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Whatever Else, He’s Either Ignorant or a Liar

I can’t stand this and now my friends in Zanzibar are going to be treated to a rant !!!

It’s that blasted Ted Cruz. He’s certainly my pick of the availables at this point. I was even willing to forgive his not understanding the “natural born citizen” Constitutional requirement for the privilege of serving as President of the U.S., since apparently most of the elite libertarian legal eagles don’t either, and I am bitterly, bitterly sorry to say that that includes Randy Barnett, who gave a sobworthy (in parts) presentation on the issue to the Washington Journal. You can see for yourselves — link’s below. (C-Span, not embeddable.) –(You probably won’t see why I’m so disgusted by his performance unless I tell you, though.)

However, I’m just now getting around to watching Debate #6, and Ted is in the hot seat. He’s just been asked if he’s a “natural born citizen.” Butter wouldn’t melt as he snidely skewers (as he thinks) those who would dare to raise — quote — “the Birther issue.” In a voice dripping with disdain.

Now, given the authoritative Constitutional weight of people like Barnett and others at The Volokh Conspiracy*, I can understand and forgive the average layman and even the average lawyer and maybe even the average Constitutional lawyer for going along with the idea that birthplace is immaterial– though Shrill, or her staff, thought it important enough to bring up the birthplace issue vis-á-vis the Gentleman from Wherever-the-hell-he’s-from, when they were running against each other back in 2008. However, Ted DOES stick on side about being a Constitutional attorney, or at least his fans and promoters do. (I’m trying to be fair, even though I am royally p.o.’ed.)

So now, back to his answer in the debate. First, and the least of the issues, he says it’s only the “extreme” fringe who think eligibility requires not just one but TWO citizen parents.

Not so. There is a valid argument for that understanding, which is that at the time of the Founding the wife’s citizenship automatically followed that of the husband. Therefore if the wife was not a citizen, it would mean the husband wasn’t either. Mind you, that’s the argument. I don’t say it’s correct; in fact it overlooks uncommon cases that were in fact discussed by the Founders, such as Pop as already passed on or the child is illegitimate. But it’s not “extreme.” And it’s what most non-Proggies who have an opinion seem to believe.

But here is the real problem. He says that the courts have said time after time that people having a parent who is a citizen are natural born citizens (regardless of birthplace).

This is flatly untrue. Yes, such people have been found to be American citizens, but not natural born citizens. In fact they aren’t even native citizens, which specifically means citizens born on American turf: natives-by-birth, so to speak. This is an obvious difference** and so fundamental that only an ignoramus or a liar could say such a thing. So Ted, which is it? Are you openly showing your flat ignorance or are you lying — you know this distinction perfectly well — and hoping nobody will notice?

Disgusting!

He has the nerve to back this remarkable position up by saying that “after all, if it were true then Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal wouldn’t be eligible either” — and so they aren’t, but not because of extra-American birth: Rubio born in Miami, Jindal in Baton Rouge. Birthplace not an issue with them. Their problem is parentage. But worse yet, he goes on to add that even THE DONALD wouldn’t be eligible, because although he was born here his mother wasn’t. (She’s from Ireland.)

You fool! As long as she (or she and her husband, or only her husband, depending on your theory about whether it takes one or two citizen parents) was a citizen — naturalized or statutory, makes no difference, which is why the “anchor baby” 14th Amendment comes into the controversy — as long as some non-zero number of parents were ALREADY citizens when the babe was born, the parent(s) citizenship is automatically inherited by the baby**. If Ma Trump was already naturalized when she popped Bonnie Donnie, he IS natural born. (Leaving aside the issue of one parent or two, of course.)

This really is baby stuff. And even Randy Barnett, If I Remember Correctly, does not make such an uninformed claim.

The reason I was going to vote for Ted was that he’s obviously the least worst of the bunch having any chance of the nomination. But if this is not flat-out lying, then he’s not only completely ignorant (or confused, as in deer-in-the-headlights confused, or having what we Computer Types call a Kernel Panic), he’s also unaware of how ignorant (or confused) he is — or else he’s perfectly aware and lying about THAT, claiming that his opinion is the one the courts have gone by all these years.

Horsefeathers!

So now what. I have to vote against whatever fool and/or criminal the Dims put up, which means I have to vote for the Heffalump candidate.

At this point, those are the only grounds on which I can urge people to vote for Ted in the general election — if he’s the candidate.

–J.

Ted Cruz in Debate #6, 1/14/16, Fox, Bartiromo and Cavuto, around 22 minutes in, maybe a bit more:

Randy Barnett’s discussion is actually pretty good in the first half. He presents the opposition’s (that would be me) argument honestly and reasonably thoroughly. It’s in the second half of his remarks that he comes up with an ingenious but, to me, not entirely convincing argument, and then ends on a most undignified note (and remember, I’m a longstanding fan of Prof. Barnett; much more than any of the other Volokhites, except in some respects David Bernstein). Now I feel jilted by both of my Libertarian Legal Loves. It’s not FAIR !!! :>((

40 minutes.

Randy Barnett: “Natural Born Citizen” Presidential Requirement

*Not Prof. Laurence Tribe, interestingly enough — per Barnett, Prof. Tribe’s understanding of “natural born” IN THE CONTEXT OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT OF ELIGIBILTY is the same as mine: A citizen parent at the time of the candidate’s birth, AND must be born on American soil. But, says Randy, this poses no problem for Tribe because Tribe is not an Originalist of any stripe but rather a Living Constitutionalist, so is not hampered by this little departure from the Rules.

**Not true that there are only two classes of American citizens: For purposes of Constitutional eligibility at least, there are three: Naturalized, statutory (for children born abroad of citizen parents), and natural born. Only those in the last category are eligible.

–No, that does not make anyone a “second-class citizen.” There is theoretically no such thing in the U.S. To serve as President is a privilege, not a right. There is no other post in the entire Federal government that is restricted to natural born citizens.

