Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Holiday Greetings

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Like That Famous Christmas Song.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

By Walter Williams

Independence Hypocrisy

Officials in Catalonia, Spain's richest and most highly industrialized region, whose capital is Barcelona, recently held a referendum in which there was a 92 percent vote in favor of independence from Spain. The Spanish authorities opposed the referendum and claimed that independence is illegal. Catalans are not the only Europeans seeking independence. Some Bavarian people are demanding independence from Germany, while others demand greater autonomy. Germany's Federal Constitutional Court ruled: "In the Federal Republic of Germany ... states are not 'masters of the constitution.' ... Therefore, there is no room under the constitution for individual states to attempt to secede. This violates the constitutional order."
Germany has done in Bavaria what Spain and Italy, in its Veneto region, have done; it has upheld the integrity of state borders. There is an excellent article written by Joseph E. Fallon, a research associate at the UK Defence Forum, titled "The Catalan Referendum, regional pressures, the EU, and the 'Ghosts' of Eastern Europe." Fallon writes that by doing what it's doing in Bavaria, "Berlin is violating international law on national self-determination. It denies to Bavaria what it granted to the 19 states that seceded from Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. In fact, Germany rushed to be first to recognize the independence of Slovenia and Croatia." It did that, according to Beverly Crawford, an expert on Europe at the University of California, Berkeley, "in open disregard of (a European Community) agreement to recognize the two states under EC conditionality requirements."
The secessionist movements in Spain, Germany, and Italy have encountered resistance and threats from the central governments, and in Catalonia's case, secessionist leaders have been jailed. The central governments of Spain, Germany, and Italy have resisted independence despite the fact that they are signatories to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which holds that "all peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development."
Fallon notes the hypocrisy of Spain, Germany, and Italy, as well as the entire European Union. Back in 1991, the EC -- the precursor to the EU -- "issued its conditions for recognizing the unilateral declarations of independence by states seceding from Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union." Fallon argues that these same guidelines should be applied to the states of Catalonia, Bavaria, and Veneto. Isn't it double talk for members of the EU to condemn independence movements today, given that they welcomed and supported independence movements for states that were members of the communist bloc?
Catalonia, Bavaria, and Veneto are relatively prosperous jurisdictions in their countries. They feel that what they get from the central governments is not worth the taxes they pay. Each wants the central government off its back. They think they could be far more prosperous on their own. That should sound familiar. Some of the motivation for secessionist movements in Europe is similar to the motivation found in the Confederacy's independence movement of the early 1860s.
Throughout most of our nation's history, the only sources of federal revenue were excise taxes and tariffs. In the 1830s, the North used its power in Congress to push through massive tariffs to fund the government. During the 1850s, tariffs amounted to 90 percent of federal revenue. The Southern states were primarily producers of agricultural products, which they exported to Europe. In return, they imported manufactured goods. These tariffs fell much harder upon the export-dependent South than they did upon the more insular North. In 1859, Southern ports paid 75 percent of federal tariff revenue. However, the majority of the tariff revenue generated was spent on projects that benefited the North.
Tariffs being a contributing cause of the Civil War is hardly ever mentioned. Using the abolition of slavery as an excuse for a war that took the lives of 620,000 Americans confers greater moral standing for the Union.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Black Self Sabotage

The educational achievement of white youngsters is nothing to write home about, but that achieved by blacks is nothing less than disgraceful. Let's look at a recent example of an educational outcome all too common. In 2016, in 13 of Baltimore's 39 high schools, not a single student scored proficient on the state's mathematics exam. In six other high schools, only one percent tested proficient in math. In raw numbers, 3,804 Baltimore students took the state's math test, and 14 tested proficient. Citywide, only 15 percent of Baltimore students passed the state's English test.
Last spring, graduation exercises were held at one Baltimore high school, 90 percent of whose students received the lowest possible math score. Just one student came even close to being proficient. Parents and family members applauded the conferring of diplomas. Some of the students won achievement awards and college scholarships. Baltimore is by no means unique. It's a small part of the ongoing education disaster for black students across the nation. Baltimore schools are not underfunded. Of the nation's 100 largest school systems, Baltimore schools rank third in spending per pupil.
Baltimore's black students receive diplomas that attest that they can function at a 12th-grade level when in fact they may not be able to do so at a seventh- or eighth-grade level. These students and their families have little reason to suspect that their diplomas are fraudulent. Thus, if they cannot land a good job, cannot pass a civil service exam, get poor grades in college and flunk out of college, they will attribute their plight to racism. After all, they have a high school diploma, just as a white person has a high school diploma. In their minds, the only explanation for being treated differently is racism.
Let's look at math. If one graduates from high school without a minimum proficiency in algebra and geometry, he is likely to find whole fields and professions hermetically sealed off to him for life. In many fields and professions, a minimum level of math proficiency is taken for granted.
Let's look at just one endeavor -- being a fighter jet pilot. There are relatively few black fighter jet pilots. There are stringent physical, character and mental requirements that many blacks can meet. But fighter pilots must also have a strong knowledge of air navigation, aircraft operating procedures, flight theory, fluid mechanics and meteorology. The college majors that help prepare undergraduates for a career as a fighter pilot include mathematics, physical science and engineering.
What's the NAACP response to educational fraud? At a 2016 meeting, the NAACP's board of directors ratified a resolution that called for a moratorium on charter schools. Among the NAACP's reasons for this were that it wanted charter schools to refrain from "expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate" and "cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious." Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys is a charter school. In 2016, 9 percent of its students scored proficient on the state's math test. This year, over 14 percent did so. It's in the interest of black people for more of our youngsters to attend better schools. However, it's in the interest of the education establishment -- and its handmaidens at the NAACP -- to keep black youngsters in failing public schools.
Few people bother to ask whether there's a connection between what goes on at predominantly black high schools and observed outcomes. Violence at many predominantly black schools is so routine that security guards are hired to patrol the hallways. The violence includes assaults on teachers. Some have been knocked out, had their jaws broken and required treatment by psychologists for post-traumatic stress disorder. On top of the violence is gross disorder and disrespect for authority.
The puzzling question for me is: How long will black people accept the educational destruction of black youngsters -- something that only benefits the education establishment?
Column Education Higher Education Liberals & Democrats Race Issues Racism Walter Williams NAACP
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Sunday, November 19, 2017

