Category Archives: Government

Mizzou Pays a Price for Appeasing the Left, by Jillian Kay Melchior

Some parents, students, and alumni are voting with their feet and their dollars against campus idiocy. From The Wall Street Journal via theburningplatform.com:

Enrollment is down more than 2,000. The campus has had to take seven dormitories out of service.

 
Melissa Click, the Mizzou instructor, at a 2015 campus protest.
Melissa Click, the Mizzou instructor, at a 2015 campus protest. Photo: Associated Press

Timothy Vaughn dutifully cheered the University of Missouri for a decade, sitting in the stands with his swag, two hot dogs and a Diet Coke. He estimates he attended between 60 and 85 athletic events every year—football and basketball games and even tennis matches and gymnastics meets. But after the infamous protests of fall 2015, Missouri lost this die-hard fan.

“I pledge from this day forward NOT TO contribute to the [Tiger Scholarship Fund], buy any tickets to any University of Missouri athletic event, to attend any athletic event (even if free), to give away all my MU clothes (nearly my entire wardrobe) after I have removed any logos associated with the University of Missouri, and any cards/helmets/ice buckets/flags with the University of Missouri logo on it,” Mr. Vaughn told administrators in an email four semesters ago.

He was not alone. Thousands of pages of emails I obtained through the Missouri Freedom of Information Act show that many alumni and other supporters were disgusted with administrators’ feeble response to the disruptions. Like Mr. Vaughn, many promised they’d stop attending athletic events. Others vowed they’d never send their children or grandchildren to the university. It now appears many of them have made good on those promises.

The commotion began in October 2015, when student activists claiming that “racism lives here” sent administrators a lengthy list of demands. Among them: The president of the University of Missouri system should resign after delivering a handwritten apology acknowledging his “white male privilege”; the curriculum should include “comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion” training; and 10% of the faculty and staff should be black.

To continue reading: Mizzou Pays a Price for Appeasing the Left

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Sen. Rand Paul: 16 years on, it’s past time to bring our troops home from Afghanistan, by Rand Paul

Good for Rand Paul; he’s stepping up to the plate. We’ll save our encomiums, however, until we see his follow through. He is, after all, a politician. From Paul at theburningplatform.com:

The Trump administration is increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan and, by doing so, keeping us involved even longer in a 16-year-old war that has long since gone past its time.

The mission in Afghanistan has lost its purpose, and I think it is a terrible idea to send any more troops into that war. It’s time to come home now.

Our war in Afghanistan began in a proper fashion. We were attacked on 9/11. The Taliban, who then controlled Afghanistan, were harboring al Qaeda, and after being warned, and after an authorization from Congress, our military executed a plan to strike back. Had I been in Congress then, I would have voted to authorize this military action.

But as is typical, there was significant mission creep in Afghanistan. We went from striking back against those who attacked us, to regime change, to nation-building, to policing their country for them. And we do it all now with an authorization that is flimsy at best, with the reason blurred, and the costs now known. We do it with an authorization that was debated and passed before some of our newest military personnel were out of diapers. This isn’t fair to them, to the American people, or to a rational foreign policy.

The Afghanistan war going beyond its original mission has an enormous cost. First and most important is the cost to our troops. Deaths, injuries and unnecessary deployments causing harm to families are certainly the most important reason as to why you don’t go to wars that aren’t necessary.

Then comes the taxpayer. We have spent over $1 trillion in Afghanistan, and nearly $5 trillion on Middle East wars in the past 15 years. Would we not be better off with $5 trillion less in debt or using these funds in other, more productive ways?

To continue reading: Sen. Rand Paul: 16 years on, it’s past time to bring our troops home from Afghanistan

 

“Full-Fledged Housing Crisis” in Silicon Valley, Insider View, by John McNellis

One culprit often behind “housing crises” is government restrictions and costs imposed on those who would build more housing. That is certainly the case in Palo Alto, the center of Silicon Valley. From John McNellis at wolfstreet.com:

As long as local officials strangle housing starts, the mirage of affordability will be pushed further toward the distant horizon.

“A full-fledged housing crisis has gripped California” — New York Times.

Yes, our housing crisis is so critical those envious bastards at The Times are proclaiming it on their front page. So critical that a local politician here is more likely to come out against world peace than affordable housing. But she’s about as likely to vote for pro-housing laws as the USA is to unilaterally reduce its nuclear stockpile.

