Friday, April 30, 2010

The Left-Biased Media Cannot Deal With Tea Party

H/T Small Dead Animals

The popular and news media, academia, and the one-party neo-fascist Obama - Pelosi government are having a tough time dealing with a non-violent movement made up largely of politically independent women, kids, and retired folks. It's driving them insane.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

China's "Recovery" Still on Shaky Ground?

China has been grabbing up global resources and commodities like there will be no tomorrow. Construction and real estate speculation in China have likewise been driven at a fevered pitch by government policy. As a result, China's GDP has re-achieved its impressive height, and most mainstream observers assume that China has recovered from the global recession, and may be in a position to help pull the rest of the world back up. But has China really recovered?
Weak export growth was a consequence of weak recoveries in the European Union, United States, and Japan, which accounted for 46% of China’s exports in 2008. Even though exports to the EU, US, and Japan increased by 25%, 17%, and 19% YOY in March 2010, these gains barely made up for the decline during the previous year. In other words, exports to China’s major trading partners have remained flat since 2008 .

...While export growth remained subdued, import growth has surged. But the increase in imports reflects an intensification of investment-driven growth and demand for commodities and materials, not a move to greater consumer demand.[1] Fixed asset investment grew 25.6% in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the first quarter of 2009. Partly as a result, China imported $27.6 billion more commodities and materials in March 2010 than in March 2009, an increase of 77.1% YOY. This was the major driver of the $25.8 billion decline in the trade balance during the same period.

...China’s trade balance has declined because China’s stimulus program intensified investment-led growth, increasing demand for commodities and capital goods. Based on our analysis, it is not evident that China has made progress toward rebalancing to a more consumer-oriented economy.

Excessive bank lending since the beginning of 2009 incentivized stockpiling of commodities and materials and the development of spare capacity. A tightening cycle could force enterprises in China to reduce imports and rely on existing commodity stockpiles and excess capacity to increase exports, leading to a rise in the trade surplus.

...The important point, but one that the article did not explicitly make is that China's demand for commodities is hugely artificial, predicated on round after round of stimulus and outright monetary printing that has also fueled massive property bubbles and speculation.

So before one can even talk about ways to rebalance, global stimulus needs to stop. Yet, China Business says Another $586 billion "Stimulus" Coming to China.

...Here's a question to ponder: What would happen if China stopped its stimulus cold turkey, pricked its property bubbles, and allowed the RMB to float freely, and in response the Chinese stock market collapsed, social unrest picked up, and hot money poured out of China? _Mish

China has to maintain the image of a prosperous nation in control of its own destiny. Anything less would risk popular discontent, and loosen the hold of the CCP on the reins of power.

Monday, April 26, 2010

No One Can Tell China's Fortune

As a result of declining exports and other factors, Beijing presided over the world’s fastest slowing economy. China’s economy, in fact, grew by about 15 percent in 2007, but fell to negative growth at the end of 2008.

Beijing stopped the precipitous decline with a $586 billion stimulus program, announced in November 2008. The plan created a “sugar high” as the central government flooded the country with money, but resulting growth will be short-lived. The state’s stimulus plan favors large state enterprises over small and midsize private firms, and state financial institutions are diverting credit to state-sponsored infrastructure. The renationalization of the Chinese economy with state cash will eventually lead to stagnation.

But the economy could fail before stagnation eventually sets in. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, to fund his stimulus plan, has forced state banks to create the greatest surge of lending in history. One state manager, Lin Zuoming of Aviation Industry Corporation of China, publicly complained last April that central government officials forced him to borrow the equivalent of $49.2 billion from twelve Chinese banks, saying he did not know what to do with all the cash.

