Tuesday, February 11, 2014

History is crazy

No wonder the Left keep revising history.  The reality is so strange that only conservatives could cope with it.

Take for instance the death of Queen Victoria at  the age of 81 in 1901.  She died in the arms of a member of her family.  Who was  that family member?  You would  never guess.  It was Kaiser Bill, Wilhelm II, the German emperor!  He was her grandson.

And yet Germany and Britain were at war only 13 years later.

Such a strange sequence of events requires explanation.  Because she had so many daughters, Queen Victoria became the grandmother of Europe.  An English princess was a great catch so the German emperor  -- father of Kaiser Bill -- got one.  Her descendants eventually occupied the thrones of no less than nine European countries

And Edward VII, Victoria's son, who was such a scapegrace in his youth as to be the complete despair of his strait-laced parents,  actually turned out to be a very good King.  He had the mildly reformist ideas of his father  -- Prince Albert -- and was a generally good-natured soul who was known for treating everybody equally, regardless of their rank or importance.  So if there was a problem for Britain anywhere in the world, the Foreign Office would send him out to visit.  Even as a young man he was a great success abroad.  When he visited America  in his capacity as Prince of Wales in 1860, he was so popular that he spent months there, meeting just about everybody who was anybody.   Prayers for the Royal family were said in Trinity Church, New York, for the first time since 1776.

So on his Royal visits he would shake hands all round, make all the right noises and charm everybody.  And that part of the world would then resume lying down peacefully under the British crown.  Having met the King himself and finding him such a pleasant and reasonable chap, how could they do otherwise?  So against his parents' initial expectations, Edward turned out to be a great asset to British diplomacy.  And Edward's wife was the sister of the Tsarina of Russia!  And that Tsarina had a son who in time became Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. So the new Tsar was Edward's nephew.  Beat that!

And, as it happens, Edward got on well with his nephew the Tsar.  But NEITHER got on well with Wilhelm II. Queen Vic. kept the peace between them all while she was alive but after that  it all went downhill.  So we see that personalities can influence politics.  Wilhelm was even a frequent visitor to Balmoral in Vic's lifetime and there are as a result of that a number of photos of Wilhelm in Highland dress.

I have written previously on the multifarious causes of the dreadful WWI.  This adds another, though more minor one.

Below is a picture of Wilhelm as a child accompanying his father (later Friedrich III).  Both are in Highland dress, at Balmoral.  So Queen Victoria's autumn retreat in Scotland was a familiar place for Wilhelm.


Leftist hate of their own society pops out again

In theory, Leftists should be vehemently critical of Islam.  It stands for everything they claim to oppose:  religious rule, maltreatment of women and executing homosexuals.  So why do Leftists cosy up to Islam?  Because the only genuine motive of the Left is hatred of Western society.  And Muslims share that hate

What are you doing for Valentine's Day? Bleeding-heart progressives across the country are raising money for "an evening of music, song and sharing love for recently released People's Lawyer Lynne Stewart." Warm fuzzies for one of the world's most notorious terrorist helpers? I can't think of a more stomach-turning way to mark the holiday.

Thanks to the Obama administration, Stewart walked out of prison on New Year's Eve. She is reportedly suffering stage-four breast cancer. Now she's passing the plate among her supporters, asking them to foot the bill for her health insurance deductibles and co-pays, as well as for a "special diet, vitamins and other healing methods." What, no Obamacare?  

Has Stewart shown exceptional remorse or good behavior to warrant such compassion? Don't forget: Both the Bureau of Prisons and a federal judge previously had denied Stewart's petition for a compassionate release, but a U.S. Attorney intervened. This preferential treatment is extraordinary: Since 1992, the annual average number of prisoners who receive compassionate release has been less than two-dozen.  

Let me remind you of what she did, who benefited, who died and how she has acted since being caught red-handed and freed.  

Stewart was convicted in 2005 of helping terrorist Omar Abdel Rahman -- the murderous Blind Sheik -- smuggle coded messages of Islamic violence to outside followers in violation of an explicit pledge to abide by her client's court-ordered isolation. Rahman, Stewart's "political client," had called on Muslims to "destroy" the West, "burn their companies, eliminate their interests, sink their ships, shoot down their planes, kill them on the sea, air or land." He issued bloody fatwas against U.S. "infidels" that inspired the 1993 WTC bombing, the 1997 massacre of Western tourists in Luxor, Egypt, and the 9/11 attacks.

Stewart ignored a judge's communications ban, transmitting Rahman's edicts of violence to fellow jihadist Rifa'l Ahman Tara in Egypt. She smuggled out a coded order to his followers lifting a ceasefire between his terrorist group and the Egyptian government.



The Sunstone is losing its shine

Sunstein's "Paranoid Libertarianism" Is Just As Mainstream As Modern Liberalism

The specter of "paranoid libertarianism" continues to haunt American liberals. Hot on the heels of Sean Wilentz's recent fretting in The New Republic that Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, and Julian Assange have undermined the case for big government by drawing too much attention to various instances of big government malfeasance, former Obama administration official Cass Sunstein has now weighed in with his own contribution to the genre, an op-ed titled "How to Spot a Paranoid Libertarian."

According to Sunstein, paranoid libertarianism is characterized by such pathologies as "a presumption of bad faith on the part of government officials--a belief that their motivations must be distrusted," as well as "a belief that liberty, as paranoid libertarians understand it, is the overriding if not the only value, and that it is unreasonable and weak to see relevant considerations on both sides."

