Category: Etcetera

Texas Judge Blasts Obama DOJ

Texas v. United States is the lawsuit over Obama’s executive amnesty in which he tried to implement immigration reform around Congress. Obama lost in court, lost in the fifth Circuit and the case is now before SCOTUS. A ruling has yet to be issued. But today, the judge in the Texas case issued a scathing rebuke of the Obama DOJ:

A federal district judge on Thursday excoriated U.S. Department of Justice lawyers who are defending the Obama administration’s immigration plan, issuing an extraordinary order that questioned the department’s policing of attorney ethics and ordered certain government lawyers to take an annual ethics class.
Finding that Justice Department lawyers repeatedly misled the court about when the government would begin implementing new immigration directives, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ordered any Washington-based Justice Department lawyer who wants to appear in any state or federal court in the 26 states that sued the administration to attend an annual legal ethics course.

“The United States Department of Justice … has now admitted making statements that clearly did not match the facts. It has admitted that the lawyers who made these statements had knowledge of the truth when they made these misstatements,” Hanen wrote. “This court would be remiss if it left such unseemly and unprofessional conduct unaddressed.”

Those of you familiar with Obama’s euphemisms will be interested in the latest. In their filings, the DOJ claimed that their lawyers “lost focus” and “the facts receded from memory”.

The lawyers in my twitter feed indicate this order and the angry language around it, is highly unusual. He literally said that the only reason he hasn’t disbarred them is because he legally can’t. This indicates lying and deception on an unprecedented scale.

Grab Bag

Lots of stuff in the news of late but I’m too lazy to put up posts on each so if any of these grabs you, weigh in;

1) Should the Trumpster make his tax returns public? Should Hillary make her Goldman speeches public? Hillary won’t, it would be political suicide, so lets focus on Trump. I would like to see these returns for the obvious reason that it would shed more light (more transparency, wooh-hooh) as to who this man is. The tax loopholes are irrelevant, they all do it, but stuff like charities, what losses he had in business endeavors, what income he gained off shore, what salaries he received (paying himself) for his multiple businesses, all this stuff speaks to the man.

2) The IOC is looking into Russian athletes doping (I know, that whole bear/woods similarity). Does anyone really have any confidence at all that the IOC a) can conduct a thorough transparent investigation on it’s own, and b) have the stones to go where the evidence takes them and ban the whole rusky lot of them if culpability is found?

3) What about that Canadian dufus in Yellowstone that stuck a Bison calf in his SUV because he thought the little guy was cold? What an ignoramus. Turns out they had to euthanize the calf after obtaining human scent and being ostracized from the herd. I guess they don’t have wild animals in Canada. Shit for brains did not read the literature given to him at the park entrance where it warns tourists to leave the animals alone. He got a $100 fine, big deal, I think a $10,000 fine would be more appropriate.

4)Lastly, there is this;

Couple things; I am really sick and tired of people doing bad things and not being held accountable for their actions. That piece of shit preacher did not pull his lawsuit or apologize because he had a Come to Jesus moment, he got caught lying so no mea culpas for him and no sympathy. How fortunate that WF had a video of the cake, what if they didn’t? The suit would have continued and this so called preacher would have extorted serious bank from the company. I want him criminally charged, jail time. And I think WF wimped out in pulling their counter suit. Hoaxes like this happen all the time. They only way to fight it is to make the hoaxers suffer. And on a side note, we know what the Bible says about false prophets, oh to be a fly on the wall when clown preacher has to explain his actions to The Big Guy.

Bernie to the Left of Sweden

Reason ran a great article this week, pointing out again that Bernie Sanders idea that we should be more like Sweden ignores the reality of Sweden is like these days:

Bernie Sanders thinks the U.S. should look to Sweden and other Scandinavian countries to “learn what they have accomplished for their working people.” The Vermont senator has said so repeatedly throughout his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, prompting GOP rival Marco Rubio to say, “I think Bernie Sanders is a good candidate for president—of Sweden.”

