Justplainbill's Weblog

October 4, 2008

The Polar Ice-Cap is having its most volatile year on record.

Filed under: Climatology, Energy Talk, Media Check — Tags: — justplainbill @ 7:14 pm

The Polar Ice-Cap is having its most volatile year on record.



Yupper, a record that we’ve been keeping for almost one hundred and fifty years. Let’s see, now, the ice cap’s been around for a few million years, but the last 150 are the important ones.


Oddly enough, The New York Times and various environmentalists, most of whom live in high rise apartments far from either pole, have deemed this important enough to point to as further evidence of man’s malevolent impact upon the global habitat. Hmm, I do believe that, since 1900, The New York Times has cried Wolf more times that we’re headed for the next massive ice age than hot house, and that they’ve had more than one Jason Blair scandal, Blair being the “Time’s reporter” who with the approval of the Editor-in-Chief, for over two years filed fantasy as fact, The New York Times is no longer a credible source for print news. This leaves, for serious daily print news, only The Wall Street Journal and her sister, Barron’s, (and, sorry for my faulty memory, and thanks for reminding me, The Christian Science Monitor); and the web, thanks to Google and Ask.com, and some of the other, manageable search engines, for daily print news, but I digress.


There are numerous reasons why the measuring of snow and ice for climatological purposes isn’t done at the North Pole; it is done in Antarctica, near the South Pole.


One of the many interesting aspects of this rotating ball of molten iron upon which we so precariously abide, is that the land masses form plates, called tectons, which make up the crust of the planet. These tectonic plates float along and bounce off of each other. At the interstices they either subsume each other or separate allowing the molten core to surface to form new crust. One aspect of this is that sea level is not the same around the world when measured by atmospheric pressure. In fact, the Pacific Ocean is about six inches higher than the Atlantic Ocean. This is because the plates consisting of Asia-Minor and South America are moving towards each other, and Africa is both closing the Mediterranean and opening the South Atlantic. The violent turbulence in the Straits of Magellan and the flow of the warm ocean current, starting in the Indian Ocean that ends up in the North Atlantic melting the polar ice cap as it passes Iceland, are proofs of this. Anther attribute of this tectonic movement is that, the water is always moving!


Another proof is that the last ice age was, with other factors, caused by the closing of the gap between the North American Plate and the South American Plate at Panama, thereby allowing the polar cap to dramatically expand and upset the then current balance, because the warm current instead of being able to move through what is now the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, had to take the much longer route around South America allowing for additional cooling as it flowed past Antarctica and up through the South Atlantic.


As the temperature of water varies, so does its ability to solute chemicals. As an example of this, as the temperature drops, it will retain more CO2, as it rises, it will hold more salt and less Carbon Dioxide, your quick proofs are in the soda cans in your hands. Soda warm, when opened, fizzes as the CO2, no longer in solution, escapes; when the soda is cold when opened, you barely hear a pop; notice how salty you can make your pasta water when boiling, as compared to when it’s cool and the salt crystals simply drop to the bottom to await the heating of the water so that they can then dissolve, and if you do your water in this fashion, please note how the corrosive properties of the salt pits and destroys your pot.


As any U.S. Navy Submariner will tell you, if you’re fortunate enough to have such a vet in your social circle, at about the depth of 1,000 feet in the open ocean, is a thermal layer, above which is comparatively warm water, and below which is actually very cold water. Part of the cause of this layer is the ability of the sun to heat water. This layer is about where the sun’s impact stops. The chemical solution content above and below this layer is significantly different, partially due to the temperature difference.

You may also wish to note that temperature change in water, whether higher or lower, always causes kinetic activity, meaning, that it moves. And, moving water is always abrasive.


Another problem with ice formation is kinetic energy. Ice forms readily at 32o F in still water, but in moving water, the temperature must drop significantly below that, as determined by the velocity of the water and its mineral content. Pure water freezes at that 32o F whereas soluted water requires lower temperatures to freeze. The quick proof is evident for anyone who lives near a river or creek in the higher latitudes. At the edge of the flow, where the water is immobile, ice forms, whereas in the center of the river, where the current is strongest, the ice does not form, yet the temperature of both the water and the ambient air is the same in both locations.


So, the polar ice cap, subject to all of the above variables, is not the place to measure snow and ice. In the alternative, the South Pole has none of these problems. Beneath the South Pole ice layer, lies frozen tundra, not subject to current flow, saline content, nor tectonic activity.


Dr. David Bromwich, head of the Polar Meteorology Group of the Byrd Polar Research Center and professor in the Atmospheric Sciences Program at the Department of Geography of Ohio State University, president of the International Commission on Polar Meteorology, chair of the Polar DAAC Advisory Group, member of the Arctic Climate System Study Working Group on Reanalysis and past member of the National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Geophysical and Environmental Data, Ph.D., says, “The best we can say right now is that the climate models are somewhat inconsistent with the evidence that we have for the last 50 years from the continental Antarctic.”  and, “it’s hard to see a global warming signal from the mainland of Antarctica right now.”


BTW, as of today, 16 October 2008, the reports from the Acrtic Circle show that the glacial masses are increasing. Increasing means that there’s more snow than melt on them. More snow than melt means that we are headed for a cooling period. Hmm, now does Gore’s $100,000,000 profit make sense to you?


The Polar Ice-Cap is having its most volatile year on record.

So what?


[OK, today is March 1, 2009 and there’s an important update to this post: it seems that the original report that the polar ice cap is having a volatile years was wildly, and purportedly innocently, innaccurate. It seems that the people who did the original reporting failed to report a significant number of sensors, thus, seriously understating the actual amount of ice in the cap. After some responsbile people went and rechecked, they found that, in fact, the Polar Ice Cap is EXPANDING. So much for global warming Your Thighness Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Ignorant State.]

Better yet, for those of you who want to know what’s happening first hand, Discovery Channel runs “The Deadliest Catch” which is about crab fishermen in the Bering Sea. Sig Hansen, Phil Harris, The Colburns & Hilstrands, have all said during this last season that the Ice is coming farther and farther south and they have the radar & sounding records to prove it. So, who’ya gonna listen to? Al “never been there” Gore, or the crab fishermen who’re in it months at a time every year?

Well, someone must be doing some research. Today, 12 Dec 13, the lowest temperature ever recorded, was recorded! Guess where. That’s right, in Antarctica, where all legitimate climate study is being done. Sigh, where’s the IPCC now?

And, now, January 2014, a group of Russian climatologists has been frozen in the Antarctic Ice. They were going to Antarctica to prove “Global Warming”. Ok, so I guess that I was correct with all of that stuff about the Polar Ice Cap not being the place to go for scientific data, eh? Do I really need to say more? BTW, today, the high in Kansas City has been 3 degrees Fahrenheit. Hey, Al, send some of that global warming here to Kansas & Missouri so the winter wheat will grow and we won’t starve in 2014!!!

And, during a recent broadcast of the FOX NEWS Business Block, broadcast on Saturday mornings, Eric Bolling, host of Cashin’ In, posted two NASA photos of the polar ice cap. The first from 2013, the second from exactly one year later, ie 2014. Contrast of the two NASA photos show that the polar ice cap is in fact, EXPANDING, by hundreds of thousands of acres. So much for the idiots pushing climate change. BTW, considering that, in addition to the above essay, the continents are on floating plates that move around, in a jerky style of movement as denoted by earth quakes, no matter what man does, as the continents move, weather will change!!!

Update 31 May 2014
The Weekend edition of The Wall Street Journal has an article “Climate Clues”, p C-3, which explains a lot. It seems that this German climatologist actually goes to places and looks for facts to explain things. ‘Tipping’, according to his facts, takes place over millions of years. The IPCC (Dear Prez Obama, the IPCC is the Inter-GOVERNMENTAL Panel, not International, and the ‘p’ IS pronounced here), and those others who use computer models (gosh, doesn’t anyone understand GIGO? Garbage In = Garbage Out???), might want to get out of their air conditioned academic sanctuaries, and search for actual FACTS upon which to base their theories!

Update 3 July 2014

1. For the 2nd time in the last 2 weeks, scientists have measured and recorded the largest amount of Antarctic ice in history. And “yes”, you read correctly, the record has been achieved/broken 2 times in the last 2 weeks!

2. Last year NOAA, one of the “scientific” groups that expounds the “man made climate change” and “CO2” myths, went on record as saying July 2012 was the hottest July on record (if you recall MO was in a drought). This replaced July 1936 as the hottest July on record (July 1936 being smack dab in the middle if the dust bowl). Well over the last 2 weeks NOAA has very “quietly adjusted” the findings and surprise, July 1936 is once again the hottest July on record. Apparently NOAA’s pronouncement in 2013 that July 2012 was the hottest July was based completely on computer modeling and not real data. I gathered from the story that I heard that really the only reason they went back and “re-modeled” the data and “adjusted” the findings is due to a couple of very serious and vigilant watch dog groups. These groups are dedicated to ensuring there is accuracy and transparency w/ respect to the data, findings and stated causation impacts when it comes to the “man made climate change” debate. So they called NOAA out in several articles w/ respect to how they reached their conclusion and NOAA “quietly” “adjusted” the findings.

Update 29 July 14, Famous Meteorologist on Climate Change:

Weather Channel Founder Debunks Global Warming Hoax


An award-winning meteorologist with 60 years of experience and founder of the Weather Channel has produced a video explaining the history of the man-made global warming hoax.

John Coleman was also a former broadcast meteorologist of the year of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). However, after being a member for several years, he quit the AMS after it became very clear to him that “the politics had gotten in the way of the science.” Coleman explains in the video that there is no man-made global warming, and why he’s sure about this.

The well-respected weatherman says that if there were evidence of man-made global warming, he would have dedicated his life to stopping it. “I love our wonderful planet Earth. If I thought it was threatened by global warming, I would devote my life to stopping the warming!”

Environmental activists now call it “climate change” instead of global warming because the warming has stopped, Coleman added, and $4.7 billion in taxpayer money is funding “bogus reports” and “bogus research.”

Coleman explains that any so-called “climate change” is extremely negligible from a long-term perspective and nothing unusual or alarming. He points out that Antarctic sea ice is close to an all-time high, and the polar bear population is as high as it’s been in recorded history.

In regard to rising sea levels, Coleman says:

“It’s rising at about the rate of about six inches per hundred years, as part of this inter-glacial period. When North America was covered in a 400 foot thick ice core at the end of the last ice age, the oceans were low, and then as that ice melted, of course the oceans have risen. That rise has been gentle and is not important.”

Coleman says in the video there are 9,000 PhDs and 31,000 scientists who have signed a petition saying that the CO2 global warming theory is a hoax. These climate change “non-believers” aren’t heard by most Americans because they don’t receive government funding. And they aren’t covered by the mainstream media because it almost always promotes the climate change theory.

This damning indictment by an experienced and well-respected meteorologist proves that the “climate change” movement is primarily (if not all) politically based. Its ultimate goal is to make Americans the enemy of the planet (so they’ll agree to greater government control over their behavior) — and to reduce America’s use of oil, gas and coal-based energy sources.

If you hear someone talk about “climate change” and that America should do something, show them this video as proof that it’s nothing more than left-wing, “Chicken Little” politics.

7 October 14

Article below, with references, shows global cooling even though many are still talking “climate change is caused by man”, well, hell, OF COURSE THERE’S CLIMATE CHANGE, JUST LOOK AT THE SEASONS AND CONSIDER THAT DURING ROMAN TIMES THE MEDIAN TEMPERATURE IS ESTIMATED TO HAVE BEEN 82 F !!! 30 years of cooling means at least 10 years of potential crop failures in the middle, and famine and disease, so, let’s REALLY keep those borders open and let all of those “dreamers” in without medical checks and quarantines.
BTW, how can they be wondering why the ocean levels are rising? Don’t these people even know basic chemistry? As pointed out above, the polar ice cap is expanding/growing, meaning the sea water is being displaced, just like when water is being frozen, the ice rises up and displaces the water below? Let’s get out of the U.N. and stop financing stupidity like the IPCC.

NASA Scientists Puzzled by Global Cooling on Land and Sea
Image: NASA Scientists Puzzled by Global Cooling on Land and Sea (iStock)

Monday, 06 Oct 2014 12:36 PM

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The deep ocean may not be hiding heat after all, raising new questions about why global warming appears to have slowed in recent years, said the US space agency Monday.

Scientists have noticed that while greenhouse gases have continued to mount in the first part of the 21st century, global average surface air temperatures have stopped rising along with them, said NASA.

Some studies have suggested that heat is being absorbed temporarily by the deep seas, and that this so-called global warming hiatus is a temporary trend.
Editor’s Note: Dark Winter: Book Exposes Fraud of Man Made Global Warming

But latest data from satellite and direct ocean temperature measurements from 2005 to 2013 “found the ocean abyss below 1.24 miles (1,995 meters) has not warmed measurably,” NASA said in a statement.

The findings present a new puzzle to scientists, but co-author Josh Willis of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said the reality of climate change is not being thrown into doubt.

“The sea level is still rising,” said Willis.

“We’re just trying to understand the nitty-gritty details.”

A separate study in August in the journal Science said the apparent slowdown in the Earth’s surface warming in the last 15 years could be due to that heat being trapped in the deep Atlantic and Southern Ocean.

But the NASA researchers said their approach, described in the journal Nature Climate Change, is the first to test the idea using satellite observations, as well as direct temperature measurements of the upper ocean.
Editor’s Note: NASA Expert: Sun Cycles To Cause 30 Year Cold Spell

“The deep parts of the ocean are harder to measure,” said researcher William Llovel of NASA JPL.

“The combination of satellite and direct temperature data gives us a glimpse of how much sea level rise is due to deep warming. The answer is — not much.”

12 Dec 2014, another update, completely ripping Al ‘jabba the hut’ Gore’s hoax of a movie, http://nws.mx/1IGXEwd .

29 Dec 2014, another update:
Capital Hill

Political & Economic Analysis

Polar Ice Not Melting, But Global Warming Story Is


Posted 11:41 AM ET


Feeling low about the incessant screeching that the ice is catastrophically melting at the poles? A lot of us are, so it’s good to see a researcher buck the narrative.

Ted Maksym, an oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, has drawn a conclusion that will surely bring him grief from the global-warming believers and cold shoulder from most of the mainstream media, which is heavily invested in the idea that man is heating his planet by burning fossil fuels.

“The North and South Poles are ‘not melting,'” the British Express reported on Christmas.

“In fact,” the Express said in its coverage of Maksym’s finding, “the poles are ‘much more stable’ than climate scientists once predicted and could even be much thicker than previously thought.”

Remember those words “previously thought.” In the future we will be seeing them a lot more in reference to the continued unraveling of the global warming fable. In the meantime, kudos to the Express for publishing what the mainstream American media refuse to report.

Read More At Investor’s Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/blogs-capital-hill/122914-732367-polar-ice-not-melting-oceanographer-says.htm#ixzz3NKQChTdo
Follow us: @IBDinvestors on Twitter | InvestorsBusinessDaily on Facebook

15 Jan 15 See Chris Horner’s book, “Red Hot Lies”.

12 February 2015, Interesting update: Yesterday, in Oslo Norway, the Norwegian Central Bank and a group of Norwegian scientists, announced that the climate change hoax had nearly destroyed the Norwegian Economy.
It seems that over the last 5 years, IPCC, U.N., NOAO, and the “global climate science community”, have been fiddling with the numbers to get their computer models to agree with their predictions. However, Norway, a Socialist Country, has been planning its economy for the last five years on the climate change assumptions. This means that they have been spending their entire national economic resources on the false assumptions that the Polar Ice Cap is melting, that their shorelines will shrink, that they will have tons more fresh water, acres and acres of more farm and pastureland, milder winters, and longer summers.
Only, since the global scientific community has been fiddling with the figures, the reverse has happened, thus bringing the Norwegian National Economy to the brink of collapse.
So, it seems that the fishermen of “The Deadliest Catch”, NASA satellite photography, scientists like Lawrence Solomon, and simple pundits such as Eric Bolling, have been proven correct, once again.

25 Feb 15, ;TWSJ and The Economist 4th quarter reports on Real Estate were recently released. I decided to look at a couple of other RE stats, simply because HGTV has posted its 2015 Showplace House/ Giveaway. The 3+MILLION $$$ house is located on Cape Cod, MA. Hmmmmm. So I looked a little farther into this.

RE prices are up in Big Sur CA, Cape Cod MA, Miami FL, throughout the Caribbean, all along both coasts of North AND South America, HI, and along the Indian Ocean. Hmmm.

Don’t get it yet??? It means that all of the greenies screaming about climate change, have NOT sold any of their big estates along the coasts! It means that the people who sell mortgages, do NOT believe in Climate Change! It means that the Kennedys, who have estates in MA and FL as well as CA and NY, do NOT believe in Climate Change! None of the limousine liberals have sold any of their coastal properties!!!

Gee, how much more needs to be said about this fraud????

Update 7 Dec 15 (Pearl Harbor Remembrance, BTW) TWSJ p A 14, letter to the editor by Terry W. Donze, Geophysicist, ‘Warming’ Science Is Anything but Settled’. A must read for anyone interested in the climate change controversy. Mr. Donze cites several real scientists who refute every aspect of climate change catastrophe from sea levels rising, false according to sea level expert, Nils-Axel Moerner “the greatest lie ever told”, through Arctic ice is melting despite it 5% increase. Every aspect of the climate change claim is refuted by actual climatologists, and not politicians like Al Gore.

Update 8 Sep 16   Was looking at the newest Voyager photos and slipped over to the Polar Ice cap current photos. Al Gore stated categorically that the Polar Ice cap would be gone by 2014. According to today’s satellite passing shots, it is bigger than ever since we started taking photos, and this for the end of summer condition.

September 23, 2016

Open Letter to the NFL, Col. Geoffrey A. Powers, USMC (ret), thanks to Cmdr Tom USN USNA


Commissioner, I’ve been a season pass holder at Yankee Stadium, Yale Bowl and Giants Stadium. I missed the ’90-’91 season because I was with a battalion of Marines in Desert Storm. 14 of my wonderful Marines returned home with the American Flag draped across their lifeless bodies. My last conversation with one of them, Sgt Garrett Mongrella, was about how our Giants were going to the Super Bowl. He never got to see it.

Many friends, Marines, and Special Forces Soldiers who worked with or for me through the years returned home with the American Flag draped over their coffins.

Now I watch multi-millionaire athletes who never did anything in their lives but play a game, disrespect what brave Americans fought and died for. They are essentially spitting in the faces and on the graves of real men, men who have actually done something for this country beside playing with a ball and believing they’re something special! They’re not! My Marines and Soldiers were!

You are complicit in this!

You’ll fine players for large and small infractions but you lack the moral courage and respect for our nation and the fallen to put an immediate stop to this.

Yes, I know, it’s their 1st Amendment right to behave in such a despicable manner. What would happen if they came out and disrespected you or the refs publicly?

I observed a player getting a personal foul for twerking in the end zone after scoring. I guess that’s much worse than disrespecting the flag and our National Anthem. Hmmmmm, isn’t it his 1st Amendment right to express himself like an idiot in the end zone?

Why is taunting not allowed yet taunting America is OK? You fine players for wearing 9-11 commemorative shoes yet you allow scum on the sidelines to sit, kneel or pump their pathetic fist in the air. They are so deprived with their multi-million dollar contracts for playing a freaking game! You condone it all by your refusal to act. You’re just as bad and disgusting as they are. I hope Americans boycott any sponsor who supports that rabble you call the NFL. I hope they turn off the TV when any team that allowed this disrespect to occur, without consequence, on the sidelines. I applaud those who have not.

Legends and heroes do NOT wear shoulder pads. They wear body armor and carry rifles. They make minimum wage and spend months and years away from their families. They don’t do it for an hour on Sunday. They do it 24/7 often with lead, not footballs, coming in their direction. They watch their brothers carted off in pieces not on a gurney to get their knee iced. They don’t even have ice! Many don’t have legs or arms. Some wear blue and risk their lives daily on the streets of America. They wear fire helmets and go upstairs into the fire rather than down to safety. On 9-11, hundreds vanished. They are the heroes.

I hope that your high paid protesting pretty boys and you look in that mirror when you shave tomorrow and see what you really are, legends in your own minds. You need to hit the road and take those worms with you!

Time to change the channel.

Col Jeffrey A Powers USMC-(ret)

All Hands: Notice of Deleting Old Posts

Filed under: Political Commentary — Tags: — justplainbill @ 1:53 pm

Got too many out of date posts. I will be deleting old posts of no current interest over the next quarter (Q4 2016). If you think that you may want to keep something, now is the time to copy and paste what you want.

Polar Ice Cap will not be deleted, but most of the Hanson, John, News You’re Not Getting, &c., will be.

September 22, 2016

News You’re Not Getting Elsewhere 22 Sep 16 [c]

News You’re Not Getting Elsewhere 22 Sep 16 [c]

Air Platforms
China flight testing modified J-15 for CATOBAR operations
Richard D Fisher Jr, Washington DC and Gabriel Dominguez, London and Sean O’Connor, Indianapolis – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly
21 September 2016

Airbus Defence and Space imagery showing a Chinese navy shore-based catapult test and training complex under construction at Huangdicun Airbase. Source: CNES 2016, Distribution Airbus DS / 2016 IHS
China has been flight testing a new variant of its J-15 navalised fighter modified for catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) operations, according to images posted on Chinese online forums.
Released on 15 September, the images show a Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) J-15 in flight featuring what appear to be modifications to its front undercarriage that would enable the aircraft to conduct catapult-assisted take-offs: yet another indication that China may be planning to develop a CATOBAR aircraft carrier.
Expectations that China’s third carrier, which is commonly referred to as the Type 002, will be equipped with catapults were reinforced in early August when images emerged on Chinese online forums showing the country’s land-based aircraft carrier mock-up in Wuhan, Hubei Province, undergoing modifications.
Most significantly, the ski-jump section had been removed from the mock-up.
Construction of China’s third carrier is expected to take place at the Jiangnan Changxingdao shipyard near Shanghai. So far there has been no official confirmation of the programme, nor visible evidence of the construction, but there has been considerable speculation that production of the initial modules is already in progress.
Airbus Defence and Space imagery captured on 20 June 2016 already showed that significant progress was being made on two land-based catapult tracks for testing and training.
This image shows what appear to be modifications to the front undercarriage of a Chinese carrier-based J-15 fighter that could enable the aircraft to conduct catapult-assisted take-offs. (Via CJDBY web page)
Constructed at the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) carrier air wing training facility at Huangdicun Airbase, the two tracks consist of a steam-powered track and an electromagnetic catapult track placed at the northeastern end of a new runway under construction. Installation of both suggests that a final decision on which system to adopt may not yet have been taken.
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[Thanks to unfair trade deals, China owns enough U.S. debt that the interest on that debt covers a significant portion of the P.R.C.’s national military budget. Our tax dollars at work.]

Sudan orders Russian T-72s
Jeremy Binnie, London – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly
21 September 2016
Sudan has placed an order for 170 surplus T-72 tanks with Russia, according to unidentified sources cited by the Russian newspaper Izvestia on 20 September.
“The consultations started in 2015, yet a final agreement was reached at the Army 2016 forum [held in Russia earlier in September],” Izvestia quoted one source as saying. “It is planned to deliver 170 T-72 MBTs [main battle tanks] from the defence ministry’s stock.”
Another source said the Ministry of Defence had been ordered to prepare 150 tanks that are currently in storage and another 20 for spare part kits.
Sudan is also in the process of receiving additional Russian helicopters, Yuri Demchenko, chief advisor to Rosoboronexport’s director general, said during the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) show held in South Africa later in September.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options ihs.com/contact
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[Sorta, kinda like our M-60 medium battle tanks. Not a challenge for the Abrams M1A1. Why is Sudan such a client for Putin’s re-invented Czarist Empire?]

Terrorism & Insurgency
Afghan special operations forces raid Al-Qaeda camp in Zabul
Ahmad Murid Partaw, Tampa – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly
21 September 2016
The National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan’s primary intelligence agency, said in a statement on 19 September that its special operations forces raided an Al-Qaeda camp in the southeastern province of Zabul, killing at least five suspected militants.
The units involved in the raid, which took place in the village of Naseran in the district of Mezan, also seized a number of weapons, explosive devices, and equipment – including AK-47 assault rifles, hand grenades, suicide vests, and communication kit – before destroying the encampment, which is believed to be the third such location to have been detected in Afghanistan in just over a year.
[They sell the opium for USD and ₤, and don’t even have the courtesy to buy U.S. arms. We lose on the importation of drugs, and the outflow of cash, and don’t even get the manufacturing business of the weaponry. Ya just cain’t make this sh*t up!]

Infantry Weapons
AAD 2016: CATIC shows TY-90 SAM variants
Christopher F Foss, London – IHS Jane’s Missiles & Rockets
22 September 2016
Key Points
• TY-90 SAM system shown on a Dongfeng 4×4 light vehicle
• Mock-up of a tripod-mounted system shown at AAD 2016
China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) has released additional information on its TY-90-equipped short-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems.
The TY-90 is essentially an air-to-air missile modified for a surface-to-air application under the designator Shen Gong-2.
Equipped with a passive infrared seeker, the TY-90 measures 90 mm in diameter and has a launch weight of 24.5 kg. A 3 kg high-explosive fragmentation warhead is activated by a laser proximity fuze, delivering a maximum lethality radius of 4 m. The missile features four control surfaces towards the front of the missile and a four-fin tail assembly. The TY-90 is understood to have a maximum speed of Mach 2.0, with CATIC quoting a minimum range of 800 m and a maximum range of 6,000 m, with altitude coverage from 15 m to 3,500 m.
The baseline TY-90-equipped SAM solution is mounted on a twin 23 mm gun anti-aircraft trailer platform, with the weapons and turntable mount removed and replaced with a power-operated SAM system station. This features fully enclosed operators position, with an electro-optical sensor package equipped with automatic target acquisition and tracking mounted on the left, and four TY-90 missiles mounted on the right.
CATIC has shown a TY-90 SAM application based on a Dongfeng 4×4 light vehicle, which is essentially the Chinese version of the US AM General High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV). This features a roof-mounted remote-controlled pedestal with a pod of four TY-90 missiles mounted either side of an electro-optical sensor package equipped with automatic target acquisition and tracking.
Recently the company has shown another TY-90 SAM application based on a 4×4 truck. This features a forward control cab with a fully-enclosed retractable body.
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Scale model of the mobile version of the Chinese TY-90 SAM system with the weapons pod in the raised position and surveillance radar deployed. This shows the two pods of TY-90 SAM either side of the sensor pod. In the foreground is the tripod model remote controlled version with two TY-90 SAM in the ready to launch position. (IHS/Patrick Allen) Scale model of the mobile version of the Chinese TY-90 SAM system with the weapons pod in the raised position and surveillance radar deployed. This shows the two pods of TY-90 SAM either side of the sensor pod. In the foreground is the tripod model remote controlled version with two TY-90 SAM in the ready to launch position. (IHS/Patrick Allen)
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[Why do they need SAMs? Thanks to our own government, 70% of our air forces can’t fly for lack of spare parts and insufficient training.]

