Archive for the ‘social issues’ Category

America’s Principle Agent Problem.

Friday, November 10th, 2017

Instapundit frequently links to another story of government incompetence with the comment “We have the worst ruling class in our history.”

There are so many examples, it is hard to list them but I will try with a few.

First, let’s have a definition.

The principal–agent problem, in political science and economics, (also known as agency dilemma or the agency problem) occurs when one person or entity (the “agent”) is able to make decisions on behalf of, or that impact, another person or entity: the “principal”.[1] This dilemma exists in circumstances where agents are motivated to act in their own best interests, which are contrary to those of their principals, and is an example of moral hazard.

The Founders were well aware of this problem and tried to protect the citizens with certain provisions of the Constitution.

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

This provision was violated by Barack Obama who spent billions to subsidize insurance companies to support his “Affordable Care Act” which was not successful.

Of course, the Amendments were intended to protect the rights of the people but the one that has been ignored for 100 years is the Tenth.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The Civil War largely ended Federalism.

In recent years, political parties have mislead their voters, the worst offender being the Republican Party. The Democrats posture as the party of the working man but it has become a party with two wings, the rich who want social liberties, and the poor who want to be taken care of. Jay Cost has written a good book about the Democrats Party called, “Spoiled Rotten, which explains the current policies of the party which has adopted “Identity politics” in which race and victim status has become a principal focus. My own review of the book is here.

The Republicans have gradually become the party of small business but the interests of small business are not being considered as paramount as the party seems to be evolving into another party of professional politicians whose personal interest trumps (so to speak) the interests of the voters. The result has been the rebellion of the Tea Party and more recently the election of Dave Brat, an economics professor, to Congress defeating Eric Cantor, a member of the GOP leadership, in 2014.

The election of Donald Trump has presented the GOP Congress with a crisis to which many have responded by retiring. One wonders what the next step of their career will be. Few, I suspect, will return home to the district that elected them. Most will remain in DC as Cantor has done.

Immediately thereafter, Cantor accepted a position as vice chairman of investment bank Moelis & Company. and,

In February 2015, the firm opened its Washington DC office, following the hire of Eric Cantor, former House Majority Leader, in September 2014.

The “Swamp” as President Trump describes it.

Other examples of the decline of the ruling class are easy to find.

A former professor at West Point, the Army’s Military Academy described the decline in standards at that institution.

The US Navy has had a series of catastrophic ship incidents an analysis is here.

As you will see over and over; yes there is individual failure, but this is actually a systemic failure. No one gets to be OOD overnight. No one gets to be the senior officer in CIC by fogging a mirror. These are, in theory, highly trained professionals who have invested years to be standing that watch. At a minimum, the basics should be instinct, should be expected – should be reinforced by the entire watch team because that is what we do. This did not happen in isolation. This is not the first time any of this took place.

Why, on this ship on this watch, did this happen? What were the conditions that created such an environment?

The rest is horrifying. What has happened to competence ?

The Transportation Security Administration has improved their success at detecting violations to only 80% failure.

Back in 2015, the TSA failed 67 of 70 tests that were conducted around the nation, which involved undercover officers smuggling banned items through security. That’s right, they have a ~95% failure rate. At least up until recently, the TSA has been consistent. In July a similar test was conducted, where 16 of 17 tests were failed, which is a similar failure rate.

I simply can’t wrap my head around how this is acceptable. Earlier in the year we saw the federal government imposing ridiculous (and dangerous) bans on electronics for flights from the Middle East to the US, while for flights departing the US, 95% of weapons go undetected.

Information is now coming out about the latest tests conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, in which undercover agents brought weapons through TSA checkpoint. This time around they’re not revealing exact numbers, but rather are only giving ballpark figures.

Then, of course, we had the botched implementation of Obamacare and its web site registration system.

Though the Obama administration tried to cover up the full extent of the website failure in the days following its launch, the lengthy HHS document tells a tale of complete collapse. It was forced out of this secretive administration by our November 25, 2013, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. Judicial Watch filed suit after HHS refused to respond to our October 7, 2013, FOIA request seeking the following information:

Any and all records concerning, regarding, or related to the number of individuals that purchased health insurance through Healthcare.gov between October 1, 2013, and October 4, 2013.

