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USS Fitzgerald: The Fort Report

 

Sightline Media is an independent media group (formerly part of Gannett) that focuses on the US military and publishes The Navy Times and her sister publications for the Army, Marines and Air Force. On Monday they published part of the Navy’s internal review of the 2017 incident aboard the USS Fitzgerald that claimed the lives of seven sailors. It is not pretty.

Overseen by Rear Adm. Brian Fort, it describes a ship (and a Navy) in disarray, stretched to the limit by multiple deployments, ill-trained and ill-prepared, low on morale and distrustful of leadership on the bridge. Fort describes finding bottles of urine all over the combat information center as evidently the crews were so bereft of trained personnel that those who knew what they were doing couldn’t even take bathroom breaks.

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McCarrick, Bernardin, Bergoglio, and Satan.

 

In May of 2015, I wrote about Alfred Hitchcock’s Catholicism, evident in his many amazingly crafted movies. It seems that one can always draw some interesting insights from Hitch, particularly as it relates to the nature of evil and the tactics of evil men and women. Here’s an excerpt from my post:

Hitchcock’s dark world is perhaps most vividly described in Shadow of a Doubt by Uncle Charlie, Charles Oakley (Joseph Cotten) who describes what the world is really like to his niece Charlie (Charlotte) played by Teresa Wright, after she discovers that her uncle is indeed the psychotic serial killer of wealthy widows on the run from the law whom a detective has warned her about. At night, in a Santa Rosa bar, Uncle Charlie chases down and confronts his troubled namesake and niece:

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Some Galaxy Brain Thinking on the Shutdown and Its Economic Impact

 

The easy — though not entirely wrong — analysis of the ongoing government shutdown is that it’s a political event rather than a market or economic event. For Republicans and Democrats, the shutdown is the ultimate cage match with big potential electoral and policy implications. As the Washington Post characterizes the standoff: “[President Trump] has to win. His entire reputation, his entire relationship with the base, it’s all a function of being committed on big things and not backing down. If he backs down on this, Pelosi will be so emboldened that the next two years will be a nightmare.” Big stakes, to say the least.

But not so much for Wall Street. At least not yet. Perfect example: JPMorgan economist Michael Feroli has lowered his estimate of first-quarter real GDP growth to 2.0 percent from 2.25 percent with the “primary reason” for the revision being the shutdown. And although the longer the shutdown lasts the greater the risk of “spillover to the private sector,” Feroli adds, his downward revision to growth this quarter implies a lift to the second quarter (assuming the shutdown is over). So, even-steven, more or less.

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Quote of the Day: Noblesse Oblige

 

Four-hundred sixty years ago today, on January 15, 1559, Elizabeth, the “bastard” (some believed) daughter of Henry VIII was crowned Queen of England.

As did many of her subjects, I admire and even love “Good Queen Bess,” who brought stability and prosperity to her island nation after the 50 years of chaos and upheaval spawned by the reigns of her father and two older siblings (and the enthronement of the 16-year-old Lady Jane Grey, unfortunate winner of what may have been the world’s first reality entertainment show, Queen for Nine Days. And Then Off With Her Head).

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10 Year Ago Today…

 

US Air Flight 1549 left LGA and ended 10 minutes later in Hudson River. All 155 passengers and crew survived, due to the fantastic piloting skills and clear thinking under pressure to Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger. Today, he tweeted out a series of tweets recounting what happened minute by minute. Start here and then come back and tell us your memories of that day and maybe a flying experience ot two of your own.

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Uncommon Knowledge: Winston Churchill: Walking with Destiny

 

How did Winston Churchill defend the British Empire throughout his life? Andrew Roberts, the Roger and Martha Mertz Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, brings keen insights into the life of Winston Churchill with the book Churchill: Walking with Destiny.

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President Trump and the Kobayashi Maru

 

Every day, the Democrat-Media Complex and their allies in the anti-Trump cabal go on the attack against President Trump. Yesterday, it was because President Trump served fast food to the Clemson National Championship football team. If President Trump had served them fine foods, he would have been attacked for living the high-life while Government bureaucrats were missing paychecks. You could literally — not figuratively — pick any day of his presidency and find the press attacking Trump over something ridiculous, false, or dubious.

