Friday Catch-Up

w707The reason most often cited for the success of the nonpolitical candidates is the frustration with Washington; the sense that the system is broken. Voters feel that we have no control and that government has gone wild. Even people who don’t watch the news or closely follow politics are aware of the “overreach.” It seems that, perhaps, the messages the outsiders have been heralding on the trail has caught on.

Washington’s overreach has been rolled back—by courts and commissioners and, even, in response, the government itself. In little more than 30 days, there have been five distinct cases that you may have missed—each, a victory for responsible land use.

Source: Stemming the tide of over-regulation by big government « Sago

Overdue, but welcome.

And also …

Vladimir Putin is reshaping the Middle East to fit Russia’s interests by adhering to fundamentals of international affairs that America’s foreign policy establishment sets aside in favor of what they deem sophistication. Unlike our “realists,” who start out compromising our interests with those of local allies, Putin is bending theirs to Russia’s. Unlike our liberal internationalists, who try to lead by giving power to local allies, Putin directs them in operations of his choice. Unlike our neoconservatives, who endlessly deploy force piecemeal, Putin uses it decisively.

The Wall Street Journalrecently fretted that Putin’s tank, plane, and artillery expeditionary force is empowering Iran as well as Syria’s Assad: “Russian planes can target anyone Assad deems an enemy.” No. They are targeting anyone who stands in the way of Russia’s objectives. That’s a big, big difference. Neither Assad, nor Iran, nor Iran’s Shia allies in what used to be Iraq have any reason to delude themselves that Putin’s assistance will take them any farther toward their own objectives than is absolutely necessary for Putin to achieve his own.

Putin’s objectives are obvious: to secure Russia’s naval base at Tartus, surrounded by a substantial enclave of Alewis rendered reliably reliant on Moscow and who will serve as its pied a terre on the Mediterranean shore, and crush all challenges thereto; and, since ISIS is the apex of the Sunni militancy also infecting Russia through the Caucasus, crush ISIS. Unlike our geniuses, Putin knows that the Assad regime, the Shia militias, and the Iranians are the only people who will hazard their lives to save the Alewis and to crush ISIS. So he is arming and organizing them. But he has no intention of trying to re-unite Syria under Assad, or to try to re-unite Iraq under the Shia, much less of seconding Iran in its Islamic world war against the Sunni.

Use, Don’t Deny, People’s Strongest Motives

Source: The Putin School Of International Affairs.

Simply the best I’ve read

Jeb Bush recently observed that America is “creeping toward multiculturalism” and called it “the wrong approach.” This unleashed the usual synthetic furies of the organized Left, ever ready to crush dissent on things that matter. This will not be the last time you will hear about this issue in the year to come.

The debate between assimilation and multiculturalism could very well be not just the sleeper issue of the 2016 campaign, but the current great question of the West. Our fights over immigration may be a cover for a more protracted deliberation over national identity—not just here, but in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and so on.

America’s identity is rooted in a unique culture that includes an exceptional attachment to constitutional government, volunteerism, and deriving satisfaction from a hard day’s labor—virtues intricately linked to America’s inordinate freedom and prosperity. The American public, sensing this connection at the all-important gut level, again and again tells pollsters they support the assimilation of immigrants; i.e., they not want their country to change.

Source: How To Know The Difference Between Multiculturalism And Assimilation.

Yep. And this:


One of the main reasons why I oppose the continued mass immigration of low-skilled workers is that little or no effort is being made to assimilate them. During our previous wave of mass immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, both immigrants and American officials understood that assimilation into American culture, most importantly learning to speak English, was required. Immigrant parents made great sacrifices so that their children would grow up speaking English, and thereby enjoy the opportunities available to those who can participate fully in America’s economy.

Source: Assimilation? Who Needs to Assimilate?


An Anniversary

berlinwall2_thumbNot only that but we missed it. twenty-five years ago on 3 October 1990, the Deutsche Demokratische Republik ceased to exist as the two pieces of Germany left over from World War Two reunited. You’ll remember that the French, British and American Zones had combined to form the Federal Republic of Germany, and to form the bulwark of NATO for all those years between 7 October 1949 and the end of the Cold war.

