They started by shaking hands. We said “Salaam aleikum” — peace be upon you — then the first pebbles flew past my face. A small boy tried to grab my bag. Then another. Then someone punched me in the back. Then young men broke my glasses, began smashing stones into my face and head. I couldn’t see for the blood pouring down my forehead and swamping my eyes. And even then, I understood. I couldn’t blame them for what they were doing. In fact, if I were the Afghan refugees of Kila Abdullah, close to the Afghan-Pakistan border, I would have done just the same to Robert Fisk. Or any other Westerner I could find.
I’m no fan of the war in Afghanistan, or any other war for that matter. But isn’t this exactly the kind bullshit that leads to some Americans justifying these horrible wars? Muslims did attack us, after all. If Afghans are blameless for wanting to hurt “any Westerner [they] could find” because western forces have killed Afghans, does that not justify westerners wanting to hurt any Muslim they find because Muslims have killed westerners? (Some) Muslims have declared war on the west. I would assume that Mr. Fisk has not personally dropped any of the bombs on the Afghan people; why should he take the punishment for it?
The answer is that he shouldn’t. He shouldn’t any more than western forces ought kill Afghans indiscriminately who had nothing to do with killing Americans. It’s this kind of thinking that represents collectivism at its worst.
Right here is everything you need to know about the government and science. Trib.com:
Grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem have a varied diet and are minimally affected by the decline in the number of whitebark pine trees, federal research found.
The findings were presented Thursday in Bozeman at a meeting of the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. The subcommittee voted 10-4 to accept the research findings. It also gave preliminary approval to a motion that recommends the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service remove federal protections for the bears, currently listed as “threatened.”
Remember that science the government claimed was either too awesome to ignore, or too weak to accept? It likely wasn’t scientists who made that decision, but a committee of bureaucrats and politicians who voted based on political expediency.
Since when the fuck are scientific findings deemed valid or not by government suits? None of it should be trusted.
Compounding lies on top of other lies is rarely a good idea, yet it seems to be the strategy that Hopey McChangey is bent on taking. Peter Wehner at Commentary Magazine:
It was, I think, the most brazenly mendacious claim an American president has told since Bill Clinton’s finger-wagging insistence that “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”
I have in mind Barack Obama’s statement, made earlier this week, in which he said this: “Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.” (Emphasis added.)
That is not, in fact, what the president said. Not by a country mile.
What Mr. Obama actually said, dozens of times, is a variation of what he said during a speech to the American Medical Association on June 15, 2009: “That means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”
But Mr. Obama is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill fabulist. It appears as if he’s in the process of becoming an inveterate one. He was, after all, building one untruth upon another. I say that because by now it’s obvious to nearly everyone, including liberals, that the president and his aides knew that when he made his initial claim that under the Affordable Care Act you will be able to keep your health-care plan “no matter what”–that you would keep it “period”–he knew the assertion was false. Yet he repeated it over and over again.
He’s a liar, plain and simple. And a liar can’t help but pile even more lies when they’ve been caught in lies. It’s their way.
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Hail to our heroes in blue:
The Missouri State Fire Marshal continues its investigation into an early morning Thursday fire that took the life of a 3-year-old Louisiana, Mo. boy.
The fire killed Riley Miller who was pronounced dead at Pike County Memorial Hospital.
The original 911 call came in at 12:58 a.m. at 405 S. Main St. Firefighters arrived at the scene at 1:03 a.m.
A city police officer stunned Riley’s stepfather Ryan Miller with a Taser gun three times as he tried to enter the burning house.
[. . .]
The house was destroyed.
Lori Miller, Riley’s grandmother, said police stunned Ryan Miller as he tried to get back in the house.
“He tried to get back in the house to get the baby,” Lori Miller said. “They took my son to jail because he tried to save his son.”
Ryan Miller’s sister-in-law doesn’t think the police handled the situation correctly.
“It’s just heartless. How could they be so heartless? And while they all just stood around and waited for the fire department, what kind of police officer wouldn’t try and save a three year old burning in a house?” said Emily Miller. “We’ve been going through pictures and he’s just smiling in every picture. He was just a happy, go-lucky kid.”
