Mike Kelly (R- PA 3rd ), at hearings this week. reams acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller and receives a standing ovation.
The Graeco-Egyptian deity Serapis is commonly depicted wearing a modius (a sort of Egyptian headgear favored by Elusinian deities). Roman copy after a Greek original from the 4th century BC, stored in the Serapaeum of Alexandria. Vatican Museum
The argument that there exists a supposed “right to marry” currently in some cases unfulfilled is clearly specious. In the first place, everyone in the United Stated already enjoys exactly the same right to marry right now. What some people are demanding is not the opportunity to marry, which they already possess. What they are demanding is the right to redefine marriage and the recognition of the state of other kinds of associations (the sort they desire) as the same thing as marriage, and as marriage’s moral and social equal.
The proposition that the association of a pair of persons of the same sex is just as good, just as valuable to society, just as morally acceptable as marriage is unquestionably a controversial proposition, and one from which a very large portion of the population of the United States would dissent. It is about as good a case as you could possibly find of a matter of theoretical moral and religious opinion on which rational men of good will are inevitably going to differ.
The American tradition is one of pluralism and we are theoretically constitutionally committed to state neutrality on issues of religious faith and morals. So, the real question ought to be: what is the authentically neutralist position that the state ought to be taking on the practice of same sex marriage?
It is widely agreed that the state has no right to enforce traditional religious morality or to interfere with the voluntary and private actions of consenting adults. And that is the status quo. No liberty of association of same sex couples is currently being infringed. No one is stopping them from living together. No one is interfering with their sexual relations. No one is even preventing them from conducting whatever sort of ceremonies of mutual commitment they desire, or preventing them from describing themselves within their own circles as married. The same sex marriage offensive is not really aimed at gaining for same sex couples the ability to file joint tax statements or the other practical benefits of matrimony. If insurance coverage, pension benefits, and joint tax returns were really the issue, we would be discussing some kind of civil union arrangements and the level of controversy and heat of argument would be very different.
What same sex couples want, however, is not really something practical. What they want is the Same Sex equivalent of the Civil Rights Bill of 1964. They want federally-enforced moral and social equality. They want the government on their side, enforcing their worldview and their moral perspective on everybody else.
Same sex marriage advocates refer routinely to “Marriage Equality,” but no system of real equality allows someone who is actually not equal to someone else in specific characteristics pertaining to any kind of special conventionally recognized status to simply change the definition in order to gain access to prestige and privileges associated with that status for which he is not qualified.
On the contrary, the ability to modify the fundamental definition of an important institution to benefit oneself is really not “Equality” at all. It is actually a most extraordinary kind of special power and privilege, not normally accessible or available to anyone.
The spectacular inequality characteristic of the contest for “Marriage Equality” can even be seen in the history of the case currently before the Supreme Court. In California, in 2004, the mayor of San Francisco simply set aside state law and began issuing same sex wedding licenses. In doing so, he deliberately ignored a statute passed by the State Legislature in 1977, and a ballot initiative (Proposition 22) passed by a margin of 61.4% in 2000. The State Supreme Court, however, in 2008, intervened to rule, In re Marriage Cases, in favor of Same Sex Marriage. Which, in turn, produced Proposition 8, another ballot initiative in which Californians affirmed their opposition to state recognition of Same Sex Marriage.
In the entire history of the matter, we find a special interest group (the Same Sex community) allied with the national community of fashion elite determined, by hook or by crook, to have their way.
What the issue really revolves around is the determination of the national elite to impose its own faith and morals position coercively, using government, on everybody else.
Same Sex Marriage advocates are particularly fond of attacking a strawman argument, and pointing out that recognizing Same Sex Marriage does not practically impact traditional marriages. They would be indignant, I am sure, if I were to note in reply, that Same Sex Marriage does, however, insult and demean, by travestying traditional marriage, by the imitation of its form, and the usurpation of its honorable status by that which is not honorable.
A fraudulent libertarian argument commonly used tries to contend that no one else is injured if Same Sex couples are recognized by the state as married.
