I’ve appointments this morning that will eat by blogging time. I’ll be back tomorrow.
Monthly Archives: April 2014
Saturday was a range day. I’m in the process of joining a new rifle club. Saturday was the time for the required safety class. It’s a growing range with pistol, shotgun and rifle ranges up to 500yds.
A club member and shooting buddy joined me after the class. We did a bit of pistol shooting (my Colt Commander does give me hammer bite!) and then shot 10″ steel gongs at 200yds. I surprised myself with hits using the iron sights on my AR Frankengun (Olympic upper and lower receivers plus the barrel, with DPMS innards.)
One of my to-does is cleaning my pistols and rifle. That also means I have to clean up my office to free up needed space. What a way to force me into Spring cleaning!
I wrote about the Kelo Decision last week in a post titled, Boundaries. The decision allowed the municipality of New London in Connecticut to seize private property (Kelo’s) for a developer’s use. The argument was that the developer would put the property into better use (read generate more tax revenue to the city,) than the private owner. The suit went to SCOTUS and was upheld. A travesty. It was a win for the left who believe everything belongs to government and government allows ‘private’ owners to use their property only under governmental ‘guidance.’
That line of thought has arisen here in Missouri—St. Louis, to be specific.
St. Louis County Abrogates Property Rights
That was my usual response before I retired. I was fortunate during my last working years to be able to work from home. I told people my morning commute was thirty steps downstairs to my home office. After I retired, I continued most of those habits…writing this blog being one.
Last Friday, I wrote a post about the apparent downward spiral to war in Eastern Europe. It is arguable whether the Ukraine is European. My definition is that all of the territory west of the Ural and the ‘stans, are European, if only by religion and heritage. The major religions are the Catholic varieties—Roman, Greek and Russ ion Orthodox. Those areas mark the furthest extent of the Turkish/Islamic advance of the 16th and 17th Century.
But Eastern Europe is not the only area where war warnings exist. WesPac is a potential point of conflict as well. Finally, someone in the Pentagon and Washington is looking westward instead of eastward.
Amid Chinese Aggression, Obama Affirms U.S. Defense of Japan’s Senkaku Islands
Bruce Klingner, April 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm
During his trip to Japan, President Obama publicly affirmed long-standing U.S. policy that the bilateral security treaty applies to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands. China claims sovereignty over the islands and, in recent years, has tried to intimidate Japan—much as Beijing has bullied the Philippines in pursuit of its extralegal territorial claims in the South China Sea.
President Obama’s statement was a welcome and proper confirmation of U.S. support for a critical Pacific ally.
During a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Obama declared, “let me reiterate that our treaty commitment to Japan’s security is absolute, and Article 5 [of the bilateral security treaty] covers all territories under Japan’s administration, including the Senkaku Islands.”
While this was the first time Obama publicly affirmed the parameters of the U.S. defense commitment to Japan, it is consistent with the long-standing policies of his predecessors. As Obama pointed out, “this isn’t a ‘red line’ that I’m drawing; it is the standard interpretation over multiple administrations of the terms of the alliance…There’s no shift in position. There’s no “red line” that’s been drawn. We’re simply applying the treaty.”
In 2004, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage stated that the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty “would require any attack on Japan, or the administrative territories under Japanese control, to be seen as an attack on the United States.”
During a 2010 flare-up of tensions between China and Japan over the Senkakus, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, “we have made it very clear that the [Senkaku] islands are part of our mutual treaty obligations, and the obligation to defend Japan
The Obama administration’s public reassurance to Japan is meant to deter China from behaving aggressively. In recent years, Beijing has used military and economic threats, bombastic language, and enforcement through military bullying to extend its extra-legal claims of sovereignty in the East and South China Seas.
In November 2013, China declared an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea, including the Senkaku Islands. Beijing threatened to use its military to enforce the ADIZ. Washington condemned this declaration as a provocative act that exacerbated tensions in the region and increased the risks of a military clash.