A simple request – that was stonewalled for over six months. Now we know why. This document shows that, on its first full day of operation, October 1, 2013, Obamacare’s Healthcare.gov received only one enrollment! That’s one – out of 334 million Americans. On the second day, 48% of registrations failed to process.

Billions were spent on this disaster. The Oregon state program failed completely

Oregon, under then-Gov. John Kitzhaber, aspired to create a shining model for other ObamaCare exchanges, but instead, it became its poster child of dysfunction. After spending more than $300 million in federal taxpayer dollars, Oregon pulled the plug last year and decided to default to the federal exchange.

The state is now embroiled in lawsuits with its primary vendor, Oracle, and current and former Oregon officials are the subject of congressional and other federal investigations. Depending upon the outcome of those investigations, Congress could demand that the state to pay back the $300 million it spent on a project that numerous reports show was fraught with mismanagement and political maneuverings.

Kitzhaber was an ER doc and may have returned to that occupation after his adventures as Governor.

The failure of Congress to repeal Obamacare is one more example of incompetence. The reaction of Republican Congress persons to Trump after his election suggests where their loyalties lie. The Swamp.

I think Angelo Codevilla’s piece about “The Ruling Class” has the best explanation.

When this majority discovered that virtually no one in a position of power in either party or with a national voice would take their objections seriously, that decisions about their money were being made in bipartisan backroom deals with interested parties, and that the laws on these matters were being voted by people who had not read them, the term “political class” came into use. Then, after those in power changed their plans from buying toxic assets to buying up equity in banks and major industries but refused to explain why, when they reasserted their right to decide ad hoc on these and so many other matters, supposing them to be beyond the general public’s understanding, the American people started referring to those in and around government as the “ruling class.” And in fact Republican and Democratic office holders and their retinues show a similar presumption to dominate and fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions, and sources of income among one another than between both and the rest of the country. They think, look, and act as a class.

Segregation is returning.

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

The strange goings on at colleges and in the streets of cities like St Louis makes me wonder if blacks have decided to revert to segregation.

Peaceful protests Friday turned violent when protesters broke a window and splattered paint on Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house. Police in riot gear responded, moved the crowd away from the house and eventually broke up the group with tear gas. Later, at least two armored vehicles were deployed.

The protests began Friday morning after a white former St. Louis officer was found not guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a black suspect.

Krewson-Official-Photo-Profile-250px

In 1995 Lyda’s husband, Jeff Krewson, was tragically murdered in an attempted carjacking in front of their Central West End row house. With the support of family, friends, and many great neighbors, Krewson continued to raise her 2 kids there.

Why would any white person want to live in St Louis ?

The man shot by the officer, who was charged with first degree murder in spite of the fact that the man he shot was a drug dealer and armed and fleeing police at high speed.

The videos of the incident clearly show that the shooting was part of a confrontation.

Why in the world was the policeman overcharged?

The riots in Ferguson and Baltimore show that cities with large black populations are powder kegs.

A white reporter is attacked while trying to provide news coverage.

He asks why they picked on him ? He is white. He says, “My boss told me if there is any violence, leave, so we are leaving.”

It doesn’t require court judgements that blacks don’t like.

White and Asian students studying at Dartmouth’s Baker Library are harassed.

Why is this going on ? Dartmouth is an even more leftist campus than when I was there 25 years ago.

I don’t seem to be the only one noticing.

What are the Democrats up to today? They’re going back to their roots and have gotten back into the sign-posting business again. They’re putting up signs in every cafe in the land to let us Deplorables know we can’t sit with them. They’re trying to be sneakier about it this time. The signs don’t say “TRUMP SUPPORTERS GO AROUND BACK” or “DEMOCRATS ONLY.” Oh no! That would be too obvious. Instead, they’re posting these. I found this at the local coffee shop I had been frequenting instead of Starbucks. I haven’t been back since.

