Saturday, June 30, 2018

Equine racism?

I had to laugh at this report from Britain.

A talented mule has been blocked from competing in high level British dressage competitions, amid outrage from horse riders.

Christie Mclean, 30, from Stroud, Gloucestershire, had hoped to ride Wallace The Great, an 11-year-old rescue mule, in competitions with her dressage team.

But he has been barred by British Dressage because high level competitions are only open to horses and ponies - a rule branded "equine racism" by Christie.

Wallace, who only took up dressage at a low level last month, has been doing well in local competitions, placing third in his last attempt.

Like horses and ponies he has to perform circles, loops, semi-circles and straight lines in both walk and trot.

"He enjoys his dressage," said Christie, "He’s a happy little chap."

. . .

A British Dressage spokesman said: "We don’t have anything against mules or donkeys, but our rule book is quite specific. It refers to horses and ponies.

"It could be time to change the rules. Wallace may be the one to do just that. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility. But currently, sorry Wallace, beautiful and lovely as you are, it’s a no."

There's more at the link.

One wonders whether the reason for that rule is that owners who've spent hundreds or thousands of pounds on a prize-winning dressage horse don't want to see their pride and joy beaten by, as well as like, a rented mule?


A hidden cost of the War on (some) Drugs?

I found this over at Wirecutter's place:


Friday, June 29, 2018

Will SCOTUS rein in activist judges in lower courts?

One of the most interesting aspects of this week's travel ban decision in the Supreme Court is Justice Thomas' carefully-reasoned opinion on the lower-level court injunction that led to the decision.  His views are provided in pp. 46-56 of the judgment (link is to an Adobe Acrobat document in .PDF format).  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.

I write separately to address the remedy that the plaintiffs sought and obtained in this case. The District Court imposed an injunction that barred the Government from enforcing the President’s Proclamation against anyone, not just the plaintiffs. Injunctions that prohibit the Executive Branch from applying a law or policy against anyone—often called “universal” or “nationwide” injunctions—have become increasingly common.

District courts, including the one here, have begun imposing universal injunctions without considering their authority to grant such sweeping relief
. These injunctions are beginning to take a toll on the federal court system—preventing legal questions from percolating through the federal courts, encouraging forum shopping, and making every case a national emergency for the courts and for the Executive Branch.

I am skeptical that district courts have the authority to enter universal injunctions. These injunctions did not emerge until a century and a half after the founding. And they appear to be inconsistent with longstanding limits on equitable relief and the power of Article III courts. If their popularity continues, this Court must address their legality.

If district courts have any authority to issue universal injunctions, that authority must come from a statute or the Constitution ... No statute expressly grants district courts the power to issue universal injunctions. So the only possible bases for these injunctions are a generic statute that authorizes equitable relief or the courts’ inherent constitutional authority. Neither of those sources would permit a form of injunctive relief that is "[in]consistent with our history and traditions."

. . .

In short, whether the authority comes from a statute or the Constitution, district courts’ authority to provide equitable relief is meaningfully constrained. This authority must comply with longstanding principles of equity that predate this country’s founding.

Universal injunctions do not seem to comply with those principles.
These injunctions are a recent development, emerging for the first time in the 1960s and dramatically increasing in popularity only very recently. And they appear to conflict with several traditional rules of equity, as well as the original understanding of the judicial role.

. . .

Moreover, as a general rule, American courts of equity did not provide relief beyond the parties to the case. If their injunctions advantaged nonparties, that benefit was merely incidental. Injunctions barring public nuisances were an example. While these injunctions benefited third parties, that benefit was merely a consequence of providing relief to the plaintiff.

. . .

American courts’ tradition of providing equitable relief only to parties was consistent with their view of the nature of judicial power. For most of our history, courts understood judicial power as “fundamentall[y] the power to render judgments in individual cases” ... They did not believe that courts could make federal policy, and they did not view judicial review in terms of “striking down” laws or regulations.

. . .

By the latter half of the 20th century, however, some jurists began to conceive of the judicial role in terms of resolving general questions of legality, instead of addressing those questions only insofar as they are necessary to resolve individual cases and controversies.

. . .

Universal injunctions remained rare in the decades following Wirtz ... But recently, they have exploded in popularity ... No persuasive defense has yet been offered for the practice. Defenders of these injunctions contend that they ensure that individuals who did not challenge a law are treated the same as plaintiffs who did, and that universal injunctions give the judiciary a powerful tool to check the Executive Branch ... But these arguments do not explain how these injunctions are consistent with the historical limits on equity and judicial power. They at best “boi[l] down to a policy judgment” about how powers ought to be allocated among our three branches of government ... But the people already made that choice when they ratified the Constitution.

In sum, universal injunctions are legally and historically dubious. If federal courts continue to issue them, this Court is dutybound to adjudicate their authority to do so.

There's more at the link.

I think Justice Thomas is entirely correct.  Such universal injunctions have become tools in the hands of activist judges, seeking to "legislate from the bench".  IMHO, they need to be severely limited and, in many cases, eliminated in their entirety.


Safely in Chattanooga

We arrived safely in Chattanooga shortly before lunchtime yesterday, after a relatively peaceful journey by road from Texas.  The traffic was less bad than I'd expected after previous journeys on the same route.  I think we only had three areas where traffic slowed to almost a standstill, and they cleared up within a few miles.  Until yesterday, the weather had been good, too.  A storm was setting in as we left Nashville behind us, and it struck with full force as we arrived in Chattanooga.  There were many delayed and disrupted airline flights yesterday because of it;  we had been asked to collect someone from the airport here yesterday afternoon at about 3, but by the time she got in, it was 10 p.m.  Many others arriving for LibertyCon had similar complaints.

The convention doesn't begin until this afternoon, but many people arrived yesterday, to settle in, catch their breath, and make preparations.  Friend and author Michael Z. Williamson was here, setting up his booth of knives and swords in the vendor area (his ancillary business isn't called Sharp Pointy Things for nothing!).  More arrived as the afternoon turned into evening, vans and minivans unloading in the area between the hotel foyer and the convention center next door.  The rain didn't help;  art vendors in particular had to shield their wares carefully as they moved them from vehicle to building.  I'm sure the hotel's luggage carts weren't designed for the weight of goods being packed aboard them - I saw several wheels that looked to be on the verge of buckling.

Our room - our entire wing of the hotel - is very newly renovated, so much so that we're the first people to use it since it was refurbished.  A manager was scurrying around our floor as we checked in, supervising workers putting the finishing touches to the last rooms ("Yes, those are the right door handles, right there!").  Maids were making up the beds in several rooms, getting them ready for their first occupants.  The refurbishing has been very nicely done, and the rooms and beds are comfortable and attractive - a great improvement over the convention's previous venue.

We ended up last night with a young lady sleeping on the floor of our room.  She arrived for the convention without a room for the night, and only had accommodation from Friday night.  She planned to sleep in her car in the parking garage, which made me angry and nervous.  That's a really good way to get yourself at least bothered, if not harmed!  Miss D. brought her back to our room, and we offered her our newly-carpeted floor and our spare pillows.  It wasn't much, but it was a lot safer than a car in a parking garage!

