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Socialism: Humanity’s Most Tragic Experiment

Hollande

Socialism’s Sad Estate 

Tom Rogan  writes:  For all its varying faces — from the totalitarianism of North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela to the social democracies of Europe — the truth shows forth in absolute clarity.

Earlier this week, we learned that in 2013, foreign investment in France declinedby 77 percent.

That’s 77 percent.

That figure isn’t just bad, it’s unambiguously catastrophic. But the costs of President François Hollande’s failure aren’t simply economic. They’re also societal. Galvanized by popular disenchantment with the establishment, the French far Right hopes to win major victories in forthcoming local elections.

In short, the Fifth Republic isn’t looking so great.

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Crackpot Climate Scientist’s Defamation Suit Against Combative Mark Steyn, National Review a Go, Says Judge

mark-steyn

Good summary, except the Washington Times buried the lead. Here it is:

“Mr. Steyn is representing himself after firing the magazine’s legal team over a dispute related to how the judge was handling the case.”

Often not the most advisable way to go, in court. But, who knows. Maybe he’s a better advocate than his former legal team. Steyn’s been around the block with frivolous lawsuits and harassment. We wish Mr. Steyn luck. I hope National Review turns around and sues the snot out of Michael Mann. See the Washington Times for the full article, but here’s a sample:

A climate change scientist’s defamation suit against National Review writer and frequent Rush Limbaugh fill-in Mark Steyn will proceed, a judge decided earlier this week, ruling against the magazine’s attempt to dismiss the case.

The case stems from Mr. Steyn’s written reference to Michael Mann’s climate change data as fraudulent, according to news website Raw Story.

Of especial ire to Mr. Mann was that Mr. Steyn quoted Competitive Enterprise Institution analyst Rand Simberg, who compared Mr. Mann to convicted Penn State child molester Jerry Sandusky.

Mr. Simberg called Mr. Mann 

“the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data.”

Mr. Mann then launched the lawsuit against National Review and Mr. Steyn, claiming defamation. Mr. Simberg and the Competitive Enterprise Institution are also named in the suit.

At the time of the suit, several months ago, National Review editor Rich Lowry didn’t appear too worried.

“My advice to poor Michael is to go away and bother someone else” 

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[VIDEO] The Day The Guardian Destroyed Snowden Hard Drives, Observed by GCHQ

Jokingly referred to as the “Secret Ceremony”

gchq-logoOn Saturday 20 July 2013, in the basement of the Guardian’s office in Kings Cross, London, watched by two GCHQ technicians, Guardian editors destroyed hard drives and memory cards on which encrypted files leaked by Edward Snowden had been stored. This is the first time footage of the event has been released.

guardian-offices

Read the story of how the hard drives were destroyed

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FIGHT The Powers that BE! With the Government Series II Les Paul

Having actually been the victim of politically-motivated regulatory harassment, and arbitrary abuse by jack-booted Feds, it’s amazing that Gibson Guitars, of Nashville Tennessee, emerges with a product inspired by the political harrassment (and Gibson’s endurance, and ultimate victory) with style and humor.

Celebrating an Infamous Moment in Gibson History

BodyNeckGreat Gibson electric guitars have long been a means of fighting the establishment, so when the powers that be confiscated stocks of tonewoods from the Gibson factory in Nashville—only to return them once there was a resolution and the investigation ended—it was an event worth celebrating. Introducing the Government Series II Les Paul, a striking new guitar from Gibson USA for 2014 that suitably marks this infamous time in Gibson’s history. 

From its solid mahogany body with modern weight relief Pickupsfor enhance resonance and playing comfort, to its carved maple top, the Government Series II Les Paul follows the tradition of the great Les Paul Standards—but also makes a superb statement with its unique appointments. A distinctive vintage-gloss Government Tan finish, complemented by black-chrome hardware and black plastics and trim, is topped by a pickguard that’s hot-stamped in gold with the Government Series graphic—a bald eagle hoisting a Gibson guitar neck. Each Government Series II Les Paul also includes a genuine piece of Gibson USA history in its solid rosewood fingerboard, which is made from wood returned to Gibson by the US government after the resolution. 

