“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Radical Islam and Political Correctness in the West - Getting Real or More Hate Propaganda?

This video is sponsored by The Clarion Project which states its mission as “ exposing the dangers of Islamic extremism while providing a platform for the voices of moderation and promoting grassroots activism."[1]
Ryan Mauro is the Clarion Project’s national security analyst.[6]
Notable individuals serving on the Project's advisory board include:[7]
Funders include Donors Capital Fund, a nonprofit donor-advised fund, which gave the organization a donation of $17.7 million in 2008,[8][9] and casino owner Sheldon Adelson.

The problem is wider - God is Not Great!


  1. Hugh Fitzgerald is always a joy to read. A font of good sense, I'm glad he's back -

    Hugh Fitzgerald: What do we want in the Muslim lands?

    January 6, 2016 2:54 pm By Hugh Fitzgerald

    Ideally, non-Muslims should be working to increase the fissures within Islam. They should seize the language, and control the debate. And the central thesis, which they should be repeating again and again, can be expressed thus: Islam Is A Vehicle For Arab Supremacism. And they can fill the airwaves, and the Internet, with the supporting evidence. Is it not true that Muslims pray five times a day Mecca-wards, that they emulate the mores of 7th-century Arabs, that upon conversion they assume Arab names, that they — ideally — read the Qur’an only in Arabic, and with an Arabic Tafsir (Commentary)? All this is so very different from those Christian missionaries who translated the Bible into every tongue they could, including some that had never before been reduced to writing. Is it not true that the Arabs, through Islam, have discouraged any local interest in pre- or non-Islamic histories, but have encouraged interest, among so many isnon-Arab Muslims, in Arab and Muslim history? Our aim should be to always and everywhere seek to find existing or potential fissures within the Camp of Islam, and to steadily widen them merely by adducing the truth.

    But there is another great divide in that Camp of Islam even more obvious and of more immediate significance than the ethnic fissures: it is that between Sunni and Shi’a. Bob Woodward has reported on President George W. Bush as having plaintively asked a member of his staff to fill him in, after being told the Iraqis were divided into “Shi’a and Sunnis,” which information confused him because he, President Bush, thought “they were all Muslim.” We have come some way from that early exclamation of ignorance. Everybody and his brother now knowingly refers to the “Shi’a and the Sunnis,” but without any suggestion of knowing when the schism occurred, and what it was about, and why it matters.

    In a sense, it doesn’t matter to us, the Infidels, when and where and why the Sunni-Shi’a split arose. What matters is our attitude toward that split: whether we deplore it or welcome it.

    So far, American policymakers have made enormous efforts to minimize that split. They use that all-purpose word “destabilizing.” Anything that “destabilizes” in the Muslim Middle East is bad. And especially in Iraq, where the Shi’a inherited the power that had been stripped from the Sunni Arabs when the Americans invaded, the vast American effort was dedicated to keeping Iraq a single and prosperous country, where Shi’a and Sunni (and Arab and Kurd) could take part in a joint adventure to rebuild the country. Did this make sense, from an Infidel point of view? Why would one not wish Iraq to be subject to centripetal forces, and to break apart, possibly in partes tres, with a Kurdish part corresponding roughly to the old Ottoman vilayet of Mosul, the Sunni part to the old Ottoman vilayet of Baghdad, or possibly only Anbar Province (given that so many Sunnis have been pushed out of Baghdad by the Shi’a), and a Shi’a Arab part corresponding to the old Ottoman vilayet of Basra?

    1. Again and again over more than a decade, we heard how important it was not to allow Iraq to split into Sunni and Shi’a regions. But no one explained why keeping Iraq in one piece was in the American, or general Infidel, interest. And if the Sunnis in Lebanon, perhaps with their numbers increased by Sunni refugees from Lebanon, attack the Shi’a, that is, attack Hizballah, the military and terrorist organization that claims to represent the Lebanese Shi’a, why is that a bad thing?

