Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Kevin Williamson pays proper homage to free market capitalism:

The aggregate effect of competitive capitalism is indistinguishable from magic, but we are so used to its bounty that we never stop to notice that no king of old ever enjoyed quarters so comfortable as those found in a Holiday Inn Express, that Andrew Carnegie never had a car as good as a Honda Civic, that Akhenaten never enjoyed such wealth as is found in a Walmart Supercenter. The irony is that capitalism has achieved through choice and cooperation what the old reds thought they were going to do with bayonets and gulags: It has recruited the most powerful and significant parts of the world's capital structure into the service of ordinary people. And it would do so to an even greater degree if self-interested politicians in places such as India and China (and New York and California and D.C.) would get out of the way.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Charlie Cooke takes down the latest anti-gun absurdity:

One can only imagine that the spot's producers consider their set up to be inordinately clever. "Hey," you can almost hear them say, "we'll make it look as if there's going to be a school shooting, and then he'll hand it over to his teacher and all will be well!" In fact, it is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible storyline. We're talking about children here, remember - impressionable, easily led, ignorant children. (Adults are an entirely separate question.) As a rule, we teach our kids that they if they see a firearm they should refrain from touching it, and go and tell an adult. In the commercial, however, the child is shown doing the exact opposite. "If you see a gun," the ad suggests, "pick it up, put it in a bag, and then jostle it around in front of other children." One can only wonder at how many kids will now need to be told that they must not, under any circumstances, do this.

Moreover, in the course of his little ploy, the kid breaks pretty much every law on the books. He takes a gun out of his house (not only is this felony burglary, but he's not old enough to carry a firearm in public); he then takes that gun into a school (that's against federal and state law); and, finally, he transfers it to a teacher without a background check, thereby breaking the very rule that progressives tell us is necessary to keep us all safe from gun violence. And for what, pray? Typically, anti-gun commercials focus in on a specific safety issue: a lack of trigger locks, or background checks, or safe-storage, for example. This one seems to feature a child who is saying, "I don't want any guns in the house at all." This absolute approach is extreme, even for today's class of wildly incompetent control freaks. Worse, perhaps, the child seems to believe that the public school system exists as a general service that he might use if he wishes to deprive his parents of their constitutional rights - an implication, let's say, that is unlikely to win many converts.

And here's Eugene Volokh's take on the same video:
(T)he ad strikes me as pretty appalling. I doubt that it's persuasive advocacy for the proposition that people shouldn't keep guns, shouldn't keep guns when they have children in the house, or shouldn't keep guns unlocked when they have children in the house. (Whether those are sound propositions is a separate question; I'm just saying the ad doesn't really make much of an argument for them.) But I can imagine some impressionable teenager seeing what the appealing protagonist is doing, and trying to copy it, especially since the serious tone of the video seems to invite its being taken seriously. And the results could include expulsion, criminal prosecution, or even death.
The video in question is at the links, but in case you don't feel like clicking through:
The incredible story of how private philanthropy saved Washington's Mount Vernon and Jefferson's Monticello.

It's the end of the year so it's time to start collecting year-end lists. Here are Katherine Timpf's 11 Most Politically Correct Moments on College Campuses in 2014.

Click through for an explanation of each absurdity.

1. Princeton University students launched a microaggression-reporting service.
2. College students invented a roofie-detecting nail polish - only to be told that that's actually also rape culture.
3. Students hosted an anti-rape-culture rally only to be told that's - yep - actually also rape culture.
4. A school campaigned against "offensive" language such as "wuss," "you guys," and "derp" because it has an "oppressive impact on culture."
5. Students opposed a female-to-male transgender candidate for class diversity officer because he's a white man.
6. A school told its orientation officers not to use the word "freshman" because it promotes rape.
7. A liberal group demanded the school teach a mandatory transgender-sensitivity class to right the wrongs of colonial America.
8. A student newspaper's editorial board wrote a whole piece about how racist bras are. 9. The War on Tacos.
10. The War on Coconut Bras.
11. Harvard University was about to stop buying water machines from the Israeli company SodaStream because they might be a micro aggression.

Heather Mac Donald writes at the always excellent City Journal:
Since last summer, a lie has overtaken significant parts of the country, resulting in growing mass hysteria. That lie holds that the police pose a mortal threat to black Americans-indeed that the police are the greatest threat facing black Americans today. Several subsidiary untruths buttress that central myth: that the criminal-justice system is biased against blacks; that the black underclass doesn't exist; and that crime rates are comparable between blacks and whites-leaving disproportionate police action in minority neighborhoods unexplained without reference to racism. The poisonous effect of those lies has now manifested itself in the cold-blooded assassination of two NYPD officers.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dispatch From the Religion of Peace

We haven't posted an outrage from the RoP recently, because honestly who has time to keep up? Sometimes, though, a group will outdo even the usual ongoing violence:

"At least 150 females, including pregnant women, were executed in Fallujah by a militant named Abu Anas Al-Libi after they refused to accept jihad marriage," said the Ministry. "Many families were also forced to migrate from the province's northern town of Al-Wafa after hundreds of residents received death threats."

The militants buried the victims in mass graves in the city. The families who left lost many children after they were stranded in the desert.

