Thursday, August 21, 2014

"Waste, Fraud, Abuse" Success?

Touted by the Governor's office:

On Jan. 3, 2011, Walker issued Executive Order #2, creating the Governor’s Commission on Waste, Fraud and Abuse, with marching orders to identify bloat and impropriety in state government programs and state appropriations and recommend solutions.

Good.

...The Walker administration on Wednesday announced the state Department of Revenue during the past four tax seasons has stopped $134 million in tax refunds related to fraud and adjustments....

Pretty good, too.

However.......

...Critics of the latest state budget say there is plenty of room for improvement in tracking waste in the $70-billion biennial spending plan....

So yah, maybe I'm a "critic" too.  $70 BN spent, and not a dime of "waste" found?

Crowing over 'better than Doyle' is not jumping a high bar, folks. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stupid Crook Stories

©2014 by Dean Weingarten

A career criminal has an out of wedlock child with a woman. He shows up for the child’s first birthday, only to find another man present, who also has a criminal record, but no felonies. The first criminal, enraged to find another man with the mother of his child, threatens to kidnap the one-year-old. The man without felonies fires a warning shot from a .38 to stop the threat.  The  career criminal goes to his car, pulls out a handgun and points it at the man with the .38, who promptly shoots him in the chest, killing him.  The handgun the felon retrieved from the car was a non-firing, realistic toy...

Definitely Darwin Award material.

Hint to Missouri: THIS Is a Problem

News item:

...Early Wednesday morning, Max Suchan, a law student serving as a National Lawyers Guild legal observer, was arrested. Suchan, a student at DePaul University College of Law, was released after spending about four hours in a police paddywagon, according to the guild. He has not been charged....

National Lawyers Guild, eh.

That's a Communist Party front group.  Always was, always will be.

That is a Big Problem.  Those are the guys Shakespeare wrote about.

UPDATEKengor noticed the same thing. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Chisholm and Accountability Board, Twit-Warriors

Herewith Andy McCarthy's lead graf:

It has come to this after six years of Barack Obama’s Chicago-style community-organizer governance: The hard Left no longer believes it necessary to pretend that the rule of law matters. It is politics as combat. The devolution can be measured from the trumped-up indictment of Tom DeLay to the trumped-up indictment of Rick Perry...

McCarthy didn't mention Scott Walker supporters.  He could have, of course.  Chisholm, a far-left D.A. did to Walker's supporters exactly what McCarthy describes.

IOW, Chisholm has decided to weaponize "law" to eliminate his political opponents, and he was joined in that effort by the "Accountability" Board pencil-necked geeks.

Well, if it's war that they want.....

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jazz Shaw Misses the Mark, By a Mile

Shaw, writing at HotAir, managed to miss the elephant in the room on a couple of counts.

...The old assumptions of law enforcement and their unwritten compact with the citizenry relied on a society where the police – and the laws – were respected, and criminals were a minority who would be rejected by the rank and file residents. But when the majority of an entire community decides to break that compact, the formula changes. They realize that they outnumber – and frequently outgun – the cops. A slumbering, snarling beast is awakened and in short order the police can find themselves on the run. This is not a formula for freedom of speech… it’s the path to mayhem and the breakdown of civil society. Before you’re too quick to demand the “demilitarization” of the police, you might want to remember who it is that stands between the neighborhood you have now and South Central L.A circa 1992....

Well, maybe.  But maybe not.

It is true that the 'unwritten compact' of which he writes has seemingly almost disappeared.  But the next sentence is less true than Shaw might want us to believe.  First off, it has never been "a majority of an entire community" which decides to break that compact.  Last night, the curfew was broken by perhaps 300 people, 1/10th of which were outside agitators (Black Panthers).  Further, many of the looters in Ferguson were also outsiders; arrest records show that they were residents of other States (Texas among them.)

Shaw might be in his 40's, which would excuse his apparent ignorance of the National Guard.  During the riots in Milwaukee (late '60's), it was clear that the police could not contain the disturbance.  In only 3 days, the Mayor asked for--and the Governor sent--the National Guard, which, in conjunction with the police and Sheriff, quelled the riot in only a few days.

We cannot account for the reluctance of the LA or Ferguson authorities to request the National Guard, of course.  That is a question which should be asked.

Shaw not only missed the 'call out the Guard' elephant; he also demonstrates his lack of understanding of the Principle of Subsidiarity.  Perhaps that also has to do with youth, because it certainly shouldn't be from lack of education, right?

In a well-ordered society, each level of that society has different responsibilities according to their capabilities.  When parental or adult remedies fail, the neighborhood, or church, takes up the slack.  When those fail, the municipality or County steps in.  When THEY fail, it is up to the State, and in extremis, the Feds.  (The niceties of Posse Comitatus will not be discussed here....)

