Thursday, April 30, 2015

Good riddance to AG Eric Holder

Farewell to the most political AG ever.

Wash Times

The first attorney general to be held in contempt of Congress has demonstrated shocking contempt for the law, and the ability to abuse and corrupt it for the political and social agenda of this president. He has assaulted freedom of speech and press at every turn, stonewalled all investigations into widespread corruption within the administration, undermined and obstructed the work of the agencies’ own inspectors general, and targeted individuals who dared challenge any of it. He has tirelessly protected and promoted corrupt prosecutors and scattered ticking time bombs.

Early in his time in office he dismissed the indictment against former Sen. Ted Stevens, who failed to win reelection days after he was convicted. Did Holder demote or fire the prosecutors who pursued the illegal prosecution? No. Just a slap on the wrist for one of the four.

As for the Stevens prosecutors who were found to have committed intentional misconduct (tantamount to obstruction of justice or subornation of perjury), one served a one-day suspension before the paltry sanctions were reversed on a technical failure of the department itself. Three still work in the department; four moved on to lucrative positions elsewhere.

What did these four learn? That they could perform major malfeasance of their office and suffer no consequences. That’s the Eric Holder way.

The Project on Government Oversight has identified hundreds of instances of intentional or reckless prosecutorial misconduct in the last decade, and Mr. Holder refused to release so much as the names of the prosecutors. Mr. Holder has politicized the department beyond recognition and weaponized every federal agency under it. “Instead of enforcing the rule of law and following legal precedent, he has ignored and twisted the law to suit his president.”

Monday, April 27, 2015

Venezuela is censoring news providers and government data

Venezuela MEDIA JOD

In the Chavez heaven of Venezuela President Maduro is getting more and more desparate. He is intimidating and forcing news outlets to close. And he is censoring government statistics. (Yes,  a government can censor itself.) When public health statistics are published the world can see how bad the situation is. Since his Chavismo does not have solutions the desperate dictator hides the data.

More from Fausta.

And The Economist:

Under Nicolás Maduro, who succeeded Chávez as president in 2013, the government is supplementing its relentless propaganda with self-censorship. The apparent goal is to hide from Venezuelans bad news that might weaken their already shaky faith in the regime. The health ministry, for instance, has not published a weekly epidemiological bulletin since early November, despite concurrent outbreaks of three mosquito-borne diseases. Last May Venezuela saw its first cases of chikungunya, a disease originating in Africa, which causes very high fevers and severe joint pains. It took the authorities five months to declare chikungunya a notifiable disease. The most recent bulletin still fails to include it.

And

Self-censorship is not confined to the health authorities. The National Statistical Institute (INE) has not published poverty data for 2014. No one has provided production figures for PDVSA, the state oil corporation, for the past three months. When officials explain their silence, which is not often, they talk of a need to avoid “political manipulation” of statistics.

Those officials sure know about political manipulation; they are doing it.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saigon/South Vietnam fell 40 years ago

The US had won the war. The transition to home rule was progressing. But the Democrats in Congress cut funding, so the US had to leave precipitously. “Thank” Congress for endangering the lives of Americans and of the Vietnamese who were faithful to us.

There is a commemoration today. It was planned to be at Camp Pendleton, California, but US regulations would not allow the activities planned, so it was moved to a high school stadium. Thursday, 4/30, there will be a larger event in Orange County, CA.

Breitbart News

Friday, April 24, 2015

Genocide of Armenians 100 years ago

Armenian Christians were massacred by the Ottoman Empires starting in 1915 until 1917 in the geographic area that is now Turkey.  The number of people killed is estimated at 800,000 to 1.5 million. It also involved deportation and death marches, including in the desert of Syria.

Assyrian Christians and Greek Orthodox were also targeted in the same fashion.

Today, April 24, businesses are closing in Los Angeles to commemorate the genocide. Breitbart

Learn more at Wikipedia

(Sen. Obama promised to recognize the Armenian genocide if elected. But he hasn’t kept that promise. Breitbart)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Income inequality - Clintons' $10+ million per year

2015 04 22 Hillary high income

Let’s talk about income inequality.

