Wednesday, June 22, 2016

About Press Neutrality

This comment is from Walid Phares in Facebook.  You may not be able to see it if you don't have a Facebook account. 
Yahoo "endorses" Clinton...
It has become clear that the supposed to be impartial search engine Yahoo has gone out of its way to back a Clinton in the online battle against Trump. Many users of Yahoo, of all ages, have mathematically established that the cyber giant has shifted to Clinton in its selection of articles and their ranking. Teenagers have realized this reality. A while ago it was detected that Yahoo has been a backer of the Iran deal. Yahoo denies any endorsement but its New York Times like gaming is too clear to see it otherwise. Neutrality has collapsed.
https://www.facebook.com/WalidPhares/?fref=nf

I think this comment about press neutrality is key.  

This article describes my understanding: 
For a society to be responsible and powerful, it must be informed. Our free press, protected by the first constitutional amendment, plays a critical role in ensuring that every American has constant access to important and trustworthy news.
Thomas Jefferson said, "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them."
As he emphasized, this free flow of information to the public is essential to preserving our American democracy. In addition to educating and reporting, the press serves as the public's independent watchdog, charged with keeping governments, businesses and other organizations in check.
 

Has neutrality collapsed?  Does the public have access to trustworthy news?  

Does today's media serve as an independent watchdog to keep government in check?  I don't think so.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Happy Magna Carta Day | Competitive Enterprise Institute

From the article: 
801 years ago today in a peaceful meadow in England occurred the first act of the American Revolution. There was no America at the time, but in the issuing of Magna Carta we can trace the beginnings of the great experiment that became America. The monarch of England became bound by the rule of law, and as the Texan Congressman and jurist Hatton Sumners put it, "There is a straight road which runs from Runnymede to Philadelphia."
 
https://cei.org/blog/happy-magna-carta-day

When I visited DC this summer I was looking at our itinerary and it listed the National Archives.  I didn't grasp why we would go there.  To my great surprise and pleasure, it contained these extraordinary documents.

The original Constitution.
The original Bill of Rights.
The original Declaration of Independence.

And this last one that surprised me, since it is not an American document, but really is the basis of it all.
One of several approved, original copies of the Magna Carta.

A very memorable visit.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

In Montesquieu, a Historian Blended With a Political Philosopher - WSJ

From the article: 
The gradual but sure debilitation of Roman character ended in the reduction and ultimate defeat of Roman power. Difficult to read Montesquieu on Rome without thinking of the U.S. in our time, as when, for one example among many, he writes that "more states have perished by the violation of their moral customs than by the violation of their laws."

http://www.wsj.com/articles/in-montesquieu-a-historian-blended-with-a-political-philosopher-1465578784

This article is recommended by our classmate Bill Mann.  I wonder if it tells us anything about how we are behaving today?  Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Euro 2016 and terror attack threats: What you need to know about the security plans

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/euro-2016-terror-attack-threats-what-you-need-know-about-security-plans-1564160

What is happening here - really?  This is the real asymmetrical war.  They have altered our way of life.  They cause us to live in fear.  They cause us to expend limited resources.  They run our lives and change the world we live in and we delude ourselves by saying we are "winning the war on terror".  Not hardly.  This specific event is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the amount of money our economies pour into "managing terror".  

Bin Laden said this from the very beginning:  
You see, a key weapon of bin Laden's was economic warfare…and al Qaeda still uses the tactic against America.
Osama named it the "bleed until bankruptcy plan," where the goal is to draw the United States into endless – and costly – Middle Eastern wars. Wars that will eventually bankrupt the US economy.
In other words, Osama didn't seek to win with body counts.   
Take a look at this article: 
http://www.moneywise411.com/rogue-economist-asks-was-osama-bin-laden-right-about-america/ 
 

 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

One Ohio Mosque Has Been at the Center of SIX Terror Cases |

From the article: 
As mosque officials struggle to distance themselves from yet another resident terror cell, the recent news raises questions about the extensive history of this Ohio mosque as a turnstile for terrorism.

https://warsclerotic.com/2016/06/09/one-ohio-mosque-has-been-at-the-center-of-six-terror-cases/

At what point does a pattern begin to become evidence of reality?  When does a rational society get to say "cease and desist"?  Our tolerance is used up.  You seem to be at odds with our way of life.  We are going to shut you down.  What does it mean to be tolerant?  How tolerant is appropriate?  When do we get to say stop?


The U.S. Should Withdraw from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2016/06/the-us-should-withdraw-from-the-united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change

I'm thinking we should get out of the UN entirely, but this would be a start.

From the article: 
The UNFCCC Is an Unworkable, Ineffective Approach—Even if Global Warming Is as Problematic as the IPCC Projects
U.N. climate conferences have become increasingly irrelevant, in large part because the approach taken is unworkable. International negotiations have centered on placing the economic burden of addressing climate change on a few dozen developed countries while asking little or nothing from more the 150 developing countries. But the primary source of GHG emissions is increasingly the developing world, most notably from large developing economies such as China and India.

