In their zeal to bring charges against the defendant in this case, the prosecutors and investigators aggressively sought out statements the defendants had been compelled to make to government investigators in the immediate aftermath of the shooting and in the subsequent investigation. In so doing, the government’s trial team repeatedly disregarded the warnings of experienced, senior prosecutors, assigned to the case specifically to advise the trial team on Garrity and Kastigar issues, that this course of action threatened the viability of the prosecution. The government used the defendants’ compelled statements to guide its charging decisions, to formulate its theory of the case, to develop investigatory leads and, ultimately, to obtain the indictment in this case.Interestingly, most commenters at DailyKos are supporting the rule of law, despite the general blood lust against Blackwater on the left. A little ray of hope?
Thursday, December 31, 2009
1. It's not over yet, although things look bad. Pelosi can probably get enough Blue Dogs in line and you knew all along that the "progressives" who vowed to block any bill without a public option were blowing smoke. If the far left succeeds in getting a public option into a conference committee bill, then passage in the Senate becomes doubtful. See leftist discussion here and here, from the left wing Firedoglake on Pelosi's difficulties.
2. Even if something is passed, most of it won't take effect right away, except the taxes. The Democrats have always tried to built support for social welfare programs by getting a constituency hooked on the benefits (see Medicare) so as to make repeal impossible. Because of their need to get this piece of stupidity scored as "not budget busting" (LOL) they have front loaded the taxes, but not the benefits. As the taxes impact the economy, they will have a negative impact. Meanwhile, with no "benefits" forthcoming, the GOP can campaign safely on a promise of repeal. Probably the only popular part of the package will be the promise of portability or the ability to keep one's coverage during job changes. Since this has always been part of the conservative/libertarian discussion, the GOP can promise not to repeal that provision.
3. The debate has focused attention on free market solutions to problems in the health care insurance system. Shame on the GOP for not tackling the issue when they had majorities. However, this debate provides the intellectual ammunition needed to carry on the debate. We may need to eventually repeal the bill bit by bit; having substitute free market mechanisms to solve the real problems with health insurance will be necessary to make it palatable.
Look forward to carrying on this discussion.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
So far, all I have heard is talk of "systemic failures." That's bureaucratic for "no one is to blame, so no one will be held accountable." As usual, Obama sounds great, until you analyze the actual information content of what he is saying.
Terrorism is all about making society less free and more repressive and generally unlivable, because of the threat posed. There is no reason to believe that this attack couldn't have been prevented, so imposing new restrictions on society only advances the jihadist agenda and unnecessarily so.
The other meme given the lie is the one that Democrats are somehow more competent than Republicans to operate the machinery of government. I read this on Daily Kos over the last two years so many times as to induce nausea. The fact is that most of what occurs in government is the result the efforts of nameless, faceless bureaucrats like myself. The role of the either political party is to appoint the right people to lead and to induce change at the top necessary for improved performance. This is very difficult for either party to accomplish, because they are both very ideologically oriented and requires a deep understanding of management. Given the nature of our political system, the upshot is that government needs to be as small as possible, so that management attention can be brought to bear on the problems, like national security, that government is actually meant to solve.
However, as we watch the managerial incompetence of this administration be compared to the previous one, I will enjoy my measure of schadenfreude as the Democrats eat the crap sandwich they have made for themselves.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
My utmost sincere admiration goes out to Jasper Schuringa who reacted quickly to put out the fire and subdue the suspect which prevented an explosion. The last three attempts at terrorism on U.S. airline flights have been thwarted by passengers, not law enforcement. How and why this is true eludes me, but I welcome your suggestions. Here is the list with links:
Friday, December 25, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Duplicitous and Shameful, is how the WSJ characterizes the Senate's recent vote to kill Washington DC's Opportunity Scholarship program. I couldn't agree more, and it comes just in time for Christmas. Notice how the Democrats always claim that everything they do "is for the children" except when they might cross their union paymasters. (BTW: Health care also screws the young disproportionately.) You can just feel the evil oozing from this paragraph:
"Opposition to vouchers is a top priority for NEA," declared the union in a letter sent to every Democrat in the House and Senate in March. "We expect that Members of Congress who support public education, and whom we have supported, will stand firm against any proposal to extend the pilot program. Actions associated with these issues WILL be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 111th Congress."Is the NEA the most evil organization in America? Maybe not compared to Tony Soprano, but give them credit, they are working on it.