For Trump (any Republican president, really, but particularly and especially Trump), every day is the Kobayashi Maru Scenario. For those who don’t know, the Kobayashi Maru scenario is a Star Trek thing. It is a test that potential Star Fleet captains are subjected to, in which they are placed in a no-win scenario. The scenario is designed such that the captain will fail no matter what action he takes. “It’s a test of character,” as Captain Kirk explained. Likewise, the Democrat-Media Complex has created an environment where a Republican can’t win. (And through a bizarre, reverse-Kobayashi Maru, a Democrat president [or senator, or governor] can’t lose. It’s like the Kobayashi Maru from the Spock-With-A-Goatee Mirror Universe where you always win, but you have to be evil.)

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Meghan McCain and the 42%

 

Steve King has effectively been run out of the House. That’s probably for the best. But now, the racism narrative appears to have shifted to the Republican Party at large. But if the left and the media (but we repeat ourselves) wants that narrative to stick, they’re going to have to go through Meghan McCain first. Watch this clip:

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No Need to Fear Terrorists: We Have Trump!

 

Periodically, it makes sense for Congress to examine the working subcommittees and determine whether circumstances have changed and if a particular subcommittee is needed. But the proposed action by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel is so blatantly political that I’m embarrassed for him—almost.

Engel wants to dissolve the House Foreign Affairs Committee and replace it with another investigative committee to focus on Donald Trump:

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The Criminal Corruption at the Top Levels of the FBI Is Being Exposed

 
James A. Baker, former FBI general counsel

Former FBI general counsel James A. Baker is the subject of a criminal investigation for leaking information to the media. Fox News’ Catherine Herridge reports:

The former top lawyer at the FBI has been under federal investigation for leaking to the media, a letter from House Republicans revealed Tuesday.

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Renovating the Library

 

Where does this book go? This is a problem that rears its head a few times every year. It’s always an issue in January, but also in September, and usually in May … or even June. Heck, we have a book problem most months. A friend ours once called us “homeschool preppers.” It’s true. When the grid collapses and the power goes out, and everyone is wondering about edible foliage and water purification, come on over — I’ve got a book on that.

My passion for buying books began in September 1995, the month The Lost World by Michael Crichton was released. Until that day, the only book I owned was an unopened Bible. The books I read in high school were from the library and rarely worth the time to read, much less buy. I’m looking at you, Steinbeck.

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Common Sense Wall Policy

 

View original artwork here.

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A Fast Food Feast at the White House

 

This is the picture making the rounds on Twitter over the last twelve hours:

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How to Automate a Job Out of Existence

 

This is an elaboration of a comment I made in @indymb ‘s post “Is there any point in writing to a Congressperson?” and I’m indebted to him and @Misthiocracy (who has experience working for a Canadian Minister of Parliament, I understand) for the details on how all this works. Briefly, we’ll look at a simple task done every day in the houses of government and at how we’d train a computer to do it better.

Briefly, as you may have expected, the letter to your Senator isn’t so much read as processed for the minimum amount of information and interaction required. I’ll quote the meat of his description of the process and then describe how I’d go about automating it. You’re encouraged to go back and read his post (and it should go without saying on Ricochet but the comments too).

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The Greatness of Harold Demsetz

 

This past week, Harold Demsetz, one of the great economists of the Chicago School, died in California at the age of 88. In one sense, Demsetz’s passing marks the end of an era now that the Chicago School of Economics, to which I generally subscribe, is subject to multiple sustained attacks. Behavioral economists, such as Daniel Kahneman, believe the secret to understanding human behavior lies in identifying, through experimental observation, anomalies in individual choices tending to undermine the axioms of rational choice theory. Meanwhile, other modern populists such as legal scholars Tim Wu and Lina Khan attack Chicago-style antitrust law for wrongly exalting economic efficiency over all other values, such as the protection of small businesses from competition or the ability of moral communities to flourish when operating in the large shadow of powerful economic firms.

Demsetz would have none of this. As if to rebut these novel approaches in advance, Demsetz constantly stressed the dangers of falling prey to the “nirvana fallacy,” or the view of public policy that “implicitly presents the relevant choice as between an ideal norm and an existing ‘imperfect’ institutional arrangement. This nirvana approach differs considerably from a comparative institution approach in which the relevant choice is between alternative real institutional arrangements.” As economist Peter Boettke has pointed out, Demsetz never quarreled with success in the marketplace. If firms like Amazon and Netflix can obtain and sustain a dominant position, it is because they have figured out a formula for success that they constantly adjust to ensure that some new upstart competitor in these “contestable” markets does not take their place. Demsetz was right to scorn the populist critique of popular firms that succeed because they offer low prices and excellent service.

