Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bookout Fiasco Shows Compelling Need for Citizen Action

The latest in the Democratic Party of Arkansas' parade of criminals is State Senator Paul Bookout of Jonesboro.   Bookout's misappropriation of campaign funds for personal use (a story first broken by this blog) follows on the heels of Democrat former State Treasurer Martha Shoffner's taking of bribes.   That in turn followed on the heels of Democrat former State Representative Hudson Hallum's vote fraud scheme.

And those are just the ones who have been held accountable.   Basically, if you want to be ruled by criminals, vote for Arkansas Democrats to maximize your chances.   In many parts of the state otherwise decent people reflexively vote Democrat.  In so doing they are empowering a corrupt organization which has a history of criminals obtaining high status within its structure, and its past time they came to terms with that.

Governor Mike Beebe did throw Shoffner under the bus, but has mumbled some excuses about the money that Bookout mis-appropriated was not taxpayer money.    Please, the man was spending public money in his votes, and taking what amounts to personal bribes at the same time.   It is not credible to believe that this did not affect his votes, but then Beebe has very little credibility on this issue anyway.    While he tried to make lame excuses for Bookout, just prior to that he made a crazy attempt to lump Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin in the same category as convicted felon Shoffner because Martin committed the non-crime of hiring outside counsel to represent his office instead of turning his defense over to another corrupt Democrat, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.

I would just ask all those respectable people out there who keep empowering state Democrats, if you are such good folks, why do you keep saddling this state with leadership from this gang whose members so consistently turn out to be dishonest, corrupt or even criminals?  Do you hate Arkansas that you would continue to do such a thing?   Isn't it time to prayerfully consider voting in accordance with who you claim you want to be?  

Back to Bookout.   The ethics commission fined him $8,000, but there is no way it should end there.   He spent more like $50,000 of campaign money for personal use.   If the "punishment" for being caught breaking the law is that you get fined a fraction of what you gained, then why not break the law?    It appears that Bookout may try to shamelessly brazen it out and stay in office.   That is a dis-service to the people of Jonesboro and to the institution of the Senate.   The Senate has the ability to expel him if he does not agree to finally do the right thing and step down, but will they use it?

It appears that chum-ship will again trump honor and virtue in the Arkansas Senate.  And that leads to the most compelling argument that our Democrat-voting friends can respond with when we ask them why they continue to empower such a dishonest group like state Democrats- at present the only alternative is state Republicans!     As we saw on the vote to fund the implementation of Obamacare in the state (re-labeled as the so-called "Private Option") most Republican legislators are not above lying to their constituents.   And since eight or nine house Republican legislators changed their vote (to support the scheme) in the last twenty hours of the ordeal, just about the time that Representative Richard Womack reported that a lobbyist offered him large campaign contributions to change his vote, one has to wonder if all of that last minute change-of-heart was really motivated by a desire for better government.

In short, if the Republicans are not going to do anything that much different from the Democrats, then why castigate someone for voting Democrat instead of Republican?   Sadly, the behavior of most state Republicans in the legislature makes that a fair point.     Consider for example, the Republican leader of the Senate, Micheal Lamoureux of Russellville (who tied for tenth on our list of "ten worst" legislators).  When the Republican leader of the Senate was asked about possible consequences for Bookout he is reported to have replied "Paul Bookout is my friend."

I hope the Senator is not suggesting that because they are friends the law-breaker Bookout should continue to be one of the law-makers for the rest of us.    I am not even asking for partisanship here, I am asking for justice.  You can't have members who so blatantly break the law go unpunished but then demand that citizens respect and obey the laws that they pass.   The Senate should hold a vote to rebuke if not expel from their number someone who has abused campaign contributions for personal gain to a degree not previously seen in this state.

I know I keep coming back to this story, but I just am amazed at how no one in the Republican Party, not Chairman Webb, not Senator Lamoureux, no one- came to the defense of Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin when he was slanderously accused by Governor Beebe of being like the felonious Shoffner in terms of impact on public trust when in fact Martin's actions were clearly within the law.   Why is Lamoureux defending Democrat law-breaker Bookout in preference to possibly the most honest man in state government in the person of Republican Mark Martin?

That brings us back to that fair point about those who vote for Democrats saying that the alternative isn't very attractive either.   The standard answer to that has been that my team is not as slimy as your team.   The correct answer to that should be: Then help me build a new team, a grassroots team that is for Arkansas only and not run from Washington DC.    Let's build a network of community groups, a network, not a hierarchy that can be bought off or captured at the top.     We don't need either of these two corrupt parties that have taken turns running this nation into the ground and saddling our children with outrageous debt- at least not to pick our state legislators for us.   We may still need them for the state-wide offices, but not for seats in the state legislature.  And if we don't need them, why put 100% of our eggs in their basket?

