Thursday, December 11, 2014

Random Observations

Today’s post is a few short observations on what’s been going on in the news, and whatever else comes to mind.
I’m glad Trey Gowdy is on the team of truth. Jonathan Gruber didn’t have a chance, repeating a scripted line given to him as PR damage control. He never said he didn’t believe the things he repeatedly said about manipulating through deception to push Obamacare through; he said it was wrong to say those things, even to those who agreed with him, because word leaks out.
If you have to lie about your policies and their likely outcome in order to persuade people to go along, maybe they’re not such good ideas. Watch 6 entertaining minutes here: Post by C-SPAN.
Whites aren’t privileged. Most people, of any race, are just doing their best to get by, get along, get ahead, against great hurdles—often placed there by too much government interference. If some are less privileged, or “underprivileged,” we need to help with urgent needs, and teach the principles that lead to self-reliance and success. Start with the formula for overcoming poverty in America:

1.      Don’t have sex before age 20.
2.      Don’t have sex until after marriage.
3.      Stay married.
4.      Obtain at least a high school diploma. 

Hypocrisy is exemplified by those who claim there’s a huge portion of the American people who don’t value life if it’s black. That may be true, but totally opposite of how they mean it. They fail to call attention to the raging black-on-black murder rate in places like Chicago; apparently it’s OK for black criminals to kill other blacks, but it isn’t OK for white police officers to kill during dangerous arrest situations. And they fail to value the lives of black babies: 40% of black pregnancies are aborted; 75% of black babies are born without two married parents, which leads to endemic poverty and crime. See formula for overcoming poverty, above. 


Even if Jeb Bush were right that Common Core was the best standardized education system that mankind could come up with (which it isn’t), he would still be wrong. Because it’s standardized. There is nothing in the US Constitution about education. That means it’s not an enumerated power; it is therefore left to the people and to the states. Anything done at a less local level than necessary will do more harm than good. If Common Core is so good, then put it in the free market and let individual school districts (or better yet, individual teachers, or individual families) decide whether to use it in part or whole. If it can’t tolerate competition, it isn’t good enough. I already know better than some bureaucrat in Washington how my children learn best, and I’m the expert on what I want my children to learn.  


The  Republicans just won handily in the House and Senate—and state governorships and legislatures. The people are saying they repudiate Obama’s policies, and Democrat policies. PR threats about shutting down the government being blamed on Republicans are pointless. Refusing to fund what the president wants is not equivalent to shutting down government. The president, throwing a tizzy fit and saying the Republicans want no government, and then spending money to shut down things that aren’t even federally funded—remember when he shut down private parking at the privately operated Mt. Vernon, and shutting down access to private hotels and restaurants on the Blue Ridge Parkway (which wasn’t closed)? Remember hiring personnel to block the view to Mt. Rushmore from public roadways, to make shutting down national parks more painful? Yeah, that was our president.  

He also equated failing to lift the debt ceiling to failing to pay our debts. Because he’s willing to break contracts if he doesn’t have unlimited funds. 

I think the American public is beginning to realize he’s an ineffectual liar, and that the liberal media have been shilling for him. That’s why alternative news sources are turned to more than the old liberal dinosaurs.  

The point is, the Congressional Republicans ought to use their constitutional power of the purse to rein in the power monger’s overspending. 



The Supreme Court just heard oral arguments on the Little Sisters of the Poor and some of the other 100 cases related to the Obamacare HHS mandate. We don’t know the results yet. But it should be obvious that, anyone who is forcing Catholic nuns to pay for abortion-causing drugs is on the wrong side. 


Avoiding watching inflammatory video clips allows for a more open mind. This has been working for me since Rodney King days. When the grand jury came out in the Garner case in New York last week, my first thought was, “The grand jury must know more than the news is telling us. I wonder what it is.” I did not jump to the knee-jerk conclusion that the grand jury was wrong because of a 15-second video. Some of the additional information has come out. There was no damage to the trachea; there was no evidence of choking as cause death. What we may have thought we saw on the video looks different if you have enough additional information.  

That said, there’s something really warped about charging more in tax for an item—even an “evil” product like cigarettes—than the item itself costs. Cigarettes cost $4.50 a pack in Kentucky, but $14.50 in New York. And the government assumes they can charge that without causing a black market? And then they spend police resources stamping out black market sales rather than dealing with serious crime.

A wiser government would have let the free market handle cigarettes, leaving Eric Garner alive. A wiser Eric Garner—one who didn’t make a living selling on the black market, and one who didn’t resist arrest, and maybe one who had better maintained his health—might also still be alive. The loss of a life is tragic. But there’s no evidence that it’s racially caused. 


So, let me get this straight: torturing of enemy combatants is so evil that America must risk the lives of people working in her service to atone for that badness. And “torturing” doesn’t include maiming, permanently injuring, or endangering life. However, killing an enemy combatant, without trial, without indictment—even when said person is a US citizen—and sometimes killing innocents nearby (euphemistically referred to as collateral damage) is OK.  

If you were a person given two choices: be captured and “tortured” for information by Americans or Islamists, you’d clearly choose Americans. If you were a supposed enemy combatant, unless you were into suicide missions, you would likely prefer being taken captive by Americans—where you have the guarantee of relative comfort and health and life—to being taken out by a drone, possibly along with your son and friend. 

Our president and cohorts seem to think the use of enhanced interrogation with the guaranteed limits listed above is beneath American values, but execution without trial along with possible innocents is copasetic. 

I’m not willing to say there should never be drone strikes against our enemy in the war against terrorists. But I do have a problem with a president who decides to be judge, jury, and executioner against an American citizen; if there is probable cause, there should at least be an indictment. As for torture—real torture—that’s already against the Geneva Convention for prisoners of war. But terrorists are non-uniformed enemy combatants, to whom the Geneva Convention rules do not apply.  

Since they are human, however, shouldn’t we avoid torturing them? Define your terms. If torture is sadistic, cruel and risks permanent damage or health, then I have seen no evidence that the US has done that. But I wouldn’t be sad if our enemies thought we were willing to torture. If we must do PR with the enemy, it should be to make them fear us more, not less. 

I would not use the term torture for making someone really uncomfortable temporarily for the purpose of extracting valuable urgent information. What we’ve seen evidence of might not seem nice, but it’s not even in the same category as beheading innocents. So, in summary, Dianne Feinstein’s report is hypocritical, politically motivated, and mainly untrue.

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