This reality will not endear my home country to American socialists, but it’s better to be hated for the right reasons than to be loved for the wrong ones, as the saying goes. Being more like modern Sweden actually means deregulation, free trade, a national school voucher system, partially privatized pensions, no property tax, no inheritance tax, and much lower corporate taxes. Sorry to burst your bubble, Bernie.

Sanders ideas of … really, everything … seem not to have moved much from the 1960’s ground in which they were sewed. Nowhere is this more pronounced than on economic policy. He still thinks of the Scandinavian countries as bastions of socialism when all of them have moved in a decidedly laissez faire direction over the last twenty years: smaller government, free trade and economic deregulation. They are still way more socialist than the United States. But all rank as “mostly free” in the Heritage Foundation’s economic freedom, with Denmark having occasionally ranked as more free than the United States. All of them rank ahead of us on Cato’s Human Freedom Index by dint of having more personal freedom and comparable economic freedom.

I think a large part of Bernie’s success so far has been that he’s not Clinton. The party elite and the Clintons themselves went to great efforts to preclude an alternative to Clinton this year (even, some conspiracy theorists think, to the point of encouraging Trump to run). Sanders, however, is not a Democrat and is not controlled by them. So he ran a real campaign and not a token one. The result has been a surge of support because his earnestness is so refreshing by comparison to Clinton’s deviousness.

I also think a large part, however, was the novelty. It’s been a while since an avowed socialist was on the political scene and I think that appealed to a lot of Democrats. However, Bernie’s ideas are as outdated now as they were when Bill Clinton reformed the Democratic Party back in ’92. And polls have shown that support for Bernie’s ideas evaporate when people become aware of how much they will cost (as the Sweden article notes, you can’t fund a welfare state entirely on the backs of the rich).

That’s why I think Clinton will still win this thing. As the hope of spring turns into the realities of summer/fall, people will remember why we don’t elect honest-to-God socialists in this country. And they will turn away from the junk food that is Sanders to the broccoli that is Clinton.

Eat The Rich

After 6 seasons, Downton Abbey came to close last night. I was on board pretty early with this series, I like period pieces and the BBC has a history of doing fine work in this area. As an aside, season 2 of Poldark starts in a few months, do yourself a favor, go to your local library and check out season 1. Being a big fan of the books, this series translates well. Much grittier than Downton, Poldark makes a living out of squalor, the ruthlessness of the upper class, and the hardships of survival.

No one can say this last episode was not predictable, many loose ends were nicely tide in a bow, but I could not help but wonder how, with most of the staff moving on to better lives, how all those upper crust were going to take care of themselves (I can just see Lord Grantham starving to death, food 6 feet away, with one to serve him).

We all knew Edith was not going to be left a spinster so her good fortune was expected. But it was hard to believe that a momma’s boy like Bertie was going to marry a tainted lady. And Edith loved her job as an editor, baby in tow was bad enough but a working woman? It strains credulity.

I never understood why so many episodes were wasted with men of quality falling all over themselves trying to wed Mary. I thought she was a bit of a nut job and a snob, she got off far too easy sabotaging Edith’s life, no wonder she was not trusted within the family. Her eventual hook up with Henry was a bit ho hum.Then him and Branson going to together as car dealers, I can just see the Dowager having a stroke over the impropriety. Best line of the whole series was season one where Matthew says he will be working in town but can spend the weekends at Downton and the Violet asks ,”What is a weekend?”

I always had a bit of a soft spot for Mrs. Patmore, I guess she will be hooking up with Mr. Mason, although we never found out if her B&B went bust.

I was glad to see the Dowager and Isobel come closer, despite the differences, each needed each other and depended on each other to navigate the treachery of old age.

I was ambivalent about Daisy, figuring she made her bed now she can lie in it, but was happy for Andy. Hopefully she will get over herself and make him happy.

