TSA: Terrorists Seeking Access

This illustration is an older report, from a Congressional Committee. But its title never goes out of style.

This illustration is an older report, from a Congressional Committee. But its title never goes out of style.

You know, I could just about, maybe, kind of, sort of, understand the unwarranted, and unwarrantable intrusions into our persons and possessions of the TSA, if they had any record at all of reducing terrorism. The thing is, they don’t. It’s pure theater of the absurd, the only purpose of which is evident, is to cow the people into submission. I first saw this at the Powerline Blog, which had something to do with bringing it to light. But I like this write up better, I’m becoming weary of calm civilized tones on this.

Remember when the bozos in DC redefined the mission of NASA as “Moslem outreach?” That was pretty weird — they’re alien, but notthat kind. But if you were wondering whether an agency ever could top that for Mecca-facing featherbrained imbecility, wonder no more. And you know what agency did it.

No one good, decent, honest, competent, moral, ethical or intelligent has ever been employed at the TSA in any capacity whatsoever.

The latest outrage that these no-good, indecent, dishonest, incompetent, immoral, unethical and unintelligent payroll patriots have inflicted on us, actually took place in 2014 and 2015 and has been previously reported: special guided tours of security areas and procedures, exclusively for… Somali Moslems. It’s back in the news because Judicial Watch finally pried the documents loose with a FOIA request, and they’re pretty bad.JW summarizes:

On at least two occasions—December 18, 2014 and February 18, 2015—federal authorities granted the unprecedented excursions of the facility’s sterile and secure areas, according to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) records obtained by Judicial Watch. The DHS agency that conducted the expeditions, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), provided the Muslim participants with “an in-depth, on-site tour and discussion of CBP’s airport, including both inbound and outbound passenger processing,” the TSA files state. Besides multiple roundtable meetings between CBP and Somali community leaders including imams, the records show that a luncheon and “cultural exchange and educational brief” also took place between December 2014 and February 2015 so that attendees could ask about the agency’s “specific practices” at the airport.

The roundtable events and airport tours were organized by Abdirizak Farah, who is identified in the records as a policy advisor in the DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL). Farah joined DHS in 2010 with an annual salary of $89,033 and by 2015 his yearly pay increased to $130,453, according to a government database. The TSA’s “Somali liaison officer” in Minneapolis, Andrew Rhoades, told Judicial Watch that the special airport tours were organized for Somali Muslims after they complained to Johnson that they felt “harassed and profiled” by CBP at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. The DHS secretary had “a sympathetic ear to that,” Rhoades said, adding that no other group has been granted such airport access by DHS. “Now, I will say we’ve never done that, or we don’t do that, to let’s say the Hmong community living here in Minneapolis, uh, the Christian community, the Catholic community, the Irish… whatever you want to call it. This has been the only one,” Rhoades said.

Read the whole thing™ here: TSA: Terrorists Seeking Access | WeaponsMan

Spin Cycle

As always, a heaping helping of truth.

 

This is the truth, whatever one thinks about Donald Trump.

Update on the Zika Plague

AlgerianWomanDDT1943_0Well, it’s almost time for the Olympics, at ground zero of the Zika outbreak, amidst the chaos and clutter, and perhaps the danger of a corrupt third world city, and its effects: unfinished and unsafe, or as the Australians said, unlivable buildings, corrupt government, out of control police. To the point that the nations are no longer sending their best, they’re sending those willing to risk their lives. But the Brazilian politicians and their buddies got rich, and will get richer, to the envy of their counterparts in Chicago.

Usually, I’m fairly blasé about the various health scares that we hear about, the various types of flu, and all that. Most strike me as a way to control the population, or make money, or something along that line. Zika is apparently different. It seems the boy really did see a wolf this time. Gene Veith over at Cranach tells us.

The Center for Disease Control has issued a travel advisory warning people to stay away from Miami’s Wynwood district, an artsy area where the particular mosquito that carries the Zika virus is resisting efforts at eradication.  Fifteen people in the district have come down with Zika, which causes birth-defects in new-born babies.  This is the first time that the CDC has issued a travel advisory for the United States.

Scientists have proven the direct link between the virus and micro-encephaly, or extra small heads in babies.

via Update on the Zika plague

And his linked article from the AP says this:

MIAMI (AP) — The mosquitoes spreading Zika in Miami are proving harder to eradicate than expected, the nation’s top disease-fighter said Tuesday as authorities sprayed clouds of insecticide in the ground-zero neighborhood, emptied kiddie pools and handed out cans of insect repellent to the homeless.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the mosquito-control efforts in the bustling urban neighborhood aren’t achieving the hoped-for results, suggesting the pests are resistant to the insecticides or are still finding standing water in which to breed.