At the 30,000 foot level — it’s pretty in the clouds — a few politicians in Sacramento are trying to pass state-wide bills to force cities to allow more residential development. Not with champagne success.

It’s less pretty in the trenches, particularly if one focuses on Silicon Valley. Ground zero for the housing shortage, the city of Palo Alto is–not coincidentally–the reigning monarch of the Lucky Location club. Thanks to the happenstance of being Stanford University’s picture frame, the town has been the spawning grounds for almost every great tech company ever.

Zillow says $200,400 is the median house price in America today. Zillow multiplies that number by 12.96 to come up with Palo Alto’s median price of $2,598,200. And even that whoa number is misleading. According to the brokerage firm of Alain Pinel, a lot in North Palo Alto–the cool part of town–goes for around $2.5 million all by itself, that is, $2.5 million before you build your dream house on it.

Is this news to anyone in Palo Alto? No. In the town’s most famous resignation letter, Kate Downing quit the Planning Commission a year ago, saying she and her husband, both well-paid professionals, could simply not afford to live there.

“After many years of trying to make it work in Palo Alto, my husband and I cannot see a way to stay in Palo Alto and raise a family here.” Ms. Downing pleaded with the city to make affordable housing its top priority. “If things keep going as they are…a once thriving city will turn into a hollowed out museum.”

To continue reading: “Full-Fledged Housing Crisis” in Silicon Valley, Insider View

 

Trump and American History Have Been Assassinated, by Paul Craig Roberts

Trump is never going to have his visage carved on Mt. Rushmore, and the four guys who are up there will probably get taken down. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

When Trump was elected I wrote that it was unlikely that he would be successful in accomplishing the three objectives for which he was elected—peace with Russia, the return home of offshored US jobs, and effective limits on non-white immigration—because these objectives conflicted with the interests of those more powerful than the president.

I wrote that Trump was unfamiliar with Washington and would fail to appoint a government that would support his goals. I wrote that unless the ruling oligarchy could bring Trump under its control,Trump would be assassinated.

Trump has been brought under control by assassinating him with words rather than with a bullet. With Steve Bannon’s dismissal, there is now no one in Trump’s government who supports him. He is surrounded by Russophobic generals and Zionists.

But this is not enough for the liberal/progressive/left. They want Trump impeached and driven from office.

Marjorie Cohn, whom I have always admired for her defense of civil liberty, has disappointed me. She has written in Truthout, which sadly has become more like PropagandaOut, that the House must bring articles of impeachment against Trump for his abuse of power and before he launches a new civil war and/or nuclear war.

This is an extraordinary conclusion for a normally intelligent person to reach. What power does Trump have? How does he abuse his non-existent power? The ruling Establishment has cut his balls off. He is neutered. Powerless. He has been completely isolated within his own government by the oligarchy.

Even more astonishingly, Marjorie Cohn, together with 100% of the liberal/progressive/left are blind to the fact that they have helped the military/security complex destroy the only leader who advocated peace instead of conflict with the other major nuclear power. Cohn is so deranged by hatred of Trump that she thinks it is Trump who will bring nuclear war by normalizing relations with Russia.

To continue reading: Trump and American History Have Been Assassinated

 

Covering Up the Massacre of Mosul, by Nicolas J.S. Davies

The US military has trouble counting how many people it kills, especially civilians. From Nicolas J.S. Davies at antiwar.com:

Iraqi Kurdish military intelligence reports have estimated that the nine-month-long U.S.-Iraqi siege and bombardment of Mosul to oust Islamic State forces killed 40,000 civilians. This is the most realistic estimate so far of the civilian death toll in Mosul.

But even this is likely to be an underestimate of the true number of civilians killed. No serious, objective study has been conducted to count the dead in Mosul, and studies in other war zones have invariably found numbers of dead that exceeded previous estimates by as much as 20 to one, as a United Nations-backed Truth Commission did in Guatemala after the end of its civil war. In Iraq, epidemiological studies in 2004 and 2006 revealed a post-invasion death toll that was about 12 times higher than previous estimates.

The bombardment of Mosul included tens of thousands of bombs and missiles dropped by U.S. and “coalition” warplanes, thousands of 220-pound HiMARS rockets fired by US Marines from their “Rocket City” base at Quayara, and tens or hundreds of thousands of 155-mm and 122-mm howitzer shells fired by US, French and Iraqi artillery.

