Tuesday, December 30, 2008

He Promised You Paris, But It's Starting to Look A Lot More Like Detroit

Detroit is a shrinking city that suffers from its affluent past. In its heyday, Detroit was flush with cash, enjoying union-boosted payrolls and trickle-down feather bedding. But the unions and the fat cats let the gold-laying goose starve in its roost. Now, anyone who can get out is already long gone. This is not just Detroit. This is California, Ohio, Pennsylvania. This is everywhere the entitlement mentality has taken hold, where the spirit of making it on your own merits has died. This is America, when run by the Chicago outfit.

So what do we have to look forward to?
In a city often known as the nation's murder capital, with over 10,000 unsolved murders dating back to 1960, the police are in shambles through cutbacks and corruption trials. (They have a profitable sideline, though, as one of the nation's largest gun dealers, having sold 14 tons of used weapons out-of-state.) Their response times are legendarily slow. Their crime lab is so inept that it has been closed. One Detroit man found police so unresponsive when trying to turn himself in for murder that he hopped a bus to Toledo and confessed there instead.

Detroit schools haven't ordered new textbooks in 19 years. Students have reported having to bring their own toilet paper. Teachers have reported bringing hammers to class for protection. Declining enrollment has forced 67 school closures since 2005 (more than a quarter of the city's schools). The graduation rate is 24.9 percent, the lowest of any large school district in the country.

....Precisely what caused all this mess is perhaps best left to historians. Locals' ideas for how it happened could keep one pinned to a barstool for weeks: auto companies failing or pushing out to the suburbs and beyond, white flight caused by the '67 riots and busing orders, the 20-year reign of Mayor Coleman Young who scared additional middle-class whites off with statements such as "The only way to handle discrimination is to reverse it," freeways destroying mass transit infrastructure, ineptitude, corruption, Japanese cars--take your pick.

What's clear, though, is that Detroit has failed, that it's broken and cracked. It is dying. But it's not yet dead. Although it has lost over half its population since 1950, 900,000 people still live there. I went to Detroit to experience a cross-section of those who live between its cracks, who either choose or are stuck with living among the ruins.

... _WeeklyStandard _ via_ PowerandControl
There are some people in Detroit who will not let the city die. Firefighters, a few honest police officers, one or two honest politicians, and even an honest reporter for the Detroit News. From some sense of loyalty or inertia, these Detroiters keep cleaning up the messes made by the masses of human castoffs. Detroit should by all rights be dead, for all the mismanagement, graft, and incompetence in City Hall.

Slow motion destruction, with no end in sight. Detroit today, America tomorrow? A careful look at Obama and his cronies gives little room for optimism. The same type of "make the taxpayers bleed" mentality that destroyed Detroit is rampant inside the Obamabot community. Given the narcissist-elects basic incompetence and unsuitability for true leadership through difficult times, it is likely that others will be running things behind the scenes. They will be acting behind the scenes because most of the things they will be doing will not stand the light of day.

Detroit is crumbling because most of its human capital has run away. The human capital that remains is occupied full time with damage control.

Can you look at your own city and see a reflection of Detroit, perhaps in the earlier stages? Bad management is endemic, and loss of human capital via mis-education is an ongoing catastrophe. What will you do?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Climate Luddite Fascism Reigns in Obama Reich

Obama has appointed another total moron -- this time as science advisor. John P. Holdren -- climate alarmist, carbon hysteric, and global warming orthodoxer -- is to be appointed science advisor for the incoming administration of the narcissist-elect. When taken together with other Obama appointments, Holdren's selection spells total disaster for US industrial competitiveness. How stupid is Holdren?
In 1980 Dr. Holdren helped select five metals — chrome, copper, nickel, tin and tungsten — and joined Dr. Ehrlich and Dr. Harte in betting $1,000 that those metals would be more expensive ten years later. They turned out to be wrong on all five metals, and had to pay up when the bet came due in 1990. _NYT
Yep, that's right. Holdren was part of the "everyone is doomed to die of starvation, peak oil, and resource depletion before the year 2000" crowd, along with the Club of Rome, Paul Ehrlich, and the other predecessors of carbon hysteric Al Gore. Selecting this merry band of Luddites, dieoff.orgiasts, and all around faux environmentalists casts a dim light on Obama's judgment and capacity to reason. But then, we all knew that Obama didn't write his books. And we all knew he wasn't really the messiah, right? And none of us actually was influenced by Oprah's endorsement of the narcissist-elect, nicht wahr? Of course not.

Prepare for the reign of boobs, fools, crooks, and pompous nitwits. Beneath all the media fawning and foaming at the mouth, underneath the death-dealing regulations and choking taxation, and despite the pro-union and pro-trial lawyer stabbing in the back of business enterprise, pockets of competence will survive. Look for those pockets and find ways to expand them. We will need foci of recovery, when US voters eventually come to their senses and force the spiked boots off of the neck of the private sector.

Update: Here's another look at the Holdren appointment. H/T Tom Nelson

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Just a Warning -- This Time

On a Friday night when small children were inside the building, Sarah Palin's Wasilla, Alaska church was vandalized by fire. The fire bombing of churches may be common practise in the vicinity of Selma, Alabama, but it is relatively uncommon in the state of Alaska. Just a warning to the governor, perhaps, to keep her opinions to herself? Similar to the warning to stay out of New York City, or she would be gang-raped? Sounds about right, when you go up against politicians from the Chicago gangster school of political corruption.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's home church was badly damaged by arson, leading the governor to apologize Saturday if the fire was connected to "undeserved negative attention" from her campaign as the Republican vice presidential nominee.

Damage to the Wasilla Bible Church was estimated at $1 million, authorities said. No one was injured in the fire, which was set Friday night while a handful of people, including two children, were inside, according to James Steele, the Central Mat-Su fire chief.

He said the blaze was being investigated as an arson. Steele said he didn't know of any recent threats to the church, and authorities did not know whether Palin's connection to the church was relevant to the fire. _WaPo
I guess it doesn't pay to speak out against the great uniter? Who knows? Wait and see what the police and fire arson investigators can dig up.

Corrupt Chicago thugs have hit the big time, so as in Putin's Russia, it might be best to keep one's thoughts to one's self, eh tovarisch?

H/T Small Dead Animals

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Palin to Detractors: Thanks Loads, Chumps!!!

Sarah Palin's self-appointed enemies in the media and the blogosphere have kept the Alaska Governor's name alive in print, on the air, and over the internet. Some bloggers have practically herniated themselves in their blue-faced effort to portray Palin as being less intelligent than Albert Einstein. How is all of this "bad publicity" affecting Palin's popularity? Well, for one thing, there is no such thing as "bad publicity."
Palin has been the subject of intense online fascination since her introduction as the Republican nominee on Aug. 29. In September, the Anchorage Daily News reported a 928 percent spike in traffic, according to Nielsen Online. Her mid-October “Saturday Night Live” appearance drove the show’s highest rating in 14 years, and her Oct. 2 debate with Joe Biden was the most watched vice presidential debate ever — drawing more viewers than any of the three presidential debates between McCain and Obama.

...A recent YouTube clip that featured her being interviewed while, unbeknownst to her, a turkey was slaughtered in the background was the site's most-viewed clip over the last week. Two of the top 10 video moments of 2008, according to Truveo, an online video search engine, also involve Palin — a “Saturday Night Live” skit that mocks her and the governor’s ill-fated interview with Katie Couric of CBS.

..Palin's continuous presence in the news has played a role in the unabated levels of search activity. First she was buffeted by anonymous criticism from the McCain camp after the ticket's defeat, then she cut a high profile at the Republican Governors Association meeting one week later. In between, she sat for an interview with Greta Van Susteren of Fox News and delivered the show's largest audience of the year.

According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, Palin was the second-leading newsmaker for the week of Nov. 10-16, trailing only Obama and ranking ahead of President Bush, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and McCain in the number of stories about her.

“As long as she’s still in the mainstream media, it will continue to fuel her presence online. She’s sort of fanning the flames just by showing up,” said Phil Noble, president of PoliticsOnline and a pioneering consultant in online politics. “The other issue is that at some point people become permanent celebrities. She may have just reached that status.” _ Source
Governor Palin is certainly more intelligent than most of her detractors. More importantly, Palin has authentic competence and character that her critics could only dream of--if they had any idea what competence and character were in the first place.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Elect Obama and Choose a 30 Year Depression

Warning: None of this energy production can take place in a timely manner, unless Obama drops his carbon hysteria. Since that is unlikely to happen, understand that advanced coal gasification can and probably will be stopped the same way that nuclear power in the US was stopped cold by environmental lawyers. Already, the Obama EPA is planning to treat CO2 as a dangerous pollutant. That spells energy and economic decay for the country. The government is not the country, but the government can suppress the natural human energy and productivity of the country. That is the Obamafuture, unless citizens make themselves heard in a non-compliant, non sheep-like manner.

