We’re Doomed, Doomed I Tell You.

From Philly.com

Seventeen years after the Year 2000 bug came and went, the federal government will finally stop preparing for it.

The Trump administration announced Thursday that it would eliminate dozens of paperwork requirements for federal agencies, including an obscure rule that requires them to continue providing updates on their preparedness for a bug that many feared would afflict computers at the turn of the century.

The Pentagon will also be freed from a requirement that it file a report every time a small business vendor is paid, a task that consumed about 1,200 man-hours every year.

“We’re looking for stuff everyone agrees is a complete waste of time,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters at the White House. He likened the move to the government “cleaning out our closets.”

Deregulation is a major ambition of President Trump’s agenda; he has signed more laws rolling back his predecessor’s regulations than the combined total of the three previous presidents since the process was established by the 1999 Congressional Review Act.

Seven of the more than 50 paperwork requirements the White House eliminated on Thursday dealt with the Y2K bug, according to a memo OMB released. Officials at the agency estimate the changes could save tens of thousands of man-hours across the federal government.

Yeah, it’s a silly story, but you know, its something that happens in all organizations. We get in habits, and no matter how irrelevant, we keep on, keepin’ on. Most of the time, it does little to no harm and might build respect for tradition, but in large part, it’s kind of silly. As Doug Powers said.

The people working in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Horse & Buggy Administration are feeling a little nervous about their jobs right now.

In other news, all from Powerline, this time.

But one is far superior

Of Course

 

 

 

Grenfell Tower

So let’s try to unpack this horror a bit, shall we? I happened to watch it almost in real time (on Sky) and I was appalled as it went up. As I said yesterday, it reminded me of the WTC more than anything – essentially all the heroism in the world from the emergency services (and they were, as always) of very little utility, the effects were more like the actions of a particularly malevolent god than anything else.

The best general write up I’ve read as to underlying causes was, not surprisingly on The Conservative Woman. In the immense comment stream, it degenerates a bit into partisan backbiting. Well, what doesn’t these days?

But here’s what I think I know.

  • It’s a high rise (24 stories) with one staircase and two elevators. Not uncommon, there or here, but one must always remember that once you get past roughly 10 floors the fire department is restricted to internal access. 150 feet is about all mobile equipment can reach.
  • Supposedly it was constructed to contain fire, reinforced concrete construction, fire doors and such. Normal stuff, not all that expensive, usually effective. Failed here.
  • A cladding was applied to the building, for appearance and insulation. Some reports say it was not fire resistant. It’s possible it wasn’t, but apply enough heat and almost anything will burn. What appeared to happen here is that fire got behind the cladding and into the insulation. I’ve heard that insulation described as Celotex (may or may not be true), but almost all insulation will either burn or melt, and if it does behind the cladding, it will form a flue (much like a chimney) and heat will rise very quickly feeding the flames. That is what the fire looked like on TV.
  • No sprinklers. May or may not have mattered in the public spaces. Which is all that is usually required. If they had been installed in the apartments may well have contained it, and most also have an automatic alarm, both local and fire department, which would help. Apparently, this building grandfathered the requirement, but best practice would have seen them installed.
  • No (or inaudible) local fire alarm. Inexcusable, in my mind at least.
  • Open windows. England has little air conditioning, and none here, so windows were open, increasing draft for the fire. Well, not really a lot you can do about that.
  • Lots of immigrants in the building. Not a big deal, maybe, but cultural practices do matter. May have been lots of flammable artifacts about, prayer rugs, this, that, and the other. I have also seen immigrants here cooking over open flames (improvised firepits and such) very dangerous in a multi-story building. Don’t know, but might be worth looking at. Also were firedoors kept shut? Canada, for instance, requires that the door to a connected garage have an self-closing mechanism.
  • One that will surprise Americans. There are reports of an exploding refrigerator. That’s something that just doesn’t happen here. Why? Because we use CFCs for refrigerants. If they leak and burn, they can cause phosgene poisoning, but the systems are sealed and pretty much bulletproof. Never, not once, in the last 50 years have I heard of a problem. Europe is different. They use Isobutane, essentially what we call LP gas. Yeah, the same stuff that we use in our barbecue grills, and sometimes stoves and furnaces where natural gas is not available. I won’t have it in my house for any reason, not least because, unlike natural gas, it is heavier than air and will accumulate, and a very small spark (static electricity from a woolen rug, say) can set it off. The other thing is, it’s a small molecule (unlike CFCs) and much harder to seal permanently. LP is every bit as flammable as acetylene that is used for welding, in fact, Oxy-propane is very often used for cutting torches because it burns hotter. Now get a leak in your refrigerator, and a spark in the thermostat, and you have an explosion, and not a small one. Why do they do this? Because the EU has banned CFCs for environmental reasons (we’ve changed our formulations too. The new ones aren’t as effective, but less damaging to the ozone layer).¹

