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Monthly Archives: February, 2017

You Will Pry My Kerrygold from My Cold, Dead Hands

For those of you who don’t know, I eat a ketogenic diet. It’s not some diet fad, but a way of eating I’ve been strictly following for months. This way of eating, which forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates, is primarily used  to treat difficult-to-control epilepsy in children, but there’s also been some evidence that suggests it helps curb migraines. It definitely helped me.

Butter is encouraged in this way of eating, and grass-fed butter is particularly healthy, because it contains high levels of healthy fats that make this way of eating particularly effective.

kerrygoldEnter Kerrygold. I love Kerrygold. Once I tasted Kerrygold, there was no going back! You can tell the difference immediately. It’s softer, smoother, and more golden delicious than regular butter. It’s good on literally everything! Heck, I could eat it plain.

In Wisconsin, however, the bureaucrats apparently couldn’t just allow people to enjoy their butter. Nope! The nanny state food bureaucrats just have to protect people from non-“expert” examined butter!

In 1970, a law was passed which required that all butter intended for commercial purposes within Wisconsin first be put before a panel of “experts” responsible for grading the product based on a set of state standards. This law, which had largely been forgotten or at least ignored for decades, has now become an issue once again thanks to the rise of high fat diets.

[…]

Since Kerrygold is based in Ireland, its products do not go through the same regulatory processes as American products. Without an official American-issued quality grade, the nanny state of Wisconsin is refusing to allow this butter to be sold on its grocery store shelves, despite overwhelming consumer demand.

Now, Kerrygold butter is being pulled from shelves and store owners are being threatened with hefty fines and even jail time if they fail to comply with these state regulations.

It’s all for your protection, citizen. Just shut up and buy what the state tells you to buy.

The butter police have spoken.

Wisconsin has veeeeeery strict standards about what kind of butter they will allow on the store shelves – you know, for the common good. It doesn’t matter that people love the product. It doesn’t matter that Kerrygold has never harmed anyone in the years it’s been sold in the United States.

Wisconsin has STANDARDS, dammit, and they will enforce them for your own good! But who really benefits? Certainly it’s not the consumers, who are literally driving across state lines into neighboring states to purchase the product they love! Certainly not Kerrygold, which has to bow down to the mighty cheese police and implement whatever ridiculous demands the state of Wisconsin imposes on them, which will likely make Kerrygold products more expensive for consumers to purchase.

So who benefits?

What’s Wisconsin most known for (other than beer and the Green Bay Packers)? Dairy products. Cheese. Milk. BUTTER!

And you know what happens when them dang foreigners flood the market with a quality product that people love more than Wisconsin cheese? Wisconsin dairy farmers lose profits.

So instead of improving their product to compete with Kerrygold, they apparently decided to shut the irksome competitor out of the market via government force.

You know what it smells like? Corruption and cronyism, that’s what.

Because if you don’t think Wisconsin’s dairy farmers have a metric fuckload of pull with the state legislature, I have this bridge…

Now, apparently Wisconsin is the only state in the Union that has these absurd cheese control regulations. Thank goodness for that, because if Virginia decided to bow down to some greedy lobby representing people whose way of dealing with quality competition is to use government force to cheat themselves a bigger market share, I’d become a cheese outlaw.

No one takes my Kerrygold!

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LTG McMaster to Take Over as National Security Adviser

tinfoilSome freakish conspiritards claimed I was a member of the “deep state” upon reading my take on Michael Flynn’s ouster. Apparently, my tongue just wasn’t firmly enough implanted in the President’s rectum for their tastes, so writing about Flynn’s history in the intelligence community, despite rightfully assessing that whoever leaked the information about intercepts should be deprived of a job, a clearance, and prosecuted, just means that I have TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome). Never mind I said nothing negative about 45 in that post, and referred to Flynn’s history prior to even the primaries of Election 2016. If I’m not 100 percent aboard the Trump train, lauding every appointment and executive action with froth flecked fervor, I must be working on some kind of dastardly plan to overthrow the president… because “deep state” or something. And if I criticize any cabinet pick, or appointment, I must be suffering from TDS.

Is it wrong that I had to google “deep state”?

