Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kicking the can down the road... again

From Fox:
Senate approves bill to suspend debt limit, sends to Obama
The legislation would temporarily suspend the $16.4 trillion limit on federal borrowing, which experts say would allow the government to borrow about $450 billion to meet interest payments and obligations like Social Security benefits and government salaries.
The deadline for Congress to act again to prevent default would likely not come until August, according to calculations by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington-based think tank...
Rather than passing a fiscally responsible budget, Congress has voted to temporarily suspend the debt limit. I'm not terribly shocked - in fact, I expected it - but I really wish that Congress had done something to actually solve the problem.

Russia returning to dictatorship?

From BBC:
Russia's freedoms crackdown 'worst since USSR fall'

Amid accusations of electoral fraud, Putin cracks down on freedom. Opposition leaders face jail on charges that the opposition claims to be fraudulent. Russia might not return to communism, but it is well on its way back to totalitarianism. If things continue to get worse, Russian citizens will learn one of the few modern political absolutes as said best by Mao: "All political power grows out of the barrel of a gun."

Sanctions against Israel?

From CBS:
U.N. panel provides legal basis for sanctions against Israel over settlement expansion in Palestinian territory

Even assuming that Israel has actually done something deserving of action, what exactly, does the UN expect to accomplish here? Given their track records of sanctions with Iran and North Korea, you'd expect them to have given up on sanctions by now. I think that they like sanctions, because it makes it look like they're doing something, without actually doing something.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Israel stands up to UN human rights council

From BBC:
Israel boycotts UN rights council in unprecedented move

Israel is boycotting the UN human rights council's review of their country. 
In the past I've used the same human rights council that Israel is boycotting as the prime example of why the UN sucks. Israel is perfectly justified.

To all RSS Subscribers

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Canned fresh air?

From Fox:
Canned fresh air reportedly on sale in China amid flight-canceling smog

I don't get the "canned" bit. Is it canned along the lines of  Spaceballs "Perri-Air" or in something more similar to an SCBA

I honestly can't see the "Perri-Air" approach doing any good. There is no face-seal to keep toxins out. The SCBA approach wouldn't do much good either. The SCBA tanks I'm familiar with are capable of holding 45 minutes of air - which isn't that long of a time. There is no way that any useful amount of canned air is being bought by any single person. If you're really worried about the smog in China, wear a gas mask. At least it will do you some good.

There's one born every minute...

Someone must actually believe this BS. That is the only reason I can think of why anti-Israel regimes keep on spouting the idea that the Holocaust was a hoax.

The New SecState

Senator John Kerry has been approved by the Senate as the Secretary of State. At least he's not the Secretary of Defense.

Immigration Reform -

BBC, Fox, and CBS each have an article up about the POTUS's plans for immigration reform. The various Senators and Congressmen who, along with President Obama, are pushing for immigration reform, are correct. We do need education reform. I however, question Washington D.C.'s ability to produce anything useful on the subject. Giving amnesty to illegal aliens already here is not the answer. Neither is attempting to enforce current border and immigration laws, with the amount of money that Congress has seen fit to throw at the problem in the past.

We should not just give citizenship to the millions of illegal immigrants who are already here, thus rewarding them for breaking US law, but neither can we leave the law its current state. As it is, the rewards for breaking US border and immigration law often outweigh the risks - for all parties involved. The fact of the matter is that the Mexican government has far tougher border laws than the US, with illegal immigration being a felony. My suggestion? Let the Federal Government come up with the immigration policy (quotas, requirements, etc.), and let the fifty states deal with those who come here illegally or are already here illegally. With fifty experiments in dealing with illegal immigrants going on, we'll probably find something that works...

Monday, January 28, 2013

CSS H.L. Hunley - A Historical Submarine

 From CBS:
New clues to sinking of Confederate sub

The Hunley was the first submarine to sink another ship, but even if it wasn't, it would still be an important piece of submarine history, if only because it sank three times. This man-powered, spar torpedo armed, submarine sank twice before it was finally used to sink the USS Housatonic. Then it sank for the third time, this time without being recovered. An important and interesting piece of naval submarine history.

