Saturday, May 02, 2015


On May 2nd, 2011, my father died.

His passing left a yawning gap in our family that cannot be filled anymore.

God bless.



As per usual with Bill Whittle, a rebuttal of "progressivism" that's as eloquent as it is true:


Thursday, April 30, 2015


Townhall's Derek Hunter on the death of Freddie Gray:

"... A who’s who of Maryland Democratic Party politics turned out for the funeral of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old Baltimore man who died from a severed spinal cord injury that apparently occurred while in police custody. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was there, as was the woman she succeeded, Sheila Dixon. Congressmen Elijah Cummings and John Sarbanes were there, as was former Rep. Kweisi Mfume, a former president of the NAACP. The Obama administration even sent two representatives. While all in attendance mourned the loss of Gray, none were willing to address the real problem his short life exposes.

The death of Freddie Gray is a sad end to a sad life that involved everything you’d expect from a life lived in poverty in a major urban area. But his death, and his life, were the result of what far too many big cities are doing to (not for) their residents.

Freddie Gray was raised in poverty, educated in failing schools, thrust out into an economy choked by regulation and taxes, and offered only drugs as a way to earn money.

Baltimore has been controlled by Democrats since the 1960s. The economy, the education system, the business environment and climate of criminality are all pieces of what they built – a machine that churns out Freddie Grays en masse on an annual basis.

Freddie Gray was pushed through the failed Baltimore education system, learning nothing of practical use and not being prepared for college or a trade. He was thrown into an economy hemorrhaging jobs and businesses because taxes and regulations disincentivize the retention and creation of businesses. The only growth industry hiring was drugs.

Freddie Gray made his choices, but the progressive big government machine he was born into limited those choices.

That machine has churned out many of the people who took to the streets of Baltimore to riot on Monday. Many of them will suffer the same fate as Freddie Gray, though at the hands of their peers, not the police.

The answer pushed by progressives, all the way up to President Obama, is to make the machine bigger.

These areas are represented almost exclusively by Democrats and have been for generations. Tax money is collected at whatever rate Democrats want to collect it, spent however Democrats want to spend it, and the rules governing people and businesses are whatever Democrats want them to be. “Business as usual,” as it is, is exactly what Democrats have made it. A bigger government boot on the neck of economic opportunity won’t solve the problem; it is the problem.

We’ve spent $20 trillion in the “war on poverty,” and we still have the same rate of poverty. Because that money was not spent to help those in poverty; it was spent on government bureaucrats to administer “benefits” to those in poverty.

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Don’t get me wrong: Cutting a check would have been destructive too, but it is in the administering of those programs that we find the chains that hold people in poverty.

Like the tax code for taxpayers, if you live how the government approves, your “benefits” will continue. Stray from the approved life and they will be cut off. Get a job and you risk losing money you’ve been conditioned to rely on. Get married, forget it.

The president remains a dedicated ideologue to the progressive welfare state. He said, “And there’s a bunch of my agenda that would make a difference right now in that.” He listed early education for children in poverty as one of his “solutions.”

Additional years in the machine would not have saved Freddie Gray, and it will not save any child grinding through its gears. Liberation from that machine is the only hope.

Even if the machine freed kids from the education system and offered school choice, without wholesale dismantling of the progressive machine there will be no jobs awaiting even qualified and well-educated graduates.

In short, without an across-the-board rejection of the hollow promises of progressivism, Freddie Gray’s death will mean nothing. Electing new people to do the same things will yield the same results. It isn’t just the people, the politicians and their false promises of change, it’s the ideology they swear allegiance to.

The worst school districts in the country are controlled by teachers unions and overseen by progressive Democrats. They are also among the most expensive school districts in the country. More money would only make them more expensive, not better. Yet that is the “solution” being offered by progressive Democrats. That’s like the captain of the Titanic ordering his ship to speed up and hit the iceberg faster and thinking that would make it better...."

Amen to that, Mr Hunter.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015


An account that is so sobering you don't even smirk or laugh anymore, even though it's from Mark Steyn's desk:

"... In return for facilitating the transfer to Putin of one-fifth of US uranium, the Clintons were given tens of millions of dollars by Vancouver businessman Frank Giustra (the founder of "Uranium One" in its pre-Putin days) and various of his associates. In 2006, Mr Giustra told The New Yorker:

"All of my chips, almost, are on Bill Clinton," he said. "He's a brand, a worldwide brand, and he can do things and ask for things that no one else can."


