Saturday, April 30, 2011

Zimbabwe President Visits Vatican

Perhaps a miracle will be performed on the detached hands of the political adversaries of Robert Mugabe. At least that way the sufferers at Mugabe's Marxist (and still attached) Catholic hand might see some benefit to their leader's presence at the beatification of Pope John Paul II in Rome.

Mugabe is, simply stated, a butcher of humans (and he ain't the best friend of currency either.) This is not a rarity for Marxist heads of state. What is somewhat surprising is that the man is apparently entitled to witness the beatification because of the office he holds.

Mugabe is a head of state whose abuses caused him human rights sanctions as far back as 2002. Since then his followers have killed, maimed and terrorized his political foes in a campaign of violence designed to keep him in the office for which he lost a popular election.

But, it would seem that with bloody retainment of power comes great privilege, and Mr. Mugabe is wielding the privilege like Michael Moore would a meaty ham bone among the starving at the gate. That such privilege is bestowed upon Mugabe by the Vatican (and the Italians who have allowed him free passage despite sanctions) is the worst sort of blatant hypocrisy.

If The Vatican, the one sovereign country on Earth dedicated to the belief in and the teachings of Jesus Christ cannot, even within their own bureaucracy, find excuse enough to keep Mugabe away from this theater we can pretty much toss the country's name into the column of generic and rudderless appeaser states that already span the Earth despite their glossy wrapping.

Perhaps the homeless, the tortured, the burned, the terrorized, and the handless Zimbabweans can catch it on television.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Putting Oil into Context

In a post titled Facts About Oil over at Powerline, John Hinderaker outlines a few truths about the evil oil industry that our benevolent president would rather you not worry your pretty little heads about.

A Tea Partiers Assessment

One thing that I respect about the tea party is its above board nature. It is a movement that openly advocates its positions and attempts to achieve its objectives through conventional and lawful means.

It is a movement replete with individuals that understand the importance of the rule of law, the difference between a representative republic and a democracy, and appreciates the role that individuals have in society. It embraces a person's rights of life, freedom, and the unfettered pursuit for a better life.

All of these things are in stark contrast to not only the progressive left, but also to centrist politicians who have adopted a belief that government should provide for individuals and identity groups those things that they fail to provide for themselves (irrespective of any attempt to self provide, and sometimes whether the providees even desire the interjection.)

The tea parties seek change at the ballot box. Most progressives will settle for a ballot box solution if one is readily apparent (particularly if enough illegal or dead voters are able to partake in the effort,) but absent their candidates being elected will just as opportunistically pursue change through judicial fiat or bureaucratic regulation, that is, except for those high called brave statesmen that flee beyond the nearest state border.

An obvious example of this is when climate change legislation ground to a halt in the US Congress, EPA regulators in the Obama administration predictably assumed an unprecedented expansion of regulatory powers they justified through hazy interpretations of the Clean Air Act.

Another recent example of these shenanigans is the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seeking to block Boeing's attempt to build aircraft in South Carolina rather than producing them in union dominated Washington state. The NLRB is positing that Boeing's attempt to produce aircraft in a right to work state is in direct response to belligerent union activities that interrupted production at their established factory.

Now, mind you, Boeing is not shuttering any Seattle area plant. (In fact, employment in that area is actually increased over the past few years.) And Boeing is not shifting the production of one aircraft from Seattle to South Carolina. (The factory in SC is for the new Dreamliner aircraft.)

And yet, the NLRB is seeking to halt production in South Carolina in direct appeasement of the deep pocketed labor unions in Washington state that helped elevate President Obama to victory.

When President Obama bought himself a couple of car companies he said out loud and on many occasions that he had no desire to run a car company. However, it should be noted, that many of the new products being touted by GM today are ones blessed by government authorities for their harmony with government environmental and energy policy. He also was able to seat a more union friendly board, provide some ownership of the new entities to the unions, kick out a few established industry executives to be replaces with government chosen alternatives, and continued to fund speculative industries whose production would fishtail nicely with government's energy and environmental policy.

