Rule 5 Blogging: Down Under

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Elle MacPherson in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. This week: Aussies!


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From Around the Blogroll

Does this matter?

Gary Johnson to Face Five Rivals for Libertarian Nomination

By Ryan Struyk and Ines de la Cuetara | ORLANDO, Florida — May 28, 2016, 7:47 PM ET

Fending off challenges from more extreme wings of the Libertarian party, Gary Johnson wooed his ticket’s skeptics in a nominating speech this afternoon at the national Libertarian convention.

GaryJohnsonLogoThe frontrunner didn’t mention the elephant in the room -– Johnson’s running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld. Delegates here have been hesitant about Weld, questioning his commitment to the party given his earlier endorsement of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who some say was actively trying to keep Libertarians off the ballot in Ohio.

“Libertarian principles are very simple, but you can’t violate any of them and still call yourself Libertarian. Mr. Weld is not by any stretch of the imagination a Libertarian,” said John McAfee, one of Johnson’s rivals for the nomination.

During his speech, Johnson instead focused on major Libertarian talking points, decrying military intervention and equating taxation to theft.

“I am not Republican-lite,” he said, rebuking criticisms that he is not libertarian enough. “I am a Libertarian and I’m proud of it.

“The two party system is broken,” he went on, adding the Libertarian party has the opportunity “to achieve major party status” this cycle.

All of the national delegates here are free to vote for whichever candidate they want at this weekend’s meetings, unlike the two major parties, which bind most delegates according to a primary or caucus process.

Johnson will have five challengers in the presidential race, three of whom were scheduled to join him on the debate stage Saturday night. The others didn’t make the cut. His main challengers are:

  • Young, up-and-coming Austin Petersen, a former TV producer and Libertarian activist.
  • John McAfee, the millionaire software entrepreneur who fled Belize after he was sought for questioning in the killing of his neighbor.
  • Darryl Perry, who believes “the United States government, as it exists today, should be abolished,” according to his website.

Delegates vote separately on presidential and vice presidential nominees, so Weld will need to get a majority of delegates on his own separate ballot.

This is one of the bigger problems for the Libertarian Party, the fact that a freaking murder suspect is one of the “main challengers.”

Were it not for the fact that the Republican nomination has been won by an utter clown, I would be paying no attention at all to the Libertarian nomination. Given that I need a candidate for whom I can vote in November, and I will not soil myself by voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton — not that my vote would matter in Pennsylvania — I have to pay attention. I can support some of Governor Johnson’s positions, while I find others either silly or outright stupid.

Then there is the lesser known Constitution Party, which has nominated Darrell Castle and Scott Bradley for President and Vice President. I know even less about those third party candidates than I do about Governor Johnson, and the Constitution Party nominees have not yet been guaranteed ballot access in Pennsylvania. I have once voted for a Constitution Party candidate, Jim Clymer, in the 2004 Senate race in Pennsylvania.

This is the worst election choice I have ever seen.

And now, on to the blogroll!

12 gauge justice

When we move down to the farm in 2018, I’ll buy a 12 gauge shotgun, and any drone which I happen to spot over my 7.92 acres will be shot down. From The Wall Street Journal:

Should You Be Allowed to Prevent Drones From Flying Over Your Property?

Two legal experts debate who has the right to decide when and where drones can fly

May 22, 2016 10:03 p.m. ET

Drone use across the U.S. is soaring, and the skies may soon get even more crowded, as the Federal Aviation Administration expects sales of these unmanned aerial vehicles to jump to seven million in 2020 from about 2.5 million this year.

Interest in drones for both commercial and casual purposes is raising not only safety and privacy concerns, but also thorny legal questions about where and when drones should be allowed to fly—and who gets to decide.

On one side are those who say property owners’ rights generally extend up about 500 feet, which gives them the right to prevent drones from flying or hovering over their land. They say drones pose a much bigger threat to security and privacy than jets and airplanes, which travel at higher altitudes, in airspace regulated by the FAA.