      And if the Saudi incursion into Yemen, on the side of Yemen’s Sunni tribes fighting the Iran-backed Houthi (Shi’a) rebels, why is that something to deplore? At the very least, this conflict might use up Saudi money and materiel and keep the Saudis occupied, and less able to cause mischief elsewhere; ideally, neither side will win, but both sides will continue to go at it, losing men, money, materiel, destroying infrastructure, and in general creating a mess in one more Muslim country. And in one more such country, mistrust and hatred between Sunni and Shi’a in Yemen can only deepen. Again, why would that be — from our point of view — a bad thing?

      And this brings us to the news of the week: the execution by the Saudis of a leading Shi’a cleric, Nimr Al-Nimr, and the severing of all diplomatic ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and then between Iran and Iraq, Iran and Bahrain, Iran and Qatar, Iran and Oman, Iran and Kuwait, and the downgrading of relations between Iran and the U.A.E. All the stories in the Western press are full of dire warnings, of worry and despair expressed at this state of affairs, and fears as to “what willh appen next.”

      I can’t understand this worry, this fear. Which was the Roman who laid down the law: Divide et impera? I am perfectly open to being persuaded that the deepening of the Iran-Saudi Arabia rift is a terrible thing for us. I am equally eager to be persuaded that whipping up the resentment of non-Arab Muslims for Arab Muslims is a Bad Thing. But I just can’t figure out why.

      Perhaps, among this post’s readers, someone will enlighten me, and explain why ethnic and sectarian fissures in the Camp of Islam are a terrible thing for us, the Infidels. I’ll stay right here, ready to listen. I’m all ears.

      Or, as Uncle Ed says out at the Casino:

      Let them all kill one another

    2. Canadian PM: We won’t bomb the Islamic State even if attacked

      January 6, 2016 7:57 am By Robert Spencer 67 Comments

      Telling the enemy that you won’t retaliate if attacked is simply inviting him to attack you.


      “Canadian PM: We won’t bomb ISIS even if attacked,” by Raphael Poch, Israel National News, January 5, 2016:

      Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is keeping his post-election promises and planning to put an end to the participation of the Canadian Air Force in the allied bombings of ISIS. Instead, he is moving Canadian efforts towards training local forces and towards providing humanitarian aid in Syria and Iraq.

      In an interview with Global News, Trudeau said that he sees no reason to change this new policy towards ISIS and the threat of Islamic terror, even if a terror attack similar to the one in Paris were carried out on Canadian soil.

      Trudeau, who as Prime Minister receives daily briefings on matters of national security, said that “it is no surprise that there are angry extremists and terrorists out there who wish Canadians and Canada harm and countries like it around the world. The key on understanding that, is how we let that affect us.”

      “Obviously one of the most fundamental responsibilities of any government is to keep its citizens safe, and that is something that we are very focused on. But more than that, do we let ourselves be ruled by fear? Do we give in to the fear that there is a terrorist on every plane that may come to Canada? No, we cannot live that way and continue to be the hopeful country that we are. Quite frankly, fear doesn’t make us stronger; it makes us weaker. I feel that the job of being Prime Minister is to demonstrate that there are concerns, But we are working very hard on them, and people shouldn’t go through their lives afraid.”…

      “We need to ensure that our intelligence community and our police services have the tools necessary to locate threats to Canadians. But anytime you are giving more resources to the intelligence agencies and the police, you need to bring in more oversight on those agencies to make sure that those powers are being properly used and not damaging our free society, and to make sure that they are doing everything they can to me Canadians safe.”

      Trudeau said that “Canada is committed to having a military engagement in the fight against ISIL (ISIS) but in a helpful and substantive way. We have made the decision that we will pull out the CF-18’s and ending the bombings that Canada has been involved in, and we will be doing something else.”…...........

      Everyone knows what the jihadis need and long for are job opportunities, retraining, understanding, counseling and should be welcomed to our lands on bended knee...

      I am still waiting for the joyous new of Quirk welcoming two or three Syrian moslem "refugee" families into his home....

    3. .

      Come back in 2 years. What is it you don't get about an 18-24 month vetting period?

      And by the way, why would I ask for a Muslim Syrian refugee? If you are willing to take in refugees you ought to be willing to take in what you get, Muslim, Christian, Druze, Rosicrucian, whatever. Just one more thing you don't understand about refugees and America.

      You will notice my careful avoidance of the 'm' word and the 'i' word and the 'n' and 'h' words.