The convention registration desk will open soon after lunch, with the first seminars and panels scheduled shortly afterwards.  Here's hoping for a good time!  I'll post updates as and when I can.



I must show this one to the writers gathered here at LibertyCon.  I reckon half will grit their teeth and smile gamely, while the other half will fall over laughing!  Click the image for a larger version at the comic's Web site.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

A nightmare for parents, and a sobering lesson

A home invasion robbery in Texas had ghastly consequences for one family, particularly their seven-year-old son.

The homeowner told police that three masked black suspects broke through the front door and pistol-whipped him, causing injuries.

“This is the worst kind of crime against a family,” Sheriff Troy Nehls said. “Three crooks forcing their way into a home in the middle of the night is appalling. To make matters worse, they accosted a 7-year-old child. They’re cowards, to say the least."

Nehls said the father kept telling the intruders there was no money and to take jewelry or a car, but the masked men weren't satisfied.

. . .

The men then turned their attention to the couple’s 7-year-old son, who was led around the house in search of money, according to the sheriff ... "We have audio and video from inside that house,” Nehls said. "You can hear chilling screams from all the family members inside that house."

One of the masked men later placed the 7-year-old son in a bath tub with hot water in an attempt to get information about possessions in the home.

“You can hear when the bathtub was filling with water," Nehls said. "Then all of a sudden the screams became muffled because he's just up underneath the water."

Detective Justin White told reporters the boy was used as "leverage" by the suspects.

"The 7-year-old is having to watch his dad get tortured, basically," he said Tuesday. "When that didn't work they tortured the 7-year-old. To me, yesterday I said that's pretty sick. I will add that is evil to do something like that to a child."

There's more at the link.

From the report, it appears that the homeowner was a small businessman who kept substantial amounts of cash at home.  It seems the intruders were aware of that, and tried to locate the money.  The homeowner did not reveal its location, which to my mind was a contributing factor to his son's torture, and makes me view him less than favorably.  If he put his money over the well-being of his son . . . something's out of balance somewhere, IMHO.

Be that as it may, this should be a wake-up call and a lesson to all of us.  There are criminals out there who are ruthless.  Many have come across our border, bringing with them the criminal habits and inclinations they developed in their countries of origin.  Others have grown up in urban ghettoes, where human life is cheap and conditions are dire.  To survive, let alone thrive, in such conditions, you have to develop a basic callousness and ruthlessness towards others.  That spills over onto anyone unfortunate enough to run into such persons.  The result is depicted in these headlines, among many from which I could have chosen:

Ferfal, who has (like me) experienced societal breakdown and an environment of widespread, endemic violent crime, gives this grim warning in connection with this incident.

So you have your little subcompact gun, tiny enough to carry it concealed behind your ear, because that’s what all the cool kids are doing these days.

And then this happens.

You need to be reminded of this, believe this can happen to you tomorrow. Can happen to you today. Your wife tortured, your kids tortured. Only then will you change the mentality from what little gun goes best with your skinny jeans or digs in less into your super thin, ultra-sensitive skin into wanting the most ammo and most powerful gun you can shoot fast and accurately and above all, into having the instinct to kill people with a fork if necessary.

They are animals. Worse than animals they are monsters and need to be destroyed whatever it takes.

Once this reality sinks in and is fully assimilated then believe you me, you will no longer care for what’s comfortable or what’s cool. You will want effective killing tools. Several of them. You will want to master them and above all and most important, you will have the determination to use them.

Things like these, it’s a daily occurrence in places like Buenos Aires. I’ve been living in that reality for more years than I care for. You know what we didn’t talk about with like-minded people? How can I carry a smaller gun with less ammo.

Again, more at the link.

(Ferfal often has useful hints, tips, and lessons learned at his blog.  If he's not already on your regular reading list, he's a good candidate for it.  I don't always agree with him, but that's OK - we learned from our own experiences on two different continents, so it's not surprising we sometimes absorbed different approaches.  He learned in a hard school, as did I, and I respect that.  Bear in mind that he's not in the USA, so some of his favored weapons and approaches - such as "they need to be destroyed!" - may not be legal here.  Know your local laws, rules and regulations, for your own defense in case of need, and act accordingly.)

I agree with Ferfal about the need for preparedness.  Incidents of home invasion robberies and assaults may be relatively rare in "better" areas, but rapidly increasing in less affluent or more gang-ridden communities.  They're also happening in up-market areas - see, for example, the Cheshire, Connecticut, home invasion murders.  We can expect more of that sort of thing to spill over as the number of those willing to perpetrate such crimes increases, particularly with the illegal alien problem as bad as it is.

Secure your home, arm and train yourself and the other adults in your family, and be ready, willing and able to defend them, your home and your possessions.  In our increasingly unstable society, you may have to.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Safely in Tennessee

We made it to Dickson, TN today, where we're overnighting at an hotel.  Tomorrow morning we have some business with a bank near Nashville, after which we'll head for Chattanooga and LibertyCon.

It's going to be a hectic arrival day.  We'll get there around 1-2 pm local time (Chattanooga is on Eastern time, not Central, which we've used all the way from home to here).  I'll drop Miss D. and Alma at the hotel, then I have to collect someone at the airport and bring them into town.  Later that evening there's a meeting of authors involved in a current anthology project, which I'll be attending.  The convention proper starts tomorrow afternoon.

It's been a pleasant drive so far. We rented a Chrysler 300 "premium" sedan for the journey, which has proved to be very comfortable and surprisingly economical.  The only initial fly in the ointment was refueling it.  I couldn't find the (electronic-only) fuel cap release for love or money - and would you believe the vehicle manual makes NO MENTION OF IT AT ALL???  For the love of Mike, surely, for the price of this upmarket sedan, someone could have proof-read the manual to make sure all the important information was included?  Alma did a quick search on her smartphone, and located the switch tucked inconspicuously towards the bottom of the driver's door.  None of us had noticed it visually while looking for it.  Grrrr!!!

Traffic was light out of Texas, through Oklahoma, and the western half of Arkansas.  It began to build up heavily after Little Rock, and by the time we hit Tennessee there were a lot more trucks on the road.  I suspect it's going to be pretty busy running down to Chattanooga tomorrow as well.  There are a few choke points on that route that are often backed up, as we've learned to our cost on earlier journeys.

More tomorrow morning, if I have time;  otherwise, I'll post again from Chattanooga.


Heading for LibertyCon

Miss D., our friend Alma Boykin and I are on the road, heading for the LibertyCon science fiction and fantasy convention in Chattanooga this weekend.  It's a long drive, about 15 hours plus stops, so we're taking it relatively easy.  That still beats dealing with the TSA and flying cattle class - and the cost works out pretty much the same.

This is going to be an interesting LibertyCon.  It's moved to the Marriott Hotel, after many years at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo hotel in that city, which was never a very satisfactory venue.  I don't know if it'll stay at the Marriott, or move somewhere else next year.  I guess that's up to the organizers.  For a while it wasn't certain whether we'd have a LibertyCon at all this year, so I'm glad they made it happen in the end.