Beijing is also attempting to divert attention from its own actions by mischaracterizing Japan as a threat to regional security. China’s bellicose actions have fueled regional concern and triggered a greater Japanese willingness confront Chinese expansionism and strengthen its military. This willingness to defend its territory has been mischaracterized as a resurgence of Japan’s 1930s imperial militarism.
One of Japan’s problems isn’t with Chinese aggression. Their problem is toothless assurances from the United States when a significant portion of the US Naval Fleet…is along dockside, awaiting repairs, upgrades, or lacking the funding to return to the fleet.
According to sources, there are 430 ships believed to be in active service. That includes ships under construction and in reserve. The majority of these ships were built in the late 20th Century, some dating as far back as the 1960s. The Fleet is aging.
During the Bush years, we had twelve carriers afloat, each carrier being the center of a battlegroup. That number has been reduced to ten. The photo to the left, taken over the Christmas and New Years holidays in 2012. Reduced those battlegroups on the high seas, from ten to five for a short period.
With those ship’s crews on leave for the holidays, how quickly could they have responded if the Chinese chose to ignore the treaty between Japan and the US? My guess would be a month to retrieve the crews, top off consumables and sail to the trouble area.
Does Obama’s, Kerry’s and Hillery’s statements affirming that US/Japanese alliance hold water? I don’t know. The question really is, does the Chinese believe it does.
Clive Bundy is in the news again. He stepped in it, big time. He had an interview with a reporter from the New York Times. The NYT did it’s usual hatchet-job, taking Bundy’s words out of context, changing the order, doing their usual job putting Bundy in the worse light possible. The MSM took it an ran with it.
In the end, Bundy did say those things. However his statements does not change the facts about the BLM’s aggression and overt attempts of land grabbing.
In response to the NYT interview, this column appeared in The American Thinker.
Why It’s Okay to Hate Cliven Bundy
The United States was involved in two major, world-spanning, wars in the 20th Century. We had warnings before the start of each war…and, for the most part, ignored them.
Newt Gingrich, in a CNN column, writes about the parallels between our current foreign situation and that prior to World War One. Gingrich, in addition to his political experience, is also a Historian. He is seeing the same parallels that I’ve written about in past posts.
The twin dangers of the Ukraine crisis
By Newt Gingrich, April 23, 2014 — Updated 2221 GMT (0621 HKT)
(CNN) — This year is the centennial of the First World War. One-hundred years ago this month, in April 1914, no one thought there would be a war. But war began, triggered by events in Eastern Europe, by the end of July. It came as an enormous shock, in retrospect almost like the Titanic hitting an iceberg.
In the end, it shattered Europe, cost tens of millions of lives, bankrupted countries and changed forever those who survived the horrors.
A century later, our focus is again on Eastern Europe, the site of a regional conflict that threatens to entangle the world’s leading powers.
The situation in Ukraine is a perilous one, much more so than our current debate acknowledges.
In Russia, we are dealing with the largest country in the world geographically, a country that possesses thousands of nuclear weapons, plenty of ballistic missiles and a ruthlessly determined leader motivated by nationalism and an imperial drive: a leader who also has an entrenched machine capable of keeping him in power for a long time.
In Ukraine, we are dealing with an ally that fought alongside us in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a nation now threatened with conquest by a much stronger neighbor against which it cannot defend itself.
In Europe, we are dealing with a continent that for more than half a century has relied on the United States to guarantee peace, security and freedom. We have kept that promise through NATO, the alliance that war in Eastern Europe threatens seriously to undermine.
And in the United States, we are dealing with a nation weary of war after more than a decade spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a public wary of more armed intervention abroad.
We need a national debate on what our policy is going to be. And then we need to engage our friends in Europe on what our policy is going to be.
As retired former NATO Commander Gen. Wesley Clark and his colleague Dr. Phillip Karber, a former Defense Department official, detail in their recent report from Ukraine, the Obama Pentagon has adopted a position of not helping that country with any offensive weapons. Offensive weapons including, for example, Kevlar vests, night vision equipment and aviation fuel.