[. . .]
Ryan Miller tried to enter the home to get his stepson. Police restrained him and the officer stunned him with a Taser, according to Jenne.
State Fire Marshal Investigator Scott Stoneberger said that a firefighter in full gear attempted to enter the home but the flames were too hot. Firefighters discovered Riley near the doorway to the bedroom from the front living room.
A cop used a taser on a man trying to enter his burning home on order to save his toddler son. Were it me, I would kill that cop. No questions asked. Who the fuck does he think he is to physically restrain a man from trying to save his son? And in rare circumstances such as this I fucking hope that hell is real so that this cop can fucking burn.
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Nothing says success like having to exert pressure to keep from having the warts of your signature policy exposed to the public. Katie McHugh at the Daily Caller:
The White House is pressuring insurance companies not to speak publicly about Obama administration policies that could eliminate the existing health insurance plans of millions of Americans.
The administration made “clarifications” to the 2010 Affordable Care Act after it was passed that have already wiped out hundreds of thousands of existing health plans.
“Basically, if you speak out, if you’re quoted, you’re going to get a call from the White House, pressure to be quiet,” said CNN investigative reporter Drew Griffin on Anderson Cooper 360 Wednesday night. Insurance companies executives, Griffin said, ask heads of consulting firms not to criticize the Obamacare rollout debacle publicly.
“They feel defenseless before the White House P.R. team,” Griffin said. “The sources said they fear White House retribution.”
Prior to the Obamacare rollout, insurance companies issued warnings to the White House about the possibility of mass cancellations, which the administration ignored.
Although the mass cancelations are an embarrassment to insurance companies, they are more concerned about losing their biggest customer — the federal government.
That’s a nice insurance plan you have there; it’d be a shame if something were to happen to it.
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Liar liar, pants on fire:
CBS News has learned more than two million Americans have been told they cannot renew their current insurance policies — more than triple the number of people said to be buying insurance under the new Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
There have been estimates about hundreds of thousands of people losing coverage, CBS News’ Jan Crawford reported on “CBS This Morning.” CBS News has reached out to insurance companies across the country to determine some of the real numbers — and this is just the tip of the iceberg, Crawford said. The people who are opening the letters are shocked to learn they can’t keep their insurance policies despite President Obama’s assurances to the contrary.
The White House is on the defensive trying to explain it, after Mr. Obama repeatedly said, “If you like your doctor or health care plan, you can keep it.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “What the president said and what everybody said all along is that there are going to be changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act to create minimum standards of coverage.”
It’s an unexpected reality of Obamacare being told through anecdotes in local papers and on social media. But the hard numbers reveal the evidence is far more than anecdotal. CBS News has confirmed with insurance companies across the country that more than two million people are getting notices they no longer can keep their existing plans. In California, there are 279,000; in Michigan, 140,000; Florida, 300,000; and in New Jersey, 800,000. And those numbers are certain to go even higher. Some companies who tell CBS News they’ve sent letters won’t say how many.
Industry experts like Larry Levitt, of the Kaiser Family Foundation, say the insurance companies have no choice. “What we’re seeing now is reality coming into play,” he said. (Emphasis added)
So much for “if you like it, you can keep it.”
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Our tyrant has been fetishized by progressives despite having shredded the Constitution, while historians and the media have continuously provided cover. Adam Blacksburg at the Humane Condition:
The world experienced a wave of totalitarianism in the early 20th century. The Bolsheviks seized power in 1917, Mussolini was elected in 1922, and Hitler disbanded the Wiemar Republic in 1933. Unfortunately, these extremist totalitarian regimes draw attention away from one of the darkest decades of United States history. Benito Mussolini, Josef Stalin, and Adolf Hitler were so horrifyingly powerful that people often overlook an American tyrant’s rise to power, which began with the election of 1932. Franklin Delano Roosevelt is mistakenly championed as an American hero who ran a benevolent regime that had the interest of the American People at its heart. In reality, only neoconservatives and faux progressives could adore the most totalitarian president of the 20th century. Roosevelt’s atrocities can and have filled entire books. For the sake of brevity, this article will concern itself with two specific executive orders; one issued in peace time and one issued during war time.
