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It figures.

From the Washington Times:

President Obama called on Senate Republicans Tuesday to give his eventual Supreme Court nominee a fair hearing in his bid to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, as cracks emerged in the Republican leadership’s position of automatically blocking any nominee.

“I expect them to hold hearings. I expect them to hold a vote,” Mr. Obama said at a press conference. “There’s no unwritten law that says it can only be done on off years.”  …

“This is the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land,” the president said. “It’s the one court where we would expect elected officials to rise above day-to-day politics. I understand the stakes. I understand the pressure that Republican senators are undoubtedly under. This would be a deciding vote. But that’s not how the system is supposed to work.”

Unless Democrats were running it.  They did everything in their power to stop Bork from getting on the Supreme Court, and they succeeded.

Senate Democrats had asked liberal leaders to form a “solid phalanx” to oppose whomever President Ronald Reagan nominated to replace Powell, assuming that it would tilt the court rightward. Democrats warned Reagan there would be a fight over the nomination if Bork were to be the nominee.  …

Within 45 minutes of Bork’s nomination to the Court, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) took to the Senate floor with a strong condemnation of Bork in a nationally televised speech, declaring,

Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens.[6]

On July 5th, NAACP executive director Benjamin Hooks described their position on the Bork nomination: “We will fight it all the way – until hell freezes over, and then we’ll skate across on the ice.”[7] A brief was prepared for Joe Biden, head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called the Biden Report. Bork later said in his book The Tempting of America that the report “so thoroughly misrepresented a plain record that it easily qualifies as world class in the category of scurrility”.[8] TV ads produced by People For the American Way and narrated by Gregory Peck attacked Bork as an extremist, and Kennedy’s speech successfully fueled widespread public skepticism of Bork’s nomination. The rapid response of Kennedy’s “Robert Bork’s America” speech stunned the Reagan White House; though conservatives considered Kennedy’s accusations slanderous,[9] the attacks went unanswered for two and a half months

Democrats scream, lie, throw tantrums, and fabricate everything they can and stop at nothing to block a nomination.

But it looks like the GOP is going to give up on their constituents without a fight.  And they wonder why Trump and Cruz are popular?

SenateJudiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, didn’t rule out confirmation hearings and a vote by his panel on an Obama selection.

“I would wait until the nominee is made before I would make any decision,” Mr. Grassley said Tuesday in a conference call with Iowa radio reporters. “In other words, take it a step at a time.”

Dammit, Grassley, just hold the damn line.  Just say no.  Because if you let him appoint a replacement for Scalia, Ginsburg will finally retire and they’ll put in another justice immediately afterwards.  For the next 30 years we’ll have a hard left majority led by Kagan, Sotomayor, Breyer, and they’ll push Roberts over every time and probably Kennedy until he retires.

It’ll be just as bad as when FDR tried packing the court with his justices.

HotAir points out that not only is Grassley wavering under Obama’s pressure, Obama was a hypocrite who filibustered Alito’s nomination.  And he still thinks it’s cool what he did… but they shouldn’t, because now it’s going to be his nominee they stop.

Of course he had to filibuster Alito’s nomination.  Obama’s a Democrat and Alito was a nomination by a Republican president.  And of course the Republicans should respect the polite process of confirming Democrat nominations, because Democrats are shameless hypocrites and Republicans are apparently gullible idiots.

You can contact your senator and tell them to grow a spine here: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

Also, we’re not even entirely sure Scalia’s death was of natural causes.

Veteran homicide investigators in New York and Washington, DC, on Monday questioned the way local and federal authorities in Texas handled the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

“It’s not unreasonable to ask for an autopsy in this case, particularly knowing who he is,” retired Brooklyn homicide Detective Patricia Tufo told The Post.

“He’s not at home. There are no witnesses to his death, and there was no reported explanation for why a pillow is over his head,” Tufo said. “So I think under the circumstances it’s not unreasonable to request an autopsy. Despite the fact that he has pre-existing ailments and the fact that he’s almost 80 years old, you want to be sure that it’s not something other than natural causes.”

