Sunday, July 17, 2016

Islam, again

I have linked to Andrew McCarthy of NRO before. He  recently wrote about Islam and why our policies with respect to identifying the problems it has and dealing with them have been such a failure.

He has more than a passing familiarity with Islam and its practitioners having been the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York when the "Blind Sheik" tried to take down the World Trade Center in 1993 . The "Sheik" and his minions remain in jail.

In his recent article he makes a distinction that I think is very important and had not previously occurred to me.

" should by now be perfectly obvious that that there is no “Islam,” at least not if we are talking about a monolithic belief system. There are sects of Islam, all vying for supremacy in what is, in the main, a conquest ideology — with the various splinters having very different ideas about what conquest entails, and with no papal analogue to impose order by decreeing orthodoxy and condemning heterodoxy."

His context for this assertion is the vacuousness of our current administration and its unwillingness to identify the problem. Some major Islamic factions are our enemies and ought to be identified as such. Claiming, as Mrs. Clinton did in the immediate aftermath of the Nice massacre: "Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism." is just wrong.
Major factions of Islam are our adversary and we would do well to understand this as clearly as Mr. McCarthy does.

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Affirmative Action

As I shake my head in confusion at the policy decisions being made in the name of equality I tend to make predictions. I often wonder if my predictions will be accurate.

Men in the ladies' room? An obviously terrible idea fraught with entirely predictable danger.

ObamaCare? An idea so bad it is impossible to understand how anyone with a brain could think it a good idea.

Abandoning, for whatever high-minded set of ideals, the incredibly successful criminal law and policing regimes of the past twenty-five years, is an astonishingly stupid idea. Crime rates are a fraction of what they were in the 1990's. No, we have not accomplished this by incarcerating an entire race of people. Any guesses as to what happens now?
Treating college students like precious snowflakes in order to cushion them from the devastating blow of hearing something they find insulting.

The list goes on and on. Most of them are so obviously wrongheaded to me because they defy human nature. I described my thoughts on human nature here (scroll to the 2nd post).

I often wonder whether my analyses are correct and look for evidence that they are, or not, in an effort to stay honest and avoid confirmation bias.

I am joined by multitudes in concluding that Affirmative Action programs in higher education were always a bad idea. Some people knew just how counter-productive they
would be from the start. One man predicted, in 1969, exactly where we would find ourselves as a result of installing Affirmative Action programs. His name was Macklin Fleming and at the time he wrote his incredibly prescient letter he was a Justice on the California Court of Appeals.

He was writing the Dean of Yale Law School (his alma mater) about the school's announced intention to admit 38 black students who could not qualify under the school's normal standards.

The letters between the Dean and Fleming, as well as analysis can be found here .

I will share some excerpts taken from the link.

"If in a given class the great majority of the black students are at the bottom of the class, this factor is bound to instill, unconsciously at least, some sense of intellectual superiority among the white students and some sense of intellectual inferiority among the black students... The fact remains that black and white students will be exposed to each other under circumstances in which demonstrated intellectual superiority rests with the whites.

...No one can be expected to accept an inferior status willingly. The black students, unable to compete on even terms in the study of law, inevitably will seek other means to achieve recognition and self-expression. This is likely to take two forms. First, agitation to change the environment from one in which they are unable to compete to one in which they can. Demands will be made for elimination of competition, reduction in standards of performance, adoption of courses of study which do not require intensive legal analysis, and recognition for academic credit of sociological activities which have only an indirect relationship to legal training. Second, it seems probable that this group will seek personal satisfaction and public recognition by aggressive conduct, which, although ostensibly directed at external injustices and problems, will in fact be primarily motivated by the psychological needs of the members of the group to overcome feelings of inferiority caused by lack of success in their studies. Since the common denominator of the group of students with lower qualifications is one of race this aggressive expression will undoubtedly take the form of racial demands–the employment of faculty on the basis of race, a marking system based on race, the establishment of a black curriculum and a black law journal, an increase in black financial aid, and a rule against expulsion of black students who fail to satisfy minimum academic standards."

Exactly what has occurred. Re-segregation. It is inconceivable to me that a large number of people, including those promoting the policy, were not able to see its short comings and pitfalls. They subscribed to it anyway.

Their complacency was probably a combination of fear of being judged racist and the "hope" that their good intentions would usher in their desired result. "Hope" as we all know, is not a strategy. Human nature, while ameliorable, in my opinion, simply cannot be ignored. Ignoring it is just a short-cut to ensuring its assertion and the failure of the  preferred policy.

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Learning Nothing from Experience

"One nice thing about being a liberal is, no one expects you to learn from experience."

John Hinderaker, the author of the quote above, has a nice habit of often getting things just right.

I have written a couple of posts about socialism recently. In all of those words I never came close to the clarity of Mr. Hinderaker's brief statement.

