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101  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / After 24 Years, I Am Leaving the Disaster Venezuela Has Become on: October 31, 2016, 07:20:58 PM

After 24 Years, I Am Leaving the Disaster Venezuela Has Become

And my heart grieves for my friends and neighbors, who are stuck there — for worse is yet to come.

    By Peter Wilson
    October 27, 2016

After 24 Years, I Am Leaving the Disaster Venezuela Has Become

CANTON, Ohio — The question never varied during my last four years in Venezuela. It could pop up when I was waiting in a long line for the chance to buy bread or toilet paper, or while being interviewed by immigration officials when I renewed by residency permit.

Policemen always asked me when they did traffic checks, as did the woman at my post office.

“You can leave this disaster; why don’t you?” Depending on the questioner, I might laugh or smile before launching into my reasons for staying in Venezuela.

The people, the weather, the food and drink, the music and dance, the culture — all were part of my stock responses. If the questioner seemed interested, I might add that I had bought a house 80 minutes outside Caracas and had fallen in love with my village and its breathtaking views. Or how I loved to wake up to the calls of a band of howler monkeys and soft grunts of emerald-green toucans. People were always surprised that I grew my own coffee, as well as many of the fruits and vegetables I ate. They were just as surprised when I told them that I taught English for free at the two elementary schools and was a member of many of the late Hugo Chávez’s social experiments aimed at reducing poverty and creating a more just society.

But after 24 years in the country, I decided last month to do what all of my questioners thought I should have done years ago: I left Venezuela. It was perhaps the most difficult decision in my life, even after a wave of armed robberies in my village and mounting shortages of food, medicine, and spare parts that have made lives a constant struggle for survival.

Sometimes it seemed to me that only President Nicolás Maduro and I would remain in the country, which has seen 1.5 million inhabitants flee to seek better lives abroad since Chávez’s swearing-in as president in 1999. The exodus shows no sign of easing. In fact, it will probably get worse.

    Venezuela is on the edge of a political crisis that could push it into a protracted and violent conflict along the lines of Colombia’s civil war.

Venezuela is on the edge of a political crisis that could push it into a protracted and violent conflict along the lines of Colombia’s civil war. That possibility grew last week when a lower court in the country suspended a recall campaign against Maduro that is being led by the country’s opposition. Protests and rallies are set for this week, aimed at forcing Maduro from office. But with the government apparatus in his corner, as well as the leaders of the country’s armed forces and security services, Maduro may be difficult to topple, even if polls suggesting that 80 percent of the country’s 30 million inhabitants want him gone.

Even if he leaves office, Venezuela will need years to recuperate from the damage wracked by the socialist revolution spearheaded by Chávez and carried on by Maduro. The economy is in shatters, a victim of mass expropriations of local businesses and industries. Twelve years of price and foreign exchange controls, state giveaways, and rampant corruption have pauperized Venezuela.

Venezuela’s economy is forecast by the International Monetary Fund to contract by 10 percent this year, following a 6.2 percent contraction in 2015. Inflation is set to be the world’s highest for a fourth consecutive year, with the IMF projecting 480 percent for 2016; other estimates go far higher. One dollar buys 10 strong bolivars at Venezuela’s official exchange rate; on the black market, one U.S. dollar fetches more than 1,200. And despite the government’s rhetoric, Venezuela’s economy has for all intents and purposes become dollarized given the shortage of foreign currency.

When I arrived in 1992, Venezuela — which has the world’s largest oil reserves — was among Latin America’s richest countries. Today, the monthly minimum wage is barely $20 (at the black market exchange rate), less than Haiti’s. Extreme poverty and infant mortality — both of which dipped in the first years of Chávez’s presidency — are again rising. Oil production has fallen by nearly 25 percent since Chávez took office and decried foreign participation in the country’s energy sector; he milked the state oil company dry to pay for his social initiatives and his own political campaigns. Today, the state oil company is warning that it may default on its bonds. Production at the state steel company has fallen by nearly 70 percent since its nationalization. The power grid, under state control, suffers constant outages and service disruptions. Venezuela, which once exported electricity to Brazil and Colombia, had to ration power earlier this year.

Food production has cratered. In my largely agrarian village, my neighbors don’t have seeds, fertilizers, or pesticides. The government took control of the country’s largest agricultural goods company years ago, promising to make it more responsive and make Venezuela self-sufficient in food. The result has been just the opposite. Today, Venezuela is a nation waiting in line to buy scarce items such as bread, rice, pasta, and sugar; buyers now queue at stores the night before, hoping that hard-to-find items might appear.

Hunger stalks my village as well. My neighbors were innovative as we went on the Maduro diet. In lieu of cornmeal, they began cooking green bananas or yucca roots to make a dough which they then turned into the ubiquitous arepas. Beef and poultry were replaced by what they could hunt in the cloud forest by the village:

Opossums, sloths, porcupines, kinkajous, monkeys, and chacalacas all found their way into their cooking pots.

A few of us started a soup kitchen for the village’s most needy, asking our overseas friends for donations to buy food. Within days, we were serving meals for 90 people, up from the 30 or so we initially forecast. Still, that wasn’t enough for some: One elderly man died of malnutrition. Others began gathering up a paste made of chicken by-products such as guts and bones which one woman used to bring to the village for stray dogs. With a little onion and rice it was palatable, they said.

Medicines are almost nonexistent. Aspirin has become a luxury for many; diabetics, people stricken with cancer, and those with high blood pressure are out of luck. The public health system — which Chávez vowed to make the region’s finest — has been gutted. Those needing operations face waits measuring months, and the cost can be astronomical.

Chávez promised a people’s revolution, a finer form of democracy. Instead, Venezuela is now facing political repression. Under Chávez, the country’s institutions — from the courts to the military to the legislature — lost whatever autonomy they once had. All became appendages of the Bolivarian socialist revolution. Under Chávez, it wasn’t strange for the supreme court to open one of its sessions by warbling a pro-Chávez ditty. Or for the head of the National Electoral Commission to show up at Chávez’s funeral in 2013, wearing the armband of Chávez’s political movement.

Today, Venezuela’s jails are filled with political prisoners: people locked up for their beliefs and opposition to the government. Many faced trumped-up charges; many are still awaiting trial. The persecution continues: Maduro and his cohorts continue to strip opposition mayors of their posts, charging them with corruption. And though the government clearly has the resources to arrest those who disagree with it, they apparently lack the resources to tackle common crime.

This year, about 30,000 people in a country of 30 million will be murdered. In 92 percent of the cases, their killers will never be arrested. By contrast, about 13,000 Americans will lose their lives to crime this year — but that’s with a population 11 times that of Venezuela. Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, now has the world’s highest murder rate. And seven other Venezuelan cities are in the world’s top 50.