“We’re not seeing the number of mosquitoes come down as rapidly as we would have liked,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Mosquito control experts said that’s no surprise to them, describing the Aedes aegypti mosquito as a “little ninja” capable of hiding in tiny crevices, sneaking up on people’s ankles, and breeding in just a bottle cap of standing water.

Fifteen people have become infected with Zika in Miami’s Wynwood arts district, officials said Tuesday. These are believed to be the first mosquito-transmitted cases in the mainland U.S., which has been girding for months against the epidemic coursing through Latin America and the Caribbean. […]

“We have to totally rethink mosquito control for Aedes aegypti,” Doyle said. “It’s like a little ninja. It’s always hiding.”

Frieden complained that in the U.S., “we really dismantled the mosquito monitoring and control infrastructure over the past few decades.”

The result: “We have blind spots where we don’t know where the mosquito populations are and what the susceptibility is to different insecticides,” the CDC director said.

The U.S. government might have underestimated how difficult it would be to control Zika’s spread, said University of Florida public health researcher Ira Longini.

But he also said there aren’t enough of the disease-transmitting mosquitoes living in and around houses to cause long-term or widespread outbreaks in this country.

“In defense of the CDC and the government, it’s a difficult problem to solve,” he said.

via ‘Little ninja’: Zika-spreading mosquito puts up tough fight

Which is, of course, pretty much self-serving poppycock. This country, back in the 50s and 60s managed to eradicate malaria, itself and go far towards eliminating it in the world. Not many remember that, but we did, and yes, it was wonderful to play in the backyard without mosquitos, back in that long-lost golden age. Bet it would have worked just as well on this particular brand of mosquitos, as well.

But it won’t happen. Why? Because we banned that insecticide, based on unproven accusations, from essentially one author. It’s quite possible, of course, that we were over-using it, especially in agriculture. But it should also be remembered that it was responsible for preventing many outbreaks of typhus, malaria, and yellow fever, during and after World War Two.

What was this wonder chemical? Dichloro diphenyl trichloroethane (DDT). And more than anyone else, we can blame Rachel Carson and her book, Silent Spring, for every case of zika, malaria, and typhus that occurs now.

No wonder the Luddite left considers her a hero.

The Immorality of Guaranteeing Minimum Standards of Living

184I’ve had times over the years when I thought Erick Erickson was the greatest thing since canned beer, and I’ve had times when I swore he burned down the brewery. Life is like that, we don’t always agree, and we got where we are by different routes. But the other day he wrote about the so-called living wage that the Democrats prattled on about last week. He’s completely right and here’s an excerpt.

The Democrats have discovered a new right. It is the right of people to live a certain lifestyle at a certain income if people work forty hours a week.

It sounds like a wonderful idea. Why shouldn’t Americans be guaranteed a certain level of income for hard work? If you disagree with the idea, you might just be a cruel and heartless person. Well, put me in the cruel and heartless camp. The bumper sticker idea will have long range and terrible consequences.

First, life is not fair. The Democrats are championing this idea to gloss over the fact that their ideas have caused economic stagnation. Instead of allowing the private sector to thrive, they just want to raise taxes from the successful and give to those who are not successful. But life is inherently not fair. Some people will always have better jobs and some people will make better life choices.

Second, this is welfare disguised. By the 1990s — when Bill Clinton was president — we learned that some people could get comfortable living on a welfare check and checked out of work. Their children spiraled into a cycle of dependency and poverty. In Genesis, God put Adam and Eve to work in the garden. There is something soul nourishing about work. When we all get to Heaven we will all have jobs. Getting people comfortable not working sucks their souls away and destroys their families.

But putting people to work and guaranteeing them a lifestyle does much the same. It encourages complacency and saps the desire to get ahead for many people.

via The Immorality of Guaranteeing Minimum Standards of Living | The Resurgent

Boy, he said a mouthful there. If you’re willing to pay people enough to live somewhat comfortably without working, people are willing to not work. Well, Duh, who’d a thunk it!

Along the same line, know what else doesn’t work? Pricing labor above its level. Steven Hayward found a report that the City of Seattle commissioned on how their new $11/ hour minimum wage is working out.