Philippines, Russia discuss military trade and technologies
Jon Grevatt, Bangkok – IHS Jane’s Defence Industry
22 September 2016
The Philippines has started talks with Russia over potential military-technical co-operation and defence trade, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Manila has announced.
In a statement on 21 September the DFA said that defence officials from the two countries met earlier this month in Moscow to commence dialogue on defence equipment collaboration. The move is reflective of the Philippines’ stated intention to reduce its traditional dependency on the United States.
The meetings in Moscow were led by Raymundo de Vera Elefante, the undersecretary for Finance and Materiel of the Philippine Department of National Defense, and Vladimir Drojob, Russia’s deputy director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Co-operation (FSMTC).
[Anyone care to guess as to why the Philippines have turned away from the U.S. for military goods and services? HRC, Kerry, BHO? Anyone?]

The Economist explains
Why billions of dollars of goods are stuck at sea
Sep 21st 2016, 23:26 by C.R.

OVER the past few weeks, many American retailers have worried that Christmas, their most profitable selling season, will be ruined. In late August, Hanjin Shipping, South Korea’s biggest container line and the world’s seventh-largest, filed for receivership. Some 66 of its ships, loaded with $14.5 billion of goods, including quantities of electronics heading for America, were left stranded at sea. Ports around the world did not want to let Hanjin’s vessels dock because the bankrupt line had no money to pay unloading fees. Neither did they want creditors impounding Hanjin’s vessels in their facilities, leaving valuable moorings occupied for months. Although the stricken firm’s parent, Hanjin Group, promised $90m to allow some of the ships to finally make it to port, this is short of the $270m needed, and as a result most are still stuck at sea.
Companies that need to move their goods around the world by sea are worried that other container lines will soon follow Hanjin into bankruptcy, throwing their supply chains into chaos. On revenues of around $170 billion, the container-shipping business is set to lose as much as $10 billion this year, according to Drewry, a consultancy. Of the biggest 12 container lines that have published results for the past quarter, 11 have revealed huge losses. Maersk, a Danish firm that is the world’s largest container carrier, is also in the red, and announced on September 22nd that is will break itself up to compete. Several weaker outfits are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Another South Korean carrier, Hyundai Merchant Marine, was bailed out earlier this year, with creditors, including the Korean taxpayer, taking a big hit. And in Japan three firms, Mitsui OSK Lines, NYK Line and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, look especially vulnerable. Activist investors are now pressing for them to merge to avoid the same fate as Hanjin.
Hanjin’s bankruptcy—and the abysmal performance of so many lines—is the result of overcapacity in the shipping industry. Since the financial crisis, too many vessels have been built and not enough scrapped, while the growth in global trade has decelerated. An earnings index compiled by Clarksons, a research firm, covering the main types of vessel—bulk carriers, container ships, tankers and gas transporters—reached a 25-year low in mid-August. The average for the first half of 2016 was 30% down, year on year, and 80% below the peak of December 2007. Rates for container lines have been hit particularly hard over the past two years, as export volumes from China and South Korea contracted. Sending a container from Shanghai to Europe costs half what it did in 2014, according to figures from the Chinese city’s shipping exchange. In 2015, for the first time since containers were invented in the 1950s, global GDP grew faster than worldwide box traffic (apart from the 2009 recession).
There is an easy way out of the crisis in shipping. If enough lines scrapped their ships, the amount of spare capacity in the industry would fall, and freight rates would rise to a point where firms in it would break even. But they are loth to do this. For stronger players such as Maersk, building more big ships means that freight rates fall faster, pushing weaker competitors out of business. And many smaller lines cannot afford to scrap their ships. Low steel prices mean that they would need to declare big losses on their balance sheets if they scrapped them. Although a restructuring plan mooted for Hanjin would result in an 85% reduction in its fleet, almost all the ships it would get rid of will continue operations under the flags of other carriers. Until some serious scrapping takes place, do not be surprised if more shipping lines declare bankruptcy.
Update 22nd September 2016: This piece was update at 11:25am to reflect Maersk’s announcement that it will split its businesses into two separate firms
[Global Trade – read the whole article and think about who made the agreements, why they made them, and what the next 20 years are going to bring us.]

Business travel
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Bigger not better?
Marriott’s takeover of Starwood might be bad news for business travellers
Sep 22nd 2016, 12:16 by A.W. | WASHINGTON, DC

YOU ARE taking a business trip to Washington, DC, and need to book a hotel. You survey your options for good deals and amenities. There’s the W right by the White House, and the JW Marriott a block away. But you’ll be spending time at the convention centre, so it is worth considering the new Marriott Marquis there, as well as the nearby Renaissance. Then again, the Four Points and Courtyard have slightly better Metro access. Or you could treat yourself to somewhere posh, like the St. Regis on 16th Street or the Ritz-Carlton in Georgetown.
For now, at least some of these hotels will be vying with one another for your custom, so there ought to be reasonable deals and competitive service. But soon all of the above will be owned by the same company.
On Tuesday, Marriott cleared the final regulatory hurdle in its $13.6 billion takeover of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, creating the world’s largest hotel company. The deal was nearly derailed when Anbang Insurance Group, a Chinese conglomerate, made an all-cash offer that exceeded Marriott’s initial $12.2 billion bid, prompting a bidding war that ended this spring when Anbang pulled out. But the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said it needed more time to review the terms, and the process dragged out through the summer. On Tuesday, regulators there finally gave their approval.
So how will the creation of this new mega-company affect business travellers? There are two main consequences.
The first, as noted above, is a decrease in competition. With Marriott and Starwood combined, 30 hotel brands will be under the same corporate umbrella. A report by CWT Solutions Group, a business-travel consultancy, shows just how dominant the company will become in certain markets. In Minneapolis, Marriott controls about 30% of corporate hotel spending; with Starwood added to its portfolio that will rise to a half. In Mexico City Marriott’s share will climb from about 20% to 48%. In Philadelphia and Los Angeles, it will control 46% of the market. Even in cities where Marriott has had a much smaller presence, such as Paris and Tokyo, its market share will more than double, giving it a substantial foothold.
“With daily room rates and occupancy levels at all-time highs in many major markets, basic economics dictate that less competition will only lead to even higher prices and more challenging negotiations, especially in markets with limited options for corporate travellers,” the report states. That will make it harder for companies to negotiate room rates and could put a crimp in travel budgets beginning around 2018.
Reduced competition will also mean less choice. It will not make sense for Marriott to retain 30 separate brands, many of which compete for the same customers. The future of Sheraton, for example, Starwood’s alternative to the Marriott brand, is uncertain.
The other big impact on business travellers will be on their loyalty programmes. Starwood Preferred Guest is perhaps the premier hotel rewards club in America. Wanderbat, a travel website, gives it a perfect 100 rating, compared with 88 for Marriott Rewards. The site also values its points at $22.68 per 1,000 versus $8.92 for the Marriott programme. For existing Starwood members, a new combined club could mean a devaluation of existing Starwood points; for Marriott members, the effect could be the opposite.
Ben Schlappig, an expert in such matters, writes on his One Mile at a Time blog:
When you look at member impressions of the merger, the general sentiment is that Marriott Rewards members are quite excited about it (“we’ll be able to redeem points at cool Starwood hotels soon, and might even pick up some elite benefits”), while Starwood Preferred Guest members are dreading it (“SPG is special precisely because they’re not Marriott or Hilton or IHG, so like every other merger up until now, things will get worse”).
Starwood’s programme is so good that it is credited with forcing other hotel groups—and Marriott in particular—to improve their versions just to compete. The combined company might no longer feel the incentive to be so generous. Still, it is worth pointing out that Marriott’s rewards programme is considered one of the better ones and, crucially, doesn’t have “blackout dates” (periods of high demand when points cannot be redeemed), so Starwood members won’t lose that perk. Plus, loyal members of either existing programme will find a slew of new hotels at their disposal.
The question for Starwood’s loyal customers is whether the smaller, more innovative brand will lose its charm and become subsumed by the Marriott behemoth. That is possible, but the opposite might also be true. As Travel & Leisure notes:
Starwood is a champion of innovation in the hotel industry. They’ve introduced all sorts of mobile features from concierge services to room keys, as well as ground-breaking hotel products like robotic butlers and in-room streaming services. And yet, Marriott has been able to take some of those ideas and implement them on a brand-wide scale quicker than Starwood could. Together, they can push the envelope further and faster—assuming red tape doesn’t get in their way.
In a deal this size, that is a mighty big assumption.
[So let us review: who, again, is responsible for the anti-trust/ anti-monopoly laws and their enforcement in this country?]

America’s presidential election
Indecision time
An unusually large number of undecided voters will pick the next president
Sep 24th 2016 | From the print edition

ON SEPTEMBER 26th two candidates will debate against each other on live television during what will probably be the most-watched political broadcast in American history. One of them is a former First Lady, senator and secretary of state. The other has never been elected to any office before and was, until last year, the host of “Celebrity Apprentice”. Yet this is not the most remarkable thing about America’s presidential election. What is truly extraordinary is that the polling currently suggests that these two candidates are, if not quite tied, then far closer than most people expected them to be at this stage of the race.
After the Democratic National Convention at the end of July, betting markets gave Donald Trump just a 20% chance of becoming the 45th president. His attacks on the parents of a soldier who was killed in Iraq seemed to have crossed a line. In the intervening weeks, his tone has not been moderated so much as become familiar. When he praises Vladimir Putin (“If he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him”), or suggests that Hillary Clinton’s security detail be disarmed, many voters now just shrug. Mrs Clinton, meanwhile, had to absent herself briefly from the campaign trail after a bout of pneumonia. The bombs in New York and New Jersey probably helped the candidate calling for fortified borders and profiling of Muslims.
In this section
• The low-rate world
• Potemkin Euro-armies
• Indecision time
• Adulterers beware
• The road to surfdom?
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• Election campaigns
• United States
• Politics
• Government and politics
• Elections and voting
Although the national polls have been edging closer for a while, what is even more striking is how polls of voters in individual states have tightened, sending forecasters scurrying to recalibrate their predictions (see article). Mrs Clinton is still the favourite, and Mr Trump has yet to score much above 40% in a national poll. But this is not because of any real enthusiasm for the Democratic candidate, who admits she is not much of a campaigner and has faced a barrage of questions about her trustworthiness. A higher proportion of voters are turned off by both of the main candidates in November than in any election since 1992, when Ross Perot mounted a strong third-party run, winning 19% of the vote.

This time it is not a populist third party that is threatening to siphon off tens of millions of votes from the Republican and Democratic candidates, but powerful feelings of reluctance and repulsion. Many Americans would like to start over with two new candidates, which is not an option. After the most unpleasant election campaign for half a century, nearly 20% say they remain undecided or plan not to vote for the Democrat or the Republican. What these voters do in six weeks’ time will determine the outcome of the election.
For those—including many lifelong Republicans—who are alarmed by Mr Trump’s recent advances in the polls, the first debate looks like a good opportunity for Mrs Clinton to win the waverers over. That may be wishful thinking. Throughout the campaign the two candidates have been judged by different standards. As a seasoned politico, Mrs Clinton is expected to deliver a polished performance. Mr Trump can exceed expectations just by not insulting lots of people or losing his temper. Interviewing him is like trying to catch fish in a fast-moving river with your bare hands. Debating against him will not be any easier.
Besides, at a time when Americans are sick of politicians, Mrs Clinton is a near-perfect avatar for all the things they do not like about politics (see article). Even though he has been running for president for over a year, has taken in $166m in political donations and has a pollster in charge of his campaign, Mr Trump still manages to avoid being thought of as a politician. There is just a chance, however, that the debate next week and the ones that follow it will at long last turn attention to something that has been largely ignored in all the fuss over the candidates’ personalities: their actual policies.
Chalk and cheese
Perhaps out of weary cynicism, many of the undecided look at Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton and think there is nothing to choose between them. This is not the case. In fact it is hard to think of two major-party candidates who have ever been as far apart on what they say they intend to do when installed in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue than this pair. For once it is not an exaggeration to say that this election is not just about who should be president, but about what sort of country America should be. And with all due respect to Gary Johnson, an affable libertarian, and Jill Stein, an environmentalist, there are only two candidates who can win. Americans who vote for a third party, or who abstain because they think politics is something that happens elsewhere, far removed from their daily lives, may be in for a surprise.
[Keep in mind that this is from the openly socialist weekly news magazine, The Economist.]

Against happiness
Companies that try to turn happiness into a management tool are overstepping the mark
Sep 24th 2016 | From the print edition

LORD Percy of Newcastle, Britain’s minister of education in 1924-29, was no fan of the fad for happy-clappy “progressive” education that spread among the country’s schools on his watch. He declared that it was all nonsense: “a child ought to be brought up to expect unhappiness.” This columnist feels the same suspicion of the fashion for happy-clappy progressive management theory that is rushing through the world’s companies and even some governments.
The leading miscreant is Zappos, an online shoe shop. The firm expects its staff to be in a state of barely controlled delirium when they sell shoes. Pret A Manger, a British food chain, specialises in bubbly good humour as well as sandwiches. Air stewards are trained to sound mellifluous but those at Virgin Atlantic seem on the verge of breaking out into a song-and-dance routine. Google until recently had an in-house “jolly good fellow” to spread mindfulness and empathy.
In this section
• Mistry’s elephant
• Who’s self-driving your car?
• Look, no claims!
• Welding bells
• Split ends
• The freaks are coming
• Against happiness
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A weird assortment of gurus and consultancies is pushing the cult of happiness. Shawn Achor, who has taught at Harvard University, now makes a living teaching big companies around the world how to turn contentment into a source of competitive advantage. One of his rules is to create “happiness hygiene”. Just as we brush our teeth every day, goes his theory, we should think positive thoughts and write positive e-mails.
Zappos is so happy with its work on joy that it has spun off a consultancy called Delivering Happiness. It has a chief happiness officer (CHO), a global happiness navigator, a happiness hustler, a happiness alchemist and, for philosophically minded customers, a happiness owl. Plasticity Labs, a technology firm which grew out of an earlier startup called the Smile Epidemic, says it is committed to supporting a billion people on their path to happiness in both their personal and professional lives.
The trend is not confined to the private sector. Several governments, including those of America, Britain, France and Australia, now publish for the benefit of their citizens regular reports on levels of national well-being. Bhutan has long measured its gross national happiness, and the United Arab Emirates boasts a brand-new Ministry of Happiness.
Businesspeople have long known there is money to be made in the field. Dale Carnegie, a leadership guru, said the best way to win friends and influence people was to seem upbeat. Disneyland is still “the happiest place on Earth”. American firms regularly bid their customers to “have a nice day”. One of the sharpest books published on the phenomenon is “The Managed Heart” from 1983, in which Arlie Hochschild, a sociologist at the University of California, Berkeley, noted that many employers demanded “emotional labour” from workers in the form of smiles and other expressions of “positive emotion”. Firms are keen to extract still more happiness from their employees as the service sector plays an ever greater role in the economy. Run-of-the-mill service firms are fighting for their lives against discounters. As customers, most people prefer their service with a smile rather than a snarl.
Some firms are trying to create some wellbeing, too, showering their employees with mindfulness courses, yoga lessons and anything else that proves that managers are interested in “the whole person”. Only happy fools would take that at face value. Management theorists note that a big threat to corporate performance is widespread disengagement among workers. Happy people are more engaged and productive, say psychologists. Gallup claimed in 2013 that the “unhappiness” of employees costs the American economy $500 billion a year in lost productivity.
One problem with tracking happiness is that it is such a vague metric: it is difficult to prove or disprove Gallup’s numbers since it is not entirely clear what is being measured. Companies would be much better off forgetting wishy-washy goals like encouraging contentment. They should concentrate on eliminating specific annoyances, such as time-wasting meetings and pointless memos. Instead, they are likely to develop ever more sophisticated ways of measuring the emotional state of their employees. Academics are already busy creating smartphone apps that help people keep track of their moods, such as Track Your Happiness and Moodscope. It may not be long before human-resource departments start measuring workplace euphoria via apps, cameras and voice recorders.
Be miserable. It’ll make you feel better
The idea of companies employing jolly good fellows and “happiness alchemists” may be cringe-making, but is there anything else really wrong with it? Various academic studies suggest that “emotional labour” can bring significant costs. The more employees are obliged to fix their faces with a rictus smile or express joy at a customer’s choice of shoes, the more likely they are to suffer problems of burnout. And the contradiction between companies demanding more displays of contentment from workers, even as they put them on miserably short-term contracts and turn them into self-employed “partners”, is becoming more stark.
But the biggest problem with the cult of happiness is that it is an unacceptable invasion of individual liberty. Many companies are already overstepping the mark. A large American health-care provider, Ochsner Health System, introduced a rule that workers must make eye contact and smile whenever they walk within ten feet of another person in the hospital. Pret A Manger sends in mystery shoppers to visit every outlet regularly to see if they are greeted with the requisite degree of joy. Pass the test and the entire staff gets a bonus—a powerful incentive for workers to turn themselves into happiness police. Companies have a right to ask their employees to be polite when they deal with members of the public. They do not have a right to try to regulate their workers’ psychological states and turn happiness into an instrument of corporate control.
[If you look through the wanted ads, you will note several businesses claim this happiness. Two, H&R Block, and UMB Holding (Kemper bank group), claim this, yet are notorious for being terrible places to work as reported by Glassdoor.com, and anecdotally personally.]

Deutsche Bank
Won’t pay! Can’t pay?
A $14 billion demand from America adds to the German lender’s troubles
Sep 24th 2016 | From the print edition

BILLS for pre-crisis buccaneering are still coming in. Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest lender, confirmed on September 15th that America’s Department of Justice (DoJ) had asked for $14 billion to settle possible claims connected with the underwriting and sale of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBSs) between 2005 and 2007. The next day Deutsche’s share price, already reeling after a wretched year, plunged by 8%. It was groggier still after the weekend, closing on September 20th at a 30-year low (see chart).

In this section
• How to not spend it
• Take cover
• Chinese sneezes
• Waking up
• Won’t pay! Can’t pay?
• The emperor’s new paunch
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American banks have settled with the DoJ for amounts between $3.2 billion (Morgan Stanley) and $16.7 billion (Bank of America), as well as agreeing on smaller sums with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), another regulator. Deutsche, which settled with the FHFA for $1.9 billion in 2013, insists that it will not pay anything near to what the DoJ has asked for, and it surely won’t. Citigroup, which reached an RMBS deal with the department in 2014, reportedly haggled its way from $12 billion to $7 billion.
Even so, Deutsche can ill afford a hefty bill. In 2015 it lost €6.8 billion ($7.4 billion). John Cryan, the chief executive for the past 14 months, scrapped the dividend and has told shareholders to expect nothing (and no profits) in 2016. After the shares’ latest tumble, Deutsche trades at around a quarter of the net book value of its assets. The price of five-year credit-default swaps (a form of insurance against default) on its senior debt is well above that paid by Europe’s other leading banks. Data released this week by America’s Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation on capital-asset ratios suggested that Deutsche’s status as the riskiest of a score of big banks is worsening.
Deutsche’s ratio of equity to risk-weighted assets, an important measure of a bank’s resilience, was 10.8% at the end of June, weaker than its peers’. Mr Cryan intends to raise it to 12.5% by 2018. With risk-weighted assets of around €400 billion, that 1.7% gap works out at nearly €7 billion.
The disposal of Deutsche’s stake in Hua Xia, a Chinese bank, is expected to make up around 0.5 points of that gap. The sale of Postbank, a German retail business, though put off for the time being, should eventually fill a bit more of the hole. So will cost cuts and the ditching of other, “non-core” assets. (Changes to international bank-capital rules, which will increase risk-weighted assets by giving extra emphasis to operational risk, will push in the other direction.) A big fine will make it harder to close up the rest without asking investors for more capital.
The bank has already set aside €5.5 billion for litigation expenses. However, that covers not only the RMBS claims but also the potential cost of investigations by American and British authorities into whether lax controls at Deutsche allowed money-launderers to whisk cash out of Russia. Every extra euro of penalties, on either count, will take Mr Cryan further away from his equity-ratio goal.
Analysts had reckoned that Deutsche might pay $3 billion or so—around the bottom of the American banks’ range of penalties—from its litigation pot for RMBSs. Now the market guesses, from the scant evidence of the DoJ’s demand, that the price may be twice that, or more; uncertainty about the outcome is adding to the jitters.
Other European banks—Barclays, Credit Suisse, HSBC, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and UBS—are also in the DoJ’s sights. Shares in Credit Suisse and RBS shuddered most after the DoJ’s demand to Deutsche, falling by 4% or so. The Swiss lender has provided SFr1.6 billion ($1.6 billion) for legal costs of all sorts. RBS has set aside £7.5 billion ($9.7 billion), but this does not include possible RMBS penalties. (Among the state-owned British bank’s woes are the mis-selling of insurance and a shareholder lawsuit over a rights issue in 2008, months before calamity struck.) But if estimating Deutsche’s bill is brave, taking a stab at the rest is downright foolhardy.
Recently rumours have swirled that Deutsche might merge with its domestic rival, Commerzbank, or sell its asset-management arm to raise cash. Mr Cryan has told his staff not to “become distracted by speculation about alleged mergers or sales plans.” The boss continued: “We have enough on our plate to solve on our own.” Indeed they do.
[On the surface, this looks like a “who cares?” The BHO administration has been going after everyone who made bail-out deals and effectively wants to overturn them. They’ve stolen billions USD from U.S. banks like JPMorganChase who were asked to participate in the bailouts even though they were 100% solvent, unlike Freddie & Fannie. Now the BHO Admin is going after foreign banks. Consider what this means to all deals, contracts, and negotiations in the future that deal with the U.S. government.]

Keystone key: Trump in Pennsylvania
Lots of states are deemed “must-win” for presidential hopefuls, but few deserve the tag. However, in 2016 most plausible paths to victory for Donald Trump run through Pennsylvania, explaining why the businessman will be there today for two events (no Republican presidential candidate has won the state since 1988). He is due to start with a boosterish speech—expect some version of the conservative cry “drill, baby, drill”—at a shale oil and gas conference in Pittsburgh, western Pennsylvania. The west’s rust-belt counties, full of bleak former mining and mill towns, are prime Trump territory. Big wins among blue-collar whites there could offset Democratic dominance in such cities as Philadelphia. Next Mr Trump heads south-east to a rally in Delaware County, one of several Philadelphia suburbs where more-educated, culturally moderate whites act as swing voters, albeit with a Democratic lean in presidential elections. Minimising losses is his task there.

[Once again, work calls. There is a butt load of stuff from Europe and Asia on the 2016 election. None of it good from our perspective. Think before you vote.]

September 16, 2016

Is Deference Really Safer than Deterrence, Victor Hanson [nc]

Is Deference Really Safer than Deterrence?
September 15, 2016 2:57 pm / Leave a Comment / victorhanson
Beware international affairs the next five months, a dangerous period for America.
By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review online
Deterrence is a nation’s ability to discourage aggressors by instilling in them a credible fear of punishment far greater than any perceived gain that could be achieved by an attack.
Deterrence is quite different from deference, which is a courteous accommodation to the will of another, often one deemed superior.
Deterrence is ultimately enhanced by the possession of overwhelming military force, but it is unfortunately not thereby ensured.
France, the Low Countries, and the British expeditionary force had a combined larger army, more tanks and comparable air forces, when Germany nevertheless attacked in surprise fashion and destroyed them in six weeks in May and June 1940. What the Allies lacked were not the guns and soldiers but the credibility that they would use them with dispatch, skill, and determination.