Iran is at it again

From BBC:
Iran denies reports of explosion at Fordo nuclear site

They claim that the whole thing is western propaganda. Given the unreliability in general of any statement coming out of anyone associated with the Iranian government, I'm surprised that anyone even listens to them anymore.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Gun Control Update

Feinstein: Assault weapons ban "an uphill climb"
Feinstein: Gun control faces uphill climb on Capitol Hill
Obama suggests Republicans unwilling to compromise in gun control debate

The Republicans (quite rightly) cannot compromise without alienating their base. Democrats are leery of passing any sort of serious gun control because they remember what happened with the last AWB. No Republican can vote for gun control without serious consequences, and neither can any Democrat whose margin of victory among his (or her) constituency is low.

Self-defense vs Vigilantism

From Fox:
Wisconsin sheriff urges residents to arm themselves

...The ad has generated sharp criticism from other area officials and anti-violence advocates. The president of the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs' Association, Roy Felber, said it sounds like a call to vigilantism...
1: a plea of justification for the use of force or for homicide
2: the act of defending oneself, one's property, or a close relative 
: a member of a volunteer committee organized to suppress and punish crime summarily (as when the processes of law are viewed as inadequate); broadly : a self-appointed doer of justice 
All definitions come from Merriam-Webster.
How then is this vigilantism?
...In the 30-second commercial, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. says personal safety is no longer a spectator sport.
"I need you in the game," he says.
"With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option," he adds. "You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. ... Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there."
Sheriff Clarke is not advocating vigilantism, but self-defense. If he was asking for people to patrol, looking for crimes to stop, without being a member of a legal law-enforcement organization, that would be vigilantism. It is not vigilantism when someone assaults another person or yourself with a deadly weapon and you use a gun to defend that other person or yourself. It is vigilantism to go out looking for that sort of thing. Before people start talking about something, perhaps it would be best if they did a little research?

Constitution Outdated? I don't think so!

From CBS:
Professor: Take our country back, from the Constitution

  Original article tabbed and bolded:
I've got a simple idea: Let's give up on the Constitution.
 And what makes you think that this is a good idea?
I know, it sounds radical, but it's really not. Constitutional disobedience is as American as apple pie.
For example, most of our greatest Presidents -- Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, and both Roosevelts -- had doubts about the Constitution, and many of them disobeyed it when it got in their way.
Thank you for pointing that out. You're right that many presidents often disobeyed the Constitution, and that many of them had doubts about it. Let's go over your examples, shall we?
Jefferson: An Anti-Federalist, the party originally in opposition to the Constitution - and which only agreed to the Constitution on the condition that the Bill of Rights be added.
Lincoln: A Republican, engaged in Constitutionally questionable activities to keep the United Stated, United. Article One, Section Ten of the Constitution has a list of things that the States are not allowed to do. It is the only part of the Constitution that places limits upon the powers of the individual states. Secession is not on the list of powers prohibited to the states. Its important to remember that the South seceded because of state's rights and slavery (Confederate Constitution), and Lincoln contested the issue because he didn't want the Union to break apart (which is why the Emancipation Proclamation is kind of a joke - It only applied to the seceding states, which Lincoln had absolutely no control over at the time it was written).
Woodrow Wilson, on the other hand, instituted the draft to fight WWI, and afterwards fought with the Senate to join the League of Nations, the the even less effective precursor to the absolutely corrupt and ineffective UN.
FDR takes the cake, so I'll summarize: Social Security, Medicare, the rest of the New Deal, the draft during WWII. There is a reason why, after he died, the 22nd amendment was easily passed and ratified. He stacked the Supreme Court so that they would rule in his favor. He was elected for an unprecedented four terms and gained so much power that when he died, everyone else took immediate action to ensure no one could gain that much power ever again.
In conclusion, one of the examples took care of his objections to the constitution by amending it, one of them abused his power to hold the Union together, and two of them violated the Constitution for personal power. The Constitution didn't cover everything, but it's nice to know that when abuse of power happens, it is a violation of the Constitution.
To be clear, I don't think we should give up on everything in the Constitution. The Constitution has many important and inspiring provisions, but we should obey these because they are important and inspiring, not because a bunch of people who are now long-dead favored them two centuries ago.
 Just propose amendments, like everyone else.
Unfortunately, the Constitution also contains some provisions that are not so inspiring. For example, one allows a presidential candidate who is rejected by a majority of the American people to assume office. Suppose that Barack Obama really wasn't a natural-born citizen. So what?
There is a reason for that one. If Obama isn't a natural-born citizen, he will no doubt have sympathies for his place of birth, which, if his place of birth is hostile to the US, could very well lead to the US getting walloped because of the Chief Executive's sympathies.
Constitutional obedience has a pernicious impact on our political culture. Take the recent debate about gun control. None of my friends can believe it, but I happen to be skeptical of most forms of gun control.
I understand, though, that's not everyone's view, and I'm eager to talk with people who disagree.
That's good.
But what happens when the issue gets Constitutional-ized? Then we turn the question over to lawyers, and lawyers do with it what lawyers do. So instead of talking about whether gun control makes sense in our country, we talk about what people thought of it two centuries ago.
What they thought about it two centuries ago was that it is a necessary right for us to remain a free people, and therefore required protection (at least, the Anti-Federalists thought it needed protection - Turns out, they were right) .
Worse yet, talking about gun control in terms of constitutional obligation needlessly raises the temperature of political discussion. Instead of a question on policy, about which reasonable people can disagree, it becomes a test of one's commitment to our foundational document and, so, to America itself.

