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Monday, November 30, 2015

Paris Climate Summit to Expand Governments' Control

More good news for the oil and gas industry.  Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in the Telegraph spells out what the new nations' emissions targets will be and the new "plutocrats" who will gain from government investment in renewable energy.   See End of Fossil Era

Somehow, these limits will cap the temperature rise at 2 degrees C.  How world energy demands will be met with oil production at 72 M barrels per day I have no idea.  This will be the death knell of oil majors.

The real intended outcome has nothing to do with the climate, but with the government controlling more and more industry and development, and more tax money going to select interests.   And this coming from an American President.

Agreement will not be a treaty.  But it doesn't matter to us, because the feds will enforce this by its expansive definition of Clean Air Act legislation and the EPA.   The Democracy gets no say in this.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Marijuana Smoking Linked to Terrorism

At least one of the Paris terrorists and the Colorado Planned Parenthood gunman have been described in the media as heavy marijuana users.  In another high profile and brutal murder in England a few years ago, the killers of the British soldier also were serious potheads.  Hmm.

Correlation is not causation.  But researchers have long noticed the connection between crime and marijuana use.  Reports from the United States, England, and Australia show that approximately 60% of arrestees test positive for marijuana use and that marijuana is the drug most frequently found in arrestees’ urine.  And despite the common assumption that pot makes you mellow, many of these criminals are violent, too. 

Here's an interesting Rand study from 2004 that does suggest a causal link between marijuana and violent crime, at least when the researchers ran some of the data:  RAND: Marijuana and Crime   (As usual with statistical social science, no definitive conclusions and more study needed!)  

The useful blog site Crime in America posted these stats correlating crime and marijuana use: more-on-marijuana-and-crime-crime-statistics/

Common sense suggests we continue to treat marijuana as a harmful substance with little proven social benefit, but with a great potential to do harm.

In the US we have been seeing a headlong rush to brand marijuana as harmless, and even therapeutic.  This flies in the face of nearly all evidence. See this post from Columbia University researchers on why voters should  be wary of medicinal marijuana:  why-you-should-think-twice-voting-yes-medical-marijuana

The Food and Drug Administration still considers it a harmful drug and has not approved it for medical use.  By smoking marijuana, how do you regulate the dosage?  Since when is smoking a legitimate way to take medicine?   Medical pot is a crock. 

Congratulations to the people of Ohio for rejecting legalized marijuana in a state referendum a few weeks ago. 


Saturday, November 28, 2015

America's Mission is Not to Defend Humanity

But to defend US interests.  Robert Merry complains about the confusion of aims over the last fifteen years here:  US Leaders Don't Know What to Think  Overthrowing Saddam and Qadhafi for the sake of humanity hasn't worked for anyone's interests, except international Jihad's.  Merry supports a more "transactional" relationship with foreign leaders like former President Mubarak and Putin.

Some good points here, but I think the problem is different.  It is not that US leaders don't know what US interests are.   It is that they consistently fail to think strategically about those interests.  Washington always is reactive and tactical.  Lack of sound strategic thinking is what has made a mess of the Middle East and Central Asia recently.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Americans' Common Sense on Climate Change

The constant barrage of propaganda and fear-mongering has failed to convince Americans they need to act on climate change.  We are carpooling less, and using alternative-fueled cars even less than before.  We aren't riding bicycles to work.   Here's a good article by David Harsanyi in The Federalist pointing to the counter trends.  Americans-dont-really-care-about-climate-change/

Why?  The environmentalists have made the threat so urgent and dire that everyone realizes it is a problem than cannot be solved.  If there is no solution, there is no problem.

Friday, November 20, 2015

History Repeating Itself with Campus, Urban Protests?

Lately we are reminded of the Sixties, with its atmosphere of university sit-ins and urban protests and riots. The university demonstrations have been highly mythologized; the urban protests were very real. Michael Barone makes the point that these came during a period of liberal governance, with high expectations of the future.  What followed was the rise of the silent majority, and many years of relatively conservative administrations.  Here's his provocative piece:  An unhappy history repeating itself

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Screw the Candlelight Vigil

As Mark Steyn says,  it's time now to launch the "pitiless" war against the Islamic extremists, and stop with the hashtags, and the vigils, and the weepy sentimentality.  The barbarians are inside the gates

The death toll is about 150 in Paris.

ISIS has demonstrated its global reach.  It is responsible for recent bombings in Ankara and Beirut, too. The evidence is mounting a bomb blew up the Russian plane flying out of the Sinai; ISIS took credit for it.

So now we know this is no limited, regional war that can be contained.  The West has to destroy ISIS's conceit that it can operate a caliphate in the Middle East and deliver bombers throughout the world.

Other third order effects:  illegal immigration will stay a major campaign issue here.  (Even though that it is much less a problem now than it was fifteen years ago and it has not been a cover for extremism.)  In the EU, the movement to close borders will grow; Merkel will lose that argument.  We also may see less attacks on the kind of programs the NSA was running to stop terrorism.  Anyone up for closing GTMO now?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Terror Hits Paris

This morning, we are all just catching up on this story...at least 125 dead in three or more separate attacks in Paris.  ISIS has claimed responsibility.

The worst part about the event is that the Parisian authorities were on the alert.  This isn't the first terrorist attack in the city this year; they have been bolstering up security.