Massachusetts investment firm C Change Investments LLC of Cambridge, Mass, is pairing with an unnamed large utility company to build a $3.5 billion coal to gas plant producing 300 billion cubic feet of gas per year. That is equivalent to 7% of the amount of natural gas shipped to the US from Canada yearly.
In addition to producing synthetic natural gas — a cleaner form of gas created from coal and petroleum coke at extremely higher temperatures — the project would capture carbon dioxide and pipe it to offshore wells in the Gulf to improve extraction of oil and gas.

...The NC12 venture claims to have a game-changing catalytic technology that will convert coal along with petroleum coke from Louisiana refineries into synthetic natural gas at half the cost of other gasification technologies.

Among the company’s principals is John Preston, a senior lecturer at MIT’s Entrepreneurship Center. Preston and other investors bought patents for high-temperature liquid metal catalysts and the assets of Molten Metal Technologies in Fall River, Mass., according to NC12 materials.

It’s that technology that NC12 would employ in Louisiana. Allen said about 1.5 billion cubic feet of synthetic natural gas has been produced in Fall River and transported via pipeline, proving the company’s concept at that scale, he said.

At 2,700 degrees F, 32-foot high reactors with a 10-foot diameter house the gasification process. About 10 would be installed in a first phase in Louisiana and produce 50 billion cubic feet of synthetic natural gas per year, Allen said.
Such advanced coal to gas, coal to liquid, and coal to electricity plants are an essential part of the foundation for America's energy bridge to sustainability. In a few decades, utility scale storage will allow large scale use of solar and wind without the huge costs for backup energy currently required. In addition, enhanced geothermal energy will have been perfected in a few decades to provide large scale sustainable baseline power.

The combination of the new clean gasification technologies (of coal, biomass, shale, etc) with new modular nuclear reactors, should allow for a transition to cleaner and sustainable energy without the devastating interruption of a decade long depression.

If Obama, Pelosi, Boxer, Gore, and their pals step in to enforce nonsensical carbon hysteric EPA rules on CO2, all bets are off--and a multi-decadal depression starts to look likely. From Bush to Obama? Out of a simmering pan and into the hottest fire imaginable.

Taken from Al Fin Energy

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

If You Thought We Were In Trouble Before, Wait

Mr. Obama, narcissistic senator from Illinois, is the center of his own universe, a legend in his own mind from very early in life onward. He truly believes that if he thinks it, it can become real. No matter how many other people are involved. Because in the Obamaverse, only one person really and truly matters.
Obama’s speeches are grandiose. They are other worldly. He may talk about the war in Iraq, taxes or social security. It does not matter how mundane is the subject, he makes them sound transcendental and his audience is moved to tears. His worshippers do not go to listen to his plans. He has yet to offer any that is workable and different. They go to bask in his glory, to get high. Obama presents himself as someone with a unique vision and grasp of the entire problems affecting, not just the nation but the world, a pretense that is incomensurate with his track record.....When you fall for someone to the extent that Obama’s followers have fallen for him, you surrender your reason and individuality to him willingly. When millions of people surrender their hearts and their minds to one person the result can be catastrophic. This is what happened in Germany with Hitler, in China with Mao, in the Soviet Union with Stalin, in Cuba with Castro, in Iran with Khomeini, and so on and so forth. Today, we think these men were monsters, but that was not what millions of their worshipers thought. Those people loved them.

...Narcissists seek power. That is the whole purpose of their existence. Power for them is the elixir of life. Those who know about NPD can’t help but notice it in Obama’s posture, the tone of his voice, his demeanor and particularly his grandiose claims and unscripted adlibs.

Narcissim has degrees. When it is extreme it shows in the posture and the way the narcissist walks and talks. Obama's posture, exudes haughtiness. He is all puffery. Compare his posture to those of Hitler, Stalin and Saddam. _Making of a Fuehrer_via_KimduToit
I was resistant to this line of reasoning for a long time, because it is so easy to label someone a "Hitler", but not so easy to back it up. Ali Sina backs up his assertions more than well enough in his article excerpted above. The farther along the Obama train wreck progresses, the more obvious is the truth of Sina's observations.

I could suggest that you be afraid, but you will be whatever you choose to be. The more intelligent choice would be to get ready. Because the change that this fuehrer brings with him will not be the kind you will wish to adjust to on short notice.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Preparing for the Obama Depression

Take a look at this and this. If you connect the dots, they spell a devastating economic downturn under Obama plus Pelosi plus filibuster-proof Reid. They also spell a national security disaster of historic proportions. Either one--economic disaster or national security disaster--alone would be catastrophic. Both at the same time would be cataclysmic for the 230 year old American Experiment. "A republic, if you can keep it . . ." Franklin said. "If" indeed.

How would a wise person prepare for a potential Obama depression? First of all, don't wait until the election. Start buying things you might have been strongly considering buying anyway, if they fit the scenario.

Guns, lots of guns and ammunition--if you know how to use them and care for them. Otherwise, you may want to make friends with loyal and reliable people who have that expertise.

Get out of debt. Nothing is worse in the middle of economic bad times than to be tossed out on the street or to have your vital transportation confiscated. Cut down on luxuries and accelerate those payments. Build a cash reserve. Have a cache of gold and silver coins, and a supply of trade goods of various value to use in place of money. Also, hone any basic skills you may have which might allow for barter situations.

Make good friends with your neighbors. If too many of your neighbors are unreliable or antagonistic, consider relocating to a more amenable (and defensible) area.

Look to essentials: food, water, sanitation, shelter, heat, power, fuel etc. How would you get the essentials under different scenarios? What do you need to stockpile, and what do you need to find super-reliable sources for? Can you convert to ethanol or biodiesel for transportation and/or generator fuel?

Once you account for most of the basic needs of yourself and your family, what about others in your inner circle? Are they thinking about worst cases? What can you do to help them?

Do you have a bugout kit and destination? Those precautions are for when things are soon to be falling apart around you at your current location, and you must get out now if you get out at all. A bugout destination is a fallback position. It can be an intermediate fallback position or your final "do or die" location. Best to consider every location an intermediate fallback but be prepared to defend it if it comes to "d or d."

There are many other things to consider. Check out the survival category on the Al Fin sidebar as a possible starting point. Customize your planning for your particular situation.

Added Bonus: A Tutorial on Obamanomics
H/T Small Dead Animals

All the PhDs, JDs, MBAs Cannot Make Capital Markets Work, But Sarah Palin Can

Sarah Palin is quite special, and quite ordinary--for America--at the same time. The true story of Palin contains the reason for America's ability to absorb multiple blows that would have ended most other governments and economies. It is the resilience of Americans like Palin, the sheer energy, optimism in the face of difficulties, and perseverance that allows America to bounce back in the face of multiple overwhelming problems and threats.
Provincial America depends on the initiative of ordinary people to get through the day..... Americans pay for most of their school costs out of local taxes, and levy those taxes on themselves. In small towns, many public agencies, including fire protection and emergency medical assistance, depend almost entirely on volunteers. People who tax themselves, and give their own time and money for services on which communities depend, are not easily cowed by the federal government or by large corporations.

Palin's career may look like a poor imitation of a Preston Sturges script, but films such as Hail the Conquering Hero (1944) struck a chord with Americans precisely because the character type of the ordinary man or woman who takes on entrenched interests is instantly recognizable in America.

Palin really did take on the American oil companies and turn the scoundrels out of office. Her predecessor, Frank Murkowski, appointed her to the state oil and gas commission in the apparent belief that a small-town mayor and former beauty queen would rubber-stamp corrupt deals between the state and the Big Oil companies.

Shades of Jimmy Stewart in Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Palin ran against Murkowski and took his job. That does not qualify her to be president, to be sure, but it does show cunning and strength of character. Palin is qualified for high office by temperament if not by education, and is preferable to candidates whose education has made no improvement on their characters.

....One doesn't see demonstrations by wronged peasants in the small towns of America. There never were peasants - American farmers always were entrepreneurs - and the locals avenge injury by taking over their local governments, which have sufficient authority to make a difference. At the capillary level, school boards, the Parent Teachers' Association, self-administered religious organizations and volunteer organizations incubate a political class entirely different from anything to be found in Asia. There are tens of thousands of Sarah Palins lurking in the minor leagues of American politics, and they are the guarantors of market probity.