Dear Troll: “America Doesn’t Have a Gun Problem, It Has a Democrat Problem”

A few weeks back, some Ignorant Person saw fit to put up on Samizdata a short comment implying, snarkily, that the U.S. is the worst of all possible worlds when it comes to the gun-murder rate.

A few of us took issue with that; I rather think the rest thought the remark not worth dignifying with a response.

However, “Sultan Knish,” a.k.a. Daniel Greenfield, who writes columns for various anti-Left online mags and has his own website at sultanknish.com, put up a doozy on the subject today; although I wish he’d found some other adjective than “Democrat,” because not all Dems are Dim on the issue. In fact some of the “gun-rights” activist-scholars are, or were, themselves Democrats*; and the excerpt below makes the point that not all cities of Obama-voters have these appalling murder rates.

But the fact remains that the worst cities certainly are run by lefty and/or race-baiting Democrats. So here is a mere excerpt (but note: YrsTrly has not verified the stats for herself). Suggest reading the whole thing….

[SNIP ...]
Any serious conversation about gun violence and gun culture has to begin at home; in Chicago, in Baltimore, in New York City, in Los Angeles and in Washington, D.C.

Voting for Obama does not make people innately homicidal. Just look at Seattle. So what is happening in Chicago to drive it to the gates of hell?

A breakdown of the Chicago killing fields shows that 83% of those murdered in Chicago in one year had criminal records. In Philly, it’s 75%. In Milwaukee it’s 77% percent. In New Orleans, it’s 64%. In Baltimore, it’s 91%. Many were felons who had served time. And as many as 80% of the homicides were gang related.

Chicago’s problem isn’t guns; it’s gangs. Gun control efforts in Chicago or any other major city are doomed because gangs represent organized crime networks which stretch down to Mexico. And Democrats pander to those gangs because it helps them get elected. That’s why Federal gun prosecutions in Chicago dropped sharply under Obama. It’s why he has set free drug dealers and gang members to deal and kill while convening town halls on gun violence.

America’s murder rate isn’t the work of the suburban and rural homeowners who shop for guns at sporting goods stores and at gun shows, and whom the media profiles after every shooting, but by the gangs embedded in urban areas controlled by Democrats. The gangs who drive up America’s murder rate look nothing like the occasional mentally ill suburban white kid who goes off his medication and decides to shoot up a school. Lanza, like most serial killers, is a media aberration, not the norm.

[SNIP]

*For instance, Eric Raymond has an interesting page, Eric’s Gun Nut Page, that describes criminologist Gary Kleck’s work and political stance. More good stuff for those who think guns might be part of the solution, with links, too.

Interview: Ronald Coase

Herewith economist Dr. Ronald Coase, interviewed in 2002 by Richard Epstein for the Liberty Fund’s “Intellectual Portrait” series. Dr. Coase sketches his background, and then discusses such topics as public utilities, in particular the water supply and the Post Office, how these came to be state-owned in Britain, and the reasoning that led to the state-owned BBC. Notes that the Educated Classes approved: for it was necessary to raise the tone of the culture of the lower classes. He explains that having started as a socialist, sheer observation persuaded him that free enterprise works better. He discusses the famous Lighthouse Example, and states that in the end, governments are necessary to determine (i.e. define) what will be the property rights, and to enforce them.

About an hour.

The trouble with the way we’re governed

The flaw in electoral majoritarianism (“democracy”) is that you end up with a gang of con-merchants running everything.

Discuss.

I was prompted into posting this by this FT article criticizing the SNP’s record in power while praising its ringleaders as “capable politicians”.

That’s the whole problem, isn’t it? They can “campaign”, and wheedle, and wind the electorate round their little fingers, gradually increasing the power they’re elected to wield, but they can’t actually administrate anything. Indeed, blinded by their own prejudices, pet theories, ideologies, and bees in their bonnets, they’re actually the last people any sane manager would pick to do his job. And as long as they can deflect attention away from their failures, and the blame away from themselves – which, as noted, they’re really good at – things keep getting worse until nobody can ignore it any more. At which point, whoever happens to be holding the parcel at the time gets all the blame while the rest get off more or less scot-free.

RAFF Protests Halite Decision

Unfortunately they’re doing it wrong.

For once Residents Action on Fylde Fracking and I have something in common.  Sort of.

Who is Halite?  Once calling themselves Canatxx they are the people who want to store pressurised gas in salt caverns slap bang in the middle of a geologically unstable area, full of brine wells, a collapsed salt mine and geological faults, in my neck of the woods.  The YouTube video I have linked to will explain why 40,000 local residents have been fighting for years to resist this insanity.

There are no weasel words like might or could or maybe.  Brine wells at Preesall have collapsed in the past and one is in the process of collapsing.  The depression in the ground is growing fast and an entire field has been lost to it already  Another well is filled with God knows how many tons of mercury sludge courtesy of the now departed ICI.  Just image what will happen to the water table if that bad boy collapsed.  And Halite want to store pressurised gas right next to the brine well field.  Let’s not forget the partially collapsed salt mine.  And did I mention the natural faults that gas can migrate along?  Well it needs saying over and over.

Anti-fracking campaigners have reacted with anger and frustration at a Government decision to allow a controversial gas storage facility on the Fylde Coast.

And I agree with their reaction.  Three applications from Canatxx/Halite have been rejected by local government because of the real danger of catastrophe yet some cretin in central government has given the green light to this insanity.

Energy minister Lord Bourne has, on appeal, granted permission to Halite to create a huge underground gas store in salt caverns at Preesall despite three rejections of the plan and massive public opposition.

Now residents and campaigners opposing shale gas say that decision by the Department of Energy and Climate Change was undemocratic and bodes ill for their own battle against energy company Cuadrilla.

But this is where my strange comradeship with RAFF and their associate anti-fracking groups parts way.  You see their “protest” appears to be purely selfish.  They don’t seem to care about the real dangers of the Halite proposal.  They only seem to care about how it will affect their own cause and how they can exploit it.