Boeing is a different and perhaps even more sinister matter. Here, government regulators are attempting to interject themselves directly into the managerial matters of a private enterprise in order to grant its most favored electoral constituency unprecedented powers over a company they draw their paychecks from.

There is no doubt that businesses are under attack in America. They are seen as greedy corporations with few redeeming qualities. The wealth that they generate for workers are largely ignored because of the wealth that is also generated for stockholders and company officers. As the valued presidential adviser Bill Ayers said recently in an interview "With great wealth comes great theft."

Capitalism is unfair. Boeing, as such, is a thief. And government regulators are today's Robin Hoods setting matters of wealth aright while assisting themselves in perpetuating their continued regulatory status.

Debt and the growth of government (along with the fact that the Republican Party offered up a centrist candidate in the last presidential election) were the primary causes behind the growth of the tea party movement. It is the overreach of government regulators and their unrelenting invasion into the private sector that will provide the incentive to keep the movement vibrant and growing.

This fight is just beginning.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The UN Punishes Syria in a Way Only the UN Can

In the past six weeks, the Syrian state has reportedly murdered over 450 citizens who have rallied against their tyrant dictator Bashar al-Assad. Tanks are in the streets, and government snipers shoot indiscriminately into demonstrating crowds.

Many people around the globe are noticing. Five EU member states have summoned their Syrian ambassadors to diplomatic conference rooms to be thoroughly excoriated in strongly worded conversations amid offerings of herbal tea and delicate, flaky scones.

But, if you think the EU is tough, wait until you hear about what the UN is doing to Syria. Next month the UN will elevate Syria to membership in the Human Rights Council.

The brutal crackdown by Syrian President Bashar Assad may finally be getting the attention of world leaders -- but apparently not enough to stop Syria from becoming the newest member of the U.N. Human Rights Council.

And despite calling for an independent investigation into the crackdown, which has left hundreds dead, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon apparently won’t do much about blocking Syria’s path to the human rights group.

"That's not really for the secretary general to suggest to a member state," said Martin Nesirky, a spokesman for the secretary-general, when asked if the U.N. chief would ask Syria to drop out of the running for the post. When asked if Ban had brought up the point during his telephone conversation April 9 with Assad, Nesirsky told Fox News, "that's not really something the secretary general would raise specifically, because it's for other member states to decide on the membership of the Human Rights Council."
One has to wonder what legitimate purpose the UN even has any more.

Racism Abounds

This is where the lovely garden path of hate crimes leads...Pub singer arrested for racism after Chinese passers-by hear him perform Kung Fu Fighting. From the Mail Online:

A pub singer has been arrested on suspicion of racism for singing the classic chart hit Kung Fu Fighting.

The song, performed by Simon Ledger, 34, is said to have offended two Chinese people as they walked past the bar where he was singing.
But after one of the passers-by reported his routine on Sunday afternoon, Mr Ledger was arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated harassment.
In the UK, feeling offended gives any interpreter the power of having someone else arrested. Rather similar to the situation down in Dearborn now that I think about it.

h/t Darlene at Protein Wisdom

Monday, April 25, 2011


President Obama is going to get to the bottom of rising oil and gasoline prices. Sure, he was insistent during the run up to the last election that under his energy policy that energy prices would "necessarily skyrocket," but that sort of incidental comment shouldn't stand in the way of some good old political posturing--especially when there is an evil corporation or greedy wall street gougers to take aim at.

From Fox News with a hat tip to Cold Fury:

Shell Oil Company has announced it must scrap efforts to drill for oil this summer in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska. The decision comes following a ruling by the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board to withhold critical air permits. The move has angered some in Congress and triggered a flurry of legislation aimed at stripping the EPA of its oil drilling oversight.

