I have to admit that the right to self defense is a bit of a hobby-horse of mine.
Any “constitution” or “Bill of Rights” or “Statement of Human rights” that does not affirm this most basic of rights is fatally flawed. If any human does not have the absolute right to defend their own life at need then the rest of any list really does not matter.
But throughout many parts of the world the right to defend one’s life is conflated with the idea that it somehow means “vigilante justice” of some kind.
This is, patently, ludicrous. But am I wrong?
For example, it is a simple fact that sexual assault is a major problem in many societies. I happen to live in the USA and there is a constant barrage of op-eds and reports about sexual assault in various areas.
It is another simple fact that men, for the most part are usually stronger and larger than women so any man who is inclined to be such a predator is going to find it easier to find targets that he can overwhelm. Note I said “easier” not “always”.
So why is it not standard practice to teach young women to carry a gun and to learn how to use it properly? I think all women should learn how to carry and use a firearm in their own defense and that training should be thorough. They should be encouraged to apply for a concealed carry permit (if needed in their state) and to carry their weapon all the time.
I also think that if I had a daughter or daughters I would sign them up at a very young age for Krav Maga training. The Israeli Defense Forces developed Krav Maga to train their troops – male and female – in self defense and to defeat abductors. It is a discipline that has been forged in real life.
The above does not mean that I think that boys and young men should not get trained and equipped, I think they should. I also think that good training would provide better discipline for young people.
But back to my statement at the start of this blog – I believe the first right any human being has is the right to defend her or his self from harm.
“we should rely on the police” is a retort that sometimes gets used. but the police are not there to protect me or to protect you they are there to keep society on an even keel . If you get hurt or, god forbid, murdered they will work assiduously to find those who did it. But they are not held responsible for failure to protect you.
Consider that for a minute. It is not the policeman’s job to protect YOU. That is YOUR job. Same as it is my job to protect MYSELF and to extend that protection to my family.
Being as it is my right and responsibility I (and you) should be afforded the ability to at least match and defeat the weapons that might be used against us. Whose choice should it be? Ours. it is OUR right and responsibility. So why do governments insist in getting in the way of this?
What public good does it serve to have citizens as walking targets?
Confession, or transparency declaration or personal bias alert. One of my jobs in the early part of my working life was on Fishing Trawlers out of Lowestoft in England. For nearly two years I worked in the North Sea and North Atlantic as a second engineer for East Coast Fisheries and I saw a lot of fish and endured some of the worst working conditions I ever experienced. Would not change that experience for anything.
I wish to discuss one of the greatest ecological disasters of our times. The loss of an entire inland sea – The Aral Sea. And what caused it.
I also wish to point out the total uselessness of the IPCC and all the “climatologists” throughout the world who seem all consumed with talking about things that may or may not happen in the far future but who lack any sort of credibility in handling issues in the here and the now.
Just before 1960 The Central government of the USSR decided that the waters of two major rivers, The Amu Darya and the Syr Darya would be diverted for agricultural irrigation.
The Aral Sea was a large, salt water lake. It lay between Kazakhstan in the north and Uzbekistan in the south. It was approximately 270 miles north to south and 180 miles from east to west. As those figures indicate it was a substantial body of water, all the more remarkable because it was located in a desert type terrain.
The local rainfall was nowhere near enough to replenish what the Sea lost in evaporation each year. Its main sources of supply were the two large rivers.
It had a large and productive fishing industry on its shores, big villages and towns. Hence my empathy for those that lived and made their businesses and their families there.
When the Soviet planners decided to create agriculture where it did not belong it decided to irrigate using the waters of the two rivers. One of the crops they picked was one crop that required copious amounts of water – cotton. The other was mainly wheat. That decision basically turned off the spigot that was keeping the Aral sea in existence and, from 1960 onward it started to evaporate – to dry up and become an alkali desert.
Here is a graphic from Britannica.com that shows the incredibly shrinking of this huge resource.
Once the shrinking began there followed a cascade of predictable bad effects – the salinity of the sea exploded killing off the copious fish stocks that existed for millennia. As the sea bed started to be exposed the crystallized salts and alkalis and remnants of large amounts of fertilizer started to be blown in the dry winds causing health problems in the surrounding countries. Thousands were thrown out of work, businesses vanished.
There have been attempts to save the Sea, an effort and a dam in the northern small portion that is left seems to have kept that part of the lake in place but negotiations between countries on water usage got nowhere and as time has gone on the chances of reviving this once magnificent resource grow smaller and smaller.
