Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Well Equipped Enemy

A Fallschirmjäger aims his special assault rifle, an FG 42, at the enemy (probably our guys). He has an MP 38 or 40 ready nearby and his aiming stand is a box of grenades. Over the back of the chair he's sitting in is a belt of machine gun ammunition. The machine gun must be out of camera view. The FG 42 was not a full success because it shot the full sized round 7.92 x 57mm Mauser from 20 round detachable box magazines rather than the intermediate round which made the STG 44 so deadly. In a way the FG 42 was similar to our BAR but without the extra weight necessary to keep its muzzle from climbing during full auto firing. This appears to be a late model FG 42 as it does not seem to have the severely angled pistol grip of the early version.



Plausible But Wrong

As I came out of the grocery store this early AM I saw a rainbow that seemed to go straight up rather than have the 42 degree curve almost all rainbows have. In a way it was beautiful. And I was reminded that the Ancients two thousand years ago pretty universally believed that the rainbow was a straw the clouds put down after a rain to replenish their depleted rain reserves.

Sounds reasonable.

Nah, the clouds 'replenish' from normal water vapor and the rainbow is merely light refraction from droplets in the air.

But it sounded good.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Worst Day for the US Navy Since the Ironclad Virginia Attacked the Union Fleet

A still photograph from a color film made at Pearl Harbor during the attack which captures the destruction of the USS Arizona, BB-39.



Well Equipped Enemy

The best medium machine gun ever made, the MG 42, set on the superb Lafayette 42 tripod in Russia some time after the Germans were on a continuing retreat back to Germany.



Ras Tafari

The Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, whom, for reasons I can't even begin to fathom, some Jamaicans worship as a god. Jah, mon.



Reproduced Without Edit

Because it is so good.

This Weekend, feminists held one of their infamous “Slut Walks” in Chicago where they engaged in unhinged man-bashing while walking around dressed like trashy skanks… because that (along with demanding that other people pay for their contraception) is what Modern Feminism has been reduced to. (And of this the Feminists are very, very proud.)

As someone clever pointed out, it’s interesting that the Feminist chose Chicago for their “Smash the Patriarchy” message, because nowhere has the Patriarchy been more successfully smashed than in the inner cities. Households led by fathers have become exceedingly rare,  single women raise families without husbands, and very few people participate in capitalist enterprises; the inner cities have become Radical Feminist utopia.

How’s that working out for them?

(h/t Gay Patriot and V the K)


Friday, August 22, 2014


The Day That Never Ended and the Double Day

This is real old news to anyone who has flown on a jet from North America to Japan and back, but I had never done so and it was new and strange to me.

On the flight from SFO to Narita, the day never ended. We left Friday and arrived Saturday but on the plane the sun never went down; it didn't get dark. Kinda weird.

On the way back, we flew from Narita at about 8 in the evening on a Sunday so we had plenty of time to kill in Tokyo before the flight. The plane flight had a very quick period of darkness, maybe about 4 or 5 hours and then it was still Sunday as we arrived at SFO in the morning, waited all afternoon for our flight from San Francisco to Denver and got home Sunday night. Still weird.

The best thing was the wailing and gnashing of teeth on the local SF news channel for hours after the Broncos had destroyed the Niners 34-zip (or close to that). It was the opening game for their new stadium and apparently they wished the game had been better. Music to my ears. Go ponies.



The Wages of Aggressive War

Although the international legal concept exists, it is not crystal clear that every aggressive war, a war of conquest, if you will, is a war crime. Certainly the Allies executed German and Japanese leaders for starting a war of conquest against several nations, so there's that precedent. The sclerotic International Criminal Court has gone after some of the leaders who waged war against others after the break-up of Yugoslavia, but it has done so with glacial speed and all the vim and vigor of an 80 year old quadriplegic; and defendants in the court often die of old age before getting within sight of any verdict.

Still, I think the criminalization of a war of conquest is an example of moral progress by us denizens of Earth. It might not be as momentous as the abolition of slavery, but it's not nothing.

OK, Germany can't invade and conquer France legally. Longstanding borders provide the clearest examples of what constitutes an aggressive war, namely, an unprovoked attack across ancient  borders for the purpose of acquisition. That's easy, but what about recent borders? Is it actually a crime for Ho Chi Minh to invade recently separated South Vietnam? How about North Korea invading South Korea?
When does the recently created border become the longstanding one?