Two bids by Cuadrilla to test frack on the Fylde were rejected last month by Lancashire County Council, but the shale gas explorer could yet appeal to a Government inspector.

It’s not about Halite, you see.  It’s about Cuadrilla and the appeal they will no doubt be submitting.  A real danger has been hijacked to support an anti-capitalist cause that really would benefit all if fracking were permitted to go ahead.  That really piddles me off.

Barbara Richardson, from the Roseacre Awareness Group, said: “We are appalled by this decision to overrule local democracy and fear that Westminster will try and intervene in the fracking debate too against the wishes of the people and elected representatives.

What Barbara doesn’t tell you is that Mike Hill, who was campaigning on an anti-fracking ticket, was wiped out during the GE by the Tory incumbent who I believe is actually pro fracking.  It seems that democracy is something of a loose concept in Barbara’s world.  At this point I will add that the proposed Roseacre site is highly problematical because access will be a nightmare and Barbara does have a point.  However there is no such problem with the Plumpton proposal which I support and Barbara doesn’t.  She is opposed to fracking absolutely.

“We elect local councillors (parish, borough and county) to represent us and this is democracy in action. Local people understand local issues and the will of the people.

Yeah, I saw how the craven sods at Lancashire County Council were cowed by a few tens of anti-fracking protestors and voted against the advice of their own legal department.  Democracy my left nether cheek.  Perhaps you think the 40,000 plus local residents fighting the Halite plans can be co-opted by proxy to your own cause, eh Barbara?

“To blatantly ignore this is sheer arrogance and a recipe for disaster. We will stand with the people of the Wyre.

That’ll be a “yes” then.

“They have spent years to successfully defeat this, with good grounds, and even had the support of the Planning Inspector as well as local councils. They must be absolutely devastated.

We are devastated and we are still fighting.  But Barbara, where were you and your pals all those years we were fighting Canatxx?  How come we get your support now?

“Fracking is an altogether different game as it could affect over 60 per cent of the UK, and should Westminster intervene again, I am sure it will have serious repercussions.”

Whereas gas storage is a dangerous game and has the real potential to affect more than 60% of the residents of Fleetwood, Knott End, Presall, Stalmine, Steynall and parts of Thornton if the storage caverns rupture following the collapse of a brine well (it has already happened in the US which is why storage of the type proposed for Preesall has been banned in the US on safety grounds), the gas escapes and finds an ignition source.  All thanks to Westminster intervention.

All that seems to bother Barbara is the precedent set by overturning a decision made by local government.

Alan Tootill, from the Preston New Road Action Group, said: “This confirms our worst fears.

“This government has no concern for local democracy and local decision-making.

“Over 40,000 people objected to the Preesall applications and three times the plans were turned down at local level.

I didn’t hear your voice raised against the initial Canatxx/Halite proposals either Alan.  I don’t recall you standing up at the many meetings and voicing your concern.

There is also a familiar name mentioned in dispatches.  You’ll find her in the comments below the Mike Hill post.

Tina Rothery, from Residents Action of Fylde Fracking, said: “It is awful news not just for the people of Wyre but for the rights of local people anywhere in the UK.

“That central government can overrule the clear will of the people and their Council that has three times rejected this application, makes a mockery of our ‘democracy’.

“Many of us have been fighting to keep fracking out of Lancashire for nearly four years now and the recent support of Lancashire County Council was very welcome; with this announcement today though at the overturning of the decision on Halite, we are of course deeply concerned about what will happen next in this campaign as well.

See what I mean?  They’ve tagged on their anti-fracking campaign to the Halite fight.  I know Tina by sight having seen her on TV and in the papers several times but I don’t recall seeing her at the Stop Canatxx meetings either.  All of a sudden the Canatxx/Halite cause has become the No Fracking cause.  At least in the anti-fracking eyes.

Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Tony Bosworth said: ‘This decision raises big questions about the Government’s commitment to local democracy because this facility was turned down several times before Westminster stepped in to make it happen.

Then maybe Friends of the Earth ought to hand back the millions in taxpayer money, whether taxpayers agreed with it or not, that has been handed to FoE by various governments over the years.  It’s obviously a matter of principal after all.  But I guess, like Barbara, your perception of democracy only goes so far, eh, Tony?

“This must not be repeated in order to force fracking on Lancashire after the county refused to swallow the hype from central Government and the fracking industry.”

“This must not be repeated in order to refuse fracking on Lancashire after the county swallowed the hype from minority anti-frackers and the Big Green industry.”

There, fixed it.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Lord Bourne, who is the Minister responsible for energy planning consents, said the Halite plan was strategically important for the nation.

Yeah, because what the Scammell truck would a Professor of Law know about geological faults, collapsed mines. the unsuitability of layered salt beds, unsafe brine wells and other unimportant shit that affects the lives and safety of tens of thousands of locals?  Oh and we’re considered an area of Special Scientific Interest too because of the rare fauna and flora living in and around Morecambe Bay which will be grossly affected by the brine outfall. Why, after so many years,  has central government, after even that towering intellect, John Prescott, recognised the serious flaw in Canatxx/Halite’s planning applications, suddenly made this perverse decision?  Well I have a theory.

Wyre has been a marginal seat for a long time.  Since 1997 it has been tinkered with twice which gave us Hilton Dawson (Lab) a decent MP who worked hard for the constituency before resigning and returning home to his native Northumberland. Then came Ben Wallace (Con) who also fought hard on the Canatxx front and moved over to the newly created Wyre and Preston North in 2010.  Despite Labour stacking the boundary decks in its favour we got Eric Ollerenshaw (Con) clinging to his seat by the skin of his marginal teeth, only ever rebelling (well abstaining really) against the Tory whip once but who still recognised the dangers posed by the gas storage proposal and added his effort to the fight against corporate venality and stupidity.