Helping the President keep his campaign promise to kill programs that have proven ineffective, the Senate sent President Obama spending bill that phased out the program. How ineffective you ask? Here's a quote from an Earth Times article:
The reading effects of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) show the largest achievement impact of any education policy program yet evaluated in a randomized control trial by the U.S. Department of Education and reveal an important trend toward increased reading gains for students the longer they remain in the program, according to the evaluation’s principal investigator, Patrick Wolf of the University of Arkansas.
Republicans need to get off their dead rear ends, NOW, and make a campaign promise to restore funding for this effort. If there was ever an issue that combines core principles with the desire to reach out to minorities, this is it. Please check the Weekly Standard blog for pictures of those protesting this outrageous action by the Congress. This is fertile ground for the Freedom Coalition.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Banks Don't Belong in the Student Loan Business
Because it turns out that the government would be so much more efficient at this task. For reals, that's his argument, because banks make a profit, the government could perform the role cheaper. Then he turns around and states that the government will outsource the servicing of loans anyway.
Along the way he distorts the fact that colleges switched to direct loans from the feds under extreme arm twisting from the Department of Education.
Friday, December 18, 2009
My take is that the frustrated left led by the likes of Kos and Howard Dean, will withhold cash, support and maybe even votes in 2010, if health care "reform" passes in its rumored current form. (I say rumored, because no one can tell for sure what is actually in the bill at any moment.) Given the enraged and energized state of the right-leaning electorate and the lack of Obama at the top of the ticket to get out the African-American vote, this could be an immense disaster for the Democrats. Further, as I pointed out earlier, the moderates in middle-America would suffer under new taxes that would immediately raise employment costs, without a single benefit until 2013.
Mitch McConnell has come under criticism from Rush for not doing enough to stop this bill. But if Mitch was the evil genius he's sometimes accused of being, then he might be fine tuning his opposition to get the bill to be as crappy as possible, to then just let it pass. Alternatively, he might just be along for the ride at this point, thinking he has a win-win. If health care passes as is, he scores big and if health care loses, he still scores big. An old friend of mine, Jeff, once told me "Never ascribe to malice what can be explained by stupidity." That might apply here.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Just when I thought they had exhausted the playbook of sucky ideas for health care legislation, the Democrats reach for an oldie but goodie, more regulation. From the LA Times article:
The change sprang from a compromise made to placate conservative Democrats wary of a new government program. But shorn of a "public option," the Senate healthcare bill has reverted to a long-established practice of leveraging government power to police the private sector, rather than compete with it. Despite the resistance among Republicans and conservatives to more government regulation, even the insurance industry has agreed to broad new oversight of their business in exchange for the prospect of gaining millions of new customers.I hate how Democrats think that Tea Party protesters are in the hands of big business, it's a slander. I always hate these kinds of short-sighted sell out by the business community, they are only going to get screwed in the end. Better for them to pull out all the stops to prevent passage, especially when that passage looks in doubt now.
Let's recap Obama's goals for health care legislation from his own web site:
- Reduce the cost of health care.
- Increase the number of insured.
- Ensure those with pre-existing conditions are covered.
- Protect Medicare.
- Create a more competition through and insurance exchange and "public option."
- Do not increase the deficit.
Meanwhile the LA Times article goes on to criticize the idea of more regulation, because it will not kill private insurance fast enough. OK, they don't actually say that, but it's pretty clear that's the author's vision.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
At the end of a video-teleconference at work this week, one of the participants wished everyone a Merry Christmas. Unbelievably, a senor Navy officer stated afterward, soto voce to me, "You can't say that." I was aghast and just walked away. PC really is running amok in the Navy today.
HotAir has become my favorite news source. They tipped me to this lengthy article about the real reason people hate government run health care. Once the government is paying for health care, or your employee for that matter, we all end up paying for other people's stupid choices in lifestyle and behavior. The result?
Because that’s what socialized medicine does: it turns each of us into a little fascist. A nagging nanny who tells other people what to do and how to live.
