Tuesday, December 31, 2013

We Are Here to Help

In Con Artistas I talked about how life seemed to imitate art. One point was that the transport of crude by rail had become profitable because of regulatory intervention. I commented that, "Likewise, Environmentalists opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline are expanding their fight against imports of Canadian heavy crude oil by trying to block rail projects that offer another way for it to enter the U.S." Thus, another point was that forces were at work to make the matter even more distorted.

Now we have a real life train wreck with spilled crude oil and fire. So here it goes south, as reported from the LA Times:
  • By evening, fearing toxic smoke, local officials were urging the entire town to evacuate, as well as residents five miles to the south and east. 
  • The National Transportation Safety Board said investigators were set to arrive in North Dakota on Tuesday morning.
  • In the aftermath of the previous accidents, the Federal Railroad Administration issued an emergency order that tightened operating rules on carrying crude, prohibiting operators from leaving crude trains unattended without getting prior regulatory approval.
  • Separately, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration began steps to improve the safety of tank cars.
The question is how high up the the useful idiot food chain the call will come to save the lives of millions of registered voters by tightening regulations for the sake of rail safety. Many are talking about how this accident is the result of the Obama refusal to permit the build of the Keystone pipeline. So let's see which way this falls.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Excellent Adventure or Bogus Journey?

Another Pirate of Murmansk, Anthony Perrett, claims he was forced to live on bread and water while being held in a Russian prison, because it didn't offer a vegetarian alternative. This is one of the unfortunate fellows who tried to hang a climate change banner on an Russian oil rig.

Over the time following his September 19, 2013 arrest up to his Christmas Eve release, Mr. Perrett had been, "Locked in cells with seven Russian gangsters, many with ears and fingers missing, scars of violence all over them."  But he was, "just accepted as one of them."  Not quite the Group W bench.  It is unclear whether the Arctic 30 crossed paths with Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

While confined, Mr. Perrett saw cats and rats, as sure as you're born.  Greenpeace is now keen to retrieve their boat, the Arctic Sunrise, complete with its rainbow livery.

Pirate Perrett said he would, "do it all again." However, he apparently added that he would protest in Russia again, only after a shift in government.

Imagine that.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Art of the News

"No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist."  

A column by Susan D. Harris over at American Thinker, Comedy as a Weapon of the Left, got me back to reading the Decay of Lying.  Harris describes the impact Herb Block created with his news cartoons.  It is often very difficult to argue with art.

I have to tip my hat that to the the effectiveness of the left in employing art as a tool of conformity.  Artistic tools of conformity, as I see it, includes not only political cartoons.  They include not only comedy, like what Susan Harris describes.  They include entertainment of all forms.  We consume entertainment whether it is a dramatic movie, a reality show or news.  Yes, I meant to write that.  I consider news programming a form of art.  

Wilde makes the argument that we value art, not because it depicts reality, but because it is a lie at its very core.  The artistic lie, once we perceive it, sets the pattern for our ensuing perception of nature.  The Wave by Hokusai hung in my hallway in the home where I grew up.  So I associate an aesthetic to the Japanese that differs quite profoundly from Europeans.  Yet, the pattern for my perception is based upon the lie of Hokusai that his aesthetic captures the essence of what is Japanese.  This way, art becomes conforming, because perceiving and arguing with the lie shows a lack of taste and refinement.  

I have not really followed this Duck Dynasty story. I think it has become such a story because it reveals that that the Con Artistas in the entertainment business have come uncomfortably close to the reality that Wilde describes. Art lies. With that reality out of the bag, the artistic product becomes less entertaining because the stylistic lie is in plain sight. The art then becomes too real, and therefore bad art. "There is such a thing as robbing a story of its reality by trying to make it true ..."

Much like how the solution to bad speech is not prohibition, but more speech, the solution to bad art is more art.  More art in this case is a full blown blacklisting of the bad Duck Dynasty art, for the sake of art.  This leaves me in a state of joyous melancholy as I contemplate, appreciate and take in the aesthetic of the news artists.     

Thursday, December 26, 2013

545 Requests Detailing 3,887 Items

Google’s Legal Director, Susan Infantino, goes on: “Over the past four years, one worrying trend has remained consistent: governments continue to ask us to remove political content. Judges have asked us to remove information that’s critical of them, police departments ask us to take down videos or blogs that shine a light on their conduct, and local institutions like town councils don’t want people to be able to find information about their decision-making processes.”