  2. Did anyone notice the news reports about the moslem sexual assault fest in Cologne, Germany over the Holidays?

    Yup, up to a 1,000 newbie arrived moslems to the west went on a rampage around the cathedral there, doing all manner of disgusting and illegal things.

  3. Know I'm repeating myself, but Richard Dawkins is an idiot, and a disgusting old fart to boot.

    He seems to like to consider himself a breakthrough thinker when really his stuff has been around since the beginning.

    Quirk has pointed out the intellectual level prevailing these days at our nation's colleges and universities.

    Dawkins has been quite successful in selling his books to this crowd.

  4. If you're not using Windows 10 you are missing a lot.

    Certainly has my new computer singing along.

  5. UPDATE!!

    Suspects in Cologne sex attacks 'claimed to be Syrian refugees'

    Leaked police report claims senior police officers feared fatalities and that one of those involved in attacks told officers: “I am Syrian. You have to treat me kindly. Mrs Merkel invited me."

    26-year-old student Antonia Rabente a Cologne resident who spoke about the attacks Photo: AP

    By Justin Huggler in Cologne

    11:18AM GMT 07 Jan 2016

    Some of those involved in a series of sexual assaults against women in the German city of Cologne on New Year’s Eve claimed to be Syrian refugees, according to a leaked police report.

    The outbreak of violence was also far more serious than previously thought, and at one point senior police officers feared “there could have been fatalities”.

    Two publications have released what they claim is an internal report by a senior officer who was at the scene.

    If confirmed, the report could have far-reaching consequences for Angela Merkel’s government as it tries to deal with the aftermath of the assaults.

    Police officers survey the area in front of the main train station and the Cathedral in Cologne Photo: AFP

    Ministers have said there is no evidence asylum seekers were involved in the violence.

    But the leaked police report, published in Bild newspaper and Spiegel, a news magazine, claims that one of those involved told officers: “I am Syrian. You have to treat me kindly. Mrs Merkel invited me.”

    Another tore up his residence permit before the eyes of police, and told them: “You can’t do anything to me, I can get a new one tomorrow.”

    A local newspaper reported that fifteen asylum-seekers from Syria and Afghanistan were briefly held by police on New Year's Eve in connection with the sex attacks but were released.

    The Express newspaper quoted an unnamed police officer who said his squad had detained several people who had "only been in Germany for a few weeks".

    "Of these people, 14 were from Syria and one was from Afghanistan. That's the truth. Although it hurts," he said............

    Thankfully, these Oppressed Gentlemen, if ever ever kicked out of Germany, can find further 'refuge' in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Canada....

    Berlin, Stuttgart, Dresden, Hamburg, Frankfurt and many other German cities are also graced by the presence of these Oppressed Gentlemen, who first found refuge in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc....but opted for the 'good life' in the West.

    The two most desired destinations of all ?

    USA USA !!

    Canada Canada !!

    Allahu Akbar !!! Freebies !!!

  6. First proof positive flows in that The Donald may be unfit to be Commander-In-Chief, may be emotionally unstable, totally lacking in good judgement, highly susceptible to false displays of emotion....

    January 7, 2016
    Obama's fake tears?
    By Carol Brown

    Were President Obama's tears over gunshot victims genuine? Nearly all political commentators, and even Donald Trump credited him with genuine emotion. Doug Ross and Biff Spackle, however, noted how unusual it was for Obama to mourn with tears, given the many opportunities:

    (more examples here)


    There were so many AT comments on my blog yesterday about Obama’s crocodile tears, I was inspired to write a short follow up piece to highlight them and to further expand on his intentional manipulation of the public with choreographed emotions.

    Additional insights from AT readers

    Several readers noted that if a person applies a dab of menthol or camphor to their fingertip, it can induce tears. Likely many of us are familiar with this when we inadvertently touch or rub our eye after we’ve used a substance that is irritating. (Bengay comes to mind.) It stings and causes one’s eye to get red and to tear; our body’s automatic response to remove the substance from our eye.

    willmay posted there are products called “tear stick” or “tear blower” readily available for actors who need to cry on cue. (Great product for con artists, as well, no?) She had additional insights worthy of note, including her observation that Obama first wiped his left eye and then “tears appear from that eye only.” (saksin also observed that Obama’s first wipe of one eye preceded any tears at all.)