In December 2015, I became a victim, like thousands of others, of an “express kidnapping.” I was held at gunpoint for several hours while my captors debated whether they could get more money for me, or for my car. In the end, they decided that I would pay more to have my car returned than my neighbors would pay for me. I knew then it was only a matter of time until I left. I have tried to be optimistic about Venezuela’s future but I see few solutions to this slow-moving train wreck — and none that a reporter and a part-time teacher can affect.

Maduro and his backers refuse to accept that they are in the minority, and that their government and its policies have led to one of the great economic meltdowns in recent history. They have no intention of sharing power with the majority of Venezuelans who want them gone, or to put policies in place that might stop the bleeding and bring this country back together. Instead, they have used whatever means necessary to silence the opposition and remain in power, from jailing protestors to colluding with armed gangs and drug traffickers.

I suspect and fear that Venezuela’s political crisis will only be resolved with bloodshed. In such an outcome there will be many innocent victims, and I left because I didn’t want to be one of them. But my friends, my neighbors, and most Venezuelans unfortunately don’t have that option.

**Good thing that can't happen here!**
102  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wikileaks shows us the presstitutes on: October 30, 2016, 05:59:25 PM

Bigdog unavailable for comment on the professional journalists, with credentials!
103  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: When Socialism Fails - Venezuela on: October 27, 2016, 05:57:51 PM
Just print more money... it isn't earned, is owned by everyone, backed by nothing, and should be distributed to all.

Good thing that could never happen here.
104  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: October 27, 2016, 02:20:57 PM
"Trump is opening a new hotel in DC??..."

Yes.  It seems like quite an accomplishment, converting an old federal building into something modern and profitable, something Hillary and the government have no idea how to do.  What did she get done on her day job while running for President, sell access and state secrets?

Maybe Fox and Friends, National Review and others are just as intolerant of dissent as those on the other side.

Hillary has turned federal power and access into quite a lot of money.
105  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / OT: Whistling Past the Graveyard on: October 26, 2016, 01:25:11 PM

OT: Whistling Past the Graveyard


We first encountered Gerard VanDerLeun a seeming age ago, soon after 9/11, when he posted a thoughtful musing on a relative’s service in a war that slips out of memory. And the two thoughts that came to us, struck in the moment, were: (1), “This gentleman can write,” and, (2), “His heart is in the right place.” Clichés, both, but apposite.

So it is disturbing to us when sensible Gerard writes this. It is rather more disturbing because it’s true.

    Whenever a class of people, self-anointed, seek to impose Utopia on the world, evil ensues. Whenever a group of people seek to arrogate the power of the people to themselves, evil ensues. It is not merely that power corrupts but that some people are compelled to corrupt democratically distributed power through statist centralization. If the age of kings was the age of rule by one monarch, the current age drifts towards the rule of many smaller kings acting in unison. This is the age of the Multi-Monarchists; of rule by the faction of “Little Hitlers.” Their accoutrements are not uniforms and stark symbols, but cap & gown, press passes, and union cards. Their collective policy is plague.

It is a bleak view of a time that should be a Golden Age. The world is, apart from the tribal throwback lands, at peace; the world’s prosperity is unprecedented; technology and the humane arts save human lives today that were forfeit a few years ago; the flames of freedom burn bright.

And yet. There are those whose only reaction to those flames is to extinguish them, and those whose black hearts year to possess and control (and misuse) them. There is always the urge to power, now with new flowery overgarments of words, but not concealing well the base urge that gives them shape and form.

    All faction, no matter its origin or ideals, is in the end Fascist. The Founders knew Faction and feared it. Much of the Federalist Papers is taken up with the problem of suppressing Faction and the Constitution is the carefully wrought attempt at a solution to it. Of course, the Founders also knew that Faction as Facism is never finished except by fire and fire alone.

via Usurpations and the Plague of Locusts @ AMERICAN DIGEST.

There is no magic inevitability to the Golden Age of the 21st Century. We could as easily ruck back into a subsistence dystopia, as plenty of examples illustrate to us.

    Zimbabwe? Far away, and her people so different from us. “A land far away and a people of whom we know nothing,” in the words of the great statesman who had his hour, and lost it.
    Afghanistan? When we arrived there was scarcely a stone upon a stone; yet in 1973, when forward-looking progressives overthrew a King who was not liberalizing fast enough, there were cosmopolitan cities and decent universities. That is the wages of 25 years of civil war. But it is far away, and her people are so different from us.
    Venezuela? Far away, and her people… but, she walked away from the 21st Century, to adopt the most spectacularly failed ideology of the 20th. And as a result, the citizens of that unhappy land are now living in an experience with poverty, sickness, child mortality and overall privation that hearkens back to the conditions of the 19th that produced the great literature of Charles Dickens — and the mistaken political theories of Karl Marx, which, in every single example to date, have recursively caused the conditions they were implemented to cure.

So, tell yourself “It can’t happen here.” If you whistle past the graveyard, there will not be one in your future, right?
106  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Corruption, Skullduggery, and Treason on: October 26, 2016, 10:58:52 AM
Wasn't Obama also guilty of exposing the White House IT system to attack through his emails to HildaBEAST?  How do we know hackers didn't just trace back through his email up to the WH computer / communications system?  The Right should be pounding the table on this.

Should be. I doubt they will.
107  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: October 22, 2016, 03:56:48 PM

Yeah right Good luck with that.  Zero Dems will have the integrity or courage to go along even if the Repubs can keep the Senate.

And the media will not stand for it.

So foggettabote it

It would take a lot of spine and testicle implants to make it happen.
108  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama's legacy: US foreign policy in shambles on: October 22, 2016, 03:26:03 PM

As Obama’s Clock Winds Down, Revisionist Powers Pounce Walter Russell Mead

The Philippine pivot to China is just the latest consequence of Obama’s feckless foreign policy.

Hillary Clinton has swept her debate series with Donald Trump, and voters seem to like Trump less the harder they look at him. But as Clinton surely understands, even as she approaches the White House, the global scene is getting darker.
This morning, we saw a glimpse of that world, as one of America’s longest-standing allies in Asia turned its back on the United States and embraced China:

    In a state visit aimed at cozying up to Beijing as he pushes away from Washington, the Philippine President announced his military and economic “separation” from the United States.
    “America has lost now. I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow,” he told business leaders in Beijing on Thursday. “And maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way.”

As usual, the Obama administration was caught off guard and flat-footed. John Kirby, the spokesman for the State Department, said the move was “inexplicably at odds” with the U.S.-Philippine relationship. “We are going to be seeking an explanation of exactly what the president meant when he talked about separation from us,” Kirby said. “It’s not clear to us exactly what that means and all its ramifications.”
Kirby is right that the outlook in the Philippines is murky; lots of Filipino officials are as appalled by their president’s remarks as anybody in Foggy Bottom. But what isn’t murky at all is that President Obama’s faltering foreign policy has taken another serious hit. It is hard to think of another American president whose foreign policy initiatives failed as badly or as widely as Obama’s. The reconciliation with the Sunni world? The reset with Russia? Stabilizing the Middle East by tilting toward Iran? The Libya invasion? The Syria abstention? The ‘pivot to Asia’ was supposed to be the centerpiece of Obama’s global strategy; instead the waning months of the Obama administration have seen an important U.S. ally pivot toward China in the most public and humiliating way possible.