Forced theft of vast sums of wealth from millions of Americans under the color of law and threat of punishment, and the indefinite detention of hundreds of thousands of Japanese during WW2 are just two of the more public atrocities committed in the name of “the greater good.” FDR was a sociopath and power hungry maniac. He should be treated as such by history.
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There are real disasters, and then there are “disasters” created by the media. Dr. Kelvin Kemm:
Firstly let us get something clear. There was no Fukushima nuclear disaster. Total number of people killed by nuclear radiation at Fukushima was zero. Total injured by radiation was zero. Total private property damaged by radiation….zero. There was no nuclear disaster. What there was, was a major media feeding frenzy fuelled by the rather remote possibility that there may have been a major radiation leak.
At the time, there was media frenzy that “reactors at Fukushima may suffer a core meltdown.” Dire warnings were issued. Well the reactors did suffer a core meltdown. What happened? Nothing.
Nuclear power is clean, abundant, and safe, yet a small faction of environmental zealots have made it virtually impossible to pursue. It’s the greatest source of energy humanity has ever known, and it’s being blocked. These people are troglodytes, and should be shunned at all cost.
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A demonstration of both the bias and the power of the media. In an interview of Daniel M. Kahan, a Yale professor who published a study showing that those who identify as Tea Party members generally have a higher level of “science comprehension” than those who don’t identify as Tea Party supporters, he notes,
While noting that this relationship is “trivially small,” Kahan wrote: “I’ve got to confess. I found this result surprising. As I pushed the button to run the analysis on my computer, I fully expected I’d be shown a modest negative correlation between identifying with the Tea Party and science comprehension.”
“But then again,” he admitted, “I don’t know a single person who identifies with the Tea Party. All my impressions come from watching cable tv — & I don’t watch Fox News very often — and reading the “paper” (New York Times daily, plus a variety of politics-focused internet sites like Huffington Post & Politico).” (Emphasis added)
In addition to the media having the ability to completely and single-handedly form an opinion for an allegedly highly intelligent member of the intelligentsia concerning a large swath of people, I’d argue that Kahan’s memory recall abilities are lacking, if he indeed reads the New York Times everyday, considering that the Gray Lady published a story over 3 years ago showing those who identify as Tea Party supporters are generally higher educated than the general public. It should be no surprise that those who are higher educated would also have a higher level of science literacy.
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Pascal Bruckner on the rhetoric and religious symbolism of environmental apocalypticism:
Around the turn of the twenty-first century, a paradigm shift in our thinking took place: we decided that the era of revolutions was over and that the era of catastrophes had begun. The former had involved expectation, the hope that the human race would proceed toward some goal. But once the end of history was announced, the Communist enemy vanquished, and, more recently, the War on Terror all but won, the idea of progress lay moribund. What replaced the world’s human future was the future of the world as a material entity. The long list of emblematic victims—Jews, blacks, slaves, proletarians, colonized peoples—was likewise replaced, little by little, with the Planet, the new paragon of all misery. No longer were we summoned to participate in a particular community; rather, we were invited to identify ourselves with the spatial vessel that carried us, groaning.
How did this change happen? Over the last half-century, leftist intellectuals have identified two great scapegoats for the world’s woes. First, Marxism designated capitalism as responsible for human misery. Second, “Third World” ideology, disappointed by the bourgeois indulgences of the working class, targeted the West, supposedly the inventor of slavery, colonialism, and imperialism. The guilty party that environmentalism now accuses—mankind itself, in its will to dominate the planet—is essentially a composite of the previous two, a capitalism invented by a West that oppresses peoples and destroys the earth. Indeed, environmentalism sees itself as the fulfillment of all earlier critiques. “There are only two solutions,” Bolivian president Evo Morales declared in 2009. “Either capitalism dies, or Mother Earth dies.”