From New York Post, by Salena Zito

Glen Dale, W. Va. — Bad news travels fast. Good news, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to travel at all.
Last weekend in Beijing, as part of his 12-day trip to Asia, President Trump announced that the US and China had signed an $83.7 billion deal to create a number of petrochemical projects in West Virginia over the next 20 years.
If the agreement holds tight, it is an economic game changer for the state.
And yet, speaking to the locals here, you wouldn’t even know it had happened.
“I am surprised I heard nothing about it on the national news, nor in my local paper and newscasts,” said Jerald Stephens, 67, a West Virginia native and union rep, who has been a keen observer of local politics for as long as he can remember.
The BBC and CNN covered the news in their business sections, while The New York Times picked up a short story by The Associated Press on the deal. The stories’ headlines were muted; their placement low-key.
“One would have suspected that the prospect of an investment this large — nearly three times the total annual budget for the department of energy — would have been front-page news,” said Paul Sracic, political-science professor at nearby Youngstown State University.
Part of this is the fault of the president himself. He never once tweeted about his deal to his 42.8 million followers, but instead used Twitter to attack old foes on his trip, including the media (“While in the Philippines I was forced to watch @CNN, which I have not done in months, and again realized how bad, and FAKE, it is. Loser!”) and the leader of North Korea (“Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend — and maybe someday that will happen!”).
His fighting talk was covered hungrily by a hostile mainstream media, while his more constructive work got buried.
So far, the details about how China Energy will invest nearly $84 billion in West Virginia — the biggest of several deals totaling $250 billion signed by Trump in China — are scant. The first stage is reportedly scheduled to begin in the next six to eight months with the building of at least two natural gas-fired power plants likely located in Brooke and Harrison counties, both of which have suffered substantial job and population losses, as well as wage stagnation, over the past 30 years.
I suspect he will likely get little credit for [this] in the national news
It’s significant that this solid-red state, which Trump doesn’t need to woo for reelection in 2020, will benefit.
West Virginia and the areas of Pennsylvania and Ohio that border the state represent our coal and natural-gas country. But while voters in all three places matter, they matter a lot more in the swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania where Electoral College votes can decide an entire election.
“We really have no influence or power here, so that is interesting to me that he still kept his promise to us, something I suspect he will likely get little credit for in the national news,” said Stephens, who voted for Trump.
Joe Manchin, the Democratic US senator from West Virginia, said he has yet to be briefed on the terms of the deal, but he is both thrilled about its possibilities while remaining cautious about its execution. He wants to ensure that the state doesn’t sell off its assets and properties to China as part of the agreement, which could enable the communist country to own part of our power grid. “We have to make sure it is good for the economy of our state, that the workers of our state get the benefits of the jobs, and that the nation is secure,” he told The Post.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has insisted that the state hasn’t offered any sweetheart deals to China Energy in return for its investment, nor have any tax breaks been extended to date. Those in West Virginia who end up getting hired, meanwhile, are not going to complain about working for an Asian superpower.
The media has often mocked Trump’s promise of jobs to the Heartland as empty campaign rhetoric. How, they asked, will his voters react when they find out he can’t deliver?
This deal suggests that Trump hasn’t forgotten what really matters to his base, but few are giving him props for it.
Stephens finds the lack of coverage telling. “I can guarantee you if anyone not named Trump had made this kind of deal for West Virginia, it would have at least been a panel discussion or two on a cable news channel.”
Once again, the media is missing a story that matters to the American people outside the liberal echo chamber. But it would have helped if Trump had shouted about his own success.
He did it last year when he brought jobs back to the Carrier plant in Indianapolis even before he was president and tweeted out his victory, leading to blanket media coverage. This time, he failed to celebrate a win and the news was happily ignored. Trump needs to remember that his megaphone isn’t just for the haters, but for the voters who are desperate to finally see real change.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Prophet of Affirmative Action, from PowerLine