Government-mandated lending pushed unneeded funds into the Chinese stock markets, which caused an abnormal jump in prices; similar funds also flooded into the coffers of casinos in Macau, which had been languishing before the stimulus program. Predictions that Beijing’s plan might trigger the biggest wave of corruption in Chinese history now seem correct. _WorldAffairs

There are interesting parallels between China's attempts to restore pre-2009 growth, and the Obama - Pelosi regime's attempts to re-inflate several US economic bubbles, using crony capitalism and political payoffs. The difference is that as corrupt and poorly responsive as Obama - Pelosi may grow to genuine economic needs in the US, China's CCP will always be much more corrupt and less responsive to the needs of an organic economy.

In the US, even if the government becomes the enemy of a healthy economy, there remain legions of entrepreneurs and institutions who still know how to make capitalism work. The US government is finding it difficult shutting all of them down. Call it a form of latent capitalism that refuses to bow to the fascist O - P reich's corporatist road to socialism.

In China, such society-wide institutions never had the chance to grow, and the entrepreneurs and bankers of China have never experienced being immersed in an environment of capitalism without massive corruption at every level. The latent quantity in China is intelligent energy, but without a history of wide participatory institutions at all levels, which could serve to unite a nation in the midst of violent transformation.
So the Chinese economy, once in an upward super-cycle, is now headed on a downward trajectory. Beijing’s leaders had the opportunity to fix these problems in a benign period of growth, but they did not because they were unable or unwilling to challenge a rigid political system that inhibits adaptation to changing circumstances. Their failure to implement sensible policies highlights an inherent weakness in the system of Chinese governance, not just a single economic misstep at a particular moment in history.

...In addition to its outdated economic model, China faces a number of other problems, including banks with unacknowledged bad loans on their books, trade friction arising from mercantilist policies, a pandemic of defective products and poisonous foods, a grossly underfunded and inadequate social security system, a society that is rapidly aging as a result of the brutally enforced one-child policy, a rising tide of violent crime, a monumental environmental crisis, ever-worsening corruption, and failing schools and other social services. These are just the most important difficulties.

...And so, as the economy began to fail in 2008 and as factories closed by the tens of thousands, workers took to the streets, especially in the country’s export powerhouse, the Pearl River Delta of Guangdong Province. Protests have continued around the country. At the end of July last year, for instance, some thirty thousand steelworkers in the rust-belt province of Jilin fought with police and beat to death a top manager who had threatened large layoffs after a merger. The incident illustrates the trend that disturbances are becoming larger and more violent. In fact, demonstrators in the last few years have been using deadly force as an initial tactic against local authorities.

...Middle-class Chinese, the beneficiaries of decades of reform, now behave like activist peasants and workers whenever they think their rights are threatened. Yet Hu Jintao is repressing, not protecting, those rights. The humorless general secretary is now presiding over a seven-year crackdown on almost all elements of society, even the writers of karaoke songs, and the regime now attempts to control political speech more tightly than it did two decades ago. That is a sign of trouble to come. The party can censor and imprison, but it does so at the risk of creating even more enemies, both internal and external, and further delegitimizing itself.
... _WorldAffairs

The Chinese people have a long history of obedience to central authority. But obedience and loyalty can move over time away from the central government, toward competing movements that better represent and champion the inner values that the people feel.

Right now there is no such movement ready to go toe to toe with the CCP. But just as any empire, China also has a long history of competing clans and warlords, civil wars, and insurgencies. Mao's revolution was successful in taking advantage of the turmoil following the Japanese invasion of WWII, and the subsequent power vacuum when Japan was forced to retreat.

Nothing similarly disruptive can be seen on the horizon, but it is impossible to rule out the possibility of insurrection in Tibet or Xinjiang, or catastrophic escalation of hostilities with Taiwan. Border clashes with either Russia or Vietnam are likewise not out of the question. Even something as banal as a trade war with the US could trigger events leading to important schisms within the nation.

In addition, the psychology of a nation that has lived under the "one-child" rule is necessarily different than the psychology of societies where brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, and cousins are all common. The family fragmentation caused by the one-child rule must leave deep marks on the psyche. Something or someone may come along who knows how to take advantage of that particular quirk.