We can find our own candidates and sponsor them as independents.  That way they will know that they don't owe their office to a label managed from DC, but only to the people of their district.  They will answer to us, not to the Governor, not to a party, but our representatives will represent us again, just like the Founders originally intended it.

I am my friends with our tiny activist group, The Localist Society of the Ozarks, are one of the founding members of just such a network, just such a coalition which is coming together to return the People's Branch to the people again, Neighbors of Arkansas.   Perhaps your activist group can form a task force which will join us.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Truth Aids Mark Martin in His Battle With Mike Beebe

Governor Mike Beebe slandered Secretary of State Mark Martin recently by claiming Martin's hiring of outside legal counsel was a crime comparable to that of former Democrat Treasurer Martha Shoffner.  Shoffner infamously took bribes from a bond dealer in exchange for sending them state business.

Beebe bewailed the impact which the actions of Martin and Shoffner, which he linked together, would have on "public trust."  That is ironic because Beebe was misleading the public even as he uttered these slanders.   Yesterday I offered plenty of proof of that in this article.  Since I wrote it, even more evidence has come out exhonorating Martin and proving that Mike Beebe had to have known that his statements and insinuations were deceptive in the extreme.

His accusations against Martin are so off base that the only way he possibly thought he could get away with them was through the help and use of a very compliant state establishment media.    The reason he looks so good is because the media in this state can be counted to cover for him and not hold him accountable for his chicanery.   This is especially so when the subject is Mark Martin.  I have already advanced my theory as to why the media in this state don't seem to know how to tell the truth about Mark Martin.

Is it against the law for Martin to have hired outside legal counsel without Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's approval?     No, because as I showed you yesterday there is an exception to the old law for state constitutional officers, and this exception has been used for decades, in particular by Mike Huckabee, to keep from being forced to be represented by hostile Attorney Generals, like Mike Beebe himself back in the day.  Not only that, the Attorney General's own spokesperson said that the way that law was applied, permission was only needed in the few occasions in which the legislature explicitly state that it is needed.

Now Jason Tolbert has obtained a memo from the Arkansas Department of Highways and Transportation   dated October 24th of 2011 in which a spokesman for the AG's office plainly states that not even agencies, much less constitutional officers, require permission of the AG to hire outside counsel unless the legislature specifies it.  AHTD, and presumably many other departments and agencies, have hired special counsel for some time.

So, is much of Beebe's administration ALSO criminals like Shoffner who impact public trust? Or is it only a crime when Mark Martin wants to do it?   The media in this state has been covering for Beebe way too long.

I also want to point out again the extreme worthlessness of the Republican Party of Arkansas while the man in their party who holds the most prominent state office is so savagely attacked by charges which are so easy to refute.   It isn't that the media is not quoting them, it is that they are saying nothing to quote.  Meanwhile the Democrat Party in this state has no problem joining in on the assault on Martin, saying he should be prosecuted for the non-crime.    But its crickets on the other side.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Moore: Beebe's Improper Use of Slander Weakens Public Trust

This article is in response to the John Lyon Piece entitled "Beebe: Martin's Improper Use of Lawyers Weakens Public Trust."    The Governor attempts to equate Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin's use of outside counsel to defend his office from lawsuits as being a crime similar in nature to that of the former Treasurer of the state, Democrat Martha Shoffner.  Shoffner infamously took bribes, some delivered in pie boxes, from a bond dealer.

This is an outrageous slander.    The Democrats are desperately trying to paint Martin's actions as in the same category as the taking of bribes.   They had a criminal as a state-wide constitutional officer, so they want to make a Republican out to be one too.   Regular readers will know that I have no sympathy with the Republican party, but I do have sympathy with individual persons in public life who are honest, like Mark Martin.    I am no Republican, but I will not stand idly by and watch an innocent family man be politically hung by a pack of cretins.

The fact is, not only did the Democrats have a criminal as a state-wide constitutional officer in Shoffner, they also have a slanderer who is deliberately lying to you as a state-wide constitutional office holder.  That would be Governor Mike Beebe.     Read the next five or six paragraphs and I will prove it to you.

The law Beebe accuses Martin of breaking is 25-16-702 of the Arkansas Code which reads "The Attorney General shall be the attorney for all state officials, departments, institutions, and agencies." 