Unfortunately, after eight years, Obama and his staff seem still confused over what deterrence is. The president believes that calm can be maintained through either apology and assurances or occasional tough but empty rhetoric — apparently on the premise that because the United States has overwhelming military force, aggressors would never logically cross it.
In contrast, the Neanderthals of the world assume that U.S. force is now becoming irrelevant and that the president is entirely predictable: occasionally eager to compromise and lecture, usually full of braggadocio, and always without credible follow-up. To be blunt and cruel, they find Obama the proverbial freshman loudmouth whom bullying seniors for sport enjoy separating from his lunch money.
Beware the next five months, perhaps our most dangerous period since the lame-duck Carter presidency of 1980.
The host Chinese rudely first ignored and then insulted the presidential entourage when it landed for the G-20 summit. The Chinese wish to remind us that they have established a global precedent that any nation can build an artificial island in the middle of commercial routes and thereby declare that new sovereign air and sea territorial rights emanate from it. They also remind the world of that achievement by juvenile taunts to a visiting American retinue. Does anyone think that one such island will not soon lead to an entire archipelago — or that a peaceful world can operate on such laws of the jungle?
Putin, in the manner of the Cheshire Cat, recently flashed a mischievous grin for cameras as he shook Obama’s hand. The president later characterized their tense private meeting: “Typically, the tone of our meetings are candid, blunt, businesslike — and this one was no different.”
Putin is close to establishing the “blunt” reality that the territory of the former Soviet Empire belongs to Moscow, either to annex outright or to control by compliant dictators. For sport, his air forces buzz ours, and do in the air what the Iranians do at sea.
Obama’s reset has proved a veritable greenlight to Putin, who was invited into the Middle East to take ownership of the problem of Syria’s weapons of mass destruction and to deflect attention from the embarrassment of American faux red lines. He did neither — and never left.
From the get-go in 2009, Putin interpreted the Obama administration’s reset criticism — of George W. Bush’s efforts to promote missile defense in Eastern Europe and to sanction Putin over his Ossetian adventure — as an incentive for more aggression.
When Obama points to our supposed cyber-warfare offensive and defensive superiority as a veiled warning to the Russians to stop hacking and interfering with our electoral process, it becomes yet another reassurance to Putin to continue his mischief. Putin wonders why a targeted power would talk publicly of its superior capabilities to retaliate rather than privately just employ them. The answer, of course, is the eternal argument for appeasement: It is never necessary to take some immediate risks to avoid looming catastrophe.
When Obama assures the Russians and the world that the U.S. does not wish a “wild west” Internet of cyber-warfare and thus needs some sort of adult global cyber-supervision, he is again playing Chamberlain to Putin’s Hitler — vowing not to stoop to Nazi aggression and appealing to the League of Nations to create some international norms of good behavior in lieu of democratic deterrence. Tragically, the protocols of the Martha’s Vineyard waterfront do not apply to the Chinese and the Russians.
The unhinged president of the Philippines just slurred Obama with foul invectives. Rodrigo Duterte scoffed of Obama, “Who is he? . . . I am a president of a sovereign state. And we have long ceased to be a colony of the United States: Son of a b****, I will swear at you.”
Why would a Philippines president who is threatened by Chinese expansionism ridicule his American counterpart? Is the fact that Duterte will talk down to a protector in a way he would never to an aggressor an intentional signal of whom to fear when rhetoric escalates to fire?
In the South Sudan, government security forces recently attacked two U.S. carloads of diplomats, in an “accident” to remind its greatest benefactor how unhappy it is with us — as if American magnanimity naturally should earn contempt rather than appreciation.
Iranian war boats show their thanks for the Iranian give-away deal by circling and interfering with U.S. ships, in hopes either of provoking or humiliating them on a world stage. Is the Iranian thinking not to deny huge American cash payoffs for ransom but to broadcast such American naïveté — and the foolishness of anyone who could be so hoodwinked by such adolescent skullduggery?
We are returning to the tenor of the 1980 hostage crisis, when Iranians chanted not just “Death to America” but also “America can’t do a thing,” not worried about inciting an unpredictable U.S. but reminding the world how predictable a pitiful helpless giant actually was.
Perhaps if a president trades an American AWOL traitor for four terrorist kingpins, or does little when an American ship is hijacked on the seas, or sends $400 million in cash at night in foreign currencies for hostages, or, when abroad, dubs his fellow citizens “lazy” and racist, provocateurs assume he would not do much either when Iran lets off a bomb?
North Korea sends more missiles in Japan’s direction to remind the U.S. and Japan that at any time they could be nuclear-tipped and that Obama cannot do anything to stop them. Apparently, Pyongyang assumes that, should Japan shoot one of its missiles down, the U.S. would intervene with a jazzed-up version of the beer summit and thereby try to adjudicate between two equally understandable positions. A fifth North Korean nuclear device was just tested, and we may get another by Election Day.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey does not seem to appreciate the “special relationship” with America that Obama had previously said characterized his own unique outreach to the Muslim world. Instead, Erdogan has blasted American criticism of his own crackdowns of dissidents and is now settling scores with the Kurds. When the Turks hear from Obama (the open-borders and “punish your enemies” president) that sovereign borders must matter, they apparently do not know whether to laugh or cry.
Angela Merkel, who has nodded to the Obama open-borders policy as a model for her own self-generated catastrophic influx, was just wiped out in regional German elections, and is becoming the most unpopular foreign leader in Europe. Did not Merkel learn from the Brexit vote that having Obama against rather than for you is far preferable?
On his last Asian tour, Obama promised millions of dollars in aid to Laos to uncover unexploded bombs, in the course of reminding the world of the obscene tonnage dropped over a half-century ago by U.S. planes during the Vietnam War (“whatever our intentions”).
It may have been a noble Obama gesture, but the president of the United States might have at least suggested that our intention, even if misguided, had been to keep Communist autocrats from destroying a free Laos in the manner that we had done the same successfully in post-war Greece, Turkey, and South Korea. Under the Obama doctrine, I suppose, he should next apologize to France for Americans dropping bombs (many of which are likewise still unexploded) on its occupied soil in World War II – on the “whatever our intentions” premise that the French were not necessarily better off liberated rather than living under the Third Reich’s SS.
So far Obama has opened a floodgate of petty anti-American behavior and slander throughout the world. Because it pays material if not psychological rewards, insulting or humiliating the U.S. will only escalate in the final months, as aggressors and the unhinged come out of the woodwork to manipulate what they see as a rare and nearly inexplicable opportunity.
Because Obama both apologizes and sermonizes, reminding his hosts how awful his own pre-Obama country had been and yet how they must measure up to his own current exacting moral standards, it is easy to see why he earns contempt rather than cooperation and empathy. If Obama when overseas describes fellow Americans as blinkered sloths, why would any foreigner disagree with the president of the United States or believe that Obama, as an American himself, has any moral stature?
When Daniel Noriega once went on a rant about the U.S. in Nicaragua nearly 40 years ago, a stunned Obama pled exemption, insisting that he was a mere toddler when Noriega recited his litany of American culpability. If an elected leader will not defend his own country to a tin-horn Communist dictator, or will not suggest that all Americans, especially pampered multi-millionaires like Colin Kaepernick, should at least stand up for their national anthem, then why would anyone else defend such a country? Does the president grasp that he is giving a mini-lesson to observers on the erosion of deterrence: A greenlighted Kaepernick would only encourage other pampered multi-millionaire players to the point that the anthem would be rendered a farce.
Deterrence is not achieved by saber-rattling but certainly can be lost by braggadocio when not backed by concrete displays of force. For adversaries like Putin, the Iranians, the North Koreans, and the Chinese, the more Obama brags of the cyber-warfare capability of the U.S., or reminds the world of the omnipotent U.S. military, or condescendingly laughs at Putin’s class-cut-up or macho antics, or sets empty deadlines, step-over lines, and red lines, or appears ambiguous about his own country’s history and values, then the more our adversaries are encouraged to become provocative. The combination of empty boasting and perceived weakness needlessly incites thugs — and when added to self-righteous sermonizing and petty boasting and needling, can inflame enemies to try something stupid.
Will anti-Americanism always be limited to these juvenile snubs and verbal gymnastics?
We are not so much in immediate danger from stray missiles, provocative gun boats, loud-mouthed foreign leaders, or state-sponsored hackers. But the worry is that far worse is on the horizon, given that the loonier fringes among our enemies are gaining credence and credibility and might try something stupid that they otherwise would not dare — as Obama appears unaware that deterrence is always slowly and with danger achieved, but easily and quickly forfeited and with catastrophic consequences.

September 15, 2016

William Jefferson Clinton on Immigration [nc]

Joseph R. John
To jrjassoc@earthlink.net
Today at 4:39 AM

Only 1 ½ minutes long, but an Excellent speech by Democratic President William Jefferson Clinton


Joseph R. John, USNA ‘62

Capt USN(Ret)/Former FBI

Regional Chairman, Veterans 4 Trump, Southern California (Orange County, Imperial County, and San Diego County)

San Diego, CA 92108

September 14, 2016

News You’re Not Getting Elsewhere 14 Sep 16

News You’re Not Getting Elsewhere 14 September 2016

Africa Aerospace & Defence 2016
Support for AAD [AAD16D1]
14 September 2016

Several key state agencies and companies have firmed up their support for AAD 2016 recently with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, witnessed by Armscor chief executive Kevin Wakeford and Chief of the South African Air Force (SAAF), Lt Gen Zakes Msimang.
One of these is the Gautrain, the mass rapid transit system built primarily to relieve traffic congestion on the Johannesburg- Pretoria corridor. It was the biggest public-private partnership project in Africa, formed by the Gauteng provincial government, with local and foreign investors and expert rail companies that made up the Bombela Consortium.
It is managed by the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA, Hangar 1, Stand CE4), which is using AAD to showcase the 80km mass rapid transit system, soon to be expanded due to the success and popularity of the project. It forms the core of an efficient integrated public transport system to promote the use of and improve the image of public transport in Gauteng. Travelling at speeds close to 160km/h, the Gautrain has reduced travel time between Johannesburg and Pretoria to just 35 minutes.
Gautrain also serves the route from O R Tambo International Airport to Johannesburg Park and to Midrand, Centurion and Pretoria. Many visitors to AAD, including overseas exhibitors, are now using the comfortable, fast and well-appointed Gautrain.
According to GMA, the now well-established AAD has enabled it to highlight the implementation of the agency’s broad-based socioeconomic development (SED) strategy that is a cornerstone of the Gautrain Project. It is based on local skills development, capacity-building and job creation, with a principal objective of black economic empowerment. Equity participation by black men and women, and the procurement of services, equipment and materials from black empowerment entities (BEEs) enable the creation of new BEEs and simulates development of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) and the sustainable economic development of underprivileged communities.
A novel initiative announced by the Gauteng government was a partnership between GMA and Bookboon to make professional and business e-books available to Gautrain passengers from 6 September. For the next 12 months, passengers will be able to download free online books in the fields of engineering, IT, marketing, finance and entrepreneurship from Bookboon’s website.
Gauteng, the Place of Gold, comprises the metropoles of Johannesburg, Pretoria and Ekurhuleni. Although the smallest of South Africa’s nine provinces, it is the most populous and the economic hub of the country. It contributes 36.7 per cent of the country’s GDP and 10 per cent of the GDP of Africa, mainly in the financial, manufacturing, transport, technology and telecommunications sectors.
The Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA, Hangar 1, Stand CW9), established in 2012, is mandated to maximise the effect of developing the economy of Gauteng. This is achieved through facilitation of trade and investment, and increased strategic economic infrastructure.
According to the GGDA, it works with other spheres of government and the private sector to develop transformative infrastructure aimed at changing the way in which the province operates. It does not duplicate the work directly within the ambit of other departments, such as Transport, Public Works, Health and Education, but identifies projects that are catalytic, crosscutting, multi-sectoral and complex to manage. The particular expertise of the GGDA lies in designing large-scale projects.
Its subsidiary companies include the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC), The Innovation Hub (TIH), the Gauteng Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) and the Constitution Hill Development Company (ConHill).
The Gauteng Investment Centre (GIC) was set up to support the province’s economic development initiatives as a one-stop shop.
AAD has always had its home in Pretoria, in the City of Tshwane (Hangar 1, Stand CE9) metropolitan municipality, which has extended a hearty welcome to visitors and invested significant resources to ensure the success of this event.
AAD takes place at Air Force Base Waterkloof, located in Pretoria, often called the Jacaranda City for the 70,000 trees blooming in late spring with purple flowers. It is the country’s administrative capital, overlooked by the impressive Union Buildings, the seat of government in Pretoria.
Fairly small by international standards, the city nevertheless offers visitors a whole range of opportunities and venues for business, fine dining, sightseeing, tourism and sport. It boasts an impressive transport infrastructure, including various airports, a rapid bus system and the Gautrain to Johannesburg and the O R Tambo International Airport.
The official airline of AAD 2016 is South African Airways (SAA) (Hangar 1, Stand E13), the country’s national flag carrier. It is also the largest airline in South Africa, operating to 38 destinations into Africa and worldwide from its hub at O R Tambo International airport with a fleet of 54 modern aircraft.
AAD visitors are well-served by SAA’s regular flights on its extensive domestic and regional network, complemented by its ownership of low-cost airline Mango.
[Take note, Africa and South America are not the Ebola, Zeka ridden poverty pits represented by the media, nor are they at all interested in civil rights the way that we are.]

Sea Platforms
Indonesia’s first SIGMA 10514 frigate completes sea trials
Ridzwan Rahmat, Singapore – IHS Jane’s Navy International
14 September 2016

Indonesia’s first SIGMA 10514 Perusak Kawal Rudal (PKR) guided-missile frigate, Raden Eddy Martadinata, undergoing sea trials in the Java Sea. Source: Damen
Key Points
• The most complex warship ever to be assembled in Indonesia has successfully completed its sea trials
• The completion of trials can be seen as a validation of Indonesia’s ability to assemble more sophisticated warships beyond small surface combatants and support ships
The first SIGMA 10514 Perusak Kawal Rudal (PKR) guided-missile frigate on order for the Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut, or TNI-AL) has completed sea trials and is on track to meet its delivery schedule, shipbuilder Damen announced on 13 September.
The vessel, which will be the future KRI Raden Eddy Martadinata with pennant number 331, is one of two SIGMA 10514 frigates being jointly constructed by Damen and Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL.
Raden Eddy Martadinata first underwent seven days of basin trials at PT PAL’s facilities in Surabaya to ensure that its propulsion and safety systems were fully operational prior to its shakedown cruise.
This was then followed by a passage from Surabaya to the Java Sea where the ship underwent sea trials that included tests of its weapon, radar, and sonar systems while underway, said Damen.
“The trials were successful with almost all the systems passing their assessments first time around”, the company said, adding that certain parts of the ship, such as the accommodation, will still require minor modifications that will be undertaken towards the end of September 2016.
The 105 m platform features a standard displacement of approximately 2,400 tonnes, and can accommodate a crew of 120. The vessel has a top speed of 28 kt, a maximum range of 5,000 n miles at 14 kt, and a standard range of 4,000 n miles at 18 kt.
Raden Eddy Martadinata has been configured for anti-surface, anti-submarine, and anti-air missions with a suite of weapons that include launchers for MBDA MM40 Exocet Block II anti-ship missiles, six (two triple) Eurotorp B515 torpedo launchers, and a 12-cell vertical launch system that can deploy the MBDA VL-MICA surface-to-air missiles.
[Used to think that there is no reason why Indonesia should be investing so heavily in a modern navy. Well, with the U.S. Navy not even able to fly 20% of their aircraft for lack of parts, and the navy having been reduced to being unable to be a ½ ocean navy, and China moving to take over the entire area, having a modern navy is a good idea in this part of the world.]

Africa Aerospace & Defence 2016
Unleashing Africa’s defence and aerospace potential [AAD16D1]
Don Henning
14 September 2016

At a breakfast media briefing by the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, the Hon Ms Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa- Nqakula, ahead of the opening of the Africa Aerospace and Defence industries’ exhibition, emphasised the potential of growth for AAD and of the work of the National Defence Industry Council. The new council is seen as a crucial role player in determining the trajectory of the local industry in future.
She expressed her pride in the current AAD exhibition with its more than 440 exhibitors from 34 countries and said “true to the theme for this edition of ‘Unleashing Africa’s Defence and Aerospace Potential’ we have, for the first time, been honoured by the establishment of an African [Union] Pavilion. In this, no less than six of our continental partner nations are exclusively exhibiting”. However she then spoke more about how the influence of the exhibition should be expanded further.
She referred to the establishment of a Transformative Enterprise Development Programme through the Council for Science and Industrial Research (CSIR): “Through this initiative we are currently incubating five black companies and intend to support them from research and development to industrialisation in various technology areas ranging from photonics, ICT and radar technologies.”
There is a need for the government and the industry to promote the representation of the demographics of South Africa, including an emphasis on women in the industry. She sees small, medium and micro enterprises and the black defence industry component growing and entering more into the mainstream. She called on companies in the defence sector to widen black ownership and participation in the industry.
AAD should also not be only about South Africa, it should represent African interests. For this reason, the African Pavilion at AAD this year is very significant. African countries have potential and should be encouraged to showcase what they have. There could be a growing number of partnerships with companies in different African countries. As an example, she referred to the upgrade of the Rooivalk platform and said: “For this purpose, and in line with the global trend of collaborative defence programmes, we are willing to engage with like-minded partner nations in the areas of risk- sharing co-development and co-production as we upgrade this platform.’’

Land Platforms
AAD 2016: Denel develops ‘Africa Truck’
Helmoed-Römer Heitman, Pretoria – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly
14 September 2016
Denel Vehicle Systems has developed a 6×6 truck based on its RG31 series of mine-resistant ambushed protected (MRAP) vehicles.
The ‘Africa Truck’, which has a gross vehicle weight of 28 tonnes and an empty weight of 12 tonnes, has been designed to be as modular as possible and can accommodate a range of superstructures or a hook lift system. It is also designed to be as simple as possible with a focus on maintenance in the field far from even forward workshops, although its electronically controlled engine might present a challenge in this regard.
The 269 kW diesel drives through an Allison automatic gearbox with a DVS-developed two-speed transfer case. It uses rigid axles with differential locks, while the suspension comprises parabolic leaf springs with double-acting hydraulic shock-absorbers. The vehicle uses 16.00 R20 tyres on 10×20-inch split rims, with provision for a central tyre-inflation system. The steering is hydraulically assisted.
The demonstrator vehicle is 10 m long, 2.6 m wide and 2.74 m high, and features a kerb-to-kerb turning circle of 30 m. It has a ground clearance of 455 mm, approach and departure angles of 40° and 30° respectively, can climb a 60% gradient, and has a maximum speed of 110 km/h.
Ballistic protection is to STANAG Level 1, although it can also protect against 7.62 x 39 mm armour-piercing incendiary rounds with appliqué armour, while mine protection is offered against an 8 kg minimum blast anywhere under the vehicle.
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Denel Vehicle Systems’ ‘Africa Truck’ is based on the company’s RG31 series of MRAP vehicles. (Denel Vehicle Systems)

Africa Aerospace & Defence 2016
Puma protected against HEAT [AAD16D1]
Christopher F Foss
14 September 2016

An OTT Technologies Puma (4×4) protected vehicle is being shown at AAD for the first time fitted with the British AmSafe Bridport Tarian RPG (rocket propelled grenade) armour system.
Tarian was originally developed in close conjunction with the UK Defence Science & Technology Laboratory to provide increased levels of protection against RPG and other weapons fitted with a single high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead. The armour system defeats the HEAT warhead before it comes into contact with the main armour of the platform. The Tarian panel armour system is a patented net-type solution that is attached to a lightweight flexible mounting system, which is positioned about 250 to 300mm away from the hull of the vehicle.
It provides a weight saving of up to 90 per cent when compared with traditional steel/slat armour and is 75 per cent lighter when compared with aluminium. In addition it provides the crew with an enhanced level of situational awareness when compared with bar/slat armour.
The original Tarian RPG armour system was installed on the cabs of British Army Oshkosh Defense 1070F Heavy Equipment Transporters (HETs). Following this, the UK MoD placed a contract for installation of Tarian on many of its platforms including the Foxhound Light Protected Patrol vehicle, of which 400 have now been delivered to the British Army.
Following a competition, the Danish Acquisition and Logistics Organisation (DALO) placed a contract for an undisclosed amount to supply the Tarian RPG armour system to the Danish Army over a seven-year period. This is for installation on a wide range of tracked and wheeled armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) as well as its tactical support vehicles including trucks, which now have to operate alongside AFVs.
This was the first export order for the Tarian RPG armour and AmSafe Bridport has signed a number of strategic agreements with AFV contractors in Europe and Asia to integrate it on their platforms.

Air Platforms
China to promote Y-20 transport and J-31 fighter aircraft at Zhuhai Airshow
Gabriel Dominguez, London – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly
14 September 2016

China is to promote its Y-20 heavy transport (seen here) and fifth-generation J-31 fighter aircraft at the 11th Zhuhai Airshow in November. Source: Xinhua
China is to promote its Y-20 heavy transport and fifth-generation J-31 fighter aircraft at the 11th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, which is set to open on 1 November in the southern port city of Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, according to Xinhua news agency.
The state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) will prominently display the two aircraft, which are built by AVIC subsidiaries, at the six-day aerospace trade show, said the media outlet.
The first two Y-20 aircraft were delivered in June to the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) after nearly a decade of design, development and test flights. Built by the Xian Aircraft Corporation, the Y-20 reportedly has a maximum take-off weight of 200 tonnes and is designed to carry cargo and people over long distances and in difficult weather conditions.
The transport aircraft made its maiden flight in January 2013 and debuted in November 2014 at the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition (also known as the Zhuhai Airshow).
The J-31 fighter, which is manufactured by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, is the second stealth-enhanced fighter that China has indigenously developed after the Chengdu J-20. Its maiden test flight was reportedly completed in October 2012.
[Pay attention: STEALTH – Why does a peaceful China need STEALTH?]

Thailand includes submarine funding in 2017 budget
Jon Grevatt, Bangkok – IHS Jane’s Defence Industry
14 September 2016
Thailand’s recently announced 2017 defence budget is understood to have included funding for submarines, suggesting that the Thai government is preparing to follow through on a previous agreement to procure boats from China.
The Thai National Assembly approved the country’s defence budget on 8 September. The allocation, which comes into effect from October, reached THB210.7 billion (USD6 billion) and, according to the government, represented a slight increase of THB220 million over actual military spending in 2016.
While a breakdown of spending has not been disclosed by the government, sources have indicated to IHS Jane’s recently that the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) allocation, which is expected to reach about THB42 billion, includes funding to support the procurement of up to three S26T (Thailand) diesel-electric submarines, a modified export version of the Yuan-class (Type 041).

Reutech acquires Nanoteq
Helmoed-Römer Heitman, Pretoria – IHS Jane’s Defence Industry
14 September 2016
South African defence group Reutech, part of the listed Reunert group, has acquired Nanoteq, which develops and manufactures the cryptographic hardware for military radio systems and mobile telephones.
South Africa’s Competition Commission approved the acquisition and resultant merger on 13 September, but imposed some conditions. Concerned that the complete vertical integration that the merger will bring, and that this could disadvantage armaments acquisition agency Armscor, the Commission ruled that the pricing policy applied by Nanoteq as an independent entity must be retained for dealings with Armscor.
Reutech and Nanoteq have also undertaken to enter into an agreement with Armscor covering the “protection and control of sovereign and strategic intellectual property”, the ownership of which will, where Armscor or the Department of Defence have funded development, be vested in Armscor as an agent of the Department of Defence.

The Economist explains
What are the Minsk agreements?
Sep 13th 2016, 23:00 by N.S. | MOSCOW

THE first deal to end the crisis in Ukraine was signed in early September 2014. Two years later, with more than 9,500 people killed, the conflict is still festering. The latest attempt at a ceasefire from September 1st broke down after little more than a week; on September 13th, separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine raised hopes when they announced a unilateral ceasefire, their first such offer. Yet as Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, meets Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, in Kiev to discuss the Minsk agreements today, it is clear that peace remains a distant dream. “We have experienced long periods of standstill and when progress has been made, it has been in millimetres,” says Mr Steinmeier. What are the Minsk agreements and what do they stipulate?
In February 2014 Ukraine’s ex-president, Viktor Yanukovych, fled Kiev following months of street protests. Russia annexed Crimea in March. Hostilities erupted in eastern Ukraine, where a Russian-backed separatist movement began seizing cities. Ukrainian forces went on the offensive, and appeared poised to retake the separatist-held territories by August. But Russian reinforcements rolled in from across the border, knocking the Ukrainians back and threatening to push farther into the country’s heartland. A hasty peace deal between Ukraine, Russia and the separatists halted the onslaught. But this agreement, known as Minsk I, soon broke down. By January 2015, full-scale fighting had broken out again. In February, Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s François Hollande stepped in to revive the ceasefire, brokering a “Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements”, known as Minsk II.
The product of a marathon all-night negotiating session, Minsk II offers a detailed roadmap for resolving the conflict. The 13 point-plan begins with a ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front lines, to be monitored by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). An “all for all” prisoner exchange, local elections and amnesty for fighters are to follow; both sides are to ensure the safe delivery of humanitarian aid and work toward the socio-economic reintegration of the separatist-held territories. Ukraine promises to implement constitutional changes to provide for “decentralisation”; in exchange, all “foreign armed formations” will be withdrawn and Ukraine will regain control of its state borders. But the agreement is riddled with loose language and the sequencing of many steps is highly convoluted.
In public, officials declare that there is no alternative to the Minsk agreements. But in private, few see any chance for its full implementation. Ukraine and the West insist on a full ceasefire before moving forward with the political elements of the deal. Russia, in turn, accuses Ukraine of failing to fulfill its political promises. Domestically Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, faces staunch resistance to an agreement that grants Moscow most of what it wanted, saddling Kiev with responsibility for the separatist territories while giving them enough autonomy to hinder Ukraine’s Western integration. Working group meetings continue in Minsk, but they are a fig leaf for real progress. Although the worst of the violence has abated, skirmishes along the line of contact continue. Yet the simmering status quo is not peace, and thus no guarantee that there will not be more war.

The Philippines
All latest updates
Rodrigo Duterte may undo the economic gains of recent years
The new president is not just crass and brutal, but also alarmingly volatile
Sep 14th 2016 | Asia

UNDER Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines since late June, things have a habit of spiralling out of control. First came his campaign against drugs, which has led to the killing of almost 3,000 suspected dealers by police and unknown assailants, without even a nod at due process. In less than three months, he has presided over three-quarters as many extra-judicial killings as there were lynchings of black people in America between 1877 and 1950.
When Barack Obama expressed concern about the killings, Mr Duterte called him a “son of a whore”. America’s president tried to shrug off the insult. But Mr Duterte took the row to a new level this week, calling for American special forces to leave the southern island of Mindanao, where they have been training Filipino troops fighting several debilitating insurgencies. “For as long as we stay with America,” he said, brandishing a picture of an atrocity committed by American soldiers more than a century ago, “we will never have peace.”
Related topics
• United States
• Asia
• China
• South-East Asia
• Philippines
On September 13th he told his defence secretary to buy weapons from Russia and China rather than America, hitherto the Philippines’ closest ally, and the source of hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid each year. He also said the navy would no longer patrol the South China Sea alongside American vessels. “I do not like the Americans,” said Mr Duterte. “It’s simply a matter of principle for me.”

In other words, Mr Duterte is not just crass and brutal; he is alarmingly volatile. He has little experience of national politics, let alone international affairs, having been mayor of Davao, a city of 1.5m or so, since 1988 (apart from a brief stint as vice-mayor to his daughter and three years as a congressman). Since becoming president, he has threatened to withdraw from the United Nations and to declare martial law. He idolises Ferdinand Marcos, a former dictator who did impose martial law. He says he wants to give Marcos a hero’s burial in Manila. All this, naturally, frightens both local and foreign investors and threatens to undermine the Philippines’ newly acquired status as South-East Asia’s economic star.
The Philippine economy grew by 7% in the second quarter, year-on-year, roughly double the long-run rate, and faster than China, let alone most other countries in the region. Unemployment, at 5.4%, is falling. The population is young and English-speaking, and a booming service sector is keeping more educated Filipinos from seeking their fortunes abroad. This burgeoning middle class—along with growing remittances from Filipinos abroad—anchors strong domestic consumption. During the six-year term of Mr Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino, the Philippine stock market boomed. Foreign direct investment more than doubled from 2009, the year before Mr Aquino took office, to 2015.
Mr Duterte thus took over a country that was doing very well economically. His campaign focused not on abstractions such as foreign investment and the proper strategic balance between China and America, but on quotidian concerns: crime, traffic, corruption. After admitting that economic policy was not his strong suit, he promised to “employ the economic minds of the country” and leave it to them. His advisers duly released a sensible ten-point plan for the economy: it emphasised macroeconomic stability, improved infrastructure, reduced red tape and a more straightforward and predictable system of land ownership. Mr Duterte has also promised to focus on rural development and tourism. Workers’ advocates are pleased with his promise to crack down on “contractualisation”, whereby employers hire labour from third-party suppliers on short-term contracts to avoid paying benefits. Internet in the Philippines is slow and expensive; Mr Duterte has warned the incumbent telecoms firms to improve service or face foreign competition.
Unfortunately, Mr Duterte’s love of lynching and his propensity to impugn the mothers of foreign dignitaries are making investors nervous. Earlier this month the American Chamber of Commerce warned that the anti-drug campaign was calling into question the government’s commitment to the rule of law. An Asia-based financial adviser says that since Mr Duterte took over, investors are demanding a higher risk premium to hold Philippine assets. As Guenter Taus, who heads the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, puts it, “A lot of people are hesitant to put their money into the Philippines at this point.”
Mr Duterte’s critics fear that the drug trade will only subside temporarily, but the damage done to democratic institutions will linger. The police freely admit that drug syndicates have taken advantage of Mr Duterte’s green light to kill rivals or potential informants. Police impunity makes many nervous: one longtime foreign resident of Manila says he has started to hear fellow expats talk about leaving. He worries that an off-duty policeman could take issue with something he said or did, shoot him and get away scot-free. “This didn’t happen under Aquino,” he says. “You didn’t feel there was a group of people who could kill someone and not go to jail.”
Local businessmen worry that the president might simply denounce their firms as transgressors in some respect, without producing any evidence. Mr Duterte, after all, did something similar when he published a list of officials he accused of being drug dealers. By the same token, Mr Duterte singled out Roberto Ongpin, the chairman of an online-gambling company, as an example of a businessman with undue political influence. Shares in Mr Ongpin’s company promptly plunged more than 50%; Mr Ongpin resigned a day later, and promised to sell his stake in the firm. “Everyone is scared,” says one corporate bigwig. “None of the big business groups will stand up to him. They’re all afraid their businesses will be taken away.”
A similar uncertainty hangs over Mr Duterte’s foreign policy. He seems to be inclined to strengthen the Philippines’ ties with China, at the expense of its alliance with America. During the campaign he criticised his predecessor’s frosty relations with China. The two governments are said to be preparing for bilateral talks—something that has not happened since 2013, when Mr Aquino’s government took a territorial dispute with China to an international tribunal. Shortly after Mr Duterte took office, the tribunal ruled in the Philippines’ favour, but he seems reluctant to press the point.
During the campaign Mr Duterte mused about the dispute with China over the Scarborough Shoal, a rich fishing ground in the South China Sea, “Build me a train around Mindanao, build me a train from Manila to Bicol…and I’ll shut up.” He also admitted that an anonymous Chinese donor had paid for some of his political ads. His reticence with China is all the more striking given his otherwise belligerent rhetoric and swaggering persona.
Of course, it is not clear that Mr Duterte will be able to strike a deal with China, or even that he will continue to pursue the diplomatic volte-face he seems to be contemplating. The optimistic view sees Mr Duterte as more bluster than substance. His chief of police claimed on Sunday that the anti-drug campaign had reduced the supply of illegal drugs by 90%. That may allow him to claim victory and stir up some new furore, even as his advisers soldier on with the more mundane business of government. Optimists speculate that if he follows through on his pledges to improve infrastructure and boost rural development, he might even leave the Philippines in a better condition than he found it.
The pessimistic view sees Mr Duterte continuing to lose friends and alienate people. He picks fights with America, with business, with the other branches of government. China exploits his weakness, increasing its military presence in the Scarborough Shoal without building any railway lines. Investors stay away, and growth declines. The strongman ends up weakening his country. In the Philippines, sadly, that is a familiar story.