Duterte clearly thinks that humiliating Obama in this way is a solid career move. He certainly believes that China will support him against the critics at home and abroad who will wring their hands over his shift. He presumably has had some assurances from his Chinese hosts that if he commits his cause to them, they will back him to the hilt.

This points to a broader problem: Obama’s tortuous efforts to balance a commitment to human rights and the niceties of American liberal ideology with a strong policy in defense of basic American security interests have made the world less safe for both human rights and for American security. As the revisionist powers (Russia, China, and Iran) gain ground, foreign leaders feel less and less need to pay attention to American sermons about human rights and the rule of law. Death squads and extra-judicial executions on a large scale: the Americans will lecture you but China will still be your friend. Barrel bombing hospitals in Aleppo? The Russians won’t just back you; they will help you to do it. Obama’s foreign policy is making the world safer for people who despise and trample on the very values that Obama hoped his presidency would advance. His lack of strategic insight and his inability to grasp the dynamics of world power politics have opened the door to a new generation of authoritarian figures in alliance with hostile great powers. Unintentionally, and with the best of intentions, he has opened the doors to the demons of Hell, and the darkest forces in the human spirit have much greater scope and much more power today than they did when he took the oath of office back in 2009.

Now in the final days of Obama’s presidency, Russia, Iran, and China are all stepping up their game. Putin has been humiliating and outfoxing Obama at one end of Eurasia; Iran has gone from routing Obama at the bargaining table to enabling its proxies in Yemen to fire on American ships. Xi now has a triumph of his own, with one of America’s oldest Asian allies insulting Obama at official events. Clearly, America’s opponents (and some of our allies) have reached the conclusion that this particular American administration is unable or unwilling to respond forcefully to provocations.

This isn’t just a painful and embarrassing time for President Obama; it is a dangerous time for world peace. Secretary Clinton is well aware of just how damaging the Filipino defection is in Asia; she helped develop the Obama administration’s Asia strategy and she knows that China’s challenge has just grown much more dangerous. She knows what a wreck the Middle East has become, and she is well aware that Obama will hand her a region that is in much worse shape than it was when Obama took office. She knows how Putin made a patsy and a laughingstock of Obama around the world, and she knows that Obama’s efforts to stabilize the Middle East by conciliating Iran have had just the opposite effect. She knows that even as Donald Trump’s poorly led, poorly conceived electoral campaign weakens, America’s enemies abroad are using every day of Obama’s tenure in office to weaken the foundations of America’s power around the world.

We do not know what other plans our opponents have to take advantage of Obama’s shortcomings as the clock slowly runs down on his time in the White House. Putin clearly hoped that his interference could muddy the waters of the American presidential race; the Russians believe that Trump is if anything less capable than Obama, and that a Trump presidency would give Russia four more years to work at dismantling American power and the European Union. As Putin now contemplates the likely frustration of those hopes, he is likely to think harder about how he can use the time remaining on Obama’s watch to further weaken the United States and erode its alliance system.

Should Secretary Clinton make it to the White House, her first and biggest job will be to stop and then reverse the deterioration in America’s global position that her predecessor permitted. She will have to convince both friends and foes that the President of the United States is no longer a punching bag, and that the United States of America is back on the stage. She will need, and she will deserve, the support of patriotic Americans in both political parties as she undertakes this necessary mission. President Obama’s mismanagement of foreign affairs is creating a genuine international emergency; the White House and Congress will have to work together to restore American prestige and stop the slide toward chaos and war.
109  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Professional journalists at work! on: October 21, 2016, 07:43:33 PM

110  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fewer Americans Have Private Health Insurance Now Than in 2007 on: October 20, 2016, 11:26:22 PM

Fewer Americans Have Private Health Insurance Now Than in 2007

No progress whatsoever in 10 years since Democrats took Washington.  More people can't stand on their own, need government assistance.  Remember when we used to judge their effectiveness by how many people no longer need the program?

Now lefties tout how popular free sh*t is with the public.
111  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Subic Bay on: October 20, 2016, 11:25:14 PM
How long until the People's Liberation Army Navy (yes, that is what it's called) has a base there?
112  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Philippine's Deterte changes sides, aligns with Chinese and Russians on: October 20, 2016, 12:34:20 PM

So much for the pivot to Asia , , ,

This is HUGE.  Toss in Australia giving up sailing in the South China Sea , , ,

It's a fundamental transformation. Chalk up another big win for Team Smart Power!
113  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Duterte gets the red carpet in China on: October 20, 2016, 11:20:37 AM

‘We’re neighbours and blood brothers’: Xi tells Duterte as firebrand leader announces ‘separation’ from US

Rodrigo Duterte given red carpet treatment in Beijing amid strained ties between two countries over their sovereignty claims in the South China Sea
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 October, 2016, 12:05pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 October, 2016, 11:29pm

19 Oct 2016

President Xi Jingping told his Philippines counterpart Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday that the two countries could put aside disputes and improve ties.

“This truly has milestone significance for China-Philippines relations,” Xi said, praising Duterte’s landmark visit to Beijing to reset the relationship that had been damaged by territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

In a further sign of his shifting allegiances, Duterte said he was announcing his “separation” from the United States at a business forum in the afternoon in the presence of Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

On the South China Sea issue, Xi suggested the two sides “temporarily put aside” the disputes, and learn from the “political wisdom” of history when the two nations had successfully kept their differences in check through talks.

“As long as we stick to friendly dialogue and consultation, we can frankly exchange views on any problem, manage differences, discuss cooperation, and temporarily put aside what is hard to reach by consensus,” Xi said.

Xi said although relations had “weathered storms, the foundation ... of their relations would not be changed” as the two countries were neighbours across the sea and the two peoples were blood-linked brothers.

South China Sea dispute to ‘take back seat’ in talks with Xi, Duterte says

“We have no reason to take a hostile attitude or confront each other,” he said. “I hope we can follow the wishes of the people and use this visit as an opportunity to push China-Philippines relations back on a friendly footing and fully improve things.”

Duterte said improved and developed relationships would benefit both peoples.

“Even as we arrive in Beijing close to winter, this is the springtime of our relationship,” he told Xi at the Great Hall of People.

He hoped the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank could play a role in Philippine economic development, and said his country would work to promote China-ASEAN relations in regional issues.

The two leaders later oversaw the signing of 13 of agreements on ranging from trade and investment to drug control, maritime security and infrastructure.

[Chinese president Xi Jinping welcome the visiting Philippine president Duterte in Beijing on Thursday. Photo: Simon Song]

Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told reporters that China and the Philippines had agreed on Thursday that disputes in the South China Sea were not the sum total of their relations and that the two countries would restore consultations on diplomatic and defence matters.

