Hands Up, Don’t Loot

by on August 20th, 2014

The interior of the Ferguson Market and Liquor Store is littered with broken bottles and scattered snacks. Despite the plywood boards covering the windows and doors, looters with their faces covered in bandanas helped themselves to anything they could find as those who came to memorialize Michael Brown carried on his work.

The violence in Ferguson didn’t begin when a police officer shot Michael Brown. It began when a 300 lb thug robbed the Ferguson Market and abused a clerk. The release of the video showing the obese criminal assaulting the clerk led to a terrified statement from the store manager that he had not called the police and had nothing to do with the release of the video.

“They kill us if they think we are responsible,” he said.
That is what this conflict is about. The police exist so that Ferguson Market and a hundred other stores can do business without being robbed or murdered. Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Michael Brown, was holding down the thin line that makes it possible for stores to stay open and children to go to school.
When the police pulled back, the rioting and looting began in earnest. A mob forced its way into Ferguson Market and other stores. Governor Nixon, a critic of the police was forced to turn to the National Guard.
After all the lectures about militarization, there was no better solution to the violence than the military. The police were never the problem. The looters and rioters were.
The photos of protesters with their hands in the air confronting police in riot gear told a very misleading story. But the real story was sitting in a video held by the Ferguson police and the Justice Department. It was the video of Michael Brown assaulting a clerk at Ferguson Market.
The Justice Department and Governor Nixon did not want the video released because it put the emphasis back where it should have been all along. This was not a conflict between Michael Brown and the police. It was a conflict between Michael Brown and a Ferguson Market worker.
We are all that worker.
Any one of us can be targeted by a Michael Brown at any time. Every week delivers up fresh new victims of the knockout game. A pregnant woman. An elderly man. A child.
The police are the common defense we use to protect ourselves against the kind of society where store workers have to fear being killed. They are not perfect, but they are far better than the rule of the Michael Browns who take what they want and attack anyone who tries to stop them.
In Ferguson there was a choice between looters wandering around shouting “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and ordinary citizens crying out “Hands Up, Don’t Loot”. Shouting “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” at a police officer might work. Shouting “Hands Up, Don’t Loot” at a looter won’t.And that is why we have police forces. As flawed as they are, they follow some rules. The looters follow no rules at all.

Despite all the talk about the militarization of the police, there is very little discussion of why.

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EPA Pesticide Bans Threaten You and the Economy

by on August 20th, 2014

By Alan Caruba

When Rachel Carson’s book, “Silent Spring”, was published, filled with totally false claims about DDT, the Environmental Protection Agency looked it over and concluded she had used manipulated data. They concluded that DDT should not be banned, but its first administrator, William Ruckleshaus, overruled the agency and imposed a ban.
Ruckleshaus was a lawyer, not a scientist. He was also politically connected enough to hold a variety of government positions. He got the nod for the EPA job from John Mitchell, Nixon’s Attorney General who later went to jail for his participation in the Watergate cover-up.
Wikipedia says, “With the formation of EPA, authority over pesticides was transferred to it from the Department of Agriculture. The fledgling EPA’s first order of business was whether to issue a ban of DDT. Judge Edmund Sweeney was appointed to examine the case and held testimony hearings for seven months. His conclusion was that DDT “is not a carcinogenic hazard to man” and that “there is a present need for the essential uses of DDT”. However, Ruckelshaus (who had not attended the hearings or read the report himself) overruled Sweeney’s decision and issued the ban nevertheless, claiming that DDT was a ‘potential human carcinogen.’”In 2008, having returned to the practice of law, he endorsed Barack Obama.
I cite this history from the 1970s because most people believe that the EPA operates on the basis of science and, from the beginning, that could hardly have been less true. It has evolved over the years into a totally rogue government agency issuing thousands of regulations with the intent to control virtually every aspect of life in America, from agriculture to manufacturing, and, in the case of pesticides, the effort to ban them all, always claiming that it was to protect public health.
Not killing pests, insects and rodents, is a great way to put everyone’s health in jeopardy. New York City announced a new war in May against rats and will spend $600,000 to hire new inspectors to deal with an increased population. Lyme disease and West Nile Fever are just two of the diseases that require serious insect pest control. A wide variety of insects spread many diseases from Salmonella to Hantavirus. Termites do billions in property damage every year.
Thanks to the EPA ban on DDT and the nations that followed the USA action, an estimated 60 million people have died from malaria since 1970 because it was and is the most effective way to control the mosquitoes that spread it, particularly in Africa. In the West, malaria had been eliminated thanks to the use of DDT before the ban.
In the 1980s I worked with the company that produced an extraordinary pesticide, Ficam that was applied with nothing more than water. Although it had gone through the costly process of securing EPA registration, the agency told the manufacturer it would have to do so again. Because the cost could not justify re-registration it was taken off the market in the USA, but continues to be used successfully for malaria control in more than sixteen nations in Sub-Saharan Africa and against the spread of Chagas, a tropical parasitic disease in Latin American nations. Ficam can be used to control a wide variety of insect pests.