It seems to be all over, not just streets and college campuses.

This book, which explains how Affirmative Action harms black students, might help.

Sander and Taylor have long admired affirmative action’s original goals, but after many years of studying racial preferences, they have reached a controversial but undeniable conclusion: that preferences hurt underrepresented minorities far more than they help them. At the heart of affirmative action’s failure is a simple phenomenon called mismatch. Using dramatic new data and numerous interviews with affected former students and university officials of color, the authors show how racial preferences often put students in competition with far better-prepared classmates, dooming many to fall so far behind that they can never catch up. Mismatch largely explains why, even though black applicants are more likely to enter college than whites with similar backgrounds, they are far less likely to finish; why there are so few black and Hispanic professionals with science and engineering degrees and doctorates; why black law graduates fail bar exams at four times the rate of whites; and why universities accept relatively affluent minorities over working class and poor people of all races.

Those black students were not studying for final exams like the white and Asian students they harassed. Maybe they know it is no use.

Now, Dartmouth has all sorts of black only facilities but still the BLM protests and harasses white and Asian students.

I think I know why. I spent 15 years teaching medical students in small group settings. Many of these students were black but few were American born and raised. Most were foreign born and grew up in countries that do not have the American black obsession with victim rights.

I don’t know the solution.

Internal Secession ?

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

The Trump Derangement Syndrome shows no sign of stopping. The alleged meeting between Russians and Donald Trump Jr is reaching a new level of fever.

The anti-Trump mainstream media is buzzing with news that Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian American lobbyist and veteran of the Soviet military, attended the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Rosalind Helderman and Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post insist that Akhmetshin’s presence “adds to the potential seriousness of the Trump Tower gathering that is emerging this week as the clearest evidence so far of interactions between Trump campaign officials and Russian interests.” I think they mean the only evidence.

But now does the attendance of this lobbyist add to the “potential seriousness” of the “gathering”? If it was inappropriate for Trump Jr. to meet with one Russian lobbyist with probable Kremlin connections, the attendance of a second doesn’t make the meeting more inappropriate.

The hysteria shows no sign of abating. What comes next ?

“Resist” marches all over the country bring out thousands of leftists and feminists.

Tens of thousands of LGBTQ folk and their allies marched through Hollywood and West Hollywood on Sunday for the Resist March, a protest which this year replaced the colorful and over-the-top celebratory atmosphere of a Pride parade.

The event was billed as non-partisan, but unmistakeable was the heavy presence of marchers bearing anti-Trump signs, speakers decrying the administration’s immigration, healthcare and civil rights policies, and Democrats calling for a burst of activism to channel into the 2018 elections.

Richard Fernandez has some thoughts on where this might go.

Internal secession.

Our trust hierarchies have collapsed. As with Soviet Russia, the “official” media sources are now distrusted as purveyors “fake news”. To fill the gap a peer-to-peer grapevine, similar to the “friends and family”, a samizdat is emerging to pick up the slack. Sonya Mann at Inc uses a startup to illustrate the growing division of society into trust groups. “Pax Dickinson wants to fund the revolution. Not a blood-in-the-streets revolution, but one where hardcore right-wingers can economically secede from the parts of society they vehemently dislike. “We need parallel everything. I do not want to ever have to spend a single dollar at a non-movement business.”

That’s the right, the alt-right if you prefer.

The left has already shown their willingness to boycott any business that does not follow their script.

Ask Brenden Eich.

Brendan Eich recently stepped down as CEO of Mozilla, developer of the Firefox Web browser. It may be more accurate to say he was forced out in the wake of a rising boycott against him. The backlash against Eich is related to his position on gay rights, but many feel that the campaign against him is its own form of discrimination and intolerance.

His crime was to quietly donate $1000 to the Proposition Eight ballet initiative, which resulted in over 7 million yes votes and a 60% margin of approval. The proposition was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge who promptly married his gay lover.

California’s AG declined to appeal his ruling. That’s a pretty effective boycott.

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The riot at Middlebury College over Charles Murray.

