No surprise at all

From The New York Times:

After 5 Months of Sales, Colorado Sees the Downside of a Legal High
By Jack Healyway, May 31, 2014

DENVER — Five months after Colorado became the first state to allow recreational marijuana sales, the battle over legalization is still raging.

Law enforcement officers in Colorado and neighboring states, emergency room doctors and legalization opponents increasingly are highlighting a series of recent problems as cautionary lessons for other states flirting with loosening marijuana laws.

There is the Denver man who, hours after buying a package of marijuana-infused Karma Kandy from one of Colorado’s new recreational marijuana shops, began raving about the end of the world and then pulled a handgun from the family safe and killed his wife, the authorities say. Some hospital officials say they are treating growing numbers of children and adults sickened by potent doses of edible marijuana. Sheriffs in neighboring states complain about stoned drivers streaming out of Colorado and through their towns.

“I think, by any measure, the experience of Colorado has not been a good one unless you’re in the marijuana business,” said Kevin A. Sabet, executive director of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which opposes legalization. “We’ve seen lives damaged. We’ve seen deaths directly attributed to marijuana legalization. We’ve seen marijuana slipping through Colorado’s borders. We’ve seen marijuana getting into the hands of kids.”

More at the original.

The story continues to note that hard data are hard to come by, and that research into the effects of legalizing marijuana usage will take years to complete and be published. What is known is a series of anecdotes, all of which are bad.

Marijuana, the advocates tell us, isn’t as bad for you as alcohol, and it’s possible that they are right on that: alcohol abuse is very hard on your body. But the effects of long-term marijuana use are not fully known, and your Editor seriously doubts that anything which is introduced into the body via the inhalation of its smoke through burning can be anything but harmful. Marijuana may turn out to be less unhealthy than alcohol, but that doesn’t make it good for the individual or society.

Does This Hostage Trade Smells Like Rotten Fish?

Something smells really, really rotten in this Hostage Swap. Two things are wrong: 1. will this lead to the Taliban and Al-Q to create more hostages; 2. it smells like it was Jihad for Jihad.

Did the U.S. Just Release 5 Jihadists and Get a Jihad Convert in Trade?

Posted by Rodney Lee Conover on Jun 1, 2014 in Foreign Affairs

President Obama ordered the release of five Gitmo detainees in trade for the return of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from his Taliban captors in Afghanistan. But on second look – did we get one jihad convert for the release of five jihadists?

Here’s a mighty strange tweet from the father of Bowe Bergdahl. It has since been deleted – but wow – can your dad get Stockholm Syndrome when it’s you being held captive?
(See Tweet Below from Bergdahl’s Father)
Trader Tweet

Wow – that’s just weird. I guess he didn’t know his son was coming back and this might be a little bit of a PR problem for the President? Like Obama doesn’t have enough going on without dad making it look like he traded Five Aces for a sympathizer? Congress isn’t that happy either.

Republicans on the Senate and House armed services committees went so far as to accuse President Obama of having broken the law, which requires the administration to notify Congress before any transfers from Guantanamo are carried out. Not that Republicans ever do anything about Obama breaking the law, but they’re just sayin’ – you know?

Read more below and how Bergdahl just walked away AWOL from Camp
Read more at http://joeforamerica.com/2014/06/u-s-release-5-jihadists-get-jihad-convert-trade/#wDepyQclrMkc0Gem.99

From Around the Blogroll

First up is Mike’s America, writing on Political Realities, noting that the Democrats have attacked Dr. Monica Wehby, who won the Oregon GOP primary for the U.S. Senate. Democrats leaked smear stories that Wehby was an unstable stalker who terrorized her former male romantic partners, but, as The Wall Street Journal pointed out, the men “involved” all deny anything of any consequence happened, and all support her candidacy. Can you imagine, Mike asked, the hell that would break out if a Republican said this about a female Democrat?