Lest we lose track of something here – this is not something that is a “result of climate change” it is a result of centralized thinking causing issues that RESULT in changing the local climate. And, it would appear, that for all the hot air about “handling climate change” the IPCC and the hundreds of thousands of people who are making a living with the subject of climate change cannot even manage to get five local national governments together to come up with a realistic and workable solution to a “relatively simple” ecological and climatalogical problem. They can , however release multiple scaremongering reports, they can hold massive conferences at which nothing is fixed or decided, they can talk, pass laws, increase taxes – and none of it handles anything.
How about we demand that they actually prove that something can be done and done successfully before we start giving them the keys to the kingdom ad its treasury?
These are the people who claim to be able to handle things 100 years in the future!!
Think about it for a moment. Demand proof, demand accountability.
I think it fair to opine that Donald J. Trump’s victory in the 2016 Presidential election was a truly stunning achievement.
Since that time the people that dislike the 45th President have seized on every manner of reason as to why it happened. ranging from tinfoil conspiracy theories about Russian interference to the unfairness of the Electoral College and almost anything in between.
But what I find more concerning is the apparent lack of interest from the GOP as to why Donald Trump is President.
The only truly insightful work I have seen has been from Salena Zito whose brilliant book “The Great Revolt Inside the Populist Coalition reshaping American Politics” . This is a book everyone should read and it should have been the blueprint for an engagement across the USA by the GOP. But it has not. Why not?
I reside in a Conservative congressional district, I have not received one communication from the GOP, State or National, even vaguely interested in finding out why I and my wife voted for Trump. I have received plenty of interest in “send money”.
The GOP needs to do something radical – actually talk to the grass roots . Not the “consultants” not the “pollsters” not the “analysts”. Stop trying to get predigested “analysis” but take the time to LISTEN. You might be surprised.
On June 12th this year I had to send a document, a three page document, to the UK. It was not an urgent document – but it needed to get there and we wanted to be able to track it. Follow with me while we trace our document’s travels..
Having paid our $35 to send this document by, ahem, Express, and to have it tracked our wee baby went on its way…
You will note that ouor widdle document arrived in Chicago on the 17th. It would seem that it spent couple of days going off the reservation – presumably taking in the sights – maybe a game at Wrigley Field? It was certainly getting its money’s worht out of its stay.
Now this is just plain weird. Thirteen days in Heathrow? I have spent thirteen hours in Heathrow one time and that was enough for me. Maybe the document was quarantined? Who knows > Well not I of course because all the update kept telling us was that it was “enroute to its next destination” until finally after nearly a fortnight of weallowing in the excesses of a premier airport – it was allowed to leave.
Seriously the voyages of “Document” are the stuff of legend. It looks like it was picked up for delivery by VanderVecken on his ship The Flying Dutchman.
But wait!! By June 28th we realized we were running out of time and we really need to get that document to where it needed to be. So we created a new one, got it witnessed and sent it Global Express Guaranteed delivery date. And paid $85 for the privilege.
It arrived a day late so they had to refund the cost. So we are only out the original $35 which has provided some entertainment…
Update Update Update!! In fairness – it is now reported as delivered. See below – 23 days for an “Express” document.
If you have ever wondered why these esteemed institutions lose money…
I have made mockery of Elizabeth Warren for her egregious hijacking of a mythical Native American ancestry in order to help her along in her career. I think she thoroughly deserves to be mocked for it and also for her trying to slither her way out of it. But I find there is a deeper and much darker side underneath all this.
That she publicly, in print characterized herself as Cherokee is beyond doubt.
It’s a small thing of course – but this is someone who later went on to Harvard where they were happy to claim her as a Native American Professor of Law
Harvard Crimson October 22nd 1996
“Although the conventional wisdom among students and faculty is that the Law School faculty includes no minority women, [spokesperson Mike] Chmura said Professor of Law Elizabeth Warren is Native American,”
Warren denied ever seeing that reference or the listing of her in a Harvard Faculty list as a woman of color. No way to prove that she did actually see it – but she would be the first politician in the history of mankind who did not avidly lap up every positive press mention of his or herself.
But, leaving that to one side. There is no doubt she has identified herself in public as being of Cherokee Ancestry and she says that she claimed that because of family folk lore about her heritage. And you know what? I can actually believe that – being told something interesting about your heritage when you are young and that appealed to your sense of identity would definitely cause you to seek additional affirmation of that. It even has a name – confirmation bias.
So I am not, in this article, going to claim that she was acting out of malice or any sort of nefarious motive like that. I could concede that she honestly thought she had Cherokee ancestry and didn’t mind encouraging the idea.
