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The Public Policy

Facts vs. Visions

By 8.26.14

The political left has been campaigning against the use of force since at least the 18th century. So it is not surprising that they are now arguing that heavily armed or aggressive police forces only inflame protesters and thus provoke violence.

Statisticians have long warned that correlation is not causation, but they have apparently warned in vain.

There is no reason to doubt that heavily armed police in riot gear may be more likely to show up where outbreaks of violence are expected. But when violence then breaks out, does that prove that it was the appearance of the police that caused it?

I strongly suspect that people who travel with armed guards are more likely to be murdered than people who do not travel with armed guards. After all, they are not paying to have armed guards for no reason.

If so, should we conclude from a higher murder rate among people with armed guards that having armed guards increases your chances of getting murdered? Shall we also conclude from this that we the taxpayers should no longer pay to have Secret Service agents guarding our presidents?

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The Nation's Pulse

Jesse Jackson and the Renewed Fight to Racialize America

By 8.26.14

What if James Foley, the journalist kidnapped and murdered by ISIS — had been black? Would he have still been killed?

If Juan Williams, a black man, were on a Fox News Sunday panel with the white Bob Woodward, Laura Ingraham and Karl Rove, all discussing the events in Ferguson, would the panel still be a “white panel”?

Was 9/11, which killed hundreds of blacks and Latinos, a racist attack?

We’ll never know the answer to the first question — although we know for a fact that the Rev. Jesse Jackson got headlines and television coverage aplenty years back by securing (along with the then-unknown Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan) the 1984 release of a captured Navy pilot in Syria who was black. 

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At Large

Goodbye to All That Central Planning

By 8.26.14

What can you say about a sixty-four year old central planning apparatus that died? That it was vestigial? One may look to India on how to try to dismantle Big Government.

In a bold move, India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, recently fired the Planning Commission, a central planning body established in 1950 by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Replacing it, he envisions a think-tank that would engage in free market philosophy and strengthen the role of India’s many states. He has created an on-line forum asking for suggestions on what the replacement should look like.

The Planning Commission, chaired by the prime minister, had consisted of various cabinet officials and experts, many of whom were economists. Its mission was principally to allocate resources to foster Indian development, formulate Five-Year Plans, and assess progress against those plans. The Wall Street Journal’s India Real Time reports that the current Five-Year Plan comprises over 1,000 pages.

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At Large

The Fight for Civilization

By 8.26.14

Going through my library recently I came across a small, rather battered blue book: the 1943 edition of The Last Enemy by Richard Hillary, addressed to my mother, then on Army service as a nursing sister, “With love from Dad.”

Dad? My grandfather? I remembered him as a serious, white-haired old gentleman, Sir Frank Gibson, long-time mayor of Fremantle, Member of the Legislative Council, patron, president or committeeman of innumerable clubs and societies, Knight of St. John.

He had made a considerable sacrifice, I later realized, to pay my school fees after my father died, but I had never been sure he approved of me, and I had always vaguely, though I now know quite unjustly, felt that he disapproved of “love,” or any other emotion.

Still, those simple words suggested to me that The Last Enemy was something special.

It was. Once very well known, it remains a classic which should not be forgotten, and whose message is as relevant today as when it was written.

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Special Report

Counter-Insurgency Intensifies — Again

By 8.25.14

The attack against the top commanders of Hamas’ military wing, reported in the Jerusalem Post over the weekend, underscores one of the key elements of a counter-revolutionary war: kill the insurgents; and in particular, kill their chiefs.

There will always be variations based on time and place, but in essence we know what must be done to suppress the savage wars of the post-colonial era that we are still living in more than half a century after the sun set on the British Empire.

You must eliminate the commanders of the terror bands that seek to replace the post-colonial regimes. These, as often as not are composed of incompetent thieves with no respect for their own countrymen. This gives the insurgents an initial claim to the moral high ground, which they quickly squander by showing they are little more than political mafias, using the populations they claim to represent as hostages and expendable props for propaganda purposes.

Second, you must flush the foot-soldiers out of their hiding places — get the fish, if one may refer to an old maestro of the genre, out of the water.

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The Right Prescription

Obamacare Isn’t Going Away as Campaign Issue

By 8.25.14

In an obvious attempt to help the Democrats preserve their Senate majority, the “reporters” of the legacy news media have been hard at work promoting a new Obamacare meme. The Los Angeles Times assisted in the launch of this propaganda campaign early this month with a piece titled, “Obamacare loses some of its campaign punch for Republicans.” The evidence provided by the article’s authors in support of this claim consists primarily of a July study involving GOP advertising: “The percentage of broadcast television ads focused on Obamacare dipped in the spring, according to a study conducted by Kantar Media/CMAG.”

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The Environmental Spectator

Frying Birds in Midair

By 8.25.14

At the most modern solar power plant in the world, researchers are now saying the magnified sun rays are setting birds on fire in midair — by the thousands. They call them “streamers,” because of the smoke plume that is quite visible as they ignite and plummet to earth. Stories of the scorched birds were so widespread that alert investigators from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to visit the plant — built by BrightSource Energy near the California/Nevada border. The Feds watched in horror as they saw an average of one “streamer” every two minutes.

Coincidentally, the company is asking California regulators to approve an even larger version of the solar plant, and the Feds are — predictably — urging the state to halt the application until more Feds can conduct more studies.

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The Nation's Pulse

Jeff Buckley: The Eternal Life of Grace

By 8.25.14

On August 23, 1994, Columbia Records would release Gracethe debut album of Jeff Buckley.

It would prove to be his only fully completed album.

On May 29, 1997, while in the midst of recording his follow up album in Memphis, Buckley disappeared after taking a spontaneous swim fully clothed in the Wolf River. His body was found nearly a week later. An autopsy revealed no drugs and only a nominal amount of alcohol in his system. Buckley was 30 years old.

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Loose Canons

Louvain, ISIS, and Evil

By 8.25.14

The videotaped beheading of photojournalist James Foley shocked us, but it should not have. The Islamic fascisti such as ISIS have always preyed on the innocent and defenseless. Twelve years ago, a like group of barbarians kidnapped and murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan. They did the same to him as ISIS did to Foley: an innocent American reporter was kidnapped, held incommunicado, and then beheaded on videotape for the propaganda and shock value.

History abounds with such events, barbaric murders on scales both large and small. A particularly notable one began one hundred years ago tonight.

In its murderous rampage through Belgium at the outset of World War One, the German army commonly committed mass murders of civilians. As historian John Keegan recounts, 211 were murdered in the town of Andenne, 384 in Tamines, and 612 in Dinant. And then, on the night of August 25, the Germans began the burning of Louvain.

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The Obama Watch

HELP WANTED at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

By 8.25.14

Suddenly, America is sick and tired of Barack Obama. He has become an embarrassment and, worse than that, a threat to the personal security and peace of mind of American citizenry as a whole. It is all too obvious that he is not up to the task of being captain of the ship of state at a time of increasing peril.

So what to do about it?

Should he be impeached? If so, for what crime?

You can’t impeach him for the “crime” of frivolity — or the “crime” of excessive partying at fund-raising junkets with his Hollywood pals during national emergencies.

You can’t impeach him for the “crime” of poor judgment — thinking back to the decision he made in June to release five Taliban commanders in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, an alleged deserter. He celebrated that “victory” by bringing Bergdahl’s parents to the White House and acting as though their son were a hero.

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