Hube spotted a Miami New Times article which says that global warming climate change is responsible for an increase in marital infidelity. I guess that, since George Bush is responsible for global warming climate change, couples cheating can be blamed on him, too!

On Truth Before Dishonor, DNW writes about emotions as knowledge. And John Hitchcock gives us a quote from Will Rodgers Rogers.

Jennifer Davis of the Victory Girls tells us that it’s not just about white privilege, but lesbian privilege as well!

Karen, the Lonely Conservative, wrote about the release of SGT Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held prisoner by the Taliban for five years. SGT Bergdahl was released after the United States negotiated, indirectly, with the Taliban, and agreed to release five Taliban prisoners:

His release was secured after the Obama administration, working through Qatari government intermediaries, agreed to free five high-profile Afghan inmates held by the U.S. military in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The influential commanders, including the former head of the Taliban’s army, were loaded onto a U.S. military aircraft bound for Qatar after U.S. officials got confirmation that Bergdahl had been freed.

Your Editor hopes that we were smart enough to have inserted GPS tracking chips, explosive GPS tracking chips, if such exist, into the released terrorists first, but doubts that the Commander-in-Chief would have been smart enough to do something like that.

Donald Douglas also writes about the subject, here and here; some of it is pretty unflattering concerning SGT Bergdahl and his father.

Sister Toldjah tells us about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is combitching1 that evil Republicans are politicizing the deaths of four Americans at Benghazi, under her watch, though if Mrs Clinton runs for President, as is widely expected,2 her tenure as Secretary of State will be part of the résumé she will tout, and her successes — there were none — and her failures — only a couple, but pretty blatant — are fair game.

On The Other McCain, Wombat-socho wrote about the resignation of Eric Shinseki as Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs, mockingly claiming in the title that this changes everything, while knowing that it really changes nothing. The problem isn’t corrupt VA administrators fudging numbers in order to qualify for bonuses3 — though that is part of it — but that, as a single-payer system, the VA was simply doing what every other single-payer system in developed countries does, to cut costs.

On Protein Wisdom, Jeff Goldstein points out the actions the Obama Administration is taking to try to manage where people live. You could see it coming in Michelle Obama’s complaint about the resegregation of public schools, caused not by segregation laws or districts manipulated to keep blacks out of “white” schools, but because of significantly segregated living patterns: for some strange reason, people just aren’t choosing to live next to the people the government believes they should. Thus far, even President Obama hasn’t thought that he could simply assign people’s living quarters, but if he could, I’m sure he would.

Alinsky argued that in order to destroy the middle class, you must first set yourself up as its champions. This has been the playbook of the Democrats for years. But the thing is, yesterday’s Democrats are today’s New Leftists. They care not a whit about the little people except inasmuch as they can get them reliant on government and so wrangle them in as a permanent voting bloc.

It won’t be long now before the real social inequality becomes evident: rich government cronies in private industry and the ruling class politicians will be the haves; the rest of us will be the have nots, or at least the should nots. Determining where we live, the size of our houses, the number of cars we have and the gas mileage they must attain, the nature of our healthcare (and its offshoots, the nature of our dietary and leisure habits) — all of this is part and parcel of the progressive social engineering program to realign society back to its “rightful” organizing principles, namely, not some phony appeal to natural rights, but man ruling over man.

More at Mr Goldstein’s original.

From The Pirate’s Cove:

Bummer: Fast Food Place Robbed Same Day It Went Sorta Gun Free
By William Teach >May 31, 2014 – 8:39 am

Serendipity* is a stone cold mother, isn’t it?

(Daily Caller) On the same day that Sonic, an Oklahoma City-based fast food chain, issued a statement against customers carrying guns at their restaurants, an employee at the company’s Topeka, Kan. store was robbed.

According to Topeka police, two males robbed a carhop on Friday afternoon, reports the Topeka Capitol-Journal. Sonic is unique among major fast food eateries in that it provides customers the option of having carhops bring orders to their vehicle.