[There is much more to post since the last post. I will try to get to them, but my taxes have gone up, my income not, and my purchasing power has gone down. More when I get the chance.]

September 8, 2016

Who Are Those Darned “Elites”? Victor Hanson [nc]

Who Are Those Darned “Elites”?
September 8, 2016 12:00 pm / Leave a Comment / victorhanson
by Victor Davis Hanson
Defining Ideas

The United States and Europe are seeing a surge in populist anger toward the so-called elites. The German public, for example, is furious at Chancellor Angela Merkel for her position on immigration from the Middle East. British voters have forsaken the postmodern European Union. And working class Americans have rallied around political outsider Donald Trump as their presidential favorite, something that neither the Clinton machine nor the establishment of the Republican Party anticipated.

But who exactly are these unpopular elites—and what exactly have they done that has enraged middle-class voters in Western democracies?

Since ancient times, elites have been defined various ways, sometimes by birth (the Greeks’ hoi aristoi), by capital (hoi plousioi), by perceived class (hoi oligoi), by acknowledged influence (hoi gnorimoi), by high culture (hoi beltistoi)—and sometimes by a combination of all of the above.

Today, people are especially mad at political elites, a loose term for those who govern at the state and federal level. They include not just our elected legislators, governors, and President, but also the unelected (and unaccountable) members of the vast government archipelago—cabinet officers, bureaucratic grandees, top military officers, and regulators. Beyond these politicos, the Western elite is comprised, too, of the transnational mega-wealthy, who have been enriched by globalization, especially international finance, investments, and technologies that lubricate worldwide dissemination of capital and communications.

An elite is also defined by education (preferably Ivy League and its coastal counterparts), residence (primarily between Boston and Washington on the East Coast, and from San Diego to Berkeley on the Pacific), profession (executive positions in government, media, law, foundations, the arts, and academia), celebrity (name recognition from television, Hollywood, network news, finance, etc.), and ideology, such as those prominent in the progressive movement. To receive a glimpse of our next generation of elites, read the betrothal notices in The New York Times, look at the interns at Goldman Sachs, and consider the junior faculty at Harvard.

These select few define our culture, educate young adults on college campuses, run governments, make most economic and foreign policy, entertain America, and dispense the news. And the public is angry at them for a variety of reasons.

First, the elites seem to the middle classes to be out of touch and incompetent. Their sterling degrees and titles, voters increasingly think, do not reflect the quality of their minds or the depth of their educations, but have become status markers separating “them” from everyone else. On top of that, these elites sometimes utter silly things, like that there are 57 states, that soldiers are “corps-men,” and that ISIS is a “jayvee organization.” The ruling class is not like those who once built the Hoover Dam, triumphed at the Battle of Midway, or built the interstate freeway system. Instead, the Wall Street implosion of 2008, the negotiations over the Iran deal, California’s stalled high-speed rail project, the Affordable Care Act meltdown, and the doubling of the national debt in eight years reflect either inexperience and ignorance or perhaps indifference and callousness.

The immigration pushback was directed at the managerial class that allowed millions into the West without rudimentary vetting—the work of bunglers and ideologues, not true technocrats. Americans increasingly pass on going to the movies, a genre that has devolved either into tired pyrotechnics, pale remakes of prior classics, or psychodramas about the evils of corporations, the military, or the CIA. It is now expected that a New York Times article will be followed soon by corrections acknowledging basic mistakes of fact and sourcing.

Second, public furor arises over elite sanctimoniousness and hypocrisy. Progressive elites are shielded from the ramifications of their own ideologies. Open borders advocates like former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa or Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, for example, condemn walls and fences as backward and inhumane—and then ensure that their own residences are quite well fenced and protected from hoi polloi.

Al Gore is a progressive green prophet—but sold his bankrupt cable channel for millions of dollars to Al Jazeera, a company that is fueled by carbon-exporting, monarchical, and largely anti-Semitic Qatar. John Kerry is a big-tax, big-government aficionado—except when it is a question of avoiding taxes on his multimillion-dollar yacht by moving it from high-tax Massachusetts to a cheaper berth in low-tax Rhode Island.

The hypocrisy does not end there. Jet travel is supposedly the worse example of an outsized carbon footprint—except for environmentalists like Leonardo DiCaprio or Bono. Academics decry wage imbalances among Wal-Mart employees, but remain silent about the far greater pay inequity on campus, where graduate students and part-time lecturers often make less than half as much as full-time faculty for teaching identical classes. Environmental elites in San Francisco demand that river water be diverted from agriculture to the sea to nourish delta baitfish—but they would not sacrifice a drop of their own claims on precious Sierra Nevada water. Again and again, the elites promote policies that they themselves do not live by.

Third, voters are tired of the condescension of the elites who castigate the backwardness of the non-elite. Such disdain focuses especially on the middle classes, who lack both the vulnerability of the truly impoverished and, supposedly, the culture and tastes of the higher classes. Out of work miners do not enjoy “white privilege”; those on Ivy League campuses who mouth such platitudes usually do—and then exercise it by living and schooling their children apart from the romanticized “other.” In emulation of medieval penance, the more one expresses pique at the perceived sins of someone deemed inferior, the more he is seen as virtuous—and exempt from social censure.

A perfect example of such disdain was Barack Obama’s 2008 rant about the working classes of Pennsylvania who failed him in the primary: “And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

When the future of Iraq hung in the balance, then Senator and subsequent Secretary of State John Kerry made similarly snobbish remarks. He warned students, “You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.” A year after Kerry’s putdown, largely working-class soldiers and officers won the peace in Iraq through their courage and expertise during the Surge of 2007-08.

It’s not just in America. European elites are just as arrogant. Rather than defending the policy of admitting more than a million refugees into Germany from war-zones in the Middle East (mostly young and un-vetted males), European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker huffed that, “Borders are the worst invention ever made.” Juncker added, “We have to fight against nationalism.”

Note the combination of Juncker’s historical ignorance and pomposity: he apparently believes that borders are “invented” rather than reflective of ancient and organic differences of language, culture, and ethnicity among neighboring peoples. Elites are also too sophisticated to fall for “nationalism”: An Oxford don or a City of London hedge-fund manager should have more in common with a Brussels bureaucrat or a Harvard professor than with the dullards of the English working classes or the grasping entrepreneurs of the middle class, who work a few miles away in rural southeast Britain.

Such condescension also leads to inconsistency, which is yet another reason why the public is fed up. Politically incorrect utterances from caricatured white middle-class “buffoons” such as Paula Deen, Sarah Palin, and Phil Robertson earn social stigma and ostracism. Not so when Presidential candidate Joe Biden once trivialized rival Barack Obama: “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Did Biden mean prior black presidential candidates such as Shirley Chisholm, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton were tongue-tied, dull, unkempt, and homely? Under the laws of elite liberal penance, Senate majority leader Harry Reid could not really have meant it when he patronized Obama as a “light-skinned” African American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

To the public, the elites are progressives who have created a politically-correct culture that hinges on castigating non-elites for their supposed lack of race, class, and gender sensitivity. The louder they decry middle-class illiberality, the more easily Barack Obama can caricature his own grandmother as a “typical white person,” or filmmaker Michael Moore can lament that the 9/11 attacks unfortunately killed thousands of fellow Americans in a blue state rather than a red one.

Fourth and last, the people feel that elites do not follow the laws. Sanctuary cities nullify federal immigration law—and yet if other less liberal cities were to follow such a Confederate precedent and declare federal handgun registration or protected species legislation null and void in their jurisdictions they would be castigated as insurrectionists.

The Clintons are the epitome of the rules not applying to ruling class. Hillary once rigged a cattle futures investment of $1,000 into a $100,000 profit at 34-trillion-to-1 odds and without consequences—and then added insult to injury by initially not paying taxes on her profits. As Secretary of State, she violated dozens of national security protocols, something that would earn other government employees either jail time or a pink slip. Bill, for his part, has become the highest paid “chancellor” in higher education history, earning nearly $17 million over five years by trading on the influence of his Secretary of State spouse—quite aside from plane rides he took aboard the “Lolita express” that would have earned others the charge of misogyny at the very least.

The Clintons may be the worst rule breakers but they are not the only ones. Plagiarists like Fareed Zakaria and Doris Kearns Goodwin or fabulists like Brian Williams take sabbaticals while others face expulsion or dismissal for the same transgressions. No one at the IRS, who transformed a once disinterested tax collection agency into an ideological arm of the White House, was ever charged with a crime. Nor was former Attorney General Eric Holder, who used his government jet to take his family to the Belmont Stakes.

Western elites have become today’s versions of the ossified Vatican of the fifteenth century, the cocooned court of Versailles in the age of Louis XVI during the last throes of the ancien régime, and the bloated Soviet apparatchiks on the dais during May Day parades in Moscow. Amid a global backdrop of financial insecurity, spreading terrorism, instability in the Middle East, and vast population migrations, is it any wonder that we are witnessing Reformation, Revolution, and Revolt from the ground up?

September 6, 2016

The Virtue Mongers, Victor Hanson [nc]

The Virtue-Mongers
September 6, 2016 11:33 am / Leave a Comment / victorhanson

If you playact being shot by the police, cry “racist!” on Twitter, or denounce capitalism, you, too, can feel good about your capitalist’s privilege.
By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

In an affluent postmodern society of nearly unlimited freedom and opportunity, elite celebrities, pampered athletes, comfortable academics, conniving politicians, and careerist journalists find it hard to prove that they are still relevant in a revolutionary or rather cool sense.

In medieval times, privileged sinners found absolution for their guilt through more formal contractual penance. Churchmen consulted books of penitentials that prescribed precise medicinal doses — donations, pilgrimages, fasting, and a host of other sacrificial acts — to offset particular sins to get them right again with God. The key was to find a way to keep enjoying sinning and still get to heaven on the cheap.

In our atheistic and agnostic society, inexpensive, loud, and public virtue-mongering has replaced church penance — with Black Lives Matter, La Raza, Al Sharpton, network anchor people, NPR, the New York Times, and such acting as the new bishops who can dispense exemptions.

The wealthy, the influential, the intelligentsia, and the cultural elite all broadcast their virtues — usually at a cut-rate rhetorical price — to offset their own sense of sin (as defined by feelings of guilt), or in fear that their own lives are antithetical to the ideologies they espouse, or sometimes simply as a wise career move. Sin these days is mostly defined as race/class/gender thought crimes.

Wearing a mask of virtue is done not to save one’s soul for eternity but to still feel good about enjoying privilege. The sneakers, jeans, and T-shirts or mafia-black outfits of Silicon Valley billionaires can compensate for their robber-baron sins of outsourcing, offshoring, and tax avoidance or simply their preference for apartheid existence with the fellow rich; for George Soros (currency manipulator and European financial outlaw), it is funding leftists who hate capitalists and rank financial speculators like him. All that beats lashings and haircloth.

Superstar singer Beyoncé, along with her husband Jay-Z, is reportedly worth $1 billion, with a reported annual income that exceeds $100 million.
Not long ago the popular criticism of Beyoncé by her fans was that she seemed in appearance too eager to culturally appropriate “whiteness.” Her routines were akin to reactionary striptease and crassly sexually reductive — hardly the image of a bold black female entrepreneur espousing values consistent with hip feminism.

We do not hear so much flak these days. Beyoncé is just as privileged, probably wealthier, and on her way to multibillionaire Oprah status. But she has suddenly metamorphosized into a social-justice warrior, at least in theory.

In 2014 she and husband Jay-Z, in Marxismo chic fashion, violated the then tourist ban to Cuba to celebrate their fifth anniversary with an ample capitalist entourage in the Communist utopia. At the 2016 Super Bowl, Beyoncé orchestrated an infantile, neo–Black Panther dance skit. Her recent video peddled the discredited Black Lives Matter/Ferguson meme of “hands up don’t shoot.” And at the MTV awards ceremony, her retinue playacted being shot by police.

Of course, Beyoncé’s 0.00001 percent world could not exist in Cuba. She counts on legions of security officers and expects the police to protect her separatist celebrity status. She certainly does not manage her various fashion and music corporations on the principles of Black Panther hokey socialism. The poor do not, in Cuban style, sublet the guest houses of her estate. Yet she has now landed her privileged soul in social-justice heaven — and the profits roll in without guilt. Inner-city youth who study physics are pilloried by contemporaries as “acting white”; the super-wealthy who appear white are “acting black.”

Little need be said of the buffoonish antics of San Francisco 49er backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand up for the national anthem because of purported racism against people of color, but who plays in a lucrative, elite league in which black players are, to use a good progressive term, “overrepresented” at nearly six times their percentage of the general population The NFL is that rare American institution in which there is no guiding concept of proportional diversity, disparate impact, or affirmative action to remedy radical ethnic and racial imbalances. Until recently, Kaepernick was known mostly as a former star NFL quarterback and, off the field, for a unique ancestry — of mixed racial background, raised by white adoptive parents in the Midwest, mostly a product of white suburban culture, and stung with a prior accusation by NFL authorities of using the N-word racial slur.

Recently Kaepernick’s career had slumped to the point that fans wondered what exactly he did to merit nearly $20 million in salary a year — at about the same time he had paired up with an edgy Islamic-activist girlfriend, Bay Area 97 DJ and MTV host Nessa Diab. She does a local radio show emphasizing her country’s various sins.

Presto, Colin Kaepernick is now no longer just a near has-been but is on the social-media barricades of Black Lives Matter — and praised as a trail-blazing civil-rights warrior by no less than President Barack Obama. He dons a Castro T-shirt, wears socks emblazoned with images of the police as pigs, and refuses to stand during the national anthem and thereby honor what he suddenly in his 28th year finds as an unfair, racist, and sinful country not worthy of his standing respect. Kaepernick did almost everything except make the argument that police shoot unarmed black men in percentages that are disproportional to their share of those arrested; or explain why 12 percent of the population accounts for more than 50 percent of many categories of violent crime; or why 93 percent of black homicide victims were killed by fellow blacks; or why, in rare interracial crime, blacks commit violent crimes against whites as at rates approaching eight to one, despite being a sixth of the size of the so-called white population.
It is hard to know whether such cheap penance (the multimillionaire under criticism has just belatedly promised to fund a charity) reflects a cagey career move (to recapture former public attention now lost by mediocre performance), or is a sort of preemptive deterrent to explain away his possible dismissal as racially charged retribution, or is choreographed by his new Lady Macbeth to transform himself from spoiled athlete into a cutting-edge racial activist. Such cynicism is warranted because the water in which Kaepernick for a while longer swims is rich, privileged, and dependent upon lesser hoi polloi.

Lately, journalists – from the New York Times’s James Rutenberg to MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski — are climbing on the activist barricades as they vie to outdo each other in denouncing Donald Trump, the more learned citing historical precedents that demand they now must tragically shed any last vestige of their supposedly ingrained impartiality.

Jorge Ramos — the Univision multimillionaire anchor whose daughter works for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, who has lived in a Coconut Grove gated community, who sent his kids to private schools, and who checked out of Mexico when his free speech was threatened — has never been plausible as a disinterested journalist or even as much of a grassroots activist. He has made a career out of blasting his adoptive country as racist, xenophobic, and nativist for wanting to enforce its border (now open) in a fashion that would still be anemic in comparison with Mexico’s current immigration-enforcement policies and its racist language about immigration enshrined in its constitution.

Ramos’s open-borders boutique activism is key to his career (a closed border, along with legal, diverse, and measured immigration would accelerate assimilation and reduce Univision’s Spanish-only audience to 1960s levels) and self-image, allowing him to square many circles: the Florida multimillionaire as radical, open-border activist; the biased pseudo-journalist who is suddenly and reluctantly forced to become a rank partisan in direct opposition to his supposedly lifelong disinterested reporting; fury at Trump’s crass language that compensates for his curious past silence about everything from “typical white person” and “punish our enemies” to the racist condescension uttered by the likes of Joe Biden and Harry Reid to the Francoist-inspired La Raza nomenclature. With a few cheap utterances, Jorge Ramos can do the work of a Clinton operative and yet playact as another William L. Shirer warning us from prewar Berlin about the Nazi threat, or as Edward R. Murrow of the 1950s taking on Joe McCarthy.

Hillary and Bill Clinton, on a trajectory to become our versions of Juan and Eva Peron, became multimillionaires by peddling the anomalies of what would otherwise have been a termed-out presidency. Unlike all other presidential couples, the two could promise to reenter the White House under Hillary’s auspices. In the interregnum, she would not be shy in selling face time as secretary of state and president in waiting, while violating intelligence and national-security protocols to shield her communications with the Clinton Foundation’s quid pro quo profiteering.

A person from Mars who reviewed the long record of the Clintons – from the young women who fell into the lair of Bill’s predation, to the unapologetic greed from the 34-trillion-to-1 odds in Hillary’s cattle-futures con, to “Chancellor Bill” of Laureate University as the highest annually paid university head in education history, to the privileged lifestyle of huge estates and private jets, (some of it fueled by ensuring the Clinton Foundation would dispense only about 15 percent of its annual expenditures to charities) — would size up the couple as grasping Gilded Age plutocrats whose reactionary lifestyles reflected a lifelong counter-revolutionary self-obsession.

But it is not so. Hillary now amplifies Black Lives Matter (long forgotten is Bill’s racialist dismissal of a young Senator Obama). She has gone from border enforcer to the left of Barack Obama on immigration laxity, from Wall Street Journal free trader to blue-collar protectionist. And the result is that the richer, the more privileged, the more elitist, and more lawless the Clintons have become, the more insatiable become their appetites — and the more their souls find penance and are at peace.

What enrages the public about virtue-mongering is that, according to the laws of their own value system, the elite sin and then fob such failings off on others to find resolution. Kaepernick makes more in a month than most Americans whom he insults will make in a lifetime; and most Americans have never used the N-word to slur someone of color. Most Americans do not get rich off overseas coal plants like the green Tom Steyer did, or dump worthless cable channels to the Islamist and anti-Semitic Al Jazeera in order to get rich from carbon-exporting Qatar, in the fashion of the global-sermonizing Al Gore. None of us in the manner of the Clintons have boarded a Lolita Express jet or tried to peddle diplomatic passports to the wealthy and connected. I have never met an American who bought up all the homes surrounding his own to redefine his neighborhood as did Mark Zuckerberg, who derides walls and border enforcement for others. And yet we are lectured about our social-awareness failings ad nauseam by these masters of the progressive universe.

The Reformation — and Counter Reformation — mostly ended the selling of penances. Only something similar will end our pathetic version, perhaps when the public tunes out at the tired boilerplate of “racist,” “sexist,” and “nativist”; or when we quit sending money to the “safe space,” “trigger warning,” “micro-aggression” Ivy League; or we flip the channel when NFL gladiators playact as robed philosophers; or we laugh off celebrity activists as the new John D. Rockefellers tossing out a few of their shiny new dimes.

September 4, 2016

Nine Worst States to Retire in [c]

9 Worst U.S. States To Retire

Retirement planning involves investing wisely during your heyday to build a nest egg that can support you past your prime age. It also involves researching the places to consider and avoid upon retirement. If you want to get the best value for your retirement money, here are nine U.S. states you should be avoiding upon retirement in no particular order:
1) New York
Cheap is something you can never relate to the Big Apple. It may be a relatively safe state, but in the entire United States, it’s the most expensive place to live in. The tax rate and cost of living are also extremely high in New York. In fact, state and local income taxes in New York are the highest in the US while property taxes rank fourth highest in all 50 states.
In 2014, cost of living in the Big Apple soared 120.4% above the national average. Moreover, health care and housing, which are two of the most important staples for seniors, are very expensive in New York. According to reports, a married couple aged 65 years old who retire in New York would be facing health care costs amounting to $413,597. This is 4.7% higher than the national average.

2) Washington, D.C.
While not a state, the US capital is a US location that must be mentioned when advising places to avoid if you want to stretch those retirement dollars. The nation’s seat of power comes a close second to New York City when it comes to high cost of living. They also have the second-highest median home value of $424,400 after Hawaii. The D.C. area, while having the highest average income for people 65 years and older, also has a high poverty rate among seniors at 14%.
The Tax Foundation also reported that D.C. has one of the highest income tax rates in the United States at 8.9%. Even the sales tax is high at 5.75%. Moreover, estates valued at $1 million and above are subject to estate tax, which can go over 16%. Nevertheless, social security benefits and pensions, up to $3,000 of military, federal, and pensions, are exempted from taxes.
Peace of mind is also something elusive in the state capital, as violent crimes occur at 3.5 times the national rate. Property crime rate is higher than average in D.C., too.

3) California
The high taxes in California has made “California dreaming” more of a nightmare. Even income of retirees is fully taxed, and apparently, the highest state income tax rates in the entire United States are imposed in the Golden State. Currently, sales tax is at 7.5% and in Californian cities and counties where local levies are collected, sales tax can go as high as 10%.
Aside from skyrocketing taxes, the high cost of living is high in California, too. In fact, they come a close third when it comes to highest cost of living behind New York and the District of Columbia.
Even home values are high. The median home value is $368,600 in California, which is more than double the national median. Rental fees are also steep, so retirees who don’t have their own homes would be facing the burden of high rent.

4) Oregon
If you’re the type who enjoy going to the beach, going for a hike, or a delicious mug of craft beer to cap the day off, then the Beaver State’s where you should be settling in. Nevertheless, there are two downsides to retiring in Oregon – the high cost of living and high tax rate.
For retirees who would be living on fixed income, starting a life in Oregon may be difficult. For one thing, the Council for Community and Economic Research’s 2014 report indicated that Portland apartments are charging more than double of the national average rental fee at $2,196 per month. Moreover, gasoline is 11.7% more than the national average. Even the consultation fee for doctors is 27.7% higher than average.
In addition, while Oregon doesn’t impose sales taxes, residents who earn more than $125,000 annually ($250,000 for married couples who file jointly), as well as retirement income, are burdened with 9.9% income tax.

5) Hawaii
The sound of overlapping waves and the cool breeze coming from the ocean may seem like the best way to spend your retirement days, but living such a dreamy life in the Aloha State may be more than you bargained for. It has earned a reputation as a major tourist destination, which means it demands an extremely high cost of living.
In all 50 states, Hawaii has the most expensive median home rent pegged at $2,975 a month. That is three times more expensive than the national average. Moreover, while social security benefits and most pensions are exempt from income taxes assessed by the state, Hawaii has a huge income tax range of 11%, which is the second highest among all states.

6) New Jersey
Although it’s a relatively safe place to retire to, the Garden State is one of the worst states for retirees mainly because of its high living costs and taxes. Apartments in Newark, a city in New Jersey, have average rental fees of $1,527 a month, which is 67% higher than the national average.
The state’s median home value is also exorbitant – it’s nearly double than the value for the entire nation! That goes without saying that real estate taxes are sky-high, too. In fact, median property tax on a median home value of $307,700 is $7.331.
Moreover, even though prescription and non-prescription drugs are exempt from sales tax, health care costs are 8% higher than average. In the same light, while social security benefits, military pensions, and other retirement income are exempt from state taxes, some retirement income are still taxable by a whopping 8.97%!

7) North Carolina
The mild winters in North Carolina would have been ideal for people 65 years and older who want nothing but to spend their retirement days in comfort. However, the above average costs of living in the Tar Heel country don’t quite break even with a typical household’s income.
The average income for all households in North Carolina is $64,490, which is 14% less than the average for the entire United States. Even worse, the income of older residents, specifically those 65 years or more, is 18.3% below average. Still, the state has a flat income tax rate of 5.75%, which they put in effect this year.
Poverty is also a problem in North Carolina, with 10% of seniors living below the line. Whereas the 15.4% of the entire United States live below the poverty line, the rate for North Carolina is a staggering 17.5%!

8) Minnesota
The Land of 10,000 Lakes is consistently included in the list of least tax-friendly states for retirees. The state even taxes social security benefits. Even other retirement income like military, government, and private pensions are taxable.
While the average household income for individuals 65 and older, which is at 13.7% below the U.S. average, is beneath the thresholds for highest tax bracket, the cost of living in Minnesota is way above average. Even lifetime health care and median home value for people 65 and older are higher than the national average

9) Illinois
State and local taxes are extremely high in the Prairie State, even rising above a combined 10% in some areas. Moreover, the cost of health care, which is a primary need of people 65 years and older, is very high.
A healthy couple around that age who retires this year will accrue health care costs in retirement amounting to $416,500. That is $21,500 more than the national average. The upside of retiring in Illinois is that the state doesn’t take taxes from retirement income sources, including 401k plans and individual retirement accounts.
There you have it – nine of the worst states retirees should think twice about settling in. If you are interested in ways to stretch your retirement dollars, please click the link below.

[Note: They are ALL Blue States!]

September 2, 2016

Trump’s Immigration Policy, Capt John, USN USNA [nc]


Number One: We will build a wall along the Southern Border.

Number Two: End Catch-And-Release

Number Three: Zero tolerance for criminal aliens.

Number Four: Block Funding For Sanctuary Cities

Number Five: Cancel Unconstitutional Executive Orders & Enforce All Immigration Laws

Number Six: We Are Going To Suspend The Issuance Of Visas To Any Place Where Adequate Screening Cannot Occur

Number Seven: We will ensure that other countries take their people back when we order them deported

Number Eight: We will finally complete the biometric entry-exit visa tracking system.

Number Nine: We will turn off the jobs and benefits magnet.

Number Ten: We will reform legal immigration to serve the best interests of America and its workers

The above listed 10 immigration policies are in support of US Federal Immigration Laws passed by Congress and signed into law by a US President.