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Tender Hearts & Soft-Boiled Brains" and "Death & Taxes

by on August 20th, 2014

We Americans like to think of ourselves as 320 million humanitarians. While it’s true that we tend to be charitable, even going so far as to help our enemies around the world when they’re hit by a natural disaster, sometimes our better nature flies in the face of commonsense.

For instance, in recent weeks, we have welcomed thousands of Central Americans into the U.S. and then transported them around the country even though we know that many of them suffer from chicken pox and tuberculosis. In the old days, when America actually had borders and a sense of self-preservation, even legal immigrants were turned away if they were found to have communicable diseases. In some cases, sick children were separated from their nuclear families and sent back to their relatives in Europe and Asia until they were healthy enough to return.

Now we go so far as to allow those suffering from Ebola to be brought back from West Africa. While it’s true that the doctor and the nurse in question are not only both Americans, but are heroic examples of humanity, having become infected while treating others who had the disease, it is sheer insanity that they were brought home to be treated. If they could treat others in Africa, there was no sensible reason they couldn’t have been treated there, rather than risk introducing the disease to North America.

Speaking of the Central American border-crashers, George Will has pointed out that there are 3,143 counties in the United States, and then used that number to suggest how easily we could accommodate the newcomers, as if the solution to the problem was to simply divide the 65,000 kids, dispersing, say 20 or so to each county. For my part, I think there is more than enough empty space between George’s ears where we could safely stash them.

What I would be willing to consider is dropping those kids off at the White House and at the homes of Hollywood and Manhattan liberals who are sobbing into their crying towels over their plight. That way these select few could adopt, feed, house and school, the kiddies on their own, without expecting the American taxpayer to pick up the tab for these mini-freeloaders.

Speaking of kids, I have come to the conclusion that the move over the past few decades to remove competition from sporting events involving youngsters, lest anyone come to regard himself as a winner or, worse yet, a loser, has infected our military. Whereas in the distant past, we waged wars with the idea of winning them and making our enemies say “Uncle!” we now play for ties, lest others think badly of us or are embarrassed for having lost.

Speaking of the military, I am in no way an isolationist, but I think before we enter into defense treaties with other nations, we require that they maintain the largest military they can possibly afford. If they’re going to keep relying on our military to protect them, thus treating us as mercenaries, we should send them a monthly invoice, payable on demand. At least that way, we could afford to restore the military force that our own gutless administration, using sequester as an excuse, has decimated.

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Will increasing the share of women in STEM majors reduce the percent of STEM grads who get STEM jobs

by on August 19th, 2014

There has been a big push to recruit women into STEM (science, technology and math) majors in prestigious programs.  One reason is that women often go into fields such as teaching or social work is that it is relatively easier for them to leave and re-enter the work force.  However, you can’t do that for technological heavy fields.  If women have children, those who leave for a couple of years to take care their children will have a hard time staying in those jobs.  Since women are more likely than men to take care of their children, that effect alone would work to reduce the share of women who remain in that profession.  From USA Today:

Amid a U.S. push to get more students interested in science, technology and math, often called STEM, the Census Bureau reported Thursday that 74% of those with a bachelor’s degree in these subjects don’t work in STEM jobs.

The likelihood of landing a STEM job varies by major, ranging from half of those who focused on engineering, computers, math and statistics to only 26% of those who concentrated on physical science, 10% who majored in psychology and 7% who studied social science, according to data from the Census’ 2012 American Community Survey. . . .