    Great points. Tears do not flow asymmetrically, with one eye tearing up while the other remains dry.

    And if I might add, Obama wiped the left eye starting at the outer edge, wiping inward. Try doing that. You’ll realize that you have no muscle memory or any sense of familiarity with that gesture from times in life when you’ve cried. That’s because it’s abnormal since tears emanate from the tiny hole in our tear ducts located at the inner rim of each eye. As Sons of Charlemagne noted, “tears don't flow from the outside corner of the eye.”

    I thought it worthwhile to explore precedent for this kind of calculating behavior.

    In the not-too-distant past, Bill Clinton, another liar-in-chief, put on an act that was truly shameful. (Par for the Clinton course.) A comment by vinny prompted me to search for an emotional flip-flop Clinton pulled off, going from laughter to (fake) tears in a nanosecond. It happened in 2008 when Clinton was leaving the memorial service for Ron Brown. Clinton can be seen chatting and laughing with the person he was walking with. That is, until he caught sight of the media’s cameras. At which point, he bowed his head, put on a sorrowful expression, and pretended to wipe a tear from his eye (freeze frames, here): VIDEOS

    1. and you wonder why I call you an idiot...

    2. You believe them tears, Ash ?

      Really ?

      You need a good mugging.

      Better yet, you need a couple years cuttin' cane in Castro's fields.

      I see you Canadians have opted out of fighting back any longer, even if attacked.

      Shitty choice.

      Leaving the hard stuff up to everybody else in the Western World.

      You richly deserve both a mugging and two years in the cane fields.

      You dumb shit ass.

      (I am following the advice of William Blake here, who advocated attacking mercilessly those you kinda like, in hopes of retrieving the wayward)

    3. Perhaps Ash is one of those exceedingly rare 'mistakes of nature' that can cry out of one eye only, the one in five billion.

      willmay posted that there are products called “tear stick” and “tear blower” readily available for actors who need to cry on cue. (Great product for con artists as well, no?) She had additional insights worthy of note, including her observation that Obama first wiped his left eye, and then “tears appear from that eye only.” (saksin also observed that Obama’s first wipe of one eye preceded any tears at all.)

      Much more likely is he is just another simplistic leftard silly shit.

    4. Great points. Tears do not flow asymmetrically, with one eye tearing up while the other remains dry.

  7. .

    Ramadi: Kobane Redux

    Destroying the village to save it.

    RAMADI, Iraq — As his armored vehicle bounced along a dirt track carved through the ruins of this recently reconquered city on Wednesday, Gen. Ali Jameel, an Iraqi counterterrorism officer, narrated the passing sites.

    Here were the carcasses of four tanks, charred by the jihadists of the Islamic State. Here, a police officer’s home that the jihadists had blown up. Here, a villa reduced to rubble by an airstrike. And another. And another.

    In one neighborhood, he stood before a panorama of wreckage so vast that it was unclear where the original buildings had stood. He paused when asked how residents would return to their homes.

    “Homes?” he said. “There are no homes.”

    The retaking of Ramadi by Iraqi security forces last week has been hailed as a major blow to the Islamic State and as a vindication of the Obama administration’s strategy to fight the group by backing local ground forces with intensive airstrikes.

    But the widespread destruction of Ramadi bears testament to the tremendous costs of dislodging a group that stitches itself into the urban fabric of communities it seizes by occupying homes, digging tunnels and laying extensive explosives.


    1. .


      Continue reading the main story

      Continue reading the main story

      Col. Steven H. Warren, a Pentagon spokesman in Iraq, said, “One hundred percent of this is on ISIL because no one would be dropping any bombs if ISIL hadn’t gone in there.”

      But the heavy dependence on air power also clearly played a role. The coalition has launched more than 630 airstrikes in the area since July, and General Asadi said his counterterrorism force advanced only after the coalition had cleared the way.

      Local officials worry that the money needed to rebuild the city will not materialize, given the magnitude of the need and disastrous effects of low oil prices on Iraq’s budget.