In the late 1960s, Yale Law School adopted a quota system for African-American applicants. Putting aside its normal criteria for admission, Yale decided that future law school classes would be 10% black, regardless of qualifications. Other law schools and academic institutions did the same thing at around the same time.
On June 9, 1969, California appellate judge Macklin Fleming, a Yale Law graduate, wrote a letter to Dean Louis Pollak questioning the wisdom of the new quota system. Reading the letter nearly 50 years later, one can only marvel at how prescient Judge Fleming was. I recommend the whole thing. Here are some excerpts:
From your remarks and those of Dean Poor, I understand that 43 black students have been admitted to next fall’s class, of whom 5 qualified under the regular standards and 38 did not. … You also said that the future policy of the Law School will be to admit 10 per cent of each entering class without regard to qualification under regular standards.
With the adoption of its new admission policy the Law School has taken a long step toward the practice of apartheid and the maintenance of two law schools under one roof. Already there has been established in the Law School building a Black Law Students Union lounge with furniture and law books provided by the school. And I learned from Dean Poor that the 12 black students in the present first year class who were admitted under relaxed standards have not done well academically. Dean Poor attributed this deficiency to the pre-occupation of these students with racial activities. I think it equally logical to attribute their preoccupation with racial activities to their lack of qualification to compete on even terms in the study of law.
The immediate damage to the standards of Yale Law School needs no elaboration. But beyond this, it seems to me the admission policy adopted by the Law School faculty will serve to perpetuate the very ideas and prejudices it is designed to combat. If in a given class the great majority of the black students are at the bottom of the class, this factor is bound to instill, unconsciously at least, some sense of intellectual superiority among the white students and some sense of intellectual inferiority among the black students.
Judge Fleming foresaw with remarkable clarity how affirmative action would give rise to the political activism we see today:
No one can be expected to accept an inferior status willingly. The black students, unable to compete on even terms in the study of law, inevitably will seek other means to achieve recognition and self-expression. This is likely to take two forms. First, agitation to change the environment from one in which they are unable to compete to one in which they can. Demands will be made for elimination of competition, reduction in standards of performance, adoption of courses of study which do not require intensive legal analysis, and recognition for academic credit of sociological activities which have only an indirect relationship to legal training.
Second, it seems probable that this group will seek personal satisfaction and public recognition by aggressive conduct, which, although ostensibly directed at external injustices and problems, will in fact be primarily motivated by the psychological needs of the members of the group to overcome feelings of inferiority caused by lack of success in their studies. Since the common denominator of the group of students with lower qualifications is one of race this aggressive expression will undoubtedly take the form of racial demands–the employment of faculty on the basis of race, a marking system based on race, the establishment of a black curriculum and a black law journal, an increase in black financial aid, and a rule against expulsion of black students who fail to satisfy minimum academic standards.
Judge Fleming went on to articulate and rebut the various rationales for race discrimination in admissions. This paragraph is a relic of a better time:
The American creed, one that Yale has proudly espoused, holds that an American should be judged as an individual and not as a member of a group. To me it seems axiomatic that a system which ignores this creed and introduces the factor of race in the selection of students for a professional school is inherently malignant, no matter how high-minded the purpose nor how benign the motives of those making the selection.
Fleming also pointed out that discrimination in favor of one group necessarily means discrimination against others:
A quota policy particularly discriminates against minority groups which have achieved disproportionate representation in a particular field. Such a policy discriminated severely against Jewish applicants for admission to medical schools in the 1930’s. That policy was undoubtedly justified by its supporters as one designed to preserve a proportion of gentile students in medical schools equivalent to their proportion in the general population. Currently, the orientals in California, roughly 1 per cent of the population, comprise in some instances 30 per cent of the enrollment in certain engineering and technical schools. Were a quota system to be introduced in those schools in order to favor black and Mexican-American applicants, the first losers would be applicants from the presently disproportionately represented oriental group.
Which is, of course, a phenomenon that we see everywhere today.
Judge Fleming died in 2010, which means that he lived long enough to see his predictions vindicated. But to be right is not necessarily to be heeded. Just ask Cassandra.
Dean Pollak replied cordially to Judge Fleming’s letter. You can read his response, which defends race discrimination in law school admissions, at the link. Pollak’s letter strikes me as less than candid. I was struck by this passage:
[T]he considerations which have led the faculty to enlarge its readiness to accept academically under-prepared applicants of high promise are not confined to blacks or other disadvantaged racial minorities; these same considerations, the committee has observed, argue for greater solicitude with respect to, e.g., white applicants from Appalachia or the rural south. The point is one which will, I am confident, not be lost sight of….
This prediction, unlike Judge Fleming’s, did not prove to be prescient.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Happy Birthday Marine Corps

To the greatest Fighting Force in the Universe!

