More Varnishing of History Sun, 16 Mar 2014 20:20:53 +0000 Rob Meltzer Today,  the AP wire had a story about Solomon Northup and the apparently-fictional 12 Years a Slave, a story which is finally coming close to admission that maybe declaring the book to be non-fiction was premature. AP’s story was called “12 Years a Slaves’ author’s death still a mystery.” The point of the story is that Solomon Northup’s “history” seems to abruptly vanish after the book appeared. Well, yes, since historians dispute that he [...]]]> The People Have Spoken–Crimea is back home in Russia Sun, 16 Mar 2014 20:12:21 +0000 Rob Meltzer In an election whose percent-participation is rarely even experienced in the United States, the residents of Crimea have voted to rejoin the Russian homeland.  There was no evidence on a day of jubilation in the Crimea that anyone was voting under duress. The people in the Crimea have now had an opportunity to express their preference democratically, something still denied to the oppressed people of Basqueland, Tibet, Kashmir or Kurdistan. Indeed, even the people of Ukraine were denied their [...]]]> What is Scott Brown thinking? Sat, 15 Mar 2014 13:54:26 +0000 Rick Holmes BrownNH Beats me.

Seems to me Brown would have a better shot against Markey in Mass. than Shaheen in New Hampshire.  Markey has a lot of vulnerabilities Elizabeth Warren didn’t have – the long record, the charisma deficit, the [...]]]> More Lies and Cover Up from the Obama White House Fri, 14 Mar 2014 11:55:58 +0000 Rob Meltzer When Obama murdered criminal suspect Osama bin Laden in May of 2011 during an unlawful invasion of Pakistan, in an apparent effort to boost Obama's flagging political career, a number of questions were asked. First, leaving aside the question of the breach of international law by the invasion of military forces to kill a resident of a sovereign nation and ally, why wasn't the unarmed bin Laden removed from the country for trial, much as Israel did with Adolf Eichmann? And why weren't there [...]]]> Taking down Herbalife for principle and profit Thu, 13 Mar 2014 14:04:44 +0000 Rick Holmes I’m still digesting the Times’ Monday examination of the hedge fund billionaire who put a $1 billion bet that Herbalife would fail, then put friendly politicians to work making it happen. The headline – “After Big Bet, Hedge Fund Pulls the Levers of Power” – tells the story.  What surprised me a [...]]]> Obama Recklessly Invites Blowback Thu, 13 Mar 2014 13:34:54 +0000 Rob Meltzer Interesting take on the Ukraine situation from RadioStar, which comes out of India, this morning. What, the experts ask, does Obama think Putin will do if Obama keeps threatening Russia with unilateral sanctions not issued by the United Nations? Well, the experts answered themselves, there’s a lot of things Russian can and likely will do, and the result is that it is likely to be the United States, not Russia, which will find itself diplomatically isolated and its businessmen hurt. [...]]]> Whither the Millennials? Wed, 12 Mar 2014 18:29:03 +0000 Rick Holmes I’m working on an editorial on the recent Pew survey on “Millennials in Adulthood.”

Politically, it’s mostly good news for Democrats, who more closely align with Millennials (now age 18-32) on issues like immigration, marijuana, and same-sex marriage than Republicans. Interestingly, young voters are not much different from their elders in their views on abortion and gun rights. [...]]]> The Inevitable Obama Impeachment Wed, 12 Mar 2014 12:57:56 +0000 Rob Meltzer It isn’t a secret that both W and Barry have committed atrocities, war crimes, crimes against humanity and gross breaches of international law and treaties. And it isn’t a secret that Barry has been using the power of the executive branch including the CIA to cover up and stonewall Congressional oversight, and that there has been a cancer growing on his presidency since January of 2009. Indeed, this morning even the AP noted that “a quarrel between the CIA and the Senate [...]]]> Out Now Fri, 28 Feb 2014 17:02:07 +0000 Rob Meltzer The entire concept of the “surge” of forces in Afghanistan was that the force levels were too low to meet specific targeted goals for establishing security in conjunction with Afghan government forces. The situation hasn’t changed–US Forces are still propping up the puppet regime in Kabul.

What I guess I don’t understand is what 10,000 troop in-country will get us if the US does not pull out entirely. From all indication, this would leave a group of [...]]]> What’s with Arizona? Thu, 27 Feb 2014 18:30:42 +0000 Rick Holmes Arizona has a habit of gratuitously shooting itself in the foot.  Its Republicans seem to delight in reminding the world of their state’s intolerance.

First, there was its principled stand against the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. If memory serves, Arizona lost a bid to host a Super Bowl over that one before lawmakers retreated.