      The United States and its allies have pledged $50 million to a United Nations fund for reconstruction in Iraq, but Sabah Karhout, the head of the Anbar provincial council, estimated that rebuilding the city would require $12 billion.

      “Ramadi is a city of ghosts,” he said. “If there are not serious international efforts, it will not be rebuilt.”

      Those efforts will be central to whether the city’s former residents can return. Many Ramadi residents have sought refuge in a growing tent camp east of the city...


    2. .

      The United States and its allies have pledged $50 million to a United Nations fund for reconstruction in Iraq, but Sabah Karhout, the head of the Anbar provincial council, estimated that rebuilding the city would require $12 billion.


    3. .

      Strikes in Syria

      Fighter, attack, and bomber aircraft conducted 14 strikes near Manbij, which suppressed an ISIL vehicle’s movement, denied ISIL access to terrain, and destroyed 24 ISIL fighting positions and four ISIL buildings.

      - Near Albu Hayat, a strike destroyed 30 ISIL rockets, an ISIL rocket rail, and an ISIL building.

      -- Near Habbaniyah, two strikes destroyed two ISIL staging areas, two ISIL buildings, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL tactical vehicle.

      -- Near Ramadi, six strikes struck two large ISIL tactical units, denied ISIL access to terrain, and destroyed 13 ISIL fighting positions, four ISIL heavy machine guns, four ISIL vehicle bomb staging facilities, an ISIL staging area, three ISIL buildings and three ISIL tactical vehicles.


      As if ISIL is building any buildings.


  8. Strikes in Syria

    Fighter, attack, and bomber aircraft conducted 14 strikes near Manbij, which suppressed an ISIL vehicle’s movement, denied ISIL access to terrain, and destroyed 24 ISIL fighting positions and four ISIL buildings.

    Strikes in Iraq

    Coalition forces, using rocket artillery, fighter, fighter-attack, bomber, and remotely piloted aircraft, conducted 22 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:

    -- Near Baghdadi, two strikes struck an ISIL staging facility and an ISIL weapons cache.

    -- Near Huwayjah, a strike destroyed an ISIL bunker.

    -- Near Albu Hayat, a strike destroyed 30 ISIL rockets, an ISIL rocket rail, and an ISIL building.

    -- Near Habbaniyah, two strikes destroyed two ISIL staging areas, two ISIL buildings, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL tactical vehicle.

    -- Near Haditha, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit, wounded an ISIL fighter, and destroyed three ISIL vehicle bombs, an ISIL fighting position and two ISIL vehicles.

    -- Near Hit, two strikes struck an ISIL vehicle bomb factory.

    -- Near Mosul, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed 11 ISIL fighting positions, three ISIL bed down locations, an ISIL tunnel and four ISIL assembly areas.

    -- Near Ramadi, six strikes struck two large ISIL tactical units, denied ISIL access to terrain, and destroyed 13 ISIL fighting positions, four ISIL heavy machine guns, four ISIL vehicle bomb staging facilities, an ISIL staging area, three ISIL buildings and three ISIL tactical vehicles.

    -- Near Sinjar, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions.


    TRILLION$ VANI$H ..........Drudge

    Time to lower interest rates.

    1. I'd blame it all on Obama if I were a dishonest man.

      But I know no President controls the economy.

      Only Rufus believes that, what with his 'the Bush recession' horse shit.

  10. Afluenza mom back in Texas.

    What this country needs is to finally break the connection between afluenza and crime.

    That afluenza punk sure has a dopey look.

    The look of nobody home.

    I think he's been smoking dope most of his life.

  11. This economy is in no way similar to 2008.

    By the time 2008 rolled around the unemployment rate had been rising for close to a year, and gasoline was heading for $4.00 / gal (hit $4.11/gal in July, 2008.)

    By this point in 2008 the American Consumer had No Savings, and was head-over-heels in debt; today, the savings rate is high, and the debt-to-income ratio is getting close to an all-time low.

    The Republicans will get their recession some day, but not this day.

    1. Thank God for Sugar Uncle Obama.

      He has lowered gas prices by half.

      It's all his doing.

      And in the teeth of 'peak oil' too.

      The man's an economic genius.