The situation is dynamic, far from equilibrium.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Power of Independents: Reviving Human Initiative

Independents decide national elections. But it is rare that independents actually get involved in a national cause. It is rare for independents to take the time to examine an ongoing problem deeply enough to want to take a strong stand. Voting is one thing, political activism, rallies, and active political networking is quite something else.

Can independents grab enough power to put the big political machines on notice?
The rise of new political forms across both Europe and America reflects some of the new realities of contemporary media. With the rise of the Internet, the ability of large parties to use the press as their obedient propaganda corps has been greatly diminished. Similarly, establishment consensus on issues—for example, on climate change—is no longer easy to enforce. The Internet is too protean and easy to penetrate to be corralled by either the power of money or lobbyist influence-peddling.

The current political unrest also reflects a growing sense among the middle class in advanced countries, particularly those employed in the private sector, that the dominant parties are simply not interested in their fate. In the U.S., this view has been reinforced around the two biggest issues facing Congress this year, health-care and financial reform. _NewGeography

There is a lot more to it, of course, depending upon the country in question. A growing number of Americans, for example, are convinced that Obama - Pelosi wants to take America so far away from the country's basic roots as to be unrecognisable -- and unlivable.

Every nation and every region within every nation have their own issues that drive them. But the big political power machines that run most western nations all tend to be badly out of touch with the average citizen who makes it possible for the power brokers to run their power scams and rackets.

This may be the beginning of something quite amazing.

H/T NEWS Alert

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Getting By: Taxes Have Consequences

Voting With Your Feet

If you are a public sector worker, belonging to a public sector union and looking forward to retiring in your early 50s with nearly full pay and benefits, you probably don't care how high your state needs to raise its income taxes to pay for your ride.

But if you are a small businessperson trying to make ends meet, and being progressively crushed beneath a growing burden of taxes, regulations, and legislated liabilities, you are probably starting to look around at other locations that may offer you a better chance of surviving, if not prospering.

It's not just the cost of living. It's the cost of doing business. If the cost of doing business is too high, then business will make tracks on the way to somewhere else. That is what California is experiencing now. And if California loses any more of its businesses, who will pay for those ultra-deluxe pensions?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Obama's Pals Getting Fat at the Trough

The results of union pressure are clear. In most states, cops and other safety officers can typically retire at 50 with a pension of about half their final working salary; in California, they often receive 90 percent of their pay if they retire at the same age. The state’s munificent disability system lets public-safety workers retire with rich pay for a range of ailments that have nothing to do with their jobs, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. _CityJournal
Public sector unions such as the SEIU are getting ever fatter off the taxes of the suffering private sector, under Obama. California is the state getting most of the publicity for its public sector union atrocities, but it will not be the last to be crushed by them.
The unions’ political triumphs have molded a California in which government workers thrive at the expense of a struggling private sector. The state’s public school teachers are the highest-paid in the nation. Its prison guards can easily earn six-figure salaries. State workers routinely retire at 55 with pensions higher than their base pay for most of their working life. Meanwhile, what was once the most prosperous state now suffers from an unemployment rate far steeper than the nation’s and a flood of firms and jobs escaping high taxes and stifling regulations. This toxic combination—high public-sector employee costs and sagging economic fortunes—has produced recurring budget crises in Sacramento and in virtually every municipality in the state.

How public employees became members of the elite class in a declining California offers a cautionary tale to the rest of the country, where the same process is happening in slower motion.

...Consider the California Teachers Association. Much of the CTA’s clout derives from the fact that, like all government unions, it can help elect the very politicians who negotiate and approve its members’ salaries and benefits....with union dues somewhere north of $1,000 per member and 340,000 members, the CTA can afford to be a player not just in local elections but in Sacramento, too (and in Washington, for that matter, where it’s the National Education Association’s most powerful affiliate).

...It will take an enormous effort to roll back decades of political and economic gains by government unions. But the status quo is unsustainable. And at long last, Californians are beginning to understand the connection between that status quo and the corruption at the heart of their politics. _CityJournal
Read the whole thing. The problem is spreading like a virus, sickening and starving every jurisdiction it touches. Essentially, it is legalised organised crime, by government workers, against the taxpayer who pays their generous benefits and pension packages. It is a parasitic relationship that cannot last forever.