What we have at the local level is a very serious case of mission creep.  One can only speculate as to why--whether it's machismo or political silliness--but in either case it's simply stupid.  I have no problem justifying body armor for the locals, sniper rifles, or locals using tear gas.  APCs?  Full-auto M16A2's?  Not so much.  They are the tools of the military and should be reserved to them.

Fortunately, each State HAS a military available on short notice.  Ferguson (and the blithering dodo (D) Gov. Nixon) should have made that call.



Saturday, August 16, 2014

Stunning Stats on Cops Killing

One could forget all about Ferguson, MO., and still recoil in horror at the stats Steyn finds.

Using the FBI's category of 'justifiable homicide' (defined  at the link) Steyn found that last year, cops killed 410 Americans.

Not a big number?  Compared to what?

By comparison, for the years 2012 and 2013 in England and Wales:
No fatal police shootings.
In the Netherlands:
The average for the last 35 years is three dead and 15 injured.
In Germany, a nation of 80 million people, police in 2011 fatally shot six persons. In Denmark, police shot 11 people in 11 years,...

Steyn also mentions that in Germany, the cops expended a grand total of 85 bullets last year (in confrontations with the public.)  And German cops utilize the "warning shot."

So about those full-auto M16A2's.......compared to what?



Where "Common Core" Is Going

There's been some chatter about "Common Core."  While its proponents insist that it's just fine, logic dictates otherwise.  The pushers of the program insist that 'curriculum' is the same, while skeptics rightly insist that "standards" will drive curriculum.

Now we know where the "standards" and the revised "curriculum" will take your little darlings when they get to the SAT.  And yes, the Big Kahoona at SAT (College Board) was heavily involved in shaping Common Core.

...Today, the history of George Washington's leadership has been erased in the new Advanced Placement (AP) U.S. History test/curriculum, taking effect in the fall of 2014.  The College Board, the organization that publishes the Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT) and AP tests, has also decided to completely blot out Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, among others.  In this newly revised course, Gen. Washington merits one fleeting mention in one sentence, in reference to his Farewell Address....

Umnnhhh....yah.

But it gets worse!  Read the linked materials.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Surprise! Another ObozoCriminal in Office!

Sure, it's a violation of Federal law to destroy official records, including emails.

So what?

Ferguson, Ruby Ridge

It may be a while before the facts are firmly established in the Ferguson situation.  One of the versions is extremely disturbing, and that's the version wherein Brown was shot in the back while fleeing.

In other words, it's akin to Ruby Ridge.

(We are also reminded of the whitewash given the UW-M KampusKop several years ago when he emptied his magazine into the back of a guy driving a Jeep.)

The other version--that Brown was shot while attempting to disarm the cop--is the one that gives us some measure of comfort such as it is, given that there is a dead young man.

This essayist reminds us that the first version is not to be dismissed out-of-hand.  He has plenty of evidence on video that cops lie.  Why not?  They're human.

We've often mentioned that the "rule of law" in this country is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, mostly because those who are the 'rulers,' particularly in the judiciary, are demolishing it.  Let's hope that this is NOT another chapter in that particular book.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sign of "Not Good" in the Economy

This outfit's same-store-sales numbers are the proverbial canary in the mineshaft.

...[Kohl's] same-store sales slipped once again, the retailer reported Thursday.

Sales at stores open at least a year, a critical measure of retailing performance, were down 1.3% for the three months ended Aug. 2, compared with 2013.

Kohl's same-store sales have fallen short of the previous year's mark in five of the last six quarters.

Shades of 2008, when they displayed a near-identical pattern.

I was conversing with a fellow in the dental-supply biz the other day who mentioned that in his business (bridges and dentures), "discretionary" spending has been about zero.  People will replace teeth if they HAVE to do so, but are not spending on "nice-to-have" work.

You can take it for what it's worth, but I think it's a "caution" sign.

"Sue and Settle" Bunch Behind EPA Extremism

The greatest dangers to your utility bill are named in this article.  Not "EPA," although they are a notorious cooperator in strangling utilities (and hiking your electric bills.)

...The finding of failure against Wisconsin and two other states was required by a consent decree in one of the Sierra Club lawsuits, Hart said. The DNR has been writing fine particle limits into its air permits, she said.
Hart said she expects the agency will submit completed rules to the EPA before the two years elapse. Work has begun on an initial step, a statement of scope, she said.

Limits on fine particles will likely need to be stricter than those Wisconsin now uses, said Sarah Williams, an attorney for Madison-based Midwest Environmental Advocates. She questioned the validity of the reasons for missing the deadline.