This year Miss D. and I are presenting a minimum number of panels and discussions, as we're both pretty tired and need a break.  We're treating this extended road trip as a chance to relax, meet up with friends, and generally recharge our batteries.

Blogging will be intermittent while we're at LibertyCon.  I may have a chance to put up a number of posts and "stage" them for automatic publication at intervals, but that won't happen every day.  At times like that, please amuse yourselves with the blogs and bloggers listed in my sidebar.  They write good too!


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Know your enemy #2: The silencing of opposing voices

The progressive, far-left-wing faction in US politics is aggressively pursuing so-called "deplatforming":  denying their opponents any outlet or medium or channel from or through which to make their views known.  It's more than censorship.  It's a blatant attempt to ensure that an entire viewpoint or perspective never reaches those who might be persuaded by it.

Fortunately, its ideological proponents make no secret of their motivation - and thereby expose their own intolerance.

We are seeing the worsening of a trend that the 20th century German-American philosopher Herbert Marcuse warned of back in 1965: “In endlessly dragging debates over the media, the stupid opinion is treated with the same respect as the intelligent one, the misinformed may talk as long as the informed, and propaganda rides along with education, truth with falsehood.” This form of “free speech,” ironically, supports the tyranny of the majority.

. . .

Marcuse was insightful in diagnosing the problems, but part of the solution he advocated was suppressing right-wing perspectives. I believe that this is immoral (in part because it would be impossible to do without the exercise of terror) and impractical (given that the internet was actually invented to provide an unblockable information network). Instead, I suggest that we could take a big step forward by distinguishing free speech from just access. Access to the general public, granted by institutions like television networks, newspapers, magazines, and university lectures, is a finite resource. Justice requires that, like any finite good, institutional access should be apportioned based on merit and on what benefits the community as a whole.

There is a clear line between censoring someone and refusing to provide them with institutional resources for disseminating their ideas.

. . .

Donald Trump, first as candidate and now as president, is such a significant news story that responsible journalists must report on him. But this does not mean that he should be allowed to set the terms of the debate. Research shows that repeatedly hearing assertions increases the likelihood of belief — even when the assertions are explicitly identified as false. Consequently, when journalists repeat Trump’s repeated lies, they are actually increasing the probability that people will believe them.

Even when journalistic responsibility requires reporting Trump’s views, this does not entail giving all of his spokespeople an audience.

. . .

What just access means in terms of positive policy is that institutions that are the gatekeepers to the public have a fiduciary responsibility to award access based on the merit of ideas and thinkers ... The invincibly ignorant and the intellectual huckster have every right to express their opinions, but their right to free speech is not the right to an audience.

There's more at the link.

The author omits any mention of Marcuse's left-wing and Marxist orientation - not surprising, I suppose, because that might give the game away.  By simply citing him as an authority in the field, he avoids examining his motivation or ideology.  Convenient, that.

Note, again, the weasel words and evasion of objective standards in the author's arguments.  A few examples:
  • "the stupid opinion is treated with the same respect as the intelligent one" - who defines which is stupid, and which intelligent?
  • "Access to the general public, granted by institutions ... is a finite resource".  Who says it's "granted" by anybody?  Institutions have their own audience, but they don't control that audience.  Also, who says it's finite?  Isn't the author really implying that if you deny any other form of access to the general public, that automatically turns such access into a finite resource?  Is he arguing that access to the general public outside those institutions should be restricted, or even forbidden?  It sure sounds like that to me.
  • "There is a clear line between censoring someone and refusing to provide them with institutional resources for disseminating their ideas."  Note the weasel twist.  The sentiment attributed to Voltaire, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" - regarded by many, including myself, as the very hallmark of free speech - has now become "I disapprove of what you say, but I cannot prevent you saying it;  therefore, I shall prevent as many people as possible from hearing it".  Isn't that trying to achieve at second hand what clapping a hand over the speaker's mouth would achieve at first hand?  If the results are indistinguishable, isn't the fundamental principle behind the actions - intolerance and censorship - basically identical?
  • "Donald Trump ... should [not] be allowed to set the terms of the debate".  Agreed - but neither should anyone else.  The whole point of a debate is to allow and encourage analysis, discussion and investigation.  If one side or the other insists on imposing their own frame of reference on the debate, that will automatically limit its freedom.  The author is trying to impose a different frame of reference to that of President Trump, but he's still imposing it rather than allow true freedom of speech and discussion.
  • "their right to free speech is not the right to an audience".  So, you can say whatever you like, provided you do so in a howling wilderness where no other human being can hear you?  Isn't that in itself inhibiting free speech until it becomes meaningless?  If free speech is a right, it has to be an absolute right, including the right to reach the ears of those one wants to hear it.  If the latter right is denied, it automatically infringes upon the former right.  A particular outlet, or medium, or platform, might decide that it doesn't want to carry speech from someone whose ideology or philosophy it opposes.  That's fair enough, and I have no argument with it.  However, when those of that persuasion seek to deny any other avenue for that speech, they overstep the mark.  That becomes even worse than censorship.  That becomes dictatorship.

There are many on the left who follow this specious reasoning.  It's at the root of campaigns to deny conservatives a platform on Twitter, Facebook, etc. - all while largely ignoring actively evil contributors like terrorists, pedophiles and others.  It's as much a lie as justifying violence against political opponents.  Those who propound such views brand themselves as the enemies of democracy and free speech.  We should take note, and not be fooled.


Know your enemy #1: The violent "progressives"

It helps when the enemy defines him- or herself, so that we know at whom to aim.

Do you think that being asked to leave a restaurant, or having your meal interrupted, or being called by the public is bad? My fascism-enabling friends, this is only the beginning.

. . .

Rather than detail a laundry list of all the Trump outrages, I ask you simply to consider all of the very real human costs that those outrages have already inflicted on human beings in America and abroad. Some of those outrages, like ripping families apart at the border, show their costs immediately; others, like eschewing the fight against climate change and neutering the EPA and mainstreaming white nationalist ideas, will be manifesting their costs for many decades to come. But the costs are real. We are the ones who are suffering and will suffer them. By and large, the people responsible for these decisions will be wealthy and famous and powerful enough to insulate themselves from those costs. Unless we decide to see to it that they must face them.

. . .

People die because of political decisions every day. Politics is real. This is what is on one side of our current disagreement: death, and human rights, and freedom, and equality. And this is what is on the other side: wanting to eat at a nice restaurant without having anyone remind you that you are ruining people’s lives. The sides of this scale are not even close to balancing yet.

This is all going to get more extreme. And it should. We are living in extreme times. The harm that is being done to all of us by the people in the American government is extreme. To imagine that Mexican immigrants should happily cook for and serve meals to people who enable a man who is determined to demonize and persecute them as subhuman criminals is far more outrageous than the idea that those enablers should not be served in restaurants. I do not believe that Trump administration officials should be able to live their lives in peace and affluence while they inflict serious harms on large portions of the American population. Not being able to go to restaurants and attend parties and be celebrated is just the minimum baseline here. These people, who are pushing America merrily down the road to fascism and white nationalism, are delusional if they do not think that the backlash is going to get much worse. Wait until the recession comes. Wait until Trump starts a war. Wait until the racism this administration is stoking begins to explode into violence more frequently. Read a ******* history book. Read a recent history book. The U.S. had thousands of domestic bombings per year in the early 1970s. This is what happens when citizens decide en masse that their political system is corrupt, racist, and unresponsive. The people out of power have only just begun to flex their dissatisfaction. The day will come, sooner that you all think, when Trump administration officials will look back fondly on the time when all they had to worry about was getting hollered at at a Mexican restaurant. When you aggressively **** with people’s lives, you should not be surprised when they decide to **** with yours.