Donald Trump is the first Republican Presidential candidate, since Governor Ronald Reagan ran for President, whose policies are aimed at putting 360 million American citizens first, especially the 94 million unemployed American; Mr Trump is not proposing immigration policies that are in the best interest of 20 million Illegal Aliens, and detrimental to 360 million American citizens.

Mr Trump is not in agreement with the Republican leadership in Congress, and the American Chamber of Commerce, who have been working very closely with the Democrat leadership in Congress for 8 years, betraying the best interest of American citizens by intentionally keeping the southern border wide open.

Congressional leaders, by their refusal to seal the wide open southern border, are responsible for permitting the entry of terrorists, drugs, white slavery traffickers, weapons smugglers, hundreds of thousands of Central American children with infectious diseases (TB, whooping cough. measles, mumps, scarlet fever, Zinke virus, etc.), millions of Illegal Aliens from Mexico, and hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Middle East who are simply walking into the US.

For 8 years, Obama has tied the hands of the US Border Patrol and ICE Agents, preventing them from enforcing the US Federal Immigration Laws they were sworn to uphold. Yet for 8 years, the Republican leaders in Congress have not charged Obama’s appointees at DHS with violating US Federal Immigration Laws, or tried to put pressure on them to cease, by employing the power of the purse to put pressure on them.

Mr Trump’s full speech is attached.

Joseph R. John, USNA ‘62

Capt USN(Ret)/Former FBI

Regional Chairman, Veterans 4 Trump Southern California (Orange County, Imperial County, and San Diego County)

2307 Fenton Parkway, Suite 107-184

San Diego, CA 92108

September 1, 2016

The Nine Live of Donald J. Trump, victor hanson [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — Tags: , — justplainbill @ 8:41 pm

The Nine Lives of Donald J. Trump
September 1, 2016 11:56 am / Leave a Comment / victorhanson

Whatever his faults, a Trump victory is preferable for the Republic.
By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Seasoned Republican political handlers serially attack Donald Trump and his campaign as amateurish, incompetent, and incoherent. The media somehow outdid their propaganda work for Barack Obama and have signed on as unapologetic auxiliaries to the Hillary Clinton campaign — and openly brag that, in Trump’s case, the duty of a journalist is to be biased. We have devolved to the point that a Harvard Law professor teases about unethically releasing his old confidential notes of his lawyer/client relationship with Trump.

Conservative columnists and analysts are so turned off by Trump that they resort to sophisticated metaphors to express their distaste — like “abortion,” “ape,” “bastard,” “bitch,” “cancer,” “caudillo,” “dog crap,” “filth,” “idiot,” “ignoramus,” and “moron.” Some of them variously talk of putting a bullet through his head given that he resembles, or is worse than, Caesar, Hitler, Mussolini, or Stalin. Derangement Syndrome is a more apt clinical diagnosis for the Right’s hatred of Trump than it was for the Left’s loathing of Bush. Had such venom been directed at leftists or minorities, the commentators likely would have lost their venues.

Trump’s political obituary over the last 14 months has been rewritten about every three weeks. During the primaries, each time he won a state we were told that that victory was his last. Now, in the general-election campaign, his crude ego is supposedly driving the Republican ticket into oblivion. The media have discovered that what gets Trump’s goat is not denouncing his coarseness, but lampooning his lack of cash and poor polling: broke and being a loser is supposedly far worse for Trump’s ego than being obnoxious and cruel. So far, he is behind in most of the polls most of the time.

But not so fast!

Mysteriously, each time he hits rock bottom, Trump — even before his recent “pivot” — begins a two-week chrysalis cycle of inching back in the polls to within 2 or 3 points of Clinton. Apparently Trump represents something well beyond Trump per se. He appears to be a vessel of, rather than a catalyst for, popular furor at “elites” — not so much the rich, but the media/political/academic/celebrity global establishment that derides the ethos of the middle class as backward and regressive, mostly as a means for enjoying their own apartheid status and sense of exalted moral self, without guilt over their generational influence and privilege.

Given the surprise of Brexit and Trump’s unexpected dominance of the primaries, pollsters seem to fear that his populist support is underreported by 2 or 3 percentage points. Some voters who do not openly profess that they plan to vote for Trump might do just that in the privacy of the polling booth — even as they might later deny that fact to others.

His latest pivot may be too late, but it certainly hit the right notes by presenting his populist themes — unwise trade deals, defense cuts, inner-city violence, attacks against police, illegal immigration, the war on coal, big-government regulations, and boutique environmentalism — as symptomatic of elite neglect not just of the white working class but of minorities as well, upon whom liberal policy falls most heavily. By curbing his personal invective and focusing on Obama’s incompetence and Clinton’s corruption, Trump may succeed in allowing 4 or 5 percent of the missing Republicans and independents to return and vote for him without incurring social disdain.

The news cycle favors any outsider — certainly including Trump.

About every three weeks, terrorists butcher innocents in one or another Western country, usually screaming “Allahu Akbar” during their victims’ death throes. These terrorists have often been watched but otherwise left alone by intelligence agencies. Liberal pieties follow, along with warnings to the public about their prejudices, rather than admonitions to radical Islamists to stop their killing.

The ensuing public backlash does not mesh with the Obama–Clinton narrative that the killings were mere workplace violence, a generic form of “violent extremism,” or had “nothing to do with Islam.” Like Jimmy Carter, with his infamous inability to frame the Iranian hostage crisis, so too the latest manifestation of Hillary Clinton is simply unable to identify the origin, nature, and extent of the terrorist threat — much less offer a solution.

When the president upgrades the ISIS threat from a jayvee classification to something analogous to a fall in the bathroom, the public is not reassured that his former secretary of state understands radical Islamic terrorism.

In the same vein, with 11 million illegal aliens in the U.S., almost daily we hear a news report of yet another illegal-alien felony, or a new sanctuary city, or an effort by the “undocumented” to get the vote out — none of which enhances open-borders Hillary.

Many of us have been saying for a year now that the last six months of the Obama administration will likely be the most dangerous interlude since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 or the Carter meltdown of 1980. Restive aggressors abroad have long concluded that Obama is conflicted about American morality, power, and responsibility. After his faux deadlines, redlines, and step-over lines, his apologies, his mythographical speeches, and his deer-in-the-headlights reactions to overseas challenges, he appears to foreign opportunists to be indifferent to the consequences of American laxity and lead-from-behind withdrawal.

Putin is now massing troops near Ukraine. Iran is absorbing Iraq and Syria. China has carved out a thalassocracy in the South China Sea. Tensions will only rise in these areas in the next 90 days, to the point of either outright war or more insidious and humiliating withdrawals from U.S. interests and allies. Either scenario favors Trump’s Jacksonian bluster.

When a black police officer in Milwaukee fatally shoots a fleeing armed suspect — who had a lengthy arrest record and had turned to fire with his stolen automatic pistol — and anti-police riots follow, then it is hard to conceive under what conditions of legitimate police self defense that riots would not ensue. While there is plenty of public sympathy for refocusing on the general conditions in the inner city that may foster a high crime rate, there is none for focusing on their riotous manifestations.

After “hands up, don’t shoot” in Ferguson, the police acquittals in Baltimore, and now Milwaukee, the inevitable next riot will further hurt Hillary Clinton, who has mortgaged her campaign soul to Obama’s electoral calculus of 2008/2012. Meanwhile the daily carnage in Obama’s hometown of Chicago continues, out of sight and out of mind to the Democratic party.

Hillary Clinton has lied about her e-mails, her personal server, and the supposed firewall between her and the Clinton Foundation. She has lied about almost every detail of her tenure as secretary of state, from the killings in Benghazi to her knowledge of sending and receiving classified material. We are back to the cattle-future lying of 1979, when Hillary was said to have had a 31-trillion-to-one chance of telling the truth about her hundred-fold profit.

The problem with chronic lying is that finally the liar reaches a combustible state, one in which she cannot lie any more without contradicting a particular prior lie and yet cannot tell the truth without contradicting all prior lies. To keep them straight, one needs an amoral photographic memory. Hillary Clinton has the requisite shamelessness, but (unlike Bill) not the animal cunning to pull off such serial prevarication. In her latest fabrication that has begrudgingly come to light, Hillary had blamed Colin Powell (who never set up a private server as secretary of state) as the supposed felonious model that prompted her to break the law.

So expect more lies about hacked e-mail from the Clinton Foundation, Hillary’s deleted e-mail accounts, the DNC records, or some as yet unknown private communication about every 48 hours until November. If Trump’s fantasies are the bluster, narcissism, and adolescence of a real-estate and show-biz wheeler-dealer, Clinton’s lies are the steely-eyed and deliberate work of a long-time sociopathic prevaricator who destroys all those around her who weave the webs of her deceit.

Barack Obama is not necessarily a plus for Clinton. The president does well in the polls while he is off golfing with celebrities and sports stars, and is thus not heard or seen much in the world outside Martha’s Vineyard — the world in which coffins float about in flood-ravaged Louisiana, the Putin military build-up near Ukraine continues, or the Obamacare disaster grows. But whenever Obama reemerges to campaign for Hillary, he inevitably winds up in his characteristic condescending rambles and rants — the most recent his ridiculous lying about the Iranian ransom/“leverage” payment.

Clinton will win the election if she (and Trump’s own alter ego) can continue to convince the public that Trump is dangerous, repulsive, and unfit to a degree not seen before in politics — and thus every new day is devoted to Trump’s mouth and not Hillary’s high crimes and misdemeanors. But if Trump can pivot to focus on policy, about which he sometimes proves to be a skilled speaker and clever antagonist, then media attention will shift from Trump to the issues and the daily news. And all that fare is innately damaging to Hillary.

Trump has two enemies: money and Trump himself. In his peculiar way, Trump is able to work the teleprompter as effectively as Obama, and when disciplined is far better in unscripted repartee. All that explains why Trump has not yet quite killed Trump off, and why in any given ten-day recovery period he has the potential to creep within 2 or 3 points of Hillary, which this year may mean a dead-even race.

Yet Trump so far can get close to Clinton, but not 3 to 4 points ahead. To do that would require continued zeal, but also a complete end to his personal invective against irrelevant third parties — and an ability to raise a lot of money quickly and get his message out in a multimedia campaign.

Trump will also have to show reluctant conservative big-money donors that he is serious about the presidency, perhaps with the dramatic gesture of selling off a building or two to infuse his campaign with millions of dollars of good-faith money. That signal might be the sort of financial sacrifice that would encourage traditional donors to give to a common effort and cease talk that Trump was never seriously in the race before being surprised by his unexpected resonance. If he can pick up an additional 4 to 5 percent of Republicans, or win a quarter of the Latino vote, or 10 percent of the black vote, he likely will win the election — big ifs, of course.

For now, openly siding with Trump is still not “done” in the New York–Washington corridor. But if Trump were to pull even and stay that way for a week, and curb his bombast, he might be able to assemble a team of advisors and possible cabinet members whom he could reference in the matter of possible Supreme Court picks, lending further legitimacy to his candidacy.

There is a herd-like mentality in Washington and New York, where the gospel is not professed politics, but unspoken allegiance to a perceived winner. Momentum is the deity. If Trump were to creep out ahead, one should not be surprised about the resulting silence in the Never Trump camp, or about those who would suddenly “be willing” to join a Team Trump. Epithets like “ape” and “Hitler” would mysteriously disappear. For those worried about a satanic President Trump, they should at least concede that Republican elites sign letters of dissent against their own nominee, whom the media seek to destroy at every turn; in contrast, there will be no Democratic establishment cries of outrage over Hillary Clinton’s past and future crimes and sins — and the media will abet, not censure, her excesses.

What is forgotten in the Trump pessimism is that even with less than three months until Election Day, the Republican nominee — after the worst imaginable self-inflicted wounds, and with a complete absence of serious fundraising, an ad campaign, or a ground game — still is within striking distance of winning the election. If he were to do so, for the first time in a generation, the Republican party would likely control both houses of Congress, the presidency, and the future of the Supreme Court — with a public on record in support of radical change and without need to pacify its old establishment. Certainly, an attorney general like Rudy Giuliani would be preferable to Loretta Lynch, just as a John Bolton at State would not run the department in the fashion that Clinton herself did during Obama’s first term.

Such is the unrelenting popular furor at political correctness, the political and media aristocracy, the Obama record, and the immorality of Hillary Clinton that a candidate with no political experience, little campaign cash, and serious character problems may overturn a century of conventional wisdom. The choice of winning or losing the election is now mostly Trump’s own.

Diversity: History’s Pathway to Chaos, victor hanson [nc]

Diversity: History’s Pathway to Chaos
September 1, 2016 12:02 pm / Leave a Comment / victorhanson

America’s successful melting pot should not be replaced with discredited salad-bowl separatism.
By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Emphasizing diversity has been the pitfall, not the strength, of nations throughout history.

The Roman Empire worked as long as Iberians, Greeks, Jews, Gauls, and myriad other African, Asian, and European communities spoke Latin, cherished habeas corpus, and saw being Roman as preferable to identifying with their own particular tribe. By the fifth century, diversity had won out but would soon prove a fatal liability.

Rome disintegrated when it became unable to assimilate new influxes of northern European tribes. Newcomers had no intention of giving up their Gothic, Hunnish, or Vandal identities.

The propaganda of history’s multicultural empires — the Ottoman, the Russian, the Austro-Hungarian, the British, and the Soviet — was never the strength of their diversity. To avoid chaos, their governments bragged about the religious, ideological, or royal advantages of unity, not diversity.

Nor did more modern quagmires like Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Rwanda, or Yugoslavia boast that they were “diverse.” Instead, their strongman leaders naturally claimed that they shared an all-encompassing commonality.

When such coerced harmony failed, these nations suffered the even worse consequences of diversity, as tribes and sects turned murderously upon each other.

For some reason, contemporary America believes that it can reject its uniquely successful melting pot to embrace a historically dangerous and discredited salad-bowl separatism.

Is there any evidence from the past that institutionalizing sects and ethnic grievances would ensure a nation’s security, prosperity, and freedom?

America’s melting pot is history’s sole exception of e pluribus unum inclusivity: a successful multiracial society bound by a common culture, language, and values. But this is a historic aberration with a future that is now in doubt.

Some students attending California’s Claremont College openly demand roommates of the same race. Racially segregated “safe spaces” are fixtures on college campuses.

We speak casually of bloc voting on the basis of skin color — as if a lockstep Asian, Latino, black, or white vote is a good thing.

We are reverting to the nihilism of the old Confederacy. The South’s “one-drop rule” has often been copied to assure employers or universities that one qualifies as a minority.

Some public figures have sought to play up or invent diversity advantages. Sometimes, as in the cases of Elizabeth Warren, Rachel Dolezal, and Ward Churchill, the result is farce.

Given our racial fixations, we may soon have to undergo computer scans of our skin colors to rank competing claims of grievance.

How does one mete out the relative reparations for various atrocities of the past, such as slavery, the Holocaust, the American Indian wars, the Asian or Catholic exclusion laws, indentured servitude, or the mid-18th-century belief that the Irish were not quite human?

Sanctuary cities, in the manner of 1850s Richmond or Charleston invoking nullification, now openly declare themselves immune from federal law. Does that defiance ensure every city the right to ignore whatever federal laws it finds inconvenient, from the filing of 1040s to voting laws?

The diversity industry hinges on U.S. citizens still envisioning a shrinking white population as the “majority.” Yet “white” is now not always easily definable, given intermarriage and constructed identities.

In California, those who check “white” on Orwellian racial boxes are now a minority. Will white Californians soon nightmarishly declare themselves aggrieved minorities and thus demand affirmative action, encourage Viking-like names such as Ragnar or Odin, insert umlauts and diereses into their names to hype their European bona fides, seek segregated European-American dorms, and set up “Caucasian Studies” programs at universities?

Women now graduate from college at a higher rate than men. Will there be a male effort to ensure affirmative action for college admissions and graduation rates?

If the white vote reaches 70 percent for a particular candidate, is that really such a good thing, as it was considered to be when President Obama was praised for capturing 95 percent of the black vote?

It is time to step back from the apartheid brink.

Even onetime diversity advocate Oprah Winfrey has had second thoughts about the lack of commonality in America. She recently vowed to quit using the word “diversity” and now prefers “inclusion.”

A Latino-American undergraduate who is a student of Shakespeare is not “culturally appropriating” anyone’s white-European legacy, but instead seeking transcendence of ideas and a common humanity.

Asian-Americans are not “overrepresented” at premier campuses. Their high-profile presence should be praised as a model, not punished as aberrant by number-crunching bureaucrats.

African-Americans who excel in physics and engineering are not “acting white” but finding the proper pathways for their natural talents.

Being one-half Southeast Asian or three-quarters white is not the touchstone to one’s essence and is irrelevant to one’s character and conduct.

No one is impinging on anyone’s culture when blacks dye their hair blond, or when blondes prefer to wear cornrow braids.

Campuses desperately need unity czars, not diversity czars.

Otherwise, we will end up as 50 separate and rival nations — just like other failed states in history whose diverse tribes and races destroyed themselves in a Hobbesian dog-eat-dog war with one another.

Why Hillary Is Never Held Accountable for Her Lies, Victor Hanson [nc]

Why Hillary Is Never Held Accountable for Her Lies
September 1, 2016 12:12 pm / Leave a Comment / victorhanson

The media excuse her mendacity because it serves the progressive cause.
By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

Everyone rightly catalogues Donald Trump’s fibs, distortions, and exaggerations: his assertions about his net worth, his charitable contributions, his initial supposed opposition to the Iraq War, or his “flexible” positions on illegal immigration. After all, he is flamboyant, right-wing in his present incarnation, and supposedly bends the truth either out of crass narcissism or for petty profiteering. So the watchdog media and popular culture have no problem with ridiculing Trump as a fabricator.

But not so with Hillary Clinton, whose untruths far overshadow Trump’s in both import and frequency, but are so often contextualized, excused, and forgotten because of who she is and the purpose her outright lying supposedly serves.

Lying in America has become not lying when “good” liars advance alternative narratives for noble purposes — part of our long slide into situational ethics and moral relativism.

Every new bad idea in America today can ultimately be traced to the university. And it seems to take only about 30 years for academia’s nihilism to filter through the elite institutions and make its way into popular culture. So it is with our present idea of truth as a mere construct.

In the 1980s and 1990s professors in the liberal arts became enamored of the French-speaking postmodern nihilists — among them notably Paul de Man, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Jacques Lacan. They refashioned an old philosophical strain of relativism found as far back as the Greek sophists and Plato’s discussion of the noble lie. They were influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche’s attacks on absolute morality, and their youth was lived during the age of Joseph Goebbels and Pravda. The utter collapse of France in six weeks in May and June 1940 and the later shame that most of the nation either was passive or actively collaborated with the Nazi occupiers rather than proving brave resistance fighters made the idea of empiricism and truth an especially hard pill to swallow for the postwar French postmodernists.

While this group comprised quite different thinkers, they mostly agreed that reality was socially constructed and arbitrarily defined by the language of those in power.

In fact, “truth” for a postmodernist is supposedly what those who control us say it is, largely in efforts to perpetuate their own race, class, and gender privilege. You can see how thoroughly popular culture has picked up this mostly banal relativist observation and transformed it into “the Truth”—and why today we assume that lying is simply a narrative, not a window into one’s character.

Relativist slogans abound (e.g., “One person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter”). “Hands up, don’t shoot” was never uttered by Michael Brown, who was not an innocent “gentle giant” but a strong-armed robber who sought to take a policeman’s gun and then charged at the cop. But since his fictitious last utterances should be true, therefore they are and, presto! became the slogan of Black Lives Matter.

In the opposite fashion, there is to be no such thing as Black Lives Matter protestors calling for frying police or killing cops, since negation of the truth serves a far more noble purpose than would confirmation.

Orwell was onto the game far earlier than the French postmodernists. He rightly saw it as a postwar pathway of the Left to assuming and keeping power: What was written on the barn wall on Monday as an absolute commandment was crossed out and replaced on Tuesday, in the fashion that the Soviet Union used to airbrush out sudden enemies of the people from all past pictorial records. Who knew what the party line would be by Wednesday? What frightened Orwell was not so much lying British industrialists or celebrities, but officers of the state who sought to dismiss the idea of the truth itself and justify the dismissal on ideological grounds.

“People’s Republic” after 1946 usually meant that the Communist country in question was never a republic or ratified by a vote of the people. “Sanctuary cities” today have neither the legal right nor the moral weight to offer exemption from federal immigration law. They do not serve any purpose other than self-interested “nullification” of the law in the fashion of 1850s Confederate states that arbitrarily declared federal statutes null and void in their jurisdictions. We know how that construct ended up.

Gender is now defined not by biology, but by culture or suspect patriarchically constructed norms. “Undocumented migrant” replaces “illegal alien” even as those who crossed illegally into the U.S. never had any documents to begin with, were foreign nationals, and were migrants going into the U.S., not mere directionless travelers.

Both Elizabeth Warren and Ward Churchill are Native Americans because they say they are. To question them on the basis that neither has any proven Indian ancestry is simply to offer a competing narrative, and one driven by racism, not their sort of altruism.

If Rachel Dolezal and Shaun King reconstruct themselves as black Americans, then their “stories” are as legitimate as any others, given their progressive agendas and their antitheses to the white male power structure.

When Hillary falls into her phony black patois to talk down to African-American audiences, in an accidental caricature of a snooty suburbanite trying to seem cool or authentic, she is no more false than she was earlier in her Annie Oakley incarnation of 2008, when she quaffed boilermakers and bowled to appeal to Obama’s despised clingers. All these are mere narrative moments, but disturbing evidence that she cheaply peddles identities for votes.

We claim there is no such thing as “truth,” as assertions gain credulity only by the degree of wealth and influence behind them (white, male, Christian heterosexuals usually are the bogeymen who establish self-interested “standards” of accuracy and fidelity). So fables in service to a progressive cause are not lying, as they would be if in league with reactionary forces.

Barack Obama can make up narratives about under-appreciated Islamic catalysts for the Western Renaissance or Enlightenment in his Cairo Speech because such mythmaking serves a noble cause of stopping “Islamophobia” and thus deserves the artificial currency of “truth.” Obama himself can invent large chunks of his “autobiography” and it is neither a lie nor a fable, given that his principled intent was to enlighten us about the burdens of growing up as the Other.

Lying for a Brian Williams or plagiarism for a Doris Kearns Goodwin or Fareed Zakaria can be passed off as the shoddy work of subordinates, or “misremembering,” or symptomatic of too full a schedule (not egoism, laziness, or efforts at career enhancement), given that all serve the progressive gods.

In 2012 the progressive future of the country hinged on the reelection of Barack Obama, so naturally ensuring that the imploding Middle East was quiet and that al-Qaeda was somnolent demanded a “truth” that an obscure videomaker and Islamophobic bigot had enraged otherwise peace-loving Muslims and incited them to burn down our consulate in Benghazi — an isolated act that had nothing to do with al-Qaeda.

If that narrative meant that National Security Adviser Susan Rice had to lie five times on Sunday talk shows, or Hillary Clinton had to deceive the families of the Benghazi dead, or Barack Obama’s Justice Department had to jail Nakoula Basseley Nakoula on a trumped-up old probation charge, then the ends of an Obama reelection more than outweighed the unethical means of achieving it. In each case, “conflicting narratives” or the “fog of war” made the idea of one absolute truth absurd. Who is to say whether $400 million in nocturnal cash transfers to the Iranians for hostages is, or is not, “ransom”?

Almost everything Hillary Clinton has said about her current scandals is a lie: No other secretary of state used a personal server; Colin Powell was certainly not her model for lawbreaking; she really did send and receive classified materials that she at the time knew were classified; she did not have lawyers examine all of her personal e-mails that she destroyed; they were not mostly about Chelsea and yoga; she did not accurately inform authorities of the actual number of her personal e-mails; there was no firewall between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation; rich individuals did meet with the secretary of state in a fashion that they would otherwise not have been able to, had they not donated vast amounts of money. And on and on. Again, all lies, but lies that in postmodern culture are merely competing progressive narratives that translate into the vulgar media as “Who is to say what pay-to-play actually is?”

Did anyone care that progressive Hillary long ago lied about her rigged $1,000 cattle-future investment beating 34 trillion to 1 odds to earn her $100,000, or her supposed foray into a combat zone in Serbia? Clinton’s lies, past and present, are fobbed off as either fantasies of right-wing conspiracists, who hope to derail her progressive agenda, or as psychodramas of a struggling progressive couple trying to do good. Either that, or they are minor problems of communication, or were courageous stances taken to advance the cause of the poor, the dispossessed, and the children.

The problem with the Clintons and all postmodern liars goes back to Epimenides’ ancient paradox of the Cretan liar: “All Cretans are liars.” Are we then to believe that the Cretan Epimenides was lying when he insisted that all Cretans (like himself) lie? Were Cretans, then, liars or not? Was Hillary lying when she set up the private server, when she explained away her criminal behavior, or when she insisted she had not lied about her prior lying about lying?

Postmodernist Hillary, however, does believe in absolute truth when it is a matter of checks to the Clinton Foundation not bouncing and aviation fuel being purchased for private jets. Postmodernists do not believe that truth exists for others in the abstract; but for themselves it most certainly does and advantageously so in the concrete.

The danger to democracy is never from the bad liars who patently fabricate for self, but from the sophisticated and progressive good liars who lie that their untruth is truth because it was all made up for us.

The More Things Change, the More They Actually Don’t, victor hanson [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — Tags: , , , , — justplainbill @ 7:59 pm

The More Things Change, the More They Actually Don’t
September 1, 2016 12:15 pm / Leave a Comment / victorhanson

Technology hasn’t changed the core of who we are, and history proves it.
By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

In today’s technically sophisticated and globally connected world, we assume life has been completely reinvented. In truth, it has not changed all that much.

Facebook and Google may have recalibrated our lifestyles, but human nature, geography, and culture are nearly timeless. Even as ideologies and governments come and go, the same old, same old problems and challenges remain.

Compare what dominated the news in 1966, 50 years ago.

Abroad, Israel was constantly fighting on the West Bank against Palestinian guerrilla groups and in the air over Syria. It is likely that in another 50 years the story will remain about the same.

The Middle East in 1966 was going up in flames, just as it is today — and in many of the same places. The Syrian government was overthrown in a coup. The Saudis, Jordanians, and Egyptians were involved in a civil war in Yemen. The Egyptian government executed Islamists charged with planning a theocratic takeover.

Africa, as today, was wracked by wars or coups in places such as Chad, Ghana, Nigeria, and Sudan.

American relations with Russia were tense. Moscow clamped down on dissidents and opposed almost all U.S. initiatives abroad.

The Castro government in Cuba was railing against the United States, outlawing free expression and alleging American interference in Cuba’s affairs. The only difference from today was that Cuban dictator Fidel Castro then was a 40-year-old firebrand, not a 90-year-old near-invalid.

Nothing has much changed elsewhere in the world either. Just as Cyprus today remains a bone of contention between Turkey and Greece, 50 years ago Greeks and Turks were meeting to resolve tensions on the divided island. Ditto the ongoing dispute between India and Pakistan, whose leaders met frequently during 1966 following outright war in 1965.