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

Recently, Charles Murray, author of the book, “The Bell Curve,” a study of intelligence in the population, was invited to speak at Middlebury college, a liberal arts college in Vermont. His attempt to speak was interrupted by a riot which injured a professor at the college.

Inside Higher Ed’s story on the event explains that college officials admonished the students prior to the talk that they could protest but not disrupt Murray’s talk, which was to be about the way white America is coming apart—the title of his latest book—along class lines. Unfortunately, that admonition did no good. “As soon as Murray took the stage,” we read, “students stood up, turned their backs to him and started various chants that were loud enough and in unison such that he could not talk over them.

The confrontation continued after he had left the stage and attempted to move to another location.

And then matters turned worse. Fearing that there might be a raucous, disruptive mob instead of an audience of students willing to listen and consider Murray’s arguments, school administrators had set up a contingency plan. Once it became clear that the mob had killed the lecture, they moved to another location where Murray would give his talk, which would be live-streamed to students.

Sadly, that location was soon beset by the mob, with banging on windows and pulling of fire alarms. Murray and Professor Allison Stanger, who was the moderator for the talk, tried their best to continue a rational discussion.

Finally, Murray, Professor Stanger, and a few others tried to leave campus.

Mayhem resulted when Professor Stanger, who had been willing to state her agreement that Murray should not have been invited, was injured.

Why did this happen ? Tribalism ?

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An interesting theory for Muslim immigration.l

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

I have been wondering why the political left, and to some extent the right, has been so enthusiastic about Muslim immigration. Islam is just not compatible with the liberal traditions of the West. So why the continued efforts to import Muslims ?

Here is a novel theory.

There’s no economic argument for importing Syrians or Turks. Muslims are overwhelmingly represented on the welfare roles. In Denmark, people from MENA countries make up 5% of the population, but consume 40% of welfare benefits. This is a story across Europe. It is not just the new arrivals. Turks in Germany have been there for a couple of generations and have been the worst performing economic group in the country. Estimates put the total working population at 20%, while the rest live off welfare benefits. Then there is the issue of sky high Muslim crime rates.

The incident in London yesterday made clear that assimilation is not going to solve the problem. The terrorist was British born. Most of the sexual abusers in Rotherham were British born to Muslim immigrants.

In September 2012, investigations by The Times based on confidential police and social services documents, found that abuse had been much more widespread than acknowledged.[24][25] It uncovered systematic sexual abuse of white girls by British Asian men (mostly of Pakistani origin)[26] in Rotherham for which people were not being prosecuted.

Not only were they not being prosecuted but the British authorities had been covering up the abuse for years Why ?

Is there popular support for importing these people, despite their uselessness as citizens? Again, there’s no data to suggest this is the case. European leaders could have put the issue to the voters, but they fanatically avoid it. In fact, anyone who dares run on the issue is branded a Nazi. Politicians love democracy when they are assured of winning. They avoid it when they are assured of losing. Therefore, it is safe to assume they don’t think this is a winner for them.

So, the politicians seem to favor the immigrants over their own citizens. Why ?

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Why we are losing America.

Friday, October 7th, 2016

norman_rockwell-homecoming_marine-1945

This painting, of a young Marine just home from the war, shows us how much we have lost. I remember when the guys were coming home from the war. My parents had parties for them. My father had enlisted in the Navy in World War I even though he was only 15.

albin-1918

He looks older but was only 15 and, after the war ended a few months later, admitted his age and came home. He had no intention of being a peacetime sailor.

Saloon

Here is one of the parties after the war. Our house had a basement party room with a fireplace (that smoked) and a full bar plus a juke box and, at one time, a penny slot machine that I wish I had now. Sid White, sitting in the front, was a B 17 crewman who was shot down and spent several years in a POW camp.

