Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Tale Of Two Midwestern Cities, Of Murdered Children, Of Cries For Revenge And Stone Silence

It's painful to watch the Michael Brown funeral, but here it is, in all its YouTube Glory.

The Sharpton excerpts widely broadcast are inflammatory enough, but the real damage to the body politic may well come from the eulogy delivered by Brown's uncle, Charles Ewing, misusing the Genesis story of Cain and Abel, and blood 'crying from the ground for vengeance'. The terms 'justice' and 'vengeance' seem to be equivalent: Justice=Vengeance=Justice.

Uncle Charles claimed divine inspiration, a special 'word' from the Holy Spirit, in effect ascribing canonical weight to his words, i.e. to claim: 'The Holy Spirit who guided the words of Isaiah and Paul now guides my words'. This is a terrible slippery slope, especially with a grieving family on the front row, a body in a coffin, and cameras carrying the Reverend's words to the world.

The Reverend Uncle also drew a broad analogy between young Mr. Brown, who died at noon, and Christ himself, crucified at noon. A terrible, tragic slippery slope upon which to perch a family.

And here's why: We don't exactly know what happened in that encounter that Saturday noon, and this side of the pearly gates, probably won't. All that is known with complete certainty is that young Mr. Brown is dead, and that Officer Wilson fired the shots that ended his life.

What if it does turn out, after three autopsies, much investigation, mounds of evidence gathered and gone over, that young Mr. Brown, Mike-Mike The Gentle Giant, had indeed stolen that box of cigars and assaulted the clerk, as is caught on camera? That will tarnish the memory and reputation of the young man, who was dearly loved by his now heartbroken parents. This is not fair to them, it increases their pain.

What if it does turn out, after three autopsies, etc, that Mr. Brown was the aggressor, and regrettably Officer Wilson felt he had no recourse but to fire? If the evidence shows that this tragedy was the result of Mr. Brown's aggression toward Officer Wilson, what then constitutes justice? And what then of his family, and all those young people out there convinced of both his martyrdom and sainthood? Who rescues the family from that slippery slope?

Meanwhile, in Chicago, three-year old James Jenkins was critically injured this weekend by the negligent mishandling of his father's handgun.

His father, also James Jenkins, was a felon on parole, prohibited from having a gun.

This was but one tragedy--some 40 shootings in Chicago in the same weekend. Mainly black teenagers. We should not expect to seeing Rev. Jackson or Rev. Sharpton at any of those services, and our 'I-am-Trayvon' President has his hands full between rounds of golf and watching the jihadists conquer the Tripoli airport.

Things have gone seriously upside down, OS fears. Obvious senseless murder is now treated as routine, while a tragic death that occurs in the fog of conflict on the street becomes the occasion of the worst sort of demagoguery.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mr. Obama's 'JV Team', aka ISIL, Captures Major Airbase In Syria

Remember, just because you wear a Kobe Bryant jersey...

And, to counterbalance all this unpleasantry--at least we can rejoice that the President's golf game is flourishing. Why, even this morning, ABC News pointed out that Dwight Eisenhower received his share of flak for playing so much golf. Hmmmm, so does that make Himself a President on par with Ike, the man who launched the Normandy invasion. Well, if you work for ABC news, it must...

Meanwhile, in the real world--

From today's UK Telegraph:

Jihadist fighters captured a major military air base in northeastern Syria on Sunday, removing the last government-held post in a province the extremists claim as part of their new "Islamic State". 
The storming of Tabqa air field, a major government military facility containing several squadrons of planes, helicopters, tanks and artillery, is a significant victory for the Islamic State of the Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
"Some of the Syrian regime troops pulled out, and now the Islamic State is in full control of Tabqa," said Rami Abdurrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. "This makes Raqqa province the first to fully fall out of government hands."
At least 500 fighters from both sides were reported to have died in the fighting over recent days, with casualties among Isil forces said to be running twice as high as among the government troops. 
There were reports of celebratory gunfire in Raqqa, Isil's central stronghold in Syria, after mosques announced through their loudspeakers that the base had fallen to the Islamists. A witness told the Reuters news agency that fighters displayed the severed heads of Syrian army soldiers in the city square. 

The jihadists, who have grown in strength and numbers throughout Syria's continuing civil war against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, are now unchallenged in the north east of the country.
Their control has given them access to the regions plentiful oil resources, from which they generate an estimated monthly income of more than $20 million (£12 million) - enabling them also to sweep into neighbouring Iraq.