Then there is the problem of the breakaway province within a nation, but I'm already getting sidetracked. My subject is what people in the nation attacked by another in an aggressive war can do if they defeat the invading country's armed forces. Is there a sanctioned international penalty for starting and losing an aggressive war? Clearly there is. Japan lost territory to the Soviets. Germany lost territory to the Poles. Lets go back nearly a full century however and talk a bit about the Ottoman Empire joining with Germany and Austro-Hungary in WWI. They lost. And sections of the former Muslim empire were carved up into newish nation states to the detriment of the empire. In WWII, the Arabs supported the Nazis. They lost too.

The Jews who lived in the Mideast back in the mid 1910s joined with the Allies to defeat the Turks. They were on the winning side of a war started by others in what certainly looked to Belgians and French etc. like an invasion in a war of conquest. Promises were made to obtain the Jewish help against the Ottomans.

Is it OK to punish those who start aggressive wars and lose with post-war actions which benefit the victors and harm the initial aggressors? I don't think there is any rational answer other than yes.
So, in 1948, as a result of the Holocaust and the Arab support for the losing Axis, what passed for World Government (the way past its 'use by date' United Nations), rewarded the Jews for their suffering and punished the Arabs in and around Jerusalem for their support of an aggressive war in Europe by declaring a Jewish homeland. Immediately upon Israel's founding, 5 Arab nations attacked. Egypt took over Gaza and the Hashemite Kingdom of Trans Jordan took the West Bank. The Arabs lost their first aggressive war against Israel. They lost a little land as a result. The '67 War (aka the 6 Day War) yielded the same result. The attackers lost. Egypt therefore lost land to Israel, including the Gaza, Jordan lost land to Israel, the West Bank and Syria lost land to Israel, the Golan. There was another attempt in '73 (the Yom Kippur War) and after initial gains, the attackers lost too.

So how is it that Israel is in the wrong for successfully defending itself from illegal aggressive wars?

The only non Arab people who are anti-Israel are people so ignorant of history and international law that their baseless opinions can be ignored with impunity.

Or so I believe.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Swastikas Are Hard to Draw, Man



Saturday, July 26, 2014


An X-Ray of the Crab Nebula

We here on Earth have watched this star explosion in real time since 1054 A.D., but only now can we see inside it and the neutron star at the core of the supernova and the jets and rings around it. I've seen many visible light composits of the Crab Nebula all my life but to see the center in X-Ray is amazing.



Statutory Construction Rules Regarding Legislative History

I've written about the Halbig case here and here. Of course the left is up in arms that the court did its job following the rules, because its proper interpretation probably spells a more rapid doom for the ACA than without this decision. The left goes normal nutty and calls the decision everything bad, including criminal. I ran across this article this morning and it's interesting. The gist:

Did the people who designed Obamacare intend to deprive millions of people of health insurance, just because officials in their states decided not to operate their own insurance marketplaces?
A lawsuit making its way through the federal judiciary, and perhaps on its way to the Supreme Court, claims the answer is yes. And while every federal official and member of Congress who worked on crafting the law in 2009 and 2010 disagrees...  (Emphasis added).

But that's not how it works. If in fact the court is at a loss to construe the intent of the legislature through the plain meaning of the statute's words, that is, if the law is truly ambiguous, then the court looks to legislative history, what the authors and legislators said at the time of the law's passage about what they intended. But the court only looks at what they said back then. The judges and justices do not look at what the legislators say now. There's a very good reason for this. Legislators and drafters lie. "I see what the statute says and how you've interpreted it, but we never intended it to mean that." That doesn't cut it. The only thing that matters, if you have to resort to legislative history, is what was said back then, before passage.

Jonathan Gruber, from MIT, is widely held to be the architect of both Romneycare and Obamacare. Check this out if you disbelieve me.

Here is what he's saying now about the intent of the legislation:

Chris, it is unambiguous this is a typo. Literally every single person involved in the crafting of this law has said that it`s a typo... It`s just simply a typo, and it`s really criminal that this has even made it as far as it has... But it`s literally insane to think that
because of a typo in the law, which happened simply because Republicans obstinacy would not let the bill go to conference -- that that typo would bring down the law is just a failure of democracy.