Ignorance Vs. Stupidity

Ignorance Versus Stupidity
By Walter E. Williams | November 8, 2017 12:32 AM EST
One of the most challenging and important jobs for an economics professor is to teach students how little we know and can possibly know. My
longtime friend and colleague Dr. Thomas Sowell says, "It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance." Nobel
laureate Friedrich August von Hayek admonished, "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what
they imagine they can design." The fact that we have gross ignorance about how the world operates is ignored by the know-it-all elites who seek to
control our lives. Let's look at a few examples of the world's complexity.
According to some estimates, there are roughly 100 million traffic signals in the U.S. How many of us would like the U.S. Congress, in the name of
public health and safety, to be in charge of their actual operation? Congress or a committee it authorizes would determine the length of time traffic
lights stay red, yellow and green and what hours of the day and at what intersections lights flash red or yellow. One can only imagine the mess
Congress would create in the 40,000 cities, towns and other incorporated places in the U.S. But managing traffic lights and getting good results is a
far less complex task than managing the nation's health care system and getting good results, which Congress tries to do.
Here's another task I'd ask whether you would like Congress to control. The average well-stocked supermarket carries 60,000 to 65,000 different
items. Walmart carries about 120,000 different items. Let's suppose Congress puts you in total control of getting just one item to a supermarket, say
apples. Let's not make it easy by having the help of apple wholesalers. Thus, you would have to figure out all of the inputs necessary to get apples to
your local supermarket. Let's look at just a few. You need crates to ship the apples. Count all the inputs necessary to produce crates. There's wood,
but you need saws to cut down trees. The saws are made of steel, so iron ore must be mined, and mining equipment is needed. The workers must
have shoes. The complete list of inputs to get apples to the market comes to a very large, possibly an unknowable, number. Forgetting any one of
them, such as spark plugs, would probably mean no apples at your supermarket.
11/9/2017 Ignorance Versus Stupidity 2/2
The beauty of market allocation of goods and services, compared with government fiat, is no one person needs to know all that's necessary to get
apples to your supermarket. Free markets, accompanied by free trade, including international free trade, make us richer by economizing on the
amount of knowledge or information needed to produce things.
Think about this morning's breakfast. Let's suppose you and your spouse each had four slices of bacon and two eggs. You had coffee, and your
spouse had cocoa. The breakfast might have cost you $22. But what might it have cost you if instead of being dependent upon others, you were
independent and produced your own breakfast? What do you know about raising pigs and their subsequent slaughter? Do you know how to cure
pork to make bacon? Then there are the eggs, which require knowledge about the care of chickens. What about getting pig and chicken feed? You'd
have a big problem with the coffee and cocoa. I doubt whether you could simulate the growing conditions in Brazil and West Africa. One thing that's
guaranteed is that your breakfast would be far costlier than in the case where you depended upon the benefits of skills of others that emerge from the
division of labor and trade.
The bottom line is that each of us is grossly ignorant about the world in which we live. Nothing's wrong with that ignorance, but we are stupid if we
believe that a politician can produce a better life than that which is obtained through peaceable, voluntary exchange with our fellow man anywhere
on earth.
Column Congress Economy Business Coverage Regulation Taxes Wages & Prices Wal-Mart Walter Williams Friedrich Hayek Thomas Sowell
Walter E. Williams
An American economist, commentator, and author of Liberty Versus the Tyranny of Socialism
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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Meddling in Foreign Elections