To some people, nothing but full, hysterical, blind worship will do, so when any media outlet publishes any story at all about the object of their spittle-streaked worship, they don’t bother reading the actual story. Because FAKE NEWS! And LIBRUL MEDIA! It’s not like they would report anything positive about 45!

Yeah, the crazy is real.

Well, the appointment of H.R. McMaster as the new National Security Adviser to replace Flynn was apparently met with positive reviews.

CNN anchor Jake Tapper was complimentary of Lt. Gen. McMaster’s book.

CNBC highlighted his stellar educational qualifications.

McMaster, 54, is a West Point graduate known as “H.R.,” with a PhD in U.S. history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was listed as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2014, partly because of his willingness to buck the system.

The Washington Post described McMaster as a “widely respected military strategist.”

In brief remarks, McMaster said it would be “a privilege” to continue to serve the nation. “I look forward to joining the national security team and doing everything that I can to advance and protect the interests of the American people,” he said.

USA Today complimented McMaster’s successes in Iraq as innovative.

In Iraq, McMaster placed his troops in small outposts in the northern Iraqi town in an effort to protect the population and he worked closely with local leaders to overcome sectarian rivalries. The tactics worked, the population came around to support his brigade and began turning on al-Qaeda militants.

mcmasterEverything I’ve read and heard about Lt. Gen. McMaster shows him to be a stellar pick to lead the National Security Council and advise the President on national security matters. Those who have worked with him, those who have served under him, and those who have watched him actually do his job all are incredibly complimentary of the General’s ability to lead, to relate to his Soldiers, and to create winning military strategies. He understands cyber threats, and he respects and understands military history. The appointment certainly sounds like a winner to me!

I have to wonder if the deranged conspiritard Trumpanzees are currently having apoplectic fits, trying to decide how to feel about this appointment.

“Oh, no! The media likes him, so he must be horrible… but, wait! He’s actually good, and our deity appointed him! The troops like him, those who served with him respect him… Oh, no! But the media is complimenting him, and so is that TDS chick from the Liberty Zone, so he must be bad… dammit!”

And I wonder how many of them will read this post and somehow twist it to be critical of the President.

HAH!

Congrats, Lt. Gen. McMaster! More power to you, and kick some ass in your new job!

Valid Concerns About Flynn Shouldn’t Excuse Leaks

Retired General Michael Flynn was shitcanned from his job as National Security Adviser this week, which gives him the distinct “honor” of being forced out by not just one, but two Presidents! Yes, that’s a pretty impressive feat, and we need to look at this event from an objective perspective.

First and foremost, spying on foreign ambassadors is nothing new. The press has been reporting on this since before Snowden stole millions of files from NSA and handed them over to foreigners to peruse, and if you think we’re the only ones who spy on foreign ambassadors on our soil, I have this bridge.

U.S. installations abroad also remained a primary target for espionage, particularly by the Soviet Union. Twice in one year, the Department learned that the Soviet intelligence agency had seriously compromised security at the embassy in Moscow. In January 1985, the U.S. Marine Corps announced that one of its security guards at the Embassy had passed classified information to a Russian woman.

The fact that Flynn was talking to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak made him the subject of what is called “incidental collection.” It means he wasn’t the target, but since conversations are two-way things, he was captured in the intercept as well. That’s a concept that has apparently escaped House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who is shitting himself, because “an American citizen had his phone calls recorded.” For the record, no one was spying on Flynn. The target was Kislyak, and the collection on Flynn was incidental. That’s first and foremost.

First, he was talking to the Russian ambassador, who is an agent of a foreign power. Agents of foreign powers are acceptable foreign intelligence targets and the government could have a warrant to surveil Kislyak under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) since 1978.

Next, phone calls are wiretappable. Congress ensured that would be true with the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (CALEA).

Further, while wiretapping in the criminal context involves only recording when the targets talk about illegal activity, foreign intelligence wiretapping is comprehensive. All conversations are collected and important bits mined out after the fact.

So, no. This wasn’t a matter of Obama targeting Trump and trying to destroy him, as some conspiritards claim. It also wasn’t Obama operatives conspiring to target the Trump administration.

Fact is Flynn has been a concern to the Intelligence Community long before Trump decided to even run for President.