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More on “The Increasingly Libertarian Milton Friedman”

  writes:  In the journalistic/academic circle of life, Milton Friedman biographer Lanny Ebenstein in a new article available at Economic Journal Watch riffs (at least partially) off a Reason review written by me of Ebenstein’s own edited collection of Friedman rarities, The Indispensable Milton Friedman.

Ebenstein’s new journal article, like my review, is called “The Increasingly Libertarian Milton Friedman.”

[See The Indispensable Milton Friedman: Essays on Politics and Economics (2012) at Amazon]

It does a very thorough job demonstrating that as Friedman’s career and knowledge went on–and especially when he shifted from a professional active academic to a professional public intellectual activist–he became more and more libertarian in his views.

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Vintage Comic Panel of the Day: The Martian Problem

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 Retrogasm


[BOOKS] The Extraordinary Life of William S. Burroughs

THE OUTLAW

“Naked Lunch” brought to social notice themes of drug use, homosexuality, hyperbolic violence, and anti-authoritarian paranoia. Photograph by Richard Avedon.

“Naked Lunch” brought to social notice themes of drug use, homosexuality, hyperbolic violence, and anti-authoritarian paranoia. Photograph by Richard Avedon.

“I can feel the heat closing in, feel them out there making their moves.”

Peter Schjeldahl writes:  So starts “Naked Lunch,” the touchstone novel by William S. Burroughs. That hardboiled riff, spoken by a junkie on the run, introduces a mélange of “episodes, misfortunes, and adventures,” which, the author said, have “no real plot, no beginning, no end.” It is worth recalling on the occasion of “Call Me Burroughs” (Twelve), a biography by Barry Miles, an English author of books on popular culture, including several on the Beats. “I can feel the heat” sounded a new, jolting note in American letters, like Allen Ginsberg’s “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,” or, for that matter, like T. S. Eliot’s “April is the cruellest month.” (Ginsberg was a close friend; Eliot hailed from Burroughs’s home town of St. Louis and his poetry influenced Burroughs’s style.) In Burroughs’s case, that note was the voice of an outlaw revelling in wickedness. It bragged of occult power: “I can feel,” rather than “I feel.” He always wrote in tones of spooky authority—a comic effect, given that most of his characters are, in addition to being gaudily depraved, more or less conspicuously insane.

[Check out a collection of books by William S. Burroughs at Amazon]

“Naked Lunch” is less a novel than a grab bag of friskily obscene comedy routines—least forgettably, an operating-room Grand Guignol conducted by an insouciant quack, Dr. Benway. “Well, it’s all in a day’s work,” Benway says, with a sigh, after a patient fails to survive heart massage with a toilet plunger. Some early reviewers spluttered in horror. Charles Poore, in the Times, calmed down just enough to be forthright in his closing line: “I advise avoiding the book.” “Naked Lunch” was five years in the writing and editing, mostly in Tangier, and aided by friends, including Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. It first appeared in 1959, in Paris, as “The Naked Lunch” (with the definite article), in an Olympia Press paperback edition, in company with “Lolita,” “The Ginger Man,” and “Sexus.” Its plain green-and-black cover, like the covers of those books, bore the alluring caveat “Not to be sold in U.S.A. or U.K.” (A first edition can be yours, from one online bookseller, for twenty thousand dollars.) The same year, Big Table, a Chicago literary magazine, printed an excerpt, and was barred from the mails by the U.S. Postal Service. Fears of suppression delayed a stateside publication of the book until 1962, when Grove Press brought out an expanded and revised edition. It sold so well that Grove didn’t issue a paperback until 1966.

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[VIDEO] 2012 Post-Election Time Capsule: Jonah Goldberg and John O’Sullivan at the End of the World, on Uncommon Knowledge

photoFrom Uncommon Knowledge, days after the 2012 election, discussing the GOP’s future, interviewer Peter Robinson begins with the question: Are we, or are we not, doomed?

I meant to only watch a few minutes of this, but got sucked in and watched the whole thing.