Now, I really don’t care if you overeat, smoke like a chimney, hump like a bunny or forget to lock the safety mechanism on your pistol as you jam it in your waistband. Fine by me. And as a laissez-faire social-libertarian live-and-let-live kind of person, I would never under normal circumstances condemn anyone for any of the behaviors listed above. That is: Until the bill for your stupidity shows up in my mailbox. Then suddenly, I’m forced to care about what you do, because I’m being forced to pay for the consequences.
I earlier commented on BwD that Krauthammer should let Iowahawk do the satire and Charles "the Hammer" should stick to the wonky stuff. Iowahawk returns the favor with a very lengthy post on the machinations behind "value added homogenized data" proving AGW. It's worth a read, especially if you have a technical background.
Friday, December 11, 2009
A little more about the famous place here, scroll half way down.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
This administration seems hell bent on making our problems worse, every day. Some examples.
Headline from WaPo.
U.S. pushes for emissions cuts from China, developing nations.
As if that is really going to happen. India's announcement that they will slow emissions growth (different from actually cutting emissions) by 20%-25% is little more than status quo. China will just cheat. So America will suffer the job killing consequences of a demonstrably ineffective policy of cap and trade, which won't even cut CO2 emissions, much less impact the environment.
The EPA, as expected, ruled that CO2 is a harm to the environment. However, to make such a finding they must show that humans are being harmed. In the technical document a number of unproved assertions are made. I would love for this to go to court, where their data can be exposed. Here is a quote:
It is very likely that heat waves will become more intense, more frequent, and longer lasting in a future warm climate, whereas cold episodes are projected to decrease significantly.Tell that to Dallas.
Meanwhile, Obama is calling for Stimulus III because the first two are working so well to keep down the unemployment rate. This recession is a recovery from asset bubbles due to government intervention in the economy. Until those are unwound and overall debt is reduced, businesses are not going to be able to bring the country out of economic doldrums. By continuing the failed policies of the past, only more so, Obama is making the economy worse. Further, small businesses are facing uncertainty over health care costs, cap and trade costs, potential continuation of Sarbanes-Oxley auditing, and the expiration of death tax relief. No wonder the economy isn't growing.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
The National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) of 1984 treats compensation for marrow donors as though it were black-market organ sales. Under NOTA, giving a college student a scholarship or a new homeowner a mortgage payment for donating marrow would land everyone—doctors, nurses, donors and patients—in federal prison for up to five years.
Note the relation to the proposed health care legislation in the Senate. One size fits all regulations intended to reduce the costs of health care will certainly kill more Americans than the present system.
H/T Institute for Justice.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Marx is famously quoted as saying that religion is the opiate of the masses. But what is really true is that Marxism is the opiate of the so-called intellectual. It has been used to justify the slaughter of millions more than any other belief, all in the name of a system that has proved to be a profound failure.
For those intellectuals who think that the Marx quote is taken out of context, link here to show that he is explicitly calling out religion for being what later leftists would call a form of "false consciousness."
Saturday, December 5, 2009
I heed Dean's call for support for the President's policy; but I must object to particulars nonetheless. Obama's safe speech reminds me of the football coach with a slim lead who punts late in the game and goes into the prevent defense against Peyton Manning. Few will fault him for the safe play calling, but his team loses anyway. In the same way, Obama is signaling his preparation for failure. His lack of enthusiasm and his very quick pronouncement that the surge will only last 18 months are not signs of a man committed to victory, a word that did not enter his speech. McChrystal asked for 40,000 troops for a reason; maybe that reason is that he needed 30,000 and figured he'd never get all he asked for so better to aim high. But by fudging the number to appease his base, Obama looks like a man not fully committed to the strategy he himself laid out last March. Further, the Taliban believe that they are in it for the long haul; by setting a timetable, he has given them cause for greater resolve; they just need to wait this guy out. As George Washington proved over 200 years ago, the key element to winning an insurgency against a remote power, is to keep you army in the field. The insurgent can suffer loss after loss, but as long as his forces continue to demonstrate the capacity to strike back, the war is not over.