It provides an extra layer of protection to an absolutely necessary right. I'll take a guarantee of a right over rationality in a discussion.
This is our country. We live in it, and we have a right to the kind of country we want. We would not allow the French or the United Nations to rule us, and neither should we allow people who died over two centuries ago and knew nothing of our country as it exists today.
They might not know anything of our country as it currently exists, but they don't rule our country so it doesn't matter. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land, but in the end, its all about limiting the power of those who rule, not ruling our nation.
If we are to take back our own country, we have to start making decisions for ourselves, and stop deferring to an ancient and outdated document.
 An ancient and outdated document that protects your rights and limits the powers of government so that it can't take them away.

Timbuktu soon to be retaken

From BBC:
Mali conflict: French and Malian troops move on Timbuktu

It appears that the war against Al Qaeda in Mali is going swimmingly. The next question is: Will there be a serious insurgency, along the lines of Iraq or Afghanistan?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Assault Weapons Ban Foolishness

From Fox:
Democrats reintroduce assault weapons ban

I wouldn't have even linked to the article - other bloggers have already gone over everything wrong with the idea, except for the last line:
There's disagreement about the effectiveness of the original assault weapons ban.
 That should be nominated for understatement of the year.

Lifted Ban of Women in Combat

Leon Panetta has opened ground combat roles to women. My own experiences in the military aren't the sort that would give me the knowledge to comment on women in ground combat. However, others who do have experience in ground combat have commented upon women in the military. I know the article is on the website of a science fiction/fantasy publishing house, but the author has serious experience in the military, both as an enlisted infantryman and as an officer.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

International Recession Despite Stimuluses

From BBC:
IMF: Global economic recovery 'weakening' 

Throwing government money at a problem doesn't work. Not a single one of the stimulus programs in any of the countries experiencing economic hardship have actually worked. The economy is recovering - but not because of anything the governments of the world have done, and in some cases, despite everything done by the various governments.

The EU and the UK

From BBC:
EU leaders warn Cameron over membership referendum

The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, has said that if the Conservative return to power in the next election, there would be a vote to either leave the EU, or to renegotiate their membership in the EU. The EU of course doesn't want either to happen, but the UK has apparently found that giving up its powers to a transnational government does little to serve the best interests of its citizens. I'm all for the UK leaving the EU and doing its part to send Tranziism to the ash heap of history.