Located just 25 miles from Raqqa, Tabqa military base had been besieged for several weeks, forcing the Syrian regime to supply its trapped soldiers by parachute.
In recent days however, Isil stepped up its campaign, dispatching suicide bombers to breach the base's outer wall - including, according to its social media accounts on Friday, Sufian al Omar, a 14-year-old boy who it claimed had joined his father in a "suicide operation" at Tabqa.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Hmmm...Chuck Hegel doesn't think ISIS are 'the JV squad', involved only in local rivalries...

The spooky thing about Obama's response to the Foley beheading is not the text of the statement Himself read, but rather the diffident way in which The One delivered it. He read it in the tone of a bored college professor irritated that his summer vacation was much too short, announcing calendar events to a class full of students signed up for a seminar he had long ago lost interest in teaching.

Contrast that to his tone of voice out on the stump, vilifying and ridiculing any who dare disagree with his vision of Hope-n-Change. He's a different guy there, energized, earnest, on fire.

Not a note of that passion as he addressed a shocked nation about the horrible death of one of its citizens...no hint of it.

Then off to the golf course, where Himself found His mojo once more.

David Cameron, upon learning that a British subject had likely committed that murder, cancelled his vacation and set about the task of hunting this monster down.

Obama made his tee time. First things first, you know...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

As The Ferguson Missouri Story Proceeds, Unwinds, Unravels...A Few Details To Ponder

Mr. Brown died from gunshots fired by Officer Wilson on August 9, 2014. That fact is not in dispute. Everything else is, but that is not. 

As of August 8, 2014, however, life in Ferguson was far from idyllic. Looking at the Wikipedia page about the little city, we find that it only occupies 6.4 square miles of real estate, north and west of St.Louis proper.

Turnout at the last mayoral election was twelve percent. 12%. That's two percent more than 10 percent. 

Karl Denninger, a fire-breathing Libertarian, vociferously points to years of management of the city that resembles an organized crime operation. Almost every household in the city was involved in some way with the court system. Traffic violations fines and fees comprise an outsized proportion of the city's revenues. This smells very very bad. The police were being used to exact tribute instead of serve-and-protect, and the city invested into a lot of military-style gear to ride herd on the citizenry. This is a recipe for tragedy.

OS can relate, because the Southern county in which he resides was operated in that manner from about 1945 until 2010, when the family that controlled the 'plantation' was swept from office. The little town down the road still is, complete with its new tricked-out RoboCop black SUV that followed OS from the village gas station to his driveway six miles away, five feet off his bumper the entire journey, late one evening. He was looking for a ticket to write, and lost the battle.

But there is something else to discuss here. 

Missouri voted for Romney in 2010, except for three or four counties, including the county where Ferguson is located. The vote there was a Democrat landslide, down the ticket. 

St. Louis City 100.0% Reporting
B. Obama (i)

M. Romney

G. Johnson

V. Goode
St. Louis County 100.0% Reporting
B. Obama (i)

M. Romney

G. Johnson

V. Goode

The Congressman for the District is a Democrat. His words in the wake of the tragedy were, let us say, rather provocative. Nothing about the rule of law, protection of the innocent, protection of private property from looting--nothing. 

"I commend Governor Nixon for his decision to transfer control of public security in Ferguson to the Missouri Highway Patrol.
Since the tragedy occurred this past weekend, I have been in regular contact with Governor Nixon regarding the troubling situation in Ferguson.
I expressed my absolute commitment to pursue justice for Michael Brown and his family, and to restore safety and order for citizens and media who should be free to exercise their constitutional rights, without fear of police repression.
I look forward to working closely with the Governor to ensure the viability and complete independence of the criminal investigation.”

 Anything here calling for calm, due process, presumption of innocence, protection of innocents, protection of businesses--anything? He did use the word 'police repression' prominently. And, granted, the militarized police force of Ferguson does not inspire confidence. But...there is a time to speak, and a time to refrain, in the words of King Solomon.

Governor Nixon is a Democrat, by the way.

OS is not a conspiracy theorist. This was not some plot hatched in evil minds to set off some race war. But, look at what life was like on August 8! Can anyone claim with a straight face that decades of Democrat Party rule of Ferguson Missouri have succeeded? It's as if this place was a tragedy waiting to happen. 