Sunstein tries very hard to make that sound like dangerous and exotic stuff, but in fact what he's really describing is mainstream American jurisprudence when it comes to such vast areas of the law as free speech, voting, abortion, privacy, and gay rights. In those areas, our judicial system basically operates exactly as Sunstein describes: it subjects government regulations to what lawyers call strict (or intermediate) scrutiny. In essence, judges presume that the government has acted illegitimately when it legislates in such areas, and therefore forces the government to shoulder the burden of proof and justify its actions with extremely convincing rationales. Why do the courts place these government actions under the microscope? To protect the people's liberty to speak, vote, associate, and enjoy various forms of privacy. One more thing: American liberals overwhelmingly favor this approach in such cases.

Here's a recent example. During the March 2012 oral argument over the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan openly questioned the motives of each and every member of Congress who voted in favor of that law. "We have a whole series of cases which suggest the following," Kagan told Republican lawyer Paul Clement, who was arguing in favor of DOMA. "That when Congress targets a group that is not everybody's favorite group in the world, that we look at those cases with some...some rigor to say, do we really think that Congress was doing this for uniformity reasons, or do we think that Congress's judgment was infected by dislike, by fear, by animus, and so forth?"

Is Elena Kagan a "paranoid libertarian"? Judging by Sunstein's definition, the answer is yes. Welcome to the brave new world.



Young People Still Getting Hosed by Unemployment in Obama's Economy, Losing Prime Earning Years

For two months in a row, and quite frankly for the past five years, the unemployment report from the Department of Labor has been nothing short of pathetic. Although the unemployment rate is falling, giving the false perception that less people are out of work, millions have stopped looking for work and have dropped out of the labor force. But there's one subsection of the unemployment picture that doesn't get discussed enough: the young unemployed can't find jobs and haven't been able to for years.

The teenage unemployment rate sits at 21 percent, which is more than three times the national unemployment rate of 6.6 percent. CNSNews breaks down the numbers:

 The teen unemployment rate went up in January to 20.7% -- from 20.2% in December-- and is now more than three times the national unemployment rate of 6.6%, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Then of course there's the millennial generation. According to Generation Opportunity, the unemployment rate for 19-31-year-olds is 15.8 percent.

 The declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.922 million young adults that are not counted as "unemployed" by the U.S. Department of Labor because they are not in the labor force, meaning that those young people have given up looking for work due to the lack of jobs.

The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds, which adjusts for labor force participation by including those who have given up looking for work, is 15.8 percent (NSA). The (U-3) unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds is 11.3 percent (NSA).

In addition, a new report shows nearly one in four 26-year-olds are living at home with mom and dad.

 A ten-year survey of millennials reveals that almost one in four (22.6%) 26-year-olds are still living with their parents.

The U.S. Department of Education report confirmed that, if you are tired of living with Mom and Dad, then do your homework and stay in school. According to the survey titled "Where Are They Now," education makes a difference: generally those with more schooling were less likely to be living at home. The study shed some light on how older millennials have been faring during the Great Recession.

According to a Pew Research analysis of the 2012 data, lower levels of employment, an increase in college enrollment, and a decrease in young people getting married are major factors in the increase of millennials living at home.

By the time Barack Obama leaves office, millennials will have spent nearly a decade and prime working years, jobless. Considering 2/3 of lifetime wage growth occurs in a person's 20s, the young unemployment trend is alarming.

 Dr. Meg Jay, author of a new book called The Defining Decade, says that a significant portion of your lifetime earning potential happens in your 20s, making it critical to get out there and get working. She estimates that as much as two-thirds of lifetime wage growth happens during just the first 10 years of a career. Once you hit your 40s, salaries will peak or plateau, making it hard or impossible to catch up if you only start getting serious about your career in your 30s.



The TSA: An Inside Scoop

Former TSA agent Jason Edward Harrington has gone public describing the uglier aspects of his five year gig acting in airport security theater. “I hated it from the beginning,” Harrington said. “It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show. I confiscated jars of homemade apple butter on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security. I was even required to confiscate nail clippers from airline pilots – the implied logic being that pilots could use the nail clippers to hijack the very planes they were flying.”

Of course, none of that is really news to anyone who has flown since 9/11, but this is confirmation straight from a former agent. Harrington went even further explaining the preposterous protocol: “Once, in 2008, I had to confiscate a bottle of alcohol from a group of Marines coming home from Afghanistan. It was celebration champagne intended for one of the men in the group – a young, decorated soldier. He was in a wheelchair, both legs lost to an I.E.D., and it fell to me to tell this kid who would never walk again that his homecoming champagne had to be taken away in the name of national security.” It's heartbreaking and outrageous that a man who lost his limbs in service to his country was subsequently treated just like the Islamofascist terrorists who made his mission necessary.

As for those infamous $150,000-apiece full-body scanners, Harrington said, “We knew [they] didn't work before they were even installed.” He recalled that an instructor admitted that distinguishing between body fat and plastic explosives was nearly impossible. But on the other hand, yes, the “security” agents could see you naked and, yes, they were laughing at you. Harrington concluded, “Most TSA officers I talked to told me they felt the agency's day-to-day operations represented an abuse of public trust and funds.” We can't argue with that.

Finally, we'd be remiss if we didn't note that the TSA was brought to you by a Republican Congress and a Republican president. Indeed, it should be incumbent on the party to explain why, if given the reins of power again, things would be different next time.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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