Promising to withdraw when you know that the real outcome in Afghanistan depends on how shifting alliances with local warlords work out, only gives incentives to the locals to not cooperate. This single failing of his speech could be his undoing, even if he later changes his mind and argues that "conditions on the ground" dictate a longer engagement, he will have needlessly prolonged the war by giving hope to the enemy and planting doubt in our allies.
Our battle tested armed forces have learned a great deal about conducting counter-insurgency operations in the Middle East, so there is a good likelihood they will succeed. But they could sure use a little more boldness and inspiration from their leader.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Meanwhile, I'll be visiting a local college campus with the youngsters.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
2. Next, Mann et al. regressed the 100 years or so of observed temperatures against the proxy variable principle components:
y = b0 + b1*PC1 + b2*PC2 + ... + bp*PCp + error
the regression coefficients (b's) estimated from recent data were then applied to the older proxy PCs to obtain retrospective "backcasts" or "hindcasts" of the temperatures in 1015, 1016,... 1850.
Voila! The Mann et al. statistical model resulted in the now infamous hockey stick, showing a radical increase in global temperatures in recent years versus the relatively flat milenial variation. This was in large part the basis for the IPCC report.
Now, if you've been following this, Mann's entire temperature reconstruction method rests on knowing (observing) recent periodic global temperatures, y. Quibbling about principle components aside, that's the dependent variable in the backcasts. But as is now becoming increasingly plain, y was constructed from an undocumented process that took raw ground station data and ran it through a black box that included smoothing, filtering, inference, manipulation, baling wire, glue and the juice of one whole lemon. This is what the CRU people are calling "valued added homogenized data." Or what normal people call "made up horseshit." It's also the temperature data that dozens, if not hundreds of AGW studies are based on.This is in fact scandalous to good scientific process and the real scandal is not that some emails were compromised.
We should ask ourselves why we came to this end. I believe it is because we asked science to perform a task it will never be up to. Future predictions based on scientific method will always be imprecise and will necessarily not answer the question of what to do about the situation posed. Even if it were proved that man's carbon emissions are causing temperatures to rise, it is not clear what the best policy would be to deal with it. Our values, our ideology, economics, and yes, politics, all come into play in determining a way ahead. By putting all of the pressure on SCIENCE to answer the question of what to do about increased carbon dioxide in the air, we have shifted the political fight to the realm of science, where it does not belong. The result is science that is conducted like politics. As someone else said, science may be objective, but scientists clearly are not. Given the pressure to produce an answer that would result in more grant money, one can see the economic incentives that tempted climate researchers to fudge their data. This does not excuse their ethical lapses, but in fact shows that ethics matter most when the stakes are so high. Given the defensive nature of the "researchers," the skeptics necessarily became more aggressive and unapologetic in their criticisms, which provoked an even greater "circle the wagons response." In the compromised emails, we see the East Anglia team ever more fearful that the raw data would fall into the wrong hands.
Finally and most tragically I must state that AGW is not proved, nor is it disproved; and we may never know the truth because so much raw data has been lost. And that is a real crime, because, while science may not be able to answer policy questions, it should certainly be called upon to intelligently and dispassionately inform the debate.
I would like to end on a lighter note, so here is a nice youtube video explaining it all, to music. H/T again, to Ace.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Say goodbye to the Age of Reason; welcome to the Age of Politics.
Harry Reid and his fellow Democrats claim that the cost of the Senate's health care bill is $849 billion over the first ten years. But, as Jeffrey Anderson pointed out in the New York Post on Friday, they get this figure by using "the same accounting trick as past versions: 99 percent of the costs don't kick in until the fifth year of that "10-year" period. The true 10-year costs are well over twice what Reid's advertising: $1.8 trillion."
Taxes now, benefits later. Maybe Peggy Noonan is right, and Obama better hope this bill doesn't pass, or he will definitely be a one term President with a Republican Congress for the second half of his term. No way will the public, seeing their employers or themselves saddled with a huge new tax burden without a benefit to show for it, accept this abomination. I predict massive Democrat losses in 2010 if health care "reform" passes in this form.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Dean also points out the hypocrisy of the New York Times not publishing the email excerpts because they were obtained illegally. The NYT has standards you know, they only publish illegally obtained documents that will damage national security.