“They decided to take the position of ‘Wait and see if we can get away with doing less,’ ” Williams said.

Sue and settle.  That's what Sierra and Midwest Environmental Advocates do.  When these extremists don't like a rule due to some imaginary 'evils', they sue EPA.  EPA folds like a cheap suit, "settling" for some ultra-restrictive new "rule."

Your electric bill rises.  The Green Machine is happy. 

As to you obtaining food and shelter?  Tough turds, folks.

The Way We Are and The Warning from Aristotle

Fr. James Schall essays on the current situation in America, and tells us why our regime is averse to truth.  Of course, we have allowed that aversion--in fact, we have voted for it in many instances.

...Aristotle described the various configurations that are found among civil states to describe the purpose of their rule and the institutions or divisions of power designed to foster it. He reduced them to three general types—monarchy, aristocracy, and polity—and their corruptions—tyranny, oligarchy, and democracy. In addition, we have various types of “mixed regimes” that seek to combine the three simpler forms to counteract the inadequate elements in the other forms....

...The construction of the legislature, executive, and judiciary was designed to carry out most effectively the ends of the regime, be they good or bad. Aristotle also noticed that besides ruling principles according to numbers of one-few-many, each regime also had an intelligible end. The tyrant ruled for himself; the oligarchs usually ruled for money, and the democrats ruled in favor of poorer classes to obtain a liberty that had no purpose but what the individual wanted. The American founders were quite familiar with this background of Greek and Roman political thought. ...

Note the 'democrat' warning above.

[In modern parlance, d]emocracy means majority rule, individual (not community) “rights,” power located in a central ruling body, freedom to do what one wants, and government support for this random freedom. No higher law or purpose is admitted. Nothing is permitted in the public sector that does not conform to state-established laws, themselves changeable. Such a state conceives itself, as it were, as “the kingdom of God” without God

In contrast:  I use the term in the Greek sense—that is, a regime of the many that has no internal principle of rule other than the “liberty” or “freedom” to do whatever one wants. Obviously, a government composed of people who can do whatever each one wants can itself, as Hobbes intimated, do whatever it wanted. In addition, democracy is a regime of the poor who work through the government for the redistribution of goods without much realization of how they are produced. The government in such a democratic regime is conceived as a facilitator for the accomplishment of these distibutionist and free-choice ends. In practice, it is out of this chaos of unlimited choice that the rhetoric of the “leader of the people,” as Aristotle called him, arises. 

Uh-oh.

...there is such a thing as a “democratic tyranny.” Liberty without limits or principle undertakes to suppress any criticism of itself and its ways. The people are not citizens who rule themselves. They are state objects who are ruled for their own good. Rousseau’s famous law that everyone must be forced to obey because he only obeys himself is the essence of democratic tyranny and its justification...

Sound familiar?

Schall looks at the real organization of society as Aristotle understood it:

...Aristotle understood that a civil society is made up of many different entities—families, tribes, villages, trades, religions, and organizations....

We call those "intermediary institutions."  The Catholic church recognizes them as an essential category of civilization.  Schall notes the other understanding which arose from "the Enlightenment":

...The modern notion of polity from Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau—that the state is an organization made up of separate individuals over against the state—is foreign to Aristotle. In Aristotle’s tradition, human society is made up of many lesser communities, each with its own legitimacy, order, and purpose, none of which is formulated by the polity. The state does not “create” them but only at best recognizes them and provides for an order in which they can flourish. The state is the entity that gives order to other communities. They do not depend on the polity for what they are.  

 In the modern state, these entities, including religion, do depend on the state for their public existence and definition.

And of course, 'dependency' leads, ultimately, to 'subservience.'

...The primary difference between the regime in which we now live and that of the Aristotelian tradition is that, originally, the state was understood to depend on a right order or natural law. Man was by nature political. The state was not itself defined by or subject to its own arbitrary will. In other words, all regimes are subject to judgment even if their laws and customs are “freely” and “democratically” arrived at, even if they serve what the people “want.” Therefore, the distinction of good and bad regimes is based on the difference between good and evil in personal human action. The presence or absence of virtue in the souls of the citizens and their chosen ruler was the proper context of political things. ...

Aristotle would laugh out loud at "social justice," or "sinful structures."

...The United States today has a “constitution” but it is not “ruled” by a constitution. No branch of the government conceives itself to be really limited by the provisions of the constitution. The executive rules by decrees. He selects the laws he will or will not enforce. The courts decide by the will of the judges and their often odd philosophies. The legislature decides what is right by what passes into law. While there may still be some who “follow” the constitution, in practice, they are relatively insignificant. In this sense, Aristotle is a better guide to what we actually are than any of our thinkers, media, or politicians.  He understood what happened in political regimes of actual human beings. What he described is largely what we see before us, if we would but look.