GOP 2016 ConventionLet’s remember Flynn in 2010 was removed by current Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, then-CENTCOM commander, and investigated for sharing classified information with Pakistan. Pakistan! Not exactly a close ally. And revealing sensitive U.S. intelligence capabilities being used to monitor the Haqqani network to Pakistan is not exactly something that’s encouraged. This from the same guy who screeched “LOCK HER UP!” about Queen Pantsuit during the Republican National Convention for putting “our nation’s security at extremely high risk with her careless use of her private email server”

So while Hillary used her private email server “carelessly,” Flynn intentionally shared classified information with other countries – more than once – and never punished for it, because he apparently didn’t know better. Sound familiar?

Although Flynn lacked authorization to share the classified material, he was not disciplined or reprimanded after the investigation concluded that he did not act “knowingly” and that “there was no actual or potential damage to national security as a result,” according to Army records obtained by The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act.

Flynn was even bragging of the fact that he shared classified information he was not authorized to share with our allies Britain and Australia! “I’m proud of that one. Accuse me of sharing intelligence in combat with our closest allies, please.”

Really?

Whether he likes it or not, there are protocols and channels through which one has to go to release intelligence – even to our closest allies. Flynn, who was accused of telling allies about the activities of other agencies in Afghanistan, including the CIA, apparently felt he was above such constraints. He wanted to do it, so intelligence protocols be damned! He did what he did, because apparently he felt he was too important to follow procedures, and his mission was too critical to be limited by bureaucracy.

General Igor Sergun GRU Director from December 2011 until his death in January 2016.

General Igor Sergun GRU Director from December 2011 until his death in January 2016.

This was all long before Trump, as was Flynn’s now infamous trip to Russia to celebrate RT’s anniversary alongside President Putin and rub asses with Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU). While Flynn was no longer DIA director, having been forced out by the Obama Administration, he received a DIA briefing before heading out to Russia and got paid for speaking there.

Of course, these “speaking fees” weren’t exactly for a traditional address. Flynn received an undisclosed amount of money for agreeing to be used as a propaganda tool by the Russian owned and controlled RT.

‘I was asked by my speaker’s bureau, LAI. I do public speaking. It was in Russia. It was a paid speaking opportunity,’ Flynn told the paper.

‘The gig was to do an interview with [RT correspondent] Sophie Shevardnadze. It was an interview in front of the forum, probably 200 people in the audience,’ he said.

[…]

‘I had a great trip. I was the first U.S. officer ever allowed inside the headquarters of the GRU [Russian intelligence]. I was able to brief their entire staff,’ Flynn said.

‘I gave them a leadership OPD. [a professional development class on leadership] and talked a lot about the way the world’s unfolding.

Uh-huh.

Flynn believes Russia could be an invaluable ally in the war against Islamic extremism. He said so during the RT forum. And he’s not wrong. The problem with sharing those views on a forum like RT is the optics. The forum took place after Russia illegally annexed Crimea, after more than a year of Russian funding of militant separatists in Ukraine, and after two years of the United States imposing economic sanctions against Russia for threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors. It doesn’t look great when the ousted director of DIA heads over to Russia and advocates for closer relations. It looks like a bitter former employee impugning his former boss’ foreign policy.

But besides that, we have no idea what was said in the GRU briefing. Given Flynn’s former penchant for briefing sensitive intelligence about IC operations “unknowingly” in a presentation in Afghanistan, the concerns about his trip aren’t unwarranted.

Again, this was all pre-Trump, so to claim that somehow the IC is targeting the President through Flynn is just disingenuous, given the concerns about Flynn’s continued flaunting and disregard for good intelligence practices, since long before the Presidency was even a gleam in Trump’s eye.

Once Trump won, and announced that Flynn was to be his National Security Adviser, I can’t blame old intel hands for freaking out a bit, given Flynn’s history. When Flynn spoke with Kislyak the day sanctions were announced, and then lied about the conversation to the Vice President, this became an even bigger concern. I said at the time that even if he didn’t mention sanctions – about which the President-Elect Transition Team was briefed prior to them being announced – the optics were worrying, to say the least.

Is it any surprise that a National Security Adviser to the President of the United States who doesn’t understand what he should and should not release to foreign powers, who doesn’t see that perceptions about him impugning U.S. foreign policy on an adversary’s state-owned media channel and chatting with said adversary’s Ambassador prior to a critical foreign policy announcement would be concerning as the leader of our country’s national security apparatus?

