2014-07-14

The Future

The Federal and state governments will likely go broke, and people who depended on government benefits will feel a lot of hurt. Social Security will be long gone. Big liberal states like California will be hardest hit. Infrastructures will suffer and things like serviceable roads, law enforcement, and emergency services will deteriorate.

Depending on how successful Obama is in his effort to wreck our economy in general and our medical system in particular, doctors and hospitals will likely be few and far between.

Over the past couple of generations, a lot of worthless paper has changed hands because (1) loans were given to people who didn’t have the means to repay them; and (2) politicians made promises that they didn’t have the means to pay for.

The government and its agencies will grow hungry and mean – like any other predatory animal – and will increasingly focus their dwindling resources on functions that generate revenue. This means finding ever more creative ways to expropriate citizens of their money and belongings. So we can expect to see increases in everything from petty robberies such as parking tickets to major hauls like seizures of cars, homes, and businesses on the pretext that they were used for “drug trafficking”.

End result is that survival strategies are going to go back to being what they’ve always been. Be honest, courteous, hardworking, competent, and educated, and associate with other people who are. Take care of those close to you and be ready to defend them – and yourself.

2014-07-10

Gays and Society

Social conservatives typically imagine that gay people and gay organizations are trying to destroy society. They are wrong about gay people as individuals, of course, but they're not completely wrong about gay organizations - most of which are Leftist in orientation. These groups really ARE trying to destroy society, not because they're gay, but because they're Leftists, and that's what Leftists do.

2014-07-08

Source Bias Checklist

1. identify sources
2. assess source's reliability
3. get specifics
4. avoid vendettas
5. first-hand knowledge
6. ideological orientation
7. financial interests
8. debts and favors
9. bias of intermediaries
10. past experiences
11. psychological factors
12. internal consistency
13. external consistency
14. insider details
15. dialog and dissent
16. awareness of objections
17. nuance
18. the human voice
19. snarl/purr words
20. narrative
21. implicit bias
22. red herrings / straw men
23. fallacies
24. weasel words

2014-06-25

Light Posting Until Next Week

I'm traveling, and I have spotty internet service.

2014-06-18

"The firewall was very one-sided ..."

Woodbury, Connecticut high school student Andrew Lampart noticed something odd about the behavior of his school's internet firewall:
To start with, the senior at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, Connecticut, said he couldn’t access the National Rifle Association’s website.

“So, I went over to the other side,” the 18-year-old told WTIC-TV in Hartford. “And I went over on sites such as Moms Demand Action or Newtown Action Alliance and I could get on these websites but not the others.”
He went on to compare results from other searches:
“I immediately found out that the State Democrat web site was unblocked but the State GOP web site was blocked.”

Lampart even looked at Web sites focusing on abortion issues and religion. He found that “right-to-life” groups were blocked by the public school firewall but that Planned Parenthood and Pro-Choice America were not. He also tried to get on web sites such as Christianity.com and the Vatican’s web site but both were blocked. Islam-guide.com he found, was not.

“They’re trying to, in my opinion, shelter us from what’s actually going on around the country and around the world by blocking these web sites. It should be the other way around. The web sites should be unblocked so that students can get different viewpoints from different sides of each argument,” Lampart said.
Notice that he was careful not to just jump to a conclusion based on one or two data points. He took his time and investigated systematically.

Chloe Simone Valdary: Native Son

Native Son | Chloe Simone Valdary
I am the native son of warrior poets and mighty men of valor. My brothers are so fresh and so cool, they kill lions and slay giants for fun, and they still find time to compose a song or two. My sisters are so fly, when they have something to say, they will speak their minds regardless of who you think you are. You could even be a Persian king who doesnt allow that sort of thing but my sisters are so beautiful, it doesn’t matter; he too will be charmed by their breathtaking magnificence.

These numbers you see tatooed on my arm are not the only story my life tells. I have known more hardship than that. My veins speak of my 400 year toil in Egypt and on my back, you can see the lashes I acquired from the Pharoahs who enslaved me. Babylon kidnapped me and made me genuflect before her self-absorbed kings. But three of my nephews defied her and walked through fire and came out alive.

Assyria raped and pillaged my villages and Greece put her pagan sculptures in my temple; yet I defied her too and my people fought with so much strength, they decided to name us after instruments that were made to beat nails into walls. Rome also trampled me underfoot; with her legions of war she tried to annihilate me.