While police said no guns were displayed by the robbers, the crime follows a new policy that the Oklahoma City-based company issued Friday.

“We’ve considered the views and desires of our customers and employees that staff the drive-ins across the country,” the company said, according to USA Today. “Accordingly, we’re asking that customers refrain from bringing guns onto our patios or into our indoor dining areas. With respect to the storage of guns in vehicles, we ask that our customers continue to honor local laws.”

You know why places like doughnut shops are rarely robbed? Lots of armed law enforcement. Gun shops are almost never robbed during open operating hours. Why are shootings, including mass shootings, more likely likely in gun free zones?

More at the original.

It is, of course, a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy to think that it was Sonic’s policy which led to that particular robbery, and Mr Teach makes no such assertion. But Mr Teach does engage in some schadenfreude with this one . . . and so do I.

Mr Teach also noted that the “warmists” are considering a change of vocabulary, away from “climate change,” and back to “global warming,” because people apparently see the older term as more threatening.

On Le*gal In*sur*rec*tion, William Jacobson asks if “half-white” privilege is like being “half-pregnant.”

That’s it for this week!
________________________________

  1. The word ‘combitching’ is a standard Picoism, which will doubtlessly be attacked as being highly, highly! sexist if ever used to refer to a woman (I use it regardless of the person’s sex) complaining about something, so I’ll save the left the trouble, and denounce myself in advance for them.
  2. Your Editor has said previously that he does not expect Mrs Clinton to be a candidate, a minority position, because, even though I believe she would like to run, her age and health will be problems which will stop her.
  3. An obvious question is: why would any federal government employees ever qualify for bonuses? Federal government employees are already better compensated than most Americans, with far better fringe benefits, and if they don’t think that they are paid enough with their salaries, they have the option of looking for work in the private sector.

Rule 5 Blogging: Civilians!

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 Megan Fox 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.

OK, today’s is a bit different, featuring not women in the military, but civilian women, exercising their right to keep and bear arms.

I don’t know if the Facebook page claim is true, but it’s at least close, and it is an awesome picture!

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: Civilians!’ »

A TWO for ONE Day – 1st Shinseki – 2nd Carney RESIGN

Here’s a gooooooood Two for One Day – Shinseki Quits and then Benghazi Jay RESIGNS. Next we need Holder and the entire EPA to Follow. BO jumping in would work too.

Jay Carney resigns as White House press secretary
By Dave Boyer
The Washington Times

Updated: 2:18 p.m. on Friday, May 30, 2014

White House press secretary Jay Carney is resigning, to be replaced by deputy press secretary Joshua Earnest, President Obama announced Friday.
“Jay has become one of my closest friends and is a great press secretary,” Mr. Obama said in a surprise announcement during Mr. Carney’s regular briefing at the White House. “I’m going to miss him a lot.”

The president said Mr. Carney, who took over the job in 2011, will spend most of the summer with his children before deciding what job he will take next.

He said Mr. Carney had asked to leave in April. He will leave in mid-June.

“Jay’s had to wrestle with this decision for quite some time,” Mr. Obama said.

Mr. Carney said he hasn’t “made any decisions yet” what he’ll do next.

“It’s been an amazing experience, so fulfilling,” Mr. Carney said.

Mr. Earnest will accompany Mr. Obama on his trip to Europe next week.

Mr. Carney’s departure had been rumored for months. The former Time magazine reporter is the father of two young children and is married to ABC News reporter Claire Shipman. Prior to replacing White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, Mr. Carney served as the spokesman for Vice President Joseph R. Biden.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/30/jay-carney-resigns-white-house-press-secretary/#ixzz33E8aHZDX

If A Company Did This, The CEO Would be JAILED

Inspector General: EPA Potentially Basing Costly Regulations On Fraudulent Data

May 30, 2014 by Sam Rolley

President Barack Obama has made no secret his willingness to use the Environmental Protection Agency to unilaterally impose business-killing regulations aimed at securing his legacy as the Nation’s first green President. But as the agency prepares a round of harsh carbon emissions rules affecting coal-fired plants in the U.S., the agency’s inspector general warns that the EPA may be drawing conclusions about pollution in the Nation based on fraudulent data.