Thinking about this brings up a few interesting questions. First, "How do I ask a government agency to purge my unique data?"  Being how I am, while knowing of no warrants issued by a neutral and detached magistrate allowing an investigation targeting me, my first reaction is: I should be able to ask that all data that is uniquely mine be purged. But I suppose I should't complain about activities that I conduct in full view of the digital Mrs. Kravits. After all, I haven't gone totally analog.

The next question I thought about is, "Who has unique information about me?" This is important because once I think someone is watching me, I will start to do strange things just because I want to see the reaction when I confound them - Kind of like what I do on the this blog. I talk about guns, nuclear energy, Soviet era missile cruisers, gun running, how Lanny Breuer is Deep in the Cheese, or any one of a number of topics that may put a red spot over the top of me on a Google Maps overlay on someone's screen in an 8' x 10' office in Washington, D.C.  Yes, I want to skew your data.  Then you can investigate me and find a guy living a simple life, who does not drink, smoke or take drugs of any kind, does not gamble, tries to take good care of his family and friends and worships a loving God.

I believe that when my activity creates a unique sequence of data, that is my likeness.  My likeness is mine and not yours, even if you went to the trouble of collecting it.  After all, there is the tort of appropriation of likeness:

One who appropriates to his own use or benefit the name or likeness of another is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy.

a. The interest protected by the rule stated in this Section is the interest of the individual in the exclusive use of his own identity, in so far as it is represented by his name or likeness, and in so far as the use may be of benefit to him or to others. Although the protection of his personal feelings against mental distress is an important factor leading to a recognition of the rule, the right created by it is in the nature of a property right, for the exercise of which an exclusive license may be given to a third person, which will entitle the licensee to maintain an action to protect it. 

Restatement of the Law, Second, Torts, sec. 652C

So Joe DiMaggio can stop an advert with his picture on it that says "Joe likes Moon Pies."  But, somewhere out there, someone has my unique digital likeness, collected from this blog, that, "frithguild likes Thorium."  To me, the very act of digital collection is appropriation.  But I cannot enforce my licence to my digital likeness, because whoever appropriated it is allowed to keep that fact a secret.  

Which leads me to one of those wacky ideas of mine.  The collection and transfer of my unique digital likeness should be a taxable event that must be disclosed to me by an person or public or private entity.  That way, I will know who is watching me, so I can do a better job skewing their data.  

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry RFNJ Christmas - You Filthy Animals!

I want to let all RFNJ readers know that St. Thomas of the Armaments is just fine. He and his family are in my thoughts and prayers this Christmas season.

We met yesterday at the gun club, where Tom was nice enough to invite my new acquaintances Maria, Katherine and Taylor. Katherine and her mom Maria were first time shooters. Taylor is an obvious crack shot. We shot rifles first. Then Taylor showed us how to crush clays. Last was pistols, where Taylor captured his sister shooting Tom's Beretta PX45. We had a great day!

Katherine, I think, has something special. Tom set her up with his scoped AR-15 for her first shot ever. The shot cracked down range. Katherine then looked up, completely focused, and said, "Did I hit it?" I have pity for any of her adversaries once Penn State and probably Smeal unleashes her into the world!

Maria, who I am very sweet on, has done a truly extraordinary job as a mother. My conversation with her began because she quoted Sir Winston's "Never Give In" speech. So Maria secretly inspired my Never Give In and What Makes You Strong posts. Sometimes I feel smiled upon too. Tom mentioned his sporting clays outing to my new acquaintances. So who knows what the future will bring.

I am blessed by God's grace in so many ways. I can say, in this season of hope, that He gives grace to the humble. I bring this message, because I pray for the power to be His humble servant, just for today.  That's my drum to play.

To all RFNJ readers, I wish you the most heartfelt Merry Christmas!

With love,

Sunday, December 22, 2013

-The armed felon at Short Hills Mall had an accomplice: Liberalism

Dustin Friedland was murdered for refusing to give up his car.
If he or his wife had been allowed to CnC maybe it would have been different. If NJ had a CnC law, maybe the perps would have had second thoughts about car-jacking at a popular shopping area.