...Twenty-eight percent of China's population falls in the age cohort of 39-64 years, when individuals must put away most of their retirement savings. By 2025, the proportion will rise to 35%. (By contrast, America has 32% of its population in the 39-64 cohort today, but it will fall to 30% by 2025). _AsiaTimes
Europe's problem is similar to China's. Europe--and Russia--was populated by peasants at one time. The peasant mentality still persists in European and Asian countries--the lack of independent thinking which imagines that it can actually make a difference.

Sarah Palin has an impressive record of achievement which promises to grow stronger every year, whether or not she is elected Vice President next month. Unlike entitlist Barak Obama--whose followers hint that they may riot if their messianic leader is not elected--Palin inspires people to want to work for and earn what they achieve. That spirit of setting goals and working hard to achieve them is what caused America to rise to the top of the economic world in the late 19th century, and to the top of the political and military world after the end of WWII. Most Americans--like Sarah Palin--do not whine and quit just because things are not going well.

The entitlement mentality that controls most of the polities of the world--and is knocking at the door on Wall street and Pennsylvania Avenue--has not yet completely taken over main street America. Just the fact of opinion polls suggesting a high likelihood of the entitlist winning the presidency, is having a depressing effect on markets recently.

Because if America goes over entirely to entitlement thinking, the thing that once made America special and has continued to keep America on top, will be smothered and in danger of dying. Understanding that an American cold gives the world pneumonia, one might begin to apprehend what would happen to the rest of the world should America's situation suddenly become much worse than a mere cold.

300 million Barak Obama's in one country would be an epic disaster of narcissistic top-heaviness and absence of competence. 300 million Sarah Palin's, on the other hand, would carry on much as America has carried on for centuries. Working, planning, innovating, reforming, worshiping, raising families, fulfilling their contracts, keeping their word, and living within their means.

BO might be a good president of Zimbabwe or Venezuela--he might represent an improvement over their current leaders. As president of the US, BO is simply a suicidal gesture thrown in the face of ordinary Americans by wastrels who never in their best efforts could make capital markets work.

More: Why European banks are likely in much more trouble than American banks

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sarah Palin's Wisdom: What Obama Cannot Have

Barak Obama "only knows how to talk," according to his two daughters and wife, Michelle. He has never done an honest day's work in his life. Obama was loosed like a guided missile by his white Hawaiian mother, of Marxist persuasion. Obama's paleskin mother meant for her son to be a weapon against "the man", capitalist power structure. Her indoctrination of the boy, and her exposure of him to marxist acquaintances set BO's trajectory toward his current super-destructor path.

Sarah Palin is typical middle America. Raised in the American frontier state of Alaska, she only entered politics to address the corruption and ineffectiveness that she saw there. Sarah became a wife and mother, and through those normal life processes she began to notice things that were wrong. Starting with the PTA, going to the city council, then the mayorship, then the governorship of her state, Palin attacked the "good ole boy" network of corruption between government and corporate interests. She stalked corrupt interests like she stalks a moose. All business, based upon relevant experience, while discovering better techniques along the way. Wisdom from real world experience.
I have been asked by many why I have such confidence in a rookie Alaskan governor, given the rigors of the campaign to follow. (Many Republican pundits apparently do not.) I think we are starting to see the answers to that question. The proverbial “they” hacked into her private email accounts. They swore that her daughter was the real mother of her Down Syndrome baby. They sent legions of reporters and lawyers to Alaska to dig up dirt. They wrote columns suggesting that she was stupid, uneducated, dishonest, a liar, and worse still. All this was the work of moralists, who, in their more extreme manifestations, tried to flood a Chicago radio station to disrupt guests, who doctored photos of McCain to subvert his portrait, who disgraced the Atlantic brand by trafficking in pregnancy rumors, and who now publish the private email of Palin.

And? She is still smiling and apparently unmoved. Had they done this to Biden, he would have gone berserk. Wait—they didn’t do this to Biden, and he seems near berserk in his daily gaffes.

....The qualities that allowed a Palin to succeed without the power spouse, the identity politics, the Ivy-League cachet, the fawning New York editors and DC insider-press will ensure she does not implode on the campaign trail—and won’t in office either.

Barack Obama, in contrast, on numerous occasions has complained how tiring, how hard, how unfair, how racist the campaign has turned out to be; Palin never. I could not imagine Obama doing his hope and change thing in the Senate while holding a one-year-old and checking on four more children at home. And I wager shooting a moose or trying to navigate a snowmobile in the chill is a little harder than shooting baskets in one’s down time or offering riffs to the fainting at a Beverly Hills get together or Presidio Heights fundraiser.

Again my point? That the much deprecated “life experience” is every bit as important to leadership as is abstract learning. Both complement each other, but so far I think Palin understands the symbiotic world of word and the world of deed far more so than does Obama. And again, we are not talking about McCain, where the contrast only widens–and is far more important. _PJM
Barak, like most of his followers, is a whiner, a perpetual victim. His mother implanted that meme in his little round head when he was barely out of the womb. But he is an articulate whiner, which makes his followers believe that he can get them "justice." But like his wife and daughters always say, the man is just talk.

Palin can stalk, kill, gut, and butcher a moose just like changing a diaper, or slapping down a corrupt politician. All in a day's work. Obama can talk. And talk. .....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Obama as Gatsby, A Phantom Wanting to be Real

The Obama story catches the imagination, until one looks a little too closely. Then it all unravels:
Even after two autobiographies, Mr. Obama remains something of a floating, uncrowded presence. His story (and he is so impressively self-aware as to have made the most acute comment on it) is temptingly open-ended, very much a page to be written on. He himself has written, most memorably: "I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views."

That is as bold a statement as it is an insightful one. Bold, because it is a remarkable confession from a presidential hopeful. Insightful, because it matches the facts. There are not many personalities so fluid or vague on which an attempt to "project" a storyline would take hold. Imagine, for example, projecting a "rewrite" of Donald Rumsfeld. There's too much of Mr. Rumsfeld already there to offer hospitality to new material.

Mr. Obama, however, has a kind of welcoming emptiness. Eager acolyte or stern observer, both find it difficult not to add, or project, the most flattering, even jubilant, fill-ins.

...People project their best wishes on him, they fill in the blank of a very attractive and plausible outline. His is not, emphatically, a charisma of deeds. For what has he done, save run for president? He is an accommodating vessel - cool, smart, biracial and "unfinished." This is the Gatsby quality of him that others have noted. Like Gatsby, he is a receptacle of others' glamorous invention.

....Mr. Obama's charisma is, in this sense, external, something extended to the candidate. And it follows that that which is given may equally be taken away. The sparkle has, in fact, dimmed. He travels now in a lower orbit, closer to Earth - which is to say, he grows more mundane. The great word "hope" sounds less frequently now. He picks a running mate thick with the dust and rancour of many long years in Washington.

His acceptance speech in the Olympic-style stadium could not gather the inspirational energy of his earlier arias. Of late, the flash supernova of U.S. politics is seen "competing" with a second-on-the-ticket female governor of a remote state. There's more than a gap between the "audacity of hope" and "lipstick on a pig." The mouth that spoke the first phrase should not be capable of the second.

He has shrunk into a combative partisan. He crowds his own screen, leaves less space for projection. Others are not writing his narrative now - he's inscribing his own.

A candidacy that leached so much of its energy and drive from the imagination of others, Gatsby-like, is shedding its gift. The narrative stage is over. It's all tactics from here on in. _GlobeandMail
Unfortunately, Obama has nothing to follow the first act. If you weren't taken in by the "Hollow Man's" first magic trick--becoming a political chameleon--you just have to be left behind by the Obama "rapture with the gods" transfiguration. It appears that you will have a lot of company.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lipstick On A Pig and a Rather Piggish Media

When Obama made his famous jibe about "lipstick on a pig", his audience went wild with giddy and appreciative applause. The "lipstick meme" had been firmly attached to Sarah Palin the week previously, when the Alaska governor explained that "the only difference between a pit bull and a hocky mom, is lipstick." The lipstick meme had circulated widely, and political audiences understood the unspoken allusion immediately. That is what made them so giddy.

Because Obama supporters are worried. They are worried that the tracks for Obama's magic messiah-train to the White House have been undermined by the deeper magic of Sarah Palin--authenticity.
Sarah Palin makes me sick. I hate that she was able to steal Barack Obama's mojo just by showing up wearing rimless glasses and a skirt. _Source
And somewhat like a canny American football player who fouls an opposing player out of sight of the official, in order to elicit a retaliation that the official does see--and penalizes--Obama protested that his remark was entirely innocent of reference to the lady governor. Obama is a gentleman, after all. Would a gentleman be so crude and crass? And would the audience of a gentleman take such obvious pleasure in a gutter joke? Surely not.