Bill and Hillary Clinton made $136 million between 2001 and 2012 - 12 years. That is $11,333,000 per year - way over $10 million per year. Source: Peter Schweitzer’s new book

Hillary’s big campaign issue is income inequality!!! She wants to talk about it. Clearly she is in favor of it. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Rent-control graphic

Passion for liberty com rent controlHere is a graphic of the supply and demand curves and the distortion caused by rent control. By holding down the price (from P0 to Pmax, the artificial maximum price) the demand is increased to Q2 - more demand at the lower price - but the supply is diminished to Q1 from the equilibrium Qe. Both, of course, cause an imbalance which is to say a shortage of housing is caused by pushing down the rent charged.

(Since I wrote the post on rent control on my IPhone it’s not easy to modify it now.)

Graphic found at Passion for Liberty.com blog.

Bad idea - Rent control

Do you want a shortage of housing? The socialists have a way to cause it. If the government controls rents would you invest your retirement in building apartments? You would lose money. So, no you wouldn't. New apartment construction would nearly stop. Shortage. Then, given the shortage it caused, the city would require anyone building anything to build some housing - even though the builder would lose money. But the shortage would continue.

New York City and others have proven that this happens over decades.

City council members Sawant and Likata are demanding rent control. Sawant admits she is a socialist. Do they consider the negative effects of rent control?

Seattle Times

Monday, April 20, 2015

Police state action in Wisconsin over political differences

From blogger Patterico in LA, Calif:

This is one of the creepiest articles I have ever read. It reminds me of my experience being SWATted — having armed police rush into my home in what looked like retaliation for my speech. Yet in the case described in the article, the SWATting is actually being carried out . . . by the government.

In Wisconsin, citizens had cops bust into their homes with battering rams. Property was taken from their homes, in full view of the neighbors — and in some cases officers mocked them. Then the citizens were told that they could tell nobody about what had happened. If they did, they could go to jail.

All for exercising their First Amendment rights. Essentially, for being conservatives.

Original article at National Review:

“THEY CAME WITH A BATTERING RAM.”

Cindy Archer, one of the lead architects of Wisconsin’s Act 10 — also called the “Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill,” it limited public-employee benefits and altered collective-bargaining rules for public-employee unions — was jolted awake by yelling, loud pounding at the door, and her dogs’ frantic barking. The entire house — the windows and walls — was shaking. She looked outside to see up to a dozen police officers, yelling to open the door. They were carrying a battering ram.

She wasn’t dressed, but she started to run toward the door, her body in full view of the police. Some yelled at her to grab some clothes, others yelled for her to open the door.

“I was so afraid,” she says. “I did not know what to do.” She grabbed some clothes, opened the door, and dressed right in front of the police. The dogs were still frantic.

“I begged and begged, ‘Please don’t shoot my dogs, please don’t shoot my dogs, just don’t shoot my dogs.’ I couldn’t get them to stop barking, and I couldn’t get them outside quick enough. I saw a gun and barking dogs. I was scared and knew this was a bad mix.”

She got the dogs safely out of the house, just as multiple armed agents rushed inside. Some even barged into the bathroom, where her partner was in the shower. The officer or agent in charge demanded that Cindy sit on the couch, but she wanted to get up and get a cup of coffee.

“I told him this was my house and I could do what I wanted.” Wrong thing to say. “This made the agent in charge furious. He towered over me with his finger in my face and yelled like a drill sergeant that I either do it his way or he would handcuff me.”

What was their crime? Exercising their First Amendment rights. The article describes how these raids were conducted as part of “John Doe” investigations into whether conservative groups had “coordinated” with Scott Walker in violation of campaign finance laws. I believe such “coordination” is First Amendment activity. If I want to take out full-page newspaper ads about how great Ted Cruz is, and I get ideas that convince me from Cruz’s campaign, I believe that should be covered by the First Amendment. But even if my pro-speech view is not accepted (and so far it has not been), the fact remains that a judge later ruled that there was no legal basis for the investigation that justified these raids, and quashed all the subpoenas.