    2. Uncle Sugar "I" Obama at work -

      (Sugar used the "I" word something like 50 times in this latest dissertation)

      Obama's Theater of the Absurd
      By Heather Wilhelm
      January 07, 2016

      Obama's Theater of the Absurd

      In “Superfudge,” Judy Blume’s well-loved and best-selling children’s book from 1980, the title character—Farley Drexel Hatcher, a wildly precocious and rambunctious 4-year-old who goes by the nickname “Fudge”—acquires his dream pet: a chatty myna bird.

      Fudge names his bird Uncle Feather; soon, he begins teaching it new words. Much to the chagrin of Fudge’s family, neighbors, and kindergarten teacher, Uncle Feather’s favorite phrase soon becomes clear: “Bonjour, stupid!”

      On the whole, I’m not a huge fan of the moral lessons of “Superfudge”—there’s quite a bit of whining and complaining and threatening to run away from home, as opposed to, say, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” in which the whiny kids are escorted out by Oompa Loompas and the good obedient child ultimately earns the keys to a tremendous vehicle of capitalist job creation—but that’s neither here nor there. “Superfudge” has at least one bit of prophetic wisdom: With “Bonjour, stupid!,” Uncle Feather might as well have been welcoming in 2016.

      I don’t want to be too harsh on the new year, with its chubby baby cheeks, jaunty satin sash, and blank, giant kewpie doll eyes that are actually kind of terrifying. I don’t even really like the word “stupid.” But from the beaks of the Uncle Feathers of this world spout occasional wisdom, and “Bonjour, stupid!” might be the perfect symbolic rhetorical mix for much of today’s politics: a dash of faux sophistication followed by a rash of daft prescriptions completely unaligned with reality.

      Exhibit A came this week, with President Obama’s widely hyped national address on guns. Over the weekend, the public relations rumblings from the White House began: Congress, that shame-faced den of bought-off thieves (fact check: mostly true), refuses to act on the gun scourge currently destroying America (fact check: not exactly true), so Obama would do it himself, alone, heroically, through executive order.

    3. Gun control advocates swooned. Gun rights supporters muttered about the abuse of federal power, and waited with bated breath. The suspense slowly built, wafting as high as the tallest and tackiest imaginary country club buffet-line seafood tower—a gleaming tower, filled with piles of terrific and exotic crustaceans—that could possibly lurk in the wilds of Donald Trump’s brain.

      And then, on Tuesday, after flashes of light and endless smatterings of applause, the Oscars of gun control began. After the cascade of words, various self-congratulations, a wry “I taught constitutional law—I know a little bit about this,” several references to horrific tragedies, and later moments coated with tears, there it was, for all to see: a whole lot of nothing.

      No, really. Obama’s speech was pure spectacle; in a larger sense, it was theater of the absurd. In the wake of almost 40 minutes of a supposedly groundbreaking address on guns, the liveliest debate among America’s press corps centered on whether the president’s copious tears were real or fake.

      The president’s tears were likely real. Most of his gun-related proposals were decidedly not. Obama’s recommended actions, reported the Associated Press, “would have no impact in keeping weapons from the hands of suspects in several of the deadliest recent mass shootings that have spurred calls for tighter gun control.” Obama earned one particularly rapturous bout of applause when he bravely called for background checks for all “engaged in the business” of selling guns—a call for “nothing more,” as Jonathan Adler noted at the Washington Post, “than a restatement of existing legal requirements.”

      To be fair to Obama, his speech achieved at least one thing: Smith & Wesson stock soared, jumping 11.1 percent on the same day. Over the past year, thanks in part to presidential rhetoric, the gun manufacturer’s stock has climbed 125 percent. Gun sales have surged around the country, with the FBI performing a record 23,141,970 background checks in 2015.

      Gun homicides, meanwhile, have plummeted. According to the Pew Research Center, using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of firearm homicides fell from seven per 100,000 Americans in 1993 to 3.6 per 100,000 in 2013. The deadliest shootings often occur, not coincidentally, in “gun-free” zones.