There's more at the link.

The amount of drivel in that screed is so vast as to be almost impossible to quantify.  It makes up its own alleged "truth" out of whole cloth, ignoring reality.  Consider just a few:
  • "the Trump outrages" - that's subjective opinion, not quantified as objective fact.
  • "persecute them as subhuman criminals" - I haven't heard anyone refer to illegal aliens as "subhuman", but they are, by definition, criminals.  This has been true for as long as US laws, and the Constitution on which they are based, have been in effect, under both liberals and conservatives, and from both left- and right-wing legal perspectives.  It's objective fact;  and if you deny that it is, you deny the rule of law.
  • "These people, who are pushing America merrily down the road to fascism and white nationalism" - really?  The author can say that with a straight face, when the tactics of his side are far more fascist than anything I've seen from Trump supporters?  He claims to understand history, but historically, progressives and far-left individuals and groups are much closer to fascism than their ideological opponents.  That's why so few of them, who so freely fling the label "Nazi", refuse to admit that the proper name of that group was the "National Socialist German Workers' Party".  Yes, Nazis were, by factual, historical definition, left-wing, not right-wing.  Put that in your historical pipe and smoke it.

George Santayana famously observed, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it".  Given his self-asserted understanding of history, one wonders why the author of that article fails to remember or understand so much of history.  Rest assured, sooner or later he and his ilk will mess with the wrong people, in the wrong place;  and when they do, they will learn the hard way that the lessons of history - about what happens to those who fail to think things through - are still valid;  because those lessons will be inflicted upon them.

I note that none of the vitriolic in-your-face reprisals upon the author's ideological enemies have been reported from, shall we say, areas more rational and less ideological.  That's because right-thinking people will most likely soon put a stop to them, probably without bothering to call the police except to clean up the resulting mess.  We understand what happens when you allow violence to reign unchecked . . . so we check it, to make sure it doesn't come back.

As for the "Nazi" label, flung around so freely by progressives and far-left individuals and organizations:  both of my parents fought Nazism during World War II, my father in uniform, my mother on the "Home Front".  I fought it in South Africa.  If necessary, I have no problem doing so again - and I know how to identify it, and I know who's exhibiting its characteristics right now.  Hint:  it's not the Trump administration.


Monday, June 25, 2018

Doofus Of The Day #1,014

This dumbass is incredibly fortunate that he's not a dead Doofus candidate.  See for yourself.

That was filmed in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.  You can read more about it here.

I've lost count of the number of stories I've heard (and incidents I've personally witnessed) of dumb tourist behavior around dangerous African animals.  There are just as many involving dangerous American animals, of course - and not involving animals at all.  There are so many, in fact, that the word "tourons" (an amalgamation of "tourists" and "morons") has been coined to describe such behavior.  Do a search on "tourons" and you'll be amazed at some of what you read.  There's even an entire Reddit subforum dedicated to them.

A tip o' the hat to reader Gerald F. for sending me the link to that story.


NIMBY in California???

I'm laughing my fundament off at the outraged reaction of California liberals and progressives to the news that the US Navy has identified two possibly very large illegal alien detention facilities in that state.

Sites identified by the Navy include:
  • Abandoned airfields near Mobile and Orange Beach, Alabama that could house up to 25,000 migrants.
  • the former Naval Weapons Station Concord near San Francisco that could house an estimated 47,000.
  • A site at Camp Pendleton California that could house up to 47,000.
  • A potential site at the Marine Corps Air Station at Yuma, Arizona that needs further study of potential housing capabilities.

There's more at the link.

This has gotten local politicians - who are unalterably opposed to the current Administration's policies towards illegal aliens - frothing at the mouth.

Hundreds of opponents of the Trump administration’s alleged policy of “family separation” protested at the border in San Diego on Saturday, and thousands protested outside the local headquarters of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — though President Donald Trump had already signed an executive order providing that illegal alien families would be detained together.

The protests could be even worse in Northern California, where opposition to President Trump’s policy is stronger. A furious Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) called the plan to house illegal aliens at the naval base, which is in his district, “madness”:
The @eastbaytimes reported on the unprecedented & thoughtless Trump Administration proposal to construct a detention facility to hold up to 47,000 immigrants at the Naval Weapons Station in Concord. It is madness & we are fighting this in every way we can.
— Mark DeSaulnier (@RepDeSaulnier) June 23, 2018

Others agreed, and appealed to the state’s Democratic members of Congress:
Sen. Harris, please look into the report on the Navy opening the Concord Naval Weapon Station in California for use as a detention center for up to 47,000 immigrants and do what you can to shut this plan down! Concord will not be a party to this! #TrumpConcentrationCampsForKids
— J. Trevizo (@jtrevizo1013) June 22, 2018

Again, more at the link.

I would have thought that any politician genuinely concerned about the well-being of illegal aliens would welcome housing them in the relatively temperate, comfortable climate of California, where so many of their fellow countrymen (at least ethnically speaking, if not nationality-wise) would be available to help them, assist with their welfare, and make them feel welcome.

Or . . . is it perhaps a manifestation of the NIMBY attitude?  Could it be that those politicians don't want more competition for the resources already in short supply for their constituents?  And could it be that they're afraid an influx of illegals will impact - and thus anger - the people on whose votes they rely?

Your guess is as good as mine . . . but I think I can make a pretty good guess.  I also think that President Trump, and probably Secretary of Defense Mattis, are laughing very hard at the outrage this proposal has stirred up.  Come on, progressives - put your money where your mouths are!


Wild night

Miss D. and I were woken at about 3.30 am by a very strong wind, blowing small objects against the walls and windows of our home, and sending both our cats into fits of serious "the-boogeyman-outside-is-trying-to-kill-us" worry.  The wind noise was so loud it was impossible to sleep through it, so I made tea for both of us, and we amused (?) ourselves with blog articles or other work until the storm had passed, an hour or two later.

Turns out we were right on the bottom end of a major storm front as it tracked east-south-east down through Oklahoma towards the northern part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.  Here's what it looked like on radar at 3.45 am this morning.

Those red bits, in the middle of the yellow, were very red indeed if you were unfortunate enough to be underneath them!  I think that's about the noisiest wind storm we've endured since we moved to this part of the world, two and a half years ago.  I'm glad it got no worse.

We live on what's called the "dry line", where moist air from the east of the continent collides head-on with dry air from the west.  It can produce some spectacular storms.  Old NFO wrote about it earlier this year;  if you'd like to know more, click over to his blog for details.