Others aren’t so sure. They say drones represent the next frontier in aviation, and as such, decisions about where and when they can fly should be made collectively, not by landowners through tort law. Commercial air travel never would have flourished, they say, had individuals been allowed to sue anyone who flew over their property without permission.

The rest of the article contains legal arguments, one for each side, concerning property owners curtilage rights. William Meridith of Bullitt County, Kentucky shot down a drone he believes was spying on his 16-year-old daughter sunbathing in the back yard, and I would have done so as well. He was arrested and charged with wanton endangerment and criminal mischief in July of 2015 for shooting down a drone that was traveling below the tree line in his backyard, but a local judge dismissed all of the charges.

As for me, I do not care about what other people want to do: if they are going to trespass on my property, they will be subject to 12 gauge justice.

Racial discrimination by the left? That’s OK, just perfectly fine, thank you very much

From The Wall Street Journal:

Asian-American Groups Seek Investigation Into Ivy League Admissions

Organizations seek DOE probe of Brown, Dartmouth, Yale, citing rise of qualified Asian applications but not acceptances

By Douglas Belkin | Updated May 23, 2016 7:29 p.m. ET

A coalition of Asian-American organizations asked the Department of Education on Monday to investigate Brown University, Dartmouth College and Yale University, alleging they discriminate against Asian-American students during the admissions process.

While the population of college age Asian-Americans has doubled in 20 years and the number of highly qualified Asian-American students “has increased dramatically,” the percentage accepted at most Ivy League colleges has flatlined, according to the complaint. It alleges this is because of “racial quotas and caps, maintained by racially differentiated standards for admissions that severely burden Asian-American applicants.”

The schools named in the complaint all said they used a holistic approach and evaluated each applicant individually in an effort to build a diverse class.

Further down is the money quote:

The complaint against Harvard last year cited third-party academic research on the SAT exam showing that Asian-Americans have to score on average about 140 points higher than white students, 270 points higher than Hispanic students and 450 points higher than African-American students to equal their chances of gaining admission to Harvard. The exam is scored on a 2400-point scale.

The concentration of so many accomplished Asian-American students diminishes the odds of admission, said Nat Smitobol, a counselor at IvyWise, a New York-based college admissions service.

“It’s tougher for Asians to be successful because they’re competing against a pool that’s quite saturated,” said Mr. Smitobol.

Translation: the Asian applicants are competing against other Asian applicants, and not against the applicant pool as a whole. There is no more explicit admission that there is a de facto quota on Asian students.

This is no surprise, as we have documented this previously. Racial discrimination is perfectly fine, according to the left, when it is used positively, to make up for past negative discrimination. Left unstated, but still practiced, is racial discrimination against some groups. It’s not like Asians were always well-treated in the United States: our first immigration laws were directed against the Chinese, and there was plenty of discrimination against Chinese immigrants. Then, after Pearl Harbor, American citizens of Japanese ancestry were interned as potential enemies. Yet somehow, some way, our lioberal universities do not see such past discrimination as something to be rectified by having Affirmative Action policies which positively benefit applicants of Asian origin, but are discriminating against them wholesale.

Translation: the left are nothing but a pack of lying hypocrites!

Gungrabber Hillary Constantly protected by armed guards, she doesn't want law-abiding Americans to have guns to defend themselves

From CBS News:

Hillary Clinton goes after Donald Trump, gun lobby

By Hannah Fraser-Chanpong | CBS NEWS May 21, 2016, 9:30 PM

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton attacked Donald Trump’s proposals on firearms Saturday as dangerous for America’s children, just one day after the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee garnered the endorsement of the National Rifle Association.

“Donald Trump said that in his very first hour as president, heaven forbid, he would overturn President [Barack] Obama’s actions to strengthen background checks,” Clinton said, speaking at the Trayvon Martin Foundation’s “Circle of Mothers” dinner in Fort Lauderdale. “Then, Mr. Trump went further. He said that also on his first day in office he’d mandate that every school in America allow guns in classrooms. Every school, he said. That idea isn’t just way out there, it’s dangerous.”