The investigations were conducted at the behest of a prosecutor whose offices “were festooned with the ‘blue fist’ poster of the labor-union movement.” According to one prosecutor who spoke to journalist Stuart Taylor, the wife of the lead prosecutor, John Chisholm, was “a teachers’-union shop steward who was distraught over Act 10’s union reforms” — and Chisholm “felt it was his personal duty” to stop the reforms. Pursuant to the politically motivated subpoenas lacking in probable cause, prosecutors subpoenaed electronic data such as emails and conducted these abusive raids.

It’s the type of activity you would expect to see from the Stasi in East Germany. Conservative activists in Wisconsin literally do not feel safe. They think that police could burst into their homes at any moment to punish them for their First Amendment activity.

In a country that actually valued freedom, this story would spark front-page headlines all over the country. It would be all anyone would be talking about for weeks, and nobody would rest until we knew it could never, ever happen again.

We are no longer such a country.

They can't recruit top students into climate science graduate programs

In India Professor Govindasamy Bala of India Institute of Science is complaining that they cannot recruit top students into climate science graduate programs.

If you were a top-performing college graduate in science would you want to dedicate all your energy for the next seven years to a field of study that only allows science that confirms it? What if in your curiosity you challenge Albert Gore, Jr.’s consensus? Then you will be publicly humiliated and pushed to the sideline, if not out of the field.

Steven Hayward at Power Line Blog

And WattsUpWithThat

When global warming is proven wrong, sustainability will take over

The problem with basing all their hopes of government control on global warming is that it is falsifiable, that it can be tested and proven wrong with a thermometer (a bunch of them, including in space). They are not yet giving up on … now it’s called climate change. But already the left is starting to move on to a new religion, I mean goal: Sustainability. And this new goal has the advantage of not being testable. It can’t be tested because its proponents never have to be pinned down defining exactly what it is.

William M Briggs at Breitbart *

Based on report Sustainability: Higher Education’s New Fundamentalism by

NAS - National Association of Scholars

If my sources are right this is going to be a very big deal; we have to watch it.

* Source corrected.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Largest donor to Hillary's Clinton foundation trades with Iran

One of the Clinton’s largest donors sells oil equipment to Iran. Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk is the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation; he has courted the Clintons for at least nine years.

His Cyprus-based Interpipe Group has been selling to Iran’s oil and gas industries which is a violation of the US’s sanctions. Even the presence of its US subsidiary North American Interpipe Inc might be a violation of US sanctions; we are not sure, because the rules are complex. 

The person in charge of listing non-US companies violating the sanctions against Iran is the secretary of state; Hillary Clinton from 2009 to 2013. !!! Talk about a conflict of interest.

Even Newsweek woke up on this one. But reporter Rory Ross says only those wanting to discredit her will be bothered by this. 

These sales to the oil and gas industries help Iran to have the cash to develop the nuclear weapons and ICBMs. Isn’t everyone bothered by these intentional violations of US sanctions against Iran?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Drone flight over Oahu's North Shore - Whales and dolphins

Very good. I wish it were ten times longer, there is so much to see there.

Matador Network for Turtle Bay Resort

---

And Capt Dave runs dolphin and whale excursions in Dana Point, Calif. This has a group of about 200 dolphins, then gray whales migrating - both at Dana Point, Calif - then mother and calf humpback whales off Maui.

Matador Network

Beware Java updates

Oracle installs the evil Ask.com toolbar when Java is updated.

Either don’t install Java or search carefully for a checkbox already checked to install the evil Ask.com whatever.

David Lazarus at LA Times

And...