This morning's a lot more peaceful, thank heavens.  I'm off to do some shopping.  We have Alma joining us for supper, and the North Texas Writers, Shooters and Pilots Association (a.k.a. all the usual suspects, plus yours truly) will be gathering to welcome her.  Must feed them well!


My wife's latest book is published!

Miss D. has just published her second novel, "Shattered Under Midnight".

The blurb reads:

Raina escaped to Freeport with a tour booked under a stolen ID, and a plan to lose herself in the city. Instead, she found a city in revolt, and now both sides are after her to control the alien gifts engineered into her DNA.

Her only ally is an offworld investigator trying to get to the bottom of the explosive mix of on-planet and alien politics... but his secrets are even deadlier than her own.

From the back alleys of the souk to the depths of alien ruins, they're now in a desperate fight to stop the revolution before everything is lost!

I enjoyed this book.  OK, I'm biased, of course, because the author is my wife, but notwithstanding that, this one tickled my fancy.  Part of the reason was that it includes a number of action sequences based very heavily on real-life incidents.  To write them, she approached Lawdog, Old NFO and myself, and asked us about what we would do (or, in some cases, had actually done) in certain situations.  (She describes that process from her perspective in this article, and part of our interaction in this one.)  Our answers made her eyebrows rise almost into her hairline on occasion, but she persisted gamely, and incorporated our hard-earned knowledge and experience in her fiction.  It's kinda fun to read some of the scenarios, and know what real-life incidents inspired them (or their resolution).

I hope you enjoy Miss D.'s latest book as much as her first.  Now I have to encourage her to write another!


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Sunday morning music

Here's a real piece of music history - in fact, almost the oldest music history we have.

The Seikilos Epitaph is the oldest known complete piece of music, including a primitive music notation and lyrics.  Wikipedia describes it:

The Seikilos epitaph is the oldest surviving complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world. The epitaph has been dated variously from around 200 BC to around AD 100, but the first century AD is the most probable guess. The song, the melody of which is recorded, alongside its lyrics, in the ancient Greek musical notation, was found engraved on a tombstone (a stele) from the Hellenistic town Tralles near present-day Aydın, Turkey, not far from Ephesus.

Here's the stele.

And here's what the song sounds like.

Music historians are generally agreed on the transliteration of the ancient musical form to a modern equivalent, so I guess that rendition is pretty reliable.  If it's not, don't make a lyre out of me!


Saturday, June 23, 2018

Chain migration's effect on one Pennsylvania town

City Journal recently published an in-depth article about the effect of chain migration on Hazelton, Pennsylvania.  It's a startling and eye-opening piece of journalism.  Here's a lengthy excerpt.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.

With a population long dominated by the descendants of European immigrants, Hazleton has been radically transformed since the early 2000s by secondary chain migration, principally driven by Dominicans—immigrants, both legal and illegal, as well as second- and third-generation citizens arriving from the New York metropolitan area. In 2000, Hispanics made up less than 5 percent of Hazleton’s population; they now account for more than 50 percent. Such rapid and dramatic demographic shifts are rare in U.S. cities. For Hazleton, the consequences have been profound, and the city is struggling to cope.

. . .

Dominicans started moving to New York City in the 1960s, fleeing the Dominican Republic’s political upheaval and mass poverty, just as Congress passed the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965, a major policy reform that unleashed family-based chain migration in the United States. Mass chain migration resulted in Dominicans becoming Gotham’s second-largest Hispanic group by 1992. Many moved to northern Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood, which transformed into a Dominican outpost, with bodegas, Pentecostal congregations, restaurants, and cab fleets bearing a Dominican cultural stamp. The Dominican New Yorkers tended to isolate themselves in the neighborhood, preserving their island culture with the aid of modern communications. A 2002 SUNY Albany study on Hispanic residential patterns found that, compared with other Hispanic immigrant groups, Dominicans had higher levels of residential segregation. The “average Dominican,” the report noted, “lives in a neighborhood where only one of eight residents is a non-Hispanic white.” Doubtless as a partial consequence of its isolation, the Dominican community has lower levels of income and higher unemployment, and receives public assistance to a greater degree, than other Hispanic groups.

While New York has enjoyed sustained prosperity and plunging crime rates since the mid-1990s, Washington Heights has remained relatively unsafe and impoverished, and its public schools are dismal. Over time, facing these urban woes, more and more Dominican residents wanted to escape. The September 11 attacks intensified that desire.

Hazleton’s low crime rate, affordable housing, stable schools, idyllic neighborhoods, and proximity to New York made it a perfect choice for relocation. In 1990, just 249 Hispanics lived in Hazleton, making up 1 percent of the city’s residents. But the earliest New York transplants loved their new home. “Most people in New York City think life in Pennsylvania as we’re living it is a dream,” a new resident told the Hazleton Standard-Speaker in 1991. “I can sit down in my house, open my door, watch TV to 10 or 11 at night. I don’t have to worry about someone walking in shooting me, ripping me off.” Another Hispanic transplant said that Hazleton should prepare for mass migration. “People of Hazleton have to realize we are going to keep pouring in,” he told the Standard-Speaker. “If not they have to learn we are just as free as they are. They can’t deny us anything. They have to start dealing with us. If they don’t deal with us, push has come to shove, and we’ll deal with them like in New York City.” After the towers fell, Dominican migrants began arriving en masse.

. . .

With Hazleton facing a nearly $900,000 deficit in 2017, Mayor Jeffrey Cusat applied for and received designation from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a financially distressed city. The designation allows Pennsylvania to assist Hazleton in managing its finances and debt. The distress stems from diminished tax revenues, plummeting real-estate values, and the city’s shifting demography, which has led to a surge in demand for services such as public-safety efforts. Rising employee costs and pension obligations have added to the city’s precarious fiscal position. The state’s report on Hazleton’s budget crisis concluded that “the demographic and income changes affecting the city will only compound the future financial challenges.”

Crime has been a big challenge. In 2011, the U.S. Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) released a report on eastern Pennsylvania’s drug and gang threat. It focused on Hazleton as a regional center for illegal drug distribution. According to the report, Dominican drug-trade organizations (DTOs) and gangs started controlling the city’s wholesale drug distribution in the 1990s.

Hazleton’s proximity to I-80 and I-81 made the city an ideal location for Dominican DTOs to centralize their cocaine and heroin operations. The NDIC, which folded into the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2012, noted how “the presence of a long-established Dominican population, along with interstate highways that directly connect Hazleton to other Dominican populations in New York and New England, makes the city a favorable destination for Dominican fugitives seeking a place to operate away from law enforcement pressure in those areas.” In the early 2010s, the opening of a minimum-security halfway house in a historic hotel building in downtown Hazleton worsened the drug-trade problem. When released, halfway-house inmates, it turned out, often committed drug-related crimes or joined local gangs. By 2013, the halfway house yielded to community pressure, closing its facility.

. . .

Of course, Dominicans also take pride in their culture, but their gateway neighborhoods in New York served as an extension of their country of origin; assimilation proved unnecessary. The pattern has repeated itself in Hazleton. The broader Hazleton community has encouraged Dominicans’ political and civic involvement, but the newcomers often remain disengaged in local matters. Hazleton has become an important campaign stop for the Dominican Republic’s leading political candidates, for example, suggesting to many Hazleton residents that their new neighbors, even when U.S. citizens—and many are not—retain stronger ties to their ancestral home than to their city, or even to America. Resentments on both sides have grown.