Oh, my mistake. When I said Giustra and his pals had given over $100 million to "the Clintons", I meant they gave it to "The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation" - or its Canadian subsidiary, established after Hillary had signed a disclosure agreement for the US foundation with the Obama Administration and, being Canadian, thus exempt from the disclosure agreement. At least as Bill and Hillary's lawyers read it.

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I said to Hugh Hewitt on the radio last week:

Well wait, but just a minute, Hugh, there is no 'Clinton Foundation'... The only purpose of this foundation is to enable this family to lead the lifestyle of a head of state after it has ceased to be head of state.

Today The New York Post reports:

The Clinton Foundation's finances are so messy that the nation's most influential charity watchdog put it on its "watch list" of problematic nonprofits last month.

The Clinton family's mega-charity took in more than $140 million in grants and pledges in 2013 but spent just $9 million on direct aid.

The group spent the bulk of its windfall on administration, travel, and salaries and bonuses, with the fattest payouts going to family friends.

For example, Chelsea's chum Eric Braverman was paid $275,000 for five months' work. In Clintonworld, charity begins at home. So, if, like all these big-hearted Saudi princes and Canuck uranium execs, you give money to the Clinton Foundation because you care about starving Third World urchins, for every million bucks you hand over, a full 64 grand goes to the Third World urchins and the remaining $936,000 is the processing fee. Paul Mirengoff cautions:

It's important to note that the Clinton Foundation's status as a problematic charity is distinct from the "Clinton cash" issue that Peter Schweizer and others have highlighted. "Clinton cash" focuses on the fundraising methods used by the Clintons. Specifically, there are substantial allegations that they raise money in part because nations and wealthy individuals hope to influence U.S. policy through their donations, and very possibly have succeeded in doing so.

The problem flagged by Charity Navigator and other watchdogs focuses on what the Clinton Foundation does with the money it raises (whether ethically or not). The Foundation's profligacy and failure to spend a significant percentage of its funds on its alleged mission would be of concern even if there were no ethical problems associated with the Clintons' fundraising.

That's true. But it does undermine the Clinton courties' defense for all the funny money that's rolled in - that all these Saudis are ponying up for Bill and Hill because they want to improve women's rights in Africa; that Kazakh oligarchs are so generous because they want to reduce diarrhea outbreaks in Africa. Which is why Chelsea gets 75 grand a pop to give dull speeches about diarrhea. But, assuming for the purposes of argument that the House of Saud really did want to promote women's rights in the Third World, why would they do it through the Clintons and see 94 per cent of it get sluiced off before it got anywhere near Africa?

What Charity Navigator calls the Clinton Foundation's "atypical business model" is, in fact, the point of the operation. The Saudis, Kazakhs, Canucks et al are giving to the Clintons - and that six per cent to emaciated Africans is merely the equivalent of that moment at the supermarket checkout when the clerk tallies up your $150 of groceries and asks if you'd like to give a buck to Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

But, as I said, let's keep it simple: As Sergei Kiriyenko told the Russian Duma, Tsar Putin now owns a fifth of US uranium - in return for Bill and Hill's slush fund getting a hundred million bucks.

To modify Lady Macbeth, not all the diarrhea in Africa can wash away the stench of the Clinton Foundation.

Pundits often talk about "clothespin" elections, where the voters are obliged to hold their nose in the polling booth and select a malodorous candidate. But never on this scale. If the Clintons are returned to the White House, you'll be holding your nose for the next eight years."

There's the scandals, and there's the incompetence. Forty years present at the pinnacle of US politics, and what has she got to show for it?

Zilch. Zero. Nada. Name one accomplishment that has actually benefited the American nation, the American people. One. I ask you, just one. What - has - she - ever - accomplished?


Despite that, there's the arrogance. Don't forget the arrogance. Bill Whittle:

Memo to Americans still willing to vote for this gruesome, horrible "woman": YOU - ARE - INSANE.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Chilling article, actually, by Guy Benson over at Townhall:

"The coercive Left's End of Discussion mob is emboldened and on the march. Four vignettes from around the country: (1) In New York, a pair gay hoteliers are facing angry boycotts because they dared to dine and chat with Ted Cruz. These men are successful businessmen, they're pro-gay marriage, and their political donations through the years have slanted heavily toward Democrats. But fraternizing with the enemy is now a punishable offense:

