Sunday, July 29, 2007

Are There Any Left?


ht: ¡No Pasarán!

African Dictator Reaches Bottom, Keeps Digging

Reading recent accounts of the occurrences in the unfortunate nation of Zimbabwe one could wonder if its president, Robert Mugabe should seek psychiatric counseling.

The official currency inflation for the nation is now at 4,500% which is just under double that of 2006. Independent economists however, calculate the real inflation rate at twice that (9,000%???). As Zimbabwe's society descends further into the abysmal pit of financial and economic disaster, Mr. Mugabe has elected to "dig harder". In order to address the disaster of deteriorating infrastructure and government services Mr. Mugabe states: "Where money for projects has not been found, we will print it." He appears to be even less sophisticated than his fascist colleague in Venezuela who has opted for deleting 3 zeroes from the new banknotes to be issued in January of 2008 and designated the "Bolivar Fuerte" (strong Bolivar).

In typical fascist fashion those responsible for the disaster are insisting on killing the messenger:
Senior government ministers responsible for Zimbabwe’s price control campaign want President Robert Mugabe to sack his close confidant, Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank governor. [...]
Government price controls were ordered in late June and as a result commodities have disappeared from store shelves. Some 5,000 managers and gas station and store owners have been arrested and fined for defying the price controls since the order was issued June 26.
Compounding the tragedy:
Two weeks ago, the Mugabe government ordered businesses to cut prices by half, threatening businesspeople with imprisonment if they failed to comply and warning that factories that closed or retrenched workers would be nationalized [yep. that'll solve it].
Daily power outages are forcing Zimbabweans to light fires for cooking and heating water. State radio reported Friday that a woodlands park used for conservation classes faced collapse because wood poachers had stripped nearly 500 acres of its indigenous msasa trees and other long-burning hardwoods.
At what point, one wonders, will the value of the paper and ink used to produce Zimbabwe currency exceed its face value? On reflection however, this may be a business opportunity. The banknotes can be shipped to Cuba to be used as toilet paper where none now exists. In turn Cuba can trade some of the oil donated to it by Hugo Chávez for the banknotes. I leave it to you, dear reader, to determine the losers in this daisy chain.

cross posted at: Eternity Road

Thursday, July 26, 2007

By the Back Door

Having spent the better part of his working career in law enforcement, ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ finds this story extremely troubling.
A team of inspectors from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives fled an Idaho gun shop where they were inspecting sales records when they learned their actions were being recorded on a blog...Now the federal agency has gone to court with a report that its inspectors "suspended" their work at the store recently because of the "threat to the inspectors' safety created by Ryan Horsley, the Manager of Red's."

Unless a law enforcement officer is employed in a covert capacity, why would his/her exposure to citizen observation constitute "intimidation" or "harassment"? This is especially true when the exposure includes operations by an upper level bureaucrat that cannot ever be conceived of as engaging in covert operations. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (which should, according to a tee shirt producing wag, be designated as a convenience store) has a sad history of thuggishness which would make the likes of Sarah Brady proud, appears to be engaged in accomplishing by bureaucratic abuse what the collectivists supporting citizen disarmament have failed to achieve legislatively.

On the other hand, any sentient observer is aware that most protections from oppression supposedly supplied to us by the Constitution are in fact a dead letter; for example the Second Amendment as it applies to the citizens of Washington DC, Chicago, New York or California as well as the First Amendment regarding speech as suppressed by the so called "Bipartisan Campaign Finance 'Reform' Law" coauthored by an individual who is so arrogant as to offer himself up as a candidate for the nation's highest office.

The Democrat majority in Congress appears to be more concerned with its war on the current administration by engaging in a public relations gottcha campaign and pursuing a collectivist economic agenda than concerning itself with rolling back the abuses of a cancerous government bureaucracy. Why are we not surprised?


cross posted at: Eternity Road
Hat tip: Jim Sullivan

Monday, July 23, 2007

Michael Moore, Call Your office!

While Cubans are dying for lack of medicines; Castro is donating 5 tons of drugs to Peru.

Everyday we hear reports from Cuban-Americans who have to send medicines to Cuba, because their relatives can't find any in the local pharmacies.

When a relative is going to have surgery in Cuba, Cuban-Americans are forced to send everything, including the anesthesia.

But while Cubans are dying due to the lack of medicines, the dictator is giving tons of them away to foreign countries for propaganda purposes.

Here is a report in Monday's Prensa Latina:

Lima, Jul 23 (Prensa Latina) Cuba will deliver five tons of medicines in the next few days for those affected by the cold spell gripping the Peruvian Andes, the island"s charge d"Affaires to this capital Pastor Rodriguez stated.

