Paying Ransom

Although I’m writing this article in the context of terrorist kidnappings, it should be noted that the principles discussed apply to any form of kidnapping.

The beheading of freelance journalist James Foley has forced a new debate between the longtime US and British refusal to negotiate with terrorists, and Europe and the Persian Gulf’s increasing willingness to pay ransoms in a desperate attempt to free citizens.

The case:

The dilemma: How to save the lives of captives without financing terror groups and encouraging more kidnappings.

Here’s the misunderstanding:

The Democrat’s View of “Justice”

[State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D, MO)] predicted Friday that if prosecutors don’t win a conviction against the police officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown, it could trigger a new wave of unrest in Ferguson.

“There’s several people out there including the protesters that I’ve been with this morning who seem to feel as though there won’t be a conviction,” she told Fox News.

“If that happens, we’re going to have exactly what you saw two weeks ago, with a lot of tear gas going all over the place.”

The Terrorist Threat

UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron had some thoughts.

Stability. Security. The peace of mind that comes from being able to get a decent job and provide for your family, in a country that you feel has a good future ahead of it and that treats people fairly. In a nutshell, that is what people in Britain want

And

I agree that we should avoid sending armies to fight or occupy. But we need to recognise that the brighter future we long for requires a long-term plan for our security as well as for our economy. True security will only be achieved if we use all our resources—aid, diplomacy, our military prowess—to help bring about a more stable world.

“US special forces tried to rescue hostages in Syria but failed”

So screamed a recent Fox News headline. And

The Obama administration sent US troops to Syria recently to attempt to rescue hostages being held by Islamic State militants, including journalist James Foley, but failed to find them, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

But why is the Obama administration mentioning this now, just after the beheading of Foley by these terrorists? There’s no reason at all, other than as another self-serving claim to be doing something in order to show that they’re doing something in response (!) to an act of monstrous barbarity. This administration also claims ISIS terrorists were killed in the raid. Really? Where—in the aftermath of that failure, or now, in the aftermath of the claim of that effort—are ISIS’ braggings about having inflicted such a defeat on the Great Satin?

Drug Markets and Regulation

With this attitude, we’re not going to have much of a drug development or production industry—to the detriment of our drug market.

“A big part of our concern is not just Sovaldi [a new, and so still very expensive, drug with a near-perfect cure rate for Hepatitis C], but all the other specialty drugs,” said Mario Molina, the CEO of Molina Healthcare that runs Medicaid and ObamaCare plans in nine states, on a July earnings call. He added: “I think that the government needs to step in here and make sure that the market is rational. If we as a health plan want a rate increase, we have to go to our regulators and get it approved. There’s no such thing going on in the pharmaceutical market.

And So It Begins

The crumbling of the Afghan polity is under way.

A reporter wrote a news reporting/opinion piece about the Afghan government that didn’t comport with that government’s approved view of itself. As a result,

Afghanistan’s attorney general has banned a New York Times reporter from leaving the country after he wrote a story about unnamed officials seeking to take power if the country’s presidential election deadlock persists.

The reporter’s…error?

Attorney General Basir Azizi said the story…could “create fear and confusion among the people” and that [reporter Matthew] Rosenberg will not be allowed to leave the country until it has been investigated by officials.

A Child King

Kim Jong Un, the child, and the king, in question, is describing Secretary of State John Kerry as a wolf with a “hideous lantern jaw.”

He’s also termed President Barack Obama a monkey and Republic of Korea President Park Geun-hye a prostitute.

The AP thinks these are “crude insults,” and so they are, but it’s also important to keep in mind that these are, at bottom, the childish name-callings of a poorly raised adolescent. In the end, while any proper raising requires discipline, and Kim should be held to account for his misbehavior, the boy is more to be pitied for his condition than condemned for his behavior.

“Climate” Again

Texas and California are in the middle of droughts. This is, of course, due to man-caused climate change. Or is it? Watts Up With That has a couple of graphs that bear on the matter.

This one gives one idea of the history of droughts and wet periods over the last, oh, say, 1,200 years:NorthAmericaDroughtGrid

Was the Palestinian Authority Ever Serious

…during the latest cease fire in its terror war against Israel [emphasis added]?

Israel has suspended talks with Palestinian factions in Cairo after three rockets from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel, breaking a cease-fire aimed at allowing negotiators to broker a long-term truce for the conflict-ridden territory.

The rocket fire came hours after Israel and Palestinian factions resumed negotiations toward a cease-fire deal. On Monday night, both sides accepted a proposal by Egyptian mediators to prolong their cease-fire from Monday to Tuesday midnight local time to give extra time to reach an agreement.

A New Defense Alliance

This thought was triggered by a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General, and General Philip M Breedlove, SACEUR and Commander US European Command, concerning “A NATO for a Dangerous World.”

Given European NATO members’ long-standing disdain for national defense, for providing their treaty-obligated share of men and equipment for NATO defense, for providing their treaty-obligated GDP share of funding for NATO defense, it’s time to walk away from NATO and form a new mutual defense alliance with selected nations of eastern Europe.