It’s as relevant now as the day it was recorded. Goldberg and O’Sullivan are relaxed, reflective, unusually lucid (while Peter Robinson makes a valiant effort to keep up) insightful, and in good spirits, considering it was only days after during a disastrous national election. Perhaps it’s the location? It was conducted on National Review‘s Post-Election Cruise, aboard The New Amsterdam, in the Caribbean, December 4th 2012. So, that helps.

A Jonah money quote:

“…it’s been a 100 year project of American progressives, to diminish and delegitimize the authority and the sovereignty of the family, to clear away the mediating institutions in society [until] all is left is the individual and the Sate…as Woodrow Wilson put it, ‘the point of progressivism is to have the individual marry his interests to the State…’”

45 minutes long, it’s engaging stuff. It’s especially relevant, on the eve of the upcoming mid-term elections.

Many of you know Jonah from NRO’s The Corner, and appearances as a guest political analyst on Fox News. He’s an AEI scholar and NRO’s founding editor. Jonah Goldberg‘s book “The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas” is available at Amazon.

National Review‘s editor-at-large John O’Sullivan served in the 1980s as special advisor and speechwriter to Margaret Thatcher, looks like he should be wearing a tie, and not enjoying himself so much. He is the author of “The President, the Pope, And the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World“, also available at Amazon.

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Double Life: Seattle Seahawks cheerleader is First Lieutenant in United States Air Force

seagal-ASAF

From Andy Nesbit, Fox Sports: During her free time, Alicia Quaco, 25, is a member of the “Sea Gals,” the cheerleading squad for the Seattle Seahawks.

What’s her full-time gig? First lieutenant in the US Air Force.

The New York Post has the details:

Rookie “Sea Gal” Alicia Quaco, 25, works long days as a contract manager for the Air Force before rushing to evening cheerleading practice… taking on the demanding double life, she first had to convince her military higher-ups in a formal presentation to let her moonlight as a Sea Gal after trying out for the squad last year, she said.

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[VIDEO] 20,000 Years Under the Sea: Underwater Pyramid Found Near Portugal

Pyramid

Portuguese news reported the discovery of a very large under water pyramid first discovered by Diocleciano Silva between the islands of São Miguel and Terceira in the Azores of Portugal.

According to claims, the structure is said to be perfectly squared and oriented by the cardinalpoints. Current estimates obtained using GPS digital technology put the height at 60 meters with a base of 8000 square meters. The Portuguese Hydrographic Institute of the Navy currently has the job of analyzing the data to determine whether or not the structure is man-made.

“The pyramid is perfectly shaped and apparently oriented by the cardinal points” 

The pyramid was found in an area of the mid-Atlantic that has been underwater for about 20,000 years. Considering this is around the time of the last ice age where glaciation was melting from its peak 2000 years prior, whatever civilization, human or not, that was around before the ice age, could be responsible for building the pyramid.

Here is the Portuguese news report with English subtitles for those who wish to look into the authenticity of the claims.

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Reality Check: Going By the Actual Data, It Turns Out Conservatives Are MORE Likely to be Part of a Mixed Race Family

If You Thought Trolls Thought Rep. Huelskamp Was Racist Before He Posted a Picture of His Family, Wait 'Till You See Them Wig Out After

If You Thought Trolls Thought Rep. Huelskamp Was Racist Before He Posted a Picture of His Family, Wait ‘Till You See Them Wig Out After…

Re: Volokh Conspiracy,  Ace writes: Now, let me clarify on that: The difference is statistically insignificant. 10% of liberals hail from mixed race families, and 11% of conservatives. You can’t make anything of that difference (though MSNBC would, were the numbers to run in the opposite direction).

So let’s take the percentages as equal. (Except, not really.) Does MSNBC care about the facts, or just spouting off ignorantly with some make-‘em-up blogger provocation?

Spoiler Alert: It’s the last one.

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Pentagon: USA Has No Counter to Chinese Hypersonic Missile

chinese-missle

Pentagon intelligence official says Chinese hypersonic weapon poses major challenge

 reports:  China’s testing of a new ultra-high-speed maneuvering warhead represents a major threat to U.S. military forces, a Pentagon intelligence official said on Thursday.

Lee Fuell, a technical intelligence specialist with the Air Force National Air and Space Intelligence Center, said during a congressional China commission hearing that the recent test of what the Pentagon has called the WU-14 hypersonic glide vehicle “represents a considerable challenge.