That is all speculation but the facts point to the real guilty party: liberals.
From NJ.com:

The four suspects charged yesterday had criminal records — one of whom was just released from federal prison in April on a bank robbery conviction after a judge reduced his sentence, according to court records.
Henry had robbed a Union Township bank in November 2003, and was caught after leaving his white Pontiac parked illegally on a side street with the keys still in the ignition.
He pleaded guilty in 2006 to robbing two bank employees as they loaded money into a drive-up ATM. Federal agents said he had stuck a gun to the head of one of the employees, while a cohort sprayed Mace in the face of the other. His abandoned car was traced back to him by the FBI and found to be the subject of outstanding warrants.
Henry’s 96-month sentence was reduced on appeal earlier this year and he was released in April, according to federal court filings.

They are facing life in prison. Thanks to Jon Corzine, the threat of death sentence has been eliminated and NJ can hold up the mantle of progressivism.


I changed the title for truth.
Every time someone votes for a liberal, they are enabling a system that whitewashes over crime.
I don't need to wait to see what NYC will be like under the new mayor, because I have seen the end result of progressivism and liberalism collide full bore into the lives of innocent people.
In liberal progressive fantasy land, Dustin Friedland was at fault for not surrendering his vehicle to the misunderstood post rehabilitated individuals.
In the real world, thousands of felons are allowed to walk every year because a Liberal judge or progressive politician believes that society is to blame.
Progressives in the Northeast will say it wasn't fair that Friedland lived such a good life with with an expensive car and the ability to shop at Short Hills.
Every time you vote liberal, you create a compounding enabling society. People vote liberal because liberals and progressives make them feel guilty.

Here's a nifty idea: if NJ refuses to allow law abiding citizens the ability to meet force with force, every time there is a felony murder, or a repeat offense because a liberal judge thought that enough time was served, the liberal judge and the progressive politician that appointed that judge should also be punished.

The Family of Dustin Friedland have been punished because of liberalism.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Po-Jama People.

Some people's hot
Some people's cold
Some people's not very
Swift to behold
Some people do it
Some see right through it
Some wear pyjamas
If only they knew it

The pyjamas people are boring me to pieces
They make me feel like I am wasting my time
They all got flannel up 'n down 'em
A little trap-door back aroun' 'em
An' some cozy little footies on their mind

Po-jama people!
Po-jama people, people!
Lawd, they make you sleepy
With the things they might say
Po-jama people!
Po-jama people, people!
Mother, mary 'n jozuf, wish they'd all go away!

Po-jama people!
It's a po-jama people special...
Take one home with you & save a dollar today
Po-jama people!
Po-jama people, people!
Wrap 'em up
Roll 'em out
Get 'em out of my way

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Open Letter, Closed Meeting

Here is a situation where an open letter led to a closed meeting.

President Obama and roving hands Joe Biden met with several executives in tech companies including Apple Inc, Google Inc, Yahoo Inc, Netflix Inc, Comcast Corp, AT&T, Inc, Microsoft Corp, Twitter Inc, Facebook Inc. An anonymous senior administration official described the meeting as constructive and "not at all contentious." However, an anonymous executive commented that Obama, "[B]basically hijacked the meeting," The word Hijack does not appear in the Al Reuters story.

The mystery executive went on to say that, "We all told the White House that we were only there to talk about what the NSA was up to and how it affects us." Instead they were the subjects of a PR pitch about how the administration is trying to salvage its internal health care tech nightmare.

Perhaps the anonymous executive and anonymous senior administration official are staying that way because they know the NSA knows, "who is having an affair or looking at pornography, in case they need to damage their target's reputation."

I am interested to see whether there will be any administration reaction to this story. A reaction will give it air. But the general subject of NSA spying continues to smolder with millennials.

%%%%%%%%%%%  Update  %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

White House adviser Valerie Jarrett denied a report that President Obama "hijacked" his meeting with technology executives Tuesday to discuss ObamaCare, saying that the president and technology executive spent "99 percent" of the meeting discussing concerns about government surveillance programs.

This reaction shows the huge importance that is being put on issues that appeal to millennials. The night stalker is on it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mr. Postman Pt. II

This open letter thing seems to be catching on with people who have probably not mailed a real letter in many years, if ever.  According to Mr. Snowden, "They even keep track of who is having an affair or looking at pornography, in case they need to damage their target's reputation."  I guess that's general knowledge by now - General Patraeus, General Ward and maybe even General Motors.

My only other question on the subject is which is hotter, Brazilian or Russian women?

Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/2013_12_17/It-seems-unlikely-that-the-Russians-would-turn-Snowden-to-the-US-expert-8119/

Taking Responsibility

The Governor here is differentiating his brand from business as usual quite nicely. He is not aloof, condescending or petulant. He makes his statement in a very personal way.  He also differentiates his brand by stating his message in a manner that does not appear scripted.  He seems to me obliviously prepared to dance on the edge of the "angry trap" without falling in.  Speaking extemporaneously while sticking to a theme is the mark of a talented trial lawyer.

Governor Christie: I wouldn’t characterize myself as angry Matt. It just you know, I don’t like when mistakes are made, because of the question you asked me, right? Like, are you ultimately responsible? Yeah. I mean it’s OK when I make the mistakes, you know, that I’m responsible. When others make the mistakes I’m you know, it bothers me. But I think anger would probably be a little bit too strong a word. Bothered probably would be the better word, you know? I was bothered by it but, you know, folks around here – when I’m angry you tend to be able to see it. I don’t hide it all that well. I’m not angry but I’m bothered when people make mistakes that wind up reflecting poorly on their performance, because their performance is the performance of this Administration, and so I’d rather have us all doing things well, and so I’m bothered whenever that happens. But, you know, as I said before, I commend Senator Baroni for his service, for his four years there. I know how hard that job is and he worked very hard at it. So did Mr. Wildstein at the job he had and, you know, it’s unfortunate for them that a mistake got made near the end of their tenure but, you know, that’s just the way life works sometimes and no, I wouldn’t call myself angry, but bothered, yeah. I mean, I’d rather not be doing this, but, you know, this is the job. So, you know, when you lead this is what you’ve got to deal with sometimes, but other times, you know, I’m standing behind here when the folks that work for me have done extraordinary things, herculean things, that I get to smile and stand here and put my arms around them and take credit for it. So if you’re going to do that you got to be prepared to do this too, and that’s OK. I’m a big boy. I can handle it.

Hat tip to MoreMonmouthMusings for the vid

Friday, December 13, 2013

Con Artistas

"Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life."

It costs about $6 per barrel to ship oil by pipeline from North Dakota to Cushing, Oklahoma where a market sets the price. It costs about $12 per barrel to ship that same oil by rail. Even so, North Dakota producers are netting about $24 more per barrel by sending it on trains. As a result, Lynn Helms, Director of the Department of Mineral Resources for North Dakota testified that she expects that North Dakota crude shipments will increase from 60% by rail in 2013 to 90% by rail in 2014.

At the same time, Canada plans to designate crude oil a highly dangerous substance and introduce tougher safety and testing measures for shipping oil by rail. Likewise, Environmentalists opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline are expanding their fight against imports of Canadian heavy crude oil by trying to block rail projects that offer another way for it to enter the U.S.

The final revelation is that Lying, the telling of beautiful untrue things, is the proper aim of Art. This way, the con artists set the aesthetic principles by which people perceive life.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Don't Drink and ... Whatever

This one reminds me of probably the best drunk person pranks there ever was.

Martin X, like everybody in my college fraternity, drank a hellava lot.  But Martin would just pass out and not come to - for anything.  So one day, we had some mid day drinking thing.  Martin tipped quite a few, and then did his lump of granite imitation.

So David, the ringleader, loaded him into the fraternity's "worthy wheelchair." They put a suit jacket on him, a blanket across his lap and some dark sunglasses over his eyes.  Then they took him to the airport and bought a one way ticket to Pensacola, where Martin's father lived.

David told the stewardesses not to wake him until the plane arrived in Pensacola because, Martin "Just had a operation."  And the loaded him on the plane to Pensacola, which departed on time with passenger Martin X.

It took Martin a couple of days to get back to Atlanta!  He was so pissed when he got back.  The next chapter meeting was one of the funniest meetings I had ever been to!  A true story, I swear to you!!

The Crawling Eye!

Kevin Williamson's piece over at NRO, Spooks off the Leash talks about the National Reconnaissance Office logo for its new spy-satellite program and its new motto: Nothing Is beyond Our Reach. Looking at the evil-looking giant octopus with its tentacles encircling the entire planet made me think of one of my favorite 50's sci-fi classics!

Mr. Williamson says that, "We created a monster, probably a necessary monster, and put it on a leash," when we as a society created intelligence services. How far we have come indeed from a time when the founders could not even imagine a free society that could maintain a standing army. Well, "Those people who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist; certainly many more than will happen; but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination." The writers of our Constitution, I submit to you, imagined very threat to liberty that this monster now poses. It is an old monster, really.  One that used to reach its tentacles out from the Star Chamber.