So the planet has become the new proletariat that must be saved from exploitation—if necessary, by reducing the number of human beings, as oceanographer Jacques Cousteau said in 1991. The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, a group of people who have decided not to reproduce, has announced: “Each time another one of us decides to not add another one of us to the burgeoning billions already squatting on this ravaged planet, another ray of hope shines through the gloom. When every human chooses to stop breeding, Earth’s biosphere will be allowed to return to its former glory.” The British environmentalist James Lovelock, a chemist by training, regards Earth as a living organism and human beings as an infection within it, proliferating at the expense of the whole, which tries to reject and expel them. Journalist Alan Weisman’s 2007 book The World Without Us envisions in detail a planet from which humanity has disappeared. In France, a Green politician, Yves Cochet, has proposed a “womb strike,” which would be reinforced by penalties against couples who conceive a third child, since each child means, in terms of pollution, the equivalent of 620 round trips between Paris and New York.
[. . .]
One could go on citing such quotations forever, given the spread of the cliché-ridden apocalyptic literature. Environmentalism has become a global ideology that covers all of existence—not merely modes of production but ways of life as well. We rediscover in it the whole range of Marxist rhetoric, now applied to the environment: ubiquitous scientism, horrifying visions of reality, even admonitions to the guilty parties who misunderstand those who wish them well. Authors, journalists, politicians, and scientists compete in the portrayal of abomination and claim for themselves a hyper-lucidity: they alone see clearly while others vegetate in the darkness.
[. . .]
One consequence of this certainty is that we begin to suspect that the numberless Cassandras who prophesy all around us do not intend to warn us so much as to condemn us. In classical Judaism, the prophet sought to give new life to God’s cause against kings and the powerful. In Christianity, millenarian movements embodied a hope for justice against a Church wallowing in luxury and vice. But in a secular society, a prophet has no function other than indignation. So it happens that he becomes intoxicated with his own words and claims a legitimacy with no basis, calling down the destruction that he pretends to warn against. You’ll get what you’ve got coming!—that is the death wish that our misanthropes address to us. These are not great souls who alert us to troubles but tiny minds who wish us suffering if we have the presumption to refuse to listen to them. Catastrophe is not their fear but their joy. It is a short distance from lucidity to bitterness, from prediction to anathema.
Another result of the doomsayers’ certainty is that their preaching, by inoculating us against the poison of terror, brings about petrification. The trembling that they want to inculcate falls flat. Anxiety has the last word. We were supposed to be alerted; instead, we are disarmed. This may even be the goal of the noisy panic: to dazzle us in order to make us docile. Instead of encouraging resistance, it propagates discouragement and despair. The ideology of catastrophe becomes an instrument of political and philosophical resignation.
What is surprising is that the mood of catastrophe prevails especially in the West, as if it were particular to privileged peoples. Despite the economic crises of the last few years, people live better in Europe and the United States than anywhere else, which is why migrants the world over want to come to those places. Yet never have we been so inclined to condemn our societies.
Perhaps the new Green puritanism is nothing but the reaction of a West deprived of its supreme competence, the last avatar of an unhappy neocolonialism that preaches to other cultures a wisdom that it has never practiced. For the last 20 years, non-European peoples have become masters of their own futures and have stopped regarding us as infallible models. They are likely to receive our professions of environmentalist faith with polite indifference. Billions of people look to economic growth, with all the pollution that accompanies it, to improve their condition. Who are we to refuse it to them?
The environmental apocalypticism surrounding and driving climate change activists and their rhetoric is rooted in Marxist principles, and practiced using the ways of religious zealots predicting the end of man because we have committed a great crime. A righteous indignation of others, sure that what “deniers” are heaping upon them is the equivalent of exposing them to Nazi death camps or subjecting them to inhumane racism and slavery, brought about by our capitalist exploitations. They are a new proletariat, victimized by those who refuse to listen to their warnings. They are the victim in a world in which they are the largest beneficiaries of human progress; the first to condemn the progress, particularly the energy use that has fueled said progress, that allows them sit atop their ideological perch.