Suppose, just for example, that another wonderful new species of Enlightenment swept the land, and that the intelligentsia, the international elite, Hollywood, the mainstream media, and, what Vito Corleone used to call the Pezzonovante all suddenly converted to the Hellenic and Elusinian cult of Serapis. You and I might continue to think in terms of Christmas and Easter, and all that, but Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, the presidents of Yale and Harvard, the editorial board of the New York Times, Sean Penn, Tina Fey, Oprah Winfrey, and the rest were all now mad keen worshipers of the god Serapis. And now they want the image of Serapis placed on the US dollar bill in the place of the portrait of George Washington.
It would just be a small concession of Elusinian Equality. Who would it hurt? Only the uncharitable and mean-spirited could possibly deny a school of thought discriminated against for two thousand years its basic dignity.
Dan Greenfield explains the new American economic system.
In the oligarchy the wealthy form a natural aristocracy, but it isn’t an aristocracy of talent, it’s the accretion of closeness to power. This aristocracy changes in composition with revolutions, but its nature remains the same. It is a collection of the people with the best lobbyists, the best bribes and the closest cultural ties to whoever is in power. Any member of the oligarchy can have his wealth and influence stripped away in minutes at the behest of the regime.
Even as American Exceptionalism declined, the remaining free enterprise aspects of the country kept the American Dream alive. For a while that American Dream, the ability to enter the country and move up the economic ladder became the sum of the nation. Generations of politicians reduced the meaning of the United States to a nation of immigrants where any new arrival could launch his own business and make money.
The rise of the oligarchy is foreclosing that dream leaving only the nation of immigrants struggling within a complicated political hierarchy for government handouts from a political movement that denounces some tycoons at the behest of other tycoons. It’s the oligarchy at war for control of the dead present, even as it kills the past and the future to accommodate its plans.
It is the end of America and the rise of an Obamerica. Obamerica will still have great reserves of wealth, but on average it be far poorer and far less productive.
Obamerica will be known as a party country, a good place to buy the good things if you are one of the sons of the rich or are a tourist from a rich country. Obamericans will be described as sensuous and spontaneous pleasure-loving people. Obamerican cities will be violent, dangerous and exciting places full of decadence. Its slums will be full of drug dealers and child prostitutes. Most Obamericans will not believe in the future, but will cheerfully accept the misery of the present. They will hate the rich, but long to be in their place so that they can stomp on the poor. The old prosperous nation will be gone and in its place will be the oligarchy.
A growing number of firearm and firearm-related companies have stated they will no longer sell items to states, counties, cities and municipalities that restrict their citizens’ rights to own them.
According to The Police Loophole, 34 companies have joined in publicly stating that governments who seek to restrict 2nd Amendment rights will themselves be restricted from purchasing the items they seek to limit or ban.
Hat tip to Theo.
The Daily Mail reports on spectacular accusations made by Benghazi: The Definitive Report, an eBook published yesterday, which apparently reveals the inside story behind the exposure and resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus.
David Petraeus was betrayed by his own bodyguards and vengeful high-ranking enemies in the CIA, who made sure his affair with his biographer was exposed to the public. ...
Senior CIA officers targeted Petraeus because they didn’t like the way he was running the agency – focusing more on paramilitary operations than intelligence analysis. They used their political clout and their connections to force an FBI investigation of his affair with Paul Broadwell and make it public, according to ‘Benghazi: The Definitive Report.’
‘It was high-level career officers on the CIA who got the ball rolling on the investigation. It was basically a palace coupe to get Petraeus out of there,’ Jack Murphy, one of the authors, told MailOnline. ...
Perhaps the most startling accusation in the book is that Petraeus’ affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell was leaked by the members of his personal protection detail.
The authors say that senior intelligence officers working on the 7th floor of Central Intelligence headquarters in Langley, Virginia, used their political clout to ensure that the FBI investigated the former Army general’s personal life.
They then told Petraeus that they would publicly humiliate him if he didn’t admit the affair and resign.