Shell has spent five years and nearly $4 billion dollars on plans to explore for oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The leases alone cost $2.2 billion. Shell Vice President Pete Slaiby says obtaining similar air permits for a drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico would take about 45 days. He’s especially frustrated over the appeal board’s suggestion that the Arctic drill would somehow be hazardous for the people who live in the area. “We think the issues were really not major,” Slaiby said, “and clearly not impactful for the communities we work in.”

The closest village to where Shell proposed to drill is Kaktovik, Alaska. It is one of the most remote places in the United States. According to the latest census, the population is 245 and nearly all of the residents are Alaska natives. The village, which is 1 square mile, sits right along the shores of the Beaufort Sea, 70 miles away from the proposed off-shore drill site.
Here, Shell Oil has speculated in excess of $4 billion on a site that the government continues to deny access to despite pocketing a cool $2.2 billion selling the lease. (Incidentally, these represent some of the same leases that dolt progressives point to when they scoff at Drill Here, Drill Now enthusiasts. Why open up any new areas to drilling when there are currently so many leases already leased but undeveloped?

While Obama and Company decry the evil deeds of gougers and speculators they quietly help to issue in a situation where intentionally crippled American consumers cannot afford to buy as much fuel. However obvious, this doesn't make a very good policy plank on which to get reelected.

So, they need a scapegoat.

Blame it on evil speculators if you like, or blame it on hugely profitable and greedy oil giants, but the historical profit margin of big oil will remain roughly the same through the entire ordeal. Oil speculators (like airlines that must lock into fuel contracts in order to guarantee supply) and the evil gouging owners of Big Oil (such as countless public retirement funds with Shell in their portfolios) will forever do what they can to keep their businesses and shareholders afloat.

This is exactly what corporations and pooled capital funds are designed to do, but this doesn't jibe with what has become the model for a good citizen of the Earth.

The sooner that we all become good little citizens and reduce our carbon footprints the sooner we will all become content with necessary gasoline prices.

Suck it up, ya whiner.

For the Children!

American border control draws the line at confectionery products with non-nutritive embedded objects.

You can almost feel the safety!

h/t Overlawyered

**8edited to add h/t

Eight Bits

A buck won't buy you what it used to. I remember the good old days in Texas where a mere American dollar could get you a gallon of gasoline or four loaves of the hardest generic white bread ever produced.

Armed with only a couple bucks in your wallet you knew you could still jump in the old gas guzzler, travel to the nearest Piggly Wiggly, and come home laden with two loaves and ten boxes of macaroni and cheese. (That the textures of the bread and the packaging of the mac & cheese were roughly equivalent was of little matter to a country boy trying to cut out a life for himself in the big city.)

Alas, the 99 cent gallon of gas, the 25 cent loaf, and the 20 cent mixed box of pasta and powdered simulated cheese food are now but historical markers of poor nourishment and higher efficiency transportation.

But Americans should be pleased to know that these days in Dearborn, Michigan, the cornerstone of world currency is making a tremendous comeback. Despite inflation, despite world unrest, and despite advancing statism, a single greenback can still buy you an inalienable and self-evident natural right. Ah...freedom!

One shivers at the thought of what ten bucks might garner.

We discovered this thrilling benchmark for eight bits last week when Pastor Terry Jones of Florida traveled to Michigan to protest against both Sharia Law and radical Islam at the doorstep of one of Michigan's oldest and largest mosques. While he professed to have come in peace, his pilgrimage was seen in a more sinister light by Dearborn's mayor, Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy, and many local religious leaders who proclaimed that Jones primary mission was to cause violence.

Tolerance used to be a wonderful thing. In the old days, back, say, when you could pick up five eight oz. yogurts for a buck, tolerance meant that mature Americans could and would allow differing Americans to live, speak, worship, and dress as they saw fit. In the seventies and eighties it must have been hard for some rednecks to pass by a black church without launching a firebomb, but somehow America, with a population of over 200,000,000, with a few exceptions, managed.