Hypocrisy: Obama, Clinton Have Long History of
Meddling in Foreign Elections
B Y M I C H A E L V A N D E R G A L I E N N O V E M B E R 9 , 2 0 1 7
11/9/2017 Hypocrisy: Obama, Clinton Have Long History of Meddling in Foreign Elections | Trending 2/7
With the Democrats blasting Russia for "interfering" in U.S. elections, I think it’s time to discuss the recent history of U.S.
interference in elections elsewhere.
1: Team Obama tried to defeat Bibi Netanyahu in Israel
FILE -- In this Sept. 30, 2016 file photo, US President Barack Obama, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talk during the
funeral of former Israeli President and Prime minister Shimon Peres in Jerusalem. (Menahem Kahana, Pool via AP, File)
11/9/2017 Hypocrisy: Obama, Clinton Have Long History of Meddling in Foreign Elections | Trending 3/7
In 2015, the Obama administration illegally funneled money to leftist opposition groups in Israel to help them bring down the
government led by Benjamin Netanyahu: $350,000 was given to a group called One Voice Movement (OVM).
This group said it wants to bring about "peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine." It goes without saying that OVM
was and is against Netanyahu. That's bad enough, but leftover money was used to set up a leftist election machine in Israel
that took on the Israeli leader.
Five American campaign experts were hired. One of them was President Obama's field director during the 2012 elections.
2: Team Obama tried to bring down the right-of-center government in Macedonia
Most Americans probably don't know where Macedonia is, but that didn't prevent the Obama administration from meddling in
that country's internal affairs. Judicial Watch uncovered the relevant government documents:
[The documents] show the U.S. government has quietly spent millions of taxpayer dollars to destabilize the
democratically elected, center-right government in Macedonia by colluding with leftwing, billionaire philanthropist
George Soros.
11/9/2017 Hypocrisy: Obama, Clinton Have Long History of Meddling in Foreign Elections | Trending 4/7
We're talking about millions of dollars funneled from the State Department and USAID to Soros' groups in Macedonia. These
groups' main purpose was to bring down the country's center-right government. The Obama administration actively helped
those groups, and this work continued afterward.
3: Team Obama built up the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and helped to overthrow Hosni Mubarak
The United States government actively meddled in Egypt's politics and elections by supporting the fundamentalist Muslim
Brotherhood. Team Obama was quite candid about that interference.
Yet we didn't hear one word of criticism from the mainstream media -- the same media that can't stop talking about Russia's
supposed meddling in the U.S. presidential election last year.
4: Bill Clinton helped Boris Yeltsin stay in power in Russia
Back in the 1990s, Russia was led by a man whom Bill Clinton believed to be a real democrat: Boris Yeltsin. As expert
Stephen Cohen explains:
[P]olitical missionaries and evangelists, usually called "advisers", spread across Russia in the early and mid-
Clinton and his advisers actually called this interference "a policy of American tutelage."
Although Yeltsin was incredibly popular in the White House, the same couldn't be said for his popularity in Russia itself. Still
the White House supported him and did everything in its power to keep him in the Kremlin. The result? Russian oligarchs
enriched themselves beyond measure, and "the life expectancy for Russian men and women fell from 64 and 74 years
respectively to 58 and 71 years."
Time magazine was quite open and transparent about the 1996 elections in Russia which were, shockingly, won by the
highly unpopular Yeltsin. Their cover:
Yanks To the Rescue: The Secret Story of How American Advisers Helped Yeltsin Win
11/9/2017 Hypocrisy: Obama, Clinton Have Long History of Meddling in Foreign Elections | Trending 5/7
NVladimir Putin was already on the rise in Russian political circles back then, and he saw clearly what had happened: Yeltsin
"won" the elections because of U.S. interference and meddling. It was Clinton who basically bought Yeltsin's victory by
endorsing a $10.2-billion loan from the International Monetary Fund:
Yeltsin used the loan to bolster his popular support, telling voters that only he had the reformist credentials to
secure such loans, according to media reports at the time. He used the money, in part, for social spending before
the election, including payment of back wages and pensions.
5: Barack Obama's chief strategist David Axelrod tried to help Labour win elections in Britain
Last but not least, there's this:
The political strategist behind President Barack Obama’s White House victories is taking his talents across the
pond to help Britain’s Labour Party.
David Axelrod will spend the next several months serving as the party’s “senior strategic advisor,” in an effort to
get British opposition leader Ed Miliband elected as prime minister in May 2015. In a statement Friday, Axelrod
said he had been impressed by Miliband’s ideas and says he has solid vision for the country’s future.
11/9/2017 Hypocrisy: Obama, Clinton Have Long History of Meddling in Foreign Elections | Trending 6/7
“Barack Obama articulated a vision which had, at its core, the experience of everyday people,” Axelrod said. “And
everyday people responded, they organised and they overcame the odds. I see the same thing happening in
Obviously, Axelrod wasn't an official representative of the American government, but everybody understood that he wouldn't
be involved in Britain's elections if Obama disapproved. This was meddling -- and not just some fake news Facebook ads,
either. Axelrod actively and officially campaigned on behalf of Labour, Britain's main opposition party.
Democrats are clearly using a double standard.
Of course one nation is trying to interfere in another nation's elections. There are very real interests at stake, which is why
the U.S. -- especially under Democratic leadership -- has a long, long record of meddling in other country's internal affairs.
The U.S. does this all the time and had never been secretive about it, either. So why the outrage aimed at Russia now?
Simple: because Putin's interests are not aligned with the Democrats' interests. That's all there is to this story.

Las Vegas Self Driving Shuttle Crashes

A driverless shuttle bus crashed less than two hours after it was launched in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
The city's officials had been hosting an unveiling ceremony for the bus, described as the US' first self-driving shuttle pilot project geared towards the public, before it crashed with a semi-truck.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the human driver of the other vehicle was at fault, there were no injuries, and the incident caused minor damage.
The oval-shaped shuttle -- sponsored by AAA, the Review-Journal added -- can transport up to 12 passengers at a time. It has an attendant and a computer monitor, and uses GPS and electric curb sensors instead of brake pedals or a steering wheel.
The crash follows the US House passing the Self Drive Act in September, which if passed by the Senate would exempt car manufacturers from various federal and state regulations, allowing for the eventual deployment of up to 100,000 test vehicles a year.
Under the Act, states would still decide whether or not to permit self-driving cars on their roads. However, the federal government could permit a car manufacturer to bypass certain federal safety rules, as well as some state regulations.
The Las Vegas crash is not the first time self-driving vehicles have been involved in a collision. In March, Uber halted its self-driving vehicle tests in the US following a collision in Arizona. An Uber spokesperson later said all tests had been paused for the ride-hailing service to complete an investigation.
Google's self-driving car was found to be at fault when it struck a public bus in California early last year. The company said that it would improve software for the vehicles to more accurately differentiate larger vehicles such as buses. Its self-driving car unit Waymo also recently patented a way to make vehicles softer as part of efforts to reduce collision-related injuries.