But there is an exception to this law written into the Arkansas Code for Constitutional Officers such as the Secretary of State.  It is an important exception necessary to preserve the autonomy of the separately-elected Constitutional officers as intended by our state constitution. TO whit.....
    25-16-711. Disputes between Attorney General and a constitutional officer.
    In the event that the Attorney General and a constitutional officer disagree on the interpretation of any constitutional provision, act, rule, or regulation which affects the duties of that constitutional officer, the constitutional officer is authorized to employ special counsel to resolve the disagreement by litigation. This special counsel shall receive a reasonable compensation for his or her services.

Republican office holders have made use of this exception for years, decades even.   Mike Huckabee used this exception frequently during his tenure.  Mike Beebe knows all of this.  The Attorney General's Office knows it too.  Here is what the Spokesman for the Attorney General's Office Aaron Sadler said when the same issue of hiring outside counsel came up two years ago...

"...approval by the Attorney General's Office to hire outside counsel is only necessary if there is special language in an agency appropriation bill that states that such approval is specifically required. So, agencies occasionally obtain outside counsel through the normal professional-service contract process. "  - McDaniel Spokesman Aaron Sadler (and former Demozette Reporter) in 2011.

This is an orchestrated effort to level false charges against Mark Martin.  A dishonest system is making a supreme effort to purge itself of the most honest man in it who is anywhere close to the top.   They got caught on this one, but instead of backing down, they have doubled-down, bringing in Mike Beebe and his synthetic credibility to try and win by argument-from-authority rather than the facts and the law.  These are the people which have held our state back from its rightful place as one of the most prosperous in the nation.

And I think the rot runs deep on both sides.  Where for example, is the Republican Party of Arkansas while their most prominent state official is being blatantly rail-roaded?  The Democrat Party of Arkansas is at the forefront of the lynch mob to get Martin.  Where is the Republican Party?  If the papers won't quote them, then it would be understandable, but the fact is there is nothing to quote.   They could at least write a press release and put it on their own website, but this story has been roiling for two days and they won't even bother doing that!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Media in This State Don't Know How to Tell the Truth About Mark Martin

"The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them, inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors. " - Thomas Jefferson
Never were Jefferson's words more true than when the subject of a media report in Arkansas is Secretary of State Mark Martin.   You simply cannot believe anything you read in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, the Arkansas Times, or the other "establishment" media sources in this state when the subject is Martin.  They do not seem to know how to tell the truth about this man, and so you can't trust a single word they say about him.   Not. One. Word.

I have written about it before, here and here for example, but those reports barely scratch the surface.   This most recent barrage of dishonest propaganda probably takes the cake.   Some of us wonder why a state with great natural resources, a prime location, and hard working people consistently lags behind the rest of the country in prosperity and achievement.

To me the answer is simple- those who led must take the responsibility.   It's the leadership.  It's always the leadership.  When something under-performs over a long period of time and those in charge have authority, and they have had authority, then the reason for under-performance can almost always be traced back to a failure of leadership.  An example of such a failure of leadership might be enriching themselves and their cronies at the expense of the overall prosperity of the state.

The ruling class of this state has been what has been keeping Arkansas and the people who live here behind.  And the state's establishment media are their mouth pieces, and sometimes character assassins.

My take is that Mark Martin is the most honest man closest to real power in this state.  He is not in the club, because what you have to do to be in the club is, when the chips are down you have to be willing to do the wrong thing for the right people.    They don't trust him to do that so they are freaking out because he is too close to getting some real say-so.   That is the simplest explanation for the outrageous falsehoods and slanders that these newspapers knowingly spew about your Secretary of State.

In this latest example, Martin hired outside counsel to defend his office against accusations from a liberal blogger that they violated the Freedom of Information Act.   Well, that got nowhere so now the liberal blogger is suing on the grounds that Martin should use the Attorney General's Office to defend his office against lawsuits.    The blogger, liberal Matt Campbell, took the position that only Democrat Dustin McDaniel should be allowed to represent Republican Secretary of State Martin in court.

That is like insisting the chickens hire the fox as their defense counsel as to whether or not they should be on the menu!   McDaniel has blatantly abused the powers of his office, so much so that even the media of this state gave it some notice, though they did not attack him with the glee they do Martin.