Overall, this was a systemic failure, old Murphy was working overtime. The problems just piled one on the other, and as a result, likely more than a hundred people are dead and died horribly. If I understand the building was council owned (rather like an overpowered city council combined with the zoning board) and managed by a (no doubt connected) non-profit. Strikes me as plenty of room for corruption to sneak in as well, although I have no proof of anything like that. But the one thing we know about bureaucrats is that they can almost never be forced to take responsibility for anything. I doubt anything different than that here.

And yes, the pseudo pious virtue signaling, blame passing, and all those games have already started. Not to mention the wingeing about how we don’t have enough money.

¹ ISOBUTANE

Narratives and Terrorism

London police chief Cressida Dick

This is rather bizarre

London Police commissioner says nationalities of eight London Bridge victims tell a proud story of city’s diversity https://t.co/9msx7b7s4Spic.twitter.com/euPEDQknTM

— ABC News (@ABC) June 10, 2017

And yet, they weren’t particularly diverse, they were all from either Europe or the Anglosphere. London is lots more diverse than that. And everybody is aware that London is a world city, indeed it is the oldest of them, going well back into the nineteenth century.

“It’s desperately sad and poignant but among those who died is someone who’s British, there are French, Australian, Canadian, Spanish,” Cressida Dick told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday.

“In terms of our witnesses that we’ve spoken to so far, out of the 300-odd people, there are about 20 different countries of origin. And the London British population comes from all kinds of backgrounds and every kind of faith and ethnicity.”

She said longtime Londoners value this international aspect of the British capital.

“We believe of course that that’s what makes our city so great,” she said. “It’s a place where the vast majority of time it’s incredibly integrated and that diversity gives us strength.”

This is one of those times that what is getting reported is not exactly untrue, but so mundane as to be, “Well, so what?”

What Commissioner Dick did not report on, however, is the diversity of the attackers. Why? I have no idea, maybe because there was none. They like just about every known wolf attack in the last decade or so, were radical Islamists. But it is not PC to say so, so the British authorities won’t. Which has much to do with their inability to stop these attacks. How does one fight something one is afraid to identify. Well, one could establish a proxy.

This is the mayor of London

As always – give me more money. I dislike agreeing with Piers Morgan but he’s right, “What is more important?”

This maybe?

Priorities, don’t you know. Can’t be offending the Muslims, now the Christians that’s an entirely different matter, just ask the DUP.

Tom Blumer has a bit to add:

Sadly, almost no one in the press dares to observe the utter lack of diversity among terrorist attackers. As has almost invariably been the case since 9/11, those who carried out the two most recent UK attacks were Muslims with a jihadist mindset. That combination has proven itself to be the greatest current enemy of genuine diversity and ethnic and cultural camaraderie on earth.

Regarding the Manchester Arena bombing on May 22, which at last count has left 23 victims dead and 119 injured (23 critically), the facts are these:

  • The UK Telegraphreported that“Manchester bomber Salman Abedi took his twisted revenge out of ‘love for Islam’ after being radicalised by (an) Isil (Islamic State) preacher.”
  • 22 others were ultimately detained after the attack, but they were released without charges Sunday morning.
  • On May 24, the BBC described“a triangle of Islamist-jihadist connections between Manchester, Libya and Syria” which also may have influenced Abedi, even if one takes the unlikely view that he acted totally alone without anyone else having the first clue as to what he was up to.

Concerning the June 3 London Bridge attack, which at last count has left 8 victims dead and 48 injured (21 critically):

  • Attackers Khuram Shazad Butt, Rachid Redouane, and Youssef Zaghba first “mounted the pavement at London Bridge and ploughed into pedestrians, knocking them down like skittles.” Then, after leaving the vehicle, they “began attacking passersby,” and “shouted ‘this is for Allah’, as they stabbed indiscriminately.”
  • 19 others have been arrested in connection with the attack, but 12 have already been released without charges.