But despite being among the biggest winners in modern history, living lives of relative privilege amidst a culture which enjoys the highest standard of living that the world has ever seen, the proselytizers of environmentalism have claimed the mantle of the oppressed because being a part of an oppressed class, even if that class is entirely ideological and defined by them, (as opposed to a specific physical or cultural marker that is targeted), lends legitimacy in academic discourse. Stanley Kurtz:
And why should the privileged wish to become victims? To alleviate guilt and to appropriate the victim’s superior prestige. In the neo-Marxist dispensation now regnant on our college campuses, after all, the advantaged are ignorant and guilty while the oppressed are innocent and wise. The initial solution to this problem was for the privileged to identify with “struggling groups” by wearing, say, a Palestinian keffiyeh. Yet better than merely empathizing with the oppressed is to be oppressed. This is the climate movement’s signal innovation.
[. . .]
Wen Stephenson, a contributing writer at The Nation and an enthusiastic supporter of McKibben’s anti-fossil-fuel crusade, is one of the sharpest observers of the climate movement. In March, Stephenson published a profile of some of the student climate protesters he’d gotten to know best. Their stories look very much like McKibben’s description of his own past.
Stephenson’s thesis is that, despite vast differences between the upper-middle-class college students who make up much of today’s climate movement and southern blacks living under segregation in the 1950s, climate activists think of themselves on the model of the early civil-rights protesters. When climate activists court arrest through civil disobedience, they imagine themselves to be reliving the struggles of persecuted African Americans staging lunch-counter sit-ins at risk of their lives. Today’s climate protesters, Stephenson writes,“feel themselves oppressed by powerful, corrupt forces beyond their control.” And they fight “not only for people in faraway places but, increasingly, for themselves.”
One young activist, a sophomore at Harvard, told Stephenson that she grew up “privileged in a poor rural town.” Inspired by the civil-rights movement, her early climate activism was undertaken “in solidarity” with Third World peoples: “I saw climate change as this huge human rights abuse against people who are already disadvantaged in our global society. . . . I knew theoretically there could be impacts on the U.S. But I thought, I’m from a rich, developed country, my parents are well-off, I know I’m going to college, and it’s not going to make a difference to my life. But especially over this past year, I’ve learned that climate change is a threat to me.” When one of her fellow protesters said: “You know, I think I could die of climate change. That could be the way I go,” the thought stuck with her. “You always learn about marginalized groups in society, and think about how their voices don’t have as much power, and then suddenly you’re like, ‘Wait, that’s exactly what I am, with climate change.’”
The remaining biographical accounts in Stephenson’s piece repeat these themes. Climate activists see themselves as privileged, are deeply influenced by courses on climate change and by “marginalized” groups they’ve been exposed to in high school and college, and treat the climate apocalypse as their personal admissions pass to the sacred circle of the oppressed.
[. . .]
Last academic year, the National Association of Scholars released a widely discussed report called “What Does Bowdoin Teach? How a Contemporary Liberal Arts College Shapes Students.” The report chronicles what I’ve called a “reverse island” effect. Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the classic liberal-arts curriculum first came under challenge, courses in ethnic and gender studies were like tiny islands in a sea of traditionalism. Politicized in ways that were incompatible with liberal education, these ideologically based “studies” programs were generally dismissed as necessary concessions to the nascent multicultural zeitgeist.
Today the situation is reversed. Not only have the ideologically driven “studies” programs taken over a large share of the college curriculum, but many courses in conventional departments reflect the underlying assumptions of the various minority-studies concentrations. Today, classic liberal-arts courses have themselves been turned into tiny besieged islands, while the study of alleged oppression represents the leading approach at America’s colleges and universities.
In this atmosphere, students cannot help wishing to see themselves as members of a persecuted group. Climate activism answers their existential challenges and gives them a sense of crusading purpose in a lonely secular world. The planet, as Bruckner would have it, is the new proletariat. Yet substitute “upper-middle-class” for “planet,” and the progression of victimhood is explained. Global warming allows the upper-middle-class to join the proletariat, cloaking erstwhile oppressors in the mantle of righteous victimhood.