Typical douchbaggery from the left--call the rational people crazy criminals while you lie and lie and lie. We on the right are used to this sort of projection.

But here's what Gruber said before the ACA was passed:

Questioner: You mentioned the health-information [sic] Exchanges for the states, and it is my understanding that if states don’t provide them, then the federal government will provide them for the states.
Gruber: Yeah, so these health-insurance Exchanges, you can go on and see ours in Massachusetts, will be these new shopping places and they’ll be the place that people go to get their subsidies for health insurance. In the law, it says if the states don’t provide them, the federal backstop will. The federal government has been sort of slow in putting out its backstop, I think partly because they want to sort of squeeze the states to do it. I think what’s important to remember politically about this, is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an Exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits. But your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying to your citizens, you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these Exchanges, and that they’ll do it. But you know, once again, the politics can get ugly around this. (Emphasis added).

And he said it again here. I'll update as more and more of these are located as Gruber was apparently on some sort of book tour at the time and may have well repeated this a lot of times.

Back to what Jonathan Cohn at the New Republic tries to sell in his unconvincing attempt to defend Gruber's bald face lying.

Among those who say they are surprised by the statement is Gruber himself, whom I was able to reach by phone. "I honestly don’t remember why I said that," he said, attempting to reconstruct what he might have been thinking at the time. "I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake."

Yeah it was just a mistake, (every time you said it as part of your prepared speech), that you described exactly what the law actually said.

Here's Gruber totally failing to defend himself:

But there was never any intention to literally withhold money, to withhold tax credits, from the states that didn’t take that step. That’s clear in the intent of the law and if you talk to anybody who worked on the law. My subsequent statement was just a speak-oyou know, like a typo.

A speak-o? Other MIT graduates everywhere are cringing. But it wasn't a subsequent statement, it was a statement contemporary to the law's passage--the kind of statement that is actual legislative history. The lie you're trying to sell now is the subsequent statement, the one the court never should rely on. For a MIT grad, this guy's none too savvy.

Here's legislator Max Baucus, former Democrat Senator from Montana, also saying that the intent of the legislation is exactly what the plain meaning of the statute says it is. And Baucus said this before the ACA was passed. What are the odds the 'architect' of the legislation would say twice that it means exactly what it says and have another supporting legislator say the same thing and their contemporary statements are merely speak-os? Now I'm cringing to use the word.

I'd say 'good try' to the lefties trying to rewrite the legislative history but it wasn't a good try. You have failed completely to convince any rational person that the intent of the law did not match its words. You have failed completely to undo the actual legislative history that counts. You have failed to pretend convincingly that you did not mean what you said twice (at least). And you have been so obnoxious about it, that those who happen to follow this case but who do not share my contempt for many on the left might start to in the very near future.

Keep the charade up. Your helping your opponents. Call us stupid crazy obstinant criminals for getting it right some more. I triple dog dare you.

UPDATE: It just hit me that there won't be much other valid legislative history. Usually the information outside the law itself about the intent of the legislature comes from speeches and debates in committees and on the floor of the House and Senate about the bill and the parts of the bill being examined in committee. I don't think there was any of that for the ACA. More super competence by the Democrats.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Persistance of Blindness

Again, lefty journalists (sorry so wordy) pretend that Gaza, from which the Israelis entirely decamped nearly 9 years ago, is occupied. This is a strange new use of the word 'occupy' with which I am unfamiliar. Here is the latest in self-delusion from the far left Guardian, this time by Owen Jones. Second paragraph:

A few days earlier, photographs emerged of young residents relaxing on folding chairs as they watched the bombing. Some smoked water pipes; others had brought popcorn. On one level, the “Sderot cinema” sums up the asymmetry of this so-called conflict: of Gazans huddled in terror as a military superpower pounds their overcrowded, besieged open-air prison camp; while on the other side of the border, Israelis joyously celebrate their country’s military might, whatever fear they have of Hamas rockets eclipsed by the thrill of bombs detonating in the near distance. It is also illustrative of how occupations corrupt the occupier. “What a misfortune it is for one nation to subjugate another,” Friedrich Engels wrote in 1864, referring to Britain’s oppression of Ireland. “All English abominations have their origin in the Irish pale.” And so it goes with Israel and Gaza.
The "open air prison camp" of Gaza once was occupied by Ottoman Turks for centuries then by WWI winners, then by Egypt, from 1948 until 1967, that is, from the first attempt of the Arabs to destroy Israel to the second. And when I use the word 'occupy' I use it in its plain, everyday meaning, which is, actually to have troops of the occupying country in the occupied country. Israel occupied Gaza through the third attempt to destroy Israel in 1973, when Israel captured all of the Sinai while defeating Egypt et al. decisively. There was finally a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel in 1979 and Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt. They offered to return Gaza too, but the Egyptians didn't want it back. The Israelis left Gaza in 2005. That's actual history.