      In America’s gun debate, alas, facts often don’t seem to matter—and the Obama administration’s fondness for the theater of fake solutions goes far beyond guns. Take the much-vaunted Iran nuclear weapons deal, which Iran immediately ignored. How about the dramatic, sanctimonious, and “world-saving” Paris climate deal, which was flanked by multiple private jets, expensive French dinners, thousands of wine glasses to wash, and which binds no one to follow its rules?

      Both of these deals were hailed by global sophisticates. Both, as is now obvious, were total malarkey. So, as Uncle Feather would say, bonjour, 2016. Let’s try to keep the shenanigans to a minimum.

      Heather Wilhelm is a writer based in Austin,Texas. Her work can be found at and her Twitter handle is @heatherwilhelm.

      Obama is the best thing that ever happened to Smith & Wesson.

  12. Face it, Trump's a breath of fresh air compared to the two thumpers, Cruz and Rubio -

    Trump refused to name his favorite Bible passage, on privacy grounds, when in reality he didn't have any favorite Bible passage at all, his mind having been occupied by more worldly concerns his entire life -

    If elected President, Marco Rubio promises to carry out God's plan

    Marco Rubio is running an ad where he states that his goal is eternity, the ability to live alongside his creator and the gift of salvation offered by Jesus Christ. Rubio adds that he wants to cooperate with God's plan. He further states:

    To those much of whom has been given much is expected. Whether your treasure is stored on Earth or in Heaven. I try to allow that to influence me in everything I do.

    Basically, he is saying that people should vote for him because he is a devout Christian. His message, while not quite as hollow as Carly Fiorina's giant cross she was sporting at the last debate, was still missing something important.

    People are looking to elect a President. But Rubio's ad sounds like he's running for minister.......


  13. 11 Million Sign Up For Obamacare With Weeks To Go Before Deadline

    The open enrollment period ends on Jan. 31.

    WASHINGTON -- Obamacare growth continues to outpace last year's sign-ups, with almost 11.3 million people enrolling into private health insurance plans via the exchange marketplaces through the last week of December, the Department of Health and Human Services disclosed Thursday.

    The open enrollment period on the exchanges lasts until Jan. 31, and the tally of enrollees has already exceeded the department's projection of 10 million for the full year. Although this total likely will come down in the coming months as some consumers drop their coverage or fail to pay their premiums, these findings suggest these marketplaces are performing above expectations so far. During the comparable period a year ago, 9.5 million had enrolled nationwide.

    Expanding the exchanges is key not only to covering more of the uninsured, but to stabilizing the new marketplaces for the future. More than sheer numbers, the makeup of the exchange customer base is crucial, especially after health insurance companies reported losses during the marketplaces' first two years because enrollees proved sicker and costlier than expected. That resulted in higher premium increases for this year compared to 2015, and raised concerns about the affordability of coverage on the exchanges.

    President Barack Obama's administration sees promising indicators in the first national report on sign-ups under the Affordable Care Act in 2016. So far, 3 million of the enrollees are new to the exchanges.

    1. In addition to a faster rise in enrollments since Nov. 1, 2015, than during the same period a year earlier, the Department of Health and Human Services touted the share of younger customers, who are vital to the financial success of the exchanges because they typically have fewer medical needs than older enrollees and because low-risk insurance customers are needed to cover the expenses for higher-risk ones.

      Thirty-five percent of enrollees so far are younger than 35, and 26 percent are between ages 18 and 34, the report says. In the states where residents use, more than 40 percent of those 35 years old or younger are new to the exchanges.

      These percentages are similar to those at the end of the 2015 sign-up period last March, but higher than those at the same stage of the enrollment push at the end of 2014, said Richard Frank, assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services, during a conference call with reporters. At the end of 2014, 29 percent of enrollees were under 35, and 23 percent were between 18 and 34, the department reported at the time.

      "What we are seeing is an uptick in new young consumers. We expect that to sort of accelerate as we hit the deadline," Frank said, which is what happened during the 2014 and 2015 enrollment periods.

      “We’re encouraged that marketplace consumers are increasingly young, engaged and shopping for the best plan. We have more work to do before the next deadlines and our focus continues to be the consumer experience and educating consumers about available financial assistance and their choices," Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a press release.