The diplomat said this during a Sunday jubilant act in occasion of the 54th anniversary of the attack on Moncada Barracks, an armed action of the Cuban Revolution against the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship (1953-1959).

Amid applauses, Rodriguez announced the donation of medicines among his country's examples of international solidarity, which in case of Peru, the island was the first nation that in 1970 gave support to victims of a devastating earthquake.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

No Border Control but....

Article I section 2 of the United States Constitution as amended by Amendment XIV section 1 directs the central government to conduct a decennial "Enumeration" of persons residing within the territory of the nation for purposes of "apportioning representatives" in the Congress. The logic and reasonableness of such a census are both obvious and indisputable. How times have changed.

Recently an item of mail found its way into our mail box addressed to unnamed "residents" of our home. The envelope and its contents were doubtless discarded into the rubbish bin along with the quantity of "junk mail" delivered by employees of the U.S. Postal Service 6 times per week. Yesterday however, a followup communication arrived threatening the residents of our address with unspecified "penalties" for neglecting to respond to the previous missive. The communication was sent by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration and contained a questionnaire of more than 15 pages entitled "American Community Survey". The government estimates "the time required to complete the survey to be 38 minutes".

The questions on the "survey" were not limited to the number of persons residing at the location but included the racial makeup, marital status, education level, income, age and citizenship (but only if U.S. It is apparently not the purpose of the Federal government to determine the legal status of non citizens). Additionally, the survey demands to be apprised of the amount of rent, plumbing facilities, telephone service, method and cost of heating as well as the market value of the residence. The survey required to be advised of the hour of the day when each employed person left for work and the time spent in the commute.

The instructions accompanying the survey reveal among other data, the purposes for requiring the value of rent and meals: "Government and planning agencies use answers to these questions... to develop... programs to meet the needs of people of different economic levels." Such is the condition of life in our "Constitutional Republic" that to fulfill the original constitutional intent, one simple question would suffice i.e. "number of inhabitants". Nowhere in the founding document can be found the authorization for implementing the "programs" which define the purpose of the survey.

Hopefully I made no errors in answering the questions which will require the appointment of a "Special Counsel". I suspect that the mercy which attended the commutation of Mr. Libby's sentence would not be forthcoming.

cross posted at: Eternity Road

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Paradox

click on images to enlarge

With the recent passing of the Independence Day observances here in the U.S. the full range of attitudes toward "patriotism" (or the lack of it) were displayed for all who are interested to see, from the annual "F**k the Fourth" party in the freak show buy the bay to the arrival of a boatload of refugees welcomed by ordinary Americans. Being an occasional visitor to the San Francisco Bay area zombitime photo essayist web site as well as a native of the great state of California, I decided to see if anything interesting was on display as pertains to the freak-show by the bay. I was not to be disappointed. Zombitime presents photo coverage of most of the demonstrations, protests and odd celebrations offered by the strange inhabitants of that area. The sample presented here is just a teaser and a visit to the Zombietime site offers a surfeit of glandular stimulation.

In contrast, I today noted the news coverage of a group of 27 individuals of the opposite persuasion. A group including doctors dentists as well as other riff raff. Of course these latter individuals had no intention of creating a spectacle but nevertheless it is interesting to compare the contrasting images. This group of 27 men women and children underwent considerable inconvenience in making good their escape from the wonderful Caribbean island prison paradise known as Cuba. You know, that place with the free high class health care touted by Michael Moore and where one is only allowed a food ration book and avoid prison if he refrains from offending the "maximum leader" more widely known as El Comandante en Jefe.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sinners Repent!!!

My only caveat with regard to the following essay is the alliance recently concluded between the collectivist left [who are the heirs to discredited political/economic Marxism] and the Islamists who have been conjoined in their project of defeating Western culture.

Conventional religions have been under attack for some years from liberals who have drifted into secular humanism and away from any devout belief in God. But as Margaret Mead discovered long ago, no culture has ever existed without some belief in a supernatural being. In today's world, the worship of the "environment" has filled the bill perfectly.

Green religion competes with old-style religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam. Environmentalists passionately believe its stories and predictions to be as accurate as fundamentalists view the Old and New Testaments or the Koran. While the old religions encouraged charitable activities toward others, the new Green religion grants dispensation by bicycling to work, recycling beer cans, and voting for the most "progressive" candidates.