Until recently, the Ask.com toolbar was primarily a problem only for Windows users. As of last month, it's also being bundled with Java updates for Macs.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Criminal indictment of State Auditor Troy Kelley

State Auditor Troy Kelley was indicted on ten counts of crimes by the Federal government. He put himself on paid leave to fight the charges. Why should we pay him for serving only himself?

Actually, since being elected Kelley appears to have been busy on his own affairs while being paid by the taxpayers. When reporters started asking about him they asked his office what he had been doing. They found his calendar shows 150 non-holiday weekdays without a single meeting or other event involving him. The Olympian

NWCN shows video from KING 5 TV.

The charges include:

  • Possession of stolen property - 10 years max
  • False statements/ obstruction - 20 years max
  • Tax evasion - 3 years max for each

The audio at NWCN says that the feds say his illegal actions continued while he was in office as state auditor, though the print text does not repeat this.

I also recall that Kelley claimed he could not disclose the results of a lawsuit or other legal matter because it was sealed. Then the other party in the suit was asked they said it was OK with them to open the record. Apparently Kelley did not allow disclosure.

And we heard about this before Kelley was elected. James Watkins, his Republican opponent, disclosed the charges he had heard. Sound Politics (A commenter repeats highlights of some of the charges, but Watkins’ original site is gone.)  But the Seattle Times, KING 5 and other news media did not investigate.

UPDATTE: I just discovered that Northwest Public Radio did a story on the charges 9/6/2012.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Socialist success in Venezuela is near-starvation

Venezuela Angel Falls

It’s sad. The socialism of Hugo Chavez bankrupted the oil-rich country of Venezuela. Of course he always found an enemy to blame for all problems  - usually foreign.

Today the grocery shelves are almost empty. While millions of barrels of oil are being pumped and shipped every day, people are near (or past near) starving. The government has taken action — the military took over Dia a Dia supermarket chain’s 35 stores in early February, 2015. Fox News

The government arrested drug store managers and made illegal sales on the street of coffee, eggs, shampoo and some 50 other “regulated” items. Tico Times

And the situation is getting worse. Latin American Herald-Tribune

Venezuelans – who have been waiting in long queues to get into supermarkets and purchase basic products – have not yet seen the worst part of the shortages issue caused by a collapse in the chavismo-sponsored populist model, but they may do so shortly in the face of the warnings of the alarming levels food stocks have fallen to in the country, according to local industry groups and experts.

"Inventories, including those of the pharmaceutical and food industries, are hitting critical levels," said Eduardo Garmendia, head of the Venezuelan Confederation of Industries (Conindustria), a business association, in a recent interview with local radio station Unión Radio.

"The entire industrial system has been affected by the difficulties in acquiring raw materials, but it is worse in essential products because these are receiving a greater direct impact; we are talking about medicines and food," said Garmendia.

In the case of food, stocks of the country’s main industries will last less than a month, according to data released by the Venezuelan Food Industry Chamber (Cavidea).

"There are food companies that haven’t been allocated a single dollar so far this year," Pablo Baraybar, president of Cavidea, told the local press. "In some production lines, we only have stocks for 10 or 20 days."

This will surely make things exponentially harder for those Venezuelans trying to put food on their tables every day.

"There is a real storm developing due to the lack of dollars. The situation is desperate and may get a lot worse," said Russ Dallen, head of local investment bank Caracas Capital Markets, who has spent several years keeping a close eye on the behavior of the Venezuelan reality.

"In the next two or three months we are about to see a situation of terrible shortages, much worse than we have seen so far.

Photo: Angel Falls, Venezuela. How can a huge waterfall come from near the top of a mountain? A wonder of the world.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Increased minority turnout after tougher ID laws

Minority voting increased after Georgia passed tougher voter identification laws. But, but… all the Demos claimed the Republicans only wanted to surprise minority turnout. Were the Republicans flustered by the failure of their plan? No. Wrong question. That was not their plan.

Georgia’s new law required the same sort of ID required to cash a check, get on an airplane or visit your senator’s office - photo ID.