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Gillette: The Best a Questioning, Cishet, Non-Binary Ally Can Get

 

Gillette has had a rough few years. The former shaving hegemon has seen its market share plummet due to a resurgence in classic “wet shaving,” online razor subscription services, and the popularity of beards. Gillette’s obvious options are to lower their artificially high price or drastically improve their quality. Instead, they’ve decided to make their remaining customers feel bad about themselves through an expensive new ad campaign.

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PETA Strikes Again

 

I recently read an interesting but outrageous article in the Wall Street Journal regarding the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

It appears that PETA has gotten their claws into retailers such as Duluth Trading Company and Lucky Brands and their marketing of items made of wool. PETA recently erected billboards in Boston and New York’s Times Square that display a nude picture of actress Alicia Silverstone with the phrase “Leave Wool Behind.” PETA and the Humane Society of the US is alleging that shearing sheep is inhumane and harmful to the animals. Most veterinary practitioners recommend an annual shearing. Weighed down by too much wool a sheep can suffer heat stress, inability to feed babies, lack of vision and infestation.

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10 Reasons Trump Will Win Reelection

 

Following up on the 2016 classic 10 Reasons Trump Will Win, here are the 10 Reasons Trump Will Win Reelection:

1. First time’s the hardest

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Shadow Lands and Cyber Worlds

 

I’ve always loved literature. By which I mean, I’ve always loved stories. I was never terribly academic about it, even during my university days, and I’ve certainly never been one of those desperate creatures the like-minded among us used to call (with a sniff), “Serious Students of Lit-ter-a-toor.”  They could usually be spotted on Friday nights in the Rathskeller sitting alone with a watery beer, stringy-haired and looking miserable, diligently perusing the latest eructions of one of their idols, perhaps Kerouac, Sexton, Ginsberg, Plath, or Thompson, and waiting for the world to end.

Not me. I was having far too much fun. It was 1977 and my mates and I were in our early twenties. A small group of us ladies known, I kid you not, as the “Regular Morning Cuties,” would meet a few of the faculty every day in the cafeteria for Cokes. As we sipped our drinks, we’d discourse on the finer, and sometimes the lewder, points of The Canterbury Tales, we’d opine on whether or not any of us had been able to find a single joke or effulgence of actual humor anywhere in The Faerie Queene, or we’d howl over the ribald commentary of Shakespeare’s Nurse or the hilarious plots (usually involving drinking, sex, or mistaken identity) of our favorite eighteenth-century comedic playwright. I’m pretty sure I learned more in those informal morning sessions than I did in any class I ever attended, and that what I learned has stuck with me far longer. (I even ended up marrying one of those professors, but that, my poppets, is another story for another time.)

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Is Society Breaking Apart Under the Shutdown?

 

What with Democrats vacationing in Puerto Rican beaches, you’ll be surprised to know that the world is slowly unraveling with this whole government shutdown entering week four. Last night CNN reported on a massive security breach at a major U.S. airport,

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Why Is It So Hard to Condemn Anti-Semitism?

 

Meghan McCain is the best thing to happen to daytime talk in memory. Case in point: this morning McCain put Tamika Mallory’s feet to the fire about her comfortable relationship with known anti-Semite Louis Farakkhan:

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Quote of the Day: True Fascism

 

The spirit of the kangaroo court has since graduated into business and politics where it has proven especially useful for settling scores and advancing careers and agendas dishonestly. Coercion has replaced persuasion. Coercion is at the heart of totalitarian politics. Do what you’re told, or else. Believe what we say, or else. (Or else lose your reputation, your livelihood, your friends….) This plays neatly into the dynamics of human mob psychology. When the totalitarians set up for business, few individuals dare to depart from the party line. It’s the perfect medium for cultivating mendacious ideologies. – James H. Kunstler

The “Resistance” is big on projecting the label of “Fascist” on their opponents. They even call their movement “antifa” for anti-fascist. It reminds me of how another other totalitarian society truncated Geheime Staatspolizei (Secret State Police)to Gestapo. Intolerant bigotry against all of those disagreeing even slightly with your views has always been the hallmark of the fascist. And today, it is not only the political mob that will come after you. Major corporations are firing, deplatforming, refusing to service and otherwise silencing those who deviate from the Progressive agenda; intolerance in the name of diversity.

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