Update: Here is a short video clip of a SEIU rally in Illinois -- urging higher taxes for ordinary citizens in order to pay for ever-higher wages and benefits for the fatter pigs at the public trough.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Child Liberation: Trying to Bypass the "Teacher Monopoly"

University schools of education -- teacher training colleges -- have a virtual monopoly over the training of government school teachers in the US. This privileged monopoly has led to curricula for government schools that produces more indoctrination than education. The resulting incompetence and psychological neoteny of government school graduates has not gone unnoticed by US universities nor US employers. Can the US find a way to break the government education indoctrination school monopoly?
Not long ago education schools had a virtual monopoly on the teaching profession. They dictated how and when people became teachers by offering coursework, arranging apprenticeships and granting master’s degrees.

But now those schools are feeling under siege. Officials in Washington, D.C., and New York State, where some of the best-known education schools are located, have stepped up criticisms that the schools are still too focused on [indoctrination (AF)] and not enough on the craft of effective teaching. _NewYorkTimes

Government schools in many cities have become dangerous places for -- mostly female -- teachers, who are sometimes beaten, raped, and even murdered by students. For such tough districts, a tougher type of teacher would be more than appropriate. What about retired military special forces operatives or drill instructors? Or retired inner city cops or firefighters?

As US inner cities collapse around their uneducated, welfare-dependent tenants, their schools continue to degrade into corrupt cash cows for unscrupulous officials and insiders. Teachers' unions play along with the scam, receiving their own cut of the tax booty. The children are burned on the pyre of politically correct bureaucratic paper-shuffling and insider mutual back scratching.

The Obama - Pelosi administration has made a few token moves toward school reform, but has delivered nothing of substance. Instead, it has taken some huge backward steps in favouring teachers' unions against school choice for parents and students. Actions count, words wank.

Parents who care are an uncommon commodity inside many US cities -- or so it seems. Or perhaps the dependency mentality is too strong for parents to break away and attempt a strong effort on behalf of their own children.

If alternative teaching certification programs are to succeed in bringing strong and effective teaching to government schools, they will need the support of concerned parents and other citizens and civic leaders. Otherwise, business as usual will just dig everyone deeper into the foul quagmire of corrupt "education."

14 Bites of Bad News for US Economy

Despite the best efforts of Obama - Pelosi's economic cheerleader, Tim Geithner, most Americans have little faith in the Obama recovery. Most people understand that the stock market is not the economy. For most folks, the economy means jobs, new businesses opening, houses and buildings going up, and bankers who want to lend to average citizens. Those things have not been happening with regularity in most American neighborhoods lately.
#1) According to RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings were reported on 367,056 properties in the month of March. This represented an increase of almost 19 percent from February, and it was also an increase of nearly 8 percent from March 2009. In fact, the number for March 2010 was the highest monthly total since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in January 2005. That is really, really bad news for the real estate industry.

#2) And yet things are expected to get even worse for the housing market. RealtyTrac projects that there will be 4.5 million home foreclosures before the end 2010. If you figure that there are approximately 4 people per household, that is another 18 million people that will be forced out of their homes by the end of the year.

#3) Interest rates have already gone up, and most experts forecast that they will continue to increase throughout the rest of 2010 and into 2011. This is going to make existing adjustable mortgages more expensive, and this will also make it even harder for home buyers to purchase a home. Needless to say, this is likely to put significant downward pressure on housing prices.

#4) It turns out that the much celebrated foreclosure assistance program introduced by Barack Obama and the Democrats last year is helping very, very few mortgage holders, and the default rates for those who have managed to receive help are still very high. From all appearances it seems as though the U.S. government is unable to do very much at all to turn around the real estate market.