Bill Ritchie, a retired deputy chief and former head of criminal investigations for the DC police, said he was dumbstruck when he learned that no autopsy would be performed.

Last night listening to the radio, I heard someone suggest that any really high-profile figure with massive implications for the nation should probably automatically have an autopsy done.

Seems quite reasonable, actually.

Finnish Anti-Rape Video PSA – Use the Force

Posted: February 14, 2016 by ShortTimer in Europe, Humor, Middle East
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Yesterday’s loss is going to be depressing for some time, even if looking at Scalia’s life as one to celebrate and his sharp arguments as ones to emulate.

So today, as something that’s slightly cheerier, some mocking the stupidity of the left – a Finnish Anti-Rape PSA via the Jawa Report:

Yes, that one’s real.  From its description:

As a response to the exponential increase of Rapes and Gang rapes of Finnish women with the influx of so-called “refugees”, The Finnish Police of Oulu have released a training video for women called “Say No!”. Possession of Pepper spray for women is, like in Sweden where you face up to 6 months in prison, illegal. Any citizen carrying any sort of efficient self defense faces huge fines. The government insists that disarming law abiding Finnish citizens will stop crime – in fact the opposite result has caused devastating effects with crime rate skyrocketing as foreign criminals aren’t particularly concerned with complying with weapon laws. Criminals are armed to the teeth, helpless single women will face prison over carrying pepper spray. In a recent case, a 17 year old girl in Denmark has been sentenced to a fine because she hurt the attacker with illegal pepper spray while he was trying to brutalize and rape her.

According to the Police of the city of over 200,000 inhabitants, the top methods for deterring a rapists is apparently saying “No, please go”, using “The Force” with your oven gloves, looking angry and hitting the rapist with your handbag. This is extraordinarily awful advice coming from the Police, as physical resistance of a disarmed woman usually has terrible consequences and usually amplifies the violence used by much stronger male attackers, especially of foreign origin.

And the parody:

Of course, in Europe light sabers are illegal.

RIP Antonin Scalia

Posted: February 13, 2016 by ShortTimer in Conservatism, US Supreme Court

Died out at a ranch in Marfa, TX last night.

The test is over the long run does it require the society to adhere to those principles contained in the Constitution or does it lead to a society that is essentially governed by nine justices’ version of what equal protection ought to mean?

He was an originalist, looking for what the Founders meant, and he stuck to the text.  The Constitution meant what it said, not what someone pretended they wanted it to say.

His importance couldn’t be understated as someone who understood that laws mean something, that they have to mean what they say.  There’s no subjective “interpretation”, there’s “what does it say?”  A strong basis of what the rules are, of lawfulness, allows for stability and certainty.  It’s the kind of things nations need, markets need, individuals need.

There will be others who eulogize him far better than I do in these few sentences, but he was someone who let you know what the rules were, and someone who sought to make them clear.  His rulings helped make for a nation closer to one where there’s no need for a law degree to understand the laws that you have to live within and follow, no need to worry that laws would be made unequal because someone wanted to make themselves “more equal”, and no need to worry someone would use laws you couldn’t understand and couldn’t follow against you.

He will be missed, and his passing marks a potentially terrifying shift further from liberty.

If it’s to be believed, Republicans in the Senate are going to try to hold the line against progressive leftist tyranny until such time as at least the next president can appoint a justice:

mcconnell senate scalia announcement 160213We the People have been let down by the likes of McConnell enough that we know that statement’s not worth the paper it’s printed on or the electrons that show it on a screen… but here’s hoping that the election year prompts, as Milton Friedman would advise us “to get the wrong people to do the right thing”.

Update: IA Senator Chuck Grassley is also saying no to any confirmation this year.

“The fact of the matter is that it’s been standard practice over the last 80 years to not confirm Supreme Court nominees during a presidential election year,” Grassley said.