The two gay hoteliers whose duplex on Central Park was the site of a small dinner this week with Senator Ted Cruz are facing boycott threats to their properties. Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass own the apartment where the gathering for Mr. Cruz, who has been vociferously opposed to same-sex marriage, was the featured attraction on Monday night. The event focused primarily on foreign policy, but the topic of same-sex marriage came up, and during his appearance Mr. Cruz called it an issue best left to the states...Both men, in an apparent effort to play down any outrage in the gay community, put out statements making clear they disagree with the Republican senator from Texas on gay rights. “I was given the opportunity to have a candid conversation with Senator Ted Cruz on where he stood on all issues, foreign and domestic,” Mr. Reisner said. “It was just three months ago that I hosted a ‘Ready for Hillary’ event for a record turnout of 900 people at the Out Hotel.” He added: “Senator Ted Cruz and I disagree strongly on the issue of gay marriage, but having an open dialogue with those who have differing political opinions is a part of what this country was founded on. My tireless support of the gay community and its causes worldwide hasn’t changed and will not change.” Mr. Weiderpass said: “People on both sides of the aisle need to be able to communicate with one another even when they ideologically disagree. I worked tirelessly for the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ as a member of the board of directors for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and needed to reach across the aisle to make that happen. The fact that Senator Cruz accepted the invitation to my home was a step in the right direction toward him having a better understanding of who I am and what I believe in.”

Hey guys, we're gay, we're longtime and generous supporters of gay rights, and we hosted a Hillary event recently -- but we also believe in open dialogue with people who hold differing opinions, because that's what America is all about. Not good enough. Breaking bread with Cruz is a sin, and the impure must be purged. Over to you, courageously anonymous organizer of the boycott campaign:


"Shut the place down." For tolerance. The boycott has resulted in the cancelation of a charity event to fight AIDS. Think about that. Because the owners of a venue had dinner with Ted Cruz, an AIDS charity axed an entire event in a fit of pique. Sorry, AIDS patients -- priorities are priorities. One of the hoteliers has now backed away from his initial, laudable defense of free inquiry and exchange, caving to pressure with an abject apology for a "terrible mistake."

(2) A panel of bureaucrats has recommended a fine of $135,000 (!) against a Christian-owned bakery in Oregon for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. Here are the supposed damages claimed by the "victims:"

Oh, give it a break already. HERE.

(3) The student government body at Johns Hopkins University struck a blow for progress, or whatever, by banning Chick-fil-A from campus. Keep in mind that the construction of a Chick-fil-A had not even been proposed, so this was a pre-emptive strike against hypothetical future "microaggressions:"

Johns Hopkins University has banned Chick-fil-A from its campus saying that the restaurant is a “microaggression” against its students. In an 18-8 vote, the Student Government Association at Johns Hopkins voted not to “support the proposal of a Chick-fil-A, in a current or future sense, particularly on any location that is central to student life.” The anti-Chick-fil-A bill listed seven main reasons why the restaurant should be banned from campus. The first is that “the Student Government Association of Johns Hopkins University aims to provide a safe, supportive environment for all university affiliates now and in the future.” The fourth is that “visiting prospective and current students, staff, faculty, and other visitors who are members of the LGBTQ+ community or are allies would be subjected to the microaggression of supporting current or future Chick-fil-A development plans.”

(4) Elsewhere in Maryland, another institution is covering itself in glory, taking (later-reversed) totalitarian cues from their counterparts at the University of Michigan:

University of Maryland College Park student group pulled "American Sniper" from its spring movie lineup following complaints from a Muslim student group. The group, Student Entertainment Events, announced on its web site Wednesday that it had canceled the May showings of the film...SEE said it was contemplating "an event where students can engage in constructive and moderated dialogues about the controversial topics proposed in the film." "SEE supports freedom of expression and hopes to create space for the airing of opposing viewpoints and differing perceptions," the group wrote. "While not easy, we want to start having these hard conversations." More than 300 people signed a petition started by the Muslim Student Association that describes the film as "war propaganda guised as art reveals a not-so-discreet Islamaphobic, violent, and racist nationalist ideology." "This movie dehumanizes Muslim individuals, promotes the idea of senseless mass murder, and portrays negative and inaccurate stereotypes," the creators of the petition wrote. "This movie serves to do nothing but make a mockery out of such immense pain."

Just remember. They call US fascists.


