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Cold Fury Takes The Internets!

Democracy theater

I really hope none of you thought that total surveillance of everyday Americans was going to stop, or bein any way curtailed.

Earlier this week, we noted that Senator Mitch McConnell, hot off of his huge flop in trying to preserve the NSA’s surveillance powers, had promised to insert the dangerous “cybersecurity” bill CISA directly into the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act). As we discussed, while many have long suspected that CISA (and CISPA before it) were surveillance bills draped in “cybersecurity” clothing, the recent Snowden revelations that the NSA is using Section 702 “upstream” collection for “cybersecurity” issues revealed how CISA would massively expandthe NSA’s ability to warrantlessly wiretap Americans’ communications.

Thankfully, like his PATRIOT Act games from a few weeks ago, this latest McConnell movehas fallen flat. The Senate rejected the attempt by a 40 to 56 vote. So, for now, it looks like the Senate isn’t going to be able to ram CISA through either which is good news.

Still, expect Congress to keep trying. But, each time, it’s important to ask some basic questions: what attacks would this bill actually stop (answer: none). And what laws are currently preventing the supposedly necessary “information sharing” from happening today?

(and here, my friends, is the line…)

Also none. At least as a practical matter, anyway. As with the rest of the permanent bureaucracy that really runs things, they’re going to do whatever they like, and there’s not one damned thing you, I, or anyone else can do about it.

(Via Bill)

AMEN!

(and how sad is THAT!?)

(Having said that, however, I’m gonna keep trying, however Sisyphean doing do may be!)

Befuddling The Hipster

My good friend Old NFO recently posted about playing board games (as opposed to playing electronic, I suppose?)

Of mention was the at one time ubiquitous Trivial Pursuit™.

And this tweaked a memory of mine.

(BTW – I’m not a big game player.  Was never that skilled at chess, and sports are a loss for me, most of you regular readers know.  Perhaps I’ve just not found the right game…?)

Sometime back in the 80s, Trivial Pursuit appeared on the scene.  Being married at the time, the wife commanded we join with other couples to socialize.  And play games.  Sigh.

And Trivial Pursuit was the name of the game.  (Better than Uno, that’s for certain!)

(I’ve made this statement before)  My mind is a veritable cornucopia of useless crap!  Translation – I know a lot of trivia!)

If memory serves me, we played twice, and we won twice!  Then the other couples stopped playing with us for some reason(?)  🙂

My Achilles heel was always the sports questions, unless there was some kind of historical import – then I knew it.

Fast-forward to working at TMCCC.  Once of my coworkers for a while was a hipster.  Calf length pant-shorts (somehow allowed in the dress code), tattoos on arms and legs.  Visible piercings and ear gauges.

And a nice enough guy.  Just not the sharpest spoon in the drawer.  I think he was high during most of high school.

During some forgettable 4 month period, management created ‘games’ for us to play in our ‘teams’.  To create cohesiveness amongst us.  Even though we still we pitted against each other in the real world!

And one of these games was a daily trivia question from – you guessed it, someone’s defunct Trivial Pursuit set.

And I got a sports question:

Whom (I think it said who) did the Boston Red Sox (jokingly) offer to trade for Mickey Mantle in the 1950’s?

Of course, this was also historical, so I knew the answer – Ted Williams!

And tattoo boy was beside himself!  HOW could you possibly know such a thing?  You’re not a sports guy!

I don’t remember what menial award I received for getting the answer correct.  Befuddling the hipster was the best reward.

THE Conundrum Of This Age

Bayou Renaissance Man (from whom I rarely steal quote, as I’d be doing it DAILY! – translation – you should be reading him, daily!) expresses most eloquently this conundrum…

The conundrum of dealing with radical Islam

I’ve written about the military side of dealing with fundamentalist Islamic terrorism in these pages from time to time.  The trouble is, a military solution isn’t a solution, because it can’t target the mindset that produces legions of suicidal fanatics.  The Russians developed a very direct, pragmatic and utterly ruthless approach to Iranian-sponsored terrorism during the 1980’s.  It worked, because those ‘at the top’ who were controlling the terrorists could be threatened into compliance.  That doesn’t seem to be the case with an organization like ISIL in Syria and Iraq.  When you believe – truly believe, with all your heart and soul – that death in battle, or by assassination, earns you a martyr’s reward in Paradise, death isn’t a threat.  It’s a promise of greatness that you embrace eagerly. The same applies to Hamas and its extreme attitudes towards Israel.  How can you reason with a movement that celebrates death in combat, that indoctrinates its youngest children with lessons about the praiseworthiness of martyrdom and hatred for Israel?  There are many other fundamentalist Islamic terrorist groups who’ve adopted similar outlooks on life.