Only--the public sees through Obama and his media excusers. In fact, the public is slowly growing aware that the US ABC News company purposely edited out portions of Governor Palin's replies in a recent interview with Charlie Gibson. That is the type of double dealing that is certain to make Americans very angry with news media. Such duplicity brings back strong memories of CBS' Dan Rather's "fake but accurate" fictitious national guard memoes meant to derail Bush's candidacy four years ago. Very bad style, boys, very bad style. It's apt to reach back and bite you in an embarassing place.

Friday, September 05, 2008

This Woman Does Not Run From a Fight

Sarah Palin had a few words to say in front of a group in St. Paul last night. Those words were just the beginning of an ongoing show of strength by an extraordinary woman. Sarah Palin is authentic in a way that Barak Obama could never be, and the American people for the most part will not fail to appreciate the difference. Joe Biden? Who's that?
There is a big difference between someone making daily decisions as an executive, and one among hundreds who voices an opinion.

Palin has said “no” to hundreds of millions in federal handouts to Alaska; Obama has never turned away federal money and advocates spending billions and billions more.

Palin has governed a state that borders the former Soviet Union and Canada. Obama has served in the legislature of a state that borders Iowa.

Palin has been to the Middle East and has a son in the Army who will be deployed to Iraq next week. Obama visited Iraq for two days a few weeks ago.

Palin has governed a state twice the size of France, with rave reviews; Obama has governed nothing.

Palin has worked the last couple of years on the job, earning her salary as governor. Obama has spent the last couple of years collecting a salary as U.S. senator, but spending most of his job running for the Democrat nomination for the presidency. _Source
And so on. Palin is genuine, Obama is a mirage. That much is clear and will grow much clearer before election day.

Monday, September 01, 2008

This Is The Funniest Satire Video I've Ever Seen

All hail the messiah, Obama, Obama
The Path to the new socialist motherland!
Our avior our savior obama obama
the leader more famous than lindsay lohan

bow down and praise the one
give him your money and your guns
give us the country that makes your wife proud
Lord Barry heal the bitter ones
White and clinging to faith and to guns

Hope for the change for the hope for the change!

H/T Infidel Bloggers' Alliance

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama's Friends Tend to Be a Bit Passionate

William Ayers and Barak Obama are the type of "associates" who do each other favours. That is simply how things are done among men of blood, so to speak.
In February 1970, my father, a New York State Supreme Court justice, was presiding over the trial of the so-called “Panther 21,” members of the Black Panther Party indicted in a plot to bomb New York landmarks and department stores. Early on the morning of February 21, as my family slept, three gasoline-filled firebombs exploded at our home on the northern tip of Manhattan, two at the front door and the third tucked neatly under the gas tank of the family car. (Today, of course, we’d call that a car bomb.) A neighbor heard the first two blasts and, with the remains of a snowman I had built a few days earlier, managed to douse the flames beneath the car. That was an act whose courage I fully appreciated only as an adult, an act that doubtless saved multiple lives that night.

I still recall, as though it were a dream, thinking that someone was lifting and dropping my bed as the explosions jolted me awake, and I remember my mother’s pulling me from the tangle of sheets and running to the kitchen where my father stood. Through the large windows overlooking the yard, all we could see was the bright glow of flames below. We didn’t leave our burning house for fear of who might be waiting outside. The same night, bombs were thrown at a police car in Manhattan and two military recruiting stations in Brooklyn. Sunlight, the next morning, revealed three sentences of blood-red graffiti on our sidewalk: FREE THE PANTHER 21; THE VIET CONG HAVE WON; KILL THE PIGS.

For the next 18 months, I went to school in an unmarked police car. My mother, a schoolteacher, had plainclothes detectives waiting in the faculty lounge all day. My brother saved a few bucks because he didn’t have to rent a limo for the senior prom: the NYPD did the driving. We all made the best of the odd new life that had been thrust upon us, but for years, the sound of a fire truck’s siren made my stomach knot and my heart race. In many ways, the enormity of the attempt to kill my entire family didn’t fully hit me until years later, when, a father myself, I was tucking my own nine-year-old John Murtagh into bed.

Though no one was ever caught or tried for the attempt on my family’s life, there was never any doubt who was behind it. Only a few weeks after the attack, the New York contingent of the Weathermen blew themselves up making more bombs in a Greenwich Village townhouse. The same cell had bombed my house, writes Ron Jacobs in The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground. And in late November that year, a letter to the Associated Press signed by Bernardine Dohrn, Ayers’s wife, promised more bombings.

As the association between Obama and Ayers came to light, it would have helped the senator a little if his friend had at least shown some remorse. But listen to Ayers interviewed in the New York Times on September 11, 2001, of all days: “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” Translation: “We meant to kill that judge and his family, not just damage the porch.” When asked by the Times if he would do it all again, Ayers responded: “I don’t want to discount the possibility.”

Though never a supporter of Obama, I admired him for a time for his ability to engage our imaginations, and especially for his ability to inspire the young once again to embrace the political system. Yet his myopia in the last few months has cast a new light on his “politics of change.” Nobody should hold the junior senator from Illinois responsible for his friends’ and supporters’ violent terrorist acts. But it is fair to hold him responsible for a startling lack of judgment in his choice of mentors, associates, and friends, and for showing a callous disregard for the lives they damaged and the hatred they have demonstrated for this country. It is fair, too, to ask what those choices say about Obama’s own beliefs, his philosophy, and the direction he would take our nation. _City-Journal
Obama has never worked an honest day in his entire life. Yet he has had plenty of time to make some very interesting friends along the radical path. Being a messiah means never having to say you are sorry. For yourself, for your friends, for anything at all.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Foolish and Forever Barbarians, Russia: Who Will Mourn Your Passing?

On the historical eve of the passing of the Russian people through demographic disappearance, Vladimir Putin is sewing the seeds for lasting blood feuds against Russia, among its neighbors. Putin's foolhardy invasion of Georgia, and the subsequent brutal occupation and ethnic cleansing by Russian soldiers and their paramilitary/terrorist allies, seals the fate of the eternally barbarian people from Rus.
Russia’s invasion of Georgia has unleashed a refugee crisis all over the country and especially in its capital. Every school here in Tbilisi is jammed with civilians who fled aerial bombardment and shootings by the Russian military—or massacres, looting, and arson by irregular Cossack paramilitary units swarming across the border. Russia has seized and effectively annexed two breakaway Georgian provinces, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It has also invaded the region of Gori, which unlike them had been under Georgia’s control. Gori is in the center of the country, just an hour’s drive from Tbilisi; 90 percent of its citizens have fled, and the tiny remainder live amid a violent mayhem overseen by Russian occupation forces that, despite Moscow’s claims to the contrary, are not yet withdrawing.

...“They came and asked us for wine, but first we had to drink it ourselves to show that it was not poisoned. Then they drank the wine themselves. And then they said to leave this place as soon as possible; otherwise they would kill us. The Russians were looking for anyone who had soldiers in their home. If anyone had a Georgian soldier at home they burned the houses immediately.” _MichaelTotten/CityJournal
The US is establishing a permanent military presence inside Georgia, with likely airfields for fighter aircraft to be built soon. American destroyer ships have entered the Black Sea to assure Georgian control of Georgian seaports. Russia has created the perfect pretext for permanent US military bases in Georgia--which coincidentally will have the effect of further tightening a noose around Iran.
On Saturday the US ambassador to Georgia said they had decided to continue training the Georgian army in a full-time programme.US 'security guarantee'

During the Soviet era, Krtsanisi military base outside Tbilisi was home to the Red Army. Now it is US soldiers who are in charge and, according to the US Ambassador in Tbilisi Richard Miles, they are in Georgia to stay. _BBC_via_MSimon
Russia is losing half its population every 40 to 50 years. There will be no Russia by the end of this century, for it is certain that more prolific neighbors from Muslim central Asia will claim whatever they wish, and a resurgent China will lay claim to huge portions of Eastern Siberia for its oil wealth.