“It means that a new page has now opened between the two countries in addressing the South China Sea issue through bilateral dialogue and consultation,” Liu said.

He also said China would restore Philippine agricultural exports to China and that Beijing would provide financing support for Philippine infrastructure projects.

On the eve of the meeting Duterte said that “it’s time to say goodbye” to the US as his foreign policy veered towards China.

“I will not ask but if they (the Chinese) offer and if they’ll ask me, do you need this aid? [I will say] Of course, we are very poor,”” he told hundreds of Filipinos in Beijing on Wednesday night.

“I will not go to America anymore … We will just be insulted there,” he added.

But Xu Liping, a senior fellow at the China Academy of Social Sciences, said Duterte’s statement did not necessarily mean that the Philippines would lean to China.

“It’s a pendulum effect,” said Xu. “Duterte is just adjusting and revising his predecessor’s excessive one-sided policy towards the US. I would not call him ‘inclining to China’”.

As ties warmed up, China might be able to resume some of the Philippines halted infrastructure projects like a railway in the northern Philippines, and open other, Xu said. The Philippines form an important part of Xi’s One Belt One Road development plan.

Geopolitically, Duterte’s distancing from the US would reduce the stake the US has in the region, which could lower the pressure on China from the US “Asia rebalance” strategy and improve China’s strategic environment, said Zhang Mingliang, a Southeast Asia expert at Jinan University in Guangzhou.

Next year the Philippines will be the rotating chair of the Asean, where the South China Sea disputes have been on the agenda.

“Without an improved relationship, the Philippines would use the Asean platform to embarrass China on the South China Sea issue,” said Zhang.

Playing the US against China may prove a smart move for Rodrigo Duterte

“China and the Philippines are neighbours across the sea and the two peoples are blood brothers,” Xi said.

He added that both sides should “appropriately handle disputes”, although he did not specifically mention conflicts over the South China Sea.

“I hope we can follow the wishes of the people and use this visit as an opportunity to push China-Philippines relations back on a friendly footing and fully improve things,” he said.
114  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Dem operative behind violence spent lots of time at White House on: October 19, 2016, 02:19:31 PM

Just a guy from Obama's neighborhood. Nothing to see here, move along.
115  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The system is rigged on: October 19, 2016, 11:54:50 AM

#Invalid YouTube Link#

It's only destructive and destabilizing when Donald says it.
116  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: re. How Roman Central Planners Destroyed Their Economy on: October 19, 2016, 11:37:12 AM
Wait, I have been told that Marxism is scientific! By people with credentials!

Central planning has been a failure for many years, really all of history.

This post is a keeper.  Hard to fully document the failure of central planning without knowing the end of the Roman empire and of the Soviet planners, two very different experiments.

Also note the writing of Ibn Khaldun from the 1300s, The Muqqadimah, noting how government expanding and incentives to produce diminishing ends in collapse.  Excerpt in translation:

"In the early stages of the state, taxes are light in their incidence, but fetch in a large revenue...As time passes and kings succeed each other, they lose their tribal habits in favor of more civilized ones. Their needs and exigencies grow...owing to the luxury in which they have been brought up. Hence they impose fresh taxes on their subjects...[and] sharply raise the rate of old taxes to increase their yield...But the effects on business of this rise in taxation make themselves felt. For business men are soon discouraged by the comparison of their profits with the burden of their taxes...Consequently production falls off, and with it the yield of taxation."
117  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Black conservatives ignored on: October 19, 2016, 12:30:14 AM
The second Black Supreme Court Justice is not a significant enough achievement to mention in Smithsonian (though Anita Hill is) as are the hip hoppers who got their start by selling crack to fellow blacks who have a whole section:

Anything that does not fit the narrative goes to the memory hole.
118  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Oy fg vey! Male mascara on: October 18, 2016, 08:51:33 PM

Life in the Obama era.
119  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Australia gives up on: October 18, 2016, 01:22:18 PM

Australia Cedes the Seas
The ruling Liberals won’t conduct patrols of the South China Sea.
Oct. 17, 2016 6:54 p.m. ET

Canberra confirmed last week that the Australian Navy won’t conduct freedom-of-navigation patrols in the international waters of the South China Sea, giving China’s bid to dominate the strategic area a boost. Such patrols are a basic requirement for the rules-based global order that Australia says it is committed to upholding.

An international tribunal ruled in July that China’s bid to claim most of the sea violates international law. But the verdict will be rendered moot unless law-abiding states are willing to push back. That would give Beijing effective control over the 60% of Australian trade that transits the sea.

Some Aussies understand the importance of defending maritime law, including current leaders of the opposition Labor Party. “In our view, there should be full authorization to engage in freedom-of-navigation operations, which are entirely consistent with international law and entirely consistent with the Court of Arbitration’s ruling,” said Labor’s Shadow Defense Minister Richard Marles this month. “It’s important that in supporting the rule of law internationally and the rules-based order that we do everything we can to assert that.”

The ruling Liberals rejected this. Naval patrols within 12 miles of Chinese-claimed features would “escalate tensions,” said Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, echoing language often used by Chinese officials. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull condemned Labor’s position as a “highly political” sign of “immaturity and unreadiness to take responsibility for these issues.”

These political battle lines are a surprise. The right-of-center Liberals are usually tougher on defense, and their former leader Tony Abbott, who was Prime Minister until last year, backs stepped-up sea patrols. “We should be prepared to exercise our rights to freedom of navigation wherever international law permits,” he said in February.

Labor has lately been caught up in scandals over Chinese influence-peddling, with rising star Senator Sam Dastyari resigning from the leadership last month after he accepted gifts from Chinese interests and endorsed Beijing’s position on the South China Sea. Several retired Labor grandees, including former Prime Minister Paul Keating and former Foreign Minister Bob Carr, have called for accommodating China and moving away from the U.S. So kudos to current Labor leaders for getting this one right, but they’re not in charge.

The Liberals’ climbdown is particularly damaging because it follows a long campaign of bullying from Chinese officials and state media. “Australia is not a party to the South China Sea issue” and must “carefully talk and cautiously behave,” Beijing’s Foreign Ministry warned after Aussie officials praised the tribunal verdict in July. The state-run Global Times threatened, “If Australia steps into the South China Sea waters, it will be an ideal target for China to warn and strike.”

Canberra’s decision can’t be separated from Washington’s ambivalence. As U.S. officials encouraged Australia to step up, the Obama Administration authorized a mere three U.S. freedom of navigation patrols, all under the minimalist doctrine of “innocent passage” and after months of hand-wringing that undermined the intended signal of resolve. If the next U.S. President takes a more serious approach, it might inspire Canberra to do the same.
120  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Must read-Dems inciting violence on: October 17, 2016, 05:32:00 PM

I'm sure Comey's FBI will follow up on this.
121  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: October 17, 2016, 05:04:03 PM
You two can sit there and believe the media's polls if you want to. I buy none of it.