Then in May, 2015 we get Cat Smith (Lab) also on the slimmest of majorities, with her BA in sociology and gender studies who, while paying lip service to both the anti-Halite and anti-fracking camps, clearly hasn’t got a bloody clue what she’s talking about.  Perhaps, once in a while, when she isn’t too busy identifying herself as a Christian, socialist, feminist, republican, trade unionist and LGBT, she’ll pick up and read The Idiot’s Guide to Wyre Estuary Geology so she doesn’t look a total fool and will finally be able to tell the difference between a landslide and a great big Scammell off sinkhole.  Meanwhile we get the standard leftie gobshite response to Lord Bourne’s decision by calling for the “launch of a new action” and “seeking urgent clarification” rather than going up to the idiot and hitting him with FACTS.  But then she did previously work for Jezza Corbyn so she quite possibly has a good grounding in political stupid.

And my theory?  Well Lord Bourne has nasty previous when it comes to the opposition.  He plays very dirty tricks and then lies about what he’s done before being forced to come clean.  Ask Rhodri Morgan.  Lord Bourne got handed this particular chalice when it turned out that Amber Rudd’s brother , Roland, heads a lobbying company, Finsbury, that numbers Halite amongst its clients.  Given Bourne’s scandalous history could the recently tinkered with constituency returning a Labour MP be an underlying reason for his perverse, against all common sense decision?  I think we should be told.

Here’s the “offical” reason for the decision.

He said: “Investment in new energy infrastructure is essential if we are to keep the lights on and bills down.

“This is a major project which will benefit the local economy by creating jobs and stimulating businesses.

Yes, we’ve seen how central government keeps the bills down with bills hiked up to feed the heavily subsidised and deeply despised renewables monster.  As for the local economy, destruction of the environment aside, there may be a temporary injection of jobs to construct the storage caverns and build a pipeline to connect with the main grid at Garstang.  But honestly, long term, how many people will it take to press a button at the control station in order to release or store gas?   Three hundred?  Four hundred?  Try a handful.

What is the impact of millions of gallons of concentrated brine that Halite propose to pump into the sea off Anchorsholme as they carve holes in the salt?  What will happen if the geology ruptures a cavern and the project goes sky high tits up?  The infrastructure to deal with an explosion doesn’t exist.  There are mainly small villages and narrow country lanes in this part of the world.  That is providing, of course that no structure damaged in the blast doesn’t block those narrow country lanes and blocks access to the grossly inadequate emergency services.

Oh and the storage capacity that Halite proposes will give a close to zero contribution to keeping the lights on.  Selling the gas back to the grid at premium rates will keep bills down how?   The man is a moral bankrupt and a weapons grade pudendum

“Gas is also the greenest fossil fuel and helps us lower our carbon emissions, which is important in the UK’s move to a cleaner energy future.”

I agree but what would be the point of pumping gas from underground only to pump it back underground?  The only people to benefit from storage is Halite who will buy cheap and sell at a premium rate at great risk to the locals.  Halite propose to do it here because back in their native US they would be given very short shrift.  You see storing gas in layered salt, most particularly anywhere near a field of brine wells (we have more than a hundred of them), is banned because it is demonstrably unsafe and a threat to life. Is that what Bourne calls stimulating businesses?

And if he really believes that gas is the greenest fossil fuel will he be insisting that the Drax power station will be converted to gas instead of burning CO2 producing wood pellets from felled US forests?

No?  Thought not.

Theresa May but I wouldn’t…

PEOPLE who use a swivel chair to make themselves dizzy face up to three years in prison.

The Psychoactive Substances Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech, also bans hanging upside down off a bed until your head goes funny, pushing your knuckles into your eyelids to create a psychedelic lightshow and fevers above 39 degrees centigrade [312K - I think in Kelvin - N].

Home secretary Theresa May said: “Maybe you and your so-called friends think it’s funny to spin around on a chair and then stagger across the office like a moron before collapsing headfirst into a really expensive printer and breaking your nose and losing three of your teeth.

“But all you’re doing is setting yourself up for a life of heroin and really manky toilets and no job and therefore no office chair to spin around on like a total maniac.

“You probably think I’m a killjoy but I speak from experience. I tried to spin on my office chair once but I absolutely whacked my knee on the desk. Not only did it hurt like a bastard, it changed me. I hate everyone now.”

May also said that anyone lying on their arm until it goes dead then using it to pretend someone else is touching their genitals will be classed as a sex offender.

Not to put too fine a point on it the Children’s Crusade contra “legal highs” (much like the conflation of tax ‘avoidance’ and tax ‘evasion’ or various ‘hate speech’ stuff is truly Orwellian) and appalling. Let’s call a spade a manually operated earth removal tool here. Yes, people die from ‘legal highs’ but that is because of the eternal game of cat and mouse of drug legislation. I don’t do drugs. Not because the School Nurse in Chief tells me not to but because due to legislation which means I’d be buying God alone knows what from a dodgy geezer in a pub car park.

Of course the fact that people are taking Heaven knows what means there are more deaths. The fact that Chinese ‘chemists’ are knocking out even more bizarre substances to avoid the laws will mean people die. Solution: an enabling act. That’s May’s thought. Mine is legalise the lot and tax and regulate so just like booze and fags you know what you are getting. I mean I used to smoke a bit of weed or resin but now it’s all ‘bang for buck’ skunk which is nasty stuff. That is a direct effect of government.

But you see the problem? The tighter government cracks down due to drug related deaths the more they increase laws as users migrate to more dubious substances. Much the same happened in the USA during prohibition when a nation of beer drinkers switched to spirits. I mean what was the point of smuggling beer in from Canada when you could smuggle whisky at ten times the blast for volume?

Of course the more the steel-heels crush us and the more we get riskier the more the call goes out to get ever more Draconian. It doesn’t work – it is a tango of death. It is evil and it is wrong. The Tories (increasingly occasionally) talk of ‘individual responsibility’ but then add yet another set of training wheels on the bicycle. Well folks, I have been able to ride a bicycle unaided for maybe 35 years.