So, how do we deal with them?  It’s easy to say “Kill them all” – but it’s also completely impractical.  Despite losing thousands of its fighters in combat, ISIL appears to have a limitless supply of replacements.  Young women in Europe and America even travel to areas it controls out of a desire to become brides of ‘jihadists’.  Fanaticism is an inbred streak in the human race – not confined to Islam by any means – and as long as there are fanatics, there’ll be those driven to join fanatical movements.  We can’t kill them all without killing the entire human race.  Speaking as a member of that race, I have a profound objection to being included in that process!  There is no way to completely destroy fanaticism.

The mistake politicians make is to assume that they’re dealing with rational human beings.  Rationality is relative.  ISIL’s leaders and its wannabe martyrs are entirely rational, according to their system of thought and belief.  To change their behavior, we have to change that system.  To do that, we have to radically reform the society and culture that have produced it.  Attacking and militarily overrunning that society won’t inculcate contrary values – we’ve proved that time and time again, most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The solution has to include methods of changing the situation on the ground.  However, that requires a long-term commitment and huge amounts of money, neither of which are available right now.

The only answer our politicians and leaders appear to have is to keep killing as many Islamist fanatics as possible in order to ‘control the infection’ in their society and culture, even though they must know that doing so will produce still more fanaticsEinstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.  That perfectly describes how we’ve tried to control radical Islam for the past few decades.  When will we learn from our failures and try to find a better solution?  Is there, in fact, a better solution?  In my darker moments, I fear there may not be one at all.  History suggests that may be the case, and that the struggle against fanaticism in all its forms may be a Sisyphean endeavor.

Your guess is as good as mine . . .

Peter

114° F

I just arose from a short nap.  J. got home about noon, and was tired after her early morning angiography.  So, we adjourned to our bedrooms and sacked out.

Even though I normally arise between 6 and 7, 4:30 was a bit much this morning to see her off!  I’ve not been outside since I took a quick trip to get sausage biscuits and hash browns this morning at 10 AM.

It was well over 90° then…

Here I am, catching up on email and such, when a news blip appears on my cellular telephone:

@3:08 PM, local meteorologists determined we met the record for this date, in The Valley Of The Sun.

114° F

Now, I’m not one to complain about the heat.  My parents brought me here, but, as an adult I’ve chosen to stay here.  And I’ve a car with a broken air conditioner.

Won’t hear me b*tch about the heat – no sirree!

I get to wear short-sleeves most Christmases.

But, I suspect oven mitts to handle the steering wheel and ingress/egress of the car are currently in order.

Sigh.

(not a complaint!)

J. came home without having a blockage or a stent placed.  As long as we can celebrate without going anywhere, I’m happy!

♫ Angie…Angie…♫

Will the blockage disappear ?

(with apologies to The Stones)

Probably before you read this blog post, my roommate J, good friend, landlord, and hairdresser extraordinare, will  be undergoing an angiogram.  That is exploration of the heart muscle via a tiny camera.

It seems doctors think she might have a blockage, making half of her heart not work as efficiently as the other half!

The good news is that, unlike in days of yore, the current procedure is mostly outpatient.  If a blockage is located, either medication will be prescribed to dissolve it, or a stent will be implanted during the angiogram.  This is all dependent on the size of said blockage.  If a stent is used, she will be required to stay overnight.

Once again, I get to play dog wrangler.  This is not a problem.

We (the critters and I) are all  anxious for her return – either later today or tomorrow.  Logistics involving our cars made it impossible for me to drive her.  A good friend is there for her during the procedure.