Why are the Dem's boasting that their health care reform won't increase the deficit? This headline provides a clue:
Americans could pay billions of dollars more in new taxes for a few years before they're likely to see significant change in the nation's health care system under legislation that Congress is considering.I can't find a graph showing taxes vs revenues under the Senate bill, so any reader link would be appreciated. But another way of looking at health care reform is that it is just a tax increase with an IOU on benefits down the road.
As linked in HotAir, the person of interest in the Washington police shooting, had his sentence commuted by Mike Huckabee when he was governor of Arkansas. I remember commenting during the 2008 campaign that his pardons and commutations as governor showed a serious lack of judgment that disqualified him for President. This may be too much for Huckabee's presidential ambitions.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I give thanks to God for personal good fortune in marrying the best wife I could ever imagine, having the love of a good family and knowing how God loves us as proved by sending his son Jesus.
I am also thankful for living in a great country, not a perfect one. I am confident that our current economic troubles will be overcome, sooner we pray, but later if necessary to correct flaws in our thinking. The people of the country have a tendency to correct the excesses of previous eras and continue to build a more perfect union of our states.
No matter our current troubles, we should remember that the modern obasevance of Thanksgiving on the last Thursday in November dates to a proclamation that was made in the midst of a bitter Civil War where brother fought against brother and friend against friend. The war destroyed a good portion of the agricultural base of the nation and killed a larger percentage of the population of any war before or since. In spite of that ongoing tragedy or perhaps because of it, Abraham Lincoln saw fit to proclaim a day of thanksgiving. Here is the original proclamation (authored by William Seward):
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
On Tuesday, Palin went on Rush Limbaugh's radio show where she outrageously -- and falsely -- suggested that Americans could "face jail time as punishment" if they don't buy insurance.
So here is what does Nancy Pelosi say about the matter, certainly she is rebutting this outrageous lie. Judge for yourself:
Also, from an ABC News article:
Under the House bill those who can afford to buy insurance and don’t’ pay a fine. If they refuse to pay that fine there’s a threat – as with a lot of tax fines – of jail time. The Senate removed that provision in the Senate Finance Committee.And from the House bill itself:
(1) IN GENERAL. If an applicable individual fails to meet the requirement of subsection (a) for 1 or more months during any calendar year beginning after 2013, then, except as provided in subsection (d), there is hereby imposed a penalty with respect to the individual in the amount determined under subsection (c). (2) INCLUSION WITH RETURN. Any penalty imposed by this section with respect to any month shall be included with a taxpayers return under chapter 1 for the taxable year which includes such month.Note the that the penalty is imposed as part of the individual's tax return, and guess what happens if you don't pay your income taxes?
Monday, November 23, 2009
"I hope to faithfully respect the freedom and best interests of our nation and I pledge to change the culture of corruption in Washington DC by reducing the role of the federal government as dispenser of goodies to favored interests."
The belief that the federal government will solve every problem and allay every risk is bleeding the country dry. Further, because goodies are dispensed to the most successful lobbyists, we have provided incentive for corrupting behaviors, whether or not they are actually illegal. The Republicans could easily reinvent themselves and clobber the Democrats by making themselves the party of small government and reform, which go hand in glove. Unfortunately their track record is abysmal and they are not reaping the rewards of the Democrats obvious bad behavior.
Ultimately, voters are rational. Given the choice between an avowedly left wing socialist party and an incompetent right wing socialist party, they will go with the competence. Time for Republicans to end the earmarks, the porkulus, the special favors that they have been as guilty of as Democrats, and they will be able to win big in 2010 and beyond.
Friday, November 20, 2009
The most recent update comes the The Hill, in an article titled Obama accused of doing favors for ally. Some highlights:
The investigation also found evidence that D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee handled “damage control” after allegations surfaced of sexual misconduct against Johnson, her now-fiancé.And further:
In one particularly incendiary passage in the report, one of the girls who had accused Johnson of inappropriately touching her said she told federal agents that he offered to pay her $1,000 a month to keep quiet.Now, I will be the first to admit that this is not proved. However, it looks and smells bad if the President relieved the IG of his duties when he was investigating serious charges. But everything is now transparent at the new Obama White House, so I must be crazy.