The Republican intention was to limit voting to people qualified to vote who were properly registered. They did not talk about suppressing minority turnout, because they did not intend it.

See Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Turnout among black and Hispanic voters increased from 2006 to 2010, dramatically outpacing population growth for those groups over the same period

Via Hot Air.

Cabin stolen in Springdale. Where is Springdale?

TNT stolen cabin

Where is Springdale, WA?

West of Loon Lake. Northwest of Tumtum. East of Fruitland!

Yahoo Map shows all four on one map. Loon Lake is to the east on Hwy 291; Tumtum is on the north shore of Spokane River; Fruitland is on the east shore of Lake Roosevelt/Columbia River.

I hadn’t heard of Springdale, WA until it hit the news that a family had its cabin stolen! A 10x20 foot cabin? The news called it a cabin, but feh family call it a shed. And it has been found! - News Tribune & photo of the “wanted" poster

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Whales taking fish off lines

In S and SE Alaska whales are taking caught fish right off the lines. Orcas to the west and sperm whales to the east. Quote: "Serm whales are the cleverest animals I have ever worked with." - Jan Straley, U of Alaska marine biologist.

Sea Times

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Obamacare enrollment dropped in Wa State

Obamacare enrollments increased 61% in federal-exchange states. Ok. They increased 12% in state-exchange states. Not so good by their own standards. Both since the end of enrollment in 2014.

But in Washington they dropped 2%. State officials called this "lackluster." But they don't care because they are enrolling people in welfare at high rates, that is, on MediCare. This attitude is attributed to Michael Marchand, spokesman for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which runs Healthplanfinder. Our bureaucrats seem to have perverse minds - happy to put people on welfare.

And their own goal was a substantial increase in Wa Obamacare enrollment. They failed at that.

Seattle Times

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Can Obama tell real Christians from those who claim to be?

President Obama is famed for being able to tell real Muslims from fake ones. Fake ones have Muslim names, claim to be Muslim and practice Islam.

The attack on Garissa University in NE Kenya was carried out by men who asked students if they were Christian or Muslim. They let the Muslims - whether real or not, those who claimed to be Muslim - he let them go. They killed the Christians. See also Associated Press.

In President Obama’s statement on this massacre he didn’t mention that the killers were Muslim. And he didn’t mention that the killed were Christians. Can he also tell real Christians from those who claim to be and practice Christianity? See it White House.

Ian Tuttle at National Review Online finds Obama’s logic to be consistent and absurd:

Recognizing the victims in Kenya or Egypt as Christians would require explaining why they were killed, which would draw the White House dangerously close to acknowledging that the “extremism” they so detest may, in fact, be of a particular religious flavor. But — and here is why the Ismailis, &c. appear — how could these extremists be Muslim if they are also killing Muslims!?

It all fits together. It’s all consistent. And it’s all deceitful.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Persecuted Church - Kenya university massacre stopped after 11 hours

Gunmen of an unknown religion who said they were Muslims entered a university campus and massacred students for eleven hours before the military arrived. The killers asked students if they were Christian or Muslim; Muslims were allowed to leave; Christians murdered. The killers were of Somali militant group Shabab.

No added security arrived for two hours and the attack wasn’t stopped for eleven hours.

After protests for better security in 2013 a high fence was built around the campus. Ironically it prevented students from escaping, but didn’t keep the killers out.

LA Times

There was also tension over the presence of a mosque on the campus, used by the local community to pray. Students protested that those using the mosque weren’t subject to security checks. Seeing it as an added source of insecurity, they called for it to be moved off campus.

It’s not that there is no support for Chistians in Kenya. After his election in 2013 President Uhuru Kenyatta said that Kenya is a Christian nation. God Reports and Christian News Why did his military allow the massacre to continue?

He is risen!

Goodlightscraps Easter

Today we remember Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and celebrate His resurrection.

No water rationing in dry Arizona

There is No water rationing in dry Arizona versus the “drastic” measure we are heading about in California. Arizona ia also suffering from drought.