Then there’s the “show me your papers” law, which seemed designed to accomplish little besides prove Arizona [...]]]> Who is threatening who? Thu, 27 Feb 2014 00:03:06 +0000 Rob Meltzer Depending on how good you are at lip reading in Russian, Vlad Putin two weeks ago either compared Barry Obama to a Siberian fish sauce, a Kurgiz piece of lawn furniture, or he called him a weenie. Considering that Putin is pretty witty and always has the best lines these days (referring to Hollande of France, he asked “what kind of man cheats on his mistress?”) I think its safe to say that Putin was calling Barry a weenie, meaning that fitness-crazed shirtless Czar thinks Barry [...]]]> More dangerous men Wed, 26 Feb 2014 21:07:31 +0000 Rick Holmes Another case, from Dahlia Lithwick:

Last week, Kriston Charles Belinte Chee, an unarmed man, got into a fight with Cyle Wayne Quadlin at a Walmart in suburban Arizona. Quadlin opened fire midargument and killed Chee. Officers decided not to charge Quadlin because, they concluded, the killing was in self-defense. According to the police spokesman, “Mr. Quadlin was losing the fight and indicated he ‘was in fear for his life.’ [...]]]> The Common Core? Wed, 26 Feb 2014 16:09:51 +0000 Rick Holmes In another thread, we drifted briefly into the topic of education policy, which got me thinking again about the Common Core standards.

Federal education policy has been an interesting iss Now that Nat Hentoff and I have been firmly placed in the constellation of the great right wing conspiracy, I should note that one of the things that has been bugging both Nat and I (who, by the way, share a middle name, obviously another sign of our link to the Koch Brothers), is a the relatively new lack of intellectual honesty by Barry’s kool aid drinkers. As I have noted, I’ve been involved in a a study of mid century political philosophy. One thing that strikes me about that [...]]]> The Next Constitutional Amendment Mon, 24 Feb 2014 12:28:22 +0000 Rob Meltzer Are you aware that Obama can simply lock up muslims indefinitely at his discretion without charge and for indefinite periods of time? Back in 2001, I had a column strenuously objecting to the USA PATRIOT Act amongst other reasons because it seemed that the Act inadvertently invoked legislation passed in 1946, in which internment of Japanese Americans had been eliminated, but the statute itself continued to be in force and effect to allow Congress to designate future detainees during war time, [...]]]> What’s Up With the Code? Sun, 23 Feb 2014 00:01:00 +0000 Rob Meltzer Anyone notice this new security feature on this blog? Its apparently not compatible with encryption security devices on commercial servers. I’ve tried to post nine comments in the past twenty minutes and only two have shown up, since apparently the encryption doesn’t always give back what is typed here, as is evident from the often idiosyncratic spelling I note from my posts that bear no similarity to what I type.

]]> Cause or Effect? Sun, 19 Jan 2014 21:32:25 +0000 Rob Meltzer A number of Kennedy aides, including RFK, reported that the primary lesson that JFK learned from the Bay of Pigs fiasco was that not every war is necessarily military in nature, and that the military rarely works as a method of effectuating friendly political consequences. Wars can overturn enemies, but they can rarely build successor states. Limited wars can effectuate political change, but it is necessary to operate surgically. It’s a point that forms the basis of Emile [...]]]> Who’ll lead on privacy? Sat, 18 Jan 2014 15:27:17 +0000 Rick Holmes President Obama responded to the NSA scandal in typical fashion. He defended his administration, made sympathetic noises about privacy concerns, named a panel that made recommendations, made a lofty speech and delivered policy changes that don't go nearly far enough.

The panel Obama named was stocked with national security heavyweights and made some pretty good recommendations.  Obama followed a few of them partway. Access to the NSA's vast pile of phone data will be limited, [...]]]> Borg Assimilation in Progress Fri, 17 Jan 2014 17:57:15 +0000 Rob Meltzer Hot on the heels of the Nest/Google fiasco, comes the news today that Google is working on a contact lens which measures glucose levels of diabetics, and then sends a warning from the flake sized microcomputer embedded in the lens so that you can get help or an ambulance. this is yet another example of Google engaging in business practices that control both the product and the mechanism of delivery, a clear violation of the anti trust laws. No different from the railroad owning the coal mine. [...]]]> Not teaching history Thu, 16 Jan 2014 17:11:24 +0000 Rick Holmes I went into Boston way too early Wednesday, drawn to a program put on by the Pioneer Institute by the chance to hear Taylor Branch, the great historian and MLK biographer.  Also on the program was Bob Moses, an educator and a hero of the civil rights movement who was director of SNCC’s Mississippi project in the early ’60s.