There were also the sorts of rifts within NATO that have become so familiar. Today, the U.S. worries that the alliance is unraveling due to bickering and the unwillingness of European countries to increase their defense budgets. Fifty years ago, the problem was France. In 1966, the French actually quit the alliance, which suddenly had to transfer its headquarters from Paris to Brussels, Belgium.

Nor were things that different at home than they are today.

Fifty years ago, Walt Disney died while working on an animated version of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, whose remake this year was a summer hit. In 1966, a new science-fiction series, Star Trek, premiered on television. Yet another installment in the “Star Trek” movie series (Star Trek Beyond) just came out in July. For all our new computer and video technologies, millions of young Americans still watch The Jungle Book and Star Trek, not that much differently from the way their grandparents did a half-century ago.

Pop hits today do not sound all that much different from those that swept America in 1966, performed by groups such as the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and Jefferson Airplane. Even fashion tastes come full circle. A man at work in a coat and tie looked about the same then as now. In 1966, miniskirt hemlines hit the mid-thigh — similar to the retro miniskirts of 2016.

We often worry that 2016 America has become a violent society, with unprecedented mass killings at schools and universities. But unfortunately, nothing much has changed here either. In July 1966, mass murderer Richard Speck was arrested for butchering eight student nurses in their dorm in Chicago. The next month, Charles Whitman climbed up into a tower at the University of Texas at Austin and fatally shot 14 innocents, wounding another 32 (after killing his mother and his wife).

The United States has dealt with racial unrest this year from Dallas to Milwaukee, after rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 and in Baltimore last year. The so-called Division Street Riots broke out in Chicago in 1966, and there was also rioting in Lansing, Michigan, that year following the Watts Riots of 1965.

The protest group Black Lives Matter has sprung up to galvanize popular support against the perceived mistreatment of African Americans by police. In 1966, Bobby Seale and Huey Newton founded the Black Panther party in a similar context.

America and the rest of the world have made enormous progress in technology, science, and social relations. But beneath the veneer of 2016, human nature remains the same, and life often operates on principles similar to those from a half-century ago — and even before that.

We assume that life in 1900 was unrecognizable in comparison to the modern world of 1950. It was, or was not, in the same way that 1966 is both like and unlike 2016.

That persistent continuity of the human experience is why studying history remains about the only way to understand who we were, are, and will be.

Imagine There’s No Border, Victor Hanson [nc]

Imagine There’s No Border
September 1, 2016 12:08 pm / Leave a Comment / victorhanson
A world without boundaries is a fantasy.
By Victor Davis Hanson // City Journal

Borders are in the news as never before. After millions of young, Muslim, and mostly male refugees flooded into the European Union last year from the war-torn Middle East, a popular revolt arose against the so-called Schengen Area agreements, which give free rights of movement within Europe. The concurrent suspension of most E.U. external controls on immigration and asylum rendered the open-borders pact suddenly unworkable. The European masses are not racists, but they now apparently wish to accept Middle Eastern immigrants only to the degree that these newcomers arrive legally and promise to become European in values and outlook—protocols that the E.U. essentially discarded decades ago as intolerant. Europeans are relearning that the continent’s external borders mark off very different approaches to culture and society from what prevails in North Africa or the Middle East.

A similar crisis plays out in the United States, where President Barack Obama has renounced his former opposition to open borders and executive-order amnesties. Since 2012, the U.S. has basically ceased policing its southern border. The populist pushback against the opening of the border with Mexico gave rise to the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump—predicated on the candidate’s promise to build an impenetrable border wall—much as the flood of migrants into Germany fueled opposition to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Driving the growing populist outrage in Europe and North America is the ongoing elite push for a borderless world. Among elites, borderlessness has taken its place among the politically correct positions of our age—and, as with other such ideas, it has shaped the language we use. The descriptive term “illegal alien” has given way to the nebulous “unlawful immigrant.” This, in turn, has given way to “undocumented immigrant,” “immigrant,” or the entirely neutral “migrant”—a noun that obscures whether the individual in question is entering or leaving. Such linguistic gymnastics are unfortunately necessary. Since an enforceable southern border no longer exists, there can be no immigration law to break in the first place.

Today’s open-borders agenda has its roots not only in economic factors—the need for low-wage workers who will do the work that native-born Americans or Europeans supposedly will not—but also in several decades of intellectual ferment, in which Western academics have created a trendy field of “borders discourse.” What we might call post-borderism argues that boundaries even between distinct nations are mere artificial constructs, methods of marginalization designed by those in power, mostly to stigmatize and oppress the “other”—usually the poorer and less Western—who arbitrarily ended up on the wrong side of the divide. “Where borders are drawn, power is exercised,” as one European scholar put it. This view assumes that where borders are not drawn, power is not exercised—as if a million Middle Eastern immigrants pouring into Germany do not wield considerable power by their sheer numbers and adroit manipulation of Western notions of victimization and grievance politics. Indeed, Western leftists seek political empowerment by encouraging the arrival of millions of impoverished migrants.

Dreams of a borderless world are not new, however. The biographer and moralist Plutarch claimed in his essay “On Exile” that Socrates had once asserted that he was not just an Athenian but instead “a citizen of the cosmos.” In later European thought, Communist ideas of universal labor solidarity drew heavily on the idea of a world without borders. “Workers of the world, unite!” exhorted Marx and Engels. Wars broke out, in this thinking, only because of needless quarreling over obsolete state boundaries. The solution to this state of endless war, some argued, was to eliminate borders in favor of transnational governance. H. G. Wells’s prewar science-fiction novel The Shape of Things to Come envisioned borders eventually disappearing as elite transnational polymaths enforced enlightened world governance. Such fictions prompt fads in the contemporary real world, though attempts to render borders unimportant—as, in Wells’s time, the League of Nations sought to do—have always failed. Undaunted, the Left continues to cherish the vision of a borderless world as morally superior, a triumph over artificially imposed difference.

Yet the truth is that borders do not create difference—they reflect it. Elites’ continued attempts to erase borders are both futile and destructive.
H. G. Wells’s science-fiction novel “The Shape of Things to Come”; envisioned a borderless world run by transnational superelites. (KEYSTONE-FRANCE/GAMMA-KEYSTONE/GETTY IMAGES)

H. G. Wells’s science-fiction novel “The Shape of Things to Come” envisioned a borderless world run by transnational superelites. (KEYSTONE-FRANCE/GAMMA-KEYSTONE/GETTY IMAGES)

Borders—and the fights to keep or change them—are as old as agricultural civilization. In ancient Greece, most wars broke out over border scrubland. The contested upland eschatia offered little profit for farming but possessed enormous symbolic value for a city-state to define where its own culture began and ended. The self-acclaimed “citizen of the cosmos” Socrates nonetheless fought his greatest battle as a parochial Athenian hoplite in the ranks of the phalanx at the Battle of Delium—waged over the contested borderlands between Athens and Thebes. Fifth-century Athenians such as Socrates envisioned Attica as a distinct cultural, political, and linguistic entity, within which its tenets of radical democracy and maritime-based imperialism could function quite differently from the neighboring oligarchical agrarianism at Thebes. Attica in the fourth century BC built a system of border forts to protect its northern boundary.

Throughout history, the trigger points of war have traditionally been such borderlands—the methoria between Argos and Sparta, the Rhine and Danube as the frontiers of Rome, or the Alsace-Lorraine powder keg between France and Germany. These disputes did not always arise, at least at first, as efforts to invade and conquer a neighbor. They were instead mutual expressions of distinct societies that valued clear-cut borders—not just as matters of economic necessity or military security but also as a means of ensuring that one society could go about its unique business without the interference and hectoring of its neighbors.

Advocates for open borders often question the historical legitimacy of such territorial boundaries. For instance, some say that when “Alta” California declared its autonomy from Mexico in 1846, the new border stranded an indigenous Latino population in what would shortly become the 31st of the United States. “We didn’t cross the border,” these revisionists say. “The border crossed us.” In fact, there were probably fewer than 10,000 Spanish-speakers residing in California at the time. Thus, almost no contemporary Californians of Latino descent can trace their state residency back to the mid-nineteenth century. They were not “crossed” by borders. And north–south demarcation, for good or evil, didn’t arbitrarily separate people.

What we might call post-borderism argues that boundaries even between distinct nations are mere artificial constructs.

The history of borders has been one of constant recalibration, whether dividing up land or unifying it. The Versailles Treaty of 1919 was idealistic not for eliminating borders but for drawing new ones. The old borders, established by imperial powers, supposedly caused World War I; the new ones would better reflect, it was hoped, ethnic and linguistic realities, and thus bring perpetual peace. But the world created at Versailles was blown apart by the Third Reich. German chancellor Adolf Hitler didn’t object to the idea of borders per se; rather, he sought to remake them to encompass all German-speakers—and later so-called Aryans—within one political entity, under his absolute control. Many nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century German intellectuals and artists—among them the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, historian Oswald Spengler, and composer Richard Wagner—agreed that the Roman Empire’s borders marked the boundaries of civilization. Perversely, however, they celebrated their status as the unique “other” that had been kept out of a multiracial Western civilization. Instead, Germany mythologized itself as racially exceptional, precisely because, unlike other Western European nations, it was definable not only by geography or language but also by its supposed racial purity. The fairy-tale origins of the German Volk were traced back before the fifth century AD and predicated on the idea that Germanic tribes for centuries were kept on the northern and eastern sides of the Danube and Rhine Rivers. Thus, in National Socialist ideology, early German, white-skinned, Aryan noble savages paradoxically avoided a mongrelizing and enervating assimilation into the civilized Roman Empire—an outcome dear to the heart of Nazi crackpot racial theorist Alfred Rosenberg (The Myth of the Twentieth Century) and the autodidact Adolf Hitler. World War II was fought to restore the old Eastern European borders that Hitler and Mussolini had erased—but it ended with the creation of entirely new ones, reflecting the power and presence of Soviet continental Communism, enforced by the huge Russian Red Army.

Few escape petty hypocrisy when preaching the universal gospel of borderlessness. Barack Obama has caricatured the building of a wall on the U.S. southern border as nonsensical, as if borders are discriminatory and walls never work. Obama, remember, declared in his 2008 speech in Berlin that he wasn’t just an American but also a “citizen of the world.” Yet the Secret Service is currently adding five feet to the White House fence—presumably on the retrograde logic that what is inside the White House grounds is different from what is outside and that the higher the fence goes (“higher and stronger,” the Secret Service promises), the more of a deterrent it will be to would-be trespassers. If Obama’s previous wall was six feet high, the proposed 11 feet should be even better.

In 2011, open-borders advocate Antonio Villaraigosa became the first mayor in Los Angeles history to build a wall around the official mayoral residence. His un-walled neighbors objected, first, that there was no need for such a barricade and, second, that it violated a city ordinance prohibiting residential walls higher than four feet. But Villaraigosa apparently wished to emphasize the difference between his home and others (or between his home and the street itself), or was worried about security, or saw a new wall as iconic of his exalted office.

“You’re about to graduate into a complex and borderless world,” Secretary of State John Kerry recently enthused to the graduating class at Northeastern University. He didn’t sound envious, though, perhaps because Kerry himself doesn’t live in such a world. If he did, he never would have moved his 76-foot luxury yacht from Boston Harbor across the state border to Rhode Island in order to avoid $500,000 in sales taxes and assorted state and local taxes.

While elites can build walls or switch zip codes to insulate themselves, the consequences of their policies fall heavily on the nonelites who lack the money and influence to navigate around them. The contrast between the two groups—Peggy Noonan described them as the “protected” and the “unprotected”—was dramatized in the presidential campaign of Jeb Bush. When the former Florida governor called illegal immigration from Mexico “an act of love,” his candidacy was doomed. It seemed that Bush had the capital and influence to pick and choose how the consequences of his ideas fell upon himself and his family—in a way impossible for most of those living in the southwestern United States. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg offers another case study. The multibillionaire advocates for a fluid southern border and lax immigration enforcement, but he has also stealthily spent $30 million to buy up four homes surrounding his Palo Alto estate. They form a sort of no-man’s-land defense outside his own Maginot Line fence, presumably designed against hoi polloi who might not share Zuckerberg’s taste or sense of privacy. Zuckerberg’s other estate in San Francisco is prompting neighbors’ complaints because his security team takes up all the best parking spaces. Walls and border security seem dear to the heart of the open-borders multibillionaire—when it’s his wall, his border security.

This self-serving dynamic operates beyond the individual level as well. “Sanctuary cities,” for instance, proclaim amnesty for illegal aliens within their municipal boundaries. But proud as they are of their cities’ disdain for federal immigration law, residents of these liberal jurisdictions wouldn’t approve of other cities nullifying other federal laws. What would San Franciscans say if Salt Lake City declared the Endangered Species Act null and void within its city limits, or if Carson City unilaterally suspended federal background checks and waiting periods for handgun purchases? Moreover, San Francisco and Los Angeles do believe in clearly delineated borders when it comes to their right to maintain a distinct culture, with distinct rules and customs. Their self-righteousness aside, sanctuary cities neither object to the idea of borders nor to their enforcement—only to the notion that protecting the southern U.S. border is predicated on the very same principles.

More broadly, ironies and contradictions abound in the arguments and practices of open-borders advocates. In academia, even modern historians of the ancient world, sensing the mood and direction of larger elite culture, increasingly rewrite the fall of fifth-century AD Rome, not as a disaster of barbarians pouring across the traditional fortified northern borders of the Rhine and Danube—the final limites that for centuries kept out perceived barbarism from classical civilization—but rather as “late antiquity,” an intriguing osmosis of melting borders and cross-fertilization, leading to a more diverse and dynamic intersection of cultures and ideas. Why, then, don’t they cite Vandal treatises on medicine, Visigothic aqueducts, or Hunnish advances in dome construction that contributed to this rich new culture of the sixth or seventh century AD? Because these things never existed.

Academics may now caricature borders, but key to their posturing is either an ignorance of, or an unwillingness to address, why tens of millions of people choose to cross borders in the first place, leaving their homelands, language fluency, or capital—and at great personal risk. The answer is obvious, and it has little to do with natural resources or climate: migration, as it was in Rome during the fifth century AD, or as it was in the 1960s between mainland China and Hong Kong—and is now in the case of North and South Korea—has usually been a one-way street, from the non-West to the West or its Westernized manifestations. People walk, climb, swim, and fly across borders, secure in the knowledge that boundaries mark different approaches to human experience, with one side usually perceived as more successful or inviting than the other.

Western rules that promote a greater likelihood of consensual government, personal freedom, religious tolerance, transparency, rationalism, an independent judiciary, free-market capitalism, and the protection of private property combine to offer the individual a level of prosperity, freedom, and personal security rarely enjoyed at home. As a result, most migrants make the necessary travel adjustments to go westward—especially given that Western civilization, uniquely so, has usually defined itself by culture, not race, and thus alone is willing to accept and integrate those of different races who wish to share its protocols.

Many unassimilated Muslims in the West often are confused about borders and assume that they can ignore Western jurisprudence and yet rely on it in extremis. Today’s migrant from Morocco might resent the bare arms of women in France, or the Pakistani new arrival in London might wish to follow sharia law as he knew it in Punjab. But implicit are two unmentionable constants: the migrant most certainly does not wish to return to face sharia law in Morocco or Pakistan. Second, if he had his way, institutionalizing his native culture into that of his newly adopted land, he would eventually flee the results—and once again likely go somewhere else, for the same reasons that he left home in the first place. London Muslims may say that they demand sharia law on matters of religion and sex, but such a posture assumes the unspoken condition that the English legal system remains supreme, and thus, as Muslim minorities, they will not be thrown out of Britain as religious infidels—as Christians are now expelled from the Middle East.

Even the most adamant ethnic chauvinists who want to erase the southern border assume that some sort of border is central to their own racial essence. The National Council of La Raza (“the race”; Latin, radix) is the largest lobbying body for open borders with Mexico. Yet Mexico itself supports the idea of boundaries. Mexico City may harp about alleged racism in the United States directed at its immigrants, but nothing in U.S. immigration law compares with Mexico’s 1974 revision of its “General Law of Population” and its emphasis on migrants not upsetting the racial makeup of Mexico—euphemistically expressed as preserving “the equilibrium of the national demographics.” In sum, Mexican nationals implicitly argue that borders, which unfairly keep them out of the United States, are nonetheless essential to maintaining their own pure raza.

Migration has usually been a one-way street, from the non-West to the West or its Westernized manifestations.

Mexico, in general, furiously opposes enforcing the U.S.–Mexican border and, in particular, the proposed Trump wall that would bar unauthorized entry into the U.S.—not on any theory of borders discourse but rather because Mexico enjoys fiscal advantages in exporting its citizens northward, whether in ensuring nearly $30 billion in remittances, creating a powerful lobby of expatriates in the U.S., or finding a safety valve for internal dissent. Note that this view does not hold when it comes to accepting northward migrations of poorer Central Americans. In early 2016, Mexico ramped up its border enforcement with Guatemala, adding more security forces, and rumors even circulated of a plan to erect occasional fences to augment the natural barriers of jungle and rivers. Apparently, Mexican officials view poorer Central Americans as quite distinct from Mexicans—and thus want to ensure that Mexico remains separate from a poorer Guatemala.

When I wrote an article titled “Do We Want Mexifornia?” for City Journal ’s Spring 2002 issue, I neither invented the word “Mexifornia” nor intended it as a pejorative. Instead, I expropriated the celebratory term from Latino activists, both in the academy and in ethnic gangs in California prisons. In Chicano studies departments, the fusion of Mexico and California was envisioned as a desirable and exciting third-way culture. Mexifornia was said to be arising within 200 to 300 miles on either side of an ossified Rio Grande border. Less clearly articulated were Mexifornia’s premises: millions of Latinos and mestizos would create a new ethnic zone, which, for some mysterious reason, would also enjoy universities, sophisticated medical services, nondiscrimination laws, equality between the sexes, modern housing, policing, jobs, commerce, and a judiciary—all of which would make Mexifornia strikingly different from what is currently found in Mexico and Central America.

When Latino youths disrupt a Donald Trump rally, they often wave Mexican flags or flash placards bearing slogans such as “Make America Mexico Again.” But note the emotional paradox: in anger at possible deportation, undocumented aliens nonsensically wave the flag of the country that they most certainly do not wish to return to, while ignoring the flag of the nation in which they adamantly wish to remain. Apparently, demonstrators wish to brand themselves with an ethnic cachet but without sacrificing the advantages that being an American resident has over being a Mexican citizen inside Mexico. If no borders existed between California and Mexico, then migrants in a few decades might head to Oregon, even as they demonstrated in Portland to “Make Oregon into California.”

Removing borders in theory, then, never seems to match expectations in fact, except in those rare occasions when nearly like societies exist side by side. No one objects to a generally open Canadian border because passage across it, numbers-wise, is roughly identical in either direction—and Canadians and Americans share a language and similar traditions and standard of living, along with a roughly identical approach to democracy, jurisprudence, law enforcement, popular culture, and economic practice. By contrast, weakening demarcated borders between diverse peoples has never appealed to the citizens of distinct nations. Take even the most vociferous opponents of a distinguishable and enforceable border, and one will observe a disconnect between what they say and do—given the universal human need to circumscribe, demarcate, and protect one’s perceived private space.

Again, the dissipation of national borders is possible only between quite similar countries, such as Canada and the U.S. or France and Belgium, or on those few occasions when a supranational state or empire can incorporate different peoples by integrating, assimilating, and intermarrying tribes of diverse religions, languages, and ethnicities into a common culture—and then, of course, protect them with distinct and defensible external borders. But aside from Rome before the fourth century AD and America of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, few societies have been able to achieve E pluribus unum. Napoleon’s transnational empire didn’t last 20 years. Britain never tried to create a holistic overseas body politic in the way that, after centuries of strife, it had forged the English-speaking United Kingdom. The Austro-Hungarian, German, Ottoman, and Russian Empires all fell apart after World War I, in a manner mimicked by the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia in the 1980s and 1990s. Rwanda and Iraq don’t reflect the meaninglessness of borders but the desire of distinct peoples to redraw colonial lines to create more logical borders to reflect current religious, ethnic, and linguistic realities. When Ronald Reagan thundered at the Brandenburg Gate, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” he assumed that by 1987, German-speakers on both sides of the Berlin Wall were more alike than not and in no need of a Soviet-imposed boundary inside Germany. Both sides preferred shared consensual government to Communist authoritarianism. Note that Reagan did not demand that Western nations dismantle their own borders with the Communist bloc.

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” Robert Frost famously wrote, “That wants it down.” True, but the poet concedes in his “Mending Wall” that in the end, he accepts the logic of his crustier neighbor: “He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’ ” From my own experience in farming, two issues—water and boundaries—cause almost all feuds with neighbors. As I write, I’m involved in a border dispute with a new neighbor. He insists that the last row of his almond orchard should be nearer to the property line than is mine. That way, he can use more of my land as common space to turn his equipment than I will use of his land. I wish that I could afford to erect a wall between us.

The end of borders, and the accompanying uncontrolled immigration, will never become a natural condition—any more than sanctuary cities, unless forced by the federal government, will voluntarily allow out-of-state agencies to enter their city limits to deport illegal aliens, or Mexico will institutionalize free entry into its country from similarly Spanish-speaking Central American countries.

Borders are to distinct countries what fences are to neighbors: means of demarcating that something on one side is different from what lies on the other side, a reflection of the singularity of one entity in comparison with another. Borders amplify the innate human desire to own and protect property and physical space, which is impossible to do unless it is seen—and can be so understood—as distinct and separate. Clearly delineated borders and their enforcement, either by walls and fences or by security patrols, won’t go away because they go to the heart of the human condition—what jurists from Rome to the Scottish Enlightenment called meum et tuum, mine and yours. Between friends, unfenced borders enhance friendship; among the unfriendly, when fortified, they help keep the peace.

August 30, 2016

Response to Phyllis’ ‘Wow’ pro-Hillary email

[I got the following email chain of two, one from John responding to Phyllis. I sent John what follows Phyllis’ email to him. Please, think before you vote in November. Keep in mind that not voting is a vote for the other guy.]

John: Lots of famous, incredible/good people experience financial failures as well as other types of failures. I remain unaffiliated as I don’t wholly support any party platform. Indeed, this has been an interesting campaign cycle. Both are bright and either will face new challenges heretofore nuvo. The media have been so provocative. I could covet them with plenty of other pejoratives as well.

All would do well to forget about scrutinizing personal medical, income tax, family and concentrate on defining issues and solutions to problems. This isn’t just a battle for public office. It’s a chance to explore/expose and hopefully create workable solutions to our many problems that we face now and towards perpetuity. Please God, May we the people choose wisely.

From: Phyllis Subject: Wow!

Hi–I was surprised to read that Meg Whitmann is now campaigning for Hillary Clinton. Ms. Whitmann called Trump a loutish demagogue. Warrenn Buffett, Michael Bloomberg and Mark Cuban have also endorsed Hillary. John, the man is just too volatile, ignorant of knowledge about the world and dangerous to be President. A man who has declared bankruptcy 6 times? That means that he cheated a lot of people. Frankly, I’ve heard him a few times and found him frightening because he sounds like Hitler.


IS your friend, Phyllis, serious???

Hillary is a criminal. She & Bill sold the presidency. She personally ordered the murder of Vincent Foster in the Blue Room at the White House using a corrupt Secret Service Agent (the book is posted on the book list, “The Strange Death of Vincent Foster”).

Bill and Madelaine Albright gave all sorts of secrets and patents and protected business secrets to the Chinese for, as Madelaine Albright was caught on tape when exiting the U.N. saying, that we cannot have a single super-power, so she and Bill were building up China to ‘balance’ the world. Just look at all of those Sino-American scientists charged by the FBI for espionage during the ‘90’s who ‘magically’ had the charges dropped and then never heard from again. All working at Los Alamos, too.

Hillary committed a felony when she destroyed evidence after receiving a subpoena to produce documents. If you know anything about MS Word, what they did to locate those 37,000 emails, was to enter keywords, such as ‘secret,’ ‘top secret,’ &c into the search box, then deleted them all and then over-wrote them, which means that ALL of the missing emails were classified!

She was a complete failure as Secretary of State, ran ‘Fast and Furious’ in cahoots with the racist anti-Semite Eric Holder, had the failed Russian Reboot, no one still knows where she really was during the Benghazi disaster although some sources state that it was supposed to be a kidnapping so that her buddies could exchange an ambassador for Jihadists held at Gitmo.

She has been in contempt of congress more than once.

She has been in continued violation of the Lawyers’ Professional Code of Conduct since being fired from her job as an intern during the Watergate Hearings. She’s been suspended from practice, disbarred and reinstated, failed bar exams finally passing the Arkansas exam.

The list just goes on, and on, and on.

AS to Buffet, he owns the railroads carrying the oil from the Canadian oil fields. That is why he is against the XL Pipeline. The RR has refused to upgrade the tracks, because Buffet knows that the pipeline is a certainty, which is why every 17th train derails and spills tons of oil into the environment, but neither Obama’s OSHA nor his EPA will do anything about it. Buffet makes billions of $ under Obama, and will continue to do so under Clinton as will Cuban and Soros.

Bloomberg is the idiot who has allowed crime back into NYC after Rudy kicked it out; he is also the idiot behind the can’t have 32oz drinks, no sugar, no salt, &c in restaurants.

Mark Cuban is an idiot, and Meg Whitman has probably been promised SCOTUS, after Hillary fills Scalia’s seat with Obama.

As for business bankruptcies, they happen.

According to Hillary, even with the $20,000,000 advance the publishers gave Bill and her for their memoirs, she claimed to be broke coming out of the White House. Anybody who is so stupid as to claim insolvency with $20,000,000 in cash, a guaranteed pension for life of over $1,000,000/yr, guaranteed healthcare, not medicare so $0 premiums, for life, a $14,000,000 estate in Westchester County NY, &c, should not be allowed near the federal budget.

Phyllis should look to the issues, see what Trump is proposing compared to Hillary’s lies and frauds and plans that are guaranteed to not work, like Hillary-Care, Amnesty, The Arab Spring, tax raise for all those making over $125,000 (filing jointly, no less), and how Charity Navigator can’t rate the Clinton Foundation because it is really a money laundering scheme, (give money to the Canadian Clinton Foundation, and they will forward it to the Arkansas Clinton Foundation – a clear violation of the OCC regs [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency] as Canada does not require reporting of all transfers of $5,000 or more, which the OCC does).

Trump has been putting forth some good plans and the people that he’s already suggested for his cabinet and SCOTUS show that he’d be a zillion times better as prez than Hillary.

BTW, Phyllis does understand that Hillary supported the Iran-nuke deal, which means that within ten years Tel Aviv will be nuked by a terrorist truck nuke device, driven in from Egypt, doesn’t she? She does understand that about 9% of all Muslims are openly declared Jihadis, which means that under Hillary, there is a good chance that within ten years either she or one of her family will be attacked because they are Jewish and not Muslims, doesn’t she?

Of the just let in 10,000 Syrians, 99,954 are Muslim.