There's much more at the link.  Highly recommended reading.

The highlighted paragraphs illustrate precisely what the problem is with such migration:  it takes place without assimilation.  That's a fatal flaw.  If one thinks of a community as a human body, the problem becomes somewhat clearer.  In a human body, any outside element that seeks to become established (e.g. a cancer) is recognized as "foreign" and attacked by the body's immune system.  Either it will be overcome (often with the help of medical intervention) and destroyed, or it will win the fight and (eventually) kill the body.  In the same way, one simply can't allow an alien community (which is precisely what we're dealing with here) to become entrenched within a larger, local community if it does not assimilate into that larger community.  If that doesn't happen, inevitably, conflict will arise;  and only one of those communities will be able to survive.  The other will be either taken over, or have to leave for pastures new.

President Theodore Roosevelt put it very well, I think, in a 1915 speech.

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all … The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities, an intricate knot of German-Americans, Irish-Americans, English-Americans, French-Americans, Scandinavian-Americans or Italian-Americans, each preserving its separate nationality, each at heart feeling more sympathy with Europeans of that nationality, than with the other citizens of the American Republic … There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else.

It seems that Hazelton has a great many hypnenated Americans.  We should be on our guard against the spread of this disease, lest it destroy American society and the body politic arising from it.  I'm not in the least against legal immigration - I'm an immigrant myself, after all! - but let assimilation be a mandatory, required element of legal immigration.  If it's not . . . we'll have far more Hazeltons, and that can't be good for America.


Life-saving advice for special snowflakes

Courtesy of It Ain't Holy Water:


Friday, June 22, 2018

Sounds like a war to me

The likely winner of Mexico's imminent presidential elections appears to have declared war on US sovereignty.

Mexican presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) called for mass immigration to the United States during a speech Tuesday declaring it a “human right” for all North Americans.

“And soon, very soon — after the victory of our movement — we will defend all the migrants in the American continent and all the migrants in the world,” Obrador said, adding that immigrants “must leave their towns and find a life in the United States.”

He then declared it as “a human right we will defend,” reports.

While the election is not until July 1, Obrador is by far the frontrunner.

There's more at the link.

If Mr. Obrador follows through on his threat, the Wall won't be anything like adequate.  Minefields, barbed wire, Claymore mines and robotic weapons turrets will be more like it.  There won't be any other way to stop what will be, in effect, "human wave" attacks on the US border.

If it comes to that, I'm likely to be very grateful that we have President Trump in charge, and General Mattis as his Secretary of Defense.  At least they won't hesitate to defend this nation's sovereignty.  If Clinton had won, she'd simply roll over and surrender.

Better brace yourselves, folks.  This could turn nasty.  Oh - and if you live within a couple hundred miles of the border, stock up on firearms and ammunition while you can.  You may need them.


Waste not - because there's nowhere to put it

It looks as if China's decision to stop accepting a large proportion of the world's plastic and paper waste products is going to have a dramatic impact on the way we live.

In the wake of China's decision to stop importing nearly half of the world's scrap starting Jan. 1, particularly from the wealthiest nations, waste management operations across the country are struggling to process heavy volumes of paper and plastic that they can no longer unload on the Chinese. States such as Massachusetts and Oregon are lifting restrictions against pouring recyclable material into landfills to grant the operations some relief.

If Europe and the rest of the world struggle like the United States, according to the study by researchers at the University of Georgia released Wednesday, an estimated 111 million metric tons of plastic waste will pile up by 2030. Based on the amount of domestic scrap exported to China, the researchers estimate that the United States will have to contend with 37 million metric tons of extra waste, an amount it's not prepared to handle.

. . .

"It will impact recycling programs across the country," said Ben Harvey, owner and president of E.L. Harvey & Sons Recycling Services in Westborough, Massachusetts. "If there's no place for this stuff to go, what's the sense of collecting it? We're going to look at the programs and say why are we collecting it, it's not a commodity anymore. It's a big thing. It's a scary thing."

Conservationists who reviewed the study and found it credible said such heavy loads of garbage worldwide would not only continue leaking into oceans but would also likely spill into neighborhoods.

. . .

Studies say that between 8.3 billion and 9 billion metric tons have been produced since 1950. That's more than four Mount Everest's worth of trash. According to a separate study released last year, all but 2 billion metric tons of that plastic still sits on the Earth as garbage in landfills, recycled trash or pollution scattered in the environment, including deep oceans where a plastic island twice the size of Texas floats.

Plastic has been discovered in the bellies of dead whales and the decomposed stomachs of seabirds that mistook it for food. And yet, production of plastic continues almost without regulation ... In 1960, plastic accounted for just 1 percent of junk in municipal landfills across the world. As single-package containers led to an explosion in convenience and use, that number grew to 10 percent in 2005. If the trend continues, researchers say 13 billion metric tons of plastic will sit in dumps.

There's more at the link.  Recommended reading.

The report refers mainly to plastic and paper waste, but there are other waste products that are far more worrying.  In my travels throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa, I've seen the impact of European waste dumping in that continent.  Sometimes it's been deadly to the local people.  What will happen when that sort of waste can't be dumped anywhere else?  How will we dispose of it locally without impacting our residents?  That's a good question.


Looks like bureaucrats are as Swamp-y as politicians

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney yesterday outlined the Trump administration's government reform plan.  His explanation of the problem raised a lot of eyebrows - including mine.  I had no idea things were this bad.

That sure sounds like a bureaucracy in dire need of reform!


Thursday, June 21, 2018

I think I may resemble that remark

From Pearls Before Swine yesterday (click the image to be taken to a larger version at the comic's Web page):

I guess my desk means I'm a creative genius . . . NOT!


Who will guard the (Catholic) guardians?

A few weeks ago, referring to the exploding sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in Chile, I wrote:

The Catholic Church, as an institution, and its bishops acting as a collective, have lied, are lying, and will continue to lie to the people of God about this problem.  They have no interest whatsoever in resolving it - only in protecting their own power, and the institution of the Church as a whole, and its power and prestige in society.  They do not care about the individuals involved, or the victims . . . or the good clergy who have been tainted with the stench of this scandal.

How can I say that?  It's very simple.  Actions speak louder than words - and lack of action is, in itself, an action.  The Church, in the United States, in Chile, in the Vatican, and elsewhere, has taken little or no effective, meaningful action against those who were ultimately responsible for this scandal - namely, its bishops and administrators, who routinely concealed the extent of the problem, shuffled offenders around among themselves, and allowed them to continue to offend, rather than deal with the matter.  Even after the scandal blew up, many leaders of the Church continued to try to defend their offices and the institution of the Church, rather than admit that the situation was absolutely indefensible.

There's more at the link.

Now comes the news that one of the Catholic Church's former (now retired) most senior leaders has been accused of sexual misconduct.  His punishment, however (at least so far) amounts to little more than a public slap on the wrist.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who led the Archdiocese of Washington and was a political force in the nation's capital, said on Wednesday that he has been removed from public ministry by the Vatican because of a decades-old allegation of sexual abuse.