After "claiming" the entire Arctic for mineral exploration, Russia will be lucky to actually control as much as one fourth of its current land area after another 60 years. And who will mourn for lost Russia, after its renewed barbarian behaviour? Habits of conquest and pillage developed over hundreds of years will apparently never be put aside peacefully. It is coming down to selecting the best way to limit the losses when Russia does finally disintegrate.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Russia Now Holds Europe by the Short Hairs

Russian has plowed through Georgia, destroying bridges, burning crops, and ethnically cleansing Georgians from their land. But besides an attempt to depose the Georgian president, Putin's goal was to produce schock, awe, and eternal energy dependency in the minds of European countries. The energy pipelines through Georgia are now within reach of Russian-sponsored terrorists, which means that Russia can shut down most of Europe's energy on a whim. Europe needs to come up with alternatives quickly, if it does not wish to become an energy thrall to the new Russian tsar.
Thanks to Russia's invasion of Georgia on Aug. 8, Georgia's role as a secure energy transit point to Europe has been shattered. Russia has made clear it can make Georgia a puppet state if it wishes, and will almost certainly recognize the independence of the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Suddenly the risk premiums on oil and gas pipelines that pass through Georgian soil went through the roof. Some analysts are already predicting the death of the Nabucco project, whose construction was to begin in 2010.

So much for Europe's energy diversification plans. New, independent pipelines from Central Asia seem like a lost cause. With Georgia reined in, Moscow's grip on energy supplies to Europe must be close to complete. You have to wonder whether a Kremlin filing cabinet contains a plan that had laid out this very scenario a decade ago.

What is Europe to do? Time for Diversification Plan B. A big part of the plan would have to see Europe turning the Mediterranean into mare nostrum - our sea - as the Romans called it in the empire years. The North African countries of Libya and Algeria, and Syria in the Eastern Med to a lesser extent, have vast, undeveloped oil and gas fields.

Energy companies with an appetite for political risk have been pouring billions into these countries. One of them is Petro-Canada, which is already hauling 50,000 barrels of oil a day out of Libya and has targeted the country for significant growth. Algeria's gas reserves are mammoth. Last year, Italy and Algeria agreed to construct a 900-kilometre pipeline to take Algerian gas to Sardinia, then on to the Italian mainland. Other pipelines will have to be built. Speed is of the essence, because Gazprom's ambitions are boundless. Last month it offered to buy all of Libya's gas exports.

Mediterranean gas cannot be the entire solution. Europe will have to rethink its nuclear strategy. Germany and Spain have committed to phase out nuclear power. Surely, that strategy will have to be reversed. Italy has no nuclear power plants. That will have to change, too.

A few nuclear plants are under construction in Europe after a moratorium that began with the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. The number will have to soar if Europe is to take energy diversification seriously.

Coal might make a big comeback, too.....
None of this energy blackmail would be possible, if not for Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer's eternal crusade against American energy production. The insanity of the US Democratic Party's approach to energy, combined with an out-of-control faux-environmental and trial lawyer gang, have made the western world relatively easy to blackmail. If not for the military might of the US and a president willing to use it to secure energy supplies, every tinpot dictator with oil underground would be blackmailing the energy consumers of the developed world--not just Russia, Iran, and Venezuela.

Russia Makes More Enemies Just When it Needs to be Making More Friends

Russia's blundering invasion of Georgia has exposed Moscow's leadership for neo-imperialists and thugs. The good thing about Putin's miscalculation is how well it exposed the EU's "soft diplomacy" for the idiocy that it is. Putin respects the EU's soft diplomace as much as he respects doormats and toilet paper. But he would have been much more clever to make the EU think otherwise for a while longer.
The price that Russia is paying for the invasion of Georgia is increased isolation. The major regional powers of the modern world are the US, China, the EU, Russia, India and Japan. Since the Georgian invasion, Russia has had strained relations with the US and Europe, and no major friends. Russia is a large Asian power, stretching to the Pacific Ocean, but the three most important Asian powers, China, India and Japan, do not have close or trusting relations with it.

Of the six world powers, or groups of powers, Russia is seen as the least reliable, the least friendly.....Russia is increasingly isolated from its “near abroad”. To Georgians, Ukrainians or citizens of the Baltic states, Mr Putin's Russia appears to be following a “bad neighbour policy”. For the Russian voter, Putinism may appear to be reasserting Russia's position in the world; to its neighbours, Russia is now an ugly threat....

Russia has essential interests in common with the West. Global trade, a stable European market for oil and gas, resistance to Islamic terrorism, avoidance of military conflict, investment in modernisation. It was hoped that Russia and the West could build on these interests to cement good relations and strengthen the global economy.

The first European reactions to the invasion of Georgia showed that Europe hoped to protect this co-operative policy. Had Russia limited the Georgian operation to the protection of South Ossetian refugees, but kept troops out of Georgia proper, a co-operative policy might have been maintained. Instead, there has been broad Russian aggression against Georgian territory.

The delay in the ceasefire and the extension of the invasion far beyond the boundary of South Ossetia has created a very different climate, made worse by threats to target nuclear weapons against Poland and, it appears, Ukraine as well.

In a world of global trade, Russia cannot afford to be isolated. No doubt the Kremlin hawks are riding high now. Yet as Sir Robert Walpole said of a mid 18th-century war: “They now ring the bells, but they will soon wring their hands.” _Timesonline
Of course Putin is slicing off his own nose to spite his face. He is adding miscalculation to miscalculation. Is anyone in a position of leadership within Russia capable of recognising the increasingly suicidal course that Putin has set for the country? If so, they are afraid for their lives, so they remain silent.

Russia is underpopulated for the size of its territory as it is, but considering Putin's ambitions--on top of the crashing demographic decrease of ethnic Russians--and Russia will simply be unable to defend its borders within a few decades.

If Russia were a friend to anyone in the world, perhaps it could rely on its neighbors for mutual aid and protection, like Canada does with the US. But almost all of Russia's neighbors have been turned into enemies, except perhaps China. And China is only biding its time until it can seize Russia's immense Siberian mineral wealth.

And so we see the mindlessly self-defeating nature of Putin's macho gesture against the Georgians. The fallout is just beginning.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Barak Obama Exposed By His Own History

The baby Senator from Illinois, Barak Obama, enjoys being something of a cypher. His soothing and hypnotic public voice as a presidential candidate is significantly at odds with his actions as community organizer and state legislator from South Side Chicago's mean streets. Obama would rather keep his legislative and activist record a secret--at least until after the election. Stanley Kurtz investigated Obama's record as public servant in Illinois, and his expose in The Weekly Standard is worth a read for anyone who wants to understand their choices for November.
...extensive and continuous coverage in both the Chicago Defender and the Hyde Park Herald presents a remarkable resource for understanding who Obama is. Reportage in these two papers is particularly significant because Obama's early political career-the time between his first campaign for the Illinois State Senate in 1995 and his race for U.S. Senate in 2004-can fairly be called the "lost years," the
period Obama seems least eager to talk about, in contrast to his formative years in Hawaii, California, and New York or his days as a community organizer, both of which are recounted in his memoir, Dreams from My Father. The pages of the Hyde Park Herald and the Chicago Defender thus offer entrée into Obama's heretofore hidden world.

What they portray is a Barack Obama sharply at variance with the image of the post-racial, post-ideological, bipartisan, culture-war-shunning politician familiar from current media coverage and purveyed by the Obama campaign. __WeeklyStandard
It is easier for me to understand now why Obama doesn't mind being perceived as a Rorschach ink blot--vague and shifting. In Obama's case, it is far better to be seen as ambiguous than to be known for what one actually is.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Can Obama Be a Messiah to Black Males?

There is a sense of optimism among many US blacks regarding the so-far successful candidacy of Barak Obama. This ecstatic burst of utopianism extends well beyond the US black community into Europe--even to Islamic terror organisations--but it is US blacks whose hopes are elevated to the most rapturous levels.

If Obama could do anything to help black males in the US, perhaps it would be worth it to elect him president just for that. What are the challenges?
In examining graduation rates, the report finds a national graduation rate for black males (47 percent) that is 28 percentage points lower than the graduation rate for white males (75 percent). In ten states, the difference in graduation rates for black males and white males is 30 percentage points or more...In addition to low graduation rates, black males also have "consistently low educational attainment levels, are more chronically unemployed and underemployed, are less healthy and have access to fewer health care resources, die much younger, and are many times more likely to be sent to jail for periods significantly longer than males of other racial/ethnic groups," according to the report. _Source_via_JoanneJacobs
As a group, black males are the chronic statistical laggards of US society. Can Barak Obama do anything at all to help them? The problem is vast and begins at a very early age.
In the country as a whole, the number of Black students in Special Education classes is disproportionately high and the number in Gifted/Talented programs is disproportionately low. The number of Black students, particularly Black male students, who receive out-of-school suspensions and are expelled is also disproportionately high. _Source_via_JoanneJacobs
A quick look at the chart above shows that as bad as young black males are doing in school, their sisters--born of the same parents, raised in the same homes, and eating the same foods--are actually doing fairly well.
Why are black girls doing reasonably well by comparison? Black girls, in contrast to the boys, get pretty good grades, go to college at decent rates and graduate from college at very good rates, earning degrees as twice the rate of men. _Source_via_JoanneJacobs
Black males are staggeringly over-represented in the prison population--44% of prisoners, and only 5% or so of the population (black males of prison age). The overall IQ average for American blacks is 85. That is 1 standard deviation below the overall mean of roughly 100. It very possible that the black male average IQ is even less than the overall US black average IQ, looking at comparative life success.