Sunday, April 26, 2015


The Belgian Air Force released several videos documenting the strikes:

Via the Belgian Armed Forces site:

"To date, the Belgian F-16 detachment in Iraq has destroyed 107 [ISIS] ground targets. The missions are carried out together with an international coalition in the fight against Islamic State, as requested by the Iraqi Army", says Major General Frederik Vansina, BAF commander. "No collateral damage was inflicted while taking out the ground targets".

The Belgian F-16's operate only over Iraq, not over Syria. In the course of six months, they carried out 600 missions, good for about 5 per cent of the total flown by the entire coalition.

Our country still has about thirty military advisors who are training Iraqi soldiers for the fight against IS. According to Belgian Army commander Major General Jean-Paul Deconinck, those Belgian soldiers work in a "highly secure" location near Baghdad's airport."

Some stills of the strikes:

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Now for the bad news. While the Iraq mission, following a nine-year BAF presence in Afghanistan and several hundred successful missions against the Qaddafi regime three years back, prove that the small Belgian Air Force can still pull its weight, it should not be forgotten that in the long term its future - indeed, the future of the entire Belgian military apparatus, looks rather bleak. This is what retired Defense Chief of Staff General Delcour had to say last November:

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"Belgium has lost all credibility"

"It has become impossible to efficiently run the MoD", General Delcour claims in an open letter. "What strikes me is that only two months ago, during the NATO summit in Wales, Belgium promised to not further reduce its defense budget, while the government's recently taken austerity measures show the exact opposite. This is incoherent and will have serious consequences for the credibility of Belgium and its defense policy."

"Freeloader on the NATO train"

General Delcour sees several dangers in the new defense cuts. "Absolutely necessary investment programmes threaten to be frozen perpetually, merely functioning on a daily basis and training of personnel will suffer. Moreover, Belgium has now for a long time been a freeloader on the NATO train". "Strong international pressure seems inevitable if the budget will be reduced even more.

"The situation is serious."

"The new government would do well to seriously ponder the Belgian defense policy", says General Delcour. "Because we - Belgium, Europe and NATO - have made very serious errors with regards to the evolution of the [European] security situation", referring to the Russian coup in the Crimea and the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. "That Belgium, given the circumstances, should not further hollow out its defense budget seems to me to put it too mildly. The situation is serious."

General Delcour's warning must be seen against the backdrop of the measures taken by the new "center-right" government which was installed in Belgium last autumn (under PM Charles Michel, of the Walloon Liberals). A center left government, a center right one, a centrist one... whatever its leaning, a Belgian government actually conducting a responsible defense policy has throughout history been rather the exception than the rule. Sadly this has been a given practically all the time since the country's Independence in 1830. Only at the time of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), when the Belgian Army was one fifth the size of the French Army, or just prior to WWII, when the Armed Forces fielded 650,000 men, and for some time during the Cold War, could defense policy be considered realistic.

The current predicament of the Belgian Armed Forces goes back to the late nineties, when basically all politicians, of all stripes, seem to have read Francis Fukuyama's The End of History and the Last Man, and taken its message for granted. The collapse of the USSR and the neutralization of the Saddam regime, brought about by two Republican presidents (Reagan and Bush, although few Belgian politicians will ever admit this), seemed to herald a new era in which armies would, in time, become something of the past. This notion was not significantly disturbed by the events in the Balkans or the war in Chechnya, and during the nineties leftist "intellectuals" openly questioned NATO's raison d'être. With Russia's transition to a free-market democracy seemingly mired in endless convulsions, and both its economy and military in tatters, there seemed to be no need anymore for robust defense spending, and especially since 2000, the Belgian defense budget, which during the Cold War had still been over 4 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product, shrank yearly, until by 2009 it represented but a mere 1.2 per cent of GDP anymore.

This was an evolution in fact welcomed by socialists and greens, who never made it a secret that they actually wanted to swap the budgets scheduled for Development Aid (under 0.7 per cent of GDP) and Defense.

Anno 2015 the sad truth is - and this has literally been claimed by General Delcour - that the decade-long deployment of small numbers of fighter-bombers (over Afghanistan, against Gaddafi's regime, and now over Iraq) actually serves as a smokescreen to fool our allies that Belgium still maintains a responsible defense policy. It's quite obvious why F-16's are chosen time and again to participate in the War on Terror - chances of personnel being killed are minimal. I know how the mind of your typical Belgian politician works - he or she is a total military ignoramus and a coward, always whoring for votes. This is of course true for politicians the world over, but even under socialist governments France, The Netherlands and Denmark were willing to send ground troops in harm's way to Iraq and/or Afghanistan, with after some time the inevitable fatalities. In Afghanistan e.g., The Netherlands lost perhaps 20+ KIA. Likewise, Norway, Denmark, and France lost several tens of soldiers killed, and scores more wounded and maimed. Great Britain and Germany took heavier losses. Yet in none of those countries there was a significant outcry "to get the troops back". A single fatality involving a Belgian soldier however would have led to socialist and green bigwigs like a Dirk Van Der Maelen (SP.a) or a Wouter De Vriendt (Groen) hysterically screaming blue murder in Parliament - and I'm not exxagerating.