I thought Mosley and Baxter would hook up. I read somewhere that a Downton Abbey movie is a possibility [groan] that should be one of the new plot lines.

Lastly, all this misplaced sympathy over Barrow, despite all the evil he perpetrated in their lives. Yes, it showed redeeming qualities in the rest of them, but his new found fortune of being head butler at Downton, thus having power over all the other servants, not exactly cricket. And I can imagine what Bates was thinking about all this. He should take Barrow out to the woodshed, kick his ass, then explain the rules to his new boss.

And So It Begins

The MSM has been enamored with Trump mania, and why shouldn’t they be? A great story, a walking contraction spin 180 degree on the issues mob boss who can’t spell, can’t articulate how is going to make America great again, but will fight for you all the while taking your guns, your freedom of speech and your jobs (outsourcing them to Mexican illegals), the gift that keeps on giving has journalist all aflutter. But now that he can actually win something, the gloves are coming off. Ridiculing Trump without breaking a sweat, and you thought they were lazy before this;

The very epitome of low hanging fruit.

I guess he will be suing a lot of people,those unhappy Trump university students better wet their beak before Melania has to sell her furs.

Thursday Links

Time to clear out my tabs.

  • Barack Obama visited a mosque this week to denounce anti-Muslim violence. Anti-Muslim violence is a real and deplorable thing. But the majority of ethnic violence around the world is anti-Semitic and it’s not really close. In France, Jews are fleeing the country for Israel due to waves of violence.
  • MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the most iconic and important speeches in American history. It’s not good enough, college students say, because it doesn’t include gender identity.
  • Last week was School Choice Week over at Reason. And I’d like to point out that School Choice works. Check out the performance of Louisiana schools since Jindal’s overhaul.
  • Italy covered up some nude statues to avoid “offending” Iranian visitors (interestingly, without Iran having asked for it). Marc Randazza lets them have it.
  • South Africa is going to lift the ban on trading rhino horn in an attempt to save the species from total collapse. Environmentalists are aghast. I think it can’t work worse than their current conservation efforts.
  • The latest on potential breakthroughs in nuclear power. Any serious attack on global warming should start with nuclear power. Hell, any serious energy policy at all should start with it, even if we ignore global warming.
  • Trumps whining and crying is delicious. I’m very curious to see how the national polls look next week.

EPA Knew, Part II

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the crisis in Flint, Michigan, where a criminally inept government contaminated the drinking water with lead and spent months pretending the problem didn’t exist. Now, the other shoe has dropped:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s top Midwest official said her department knew as early as April about the lack of corrosion controls in Flint’s water supply — a situation that likely put residents at risk for lead contamination — but said her hands were tied in bringing the information to the public.

Starting with inquiries made in February, the federal agency battled Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality behind the scenes for at least six months over whether Flint needed to use chemical treatments to keep lead lines and plumbing connections from leaching into drinking water. The EPA did not publicize its concern that Flint residents’ health was jeopardized by the state’s insistence that such controls were not required by law.

Instead of moving quickly to verify the concerns or take preventative measures, federal officials opted to prod the DEQ to act, EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman told The Detroit News this week. Hedman said she sought a legal opinion on whether the EPA could force action, but it wasn’t completed until November.

The EPA’s point is that actual decision-making is made by the DEQ, a state-level agency. They mainly monitor and advise. But that doesn’t explain why they spent six months in bureaucratic tickle fight instead of, you know, telling a city of tens of thousands people that there water was poisonous.

This is the second time the EPA has stayed quiet on a massive ecological disaster as you may remember from last year’s mine blowout. Amazing, the EPA is standing by that decision.

The Democrats are in a huff to blame Snyder for this. And, to be fair, Snyder does deserve some blame. The decision to switch to river water was signed off on by the emergency manager and Snyder picked the emergency manager. Responsibility rolls upward.