Hat tip to John Fund, who adds:
A lot of fact-checking will have to be done to substantiate the claims by Webb and Murphy. But from my own reporting, I have learned that no one runs afoul of senior CIA officials — or John Brennan — lightly or without peril. CIA officials angry at the Bush administration’s treatment of the agency in 2006 helped elevate the Valerie Plame affair into a national scandal and crippled much of the White House’s ability to conduct foreign policy. In the end, there was precious little evidence of any real security breach or wrongdoing beyond a perjury conviction of Scooter Libby, a top aide to Vice President Cheney.
Roger Kimball lives in one of the Fairfield County, Connecticut towns bordering Long Island Sound, and his neighborhood was hit by Sandy. He has to repair his home, and consequently ran into the nightmare regime of building codes and zoning regulation that prevails everywhere in developed portions of America.
Our first exposure to the town zoning authorities came a couple of weeks after Sandy. We’d met with insurance adjusters, contractors and “remediation experts.” We’d had about a foot of Long Island Sound sloshing around the ground floor of our house in Connecticut, and everyone had the same advice: Rip up the floors and subfloors, and tear out anything—wiring, plumbing, insulation, drywall, kitchen cabinets, bookcases—touched by salt water. All of it had to go, and pronto, too, lest mold set in.
Yet it wasn’t until the workmen we hired had ripped apart most of the first floor that the phrase “building permit” first wafted past us. Turns out we needed one. “What, to repair our own house we need a building permit?”
Before you could get a building permit, however, you had to be approved by the Zoning Authority. And Zoning—citing FEMA regulations—would force you to bring the house “up to code,” which in many cases meant elevating the house by several feet. Now, elevating your house is very expensive and time consuming—not because of the actual raising, which takes just a day or two, but because of the required permits.
Kafka would have liked the zoning folks. There also is a limit on how high in the sky your house can be. That calculation seems to be a state secret, but it can easily happen that raising your house violates the height requirement. Which means that you can’t raise the house that you must raise if you want to repair it. Got that?
Read the whole thing.
I blogged about a second-hand horror experience with building codes back in 2011:
One day, while I was still living on the SF peninsula in San Carlos, I went outside to get something from my car, and the pretty Oriental young lady who lived in the house across the street (whose name I did not even know, we had only been on waving-hello terms) ran crying into my arms.
She and her husband, a silver-haired, distinguée executive-type who drove an S-class Mercedes, had purchased the typical run-down 1960s-era California spec house across the street from our rental for something north of a cool million. They then proceeded to gut snd completely rebuild the place. Construction activity had been going for about two years, and seemed finally to be nearing completion. I thought these neighbors seemed likely to be about to take up residence just about the same time I was scheduled to depart.
My neighbor began sobbing out her story. A building inspector from the city of San Carlos had just left. He had disapproved of the nails used to attach the wire-mesh to the outside of the house which had already been covered with stucco cement and painted. Because the city didn’t like the contractor’s choice of nail, my neighbors were going to have to give up plans to move in. They would be obliged to tear off the entire new exterior surface of their house, and re-attach new wire mesh and stucco, and paint the whole thing all over again. It would take months to do the demolition and exterior covering again, and it would cost a lot of money.
Beyond the many tens of thousands of dollars all that extra construction was going to cost, they’d have to do an additional move (their lease was up) and pay thousands of unnecessary dollars a month for another rental house. My neighbors had been hit with six figures in extra expenses by the local building code enforcement system over a nail.
No wonder the poor girl was sobbing. She probably felt a lot like Richard III.
In all the suburban enclaves of the community of fashion, layers of officials have erected regulatory empires funded by the tax dollars of the generally oblivious ordinary citizen. No rational person would buy a home burdened with exorbitant levels of taxation which he can only actually use with the grudging permission of hostile and tyrannical officialdom, but one always discovers the character of one’s place of residence too late.
Really, the best choice is the complete reverse of what most people desire. Instead of living in the most toney neighborhood, surrounded by affluent neighbors with prestigious careers and elite educations, you want to live in a rural township: the kind of place lacking in prestige, fashionability, and good restaurants, where your neighbors are all rednecks and poor. That kind of township will have next to no government, taxes will be extremely low, your neighbors will be friendly, and you can hire labor at cheap rates.