This City Wire report is typical of the one-sided reporting we are subjected to on this issue.  This is the only cite from the Arkansas Code you have ever seen from them on this issue:
§ 25-16-702: "The Attorney General shall be the attorney for all state officials, departments, institutions, and agencies. Whenever any officer or department, institution, or agency of the state needs the services of an attorney, the matter shall be certified to the Attorney General for attention.”
When you read that, if that is all you read, you think "well, Martin is doing something wrong."  And then you read that it is punishable by removal from office and you think "how could anyone mess up that badly."    But here is what they refuse to tell you.   There are exceptions to the above statement written into the Arkansas Code.   Exceptions such as.....

    25-16-711. Disputes between Attorney General and a constitutional officer.
    In the event that the Attorney General and a constitutional officer disagree on the interpretation of any constitutional provision, act, rule, or regulation which affects the duties of that constitutional officer, the constitutional officer is authorized to employ special counsel to resolve the disagreement by litigation. This special counsel shall receive a reasonable compensation for his or her services.
Republican constitutional officers have used this law for decades to avoid having their office represented by the AG on questions like the application of the FOIA.   Mike Huckabee did it repeatedly.     It is nothing new.   The judge in the case, Judge Fox, just decided to get activist and rule against Martin no mater what the law said.    We will see how long his ruling stands on appeal.

The press has known about this part of the law, they are just so dishonest and one-sided that they refuse to tell you about it in an effort to paint a false picture of Martin.   Again, they are afraid of having a man who will deal equitably that close to real power.   Favoritism is their currency, not equity.   It is the way things have always been down in this state, and its holding us back.

Update: Let me prove to you my claim that all the insiders calling for Martin's head know already that the accusation is groundless, so that you might with more certainty belief the truth: They are deliberately misleading you. You cannot trust them.  Here is Arktimes yesterday repeating the same charges and citing only the first part of the law.   Here is the Arktimes two years ago when they first tried to raise this same bogus issue only, to have McDaniel Spokesman Aaron Sadler himself say that Constitutional offices do not have to use the Attorney General's Office to represent them.
"...approval by the Attorney General's Office to hire outside counsel is only necessary if there is special language in an agency appropriation bill that states that such approval is specifically required. So, agencies occasionally obtain outside counsel through the normal professional-service contract process. "  - McDaniel Spokesman Aaron Sadler (and former Demozette Reporter) in 2011.
Read those two articles linked above that quote..  This is a blatant smear job.

That leaves only the accusation that Martin is wasting taxpayer money by using outside counsel instead of putting the People's hopes in the corrupt Democrat McDaniel.   Yes, his office spent a lot of money on legal fees, mostly defending themselves against lawsuits brought by the very people complaining how much money he is spending on legal fees!  But overall, Martin has actually conserved taxpayer money.  He hires outside help, but his permanent staff is less than the norm because he has left positions unfilled.     Martin came in way under budget, and forced some very interesting revelations about the state's budgeting in the process.

Grassroots, the very fact they hate him so much is very positive.  It means the ruling class which has kept this state behind suspects that he is not with them, but with the people, or rather, he is with fairness and equity rather than favoritism.   To me their attacks are all the more reason to get behind him.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Davy Carter's Twitter Tantrum

Nicholas Horton has the full details here, so I don't feel the need to say much about it.  But it looks from here like what this uncouth young man is throwing a tantrum about is that the rest of us are not willing to indulge in his delusion about what he and his colleagues did.    "Passing Obamacare in Arkansas" is a decent shorthand description of what they did, but read Horton for all the details on why that is so.   I am here to write the things about this story which have not been said.

I do not take that position as a matter of "D and R" party politics.   I say a pox on both their houses, as they are the two private political gangs which have taken turns destroying my country.    The one did so by most directly undermining the morality of the nation, and the other by taking the money and political energy of those of us who wanted to do something about it under false pretenses,  and then squandering the same to further enrich their friends.   Both, through the use of debt, bought support with my children's future earnings.  They would make them debt slaves later in order to buy themselves faux-love and power now.

This last con, where they were all elected promising to stop Obamacare and when they got in office instead implemented it, so long as some of their friends were cut in, is simply the latest manifestation of their Standard Operating Procedure.    Both parties as heart want more government, and more loot to hand out to their friends.   One of those parties must pretend to represent the people who want to stop the looting in order to prevent an alternative from arising which will truly stop it.   See the term "controlled opposition."

Oh, there are a few true believers who are trying to storm the barricades.   They might do some good before the party hierarchy weeds them out in favor of candidates with more "moral flexibility."    They will never be the party favorites, but I support them in every way I can without doing something dishonest, like giving my endorsement via membership to the political gang under whose banner they run.