Standing at the far right is my uncle Tom and his wife Mavis. He had spent the war in Europe. Standing to the left of Sid is Bud Gonya who was a Seabee in the Pacific. He is wearing a vest over a white shirt. My father is standing behind the bar directly behind Sid. Next to him is Chuck Quinn, a neighbor and friend of Bud Kerrison, my cousin who is to the right of them. Bud is behind Mavis and was a B 17 bombardier in North Africa. Next to Bud and perhaps sitting on his lap is Pat Neary who would marry a friend of Bud’s from the North African campaign named Frank Flanagan. Sitting next to Sid with her arms on his shoulders is Ellen Smith who would marry him. Her brother Jimmy was in the POW camp with Sid.

Most of these girls were friends of Bud’s sisters Ruth and Marian and quite a few of them married friends of Bud from the war. I was only 7 years old at the time and had a lot of fun meeting and getting to know these people.

There has been criticism of this “Greatest Generation” who probably spoiled their children, “The Baby Boomers” who have gone to destroy their parents’ world. I think this group had grown up in the Depression and gave considerable credit to the government, credit we now believe to have been excessive. On the other hand, Roosevelt had done a credible job of running the war.

Everyone was happy it was over and the country had a period of prosperity that continued until the 1965 Johnson Administration set off an inflationary spiral that has brought us down, perhaps forever. The 1960s also introduced the violent and anarchic Baby Boomers who wrecked the social institutions over the next 40 years.

Rockwell would not recognize the country we have become.

What is “alt-Right” in this year’s election ?

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

There is a new theme for the Democrats in this year’s election. Hillary calls it the “Alt-Right.”

The New York Times is alarmed.

As Hillary Clinton assailed Donald J. Trump on Thursday for fanning the flames of racism embraced by the “alt-right,” the community of activists that tends to lurk anonymously in the internet’s dark corners could hardly contain its glee.

Mrs. Clinton’s speech was intended to link Mr. Trump to a fringe ideology of conspiracies and hate, but for the leaders of the alt-right, the attention from the Democratic presidential nominee was a moment in the political spotlight that offered a new level of credibility. It also provided a valuable opportunity for fund-raising and recruiting.

Jared Taylor, editor of the white nationalist publication American Renaissance, live-tweeted Mrs. Clinton’s remarks, questioning her praise of establishment Republicans and eagerly anticipating her discussion of his community.

According to Hillary and the Times, Donald Trump is defined by those who say they support him more than by what he says himself.

If Hillary and Bernie Sanders are supported by communists, does that make them communists ? This is an odd year and will get worse.

A better explanation of “alt-Right” is provided by two spokesmen for another view.

A specter is haunting the dinner parties, fundraisers and think-tanks of the Establishment: the specter of the “alternative right.” Young, creative and eager to commit secular heresies, they have become public enemy number one to beltway conservatives — more hated, even, than Democrats or loopy progressives.
The alternative right, more commonly known as the alt-right, is an amorphous movement. Some — mostly Establishment types — insist it’s little more than a vehicle for the worst dregs of human society: anti-Semites, white supremacists, and other members of the Stormfront set. They’re wrong.

I wasn’t even aware of this controversy until Ann Althouse put up a post on the subject after Hillary raised it.

She quotes a man who was ejected from the Hillary speech.

“I call myself alt right because the conservative establishment right in this country does not represent my views, they are just as much to blame for the disaster taking place in America as the left, the alt right to me is fiscal responsibility, secure borders, enforcement of immigration laws, ending the PC culture, and promoting AMERICA FIRST (Not Sharia First)… If you come to this country legally, follow the laws, learn our language, and love the country, you are equal, no matter your color, or religion. Basically alt-right is to separate ourselves from the failing establishment right.

That post led to over 300 comments on her blog. She then posted a survey. The results were interesting.

alt-right poll

I voted for the choice “I’m most of all of what it stands for but I don’t use that term, myself.”

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What are George Soros motives?

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

George Soros is a Hungarian born billionaire who seems to be funding a lot of malicious mischief around the world. Why ?

Soros was born in Hungary in 1930.

That Wiki article is very favorable to Soros and does not mention a few things.

There is considerable discussion of Soros’ role under the Nazis.

It has been alleged that he was a collaborator. Apparently, he did admit doing some things that could be criticized although the role of a 14 year old is pretty weak.