Women are better represented among mathematicians and statisticians (45%), life scientists (47%) and social scientists (47%), according to the Census. They’re even more common among computer professionals, accounting for 24%.

Many engineering-focused colleges have dramatically boosted their enrollment of women by admitting them at higher rates. For example, 15% of women but 7% of men are admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and 20% of women but 9% of men are admitted to the California Institute of Technology, according to the website collegedata.com. . . .

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How to put an end to joy rides by parking valets: "New Corvette will record every move a valet driver makes"

by on August 19th, 2014

This is one tempting car to drive.  But valets aren’t going to be taking any joy rides with these Corvettes.  From the LA Times:

Attention valet drivers: Don’t get frisky with the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette — big brother is watching.

General Motors is offering next year’s model of the famous sport coupe with a data recorder that captures video, audio and driving data from the vehicle when switched into a special “Valet Mode.”

The Vette’s owner can come back from dinner and check out if the valet was testing the sports car’s 3.8 second zero to 60 mph time. The car will have recorded data such as speed, engine RPM, which gears have been used and the highest level of g-force incurred on that joy ride to the parking garage. . . .

A video of driving hanky panky will be captured by a high-definition camera, which records the driver’s point-of-view through the windshield. Audio of any other hanky panky will be caught by a microphone in the cabin. It all can be viewed or heard instantly on the Corvette’s 8-inch color touchscreen when the car is parked, or downloaded to a computer. . . .

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What is Wrong with ISIS, is What is Wrong with Islam

by on August 19th, 2014

Know your enemy. To know what ISIS is, we have to clear away the media myths about ISIS.

ISIS is not a new phenomenon.

Wahhabi armies have been attacking Iraq in order to wipe out Shiites for over two hundred years. One of the more notably brutal attacks took place during the administration of President Thomas Jefferson.

That same year the Marine Corps saw action against the Barbary Pirates and West Point opened, but even Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore and Howard Zinn chiming via Ouija board would have trouble blaming the Wahhabi assault on the Iraqi city of Kerbala in 1802 on the United States or an oil pipeline.

Forget the media portrayals of ISIS as a new extreme group that even the newly moderate Al Qaeda thinks is over the top, its armies are doing the same things that Wahhabi armies have been doing for centuries. ISIS has Twitter accounts, pickup trucks and other borrowed Western technology, but otherwise it’s just a recurring phenomenon that has always been part of Islam. Sunnis and Shiites have been killing each other for over a thousand years. Declaring other Muslims to be infidels and killing them is also a lot older than the suicide bomb vest.

Al Qaeda and ISIS are at odds because its Iraqi namesake had a different agenda. Al Qaeda always had different factions with their own agendas. These factions were not more extreme or less extreme. They just had different nationalistic backgrounds and aims.

The Egyptian wing of Al Qaeda was obsessed with Egypt. Bin Laden was obsessed with Saudi Arabia. Some in Al Qaeda wanted a total world war. Others wanted to focus on taking over Muslim countries as bases. These differences sometimes led to threats and even violence among Al Qaeda members.

Bin Laden prioritized Saudi Arabia and America. That made it possible for Al Qaeda to pick up training from Hezbollah which helped make 9/11 possible. This low level cooperation with Iran was endangered when Al Qaeda in Iraq made fighting a religious war with Shiites into its priority.

That did not mean that Bin Laden liked Shiites and thought that AQIQ was “extreme” for killing them. This was a tactical disagreement over means.

During the Iraq War, Bin Laden had endorsed Al Qaeda in Iraq’s goal of fighting the Shiite “Rejectionists” by framing it as an attack on America. AQIQ’s Zarqawi had privately made it clear that he would not pledge allegiance to Osama bin Laden unless the terrorist leader endorsed his campaign against Shiites.

Bin Laden and the Taliban had been equally comfortable with Sipahe Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi which provided manpower for the Taliban while massacring Shiites in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Last year LEJ had killed over a hundred Shiite Hazaras in one bombing.

The narrative that ISIS was more extreme than Al Qaeda because it killed Shiites and other Muslims doesn’t hold up in even recent history.