#5) The unemployment crisis continues to get worse. The number of unemployed Americans per job opening has started to increase again, hitting 5.5 in February. There just are not nearly enough jobs for everyone, and this is creating a great deal of despair among unemployed workers. Many of those who do manage to find work have only been able to obtain part-time employment. Gallup's underemployment measure hit 20.0% on March 15th. This was up from 19.7% two weeks earlier and 19.5% at the start of the year. That is not a good trend.

#6) The IMF is forecasting that unemployment will remain high for at least two more years. Unfortunately, IMF forecasts tend to be chillingly accurate, so those Americans hoping for an employment boom in the coming months are likely to be quite disappointed.

#7) Even with the economy struggling and so many out of work, the price of gasoline continues to skyrocket. It is almost as if the 1970s have struck again and we are back in the days of the misery index. In some areas of the United States, people are already paying as much as $3.50 for a gallon of gasoline, and many experts are predicting that gasoline could hit $4.00 a gallon by the end of 2010.

#8) And health care costs show no sign of slowing down either. Even the Los Angeles Times (which is radically pro-Obama) is admitting that the new health care law will not prevent health care premiums from continuing to increase dramatically. So why did they pass that law again?

#9) Well, it turns out that the new health care bill is not good for physician-owned hospitals either. According to the executive director of Physician Hospitals of America, more than 60 doctor-owned hospitals across the United States that were in the development stage will now be canceled. Why will they be canceled? Well, it is because of the new health care law that Barack Obama and the Democrats wanted so badly. Apparently the new law singles out doctor-owned hospitals, making new doctor-owned projects ineligible to receive payments for Medicare and Medicaid patients. Who in the world came up with that bright idea?

#10) Not only that, but soon the United States will be facing a critical shortage of physicians. The U.S. health care system was already facing a shortage of approximately 150,000 doctors in the next decade or so, but thanks to the health care bill passed by Congress, that number could grow by several more hundred thousand. Ouch!

#11) Cities and states across America are facing unprecedented financial pressure. For example, many analysts believe that the city of Los Angeles is on the verge of bankruptcy. Of course the entire state of California is a financial wasteland at this point, so that is not that much of a surprise.

#12) Several prominent economic analysts are now declaring the the risk that the government of Japan will go bankrupt is very real. If Japan does financially implode, that will have major implications for the United States, as Japan is one of our biggest and most important trading partners.

#13) The world's five biggest AAA-rated countries (including the United States) are all at risk of soaring debt costs and will have to implement austerity plans that threaten "social cohnesion", according to a report on sovereign debt by Moody's. To get an idea of how popular "austerity plans" are, just check out the riots that have been happening in Greece lately.

#14) Trillions have been pumped into the U.S. economy over the last couple of years and officially all we have to show for it is about 2% growth. Oh, and an exploding national debt that our children and grandchildren will never, ever be able to pay off.

The U.S. government continues to spend money like it is water, and yet the U.S. economy continues to be trapped in a death spiral. _endofamericandream

The news media continues to smokescreen for this US government -- but it is beginning to dawn on the average American that this regime is one of the most corrupt, inept, and out of touch governments in the nation's history. Probably the worst ever, if you combine the executive with the congress.

Time for Plan B?

Renouncing Obama's America: Going John Galt

According to public records, just over 500 people world-wide renounced U.S. citizenship or permanent residency in the fourth quarter of 2009, the most recent period for which data are available. That is more people than have cut ties with the U.S. during all of 2007, and more than double the total expatriations in 2008. _WallSt.Journal

As Obama moves to increase tough Internal Revenue Service enforcement of tax assessments on overseas income, more Americans and US green card holders are moving to cut their relationship with Obama's America.
Everybody sees the tax rates are going up. At a certain point, it gets beyond people’s pain threshold,” said Anthony Tong, a tax partner at accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers in Hong Kong. Unlike most jurisdictions, the U.S. taxes the income of citizens and green-card holders no matter where in the world it is earned.