Tesla's Autopilot feature was engaged when the driver of a 2015 Model S was killed in an accident in Williston, Florida in May last year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into the performance of the feature, although it later found no defects in the its design or performance.
Car manufacturers around the world are still investing in autonomous vehicle efforts. Volvoplans to involve every-day drivers in its "Drive Me" pilot on the streets of London in December; while Intel's Mobileye is building more than 100 level 4 SAE vehicles, which it will test in the United States, Israel, and Europe starting this year.
General Motors last month announced its acquisition of LiDAR developer Strobe to accelerate the development of its autonomous vehicle tech; Toyota last year opened a research institute with a focus on fully autonomous driving; and Audi announced its partnership with Nvidia earlier this year with the aim to bring level 4 autonomy to the roads by 2020. Level 4 vehicles are "designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip," according to the Department of Transport (DOT).
NissanBMW, and Hyundai are all looking to have driverless vehicles on roads within the next five years, which is also the amount of time Ford believes driverless cars will take to "change the world".
In Australia, Transurban is currently conducting a driverless vehicle trial in Melbourne over the course of 18 months; while the NSW government kicked off a two-year trial of a driverless shuttle bus at Sydney Olympic Park back in August.
The Royal Automobile Club (RAC) of Western Australia kicked off Australia's first driverless electric bus trial last year with support from the state government and the City of South Perth.
The vehicle, known as the RAC Intellibus, is able to carry up to 11 passengers and operates at an average speed of 25 kilometres per hour. It uses light detection and ranging, stereovision cameras, GPS, odometry, and autonomous emergency braking to detect and avoid obstacles.
The South Australian government also launched a AU$2.8 million trial of driverless shuttle buses in March, similar to the RAC Intellibus; while Darwin has entered its second phase of a driverless bus trial, although with a driver still on board for safety. According to the ABC,more than 3,500 passengers had ridden the bus from the beginning of the trial in January up to June.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Blood on the Left's Hands