Community of Fashion, Culture Wars, Gay Marriage, George Will, History, Popular Delusions, Supreme Court
George Will, on ABC News recently, did everything but sing Hallelujah to the river gods as civilization appeared ready to slide another long mile downstream, with the Supreme Court announcing its intention to intervene in the culture wars conflict over Same Sex Marriage in the grim immediate aftermath of the 2012 election.
While Supreme Court watchers ponder how justices will come down in the debate over gay marriage, ABC’s George Will said Sunday on ABC News “This Week” it’s clear where public opinion is headed.
“There is something like an emerging consensus,” Will said, noting voters in three states recently endorsed same-sex marriage initiatives. [emphasis added] “Quite literally, the opposition to gay marriage is dying. It’s old people.”
Why, I wonder, is George Will apparently surprised that young people are so commonly successfully-brainwashed subscribers to establishment community of fashion articles of faith, like the principle that no mere theory should ever be allowed to stand in the way of immediate individual personal gratification, or the even more important principle that Equality is the utmost supreme value transcending all other values?
It always looks exactly this way in every culture wars battle. Young people care nothing for theories and tradition and everything for fashionable opinion and being nice.
But Mr. Will overlooks a couple of important considerations.
Young people inevitably grow older and gain experience and most of them recover from the illusions with which they were indoctrinated during their school years. Time is not really on the side of the progressive left. Conservatives and sane rational people do not just grow old, die off, and become extinct, leaving behind a Saturnalia of progressive fantasy. What really happens is that each generation of dummer jungen gradually matures, turning from radicals and fashionistas into sober and responsible burgesses, tax payers, and adults. The gleeful supporters of free love and transgressive sex turn into censorious grey-haired married couples with children of their own.
In the end, you simply wind up with the repetition of the comedy of a society always divided nearly evenly between the party of the young, the radical, and the stupid and the party of the adults.
We have a serious problem in America in having allowed too many important institutions to fall into the hands of an unworthy and only-superficially-intelligent intelligentsia. But we do not need to despair.
George Will obviously spends too much of his time in the fantasy cocoon of media culture. He has succumbed to believing in the left’s narrative of the grand march of Progress, of the inevitable and irreversible movement of society in the direction of coercive egalitarianism, materialism, and statism.
George Will has forgotten the first thing any conservative ought to remember. Magna est veritas et prævalebit. (“The truth is mighty and it shall prevail.” The Revolutionary Convention may renumber the calendar and change the name of the months to “the windy one” and “the rainy one,” an infatuated majority of supreme court justices may decide that the intention of the framers guarantees the sacramental equality of sexual perversion, but History will go on, and absurdities, grotesqueries, and the wild excesses of human folly and obsession over time typically fall of their own weight. Later generations laugh at the Victorian sexual pudeur that once installed skirts on piano legs, and succeeding generations will similarly marvel at the extravagantly bizarre positions so many in our own era were driven to by the current dementia founded upon egalitarianism.
There has never, in the entire history of the human race, been any society or culture that regarded homosexual attraction as a basis for lifelong monogamous relations or which looked upon the sterile couplings of members of the same sex as worthy of the dignity of recognition as equivalent to normal marriage.
Today’s moral breakdown and intellectual disorder may possibly lead to the official proclamation of such absolute nonsense as the new law of the land, but the left’s fools and demoniacs can never possibly in the long run succeed in establishing permanently so preposterously-based an institution as Same Sex Marriage.
Clark Judge, at Ricochet, explains that though the federal government has been been enormously, fantastically expanding the money supply, the new electronically created dollars have not actually fueled an expansion of business credit.
A successful software entrepreneur and school friend sent me this chilling email last week:
Yesterday I was speaking to a banker in central California who related how he is being prevented from doing his job due to the compliance people (read government pressures) and could not convince the powers-to-be to make a loan despite his long history of good decisons. I hear stories daily regarding how people have seen orders evaporate as a result of the election. Multply this across the nation to understand the impact.