These are the few who are attempting to do real state-craft, but they are nothing more than a nuisance to "The Big Show" where the real goal is not state-craft, but rather performance art.   See this link where Joe Biden tells Lindsay Graham that he will do anything he can to help him get re-elected, whether that is best done by praising him or attacking him.  And lest you think that such chum-ship is limited to federal politics, I remind you that the Republican State Senators co-hosted a re-election fundraiser for Democrat State Senator Larry Teague not long ago.

Some of you are angry at me for the truths I have written to you in these few paragraphs because they are hard truths and not pleasant truths.   I do not wish to anger you, but if you must be angry, direct it not towards me, but to those who have been misleading you.    Many will rush to share a pleasant truth, only a man very committed to telling you the truth will share an unpleasant one.   Take that into account when you judge me.

My take is that Representative Carter is upset because he and his friends tried to utilize the The Big Lie Theory, and it did not work.   I know that most people don't even have time to read the main article, much less the links from the article, but if you can only click on one link from this whole piece, I urge you to make it that one.    Once they committed to brazenly telling "The Big Lie" with an air of certainty, confidence and swagger, which is the way big lies are supposed to be told according to the theory, people were supposed to back down because authority figures like Carter just sounded so sure of themselves.    According to the theory, at that point we were going to believe them instead of our lying eyes.

But the world has changed a bit since the 1930s when Adolf Hitler and Joseph Gobbels first popularized the Big Lie Theory.  We hold authority figures in much less awe now, especially when they look like they are in their twenties as Carter and Burris do.   We also have access to a lot more information, so there is a bigger disconnect between what we know and what we are being told.  Thank God, the Big Lie Theory does not work as well these days, but once leaders get caught up in it, there is nothing they can do but keep doubling-down on their story.

This precipitates outbursts like the one Davy Carter engaged in, because there is nothing else he can do but tell the same lie with even more emphasis.    He can't offer evidence, and he can't cite facts- because the evidence and the facts don't support his claims.   Every time he tries to go the evidence and facts route, he gets quickly cornered by people who have all the information.   So all he can do is repeat the same false claims stronger, say it louder, and as in this case - use crude language for more emphasis.   Problem: Despite all of that, its still a lie, and if people know it, and are confident in what they know, the teller of the lie is done.    The Big Lie allows one to get away with a great deception when it works, but also subjects one to great risks should the bluff and bravado fail to work.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Human Evolution: Neither Extreme Makes Sense

So what are we to believe concerning the origin of mankind?   What I see are two versions that don't seem to fit what we think we know about ourselves and the evidence.

The Bishop-Ussher Young Earth interpretation of Genesis and Numbers would have us believe that mankind is less than 10,000 years old, with a further constricting event (the flood) bottle-necking the population less than 5,000 years ago.   That's one extreme of course.  There are other ways of looking at those passages, and the meaning of ancient Hebrew words that would point to a somewhat older mankind, but not a million years older, nor even half-a-million.

This position does not fit a lot of historical evidence, and I don't feel like I even need to go into it here.  What I want to point out in this space is that the secular alternative on human origins seems to me, and many others, to be just as implausible.   For examples of why genetically their story does not make sense, see here.  Also consider this report, which says that the old figure of sharing 98% of our genes with chimps is off because it turns out we have hundreds of genes they don't have, and they have "lost" (if they ever had them) hundreds of genes which we have.   Not just new alleles in an existing gene mind you, but new genes.   How does that happen in the six or eight million years supposedly between us and chimps when we don't have even one solid instance of it happening in the history of modern humans ( a new gene - not just allele - being spread to every member of our species)?

Scientists tried to push the "multi-regional" model for human origins for a long time.  That is, humans evolved in several places at once over a long period of time from pre-human ancestors.   Once we learned how to do genetic testing, the evidence blew that one away in favor of the "Out of Africa Model" which said that humanity had a single point of origin in a time period that was too old for Young Earth Creationists to be comfortable with and too young for many evolutionary scientists to be comfortable with, say 120,000 years ago.

I think it part it was due to this discomfort that scientists made a major push to try and discover some ancient introgression of genes from non-humans into the human genome.  The very latest is that they have found some statistical evidence that such non-human hominids made a minor genetic contribution to our species, but only after we existed as a separate species.    This is not the same as the multi-regional hypothesis because mankind was a distinct group for quite a while before the genes from "near humans" made a limited insertion into our genes rather early in our history.  This part of the story is so recent that the jury is still out on the details.