I've Been Every Where- Johnny Cash - Funny blooper videos are here
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Further, this will open the door to using the payroll taxes for any darn purpose the legislature decides, there will be no end to the tax increases if this passes.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The Associated Press is spinning so feverishly on behalf of KSM’s civilian trial, we’re afraid they might hurt themselves.
Zacarias Moussaoui (pictured) was a clown who could not keep his mouth shut, according to his old al-Qaida boss, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. But Moussaoui was surprisingly tame when tried for the 9/11 attacks - never turning the courtroom into the circus of anti-U.S. tirades that some fear Mohammed will create at his trial in New York.
And that wasn't the only surprise during Moussaoui's six-week 2006 sentencing trial here - a proceeding that might foreshadow how the upcoming 9/11 trial in New York will go.
Skeptics who feared prosecutors would be hamstrung by how much evidence was secret were stunned at the enormous amount of classified data that was scrubbed, under pressure from the judge, into a public version acceptable to both sides.
Prosecutors were surprised when they failed to get the death penalty - by the vote of one juror.
No one was more surprised than Moussaoui himself: At the end he concluded an al-Qaida member like him could get a fair trial in a U.S. court.
"I had thought that I would be sentenced to death based on the emotions and anger toward me for the deaths on Sept. 11," Moussaoui said in an appeal deposition taken after he was sentenced to life in prison. "(B)ut after reviewing the jury verdict and reading how the jurors set aside their emotions and disgust for me and focused on the law and the evidence ... I now see that it is possible that I can receive a fair trial."
And isn’t that really the goal of the war on terror? That Islamo-jihadist terrorists become convinced that we’re not the blood-thirsty, bent-on-revenge, running dog infidels we’ve been portrayed as in those circles? And that because of our exceeding compassion there may be hope that Moussaoui and others of his ilk may be set free to kill again?
Unfortunately, the AP’s sunny disposition doesn’t quite square with the recollection of the man who prosecuted him. The following from Andy McCarthey (via the Corner):
AG Holder's testimony has resumed, and Senator Durbin claims that no one complained about the Moussaoui trial being in a civilian court. In fact, many of us complained — I pointed out several times that Moussaoui was the "poster child" for commissions.
More importantly, though, Senator Durbin and the attorney general fail to point out that the Moussaoui trial was a three-ring circus, that the district judge actually tried to dismiss the indictment, and that we don't know what would have happened had Moussaoui not surprised everyone by pleading guilty. When the Court of Appeals reinstated the Moussaoui indictment, it also said it was sensitive to the trial judge's concerns and would look very carefully to ensure that the government made available to Moussaoui all the information he needed to present his defense. What would have happened if Moussaoui had continued to press his demand for access to classified information and testimony from al-Qaeda captives like KSM? We don't know.
If Moussaoui is their shining example of how well the civilian courts handle international terrorism cases during wartime, they're in trouble.
An even greater three-ring circus avoided because Moussaoui pled guilty. Think we'll be as lucky with KSM? Again, the potential downside of this whole thing so overshadows the upside, we remain baffled.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Liu Mingkang, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, said that a weak U.S. dollar and low U.S. interest rates had led to "massive speculation" that was inflating asset bubbles around the world. It has created "unavoidable risks for the recovery of the global economy, especially emerging economies," Mr. Liu said. The situation is "seriously impacting global asset prices and encouraging speculation in stock and property markets."Meanwhile the jobless rate is at 10.2%, supposedly psychologically significant, but no matter, there are a lot of unemployed and underemployed people out there. But shouldn't things be looking up? After all the stock market is up. Maybe things aren't so rosy, to recycle a quote:
"A jobless recovery is nothing more than a euphemism for a monetary asset bubble..." Jesse of Jesse's Café Américain. H/T W.C. Varone's blog.The real conundrum for U.S. policy is the need to get the ballooning deficit under control. This will require spending cuts, which Obama and the Dems are in no mood for. So look for the return of stagflation and hopefully another one term Democrat President.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Later, he was asked about Hiroshima and Nagasaki and whether he thought those bombings were the right decision. View his answer here.