“It is very difficult to defend against,” Fuell told the U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission during a hearing on China’s military buildup. He noted that the weapon is “an area of great concern.”

Unknown

The Washington Free Beacon first disclosed the test of an experimental hypersonic glide vehicle on Jan. 9. The vehicle appears to be an unpowered maneuvering vehicle that is lofted to near space and then is guided to its target at speeds of up to Mach 10 or nearly 8,000 miles per hour.

Chinese military commentators said the vehicle is planned for use in potential attacks against aircraft carriers at sea.

Fuell’s comments expressing concerns about the hypersonic threat contrast with those of Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, who said last week that he was not particularly concerned by the Chinese hypersonic weapon. Locklear later acknowledged to reporters that the high-speed weapon would be a factor in “the calculation of how we’re going to maintain a peaceful security environment in the future.”

hypersonic4Commission member Larry Wortzel, who asked Fuell about the hypersonic weapon, said China is developing the high-speed vehicle as an outgrowth of its anti-ship ballistic missile, the DF-21D.

“It’s a big deal,” Wortzel said in an interview.

Wortzel said that unless the U.S. military develops directed energy weapons, including lasers and pulsed rail guns “we don’t have a counter” to the hypersonic missile threat.

“It really forces us further away from China’s coasts,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »


Sell Your Kid into Slavery, Buy a TV

Best. Amazon. Review. Ever. From this morning’s G-File, Jonah Goldberg‘s browser history is a lot funnier than mine. This is an actual Amazon review. Hit the more button for more.

[Amazon.com: Samsung 85-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz 3D Smart LED UHDTV ]

awesomeHDTV

“My wife and I bought this after selling our daughter Amanda into white slavery. We actually got a refurbished. It’s missing the remote, but oh well– for $10K off, I can afford a universal, right? The picture is amazing. I’ve never seen the world with such clarity.

Amanda, if you’re reading this, hang in there, honey! We’ll see you in a year.”

[you know you want to buy this TV, as a bonus, it'll really, really help support this site]

I just wanted to add an addendum to my review. Since posting it, we have received a flood of responses. People have said some pretty hurtful things–even questioning our values. Let me assure you, this was not an easy decision to make, and we made it as a family. Obviously, it’s very personal. But in light of all the second-guessing, I wanted to explain our thinking.

First and foremost, screen size. I really think you can’t go too big. 85″ may seem huge, but you get used to it fast. Second, resolution. Is 4K overkill? Please, that’s what they said about 1080P! More dots = better. Period. And as far as this being a $40,000 “dumb” TV, people need to re-read my initial post: WE BOUGHT IT REFURBISHED. It was only $30,000…

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Poll: Percentage Who Think Gun Control Too Strict Triples in One Year

Gun rights activist Holly Cusumano, 18, waves a flag during a rally for the 2nd Amendment at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Another timely item from Brietbart.com that I almost missed. AWR Hawkins reports:  A new poll finds the percentage of Americans who think gun control too strict is at its highest point since 2001 and triple what it was in 2013.

The Gallup poll shows that “55 percent of Americans… are dissatisfied overall with American gun laws and policies.” Among the dissatisfied, 16 percent are Americans who believe gun control laws should be rolled back.

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NASA Honors Fallen Astronauts with ‘Day of Remembrance’ Friday

nasa-day-of-remembrance-2014

Miriam Kramer writes:  NASA will pay homage to its fallen astronauts Friday (Jan. 31) with an agency-wide “Day of Remembrance,” a ceremony that comes amid a somber week of spaceflight disasters for the space agency.

[NASA's Fallen Astronauts: A Photo Memorial]

This week marks the anniversaries of three fatal NASA tragedies: the Apollo 1 fire of 1967, the space shuttle Challenger disaster of 1986 and the Columbia shuttle disaster of  2003. NASA chief Charlie Bolden — a former space shuttle commander — and other officials will pay respect to those lost in the accidents during a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery Friday morning.

[See Amazon's collection of books about Apollo Missions]

“NASA’s Day of Remembrance honors members of the NASA family who lost their lives while furthering the cause of exploration and discovery,” NASA officials wrote in a statement.