The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, "at the direction of Pope Francis," told McCarrick that he is no longer to exercise his priestly ministry in public, said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, whose archdiocese led the investigation.

McCarrick was also accused three times of sexual misconduct with adults "decades ago" while he served as a bishop in Metuchen and Newark, New Jersey, the current bishops of those cities said on Wednesday. Two of those allegations resulted in settlements, the bishops said.

Again, more at the link.

Cardinal McCarrick is hardly the first prelate to have indulged in sexual sin while in office.  The former Archbishop of Milwaukee, Rembert Weakland, was hardly a shining example of probity, and displayed what appears to have been callous indifference to clergy sex abuse in his archdiocese.  Bishops Symons and O'Connell of Palm Beach diocese both resigned due to their personal involvement in scandal.  They are not alone.

Having been a priest myself, until I withdrew in disgust over the gross mishandling of the clergy sex abuse scandal, I've been informed by clergy in several other dioceses of suspected or alleged misconduct by other bishops, some still in office.  For obvious reasons, I can't name them here, because that would be regarded as hearsay rather than legally admissible evidence, no matter how holy or trustworthy the clergy providing it.  However, I daresay the truth will come out sooner or later.  In fact, I guarantee it will.

The Roman poet Juvenal asked, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?", meaning "Who will guard the guardians?"  Since the Catholic Church sees bishops as the successors of the Apostles, one might reword that as "Who will guard the guardians of faith?" - or, at least, their consciences and conduct.  It seems some of them certainly need someone to do so!


EDITED TO ADD:  Tom Dreher has a lot more fuel to add to the fire. Go read it.

The Swamp, exposed. Every US voter needs to see this!

A new TV series, "The Swamp" - on Facebook, of all places - purports to document the shady backroom deals that infest politics and politicians in Washington D.C.  The Federalist explains.

Every grassroots political activist knows something is deeply wrong in Washington, D.C. No matter how hard we work to send good people to Congress, the majority of them go native upon arrival, forgetting their campaign rhetoric and falling in line with the political establishment. The few who retain their principles often seem sidelined and ineffective. Meanwhile, the legislative process is an unfunny joke: the Republican Congress can’t manage to keep its promises and repeal Obamacare, but it can pass a 2,232-page, $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill without reading it.

What’s less clear is why the system is so broken, and what happens to turn our hometown congressmen into swamp critters. What is going on in those smoke-filled rooms? When brand-new representatives and senators arrive in D.C., what do they find?

A new documentary series, “The Swamp,” seeks to answer those questions, pulling back the curtain on the inner workings of Capitol Hill. Created by 28-year-old filmmaker Matt Whitworth, “The Swamp” has been releasing episodes to Facebook since April 4, with three 10-minute episodes released to date.

For a documentary featuring members of Congress, “The Swamp” is striking in how unfiltered it feels. Whitworth was granted unprecedented access to film and interview several House members as they work, meet with staff, and visit with constituents back home. Shockingly, the congressmen signed a film participation release relinquishing all editorial and creative control of the project.

. . .

“The Swamp” focuses heavily on the top-down power structure in Washington, D.C., where just a few party leaders make the majority of decisions, punishing members who won’t toe the line. After watching the first three episodes, I found these six revelations the most striking:

1. Partisan gridlock? Nah, the parties work together when they want to.

“We have a bipartisan bankruptcy going on,” Rep. Buck says near the beginning of Episode 1. “I think both parties are engaged in a quiet deal that we will support our base, and if it leads to bankruptcy, okay, and you will support your base, and if it leads to bankruptcy, okay.”

In Episode 2, the congressmen cite an example: Republican and Democrat leadership worked together to make sure the bloated omnibus spending bill came up for a vote. When a number of conservative Republicans voted against the rule in an attempt to stop the bill, the Democrats changed just enough of their customary “no” votes to make sure it passed.

“You could just see the Democrats huddled around Nancy Pelosi, and she would just send the next one down to make sure that the rule passed,” Buck recalls. “When it comes to bankrupting the country, they cooperate all the time.”

There's more at the link.  Worthwhile reading.

The first three episodes are now available on YouTube.  Each is relatively short (plus-or-minus 9 minutes).  They make very interesting viewing, and I recommend them.

I have to commend the (lamentably few) congressional representatives who were willing to give this sort of access to the documentary makers.  If I were in their constituencies, I'd vote for them on that basis alone!  We need more honesty and openness like this in Washington.

I'd like every American voter to watch these videos, and learn from them, and ask their congressional representatives to explain their role in such proceedings.  I'd like to see them squirm as they try to weasel out of answering!


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

It sounds like President Trump brought the smackdown to Republicans in Congress

At least, that's what DC Whispers reports.

“You really want to try and win your election in November without me? I don’t think so.”

UPDATE: “I’m following the law as it’s written. If you don’t like the law then Congress needs to change it. It’s simple. Simple. I’m with you but if you don’t like it you need to do something about it…It looks bad. Sure. Really bad. If you want to change that then change the law. DO SOMETHING. You people (Congress) have to change it. That’s how it has to be done.”

. . .

UPDATE #3: “Why is this coming up now? I mean, it’s so obvious am I right? Mitch knows. The economy, jobs, North Korea, there’s so much great news they had to do the fake news. I’m not saying the pictures aren’t bad. They’re bad. Certainly not good. They make it look bad. You have to do something. You have to work together. It could be such a big, beautiful thing if you did that. The Democrats won’t help. We all know that. They think this is good for them. We’ll see about that. But doing something, working together, isn’t that why you’re here? It should be. And if you don’t do that and November doesn’t work out for you then I’m sorry but you shouldn’t be here. Go do nothing somewhere else.”

There's more at the link.

"Go do nothing somewhere else."  I wonder when last (if ever) a President has spoken to his own party's representatives so harshly?  Yet, I think it was deserved.  If they won't get off their backsides and do what they were elected to do, then let them go to the wall, and let's find better representatives to replace them.


How China sets about global economic domination

The White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy has just released a report titled "How China’s Economic Aggression Threatens the Technologies and Intellectual Property of the United States and the World" (link is to an Adobe Acrobat document in .PDF format).  It's obviously a partisan report, given its source, but even without that, it provides enough links to verify its arguments that it's hard to dismiss as merely a political perspective.  It makes sobering reading.

Here's how it begins.

The People’s Republic of China (China) has experienced rapid economic growth to become the world’s second largest economy while modernizing its industrial base and moving up the global value chain. However, much of this growth has been achieved in significant part through aggressive acts, policies, and practices that fall outside of global norms and rules (collectively, “economic aggression”). Given the size of China’s economy and the extent of its market-distorting policies, China’s economic aggression now threatens not only the U.S. economy but also the global economy as a whole.