I have read a lot of commentary, but have little to add, this stuff just speaks for itself. I note however, that the TOTUS isn't available during press conferences.
I would also like to express our gratitude to the veteran's of World War II, who defeated perhaps the greatest political threat to freedom in the history of the world, the ideology of Nazism. People forget how attractive that ideology seemed in the 1930s during a world wide depression. Hitler and Mussolini were seen as men who got their countries "moving again." But their dictatorial aspirations were met head on by the aspirations of free peoples and the rest as they say, is history.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
H/T Hotair. I feel vindicated in my assessment about political correctness being at least partially responsible for the 13 dead at Fort Hood. Army Major Shawn Keller writes in today's RealClearPolitics:
But as angry as I am at what happened, I'm even angrier that it was allowed to happen. Apparently, there was no shortage of warning signs that Hasan identified more with Islamic Jihadists than he did with the US Army. From speeches, writings, conversations, affiliations and postings on Jihadist websites, there were more than enough dots to connect that should have exposed Hasan as someone inclined to attack innocent people in the furtherance of a political, religious and ideological agenda. There were more than enough red flags raised that, at a minimum, should have gotten Hasan kicked out of the Army.My point exactly. The good major confirms my other suspicion:
The Army as an institution has been neutered by decades of political correctness and the leaders in Hasan's chain-of-command failed to act accordingly out of fear of being labeled anti-Muslim and receiving a negative evaluation report.I feel bad for the major, because he can probably bend over and kiss his career good bye. We'll see how the Army responds to this kind of truth telling.
P.S. I have to quote the major's closing remarks:
Hasan's radical ideology grew to the point that he committed mass murder because too many leaders were too afraid to lead out of fear of harming their career or the image of the Army. If those leaders don't have the intestinal fortitude, moral conviction or personal courage to stand up, speak up and protect soldiers, then retire, resign or get out of the way and let somebody else do it for you.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I, (state your name), having been appointed a (rank) in the United States (branch of service), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foriegn and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the office upon which I am about to enter. So help me God.Enlisted member's oath:
I, (state your name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
These are very political oaths, but not in the sense that we think of politics today. The oath to the constitution is to a very specific form of government, that of a republic, whose powers are limited to those enumerated and further constrained by a bill of rights. Further, the members of the military have forsworn any attempt at a coup or other subversion of democratic principles. Finally, the members of the military are swearing that they will obey the lawful order of the President, the elected leader of the nation. We sometimes take all of this for granted.
In the great sweep of history over the last 230 plus years we have seen our form of government become the accepted standard against which all others are judged. By force of arms our veterans have defeated:
- Monarchism - Defeating the British in the Revolutionary War and then preventing any reconquest of the Americas through the Monroe doctrine. Again in World War I we fought and prevailed against countries ruled by monarchs.
- Slavery - In the civil war.
- Fascism and Nazism - In World War II.
- Communism - By fighting in Korea and Vietnam (even if a loss) and by the great persevering struggle of the Cold War.
Today, we are faced with another threat, not nearly as great as previous threats, in the ideology of islamic theocracy (islamofascism). We are fighting right now in Afghanistan and Iraq, but like many ideologies we have faced in the past, victory may take a while and come in fits and starts.
To those veterans who paid with their lives we offer our gratitude and we honor their memory by remembering the cause for which they gave their lives, the cause of freedom.
After we win this conflict, let us remember the words of Abraham Lincoln from his second inaugural address:
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
And a more contemporary version for the youngsters:
The Marines Hymn (as You've Never Heard It Before) - Click here for the funniest movie of the week
Monday, November 9, 2009
From ABC News via HotAir:
From my experience as a veteran officer of 22 years, I know that problems like this are frequently tougher for commander's to deal with than the life or death decisions of war fighting. That is because making the wrong move can wreck your career in a case like this. Tough. Everyday you come to work, your career could be wrecked, it comes with the territory, do the right thing.
A fellow Army doctor who studied with Hasan, Val Finell, told ABC News, “We would frequently say he was a Muslim first and an American second. And that came out in just about everything he did at the University.
Finell said he and other Army doctors complained to superiors about Hasan’s statements.
