Friday, May 27, 2016

Cheap binoculars. Vintage binoculars

Bunches of birds in the backyard this week, so I pulled out some binoculars. First pair, four years old,had an apparent mechanical maladjustment, and I couldn't get a clear image. Second pair, ten to 15 years, just seemed kinda dark.

So, I dug deeper in my closet. Found the pair my dad had from the 60's; the pair we used to watch rocket launches growing up on Merritt Island...

Wow, what an improvement. Like going from standard def to HDTV.

Even budget Japanese optics from the '60s had astounding quality.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

War with China? Seriously?

National Review has a story out asking if war between the U.S. and China is inevitable.


China wouldn't have to go to war. At least not in a traditional sense.

All China has to do is cut us off from its manufactured goods. American store shelves would look like Venezuela's.

Imagine. No new iPhones, no new window air conditioners...  no TVs, no new coffee makers or microwaves...

The American consumer would capitulate in a matter of days.

If not hours.

Fact is, China's been painting us into a corner for decades. The Chinese mindset doesn't limit war to only conventional means. And China has, for the most part, skillfully used trade as a weapon.

First it was toilet paper...

Other stuff followed...

Then it was beer that vanished from shelves in Venezuela.


Coca-Cola's gone. 

Socialism seems just fine at first... until it runs out of other people's money.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Elizabeth Warren was, and still is, a socialist idiot

Elizabeth Warren now attempts to play her clout in the presidential race, and as expected comes off sounding like a deluded socialist.

Warren's latest comments seek to attack  Donald Trump over Trump's roll as a real estate investor around the time of the 2008 housing market meltdown.

“Donald Trump was drooling over the idea of a housing meltdown — because it meant he could buy up a bunch more property on the cheap,” Warren said, as reported in the Washington Post. “What kind of a man does that? Root for people to get thrown out on the street? Root for people to lose their jobs? Root for people to lose their pensions?”

Did Trump express greed, or was he merely expressing the role of capitalism in holding a financial crisis in check?

And it wasn't just rich guys who saw potential as the real estate market cratered.  (I'm actually not aware Trump invests in middle class single family housing. Would Ms. Warren like to show us where he is?).

Yes, many house buyers in 2008-2010 time frame were investors. These peole saw potential for solid returns. Some were "rich", others borrowed from family, or even used credit card cash advances to acquire properties.  But opportunity came with risk. There was potential to lose money as well as make it. I can recall surveying streets in parts of DeKalb County, Ga. where three out of five houses on a street appeared vacant, most in foreclosure.

Also overlooked is that many who bought houses during the downturn were buying a home for themselves and their families. I know of at least two immigrant families who bought homes that were probably acquired for 30 percent of  pre-crash values. I'm also under the impression at least one of these families paid cash for their home, so their family wasn't locked into the burden of a mortgage. These homes have at least doubled since they were purchased in the crash era. I found it telling that frugal immigrants saw the opportunity and had the means to profit a market crisis, while most debt-laden Americans could not, and could not even see the potential.

Let's not overlook the housing bubble that preceded the housing crash.

How'd we get a housing bubble? Politicians and lenders were obsessed in pumping out more and more mortgages, and lending standards where slashed to keep the volume flowing. Low-doc loans became no-doc loans, unqualified buyers and outright swindlers took full advantage of the easy money. Rhetoric of fairness and housing equality were allowed to supersede sound financial policy to assess whether borrowers would or could actually repay loans.

I wonder if Warren has stopped to consider how much deeper the 2008-2009 market meltdown might have gone had private investors not come in, put capital at risk, and, by so doing, put a floor under collapsing housing prices.

Perhaps Warren also believes the moms and dads who bought homes during the market crash were unfairly exploiting others. 

Elizabeth Warren was wise not to seek this year's Democratic Party presidential nomination. Trump would have easily rolled over her naive, fairy tale socialist economic viewpoint. 

Synthetic injustice

"We reached peak injustice no later than the 1960s. Since our supplies of crude injustice are almost exhausted, the social justice warriors have invented a form of synthetic injustice to help keep the outrage machinery well lubricated." - Bill Whittle

HT: Liberty's Torch

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Highway mystery

Wonder what was going on here.

Saw this around 1 o'clock (or a little after) today driving on Georgia Highway 16  between Griffin and I -75.