And what does this mean in practice?

...The country’s course is now explained by a “rights” theory of what it stands for. Man is not by nature a “social and political animal,” but a solitary one. Society is only needed to protect the individual’s “rights” against those of others. The state, an independent entity over and above the individuals, is comprised of individual units that have “rights.” They are not “citizens” in Aristotle’s sense. Everything is entitled to them. They belong to nothing but themselves, no family, association, church, or community. Government deals directly with them as isolated beings. These “rights” do not derive from nature but from the will of a people who recognize no limit to their individual freedom to do what they want with their lives. ...

So what IS the way we are?

...The state itself is a struggle for power, for who can promise most and control most. The ruler is beyond good and evil. He must be able to use flattery and force effectively. The ruler is lonely, with few if any friends....His greatest fear is that there is a truth to things, including human things. This is why the real enemy of the present regime is the claim that truth exists, that everyone, including rulers, is bound and judged by it

That is the definition of 'democratic tyranny' in Ari's conception.

The tyrannical answer to truth is a form of “bread and circuses” wrapped in a self-righteousness that brooks no criticism. The political enterprise is conceived as taking care of the needs of the populace. It also makes the people dependent on the state and beholden to is. The populace is left in a condition of boredom and passivity, especially about ultimate things...

And that's the Way We Are.

Buy.  More.  Ammo.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Silliness!

Esenberg mentions what we all know is true:

It's one thing to criticize a candidate for not adequately negotiating the shoals of our silly public discourse about things like a "war on women." But we still ought to recognize that the discourse is, in fact, silly.

If you want to see how silly it really is, watch all those Robin Williams cuts from his early years,  Be sure to watch the Richard Pryor show stuff, or his appearance on SNL as Wm. F. Buckley.

How did we get so silly (inane might be the better word) in only 20 years?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Lots of People at the Range

Was out at McMiller yesterday afternoon with family.

Haven't been there in several years.  Not much has changed.  The new management has put a few display racks into the office building with Milford Hills-branded items and there's new signage at the entrances to the ranges, but other than that, it's pretty much the same as when Wern Valley managed it.

One other difference:  the place was jammed with people.  When we've been there in the past, the parking lot had a dozen, maybe two dozen cars.  Yesterday, there were at least 50.  Almost every station in the 10/25 yard section was occupied, and more than half of the 50/100 yard seats were taken, too.  The clays area was........ ahhhhhhhhhhh....booming.

So I asked a range officer what was going on.  He said it was the busiest day he'd seen in a long time, and added that he was pleased to see a lot of women on the range.  Looked, offhand, as though 1/4 to 1/3 of the shooters were women, a higher percentage than I've seen there before.  They were mostly at the handgun stations, but several were on the rifle ranges, too. 

Perfect weather!  We practiced a bit with the handguns (I can still out-shoot a certain family member) and broke in a new AR which shoots very well, indeed.  Helped grandchild with a .22LR rifle; he'll be ready in another 2-3 years.

Altogether, a pleasant afternoon. 

Was the size of the crowd just a one-off?  That remains to be seen, I guess.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

"Social Justice" = Lefty Manipulation

While pondering a bit on the words of Leo XIII regarding taxation and Socialism, it became even clearer that the term "social justice" is a very clever manipulation of words. 

...[Socialists] hold that by . . . transferring property from private individuals to the community, the present mischievous state of things will be set to rights [sic], inasmuch as each citizen will then get his fair share of whatever there is to enjoy . . . [This transfer is] emphatically unjust, for [it] would rob the lawful possessor, distort the functions of the State, and create utter confusion in the community . . . Every man has by nature the right to possess property as his own....

... [Although sharing one’s wealth and other temporal blessings is a requirement of Divine Law], it is a duty, not of justice (save in extreme cases), but of Christian charity—a duty not enforced by human law.

Get it?  

Justice is not applicable to a "class".  It is, strictly speaking, only applied to individuals, and one of the purposes of licit government is to apply justice impartially to all.  Here, the collective, represented by government, secures justice for individuals.

Charity, on the other hand, is a mandate which applies to individuals.  It is NOT, properly speaking, a function of government.  It is, in a way, the inverse of "justice," for charity is incumbent on an individual, and that individual (or group of them) may then bestow their gifts on a class (e.g., the poor.) 

But it's far more convenient for the Leftists--the Progressive Hive--to confuse the two.  They can--and do-- "guilt" people by yammering about 'justice,' and in doing so, leverage their tax-collection schemes, which often have the additional benefit of employing Lefty/Progressives as Gummint "charity" workers.

Neat trick!