But somewhere along the line, tolerance stopped meaning tolerance. Now, tolerance has come to mean that our benevolent caretakers (sometimes occupying the offices of mayor or prosecutor) may run interference between varying groups to enforce an atmosphere devoid of potentially offending speech. While tolerance used to demand the active attention of those who might hear words or observe lifestyles that they disagreed with, now it means that those in power have the ability, indeed the charge, to preemptively filter out any speech that they find offensive.

Pastor Terry Jones was not deemed to have said something violent or damaging on the steps of a Dearborn mosque. We know this because Jones was not even allowed to speak. Prior to his intended peaceful protest, he was hauled into court so that a jury could decide for him if he had intended to create violence all personal protestations aside.

He was found guilty by the jury and asked to post a $1 bond by the judge. (A trifle compared to the $100,000 "peace bond" originally asked for by Prosecutor Kym Worthy.)

There have been other juries that have found other defendants guilty for inciting violence. But this is an odd twist, for in those other instances it was the defendant who incited his own followers to violence by fanning the flames. In this case, the speaker is being held hostage by those on the other side of the issue who all but threaten violence if the guilty is allowed to speak.

What chilling effect does this have on free speech? It is the equivalent of any one of us forming a mob that threatens to riot if we hear anything (directly or rumored) or see anything (directly or rumored) that we simply refuse to tolerate. A gay couple seems interested in buying a house down the street...saddle up!

What the constipated American justice system fears is that the ugliness of our expression might in some way result in the taking of lives in this country or overseas, and that it might further damage our relationships with Muslim countries and masses around the world.

In a woefully candid bit of language used in a manner to emphasize rather than offend, I proclaim that I don't give a shit.

Generically speaking, Muslims are not interlopers in this country. Being an American can mean to wholeheartedly bring to the American table what talents you have, and the rest of us Americans--English, Spanish, Italian, Irish, Finn, Swede, Pole, African, Methodist, Episcopal, Mennonite, Baptist (well, maybe not the Baptists)--will allow you to assimilate and celebrate your inclusion. Together, in an atmosphere of freedom, we can change the world.

And yet, this inclusion cuts both ways. While existing Americans will overwhelmingly welcome legal newcomers to the playground, those who are new to the playground must accept certain qualities of this culture that are often misunderstood among immigrants. Notable among these qualities is a tolerant spirit in the traditional sense, and an acceptance of inalienable God-given rights as they were originally recognized by our Founding Fathers.

Here we have a sizable constituency that demands others sacrifice their inalienable rights under threat of violence so that they will not have to hear something offensive, and we have government officials willing to squelch our self-evident rights in order to appease those fleeing the discomfort of offense.

In my opinion the latter group is more despicable than the former.

Our God-given rights are invaluable. As such, they cannot legitimately have a price tag attached to them. That the good people of Wayne County believe that eight bits is a reasonable price for such an offering should glaringly display to all of us just how steep a decline our country is in.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Uncivil Greedy Corporations Attack the Children!

Oh wait...

Anyone who still believes it is the conservative side of the political spectrum that engages in hate filled speech is not paying any attention.

God's Little Acre

Pastor Terry Jones has not changed his plans to protest outside of one of Michigan's oldest and largest mosques in Dearborn. He has been both begged to change his plans and threatened of consequences if he does not.

But, this is not a post about Terry Jones and his apparent lack of operating brain cells. Rather, this is a post about free speech and the shackles that have been placed upon it by the city of Dearborn and a local prosecutor.

Free speech, with few exceptions, is unmitigated in this country. We do not falsely scream "fire" in a crowded theater because we can accurately predict the carnage that might result from people who scramble to distant exits, and we do not, with malice, intentionally launch damaging and untrue libels and slanders at those who surround us. Beyond that, pretty much anything else is game.