A report released Thursday by the EPA inspector general contends that officials in the agency have failed to put protections in place to prevent fraudulent data from being used to influence EPA regulations.

Fraudulent data, according to the EPA’s definition, can result from outright fabrication by researchers, calibrating equipment incorrectly, modifying samples and manipulating analytical results, among other things.

From the report:

The agency has three policies and procedures that address how to respond to instances of fraudulent data, but they are all out of date or unimplemented. Our survey of EPA regional offices disclosed that a majority of respondents were unaware there was a policy, and approximately 50 percent expressed the need for such policies and procedures.

Moron Moronic Delusional Findings:
http://personalliberty.com/inspector-general-epa-potentially-basing-costly-regulations-fraudulent-data/

Flash mob

Clearly a set-up, but still cool:

Nothing to see here, folks. Economy contracts by 1% in first quarter.

From The Wall Street Journal:

GDP Contracted at 1% Pace in First Quarter
First-Quarter Downturn Reflects Pattern Seen Repeatedly Over Past Five Years
By Ben Leubsdorf and Sarah Portlock | Updated May 29, 2014 9:35 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON—The U.S. economy contracted in the first quarter of 2014, the latest stumble for a recovery that has struggled to find its footing since the recession ended almost five years ago.

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, contracted at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.0% in the first three months of the year, the Commerce Department said Thursday. It was the first time economic output contracted since the first quarter of 2011, when it declined at a 1.3% pace.

Government economists had previously estimated GDP slowed to a 0.1% growth rate in the first quarter as harsh winter weather disrupted work sites, curtailed foot traffic at retail stores and snarled transportation networks across much of the U.S. The newly revised estimate incorporates additional economic data released in recent weeks. Higher-than-expected imports and slower-than-expected inventory growth dragged the economy into negative territory.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had predicted Thursday’s report would revise GDP growth down to a 0.6% decline.

More at the link. But, as we have noted previously, relying on the projections of economists for what proposed policies will do is a pretty chancy thing, when you have professional economists, surveyed by as august a publication as the Journal, who are that much off not on projections for the future but measurements concerning what has already happened.

We’re being told, of course, that the blame for the contraction can be put on the shoulders of Mother Nature, and the abnormally high snowfalls and unusually low temperatures. If growth is low or slow in the second quarter, it’ll go back to being George Bush’s fault.

However, it would seem to your Editor that if the economy isn’t growing at a decent rate,1 this would be exactly the wrong time for the Obama Administration to increase costs on the economy which do not provide any economic return. With wages and job growth stagnant — there were fewer jobs at the end of April of this year than at the end of April in 2008 — and consumer spending such an important part of the economy, the last thing that the government should do is to add a net cost to consumers for no tangible economic benefit to them.

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Separate, But Equal – Separate, But Unequal – OR A Set-up For Sharia Law

Would this arrangement be Separate, But Equal, Or, Separate, But Unequal. OR is this a Set-up For Sharia Law to allegedly be an alternate to US Law. I smell a rat either way, or in all ways. Sharia’s not in the article, but it would make sense if you had separate laws in Hawaii, the camel has the nose under the tent for Sharia. Remember what was said about Gay Marriage. If a Progressive is involved, it’s up to no good.