“Given the huge divide in the country, and the fact that this president, above all others, has made no bones about his goal to use the courts to circumvent Congress and push through his own agenda, it only makes sense that we defer to the American people who will elect a new president to select the next Supreme Court Justice.”…

In his remarks, Grassley called Scalia, who died Saturday at the age of 79, “an intellectual giant.”

“He had an unwavering dedication to the founding document that has guided our country for nearly 230 years,” he said of Scalia’s interpretation of the Constitution. “His humor, devotion to the Constitution and quick wit will be remembered for years to come.”

Everybody’s already read about the Oregon standoff with the Hammonds (and the Bundys), how the Hammonds were convicted of arson for burning some land clear, how they were sentenced and the judge said they didn’t deserve the mandatory minimum because it was clear they were doing a range burn with a purpose that wasn’t vandalism or destruction, and how things went to hell from there when another court said they had to serve mandatory minimums because that was the law, right or wrong.  Then the situation got worse, with federal law enforcement escalating things and with ranchers (many of whom were not originally involved) also escalating things.

Congressman Greg Walden’s speech is something that was lost in that discussion, because it was easy for people disinterested in the situation to write it off as some reactionary militia action or some ranchers whining about not getting more free land to graze on.

Its worth watching if you’d like backstory to the whole standoff, and why there are some folks who are still mad about it today.

Frankly, the congressman explaining how the administrators of federal land went back on agreements written into law is the kind of thing that should offend everyone, but it’s lost because the messengers were coopted by the Bundy clowns.

Doritos, NARAL, and Sci Fi

Posted: February 8, 2016 by ShortTimer in Culture, Philosophy, Science
Tags:

In the last few weeks, I keep piling up stories that will probably be strung together in a few Field Day posts, but this story from HotAir I didn’t want to leave on the back burner and get to later.

The title is “I suppose we should talk about that Doritos ad“.

This is the ad:

And this was the response from NARAL:

And a screenshot in case it disappears:

naral superbowl 50 tweet humanizing fetuses

So they’re opposed to humanizing human offspring, because it’s some tactic of the anti-choice movement.  Humanizing fetuses is… bad?

NARAL’s twitter feed sounds like the hard leftist craziness it is, but as they’re not the kind of people I follow on twitter – Twitchy does a fine job of keeping up on that sort of thing anyway.

Not sure why they use the statue of liberty as their twitter avatar, seeing as how she’s in favor of accepting those poor huddled masses yearning to breathe free, not yearning to crush the lives from people who will never breathe, but I guess irony escapes them.

I’m a sci fi fan (and I don’t care that it’s become SF or “speculative fiction” to clean up the image of bug-eyed monsters from the 50s), and from the perspective of most humanist sci fi, I can’t see any way that NARAL doesn’t come across as utter monsters.

I just spent part of this morning watching SFDebris Star Trek reviews – I enjoy seeing what someone else has thought of classic (and not so classic) episodes of the past – and even if I don’t always agree with the takes that he has on them, I usually gain some greater understanding of the episode and story.  This morning one episode review I watched was his review of Star Trek: Enterprise Similitude.

Enterprise was the prequel spinoff series that aired in the late 90s early 2000s and fared poorly.  Especially compared to The Next Generation and Deep Space 9 (which was highly underrated), Enterprise was weak.

The story Similitude involves the chief engineer getting seriously injured after an engine mishap, the ship getting stuck in some kind of anomaly that was decaying the hull, and the need to save the engineer.  So the highly unethical ship’s doctor decided to make a clone of the engineer by using some alien critter larva, then force-grow the clone, and basically strip it for parts.

Thing is, the clone is recognized as a person.  Even though it was grown for the specific purpose of being harvested for organs, the clone is a copy down to neurological pathways of the original, so it has his memories and knowledge (dubious science, I know), and is fully self-aware and more than a little opposed to being used for parts.  In the end the clone cares more for the comatose engineer and the memories of trying to make things right for his/their lost sister and family, especially knowing it’s force-grown and will age and die in a few days.