After the war the Russians had caused many disruptions between the two pieces of Germany, such as blocking treaty Guaranteed access to the western Zones in Berling, leading to the Berlin Airlift, where the city was supplied for most of a year by the US and Royal Air Forces. Ultimately to keep their people from escaping to the west, the Berlin Wall was built, and maintained until it fell in the fall of 1989, after at least 173 people had died trying to reach the west.

Great Satan’s Girlfriend reminds us

The Berlin Wall had fallen less than a year earlier, a dissolution that immediately — within 48 hours — saw 2 million people pour into the western-friendly West from the communist-supported East.Since then, a unified Germany has become a driving force in the European Union, as well as the region’s largest and most powerful economy and political voice. In recent months, Germany was a leader on the world stage over Greece’s debt situation and Europe’s swelling migrant crisis. Germany has offered to take in large numbers of Syrian and other refugees on a scale matched only by similarly left-leaning and liberal Sweden.There used to be considerable differences between the East and West: in life expectancy, productivity, joblessness, wages, skills, political affiliation and access to goods.The economies of Germany’s eastern states are still relatively weak compared to those in the western part of the country — where banks, carmakers and other major employers have their headquarters — but those gaps have steadily closed.

Continue reading Reunification Day.

In other news from Germany, The Daily Mail says

Four major car manufacturers were dragged into the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal last night after Government-funded research revealed that their engines are emitting toxic fumes at up to seven times the legal limit.

British researchers tested hundreds of new diesel cars on UK roads and found that popular brands including BMW, Ford, Mazda and Mercedes, as well as Volkswagen and Audi, all emitted levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) far higher than the limits required to pass European tests.

Last night, the researchers said the huge discrepancy between real-world diesel emissions and the legal limits set by the European Commission was ‘extremely concerning’ – and suggested that Volkswagen was not alone in finding ways to pass laboratory tests.

Like Maetenloch over at Ace’s, I wonder if anyone is meeting the NOx standards, or if they are even doable, it wouldn’t be the first time government demanded the impossible, or at least something that made the product essentially worthl;ess.


In a troubling and ‘totally unexpected’ development, Germany is have something of a rape epidemic, both in the refugee camps and amongst native German women and girls. What isn’t surprising is that it is being kept very quiet to avoid ‘anti-immigrant feelings’. I can’t help but wonder why the two things would be connected. /s

More here

The Texas Grocery Store that Helped Push the Evil Empire on to the Ash Heap of History | International Liberty

Heh! Yep, that’s how it always went.

The Houston Chronicle dug into its archives to produce a story about an incident that may have played a big role in history. It’s about a senior communist functionary who was exposed to a slice of capitalism.


Yeltsin visited mission control and a mock-up of a space station. According to Houston Chronicle reporter Stefanie Asin, it wasn’t all the screens, dials, and wonder at NASA that blew up his skirt, it was the unscheduled trip inside a nearby Randall’s location. Yeltsin, then 58, “roamed the aisles of Randall’s nodding his head in amazement,” wrote Asin. He told his fellow Russians in his entourage that if their people, who often must wait in line for most goods, saw the conditions of U.S. supermarkets, “there would be a revolution.” …In the Chronicle photos, you can see him marveling at the produce section, the fresh fish market, and the checkout counter. He looked especially excited about frozen pudding pops. “Even the Politburo doesn’t have this choice. Not even Mr. Gorbachev,” he said.

This random trip to a typical supermarket may have changed history.

About a year after the Russian leader left office, a Yeltsin biographer later wrote that on the plane ride to Yeltsin’s next destination, Miami, he was despondent. He couldn’t stop thinking about the plentiful food at the grocery store and what his countrymen had to subsist on in Russia. In Yeltsin’s own autobiography, he wrote about the experience at Randall’s, which shattered his view of communism, according to pundits. Two years later, he left the Communist Party and began making reforms to turn the economic tide in Russia. …“When I saw those shelves crammed with hundreds, thousands of cans, cartons and goods of every possible sort, for the first time I felt quite frankly sick with despair for the Soviet people,” Yeltsin wrote. “That such a potentially super-rich country as ours has been brought to a state of such poverty! It is terrible to think of it.”