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Friday, July 15, 2016

The Curious Case of James Comey and Donald Trump/Updated

 On Tuesday July 5, 2016, FBI Chief James Comey gave a speech. As many others have mentioned, there seemed actually to have been two, unconnected, Comey speeches.

 The first speech gave us a detailed description of lawless activity clearly in violation of  18 U.S. Code § 793 - Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information. 
(f) Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence* permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both. (Emphasis added)

Comey, in the first speech, characterized Clinton and her associates as having been "extremely careless" in their handling of her emails in general and classified ones in particular. As far as I know "extremely careless" is not a legal term, although "carelessness" is defined in Black's Law Dictionary in part as,

"...The careless person is the person who does not take the care he ought to take: never mind whether he felt careful. He can be held to be negligent in making a perfectly honest mistake". Black's Law Dictionary, 7th Edition, P. 205. (Emphasis in the original).

When used by an experienced lawyer like Mr. Comey, it may or may not be a euphemism for gross negligence. From all I have read and from my own viewing experience I had the impression that he intended it to convey the depths of his contempt for Clinton and company's disregard for the norms of behavior in the handling of state secrets.

The reason for his use of the expression in lieu of gross negligence became clear to me in the second speech, the one that said, essentially, nothing to see here. Had he used "gross negligence" in the first speech he would have materially reduced the already limited coherence of drawing the no prosecution conclusion in the second. An already incoherent conclusion would have been rendered more incoherent.

As you can see from the statute above, the intentions of the subjects being investigated have no relationship to the breaking of the law in subsection (f). This contrasts (f) with (a) and (b) which require intent as part of the crime.

In his second speech Comey said:

 In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.

Far more authoritative voices than mine have called foul on this. It just doesn't ring true. Andrew McCarthy at NRO
demolishes Comey's assertions in detail.

We are left to wonder why Mr. Comey, of apparently spotless reputation, chose to humiliate himself in this manner.

None of the wondering leads anywhere we want to go.

 The presidential election of 2008 ushered in, in my opinion, our Emperor's New Clothes era (ENC). Mr. Comey continued it, in grand style, with his speech.

We elected a black President, have had two black Attorneys General, a black man sits on the Supreme Court, a black man heads Homeland Security, we have dozens of black mayors, congresspersons, thousands of black state legislators, city council members and judges (I found no firm figures but extrapolated from this )and descend into racial chaos because we are racists.

We know we are not racists and the evidence is everywhere and overwhelming, but, we must admire the ENC. Among the most overwhelming evidence we have of this is that at 13.125% of the population, black people cannot elect anyone without a great deal of help from us racists. source

We  are told of a great new deal with Iran that will stop them from building a nuke, but we aren't allowed to see the whole deal...because it is so good. But, we must admire the ENC.
UPDATE: Now we know that the part we weren't supposed to see will allow Iran to halve, to six months, the time it will take them to build a bomb when the deal expires . Who could have guessed?

We are told how brilliant our President is but we cannot see his college transcripts...because they are so great. ENC.

Unemployment is at pre-2008 levels Hooray! Not! ENC source  

Everybody knows that right-thinking Americans have always supported gay marriage, and not agreeing makes you a neanderthal.
Right. source  Note the relationship between Obama's change of heart and the 2012 election. ENC.

The list goes on forever. Black is white, white is black. ISIS is not an Islamic organization. We are not sure what motivated Mateen. Hillary didn't do anything she should be prosecuted for and, according to Mr. Comey, a statute that says gross negligence is the required level of responsibility to complete the crime doesn't really mean that.

Which brings us to Donald Trump. I am, at the moment, an extremely reluctant supporter. Among the reasons for my reluctant support is that I can't take being told black is white and white is black anymore.

As I have written before, good luck to all of us.

*Gross Negligence is defined in part as ...A conscious, voluntary act or omission in reckless disregard of a legal duty and of the consequences to another party. Black's Law Dictionary, 7th edition, P. 1057

A lot has been written about conservatives' discomfort with the threshold of gross negligence as sufficient for a criminal conviction. The reason for the discomfort is the exploding number of new crimes being minted by government agencies. Using gross negligence as the replacement for criminal intent places ordinary citizens in jeopardy.

Hillary Clinton is not an ordinary citizen. She signed several documents confirming that she understood the rules. She was grossly negligent in carrying out her duties and should be prosecuted for that malfeasance.



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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Black Lives Matter. Problem solved.

Steven Hayward at reminds us today of a timely Chris Rock video. He also reminds us that in today's America it would probably not be made, unfortunately. Enjoy.

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Monday, July 04, 2016

The Declaration of Independence

Thanks to Scott Johnson at Powerline the following passage from Calvin Coolidge's July 4, 1926 speech has once again been brought to my attention. This time I was actually paying attention.

I will reproduce the section that Mr. Johnson displays in his post with several additions of emphasis.

"About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers."

Could there be a clearer statement of the truth?

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