Blood on the Left's Hands in Manhattan

Earlier this year, a final settlement was reached in the war on the NYPD’s counterterrorist Islamic surveillance. The Manhattan courtroom where the lawfare effort to dismantle the NYPD’s ability to stop terrorist attacks was heard is blocks away from the site of the latest Islamic terrorist attack in New York.
Walk two blocks down to City Hall. And then head down Chambers to the West Side Highway. That’s where the terrorist attack that killed eight people ended when an NYPD officer shot the terrorist. If he had kept going down the West Side Highway, instead of crashing into a school bus, he would have eventually been within attack range of the 9/11 Memorial. And maybe that was his original plan.
But his message was very clear. He shouted it as he left the truck with which he murdered 8 people.
“Allahu Akbar”. These were the last words on the Flight 93 flight recorder. Mohamed Atta had advised his fellow 9/11 hijackers to, “Shout, 'Allahu Akbar,' because it strikes fear in the hearts of the infidels.”
Sayfullo Saipov, the Muslim terrorist who carried out the latest attack, was just listening to Atta’s advice. The 16th anniversary of the attacks has passed, but the hatred of Allah’s killers burns as hot as ever.
And the attack carried clear echoes of 9/11.
Saipov had listed an address in Paterson, NJ. Paterson, known to the locals as ‘Paterstine’ for its sizable Islamic community, is where the PLO terror flag flies over City Hall and where Islamic terrorist sympathizers celebrated after their compatriots murdered thousands on 9/11.
Paterson is also where 6 of the 9/11 hijackers lived.
The attack by the Muslim settler from Uzbekistan was almost identical to previous Car Jihad attacks in Europe. Right down to using a fake firearm. But New York City had avoided the non-stop terror wave that engulfed Paris and other European cities thanks to the hard work of the NYPD.
But every time the NYPD broke up an Islamic terror plot, the media and its leftist allies would howl that the racist police had entrapped another innocent mentally ill Muslim. When the Newburgh Four plotted to bomb synagogues in the Bronx, the media was in their corner. HBO even aired The Newburgh Sting, a piece of propaganda whitewashing the terrorists. The revisionist documentary played at the Tribeca Film Festival. And Tribeca is the site of the latest Islamic terrorist attack.
Linda Sarsour, the leading Islamic activist on the left, defended Ahmed Ferhani, who had also plotted to blow up a synagogue, and Shahawar Matin Siraj, who was convicted of plotting to blow up a Manhattan subway station, as victims of NYPD entrapment.
But it’s hard to think of a NYPD or FBI terror bust in New York that the media didn’t undermine. The Nation and the Guardian led the lynch mob. But soon CBS, The Atlantic and the New York Times joined in. All the Muslim terrorists that the NYPD had stopped were really immature and easily manipulated young men. The plots had been invented by paid informants. And it didn’t stop there.
For the last four years, the ACLU and other pro-terror groups had waged an effective lawfare campaign to cripple the NYPD’s counterterrorism. And they succeeded. The NYPD’s ability to send informants into mosques was handicapped. New York cops were now required to consider the “impact” of informants on mosques after Islamist groups claimed that their presence discouraged mosque attendance. The approvals required made it much harder to use one of the more effective terror prevention tools.
The Demographics Unit, one of the most important big picture intel tools for the NYPD, was shut down. But that wasn’t enough. Even when the NYPD agreed to a settlement, Judge Charles S. Haight Jr. insisted that it didn’t go far enough to protect “law-abiding Muslims and believers in Islam who live, move and have their being in this city.”
Sayfullo Saipov moved his being and the truck it was in over the bodies of New Yorkers leaving tire tracks over corpses. The Manhattan attack, like every Islamic attack before it, could have been stopped. But the NYPD’s hands had been tied. And the left had done the tying. It defended every Islamic terrorist that the NYPD had arrested. And prevented the NYPD from investigating mosques and radicalization.
Now it has what it really wanted. Dead Americans. And it has their blood on its manicured fingers.
The Uzbeki Islamic terrorist had listed an address in Paterson, New Jersey. The NYPD had come under attack for conducting surveillance in New Jersey. One of the targets was a mosque in Paterson. The Uzbeki Muslim terrorist also links back to Florida. The media has largely ignored or tried to cover up the string of Islamic terrorist attacks linked to Florida, from the Pulse Massacre in Orlando, to the latest Islamic terrorist plot to bomb the Dolphin Mall on Black Friday.
Sayfullo Saipov had come here in 2010. In that short amount of time he managed to amass criminal records in Pennsylvania and Missouri for traffic offenses. After stints in at least three other states, he went on a killing spree that took eight lives and wounded as well as traumatized countless others.
Dem leaders in New York are already rolling out the standard messages urging everyone to go back to life as usual. Mayor Bill de Blasio called the attack “cowardly”. But the attack wasn’t cowardly. It was vicious and murderous. It’s Bill de Blasio and the other politicians who crippled the NYPD because they were afraid of political pressure from Linda Sarsour and CAIR who are the real cowards.
They are cowards with blood on their hands.
The New York media’s first response after the attack was to try and blame road rage. Before long, you will see it running the standardized “Muslims fear backlash” stories that are a staple of every effort to sweep the latest Islamic terrorist attack under the rug along with the blood and the bodies.
Islamic terrorists like Sayfullo Saipov are able to do what they do because they have a long list of collaborators like the ACLU, Democrat politicians, Federal judges and the mainstream media.
While law enforcement fights a desperate battle to stop the next Saipov, the men and women tracking the terrorists know that if they get their man, the media will make them the villains. Just ask the good people who brought down Ahmed Ferhani, James Cromitie, Shahawar Matin Siraj and so many others.
Sane societies celebrate those who risk their lives to keep them safe. The leftist culture machine does everything it can to destroy them and to aid the Islamic butchers who run over pedestrians for Allah.
The way to stop the next Saipov is to untie the NYPD’s hands.
After every shooting, the left insists that anyone who opposes gun control wants people to die. But guns don’t hop off the shelf and shoot people. And trucks don’t run over pedestrians on their own.
Islamic terrorists drive them into crowds, over pedestrians and cyclists, in London, Nice, in Berlin, in Jerusalem and in New York City. And leftists who refuse to stop them might as well be behind the wheel.
Leftists who would rather control the police than the Islamic terrorists want people to die.