Mali needs Foreign Aid

Military aid. From CBS:
Mali's military no match for Islamic militants

The French are already there, the UN is supportive (for once), and Mali really does need military helps:
The Malian soldiers would not have been able to recapture the city without French help, according to many residents, including Modibo Sawadogo.
"We are happy about the presence of (foreign) soldiers who can reassure us because without them our military wouldn't be able to return," he said...
How involved will everyone get? Will we see another insurgency?  One thing is clear: Mali is only surviving now because of outside military help, and until Al-Qaida is driven completely out, it will only continue to survive because of outside military help. And military help has to come from somewhere (hopefully France will continue to supply the military muscle).

UN Arms Trade Treaty: Keeping Weapons...

In the hands of oppressive governments and out of the hands of those who might oppose them. Fox News has an article about the possibility of Obama using the Arms Trade Treaty to fight for gun control here in the US.
I don't doubt that many wish the US would ratify the treaty, but given the makeup of the current Senate the best (from their viewpoint) that is likely to happen is that the US will become a signatory. Even though the US often follows treaties to which it is a signatory (a point brought up in the article) it is only obligated for follow treaties if 2/3 of the Senate choose to ratify it.
The treaty is a joke, a sham. If it does anything at all, it will be to strengthen despotic regimes and weaken any resistance to such. We must remember that this is the same UN which has in the past placed China and Cuba on their Human Rights Council, and which currently contains several members which Freedom House rates as "not free", such as Angola, Qatar, and Congo (not sure which one, but it doesn't really matter).
Given who they place on their Human Rights Council, no one should expect anything good to come of any treaty that comes from the UN.

Read the entire article - it has good points from multiple individuals about the whole issue.

Union movement suffering?

From Fox News:
Unions suffer steep decline in membership

Lost jobs, right to work laws, a weak economy, all are reasons why. The Unions however fail to recognize that perhaps they're part of the reason why the jobs are being lost:
But unions also saw losses in the private sector, even as the economy expanded modestly. That rate fell of membership fell from 6.9 percent to 6.6 percent, a troubling sign for the future of organized labor, as job growth has generally taken place at nonunion firms. 
"Our still-struggling economy, weak laws and political as well as ideological assaults have taken a toll on union membership, and in the process have also imperiled economic security and good, middle class jobs," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
Hostess closed down because of the unions, resulting in a multitude of lost jobs, and, as the article notes, most job growth has taken place in nonunion firms.
This might not be the death knell of unions, but its obvious that the union movement isn't completely healthy either.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sanctions in Stupidity

From Fox:

U.S. gift of F-16 fighters headed to Egypt, despite Morsi's harsh rhetoric
And from BBC:
N Korea 'to boost nuclear programme' after UN sanctions

It appears that the UK armed forces have introduced Emperor Mong to US and UN politicians.
"Go on, it'll be alright to give a government that is hostile to your country 16 modern jet fighters and 200 modern tanks."
 "One more useless sanction against North Korea, a country already isolated from everyone else, can't hurt."

I must note that the Fox News article didn't mention which variants of the F-16 Fighting Falcon and M1 Abrams were getting sent to Egypt. Which variants of these systems get sent there makes a significant difference - although even the original models of both systems are formidable weapons.
Giving weapons to a hostile nation definitely counts as stupidity, no matter how advanced (or not) the weapons are, unless the weapons are a Trojan Horse gambit of some sort.

The UN and useless sanctions is almost as stupid. I will however give them points for going in the "STOP! Or I'll yell stop again" direction despite its uselessness - at least they aren't actively giving North Korea nukes.

Neutering the Filibuster

Harry Reid seeks neuter Filibustering. I doubt he'd be this enthusiastic about it if he were the minority leader and it was a Republican majority seeking to change the rules about a filibuster.