Many fingers will point, but it is hard to defend against these types of suicide attacks.  However, it seems clear that France has well organized terrorist cells in its territory.  These are no "lone wolf" attacks.  This took careful planning.

Perhaps ISIS is more of an international threat after all.  A few weeks ago it made a massive terrorist strike in Ankara.  (But Ankara doesn't count like Paris.)

What will be the repercussions?   Will the western "powers" join Russia in Syria?   Will crushing ISIS actually do something about this type of terrorism?  

Will the US join up?  Our strategic has been attrition and containment, up to now.  Will we do more?  That will require Big Army getting involved.   I think the public would support it.  What say you, Mr. Obama?

Kudos to Amazon for this image on its website this am:


Paris

Friday, November 13, 2015

Breaking the Geopolitical Rules

John McLaughlin, former CIA senior executive, sums up the issues nicely here:  we are seeing major challenges to the post-WWII "rules-based" international system.  Russia, by ignoring the sanctity of national frontiers, China, by ignoring freedom of the seas in the South China Sea, and ISIS by overthrowing the nation-state in the Middle East. See his:  Breaking the Geopolitical Rules  

My friend Sean "The Modern Mercenary" McFate likes to point out the Westphalian system of the supremacy of the nation state is being eclipsed by "neo-medievalism."  I agree ISIS suggests that other forces than the state are throwing their weight around.   But in the case of Russia and China,  the nation-state is roaring back.  The problem is to corral them back into a rules-based system.

We might add that it is Russia that seems to be doing more to bolster the nation-state concept in the Middle East than the US is.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Google Dishonors Veterans' Day

Google insults our intelligence with this picture:

Veterans Day 2015 Doodle
Google distorts the overwhelming effort made by men--mostly white men--in defense of our country.  Why is truth so hard to acknowledge?  Political correctness is erasing history.

Happy Veterans' Day!  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

University of Missouri: Seeing-No-Evil in the Show-Me State

Am I the only one who thinks this recent "resignation" of University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe is a total farce?  Where has  the Fourth Estate been on this one?   Are all the claims by the activists accepted without any proof?

Does anyone believe that a university in this day and age is a seething hotbed of institutional racism?  Or that a university administration wouldn't jump at the chance to stamp it out root and branch?  That's practically the only acknowledged universal truth left in academe: that racism is evil.   But the Whig digresses.

What happened:  black student activists at "Mizzou," which included a graduate student hunger striker and later, the whole football team, demanded the president resign, for some vague reasons having to do with him being insensitive to the growing racist threat on campus.   First he said he wouldn't, then when the governor and the board of curators got together, he said he would.  See the NY Times piece here: University President Resigns

Here's some helpful things some enterprising journalists might clarify for all of us:

  • Supposedly this started when the student body president, ironically, a black man in this hot bed of institutionalized racism, claimed he was assaulted with racial epithets by a truck full of white boys.  He went on Facebook to announce it.  Any witnesses?  No, we take his word for it. 
  • Then other black protesters decided to block the president's car during the Homecoming Parade.   They do it, but he drives on.  We are supposed to believe he was insensitive for not stopping to engage with them in Platonic discourse--in the middle of the parade.    
  • More recently, someone at 2 am. smeared a swastika in human excrement on the floor or walls of a bathroom in some alternative lifestyle dorm.  In the age of the smart phone, we have no photos of this scatological mess. (Because that what racists apparently do when there is no spray paint available.)   What does this have to do with the black protesters?  I dunno.
  • There's a hunger striker in all of this.  He claims to have been doing it.  Okay.
President Wolfe went out like a lamb.  (Why didn't he tell the board to fire him?  Put the cravenness on them?  But no: these are "Darkness at Noon" times.  I'm sure he went out thanking his accusers.)

Now the activists say you ain't seen nothin' yet (why should they give up now, after such an easy win)   The activists demanded Wolfe not only resign, but issue an apology, claim to be the product of white privilege (not making any of this up), ensure all faculty and staff are 10 percent black, have more services for mental health patients (uh, what?), and have of course mandatory diversity and inclusivity courses which will be overseen, by---wait for it--people of color.

Somehow, this is about money, in the end, and not even a lot of money. Graduate students and professors have their salaries frozen or are finding it harder to get more lucrative administrative positions.  Hence the demand for more administrative positions.  (Which by the way is why the teaching assistant and professor salaries are frozen, but never mind.)  Wolfe was brought in to cut costs.  Now the Curators will do the opposite and hire more administrators.

I love it that the football team got involved.  Any bigger example of privilege and exclusivity on a university campus?   Please don't tell me their players are the victims of racism too!  Have mercy!

Has anyone asked what Joe and Jane College at Mizzou think about all of this?  They just saw the leadership knuckle under and get "resigned" by agitators who have no clear issue.  What will happen next? See the National Review editorial here: university-missouri-racism-crisis

Big deal, you say?  Maybe you're right. But I think it doesn't bode well for freedom in this country when 1) simple facts can't get verified and 2) when people who shout lies loud enough get their way.

Universities:  High more crisis management coordinators.  You will need them.

Coda:  You have to read this about the communications professor at Mizzou saying she "needs some muscle"over here" to evict a journalist.   Priceless, and in the NY Times, no less. : Communications Professor Evicts Journalist