I don't know if it's true or not, but I've seen that Reagan was behind 12 points in the polls as well and killed it.

Trumps sells out stadiums... Clinton can't fill a high school gymnasium.

I know you don't like Trump, and that he wasn't favored here. I called that early on. I'm calling this too. Not being arrogant. It's just that numbers of bodies don't lie.

There are far more people in cemeteries that will turn out to vote for Clinton. Also, it's not about the national numbers, it's about the electoral college.
122  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Firebombing of RNC headquarters on: October 16, 2016, 08:31:22 PM

I hope HRC apologizes and recognizes this was inevitable given her hate-filled rhetoric.
123  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sadly more of the same from Republican "leadership" on: October 16, 2016, 08:26:54 PM
So what will one of their first priorities be?

To help the Left pass reform for one of their favorite issues:

We do need a new party.  But who can do it?  How did the Republicans replace the Whigs? 
How can we replace people in power?   Look how both the right and left establishment with the media on their side buried the Tea Party.

The anger that made Trump isn't going away.
124  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Putin "fears" Hillary on: October 16, 2016, 01:21:11 PM
Another propaganda piece that suggests we should vote for Hill because Putin "fears" her:

I got it -> wink

Yes, her fears that all the emails he has of her's will take all the fun out of blackmailing her.
125  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / A big year for Libertarians! on: October 16, 2016, 12:05:22 AM

126  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / “We Conspire To Produce An Unaware And Compliant Citizenry” on: October 15, 2016, 11:22:35 PM

“We Conspire To Produce An Unaware And Compliant Citizenry”
BY Herschel Smith
2 days ago   

PJ Media:

    One of John Podesta’s emails released by WikiLeaks this week exposes how progressive elites seek to exploit the unwashed masses. The email features one of Podesta’s colleagues from the Center for American Progress admitting that the institutional left “conspires to produce an unaware and compliant citizenry,” ostensibly to impose their radical agenda on us without much resistance.

    The correspondent is Bill Ivey of Global Cultural Strategies, “the online representation of the ideas, writings, and affiliations of author/consultant Bill Ivey.” He is an author trained in folklore and history, a trustee of the Center for American Progress, a former team leader in the Barack Obama presidential transition in 2008, and the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts in the Clinton administration.

    In the email from March of 2016, Ivey expresses concern about the rise of “opinionated blowhard” Trump and frets because the “citizenry” seems to be awakening.

    Well, we all thought the big problem for our US democracy was Citizens United/Koch Brothers big money in politics. Silly us; turns out that money isn’t all that important if you can conflate entertainment with the electoral process.

    Trump masters TV, TV so-called news picks up and repeats and repeats to death this opinionated blowhard and his hairbrained ideas, free-floating discontent attaches to a seeming strongman and we’re off and running. JFK, Jr would be delighted by all this as his “George” magazine saw celebrity politics coming. The magazine struggled as it was ahead of its time but now looks prescient. George, of course, played the development pretty lightly, basically for charm and gossip, like People, but what we are dealing with now is dead serious.

    How does this get handled in the general? Secretary Clinton is not an entertainer, and not a celebrity in the Trump, Kardashian mold; what can she do to offset this? I’m certain the poll-directed insiders are sure things will default to policy as soon as the conventions are over, but I think not.

    And as I’ve mentioned, we’ve all been quite content to demean government, drop civics and in general conspire to produce an unaware and compliant citizenry. The unawareness remains strong but compliance is obviously fading rapidly. This problem demands some serious, serious thinking – and not just poll driven, demographically-inspired messaging.

I’m not insulted.  I actually feel a bit sorry for your ignorance.  Mr. Ivey, you make the same mistake that most other progressives make.  Oh, there’s a lot of couch potatoes around who like to watch night time sitcoms, wear stupid clothing and cheer for their favorite band of criminals on Sunday.

But you’re missing the larger point.  The NRA is blamed for rousting the masses of gun owners, for telling them what to think, and for getting in the way of “common sense” gun regulations.  You see the world this way because progressives need their leaders to tell them how to think and what to do.  To the extent that the NRA fights the Senate, Congress and President, they’re doing what we tell them to do.  To the extent that they don’t, they are being recalcitrant.  In the total absence of the NRA, our views wouldn’t change one iota.  We don’t look to them for our world view.

Similarly, messaging won’t change things for us.  When I say “us,” I mean more people than you know.  Donald Trump is a symptom, not the disease.  The only other candidate who had any chance of winning was Ted Cruz, and he was as hated by the establishment as Trump is.  Trump didn’t ascend to the top because of his television persona, but because it’s all being burned down by the people.  Trump is the vessel.  The people threw gasoline and lit the match.

As for the goal of conspiring to produce an unaware and compliant citizenry, you’re far too late for that.  America is the most heavily armed nation in the world.  I’ve seen your plans.

    The legislation has already been written. H.R. 4269 would enact a national, permanent ban on the manufacture and sale of so-called “assault weapons” and all firearm magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. The bill, introduced last December, already has149 Democratic co-sponsors (218 are needed to pass the House).

    H.R. 4269 would ban all AR-15 and AK-type rifles and all civilian versions of military rifles produced anywhere in the word within the past 60 years or so. The bill would also ban all parts kits, stripped receivers, “bump-fire” stocks, thumbhole stocks, trigger cranks, so-called “compliant” rifles, and “any… characteristic that can function as a [pistol] grip.” Law enforcement is exempt from the bill’s provisions.

    H.R. 4269 is not a “kick down the door and confiscate ‘em” bill. Existing rifles and magazines are “grandfathered” (but the transfer of existing magazines is permanently prohibited). Gun banners know that it is literally impossible to perform a door-to-door gun confiscation in a nation of 300 million people, and that any attempt to do so would certainly be met with violence. Consequently, they have pre-empted the “Come and take it” crowd by employing a long-term strategy. Once the manufacture and sale of certain weapons is prohibited, it is only a matter of time before the legislation would be amended to outlaw the transfer of “grandfathered” rifles as well as magazines, thus enacting a de facto confiscation within a generation.

This won’t work.  No one will comply.  You don’t honestly think we’re going to spend our hard earned money on guns and ammunition, teach our sons to shoot and fend for themselves, and then turn the guns over to you in our wills, do you?

As I said.  It’s too late.  There is an inevitable split coming to America.  Your plans for collectivism can’t control the American spirit.  Every turn of the screw by you will only make matters worse and the people more ungovernable.  But since your world view works from the top down, I don’t expect you to understand this.  That bodes darkness for the near term.
127  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Clinton Sent Intelligence Info To Podesta’s Hacked Email Account on: October 15, 2016, 08:46:24 PM

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton sent a lengthy Middle East intelligence breakdown in an email to longtime ally and lobbyist John Podesta while he was working in the White House.

“With all of its tragic aspects, the advance of ISIL through Iraq gives the U.S. Government an opportunity to change the way it deals with the chaotic security situation in North Africa and the Middle East,” Clinton wrote to Podesta in an August 2014 email obtained by WikiLeaks.