In some respects, China has been transparent about its aggressive acts, policies, and practices. They are revealed in Chinese government documents, through behaviors of Chinese State actors, and from reports produced by business organizations, think tanks, and government agencies. Four categories of such economic aggression which are outside the scope of this report include:

  • Protect China’s Home Market From Imports and Competition: This category features high tariffs, non-tariff barriers, and other regulatory hurdles.
  • Expand China’s Share of Global Markets: Industrial policy tools include financial support to boost exports and the consolidation of State-Owned Enterprises into “national champions” that can compete with foreign companies in both the domestic and global markets. Chinese enterprises also benefit from preferential policies that lead to subsidized overcapacity in China’s domestic market, which then depresses world prices and pushes foreign rivals out of the global market.
  • Secure and Control Core Natural Resources Globally: China uses a predatory “debt trap” model of economic development and finance that proffers substantial financing to developing countries in exchange for an encumbrance on their natural resources and access to markets. These resources range from bauxite, copper, and nickel to rarer commodities such as beryllium, titanium, and rare earth minerals. This predatory model has been particularly effective in countries characterized by weak rule of law and authoritarian regimes.
  • Dominate Traditional Manufacturing Industries: China has already achieved a leading position in many traditional manufacturing industries. It has done so in part through preferential loans and below-market utility rates as well as lax and weakly enforced environmental and health and safety standards. As the European Chamber of Commerce has documented: “For a generation, China has been the factory of the world.” By 2015, China already accounted for 28 percent of global auto production, 41 percent of global ship production, more than 50 percent of global refrigerator production, more than 60 percent of global production of color TV sets, and more than 80 percent of global production of air conditioners and computers.

In addition, China pursues two categories of economic aggression that are the focus of this report. These include:

  • Acquire Key Technologies and Intellectual Property From Other Countries, Including the United States

  • Capture the Emerging High-Technology Industries That Will Drive Future Economic Growth and Many Advancements in the Defense Industry

This report will document the major acts, policies, and practices of Chinese industrial policy used to implement these two strategies. Through such implementation, the Chinese State seeks to access the crown jewels of American technology and intellectual property. (A compendium of the acts, policies, and practices used to implement China’s six strategies of economic aggression is presented in the Appendix.)

There's much more at the link.  Highly recommended reading, particularly with all the alarmist news reports about a "trade war" between the USA and China.  In reality, this is the USA attempting to restore a more even, more level playing field in its economic relationship with China.  The facts speak for themselves.  Just look at the tariffs China has been charging on goods imported from the USA, versus those the USA has been charging on goods imported from China.  Q.E.D.


It's not about the children - it's about the state of the world

The concerted, all-out media and left-wing and progressive onslaught against the present Administration's practice of separating newly-arrested parents from their children is nothing less than hypocrisy.  Precisely the same policy was followed by the Obama administration, and before it by the Bush administration.  It's nothing new.  It's simply being used as a convenient emotional rallying cry by the forces arrayed against President Trump, who are determined to remove him at any cost.

However, it's also symptomatic of an underlying reality that not only won't go away - it's going to get worse.  That reality is the state of the world as a whole.

If you look at where these illegal aliens are coming from, their native societies are riddled with corruption, graft, crime and violence.  Consider these headlines (and follow the links if you're so inclined):

Those factors are having an inevitable, degrading effect on society as a whole.  They absorb resources that should be going to education, health care, etc., but aren't - because governments are corrupt to begin with, and what's left after graft has to be devoted to security issues.  This article summarizes the situation south of our borders very concisely.

The University of Costa Rica recently published a study entitled “Central America Torn,” which documented, through a survey, the reality of poor communities in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

Roughly half of these young people between the ages of 14 and 24, are not enrolled in school. Of that total, 56 percent are females, while 44 percent are males.

More than half responded that they want to leave the country, with higher figures registered among Salvadorans (76%) and Hondurans (60%), according to AFP.

Having to deal with high levels of poverty, they often dream of migrating to another country to get away from the violence, gangs, lack of opportunity, as well as inadequate health care and education.

There's more at the link.

That's the fundamental reason why illegal aliens continue to stream towards, and into, the USA.  They have nothing where they are.  They want a life, a future.  The only nation within reach of them that offers those things is . . . guess what?  The United States!

Added to that, of course, are forces that decry the existence of national borders at all, and want to see free movement of peoples anywhere, anytime they please.  George Soros has been accused of funding such groups all over the world, and there's strong evidence to suggest that he's doing so;  but he's by no means the only one.  All sorts of groups see advantage in allowing greater immigration, legal or otherwise.  To name but a few well-known examples:

  • Left-wing, progressive politicians see such immigrants as a ripe source of future votes, as they tend to support parties and individuals who pander to their needs;
  • Religious groups (most particularly the Catholic Church, but not exclusively) see their numbers dwindling among the local populace.  They know that many, if not most, of the illegal aliens heading this way are (at least nominally) members of their faith group;  so, if they're allowed to stream in, they will automatically boost the numbers (and income, and influence) of those faith groups.  (This is also why churches are disproportionately represented among immigrant aid groups.  They're not doing it to help the immigrants so much as they're helping themselves.)
  • Socialist and anti-capitalist forces see illegal immigration as a necessary driver for greater spending on social services and the "welfare state", which automatically furthers their interests as well.

There are many others who benefit from the flood of illegal aliens.  All of those forces are doing their best to impede or shut down any and all efforts to control the situation.

The latest brouhaha over the separation of illegal aliens' children from their parents is just the latest move on the chessboard, appealing to emotion rather than fact.  If it is allowed to succeed, it will become yet another wedge to drive into the cracks that are already wide open in our immigration policies and procedures.  For that reason alone, we dare not let its proponents carry the day.  We have to face facts, because their reality will ride roughshod over our feelings if we don't.

I think the Border Wall (yes, I've capitalized it) is not a bad start . . . but it's only a start.  It has to be backed up with rigorous internal enforcement of the law, and external assistance to nations near us to improve their own situation, so that their people don't abandon them out of sheer desperation.  That includes tying economic and other aid to progress in the fight against crime and corruption, and directing it through non-governmental channels in an effort to bypass and choke off official graft.  There are many nations that won't allow that, of course;  they regard it as the right of politicians and officials to milk their share of other peoples' largesse.  That's going to have to change - how, I don't know, short of overthrowing governments and dealing with the worst offenders the hard way, but it has to change.

I think we also have to publicize the real cost to the USA of the illegal alien epidemic.  They appear to cost this country at least $113 billion every year, and perhaps as much as $148 billion . . . and that's probably the tip of the iceberg.  It also ignores the crime, violence and health issues that these immigrants bring with them.  If you've been raised in an environment where such things are an everyday occurrence, you can't help but bring them with you.  It's ingrained into your nature and your outlook on life.  That's just the way it is.  Read for yourself about the impact of gangs such as MS-13 on US schools and suburbs.  Again, that's just the tip of the iceberg.  It goes far deeper than that, as anyone familiar with US prisons will tell you.

The illegal alien invasion isn't new, and it isn't going to go away.  It's going to be there for the rest of our lives, and our children's lives, and their children's lives.  It's not a battle we can win once, and then ignore.  It's going to be a daily drain on our attention and resources for generations.  If we don't keep it under control, then we're going to end up in the same mess as the countries from which those illegal aliens are fleeing.  That's the plain, simple, brutal reality of the situation.