I agree with Mr. Williamson that the leash is off the monster. Back when our republic was young, a member of an honorable profession may have pleaded for justice in a court that may have had the struggle for our constitutional ratification still in its memory. Many an opinion quotes the idea that, "For the highest exercise of judicial duty is to subordinate one's personal pulls and one's private views to the law of which we are all guardians -- those impersonal convictions that make a society a civilized community, and not the victims of personal rule."  It seems to me this is an idea that is falling into disuse.

As I see it, the courts have been made guardians of such a vast and complex set of laws that "personal rule is inevitable."  Unlike in days past, my professions is reviled.  As a result, it possesses less power to effect a meaningful change in a court of law. Knowing the courts as I do, if you came to me to ask whether I could help you as this very monster approached, I would have to turn you away.  The Constitution, as those who are not its true guardians have interpreted it, no longer affords me the Molotov cocktail I would need to kill it.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mr. Postman

Major technology companies, stung by poor publicity for having helped the U.S. government access personal data, on Monday issued an open letter to President Barack Obama asking for tighter controls on surveillance.

They should have called it an opened letter.  Better yet, they should have just said they sent an email.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Naughty or Nice?

Here is a story that I put in the more than meets the eye category. I have believed for some time that the IRS, among other agencies, provided information to the the Obama presidential campaign. I even talked about how you might map the propagation of an idea based upon information gathered from social media or other means of communication. The key to mapping the propagation, however, requires association of targeted data to a geographical location.

Here is a story that talks about a policy where the IRS encouraged its agents to use Google Maps in examining certain applications for tax exempt organizations. No big deal, really. But in the middle of the piece, the writer talks about the award of a tiny $9,585 contract to Virginia-based information technology vendor ICS Nett, Inc. to pay for “Google Maps License and Maintenance.”

Licensed businesses may layer proprietary business data on top of Google Maps, such as information collected from Facebook posts, eBay listings and electronic credit card records. So the article asks whether the IRS used Google Maps to engage in electronic surveillance of "high-net-worth individuals."  You might ask that very question if you look at the value of the IRS as a generator of revenue. It's greater assets, it seems to me, is aggregated information.

So, what does ICS Nett, Inc. do? It provides real time visibility and asset tracking solutions. Add to the mental exercise that maps can be used to track the movement assets as easily as the movement of a unique set of data associated with an idea to the notion that the NSA tracks the location of 5 Billion cellphones

So it seems there may be a price to pay before Santa Clause comes to town, especially if he's a Fed.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Saturday, December 7, 2013

-Answering the Call of the Hunter's Horn

How meek the man is of no importance; somewhere in the pigeon chest of the clerk is still the vestigial remnant of the hunter's heart; somewhere in his nostrils the half-forgotten smell of blood. There is no man with such impoverishment of imagination that at some time he has not wondered how he would handle himself if a lion broke loose from a zoo and he were forced to face him without the protection of bars or handy, climbable trees.