Clinton said that schools “should have the right to keep guns out of classrooms, just like Donald Trump does at many of his hotels.”

Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, founded the Circle of Mothers to bring together women who have lost children to gun violence. Fulton, a Clinton supporter, has campaigned for her throughout the primary season and, ahead of the event, Clinton met privately with 60 mothers who, like Fulton, have suffered the loss of a family member.

“If you want to imagine what Trump’s America will look like, picture more kids at risk of violence and bigotry,” she said. “Picture more anger and fear. Ask any of the mothers here tonight if they want to live in that kind of America.”

There’s more at the link. But think of where the lovely Mrs Clinton made her remarks: to the Trayvon Martin Foundation’s “Circle of Mothers” dinner. Never forget: Trayvon Martin has gone to his eternal reward because he attacked George Zimmerman. Yes, Mr Zimmerman thought that Mr Martin was behaving suspiciously, and was following Mr Martin, but was doing so from a distance. Mr Martin took offense, then chose to close the distance, and attacked Mr Zimmerman. He was pounding Mr Zimmerman’s head into the ground, and was about to thoroughly kick his butt, when Mr Zimmerman pulled the firearm he was legally allowed to carry, and changed the course of the fight.

What Mrs Clinton and the Trayvon Martin Foundation would like is for Mr Martin to have beaten Mr Zimmerman senseless — or worse — because they are on the side of the thugs.

Oh, they’d never say that, of course not, but when you are proposing to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans over the death of a thug killed in the commission of a crime, there is no other possible conclusion.

Rule 5 Blogging: Basic Training!

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Morgan Smith Goodwin in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude.

Today, we go back to the beginning, to the basic training that every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine must pass.

Marine Corps Basic Training

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From Around the Blogroll

From The Washington Post, via the better-looking Dana on Patterico’s Pontifications:

We must weed out ignorant Americans from the electorate

By David Harsanyi | May 20 at 9:00 PM | David Harsanyi is a senior editor at the Federalist.

Never have so many people with so little knowledge made so many consequential decisions for the rest of us.

A person need only survey the inanity of the ongoing presidential race to comprehend that the most pressing problem facing the nation isn’t Big Business, Big Labor, Big Media or even Big Money in politics.

It’s you, the American voter. And by weeding out millions of irresponsible voters who can’t be bothered to learn the rudimentary workings of the Constitution, or their preferred candidate’s proposals or even their history, we may be able to mitigate the recklessness of the electorate.

No, we shouldn’t erect physical barriers to ballot access. Let’s purchase more voting machines, hire additional poll workers, streamline the registration process, mail out more ballots for seniors and produce more “Rock the Vote” ads imploring apathetic millennials to embrace their civic duty.

At the same time, let’s also remember that checking a box for the candidate whose campaign ads you like best is one of the most overrated obligations of the self-governed. If you have no clue what the hell is going on, you also have a civic duty to avoid subjecting the rest of us to your ignorance.

Unfortunately, we can’t trust you.

Now, if voting is a consecrated rite of democracy, as liberals often argue, surely society can have certain minimal expectations for those participating. And if citizenship itself is as hallowed as Republicans argue, then surely the prospective voter can be asked to know just as much as the prospective citizen. Let’s give voters a test. The citizenship civics test will do just fine.

There’s more at the original.

Now, I will freely admit that I have previously joked that we should return to the franchise the way the Framers understood it, being limited to white male property owners, but that’s just it: such a suggestion was a joke. Mr Harsanyi proposes one test; we used to have others, one being the ability to pay a poll tax, something ended by a constitutional amendment.

But what Mr Harsanyi’s article really is is a complaint that the voters, those stupid, stupid voters, decided to cast their votes for Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. That I disagree with the voters’ choices is obvious and many-times stated, but I certainly do not hold with the fascist left’s belief that only the elites should have control of the government. What Mr Harsanyi has written is exactly why Mr Trump has become the (presumptive) Republican nominee: so many Americans are just plainly pissed off at the conduct of the governing elites that a candidate like Mr Trump could win. We saw this with the all-too-brief rise of the TEA Party, and Ross Perot’s candidacy back in 1992, and now we have the Republican presidential nomination going to the leader of the I’m-mad-as-Hell-and-I’m-not-going-to-take-it-anymore voters.