But – of course there is a but – if she held an honest belief of Cherokee ancestry what did she do to benefit the tribe that she felt she belonged to?
There is no doubt that the Native American community as a whole could have used a Harvard Law Professor publicly helping them out. Offering advice and legal opinion, willing to lead a team of lawyers and volunteers to tackle things like the BIA mismanagement of the trust set up for the tribes that has been a massive bone of contention for a very long time.
There were and are many opportunities that Professor Warren could have taken on to have provided service to a tribe and an organization that she had claimed to be a part of. She took none of them.
That she gained advantage from her claim – even if only in beneficial commentary in print – is beyond doubt.
That she did nothing to help the people she used is also beyond doubt.
My own opinion is that Elizabeth Warren has shown herself to be an exploiter and an abuser of an unearned “privilege”. Sorry, I find this a lot more disgusting than just the false claiming accusation.
Be warned Democrats – she will not feel obliged to help you. She did not bother to help people who really could have used it even while she was claiming to be one of them.
Iran is the latest incarnation of a “power” in the Middle East. It has been a center for an Empire and has been, for a long time, a powerful and sometimes baleful influence on the surrounding countries, tribes and economies.
In recent times probably the most successful engagement by the West was support for the Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi who ruled Iran from 1941 until 1979. He was overthrown by a revolution led by Theocrats and Ruhollah Khomeini became the new leader of the “Islamic Republic” and the country has since been run by a religious leader (Ayatollah) via Religious Councils. The formation of a Revolutionary Guard military component under the control of the religious councils apart from the main military establishment has been a key in maintaining control – very similar to the set up of the regimes in both NAZI Germany and Soviet Russia.
Iran under the theocratic regime has devoted a large amount of money and resources to overseas activity. Their Revolutionary Guards special forces – Quds Force is active in enabling terror cells and resistance organizations throughout the Middle East.
It is worth noting here that Iran is run by clerics of the Shia “wing” of Islam. Shia Muslims are the smaller of the two larger sects of Islam. They comprise between 10 and 15% of the total number of Muslims. The bigger Sect are the Sunni Muslims – comprising somewhere around 80% of the total of Muslims in the world. Iran is the center of Shia with a population that has about a third of the total Shia muslims of the world.
The difference between Shia and Sunni , while important to the believers in both camps, is not really within the scope of this post. The reason I bring it up is that some of what Iran does needs to be viewed from the religious angle and their support of Shia communities in countries where they are in the minority. Iran also utilizes Shia paramilitary groups (like Hezbollah) in its on-going fight against Israel.
During the reign of the Shah, the US had good relations with Iran – and so did Israel. The country itself was fairly westernized in it’s social life – I have included a picture of women in the street in Teheran during the rein of Pahlavi and a different picture of women in the street under the current regime.
The current antagonistic stance between the USA and Iran is relatively recent. A point to bear in mind.
Iran is the second largest Middle East country just behind Egypt. https://www.globalfirepower.com/countries-listing-middle-east.asp lists Iran as the third most powerful military force in the Middle East with Turkey at the top, and Egypt second. Israel is listed as fourth. Iran is not a lightweight.
President Trump’s strategy all along has been to keep the pressure on Iran in the arena where it is most vulnerable – its economy. Iran has, since the revolution in 1979, been gradually altering the balance of power in the Middle east away from Israel and from Saudi Arabia by using it’s wealth, particularly oil, to finance and underwrite large scale paramilitary organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas. Iran dedicates more of its GDP to this endeavor than any other countries in the Middle East. By doing this it has enabled Hamas, for example, to build a large organization and equip it with rockets and armaments to threaten Israel directly, at the same time it has financed large scale recruitment and training for Hezbollah in Lebanon on Israel’s northern border.
That developed infrastructure enabled Iran to become a player in the Syrian conflict via its Hezbollah proxy. For those who do not know the Geography of the Middle East I have included a map which if you look at the north of Israel you will see that Iran has forces inimical to Israel in Syria and in Lebanon and also via Hamas in the West Bank in the center of Israel. IN short – that treasure has been widely spent to exert pressure on – and ultimately to destroy – the state of Israel.
Lest there be doubts about this – here are four quotes about the official Iranian line on Israel – taken from an article in The Atlantic
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: “It is the mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to erase Israel from the map of the region.” (2001)
Yahya Rahim Safavi, the former commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps: “With God’s help the time has come for the Zionist regime’s death sentence.” (2008)
Mohammad Hassan Rahimian, Khamenei’s representative to the Moustazafan Foundation: “We have manufactured missiles that allow us, when necessary to replace [sic] Israel in its entirety with a big holocaust.” (2010)
Ahmad Alamolhoda, a member of the Assembly of Experts: “The destruction of Israel is the idea of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and is one of the pillars of the Iranian Islamic regime. We cannot claim that we have no intention of going to war with Israel.” (2013)
Iran is determined to destroy Israel. This is not some slogan – this is a policy they have been working on for 40 years.