But how could loans be scarce when the Fed has been printing money at an unprecedented rate?
Here is Cato Institute and Johns Hopkins economist Steve Hanke’s explanation, from a recent EconTalk podcast:
[S]tart with Lehman’s collapse in September 2008. That’s a convenient date. Since that point in time, the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has increased roughly by three and a half times. So that means they are buying a lot of these [U.S. government] bonds….
Now that means that high-powered money, or what I call state money—the amount of money produced by the state—has more or less tripled. It’s exploded…. [S]tate money has increased from about 6.5% of the total money supply, when you measure the money supply properly with a broad measure, like M3—so we went from state money being at about 6.5% at the time Lehman collapsed, until now it’s about 15% ....
[In other words] state money is peanuts. What really is important is bank money—and bank money is created by the commercial banking system and shadow banking system, and that’s what really counts.
So, in a way we have had the following scenario develop after Lehman: We’ve had ultra-loose monetary policy with regard to state money and the Federal Reserve.But with the financial regulation that was legislated with Dodd-Frank, and also with what is called the Basel capital requirements, and specifically Basel III, which is being imposed on banks—to increase the capital-asset ratios of the banks.These two things—financial regulation and Basel—have in effect imposed ultra-tight monetary policy on the banking system and bank money.
So, as a result of the two, we’ve had the total amount of the money supply actually being very anemic, not growing very much at all. And in fact, if you look at a trend line since 2009 and look at the endpoint today of the trend line as you are going left to right, that point is about 7.5% higher than the actual level of the money supply that we have.
So, you could argue that relative to trend we’ve got a deficiency of about 7.5% in broad money. And the reason why is that the dominating feature has been the reregulation of banks and the tight monetary policy imposed on bank money. Which accounts for 85% of the total amount of money in the economy.
Basel III is an international banking agreement—one of a series dating to the late 1980s—that is imposing increased reserve requirements on major money center banks globally, and is being applied in the U.S., it turns out, on regional banks, too. Thanks to it and Dodd-Frank, regulators are forcing U.S. banks to shift their portfolios toward U.S. government debt and other assets that qualify as reserves. This is, of course, very convenient at a time of World War II-scale federal borrowing needs made bigger by the president and his Congressional allies insisting on more entitlement and other domestic spending, meaning more debt, not less.
Non-interference with sacred and beautiful wild creatures (Just look at those beautiful cormorants!) is obviously a higher value to all Californians than mere human convenience.
The saga now playing out in La Jolla Cove is the epitome of regulatory stupidity. In a rocky area by the cove once open to people but now fenced off for safety reasons, the feces of cormorants and seagulls just keeps piling up, generating a stench that can carry as far as a mile. Dry conditions, a hot summer and other factors have made this a gross everyday problem for the cove area, not an occasional annoyance.
So why can’t city work crews simply take care of the problem? Why can’t biodegradable cleaning products be used to make the stench disappear, as suggested by San Diego Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, who represents the area? Why can’t any reason or common sense come to the fore?
Because of complex environmental rules stemming from the cove’s designation as a state-protected “Area of Special Biological Significance.” Officials say it could take two years to get various state agencies to OK cleaning procedures.
George Savage explains the “heads, we win; tails, you lose” character of liberal statism.
Nowadays in America, statists win even when they lose. More specifically, under our dominant cultural assumptions the failure of any left-liberal policy leads, inexorably, to its entrenchment and expansion. For the Left, this is a feature not a bug.
The most striking example is public education, where a nationwide left-liberal apparatus directs a producer-centric system that delivers an objectively awful product at absurd cost. Our exquisite political sensitivities limit the mainstream debate to the input function: more resources, smaller class sizes, additional teachers’ aides. When education funding is increased, dues skimmed from union paychecks entrench leftist politicians responsible for the failing status quo. Win win.As they say on late night television, “But wait, there’s more.” Sustaining an incompetent educational system yields a multiplier effect: the formation of poorly educated citizens ill-equipped to challenge misinformation and outright lies from their rulers. This is how, only thirty years after the Reagan Renaissance, Barack Obama could claim financial crisis and recession resulted from laissez faire government circa 2007. He was confident that a majority of voters would be ignorant of the facts. And he was correct.