We will survive a Trump presidency, probably a bit better than we’d survive a Hillary Clinton Administration.

And now, on to the rest of the blogroll!

The success of socialism

From Salon:

Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle

The Venezuelan leader was often marginalized as a radical. But his brand of socialism achieved real economic gains

by David Sirota | Wednesday, March 6, 2013 07:30 AM EDT

For the last decade in American politics, Hugo Chavez became a potent political weapon – within a few years of his ascent, he was transformed from just a leader of a neighboring nation into a boogeyman synonymous with extremism. Regularly invoked in over-the-top political rhetoric, Chavez’s name became a decontextualized epithet to try to attach to a political opponent so as to make that opponent look like a radical. Because of this, America barely flinched upon hearing the news that the Bush administration tried to orchestrate a coup against the democratically elected Venezuelan leader.

Just to get it out of the way, I’ll state the obvious: with respect to many policies, Chavez was no saint. He, for instance, amassed a troubling record when it came to protecting human rights and basic democratic freedoms (though as Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy notes, “Venezuela is recognized by many scholars to be more democratic than it was in the pre-Chávez era”). His rein1 also coincided with a boom in violent crime.

That said, these serious problems, while certainly worthy of harsh criticism, were not the primary reason Chavez became the favorite effigy of American politicians and pundits. In an age marked by America’s drone assaults, civil liberties abuses, and war on voting, it is not as if this nation’s political establishment sees an assault on democratic freedoms as deplorable. Likewise, that same political establishment is more than friendly with leaders of countries like Mexico and Colombia – countries which are also periodically hotbeds of violent crime.

No, Chavez became the bugaboo of American politics because his full-throated advocacy of socialism and redistributionism at once represented a fundamental critique of neoliberal economics, and also delivered some indisputably positive results. Indeed, as shown by some of the most significant indicators, Chavez racked up an economic record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving.

For instance, according to data compiled by the UK Guardian, Chavez’s first decade in office saw Venezuelan GDP more than double and both infant mortality and unemployment almost halved. Then there is a remarkable graph from the World Bank that shows that under Chavez’s brand of socialism, poverty in Venezuela plummeted (the Guardian reports that its “extreme poverty” rate fell from 23.4 percent in 1999 to 8.5 percent just a decade later). In all, that left the country with the third lowest poverty rate in Latin America. Additionally, as Weisbrot points out, “college enrollment has more than doubled, millions of people have access to health care for the first time and the number of people eligible for public pensions has quadrupled.”

When a country goes socialist and it craters, it is laughed off as a harmless and forgettable cautionary tale about the perils of command economics. When, by contrast, a country goes socialist and its economy does what Venezuela’s did, it is not perceived to be a laughing matter – and it is not so easy to write off or to ignore. It suddenly looks like a threat to the corporate capitalism, especially when said country has valuable oil resources that global powerhouses like the United States rely on.

There’s more at the original.

From Merriam-Webster, the applicable definition of salon:

  1. an elegant apartment or living room (as in a fashionable home)
  2. a fashionable assemblage of notables (as literary figures, artists, or statesmen) held by custom at the home of a prominent person
  3. a: a hall for exhibition of art
    b: (capitalized) : an annual exhibition of works of art

And thus we see the origins of the word for which the e-zine Salon is named: a place for the haughty intellectuals to tell everybody else that they are intellectuals. That this is the place where Amanda Marcotte posts her blathering is unsurprising.

The esteemed Mr Sirota’s article was a (sort of) paean to Hugo Chavez, who had gone to his eternal reward the previous day. It seems that the (supposedly) socialist leader had amassed a huge personal fortune, but the common people of Venezuela couldn’t even get toilet paper in that country’s socialist economy.