Perhaps the key sentence in this excerpt is the final one about the United States having a very misguided policy of what is known as “worldwide taxation.” This is the policy of taxing income earned in other nations, even though that income already is subject to all applicable taxes imposed by the governments of those other nations. This policy is a huge competitive disadvantage for American companies trying to compete in world markets (and Obama, not surprisingly, wants to make it more burdensome), but the impact on individual taxpayers is a key factor in the decision by so many U.S. taxpayers to escape the clutches of the IRS. Indeed, it may also be one of the reasons why some highly-talented foreigners – the kind of people who helped make Silicon Valley an engine of prosperity for the entire nation – no longer want American residency.

Ironically, Europe’s welfare states actually have better policy in this area. It is much easier for their residents to move to lower-tax jurisdictions without being followed by their national tax authorities or being ransacked at the border by oppressive exit taxes. Indeed, they usually don’t even need to give up their citizenship. Many French entrepreneurs and investors escape to places such as Switzerland, just as many Swedes and Germans migrate to places like Monaco.
But bad policy is like a toxic virus and it spreads from one place to another. The Financial Times recently urged that all European Union nations agree to impose American-style worldwide taxation rules on their citizens. What should happen, by contrast, is that the United States should copy Europe (in this limited example!) and shift to territorial taxation. _BigGovernment

But as tax rates under Obama - Pelosi continue to rise, more persons who have always resided in the US will begin thinking about life in Costa Rica or in a quiet Mexican enclave of expatriots.

More countries will likely begin marketing to wealthy US retirees as better places to spend their remaining years.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Some Things Children Just Have to be Taught

Children are not born knowing how to manage money. If they are never taught how to manage and invest money, they are at a significant disadvantage in a capitalist society. Such grown children tend to end up at the mercy of others -- many of whom have few scruples.
Deadliest Sin #6 – Keeping People Blind about Money
It is not a coincidence that children are not being taught about money and personal finance in school despite the fact that “money” plays a big role in everybody’s life, regardless of age, gender or social-economic status. It is to keep them financially dumb. The rich teach every average American to go to school, find a good job, save money, invest in stocks and prepare for retirement. It is not for the benefit of the people. It is for the profit of the rich.

While that is what they are teaching everybody, they teach their own children a completely different set of rules about money so that they may become even richer. Keeping the masses blind about money is to make sure that they have a steady flow of employees every year who are constantly in need for money so the rich can generate their own income from other people’s work. _7DeadliestSins
Children are not being taught many of the things that they need to know. Instead, they are being taught how to be dependent upon large institutions -- particularly government. That's too bad, too, because government is populated largely by scoundrels, liars, thieves, and narcissistic clowns.

More of the seven deadliest sins causing the American empire collapse

Thursday, April 15, 2010

China's Sweatshops Produce Gadgets and Profits for Others


Self satisfied "progressives" of the green dieoff left might be chagrined to know how much of their lifestyle depends upon sweatshops in China.
Yesterday, the National Labor Committee produced a report on the working conditions at the KYE Factory in Dongguan City, Guangdong, China. KYE operates (like many factories in China) a live-work facility and generated sales of $400 million in 2008. KYE manufactures outsourced products for HP, Best Buy, Samsung, Foxconn, Acer, Logitech, and ASUS. Their largest customer, however, is reportedly Microsoft.

...KYE recruits hundreds-even up to 1,000-"work study students" 16 and 17 years of age, who work 15-hour shifts, six and seven days a week. In 2007 and 2008, dozens of the work study students were reported to be just 14 and 15 years old. A typical shift is from 7:45 a.m. to 10:55 p.m.
Along with the work study students-most of whom stay at the factory three months, though some remain six months or longer-KYE prefers to hire women 18 to 25 years of age, since they are easier to discipline and control.

Workers are paid 65 cents an hour, which falls to a take-home wage of 52 cents after deductions for factory food.

Workers are prohibited from talking, listening to music or using the bathroom during working hours. As punishment, workers who make mistakes are made to clean the bathrooms.