This is an interesting explanation in economic terms, but what this really says is the third world seeks to harm Western democracies.  This is what the UN has evolved to and is no longer an organization for solving world problems appropriately.

Whither the Shards of America?: It’s Us, or Them | Fred On Everything

From the article: 
The conflict is between freedom and social totalitarianism. Remote bureaucracies with whom localities have nothing in common write their children's textbooks and decide what morality they should be taught.  People who want a say in the schooling of their children, who want to choose where and with whom they live, find themselves pitted against a political ruling class with power to decide almost every aspect of their lives.
Something has to give.

http://fredoneverything.org/ready-whither-the-shards-of-america-its-us-or-them/

"Fundamentally Changed" as Obama would put it.  Not for the good either.  Fred lays it out in brutally clear language.  "Enough. This can't last."  And yet the so-called "elite", the "self-serving politicians and extractive corporations of the extremely rich who have no attachment to the US.", do understand that something has to give.  They are clueless to the response of the growing number of people who are saying "Enough. This can't last.".

This likely will not end nicely.  Fred suggests "It is probably too late."

This is the most brutally true understanding of current affairs in the US I have seen.  It's time we stopped lying to ourselves.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Graphic: How Obamacare Hides $104 Billion in Federal Spending - by Jeffrey H. Anderson

Obamacare has invented a dangerous new way to hide federal spending (detailed in "Hidden Spending"). Contrary to the Government Accountability Office's own definitions of terms, Obamacare labels its direct payments to insurance companies "tax credits"—even though they don't lower anyone's taxes. Not only is the government hiding billions of dollars in spending in this way, it is counting these hidden expenditures as tax cuts. In this manner, Obamacare is masking some $104 billion in federal spending over a decade (the portion of Obamacare's direct payments to insurers that the Congressional Budget Office is counting as tax cuts.
 
http://www.hudson.org/research/12554-graphic-how-obamacare-hides-104-billion-in-federal-spending

The government today is endlessly crippled by manipulation, lying and corruption.  Almost nothing you see or hear today, as reported by the government or the complicit media, is true because this kind of stuff goes on in the background.  That is why the current administration points to the employment rate and other economic indicators as proof of their success, but it's all lies and manipulation.  

It Only Took Eight Years for Big Government to Do This! | www.independentsentinel.com

From the article: 
We can't improve the VA – the government claims they need more money so veterans in dire need of care will continue to wait  – but the Feds did have $300 million to spend over the last eight years to develop a software program the Inspector General (IG) for the Social Security Administration says is useless.
It's not their money, no one's accountable, no one can be fired and all's good from their perspective. 

http://www.independentsentinel.com/it-only-took-eight-years-for-big-government-to-do-this/

This is why we can't have nice things and why I always support limited government.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Bionic Leaf Is 10 Times Better At Photosynthesis Than Real Plants | Popular Science

From the srticle: 
Plants take in carbon dioxide, water, and sunshine to create a sugary fuel. Now researchers have done the same, but even better.
A recent study in Science describes the system, named Bionic Leaf 2.0. In the "leaf," solar energy splits up a water molecule, and bacteria turn hydrogen and carbon dioxide into liquid fuel, mainly isopropanol. The fuel could possibly be used to power a car's engine or motor in the future.

http://www.popsci.com/scientists-debut-system-making-fuel-through-more-efficient-photosynthesis

Pretty amazing stuff.  AI?  Now man-made photosynthesis?  We are getting into places even sci-fi writers have thought of yet.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum - Our Documents

From the article: 
For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

http://docs.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/odddayp.html

I had not seen this before.  It's really quite good.  Reminds me of a comment attributed to Colin Powell when Secy of State, although he may have borrowed it from someone else.  His remarks to a Frenchman who was suggesting the US and its Military were abusing its power.  He responded that the only land we ever asked for was to bury our dead.

US Army selects Israel Military Industries for APC active protection system - Israel News - Jerusalem Post

From the article: 
He hailed its "ability to defend against rockets, RPGs, anti-tank missiles from the entire spectrum, and even against recoilless gun munitions.

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/US-Army-selects-Israel-Military-Industries-for-APC-active-protection-system-456116

Does this mean we can begin to reduce the amount of heavy armor required on vehicles?  That could change vehicle design pretty significantly.  Can tanks use this kind of defense?  Does it work against tank rounds?  

Friday, June 3, 2016

John Stossel: Private business is better at just about everything | New Hampshire

From the article: 
There's nothing stopping people everywhere from enjoying improvements like the ones in Jersey City, in San Francisco's airport and at SpaceX, nothing except government bureaucracy and our outdated belief that many jobs just belong in government's clumsy hands.

http://www.unionleader.com/John-Stossel-Private-business-is-better-at-just-about-everything

John Stossel is an old hand at this criticizing government game.

Forget oil. This summer, a two-mile pipeline that carries beer will open in a Belgian city. - The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/06/03/forget-oil-this-summer-a-two-mile-pipeline-that-carries-beer-will-open-in-a-belgian-city/

I would say that ingenuity drove this solution but perhaps there is a more fundamental, primal force. The need for beer?