But I am here and they are not, and now I stretch out my limbs and bend my back and, baby, I am free.  ...

2014-06-15

Iraq

Charles Moore at the Telegraph:
People blame the new horrors in Iraq on the American-led invasion in 2003. But the exact reason why the country is in civil war today is because the Americans are not there. If US troops were still present, the fanatical ISIS, the “Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham”, would not have swept through the north of the country and now be threatening Baghdad. ...

Max Boot: Obama's Iraq.
It is hard to exaggerate how much of a disaster this is, not only for Syria and Iraq and their neighbors, but for the United States. Rising oil prices (crude oil rose to over $112 a barrel last week), which could torpedo a weak economic recovery, are just the start of it. Senior intelligence officials have testified recently that they fear Syria could become a launching ground for attacks against the United States. Similar concerns now must extend to Iraq. Certainly, the track record of Islamist militants suggests that whenever they control a piece of terrain—whether Afghanistan before 2001 or Mali in 2013—they immediately set up training camps for foreign jihadists, some of whom then filter back to their home countries to commit atrocities. At the least, neighboring states such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia will be destabilized by the growing strength of ISIS; at the worst, the American homeland and Americans overseas will be threatened.

Fouad Ajami: How Obama and Maliki doomed Iraq.
Two men bear direct responsibility for the mayhem engulfing Iraq: Barack Obama and Nouri al-Maliki. The U.S. president and Iraqi prime minister stood shoulder to shoulder in a White House ceremony in December 2011 proclaiming victory. Mr. Obama was fulfilling a campaign pledge to end the Iraq war. There was a utopian tone to his pronouncement, suggesting that the conflicts that had been endemic to that region would be brought to an end. As for Mr. Maliki, there was the heady satisfaction, in his estimation, that Iraq would be sovereign and intact under his dominion.

In truth, Iraq's new Shiite prime minister was trading American tutelage for Iranian hegemony. Thus the claim that Iraq was a fully sovereign country was an idle boast. Around the Maliki regime swirled mightier, more sinister players. In addition to Iran's penetration of Iraqi strategic and political life, there was Baghdad's unholy alliance with the brutal Assad regime in Syria, whose members belong to an Alawite Shiite sect and were taking on a largely Sunni rebellion. If Bashar Assad were to fall, Mr. Maliki feared, the Sunnis of Iraq would rise up next. ...

Iraq vet J. R. Salzman has a few things to say.

IJR: Atrocities Americans worked hard to prevent. Graphic. Proceed at your own discretion.


2014-06-13

Iraq

Long War Journal: ISIS advance halted.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham's rapid advance southward to Baghdad after taking control of Mosul just three days ago appears to have been halted outside of the gates of Samarra, home to one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam.

Iraqi security forces in Samarra blunted the ISIS' assault from the north late yesterday, stopping an armed convoy from entering the city. The military is said to have deployed aircraft while battling the ISIS vanguard.

The Iraqi military's stand in Samarra stands in contrast to its performance in Mosul, Tikrit, Bayji, and other cities and towns taken over by the ISIS. Iraqi forces often surrendered or melted away in these cities, leaving behind weapons, ammunition, and police and military vehicles. Thousands of prisoners have been freed during the ISIS onslaught. ...
Go to the link for the full post, and a map. Article also states that 'As Iraqi forces make their stand in Samarra, the ISIS was able to take control of the towns of Dhuluiyah, Saadiyah, and Jalula to the southwest. ISIS fighters are said to have overran an airbase in Dhuluiyah and captured hundreds of prisoners.' (See below.)


Debka: ISIS moves in on two more Iraqi towns.
Al-Qaed-Iraq fighters moved in on two more Iraqi towns early Friday – Jlawla and Saadiyeh, both in eastern Iraqi Diyala region near the Iranian border. Iraqi troops melted away as the jihadis moved in. Iran Thursday sent Al Qods commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani to Baghdad to prop up Nuri al-Maliki’s government and pull the demoralized and scattered Iraqi army together to push back against Al Qaeda advances. ISIS forces have meanwhile stopped their advance on Baghdad and halted at Samarra 70 km short of the capital. ...