Obama administration proposes race-based legal system in Hawaii
By Neil Munro

Published May 27, 2014

Thousands of native hawaiians and local supporters wearing red shirts carry large Hawaii state flags overflowed Kalakaua Avenue as they marched along side Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, Sept. 6, 2004. Hawaiian clubs, trusts, agencies and schools, marshal over 5,000 to protest threats to native Hawaiian entitlements and land trusts as well as U.S. military expansion on the islands. For the second year in a row, trustees and representatives from alii trusts, state and civic organizations, and native and non-Hawaiian supporters joined together in a march for “Ku I Ka Pono,” or “justice for Hawaiians.” (REUTERS/Lucy Pemoni)

President Barack Obama’s administration has quietly suggested it is willing to create a two-tier race-based legal system in Hawaii, where one set of taxes, spending and law enforcement will govern one race, and the second set of laws will govern every other race.

The diversity proposal is portrayed as an effort to create a separate in-state government for people who are “native Hawaiians.”

If Obama succeeds, “what’s to prevent creating similar [self-governing racial] groups out of say, Cajuns, or Orthodox Jews or Amish?” said Gail Heriot, a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
“If you can do that with groups that are already part of the mainstream, you can balkanize the country,” said Heriot, who is a law professor at the University of San Diego.

But the proposed measure to increase legal diversity is illegal because the president doesn’t have the power to grant one group of Americans the status of a separate government, she said.

“There is no constitutional basis for conferring such status, and Congress has repeatedly refused to confer this status,” said Carissa Mulder, a spokeswoman for two members of the federal Commission on Civil Rights.

“This seems to be yet another case of the Obama administration ignoring the law to achieve its policy objectives,” she added.

The move was announced Friday before Memorial Day as White House officials and congressional Democrats stepped up predictions that the president will try to bypass congressional opposition to his progressive policy preferences.

Last week, for example, Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid suggested the president would reduce enforcement of federal immigration law because the House has not agreed to double the current inflow of almost two million immigrants and guest workers per year.

The proposed new legal regime for Hawaii is sketched in a federal document released Friday, dubbed an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

“The Secretary of the Interior is considering whether to propose an administrative rule that would facilitate the reestablishment of a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community,” said the document.

The goal, it claimed, is “to more effectively implement the special political and trust relationship that Congress has established between that [Hawaiian] community and the United States.”

The move is likely intended to protect lucrative financial set-asides for Americans who are also part of the Hawaiian racial group, said Heriot.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/05/27/obama-administration-seeks-race-based-government-in-hawaii/?icid=maing-grid7%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl10%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D481362

What the VA system did is what we can all expect under single-payer

As we noted before Memorial day, the Veterans’ Administration Hospital scandal does not surprise us in the slightest. But, naturally, the scandal keeps growing. From The Daily Beast:

Last week, President Obama pledged to address allegations of corruption and dangerous inefficiencies in the veterans’ health-care system. But before the president could deliver on his pledge, the scandal has spread even further. New whistleblower testimony and internal documents implicate an award-winning VA hospital in Texas in widespread wrongdoing—and what appears to be systemic fraud.

Emails and VA memos obtained exclusively by The Daily Beast provide what is among the most comprehensive accounts yet of how high-level VA hospital employees conspired to game the system. It shows not only how they manipulated hospital wait lists but why—to cover up the weeks and months veterans spent waiting for needed medical care. If those lag times had been revealed, it would have threatened the executives’ bonus pay.

What’s worse, the documents show the wrongdoing going unpunished for years, even after it was repeatedly reported to local and national VA authorities. That indicates a new troubling angle to the VA scandal: that the much touted investigations may be incapable of finding violations that are hiding in plain sight.

“For lack of a better term, you’ve got an organized crime syndicate,” a whistleblower who works in the Texas VA told The Daily Beast. “People up on top are suddenly afraid they may actually be prosecuted and they’re pressuring the little guys down below to cover it all up.”

“I see it in the executives’ eyes,” the whistleblower added. “They are worried.”

The current VA scandal broke in Phoenix last month, when a former doctor at a VA hospital there became the first whistleblower to gain national attention. The doctor’s allegations of falsified appointments—and veterans dying while they waited for treatment—unleashed a wave of similar claims from VA employees nationwide. In Cheyenne, Wyoming, Chicago, and Albuquerque, more VA whistleblowers came forward claiming that the same fraudulent scheduling was being used in the hospitals where they worked. At last count, the VA inspector general’s investigation had expanded to 26 separate facilities.