It was a tremendous threat of evil. I mean, it was a — a very personal experience of evil.

KROFT: My understanding is that you went out with this [Christian] protector of yours who swore that you were his adopted godson.

Mr. SOROS: Yes. Yes.

KROFT: Went out, in fact, and helped in the confiscation of property from the Jews.

Mr. SOROS: Yes. That’s right. Yes.

KROFT: I mean, that’s — that sounds like an experience that would send lots of people to the psychiatric couch for many, many years. Was it difficult?

Mr. SOROS: Not — not at all. Not at all. Maybe as a child you don’t — you don’t see the connection. But it was — it created no — no problem at all.

KROFT: No feeling of guilt?

Mr. SOROS: No.

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Government is Failing. At Everything.

Friday, July 1st, 2016

surprise

Today, Daniel Henninger has a pretty good column on Brexit.

The Wall Street Journal is not exactly on board with the “Leave” vote or certainly with Trump but this is pretty good.

The vote by the people of the United Kingdom to separate from the European Union was actually Brexit the Sequel. The first Brexit vote took place 35 years ago in the United States, with the election of Ronald Reagan, who carried 44 states.

Reagan, in his first inaugural address in 1981, could not have been more explicit about what his election stood for: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

Brexit is shorthand for “government is the problem.”

Liberal intellectuals have mocked Reagan for reducing his theory of government to a bumper sticker. But he elaborated on the idea with words that would have fit in the Founders’ debates:

“We have been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?”

Reagan is being misrepresented by a lot of Republicans these days. They don’t remember what a radical he was in GOP eyes back in 1976. I do.

Why even George Will thought he was too radical in 1976.

In a November 12, 1974 column appearing in the Washington Post on a potential 1976 challenge by Reagan to incumbent Establishment GOP President Gerald Ford, (titled “Ronald Reagan, the GOP and ’76”), Will wrote of Reagan: “But Reagan is 63 and looks it. His hair is still remarkably free of gray. But around the mouth and neck he looks like an old man. He’s never demonstrated substantial national appeal, his hard core support today consists primarily of the kamikaze conservatives who thought the 1964 Goldwater campaign was jolly fun. And there’s a reason to doubt that Reagan is well suited to appeal to the electorate that just produced a Democratic landslide. If a Reagan third party would just lead the ‘Nixon was lynched’ crowd away from the Republican Party and into outer darkness where there is a wailing and gnashing of teeth, it might be at worst a mixed course for the Republican Party. It would cost the party some support, but it would make the party seem cleansed.”

Will certainly has a way with words. The Administrative State has come to the end of its usefulness, if it ever had any.

Richard Fernandez, as usual, has something useful to say.

Basically, the Benghazi consulate was overrun because the administration had established an embassy beyond the wire and outside the artillery fan. They had deceived themselves into thinking it was tenable. They entrusted its defense to unreliable militias. When it was attacked, they had no forces within practical range of relief. To explain the resulting disaster, they peddled a fairy tale which even they did not believe. It was all wishful thinking from beginning to end and beyond. We are now in that beyond.

The Administrative State may be incompetent but it has good PR.

Benghazi was a foreseeable disaster they failed to prevent. And in the aftermath it was a catastrophe whose lessons they were determined to ignore. In summary, the report depicts an administration that was not so much malignant as completely incompetent. The Obama never saw what hit them in Benghazi, had no comeback when it did, and denied they were sucker punched even as they picked themselves up from the floor.

The true story of Benghazi is in many ways more disturbing than the wildest conspiracy theories can be.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh, a Muslim state, is exploding.

Armed attackers are holding as many as 20 hostages at a cafe in a diplomatic zone of Bangladesh’s capital. A gunbattle with police left at least two senior police officers dead and 40 people were injured.