Now, ponder Memphis, TN, who voluntarily abandoned their own school district to the county and state. The GOP counties around it thrive. Why doesn't Memphis thrive?

Ponder Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, the entire State of Illinois for that matter. 

Ponder what life looks like under long-term Democrat rule. And yet we are assured, day after day, that this is the only way forward. 

And the media seem to be silent as to who was in charge of Ferguson, Missouri that fateful day of August 9, 2014.

The 'JV Squad', aka ISIS, Beheads Journalist James Foley: Have We Had Enough Yet?

Or, do we sit meekly by while assured by Himself and all his apologists that this incident, however unfortunate, is not truly demonstrative of the nature of Islam, and that these bad things could never ever ever ever ever happen here.

We will also have carefully explained to us that this brutality is all George Bush's fault, that no one could possible expect Himself, halfway through his second term in office, to have had any responsibility for this modern-day repeat of the Cambodian slaughter of the mid-1970's.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Archbishop Amel Nona has seen the evil, and calls it so: Cranmer`

Cranmer is once again in fine form.

In the face of the tragedies that have overtaken the Christians of the Middle East, he is sounding the alarm, and giving a platform to those on the ground who cry at the top of their lungs about what awaits us in the West, unless we pay attention now.

Today's post focuses on the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, Amel Nona. Feel free to ignore whatever OS might spout, but please take this man's words to heart:

"Our sufferings are the prelude of all Europeans and Western Christians"
"I lost my diocese to Islamic radicals"

"Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here"

"You are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims - you are in danger"

"You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal"

"Your values are not their values"

"You will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home"

For all his failings, G. W. Bush came to understand and publicly assert one fact: If there is to be a battle with militant Islam, best to take the battle to them, and win it over there. Waiting for disaster to strike, here or there, is not a strategy.

Barack Obama, for his part, has spent his life in pursuit of the Next Election. He was so eager to get out of Iraq in time for 2012, never giving a thought to potential consequences. He threw hundreds of thousands of innocents under the bus, leaving them to their fate.

He referred to ISIL as 'the junior varsity'. No mention anywhere of that these days...

'Leading from behind' is just a polite term for 'abdication of responsibility'.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Policing--Us vs Them? or Us With Them?

OS picked up the following quote on a thread for Denninger's post this morning--no time to chase down and verify, but it seems apropo for the time. It guided, and still guides to some extent, policing in the UK--low-key, usually unarmed, keeping the peace being the priority.

It is a stern warning against the militarization of the police, the employment of the police to harvest cash from the citizenry, and the erosion of trust that has now become endemic between citizens and the police. Slowly, surely, it has become an Us vs. Them scenario, even down to the small-town level. The air is becoming thick with it, which is a bad thing for us all.

Sir Robert Peel's (5 February 1788 2 July 1850) Nine Principles of Policing:

1: The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.
2: The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon the public approval of police actions.
3: Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observation of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.
4: The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.
5: Police seek and preserve public favor not by catering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.
6: Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice, and warning is found to be insufficient.
7: Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
8: Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions, and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.
9: The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.

Moral Hazard Creates Corruption. Corruption Disrupts Lives, Disrupted Lives Tear The Cluture To Shreds: Red Light Cameras and Moral Hazard

It will not be surprise to anyone with any experience with the city of Chicago that the red-light-camera operation begun there in 2003 was a corrupt enterprise from the outset.

It is surprising to learn that it was actually uncovered, and indictments have been issued--with the obligatory civil suits between the various parties filling dockets as well. Someone, obviously, was late on a payment to someone somewhere at city hall, would be OS's surmise.

What of the thousands of erroneously issued moving violations during that period? Undoubtedly drivers lost licenses, or insurance, or saw premiums skyrocket. They saw their lives disrupted due to this criminal enterprise.

To where do they go for redress? To get their reputations and fortunes restored?

The courts? Really?

OS and Mrs. OS drove the streets of Chicago from the south to the lakefront this summer, not wishing to risk the logjams of traffic on the freeways. Chicago used to be a wondrous place, and parts of it still are. So much of it now bears the marks of an unraveling society--the despair permeates block after block.

Back to local gossip, back down in the hometown...

1. A local restaurant is opening in OS's county, opening shop under the ownership of a Chicago citizen who woke up one morning deciding he had had Enough of Chicago.

The crime, the taxes, the corruption. He researched places to move, and wound up here.
Welcome, friend, glad to have you.