I am 41 years old and am approximately all in one piece. So Mrs May can go fuck herself with (obviously) a state-approved dildo. Let us be. Not only is that the path of freedom but it actually reduces the ‘externalities’ but of course it would take pointless work away from the (un)civil servants and the rozzers who might then have more time to investigate rapes, murders and burglaries and stuff like what is supposed to be their job.

Just a thought.

“Draw Mohammed,” Part 6: Closing Arguments

The following points have been made by the Prosecution against Pamela Geller (hereinafter, “P.G.”). Each point is followed by rebuttal from the Defense.

1. P.G. held the event specifically to provoke Muslims.

She did not. The underlying point of the event was to EXERCISE freedom of speech in a way that would show that Americans are serious about protecting it. I point out that this is true regardless of whether that freedom is under attack by Islam, the PC crowd, or anybody else … and there are lots of “anybody else’s,” as I hope the various video clips have shown.

But in particular, we in the West are being undermined by capitulating to various strictures of Shari’ah, in this case that one must not even draw the Prophet, let alone criticize, let alone mock him. P.G.’s direct and immediate point in the event was to show that we are determined NOT to “submit” to that stricture.

There is a second point to the event that is equally important, and that is to bring the situation of “creeping Shari’ah,” in this case Shari’ah against Freedom of Speech, into broad public awareness, so that “we” will become not just a few hundred thousand or a few million resisters, but the bulk of the American people: hundreds of millions of resisters.

2. The event predictably invited and incited violence against AFDI, the attendees, and the American public generally. P.G. should, must, have known this, and therefore should not have put others at risk by holding it.

P.G. was well aware that there might be a violent response. That is why she provided additional security forces to the tune of some $37,000 – $ 50,000, according to different published claims.

But in fact no Muslims were forced to respond violently. They chose to do so of their own free will. Miss Geller responds, “This is the same argument as the one claiming that the rape victim is responsible for her being raped because she wore a short skirt.”

(This argument has actually been made often enough against those who claim to have been raped, but the fact is that is both illegal and morally wrong to rape anybody for any reason, even if the victim did intentionally wear a short skirt in a dangerous neighbourhood. We rightly hold the rapist accountable just the same.)

3a. P.G. has the right, specifically the legal, First-Amendment right, to hold the event and say what she wants, but she should not have done it [this may be express or only implied, by the question "…but should she have?"].

This amounts to devaluing all previous statements of defense. It’s like “damning by faint praise.”

(Look for a posting about this line of thought at some point, because there is a good impulse behind it as well as the cowardly refusal to give a fully-committed defense in public.)

3b. Besides, this type of speech, this type of event, “even if it’s allowed, it shouldn’t be done, because it has no value, this type of discussion at this type of event.” Megyn Kelly asks Eugene Volokh to comment on this claim, at 7:09 in their video in Part 5.

Prof. Volokh replies [boldface mine]:

“Well, surely this kind of discussion does have value, it has value in debate about Islam and about the role of Islam and about the action of some Muslims, fortunately only a small portion of Muslims to these kinds of things.

But beyond that, it has value as a re-affirmation of our free-speech rights, it has value as an act of defiance, it has value as people saying “look, we are not going to be shut up. When you tell us that we cannot draw pictures of Mohammed, when you tell us that we cannot say these things or else you’ll kill us, that just means we’re gonna [sic] do it again and again to show that you can not threaten Americans into submission. …. The whole point of this was to say, “You cannot tell Americans, you cannot tell a free people what [they] can and cannot say.” And that’s a very important message to say, especially in times like these.”

I have heard people saying … it’s too provocative. Well, look, there are times when First Amendment rights have to be defended. And they have to be defended by saying [we're] going to say these things even though we realize there’s a risk of violence, even though we realize there’s a risk of attack. The only way we can protect our free-speech rights is by re-asserting our free-speech rights.

By “re-asserting,” Prof. Volokh means showing the existence of the right by using it.

I note that it is up to the Courts through their rulings, and up to us as American (and Western) individuals through our words and actions, to confirm publically the existence of the right and our insistence on not being intimidated into being silenced, on this or any other issue.

4. The event shows that P.G. is “racist,” an Islamophobe, and hates all Muslims.

Horsefeathers. It shows that Miss Geller is aware of the threat from jihadists of both the violent sort and the lawfare/public-condemnation-public-opinion sort, and is fully committed to resisting both.

5. Cartoons at the event clearly are obscene and mock the Prophet.

I haven’t seen any of the cartoons from the contest except Bosch Fawstin’s winning one, which is certainly not obscene in any way. It does call attention to the fact that Mohammed lacks the power to enforce obedience to his command, and I suppose that might be a form of “mockery” in that shows him as “full of sound and fury,” but powerless.

The consequences of unfunded liabilities

Carlton Tavern before the demolition

Developers who knocked down an historic pub just days before it was due to become a listed building have been ordered to rebuild it brick by brick.

The Carlton Tavern was the only building in its street not destroyed during the blitz and was considered an important historical building. But without warning developers brought in bulldozers earlier this month and had it razed to the ground.

Patsy Lord, the landlady, had been told by the owners on Easter Monday to close for an “inventory” and was stunned when she came back two days later to find the 94-year-old pub in Maida Vale, west London, was no longer standing.

Historic pub bulldozed by developers must be rebuilt brick by brick

This is the problem with national and local governments imposing unfunded liabilities, it rides roughshod over the rights of the property owner providing all downside and no upside.

(more…)

The End of Days… Salmond’s Revenge.

Have Scottish mutant ginger rats made it across the border? Sixty huge rodents seen scurrying down street in Newcastle.

Get the shotgun and start stock-piling tinned food.

A plague of mutant ginger rats first spotted in Scotland are feared to have made their way south of the border, it was revealed last night.