When one observes the ubiquitous environmental movement overpowering all of society today, one might easily confuse it for a single spontaneous social movement or a mystic awakening, inspired perhaps by man's impact on the natural world or our constant increase of knowledge and awareness. But that would be wrong. When one looks under the surface, one sees specific and self-interested constituencies, each milking a popular movement for all they can get.

First, we have leftist intellectuals and their sock puppets, the politicians, who seek to run the lives of those they see as less intelligent and less capable than themselves. This is the "means justify the ends" crowd, who dominate governments from the lowest and most local level up to the U.S. Senate and the United Nations. For them, environmentalism is just a convenient end to justify the means they have long supported for other reasons: central control, more regulation, higher taxes, more power for them, less freedom for everyone else.


Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Face of the Beast

During the last several decades a dangerous habit of designating the movement de jour as a "war" has come into vogue. Some of the examples of this tendency would include the "wars" on poverty, crime, drugs, hunger, homelessness, terrorism and the so called "Cold War". I would suspect that those who tout these projects as wars have contributed to the trivialization of the most serious event that a society can undertake. To wit: war. As a result, the concept and hideousness of war as well as various cultural philosophies of waging it have been obscured until recently from those of us fortunate enough to reside in the relative security of western culture. Take for example the recent exposure to our visual senses of such outrages as the video beheading of an abducted western journalist or the stoning/stomping to death of a young woman in northern Iraq or this recent dispatch by Michael Yon from a village north of Baghdad:
They recruited boys born during the years 1991, 92 and 93 who were each given weapons, including pistols, a bicycle and a phone (with phone cards paid) and a salary of $100 per month, all courtesy of al Qaeda. These boys were used for kidnapping, torturing and murdering people.

At first, he said, they would only target Shia, but over time the new al Qaeda directed attacks against Sunni, and then anyone who thought differently. The official reported that on a couple of occasions in Baqubah, al Qaeda invited to lunch families they wanted to convert to their way of thinking. In each instance, the family had a boy, he said, who was about 11 years old. As LT David Wallach interpreted the man’s words, I saw Wallach go blank and silent. He stopped interpreting for a moment. I asked Wallach, “What did he say?” Wallach said that at these luncheons, the families were sat down to eat. And then their boy was brought in with his mouth stuffed. The boy had been baked. Al Qaeda served the boy to his family.

You might wish to visualize these events whenever one of our "leaders" begins to wax eloquent on the benefits of "multiculturalism".

Here at home, we face maddening calls to extend to captured terrorists the legal rights enjoyed by American citizens. Stop and think about that - really think about it. We're bleeding in multiple wars, and we want to send in the lawyers?

Perhaps the biggest lie told since 9/11 is that we must wage war according to our values. If we'd tried that in World War II, we'd still be fighting in the Philippines and struggling to reach the Rhine. In war, [not the faux wars faught since 1950] the point is to win. Nothing else matters. And you don't get credit for manners.

Our global position isn't eroding because we're stuck in Iraq or because Europeans are mad at us (they're always mad at us). We're losing ground because our leaders, Democrat and Republican, still don't believe we're at war. They live in perfect safety and don't really care if you or your children die, as long as you vote for them.

If roadside bombs were going off on Capitol Hill, we'd punish Iran ferociously and stop treating captured terrorists like white-collar crooks. But as long as the IEDs only kill and cripple our soldiers and Marines, neither political party gives a damn.

That pretty well sums up the pass to which we have come. Τhe arrows launched at our culture by its enemies both at home and abroad have become so numerous as to have, in the words of Xerxes: "blotted out the sun". We are truly "Fighting in the Shade"

thanks to: ¡No Pasarán!
cross posted at: Eternity Road


Friday, July 06, 2007

OK for Me but not for Thee!

The partisan outrage over President Bush's commutation of the sentence imposed on Lewis "Scooter" Libby rings a bit hollow in view of the multiple hundreds of such grants of clemency meted out by former President Clinton. Most of the beneficiaries of Clinton's mercy just by coincidence happened to be his former business associates, his family, campaign contributors and a gaggle of Puerto Rican terrorists who were convicted of serious felonies and at least one homicide. The latter pardons appear to have been issued in order to garner Puerto Rican votes for Mrs. Clinton in her Senate race.

Conversely, Mr. Libby was convicted of giving misleading testimony to a grand jury and federal investigators during an investigation of a "crime" the elements of which were never either alleged or proved. Additionally, the investigator KNEW Mr. Libby to be innocent of the non "crime" being investigated.

ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ is unable to recount the vast number of instances during his investigative career for the county of Los Angeles wherein he was lied to. So far as is known none of the "liars" were ever prosecuted for doing so. It would appear that investigators for the Imperial Federal Government have an advantage over those who investigate ordinary and violent street crime. Could partisan politics possibly have anything to do with this?