In the last 7 1/2 years, Obama has already let in over over 2,000,000 Muslims from around the world, including 1,000,000 Palestinians. Meaning that there are over 180,000 declared Jihadis in the country just waiting for an opportunity to kill a Jew or Christian, or LGBTQQ, or a woman who shows too much skin or otherwise violates Sha’Ria Law. And, she is aware that NYC Mayor Deblasio has appointed a Sha’Ria judge to the Brooklyn Borough Municipal Court, isn’t she?

I’ve been a Truman Democrat all of my life, accepted the Coward Kennedy as a compromise, and was ashamed of the Cowardly Criminal Carter. I did not vote for Clinton or Obummer. The current GOP is, if one looks at their philosophy and actions, really a reincarnation of the Kennedy administration.

If one wishes to make similies with Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, look at Hillary, Bill, and Obama.

August 28, 2016

Charity Navigator article The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation [nc]


• Methodology
Bill Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation
Why isn’t this organization rated?
We had previously evaluated this organization, but have since determined that this charity’s atypical business model can not be accurately captured in our current rating methodology. Our removal of The Clinton Foundation from our site is neither a condemnation nor an endorsement of this charity. We reserve the right to reinstate a rating for The Clinton Foundation as soon as we identify a rating methodology that appropriately captures its business model.
What does it mean that this organization isn’t rated?
It simply means that the organization doesn’t meet our criteria. A lack of a rating does not indicate a positive or negative assessment by Charity Navigator.
Archived Watchlist
EIN 31-1580204
Name in IRS Master File
City, State, Zip LITTLE ROCK, AR 72201-1732
NTEE Classification
Public Health Program (Includes General Health and Wellness Promotion
Health – General and Rehabilitative
Charitable Organization
501(c)(3) (View the list of codes)

Activities (994) Described in section 170(b)1)(a)(vi) of the Code
(61) Library
Foundation Status
Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public 170(b)(1)(A)(vi)
Contributions are deductible
Independent – the organization is an independent organization or an independent auxiliary (i.e., not affiliated with a National, Regional, or Geographic grouping of organizations).
Group Name
[Not Applicable]
Ruling Date
January, 1998
Asset Amount $354,190,170
Income Amount $184,422,359
Form 990 Revenue Amount $177,804,612
Latest Form 990 Return
December, 2014
Filing Requirement
990 (all other) or 990EZ return
Fiscal Year End December
IRS Forms 990
(provided courtesy of Foundation Center)
(Log In or Register Now to View Forms 990!)
• December, 2014
• December, 2013
• December, 2012
• December, 2011
• December, 2010
The data displayed in this profile is provided by the IRS for free in the form of Publication 78 and the Business Master File (BMF).
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August 24, 2016

California and your right to self-defense

Wherever you stand on the issue of gun control, it is important to be well informed. While it is difficult to say how many registered gun owners there are in Sonoma County we do know that recent sales of firearms to have gone up as more restrictive laws are set to go into effect. It is important to stay informed as to prevent law abiding gun owners from unknowingly breaking new laws. Here are some of the changes in the law.

It is important to mention that these laws are not set in stone 100% as VetoGunmageddon.org is working to obtain enough signatures to veto Gov. Browns new bills and put them on the ballot this November.
SB 880 and AB 1135

Together, these new laws reclassify the definition of “assault weapon” and “fixed magazine” as:

(1) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that does not have a fixed magazine but has any one of the following:

(A) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon.
(B) A thumbhole stock.
(C) A folding or telescoping stock.
(D) A grenade launcher or flare launcher.
(E) A flash suppressor.
(F) A forward pistol grip.

(2) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.

(3) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches.

(4) A semiautomatic pistol that does not have a fixed magazine but has any one of the following:

(A) A threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer.
(B) A second handgrip.
(C) A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel that allows the bearer to fire the weapon without burning the bearer’s hand, except a slide that encloses the barrel.
(D) The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip.

(5) A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.

(6) A semiautomatic shotgun that has both of the following:

(A) A folding or telescoping stock.
(B) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, thumbhole stock, or vertical handgrip.

(7) A semiautomatic shotgun that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine.

(8) Any shotgun with a revolving cylinder.

(b) For purposes of this section, “fixed magazine” means an ammunition feeding device contained in, or permanently attached to, a firearm in such a manner that the device cannot be removed without disassembly of the firearm action.

Practical Impact:

Not much has changed other than the definition of the “Fixed Magazine”. New law defines fixed magazine as requiring the disassembly of the firearm action prior to removal of the magazine. This means that firearms with the features listed above combined with a ‘Bullet Button” is no longer legal for possession or transfer/sale. California has also allowed firearms that have been made illegal per the new bills to be registered as assault weapons and allows you to keep them if owned prior to January 1, 2017. However, once registered, you may not sell it or transfer it within California.

If you currently own one of these firearms or own them before January 1, 2017 than your options are as follows:

A. Register it as an assault weapon with the California Department of Justice. (Method of registration is still to be determined.)
B. Remove the firearm from the State of California.
C. Modify the firearm in a way that restricts removal of the magazine unless the firearm action is open.
D. Modify the firearm so that it does not have the features listed above.
E. Surrendered the firearm law enforcement for destruction.


Can I buy the firearm out of state and bring it into California? No, unless the firearm cannot be classified as an assault weapon per the new laws.

Can I later sell my registered assault weapon? No, unless you modify the firearm in a way that it no longer meets the definition of an assault weapon per the new laws and notify the California Department of Justice that the firearm is no longer and assault weapon.

Can I bequest my registered assault weapon to my children when I die? No, once you die, the firearm must be turned in to law enforcement for destruction.

Can I sell my registered assault weapon out of state? Yes, however the legal methods of getting the firearm out of state varies and can potentially be a felony if done incorrectly.

Can I put the registered assault weapon into a trust and pass it down that way? No, California does not recognize Trusts as gun owners.

Date the law goes into effect: January 1, 2017

Latest Date to register as an assault weapon: January 1, 2018
AB 1511

New regulations around loaning firearms.

Practical Impact:

Bans loans of longer than 3 days and loans for other than lawful purposes.


Can I still handle that gun at the gun shop? Yes

Can I still rent a gun at the range? Yes

Can I loan a gun while I’m personally still present? Yes

Exemptions: May loan to Parents, children, spouses, siblings, grandparents, or grand children so long as no longer than 30 days, and done so infrequently.

Date the law goes into effect: January 1, 2017
AB 1695

Created a 10-year firearm prohibition for someone convicted of falsely reporting a lost or stolen firearm.

Practical Impact:

Makes it a crime to falsely report lost or stolen firearms.

Date the law goes into effect: January 1, 2017
SB 1235

Places restrictions on the purchase / importation of ammunition in California and would require the attorney general to keep records of purchases and background checks to be conducted prior to purchasing ammunition. This legislation would further require any online ammunition sales to be conducted through a local licensed vendor.

Practical Impact:

You would not be able to purchase ammunition online and have it shipped directly to you. Instead, you would purchase the ammunition online, have it shipped to a licensed dealer in California whom can conduct a background check on you prior to releasing the ammunition to you. It has still not been determined what the process or fees will be nor how long it will take.


Am I exempt if I have a C&R License with a COE? – Yes!

Can I buy ammo out of state and bring it in? – No, you are allowed a few small exemptions for hunting and shooting at matches, but can return with no more than 50 rounds .

Does it include reloading components? – Yes, “ammunition” includes, but is not limited to, any bullet, cartridge, magazine, clip, speed loader, autoloader, or projectile capable of being fired from a firearm with a deadly consequence. “Ammunition” does not include blanks.

Can I sell ammo to my friend? – No, private sales of ammo must go through a licensed dealer.

Date the law goes into effect: January 1, 2018
SB 1446

Banned the simple possession of ammunition feeding devices/magazines that are capable of holding more than 10 cartridges.

Practical Impact:

Prior magazine bans did not ban the possession and now it does. This means all magazines with the ability to hold more than 10 rounds, even magazines that were grandfathered in and owned before January 1, 2001, are now illegal.


What are my options if I already legally own magazines that hold more than 10 cartridges? Your options include: 1) Turning in to Law Enforcement / exempt dealer, 2) Sell out of state or to an exempt person / dealer, 3) remove the magazines from California, or 4) modify the magazine permanently so that it may not accept more than 10 cartridges.

What if I am caught with a magazine that has the ability to hold more than 10 cartridges? The penalty is an infraction which will usually carry a fine. The law also authorizes confiscation of the magazine. You should also contact an attorney as there are usually other firearm based charges that may follow.

Is Law Enforcement exempt? Yes, active and retired law enforcement officers are exempt, even for their personal property.

Can I just take apart my magazines of greater than 10 rounds? The law is not clear on when parts become a magazine. However, you should contact an attorney before attempting to disassemble your magazines.

Are there any other exemptions? Yes, If you have a firearm for which you owned a magazine and no 10 round magazine is available, you may keep that high-capacity magazine. However you should contact an attorney to assist in compliance.

Are magazines that look like 30 round magazines but only hold 10 rounds also known as “10/30’s” banned? No, 10/30’s are not affected so long as they are permanently modified to only hold no more than 10 rounds.

Date the law goes into effect: January 1, 2017
AB 857

Requires unique identification for all firearms and uncompleted receiver blanks that are readily able to be converted to a functional firearm.

Practical Impact:

All firearms legally manufactured from 80% blanks as well as all other firearms legally manufactured by unlicensed individuals must have unique identification engraved into the firearm. This means that if you have ever built a firearm from an 80% receiver, it must be engraved with unique identifying information. If this information is not engraved into the firearm by January 1, 2018 than you must request a unique serial number from the California Department of Justice. In order to manufacture a new firearm after January 1, 2018 you must First request a serial number from the California Department of Justice prior to beginning manufacture. This applies to all firearms manufactured after 1968 and is not a handgun. “Firearm” now includes the unfinished frame or receiver of a weapon that can be readily converted to the functional condition of a finished frame or receiver more commonly known as an 80% receiver. Yu may no longer purchase an 80% receiver in California unless done through a Licensed firearms dealer who voluntarily manufactures it by engraving their manufacture information.


Can I sell a firearm I manufactured after I have engraved the serial number and other information on it? No.

Do I have to put my name as the manufacturer? Yes, this is a federal requirement when serializing.

What Model is my firearm? You can choose this to be whatever you like!

What serial number can I choose if I serialize before January 1, 2018? You can choose any serial number you like, but it must be in English and must contain numbers.

So what are my options again?

If no serial number is engraved on the firearm prior to January 1, 2018, you must apply to the California Department of Justice for a unique serial number to be engraved. If manufacturing after January 1, 2018 you must request the unique serial number prior to manufacturing the firearm.

If you plan on serializing your own unique information prior to January 1, 2018 you must inconspicuously engrave your first and last name, the city and state in which you manufactured the firearm, the model designation of the firearm, the caliber, as well as a unique serial number.

These new laws are all highly technical and you may suffer severe consequences such as felony charges as well as losing firearm ownership rights for life if convicted. It is highly recommended that you consult an attorney prior to taking any firearm related action.

Categories: Criminal Defense, Murder and you can count on the little toes of your left foot how many criminals follow the law!

August 23, 2016

Catching up with Victor Hanson [nc]

Where’s The Letter From Democratic Security Officials Opposing Hillary?
August 22, 2016 12:56 pm / Leave a Comment / victorhanson
By Victor Davis Hanson//Town Hall
A group of 50 conservative foreign policy elites and veteran national security officials of prior Republican administrations recently wrote an open letter denouncing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
They cited especially his lack of character and moral authority — and his “little understanding of America’s national interests.” Particularly bothersome, they wrote, is Trump’s inability “to separate truth from falsehood.”
The letter stated that Trump’s one-year campaign of blustery rhetoric suggests he could be as reckless in deed in the White House as he has been in word on the campaign trail.
Is there a like group of past Democratic wise men and women who can commensurately “police their own” and so warn us about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton?
Unlike Trump, Clinton already has an actual political record as a former U.S. senator and secretary of state.
If there were such a group, the heart of their letter might read something like the following:
“We the undersigned who have served in prior Democratic administrations will not vote for Hillary Clinton.
“She has endangered U.S. national security by using an unsecured and unlawful personal email server. She has transmitted classified information over it, some of which was most likely accessed by foreign interests.“Hillary Clinton deliberately undermined government intelligence-handling protocols and ignored Freedom of Information requests.
“FBI Director James Comey, after a lengthy investigation, has stated before Congress that Ms. Clinton was untruthful in her various public explanations about her reckless behavior.“We are discovering from her unsecured and once-deleted correspondence more evidence of negligence and unethical behavior — from crossover business between State Department operatives and the Clinton Foundation to quid-pro-quo favors and discussions about a U.S. informant who was later executed by the Iranian government.
“Unfortunately, Ms. Clinton cannot distinguish truth from falsehood in areas that transcend the email scandal. She went on record falsely attesting that the Benghazi tragedy was a result of popular anger against a filmmaker. In previous communications, she had asserted just the opposite — that it was a terrorist operation.
“After ranking members of the Democratic National Committee were found to have been massaging the primary race for Ms. Clinton, she nonetheless hired for her campaign the recently resigned and disgraced former head of the DNC, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
“Clinton’s role in the decision to bomb Libya ensured a subsequent failed state and terrorist haven there. Her laxity left the consulate in Benghazi without protection from terrorist violence that led to American deaths.
“Backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt nearly destroyed a traditional ally. The Iranian government has stepped up its support of terrorism, its hostage-taking and its promises to destroy Israel — after the Iran accord Clinton claims to have helped initiate.
“On her watch, all U.S. troops were precipitously withdrawn from Iraq, destroying what had been a promising calm, and ensuring the rise of ISIS and the implosion of nearby Syria. Allies in the Gulf and Israel have been as ostracized as often as hostile governments in Iran, Turkey and Cuba have been courted.
“Her signature “reset” policy emboldened Vladimir Putin’s Russia, helped to restart a Cold War, and led to the end of an independent Crimea and unified Ukraine.
“China’s unchecked expansionism has spread to new artificial island bases in the South China Sea. Uncertain of continued U.S. support, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea grow terrified in the face of renewed Chinese and North Korean aggression.
“As secretary of state, Clinton spearheaded the Obama’s administration’s effort to relegate jihadist violence to a euphemistic category of “violent extremism.”
“Hillary Clinton for political advantage has flipped positions on the Keystone XL pipeline, major international trade agreements, illegal immigration and a border fence.
“Hillary and Bill Clinton have become multimillionaires through speaking and consulting, often on the tacit understanding that their past and present public service could benefit unscrupulous corporate and foreign interests willing to pay them exorbitant fees.
“Just as our Republican foreign policy counterparts are rightly worried about what Donald Trump has said, we Democratic foreign policy veterans are equally terrified of what Hillary Clinton has said and done. In our view, further continuance of a long record of proven failure is even more worrisome than reckless rhetoric about future policy.”
No such letter will ever be published. Why?
Hillary Clinton is a fixture of the foreign policy establishment and thus is considered exempt from being judged empirically on her serial deceit and her disastrous foreign policy record.
In the world of elite Washington, crude bluster from an uncouth outsider like Trump is deemed more hazardous than the prevarication, dishonesty and incompetence of a familiar insider.

The Great Regression
August 22, 2016 12:50 pm / Leave a Comment / victorhanson
Today, it seems that Orwell’s 1984 would better have been titled 2016.
By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online
Technical progress is often associated with moral and political regress, a theme as ancient as Hesiod’s seventh-century b.c. poem Works and Days.
In 200 b.c., not a male could vote freely in Hellenistic Greece, but the so-called Antikythera analogue computer could predict astronomical cycles in a way unimaginable 250 years earlier in Periclean Athens.
The uncanny ability to craft the great dome of Hagia Sophia did not imply that the people of Constantinople in a.d. 537 had retained many freedoms from the impoverished Roman Republic of 700 years earlier.
We are in such a period of rapid breakthroughs in technology, consumerism, and scientific advancement — equally matched by cultural, social, and political ruin.
Take the question of free speech. Fifty years ago leftist student activists — without iPads and Facebook pages — fought for “free speech areas” in university plazas where they could voice unpopular and even uncouth expression.
Not today.
We may be able to communicate in a nanosecond and send photo images in real time on our cell phones, but someone who was a student at UC Berkeley in the 1960s would today be shocked that there is less free speech on campus than a half-century ago — unless he is a tenured dean who helped to implement the censorship he once opposed.
If a junior faculty member were to write a paper on the racialist undertones of Black Lives Matter, the lack of factual evidence for a campus rape epidemic, or the connection between radical Islam and terrorism, he would likely have to struggle for tenure.
It is not just that a John Ford western could not pass current PC muster, but even modernist raunchy satire such as the 1980s TV hits In Living Color and Married with Children, or the comic career of a Teri Garr or Victoria Jackson, or a movie like True Lies simply could not pass today’s Ministry of Truth.
Free-speech activists, homosexual-rights advocates, feminists, and democracy reformers all privately accept that they are as free to attack the fundamentalism of the Christian Right as they are in real danger — both to their persons and to their careers — should they question Koranic support for widespread current Muslim discrimination against women, gays, and religious reformers. Political correctness has become synonymous with either cowardice or careerism — or both. We damn “Islamophobia” to win social brownie points, but we tune out when there is mention of honor killings or female circumcision. Cheap silence is always preferable to principled but risky dissent.
Orwell was wrong only on his dates. Had he entitled his novel 2016, we would immediately have recognized his parallels to the present “overseas contingency operations,” “violent extremism,” “undocumented immigrants,” and “man-caused disasters.” The campus diversity czar is our Big Brother. Imagining that all lives matter is a thought crime. Due process on a campus today is counter-revolutionary, and proper sexual congress among students is to be scripted as a politically correct act, as if we were all Orwell’s Winston Smith and Julia. Is the Junior Anti-Sex League with its red sashes far behind?
Even as the president and his current and previous attorneys general have been African-American, race relations nonetheless are regressing to the polarized days of the 1950s. Black Lives Matter organizers now order journalists to separate by race, with whites to follow at the back of a demonstration. On campus, modern students are emulating the old University of Alabama, with Claremont undergraduates openly advertising that they do not wish to room with someone of a different race. Will solicitations for “European-American” roommates be far behind?
Neither social censure nor media attention focuses on such politically correct segregation. A “safe space” on campus is a euphemism for dividing up campus life by the color of one’s skin; are separate water fountains next? Any college president who addressed an incoming class with, “Welcome, students. I hope we can fully integrate into a unified student body, in which race and gender become incidental, not essential, to our common human characters” would be summarily fired or sent on a sabbatical to a reeducation camp to unlearn crimes of cultural appropriation and assimilationist genocide. Qualification for affirmative-action status rests on guidance from the old Confederacy’s 1/16, “one drop” rule.
Emblematic of the current racial nihilism was the recent fatal shooting in Milwaukee of an African-American suspect at a traffic stop (who was armed with a stolen automatic weapon, and who had 13 prior arrests) by an African-American police officer (in a city whose sheriff is African-Americans) — leading to looting and mini-riots, in which whites were targeted by their race. “Poor” people, who said they were deprived, coordinated their looting and rioting on expensive smart phones and cool social media. Immediately prior to the shooting, several African-Americans were shot by other African-Americans — without commensurate violence or even much news coverage.
Certain topics are not just taboo, but also grounds for career-ending charges of racism, such as discussion of the astronomical rates of violent crime among young African-American males or the epidemic of type-2 diabetes and chronic obesity among recent immigrants from Mexico. Just as in our dark past, when Confederate states and local jurisdictions nullified federal laws on racial grounds, so too modern “sanctuary cities” declare themselves exempt from federal immigration statutes, at least in the case of Hispanic immigrants from Mexico and Latin America. A visiting Australian neurologist who overstays his visa will eventually be in trouble at airport passport control; had he entered the U.S. by crossing its southern border illegally and staying in Los Angeles, he would likely have been exempt.
At the turn of the last century, “trust busters” of the progressive movement made the argument that the free market was imperiled by crony capitalists, who had, with government collusion, vertically integrated enormous conglomerates and monopolies, strangling free commerce and competition in the steel, oil, and railroad industries. Central to the muckrakers’ advocacy was that the Morgans, Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Stanfords, and Carnegies were illiberal obstacles to egalitarianism and fairness — in other words, to the aspirations of the “little guy.”
Compare that to the scene today, with the record-setting monopolies of the founders of Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon. Internet grandees like Mark Zuckerberg are every bit as opulent in today’s dollars, and live as often in gated estates as did the now derided robber barons of the past — and are no less unethical. They certainly share the same disdain for the working middle classes, as they seek to import cheap foreign tech labor. Yet at least Rockefeller gave us oil, and Carnegie steel; it is hard to calibrate exactly how the country benefits from millions of 20-somethings glued to their Facebook pages.
Google massages its daily news fare to reflect liberal biases. Facebook censures far more social media on the right than on the left. Twitter closes down those it arbitrarily deems incorrect. The only difference is that in the Gilded Age, plutocrats preached the doctrines of self-reliance and hard work, professing that others could follow their golden paths. Today’s versions mouth progressive bromides on the assurance that they easily have the money and influence to navigate around the bothersome concrete ramifications of their own ideological boilerplate. None of them want their families to live in the world that is the logical result of their abstract and guilt-ridden theories.
As a result of liberal hyper-wealth, the new trusts are given veritable media and political passes on their embrace of practices once seen as illiberal and self-serving, like excessive electronic monitoring of our daily lives, offshoring and outsourcing wealth, monopolizing, and giving lavishly to candidates for public office to win exemption from regulations and tax law. Just because a master of the universe wears jeans, sneakers, and a T-shirt and tips his hat to Solyndra, sanctuary cities, or Black Lives Matter, that does not mean that his telos is any different from that of a Gilded Age monopolist. Hillary is Wall Street’s hedge-fund heroine; she resonates with Big Money in a way not seen since Warren G. Harding.
Disruptions in the free market and absolute control of business activities of a sort that once galvanized Frank Norris and Upton Sinclair are now deemed fine if they further a liberal agenda. George Soros has proved a lifelong financial octopus, but he has invested in liberal toadies and so earned adulation instead of muckraking. Unfortunately for Ford and Rockefeller, their foundations were hijacked by liberals after their deaths, and so they are remembered as enemies of the people.
Alcohol and tobacco producers, gun manufacturers, and car companies are routinely sued if their products are seen as responsible, even when used wrongly, for spiking injuries and death. Not so smart phones and social media. One of the greatest causes of traffic accidents today is the ubiquitous custom of texting while driving, as dangerous as using drugs or drink — and a logical end use of a smart device.
Yet for some reason, Silicon Valley’s products are deemed exempt from liberal notions of consumer liability, although it might be as easy for a nanny-state regulator to insert a motion-activated shut-off device in a smart phone as it is to install a trigger lock on a gun or to reduce the tar content of a cigarette. It is a toss-up as to which is the more deleterious to teenagers’ health: three daily cigarettes, or six hours on the sofa addicted to a video-game console, or walking in a busy crosswalk hypnotized by a smart-phone screen.
We should not delude ourselves that because a cocooned scientific elite has made startling gains in consumerism and technology, that therefore we the public are any freer, more socially and politically advanced, or somehow more ethical human beings.
More often material progress masks social regression, as we can do more bad things more impressively and more quickly than ever before — and then seek more sophisticated and contextualized exemptions. The novelist Petronius in his Satyricon relates something akin to a new sort of unbreakable glass, along with abject culinary and sexual decadence.
The public today is more wired and less knowledgeable than ever before; it talks more about diversity, fairness, and equality but practices far more tribal and racial discrimination and chauvinism.
“Speaking truth to power” is a buzz phrase in an age of far less freedom of expression and tolerance of dissenting views. We are going backward at warp speed.

The Betrayal of the Intellectuals?
August 22, 2016 12:46 pm / Leave a Comment / victorhanson
After nearly eight years of aiding and abetting Obama, leftists now fear the possible constitutional overreach of our next president.
By Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online
Peter Beinart writes angrily in The Atlantic of the supposed Trump intellectuals, apparently on the premise of not whether one has endorsed formally the Trump candidacy, but whether one has been critical of the existing administration. He suggests that I am guilty of suggesting that “America’s current leaders” are “predatory and decadent” and as one of “Trump’s intellectuals” have wrongly warned that “the natural arc of Obama-style progressivism is always anti-constitutional fascism.” (The quote is taken from a June NRO essay entitled “A Long Trump Summer” that lamented two “unprincipled candidates.”)
I and many others, long ago in the pre-Trump age, cited the quite dangerous trajectory of Obama’s constitutional overreach. That worry is now shared apparently by the New York Times. Suddenly in year eight, its editors fear that someday another president, perhaps one less sensitive, more uncouth than Obama, might find his exemplar useful, but for less exalted progressive purposes. Thus the Times has characterized Obama’s overreach as “bureaucratic bulldozing rather than legislative transparency.” And more ominously it notes, “But once Mr. Obama got the taste for it, he pursued his executive power without apology, and in ways that will shape the presidency for decades to come.”
Long before the arrival of Donald Trump on the current election scene, many noted with alarm efforts to circumvent the Congress with Obama’s “pen and phone” executive orders and nullification of existing law — whether the executive-order amnesties and non-enforcement of the border that he had warned he could not do before his reelection, given that they would be the work of an autocrat, or his allowance of sanctuary cities’ Confederate-like nullification of existing federal law, or his arbitrary reelection-cycle, non-enforcement of elements of his own Affordable Care Act, or virtual rewriting of laws in federal bureaucracies such as the EPA, or the quite dangerous politicization of agencies such as Lois Lerner’s activity at the IRS or the Eric-Holder/Loretta Lynch Justice Department or his divisive Chavista braggadocio (“get in their faces,” “punish our enemies,” “bring a gun to a knife fight,” “you didn’t build that,” etc.).
Obama understandably grew confident that he could nullify or ignore existing federal law, on the assurance he was doing so on transformative grounds and thus would be largely exempt from press scrutiny. And he was largely proven right in his reliance on media collusion.
So Beinart misses entirely what has angered the proverbial people about the so-called Washington–New York corridor’s political-media-academia elites. The people are not angry nativists opposing legal immigration, but they object to massive, illegal immigration that is neither diverse nor liberal, and whose architects never seem to experience firsthand the consequences of what they created.
It is not just the Iraq War per se that angered the people, but the elites who had urged the war and then by 2006 had largely and conveniently opted out from their preemptive advocacy (my brilliant three-week removal of Saddam; your messed-up years-long occupation) — while thousands of youth were still fighting for their lives in the places they had once been ordered into. And it was not anger at the wealthy per se, but at the well-connected elites whose lives are graced with cultural and social privileges, characterized by insider influence and generationally embedded connections that blind them to how life is lived outside their often ridiculous embryos — given that so often they never experience the direct results of their own ideological agendas.
Finally, given the anti-constitutional arc of the last eight years, it is rich for Beinart to warn the good intellectuals about their true (anti-Trumpian) duties: to warn Trump supporters about the consequences of their ignorance, given that “America is a democracy because the people’s voices count,” as he writes. “But it is a liberal democracy because freedom of the press, independence of the judiciary, and the rule of law are not subject to popular vote.”
Should we laugh or cry at that doublespeak, given the Obama Justice Department’s somnolence in the matter of the Clinton violations of national-security protocols, or the president’s own executive order circumvention of existing laws, or a free press that so often has chosen to become a Ministry of Truth.
Beinart worries about the corrosive effects of wealth on democracy; he should offer an extension course on how the Clintons accumulated a net worth of $150 million since Bill left the presidency, or on the methodologies by which once-convicted financial speculator and multibillionaire George Soros warps the democratic process. Or he might collate the political preferences of a Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, or Mark Zuckerberg. Perhaps he could recall who was the first presidential candidate in a general election to renounce public campaign funding in order to become the greatest recipient of Wall Street cash in election history.
Beinart’s second commandment for anti-Trump intellectuals is to hone “their ability to push the American political system to address the combustible economic despair of the working-class white men who have powered Trump’s campaign.”
Note Beinart’s pride in his and other intellectuals’ supposed ability to “push the political system.” But, alas, by his own admission, they so far have not pushed much of anything concerning the “despair of the working-class white men” — raising the question of “why not”? Certainly, for the last eight years, white privileged intellectuals have been keen to cite the apparent “white privilege” of others — often those who don’t have much of any privileges — in a manner that seems designed to assuage their conflicted psyches about their own demonstrable advantages.
Rather than answer in intellectual terms, I suggest that Beinart simply take a sabbatical: put his children for a year in an inner-city or rural, public unionized school, or conduct an anthropological field study by driving out for six months to Dayton or Modesto, or take up some work-study on a farm outside Delano. All that might be of far more value than searching for quotes in Czesław Miłosz’s The Captive Mind (whose warnings, after all, were focused on the allure for left-wing intellectuals of charismatic, hard-core Stalinism).
In sum, violations of our constitutional freedoms could arrive in the form of a crude and blustering populist on the 2017 horizon; but far more worrisome is the fact that the dangers are already here, having arrived insidiously in the form of a suave constitutional-law lecturer, who assumed that because he was stamped as progressive, familiar, and one of the cultural elite, a liberal press would willingly overlook the means he employed to obtain their shared ends. The press corps need not worry that their freedoms will be taken away by Trump, given that for some time they have been only too happy to give them up.