The media finds it convenient to depict the rise of newly extremist groups being radicalized by American foreign policy, Israeli blockades or Danish cartoons. A closer look however shows us that these groups did not become radicalized, rather they increased their capabilities.

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Ferguson’s Old Grievances

by on August 19th, 2014

By Alan Caruba
Ferguson, Missouri and its re-run of 1950s civil rights grievances has now achieved national stature with the dispatch of our black Attorney General, Eric Holder, by our black President, Barack Obama, to address the unhappiness of blacks in the community over the shooting of a 6’4”, nearly 300 pound, black teenager, Michael Brown, who we are repeatedly told was “unarmed.”

According to witnesses, Brown had accosted a police officer, Darren Wilson, after being told not to walk down the middle of the street. After that, he reportedly “bum rushed” the officer who shot him. The reported facts of this case do not look good so far as Michael Brown’s behavior is concerned and give cause for Darren Wilson, the cop, to once again fear for his life after some “protesters”, led by agitators, were heard calling for his death.

This old white man who lived through the civil rights era that was filled with protests, marches, and a number of riots during and since is frankly experiencing a lot of déjà vu to the point where I am largely disinterested in the events occurring in Ferguson, Missouri.

They have occurred before and they will occur again because a segment of the black community is convinced that their problems are all caused by white bias. It’s not. It’s caused by bad attitudes and bad behavior.

Don’t take my word for it. Consider what Dr. Ben Carson said during an August 18 Fox News interview. “Try living for 24 hours with no police. I think you’ll really find out what a difficult situation is.” Blaming “outside agitators” for stirring up trouble in Ferguson, Dr. Carson said, “I wish they would use that same energy to help us with what’s going on in Chicago and Detroit and New Orleans and Washington, D.C., where (there is) just tons of shooting, murder, violence all the time, where we have tons of teenage pregnancy.”

Attorney General Holder, however, is heading to Ferguson, not Chicago, the hometown of the President. Why the federal government is even involved in what is essentially a local shooting incident defies the imagination. If Holder wants to turn this into a civil rights grievance that is just sheer, total exploitation; the kind we have already seen from Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the New Black Panthers, among others.

Now, for a moment, let’s look at some other murders that have occurred thus far this year in which some 120 police officers have been killed in the line of duty; half of whom died by gunfire. Some were killed because they were cops, a form of bigotry that gets scant notice in the media.

A month prior to the August 9 shooting of Michael Brown, Officer Scott Patrick of Mendota Heights, Minnesota, was shot in the head and killed by a fugitive during a routine traffic stop on July 30. The suspect was a white male. Earlier, on July 13, Detective Melvin Santiago of Jersey City, New Jersey, was ambushed when responding to a robbery call. Suspect is a black male who was killed on the scene. The suspect’s wife allegedly said that more cops should have been killed.

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The new Democrat US Senate candidate looks to be pretty anti-gun, especially for Montana

by on August 18th, 2014

 

This Republican ad using Amanda Curtis’ own words seems to be pretty damning (more of her videos are available here).  Did the Democratic nominating committee actually look into this candidate before they nominated her?  I guess the question is whether she will drag down other Democrats who are running for office in Montana.

Here is some more information on her.

[Montana Shooting Sports Association] tracked 24 gun-related votes cast by Curtis in the Montana House last session.  Curtis voted anti-gun on 23 of 24 opportunities.  For that, she scored a miserable 2.6%.  A 59% score would have earned her an “F” on gun issues.  She is well below F-, if there is such a thing.

Curtis  voted:
NO on a bill to encourage manufacturers to move to Montana and create new jobs if those manufacturers make firearms (HR5).
NO on two bills to protect hunters’ hearing by allowing sound reduction for hunting (HB205 & HB27).
NO on a bill to prohibit the university system from suspending the Montana Constitution (HB240).
NO on a bill to allow investigators working for public defenders to carry firearms for self defense (SB133).
NO on a bill to exempt from criminal “disorderly conduct” charges a hunter who fires a shot at a deer or elk (even the Governor disagreed with her on this bill) (HB446).
NO on a bill to allow people located inside city limits the same ability for self defense as those outside city limits (HB304).
NO on a bill to allow a person eating at a restaurant that serves beer to provide for his or her self defense (HB358).
NO to medical privacy for gun owners (even the Governor disagreed with her on this bill) (HB459).
NO to preventing newspapers from publishing the private information about people who have been issued a concealed weapon permit by the local sheriff (the Governor disagreed with her on this bill too) (SB145).