Just a few months ago the most vile sort of free speech was upheld as being constitutional by the Supreme Court in an 8-1 decision. In the case in question, the cretinous Westboro Baptist Church was found to be within its rights to protest at the funeral of a fallen marine. Carrying signs such as "God hates fags" and "thank God for 9-11" the lowlifes tried their hardest to disrupt a somber service in which a grieving family laid their son to rest.

The family of Matthew Snyder was hurt by the protests, but it was determined that the Snyder family's desire to be left alone during its most tragic moments was not an adequate reason to curtail "even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate."

Enter Pastor Terry Jones who plans to protest in the heart of America's largest Muslim population. While Jones has no plans of desecrating a Koran (the rumor of which can cause deathly riots in multiple countries) and has no plans of drawing a scandalous likeness of Muhammad (an unforgivable act that can kill on multiple continents,) he does plan on protesting against fundamentalist Islam and Sharia Law.

Not so fast.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has filed a petition that will be heard today in Dearborn to prevent the rally from occurring. While I know that prosecutor jobs are not of the single dimension variety, why should any prosecutor engage in the willful prior restraint of free speech? Are there no crimes in Detroit or elsewhere in Wayne Country these days worthy of a little prosecution?

In addition, the helpful mayor of Dearborn, Jack O'Reilly, Jr. has suggested that Pastor Jones relocate his protest to any one of the four "free speech" zones that exist within the city. (A free speech zone is a wonderfully conceived small area in which American citizens can engage in expression with the government's permission.)

God must be thrilled to know that the natural rights he granted to us, those same rights so obviously bestowed upon us as to be considered self-evident by the founding fathers, are at least still worthy of being honored inside a small little acre where government officials are willing to herd their expressive subjects.

Kym Worthy and Dearborn officials are exceedingly ignorant if they do not recognize this for what it is. I do not applaud Pastor Terry Jones for what he is doing because the point he is trying to make has been made so many times that he is but picking a scab, and do we really need another 20 or so violence victims in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East?

But, while the pastor is in town he really should symbolically pose a more important question.

What is the true purpose of any "free speech zone?" Does it provide a man-made cage so strong that human offense cannot penetrate it? Is the expression proposed inside its borders so well protected that riots would not erupt around the Middle East should the expressor commit an act as inadvisable as drawing the likeness of the prophet?

Sharia law does not exist in Dearborn. And yet, neither does the pure natural and constitutional law that was recognized by those great Americans who founded this country.

In a time and place where "free speech zones" mingle happily with government motivated petitions demanding prior restraint, we have a greater problem than potential Sharia Law. We are already bowing to a different tyrant.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A City Governed by the Delusional Lives in a State of Delusion

"We are worth it. We are worth at least as much as General Motors or Chrysler or the Wall Street bankers. It was this city that built military vehicles for World War II. It was this city that (invented) the middle class and the five-day work week.

"We should not be in a position to be victims. We are victors. And we should demand respect."
JoAnn Watson, in and of herself, is a national, state and Detroit treasure.

The City of Detroit neither owned nor operated any plants that built military vehicles. It could be argued that Willow Run, Warren, and Center Line were at least as vital as Detroit when it came to vanquishing the Nazis. Neither Ford nor Chrysler have ever had their headquarters in the city, and much of what remains of the industry within the borders of Detroit are merely blighted remnants--their facades scarred, shuttered and burned.

If the city of Detroit ever had deserved financial benefits on the coattails of its cottage industry, it was back in the day before the city began trying its hardest to choke that part of the golden goose still stupid enough to nest within the city. Predictably, over the past few decades the city of Detroit has taxed, regulated and browbeaten those same companies whose history Ms. Watson would now love to cash in on.

While the labor movement has had a large toehold in Detroit for decades and did help to create the 40 hour work week, its brazen anti-business sentiment has also been instrumental in driving once dependable automobile manufacturing jobs out of state and country. Detroit and the UAW like to claim credit for the 40 hour work week, but they could just as justifiably claim credit today for helping create the zero hour workweek now enjoyed by tens of thousands of formerly employed workers.