Source: The Texas Grocery Store that Helped Push the Evil Empire on to the Ash Heap of History | International Liberty

Understand yet that no government bureaucrat know as well as you what you think is important? That is the basis of the free market; decide for yourself.

Elections Have Consequenses

BN-KN997_negas0_M_20150929190135Keep that in mind if you live in New England this winter. While you’re freezing in the dark because of high energy prices, the rest of us are enjoying some of the lowest prices in a generation,

Why? Quite simply because we like fracking, and gas pipelines, and you don’t. From the Wall Street Journal.

Natural gas is so abundant in much of the U.S. that producers want to export it overseas. But in New England, gas is so hard to get that companies are importing it from as far away as Yemen.

Natural gas is so abundant and cheap in much of the U.S. that producers want to export it overseas. Except in New England, where gas is so hard to get that companies are importing it from as far away as Yemen.

The U.S. shale boom that has produced a glut of gas—and helped lower many Americans’ home heating bills—has largely bypassed the energy-starved New England. Few pipelines are available to ferry gas from Pennsylvania and Ohio to Connecticut and Maine, and new lines proposed in the region won’t go into service until 2018, or later.

Gas plants currently supply 44% of New England’s electricity, up from just 18% in 2000. Consumers and businesses are also swapping their old furnaces that burn heating oil for newer models that run on gas.

So as the weather cools, problems loom.

When brutal cold hits this winter, energy prices will soar. In Massachusetts, the residential gas price was $14 per thousand cubic feet last January, more than 50% above the national average, according to the U.S. Energy Department. At nearly 21 cents a kilowatt-hour, average first-quarter home electricity prices in New England were two-thirds higher than the U.S. average, federal data show.

Source: In New England, Shale Gas Is Hard to Get – WSJ

Oh, and it’s supposed to be snowier and colder than normal this year, so you can’t even count on global warming to keep your butt warm.


Why Our Commanders Look The Other Way During Child Rape

w7044This is important

The revelation that our generals expect Americans solders to allow screaming young boys to be sodomized and not stop it is simply the latest manifestation of the utter moral bankruptcy infecting the senior ranks of the U.S. military.

The problems with America’s military—which has now failed to win three wars in a row against backward fanatics whom the nineteenth-century Brits would have handily dispatched to hell in time for tea—are not merely budgetary. You can’t buy real leaders, leaders with strategic competence and moral courage. Aging equipment, while a problem, is nothing compared to the incompetence and moral cowardice of our military’s senior leaders.

Note the term “moral cowardice.” Many of these generals are decorated combat veterans who would gleefully charge an enemy machine-gun nest. But that physical courage in the face of the enemy does not translate into moral courage in the face of politicians and social justice warriors. It’s disheartening to see officers with Combat Infantryman badges and silver stars sheepishly nodding along with the lies of the coddled liberal elite.

There are fine generals—I served under many. But enough are not that the ranks are demoralized and the best and brightest future leaders are abandoning military careers, not because they don’t want to serve, but because they know it will be difficult to succeed unless they likewise abandon the principles that propelled them toward service in the first place.

You Can’t Just Blame Obama

It would be too easy to blame Barack Obama. As commander in chief, he is responsible for everything those under his command do or fail to do, and his political agendas and bizarre social engineering priorities, enacted by the eager band of loyalists he has promoted into the senior ranks over more capable warriors, have little to do with fighting and winning. Without a media interested in holding him to account for the dreadful performance of the military since his inauguration, Obama has a free ride.

Source: Why Our Commanders Look The Other Way During Child Rape

That follows from one of the themes we have always spoken of here: personal responsibility.