A shocking video taken by two revellers in Newcastle-upon-Tyne shows 60 large rodents scurrying down the street in a popular area of the city on Saturday.

Now, there are claims the rats could be the same giant ginger species recently spotted 60 miles away in Hawick in the Scottish borders – which were feared to be moving south.

Marc Donaghey, 22, and his girlfriend Brooke Salkeld, 21, captured the footage of around 20 rats – but said in total there were at least 50 or 60 of them running around the street.

Right… Well, “revellers” in tabloid-speak means “pissed” and the numbers seem somewhat fluid but certainly don’t constitute a plague as such.

But on a serious note the council has tried to palm the blame for the infestation on poor waste management of the local businesses but look at the dumpsters…

You wonder what Geordies (or any of us) pay their council tax for…

Moscow on the Orinoco

Venezuela Oil Takeover

As countries around the world have demonstrated, those with little in terms of mineral resources, like postwar Japan until the stagnation, can operate vibrant economies, but equally, those with significant mineral resources can be destroyed by bad economic policies. This seems to be the fate of most of South America except Chile and to a lesser extent Brazil.

The government of Venezuela may be blaming “The American capitalists and their Saudi running dogs” for the fall in the oil price, but even at the peak of the oil price they were spending the economic bounty of their oil as if there was no tomorrow – well, it looks like tomorrow has arrived.

Now the average Venezuelan can’t even afford to screw in safety, regardless of the thoughts of Pope Francis on the matter.

In Venezuela, a 36-pack of Trojan condoms now costs $755 at the official exchange rate. That’s the price being asked on the MercadoLibre website, where Venezuelans go to buy goods in short supply.

A 36-pack of condoms in Venezuela now costs $755 at official rates

(more…)

Vote Labour, Get Miliband

Wallace and MillibandOne of the perceived oddities of the Parliamentary system is that the PM is not directly elected by the people, but rather by the internal mechanisms of the party with the majority in parliament or in the case of a minority government, that party which believes it can bring together sufficient votes from other parties to remain in power.

Thus in the UK we have the Labour Party attempting to seize power from the Conservatives in the upcoming 2015 election, whilst simultaneously hiding their leader, who has become the party’s greatest electoral liability – thank god.

This peculiar aspect of party leader as electoral liability is not new to Britain although it does seem to be more a feature of Labour than the Conservatives (though lets not forget former Tory Leader Iain Duncan Smith)

If Ed Miliband had not shafted his brother David in the 2010 Labour leadership election by playing the union card, then I suspect that a Labour victory wouldn’t be quite so doubtful, but then again a David Miliband government would probably have been very different from an Ed Miliband one.

The point is exacerbated when in an apparent attempt to limit the Conservatives use of Ed Miliband as an electoral liability in their own propaganda election literature, they have offered to not attack David Cameron directly if the Conservatives will lay off Ed Miliband.

Vote Labour - Get Miliband

Labour has promised not to use any pictures of the Prime Minister in election posters– in a bid to stop the campaign turning into a presidential-style run off between David Cameron and Ed Miliband.

The party said it would not use negative personal attacks on Mr Cameron – and would focus on policies instead of personalities.

It comes as the Tories attempt to use the ‘nightmare’ scenario of Mr Miliband becoming Prime Minister to scare voters off electing Labour.

Labour promises no attack posters on Cameron in bid to stop election turning into presidential-style run off for Number 10 *

The chances of Dave Cameron giving away such electoral capital given the wafer-thin chances of him retaining power are slim to none. As the old saying goes “If you’re taking flak, you’re over the target”.

* – From the Daily Mail so the usual caveats apply

2015

This is a politically based blog. Some of you may have noticed I have been posting less. I am still politically a classic liberal but I don’t care that much about politricks. I never have really. When I was younger I couldn’t give a toss. Quite how I got quasi-interested is beyond me (thanks Mr Marks!) but this is a new year (the cause for calenders and such). I had a Polish New Year’s Eve so I am hung-over but I am clear on one thing – have been for some time. What I shall post shall be my stuff which is about sciencces/tech/philosophy. This Lenovo S440 Thinkpad shall no longer darken your towels with jack-assed political opinions.

Now, here is an interesting one. Should Lesbian couples be able to have biological children? It is doable. I am not sure it ought to be done. There are “issues”. Most revolve around homophobia of some form or another. I am not equivocating here but I know blokes who will log into “dykeswithdicks.com” but would write angry letters to local rags if a lesbian couple moved in next door. I don’t even care about that. Why would I? I don’t even care about the fact this is de-facto sex selection (where would they get a Y chromosome from?). No, I care about the issue (yes!) of the morals of the foetal research. Should technical developments (and it is tech – the basic science is there) be allowed if it involves peril to the unborn. And what do those qualms mean for my usually gung-ho attitude to science or indeed sexuality. And how does that relate to my view on abortion? I don’t know which is why I wish to pose these kind of questions. It is why I couldn’t give a monkey’s chuff as to what Lord Palmerston or Karl Marx or Muhammed said. It is why I can’t give a fig for LVT versus income tax. I just don’t care.

In a very real sense being a libertarian means not caring in the best possible way. It means caring for sure but not meddling and not trying to impose morals of any description on others. And I don’t mean “Victorian Values” (whatever we think that means or the thinking (such as it was) of T Dan Smith who wrecked half of the town of my birth (which do you prefer – Georgian elegance or something that looks like a 1970s Albanian car park?). I don’t even see that as political.

I guess what I’m saying is the reason libertarians don’t get much traction politically is we tend (certainly I do) to see issues, problems, opportunities not in an a political sense. This doesn’t mean we don’t care. That is why I mentioned the lesbian motherhood. I am conflicted morally. I don’t see anything wrong in principle but the research needed concerns me. It isn’t a political issue (or shouldn’t be) or even a social issue. It is a sci/tech/phil issue.