No, the IC is not trying to bring down Trump by targeting Flynn. They’re right to be concerned.

Which brings me to the leaker, whoever it might be.

The screeching conspiritards are right in one regard. Whoever leaked the information about the intercepts between Kislyak and Flynn did so illegally. While it’s common knowledge that we spy on the Russians (DUH!), releasing that information is illegal.

Listen I get it. Whoever leaked these conversations to the public had to have been paralyzingly concerned about Flynn. Hell, I was worried about having someone like that sitting in charge of the National Security Council and receiving sensitive information. Flynn was a profound concern for the IC, and whoever leaked that information had to have known that if caught, they would be prosecuted and would likely lose their job and their freedom, but was concerned enough to do it anyway.

And while identifying Flynn internally was legal, because his identity was critical to the analysis of Kislyak’s calls, the leak of the unminimized (unmasked) identity of Kislyak’s interlocutor to the public is and should be punishable by law.

Whoever leaked this information wreaked indescribable havoc.

They gave an adversary information about collection methods – signals intelligence – without which, we probably no longer have the ability to conduct surveillance on our targets.

They handed our enemies insight into the workings of the Presidential administration. Such insight is gold for our adversaries.

It gave Russia a window into the chaos in our national security apparatus.

It showed Russia our weaknesses.

This is unacceptable under any circumstances, no matter how concerning Flynn’s actions were, and make no mistake, they were worrisome.

But there was more at stake than just Flynn, and while we don’t know how compromised he was by the Russians, if at all, and whether his actions were due to arrogant stupidity or an actual desire to betray our country to the Russians, incalculable damage was done by whoever leaked this information to the public, and that cannot be ignored.

So while Flynn’s connections – and anyone else in the Administration who has had questionable interactions with the Russians – are a fair target for law enforcement and intel investigators, so are the people who are leaking this sensitive information.

Leaks are no reason to cheer. They’re a reason to be afraid.

 

About That Travel Ban

No, not that one.

This one. The one you probably have never heard of because it involves Andrew Cuomo’s (D-ipshit, NY) ban on state-sponsored travel to North Carolina because that state passed a law last year requiring transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they were born.

A University at Buffalo pharmacy student is appealing the governor’s travel ban to North Carolina because she says it affects her ability to do rotations there.
This student hasn’t gotten any response from the governor’s office despite three months of calls, letters, and faxes to appeal her case, so Christine Piccione finally reached out 2 On Your Side as a plea for help.
Piccione is a third year pharmacy student at UB, and one of the final things these students need to do are rotations for hands-on practice.

So, this virtue signaling retard has joined celebutards and other assorted, frothing trash by trying to punish North Carolina for a bathroom law (that I have always disagreed with due to government overreach issues) he felt was discriminatory against transgender people.

Did he ban official government travel to Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is punishable by law? No. How about Iran? Can New Yorkers still travel there? Yes.

You mean, he only banned travel to a single state in the union – a state that saw it fit to dictate who uses what bathroom in a public building?

Hypocrite.

All that said, who really loses in this scenario?

Piccione was funding her trip herself – with her own money. She has been prevented by the state from studying where she believed was best for her own education, since UNC Chapel Hill is widely regarded as having one of the best – of not the best – pharmacy program in country, and certain laws in NC would allow her to do more than here in New York, according to the report.

“I definitely think it does put me at a disadvantage. I’m going to be competing against the top students in the country for jobs, and I just don’t think it’s fair that I don’t get that opportunity when we can travel anywhere else in the country, anywhere else in the world even, and I can’t travel to one state in my own country,” said Piccione.

And yes, this travel ban infringes on this student’s rights. It inserts government into her personal education decisions. It puts an unnecessary hardship on her, forcing her to waste time and resources trying to resolve the issue, which really just comes down to wanting to study her chosen profession in what is ostensibly the best pharmacy program in the country.

And the state – the ever mighty, overreaching state – has decided in all its wisdom that Piccione cannot spend her own money to study in North Carolina, because Cuomo disagrees with a law there. A student is prevented from studying at the university of her choice, because Cuomo doesn’t like that state’s law.