We know that executive function (EF) is more important than IQ for life success, although EF lacks a comparably accepted metric to IQ, so it is more difficult to compare EF statistics. EF can be improved by training (Posner, Rothbart), which should be done not much later than age 6. Even so, EF--like IQ--is highly heritable, so that there are limits to what training can do. Still, better trained than not.

Finally, if Barak Obama becomes US President next January, will the IQ's and EF's of black males magically and instantly normalise? Will we see abrupt drops in criminal and delinquent behaviour from black males? Will black males suddenly begin succeeding in school--from kindergarten through college? Will the exaggerated strut of young black males suddenly have a full complement of efficacy and competence backing it up?

Probably not. Not immediately, and not for a very long time. Then what will become of all of the magical expectations floating around the messianic candidacy of Barak Obama?

Obama has no substantive achievements, no particular experience or accomplishments to prepare him for the challenges he would face as chief executive of the world's only superpower. But never mind all that. Born of a white mother, raised largely by a white family, and only absorbing the victimist culture of black America secondhand--what has prepared Obama to pull black males out of the incredibly deep hole they are in?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Booby-Trapped Highways in Iraq

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have been the main cause of death for coalition troops in Iraq. Multiple patrol and supply convoys are always traveling from place to place in Iraq, and no road can be assumed safe. What are the counter-measures?
...Up to 80 percent of US casualties during the past two years of the conflict had been caused by IED attacks. In 2006, some road patrol units in Anbar province were discovering or setting off up to 10 IEDs each night patrol while covering less than a mile of roadway...

[But] Investment in "alien-looking" mine-detection equipment by the U.S. military, combined with increased funding for Iraqi police and army units, has cut the number of improvised explosive attacks in the past year in the northern part of the country from 6,000 a month a year ago to less than 500 this month.

Fully 75 percent of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) emplaced in parts of Iraq are now being discovered before they explode, the US Army said.

...To combat the explosive tire, engineer battalions now use several pieces of newly developed equipment that have little use outside of bomb discovery. The first looks like a mating of an industrial road-grader and a pawn-shop robotic arm.

Called a 'Husky', the South African-made mine detector allows its single operator to control a 20-foot-long robotic arm with a camera and two-pronged claw at the end to find out what is inside an abandoned tire, all at a safe distance. The occupant of the Husky sits 12 feet above the ground in a blast-proof cab.

In this case, the tire was holding an anti-tank mine, probably Italian or Chinese-made, containing enough explosives to seriously damage a vehicle if it ran directly over it.

To destroy the tire bomb, the Army has come to depend on an even more outlandish, but highly effective piece of equipment – the Talon – a robotic remote-controlled tread vehicle with an on-board video camera to verify and then destroy the IED without putting humans in harm's way. The Talon can then use a small robotic arm to carry counter-charges, in this case, two sticks of C-4 explosive with a time-fuse. _LWJ
Militaries are typically unwieldy bureaucracies (like all government bureaucracies) that are slow to adjust to changing threats. When a threat becomes as large and enduring as IEDs became in Iraq, however, even the military had to respond. Whether the new anti-IED technologies are more responsible for safer roads than the improved living conditions in Iraq, can be debated. Both are important.

The threat of IEDs along roadsides is merely an extension of the roadside ambush that can be traced all the way back to the stalking of watering holes by predators, waiting for prey to come and drink. Primitive humans placed snares along known pathways and flightways of unwary birds and small mammals.

Every road on Earth is subject to IEDs and mines. Iraq is a world battlefield, where tactics from the world jihad are being pitted against counter tactics from civilised countries. Civilised countries do not always win such confrontations. Such running battles depend upon the willingness to strike while the iron is hot. Any civilisation that is too slow or reluctant to confront a ruthless enemy puts itself in needless danger.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Senator Obama Likes the Mahdi Army's Chances

If Barak Obama is elected US President, the Mahdi Army and other criminal/terror groups in Iraq will have it made. The people of Iraq will simply have to go back to being irrelevant peasants--as they have always been in Obama's eyes.
At the peak of the militia’s control last summer, it was involved at all levels of the local economy, taking money from gas stations, private minibus services, electric switching stations, food and clothing markets, ice factories, and even collecting rent from squatters in houses whose owners had been displaced. The four main gas stations in Sadr City were handing over a total of about $13,000 a day, according to a member of the local council.

“It’s almost like the old Mafia criminal days in the United States,” said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey W. Talley, an Army engineer rebuilding Sadr City’s main market.

Um Hussein, a mother of 10 in Sadr City, the largest Shiite district in the capital and one of the poorest, said her family’s fuel bill had dropped so far that she could afford to buy one of her daughters a pair of earrings with the savings. Others interviewed listed simpler purchases that had now become possible: tomatoes, laundry detergent, gasoline.

One young man said that even though his house was right across from a distribution center that sold cooking gas, he was not allowed to buy it there at state prices, but instead was forced to wait for a militia-affiliated distributor who sold it at higher prices.

“We had to get our share of the cooking gas from Mahdi Army people,” Um Hussein said. “Now, everything is available. We are free to buy what we want.”

Before, the Mahdi Army controlled the 12 trucks that made daily deliveries of cooking gas canisters for the district, because the leader of the Sadr City district council, who was affiliated with the militia, was the one who handled the trucks’ documents.

“We had no idea when they were coming or where they were going,” the council member said, referring to the trucks.

Those who questioned the militia’s authority were dealt with harshly. A gas station worker from Kadhimiya recalled a man in his 60s being beaten badly for refusing to pay the inflated gas price last year. _NYT
Criminal extortion looks the same, whether it is being done by the Mahdi Army, the Sandinistas, Hugo Chavez' FARC, Vladimir Putin, Kwame Kilpatrick, Evo Morales, or Robert Mugabe. The cheap punk way of oppressing ordinary people is the way of the criminal thug.

Obama comes from the Chicago south side, a haven for criminal thugs and extortionists. Perhaps he has a soft spot in his heart for thugs such as the Mahdi Army, or considers them "his type of people?"

Friday, July 25, 2008

Iran Suffers a String of Explosive Setbacks

Iran is the main fomenter of terrorism in the middle east. The monkey Ahmedinejad and the mad mullahs supports terrorism in Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Gaza, and various other parts of the middle east, including Saudi Arabia. It is only fitting and proper that Iran itself be increasingly targeted for sabotage and the old boom-boom.
The explosion took place in the Tehran suburb of Khavarshahar as the military convoy left a munitions' warehouse controlled by the Revolutionary Guards. According to reports received by Western officials, the convoy was taking a consignment of military equipment to Hizbollah, the Shia Muslim militia Iran supports in southern Lebanon, when the explosion occurred.

Senior Revolutionary Guard commanders immediately imposed a news black-out following the explosion, even though it could be heard throughout the capital Tehran, and no details of the incident have so far appeared in the Iranian media.

...The Revolutionary Guards' investigation into last weekend's explosion is understood to be looking into the possibility that it was caused by sabotage. Iran has suffered a number of unexplained explosions in recent months, including an explosion at a mosque in Shiraz, which had been holding a military exhibition, and another incident at a missile site that killed dozens of Iranian technicians. _Telegraph
Of course, it couldn't happen to a nicer terror state. Here's hoping for more of the same.

Do Russians Love Their Children Too? They Don't Have Any Children! How Can They Love What They Don't Have?

This is a lovely little anecdote from Reason's Ron Bailey, from the days of Yeltsin's Russia:
Cirincione pointed to the near miss that occurred in 1995 when Norway launched a weather satellite and Russian military officials mistook it as a submarine launched ballistic missile aimed at producing an electro-magnetic pulse to disable a Russian military response. Russian nuclear defense officials opened the Russian "football" in front of President Boris Yeltsin, urging him to order an immediate strike against the West. Fortunately, Yeltsin held off, arguing that it must be a mistake. _Reason
Back in the days of overt nuclear standoff, pop singer "Sting" sought to reassure anxious westerners by reminding them that no doubt Russians love their children too. They wouldn't start a nuclear war just for the heck of it.

But now that Russians are not having children, and the ethnic Russian population is shrinking by nearly half with each generation, what is the Russian's attitude on nuclear war? They have 2,000 live nuclear warheads aimed at the west, on a hair-trigger.