Read the whole thing.
He mentions Obamacare, but neglects to note that health care reform was advanced to solve the problem of out-of-control health services costs, and those extraordinary costs really came about as the result of cost transfer billing in response to Medicare price controls. Government intervention creates the problem, so you get an even greater government intervention in response to “the free market’s failure.”
Grumpy economist John Cochrane explains:
The sound and fury will be over big fights on taxes and spending. They will look like replays of the last four years and not end up accomplishing much. The big changes to our economy will be the metastatic expansion of regulation, let by ACA, Dodd-Frank, and EPA. There will be no change on our long run problems: entitlements, deficits or fundamental reform of our chaotic tax system. 4 more years, $4 trillion more debt.
Why? I think this follows inevitably from the situation: normal (AFU). Nothing has changed. The President is a Democrat, now lame duck. The congress is Republican. The Senate is asleep. Congressional Republicans think the President is a socialist. The President thinks Congressional Republicans are neanderthals. The President cannot compromise on the centerpieces of his campaign.
Result: we certainly are not going to see big legislation. Anything new will happen by executive order or by regulation. ...
[T]he unfolding of regulation will be the big story. It is news to most Americans, but the ACA and Dodd-Frank are not regulations written in law. They are mostly authorization to write regulations. They are full of “the secretary shall write rules governing xyz” with a timetable. Most of that timetable starts today, November 7 2012. You don’t have to think the administration is a bunch of willy nilly regulators to foresee a metastatic expansion of regulation. You just have to look at the time-table of regulations already legally mandated and pending.
I fished around a little on the net. The EPA has regulations under development that by its own estimates will cost hundreds of billions of dollars a year. I’m all for clean air, but there is a question of just how clean and at how much cost. ...
Dodd Frank. For number of rules that a law commands be written this takes the cake. If you want to scare your libertarian kids on Halloween, just read from the Fed’s admirably transparent regulatory reform website. ...
[H]undreds of billions of dollars are at stake, and the involved industries, their lawyers and lobbyists, are furiously “helping” to write all these rules.
This is the real news. It’s baked in. Any new regulatory agendas come on top of this. And it will remake the American economy in the next four years.
Read the whole thing.
Bing West identifies the Obama Administration’s standard methodology for burying a scandal.
The following is a lead story about Benghazi from the Washington Post on November 2:
U.S. intelligence officials said they decided to offer a detailed account of the CIA’s role to rebut media reports that have suggested that agency leaders delayed sending help. . . . The decision to give a comprehensive account of the attack five days before the election is likely to be regarded with suspicion, particularly among Republicans who have accused the Obama administration of misleading the public.
Suspicion? The accurate word is confirmation.
Identical stories appeared in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. The Times explained that, “The account, given by the senior officials who did not want to be identified, provided the most detailed description to date of the C.I.A.’s role.”
So what’s going on here? The national-security staff in the Obama White House has a standard operating procedure. If a military action, such as killing bin Laden, succeeds, then immediately leak selected details to shape the narrative to the political advantage of Mr. Obama. If the action is botched, as in Benghazi, then say nothing and tell the quiescent press that there is no story worth pursuing. If questions persist, the second line of defense is an investigation that wlll drag on for months. For instance, bureaucrats in the Justice Department are still investigating the leaks last spring about the U.S. cooperation with Israel in the software sabotage — cyber warfare — of Iranian centrifuges.
If pesky Fox News persists in asking questions, then the third line of defense is to give the nod to the CIA to leak a diversionary story to favored news outlets and reporters. Thus the leaks to the Washington Post and New York Times showing that CIA operatives did try to rescue their comrades. Then authorize the CIA to go public with the same timeline, further throwing the press off the trail. The New York Times, the recipient of record for White House leaks, published on November 3 a diversionary story on its front page, fixating upon the CIA director, General Petraeus. This implied that the main issue about Benghazi centered around CIA secrecy — a tautology irrelevant to the real cover-up.