I do not want to imply that I would have liked the Belgian Army to send a brigade to Afghanistan and would have been happy with body bags returning for the good of our reputation. No, what I want to imply is that these are very serious, even very dangerous times, that, like it or not, the West is at war, and that it has been totally unfair to let our allies pay the blood toll in the theatres in which the War on Terror is fought.

Well... here we are then, with a Belgian Army, Navy and Air Force almost literally starved to death. With less than a shoestring budget, our Armed Forces have done, and are doing, wonders. Ground troops and paras train soldiers in hotspots in Africa; Special Forces have come under fire from Sudanese attack helicopters while protecting refugees in Chad; countless minefields and ordnance have been cleared/neutralized by deminers in Lebanon and Afghanistan. Belgian frigates have done their part in securing naval routes from pirates off Africa's East Coast. As for the Air Force, it has been the only component firing its guns in anger at islamic terrorists from Libya over Iraq to Afghanistan.

The next budget cuts, which will lower the GDP percentage spent on defense even under 1 per cent, may well constitute the final straw. It is highly unlikely that with such meager resources, the means will be found to replace our old F-16 fleet, now down to a mere 60 units (if even that). Gone are the times when the Belgian Air Force fielded over 130 of these sound machines - all of them built under licence in our own country at the SABCA factories in Haren and Gosselies. The most optimistic scenario plans for a successor fleet of 35 jets, and you can bet that socialists and greens will do everything in their might to have the MoD buy the worst candidate.

The world has become a very dangerous place, not in the least because the current US Administration has basically opted for it. In eschewing and even denouncing its own exceptionalism, the US has deliberately created a leadership vacuum - and the natural result is that this vacuum is being filled, though by countries which are far from the benign behemoth that the US basically is. The Russian incursions in the Crimea and Ukraine and the brazen Chinese sabre-rattling in the South Chinese Sea, not to mention a suicidal nuclear deal with Iran are the logical result of America folding back on itself. The world has perhaps become more of a powder keg than we realize, and there's not one, but several fuses smouldering.

Against this backdrop, some European countries do see the sign on the wall: the Baltic Republics, The Netherlands, Germany... All of them have recently boosted their defense budget. The Netherlands intend to pump up the defense budget to at least 2 per cent of GDP, and only weeks ago the German military decided to add some 100-odd mothballed Leopard II tanks to its tank fleet. Both significant measures seem to be to-tal-ly lost on Belgium's political class.

As an example of how deluded the usual suspects among this class are, how about this? Last autumn, the merest mention that a few sane heads in the new government were somehow trying, within extremely tight fiscal constraints, to find a successor for the F-16, evoked shameless demagoguery from seedy characters like the Green's Kristof Calvo:

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Opposition party Groen reacts furiously following the news that federal government negotiators want to invest in a successor for the Air Force's F-16s. "While severe cuts harm families and the man in the street, the cheque for expensive as hell jets has already been signed", says fraction leader Kristof Calvo.

Such shameless demagoguery and utter intellectual dishonesty is common among our moral betters - for the acquisition of new jets (the candidates are the Saab Gripen, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale, the F-18, and the F-35) is still meant to somehow being realized without exceeding the paltry 1 per cent or so of GDP. In other words, Calvo is lying. Not more money would be spent, specialists are only looking at means to shifting or postponing certain expenses within the existing budget, in order to at least address the now very urgent need to replace a fighter bomber force of which the youngest planes left the assembly lines around thirty years ago.

Heck, you could abolish the ENTIRE Belgian Army, Navy and Air Force - send all the troops home, sell what few armoured cars, choppers, or minesweepers are left...

.... and you would only end up with a few more bread crumbs more for, say, Social Security - while the country would be defenseless.

The mind of leftists is weird.

I have to end on a positive note - can't allow those bastards to get me depressed. KUDOS for our flyboys!