Clinton’s email, sent from a private account she began using after leaving the Department of State, gives Podesta a breakdown of the political situation in the Middle East following the rise of the Islamic State. Clinton says her email and advice is based on various intelligence sources.

“Note: Sources include Western intelligence, US intelligence and sources in the region,” Clinton wrote.

Totally legal! -Corrupt Comey
128  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2016 Presidential on: October 15, 2016, 03:10:35 AM

Because a good chunk of the population is stupid.
129  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Marine: Don't bust me if you don't bust Hillary on: October 15, 2016, 03:08:41 AM

Laws are for the little people. Sorry Marine, you should be sure to have powerful connections to the DNC before committing a felony.
130  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Cyberwar with the Russkis? on: October 15, 2016, 03:06:51 AM

If true and not a pretense or a bluff, and if we don't want them realizing it or seeing it coming, then why are we telling them?

Because it's "Operation Obama isn't a pussy". For domestic consumption only.
131  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Stephanopoulos asks Team Clinton's questions on: October 15, 2016, 03:04:39 AM

If only Bigdog would explain why these professional journalists are doing this.
132  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Free speech does not mean the right to get up any where on: October 12, 2016, 10:08:01 PM

and anytime to say whatever you like.

"My right to free speech"

What Huh?

What has that got to do with singing the national anthem which is what you were hired to do?

No one has the right not to be fired from their job because in the middle of their job they get up and start grandstanding on company time their political views.

Add the NBA to the NFL to my no longer watch list:

I have taken a knee when it comes to the NFL. Never really watched the NBA anyway.
133  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Looks like serious guns are seriously available to bad people in Europe on: October 11, 2016, 03:55:18 PM

But Europe is supposed to be what we aspire to!
134  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: No such luck on: October 08, 2016, 08:03:04 PM

Wait, wasn't it the left that proclaimed that sex doesn't matter as a topic of morality for public office?
135  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Those who refuse to learn from history... on: October 07, 2016, 05:31:09 PM

Bad luck!
136  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Orwell saw it coming on: October 06, 2016, 04:17:23 PM

From Orwell to Gladwell and Back

by Steve Sailer

October 05, 2016
Multiple Pages
From Orwell to Gladwell and Back

In politics, secrecy and silence are becoming less practical, while noise and distortion are coming to dominate. Thus, the 2016 election raises questions of how strategies of political power are evolving as we move from an age of information scarcity to one of superabundance.

Almost by definition, the powerful in the future will still continue to exercise dominion over the minds of men, but their methods of manipulation will change.

The technology of power is moving from the past’s emphasis on privacy and concealment toward more contemporary techniques of diversion, bias, misconception, and willful stupidity. The crude methods that George Orwell summed up in his image of the incinerator-chute “memory hole” are growing into more sophisticated devices for providing the public with misleading frameworks for mentally organizing (or rationalizations for simply ignoring) the overload of available facts, thus making it harder to remember or understand politically inconvenient knowledge.

In the past, outright censorship was more useful. During the Egyptian counterrevolution over 3,300 years ago following the reign of the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten (a.k.a. Amenhotep IV), his statues were smashed and his name laboriously scraped from the walls. His memory, and that of his queen Nefertiti and son Tutankhamun, were largely expunged from history until the archaeological discoveries of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Admittedly, the history of the damnatio memoriae in which losers are excised from the chronicles is inherently paradoxical because it’s hard for us to know if it happened unless it failed at least enough for us to have heard of the unperson.

Still, erasing facts and even people from history could sometimes work because in the past, information was scarce since reproducing it was so expensive.

Even without political ill will, simply maintaining the knowledge already existent was difficult: Libraries, for example, might catch fire and texts (and thus knowledge) could be lost forever.

With the invention of the movable-type printing press in the West in the 1400s, redundancy began to win the war against knowledge decay. Eventually, there were enough copies of books that knowledge was unlikely to be fully expunged.

In modern times, the urge to retcon reality is no doubt as strong as in the past. But information storage and communication are so cheap that old techniques such as book burnings can hardly be counted upon anymore to root out all copies of data.

In George Orwell’s 1984, Winston Smith labors at the Ministry of Truth rectifying the past, rewriting old newspapers to fit with the latest party line of who are now the good guys and who the bad guys.
“In the current year, we now know that plenty of people would join the Volunteer Auxiliary Thought Police for free.”

In the Soviet Union a half decade after 1984 was published, the abrupt fall of Stalin’s successor Beria led to a letter-from-the-editor of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia instructing readers to cut out the admiring article on Beria and replace it with the enclosed expanded articles on the Bering Sea and other alphabetically adjacent topics.

We see some of the old-fashioned memory-hole techniques at work currently with Wikipedia.

For example, the heroine of Hillary Clinton’s debate climax, Venezuelan immigrant Alicia Machado, has labored tirelessly for two decades to make herself famous in the Spanish-speaking world. But most of the former Miss Universe’s renown has come from multiple scandals, such as being accused by witnesses of driving the getaway car when her boyfriend shot his ex-brother-in-law and then threatening the judge in their case with murder. (Here’s her amusing answer on CNN when Anderson Cooper asked her about those allegations.)

In reality, Machado is a cross between two characters on Tina Fey’s sitcom 30 Rock: Jane Krakowski’s Jenna Maroney, a dim but relentless, publicity-seeking, aging actress doing whatever it takes to hang on as a celebrity; and Salma Hayek’s Elisa Pedrera, Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy’s homicidal fiancée who, while unknown in the U.S., is notorious in her native Puerto Rico for murdering her husband in a jealous rage.

Of course, that Machado is an utter stereotype of the telenovela actress means that it’s harder for gringo goodthinkers to understand her, since they’ve been indoctrinated that pattern recognition is wrong.

Machado’s many skeletons in the closet raise questions not only about her credibility but also about Hillary’s judgment, and, most important, about just how much vetting immigrants get. In an era when it’s easy to look people up on the internet, why was Machado, who is notoriously drawn to violent men, recently granted the vote?

Last week, you could still find on Wikipedia two of Ms. Machado’s more recent misadventures:

    In 2005, Machado was engaged to baseball star Bobby Abreu. During their engagement she was on the Spanish reality show ‘La Granja’ where she was filmed on camera having sex with another member of the show. Shortly after the video surfaced Abreu ended their engagement.

    On June 25, 2008, Machado gave birth to her daughter, Dinorah Valentina. She issued a statement that the father of Dinorah was her best friend Mexican businessman Rafael Hernandez Linares after Mexican news sources, quoting the Attorney General, reported that the father was Gerardo Álvarez Vázquez, a drug lord.

But mentions of these imbroglios have since been memory holed on Wikipedia. Editors have offered bizarre excuses for deleting the most interesting information about Hillary’s heroine, such as that the diva is not a “public figure,” an assertion that would surely wound the actress more deeply than allegations that she’s a gangster’s moll.