Even in this mediocrely written sci fi, there’s some understanding that something is being done with life – that life isn’t something to casually throw away, and that a human life (or near-human life) is a valuable life – and that virtue of life is acknowledged even if it’s a force-grown clone created with a specific purpose.

Plenty of folks on twitter smacked NARAL around by pointing out the definition of a fetus is “a developing human”, but the whole thing strikes me as something both telling and sinister.  It shows the character of people who are in NARAL and those who support it, and it’s really disturbing.

From an alien perspective, an alien may or may not care for the idea of terminating gestating offspring, but denying that a gestating offspring is still a member of the parent race is just nonsensical.

If aliens from Zeta Reticuli said, “yeah, we kill our offspring when it’s inconvenient for us because we value the agency of full-grown Reticulans over those of our larva”, you might well find them offensive, especially depending on their history and culture.

If they said, “yeah, we kill our gestating fetuses when it’s inconvenient for us because those things aren’t Reticulans”, you’d probably find them to be poorly written or a race in absurd denial in order to justify their actions.

The problem for NARAL might be that saying you should be able to kill offspring – which is their position – then makes it solely a question of timing.  The argument I remember hearing in college philosophy courses was the “future like ours” theory, that means you could kill off the weak, crippled, or handicapped, but that you shouldn’t kill off the strong in the womb.  The same argument also began to apply to “future like ours” as in what can be provided for the offspring, thus it’s was okay to kill the strong if you were poor and couldn’t afford an ideal future for that offspring.  There was also an argument that human offspring aren’t capable of independent life before a certain time period, and that makes it okay to kill them because they’re not individual beings yet – this is intended to be a trimester argument, but its logical conclusion would include newborns and children up to a few years of age who couldn’t survive in nature without assistance (an argument that has been made before).

Those last parts become unpalatable and monstrous to most of society right now.  Using sci fi/speculative fiction to explore the concepts, there’s not necessarily a reason they couldn’t become or be considered acceptable, given the proper framework.  Maybe a warrior group kills the weakest of its offspring, or an overpopulated planet exterminates them, but even then there’s a reason.  The warrior race wants to be stronger, the overpopulated planet is concerned with its stability – they understand the offspring are theirs, but deny them life for a reason (albeit ones we may not agree with).  I still couldn’t see a writer coming up with any kind of logic to a race that would deny its own offspring, unless it were an intentional flaw in the race – like some kind of adherence to an obsolete philosophy from when they were warlike or too numerous to survive that they now take as gospel.  It might work for an group with a strict collectivist mentality that’s harshly enforced, or for a group that steadfastly believes in some throwback idea that they don’t realize they’ve outgrown.

Human cultures in the past have engaged in practices like those, but concern for our species and enlightened concern for all humanity has moved us past that… except for the people who want to drag us back.  NARAL denies the humanity of a developing offspring that even infanticidal cultures of the past would not – because the infanticidal cultures of the past acknowledged it as a decision, either an ugly one or one they simply choose to be willfully apathetic about due to circumstance – while NARAL is afraid of the moral bankruptcy or perception of callousness that comes from acknowledging what they’re advocating.

It’s a pretty powerful piece.

It’s also being decried in the comments as either a good thing because guns=bad, or by people who are Australians (or claiming to be or speaking for them) who say it’s bull.  Except it’s no fabrication.

The Australians I know who are/were into the shooting sports confirmed it for me years ago.  There are lots of restrictions, and there are restrictions based in which region you live (New South Wales vs Queensland vs Northern Australia, etc.).  There were mandatory buybacks – which are confiscation with a gift certificate.  There are laws like having to leave your firearms at a club rather then be able to take them home (no self defense), a limit on the number and or type of firearm you can own, where you can and can’t use it, and how they have to be inspected and can be revoked as per whims of the police.