But this is not exclusively or even mainly the fault of the governor or austerity or “free markets”. Snyder has released a trove of e-mails show that the DEQ concealed what was going on, from him and from the citizens of Flint. Dalmia walks us through how this was a failure at every level of government, not because of an emergency manager or austerity but because of incompetence, cover-up and malfeasance:

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the state agency that is responsible for implementing federal EPA environmental standards and ensure water standards, ignored citizen concerns that there was something wrong with the water they were getting from the new Flint River water system.

The EPA required the DEQ to perform a faulty test to measure water quality that totally failed to catch the problem. That’s not all that the EPA did wrong, however. Even after it realized that the DEQ wasn’t taking a simple step necessary to prevent lead poisoning – namely adding phosphorous – it did absolutely nothing. It didn’t go public with this information; it didn’t warn residents that they should take steps to prevent themselves. It basically fiddled as Flint residents were getting poisoned. What’s even more infuriating? It would have cost less than $50,000 annually to add the phosphorous.

The local mayor was even worse than the EPA. If the EPA passively allowed residents to poison themselves, the mayor actively encouraged them to do so. He told them that there was nothing wrong with the water and they’d be wasting their “precious” money by buying bottled water. This, incidentally, was after GM stopped using this water because it was corroding auto parts.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services dismissed tests showing a spike in lead levels in blood tests of local residents after the switch to Flint River as a “seasonal anomaly.”

(The Mayor of Flint actually drank some of the water on TV to prove it was safe. Greg Branch has written another good explainer that breaks down what happened.)

You get it now, liberals? I know you hate Snyder. I know you hate Republicans. I know you hate the whole emergency manager thing. But this went a lot deeper than Snyder. He wasn’t the one who signed off on the switch and then spent months ignoring or deliberately covering up the problem. Quit using this an excuse to go after a governor you don’t like. Yes, he bears some responsibility. There may two people in this whole mess who don’t. But there are a lot of people who a lot more responsibility than Snyder. And most of them are Democrats.

Destroyer In Chief

Yes, he is happy, to the detriment of the entire world; OK, the terrorist countries thinks he is dope.

Genghis Khan could not have done a better job, or the climate frauds, a one man wrecking crew.

H/T: Moonbattery

Turkeys and Drumsticks 2015

For eight years running, I have taken advantage of the Thanksgiving Holiday to give out my awards for Turkey of the Year and Golden Drumsticks. The latter are for those who exemplify the best traits in our public sphere. The former are for those who exemplify silliness and stupidity. I rarely give them out to someone who is evil; they are reserved for those who regularly make me shake my head and wonder what they’re thinking. It’s a sort of “thank you” for making blogging easier.

We’ll start with the Turkeys of the Year. For reference, the past winners are:

2007: Alberto Gonzalez, Nancy Pelosi, Hugo Chavez

2008: Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin’s critics, Hillary Clinton, Congress, Joe Biden

2009: Mike Steele, Glen Beck, the State Department, Sarah Palin, Andrew Sullivan.

2010: Janet Napolitano and TSA, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, MSNBC, Lower Merion Schools, California Voters.

2011: Nancy Pelosi, Republican Presidential Field, Occupy Wall Street, Anthony Weiner, the Eurozone.

2012: The Culture Warriors, Unions, The Poll Unskewers, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, MSNBC

2013: Healthcare.gov, the Platinum Coin, the Shutdown Caucus, the National Park Service, Fiscal Cliff Panic Mongers.

2014: Jonathan Gruber, Lamenting Democrats, Barack Obama, Jim Ardis, Paul Krugman

For This Year:

The Presidential Field: Here are your candidates for 2016:

On the Democratic side, a 68-year old political insider with a 30-year track record of deception, vindictiveness and blame evasion, running on her record of having unleashed chaos in Iraq, Syria and Libya. Then there’s the 74-year-old socialist, rejected because his views on gun control are insufficiently pure. Then there’s the “young” guy running on his horrible track record as mayor of a failed city and governor of a failed state. And, because things weren’t surreal enough, there was the former senator who looked like he’d gotten baked on his yacht and accidentally wandered into a Presidential debate.