Bullsh*t News

I'm just amazed at what Fox News, CBS, and BBC consider to be newsworthy. Every day they put dreck up on the internet, and while sometimes their articles are often informative, their ignorance of various subjects (e.g firearms) means that certain articles must be taken with a big chunk of rock salt.

Ammunition foolishness

An acquaintance of mine told me that the way to stop gun violence would be through a massive ammunition tax. Apparently he's never heard of reloading, and doesn't realize that this would simply be the catalyst that creates a massive black market for ammunition.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Congressional Budget Office Infographic (2011)

From the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) we have an interesting infographic for the 2011 budget. Go look at it.

Total Expenditures: $3.6 trillion
Total Revenues: $2.3 trillion
Difference: $1.3 trillion
Is it any wonder why we're having a continuous debt crisis now?

"Mandatory" spending is made up of four major categories: Social Security ($725 billion), Medicare ($480 billion), Medicaid ($275 billion), and "Other" ($545 billion, consisting of "unemployment, federal civilian and military retirement, veteran's benefits, earned income tax credit, food stamps, and other programs" - I interpret other programs as "pork").

"Discretionary" spending is made up of: Defense ($700 billion), and Non defense ($646 billion consisting of "health, income security, education, veteran's benefits, transportation, and other activities")

Net interest on debt already accumulated in 2011 equaled $227 billion.

Looking back only a few years, this current debt crisis could have been easily avoided - and forget about that "hindsight has 20/20 vision" BS. When your income only covers 2/3 of your spending, you're not going to be solvent for long.

Mexican Vigilantes vs the Cartels

From Fox News:
Vigilante groups spring up in Mexico in fight against cartels

Frustrated by the impotency of the police to defend them against the cartels, many Mexican citizens have gone vigilante. I expect that the difference in results between the de facto lawmen and the de jure lawmen will eventually result in even more civil unrest in Mexico, but for now, the vigilantes seem to be doing a fair sight better of a job than the authorities. Some of whom have actually granted their seal of approval to the whole idea.
But clearly, the vigilante squads here present problems even in their first few weeks. The vigilantes in Guerrero are holding, by their own account, 44 people accused of crimes ranging from homicide to theft. Nobody outside the village of El Zapote, where they are being held in a makeshift jail, knows what conditions they are being held in, or what charges, if any, there are against them.
When the head of the Guerrero state Human Rights Commission, Juan Alarcon Hernandez, showed up to check on the prisoners' condition, he was met by about 100 angry villagers who said they didn't want anyone to visit the prisoners. "No, no, no. We want justice!" the crowd shouted.
When people take matters into their own hands, its generally because the law isn't doing the job, and as such, they rarely have an overly great respect for the authorities responsible for the mess. I wonder how it'll all end up.

People fleeing California's Oppressive Taxes?

From CBS:
Golfer Phil Mickelson plans "drastic changes" over taxes

The 42-year-old golfer said he would talk in more detail about his plans — possibly moving away from California or even retiring from golf — before his hometown Farmers Insurance Open, the San Diego-area event that starts Thursday at Torrey Pines.
"If you add up all the federal and you look at the disability and the unemployment and the Social Security and the state, my tax rate's 62, 63 percent," Mickelson said. "So I've got to make some decisions on what I'm going to do."
 I expect that a large number of Californians will be fleeing that state in the aftermath of Proposition 30. Will they have learned from the mistakes of California?

Kicking the Can down the Road

Congress continues to kick the can down the road.
From CBS:
House to vote on debt limit increase on Wednesday

The plan would delay the accounting for another three months, in return for not sending the US into default on its loans. Despite the fact that my paycheck comes from the taxpayer, I'm all in favor of defaulting rather than continuing to raise the debt ceiling. If we keep on spending like we have, then we'll just default at a later date, with an oppressive, enormous mountain of debt. Also, it might actually teach Congress a bit about fiscal restraint.