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Even the New York Times notes that Obama’s unilateral decision making is drawing all the lobbyists to the White House

by on August 18th, 2014

Big surprise here.  If the president has all the poser because he can make laws on his own, why should lobbyists bother with Congress.  From the New York Times:

. . . the process of drafting what will likely be the only significant immigration changes of his presidency — and his most consequential use of executive power — has been conducted almost entirely behind closed doors, where lobbyists and interest groups invited to the White House are making their case out of public view.

Mr. Obama’s increasingly expansive appetite for the use of unilateral action on issues including immigration, tax policy and gay rights has emboldened activists and businesses to flock to the administration with their policy wish lists. It also has opened the president, already facing charges of executive overreach, to criticism that he is presiding over opaque policy-making, with the potential to reward political backers at the expense of other interests, including some on the losing side who are threatening to sue.

“We look at what they’ve been doing with executive action and are deeply concerned, and have focused a lot of our energies on how we can roll back these things,” said Geoff Burr, the vice president of federal affairs for Associated Builders and Contractors, whose member companies do 60 percent of federal construction jobs.

Mr. Burr said an executive order issued by Mr. Obama last month that would block companies with a history of workplace violations from receiving federal contracts had prompted his group to contemplate “the virtues of a litigation strategy.” . . .

Apparently, Obama thinks it is OK for him to unilaterally make these changes because he is now talking to others about his changes.

White House officials say Mr. Obama has been inclusive as he looks to wield his authority, reaching out to an array of lawmakers, experts and business leaders for a wide range of perspectives to inform his plans for executive actions. . . .

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Genocide! A Christian Holocaust

by on August 18th, 2014

Syrian victims of Islamic State slaughter
By Alan Caruba
In the last century and now this one, I have lived long enough to have been alive when the Nazis killed six million European Jews and another five million other “enemies of the state” that included unionists, homosexuals, Seventh Day Adventists, and any others that ran afoul of that hateful and hate-filled regime.
There were genocides in the last and this century. The killing of Kurds by Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator who used poison gas—a weapon of mass destruction—against them is largely forgotten by everyone but the Kurds.
In the 1990s there was a genocide in Rwanda by the Tutsi tribe against the Hutu people. Hundreds of thousands were killed, most by machete. Reportedly rape, mutilation, and the deliberate spread of disease were also used against them. The final body count was estimated by some at well over a million.
In the Middle East, the Islamic Ottoman Empire whose final years were directed from what is now modern-day Turkey was responsible for the Armenian Genocide that began in 1915. The Armenians were a Christian minority and what is occurring in the land claimed by the new Islamic State (IS) reflects the same barbarity that afflicted and killed between 600,000 and 1.8 million Armenians.
In Europe following the fall of the Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia, thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Serbs were “ethnically cleansed” between 1990 and 1995. Some twenty thousand were killed.
And now the fanatical Islamic State that stretches from areas of northern Syria through much of northern Iraq, just outside of Baghdad, is waging a systematic and utterly barbaric genocide of the area’s Christians. They are killing Muslims too.
And what is the world doing? Virtually nothing.
The President of the most militarily powerful nation on Earth has dropped some “humanitarian” aid to thousands of Yazidis, an ancient, little known group driven from their homes in northern Iraq where they have lived for hundreds of years. Thousands of Christians were driven from Mosul. There has been an increase in U.S. air attacks on IS forces, but a far greater effort will be needed to destroy this evil entity.
Nigerian Christians killed by Boko Haram

In Nigeria, Boko Haram, an Islamist terrorist group, is slaughtering thousands.

The Islamic State is now the most militarily powerful force in the Middle East and one of the most wealthy. It threatens the Kurds who have finally begun to receive weapons from the U.S.
What President Obama should be doing is orchestrating a military coalition just as George H.W. Bush did to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, but the fact is that Europe is fearful of participating because it is now home to a large population of Muslims.

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