Please bear this in mind – we sent billions of dollars under the Obama Administration in cash – in CASH! – to the Iranian government. Pallets of it. WE sent money to a regime that has stated and re-stated its aim is to destroy our closest ally in the Middle east.
I ask you to re-read the section that starts “Lest there be doubts…” again because it needs to be crystal clear to us all that President Trump needs to be supported by all of us while he navigates the waters here. No-one wants to go to war. But the message has to be driven home to the leadership of Iran at the every option short of that is on the table.
The only way for the sanctions to have a real and lasting effect on Iran is for them to force the Iranian regime to divert funds from its terrorist infrastructure and back to it’s own people. Seriously. The Iran regime will only start responding to the sanctions when the unhappiness with the situation inside Iran starts to threaten the regime’s existence.
Iran has its own internal pressures to deal with and those pressures will only increase the longer it all goes on.
We need to support President Trump on this – we need to start loudly pointing out to our European “allies” that their continuing to play footsy with this regime is barbaric and unconscionable and it needs to stop. Only by shutting off their spigot can we get Iran to change its course.
The alternative if we don’t stay with this all the way is – is war. We are negotiating and dealing with a regime whose greatest interest is the destruction of another country. Not the well being of its own people or country – but the destruction of another country. Remember that.
The economy of the USA is doing great, more people , from ALL demographics, have jobs than ever before. Industries that have been written off or have been moribund have come back to life. The USA has become a force in world economics – a force for change and for good over the last two years with the administrations work on developing better trade agreements for the country.
But it would seem – if you believe the river of bile that comes from the Democrat “presidential” candidates that the USA and we the people in it are suffering mightily. That there are huge injustices that must be addressed and that the recent prosperity must be taken away from the people and returned to the government so it can be about the work of spending our money on much more important things.
That we the people are, for the most part, doing better than we were does not seem to be something that this current crop of “spend more and more” proponents are happy about. It would seem that the idea of lower unemployment, more discretionary income in the hands of the people is not what they want. In fact they appear to want exactly the opposite. And they say so, loudly.
It is doubly ironic that the Airhead Of Congress, Ms Ocasio-Cortez who was complaining a few weeks ago how she and other Millennials have never experienced prosperity in America – now seem to wish to destroy the prosperity that we now have!!! Ms Ocasio- Cortez has a job that pays more than she has ever earned in her young life – $176,000 a year. A salary that the vast majority of her fellow millennials would LOVE to be earning. Not content with things as they stand she has been making noise about getting a pay raise for this job that she has not been doing for a year yet. IN addition to doing better than she ever has, she wants more. For herself. But at the same time she espouses policy initiatives to take the gains away from the majority of the rest of us.
Make no mistake about it – leftists are not happy that people are doing well. Not happy at all. And they are saying so.
The Airhead Of Congress has decided that the job she wanted and ran for does not pay enough. She could, of course, quit and return to her former profession in the hospitality industry. Where, no doubt, she earned much more than she is getting in Washington DC.
Not one product , nothing produced – at all – six months into the job and already deciding she needs to vote for a raise for herself.
The amount of new coal fired power stations in the world is increasing – rapidly.
A sample article from the Alarmist sites ; https://www.carbonbrief.org/mapped-worlds-coal-power-plants
Since the year 2000, coal fired generation has DOUBLED in capacity. It is set to increase by a further 25% in the next few years. All of this is in China, India, the developing world. With the Western , developed world, cutting back and shuttering coal plants or converting them to gas.
Why are these countries (and 16 MORE countries) doing this?
It is both simple and moral.
By building power infrastructure these countries will be immensely improving the lives of their citizens. With a stable grid supply villages and small towns that eke out a living “off the grid” will be able to be deploy appliances that will make the lives of the inhabitants both easier – and healthier. Little known fact – it is estimated that between 3 and 4 million people annually die early due to the indoor pollution in their homes where meals are prepared over fires supplied by dry dung. Hot water to clean is a luxury, pumps for fresh water are non-existent – the list goes on.
Why coal? Most of these countries have coal resources. It costs far less time and money to build coal powered stations than to take up large swathes of land for imported solar panels that produce erratically. It gets power to people who need it – and who, when they get it – will be able to produce more, live better and live longer.
It’s pretty simple really. Real power to the real people.