And once you’re in the place of the oppressed class, a victim of a force beyond your control, the righteousness you’ve assumed because of your perceived status as victim, any meaningful discussion is made impossible. Kurtz continues,
The religious character of the climate-change crusade chokes off serious discussion. It stigmatizes reasonable skepticism about climate catastrophism (which is different from questioning the fundamental physics of carbon dioxide’s effect on the atmosphere). Climate apocalypticism drags what ought to be careful consideration of the costs and benefits of various policy options into the fraught world of identity politics. The wish to be oppressed turns into the wish to be morally superior, which turns into the pleasure of silencing alleged oppressors, which turns into its own sort of hatred and oppression. (Emphasis added)
By being perceived as a member of an oppressed class, climate activists legitimize for themselves the ability to oppress others as a matter of survival. They are fighting for their lives against a suffocating class. If they don’t exert their will on their oppressors, death is as sure as it was for the Jews as they were ferried to death camps; subjugation is as sure as that experienced by blacks denied equality in society; exploitation is as sure and harsh as it was for those who suffered at the hand of the various robber barons in history.
And they relish in their perceived status as one of the oppressed. Not only does it afford them moral cover for whatever they may do or say, but the intellectual legitimacy demanded in an ideological system that prioritizes principals over principles. They no longer have to identify with some oppressed class; they finally are one.
1. This is perhaps the dumbest thing ever uttered by anyone ever.
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There’s no way that taking away one of the few forms of stress relief that soldiers in a war zone have could produce unintended consequences.
An image making the rounds on Facebook gave us a chuckle — it’s a notice posted in a port-a-potty on Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province, Afghanistan, and it sends a clear message to the troops deployed there:
Stop playing with yourself, or else.
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No. They are not the same thing. Cathy Reisenwitz at Forbes on why Millenials are being fucked by the big fat dick known as Obamacare:
Another math lesson seems to be needed here: Insurance is only a good deal when it actually works like insurance. Using insurance to pay for routine care and predictable healthcare needs makes it no longer insurance, but cost pooling.
Using insurance to pay for routine healthcare services distorts price signals and increases costs through layers of administration. ObamaCare’s requirements that insurance pay for even more routine care than before codifies the fundamental flaw in the “insurance” (actually cost-pooling) “market” that we have today.
The only solution to achieving access to affordable catastrophic coverage for young people and affordable healthcare services for older people is an actual market in health insurance and in healthcare services. Young people need access to actual insurance, something that ObamaCare actually outlaws. And older people need an undistorted price system in healthcare.
Bingo. Obamacare does the opposite. It further distorts health care costs by placing intermediaries amidst the transaction, and outlaws true insurance. In short, Obamacare is a clusterfuck.
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Michael Lofti at The Liberty Paper on the antics of the president thrusted on the people:
Anyone who can’t see that the shutdown is little more than theater simply isn’t paying attention. If the above examples aren’t enough for you then look no further than to President Obama’s favorite golf course, which remains open. President Obama frequents Andrew’s Air Force Base Golf Course, which boasts three 18-hole courses. It is located on prime Washington D.C. property.
According to the PGA the US government spends an average of $384,000 – $1,000,000 per year on every golf course it owns. The federal government operates some 234 golf courses around the world. Combined, that’s a total of about $140 million per year on golf courses.
The course remains open. Officials cite that the course receives payments from private individuals on snacks and course fees, but it is clear that the courses still run on tax payer dollars. Many federal golf courses are also national parks, such as Yosemite National Park Golf Course.
Even so, how is that any different than the privately owned Mt. Vernon, or the WWII memorial, which has zero staff or operational costs. How is it different than the privately funded Air Force, Navy athletics departments? Why block people from taking pictures of a rock more than a mile away from the actual entrance?
The difference is that the other cases wouldn’t affect Obama and his pals directly. They only affect “we the people”.
