all of them are full of beans, and always have been.

But the most dishonest and contemptuous of the actual text are and have always been the liberals.

Same with the constitution.

And ignorant man with strong ideological convictions

Like high schoolers with their copies of Atlas Shrugged.

Or like the Chapel Hill shooter with his copy of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion.

But most of them aren't absolutely set on a political career, possibly reaching the White House.

Scott Walker's school years

He's hiding something. But what?

Scott Walker dodges evolution question

Actually, he dodged a lot of questions and is hiding lots of things.

But what is he hiding just here?

We Americans are apt to think a Republican who won't answer that question is hiding evolutionism lest exposure alienate creationists crucial to his chances, whether in the primaries or later in the generals.

But what if not?

What if he's hiding creationism lest exposure alienate evolutionists, or anyway non-creationists, crucial to his chances?

And why do we all seem to think this one question, whichever way it is answered, is a deal-breaker for so many people?

How many are innocent?

What percentage of those being punished are actually innocent, do you think?

Doesn't look good.

Chicago man free after 28 years in jail for murder he did not commit

The "law and order" machine is a frightful, frightening pile of mobile, menacing junk.

Remember this guy the next time somebody argues against the death penalty that innocent people are sometimes executed.

Pick any punishment you like, innocent people are sometimes subjected to it.

If the claim is made that capital punishment is unique in that once imposed it cannot be undone remember this guy.

Once any prison sentence is actually carried out it cannot be undone.

And whatever part of it has been completed at any point along the way cannot be undone.

Think of this guy.

And think of him, too, in connection with the fact that no convictions are more thoroughly contested and subjected to scrutiny than death penalty convictions.

But the utter shoddiness of the case against this guy was ignored for decades while he rotted in prison.

Why?

Because he wasn't sentenced to death.

Why does it take a DNA proof of innocence to overturn a conviction based on such flimsy bullshit?

Because that is the way the system works, i.e., because the system sucks from top to bottom.

That is the real disgrace and the real problem.

The death penalty is a distraction.

Were they just playing with Putin's head? And did it work?

Putin cuts a deal on Ukraine

Was all that talk of war just a war of nerves against him?

The Catholicism my parents (and your grandparents) were raised with

Pope Francis: not having children is selfish

And, anyway, any form of sex without "openness to" having kids is always a mortal sin.

No matter how you try to package it, this is what Catholics, believing or unbelieving, church-going or "lapsed" and "fallen away," think of as The Old Time Religion.

Whatever his alleged sympathies with Liberation Theology and however much that annoys the American right, however soft his patter about gays and however much that pleases the left, this pope is about the old stuff.