And let’s be clear – right now that’s all it is: Cuomo’s opinion.

The trial over this law has been postponed until the Supreme Court decides whether the Obama administration’s interpretation of federal civil rights law, that transgender students are protected under Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded education programs, is correct. That case will be heard next month, according to press. So until that issue is decided in the nation’s courts, Cuomo is preventing a student from traveling to North Carolina to study at a highly regarded educational program, because Cuomo has an opinion.

christine-piccioneWhy is no one protesting that a U.S. citizen’s right to fund her own education and travel where she sees appropriate for her career choice has been violated?

I mean, we’re seeing snortastically ignorant nationwide boycotts in support of people who violated the law by coming here illegally – or staying here illegally. But no one is protesting the ever-intrusive state preventing a student from traveling within her own country – on her own dime. Why is that?

I guess a “privileged” blonde, white girl doesn’t elicit the same kind of sanctimonious outrage as oppressed “people of color.”

And by the way – I remember a place where you had to have government permission to travel for work or study. It was called the USSR.

A Day Without Immigrants

So apparently today was supposed to be some kind of statement – a “Day Without Immigrants.”

Washington, D.C., will experience a “Day Without Immigrants” along with a number of other major cities across the country on Thursday. The grassroots movement is calling for immigrants not to go to work or make purchases on Feb. 16 to show President Trump ho [sic.] much legal and illegal immigrants contribute to the economy.

2017-02-15-day-without-immigrants_0Let’s put aside the obvious economic ignorance exhibited here. One day without a fairly small percentage of the population working and making purchases will hurt no one except maybe their employers who seem more than happy to virtue signal their support for immigration, which no one has proposed to ban writ large, by giving their foreign-born workers a paid day off. Those same immigrants staging this protest and not buying anything, will purchase what they need tomorrow… or the next day. No harm, no foul. Any money “lost” from any sale today, will be made up tomorrow or the next day, because ultimately people need what they need.

Second, just how many illegal immigrants do we have working in the DC area? Do they really make such a huge impact on the local economy? And also, will it honestly impact the President, who I’m pretty sure isn’t going out to Bub & Pop’s to get a sandwich or picking up street food at a cart today.

I wouldn’t even have known this was going on if I hadn’t come across it in a news feed.

Local restaurants – if they support this “boycott” – closed. So what? This immigrant brings her own lunch to work.

The employees of those establishments that do not support this empty action and who decided not to show up for work today anyway, could find themselves shitcanned in favor of someone who will actually work. And if not, they’re simply not going to get paid for that day, unless they have earned leave. Who loses? They do.

Smoke & Barrel in Washington DC had the following up on their Facebook page two days ago.

As a Latino business owner I stand in solidarity with all of my immigrant staff. Therefore, we will close our kitchen this Thursday in support of our immigrant staff’s desire and right to protest the evolving state of immigration policies in our country. Our bars will remain open and our guests are welcome to BYOF (bring your own food.) -John Andrade, owner

OK, so they’ll still sell booze, and they’ll allow people to bring their own food, because they can’t possibly lose the profits! But yay, solidarity! No sacrifice. No business lost. So what is it, exactly, that they’re trying to impact?

Boycott school? Really? The one place that should educate and give them something of value, they’re encouraged to skip. What, exactly, will that do to the school? The teachers will continue teaching. The other students will continue learning. And the illegal immigrant kids who are skipping school are only shooting themselves in the foot.

Methinks these people have a much inflated view of their own value.

The flyer claims that without them the country is “paralyzed.”

Well, this immigrant is at work today, and for once, I didn’t experience metro fuckery. Correlation, of course, does not equal causation, but the 20 minute commute was pretty darn good today.

I bring my own lunch, and I don’t eat at the restaurants that are participating in this “boycott” anyway. (We ate at Pupatella in Arlington once, and the service was so shitty after an hour and a half wait, that I swore never to go there again. The food wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t even remotely worth it.)

I don’t plan on going shopping, because most days I work 10-11 hours, and I’m too tired to do anything but go home and go to sleep.

When I need to go shopping, it will be on a weekend, so the “boycott” ultimately means nothing to me.

If the purpose of this action was to “paralyze” the country, the organizers might want to learn economics first.

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