Fourteen workers share each primitive dorm room, sleeping on narrow double-level bunk beds. To "shower," workers fetch hot water in a small plastic bucket to take a sponge bath. Workers describe factory food as awful.

Workers can only leave the "compound" during regulated hours.

One worker is quoted as saying they are "like prisoners." The report also says that the disgruntled workers usually blame the factory itself, and don't make the connection between the companies -- whose products they are manufacturing -- and their horrible work conditions. _Engadget

What's most worrying isn't just that one factory is treating its workers this way, it's that in all likelihood, there are many factories treating their workers this way, which won't end up the subject of an extensive report by a human rights organization.

Horror stories from Foxconn are nothing new, and bear a striking resemblance to what we're hearing about KYE. It's clear that manufacturers can get away with stuff like this in China, and it's just as clear that major electronics companies find it easy to either ignore, or remain blissfully ignorant of, what's going on in the factories they use to build their hardware. And if we know this—and honestly, we do—we're as complicit as they are. _Gizmodo

Of course, anyone paying attention must know that the lowest price goods come from China for a reason. The reason is all the corners that can be cut. The necessary bribes to officials are not usually that expensive, either.

Now that everyone knows what conditions are like for so many workers in China, watch to see who is willing to pay more for their gadget, or accept a somewhat smaller return on an investment -- in order to have a peaceful conscience. It is likely that virtually all progressive dieoff leftists who buy Chinese goods or invest in companies that are in China, will simply turn a blind eye to the problem. Or what is worse, they will make a loud noise, knowing that it will signify and achieve nothing.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lord Barry's Secret Agenda Evading Scrutiny

Mr. Obama was radicalised by his mother -- from the very earliest age. Now that he is in a position to strike a blow for radicalism, he intends to do exactly that.
While Congress considers sweeping new legislation to permanently institutionalize the bailouts and federal control of our financial system (right on the heels of their health care takeover, of course) several other sweeping power grabs are going on outside the spotlight of legislative debate. Indeed President Obama seems to believe that most of his sweeping agenda to transform the country can be accomplished without even a vote of Congress. The chart seen above and found here shows what the administration is up to.

As I’ve previously noted here in the Fox Forum, the the EPA is pursuing an aggressive global warming power grab under the direction of White House Climate czar Carol Browner (who was not subject to Senate confirmation), and the FCC is pursuing a regulatory takeover of the Internet.

Both of those efforts are now escalating. The EPA has now finalized its vehicle emissions rule, for the first time regulating global warming under the 1970 Clean Air Act. While EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is trying to calm a political backlash by promising the delay the onslaught of regulations (the overall blueprint is over 18,000 pages and regulates almost everything that moves and lots of things that stay put) she remains committed to them. The Senate will have a key vote on S.J. Res. 26, which would stop the EPA, some time in May.

The FCC was smacked down in court last week in Comcast v. FCC, which held that the Commission has no jurisdiction to regulate the Internet. Yet FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, a close friend of Obama’s, is now considering Internet regulations of an even more extreme nature and by an even more dubious mechanism—reclassifying the Internet as a phone system to regulate it like an old-fashioned public utility.

Obama has a pattern of sidestepping Congress that will only get worse in the aftermath of the health care fight and the pending financial “reform” legislation. _Obama'sAgenda
Obama's massive debt blitzkrieg will begin to hit the already-stunned economy by the end of the year. If US voters do not wake up to the underlying agenda of freedom-destruction coming from the Obama Pelosi regime, it will almost certainly be too late in 2012 to reverse the O-P radical descent.

The anarchists and radicals of all types are out to disrupt the Tea Party and any other cohesive attempts to halt the O-P cascade into radical statism. As a result of attacks by leftists against Americans still devoted to the Constitution, there will be blood spilled. We hope that such violence can be contained to isolated incidents -- although labour unions, the media, and the Obama administration all appear to be urging the leftist reactionary anarchists on to the attack.

