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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Will Britain Vote Leave Today?

All the "Brexit" supporters argue that Britain will regain its sovereignty by leaving the EU,  and will improve its economy by making trade deals on its own.  Britain should be able to prosper much like Norway and Switzerland have.

For their part, the "Bremain" proponents predict doom and gloom if Britain leaves.  Certainly they never say Britain should endure more EU control, or go all out and adopt the Euro!  This seems very telling.  Their whole argument seems to be: Britain, you can't survive in the big, scary world out there without the EU!

Besides, Bremain has been far more dishonest. Cameron argued there is "no going back."  Of course there is.  Britain could reapply.  Also, this will not undermine European defense in any way.  Brexit doesn't mean leaving NATO.  But I've heard that too.

If I were a Brit, voting "leave" would be a no-brainer.  If only just to oppose who supports Bremain!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

ISIS as the Producer, not the Director, of Terrorism

Interesting article by Robert Pape on how ISIS inspires lone wolves like Mateen.  Worth reading: orlando-shooting-shows-how-isis-calls-shots/MmOsqLlQ4dvZXOGRpA9WkO/story.html

ISIS doesn't actually pick the lone wolf:  he (or she) works on his own initiative. The lone wolf probably gets some ideas from ISIS.  Some ideas:  pick a soft target, acquire legal weapons.   Does anyone need ISIS to tell them this?

If ISIS didn't exist, would any of this be happening?  Yes, of course.   This is still a rare event and the biggest shootings in the US prior to this had nothing to do with ISIS.  (See Va Tech, Sandy Hook, etc.)

In Houston a few weeks ago a disturbed man shot up a gas station and a neighborhood.  He was heavily armed and we are lucky the casualty count was low.  He seemed paranoid about a number of things.  No ISIS connection, but does it matter?

I doubt ISIS makes much head way with young men who are rational and non-suicidal.  And Mateen's narcissism and self-loathing may have had more to do with this than ISIS, which just provided some "higher" justification.  But, like everyone else, I'm speculating.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Orlando Proves Our "Freedoms" Kinda Clash

Omar Mateen, an Afghan-American born in NYC, killed 49 at a "popular" gay nightclub (I love that modifier in the media) in Orlando until he was killed by police commandos.

Was he a "homegrown" terrrorist?  Apparently the FBI talked to him, twice.  Or so they say.  Never enough to bring him him.   No internet profile must have tipped them.

Was he nuts?  Ex-wife and co-workers said he was crazy.  Now you tell us!  Lady, how about reporting his beating you to the police?  Might have helped.

Affiliated with ISIS?  Well, he pledged allegiance to ISIS on 911 and he went on a haj twice to Saudi Arabia.   Yup, this was an ISIS attack alright!

Did he hate gays?  FBI chief James Comey said they also are looking into "homophobia" as a possible motive.  Your tax dollars at work.

Was he gay?  (Oh, don't go there.  But lots of questions unanswered, like, how did he get in with a AR-15?   Wouldn't that be somewhat conspicuous?  Did he kill the bouncers?  Did the club have any security at all?)

Hearing a lot of "explanations" for this mass murder.   And that it is an attack on our "freedoms." (See below.)  Okay.  But we have all these competing freedoms!   We want to be free to have open borders, and gay nightclubs, and guns-guns-guns, and radical mosques, and crazy people on the loose and off their meds.  We shouldn't be too surprised if, sometimes, these very different freedoms start rubbing into one another in a nonconstructive sort of way.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Muhammad Ali: Not a Leader, but a Warrior

When I think of Muhammad Ali, I think of a great fighter who fought the best of his era, and won most of the time.  Unusual for a heavyweight of his caliber, he lacked a knockout punch, but he had great quickness, endurance, defensive ability, and resilience.  No one took a punch better than Ali.

He was the best heavyweight boxer in an era with tremendous competition.  We have not seen the same level of competition since.

Ali was a big heavyweight for his time.  At 6' 3" and usually around 220 lbs, he often loomed over his competition.  Consider that in the 1950s, heavyweight champs were usually in the 200 lb range.  By the 1960s, it was getting harder to compete at that size.

Certainly he was one of the most charismatic athletes ever, and his fights were truly "main events."  The lead-up to Ali's first fight against Joe Frazier dominated the cover of Time magazine.

Here's a great column by Mushnick that debunks some of the popular Ali myths:  debunking-the-myths-that-have-glorified-muhammad-ali

A lot of Ali's appeal with liberals was his civil disobedience against the draft, which cost him three prime career years.   The great paradox is that he did this for the sake of black separatism, and of course the great liberal issue of the time (as it should have been) was black integration.  Liberals apparently can't decide which they like better.

If Ali had had better handlers, the draft never would have been an issue for his career, as there were plenty of ways to get a deferment.  But he had joined the Nation of Islam, a racist cult, and its leadership urged this political statement.  Ali's mentor was Elijah Muhammad, who most experts believe ordered the assassination of Malcolm X.  Ali joined this after white America passed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

A big point is being made in the obits on how Ali taunted Ernie Terrell because Terrell still called him "Cassius Clay," his so-called "slave name."  But if you know anything about the era, many of his opponents wouldn't call him Muhammad Ali for a long time, including Joe Frazier.  Probably because they thought his conversion was just a pose.

Ali was a terrible sportsman, which was unusual for boxing at the time.  He not only mocked Terrell, but Floyd Paterson, and Joe Frazier (whom he called an Uncle Tom) and George Foreman, whom he likened to the "Belgians" before he fought him in Zaire.  How he turned fighting other black men into a racial thing still is perplexing, but this highlights his masterful self-promotion.

A few of Ali's fights were suspicious.  I still suspect he threw the first fight against Leon Spinks, a guy who shouldn't have been in the same ring with him, just so he could come back and beat him and be a third-time champion.   Many observers at the time thought Jimmy Young beat Ali, but Ali got the decision.

I'm not sure exactly what Ali "transcended," as some of the overwrought writers are claiming.  They seem to equate self-promotion with profundity.  Not sure what cause he was fighting for.  Other fighters mocked the idea he was fighting for black people.  Like the rest of them, he was a warrior, fighting for himself.

One Punch: How Ken Norton Became a Boxing Legend in a Single Night
In 1973 the little-regarded Ken Norton beat Ali and broke his jaw.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

No Medical Marijuana for Stressed Vets!

Here's a great piece from the Weekly Standard by a doc who used to work in the office of the drug czar at the WH.  Pot for Stressed Vets  Apparently a bill is circulating through Congress to allow the Veterans Administration to start prescribing pot for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

This hits home, literally, because last Sunday an Afghanistan veteran, supposedly suffering from PTSD, shot up a suburban neighborhood, killing one, wounding several, and destroying several cars and a gas station.  He was clearly nuts.   But PTSD?   We don't know how he was discharged yet; maybe a medical.  Wanna bet he was no stranger to the demon weed?