That was how Bob Ruark defined it.
Next weekend our gracious host, will be hosting his annual pheasant hunt. Regrettably, I won't be attending this year with the new job and several local concerns here in the tropics. I will miss the camaraderie associated with the inevitable pursuit of semi-wild pheasant in the semi-wild environs of Pennsylvania. To those attending I wish you a wonderful hunt with full braces of birds brought to bag. Be safe, and have a blast.
I have been invited to pursue boar (feral hogs) in south Florida some time in January. The organizer of the hunt suggested we use small arms rather than rifles. The Florida boar hunts usually require dogs to bay the quarry. Boar become nocturnal at the increase of hunting pressure. Without dogs, you drive endlessly through swampland or firebreaks looking for sign, or walk through Spanish daggers and other forbidding flora while being cooked in the tropical heat and humidity, only to get a passing glance at the game.
I will be carrying a trusty sidearm, either a .357 magnum revolver or my HK USP in .40 s&w.
While viewing the latest batch of footage from the outfitter it seems that a knife or a spear was the implement of choice. With the hog bayed, and the handlers near by, dispatching the pig up close and personal takes on a new dimension for me.
I've killed many hogs over the years in Texas, Florida and South Africa (warthogs) all with either a .30 caliber rifle, or a charge of buckshot from a 12 gauge shotgun. I did attempt a few handgun hunts without the dogs, but never used the sidearm for other than the coups de gras.
I am fond of quality knives especially a good pocket knife, In my research I've come across several fine examples. A nice Christmas gift indeed.
It seems that the Spaniards and the Germans had cornered this market with hunting traditions centered around this type of dispatch.
Puma makes a fine German version of the Bowie knife, an American classic but the Cuchillo de Jaboli of Spain by Muela seem to be more classic in form and function.
I'll pass on the modern Gladius, although my ancestors would be proud.
Knife construction is all too important. The object is to dispatch the animal quickly and cleanly and the safety of the hunter and dogs goes without saying. You don't want a slippery handle or a soft blade, nor do you want a handle that will tangle your hand or wrist should the unexpected occur.
After viewing the video of the 11 year old kid dispatching his very first hog with a knife, I am intrigued. There is a technique and it resembles a wrestling move where you "shoot in" with your weight behind the knife and stab behind the foreleg of the hog, thrusting upwards into the vitals. It is the soft part of the pig's anatomy that hasn't developed a sheath of protective gristle from years of fighting other hogs. After the thrust requires an up and down stroke to sever vital organs and arteries.
The blade has to be strong, sharp and a have good degree of flex.
While a classic German or Spanish knife with a damascus steel blade would do the job and look great above the mantle, American ingenuity fired by efficiency arrives in the form of the Cold Steel Boar Hunting Knife. 
Watch the video and pick up your jaw from the floor afterwords.
Now if it had a fancy wood or staghorn handle, I'd be all over it, but it does what it is supposed to do without much fanfare. I'm a bit torn, but I believe an acquisition will be forthcoming.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Calling Rich Lowry - Knockout Game Silence is Acceptance

A pop quiz for you. Who wrote these things:
  • "It is insane thuggery, and it is unequivocally wrong." 
  • "These kids are targeting innocent people, and in many cases specifically targeting Jewish folks." 
  • "There is nothing funny or even remotely entertaining about attacking innocents walking down the street." 
  • "This is not a 'game'; it is inhumane behavior that has no place in our country or the world."
  • When you start condoning it and you start to act like there's something funny about these types of actions, you set up the kind of crisis that leads to the demise of everyone."
  • "[An] alarming trend that is spurring outrageous incidents across the country." 
  • "It is deplorable, reprehensible and inexcusable."
  • "We would not be silent if it were the other way around, and we will not be silent now." 
  • "This behavior is racist, period. And we will not tolerate it."
  • "[S]ilence is akin to tacit acceptance," 
  • I "cannot watch this travesty unfold."
It was not Rich Lowry at National Review, who had a lot to say about The Talk.  The quiz question answer is (drum roll), the usually outlandish Al Sharpton.  I thank you Rev. Sharpton.

But for National Review, where darkness like a cancer grows, we have the sound of silence.  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Policy of Petulance

My Eye on the Eye post led me to think about how foreign policy reflects our leaders more than we perceive. Let me set it up.

Imagine that you are so bright that you are constantly bored. But nevertheless, you can get what you want whenever you apply yourself. You spent parts of your childhood in countries outside the U.S. Your natural father was not in the picture. You went to an Ivy League school, but you never really engaged when it came to the study of history or foreign policy. Your interests were the labor movement and American Radicalism. Maybe foreign relations was symbolic of a failed relationship with your father.  Who knows.

As you matured, you became interested in fundamentally transforming the status quo. You learned that success in achieving your goals came when you destroyed your opponent. Fundamental change, after all, emerges from destruction.

Russia has something that stands in the way of achieving your goal. They have not bent to your will. Suppose Mr. Putin has said that American leaders "don’t see that the struggle with radical Islam is a war, pure and simple. It’s a war that should unite all the civilized countries of the world. I didn’t say “democratic,” I said “civilized.”. What course will you take with them?

Simple. Permit a virulently Islamic Republic waiting for the arrival of the 21st Imam to develop nuclear weapons and lift economic sanctions against them, of course. Make them the 7th World Power on your southern border.  And then tell the Israelis tone down your trash talk, and offer them a bunch of shiny new stuff.

The Russian riposte - leak information that the US maintained black interrogation facilities throughout Europe.