A couple years ago I had some interesting conversations with an Australian who’d been a police officer and firearm afficionado (until the ban came and his guns went away) and a New Zealander.  The Kiwi delighted in giving the Aussie grief about how his rights had vanished into a revoked privilege.

Another Aussie I know who was a prolific collector finally just quit because the licensing and legal hassles pushed him out of the hobby he enjoyed.  And he was someone who through family was in a financial position to not have to worry about it.  Of the Aussies I know who were gun folks, only one bothered to keep jumping through the hoops to please a government that actively sought to legislate, regulate, and restrict his natural rights into nearly non-existent and easily revokable privileges.

I’ll start with newest first, as more reports of massive violence against women in Europe on New Year’s Eve has been slowly reported.  HotAir has a piece detailing mass sex assault in Finland by “refugee” “asylum seeker” “immigrants” from the Middle East & North Africa, which wasn’t reported by the Finnish police for a week because it’s just not something they or anyone else in Europe wants to talk about.  Mind you it’s gotten so bad that Norway has begun teaching immigrant men not to rape, because to them, women are property – at best.

“Men have weaknesses and when they see someone smiling it is difficult to control,” Mr. Kelifa said, explaining that in his own country, Eritrea, “if someone wants a lady he can just take her and he will not be punished,” at least not by the police.

British Youtube personality Sargon of Akkad spent a good amount of time breaking down that story almost line by line.  For quick backstory, he did video game reviews and videos about tumblrisms and atheism and other typical youtube commentariat stuff, and then when Gamergate broke, started looking at how political progressives are trying to shape first the video game world and then he looked at education and then the world itself.  He’s been looking at things like intersectional feminism (basically progressive leftism in function, though with a different paint job) and the illiberal left.  I’d say that’s most of the left, but he’s sort of like what you’d get if you took a self-described open-minded everyday liberal from the past – say only as far back as the 1980s – and introduced them to today.  Specifically, he’s not a cultural relativist.  He also tends to make videos on topics of the day that include original sources – things that even 24-hour cable news doesn’t have time to show, but that as someone who makes their own videos – he can allocate time to show.  (Quickie backstory is here because one of his videos is going to be linked below.)

Which leads us to the next big story: Cologne (Köln), Germany, along with other German cities, had a mass sex assault on New Years Eve committed by Middle East & North African men which was then hushed up.

“Shortly after midnight, the first women came to us,” an unnamed police officer told the local Express newspaper.

“Crying and in shock they described how they had been severely sexually harrassed. We went to look for women in the crowd. I picked one up from the ground. She was screaming and crying. Her underwear had been torn from her body.” …

“The crimes were committed by a group of people who from appearance were largely from the North African or Arab world,” Wolfgang Albers, the Cologne police chief, told a press conference.

Eyewitness description, including the confession “I thought it was right-wing propaganda, but this was real”.  Apparently a suspect arrested said (paraphrasing – but not by much) “I am Syrian. You have to treat me kindly. Mrs Merkel invited me.”  The woman mayor responded by saying women should stop asking for it if they don’t want to get raped by organized gangs of men in the streets, because women are lower on the progressive stack than Islamic rapists.

And of course it was covered up by media, police, and politicians – because it was politically awkward.

Internal communication from the police from the days immediately following the attack, published late Thursday night by newspaper Welt am Sonntag, reveals that the police had identified 71 of the around 1,000 attackers by Jan. 2 — most of whom were recently arrived Syrian refugees. Acting on this information, police had made 11 arrests, but chief Wolfgang Albers allegedly covered it all up because it was “politically awkward.”

“We currently have no intelligence on the criminals,” Albers said Jan. 4. “The only thing we know is that they were between 18-35 years old of North African or Arab appearance.”

The emails apparently show Albers was well aware of the fact that most of the attackers were in Germany under refugee status. (RELATED: Germany’s Largest Broadcaster Apologizes For Not Reporting Sexual Assault Attacks)

“Only a small minority were North Africans, the majority of the checked perpetrators were Syrians,” the documents reveal.