The intent is to cause the press and the public to lose interest in a story that seems exhaustively repetitive, while the key issues are never addressed.
Read the whole thing.
Scott published some amazing details of the heroism of the two former Navy SEALs at Benghazi.
Ambassador Stevens and Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, along with administrative staff, were working out of temporary quarters due to the fact that in the spring of 2011 during the so-called Arab Spring, the United States cut ties with then president Moammar Gadhafi. Our embassy was looted and ransacked, causing it to be unusable. It is still in a state of disrepair. Security for embassies and their personnel is to be provided by the host nation. Since Libya has gone through a civil war of sorts in the past 18 months, the current government is very unstable, and therefore, unreliable
A well-organized attack by radical Muslims was planned specifically targeting the temporary U.S. embassy building. The Libyan security force that was in place to protect our people deserted their post, or joined the attacking force. Either way, our people were in a real fix. And it should be noted that Ambassador Stevens had mentioned on more than one occasion to Secretary of State, “Hillary Clinton”, that he was quite concerned for his personal safety and the welfare of his people. It is thought that Ambassador Stevens was on a “hit list.”
A short distance from the American compound, two Americans were sleeping. They were in Libya as independent contractors working an assignment totally unrelated to our embassy. They also happened to be former Navy SEALs. When they heard the noise coming from the attack on our embassy, as you would expect from highly trained warriors, they ran to the fight. Apparently, they had no weapons, but seeing the Libyan guards dropping their guns in their haste in fleeing the scene, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty snatched up several of these discarded weapons and prepared to defend the American compound.
Not knowing exactly what was taking place, the two SEALs set up a defensive perimeter. Unfortunately Ambassador Stevens was already gravely injured, and Foreign Service officer, Sean Smith, was dead. However, due to their quick action and suppressive fire, twenty administrative personnel in the embassy were able to escape to safety. Eventually, these two courageous men were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers brought against them, an enemy force numbering between 100 to 200 attackers which came in two waves. But the stunning part of the story is that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty killed 60 of the attacking force. Once the compound was overrun, the attackers were incensed to discover that just two men had inflicted so much death and destruction.
As it became apparent to these selfless heroes, they were definitely going to lose their lives unless some reinforcements showed up in a hurry. As we know now, that was not to be. I’m fairly certain they knew they were going to die in this gun fight, but not before they took a whole lot of bad guys with them!
The United States is experiencing the worst economic times since the Great Depression, but there is one region of the country that has been enjoying boom times all its own.
It used to seem shocking that five of the ten richest counties in the United States were part of the DC Metropolitan Statistical Area, but the 2011 American Community Survey numbers released yesterday show that the DC suburbs now account for seven of the ten richest counties in America.
Loudon, Fairfax, and Arlington in Virginia lead the way followed by Hunterdon County, NJ then Howard County in Maryland; Somerset, NJ; Prince William and Fauquier in Virginia; Douglas, CO; and Montgomery County, MD.
Ross Douthat, sounding unusually conservative, noted yesterday that the comparative advantage in affluence of America’s capital these days seemed to resemble that of the capital of a particular dystopian fantasy novel recently made into a successful film, and remarked that, if relations between the provinces and the capital have not yet completely reached the point depicted in The Hunger Games, their differences in prosperity have exactly the same moral basis.
If you don’t mind congested roads and insanely competitive child rearing, all this growth is good news for those of us inside the Beltway bubble. But is it good for America? After all, like the ruthless Capital in “The Hunger Games,” the wealth of Washington is ultimately extracted from taxpayers more than it is earned. And over the last five years especially, D.C.’s gains have coincided with the country’s losses.
There aren’t tributes from Michigan and New Mexico fighting to the death in Dupont Circle just yet. But it doesn’t seem like a sign of national health that America’s political capital is suddenly richer than our capitals of manufacturing and technology and finance, or that our leaders are more insulated than ever from the trends buffeting the people they’re supposed to serve. ...