POTUS Defends Entitlements

From Fox News:
Obama warns against steep spending cuts, presses for immigration bill in inaugural address

President Obama launched into his second term with a sharply worded inaugural address Monday -- using the platform to "reject" steep cuts to entitlements, press for an immigration reform package and wag the finger at Washington's penchant for "name-calling" and "spectacle."

The president quickly toggled through a host of agenda items, but used some of his most forceful language to defend costly entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security that could be the target of cuts in upcoming fiscal talks.
Declaring that the country cannot succeed "when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it," he described those programs as a vital safety net -- though, without some intervention, budget forecasters warn they will not be sustainable in the long term. 
There is no easy solution to the Social Security/Medicare problem. There are a great many individuals who paid into both programs for their entire lives, expecting that when they retired, the money would still be there. The problem is, politicians (on both sides of the aisle) used these programs like a piggy bank, and spent the money on pet projects. Now there is no money there, and Social Security and Medicare rely upon current contributions to pay for those currently collecting. They are robbing Peter to pay Paul, and eventually the whole construction will fall apart. So while just abolishing the programs will not work, serious reform is needed.

Also "safety net"? Medicare and Social Security were never intended as such - they are supposed to be retirement programs, not welfare.

Medicaid on the other hand... People who do nothing of utility and pay little to nothing in taxes get Medicaid. Medicaid is a welfare program, plain and simple. It is unnecessary and cost $275,000,000,000 in 2011 (I'll be doing a post on that infographic later).

Our president chose to take a stand against reforming or abolishing the largest part and most wasteful part of our budget. It is obvious that while he talks a great talk, he could care less about actual fiscal responsibility.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The State Income Tax, dying out?

From Fox News:
Republican governors' plans for no state income tax lauded, criticized

I know exactly how much I pay in taxes every month. If my state (CO) would get rid of its income tax, I would get an additional $46.70 more per month or $560.52 per year. It doesn't sound like much, but I could definitely think of something to do with it, and when one is at the bottom of the pay scale, every bit helps.

Lessons Learned from the Algerian Hostage Situation

From Fox News, AP, and CBSthe Algerian hostage situation is over. Now we need to learn from the experience.

Lesson One: The terrorists aren't trustworthy. From the AP article:

...Chabane, an Algerian who worked in food services, said he bolted out the window and was hiding when he heard the militants speaking among themselves with Libyan, Egyptian and Tunisian accents. At one point, he said, they caught a Briton.
"They threatened him until he called out in English to his friends, telling them, `Come out, come out. They're not going to kill you. They're looking for the Americans,'" Chabane said.
"A few minutes later, they blew him away."
 I might suggest this page at for those who wish to have a better understanding of why Islamic terrorists aren't trustworthy, and how they justify their falsehoods. Needless to say, no Muslim terrorist group can't be trusted in any case where lying could possibly advance their objectives.

Lesson Two: The terrorists apparently want Mali quite a bit:

The attack by the Masked Brigade, founded by Algerian militant Moktar Belmoktar, had been in the works for two months, a member of the brigade told the ANI news outlet. He said militants targeted Algeria because they expected the country to support the international effort to root out extremists in neighboring Mali and it was carried out by a special commando unit, "Those Who Signed in Blood," tasked with attacking nations supporting intervention in Mali.
 Lesson Three: This sort of terror tactic only works on an enemy who is weak in one way or another - morale, morality, or mentally. Algeria's response, which will probably be put under the microscope, prevented the terrorists from accomplishing any of their objectives, from intimidating Algeria, to obtaining the release of the Blind Sheik and other prominent terrorists.

Biden as president?

Biden may or may not become the next president of the US if Obama is declared uneligible for the presidency. But because Biden ran on the same ticket as Obama, he may not be vice-president if Obama could not be the president.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Iran Needs a Reminder

Of just how much the US military is capable of.
From Fox News:
Wife of Christian held in Iran waits as trial, possible death sentence looms

The proper response to this is to make the Iranian government fear for their lives if they don't release this American citizen, whose only crime is evangelism. 

