Thanks for another week of voluminous correspondence - and thank you, too, for your ongoing support of my campaign against the climate mullahs, and enthusiastic acquisition of our exclusive Mann vs Steyn trial merchandise. My northern comrade Ezra Levant has a lively column today on Mann and his fellow warm-monger and serial litigant Andrew Weaver. For those of you following the tortured procedural progress of my own case, there was a decision last week from the DC Court of Appeals that may or may not prove relevant.
Otherwise, the big story of the week was President Obama's decision to spring five hardcore war criminals from Gitmo and loose them upon the world. In Wednesday's SteynPost, I raised the case of Khairullozhon Matanov, a Quincy-resident Kyrgysz who's facing 40 years in the slammer for an ill-timed dinner date with the Boston Marathon bombers. And I suggested that a far more serious aider and abetter of terrorism was getting treated rather more leniently:
Now consider another US resident - an American national called Barack Obama. To the best of my knowledge, he hasn't had dinner with terrorists but he and his subordinates have been in close contact with them, including extensive negotiations to pay Bowe Bergdahl's Haqqani kidnappers a ransom, doubtless well in excess of the three-and-a-half grand a year Mr Matanov was wiring out of the country.
Dinner-date-wise, a bazillion readers wrote to point out the obvious, among them Kevin Rattan from the United Kingdom:
I think you'll find Obama has often dined with terrorists – and even launched his political career at the home of one.
Keep up the good work. Manno delenda est. Glad you made it easy to purchase the gift vouchers. Have done so, and will do so again.
Very true. My mistake - and it certainly undermines the absurdity of Mr Matanov's dinner-and-a-jail-term date. But then there are many odd aspects to the Bergdahl affair:
Greetings and felicitations from America's heartland, Mark.
I think it is interesting, though not yet commented upon, that Bowe Bergdahl wandered off as Pfc Bergdahl and is now Sgt Bergdahl.
How easy it is to get promoted at least a couple ranks.
Robert W Smith
Yes, I found this somewhat hard to credit at first, but it's apparently true. Even though Bowe Bergdahl went AWOL, was known to have deserted, and was rumored to have been trying to contact the Taliban, the Army nevertheless promoted him in absentia to sergeant. Like in a dysfunctional grade school where the kid doesn't show up but they promote him to Grade Three anyway. lf the Taliban had held on to him long enough, would he have been promoted to four-star general? Chairman of the Joint Chiefs?
Our most controversial piece of the week was some anodyne observations I made about disco that Hugh Hewitt savaged me for. I was riffing off a a Jesse Walker piece for Reason called "Disco Doesn't Suck. Here's Why", and remarked:
I took his headline literally, but he doesn't really live up to it.
Mr Walker writes to clarify:
It wasn't my headline.
I do like a lot of disco, but the article was never meant to be a defense of the genre. You're absolutley right, of course, about the orchestrations.
Mike McCarthy adds:
As the late 80s pioneer producer of pre-recorded MIDI cover music for computer bands my position is that, to a first approximation...
Strings = Disco
Horns = Funk
A lot of truth to that. Daniel Hollombe writes from Los Angeles about the Village People/Judy Garland connection:
Since you are much more lyric oriented than music oriented, it's understandable that you wouldn't notice something that has always been obvious to me. The Village People's "Y.M.C.A." is essentially a reworking of "Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart."
Should you ever decide to record a disco version of the latter, all you'll need is a karaoke track of the former.
Los Angeles, California
Actually, I did notice it. Because there's already a disco version by the Trammps (of "Disco Inferno" fame). I believe there was a later version, too - was it the Wing & A Prayer Fife & Drum Corps? At any rate, you can test Mr Hollombe's thesis by clicking "play" below and starting to sing the lyric to "YMCA" at about the 15-second mark:
The Trammps version of "Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart" predates "YMCA", so maybe that's where the Village People got the idea.
A week or so back, I began a column on the acquisition of a Lenco Bearcat armored-response vehicle by a small-town Pennsylvania community as follows:
I write often about the paramilitarization of American law enforcement, while always vaguely assuming it will never get too near my own corner of rural New Hampshire.