They have closely examined the human genome and what they tell us about it boils down to this- all or virtually all of humanity can be divided into two distinct groups.   The founder group, the oldest and most genetically varied group, is best represented by the San or Kho-san of southern and eastern Africa.  There is the San, and then there is everyone else.  Sometime in the past three small groups of the San branched out and became everyone else.   One of those three groups, called L3, was the east African groups which today includes the Kenyans.   All the rest of the non-African populations are held to be subsets or offshoots of L3.

Here is the problem as I see it.  To calculate the time since all of these divergences, with the first divergence happening maybe 60-70 thousand years ago, they have to use a mutation rate.   The higher the mutation rate, the more recently all of these genetic splits occurred.    I have yet to see a study which uses current observed mutation rates as the standard.   They use mutation rates which are LOWER than the directly estimated rate we get when we compare a great-grand child today to his or her great-grand father.  

Why use lower rates than those which we actually observe, unless it is to push the estimated dates further back into the past to advance some other agenda?   If anything, I would think rates of mutation in the past would be HIGHER, not lower, because we are not out baking in the solar radiation all day like our ancestors and our time between generations is probably longer than it has been for most of human history.  But doing this would compress the time scale of the arrival of humans to a time so recent (still well beyond 10,000 years though) that there really would be nothing for them to evolve from.   That's kind of hard to get around, and we are not that far from that now.

But here is the kicker.  Think about the way humans get around.   Think about what has happened in the world in all of known history.    The current scientific model would have us believe the San bounced around south and east Africa with groups L1, L2, and L3 (who split off from the original San population) for 60,000 years before they started limited interbreeding again just a few thousand years ago.    That makes no sense whatsoever.   Especially if they are going to try and claim our ancestors had limited breeding with non-humans like Neanderthals at basically the same time.  Sixty thousand years is a long time for groups of modern humans to wander around the same continent and never re-connect.   It definitely does not fit what we know about humans in any way, and is frankly not believable.   The dates don't make sense, and I suspect they are wrong.

Evolution Again: Story on Mammals Does Not Fit the Evidence

I noticed another article on Evolution in the pro-evolution "Science Daily" site.  This one was head-lined "New Proto-Mammal Fossil Sheds Light on Evolution of Earliest Mammals".   That was the headline, but was that really the story?

It turns out the have discovered the fossil of an animal dated to 165 million years ago which they said had both fur and an undercoat.   This would push the origin of fur to long before the rise of the first true mammals, according to the story.   The artist's reconstruction shows a vaguely possum-like creature, except for the lower jaw-line.

In addition to fur, the creature had fully mammalian detention (teeth) and jaw.   It possessed a spur on it's hind feet, similar in appearance to those poisonous ones seen on the male platypus today.   You might be wondering then, where is the evolution?   I mean if the overall form, fur, teeth, and jaw are mammal-like, and if it even possesses a specialized feature (poison spurs) found on mammals today, then what is different?

Well, it had vertebrae and ankle bones which looked more like those of another group, the so-called "mammal-like reptiles".   But the big feature they wanted to call attention to was that it's ear bones were still fused like in reptiles today.  It did not have the more "advanced" mammalian ear with separate bones.

So, have they proved anything about the evolution of the mammalian ear?  No.  Because other groups, which pre-date this fossil, already possessed separated middle ear bones by this time.  Why that happened is still a mystery.   But the bottom line is, where is the evolution?    There is a lot more mix-and-match of traits than there is real evidence for evolution.   The fur of modern mammals could not have started with this group because, besides the fur showing up in its modern form with no intermediates, this group does not have the right ear bones to be the ancestors of today's mammals.   Other groups that are a better fit regarding the ear bones existed before this one- but with no evidence they had fur at that time.

I see mix and match creatures.   Some of the mixes and matches died out, and other groups lived on.  But the distinguishing traits themselves all show up very early and with few exceptions (like the ear bone) fully formed.   The "evolution" appears to be the sorting out of which of these traits survives in what combination, morso than the development of the new traits themselves.

Three Signs Wal-Mart's Best Days are Behind It

The link implies the Wal-Mart empire is "collapsing".    That is too strong a word I think, though they do have tremendous costs just to keep going.  Their own "hugeness" makes them vulnerable to relatively minor loses in income.   Everything else in the link sounds right on....


The main complaints are that the stores are a mess, they have finally pushed too hard and angered both suppliers and workforce, their business model does not translate well overseas, nor in big cities here at home.