The immediate topic was “Teaching the Civil Rights Movement in Schools,” but the larger issue Pioneer has been focusing on is whether [...]]]> Whither the antichrist? Wed, 15 Jan 2014 20:14:05 +0000 Rick Holmes This is a real letter I just got here at the paper, but I post it mostly for fun:

Chasing the evasive Middle East peace treaty

The revelation by Barbara Walters that she expected Obama to be the Messiah should not be shocking. The mainstream media will have the primary role in brainwashing the world to accept the Antichrist as the great man of peace. Against all odds, he will conclude a Middle East peace treaty giving Israel a respite against all the hatred [...]]]> Ignoring the World Wed, 15 Jan 2014 13:00:03 +0000 Rob Meltzer In a parliamentary system, all ministers generally speak for the coalition, even if the Prime Minister dictates policy. It is not uncommon in a parliamentary system for one minister to go out and make a pronouncement that can then be plausibly denied by the PM  as “not speaking for the government.” So when Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon called John Kerry “obsessive” and “messianic” for his conduct toward negotiations between Israel and the PLO, he [...]]]> Ignoring Scotus Wed, 15 Jan 2014 12:49:55 +0000 Rob Meltzer One of the more interesting things about the arguments pertaining to recess appointments on Monday in front of the United States Supreme Court is that most of the heat is coming from the liberal wing of the Court–Obama’s erstwhile allies. It raises an interesting question, doesn’t it, whether Obama is better off with Republicans blocking judicial appointees, as it seems that the liberal justices and judges are exhibiting a traditional distrust of executive power. Lack of [...]]]> The Borg Attacks the Nest! Tue, 14 Jan 2014 12:41:02 +0000 Rob Meltzer In one of the worst pieces of news this week, Google is assimilating Nest Labs, which makes state of the art thermostats and smoke detectors. Prior to this news, I was preparing to retrofit my house with Nest products, which I have decided not to do. The apparent reason for this acquisition is that it gives Google more of a foothold in the smart house world, and it reflects a dramatic change from the idea that a smart house is a free standing unit to the notion that a smart house is somehow [...]]]> Putin and the Paleocons Mon, 13 Jan 2014 12:03:58 +0000 Tom Driscoll

I came across
this article in and there’s a real temptation just to throw it in the cage here as some meat to tear at. This is the first time I’ve come across the term ‘Paleocons’ and noticed —but I’ve been noticing the knuckle dragging described for [...]]]> Can we talk about Afghanistan? Sun, 12 Jan 2014 15:50:17 +0000 Rick Holmes I’m not holding my breath waiting for what Meet The Press labels Bob Gates’ “Bombshell Memoir,” to prompt a serious discussion about the choices the administration made in Afghanistan, and what we should be learning from America’s longest war.

But in my column today, I give it a try.

Meanwhile, Newsday writer Over the course of the past four months, I’ve been reporting on how a number of my clients have been shedding most or all of their employees to avoid Obamcare, and that some of my clients have switched to part time staff, or even moved overseas to avoid Obamacare. It has less to do with the cost of health care than it does with business certainty, and I’ve been reporting that my clients prefer to fix their costs for the year rather than worry about the status of the new law and [...]]]> Sound an alarm on dental amalgam Fri, 10 Jan 2014 22:35:13 +0000 Rick Holmes A guest post from Laura Russell:

By Laura Henze Russell

Fifty years after the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking, it is high time for President Obama to ask the U.S. Surgeon General to prepare a Report on Dental Amalgam.

The great United States of America, through the U.S. Food and Drug Administratio, lags behind other advanced, emerging and developing nations in recognizing and protecting its citizens from dental amalgam’s scientifically [...]]]> Mind the Gap Fri, 10 Jan 2014 13:53:29 +0000 Rob Meltzer Late last year, I attended a continuing legal education seminar which addressed the growing issue of copyright in the age of the internet.

The seminar wasn’t all that unusual from the hand wringing that I’ve heard before.

But then they brought out a professor from California, who is also head of a software company which is creating software which would be a short term technological fix. In short, you would be able to post material that couldn’t be copied [...]]]> In His Dreams Fri, 10 Jan 2014 13:17:06 +0000 Rob Meltzer Whenever I’ve talked to mainstream Republicans or Tea Party members, whether in Washington or throughout the United States, there is one thing that everyone seems to agree on: Governor Christie never has been, is not, and never will be, the Republican candidate in 2016. I’m not sure where this sense of his daunting candidacy comes from, other than non-evangelical Republicans who find him refreshing and Democrats who see something in him that they either admire or want their [...]]]> Ownership of opportunity Fri, 10 Jan 2014 00:08:31 +0000 Nancy Lindsay The Washington Spectator reports that the Powder River Basin in Wyoming is a carbon reserve being mined for shipment to China; corporate coal-export company Peabody Energy is seeking to build a terminal in Washington and Oregon. The Spectator also states "The corporate architecture behind the deal are elaborate. Peabody Energy, the largest coal producer in the world, operates the strip mines in the Powder River Basin. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway holding company owns [...]]]> Gates on Afghanistan Thu, 09 Jan 2014 17:14:07 +0000 Rick Holmes I look forward to reading Bob Gates' memoir.  He's a smart, interesting, honorable man who has witnessed a lot of history.  From this review, at least, it appears to be something more than the double-barreled assault on Obama cable news readers (who haven’t read it either) are portraying it to be.