(T)he late-president’s family owns 17 country estates, totalling more than 100,000 acres, in addition to liquid assets of $550 million (£360 million) stored in various international bank accounts, according to Venezuelan news website Noticias Centro.

While ordinary Venezuelans suffer growing food shortages and 23 per cent inflation, the Chavez family trades in US dollars that now fetch four times the official bank rate on the black market.

Living in numerous mansions in Alto Barinas, the city’s most affluent district, the family and their children live a life of privilege, says Mr Azuaje, whose wife left him to marry into wealth and now lives next to the Chavez mansions.

“My daughter goes to school with the Chavez kids”, he explained. “She told me that the school dining hall has waiting staff to serve and clean up after the kids”

Mr Sirota’s homage to President Chavez has been thoroughly mocked before:

Reflections on Venezuela’s “Economic Miracle”

10/23/2015 | Andrew Syrios

Back in 2013, Salon took a quick break from criticizing a caricature of libertarianism to let David Sirota write an embarrassing article praising socialism in what turns out to be a fantastic case study in both the dangers of socialist economics and of course, speaking too soon.

The article was titled “Hugo Chavez’s Economic Miracle” and it was certainly not the only one of its kind to come out at the time. It may seem like twenty-twenty hindsight to criticize such foolishness, but it might be instructive as well. However, looking at Venezuela now as compared to the country Sirota saw in 2013 and thought provided an economic alternative to American capitalism (a truly free market was never discussed) serves as a good example of what Nicolás Cachanosky calls “the bait-and-switch behind economic populism.” Or namely, that government policies focused highly on consumption and lowly on investment will show good economic signs at the beginning, only to be followed by an inevitable decline and likely disaster.

Sirota’s article at least begins by lamenting Chavez’s rather poor record on civil rights (like shutting down a TV station that was critical of him) and noting “a boom in violent crime.” This may somehow be an understatement as Venezuela ranks second in the world in murders per capita at a terrifying rate of 53.7 per 100,000 citizens annually! (So much for socialism alleviating crime.) He finally does arrive at his case for this “economic miracle” that Venezuela was experiencing under Chavez (which, I should note, makes up only one paragraph of his entire article).

There’s more at the original. To be fair, it should be noted that the Mises Institute is strongly anti-statist and pro-private property, but that article is simply the best of the ones mocking Mr Sirota. A google search for David Sirota Venezuela failed to turn up any retraction articles from the author concerning his foolish statements, and his website does not have a search function.

One wonders what Mr Sirota thinks of the current news, that Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro has declared a state of emergency to try to hold on to power, as his country wants him gone due to the wonderful economy created by Mr Chavez’s “Bolivarian socialism:”

Venezuela’s economy shrank 5.7% in 2015 and is expected to contract an additional 8% this year, the International Monetary Fund says. Inflation has skyrocketed, suffering annual inflation rates predicted to hit the 700% range while failing to meet its citizens’ most basic needs, according to IMF projections.

The bolivar, Venezuela’s currency, is worth less than a penny on the black-market exchange.

Even when Mr Sirota was writing his tribute to Señor Chavez, the signs of Venezuela’s economic collapse were there, but the author’s political motivations blinded him to the economic facts. We’ve said it here before: if liberals really understood economics, they wouldn’t be liberals anymore.

  1. I am amused by Mr Sirota’s spelling/grammatical error here. The proper spelling is “reign,” when the meaning is a term of rulership (though commonly meaning a term of royal reign), while “rein,” the spelling he used, means, among other things, the ability to limit or control something, or the power to guide or control someone or something. That’s rather apropos to Señor Chavez’s regime!

Rule 5 Blogging: Americans!

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Sarah Hyland in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. Click any photo to enlarge.

U.S. Army Pvt. 1st Class Jo Marie Rivera, left, a human resource specialist, and Sgt. 1st Class Rebecca Hamby, a military police officer, both with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, maintain security for a Female Engagement Team chief during a consultation at a clinic in the Tarnak wa Jaldak district, Zabul province, Afghanistan, Sept. 18, 2013. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Kandi Huggins/Released)

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