Bingo. The only reason why people are feeling anything because of the “shutdown” is because Obama is going out of his way to make sure that we do. Old people being evicted from their home of 40 years? Sure, no problem. Closing your favorite golf course? No. Fucking. Way.
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This is just plain fucking evil.
Last Thursday park rangers arrived at the elderly couple’s home and forced them to leave. Their home sits on federal lands. Even though the Spencer’s have owned their home for more than 4 decades, the park ranger told them they could not return until a budget was passed.
Obama is obviously going out of his way to ensure that people feel the government “shutdown.” Consider this: the government has shut down 17 times during the time that the Spencers have owned their house, and never once have they been evicted, or even felt a ripple as a result of any one of them. But now they are kicked out. Obama is obviously trying to conflate public land with government owned land, giving himself the right to close off access to public property. Public property belongs to every American. We have an absolute right to go on public property at any point. The government is simply the manager of said property, not the owner. And the arrogance required to believe that he can keep Americans from visiting publicly owned property, including parts which have been legally leased by private citizens, is astounding.
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Squeeze drug traffic lanes in the Caribbean in the 70s and 80s and the traffic shifts to Mexico. Squeeze Mexican traffic lanes through the 90s and aughts, and the traffic shifts right back to the Caribbean.
More of the cocaine smuggled to the United States is passing through the Caribbean, officials said, representing a shift in which drug traffickers are returning to a region they largely abandoned decades ago.
[. . .]
Last month, William R. Brownfield, assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs, told the Miami Herald that the Caribbean trafficking corridor of the 1970s and 1980s is “still around and will begin to look more attractive” to criminal organizations as they search for an alternative to Central America and Mexico.
[. . .]
The larger, more valuable shipments, have been accompanied by an increase in drug-related violence as cartels and their agents work to establish themselves and control territory.
Prohibition inspired violence ramps up, people die, and drugs still get through. In fact the drug market is so good that drugs are both more pure and cheaper than they have been in over 20 years. Way to go, drug warriors. You spend billions and billions per year on stopping drugs, and all you accomplish is dramatic rises in violence accompanied by better and cheaper drugs. It’s almost like it’d be better if you didn’t do anything at all. The prison state would be significantly diminished, fewer people would die as a result of prohibition which creates incentives for drug cartels to perpetrate violence in order to protect lucrative profits, and the government would stop wasting taxpayer dollars which, since the beginnings of the drug war, add up to well over a trillion dollars.
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Johnathan Carp, former combat medic in Iraq, on modern day police tactics:
The shooting on Capitol Hill of Miriam Carey, an unarmed woman who refused police commands to stop her car, was a familiar situation for any veteran of the Iraq War, with one significant difference — rather than moving through a progressive escalation of force while attempting to defuse the situation, Capitol Hill police officers went straight for their firearms and shot to kill. Since returning from my service as an Army combat medic in Baghdad six years ago, I have watched American police become more aggressively violent than my fellow soldiers and I were ever trained to be.
[. . .]
Police militarization is a hot topic lately, especially in libertarian circles, but American police are beyond anything contemplated by the American military. While abuses certainly occurred in Iraq and elsewhere, our procedures as soldiers in a war zone were designed to avoid violence and protect the lives of the Iraqis, and we understood that that meant accepting some risk ourselves as soldiers. American police today appear unwilling to accept any risk whatsoever and seem willing to kill anyone and anything that could possibly be seen as a threat; according to the chief of the D.C. police, Cathy Lanier, these police officers “did exactly what they were supposed to do.”
While Lanier’s statement may be true in terms of police policy, we cannot accept those policies. Deadly force cannot be the first and last choice for dealing with any potential threat, and police officers must be trained to strive always to protect the lives of citizens, especially of suspects. Policing is a dangerous job, but as someone who has held another dangerous job, I must say that our American police need to understand and accept the risks they take when they accept the badge and understand that they are there to protect others before themselves.