So while the United States has sent thousands of meals ready to eat (Army rations) to a country that is an agricultural exporter, the administration has refused to send even nonlethal equipment that would help Ukraine defend itself and possibly avert war.
Instead of sending military supplies to Ukraine, we hear talk of more sanctions. And yet, as I discuss in my podcast this week, I suspect it will be apparent very quickly that sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin are going to be irrelevant. He is a very tough man. He heads a very big country with immense natural resources. He can cause pain fully as much as his neighbors can cause him pain. He can block American shipments to Afghanistan from coming through Russia by the northern route. He can cut off natural gas flow to Western Europe. He has a veto at the U.N. Security Council, and can obstruct further sanctions against Iran.
This is a very difficult situation, and we are now in two enormous dangers. First, of the Obama administration doing too little, in which case the world will become less safe as we show weakness to our allies and the Russians seek to reconstitute the Soviet empire. And second, of doing things too clumsily, in which case, as one-hundred years ago, a bad combination of miscalculations, delusions, laws and alliances could land us in a war no one intends.
If you read popular history, you would believe that the US entered World War One because of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania. What you may not remember is that the Lusitania was sunk on May 7, 1915. The US did not enter the war until April 6, 1917—nearly two years later.
The reasons for the delay were many—mostly due to the incompetence of Woodrow Wilson and his alliance with various ‘Peace’ groups. Wilson was finally convinced to sign the declaration of war after a number of events, such as the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare, the Zimmerman letters that indicated the Axis powers were attempting an alliance with Mexico (an aftermath of Pershing’s pursuit of Pancho Villa) and other indications that the Axis powers would soon ignore the neutrality of the US and attack US assets and installations at home and abroad.
American Entry into World War I, 1917
On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson went before a joint session of Congress to request a declaration of war against Germany. Wilson cited Germany’s violation of its pledge to suspend unrestricted submarine warfare in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and its attempts to entice Mexico into an alliance against the United States, as his reasons for declaring war. On April 4, 1917, the U.S. Senate voted in support of the measure to declare war on Germany. The House concurred two days later. The United States later declared war on Austria-Hungary on December 7, 1917. — Office of the Historian, US State Department.
The paragraph above is the official summary of our entry into WW1. There is a more extensive, and controversial, discussion on Wiki (accused of anti-German bias.)
What Gingrich’s article does is to compare parallels then and today. Is the Russian invasion of the Crimea similar to that of Austia-Hungary’s invasion of Serbia? Is the overthrow of Ukrainian President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, the parallel of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand?
Obama, in response to Putin’s actions in the Ukraine, is sending a few troops to Poland, a US and NATO ally. True, it’s only 600 Paratroops to participate in a joint exercise. Other Army companies will head to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Obama and others in the White House and in the Administration think these pittance of troops will block further aggression by Putin. Unfortunately, like those events leading to World War 1, those few troops could be a tripwire leading us into another war. And, like we were prior to those two world wars in the last century, we are, again, ill prepared to respond.
I was listening to radio news this morning while in the shower. A local hospital, Children’s Mercy, has just declared themselves a “no hitting” zone. According to their PR flack, they equate spanking with child abuse. “If it leaves a mark, it’s abuse,” the flack said.
They seem to overlook that a proper spanking is not a beating. The flat of a hand against the posterior isn’t a beating. But, it’s their hospital and they can make the rules. What I do object to is their alternative to bad behavior by children. Instead of the parent correcting that behavior, the flack said, “distract the child. Give them some bubbles or a coloring book.”
Excuse me, that is not redirecting bad behavior, it is rewarding bad behavior. These rules prevent parents from doing what parents should be doing—correcting and preventing bad behavior while enforcing good behavior. Children’s Mercy won’t allow parent to do that. The hospital has preempted the parent’s authority. They will sic Social Services on the parent they deem ‘abusive.’