“And we questioned how somebody could take an oath of office…be an officer in the military and swear allegiance to the constitution and to defend America against all enemies, foreign and domestic and have that type of conflict,” Finell told ABC News.
Think this is an isolated case? Consider what has happened at the Naval Academy, where we are training future officers like the one's who ignored Hasan's indefensible positions.
From CDR Salamander's blog:
On 29 OCT, the USNA Color Guard made an appearance at the World Series. The day prior to their appearance, two Midshipmen were removed from the Color Guard by senior Commissioned Officers in leadership positions at Annapolis for one simple reason; they were white males. That isn't a guess on their part - that is what they were told.The good commander follows up on Monday, November 9, with even more damning evidence, including evidence as to why the media won't follow up. (Can't get the permalink to work for the second story, you have to scroll down to "The Mask Slips at Annapolis.")
Before I go further, I want to detail a couple of things. I didn't think about running this story after the first notification I received. However, I soon started to receive multiple tips from multiple contacts associated with Annapolis, alumni, and parents.
Over the last few days, working with over a half-dozen very reliable sources, the following story started to flesh itself out.
The day before their appearance, the two MIDN were notified that USNA senior leadership did not like the fact that the Color Guard was not diverse enough. As a result, they were to be removed and replaced with someone with a higher melanin content in their skin, and a female. Boom - there you go.
The tragedy is that the Hasan case didn't have to be viewed through such PC lenses. The man stated that he didn't believe his oath of office, a simple interview asking him about his beliefs followed by a discharge for the good of the service would have sufficed to save lives.
By the way, I refuse to post a picture of the terrorist shooter. I hope that justice is done, as I understand he lived. Here is a picture of the brave officer who brought the shooter down, despite being wounded herself.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
From his own web site, the President's stated goals for health care reform can be summarized as follows.
- Reduce the cost of health care.
- Increase the number of insured.
- Ensure those with pre-existing conditions are covered.
- Protect Medicare.
- Create a more competition through and insurance exchange and "public option."
- Do not increase the deficit.
Reducing costs of care is more problematic, but again, information and competition are key. In Pennsylvania, the government publishes statistics about hospital outcomes and has found that the most effective hospitals are the least expensive, because the cost of re-admission skew total costs of care. Is this government intervention? Yes, but the least obtrusive kind, providing needed information. I foresee a time when such fact finding could be done privately for insurance companies under a consortium.
Increasing the number of insured is also amenable to free market reform. The health insurance industry is subject to heavy regulation as to what should be covered, what co-pays are allowable and what caps are in place. As with any regulation, this has stymied the innovation that is the cornerstone of increasing efficiency and reducing cost. Further, the current system doesn't give consumers enough incentive to shop around for best value in health care providers. Lifting regulations on what must be covered would be a boon to many. A single male shouldn't have to pay for pregnancy coverage for example. A young married woman shouldn't have to pay for viagra coverage, we hope. Further, high co-pays, with catastrophic caps to prevent disaster for the insured, would go a long way to reducing the cost of insurance. I'm not saying that no regulation is required. Certainly, a legal framework that requires insurers to honor their commitments is needed, even libertarians agree in the basic issue of contract enforcement. But the current amount of regulation hurts the ability of insurers to provide lower cost products.
Pre-existing conditions that prevent some people from getting insurance certainly tug at our heart strings. Our heart goes out to someone who loses their insurance and because of an existing and potentially debilitating illness, would go bankrupt getting treatment. However, this can be solved in a two pronged approach. First, we need to make insurance even more portable than it already is. Individuals should have the right to purchase a level term guarantee, just like they can with life insurance, so that they can take their coverage with them if they lose employment. Secondly, we should change the tax code so that we start to encourage employers to get out of the health insurance business, and have individuals purchase their own plans. If the plan is my own, it doesn't matter who my employer is, I can keep my plan for life.
As far as protecting medicare, I am not sure it can be saved, but certainly cutting payments to Doctors accepting medicare will only hasten it's demise. Doing nothing will do more for medicare than anything produced by this administration.
Increasing competition? See previous paragraphs on reducing regulation and allowing health insurance to be sold nationally.
This is easy under free market reform, no new programs = no new spending.
There, we have the start of a free market plan, time for the Republicans to put it forward.