As far as the middle class goes, Michigan's per capita income lags the national average.

Ms. Watson is burning an ugly candle on both ends. She wants to cash in on the memory of an industry whose history all progressives are at odds with, have her city take undeserved credit for the creations of that industry, and wants to claim victory status for the citizens that live among the industrial ruins--ruins the city she helps govern has helped to create.


Friday, April 08, 2011


I'm not lamenting the fact that the US government might be shutting down non-essential portions as we speak.

The democrats feel that they can score a political victory if the GOP forces a government services stoppage. They know they can find many sympathetic victims of a shut down. In 1996, Bill Clinton was able to find a just such a soul whose paychecks stopped when the government laid him off. Richard Dean, an employee of the social security administration escaped the smoldering wreckage of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City after an atheist leftist blew it up.

The man was indeed a hero. After escaping, Dean ventured back inside the unstable rubble and helped save three lives--knowing that each moment he toiled might be the last moment that he spent on Earth.

Bill Clinton took that sympathetic Richard Dean story and hung it around the necks of Republicans. Harry Reid believes he can do the same thing this time.

Establishment Republicans, those who have been accomplices to the financial crime being committed on America by the government, know that the only excitement within their political party comes from the tea party people. They know too that the tea party will not quietly accept another compromise between the likes of John Boehner and the perpetually sad Harry Reid.

Pop some popcorn!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Obama Will Buy Green With Your Money, Even if You Refuse

In the first three months of 2011, twelve hundred consumers in all of America thought that they'd shell out good money to buy a Chevy Volt.

Now, mind you, very few if any of the buyers shelled out the $41,000 asking price for GM's green hybrid vehicle, but rather they took a $7,500 government bribe that they then applied to the astronomical purchase price of the car; a car that might save an average driver $900 per year on gasoline which, come to think about it, will come in handy after five years when the $6,000 battery pack needs replacing.

The Volt has been a glint in the eye of bureaucrats, environmentalists, and regulators for a long time. As the American consumer demanded gas guzzlers, SUVs, big trucks, and an occasional sleek '95 Buick, central planners had different, and more idealistic outcomes in mind.

They assailed all levels of government to force an environment where a Volt-like vehicle was the widely desired product.

They enacted a multifaceted energy policy designed to create expensive fossil fuels. They demanded higher and higher miles per gallon requirements for manufactured fleets. They are enacting emission standards on the same greenhouse gases we exhale while walking to work to avoid driving. And they have demanded that nutritious corn be diverted from the food supply so that inefficient ethanol can be burned in place of fossil fuels.

The problem is, of course, that this vision of government and its parasitic advocates is that it has once again disappointed the American consumer. The geniuses crowding the halls of government have hatched an egg too expensive and impractical for a vast majority of Americans to buy.

But the Volt will have one huge buyer. The US government.

Sales of GM's extended-range Chevrolet Volt and all-electric Nissan Leaf remain small. About 1,200 Volts and 500 Leaf vehicles have been sold in the first three months of the year.

Obama said the federal government — which has 600,000 vehicles — will be buying all "advanced technology" vehicles by 2015.

"This is one place where the government is leading by example," Obama said. "Right now, the government's fleet includes more than 600,000 vehicles, making it the single largest fleet in America. That means we have considerable purchasing power, and we're using it to boost clean energy technologies."

Those vehicles include plug-in vehicles and hybrids, but they also include millions of "flex fuel" vehicles that can run on either gasoline or mostly ethanol, called E85. So the government can continue to buy full-size inefficient SUVs and run them on regular gasoline blends under the policy.

Sadly, Obama is correct. With 600,000 vehicles to replace all too often, the US government has the ability to sustain (and ramrod) these initiatives despite their unpopularity with the general public.

When government leads the free market into decisions it too often arrives at the wrong conclusions, and once set upon a destructive path (as with ethanol) it becomes too difficult to cut off the spigot to those who have become dependent on industry-specific welfare.

It will be a wonderful ride.