In reality, our government isn’t running trillion-dollar deficits because we’re letting the working class get away with not paying its fair share. We’re running those deficits because too many powerful interest groups have a stake in making sure the party doesn’t stop.
When you look around the richest precincts of today’s Washington, you don’t see a city running on paternalism or dependency. You see a city running on exploitation.
Read the whole thing.
What a .40 S&W Hollow Point bullet does to a block of ballistic gelatin gives a fairly accurate picture of what the same bullet would do when fired into the human body.
Maj. Gen. Jerry Curry USA (ret.) argues that Congress ought to be looking for a serious explanation for such massive ammunition purchases.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) confirms that it is purchasing 174 thousand rounds of hollow point bullets to be delivered to 41 locations in major cities across the U.S. No one has yet said what the purpose of these purchases is, though we are led to believe that they will be used only in an emergency to counteract and control civil unrest. Those against whom the hollow point bullets are to be used — those causing the civil unrest — must be American citizens; since the SSA has never been used overseas to help foreign countries maintain control of their citizens.
What would be the target of these 174, 000 rounds of hollow point bullets? It can’t simply be to control demonstrators or rioters. Hollow point bullets are so lethal that the Geneva Convention does not allow their use on the battle field in time of war. Hollow point bullets don’t just stop or hurt people, they penetrate the body, spread out, fragment and cause maximum damage to the body’s organs. Death often follows.
Potentially each hollow nose bullet represents a dead American. If so, why would the U.S. government want the SSA to kill 174,000 of our citizens, even during a time of civil unrest? ...
If this were only a one time order of ammunition, it could easily be dismissed. But there is a pattern here. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has ordered 46,000 rounds of hollow point ammunition. Notice that all of these purchases are for the lethal hollow nose bullets. These bullets are not being purchased and stored for squirrel or coyote hunting. This is serious ammunition manufactured to be used for serious purposes.
In the war in Iraq, our military forces expended approximately 70 million rounds per year. In March DHS ordered 750 million rounds of hollow point ammunition. It then turned around and ordered an additional 750 million rounds of miscellaneous bullets including some that are capable of penetrating walls. This is enough ammunition to empty five rounds into the body of every living American citizen. Is this something we and the Congress should be concerned about? What’s the plan that requires so many dead Americans, even during times of civil unrest? ...
Shouldn’t Congress hold hearings on why the Administration is stockpiling this ammunition all across the nation? How will it be used; what are the Administration’s plans?
Anthony Martin points out that the Federal agencies’ explanation that they are buying all these rounds for practicing has a problem.
On Friday the government stated that the hollow point bullets it has procured are “standard issue” and that they are used to train security agents used by each of the various federal agencies. ...
When this reporter first heard the government’s explanation for the hollow point bullets, the warning bells immediately rang indicating a cover up. As every gun owner knows if they are serious about developing and maintaining their shooting skills, the type of bullets used for practice at the firing range are normally different from the ammunition one would use when getting the firearm set to be used in the event of a home invasion or other situations in which one’s life is in mortal danger.
Firing range bullets are much less expensive and are not designed for the day to day use of the gun for maximum self protection. One uses the more expensive variety, such as hollow point bullets, for real-life danger.
Thus, immediately this reporter knew that when the government claimed that its agencies had purchased multimillions of rounds of hollow point bullets for “practice and training” at the firing range, something was amiss. Most citizens are likely unaware that such ammo is not used for practice and will accept the government’s explanation at face value. This is in all likelihood what the Feds are counting on.
Of course, it may be that, if you are a federal agency, and you have tax payers paying for your practice ammunition, you aren’t concerned about economizing with cheaper practice ammo.
Even taking practice shooting into account, the ammunition purchases on such a tremendous scale by agencies like Social Security and the Weather Bureau, which don’t even really have a law enforcement function, is still bizarre enough to produce a need for serious questions. Saying that agency security guards needs enough hollow point rounds to shoot every living American five times is just a bit far-fetched.