Albers also said the attacks were more in the nature of robberies rather than sexual assaults. A police officer told WamS, under condition of anonymity, that a majority of the attackers were after “sexual amusement.”

“What actually happened was the exact opposite,” the officer said. “For the mostly Arabic offenders, sexual assault was the priority, or, to express it from their point of view, their sexual amusement was the priority. A group of men would circle a female victim, close the loop, and then start groping the woman.”

 

Sargon covers a lot of this, though the last report indicating there was a cover-up came after his video was made.  It’s worthwhile – he includes the eyewitness’s video linked above, and provides a bit more backstory.  Just keep in mind that what he’s suspecting by the end of the video, that there was some kind of media/authorities coverup because it’s not politically correct – is in fact what’s happened and been found in the last few days.

Taking it back to the US, this would also be why so many people in the US do not want any Middle Eastern immigrants allowed in at all, or why they don’t want Middle Eastern muslim immigrants, or why even some on the left are skeptical of it.

Frankly, I’m in the “don’t let people in who are actively hostile to our values and don’t want to assimilate and don’t let in masses of people whose ranks are rife with terrorists and their sympathizers” camp.  Kind of a long title, I guess.

Middle Easterners (Christians, muslims, zoroastrians, or whatever) like the interpreters that worked with the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan for years are the kinds of people we should be letting in.  They wanted to improve their lives and home countries, but because we have a president who decided to end a war through retreat, we’re leaving those nations worse than they were in 2008, and we at least owe it to those who worked hard with us to give them a chance here where they won’t be killed by the Islamic State or the warlords the president has chosen to leave in charge of those nations.  Interpreters and their families are the types who would be willing to assmiliate.

These are often people who come from a violent savage culture where women are things for abuse, gays offend Allah enough they must be exterminated, and anyone who disagrees with their totalitarian religion is either someone who must be subjugated and controlled or murdered.  Those who throw off that culture because it’s difficult to escape in their home nations can be welcomed.  Those who bring it with them should never be allowed in, and when discovered should be kicked right back out.

Europe has the problem in that making statements about relative cultural worth are often shot down, because in Europe, culture typically is taken to equal ethnicity.  This leads to nationalist groups (and most specifically, nationalist socialist) groups who are on the “right” in Europe just because they favor protection of their own national identity and excluding immigrants because of their national/ethnic identity.  It’s an important distinction to understand that the “right” in Europe is sometimes a socialist protectionist group that’s often as concerned with ethnic identity of a nation rather than standing for the idea that newcomers should culturally assimilate to the same values & virtues.  This is how groups like Euro-right-wing “Golden Dawn” in Greece are all for expelling immigrants to Greece and protecting the Greece socialist state for ethnic Greeks.  They recognize their nation-state as an ethnic identity as well, and it colors how they see the world.  Europe’s old world problems are still there, and they still go to them.  (Probably the closest thing to the modern “right” in Europe to compare to from US would’ve been the leftist socialist/union groups of the early 1900s US that were both economically and ethnically protectionist.  They’re only “right” because they’re left-wing national socialists as opposed to far-left-wing international socialists.)

Europe today, because it won’t acknowledge that muslim culture (specifically as practiced in the Middle East & North Africa) is fundamentally opposed to western values, has no defense and no understanding of the problem.  Europe has so villified its own nations’ identities (remember you can very easily go to prison for things you say over there) that it’s hard for them to say that men who go together in organized groups to attack women are predatory savages.

They’re going to suffer the consequences of bringing in all the “refugees”, and it’s still going to take a lot of people being hurt for them to begin to understand what they’ve done.  Some of them will deny it while they’re being attacked, too – there will be more victim blaming, and some victims will blame themselves because they weren’t open-minded enough to know they deserved it.  Their entire value system has become one where they believe in the progressive stack and they believe they’re on the bottom due to fanciful fabrications of nonsensical guilt.

Europe is in for some hard times.