    2. Of the 11.3 million people signed up through late December, 8.5 million used the federal system in place for residents of 38 states, while 2.7 million enrolled via the marketplaces operated by 12 states and the District of Columbia. Eighty-three percent of enrollees qualified for tax credit subsidies to reduce their monthly premiums, and the average value of the subsidies is $294. Mid-level "silver" insurance policies again proved the most popular, with 68 percent of enrollees choosing these options over bronze, gold, platinum or the very-high-deductible "catastrophic" plans available mainly to people younger than 30.

      During the past two enrollment periods, exchange officials stressed that enrollees should return to the marketplaces to shop for better deals rather than allow themselves to be automatically renewed into their policies. Volatile premiums -- including huge increases for some consumers -- are the main reason officials urged comparing plans and prices, and consumers have responded.

      Just over half of the 8.2 million 2015 enrollees seeking coverage for this year actively shopped before choosing a plan, and 6 in 10 of those people selected a new policy. That's higher than during the previous sign-up campaign, and higher than the rate in other segments of the insurance market, said Andy Slavitt, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, during the conference call. In addition, the closure of a dozen health insurers and enrollment freezes at others forced hundreds of thousands of consumers to seek new coverage this year.

    3. One factor that could encourage more people to sign up this year -- and larger numbers of young adults, in particular -- is that the tax penalty for not having health insurance is set to increase substantially, to a minimum of $695 per adult and $347.50 per child and to a maximum that could be thousands of dollars, depending on family size and household income.


  14. Question of the Day, via Fox, via Megyn Kelly:

    What is successful aging ?

    Ans: survival

  15. An already-on-edge Paris had reason to jump again Thursday — the one-year anniversary of the attacks on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. A knife-wielding man, wearing fake explosives and carrying an Islamic State flag, was shot dead by officers as he tried to enter a police station in northern Paris.

    1. That's what marrying first cousins does to people after a few generations.

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  18. China's bouncing back a bit, and U.S. Futures are pointing to a triple digit open to the upside, tomorrow.

    Bloomberg World Indexes

  19. China also has devalued the yuan, which makes its currency cheaper but renders exports from the U.S. and other countries more expensive to Chinese buyers. China’s growing economy has also been a big buyer of commodities, construction equipment, technology and a growing market for U.S. carmakers, such as General Motors Co., which has had a hit in China with its Buick line.

    Because of slow or no growth in Europe, Japan and many emerging markets, and the ongoing but weak economic recovery in the U.S., China has been left since the recession as the biggest driver of the global economy.

    For U.S. investors, the advice is to take the long view, remember that economic fundamentals in this country remain strong, and to make sure their investments are allocated to diversify and manage risk.

  20. The Sciences
    If There Are Aliens Out There, Where Are They?

    Alien life, if it exists, could be as simple as bacteria or more complex than humans—and there are optimal strategies for searching for both

    By Mario Livio, Joe Silk on January 6, 2016

    Physicist Enrico Fermi famously asked the question "Where are they?" to express his surprise over the absence of any signs for the existence of other intelligent civilizations in the Milky Way Galaxy. Although many potential resolutions to this so-called “Fermi paradox” have been suggested over the years, there is still no consensus on which one, if any, is correct. The question of whether we are alone in the Milky Way (or in the universe at large) remains, however, one of the most intriguing questions in science in general, and in astronomy in particular.

    Given the enormous uncertainties involved with the emergence, evolution, and survivability of any extrasolar life (if it exists), we shall attempt to briefly identify the most generic, remotely-detectable signatures of alien life (both simple and intelligent), and to examine the expected effectiveness of various search strategies. This topic has become particularly timely, because observations (primarily with the Kepler space telescope) have shown that the Milky Way contains no fewer than a billion Earth-size planets orbiting Sun-like (or smaller) stars in the “Goldilocks” region that allows for liquid water to exist on the planet’s surface (the so-called habitable zone). Furthermore, the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life has recently received a significant boost in the form of “Breakthrough Listen”—a $100-million decade-long project aimed at searching for non-natural transmissions in the electromagnetic bandwidth from 100 megahertz to 50 gigahertz.

    Simple life appeared on Earth almost as soon as the planet cooled sufficiently to support water-based organisms..........