The Immigrant’s Dilemma
August 22, 2016 12:39 pm / Leave a Comment / victorhanson
by Victor Davis Hanson
Defining Ideas

Image credit:
Barbara Kelley
Nearly a half-century ago, Bob Dylan wrote a mixed ode to the immigrant, in a way that no doubt might earn him charges of racism, nativism, and xenophobia in today’s politically-correct age. Yet Dylan was trying to express the paradoxes of leaving one’s homeland for an entirely new political and cultural landscape that often overwhelms the newcomer. “I pity the poor immigrant,” he sang, “Who wishes he would’ve stayed home.”
Never has the immigrant to the West been more confused. In the twenty-first century, immigration almost always moves in a single direction—poor and desperate non-Western people abandon their homes in Latin America, Africa, and Asia seemingly to join quite different cultures in Europe and the United States. The West has neither the population growth nor the poverty any more to send huddled masses to the new lands. And yet, today, these immigrants arrive in Western countries that are strange fantasylands compared to what they were expecting. The newcomer is rarely reminded of why he left home, or why, after doing so, he chose the West, and not Russia, China, Bolivia, or the Sudan for his destination.
Western governments and the larger culture could easily instruct the immigrant that the Western tradition is far more likely to embrace constitutional government, personal freedom, free-market economics, the importance of private property, religious tolerance, free expression, due process, an independent judiciary, and a larger culture of self-criticism and introspection. But to do so would put the lie to multiculturalism and the belief in different but equal cultures.
These precise Western values allow the immigrant to enjoy a security, affluence, and freedom unknown in his abandoned homeland. Yet, we, the host, prefer not to “judge” those other places, and thus do not fully embrace the immigrant’s ostensible wish to become one of us. We dare not ethnocentrically elevate our culture over others. Instead, we rebrand the human sins of slavery, sexism, and racism as uniquely Western depravities rather than age-old pathologies that predated the West and still exist unchecked outside it. The immigrant immediately senses that his troubled Western host is not so much privileged as unsure and unhappy—and ripe for psychological exploitation. Hyphenation and tribalism, not the melting pot, are often seen as the natural, expected and more “authentic” path for the recently arrived.
Note that most immigrants do not arrive with natural empathy for the West. Most forsake countries that are hostile to the West. International surveys reveal that the United States, for example, is not popular in China, Latin America, or the Middle East—the current popular launching pads to America. In such places, popular opinion is shaped by the relentless propaganda of autocratic governments, which deride Western decadence, colonialism, imperialism, and racism. Latin American poverty, for example, is often explained as a result of el Norte exploitation rather than flawed political institutions.
The new arrival to Western lands is soon patronized as an icon of “difference.” The immigrant is not usually asked to learn the language of his new homeland, much less to quickly assimilate and integrate into Western culture. Instead, the Western multiculturalist host allows the newcomer to pick and choose from a buffet of culture and language: to set up a Sharia court in London, to practice female circumcision in France, to conduct business in Spanish at the DMV office in Bakersfield, or simply to ignore seeking legal status. He also finds an existing rich menu of grievances lodged against a stereotyped dominant white, male, heterosexual Christian culture, which is to be faulted for its past sins, while never praised for having played a major part in the creation of something desirable in the present. A newcomer from Jalisco may have experienced racism only in Mexico, but the second that he crosses the border, he at once finds careerist benefits in regurgitating new gripes against his generous host—without acknowledging that, for some reason, the water is suddenly safe to drink, the police do not take petty bribes, the hospitals serve all comers, and people of all backgrounds line up patiently to be treated equally by government clerks.
Confusion naturally results. No immigrant from lower Mexico or Yemen wishes to return home. He also senses that he can remain largely Honduran or Yemeni, even amid his new Western home—as long as enough of his fellow residents do not follow his example. If everyone were to do that, then the immigrant would quickly leave and seek out Westernism somewhere else.
As a result of such trends, the melting-pot forces of the past are becoming ossified and the West is becoming tribalized. Large blocks of the population self-segregate in the suburbs of Amsterdam, Paris, Los Angeles, and London, romanticizing the countries that they have rejected, while carefully embracing particular elements of their newly adopted homelands that they find either useful or profitable.
How did this approach to immigration develop?
The first reason is politics. The twentieth century progressive experiment has reached its tired limits in the twenty-first century. Even in the age of Obama, more Americans identify as conservative than liberal. Vast majorities do not agree with the trajectory of the government. They poll that they are unhappy with the present political environment, especially with the culturally and socially imposed limits of free expression. Americans remain deeply suspicious of mandated redistribution, multiculturalism, radical environmentalism, and the growth of an omnipotent federal government.
For European socialists and American progressives, one political solution is to change the demographic rather than scale back the message, preferring illegal, bloc, and un-vetted immigration rather than diverse, legal, meritocratic, and measured immigration policies that might yield a different long-term ideological result. Massive immigration of impoverished non-Westerners into the West creates new—and predictable—voters, if the indigent are offered immediate state benefactions, predicated on nurturing grievances against their hosts. Southern Mexico may operate on racist protocols that drive out indigenous people. No matter: after reaching the United States, the Mexican national can be encouraged to think that newly discovered prejudice and poverty explain why he has not almost immediately reached parity with native-born Americans—and will never find equality without the help of the Democratic Party and the liberal ideology that fuels it.
Second, Westerners are simply more ignorant than they used to be. Twenty-first-century Western liberal man has reached such a level of comfort and prosperity that he no longer needs or wishes to reflect on the origins of his advantage. Smart phones, sophisticated automobiles, unfettered social media, and widely affordable consumer goods are seen as birthrights that appear as naturally as sweet fruits on a wild vine that require no particular husbandry or nurturing. Westerners simply self-censor themselves or are ill-equipped to explain why they enjoy such advantages —and lack the knowledge to explain the fonts of their own society’s wealth.
Third, there is guilt. As implied earlier, we have never in history witnessed civilizations as rich and leisured as contemporary Europe, North America, and much of the former British Commonwealth. The bane of the poor in the United States is not endemic hunger but obesity, which, for example, largely explains why one of three Californians admitted to the hospital for any cause will be found upon admittance to suffer from the onset Type II diabetes. Mini-riots in the inner city can break out over gaining immediate access to luxury goods, not an inability to purchase staples at the local grocery store.
Such bounty in the West often creates among privileged elites a paradoxical sense of guilt over existing luxury even as it fuels a desire for even more it. If an upper-middle class Westerner drives a nice car, and has access to untold consumer goods, he feels, at least in the abstract, that his own privilege must be unfair, and proof of rigged inequality. He worries that his unlimited bounty may come at the expense of the American poor (who are not poor by global standards). Yet Western liberal man has a sense that unassimilated communities or the inner city are also places of greater crime and poorer schools, better avoided if possible, and most assuredly not the landscapes where one would wish to live or raise children.
So it is hard to square that progressive circle of idealism and realist self-interest. The Westerner does his best in the abstract by praising the non-West, lauding all cultures as equal, and deprecating his own legacy and traditions. That way, he manages to guiltlessly enjoy his exceptional Western privilege and is never responsible for the ramifications of his own ideology. He demands La Raza and Africana studies programs for minority students, but would never wish his own son to enroll in such classes, given their inability to provide a broad and competitive liberal education. If charter schools are denounced as pernicious for the inner city poor, then tony prep schools can be sought out easily enough for one’s own offspring.
We ask very little of today’s immigrant—neither legality and prior meritocratic achievement, nor rapid assimilation and integration into the West. As a result, he sees no reason to adopt a language or culture other than his own, and often instead seeks to carve out a pseudo-non-Western existence while attached to the umbilical cord of Western largess and freedom. Contempt rather than gratitude often follows—as seen in San Bernardino, Orlando, Paris, and Munich and beyond.
I pity the poor immigrant and what we do to him.

Hillary’s Neoliberals
August 22, 2016 12:36 pm / Leave a Comment / victorhanson
Some Republicans have cultural and political affinities that are pulling them away from Trump and toward Clinton.
By Victor Davis Hanson //National Review Online
Many elections redefine political parties.
The rise of George McGovern’s hard-left agenda in 1972, followed later in the decade by Jimmy Carter’s evangelical liberalism, drove centrist Democrats into the arms of Richard Nixon and later Ronald Reagan.
These so-called neoconservatives (“new conservatives”) grew tired of liberals’ perceived laxity about fighting the Cold War. In foreign policy, the neoconservatives were best known for supporting idealistic nation-building abroad. They distrusted the rise of what would become political correctness and ever more government. They worried about violent crime and higher taxes. So decades ago, these Democrats joined the Republican party.
Since the 1980s, the neoconservatives have made up the elite of their newly adopted party — despite their unease with the conservative orthodoxy of border enforcement, fierce resistance to gun control, and opposition to abortion.
Now, a few neoconservatives are reinventing themselves again and returning to the Democrats to support Hillary Clinton. We could call them “neoliberals.”
They believe that socialist Bernie Sanders made the hard-Left Clinton seem like an acceptable centrist. As neoliberals, they hope that beneath her opportunistic embrace of Obamism, Clinton still could recalibrate herself as more of a Democrat of the 1990s, a period when her husband, President Bill Clinton, championed balancing the budget while intervening abroad.
Neoliberals — along with some members of the conservative establishment — consider Republican party nominee Donald Trump to be toxic. Many of them are supporting Clinton because they do not like Trump’s idea of building a wall on the Mexican border to stop illegal immigration. Nor do they appreciate Trump’s slogans about “putting America first” when negotiating trade deals, conducting alliances, and avoiding optional foreign interventions. They hate Trump’s crude, take-no-prisoners invective more than Hillary’s polished and refined lying.
The 2016 neoliberals were never very culturally conservative. So they are certainly not bothered by Clinton’s pro-choice advocacy. They do not mind her promotion of gun control, and they are open to global warming agendas and soft multiculturalism. They see Clinton as preferable to Trump and his unapologetic nationalism. Many of the neoliberal converts supported the Obama–Clinton intervention in Libya and oppose Trump’s get-tough trade stance on China.
Neoliberals also find themselves more in the same class — defined by income, education, and cultural tastes — with Clinton’s elite Democrats than with Trump’s new army of lower-middle-class cultural and economic populists.
Neoliberals get along well with the small elite class that fuels the Clinton machine — similarly wealthy, well-educated grandees on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley, along with those in big media, academia, the arts, and the top echelons of state and federal bureaucracies.
Democrats no longer win over the middle classes, who lack the culture of the elite and the romance of the distant and subsidized poor. NASCAR and the NRA are anathemas to Democrats and were never popular with neoconservatives either.
Will the old neoconservatives/new neoliberals who support Clinton instead of Trump ever come back to the Republican party after the election?
It depends on three unknowns.
If Trump loses big, the neoliberals will remind Republican Trumpers that they had warned them about their populist folly. The neoliberals will seek to expunge populists and to rebuild a defeated Republican party in their own image as an improved version of the conservative establishment represented by the likes of Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush.
They may re-emerge as old Republican neoconservatives who will promote unfettered free trade, democracy-building abroad, and “comprehensive immigration reform” while downplaying social issues.
If Trump squeaks by, then the neoliberals certainly will be orphaned for good. As apostates, they will not be welcomed back as neoconservatives by the Republican winners, nor will they be seen by Democrats as converts having any further political value.
But if Trump loses by a point or two, the neoliberals will likely stay with the winning Clinton team. They will claim some credit for helping her just get over the top — even as they are blamed by irate Trumpers as traitors for sabotaging what otherwise could have been a winning new Republican strategy.
Apart from opportunistic careerism, the subtext to this realignment is a larger issue of culture, education, and class. A mostly urban, highly educated, and high-income globalized elite often shares more cultural and political affinities with their counterparts on the other side of the aisle than they do with the lower-middle and working classes of their own parties.
Just as Hillary Clinton may feel more comfortable with the old neoconservatives, Trump supporters have little in common with either Clintonites or neocons.
Clinton versus Trump is a war of NPR, CBS, and the New York Times against the National Enquirer, conservative talk radio, and the Drudge Report. Clinton supporters such as former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, onetime Bush officials Hank Paulson and Brent Scowcroft, and billionaire Meg Whitman certainly have nothing in common with Republican Trump supporters such as Mike Huckabee and Rush Limbaugh.
Culture, not just politics, is rapidly destroying — but also rebuilding — traditional political parties.

August 18, 2016

Mine Worker Pension Fund to be Bailed Out by YOU, [c]

[The following may be found in .pdf at: http://thf-reports.s3.amazonaws.com/2016/IB4600.pdf . In its original form, the charts are readable and the format is reader friendly. Now, as to why it is here:

As already explained in its proper place in the document, if the UMWA pension fund is bailed out, then more money that that spent on the entire defense budget will be spent bailing out underfunded union pension plans. This will lead to the bailing out of public sector pension plans, like the teachers in all of the states, especially California, Illinois, New York, and Massachusetts. Also the various police, fire, administrative staff, clerks, janitors, and any and all public employees. It means that those states who have voluntarily bankrupted themselves, will be bailed out.

Consider the following:

1. the deals made to fund these pensions was made by the properly elected union leaders, and the managers of the various industries;
2. As in the UMWA situation, consider how the interference of the various government entities, especially the EPA and FDA, have ruined so many businesses that those businesses cannot fund their pensions. Notice how the various regulations ruined the automotive industry and contributed to the failed UAW pension fund and how that contributed to the Clinton/sub-prime HUD meltdown in 2008;
3. consider how this violates constitution article IV ( might be VI, I don’t have a copy to hand ) prohibiting federal government messing with contracts; and,
4. did YOU have anything to do with these various contractual commitments? I did not. Under what legal or moral proposition should we be held to a contract that we were not party to? What is the difference between this and someone who buys a car and gets a lemon? Isn’t that person’s remedy to sue the dealer with whom he had that contract for sale? What legal or moral concept drags me into that problem?

Y’all need to contact your federal legislators and demand that they commit to NOT bailing these people, or any others similarly situated, out!]

Why a Coal Miner Pension Bailout Could Open the Door to a
$600 Billion Pension Bailout for All Private Unions
Rachel Greszler
No. 4600 | August 15, 2016
Congress is looking to pass legislation that would
use taxpayer dollars to bail out the overpromised,
underfunded pension plan of the United Mine
Workers of America (UMWA). Such an unprecedented
move would send the message that Congress
will stand behind sending trillions of dollars in overpromised,
underfunded public and private pension
obligations across the country. The federal government
already provides a backstop for failed union
and other private pension plans by insuring them
through the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
(PBGC). Congress should avoid bailing out select
pension plans at all costs and should instead reform
the PBGC so that it can meet its obligations without
a taxpayer bailout.
Coal Miner Bailout Just Tip of the
The UMWA pension plan is massively underfunded.
It has promised $5.6 billion more in pension
benefits than it will be able to pay.1 Although
the UMWA pension plan is among the worst-funded
pension plans, it represents only one of more than
1,300 multiemployer (union) pension plans across
the U.S. Almost all of these plans have made promises
they cannot keep.
According to the PBGC, a whopping 96 percent of
all multiemployer plans have funding ratios of less
than 60 percent—meaning they have less than 60
percent of the funds necessary to pay promised benefits.
2 In total, multiemployer plans have promised
over $600 billion more than they are estimated to be
able to pay.3
If Congress passes legislation to bail out the
UMWA pension plan with nearly a half a billion dollars
a year, what will stop it from passing legislation
to bail out the other 1,200 plans that have more than
$600 billion in unfunded promises? If Congress
forces taxpayers to bail out private union plans, why
not also private non-union plans that have $760 billion4
in unfunded liabilities, and public plans that
have as much as $4 trillion to $5 trillion5 in unfunded
UMWA Is Not Unique
Some policymakers argue that the UMWA is
unique—that the federal government was somehow
involved in the promises made to UMWA workers
and that the bailout would come from a coal-related
fund. The only thing unique about a UMWA bailout,
however, is that it would mark the first time in history
that Congress would force federal taxpayers to
bail out the unfunded pension promises of private
The notion that the government was somehow
involved in promises made to mine workers comes
from President Harry Truman’s intervention in
a 1946 coal-mining strike, including the government’s
involvement in an agreement that established
the UMWA health and welfare programs.
While the federal government helped to facilitate
This paper, in its entirety, can be found at
The Heritage Foundation
214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 546-4400 | heritage.org
Nothing written here is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views
of The Heritage Foundation or as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage
of any bill before Congress.
August 15, 2016 
the establishment of the UMWA’s health and pension
plans, it was the union and its plan trustees—
not the federal government—that vigorously fought
to pay out benefits to retirees who did not earn
those benefits. And, it was the union and its plan
trustees—not the federal government—that consistently
promised pensions and health care benefits
as part of employees’ total compensation packages
and then failed to collect the funds necessary to pay
those benefits.
The Money Will Come from Taxpayers,
Not Just a Coal Fund
Neither policymakers nor the public should be
fooled by the claim that the $490 million per year
UMWA bailout would be paid by the existing Abandoned
Mine Land (AML) reclamation fund (AML).
The AML fund was established in 1977 exclusively
to cover the clean-up costs of damage caused by coal
mines prior to the federal government’s increased regulation.
6 The proposed UMWA pension bailout would
allow the UMWA to use interest from the AML fund
not only for its unfunded retiree health care costs (as
already allowed), but also for its unfunded pensions.
As Senator Mike Enzi (R–WY) pointed out in a recent
floor speech, this would be akin to allowing the massively
underfunded pension plan of the Central States
trucking union to access the highway trust fund.7
Regardless, it is unlikely that much, if any, of
the $490 million per year in pension bailout costs
would come from the AML fund. In recent years, the
entirety of interest earned on the AML fund, plus
hundreds of millions more in taxpayer dollars, has
gone to the UMWA for its unfunded, yet gold-plated,
retiree health care costs, leaving nothing for a
potential pension bailout. Moreover, the Administration’s
most recent budget included a request for
$363 million in taxpayer funds to “strengthen the
health care and pension funds” of UMWA retirees.8
Clearly, taxpayers—not a coal fund—would be on the
hook for the nearly half-billion dollars a year UMWA
pension bailout.
A Pension Backstop Already Exists
When a multiemployer pension plan runs out of
funds, it turns to the PBGC, which provides financial
assistance to the plan to cover insured benefits
as well as the plan’s expenses. Virtually all private
pension plans are required to purchase PBGC
insurance. The PBGC covers up to $12,870 per year
in pension benefits for a worker with 30 years of
In 2015, the PBGC paid $103 million to about
54,000 retirees of failed multiemployer pension
plans.10 This pales in comparison, however, to what
the PBGC’s liabilities will be over the coming decade
1. According to the UMWA’s form 5500 filing for the year ended December 2014, the plan has $5.6 billion in “current value” unfunded liabilities,
with assets of $4.165 billion and liabilities of $9.735 billion.
2. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, “Data Book Listing,” Table M-13, Plans, Participants and Funding of PBGC-Insured Plans by
Funding Ratio (2013) Multiemployer Program, http://www.pbgc.gov/documents/2014-data-tables-final.pdf?source=govdelivery&utm_
medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery (accessed July 19, 2016).
3. Ibid., Table M-9, Funding of PBGC-Insured Plans (1980–2013) Multiemployer Program.
4. Ibid., Table S-44, Funding of PBGC-Insured Plans (1980-2013) Single-Employer Program.
5. Joe Luppino-Esposito, “Promises Made, Promises Broken 2014: Unfunded Liabilities Hit $4.7 trillion,” American Legislative Exchange Council,
November 12, 2014, https://www.alec.org/article/promises-made-promises-broken-2014-unfunded-liabilities-hit-4-7-trillion/
(accessed July 21, 2016).
6. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, “Reclaiming Abandoned Mine Lands: Title IV of the Surface Mining Control and
Reclamation Act,” May 21, 2015, http://www.osmre.gov/programs/AML.shtm (accessed July 25, 2016).
7. Mike Enzi, “Supporting Pensions with Taxpayer Dollars Is a Slippery Slope,” speech on the Senate floor, July 12, 2016,
(accessed July 21, 2016).
8. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, “The United States Department of the Interior Budget Justification and Performance
Information Fiscal Year 2016,” https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/migrated/budget/appropriations/2016/upload/FY2016_OSMRE_
Greenbook.pdf (accessed July 21, 2016).
9. The PBGC’s multiemployer program provides benefits based on a formula including earned benefits and years of service. This translates into
maximum benefits of: $4,290 per year for workers with 10 years of service; $8,580 for workers with 20 years of service; $12,870 for workers
with 30 years of service; and $17,160 for workers with 40 years of service. The levels are not indexed for inflation.
10. PBGC, 2015 Annual Report, http://www.pbgc.gov/documents/2015-annual-report.pdf (accessed July 21, 2016).
August 15, 2016 
and beyond as an increasing number of multiemployer
pension plans—including some very large
ones—become insolvent.
Under ordinary circumstances, when the UMWA
plan becomes insolvent sometime within the next
decade, the PBGC would begin making payments to
the plan to cover its insured benefits and expenses.11
If Congress intervenes by bailing out the UMWA
pension plan, its beneficiaries would receive 100 percent
of promised benefits, instead of the lower PBGC
guarantee. And, the UMWA would get off scot-free—
with taxpayers and other coal-mining companies
footing the bill for their unfunded promises.
Meanwhile, other multiemployer plans that
become insolvent and do not receive special-interest
bailouts would first receive cuts down to the PBGC’s
11. The UMWA estimates it will be insolvent in 2025, but more reasonable assumptions project an earlier insolvency.
IB 4600 heritage.org
SOURCES: Author’s calculations based on the UMWA’s pension benefits for a 62-year-old worker who retires in 2016 with 30 years of work
history. Data on UMWA’s pension eligibility are from UMWA Health and Retirement Funds, Pension Eligibility Requirements,
http://www.umwafunds.org/Pension-Survivor-Health/Pages/Eligibility-Requirements.aspx (accessed March 9, 2016). Data on pension benefit
cuts are based on PBGC’s guaranteed level and U.S. Government Accountability O•ce, “Private Pensions: Multiemployer Plans and PBGC Face
Urgent Challenges,” testimony before the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions, Committee on Education and the
Workforce, U.S. House of Representatives, March 5, 2013, http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/652687.pdf (accessed March 10, 2016).
Mine Worker Bailout Would Unfairly Preserve UMWA Pensions
While Other Pensions Face Massive Cuts
By bailing out the
insolvent UMWA
pension plan, the
full benefit would
remain intact at
$24,246 per year.
However, if another pension
plan that oers similar benefits
becomes insolvent, the PBGC
would take over payments and
benefits would be cut to a
maximum of $12,780 per year.
And if the PBGC itself becomes
insolvent, as is projected to occur
by 2025, pensions paid by the
PBGC would be cut by an
additional 90 percent or more,
leaving only $1,278 per year.
$24,246 $24,246
August 15, 2016 
guaranteed level, and then, when the PBGC becomes
insolvent at its estimated date of 2025, benefits
would be cut even further, down to mere pennies on
the dollar in promised benefits.
Congress’s Priority: Reforming the PBGC
Congress has no role in fulfilling the unfunded
promises of private pension plans. It does have a role,
however, in providing private pension insurance
through the PBGC. While the PBGC is a government
entity, it is not taxpayer-financed. It operates with
the premiums that it collects from participating
employers and unions. To prevent taxpayers from
bailing out private pension promises, it must remain
The PBGC is supposed to protect pensioners
from a total loss of promised benefits if their company
or pension plan becomes bankrupt, but its current
financial situation offers little insurance. For
a whole host of reasons, the PBGC’s multiemployer
program is massively underfunded and is projected
to run dry in 2025. Without significant reforms, or
a taxpayer bailout, of the PBGC, its multiemployer
beneficiaries would quickly see their benefits cut by
90 percent or more, leaving those retirees with less
than $100 per month in pension benefits.
Instead of protecting the promises of private
union pension plans, Congress should focus on protecting
the promises it has made through its own
entity, the PBGC. This can be done by ending the
preferential treatment (including funding rules
and assumptions) of multiemployer pension plans;
granting greater authority as well as liability to
plan trustees to encourage proper funding; structuring
the PBGC like a private insurance company,
allowing it to set its own premiums and to charge
variable-rate premiums; allowing the PBGC to take
over failed multiemployer plans as it does failed single-
employer plans; and subjecting multiemployer
pension plans to the same rules as single-employer
—Rachel Greszler is Senior Policy Analyst in
Economics and Entitlements in the Center for Data
Analysis, of the Institute for Economic Freedom and
Opportunity, at The Heritage Foundation.
12. Rachel Greszler, “Bankrupt Pensions and Insolvent Pension Insurance: The Case of Multiemployer Pensions and the PBGC’s Multiemployer
Program,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 3029, July 30, 2015, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2015/07/bankruptpensions-
$52 billion:
in 2015
2000 2005 2010 2015
IB 4600 heritage.org
SOURCE: Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Table M–1,
“Net Financial Positions of PBGC’s (1980–2015)
Multiemployer Program,” http://www.pbgc.gov/documents/
2014-data-tables-final.pdf (accessed August 3, 2016).
The PBGC’s multiemployer
provides insurance to
private union pension
plans, but it faces
massive deficits and
will be unable to pay
insured benefits
without significant
PBGC’s Multiemployer Program:
Massive and Growing Deficits
 ­ billion
€­ billion
‚­ billion
ƒ­ billion

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