What would it take to set it off? Somebody saying something mean about Vladimir Putin? You never know. Read Ron Bailey's final installment from the Global Catastrophic Risks Conference at Oxford.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Obama Proposes Powerful Civilian Security

"We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set," he said Wednesday. "We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded." _ChicagoTribune
Taking a page from the playbook of other charismatic and powerful leaders in history, US presidential candidate Barak Obama is considering the formation of a civilian security force just as strong and well-funded as the US military. A strong, well indoctrinated civilian uniformed force of otherwise unemployed youth, might present an imposing presence on the streets and neighborhoods of America.

Obama has long wished for an organisation that would provide opportunities for "youth service" for young people. Giving youth a sense of purpose and belonging to something larger than themselves, is an important goal for an Obama administration.

Chairman Mao made good use of such a force in China's Cultural Revolution, as did Pol Pot in his forced collectivisation of Cambodia. The former USSR had its Pioneer Youth organisation, which provided for a seamless link between the Soviet secret police and everyday Soviet families and schools. Even the much-scorned Hitler of Nazi Germany was able to make efficient use of such a youth force for many years.

If a leader is charismatic enough to provide a focal point for youthful idealism, large numbers of otherwise idle youth might be attracted to national service--particularly if they were paid, and were given the power to punish others less ideologically pure.

The only question that remains is which crucial cause should Obama pursue first after his inauguration? The destruction of the fossil fuel industry, or the creation of the new civilian organisation as powerful and well-funded as the US military? What to call it? The Obama Youth Movement, perhaps?

H/T Infowars via email tip.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Further Unraveling of Hugo Chavez

Hugo Chavez is unhappy. It seems that oil giant Exxon refuses to accept Chavez' theft of billions of dollars of oil production infrastructure that Exxon built. Chavez is accustomed to getting his way, and is quite capable of throwing a temper tantrum or two whenever his aims are thwarted.
MARACAIBO, July 13 (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Sunday oil prices could hit $300 per barrel if U.S. oil company Exxon Mobil again freezes Venezuelan assets in a dispute over a nationalized oil project.

Exxon (XOM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) won court orders freezing $12 billion in assets held by Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA after the OPEC nation took over a multi-billion dollar oil project, heightening tensions with the United States and helping to raise oil prices.

A London court later overturned Exxon's temporary asset freeze, but Chavez said the company could seek further action against Venezuela.

"If they freeze us there will be no more oil for the United States, and the price will go to $300," Chavez said during a televised meeting with Caribbean and Central American leaders as part of an energy cooperation scheme called Petrocaribe.

Chavez also said oil prices were being influenced by a "speculative bubble", the collapse of which could send prices as low as $70 per barrel. _Source
Chavez is clearly talking out of three sides of his mouth, hoping desperately to score points with one strategy or another. Perhaps the recent failures of his allies--the narco-terror group FARC-has Hugo feeling a bit on edge lately. You might even call the rather clownish and rotund Latin dictator a bit paranoid.

Paranoid or not, in predicting $300 a barrel oil prices, Hugo Chavez makes the best argument yet for his ouster. He continues to destroy the civic and social infrastructure of his country, along with the oil infrastructure that would have meant so much to a more free and democratic Venezuela. Chavez also demonstrates how the term "low life third world leader" can be both redundant and an oxymoron.

Friday, July 11, 2008

When the Call of the Whino Fills the Air

Why do affluent people whine so much? There seems to be a competition between developed nations and semi-developed nations such as Russia, to see whose population can whine the loudest. The epidemic of whining has been commented upon in the US:
"We have sort of become a nation of whiners. You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline," said the former Texas senator. "You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession." __CNN
It is talked about in the UK:
Complaints and the people who make them are often seen as confirmation of the new miserabilism - a condition that led an outburst from Tom Harris MP asking why everyone is so bloody miserable in a world where in the UK at least, we have a lot to be grateful for. __Source
Chronic complaining is becoming an art form in Europe, Japan, South Korea, Canada. Where would the growing army of attorneys, "journalists", activists, "diversity" consultants, pseudo-environmentalists, doomers, and hobby-wankers be without this clamoring culture of complaint? You can understand why the vocational whiners whine. It's their job--they get paid for it! But why do so many people devote so much of their spare time and mental energy to dwelling on the "empty space" in their glass, completely ignoring the abundant liquid sustenance?

It is not that they lack a sense of purpose--not exactly. They have made whining their overriding purpose in life, rather than creating something productive, or solving real world problems. Why would anyone misdirect their precious and limited resource of time to self-fulfilling predictions of doom, harassment, and chronic complaint? Why cannot these avocational doom-wankers find a constructive purpose for their lives?

You have to go deeper, and ask why so many people in the affluent world are not actually "growing up." To understand the answer to that question, you need to understand childhood development better than most current schoolteachers, parents, and child psychologists understand childhood development. Is that possible, you ask? Actually, it is not even difficult. But it will require a lot of reading and objective observation of people--children, adolescents, and adults--in their natural environments. Learn to suspend judgment and try to see what is happening at all levels--social, brain development, psycho-emotional development, and on the level of executive funtion and practical skills.

That is largely what this blog is all about. The next level cannot be formed out of the psychologically neotenous baby boomers. And for every generation since them that has been trained in a neotenous and academically lobotomous way, the way out of that morass is oh, so, hard.

Because that is the shortage we are facing: a shortage of well trained and educated humans with self-reliance and a sense of purpose. Not a shortage of energy, food, health care, money, or anything else the media drones on about. We have a shortage of people--particular kinds of people. We have enough whining clones to populate the entire solar system. What we need are purposeful, independent, innovative-to-the-need-at-hand, well trained, and emotionally mature people who are willing to work hard for what they want.From a previous post at Al Fin

A Preview for America? Trillionaires in Zimbabwe

Where do you find the most trillionaires of any place in the world? In Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. Mugabe has been the darling of the socialist world since he took power in an election validated by Jimmy Carter. In terms of quantity of money, Mugabe has made Zimbabweans very wealthy indeed.
The country that has produced the most trillionaires in history isn’t America, but Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. The Wall Street Journal describes what it is like to dine out on the town. “Buying anything is a ‘bizarre experience,’ said Lucy Chimtengwende from Bulawayo, who spent $12 U.S. on lunch recently, with the bill in local currency being an astonishing 1.1 trillion Zimbabwe dollars.” Inflation has been given a whole new meaning in Zimbabwe, whose currency has depreciated ten billionfold in twelve years, a rate that threatens to exceed the bounds of the database field sizes that the bank’s software developers thoughtlessly assumed would be enough. Consider the travails of a man who simply wanted to buy groceries. __Belmont Club
Mugabe knows how to promise the world to his supporters. And he has delivered a world to them. The third world, in its most degraded form.

Mugabe is much like Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in that he knows how to appeal to the lowest instincts of the mob. That ability, and a bit of presto-changeo at the ballot box, can keep a person in power for a long time.

Tell the people what they want to hear, then when elected make them so dependent upon your government that they're afraid to speak out or propose a change.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Fairy Tale Futures and Camelots in the Air

Barak H. Obama has not served even half a US Senate term. In fact, he has been running for US President for most of the time he has been the baby Senator from Illinois, so he still has to ask directions to the Senate washroom. Remind me again: what is the basis for Obama's claim to your vote?
...since he doesn’t have much of track record, his objective signature is scant. Obama isn’t running on his record in Chicago or the Senate. He is running on the future, which incidentally hasn’t happened yet. __BelmontClub
If you can create the image of a wonderful future in the minds of voters, the reality does not actually matter. At least, not until after the election, when your supporters start to understand that they've been taken for yet another ride, by yet another political huckster. Like the thirty-something liberated woman who'd been saving herself for "the right guy," waking up time and again to empty wine bottles, a mussed bed, and foggy, hungover memories of yet more broken promises to add to her collection.

Before it is all over, Obama's positions on the issues will have been plotted over so many different coordinates that even Bill Clinton will begin to wonder how the baby Senator gets away with it. No mystery, Bill. They just have to truly want to believe in the myth. You remember the myth, don't you?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Suddenly, Half of Europe Disappears--Poof, Gone!

In 50 years, half the population of many European countries will simply disappear--puff! gone. Why have Europeans stopped having babies, and why does everyone in Europe seem to be avoiding the issue?
For the first time on record, birthrates in southern and Eastern Europe had dropped below 1.3. For the demographers, this number had a special mathematical portent. At that rate, a country’s population would be cut in half in 45 years, creating a falling-off-a-cliff effect from which it would be nearly impossible to recover.