Hospitals, to just about everyone not an employee, aren’t nice places. Yes, on occasion we need to go there for multiple purposes, but no one really likes going there. Multiply that by a factor of 10 for children. To them it’s a scary place where people do strange things to you and many of those things HURT!
It’s not surprising that kids, and parents, too, often misbehave. The kids are scared, so are the parents, if they would admit it, and no one is on their best behavior. What the parents learn is that they cannot correct their children. What the children learn is that if they misbehave, they will get attention and be rewarded with something, not-scary, to do. What the hospital wants is peace and quiet and they believe they know best how to achieve that goal.
Like I said, it’s their hospital, they can make the rules. In this case, I think their alternatives are misdirected, treating the symptom, not the cause. Rewarding bad behavior creates long term issues in the family. Children’s Mercy does not concern themselves with that. It’s not within the walls of their hospital.
What Children’s Mercy is doing is exercising Nanny-state rules. A general rule that is applied universally. It is not always the best…even when it fits that rare occurance.
I’m not approving bad parental behavior nor child beating. But too often, that is the accusation when all that is being done is a swat of the hand against a child’s butt. Not allowing that is Nanny-state rules.
Want to know a person’s character? Watch what they do.
Barack Obama’s aunt died earlier this month in a welfare nursing home of cancer. She came to this country to help Michelle with her new-born children. Instead of attending her funeral, Obama played golf.
That is the character of Barack Obama, a thoroughly despicable person.
It hasn’t gotten much fanfare in the MSM, but liberals are in the process of removing another portion of the Constitution—the Electoral College.
EDITORIAL: Blue states try raiding Electoral College
National Popular Vote Interstate Compact tries end run around the Constitution
No post today
I’ve appointments this morning. Y’all have a great fay. Or…day, whichever twists your fancy.
All is not well in the state of Maryland. The officers and the members of the Board of Directors of Wicomico County Education Association (WCEA) have become dissatisfied with their upstream counterparts, the Maryland State Education Association and the National Education Association. In brief, the local union felt and still feels that they are not getting their money’s worth when they send their dues upstream.
They have scheduled a vote to disassociate themselves with the state and national union. Those parent organizations were not pleased. Like any third-world dictator, they struck back.
Maryland Teachers Union Shop Steward Stages Coup
posted at 9:21 am on April 22, 2014 by Mike Antonucci
My apologies if this ends up sounding like a dispatch from some war-torn Third World country, but it really is a tale from southeastern Maryland.
The elected officers and members of the board of directors of the Wicomico County Education Association (WCEA) scheduled a rank-and-file vote for the 1,000-member local union to end its affiliation with the Maryland State Education Association and the National Education Association. The issues were the usual ones in such cases – the local officers felt an awful lot of dues money was going up the line to the parent unions in exchange for not much in services for the local. After last week’s events, that vote – scheduled for April 28 and 29 – is very much up in the air.
Upset by the actions of WCEA’s board, Gary Hammer, a union site representative at Bennett Middle School, began circulating petitions to recall all the WCEA officers and members of the board, and to suspend them from office until the recall took place. Hammer and his supporters claim to have gathered 700 signatures, which would constitute a majority of the bargaining unit.
Last Tuesday, Hammer and others “entered the WCEA offices, changed the locks and codes, removed or altered office equipment and purported to illegally fire the Association’s only employee.” According to WCEA president Kelly Stephenson, “These actions were not taken in accordance with the governing documents of WCEA or in accordance with the law.”
Stephenson insists the disaffiliation vote will go on as scheduled.
As any good coup plotters would, Hammer and his associates seized the radio station, er, union web page. They have posted this message while deleting much of the site’s previous content:
On April 15 a majority of the members of the Wicomico County Education Association stood together and took necessary steps to prevent a small minority of members from dismantling the union with attempts to disaffiliate from our state and national Associations. The members have spoken and have declared that we are stronger together, and the support we have from the Maryland State Education and National Education Association adds to that strength. We have collected the necessary signatures to recall the officers of WCEA and have put an interim board of managers in place, effective immediately. This board will assume day to day operations of the Association and will move to conduct an election of a new slate of officers. These actions clearly reflect the wishes of the majority of our members who are anxious to move forward and who remain committed to giving Wicomico County’s public school students the excellent instruction and service they deserve.