Instead of uncritically taking dictation from London’s police chief, reporters like the AP’s Katz might consider looking into whether the quick releases of most of those arrested after these two attacks indicate that post-attack police “roundups” really represent a form of street theater designed to make it appear as if officials are accomplishing something when they really aren’t.

Returning to the main theme, there’s not a lot of precious “diversity” among the attackers because those involved never got the memo that there’s nothing wrong with racial and ethnic “diversity” in a society as long as its members buy into that society’s fundamental values.

The reason they never got the memo is that it hasn’t been sent to new arrivals in the UK and many other western nations for years.

To be honest, until we are willing to again send that memo, and enforce it. This is how life is going to be in the West.

 

Catching Up

‘She reports, we decide she’s hot’

Well, we’ve been a bit British heavy this week, no apologies, for two reasons, it has been an important week there, and you all kept reading. But some other stuff has been going on, so let’s play a bit of catch-up. First and least important Meghan Kelly had her debut on NBC, I didn’t watch but it sounds like her interview with Putin didn’t go well. Imagine that! Why is it here, I needed a picture for the post, most of the rest don’t lend themselves to that. Too bad, back in Obama’s first term, when she was working hard on being a reporter, she was a good one.

Qatar got itself isolated from its neighbors for its support of Iran, Russia, and terrorism. Ace had the best write up I saw.

First of all, though there’s some recent news which seems to be sparking this — leaked documents showing cooperation between the UAE and Israel, leaked documents showing Qatar cozying up to Russia — in fact, those are just shots being fired in an information operation war that has been going on for years. Those are not the cause of the tensions, just the recent signs that the Gulf States are no longer willing to paper over its problems with Qatar.

Although states like Saudi Arabia are frequently charged with inciting terrorism or permitting their citizens to fund terrorism, they are, at least officially, anti-terrorist-uprising/anti-Islamist-takeover, if only for reasons of self-preservation. States that align against destablilization by Islamists are Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait.

And Egypt, which was briefly given to the Islamists, gift-wrapped by Barack Obama.

Also Jordan, a fairly friendly country, and also, kind of secretly, Israel. The Gulf States do not openly brag about their cooperation with Israel, and Israel keeps it quiet so as not to embarrass them, but Israel is a quiet secret partner against the Islamists.

Meanwhile, there’s a pro-Islamist slate of powers in the region: the once secular, now Islamist Turkey, the Mohammad Brotherhood (not an official power, but can’t say Obama didn’t try), and… Qatar, which openly supports Islamist movements itself, and propagandizes for them through its Al Jazeera network.

Meanwhile, not only is Qatar funding and fueling Sunni Islamist movements, but they’re also cozying up to Obama’s favorite country Iran, against which most of the Sunni Muslim world is allied.

You can expect to hear more pro-Qatar propaganda from the usual sources, Anti- Saudi too, of course.


Connected maybe, or maybe not, there was a terrorist attack in Tehran this week. At the shrine to Khomeini, and at the the parliament. You remember Khomeini, of course, he was the terrorist that with Carter’s help toppled the Shah, leading to the hostage crisis, that destroyed Carter’s presidency and helped give us Reagan. From Powerline.

What seems surprising is that ISIS (or some other terrorist group) was able to carry out successful attacks in the heart of the ayatollahs’ police state. As the Post notes, security forces are deployed at prominent sites, and Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps maintains a vast network of informants and allies around the country.

The security forces apparently weren’t up to the job. The attackers reportedly entered the parliament building through the main entrance. Their siege lasted more than an hour. Moreover, according to the New York Times, one attacker left the building an hour into the siege, “ran around shooting on Tehran’s streets,” and then returned.

Perhaps the regime has become complacent given its success in taming the population. Perhaps it’s just extremely difficult to prevent these kinds of attacks even in a police state.

The regime, which must be hugely embarrassed, has responded, predictably, by blaming the U.S. and the Saudis. The Revolutionary Guard stated:

The public opinion of the world, especially Iran, recognizes this terrorist attack — which took place a week after a joint meeting of the U.S. president and the head of one of the region’s backward governments, which constantly supports fundamentalist terrorists — as very significant.

Taking a rather different line, and displaying characteristic indifference to human life, Ayatollah Khamenei characterized the attack as the setting off “firecrackers.”

Best part of the response was President Trump’s statement:

We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times. We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.

Perfect.


Former director (and current weasel) James Comey testified before the Senate this week. Seems like he might have told something resembling the truth (for a change). In any case, he more or less confirmed what Trump has been saying, and destroyed any number of fake news stories. I tried to watch, but got bored, and went back to British election news. Which is still continuing to rumble about, where it’ll come out, I doubt anybody really knows. Maybe we’ll find out next week, the Brexit negotiations start soon, so they have to get a move on. [Added] I just heard (on Sky) that her joint chiefs of staff, a couple of young American style advisors have resigned. If I got it right, these are the two fools who wrote that insane manifesto.

You Had One Job

Sometimes, no matter your job title, you really have just one job. Theresa May was selected as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to execute Brexit, and that was what was expected. I like Mrs. May, then and now. I think she is a steady, dependable woman. But I also think she may a bit detail obsessed, it’s a fault many share.

She decided a few weeks ago she needed a bigger majority in Parliament to carry out Brexit properly. It made a fair amount of sense, the Tories have a lot of ‘Remainers’ and maybe she could weed a few out while increasing the majority. So OK.

But why in the hell, during the campaign were we talking about a Dementia Tax, or, of all the useless distractions, fox hunting, why the stupid slogans, let alone the American style presidential conceits, ‘Team May’ and ‘Theresa’s local candidates’, (we might have some lessons to teach, but the hubris of our Presidential candidates is about the worst thing one can pick up from us.) Why issue a manifesto written by a cabal, that your government hasn’t agreed to, especially one that will cause you to have to make a U-turn. ‘Strong and Stable’? Hardly. More like Hubris meet Nemesis.

And then you suffer a couple of Islamic terrorist attacks, and you let an opponent (who spent a considerable portion of his career supporting the IRA, Hamas, and Hezbollah) take the initiative because you once perhaps cut the number of police.

Of course, part of that is that is that because you’ve (or pretty much anybody else in Westminster) never had the guts to stand up to the racists that run the BBC, you have to be oh so politically correct. So you can’t tell the people the truth. The truth that because you let in all those bearded 13-year-old refugees, and their parents, and their sisters, and their brothers and their aunts, your security services have no idea where the potential terrorists are now, not even the ones that aren’t citizens.

But your police are pretty good at catching Christian pastors who teach what your father did, that homosexual sex is a sin, maybe if they weren’t doing that, they could catch a few of the terrorists. You keep saying that you want to help those ‘just about getting by’. Well, the best way to do that is to get out of the way, and out of their wallet, and let them spend their money on what they want and/or need, instead of sending it to Inland Revenue to fund those who will not work and live off the working poor.

And just how much does the NHS spend on medical tourists, let alone those who shouldn’t even be in Britain but are anyway. Not to mention bloated administration that couldn’t care less about administrating effectively.

But, that is what you let happen, and so now you didn’t increase your majority, you lost it, and now you have a hung Parliament. As Cranmer noted this morning…

With no majority in the House of Commons, the ‘Great Repeal Bill’ fades away and grammar schools whither. With no majority, it’s hard to see how Brexit will now mean Brexit (that is, out of the single market and customs union; free of the European Court of Justice; the end of free movement; out of the CAP and the CFP; and the restoration of parliamentary supremacy). You don’t boast about being a ‘bloody difficult woman’ if those bloody difficulties lead to greater division and more instability. With Brexit in jeopardy and the clamour for ‘soft Brexit’ growing, it is difficult at this stage to see where the necessary leadership will come from.

Steven Hayward adds this…

[B]ut at a macro level there is one big thing in common with the major election results of the past year, starting with Brexit, then Trump, but including the French election (the major parties shut out of the final) and even the Italian referendum on constitutional reform—a rejection of the establishment. Bad news for Angela Merkel I think.

He’s right of course. He’s also right that there will probably be still another election in the UK within a year.

The really sad thing is: The British people deserve far better than this sorry spectacle.

Teddy Bears, Tea Candles, and Terrorism

Heather MacDonald has an article up in City Journal, which speaks to recent British events and our (and their) problems in restricting immigration.

The candlelight vigils didn’t work. After the Manchester Arena suicide bombing in England last month, liberal pundits suggested “mass vigils” and “community solidarity” as a counterterrorism response. The most important imperative, according to the media intelligentsia, was to signal that the West’s commitment to “diversity” and “inclusion” was intact.

Unfortunately, the three Islamic terrorists who used a van and knives to kill another seven civilians and critically injure dozens more in London on Saturday night were unmoved by the “diversity” message. Witnesses described the killers frantically stabbing anyone they could reach, while shouting “This is for Allah”; one witness said that a girl was stabbed up to 15 times.

The “candlelight vigil” counsel has been more muted after this latest attack, though the New York Times has predictably advised the candidates in Britain’s upcoming elections not to succumb to “draconian measures” or to do “just what the terrorists want” by undermining democratic values.

Nor have they ever, nor will they ever. They are a mark of the weakness of our society. A symbol of defeat. One did not see candlelight vigils after the Blitz, or Dunkirk, or the catastrophic losses of the air raids of Big Week, or Pearl Harbor, or the fall of Warsaw in 1939. Our people had a mission, they mourned the dead and then got on with the mission. We, many of us, know what the mission is, even if our governments don’t.

It is, as it always is, the safety of our homelands, and to be honest, “if you are not with us, you are against us”. I don’t see a bunch of wild-eyed idiots out here, that want to massacre the Moslems, although if the problem is forced underground long enough, that likely will happen. The mission is to vet people coming into the homelands, assuring ourselves, as best we can, that they are coming for the right reasons. No sensible American (or Briton) believes in a total ban on immigration, our societies are built on interaction with the world. But allowing people whose main aim in life is to kill you to roam unchecked in our countries is madness.

On Saturday night, following the London attacks, Trump had tweeted: “We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” Trump’s exhortation produced expletive-laden fury, as well as more sober dismay. Columnist Fareed Zakaria summarized two of the main arguments against the visa pause on CNN Monday morning. The pause is a “nonsense solution” to Islamic terrorism, Zakaria said, because the “vast majority” of attacks have been committed by “homegrown terrorists and locals.” In other words, “homegrown” Islamic terrorism is not an immigration problem. But a second-generation Muslim terrorist is more of an immigration problem than a first-generation Muslim terrorist. Such a killer demonstrates that the uncontrolled flow of immigrants from terror-breeding countries has overwhelmed the necessary process of assimilation. When security forces in a country like Britain can no longer keep track of Islamic extremists within their borders, that is a consequence of specific immigration policies.

Zakaria claimed that the problem is “ideology,” not immigration. But how will the West’s ability to counter that ideology be improved by bringing in more bearers of it without a better understanding of who is ripe for radicalization? Until we are confident of our ability to screen for radical Islamic ideology in newcomers and their progeny, the rational reaction is to temporarily slow things down.

I’ll admit he’s got somewhat of a point here, but can you imagine the uproar if Trump agreed with him, and simply banned immigration by any Muslim whatsoever? Yeah, me too. It would be effective though, and I know Brits who propose exactly that. Not to mention interning the ones already there, citizen or not. I find that several bridges too far, but I understand why they feel that way.

Other pundits and Democratic politicians have resurrected the constitutional arguments against the travel pause. They echo the Fourth Circuit opinion striking down the pause that was issued three days after a second-generation Libyan in Manchester killed 22 people with his suicide vest in May. The Fourth Circuit majority held that the Trump executive order violates the First Amendment’s ban on “laws respecting an establishment of religion.” The majority’s argument is preposterous. The executive order establishes or disestablishes no religion. It has no effect on the vast majority of Muslims worldwide living outside the six covered countries, and it applies to non-Muslims from the six covered countries. Why is Bali not on the list? Because it is not a significant source of terror-breeding ideology and terrorist training. But even if the order had been drawn on religious grounds, foreigners living outside the U.S. have no constitutional rights. The U.S. government owes foreigners on foreign soil nothing when it comes to immigration policy; the equal protection clause and the First Amendment do not apply to them. No one has a right to enter the U.S., or any other country, on his own terms. If the government wanted to suspend visas for blondes, those non-American blondes living abroad would have no standing to challenge the government’s actions.

Emphasis mine. Do read her article linked above, and recognize that the time for safe spaces and piles of teddy bears, and tea candle cause global warming is rapidly passing. It is becoming time for stout-hearted and clear-eyed men and women to start solving the problems caused by allowing the children to run the joint all these years.

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