The strategic thinking that we once agonized over has given way to a food fight.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%  Update  %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

NSA is tracks the location of 5 Billion cellphones

Monday, December 2, 2013

-The Face of Socialism in the 21st Century

I just returned from Caracas, Venezuela. Having been on the State Department's travel advisory list I received several warnings about the rampant violence in Venezuela. I was reminded of kidnappings and Venezuela achieving the highest murder rate in the world.
We have socialists from all over the world that ignore the Venezuelan catastrophe. Sean penn doesn't go there anymore and our own President (who proudly cherishes his autographed copy of one of Chavez' insipid rants) doesn't care to mention the pivotal moment that grips this once powerful nation.
When you arrive in the airport in Caracas you are greeted by a customs line that is longer than any bread and soup line that stands for photographic history of the Great Depression. The airport bathrooms are a complete mess, lacking toilet seats, soap and paper towels of any description.
After waiting in this customs line for an eternity, finally you are summoned to a kiosk where a miserable person with a rubber stamp deciphers the illegible visa document. It is a document that is printed on thin paper and incredibly small font. I don't normally wear glasses, but I needed good lighting and a magnifying glass to make sure I didn't fill in the wrong string of boxes.
I surrendered the document to the miserable person with the rubber stamp as she questioned the proper way to pronounce my first name. After the phonics exercise I tried to be cute with the woman. She sneered and stamped my passport. Probably one of the last nations in modern time that still relies on the rubber stamp.
The rubber stamp in itself is more representative of communism and socialism than the hammer and sickle have ever been. It should be embossed on the flag of any nation that wishes to identify itself as Socialist or Progressive. In fact Americans that consider themselves Progressive should be reduced to an authenticating process 100% reliant on the use of the rubber stamp and ink pad.
After liberating my luggage from the carousel, we are greeted by free-lance money changers. These guys greet travelers with a simple question: "you need change?"
Its not necessary but do pack plenty of small bills if you ever go.
Socialism created a currency crisis as it does in all socialist states. Venezuela, like Zimbabwe is in the throes of  compounding deflation. When the government seizes the assets of the functional businesses and proceeds on a course of obtuse nationalization, the producer class flees and the poor are encourager to loot, as we saw two weeks ago with the government incited looting of DAKA consumer electronics.
The currency is broken into two tiers: official government rate = 6 bolivars to 1 USD, and the street rate of approx 50 bolivars for every 1 dollar. As you can see, only an idiot would change at the official rate.
In order to backstop this disaster, Maduro the Bus driver cum Dictator may have either had another revelation from a winged incarnation of Chavez, or someone with a high school understanding of finance got through his thick skull that if he doesn't stem the deflation, his own military may not be able to save him.  There is a lot of talk about reverse repo involving Gold and Oil or bonds etc... I don't expect the Ruler by Fiat to deliver a coherent message on the subject any time soon.
The situation isn't desperate but you can see that it is not stable by any means.
Currently, socialism in the USA has hit the wall of its own construct. Barack Obama, like Maduro tends to rule by fiat and most of what has been inflicted on the backs of working class Americans has been under the pretense of helping the poor or needy.
The ACA which is nothing more than a ham-fisted attempt at wealth redistribution is falling apart at the seams. The Clintons and other prominent democrats have already jumped-ship.
Obama is looking every bit as oafish as Nicolas Maduro, but Obama has decided to fade from the limelight. He'll re-emerge for his "close-up" as most narcissists are wont to do.
Both refused to compromise and both belittled and degraded their opposition.
Republicans will tragically try to rescue the ACA rather than stand back and let it collapse. In Venezuela, Maduro is actually standing back and starting to allow the evil capitalists do what they do best. Obama hand-picked his tech-support to rescue the ill fated program, and they are ralizing like some of us have already said, it's not the hammer, but it's the blueprint that is flawed.
In the end, if the capitalists succeed, El Supremo can take credit and call it a doctrinal victory, and no one will question it.
In America, if the ACA disintegrates, Obama will be left with nothing but a fig-leaf covering his lady-parts. The republicans won't let that happen and will devise a means of resuscitating components of the law, only to revitalize Obama's efforts to castigate and denigrate them.
I am of the belief that America really needs to hit bottom. All the phony socialists and liberals that have never seen the end result of "progressivism" really need to own these moments.
As for Caracas, some of the nicest most polite and fun-loving people I've ever met are enduring misery but not showing it in the least. There is a pervading optimism that things will get better in spite of the government. Liberals and Progressives, gaze upon your southern sibling. This is your ideological creation, far be it the spawn of an unfettered free market.
When I left Caracas, I saw the other inevitable construct of socialism: the Shanty Town. Every where socialism has been hailed boasts a shanty town that is beyond the comprehension of America's poor.
The final experience was leaving. After a one-hour queue to get my seat assignment, I went throught the x-ray booth. Upon exiting a young kid in a pseudo-Major Domo uniform demanded my documents. He wondered where i was going. I told him I was returning to America. My spanish is weak, however one of my companions heard the exchange and intercepted the twit. He was convinced that I was not an American and possibly had forged documents. After a bit of convincing, the micro-fascist decided to let me go. My companion said that if this guy wanted to make me miserable, he could have jailed me for lack of a blue sky.
Another three hour queue to the exit visa line - another miserable exchequer of rubber stamp and I damn near miss my flight. The gate closed behind me.
I have to return on business, and I wish I could take every progressive with me and show them what happens when their ideology is followed to the letter.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Getting Back Into Guns