...In Germany, where the births-to-deaths ratio now results in an annual population loss of roughly 100,000, Ursula von der Leyen, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s family minister (and a mother of seven), declared two years ago that if her country didn’t reverse its plummeting birthrate, “We will have to turn out the light.”

...“But you can’t go on forever with a total fertility rate of 1.2. If you compare the size of the 0-to-4 and 29-to-34 age groups in Spain and Italy right now, you see the younger is almost half the size of the older. You can’t keep going with a completely upside-down age distribution, with the pyramid standing on its point. You can’t have a country where everybody lives in a nursing home.” Read the rest at the __NYT
A Europe without children? Europe dispensed with its military infrastructure decades ago, in favour of allowing the US to carry the weight. Other once-vital parts of its infrastructure are going by the wayside one by one.

Welfare states need workers to pay into the system, to provide for all the trusting retirees who assume the system will always be there for them. The challenge for Europe--in the face of both low fertility rates and rising emigration of its brightest and most talented--is to keep the top-heavy bureaucracies running, the infrastructure maintained, and the productive sector producing. Unfortunately, it is the productive sector that seems to be shrinking the most quickly.

Recommended reading:

The Global Baby Bust
Europe's Baby Bust
A Return to Pastoral Europe?
Birth of an Empire
Fiscal Policy and Fertility in the US

Previously published at Al Fin

Friday, June 27, 2008

Olympic Paradise in Beijing: Streets Clean & Mean

China means to clean its Beijing streets before the Olympics this summer. There will be no dissent, no narcotics, no prostitution, and no religion too. This is Beijing 2008, and the oligarchy of the CCP intends for the games to be a showcase for its own special kind of enlightened dictatorship.
A helpful “legal guide” tells foreign athletes, officials, reporters and spectators how to behave. In addition to shunning narcotics, weapons and counterfeit currency, they should abjure “subversive activities” or the “display of religious, political or racial banners”. __Economist
Comparisons to the 1936 Berlin Olympic games are inescapable. Both events meant to showcase the inevitability of an authoritarian way of life. Supremacist ideology and racial attitudes acted out via the ages old tradition of peaceful international athletics.

Beijing might be smarter to focus on providing clean food, water, and air for the summer games. Preventing dissent and disorder will be next to impossible. All the world's media will be on hand, plus armies of videobloggers and freelance video journalists--some with only their video cell phones to capture the mood.

Until recently, Chinese authorities could feel free to beat bloggers to death for reporting on roadside demonstrations against the authorities. If the CCP gets too heavy-handed in the international circus of the Olympic games, the stain on its reputation will be harder to remove.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Madrasas for Leftists: PC Universities Doomed?

There once was a time when the university environments of North America were not ones of indoctrination and brainwashing, as they often are now. Professor Alan Kors remembers those days:
I was taught at Princeton, in the early 1960s—in history and literature, above all—before the congeries that we term "the '60s" began. Most of my professors were probably men of the left—that's what the surveys tell me—but that fact was never apparent to me, because, except in rare cases, their politics or even their ideological leanings were not inferable from their teaching or syllabi. Reasoned and informed dissent from professorial devil's advocacy or interpretation was encouraged and rewarded, including challenges to the very terms of an examination question.

...In grad school at Harvard, while a few dates left in the midst of dinner on discovering my free-market and hawkish politics, and while I did get thrown out of a party for opposing, when asked, Eugene McCarthy's view of Vietnam (this should have been a warning), the classroom remained open and, by design, intellectually pluralistic....When I went off on job interviews, I was not once asked a question, ever, about my worldview, but only about my historical research and notions of teaching. Politics were simply not in the category of appropriate inquiry.

...What has changed? In terms of the university in loco parentis, which has been restored and expanded with a vengeance, the revolution has been breathtaking....From diverse motives of ideological sympathies and acute awareness of who can blackball their next career moves, they have given over the humanities, the soft social sciences and the entire university in loco parentis to the zealots of oppression studies and coercive identity politics. In the latter case, it truly has been a conspiracy, with networking and common plans. In the former case—the professoriate and the curriculum—it is generally, with striking politicized exceptions, a soft tyranny of groupthink, unconscious bias and self-inflated sense of a mission of demystification. Most of the professors I meet are kind, indeed sweet, and certainly mean no harm. It is profoundly sad to see what they have become.

There also has been, compounding academic problems, a dumbing down of the professoriate that quite numbs the mind—best seen not in the monographs that earn people their degrees, but in the egregious nonsense, crude meta-theorizing, self-indulgence and tendentious special pleading that are not merely tolerated without criticism, but rewarded at the highest levels.

...Academia also has become a place where professors can achieve the highest rewards, except in the protected fields, for acting out their pathologies. In higher education, to paraphrase the Woody Allen stand-up line, we increasingly send our students to schools for learning-disabled and emotionally disturbed teachers....

Academics, in their own minds, face an almost insoluble problem of time. How, in only four years, can they disabuse students of the notion that the capital, risk, productivity and military sacrifice of others have contributed to human dignity and to the prospects of a decent society? How can they make them understand, with only four years to do so, that capitalism and individual- ism have created cultures that are cruel, inefficient, racist, sexist and homophobic, with oppressive caste systems, mental and behavioral? How, in such a brief period, can they enlighten "minorities," including women (the majority of students), about the "internalization" of their oppression (today's equivalent of false consciousness)? How, in only eight semesters, might they use the classroom, curriculum and university in loco parentis to create a radical leadership among what they see as the victim groups of our society, and to make the heirs of successful families uneasy in the moral right of their possessions and opportunities? Given those constraints, why in the world should they complicate their awesome task by hiring anyone who disagrees with them? __WSJ__via_BelmontClub
In fact, Kors is understating the case--pulling his punches. The reality of the modern university is worse than he describes.

Richard Fernandez thinks that the age of academic indoctrination may be nearing its end. He draws that reassurance from J. Richard Gott's "doomsday argument. It is an interesting argument, related to the "anthropic principle" argument in nature. Thought-provoking, but not conclusive.

I sincerely hope that Fernandez (aka "Wretchard") is right. Universities of indoctrination are spewing out minds that are increasingly incapable of standard reasoning and logic. Too often a graduate of a liberal arts or social science program has never been exposed to divergent points of view--never learned to confront intelligent and reasonable people whose deeply held and closely reasoned ideas differ substantially from their own. Naturally he goes out into the world believing that all right-minded persons will believe as he does, and that all others are either dishonest, corrupt, or stupid.

All of that, before his pre-frontal lobes have even completely myelinated--before his powers of judgment have even come close to maturing. How could he possibly know better, unless someone at some point was willing to force him to delve deeply into diverse disciplines of thought and reason?

As Kors explains in his piece above, those halcyon days of intellectual diversity in the university are as good as gone. But is Fernandez right in supposing that this monolithic thought structure, this incompetence, this intolerance, is soon to meet its doom?

Society--in the form of the news and entertainment media, popular culture--has bonded itself to the PC worldview monoculture of the universities. Government bureaucracy increasingly adopts the same forms, and the bureaucracies of corporations and non-profit foundations have been increasingly moulding themselves according to PC intolerance.

There is no doubt that civilisation is attempting to transition from a religion-dominant culture to a secular-dominant culture. But it is not that easy. Society abhors the moral vacuum of the "middle ground." Secular morality has not truly stepped into the gap to provide a firm foundation for sound child-raising or a decent society. Leftist ideology has attempted to fill the void via many universities and much of the media, but for some reason, it has only done half the job. It has torn down most of the traditional moral icons of the civilisation, but its own moral forms have not been widely taken up by the society at large.

So instead of a culture confidently stepping out into the wide-open future, you see a fearful and insecure society full of self-doubt, questioning its own right to exist in the face of widespread poverty and misery elsewhere in the world. Entire nations are shrinking into the moral void, choosing anti-natalist ideas or going after comfort and security instead of taking risks on a wider future.

The human extinction movements are merely the extreme end point toward which a large part of the university educated are shuffling. Choosing to avoid children, or avoiding marriage altogether are other points along the same scale.

The quasi-suicidal carbon hysteria movement is a mere symptom of the basic intellectual nihilism that has followed university graduates into the culture at large. The true problem underlying the symptom is an inability to test hypotheses and theorems. If the hypothesis meets the long-term requirements of your ideology, put your emotions behind the idea, avoid the rational testing stage altogether, and use all the tools of human persuasion in your bag to put the idea over.

There are many other symptoms of the underlying problem, and it would be nice if we could deal with them all, one by one. That will be left to others, such as FIRE. Al Fin's emphasis will continue to focus on efforts to bring the "next level" into reality. The dumbing down of university students and graduates--and thus the dumbing down of society in general--does not help Al Fin's task.

Derived from a previous posting at Al Fin