Please keep a good thought.  If you are a praying kind of person, doing so would be appreciated! 

This just in (0930 MST) – J. is awake and talking.  No blockages found and no stents placed.  The poorer part of the heart is functioning @ 55% instead of the previously thought 40%.  The next step is to find out why, and what to do about it – but NO blockage is GOOD!  

She can come home after three hours!

Colt We Hardly Knew Ye

coltNo, that’s not true.  We did!  We did know ye!

“Gun maker Colt Defense LLC plans to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by Monday (yesterday), according to people familiar with the matter, amid business and accounting troubles. The company has secured financing to continue operating while in bankruptcy and expects to remain in business after the restructuring, the people said.” The combination of years of indifference toward the civilian market combined and the gut-punch that was losing most of its military AR business have finally caught up to Colt . . .(WSJ)

A company with a long tradition, filing it’s second bankruptcy in a little over 20 years.

Back-in-the-day, when the standards battling for market share were largely Colt and Smith & Wesson, I always thought of Smith as the Chevy or Ford, and Colt as the Cadillac or Lincoln.  A little nicer finish, perhaps, but way overpriced.  Always wanted a Dick Special and a Python.  Could never afford them.  (I am fortunate to have a National Match upper for my 1911!)

And, what the WSJ says is true!  Colt kept vying for the military market, and ignoring it’s civilian base.  And the military market went elsewhere.

A Python and Detective Special in my future?  Probably not.

The Supreme Court Stands…

for nothing, apparently.

The supreme court refused to hearJackson v. City and County of San Francisco. After Heller and McDonald, they don’t seem very willing to take on many more gun rights cases. It’s curious to me why that is. Pre-Heller, it was speculated that the court wouldn’t take gun cases because they weren’t convinced the decision would go the right way. But Sandy resigned. I wonder who the hold out is now?

Too bad the Founding Fathers didn’t see that oath taking would be viewed largely as ceremonial fal-de-ral with no meaning as the nation progressed…

In ALL federal offices requiring it!

Perhaps I should have spelled it fed-er-al…

h/t Say Uncle

Borepatch Hung It Up, June 11 !

BOREPATCH, blogger extraordinaire, posted his last post on June 11.

Almost SEVEN YEARS after his first!

He says he wants to hit the road on his new bike.

Can’t blame him, after all this time.

Vaya Con Queso, my friend!

Hope to catch that beer with you one day.

Stay safe.

Happy Independence Day, June 4!

july-4-removedThe United States Embassy enjoyed its annual 4th of July celebration on Thursday, June 4, one month early, in order to respect the upcoming Ramadhan month, which will begin on June 17 and last for one month.

US Ambassador to Indonesia Robert O. Blake and US Ambassador to ASEAN Nina Hachigian presided over the festivities, which involved brass band renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner and the Indonesian national anthem, Indonesia Raya.

In a mind-boggling gesture of official Obama Government dhimmitude, the US Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia celebrated our sacred Independence Day holiday on June 4, so as to avoid any conflict with the month-long Ramadan celebration. Read the whole thing in the Jakarta Post HERE.

(from Old NFO)

Other reporting on the Internet indicates this was NOT done due to pressure from the Indonesian government, but simply logistics with accommodating Ramadhan.

I don’t know about YOU, but this makes me physically ill!  An embassy is defacto national territory of the nation represented.  To change our national traditions on our territory, so as not to offend, is just political correctness over the top!  –  Guffaw

Well, Here They Go AGAIN!

Courtesy of Brock Townsend and the NRA/ILA…

Excerpt

With the new proposal published on June 3, the State Department claims to be “clarifying” the rules concerning “technical data” posted online or otherwise “released” into the “public domain.” To the contrary, however, the proposal would institute a massive new prior restraint on free speech. This is because all such releases would require the “authorization” of the government before they occurred. The cumbersome and time-consuming process of obtaining such authorizations, moreover, would make online communication about certain technical aspects of firearms and ammunition essentially impossible. 

The rest @ NRA-ILA
C’mon gun blogger, magazine writers, book authors, let’s bury The State Department with enough complaints and bad press that they stop considering this! – Guffaw

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…