That points out an answer to one of the more obvious questions about the plausibility of Orwell’s 1984: How can they afford that? Is it really fiscally feasible even for a totalitarian government to employ an army of salaried Winston Smiths to alter history?

Yet it’s naive to imagine that a government would have to pay people to do this kind of thing. In the current year, we now know that plenty of people would join the Volunteer Auxiliary Thought Police for free.

The memory hole, however, isn’t the only technique for regulating ideas. Among professional journalists, a trend is to take refuge in pedantic obscurantism about the meaning of terms. For example, Donald Trump’s reference to Alicia’s notorious tape of sex with a fellow reality-show participant as a “sex tape” has been widely denounced as totally lacking in verification, even though you can watch it yourself in ten seconds.

For example, Maureen Dowd wrote in her column in The New York Times that Trump is “offering no evidence that one exists.” Dowd is a worldly woman, so her submission to the party line must feel at least a little bit humiliating for her.

Orwell called this process crimestop, or “protective stupidity.” Trump brings out in journalists, to a remarkable degree, “the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments…and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction.”

Similarly, race riots with arson and looting have been redefined as “protests.” For example, The Washington Post sniffed this week:

    Donald Trump said Monday that “race riots” are happening every month amid deep divisions across the country, apparently referring to protests that have erupted in response to police violence against minorities.

You may have watched on video Black Lives Matter rioting in Charlotte in September and in Milwaukee in August (“We need our weaves!”). But, you see, those weren’t, technically, riots. They were just violent protests against violence.

Orwell endorsed the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis that the structures of language determine what can be readily thought. Sapir-Whorf has been subject to numerous learned objections that befuddle 1984’s central point that there’s a practical psychological reason why social justice warriors engage in so much language policing: The world is complicated, and language is a tool for understanding it. While it’s not impossible to think clearly without a sharp vocabulary, it’s definitely harder. And that’s the essential goal of SJWs: to muddle your minds.

Other maneuvers include the big information monopolies putting a thumb on the scale of public opinion via sneaky practices such as shadow banning (which apparently happened to Dilbert author Scott Adams over the weekend) and rigging autocompletes to suggest some topics and avoid others.

Generally, these micro-distortions come and go, leaving their victims wondering if they were just imagining their persecution.

For example, way back in January 2010, I pointed out that Google was absolutely refusing to suggest “Pat Buchanan” as the prompt when you typed into the search box “Pat Bu.”

Today, though, Google does. But it has never offered an apology or an admission of whatever the giant monopoly was attempting to accomplish with this petty gaslighting, nor any indication of how widespread the practice is.

Most important, in an age of abundant information, the master templates for understanding the world determine which of the myriad facts will register in the mind and which will be ignored as unwanted randomness not fitting the pattern.

Therefore, the single most important mind-control technique is what Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stephen Hunter calls “the narrative”:

    The narrative is the set of assumptions the press believes in, possibly without even knowing that it believes in them. It’s so powerful because it’s unconscious. It’s not like they get together every morning and decide “These are the lies we tell today.” No, that would be too crude and honest. Rather, it’s a set of casual, nonrigorous assumptions about a reality they’ve never really experienced that’s arranged in such a way as to reinforce their best and most ideal presumptions about themselves and their importance to the system and the way they have chosen to live their lives.

For instance, consider the question of why blacks tend to get shot by the cops more than Asians do. The simplest, most Occamite answer is: for the same reason blacks get shot by other blacks so much—on average, African-Americans are more violent than Asian-Americans.

The overwhelming abundance of social-science data supports that view. But that’s definitely not part of the narrative. Instead, as Hillary instructs us, we must subscribe to fashionable conspiracy theories of “implicit bias” and “systemic racism.”

Hillary, in effect, is running for president on a dumbed-down version of Malcolm Gladwell’s 2005 best-seller Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, which advised going with your gut reactions, except when they are factually wrong or politically incorrect.

As Hunter might point out, these are the unconscious assumptions that serve to make the media feel better about themselves.

But, of course, the Gladwellian implicit-bias theory of not thinking is really just a pseudoscience elaboration for what is at its core an Orwellian Two Minutes Hate of straight white men. Hate is the KKKrazy Glue that holds together Hillary’s coalition of the fringes.
137  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Trade Issues: (TPP Trans Pacific Partnership and more) on: October 05, 2016, 09:00:11 AM
Very glad to see this getting some serious attention. 

Doing my best to process it PGuru Crafty. It's a lot. It's also one of the reasons that I don't think a lot of the media is talking about it, because it's so cumbersome and overreaching, that to write something critiquing all of the problems with it, would itself be a small book if done properly.

Kind of like Obmacare, we have to pass it to see what's in it.
138  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Survivalist, Prepper/prepping issues on: October 04, 2016, 11:05:55 PM
Sometimes one will see recommendations of bear spray for use on human predators.  While yes it is quite a bit more effective than regular pepper spray, be apprised that legal issues may well ensue.  After all, it is "bear spray" not "human spray".

PS:  Linda "Bitch" Matsumi is currently reviewing a download we shot of her in Montana last year.  Dealing with bears (she literally sometimes has tracks in her front yard AND she has a toddler shocked) is one of the issues she deals with in the download.

The last OC class I took said that spray labeled for animal use can't be used on humans without violating federal law. Unless you are Hillary Clinton.
139  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Yahoo scanned for the Feds on: October 04, 2016, 11:00:46 PM

Well, Bush isn't president, so this isn't something anyone will be concerned about.
140  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Trade Issues: (TPP Trans Pacific Partnership and more) on: October 04, 2016, 06:26:35 PM
"If you like your country, you can keep your country".

I didn't notice it, but Obama has chosen to skim read the full text for you.

Here you go.

At the very bottom of the page, is the link to the full text.

Interesting is that Obama is assuring Americans, that he is "leveling the playing field for American workers & American businesses," and "putting" American workers, businesses, and values, "first."
141  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-China (& Japan, South China Sea-- Vietnam, Philippines, etc) on: October 04, 2016, 11:19:04 AM
Meanwhile, China has found a new target for its browbeating: Singapore, which isn’t a U.S. ally but hosts American warships and spy planes.

The Global Times, a Communist Party-controlled tabloid, recently took aim at the city-state for allegedly trying to insert harder language about the South China Sea into a communiqué at the end of a summit of nonaligned nations. Singapore’s envoy to China took the rare step of publicly criticizing the paper for an “irresponsible report replete with fabrications.”

Expect more of that kind of pressure from Beijing. A key lesson that China is likely to draw from Mr. Duterte’s geopolitical about-face: Unrelenting attacks on America’s regional friends and allies eventually pay off.

*Chip, chip, chip.

China plays the long game. The US is a weak enemy and a treacherous friend.
142  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: A Stupid Question on: October 04, 2016, 12:02:11 AM
I have a stupid question... a "what if," if you will...