The Islamic State slaughtered over 50 people from the Al Bu Nimr tribe in Iraq's Anbar Province on November 2. The massacre included six women and four children. Witnesses said the militants lined up the victims, whom they "publicly killed one by one." Over seventeen people were kidnapped, as well. Militants murdered 98 people from the same tribe 24-48 hours before the massacre. The tribe is Sunni, which holds the same belief of Islam as the Islamic State, but now, they view the tribe as a threat

Columnist John Ransom has no idea what President Obama is doing.

There could be things that the president and I could agree on. Of course I wouldn't know-nor would you-- because most of the time I have no earthly idea-nor do you-- why he does what he does or what he means by doing them.

Why for example did he pitch global warming as a key campaign message during the 2014 mid-terms, or helpfully campaign for Democrat candidates who made it known they didn't appreciate his help?

Is he that dumb? Or was it a clever ploy to cover up the last stupid thing he did?

There is a whole cottage industry devoted to deciphering the intended unintended consequences of the ideological incompetency and inconsistency that exudes from Obama.

Vermont tried to setup a taxpayer funded single payer "free" healthcare system but they couldn't do it:

Legislators in the state of Vermont have been making moves toward establishing a single-payer health program that would make all health care available to all residents at taxpayer expense. The state had intended to apply for a waiver to free the state from Obamacare mandates for the purpose of setting up an in-state single-payer system.

Unfortunately, the liberal dream has been mugged by reality: Democratic Gov. Shumlin announced that they're going to abandon the plan because it's too expensive.

Victor Davis Hanson identifies the moral inconsistency of banning "torture" while raining simultaneously raining missiles from drones:

How is assassinating a suspected terrorist - and anyone unfortunate enough to be in his general vicinity - with a drone missile morally or legally different from waterboarding a confessed terrorist at Guantanamo Bay? At least the waterboarded suspect survives the ordeal.

The Senate Intelligence Committee report failed to disprove the CIA's contention that only three detainees were waterboarded. A small number of detainees were subject to sleep disturbance or excessive temperatures. In contrast, drone strikes ordered by Obama may have assassinated thousands.

Were those who were waterboarded more or less likely to be plotting terror than those blown to smithereens? We do not know that answer. Yet the former were in detention - one of whom confessed to plotting the 9/11 attacks, and another suspected of masterminding the USS Cole attack - while the latter were never caught, much less questioned, and their status as terrorists was far less assured.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Andrew McCarthy proposes an interesting idea.

Here is a thought experiment I have been using for many years as we've debated this topic. It goes to what Obama says about the intolerably brutal nature of waterboarding, the most coercive of the enhanced techniques that were used.

If you were to take everyone in America who is serving a minor jail sentence of, say, 6 to 18 months, and you were to ask them whether they'd rather serve the rest of their time or be waterboarded in the manner practiced by the CIA post 9/11 (i.e., not in the manner practiced by the Japanese in World War II), how many would choose waterboarding? I am guessing, conservatively, that over 95 percent would choose waterboarding.

Now, if you take the same group of inmates and ask them whether they'd prefer to serve the remainder of their time or be subjected to Obama's drone program (where we kill rather than capture terrorists, therefore get no intelligence from the people in the best position to provide actionable intelligence, and kill bystanders - including some children - in addition to the target), how many would choose the drone program? I am guessing that it would be . . . zero.

I believe President Obama is too smart not to grasp this obvious point.

Here's a brilliant observation from Peter Kirsanow:

Do a quick scan of major media reporting on the Senate Democrats' so-called torture report. Pay particular attention to liberal reaction and commentary. Then go back and examine major media reporting on the Ferguson grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Wilson. Again, pay particular attention to liberal reaction and commentary.

Many of the same media outlets that dismissed as incredible the Ferguson grand jury's decision - a decision based, in part, on the testimony of more than 40 witnesses to the event in question - now find credible a report on a CIA program prepared by Democratic staffers who interviewed none of the individuals involved in establishing and running the program.

Who says liberals aren't religious?

Monday, December 08, 2014

Roger Simon has a pithy analysis of Hillary Clinton's thought process:

You can almost see the wheels grinding when asked a question:

What did I think in the days of Saul Alinsky? What did I think back in Little Rock? What did I think when Bill was president, first term, second term? Should I bake cookies? Why did Monica keep that dress? How could I have left those billing records in the White house? Is this good in Ohio? What did I think when senator? When do the Watergate hearings start? What did I think when secretary of State? Is this a war zone? Am I under fire? What did Sergei Lavrov do with that reset button? Will Lanny Davis back me up on Fox? Why does Putin always show off his pecs? Is my old friend Suha still at the Bristol? I should ask Huma. What did Obama say? Should I be separating from him on this one or not?


Yes, like a pinball player, you can only handle so much. With all those different personas, opinions and rationalizations racing around in the brain, the machine overloads. And in Hillary's case that machine is long overfilled, like one of those computer hard drives we've all junked.

Here's an awesome blog post by Daniel Greenfield on the class warfare that drives the left:

Medicine is individual and the collectivization of medicine is a technocratic solution that leads to broad stroke solutions, like adding calories to menus and other rats in a maze tactics designed to modify human behavior on a national level. The targeting of fast food restaurants, public school meals and food stamps reeks of the same elitist arrogance that drives the nanny state.

The politicization of food by the elites of the left always comes down to class, no matter how it may be disguised in liberal colors. From exotic to locally grown, the trajectory of food politics follows the upselling of food prices The only difference is that the dominance of the left has wrapped the added cost with no added value in their own politics. The more affordable food becomes, the more the left finds ways to add cost to food, without adding value.