I started shooting with a BB gun that I found stashed behind the piano when I was about seven years old.  Later my Dad upgraded me to a .22cal air rifle.  It didn’t have much range but was very accurate.  I improved my rifle skills by plinking targets in the backyard.  In my later teens, I joined the rifle team and obtained a sharpshooter rating.  However, my ability to shoot was hampered by hormone induced physical changes.  Namely my eyesight would change every month.  It became impossible to keep up my eyeglass prescription.  I found myself unable to see the targets well enough to shoot with the required accuracy.

When I reached 21 years of age I moved off campus I went ahead and purchased my first handgun; a .40cal S&W.  My purchase was delayed many months as the police chief of Hoboken had a policy that only his friends could have a rifle or handgun purchase permit.  This situation at least for me was rectified by intervention from members of the ANJRPC.  Later I became an NRA certified instructor and would volunteer for training sessions sponsored by the ANJRPC.  I got assigned to training women as there was very few women instructors at the time.  Being young, physically unimposing, and possessing a very low-keyed personality, the woman in charge decided I was a good fit to train the ladies.

I also purchased a Mossberg 500 for hunting.  My Dad never took me hunting.  He got too busy with work and having moved from the Midwest to suburban NJ, taking up the hunt just wasn’t as easy as it used to be for him. Plus, given the neighborhood, you had a better chance of running into space aliens than a group of avid hunters. My childhood home was PETA land.  The last hunter in our family was my brother who in his youth was the black sheep of the family.  I know of him only hunting once and he felt such guilt for killing a rabbit, he never hunted again. The black sheep had no desire for blood sport.   

As a young adult I had planned to join the college hunting club, but found the students running it to be unlikable.  So the shotgun went to my Dad who used to reduce tree rat population (gray squirrels) and to annihilate a woodchuck that was destroying his garden. (this was not in NJ)

After graduating, I pretty much stopped shooting.  Money was extremely tight and the closest range to me was knocked down and replaced with a high-rise condo.  Other ranges were pretty sub-par or not open at convenient times.  Frankly, I am so out of practice at this point I don’t know if I can even hit the side of a barn.  My plan is to rectify this situation sometime next year.  I also need to get my wife trained and comfortable with firearms. My wife is a tiny Thai gal who has great difficulty in pulling the slide back on my S&W.  She needs her own firearms that she can fire comfortably.   A coworker of mine informed me of a new range in Woodland Park called Guns for Hire.  He gave the place a positive review.  I figure I will be checking it out next year.  Hopefully the ammo shortage will have abated enough to allow me to get in some serious practice.

As for hunting, I have taken an interest in hog hunting which also segways into a future rifle purchase.  I would like to pick up a large caliber rifle in the .450 Bushmaster and .458 SOCOM range.  Not just for hogs, but something that might come in handy during a SHTF moment when a round with real stopping power might be needed.  Why hogs?  I prefer to be moving and to not be stuck in a tree stand.  With the hogs classified as an invasive pest, states such as Texas are actively encouraging people to hunt them. Plus, I love bacon.

Mind you, I have zero experience with large caliber shooting and hunting.  So this post is basically a request for the FreeNJ readership to give me their $0.02 worth on the subject.

Edit & more info:  Due to a childhood eye injury, I have to shoot lefty, which complicates things a bit when it comes to bolt action firearms.