I'm sure there are some surprises in the book, but the pre- [...]]]> What’s a Job Program Thu, 09 Jan 2014 13:02:15 +0000 Rob Meltzer So, here’s an idea to create jobs. Congress should declare that Christmas will occur once per month. Santa Clause will have to hire all his elves as full-time, health-insured employees with pensions, he’ll need to keep a larger stable of reindeer, which means more animals, more caretakers and more fodder producers. Equally, retail stores will have to hire seasonal workers every month, and people will go out and shop like crazy every month and all that money will cycle into the [...]]]> Iraq’s war Tue, 07 Jan 2014 23:38:38 +0000 Rick Holmes Take back Fallujah from Islamist militias? Been there. Done that.

As I write in an editorial today, the fact that Fallujah and Ramadi are in “al-Qaida affiliated” – whatever that means – hands underscores the folly of the enterprise from the beginning. It’s the Iraqi government’s failure, and it’s the Iraqi people’s turn [...]]]> Minnesota weather report Mon, 06 Jan 2014 18:40:06 +0000 Rick Holmes IMG954595Old friend Dave Granlund reports from his new home outside the Twin Cities in Minnesota that the temperature at his house this moring was -23 degrees.  Yesterday he and his wife took some sudsy water and a hoop outside and made bubbles, [...]]]> The New Racism, Part 47 Sun, 05 Jan 2014 19:01:13 +0000 Rob Meltzer No doubt, the death of Kendrick Johnson in a Georgian high school gym was a tragedy. But what has become an even greater tragedy is that way that every American death now warrants a news blitz, in which the death of every black teenager is exploited as a racist event. Rushing to the scene of a tragic accident involving a gym mat and a pair of sneakers? Well, Sharpton of course, and, now, according to the AP, “the Florida attorney who represented Trayvon Martin’s [...]]]> The New Terrorism Part II Sun, 05 Jan 2014 18:52:01 +0000 Rob Meltzer Since the American media seems determined to ignore the news story, here’s an update.

Not only did the PLO’s facility in Prague contain explosives, which fortunately only killed the terrorist, but it also contained a substantial number of illegal weapons, confirming that the PLO is using the diplomatic status conferred upon it to smuggle terrorist implements into Europe which can only have one possible purpose. If anyone needed more evidence of bad faith by the PLO, or [...]]]> Faith and freedom Sun, 05 Jan 2014 17:17:15 +0000 Tom Driscoll

"At its Greek root, “to believe” simply means “to give one’s heart to.” Thus, if we can determine what it is we give our heart to, then we will know what it is we believe."

? Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith

Faith and freedom, how do these two terms relate? The question comes to mind as [...]]]> ‘Listening to the Founders’ Sun, 05 Jan 2014 13:51:38 +0000 Rick Holmes Another fissure has just opened up in the Republican Party, one I’m hoping Rob can help us understand.

GOP establishment commentator David Gerson fired a volley in a column I ran Saturday, arguing that the GOP moderates are ceding too much ideological ground to anti-government extremists. Gerson challenges the assumption that the Founders were tea party [...]]]> Been there. Done that. Doesn’t get it. Sat, 04 Jan 2014 13:41:06 +0000 Rick Holmes Sometime way back in the ’60s or early ’70s I had a revelation I still remember:  America can’t have a rational public discussion about drugs, because if you’ve used drugs, you’re dismissed as biased and if you haven’t, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Now that America is finally learning how to discuss marijuana in public, Florida is about to Pass New York as the third largest state in the United States, meaning that Texas, California and Florida will be the big three. Not one of the original thirteen colonies in the bunch, and nary a state that felt a true impact from the American Revolution, the War of 1812 or the American Civil War. The news is tempered with other interesting data. The only reason why New York is treading water is because of an inflow of immigrants into New York which offsets losses upstate. [...]]]> Tet-2014 Fri, 03 Jan 2014 17:11:07 +0000 Rob Meltzer Al Qaida’s Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, in seizing two cities in Anbar Province, is making a political and military point. Even as the Obama Regime wants to declare victory in the war on terror, the Obama Regime is responsible for creating a new and dangerous entity that can seize territory for a government we set up, and it can hold that territory. Al Qaida is very open about the source of its recent success. First, it credits Obama with killing bin Laden. Bin Laden had very [...]]]>