On the Republican side, you have the reality TV show star with narcissistic personality disorder who has an iffy relationship with the truth and seems determined to insult every demographic he can. You have the brilliant brain surgeon who is clueless on policy and has crackpot ideas about history. You have the asshole Texas senator. You have the President of a nearly collapsed company running on her record as a businesswoman. You have the worst Bush yet, somehow managing to piss away the complete support of the establishment. And then you have a bunch of little guys vying to get 3% support so they can stay in the big debate.

Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Coolidge, Reagan, Bush I … and one of these guys. Ay, caramba.

So far, the only ones who impressed me are Webb and Rubio (see below). One is out and the other is still in fourth place.

College Students: Have you guys seen Life of Brian? In that movie, the anti-Roman guerrillas spend way more time fighting each other than fighting the Romans. This was modeled on 1970’s left-wing radical who hated the government but hated each other more for “splitting” the movement and being insufficiently ideologically pure. This process is happening with political correctness as they slowly turn on each other.

Think of what we’ve been seeing. Who are college students forcing out of positions of power? Who are they screaming at in public squares? Who are they banning from bringing cameras into their “safe spaces”? This ire is directed against people who agree with them on 95% of the issues. Occasionally, there are real issues. But all too much of the anger is because lectures on European history are too European, because there aren’t enough tenured professors of women’s studies, because someone suggested, maybe, that it wasn’t the university’s job to tell grown men and women what Halloween costumes to wear.

Previous generations of college students protested against wars, against vicious racism and against in loco parentis. This generation is protesting against offenses so trivial they are literally called “microgggressions”.

The Election Media: It’s a little under a year until the election and I’m already exhausted. They’ve pronounced Trump dead at least eight times. They’re bending over backward to not criticize Clinton. And they’re doing nothing to illuminate the issues with their focus on the horse race.

Rolling Stone: Last year, they published a horrifying tale of a campus rape that turned out to be a fiction. The blame laid squarely on them. They didn’t bother to call the fraternity in question. They didn’t bother to talk to the supposed victim’s friends. They didn’t bother to read the rather famous (in Charlottesville) book about a rape that the victim took her story from. That’s horrible. What moves them into mockery land is their refusal to take responsibility. No one was fired. They blamed it on the victim for being a good liar. And now they’re being sued for millions.

(And it would seem the lesson has not been learned. The Hunting Ground, a new and much-praised, documentary about campus rape, has an equally problematic relationship with the truth.)

Barack Obama: He pronounced ISIS contained days before they attacked Paris. His Obamacare is seeing double-digit rate increases and companies leaving because they’re hemorrhaging money. His Iran deal is … dubious. The Democratic nominees are trying to pretend that Republicans have secretly been President for the last eight years. His attempts to gin up support for Syrian refugees infuriated half the country.

Maybe he needs to appear between two ferns again.

Dishonorable Mention: Kim Davis, Jeremy Corbyn, Vox, Everytown USA, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Vox, Bill deBlasio, the NFL, the anti-vaxxers, Sepp Blatter, Greece, Volkswagen, Putin.

Now the Golden Drumsticks, awarded to those who best exemplified what is right with the world. Here are the past awards, the first round from West Virginia Rebel.

2007: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ron Paul, Barack Obama, David Petraeus, Juan Carlos, Burma’s monks

2008: US Military, Jeff Flake, Ron Paul, Republican Governors, Barack Obama

2009: The American Fighting Man, Kimberly Munley and Mark Todd, George W. Bush

2010: The Tea Party, Chris Christie, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the Next Wave of Republicans, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, The American Soldiers

2011: Seal Team Six, Mark Kelly, The Arab Spring, the Technicians at Fukushima

2012: Down Ballots, The Sandy Responders, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, Mathew Inman

2013: Francis I, Edward Snowden, Rand Paul, The American Military, The Institute for Justice

2014: Ebola Responders, Francis I, Rand Paul, David Brat, The Supreme Court

For 2015:

New Horizons and Dawn: It was another banner year for science, headlined by New Horizons stunning visit to Pluto and Dawn‘s visit to Ceres. The Philae lander also revived and began providing more data from a sublimating comet. In other science news, rubella has been rendered extinct in North America and polio is on the run.

Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler: These are the three men who stopped a would-be terrorist on a French train. Stone came home … where he got stabbed protecting a friend. As Charles Cooke said, we’re a few news cycles away from finding out this guy is Batman.

Amnesty International: In the face of withering criticism and a rising intense moral panic about sex trafficking, they did the right thing: called for the complete decriminalization of sex work for both providers and clients.

Video and Body Cameras: There are legitimate civil liberties concerns when it comes to cops always carrying cameras on them, especially with our culture’s tendency to exploit and shame people doing things on tape. But they are making a huge difference. They not only show when cops do bad things (such as recent horrific shootings in Chicago and Marksville), they exonerate cops who’ve been falsely accused of brutality or sexual harassment. For cities that have implemented them, complaints about police brutality and abuse are way down, both because cops are acting better and because people find it harder to make false claims. There are still issue to work out about when and how footage becomes public. But I think this is a big help on the way to criminal justice reform.

The Non-Crazy Presidential Candidates: Marco Rubio may not get the nomination and Rand Paul definitely won’t. But they’ve injected some much-needed sanity and real debate into the Republican primary. Jim Webb gets a shout-out here too for trying (and failing) to find a moderate stream of Democrat.

Honorable Mention: USA women’s soccer team, the American military, France, Francis I.

Put your nominees in the comments. And have a great Thanksgiving.

If you are wondering how bad our country has become

Then you are not alone. Personally, as someone that has lived in many different countries and cultures, what I am seeing is America adapting the very things that I saw were so fucked up in these other countries and cultures that held them back. This country once was the place where success, hard work, character, and especially a dream that everyone, if they applied these things to themselves had a chance, defined us as a people. People in charge, even the people in politics, which tended to never really be the cream of the crop, accomplished things. Progress was not just a word, but the way of things.

Now the country is run by an unholy alliance of a bunch of credentialed scumbags – our new American aristocracy, with all the trappings and frailties of that very system our forefathers, now abhorred because they were white men, tried to hard to make sure could never come about here and fuck things up like they had in Europe – that feel we serfs don’t deserve them because we dare to resist their massive stupidity and idiotic ideas, and the select few ultra-rich people or giant corporate entities that these credentialed scumbags have decided to favor with monopolistic powers over others. That’s how we get them pissing away tax payer dollars enriching the special interests that push ludicrous and counter productive agendas like “green whateverthecuck” or trying to sell us serves on giving up our freedoms to save Gaia from a wholly manufactured global crisis. These select ultra-rich people and corporate entities have become richer than ever, while the rest of us are barely hanging on or even heading in the other direction. And that’s by design. These people want a 2 class society with them on top and the rest of us controlled by them, like the people they admired did back in the good ole USSR, China, Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, and other such hotbeds of collectivist delusion.

Things have gotten so bad since the collectivists took over the executive and legislative branches of government in the major campaign of delusion that happened in 2008, that we now have lived in a perpetual depression that the left pretends really is just about to end or ended, while those of us that work for a living see nothing of the sort. Through a long implemented indoctrination system that took over control of the education system, they have managed to brainwash way too many into tapping into envy and greed, allowing them to produce a class of people that feel empowered to suck at the government’s teat, allowing them to use the electoral process to buy votes with the very money they steal from the productive, and giving themselves a patina of legitimacy. And they despise the productive for not just going along .

Our government is now in the business of choosing winners & losers, and they make a pretty lucrative living doing that. It is time to go back to smaller, less intrusive, and definitely less of an elitist crowd that actually understands their job is to serve the people, not to fleece them like this criminal bunch does.