Two law enforcement vehicles driving abreast in advance fo two white vans. After a gap of some distance, there's a truck with an odd configuration, with three small cars, in a triangular formation, either being towed or driving close behind the truck. Another gap, and there's two more police or sheriff's cars running a rolling roadblock to keep other traffic back from the odd motorcade that ran at about 40 miles per hour from just outside Griffin to I-75.

Opposing traffic on the divided highway was not restricted.

Some kind of film shoot? Rolling Google real estate shoot? Robotic driver road test?

Never could get close enough to see what kind of configuration was on the truck. Or whether the three cars had people in the driver's seats.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Think and act locally

"However principled, you must still be clearheaded about the realities facing us. We are on the brink of chaos that will make the agonies of the former Yugoslavia look like child's play. Anyone who believes otherwise is whistling past the graveyard of history. There will be no deliverance from the rigged game of national politics. If any of our traditional liberties are to be saved it will be on a local basis of community, county and church, secured by your own efforts, your own organization, with your own friends and neighbors according to the principles enunciated by the Founders." - Mike Vanderboegh, writing at Sipsey Street Irregulars

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Formula reporting

The Washington Post seems to see growing numbers of Americans who are fed up with a government that's increasingly eager to trample over the will of the people.

So, naturally, the Washington Post resorts to formula reporting seemingly intended to undercut the legitimacy of those who assess our present government as leaning ever more to the side of tyranny.

The Post's online headline:

The Post seems eager to closely tie present wariness of government to Bundy Ranch or related events in Oregon, but these are only two incidents where things bubbled to the point of getting media attention. While they may exemplify the wider notion of government distrust or betrayal, not all who are wary of government necessarily embrace these particular causes.

The Post also attempts to play the race card, attempting to link Barack Obama's racial status as somehow being a bigger factor in public dissatisfaction than policies of social engineering Obama and the government have pushed for the past seven and a half years.

But while the Post stoops to formula reporting, its text also conveys the thoughts and concerns of a class of Americans the Post seems eager to use its field of "experts" to disparage.

If accurate, I surmise the attitude of many of those arming up, as portrayed by the Washington Post, probably have much in common with the citizens of Charleston, SC nearing the end of 1860, early 1861.

Or the good people of Boston and the wider Massachusetts colony of 1773-1775. Folk who are strained and weary from government's ever heavier hand reaching deeper into their lives.

I suspect armed Americans will be getting more high profile MSM coverage in the coming months, and not sympathetic coverage.

The Left needs to create perceptions of mass movements of armed paranoids to help fuel its re-surging push for gun control.

It ties well with Hillary Clinton's touted campaign platform of stacking the Supreme Court, and moving forward on an anti-gun agenda.

Seems about right...

Borrowed this from Twitter:

An old cover up is still a cover up

Seems the New York Post hasn't forgotten Fast and Furious:
Fast and Furious was a Justice Department program that allowed assault weapons — including .50-caliber rifles powerful enough to take down a helicopter — to be sold to Mexican drug cartels allegedly as a way to track them. But internal documents later revealed the real goal was to gin up a crisis requiring a crackdown on guns in America. Fast and Furious was merely a pretext for imposing stricter gun laws.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Ten words that guide Islamic mindset

Vocabulary pop quiz.

Ten Arabic words offered up by Matt Bracken:

Dawah, dhimmi, hijra, jizya, kafir, shaheed, shariah, takfir, taqiyya, and ummah.

How many do you have definitions for?

How many do our elected leaders or nation security officials understand?

"So, if you are an Army general or Navy admiral who, right here and now, without looking at your smart phone, cannot discuss how a kafir becomes a dhimmi, and what a dhimmi’s rights and options (if any) are under shariah, then you are as ignorant of your job as an European-theater Army general circa 1942 who did not know a panzer from a pancake, or a schutzstaffel from a schnitzel. A person as ignorant as you should be kept away from any responsibility for protecting our nation. You are incompetent, and you are a fool." - Matt Bracken, writing at the Gates of Vienna.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Senate green lights HUD's demographic engineering of US communties

GOPe in the senate gave HUD funding rousing approval yesterday, knowing full well Obama plans to use the money to begin socially engineering demographic changes in suburbia. Georgia's Isakson and Perdue among the majority approving the funding bill, while only a handful of conservatives including Jeff Sessions, Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Jeff Flake voted nay.

Ted Cruz was a no-show.


Thursday's Senate Roll Call

Recent story on coming changes to HUD's Section 8 program

GOP tabled an amendment that would have halted some of HUD's social re-engineering efforts

Post on HUD social tinkering from 2013