So it’s fun to notice this morning that the city of Seattle, which threw out both shoulders patting itself on the back for raising its minimum age to $11 an hour last year, is finding the results are . . . not so good. Seattle commissioned a study by a group of economists, who reported in a few days ago:

Yet the actual benefits to workers might have been minimal, according to a group of economists whom the city commissioned to study the minimum wage and who presented their initial findings last week.

The average hourly wage for workers affected by the increase jumped from $9.96 to $11.14, but wages likely would have increased some anyway due to Seattle’s overall economy. Meanwhile, although workers were earning more, fewer of them had a job than would have without an increase. Those who did work had fewer hours than they would have without the wage hike.

Accounting for these factors, the average increase in total earnings due to the minimum wage was small, the researchers concluded. Using their preferred method, they calculated that workers’ earnings increased by $5.54 a week on average because of the minimum wage. Using other methods, the researchers found that the minimum wage hike actually caused total weekly earnings to drop — by as much as $5.22 a week. . .

If employers cannot stay in business while paying their staff more, they will either hire fewer people or give their workers fewer hours. As a result, even if wages per hour increase, workers’ total earnings could decline. . .

They attributed a wage increase of about $0.73 an hour for low-income workers to the minimum wage, and another $0.45 an hour to the improving economy. After the increase, Seattle’s workers got about seven more hours in a quarter. Workers’ hours increased even more in other parts of the state, however, leading the researchers to conclude that the minimum wage reduced the number of hours worked quarterly by 3.2, roughly 15 minutes each week.

Those figures do not include workers without jobs. The economists estimated that the minimum wage decreased the share of workers with jobs by about 1.2 percentage points.

As Glenn Reynolds likes to say: Unexpectedly!TM

via: Minimum Wage, Maximum Ignorance

Unexpectedly™, indeed. Unexpectedly,™ every conservative and every economist who said this would happen, was right still again.

Unexpectedly™ still again who did the liberals, Democrats, and media (Yes, I know, I repeated myself twice there) hurt the most?

Why, of course, the poor and the jobless, it’s what they do best!

Unexpectedly! ™

Gays, the Left, Terrorism, and a bit on Oil

w1056We’ve been talking most of the week about gays and conservatives, in a political context. You can find those articles here, here, and here. And yes, I am always very grateful when Jessica chimes in on these matters, I’m an old fuddy-duddy sometimes and a younger (and female, not to mention British) perspective helps quite a lot.

As Jessica said the other day, we are not discussing this as a religious matter. The US, particularly, long ago decided that while most of our citizens are Christians, and a plurality quite strong ones, our government is, and was meant to be, secular, although Christian belief and principles lie at its heart.

Not the least of these is the right to worship (or not worship) as you please. That’s one reason it’s quite difficult for me, and hopefully for many of you to consider Islam as our enemy. They have just as much right to worship Allah, as we have our triune God, or for that matter, as many of our citizens do, to worship ‘the God’s of the Marketplace’.

Radical Islamists are another story, however. They have indisputably (unless you’re a leftist, I guess) made it clear that they are an enemy of our culture. If we are wise, we will recognize both that they are, and act on it. Yes, the world is a complicated place, and not prone to useful over-simplification very often.

The ad that leads this article makes a valid point. I found it both funny and profound, and I found the leftist hysteria that resulted from it even funnier. I haven’t heard even the most radical Christian say that we should be killing gays, have you? Didn’t think so. And that is the difference between Christian and radical Islamist – they do so advocate, and they do so act.

That leaves the question hanging as to why the left insists on propping up the Saudi (and other) fundamentalist Islamic regimes. Canada and the United States have it within our power to impoverish all of these states, to the point they would go back to being the irrelevant hellholes they were when the United States was founded. And make a profit doing it, just like we did with the Soviets.

In fact, the very people that first protested that ad were exactly the same people who killed the Keystone Pipeline. Leaves me wondering if they are simply against progress or against western civilization. Wonder if Jane Kleeb would like to answer that question, since it has cost our joint state of Nebraska several million dollars, just in the construction phase.

So, I can only conclude that those people consider it perfectly fine to kill gays, and support radical Islamists. After all, where I grew up, actions speak louder than words. Of course, as Jessica said the other day, leftists think of various groups as ‘brands’ (check out those WikiLeaks emails for more on this) and like some other mass marketers will say one thing to one group and quite the opposite to another. That’s why for those of us who pay attention, they long ago lost any credibility they ever had. Not the first brand to kill itself off that way, and I doubt it will be the last either.