More at the link.

Now, let’s get real here: if the same methods are being used at VA Hospitals so widely spread across the country, then it’s more than the actions of a couple of rogue administrators; the probability that this wasn’t known about, and encouraged, by the Department of Veterans Affairs leadership in Washington is getting lower and lower with each report.

After retiring in January of this year Spann sent a letter to VA investigators accusing a VA employee of manipulating patient wait lists to hide treatment delays for veterans. The rigged reporting scheme Spann described in his letter, which threatens veterans’ lives by delaying their treatment, is the same method that has been exposed in Phoenix, Cheyenne, Albuquerque, and scores of other VA hospitals across the country.

According to Spann, Dr. Gordon Vincent, chief of radiology at Olin E. Teague Veterans Medical Center in Temple, Texas, didn’t just break VA policy by manipulating veterans’ appointments himself. He ordered VA employees across central Texas to engage in the same fraudulent practice.

The VA said it investigated Spann’s charges, and, after, finding nothing to substantiate the claims, cleared Vincent and the Texas VA.

But documents obtained by The Daily Beast appear to show Dr. Vincent doing precisely what Spann accused him of—the activities the VA said it could not substantiate.

In the above document, taken from the VA’s internal record system, you can see Dr. Vincent cancel an ultrasound appointment for a veteran suffering from cirrhosis. Vincent tells the doctor who submitted the original order to change the desired date—the day the provider selected for the procedure based on their diagnosis and clinical judgement—citing the facility’s patient backlog.

Veterans are supposed to be seen within 14 days of their desired date, according to VA policy.

Again, more at the original.

Now, why wasn’t The First Street Journal surprised?  Because this is precisely how single-payer health care systems across the developed world do things!  Delaying or stretching out appointments and treatments is a cost-saving measure, one widely practiced; why would anyone expect the single-payer VA system to be any different?

And that’s the crux of the matter: Americans do expect it to be different, because those of us who have private health insurance are used to much better service from the private, for-profit health care system.   Physicians and hospitals compete with each other, attempting to maximize profits.

On the old site, the New Zealander who identified himself as the Phoenician in a Time of Romans told us that he went private to get ingrown toenails cut out, and had two podiatrists working on him, rather than wait four months for the appointment that New Zealand’s single-payer system gave him. Four months, suffering through ingrown toenails?  At the rate that toenails normally grow, they would have grown completely out the end of his toes by that time.  He chose to get it taken care of privately, paying out-of-pocket rather than suffering for four months — and ingrown toenails just flat out hurt! — but what he also did was save the government the costs of paying for the treatment. The stretched-out appointment schedule did exactly what it was meant to do.

More, the Phoenician even told us that the two podiatrists he paid, privately, to take care of his toenail problems were the same podiatrists who would have performed the procedures during the government-scheduled appointment. They were working on the side to supplement their government salaries, in effect demonstrating the same profit motive that enables Americans to get much more prompt treatment in our for-profit system. We had a supporter of socialized medicine, one telling us how great it was, but unintentionally confirming to us exactly what we already knew about economics and the profit motive.

The Veterans’ Administration health care system is one in which the profit motive has been removed, one which cannot make money — though some top administrators can make hefty bonuses if they get the numbers looking good — and one which has been behaving just like socialized medicine systems in other countries.  There’s simply no getting away from the need for health care administrators to hold down costs; they have budgets which have to be met.

When you go to single-payer — and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) believes that single-payer is the solution to the problems of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — these are the kinds of problems that you are going to have, because they have already happened in every other large single-payer system.

Americans should not be surprised by this at all, and need to be told — hopefully by publications more widely read than this one — that what the VA system did is what we could all expect under single-payer.