Why? Because they planned!! Arizona’s water supply remains good, and there isn’t even a 50/50 chance for a “water shortage declaration” until 2017.

Breitbart

… 

Arizona Public Media reported that drought conditions continue in AZ, and the Colorado River is dwindling and expected “to keep dwindling, along with the aquifer it feeds.” Yet because AZ prepared for this, they have “more than a year’s worth” of water stored underground.

Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke said: “We have stored a lot of water underground, so for a point in time when we see shortages, we’ve got over three million acre-feet of water,” which is more than a year’s supply.

Buschatzke said AZ also lessened the strain on water supplies by putting “mandatory…conservation requirements in place” for “metropolitan parts of Arizona” when it was apparent drought conditions were approaching.

He said these choices put Arizona “in one of the better places you can be in right now in the western United States.”

Besides differing conservation approaches, the Arizona Republic previously reported that the differences in water supplies are based on infrastructure preparedness as well. To this point–AZ reservoirs are built to catch and store multiple years of runoff, while CA’s reservoirs are not.

Also Breitbart in February, 2014.

3D printed no-assembly

Wow. "No assembly required." For example a toy car with wind-up motor and gears. See it at:

Instructables

Shapeways

Friday, April 03, 2015

US remains out of the running in 2015 Index of Economic Freedom

2015 04 03 Heritage Heat Map

The United States remains out of the top ten in the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom assembled by Heritage Foundation. The index measures ten areas then combines them for a country’s overall rank. The US slightly improved in its composite score, but remains at #12. Until recent years we were always in the top five.

The top five are Hong Kong (that can’t last), Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and Switzerland. Even Estonia and Mauritius (Hint: it’s near Reunion) are ahead of us.

 The Heat map of the data at Heritage allows interactive selection of any of the ten factors or the composite, overlaid on a map of the world. The graphic shown is the heat map for overall composite score.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

April Fools fun

Enhanced buzz April Fools

OK. I am a day late. But here is a page with 31 very fun pranks. For kids and the young at heart. For example: make “candied apples” using onions!

BuzzFeed

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Latin America challenged by information age

Latin America map obhe ac uk

I hope Latin America will wake up and adopt policies that allow its people to grow in knowledge and productivity. Because increasing their productivity will improve their lives, both in basic economic value and in quality. Not doing do will result in stagnation.

LAM has mixed economic growth to the point of making very little progress while most of the world races ahead. Productivity is little improved since the 1950s. [World Bank] As we know, the world is changing in how income is earned. LAM can greatly improve its competitiveness if regional and national leaders take adopt policies that allow and encourage business even when they do things completely differently. I hope they will.

Source: Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank, calls the change the Second Machine Age, after a book of that title. (Why emphasize machines when it’s information processing that is driving the changes? Because of a book title, evidently.)

Projected Syndicate

… 

The MIT economists Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson, among others, identify the Second Machine Age with the rise of new automation technologies and artificial intelligence. While optimists predict that these innovations will usher in an era of unprecedented abundance, less sanguine analysts estimate that nearly half of all jobs currently performed by humans are vulnerable to replacement by robots and increasingly sophisticated software. Carl Benedikt Frey

Advanced technologies are already making inroads into some of Latin America’s principal industries. For example, carmakers, which employ hundreds of thousands of people across the region, are rapidly deploying robots that are more efficient and precise than humans. In South America’s grain belt, GPS-guided machinery is diminishing the need for farmhands, even as output increases.

Service industries, which already account for two-thirds of all jobs in Latin America, are particularly vulnerable. One Brazilian startup’s tax-management software, for example, can perform in seconds operations that would demand thousands of billable hours from an army of accountants. Other sectors that currently account for a large share of employment in lower-income countries – including apparel, light manufacturing, logistics, and call centers – are forecast to undergo increasing automation.


Via WR Meade at The American Interest

Graphic from obhe.ac.uk “The Observatory." In the Caribbean they show Jamaica which is not “Latin."