Shooting an elk = Shooting children?

From CBS:
Officers arrested in shooting of beloved elk in Boulder, Colo.

The relevant quote:
A vigil was held for the elk, which had been called Big Boy, George and Elmo by the neighborhood. Some even said they considered the animal to be a "guardian" of the community.
"I don't see a whole lot of difference between the shooting of this defenseless elk and the shooting of school children in Connecticut," one vigil attendee told KCNC.
The two officers were definitely in violation of game laws and gross stupidity to boot, but an elk does not equal one human life let alone 27 (20 children, six adult staff, and the killers mother).

The Algerians Have the Right Idea

From Fox News:
Algeria's hardline military's clash with al-Qaida militants leaves many casualties
After a possible convoy of five jeeps got fired on by Algerian military helicopters, killing several terrorists and some of the hostages. Some members of the International Community of the Very Very Caring have complained about Algeria's handling of the hostage situation:
An international outcry mounted over the Algerians' handling of the crisis. Experts noted that this is how they have always dealt with terrorists.
"It's the Russian training for dealing with terrorism," said Matieu Guidere, a longtime expert on al-Qaida and Algeria. "The message is: We will terrorize the terrorists. ... This is clear. The life of hostages is nothing in the balance."
 When dealing with terrorists, it is important to remember that capitulation to their demands just results in more demands, until the targeted country tires of paying this modern Dane-geld. Algeria's handling of this may be somewhat (perhaps very) ham-handed, but they at least realize this:

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
  To puff and look important and to say: --
"Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
  We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
  But we've  proved it again and  again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
  You never get rid of the Dane.           
Rudyard Kipling, Dane-Geld

We too still hold to no negotiating with terrorists. It is too bad that we won't go the extra step and turn terror tactics onto the terrorists, or at least engage in reprisal for their numerous violations of the laws of war.

UPDATE: CBS also has an article on the recent developments in the hostage situation.
UPDATE II: Fox has another article that I missed.

Lawsuit against Obama

There is another lawsuit against President Obama.
This one has already gone to the Supreme Court and is scheduled to be considered on the 15th of February.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Defense Cuts, Pork Spending, War, and the Constitution

As Congress once again struggles with the exact same problems that created the "fiscal cliff", due to their simply kicking the can down the road, rather than actually doing something to solve the problem, the defense budget faces about $500,000,000,000 (500 billion) in spending cuts, and $4,000,000,000 (4 billion) in Stimulus cash has been spent on foreign "green" energy firms by the Federal government, all while we prepare to increase our involvement in Mali.

The DOD often wastes money, but unlike much of the rest of the government's spending, defense spending is actually provided for in the Constitution. Our multi-trillion dollar deficit, mostly a result of out of control spending on things not provided for in the Constitution - including not one, but two useless "stimulus packages". Our debt is too high, but cutting spending on one of the very few items that Congress is supposed to spend money on isn't going to fix the problem - even if the recipient of the money could use a bit of fiscal restraint itself.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gun Control for Idiots

The gun control debate rages on. However, the only people who actually know what they're talking about are the pro-gun crowd. Everyone else, from the ******* politicians, to the fools in the media, to the common citizen has absolutely no clue. The common citizen generally has the excuse that he/she doesn't need to know about the ins and outs of guns in their daily life. The politicians and media however, are either reporting upon guns, or making laws about guns. Perhaps if they actually knew a bit about guns, they might be able to do something besides annoy and disarm law abiding gun owners while enabling criminals who could care less about another law for them to break.

Update on the Mali Situation

From CBS:
France tripling Mali troop numbers in key week

France is deploying more troops to Mali in order to combat the terrorists there, who are using standard terrorist tactics, including using the population as human shields. The French military has the capability to win in Mali, but the real question is whether or not France has the political will to win. We shall see.