Suppose that Assange releases something truly damning to Clinton... something that absolutely prohibits her from seeking the presidency...

Suppose that also, Donald Trump doesn't really want to be president... and said so...after Clinton is found to be ineligible.

What would happen then? Would both major parties replace their candidates?

The party isn't on the ballot, the candidate is. It's too late to put new names to be voted upon.
143  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: October 04, 2016, 12:00:35 AM
"Unsupported, but plausible: Can't we just drone this guy?"

Absolutely.  I have posted before if this was a different age or a third world country I could easily see her having the "deplorables" all marched out and shot.  And that means us.  Anyone that gets in her way to absolute power.

Her mentality is similar to the 20 th century despots.

Don't think there is something magical about the US that makes it impossible to have it happen here.
144  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Is Obama about to recognize Palestine State? on: October 01, 2016, 08:48:12 PM
Rachel unavailable for comment.

President Obama is rumored to be considering a major reversal of decades-long U.S. policy toward Israel by supporting a UN Security Council resolution that unilaterally recognizes a Palestinian state before a peace agreement is negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians. Congress must act to counter this bold and reckless move that endangers Israel's security and America's strategic interests.

There is much at stake: Israel is a free and democratic ally in a hostile region that has been repeatedly attacked by its neighbors. Before it occupied the West Bank, Gaza, and Golan Heights in 1967, these territories were used as a base of war and terrorism against the Jewish state. Offers to create a Palestinian state in Gaza and most of the West Bank that would allow for a safe and secure Israel have been repaid by intifada after intifada.

Others have argued persuasively that any Palestinian state established in the absence of a peace agreement with Israel will become a virtually ungovernable hotbed of terrorism sure to threaten not just Israel, but also the region and the world. The events in Gaza in the past decade strongly support this position. Ordinary Palestinians will also suffer, forced to endure rule by the same Islamic fanatics and brutal, corrupt autocrats who have destroyed their economy.
Any Palestinian state established absent a peace agreement with Israel will be a hotbed of terrorism.

A White House decision to support unilateral Palestinian statehood would unquestionably be contrary to the will of Congress: 88 senators recently signed a letter opposing such an action, while 388 members of the House have signed a similar letter supporting a veto of all "one-sided" UN resolutions concerning the Israel/Palestine issue.

And these numbers understate congressional opposition: several senators refused to sign the letter because they thought it was insufficiently strong.

Furthermore, a White House reversal on unilateral Palestinian statehood would also be contrary to the stated policies of both the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees.

To dissuade a determined White House from this course of action, Congress will have to do more than write letters. Here are some of the legislative options that could throw significant roadblocks in its path.

Congress should make clear it will sanction a unilaterally declared Palestinian state.

First, Congress should make clear its intention to sanction any unilaterally-declared Palestinian state and its new leaders, blocking their access to U.S. banking and markets, similar to sanctions on the Iranian regime. Loss of access to the U.S. financial system would be extremely costly to any Palestinian regime.
Second, Congress should make clear its intention to immediately and completely cut hundreds of millions of dollars in annual U.S. direct aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the event that President Mahmoud Abbas succeeds in his bid to win Palestinian statehood recognition at the UN.

Congress reduced this aid by 22 percent last year in retaliation for the PA's continuing terrorism incitement. It would be a significant blow to a new state to cut all such aid.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas meets with relatives of Palestinian "martyrs" against Israel in a photo published by the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 2, 2016.

Third, Congress should mandate that any newly-created Palestinian state be designated a state sponsor of terrorism. This designation would include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; and various other restrictions. The Palestinian Authority (PA) currently uses a shell-game to pay the families of terrorists, something Congress is currently working to stop. Other PA ties to various terrorist activities go back decades.
Finally, Congress should review and update decades-old federal laws prohibiting U.S. funding of any UN organization that "accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states" to ensure that they apply and cannot be skirted if Abbas wins Security Council recognition of Palestinian statehood.

Now would be a good time for Congress to stop shirking its duty to shape foreign policy.

Congress should use its power boldly to exert influence over this vital issue. Large majorities in Congress opposed the Iran nuclear deal and had both the facts and public opinion on their side. But due to the peculiarities of the law and the politics of the situation, they were outmaneuvered. Congress should work to ensure this situation is not repeated.

Though knowledgeable and trusted congressional leaders like Senators Arthur Vandenberg and Henry "Scoop" Jackson once led coalitions in Congress that held great influence in foreign affairs, there is a bipartisan belief that Congress has shirked its duty to shape foreign policy in recent decades. Now would be a good time to start taking it back.

Clifford Smith is director of the Middle East Forum's Washington Project.
145  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: ACTION items, Judicial Watch on: October 01, 2016, 02:26:33 PM
Anyone remember when the press was supposed to act as a watchdog rather than a wing of the DNC? Good times, good times...

ccp wrote in another thread: 

"Without Judicial Watch this whole thing would have received a blind eye."

If a person had a dollar and wanted to make a difference, Judicial Watch is the organization that perhaps has done the most good to expose corruption and scandal in government.

'Judicial Watch is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and contributions are tax-deductible for income, gift, and estate taxes.'

If we can't win we can at least make a corrupt President Hillary's life miserable.
146  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Its done on: October 01, 2016, 11:10:14 AM
With hardly a peep from the media. 
We the people were not asked , not consulted, not really even notified , had no say, no vote, our opinions not sought..........
Can anyone imagine if the progressive globalists have their way and succeed in eradicating borders and having one world government what that entity could do to control the world?  Mind boggling:

This is the first step to silencing dissent. Don't be too shocked when anything to the right of Huffpo suddenly disappears from the internet.
147  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Donald Trump on: October 01, 2016, 11:07:52 AM
God help us. We are so fcuked.

"FWIW my sense of things is that Trump's proclivity for creating food fight snark fests is starting to wear rather thin with a lot of people; it may not have reached critical mass, but he may be setting himself up for a fall."

Its obvious.  When he sticks to issues he wins .  When he asks like a baby he loses.  He is down a bit in the polls supposedly from the debate.

He just refuses to learn.  Tweeting at 3 AM??  sounds like he was pacing his bedroom unable to sleep because he was worried about what a 2 bit wanna be actress from Venezuela said about HIM instead of thinking how to run the greatest country on Earth.  As said before on this board  by many, God help us.

148  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Another brain fart from Johnson on: September 29, 2016, 09:13:17 PM

This is your candidate on drugs...
149  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We are linked on Hotgas? on: September 29, 2016, 09:08:51 PM
"Our forum linked in the 'major media':    )"

Where, where? 

Whatever you do, don't click on the link!   wink
150  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: well if this isn't the tail that wags the dog on: September 28, 2016, 10:19:23 PM
What is it with Democrats who see fit to use are armed services for political gain.  It is not about this but the timing of this. 

Now all of a sudden just before an election.  angry

Well, I was told that if I voted for McCain, we'd have troops in Iraq in 2016. They were right!
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