Of course, none of this is new for the left, in either Britain or America (likely in all of Europe, but I don’t know as much about that). Radical Islam is hardly the first mass-murderer that the left has made an icon of, witness Castro’s executioner, Che Guevara, who the left has made an icon out of, as well as others. Here, find out a bit more about him, and see if you think he is an appropriate hero for anybody who values life, let alone freedom. Hat tip to The Daly Gator.

You’ll excuse me while I wash my mind of the thought of who some of my countrymen think are heroes.

Special Favors For Businesses Don’t Benefit Taxpayers

shutterstock_439358455Interesting story here.

This election cycle has stunned even the most seasoned political prognosticators. Voters are clearly fed up with the “Washington Way,” lashing out like never before. If voters truly want to shake up the political landscape, they should start by demanding separation between big government and big business.

Corporate favoritism is when government takes taxpayer money and gives it to big businesses in the form of handouts, a practice that is rampant in America. Almost every day of the year, you can find a story about government at some level—be it federal, state, or local—doling out hardworking taxpayers’ money to a big corporation. The aim is to convince that company to relocate to, expand, or simply stay in their area. Some have coined this “press release economics,” where politicians cut ribbons and deliver statements about the jobs they are creating with these handouts.

But the consequences of corporate favoritism are dire. Since 2005, Tennessee taxpayers have handed over $1.75 billion to big businesses via handouts. All too often, corporate favoritism lines the pockets of millionaires with the tax dollars of the middle class. But most Americans would agree a company’s success should rely on what good or service it provides, not who its executives know.

These corporate handouts also mean we have less money for true government services. Every dollar forked over to a massive company is one less dollar that can be invested in maintaining our roads, educating our children, or keeping the public safe. It’s not the role of government to prop up large businesses with taxpayer money, yet more and more dollars are being redirected from other government services to do just that.

Every dollar forked over to a massive company is one less dollar that can be invested in maintaining our roads, educating our children, or keeping the public safe.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, sometimes those big businesses even take the money and run. We all remember Solyndra, a name that has become synonymous with failed corporate bailouts. In 2009 the solar company misled the federal government to obtain more than half-a-billion in federal stimulus grants, only to go belly-up two years later.

via Special Favors For Businesses Don’t Benefit Taxpayers

All true, and indeed it’s always been true to some extent, at least as long as there has been big business. Not that it is entirely their fault, as someone said during the Credit Mobliér scandal in the nineteenth century, we paid the bribes but we aren’t the ones that accepted them.

But just how widespread is this bad, antithetical, and anticompetitive practice? Well, James Bessen has some information on that, and a chart.

Profits are up. …is it good news for society?

…the rise in profits might represent a decline in…economic dynamism. …Firms engage in political “rent seeking”—lobbying for regulations that provide them sheltered markets—rather than competing on innovation. If so, then high profits portend diminished productivity growth. …In a new research paper, I tease apart the factors associated with the growth in corporate valuations.

I find that investments in conventional capital assets like machinery and spending on R&D together account for a substantial part of the rise in valuations and profits, especially during the 1990s. However, since 2000, political activity and regulation account for a surprisingly large share of the increase.

I find that investments in conventional capital assets like machinery and spending on R&D together account for a substantial part of the rise in valuations and profits, especially during the 1990s. However, since 2000, political activity and regulation account for a surprisingly large share of the increase.

[And the chart]

w1056

via: A Very Depressing Chart on Creeping Cronyism in the American Economy

How’s that for depressing, corporate America is making nearly as much money, playing the regulatory system, as they are from using their own money. And this is nearly part of the damage. A lot of what they do in the regulatory system is to use the government to stifle competition. We’ve said many times, and if you have any sense, you know it as well, that a large elephantine corporation can’t change direction quickly enough to respond to a dynamic market. But if they can use the government (and their guns) to suppress competition, it no longer matters. But the lost profits to the suppressed companies, and whatever they might have done with the profits (which we simply can’t quantify) are completely lost to us.

And so we have a triple loser here, from the standpoint of the individual taxpayer.

  1. We have the wasted tax dollars (like Solyndra)
  2. We have unresponsive, too big to fail corporations (yes, banks as well)
  3. We lose whatever products and payroll those other competitors (who were suppressed) might have provided.

Hard to see how we taxpayers could get a worse deal, it would literally be better for us, if they burned $100 bill to heat the capitol.

%d bloggers like this: