"During my long journey through the world of evil, I had discovered three sources of power: the power of an individual's inner freedom, the power of a free society, and the power of the solidarity of the free world."-- Natan Sharansky, "The Case for Democracy"

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May 24, 2015

Review Corner

In essence, the rap on Churchill is that he was a 19th-century man parachuted into the 20th.

But is that not precisely to the point? It took a 19th-century man--traditional in habit, rational in thought, conservative in temper--to save the zoth century from itself. The story of the zoth century is a story of revolution wrought by thoroughly modern men: Hitler, Stalin, Mao and above all Lenin, who invented totalitarianism out of Marx's cryptic and inchoate communism (and thus earns his place as runner-up to Churchill for Person of the Century).

And it is the story of the modern intellectual, from Ezra Pound to Jean-Paul Sartre, seduced by these modern men of politics and, grotesquely, serving them.


I think I can say that Charles Krauthammer is my favorite conservative. I do enjoy my libertarian thinkers and -- as we will discuss -- tend to find their philosophy more compatible with mine. But to read Krauthammer's Things That Matter (thanks, nb!) is to enjoy a goodly bit of Chesterton, Burke, and Churchill today. His prose is magnificent, his erudition astounds, and his intellect ranges deeply into science, medicine, history and politics.

He can capture the poetry of baseball and even make a chess match interesting:

It was like watching the World Series with five Hall of Famers parsing every pitch and Cy Young correcting them. On Karpov's 23rd move the parsing got slightly crazy: If Kasparov does A, then Karpov must do B. If Kasparov then tries C and Karpov answers with D, look out: E, F and G follow. But if Kasparov does Z, then . . .

Some of these lines were harmony, variations on the main theme of the game. Some were jazz riffs, freestyle and whimsical. Some were just fanciful trills, exotic and occasionally atonal. They all went up on the board fast and furious, as patzers--plodding amateurs--like me struggled to follow the logic.

Then Karpov did the unexpected: He advanced a pawn, unbalancing the position and not a few grandmasters.


I have most recently moved explicitly out of being a self-identified conservative. The Libertarian jurisprudence of Damon Root [Review Corner] and Clark Neily [Review Corner] have captured my heart and given newfound appreciation for the Ninth Amendment. I think it fair to say Mr. Krauthammer does not join me there:
It is a temptation to be resisted. Issues of this magnitude should never be decided by nine robes. Affirmative action needs to be dealt with by the people in the legislatures and in referendums. I believe that the current dispensation is a travesty. But a very substantial portion of the population reads the Constitution--and the nation's needs--quite differently. Under these circumstances, the issue should not be settled by judicial fiat.

And, perhaps more tooth-grinding to the ThreeSourcer:
I have no problem in principle with gun control. Congress enacted (and I supported) an assault weapons ban in 1994. The problem was: It didn't work. (So concluded a University of Pennsylvania study com-missioned by the Justice Department.) The reason is simple. Unless you are prepared to confiscate all existing firearms, disarm the citizenry and repeal the Second Amendment, it's almost impossible to craft a law that will be effective.

Wrong answer, Charles! You can say that that is not a "Conservative" position so much as a "pointy-head-east-coast-elitist" one. But I retort that conservatism allows for utilitarian control of the individual and that a rights-based libertarianism would stop that second paragraph on nearly every clause.

All in all, however, it is a superb book and makes me far less apologetic for my former conservatism and the strains of its foreign policy that remain. I think any ThreeSourcer would dig it and -- as Brother nb did not relay excitement about its return -- it is up for grabs.

And it will do so not just by what it says and how well it says it but where it says it. The Hall of Remembrance has at each of its six corners a narrow vertical window. Through one you can see the Washington Monument, through another the Jefferson Memorial. The juxtaposition is not just redemptive. It is reassuring. The angels of democracy stand watch on this temple of evil. It is as if only in the heart of the world's most tolerant and most powerful democracy can.

Five stars for stuff like that.


May 22, 2015

Obama's Coast Guard Audience

When President Obama named human caused Climate Change as the cause of "an immediate risk to our national security" in his address to the graduating class of the Coast Guard Academy this week, something tells me his intended audience was folks like CNN's Juliette Kayyem.

Skeptics of these global seismic shifts are not simply denying science, they are denying safety and security. Until we recognize -- with the immediacy we would if a nation launched missiles against our cities -- that climate change isn't something that can be debated, but must be mitigated or, failing that, adapted to, we will not expend the effort or resources to prepare ourselves to the one phenomenon that we know is coming: simply, the waters are rising and this is a war.

Got that? The risk of climate change demands the same immediacy as a missile launch against our cities.

But the Arabic speaking world* has a much different perspective on the President's priorities.

*The owner of the video admits "Folks.......this a spoof. It was never intended to be taken as a legitimate news report. Obviously two things are at play here. One, I did the job too well. Two, we have come to the stage in the Obama presidency where quite literally..........anything is possible"

h/t: KHOW's Mandy Connell

But AndyN thinks:

My dad used to say that you had to be at least 6' tall to join the Coast Guard so you can wade ashore if your ship sinks. It seems the President chose his audience well. If he can't stop the rise of the oceans, the USCG will start having to recruit taller sailors.

Posted by: AndyN at May 24, 2015 3:54 PM
But Jk thinks:

Heh. Because #nationalsecurity

Posted by: Jk at May 24, 2015 10:18 PM

May 21, 2015

Quote of the Day

At a 2013 gun-rights rally [Glendale Mayor and Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Mike] Dunafon referred to his small (0.6 square miles, 4,200 residents) enclave inside Denver as "the Vatican of liberty." But itís looking more like the Vatican and less like liberty now. -- Peter Blake, Complete Colorado
Dunafon spoke to Liberty On The Rocks -- Flatirons (LOTR-F). I missed it but enjoyed the video. He is entertaining and has a Penn-Jillettish mixing of the libertarian with the libertine. Out-of-towners may not know Glendale; it is a small enclave surrounded by Denver (not a suburb) and it has been known for bars, nightlife, and a younger demographic resident. Dunafon owns (via marriage) a popular strip club called "Shotgun Willies." (Our band had a rehearsal space down the street before it converted from Country to [well, fill in your own joke here...]

He's likeable, but got on the wrong side of this humble blogger for a) Running as a Libertarian (delenda est!) and b) I kid you not, bowing out of an LOTR-F debate because he had the chance to "smoke weed with Snoop Dogg."

He has lost his remaining friends in the libertarian community with this crazy eminent domain deal. Everybody on FB is saying "Even Mike Dunafon?"

Yes.


Tweet of the Day

Hat-tip, Insty, who says "Heh" and has a couple more.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 1:06 PM | What do you think? [2 comments]
But nanobrewer thinks:

Is it just this older machine of mine (a Win7 system is finally on order) or is Insty everybit as bad as PowerLine for aggressive shockwave/plug-ins?

Posted by: nanobrewer at May 22, 2015 2:37 PM
But Jk thinks:

No, sad to say you are correct. I think I have some malware as well, Insty is impossible to view in IE. I have an instance Chrome that I use for that. I may need to rebuild the whole machine.

Posted by: Jk at May 23, 2015 6:21 PM

May 20, 2015

Armchair General

I found this disturbing:

The Syrian government's antiquities chief Mamoun Abdulkarim said he had no doubt that if Palmyra fell to the jihadists, it would suffer a similar fate to ancient Nimrud, which they blew up earlier this year.

'If ISIS enters Palmyra, it will spell its destruction... it will be a repetition of the barbarism and savagery which we saw in Nimrud, Hatra and Mosul.'

But I shall not just complain without suggesting a solution.

These heavily armed aircraft incorporate side-firing weapons integrated with sophisticated sensor, navigation and fire control systems to provide surgical firepower or area saturation during extended loiter periods, at night and in adverse weather. The sensor suite consists of a television sensor, infrared sensor and radar. These sensors allow the gunship to visually or electronically identify friendly ground forces and targets anytime, anywhere.

Video

But Keith Arnold thinks:

That 130 is a beautiful sight -- unless you're the target. If we only had a Commander-in-Chief who was serious about defeating ISIS...

I do have give a shout-out to another Close Air Support vehicle that I love, though, the A-10. As much as I respect the 130, I can buy seven Warthogs for the same price, and that BRRRRRT sound of her primary weapon is nothing short of iconic. Only a complete traitor would be pushing to decommission the A-10.

My apologies for my scanty participation, by the way -- the day job has really been insistent on having my undivided attention. I've barely had the time to make a nuisance of myself on Facebook, and only during non-paying hours...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 21, 2015 12:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The A-10 is a great aircraft. Her forte is obliterating armored vehicles, however. "Spooky" and "Spectre" and "Ghostrider" (planned deployment in FY2017) are well suited to anti-personnel duty, in bad weather and at night, in addition to obliterating armored vehicles.

Posted by: johngalt at May 21, 2015 2:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Did you click through for the video? It's the best I've ever seen. Not only can they visually differentiate between armed men vs. women and children, they can see weapons being carried. Collateral damage = lower.

But I'd already taken up so much column inch with the still shot I linked it rather than imbed. Never let it be said that I lack humility.

Posted by: johngalt at May 21, 2015 2:57 PM

"Ridin' with Biden"

The Democrats who want to win the White House are not, it seems, Ready for Hillary. Not seven years ago, and not today.

Once a self-described "vociferous" Clinton supporter--he went door-to-door in New Hampshire with Bill in '92--he chose Obama in early '07 despite his historical ties with the Clintons. "It's more than charisma; it's more than the ability to emote; it's the ability to speak to 25,000 people and have every one of them feel you're speaking to them. Clinton had it, Bush had it, Obama had it, Reagan had it. Joe Biden has it--he can bring people to tears. She ain't got it."

Reading stories like this makes me feel a bit sorry for her - until I see her picture or hear her laugh. Then I return to my usual perspective.


Quote of the Day

Back in the day, [Sid] Blumenthal was a respected (read: well-connected and establishment) journalist attached to outlets such as The New Republic, where he got his start. Despite a twee exterior and generally prissy demeanor that made Tony Randall seem like the Brawny Paper Towel pitchman in comparison, Blumenthal's nastiness and willingness to fling shit like a howler monkey in heat earned him the sobriquet "Sid Vicious," because, well, you know there's really not much difference between a New Republic and New Yorker kind of guy and the junk-addicted, homicidal bassist for the Sex Pistols, amirite. -- Nick Gillespie
Honorable mention (same piece):
As The New York Times reports, Blumenthal remained a trusted adviser to Clinton when she was secretary of state, despite not really knowing what the hell he was talking about.

May 19, 2015

Doing for Healthcare What they did for Iraq!

I have seen an awful lot of stories of failure in state-run health exchanges.

I thought some intrepid and public spirited blogger, with exceptional typing skills and personal hygiene should take on the project of assembling them.

Whew! Thankfully, Sally Pipes nailed it.

Given all the headaches, a number of states are considering offloading responsibility for their exchanges to the federal government. But that exit path may not be as appealing if the Supreme Court rules this summer that subsidies for the purchase of insurance are only available through state-operated exchanges in King v. Burwell.

States could have to choose between absorbing millions of dollars in losses running their own exchanges -- or depriving their residents of subsidies by sending them into the federal exchange.

They can't afford the former -- and the latter may prompt open public revolt. Perhaps that will be enough to convince Congress to repeal Obamacare altogether and replace it with market-based reforms that empower patients. Those would actually make sense.


Zeitgeist

I stared at this headline, linked on Instapundit: "Backlash Against Facebook's Free Internet Service Grows."

Backlash? Free? Internet? Huh? What?

You bright kids in front have perhaps figured it out -- I had to click.

On Monday, 65 advocacy organizations in 31 countries released an open letter to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg protesting Internet.org--an effort to bring free internet service to the developing world--saying the project "violates the principles of net neutrality, threatening freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy, and innovation."

Reminding me of a Lowell George song:
Some people tell me that Rock'n'Roll
Is bad for the body, bad for the soul,
Bad for the heart, bad for the mind.
Bad for the deaf and bad for the blind....

It seems Mister Z. will not be allowed to give things away unless he gives away full-featured things.
With Internet.org, Facebook is partnering with various wireless carriers and other organizations to provide an app that offers free access to certain internet services, including Facebook, on mobile phones in developing countries. But this spring, a group of publishers in India pulled out of the program, saying it violated the principles of net neutrality--the notion that internet providers should treat all online services equally.
[...]
Access Now is calling on Facebook to offer complete internet with very low data caps. But unlike the current model, this may not provide direct benefit to Facebook, because it would not funnel people directly to Facebook over other services. The question becomes: would Facebook still be willing to fund such an operation?

And ice cream! With sprinkles goddammit!

But johngalt thinks:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Take that, social equality do-gooders! Your free crap isn't good enough - make it better! Too late to back out now, suckers.

Or as my electrician recently quipped, "No good deed goes unpunished."

Posted by: johngalt at May 19, 2015 5:36 PM

Tweet of the Day

But johngalt thinks:

Huh, I get "Girls = 2*SQRT(Evil)"

One of us must be wrong.

Posted by: johngalt at May 19, 2015 3:43 PM
But jk thinks:

Reminding me of my favorite Dire Straights song, Industrial Disease: "Two men say they're Jesus, one of 'em must be wrong. We got a protest singer, singin' a protest song..."

Myself, I'm throwing in my lot with Mister Sterne.

Posted by: jk at May 19, 2015 3:54 PM
But patq thinks:

I am with johngalt. The first line should be Time + Money which then yields 2 * SQRT(evil).

Posted by: patq at May 19, 2015 7:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Correct! As with most erroneous conclusions, the mistake can be found at the start.

That is a memorable lyric, jk, and it ambled through my thoughts as I typed. Bonus points to whomever can name the Aristotelian premise that it, probably unwittingly on the part of Mr. Knopfler, represents: "Two men say they're Jesus, one of 'em must be wrong."

Posted by: johngalt at May 20, 2015 6:24 PM
But jk thinks:

Aristotle, Aristotle... What label was he on?

Posted by: jk at May 20, 2015 7:56 PM
But jk thinks:

Not sure a mere sum captures the resources I have invested over the years, but the phrase "time and money" does seem to support your correction.

Posted by: jk at May 20, 2015 8:04 PM

Don't click this. Comments (2)