2. A husband and wife OS has known for three decades or so, long-time Chicago citizens, successful in their professions, respected...visiting next month, having arrived at the same conclusion. Those who can leave, one by one, are departing. No headlines, no muss, no fuss. They're just quietly slipping out the back door, these people with educations, skills, stable lives and marriages. It will be great to have them here, not worrying about their safety.

Now, to make certain our little county never installs the red-light-cameras, and gets rid of the snooping ticket issuing cameras in their squad cars.

They are the stuff of moral hazard, and set the citizenry and the peace officers at odds with one another.

Enough already...we're running out of places to move.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Just To Keep Things Simple: The Israelis v Hamas

The link takes you to a simple chart comparing Israel with Hamas and its ilk....



A few additions to the list could be:

Number of world-class musicians born and trained in Israel--hundreds!

Number of world-class musicians born and trained in HamasLand--maybe a handful.

Which country developed the technology for the mobile phones we use?

(Hint, it wasn't HamasLand!)

The list goes on--universities, agricultural development, free press, philanthropy, arts, sciences, literature, free elections, etc. etc.

Hmm...so OS surmises that's why the various Leftists of the west are so eager to help Hamas destroy all this. So much easier to do that than actually buckle down and produce something...much easier to pontificate and spend Other People's Money.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Welcome To Mr. Obama's Brave New World--MicroHomes in Louisville

OS has taken some time off from his blogging. It was time for a break, time needed for other things, and to watch and reflect.  Life has been eventful, productive, happier than he had any right to expect.

All this to say--for Mr. and Mrs. OS, much of the American Dream has come true. We have been able to pursue our lives and careers and creative passions, and succeed. We were able to launch our children to better lives than our own, which was the number one goal. We live in an environment of freedom where Christian faith is not yet under direct attack, where anything is possible. In fact, one of the conversations now ongoing is What Next? Twenty-something years ago, we dreamed up what seemed an impossible list of goals, and we have seen everything and more come to fruition. We have not built wealth yet, that task lies ahead for us.

What next, then? Where next? How next?

So, OS  finds this seemingly innocuous story in the Louisville Courier-Journal about 'tiny houses'  chilling.

So many, so beaten down by an economy that just will not grow, and a government more interested in surveillance and control of  our lives than in legitimate governance (such as operating on balanced budgets, controlling the borders, restraining criminal activity by bankers and mobsters, etc), have resorted to building tiny little houses on used flatbed trailers. They can park them where they can find a spot, no mortgages, no codes, no fixed address, none of the normalcy that should accompany normal lives in America.

These are not street people, scrounging out lives to support drug habits, or untreated manic depressives released to the streets. These are formerly middle class people who have thrown in the towel, who have decided that the American Dream is beyond reach, and they are happy to settle for a Tiny House, away from the banks and the feds and even the local government.

They are, in effect, opting for a version of Amish life, or old-school Mennonite life. Here in the rural South, there are many more of those folks than one might suspect, living anonymously in plain sight. No social security numbers, many of them not vaccinating children (since that leaves a paper trail of the child's existence), home-schooling, never voting,  quietly living out of sight of a society they have decided is more of a threat than a blessing. The more fervent await The Second Coming, most simply have decided to opt out, come what may.

OS does not think this is a good path to follow, and is troubled to see this practice spread. It creates a dead-end for the children of these families, for starters. We may yet see the return of the Hoovertowns of the early 1930's, places where the dispossessed of the Great Depression gathered to live, because there was no place to go.

In the end, Liberalism crushes Hope. Duh' Prez can preach all he wishes about Hope and Change. The real change OS sees in many places is the evisceration of Hope--of the expectation that today's labor will result in tomorrow's rewards, that life will improve, that the children of a family will surpass the parents. Hope, the thing that keeps people going in the face of adversity. Hope.

OS lays this at the feet of Massah Obama and his ilk, who have gleefully expanded welfare rolls, encouraged indebtedness, used every tiny corner of government as a means to reward cronies and punish enemies--the Chicago model of governance now employed on a national scale--and now are encouraging a mass migration of the indigent and criminal from Central America over our southern border.

To what end? Qui bono? Who benefits? Where are these people to live, and under what conditions?

What about the people who were born here, who have worked here, embraced American life, and have decided that the only way forward is life on a flatbed trailer?

What about them, Mr. Obama? What about them, Mr. Boehner? Mr. Paul? Mr. Cruz? Miss Hillary?