Let's skip to the last paragraph, which contains the cognitive dissonance which is the result of pretending non-occupation is occupation.

For those who want peace – including an end to the occupation and the dismantling of every settlement – it is tempting to demonise Israeli supporters of this latest offensive. But it is futile and self-defeating. The occupation will not end until the rationales that sustain it are understood. As Palestinian children are killed, that may seem like a lot to stomach, but it is no less necessary.
Mr. Jones says that those who want peace in the area want an end to the occupation and the dismantling of every settlement, among other things. But that is exactly what Israel did with Gaza in 2005. They ended the occupation and dismantled and removed every Israeli settlement. Did they get peace? Or did they get thousands of rockets and mortar rounds launched into Israel?

I am willing to bet a mortgage payment Jones doesn't realize how history and this last paragraph thoroughly guts his entire argument, if not his peculiar Weltanshauung.

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Friday, July 18, 2014


Eschewing Hubris

I don't think I'm smarter than Lawrence Tribe, far from it, but I can recognize a mistake in judicial or quasi judicial analysis when I see it. And I see one here. Tribe sees the danger to Obamacare that the drafting I pointed out here creates. I say that the 'danger' of the case is that the law of statutory interpretation make the outcome I cautiously predict necessary. He sees it as a minor error that should not be a problem but which could provide the conservative judges with an excuse needlessly to harm the ACA. Tomato, tomato. But here is a definite mistake.

So, when this case ultimately reaches the court, the ACA’s fate would again rest in the hands of Roberts, just as it did in 2012. If Roberts is true to his pragmatic judicial philosophy, he should find the challengers’ reading unconvincing. He has repeatedly held that, where fairly possible, a court should interpret an ambiguous law in a way that avoids finding the law unconstitutional. It was that principle that led him to vote to uphold the individual mandate and should lead him to side with the Obama administration in this latest round of attacks. (Emphasis added).

That bold section is accurate law and it did clearly inspire the Chief Justice in an earlier case to hold the ACA constitutional, as it should have. But there is nothing about unconstitutionality in the case Tribe and I are talking about. The case in front of the DC Circuit involves merely a matter of making the executive branch enforce the law as written. The do what you can to uphold a law's constitutionality rule does not apply. Tribe apparently whishes it would as it would probably dictate the result again. But it's not there.

So we got that going for us, which is nice.



Each Side is a Mystery to the Other

Here is a New Republic article by Brian Beutler which tries to chart out the future (difficult to do) of federal politics after the 2014 midterm elections and the near Republican tidal wave it threatens to be. I was struck by this paragraph.

There is an existing tension between conservative rank and file Republicans and Republican party leadershipbetween those who insist on maximizing the GOP's existing power as a Congressional party, and those who prefer to eschew politically unsupportable exercises of power for the sake of the party's national standing. A GOP victory in November would encourage both factions to pull harder in opposing directions.
This guy doesn't know squat about the political ambitions of the Republicans and the main fault line which exists to divide the party. There is, alas, such a fault line, probably more like the borders of tectonic plates, but it's nothing like this guy describes.

This is more accurate, at least I hope it is more accurate, about the effect of a Republican majority in the Senate.

The flip side, of course, is that Republicans would gain agenda setting power. If they were disciplined with this new power, they would splinter the Democratic minority and force Obama to veto popular legislationsomething he and Hillary Clinton and everyone else in the Democratic party have every interest in avoiding.

And we could stop cold the deleterious, long term effects of the President and Senate putting nothing but lefty judges into the federal judiciary. That alone is worth a lot of work and sacrifice by the right.

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