But, lest you think I’m simply enunciating a diatribe against the top echelon of our officer corp, I’m not. It’s endemic in our society. It applies to every electrician who says “it’s in the plan”, to every person who says “it’s not my job”, to every person who sees a problem and walks away. It’s the reason we have safety rules that protect idiots while making the actual job nearly impossible.

In business we call it careerism, it’s what happens when we look at a problem and decide it might mess up our promotion, if we try to fix a problem, or horrors, someone might accuse us of political incorrectness. You know like saying women are not the same as men (not inferior, they’re not, just different). Political correctness is very often the enemy of common sense. The important thing to remember is that common sense once was common because it is objectively correct, even if it hurts someone’s feelings.

In the church, it’s often called clericalism, and it is both pernicious and corrosive. Trying to live correctly according to God’s will is difficult enough with good guidance from the clergy, it’s nearly impossible if said clergy is trying above all to keep their job, not doing their job.

When I was young and around some military guys, they called it “seeing stars in your eyes” (and on your shoulders). From what they said it most often happened to colonels (and sadly even more often to those colonel’s wives). It did not, let us say, contribute to good order and discipline, for all the reasons that Kurt and I have both said. The difference in the military is that it literally can (and often does) cost lives. it seems to me that it has moved up the rank structure now, it seems to be a persistent infection of the flag ranks, which is also true in business. I’m not saying there is no reason for it, one merely needs to look at Brendan Eich to understand that.

But in our system, it is too important to leave untreated, in any area, and we are not treating it; in the military, in business, in the church, or academia, or anywhere, really.

And until we do, we will not progress. And think about this, as well, as you start to think about who you support for president, in either party. Much of the cure is always leadership, there are good people out there, but they can easily run on the rocks in a culture that usually denigrates telling it like it is, rather than what we wish it was.

Kipling: Norman and Saxon A.D. 1100


The Unit commented the other day that Jess’ influence on me was pretty obvious. He’s right, it is, and its all to the good, I suspect. I also notice that many of you go back into our archives to read her articles. (I do too!). I’ve decided we should share some of those articles, which are favorites of mine (and yours) once again on the front page. Enjoy! (Neo)

Of all the poets who have ever written about England and Englishness, Kipling did it best.  There are many poems one could choose to illustrate the theme that Neo and I are dealing with, but this is one of my favourites. I think it should be on the wall of Congress and Parliament:

“My son,” said the Norman Baron, “I am dying, and you will
be heir
To all the broad acres in England that William gave me for
When he conquered the Saxon at Hastings, and a nice little
handful it is.
But before you go over to rule it I want you to understand this:–

“The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice
When he stands like an ox in the furrow–with his sullen set eyes
on your own,
And grumbles, ‘This isn’t fair dealing,’ my son, leave the Saxon

“You can horsewhip your Gascony archers, or torture your
Picardy spears;
But don’t try that game on the Saxon; you’ll have the whole
brood round your ears.
From the richest old Thane in the county to the poorest chained
serf in the field,
They’ll be at you and on you like hornets, and, if you are wise,
you  will  yield.

“But first you must master their language, their dialect, proverbs
and songs.
Don’t trust any clerk to interpret when they come with the tale
of their own wrongs.
Let them know that you know what they are saying; let them feel
that you know what to say.
Yes, even when you want to go hunting, hear ’em out if it takes
you all day.

They’ll drink every hour of the daylight and poach every hour
of the dark.
It’s the sport not the rabbits they’re after (we’ve plenty of game
in the park).
Don’t hang them or cut off their fingers. That’s wasteful as well
as unkind,
For a hard-bitten, South-country poacher makes the best man-
at-arms you can find.

“Appear with your wife and the children at their weddings and
funerals and feasts.
Be polite but not friendly to Bishops; be good to all poor parish
Say ‘we,’ ‘us’ and ‘ours’ when you’re talking, instead of ‘you
fellows’  and  ‘I.’
Don’t ride over seeds; keep your temper; and never you tell ’em
a lie!”

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