It seems almost beside the point to note that there is no provision in WCEA’s by-laws to remove the union’s entire elected leadership with a single petition whose signatures have not been verified by any independent authority. Nor is there any provision for the summary displacement of elected officers by an unelected “board of managers.” Nor have the charges contained in the recall petition been examined to see if they meet the recall requirements set out in the by-laws.
It is beside the point because the legality of such actions becomes secondary once you have succeeded in pulling them off. The American Federation of Teachers has turned into an art the recapture of rogue locals, with one such incident being declared illegal by the U.S. Department of Labor, and moot at the same time. A similar disaffiliation vote will take place next month in Modesto, California, though the California Teachers Association does seems to regard it as a legitimate election.
A legal battle will almost certainly arise out of this, but if the WCEA officers want to retain office, they had best respond to the coup’s tactics in like manner.
This is just another, among many, example of thuggish behavior by unions. This time it is the unions sending union goons against their own members to oust legally elected officers and Board members. It matters not that the actions of the state and national unions were illegal. If the local union doesn’t act quickly, it will become moot. The national unions have the force and assistance of the NRLB behind them.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is all in a twitter. Those nasty Republicans are planning on cutting taxes and he’s vowed to veto the bill if it arrives on his desk. He’s so upset that he and his budget director will tour the state today to announce his response against those evil Republicans who want to cut taxes.
From PoliticMO Newsletter, April 22, 2014:
NIXON’S NEW TAX MESSAGE — A FATAL LAW. Gov. Jay Nixon dispatched his legal counsel and budget director to carry a new line on monday that Senate Bill 509 carries a fatal flaw that could cost the state billions. The issue is with Line 43 on Page 2, which reads, “The bracket for income subject to the top rate of tax shall be eliminated once the top rate of tax has been reduced to five and one-half percent.” Counsel Ted Ardini: “The bracket for income subject to the top rate is… over 9,000 dollars… Once that hits 5.5 percent, this provision tells us to eliminate the top tax bracket. Once you eliminate the top tax bracket, it becomes over #8,000 and under $9,000… If your Missouri income is greater than 9,000 you have no tax bracket and no tax rate. … By the elimination of the over 9,000 tax bracket, there’s no where to go.”
State Representative John Diehl responds:
HOUSE MAJORITY FLOOR LEADER JOHN DIEHL: The “Governor’s contention of #SB509 flaw is laughable. MO SupCt would never take his position on that reading of that bill.” “It’s a pattern of scare tactics and deception to avoid the real issue… Never once did they identify some hole in the bill.… We were and are confident that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this bill.” — PoliticMO Newsletter, April 22, 2014.
Jay Nixon has never met a tax he didn’t like.
In my opinion, Rasmussen is and has been one of the most accurate polling groups in the country. They are not always right, but on the average, they are correct more than any of their competitors. Each week they present a rolling poll on Congress…which party is more preferred. Historically, the dems usually have the edge by a percentage point or two. In fact, I cannot remember when the ‘Pubs were on top.
This week they were.
Generic Congressional Ballot
Generic Congressional Ballot: Republicans 41%, Democrats 40%
Republicans have edged ahead of Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot for the week ending Sunday, April 20.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 41% of Likely U.S. Voters would vote for the Republican in their district’s congressional race if the election were held today, while 40% would choose the Democrat instead.
The last time this switch occurred was during the week of February 4th, 2014.
An article appeared yesterday in the American Thinker. Mark Levin spent some time discussing it on his program and his FB page. It is an analysis of John Boehner and it isn’t, by any means, complimentary.
But Seriously, Just How Slow-Witted is John Boehner?
Lawfare is a particularly vile tactic. It does, however, have a large degree of success by cherry-picking cases that incrementally enhances the agenda of its practitioners.