Monday, January 14, 2013

This Ain't Chess

In chess, if you checkmate the king, you win the game. In real life, if you checkmate the king, the opposing side just gets a new one. Al Qaeda has taken over a substantial portion of Mali. This is what happens when you focus upon killing one man, rather than destroying his terrorist group. Currently, all of the troops in country are French, but the Canadians and the US military are also going to be getting in on the action, although the Canadian involvement is planned to be entirely noncombat. We'll see how this all turns out, but I expect that another front will open up in the War on Terror, a war that is far from won, and which cannot be won by killing the terrorist leader du jour.

From Fox News:
Al Qaeda carves out own country in Mali, prepares to defend it
US military preparing to support French forces in Mali

The UN: About as useful as...

t*ts on a boar hog.
Another example of the UN's remarkable incompetence from Fox News. As if I needed another reason to hold them in contempt. And yet we continue to throw good money after bad supporting them.

Check it out:
UN’s $5.7B anti-poverty agency doesn’t do much to reduce poverty, according to its own assessment

Crime and Punishment

From Fox News:
European courts spare accused pedophile, hacker from American justice

The headline forgot to mention something contained in the article, that something being that this human turd has already been convicted and served time for crimes committed in the UK. That's not the only piece of stupid in the article, but to be fair, the rest of the stupid isn't the fault of Fox News. The real stupid comes the UK courts deeming Minnesota law - which would put the turd in civil confinement for life if convicted of crimes committed there - "draconian" and "barbaric". If they want draconian, they should look to Vlad Tepes of Wallachia, or the Ottoman Turks of the same period (or perhaps to the origin of the word). If they want barbaric, they should look to Attila the Hun. There is no barbarism in making certain that a man convicted of raping a 14 year old girl molesting two boys is taken off the streets so that he can do no more harm. And although he hasn't been convicted yet, given his flight to the UK after first being charged, and his subsequent behavior there, he'll probably be convicted.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

To Gun Control Fetishists

To all Gun Control Fetishists: You talk about "sporting purpose" and "you don't need that to hunt". You're right. I don't need an automatic firearm to hunt, and it doesn't serve a "sporting purpose". I need a fully automatic firearm to defend myself against criminals who manage to get their hands on fully automatic firearms despite laws to the contrary. I need a fully automatic firearm (in addition to MANPADs and anti-tank weapons) to defend myself if my government steps over the line into totalitarianism. I need a fully automatic firearm because there is a small, but finite possibility that I may need to defend myself from someone wielding a similar firearm. So shut up about the whole "you don't need that" sh*t. Because I do need it.

Political Dynasties

From CBS:

George P. Bush gets ready to run for office in Texas. I think that the Bush family should get out of politics for a few generations. His family is making politics its business - including George P. Bush, three generations of the Bush family have gone into politics now, and given the track records of his uncle (Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind) and his grandfather (of "No New Taxes" fame)  we probably shouldn't expect the new Bush to be a real conservative - of any stripe. Elected office should be a term of service, not a career, especially not one that multiple generations of a single family engage in. No matter the family name - Adams, Kennedy, Bush, Clinton - turning politics into the family career has never been a good thing for anyone but the family in question. And sometimes not even then.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Corruption in Washington

From Fox News:
Fiscal crisis package loaded up with special-interest tax breaks

This is corruption, plain and simple. Corruption that complicates the tax code so much that no average citizen can understand it (no politician can either, and they're supposed to know). Get rid of the tax code as it currently exists and replace it with something that makes sense, and that doesn't require that one specialize in the tax code in order to understand it. Perhaps the FairTax or a flat income tax. Either one would be fine, so long as the tax code uses fewer words than go into a Novella (not long enough to be a novel, not short enough to be a short story, between 17,500 and 40,000 words, according to Wikipedia). As it stands, the current tax code takes up more than twice as many words as the longest novel yet written (an estimated 1.2 million words in 7 volumes and 4,211 pages, again according to Wikipedia) at roughly 3.8 million words. I shouldn't have to go to college to understand the tax system.