A Granite State neighbor scoffs:
Did you somehow miss the big brouhaha last year regarding the City of Concord's acquisition of a Lenco BEARCAT? Or how dedicated activists worked tirelessly, garnering more than 1,500 petition signatures against it, only to be voted down by a corrupt council (the city based their federal grant application on fraudulent and misleading information, citing "daily threats" from "sovereign citizens, Free Staters, and Occupy")? This story garnered a lot of mainstream media attention, including WSJ, Mother Jones, Huffpo, and others.
Did you somehow miss the pushback to the Lenco BEARCAT that Keene got in 2012?
Did you know NH now has more 30 of these vehicles? Did you know that NH lawmakers have been fighting this unnecessary armament of local police? "In libertarian-leaning New Hampshire, a state lawmaker just introduced a bill that would ban municipalities from accepting military-style vehicles without approval from voters. That came in response to the Concord City Council's vote in the fall to accept a $258,000 federal grant to buy a BearCat, despite intense opposition from citizens who submitted a 1,500-signature petition and rallied outside City Hall holding signs that said, 'More Mayberry, Less Fallujah' and 'Thanks But No Tanks!' Read more at WSJ.
President, Free State Project
Fair point. I did follow the Keene pushback. But Keene and Concord are a ways south of me, and I didn't really have them in mind when I wrote of "my own corner of rural New Hampshire". But you're right. This stuff is getting closer every day. Douglas Proctor adds:
I' m a scary conservative etc. Oil & gas geologist, 35 years. Aware of the difference between financing infrastructure and operations:
So they "give" you a APC. Who pays for gas, insurance, repairs? You do.
Like wind turbines, in the (near) future, the true costs of foolish upgrades to our policing - including the insane airport securities - will hit the taxpayers' wallets. Some will find them unsustainable. The bigger the authority, however, the more acceptable the costs as they are more federal/state/provincial taxes that are being spent. You know, "other people's" money.
The paternalistic, granny-state, eco-green, naive love ideology of the Birkenstocked elite creates a very expensive ongoing social running program. Remember Alberta was going to pave all secondary roads ('80s). Maintenance would have ended all rebuilds, not just new road construction. So here: the more cost to running society, the less ability to improve it.
Policing and regulating and informing the citizen are costs, not benefits unless crimes, errors and ignorance CREATE costs (and these measures reduce them).
Building an empire is easier than running one. But more exciting. We're in the process of spending our empires into the ground.
That's true in a general sense: The feds give you money to start a program, then leave you alone to figure out how to pay for running it. What's disturbing about the BearCat phenomenon, though, is how many small-town officials start salivating at the thought of getting one of these things. That suggests that, when the money runs out, they'll figure out a way to hold on to them.
Bruce Gentner notices that the militarization of the local constabulary seems to be inversely proportional to the demilitarization of the actual military:
One thing that I have noticed over the last couple of decades is the steady creep of the "militarization" of police forces, pretty much globally.
Interestingly, this has exactly coincided with the increasing use of "proper" military forces as "Heavily-armed social workers", mainly doing "peace-keeping" or suchlike.
And there are even times when expensively-trained soldiers are specifically disarmed as part of their role as "international peace-keepers".
The "proper job" of a military force is the enthusiastic application of maximum lethal force to achieve a positive result (victory), against an aggressive armed force from a "foreign" power. A military force that has "un-learned" its proper job is a very expensive liability, and will most likely be of NEGATIVE value on a REAL battlefield.
Likewise, a "police" force that enthusiastically escalates to armoured vehicles, automatic weapons and high-explosives for everything more serious than jay-walking, is a clear and present danger to civil society. This will not end well.
Our Song of the Week, "June Is Bustin' Out All Over", offered a cheerier view of communal activity in small-town America, and prompted this response from John Kauffman:
You are so right when you wrote: "…but the public loves to sing Rodgers & Hammerstein, and one reason is those great rousing chorus numbers."
Over forty years ago, my high school chorus sang this song. Our director's name was June, who was quite buxom, in a matronly way. The adolescent guys in the chorus could hardly hold their composure as June lustily swung her arms conducting "June Is Bustin' Out All Over", as indeed she was.
And finally a word on our D-Day anniversary observances:
Never have the patience usually for "war stories"!!! Or writing in response to things (first time right here).
But I am humbled and really enjoyed this article.
~Drop Steyn a line on his lawsuits or anything else at Mark's Mailbox. And to support his pushback against hockey-stick SLAPPer Michael E Mann, please see here.
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