Cops use deadly force regularly for three reasons: 1) the public has not yet reached a point where the police opening fire with little regard to the safety of anyone but themselves is unacceptable. Most people seem to accept the boilerplate excuse of “OFFICER SAFETY!” as a valid excuse for any acts of violence, and few seem willing to question whether a 300 pound law enforcement officer should legitimately fear for his life because of a 12 pound terrier; 2) police departments refuse to find any fault in even the most egregious shootings perpetrated by police officers, and therefore cops are very rarely held accountable for what would be considered brutal crimes were they done by non-cops; 3) cops are cowards. Despite risk to their person being a part of their job, any risk is too much risk and so the attitude of shoot first, ask questions later has been employed.
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The president who cried wolf. Jeff Cox:
Washington’s efforts to scare Wall Street haven’t come to much so far.
The message hardly could be clearer from the Obama administration: An impasse over approving a continuing resolution that would keep government going threatens to morph into a crippling battle over the debt ceiling.
Wall Street should be petrified of such an occurrence and is taking the looming crisis too lightly, President Barack Obama told CNBC in an interview Wednesday.
In a statement Friday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned that Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and those on Medicare and food stamps face peril if the debt ceiling deal doesn’t get done.
Oh, and Wall Street should be worried, too, he said.
“The stock market, including investments in retirement accounts, could tumble, and it could become more expensive for Americans to buy a car, own a home and open a small business,” Lew said. “We cannot put our nation in the position of not paying its bills because Congress has refused to raise the country’s debt limit.”
Markets haven’t bitten, however.
But Wall Street isn’t concerned. It is, afterall the job of financial analysts to evaluate various aspects of the economy in order to evaluate risk and plan accordingly so that clients (and themselves) are as insulated as possible,1 and with the non-event known as the sequester proving to have been little more than a minor blip on the overall economy, which Obama also told Wall Street would be disastrous, they just aren’t buying the hyperbole. But not only are they ignoring Obama because he’s had a long and distinguished history of predicting economic and social calamity if he isn’t granted his wishes, but because none of the available data compiled by Wall Street firms suggest that not raising the debt limit will have a huge impact on the broader economy.
Perhaps more importantly, however, bonds have barely budged.
The 10-year yield—considered a benchmark for the bond trade—actually is a few basis points lower since the shutdown began.
“Take a look at yields on 10-year Treasuries,” Nick Raich, CEO at The Earnings Scout and formerly of Key Private Bank, said in a report Friday. “They have been falling ever since the Fed decided not to taper. If bond investors really did not believe they would get their money back from the U.S., they would be selling their bonds left and right causing yield(s) to skyrocket.”
To be sure, credit-default swaps—used to protect against U.S. debt default—have risen this week.
And there was a hiccup in an auction of four-week notes, with the yield going from near-zero to 0.12 percent on fears of short-term redemption problems.
But, overall, Wall Street has refused to take the bait from an administration that has been peddling fear aggressively for the past several days.
“I think we get it resolved,” Kim Rupert, managing director of global fixed income analysis for Action Economics in San Francisco, said of the debt ceiling issue. “The experience from two years ago (during the last debt ceiling debate) wasn’t very helpful, but the fact that we came through virtually unscathed has lessened the fear at this point.”
Reaction elsewhere on Wall Street has been more vitriolic.
Hedge fund manager Keith McCullough, at Hedgeye Risk Management, called the default rhetoric “shameful” and said the market is ignoring Washington.
“Lew should be ashamed for spewing this fear-mongering nonsense,” McCullough said in a blog post. “As for the Bond Market…It doesn’t believe a single word from these guys on default risk. Otherwise yields would be ripping.”
So the bond holders who have a massive financial interest in the government paying its debt is not concerned about the government paying its debt. Hmm. Perhaps it has something to do with the purposeful obfuscation on the part of Obama and the media that purposefully conflates not raising the debt ceiling and the government defaulting, not being able to pay its bills, and those on Wall Street understanding that the narrative is a rhetorical move designed to strengthen Obama’s political position, and not one that sits in economic reality.
1. Though these systems designed to evaluate risk are not foolproof or immune from error, nor am I trying to imply that they are.
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