This nine-month bombardment left much of Mosul in ruins (as seen here), so the scale of slaughter among the civilian population should not be a surprise to anybody. But the revelation of the Kurdish intelligence reports by former Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari in an interview with Patrick Cockburn of the U.K.’s Independent newspaper makes it clear that allied intelligence agencies were well aware of the scale of civilian casualties throughout this brutal campaign.

The Kurdish intelligence reports raise serious questions about the US military’s own statements regarding civilian deaths in its bombing of Iraq and Syria since 2014. As recently as April 30, 2017, the US military publicly estimated the total number of civilian deaths caused by all of the 79,992 bombs and missiles it had dropped on Iraq and Syria since 2014 only as “at least 352.” On June 2, it only slightly revised its absurd estimate to “at least 484.”

To continue reading: Covering Up the Massacre of Mosul

You stand a higher chance of being crushed by a vending machine. by Simon Black

Most animals know danger when they sense it. Humans often sense and fear remote dangers but are oblivious to more immediate threats. From Simon Black at internationalman.com:

There’s something I’ve always found mesmerizing about watching animals in the wild.

They have the most incredible instincts, honed from countless generations of survival against constant threats.

Animals have a keen sense of danger. They know immediately when something doesn’t feel right, and they act on it without hesitation.

I saw an incredible example of this last year when I was visiting a remote wildlife reservation in Zimbabwe.

It was late in the afternoon on a hot summer day, and my friends and I were ensconced in a hidden observation bunker situated on the edge of a water hole.

The animals all began to arrive, one species at a time, to cool off before nightfall. First the elephants. Then Rhinos. Zebras. Giraffes. Baboons.

It was a playful mood; all the animals seemed to be enjoying the water, when without warning, there was a stillness. The gazelles froze. The zebras’ ears perked.

Something wasn’t right. A smell. A sound. Something.

So they got the hell out of there.

We found out later that a ravenous pack of hyenas was on the prowl nearby, so the animals’ instincts were spot-on.

Deep, deeeep down, human beings have the same highly refined instincts.

Our long-lost ancestors struggled against every imaginable danger. And those lessons are hard-coded in our DNA.

We sense threats. We can feel it when something’s wrong.

The difference between our species and animals in the wild, though, is that we humans have way too many external influences that muck it all up.

Case in point: last week was obviously a tough one for anyone with any sense of humanity.

Acts of terrorism are scary.

And hearing about completely innocent people on a popular pedestrian promenade getting mowed down like bowling pins by some madman is definitely going to cause some discomfort.

But down here in Latin America at least, there was ensuring wall-to-wall news coverage for the next several days in a way I hadn’t seen since 9/11.

It’s all we saw. Terrorism. Terrorism. Terrorism.

To continue reading: You stand a higher chance of being crushed by a vending machine.

I believe in the American ideal, and that’s why I don’t live there. by Jeff Thomas

The reasoning doesn’t come any more crystal clear than in this article. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

Back in the late 18th century, the American colonies were made up largely of self-reliant people who had a strong work ethic. Most had either been born in the UK, or their parents or grandparents were born there. What set them apart from their fellow Britons was that they didn’t simply accept their lot in life back in the UK. They chose the more uncertain outcome of life in the colonies. They therefore had the courage, imagination, and desire to create their own destiny, traits that their fellow Britons did not possess.

Not surprising, then, that they carved out thirteen very productive and prosperous colonies, without the burden of a top-heavy, overreaching government. When the UK government sought to increase taxation and control (i.e., enslave) the colonists, there was rebellion. The tax being exacted by King George was miniscule by today’s standards, but that wasn’t the point. They fought against enslavement, and, in their talks of independence, they emphasized this point.

The American ideal, first and foremost, was freedom. They weren’t seeking entitlements, or promises of government-generated jobs, or protection from the natives. They had already learned how to protect themselves, create their own jobs, and provide for themselves. They were prepared to be self-reliant as one of the prices of freedom.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, it was with the intention of creating a document upon which all the other delegates to the Constitutional Convention could agree as a basic set of understandings. In doing so, he not only unified the colonies; he also defined freedom for every generation of people that came after him, whether they were American or from any other country in the world.

To continue reading: I believe in the American ideal, and that’s why I don’t live there.