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The Hammer: ‘If a Republican Had Done What Obama Has, He’d Be Impeached’

“You can have executive orders that implement already existing laws, but what Obama has done in the DREAM Act . . . is unbelievably unconstitutional,” Charles Krauthammer said on Special Report last night.

“He’s done that over and over again on immigration, drug laws, climate change, and, of course, on Obamacare, which he has unilaterally altered lawlessly at least 15 times”

While Republicans met today at a retreat in Maryland and debated immigration  reform — with many worrying that, no matter what Republicans pass, President Obama will not enforce it faithfully — Krauthammer looked back on the times the president has failed to faithfully uphold the law.

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Reality Check: More Children Killed by Fire, Drowning Than by Firearms

nra-mom-475x356-ap

AWRHawkins reports:  According to the 2010 Death and Mortality numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more children under the age of ten are unintentionally killed in fire or water-related incidents than are killed in accidental gun deaths.

Gun scholar John Lott pulled together various CDC tables showing that thirty-six children under the age of ten were killed in firearm-related accidents in 2010.

The number of children under the age of ten killed in “unintentional fire/burn deaths” was 262, and the number killed in “unintentional drowning” incidents was 609.

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The Italian judicial system, Amanda Knox, Rafael Solecitto, and Rudy Guede

knox-walking-uw4

Ace is among the few notable bloggers who’s read not just the news reports on the Knox trials, but has devoured books and court documents about it, including the Hellman-Zanetti Report (the official report of the court of appeals that freed Knox and Solecitto) Here’s some highlights of Ace’s commentary after yesterday’s verdict:

…However, Rafael Solecitto — every bit as innocent — is an Italian citizen, and they’re determined to jail Amanda Knox, but they can’t, so they’ll jail the guy no one cares about, Rafael.

[I have (but haven't read yet) the ebook edition of Knox's book Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir, you can get it at Amazon]

The Italian judicial system has a quirk unlike ours. When a trial court pronounces you culpable, you’re not actually convicted of the crime — not yet. The actual conviction only occurs when a court, sitting in review, confirms the conviction…

Thus, Rafael is in this odd twilight, again, where he stands to be convicted of murder, and yet is not actually convicted of murderer, while the actual murderer, a drifter and repeat burglar named Rudy Guede, whose DNA was found all over the crime scene (and yet none of Rafael’s or Amanda’s– the prosecutors wisely explained that they had cleaned the crime scene of their own DNA, while managing to leave behind a great deal of Guede’s; the prosecutors have never explained what type of bleach could permit this selective removal of genetic material), remains in jail, but with a reduced sentence in exchange for implicating Knox and Solecitto, because all he did was burglarize, sexually violate, and then slaughter Meredith Kercher, whereas Rafael Solecitto and especially Amanda Knox provided the inspiration and stage direction for this crime, even though they weren’t even there, but who cares, it’s Italy, and she’s a Foreign Whore, and Foreign Whores must pay…

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Keystone Pipeline Review Likely to Show Little Climate Risk

Protesters against the proposed Keystone pipeline hold placards across the street from where U.S. President Barack Obama was to hold a Democratic Party fundraiser, in San Francisco November 25, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Protesters against the proposed Keystone pipeline hold placards across the street from where U.S. President Barack Obama was to hold a Democratic Party fundraiser, in San Francisco November 25, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed

The U.S. State Department is poised to issue an environmental review of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline that will likely say the project will not appreciably increase carbon emissions, sources said late Thursday, forcing President Barack Obama closer to a tough decision.

“We’re expecting to hear the same conclusion that we’ve heard four times before: no significant impact on the environment”

Rumors swept through Washington late Thursday that the long-delayed review of the 1,179-mile (1,900-km) pipeline to bring oil from Canada to Nebraska would finally be released as soon as Friday.

“The Environmental Impact Statement is in the final stages of preparation and we anticipate a release of the document soon,” a senior State Department official said late on Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The comment gives a clearer insight into where the long-awaited assessment stands. One government official said the overdue report, part of a process lasting more than five years that has strained relations with Ottawa, would be released on Friday.

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