ISIS claimed responsibility, according to Amaq News Agency, an ISIS media branch.
As police exchanged fire with the gunmen, the attackers threw explosives at officers, a source at the scene said.
Here’s the latest:
• Gunmen are holding the hostages at Holey Artisan Bakery, a cafe popular with expats, cafe owner Sumon Reza told CNN. Reza said he managed to escape as six to eight gunmen entered the cafe. About 20 people, some of them foreigners, were in the restaurant, he said.
• A police officer in charge of a nearby station was shot dead, Maruf Hasan of Dhaka Metropolitan Police said. A second officer later died from gunshot wounds, Detective Police Deputy Commissioner Sheikh Nazmul Alam tells CNN.

The attack is in an area frequented by foreigners. Bangladesh has had a rising tide of violence for over a year. The rising tide is directed agaunst foreigners and locals who are secular.

Over the past year, Bangladesh – an overwhelmingly Muslim country of 150 million people – has seen growing violence against both foreigners and locals deemed to be enemies of extremist Islam: secular bloggers, outspoken critics of fundamentalism, members of religious minorities such as Hindus and Christians, police officers and others.

Until now, the violence has taken the form of largely low-tech attacks involving small groups of militants or even individuals armed with knives or small arms.

Friday’s attack, however, was an operation of a much greater magnitude. Early reports suggest at least five gunmen, armed with sufficient automatic weapons and grenades to repel at least one assault by local police.

Western intelligence have been nervous about a major operation for at least 18 months. Indications of a complex plan to attack a diplomatic ball last year prompted much alarm – and pressure from western capitals on Dhaka to move effectively against the militant networks existing in the unstable south Asian nation.

Such attacks are likely here if the ISIS recruiters can get enough US residents to organize. In the meantime, Obama moves to imitate Brussels.

The Obama presidency has been an American version of the European Commission from which the Brits fled. Except that U.S. courts still review, rather than rubber-stamp, the Obama Commission’s executive orders ranging across labor, the environment, the internet, financial institutions and universities.

Had U.S. courts not pushed back against many of the Obama government’s rules and “guidance” directives, the famous “pen-and-phone” authority, this presidency would have come close to putting the states in the same relation to Washington as that between the once-sovereign states of Europe and Brussels.

The US military, our only real bulwark against militant Islam, is being pressed to allow open transgender personnel.

The Pentagon’s decades-old policy considers transgender people to be sexual deviants, allowing the military to discharge them. The services — and later, Carter — decided last year to move that discharge authority to higher levels in the military, making it more difficult to force out transgender people. The lack of a new policy, however, continues to create complicated situations for transgender service members and their commanders.

In one case, Army Sgt. Shane Ortega, a transgender man, was required last summer to go to a uniform shop where he was stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii with a senior enlisted soldier to obtain a female dress uniform in order to meet Army officials at the Pentagon to discuss transgender policy concerns, according to Ortega and Army officials.

Ortega said the incident showed “a real lack of leadership and a lack of human compassion” and demonstrated the level of discrimination and ignorance in the military about transgender people is huge.

The article alleges there are 12,500 transgender people in the military, an astonishing claim as transgender is about 0.0001% of the US population.

And the clock is running on when the next Muslim attack on US soil will occur.

What happened to Venezuela?

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

venzuela

Venezuela is in the news as the country cannot even buy paper to print money.

This all goes back to 1998 when Chavez was elected by the people.

He was an army officer and had previously attempted to overthrow the government, a coup that failed.

in the early 1980s. Chávez led the MBR-200 in an unsuccessful coup d’état against the Democratic Action government of President Carlos Andrés Pérez in 1992, for which he was imprisoned. Released from prison after two years, he founded a political party known as the Fifth Republic Movement and was elected president of Venezuela in 1998.

Venezuela is an example of The Curse of Natural Resources.

The idea that resources might be more of an economic curse than a blessing began to emerge in debates in the 1950s and 1960s about the economic problems of low and middle-income countries.[3] The term resource curse was first used by Richard Auty in 1993 to describe how countries rich in mineral resources were unable to use that wealth to boost their economies and how, counter-intuitively, these countries had lower economic growth than countries without an abundance of natural resources. An influential study by Jeffrey Sachs and Andrew Warner found a strong correlation between natural resource abundance and poor economic growth.

Venezuela is only the latest and worst example. The history is depressingly familiar.

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