So my New Year message is this. Be less political. Stop caring. By all means give a few quid to the dog’s home but if you think politricks will solve anything then you aren’t a libertarian. I have bust ribs from a fall on the ice. I was helped-up by a motorist passing by. Single acts of mere kindness are what make us human. A majority vote in whatever parliament or assembly ain’t.

But you would be stunned by the number of people who think otherwise. There is an Oscar Wilde kid’s story set in winter where a group of forest animals are complaining about the snow and one suggests, “The government should do something about it.”

It is that mentality that leads to T Dan Smith.

Anyway, that’s it. Libertarianism is (or ought to be) totally apolitical.

Not quite it. Obviously. I have wittered on for too long not to wish y’all (and your friends and family) a jolly good New Year!

A couple of the questions for the post Christmas period: Ancient Greek learning and English freedom – religious and political.

The Republic of Venice, like some other Italian States, was in contact with the Greek (Byzantine) Empire to the east, where Ancient Greek learning was preserved, from the most early days – contact was never lost in the Dark Ages. And the other states of Europe were in close contact with the Republic of Venice and the other Italian states. Yet the education system teaches that Greek learning came only from Islamic Spain. Is this theory really true?

Did, for example, thinkers in the British Isles such as the Irish thinkers from the 5th (indeed reaching back to Patrick and Pelagius [yes Pelagius, that free will scholar of Greek and possibly Hebrew, - of course I would drag him into it] of Roman Britain) century to the 9th century (before old Ireland was destroyed by the Vikings), or the English thinkers of the 12th century and so on (not just Roger Bacon there were other great Greek scholars and scientific thinkers also), really get their knowledge of Greek from Islamic Spain? Of course both the Greek Orthodox Church and the old Irish Celtic Church are not known for the delight in the predestination of Augustine – even if philosopher theologians do strange twisted gymnastics to try and reconcile predestination and moral responsibility (the reality of choice – of the existence of the human agent). Just as Judaism has always rejected predestination (unlike mainstream Islam) and stood for individual moral responsibility – the reality of choice, of the human person.

Also…..

In almost every case the Reformation of the 16th century led to a Church that was committed to Predestination and was a department of State – after all Predestination was the central doctrine of Martin Luther and John Calvin (they both HATED freedom and reason), and Luther taught that the State should control the State and Calvin taught that the Church should control the State – the autonomy of Church and State was utterly alien to both these thinkers. In England it led, by the 18th century, to a Church that was far MORE in favour of moral responsibility, free will, (hostile to Predestination and so on) than the Roman Catholic Church was, and to a Church that was largely part of the landed interest (backed by local patrons and so on as well as being a, largely, independent landowner itself) rather than being a department of state – an “Established Church” rather than a “State Church”. A Church that was theologically and socially radically different from the rest of Protestant Europe. Why?

Even in the 16th century someone like Richard Hooker (the three legged stool – scripture, tradition, and REASON) seems distinctly English – distinctly “Anglican” (a possible misuse of language – but I hope you get my point), by the 17th century philosopher theologians such as Henry Moore and Ralph Cudworth, perhaps the greatest Greek and Hebrew scholar of his age, are quite acceptable in England, but would have seemed radially alien in the Protestant nations of Europe (and in the centralised Counter Reformation Catholic world) – with the possible exception of the minority tradition in Holland, the Arminian tradition (and remember it was the MINORITY tradition in Holland).

Why was England so weird in its Church development? Unlike both Catholic Europe and Protestant Europe.

I have asked these questions before – but just received utterly irrelevant answers such as “Ralph Cudworth believed in witchcraft”, yes he did (so did the great Common Law thinkers Hales and Selden), but why did the Church in England (both Anglican such as Granville Sharpe and William Wilberforce and Dissenting such as Richard Price [but also his Anglican political opponent Edmund Burke] – or a bit of both such as John Wesley) contain so many people, such as Cudworth and Moore and….., who believed in religious toleration and moral responsibility, free will – hostile to predestination. Why did the English Church turn out, in the main, so differently from the rest of Europe?

So was there no movement of Greek learning from the Byzantine Empire directly to the states of Italy? Was it all via Islamic Spain? Even though Venice was technically part of the Eastern Empire itself? The “Islamic Spain is what matters” idea seems like a unlikely theory. But I am willing to be corrected.

And why did the Church in England, certainly by the 18th century, turn out so different from both Protestant and Catholic Europe? I suspect that the answer to this question is the key to the different POLITICAL development of this land in the late 17th century and the 18th century, compared to the rest of Europe.

Beware of the Leopard

“But Mr. Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months.”

“Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn’t exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them had you? I mean like actually telling anybody or anything.”

“But the plans were on display…”

“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”

“That’s the display department.”

“With a torch.”

“Ah, well the lights had probably gone.”

“So had the stairs.”

“But look, you found the notice didn’t you?”

“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying Beware of the Leopard.”

(The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

New EU tax rules that come into force on 1 January could kill thousands of mini and micro online businesses.

The new VAT rules have been on the cards for six years and are ostensibly aimed at preventing big companies (yes, we mean you, Amazon, Apple and Starbucks) from claiming that all their European profit is made in Luxembourg (or similar tax havens) where they benefit from paying hardly any tax.

To this end, online businesses will have to pay tax in the country of the consumer buying the goods, not the business. The side effect of this seems to be that many small businesses will find themselves having to unravel miles of red tape associated with complying with 28 different VAT regimes.

(The Register)

The Government (whether it’s the EU, HMG, or the Ham-on-Rye Parish Council matters not; it’s The Government) estimated that about 4,000 British businesses would be affected. It’s turning out to be more like 250,000, some of whom have only found out about it this month. It’s unclear at this stage whether HMRC’s publicity department is housed in the basement or not.