When the punishment for the (non)"crimes" of Mr. Libby are compared to the punishment for the actual theft and destruction of secret documents from the National Archives by Mr. Berger who was Clinton's National Security Advisor, the political dimension of the entire CIA "leak" kerfuffel becomes glaringly obvious.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Outrage of the Week

We Can only Wish

The following was posted here and is further indication of the uselessness of the United Nations whose "Human Rights" Council has elected to ignore all human rights violations by Cuba, Belarus, Sudan, Myanmar, China and Iran in order to focus solely on condemning Israel:
Many refugees have fled the violence in Sudan for other African countries, including Egypt. Some of those refugees have found their way to Israel:

Anthony Peter, 36, fled his home in southern Sudan after losing his parents to the violence there. Carrying a single suitcase, he sought asylum in Egypt, where he hoped to create a new life for his family. Several weeks ago he snuck into Israel with his family.

"I would rather that the Israeli government shoot me here, in a clean, humane way, than send me back to Egypt. To send me, and my children, and my wife back there is to sentence us to a cruel and violent death," Peter said.

"*** My life in Egypt was even more dangerous than my life in Sudan had been. Our lives were even more at risk and we were outsiders who everyone could identify and threaten." Peter said he had seen other Sudanese refugees beaten, raped, and killed by Nubian gangs operating in the refugee camps.

So Peter decided to take a gamble on Israel, a place he had only heard of as a "land of Jews."

"The only thing I knew about Jews was what I heard about them in Egypt - that they were evil, that they drank blood and were killers and very cruel," said Peter. "I thought though, that the people telling me this were also killers, so why should I believe them?"

Peter paid to have himself and his family smuggled over the border by a group of Bedouins. He joined a considerable number of Sudanese who have fled Egypt for safety in Israel. The Israeli government wants to send them back, unless they can make a specific showing of "perilous danger." Ironically, this decision has been condemned by humanitarian groups:

The decision to return the refugees to Egypt was slammed by officials from Amnesty International and the United Nations.

Poor Israel! Its status as the only "human rights violator" the U.N. cares about is truly unique. It gets condemned for returning refugees to Egypt; while, on the other hand, Egypt has not been condemned for the actions that caused them to flee in the first place. On the contrary: in May, the U.N.'s General Assembly elected Egypt to a seat on its Human Rights Council. More on that later.

And the U.S. continues to fund this travesty with taxpayer dollars.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

New York "Slimes" and Associated Press

For those of you who depend on the New York Times and Associated Press for your "news" and found the data on the recent UK bombing operations the work of "amateurs" and reported in the back pages, here's food for thought:

"Franchise operation [Mark Steyn]

Tim Blair provides a fine example of why The New York Times is an unreliable guide to the ways of the world:

In July 2005, four suicide bombers killed 52 people on London’s transit system, and another set of attacks failed two weeks later, bringing home to Britain fears of homegrown terrorist attacks among its disenfranchised South Asian population. Witnesses said the two men in the Glasgow attack were South Asian.

My dictionary defines "disenfranchised" as:

to deprive of a franchise, of a legal right, or of some privilege or immunity; especially : to deprive of the right to vote

The "South Asian population" are British subjects with as much right to vote as Tony Blair or Gordon Brown. If the Times is merely using the word to mean more generally "deprived", the July 7th bombers didn't exactly hail from the ghetto: Shehzad Tanweer rode around in his dad's Mercedes. Omar Sheikh, who's supposed to have plotted the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, was an English "public" (ie, private) schoolboy and a London School of Economics alumnus. The four would-be suicide bombers who attempted a follow-up Tube carnage on July 21st 2005 were discovered to have "more than £500,000 in benefits payments" from the bountiful British welfare state in their bank accounts.

So the next editor of Webster's might like to include a new New York Times definition of "disenfranchised": "complacent liberal assumption designed to reassure readers that they can fit this story into all the old cliches about the usual root causes".

Incidentally, I stopped writing for the Times a few years ago because their fanatical "fact-checking" copy-editors edited my copy into unreadable sludge. It's interesting to see that in a story credited to "Alan Cowell and Raymond Bonner" with additional reporting "by Dexter Filkins from Cambridge, Mass.; William K. Rashbaum and Kareem Fahim from New York; and Eric Lipton from Washington" not one of their much vaunted editing processes queried the word "disenfranchised".

In business news, I see the Times' previously lucrative franchise looks like being disenfranchised a lot quicker than Britain's "South Asian population" will be.