By Ralph Peters, Lt Col, Ret. NY Post

Attention, all troops peeved with your platoon sergeant, bored with your field rations, or who just want a little private time: It’s okay to desert your post in a combat zone. It’s fine for you to trigger the deaths and grave woundings of better men than you. A military judge just set a precedent: Deserters in wartime walk free.
You’ll probably get a book deal, too, and be portrayed as a hero in a big-budget film.
The US Army colonel and judge who decided Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s fate has some explaining to do. How is it that a confessed deserter, whose actions brought our Afghan campaign to a halt and led to the acknowledged wounding and alleged deaths of his comrades, can walk out of a military courtroom a free man? With not one day of prison time? How is that possible?
How can our armed forces maintain good order and discipline when the only penalty for desertion in wartime is a dishonorable discharge with a reduction in rank? The lowlifes who abandon their buddies in wartime don’t care what form of discharge they receive.
Apologists for Bergdahl insist that, as a captive of the Taliban for five years, he suffered enough. But what about those who died searching for him (as his comrades insist occurred)? What about the known wounded condemned to life sentences of pain and incapacity?
Please, Col. Nance, explain your decision to Bergdahl’s victims. Explain it to every soldier who served honorably.
As for abuse endured during his captivity, Bergdahl could have avoided it by remaining at his post. He wasn’t captured doing his duty. He quit and walked away.
The only military sin graver than desertion in a combat zone would be to turn one’s weapons against one’s fellow soldiers. What Bergdahl did was a cardinal sin in any military. But, despite constant refrains of “Thank you for your service,” military values are despised, mocked and attacked in our society.
As for any alleged mental problems influencing Bergdahl, a psychologist can make the case that any human being is disturbed. But Bergdahl was rational enough to plan his desertion, to mail home his personal computer and effects. He knew what he was doing.
Did the judge know what he was doing?
Political correctness has infected our military even more profoundly than many of us long feared. Successive administrations have used our armed forces as a laboratory for social transformation. Real damage has been done. This destructive sentencing is one result.
For a military judge, a colonel, to wreak havoc upon good order and discipline, to, in essence, sanction desertion if there are “mitigating circumstances,” sends traditional military virtues of loyalty, obedience and self-sacrifice into eclipse.
This case isn’t just about punishing one jerk. It’s about the combat effectiveness of our military in time of war. While the man is judged, the institution is sentenced.
That judge condemned the institution when he decided that Bergdahl should go free.
We expect explanations.
Meanwhile, Bergdahl can celebrate. The activist left can celebrate. Former President Barack Obama can claim redemption and Susan Rice can grunt with satisfaction that, despite his dishonorable discharge, Bergdahl kinda-sorta “served with honor and distinction,” didn’t he?
And the widows Bergdahl’s actions left behind can go to hell. Wives serving their own life sentences of caring for heroes incapacitated by wounds because of Bergdahl’s treachery can be damned. His comrades who served honorably can kiss off. Let’s all line up and spit on those who serve proudly.
This is a wonderful day for America’s enemies, foreign and domestic.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Blaming Doctors for Addiction, Hat Tip; American Spectator

Betsy McCaugheyNovember 1, 2017, 12:05 am

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Who Pays Taxes. Hat Tip: Newsbusters

Who Pays What in Taxes?

Politicians exploit public ignorance. Few areas of public ignorance provide as many opportunities for political demagoguery as taxation. Today some politicians argue that the rich must pay their fair share and label the proposed changes in tax law as tax cuts for the rich. Let's look at who pays what, with an eye toward attempting to answer this question: Are the rich paying their fair share?
According to the latest IRS data, the payment of income taxes is as follows. The top 1 percent of income earners, those having an adjusted annual gross income of $480,930 or higher, pay about 39 percent of federal income taxes. That means about 892,000 Americans are stuck with paying 39 percent of all federal taxes. The top 10 percent of income earners, those having an adjusted gross income over $138,031, pay about 70.6 percent of federal income taxes. About 1.7 million Americans, less than 1 percent of our population, pay 70.6 percent of federal income taxes. Is that fair, or do you think they should pay more? By the way, earning $500,000 a year doesn't make one rich. It's not even yacht money.
But the fairness question goes further. The bottom 50 percent of income earners, those having an adjusted gross income of $39,275 or less, pay 2.83 percent of federal income taxes. Thirty-seven million tax filers have no tax obligation at all. The Tax Policy Center estimates that 45.5 percent of households will not pay federal income tax this year. There's a severe political problem of so many Americans not having any skin in the game. These Americans become natural constituencies for big-spending politicians. After all, if you don't pay federal taxes, what do you care about big spending? Also, if you don't pay federal taxes, why should you be happy about a tax cut? What's in it for you? In fact, you might see tax cuts as threatening your handout programs.
Our nation has a 38.91 percent tax on corporate earnings, the fourth-highest in the world. The House of Representatives has proposed that it be cut to 20 percent; some members of Congress call for a 15 percent rate. The nation's political hustlers object, saying corporations should pay their fair share of taxes. The fact of the matter -- which even leftist economists understand, though they might not publicly admit it -- is corporations do not pay taxes. An important subject area in economics is called tax incidence. It holds that the entity upon whom a tax is levied does not necessarily bear its full burden. Some of it can be shifted to another party. If a tax is levied on a corporation, it will have one of four responses or some combination thereof. It will raise the price of its product, lower dividends, cut salaries or lay off workers. In each case, a flesh-and-blood person bears the tax burden. The important point is that corporations are legal fictions and as such do not pay taxes. Corporations are merely tax collectors for the government.
Politicians love to trick people by suggesting that they will impose taxes not on them but on some other entity instead. We can personalize the trick by talking about property taxes. Imagine that you are a homeowner and a politician tells you he is not going to tax you. Instead, he's going to tax your property and land. You would easily see the political chicanery. Land and property cannot and do not pay taxes. Again, only people pay taxes. The same principle applies to corporations.
There's another side to taxes that goes completely unappreciated. According to a 2013 study by the Virginia-based Mercatus Center, Americans spend up to $378 billion annually in tax-related accounting costs, and in 2011, Americans spent more than six billion hours complying with the tax code. Those hours are equivalent to the annual hours of a workforce of 3.4 million, or the number of people employed by four of the largest U.S. companies -- Wal-Mart, IBM, McDonald's and Target -- combined. Along with tax cuts, tax simplification should be on the agenda.