Because make no mistake about it: this isn’t some minor adjustment that businesses who’ve been conscientious about their tax affairs would be expected to have heard of. The majority who’ll be caught out have never been registered for VAT before, and are dealing with such tiny amounts that the cost of compliance will vastly outweigh their income. If you charge anything at all for digital downloads, from January 1st you’re liable for VAT. The UK’s turnover threshold for VAT doesn’t, for some reason (presumably because you’re also paying directly to 27 other régimes), apply.

To be fair, there is a system – you gotta have a system – for “simplifying” the process, but even that is proving to be more trouble than it’ll be worth for some of these miniscule “businesses”. Which won’t bother Amazon or Apple in the slightest. Yet again, government regulation hammers the small players and leaves the intended victims practically unscathed.

(I’ll gloss over the fact that in discussions over internet sales tax exemption in the US, someone always pops up to tell everyone how much easier it would be if they had VAT instead like those enlightened Yoorpeans.)

Still, on the upside, that’s another quarter of a million recruited to oppose the EU.

The top management of Tesco supermarkets are cowards who have given in to demands for censorship.

The often attacked British press is, in reality, one of the glories of this country. In the United States the normal pattern is for there to be a single dominate newspaper in a town or city and for it to reflect the “liberal” left ideology of the education system (the “Schools of Journalism” and so on) – with, by and large, the only choices being to read the leftist line, presented as “objective, scientific, journalism” or read no newspaper. There is the New York Post, which gives an alternative view of New York and other matters, and the financial and business newspaper the Wall Street Journal (both owned by Rupert Murdoch – which is why the totalitarian left hate him, as he is basically all that stands in their way of gaining a leftist monopoly in the press), but there is little other dissent. Just as on television basically the only dissent from the leftist line is “Fox News” (also owned by Mr Murdoch) with all other television stations reflecting the leftist line.

In the United Kingdom things are very different. There are many newspapers on the left – such as the “I” and the “Independent” and the “Guardian” and the “Daily Mirror” and the “Financial Times” (anyone who thinks a financial and business newspaper can not be on the left has never met the “FT”), but there are also many newspapers on the “right” (in the conservative or old style liberal sense – not the socialist Fascist sense) – such as the “Daily Telegraph”, the “Express”, the “Daily Mail” and the “Sun”. However, annoying the press may be at times this diversity in the press is one of the glories of this country and people who hate it are like people who hate the Queen or Winston Churchill – they really hate Britain.

The left, at least the totalitarian left, seek constantly to destroy the free press in the United Kingdom. For example with the financial backing of, son of Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley, Max Mosley (who won a libel case against being accused of being involved in a Nazi themed prostitute event – although he was involved in a Nazi themed prostitute event, work-that-one-out), the left ran a campaign against the newspapers. The left also used a claim in the Guardian newspaper that employees of the Sun newspaper had deleted messages on a murdered girl’s mobile telephone (a claim that turned out to be FALSE – they did “hack” the telephone, in the hope of getting information that would help them crack the case, but they did NOT delete any messages) to get Prime Minister Cameron’s government to impose some censorship on the press. “Hacking” mobile telephones was already illegal (and was done at least as much by Daily Mirror people as by Sun people – but the left does not care about that), and the new censorship rules will not make “hacking” any more illegal – but the left’s objective is censorship, the case of the murdered little girl was just a means-to-an-end to the totalitarian left. And Mr Cameron went along with some of what they wanted (partly because he was embarrassed at employing a person who had once been involved in telephone “hacking” himself) – and he should be ashamed of that.

It should be pointed out that the “Sun” and the, now closed down,”News of the World” are-were Rupert Murdoch newspapers. The leftist campaign against them was nothing to do with them “hacking” telephones more than the leftist “Daily Mirror” people did (they did not “hack” more than Daily Mirror people did) – it was a way of attacking Mr Murdoch, whom (as I have already pointed out) the left see as the main barrier in their way of creating a leftist monopoly in the media of the United States – yes the campaign in Britain was really, in part, about the United States.

However, evil never sleeps and the left have moved on. Far left activist groups have now pushed the management of Waitrose and Tesco supermarkets to physically cover up newspapers.

What exactly has the Tesco chain of supermarkets agreed to do? They have agreed to cover up all but the titles of newspapers that are on sale. The totalitarian leftist activist groups have claimed this will “protect” children (it is always “the children”) from seeing bare breasts. However, women with no tops on are a tradition of page THREE of the Sun newspaper – not the front page, there are no bare breasts on the front page (although there are bare breasts on show in art galleries – no doubt the totalitarian left will now try and get paintings and statues banned, at least if “the children” are their real concern……..).

The cat is let out of the bag by the boasts from the totalitarian left of getting “offensive” headlines covered up – not “just” photographs, HEADLINES.

This makes it clear what this campaign is really about – it is about suppressing, literally “covering up”, any OPINION the left does not like. It is the same sort of thing as the Frankfurt School of Marxism “Political Correctness” or “Critical Theory” that now dominates the education system – turning students into brainwashed zombies who will not tolerate any non “Progressive” opinions.

The evil groups behind the censorship of the press campaign are tiny – organisations such as “Child’s Eyes” and “Stop Page Three” have few members, they could not win any elections. But they do not have to enforce their totalitarian desires by winning elections – not when they are dealing with spineless cowards.

Tesco supermarkets, like so many corporations, is a bureaucracy without any real powerful individual share owners any more. The hired managers are responsible to other hired managers (at Pension Funds and so on – institutional share owners) and they basically want a “quiet life” – they have no passion for what they do, and they have no courage, no principles for which they will risk their jobs. Besides they are mostly ex university students – with all the leftist indoctrination (brainwashing) that a modern school and university “education” implies.

These hired managers at Tesco face ruthless leftist fanatics – who are prepared to do anything, anything at all, to enforce their desire for censorship, so the easy thing to do is to SUBMIT. And, besides, with their “educated” background a lot of the managers half agree with the leftist fanatics – with the totalitarian bullyboy (and bullygirl) censors.

It is difficult not to despair.

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