Society's "Intellectuals" Circle the Wagons Against the Wild and Unruly Truths that Howl in the Night

There is always a tension, as [an investigator], between asking open-ended questions that allow an interview subject to explain something and pressing or challenging them on accuracy or details. But if you think you already know the subject, or already have a story angle half-formed in your head, it's easy to overlook the first part. _Atlantic

Pundits, journalists, and investigators and researchers of all types most frequently go wrong when they begin their investigation with a pre-conceived opinion, a pre-fabricated conclusion. This bias is most clear in mainstream climate science, but it is also abundantly clear in just about any mainstream media investigation of a politically charged topic. If the journalist assumes a person is stupid, their stories will display abundant evidence of the person's stupidity. If journalists consider a person brilliant, the story will be built around the "evident" brilliance of the subject. Bias, bigotry, inflexible prejudice. And these people are the gatekeepers of "the truth."

In his new book, How We Decide, Jonah Lehrer cites a research study done by U.C. Berkeley professor Philip Tetlock. Tetlock questioned 284 people who made their living "commenting or offering advice on political and economic trends," asking them to make predictions about future events. Over the course of the study, Tetlock collected quantitative data on over 82,000 predictions, as well as information from follow-up interviews with the subjects about the thought processes they'd used to come to those predictions.

His findings were surprising. Most of Tetlock's questions about the future events were put in the form of specific, multiple choice questions, with three possible answers. But for all their expertise, the pundits' predictions turned out to be correct less than 33% of the time. Which meant, as Lehrer puts it, that a "dart-throwing chimp" would have had a higher rate of success. Tetlock also found that the least accurate predictions were made by the most famous experts in the group.

Why was that? According to Lehrer,

"The central error diagnosed by Tetlock was the sin of certainty, which led the 'experts' to impose a top-down solution on their decision-making processes ... When pundits were convinced that they were right, they ignored any brain areas that implied they might be wrong."

Tetlock himself, Lehrer says, concluded that "The dominant danger [for pundits] remains hubris, the vice of closed-mindedness, of dismissing dissonant possibilities too quickly." _Atlantic

In part, this is the phenomenon of the True Believer.  Humans are social animals and like reassurance that they are considered a valued part of the group.  It is also a manifestation of mental laziness.  It takes effort to change one's mind.  A person's entire life and lifestyle may be overturned by a justified and seemingly simple change of opinion.  In addition, as individuals age, they sink more deeply into the mental architecture they have constructed.

Personal opinions are fortified to protect the individual from the wildness and unpredictable threat "outside."  Stray too far from the safe, warm confines of personal prejudice and cognitive dissonance will swiftly set in.  Most modern humans are unequipped to deal with high levels of cognitive dissonance.  They quickly retreat back to the familiar. (PDF) They circle the bandwagons against the wild and unruly truths that howl in the night.(PDF)

This is our world, a world where college professors indoctrinate rather than educate, where journalists roam as a pack and savage anyone who threatens the dominant social and political memes, where scientists latch onto a theme which is popular with grant agencies and publishers -- and run with it despite all objective reality.

What would you like to do about it?

H/T Chicago Boyz

First published at Al Fin

Friday, April 09, 2010

10% of all US Colleges to Fail Within 10 Years

Futurist Thomas Frey has had a lot to say about US education over the past year. Here is an interview with Frey, where he discusses the future of higher education.
GREENE: You predict that within the next ten years 10% of all colleges in the U.S. will fail. Why do you think this will happen?

FREY: Colleges see themselves operating in a closed system where their main form of competition comes from other colleges. However, the disruptive forces that will launch the next-generation learning revolution will necessarily happen outside existing colleges.

Once a college course is converted into a recorded form of online education it becomes a commodity. And, as a commodity, it can be reengineered with better graphics, better audio, improved styling, delivered through hand-held devices, and marketed more effectively to different demographic groups.

Corporations will quickly invent a faster, better, cheaper model for delivering college education.

Colleges are like slow moving whales about to get attacked by saltwater piranhas. While department heads in colleges are off studying the mating rituals of Komodo Dragons in Indonesia, corporate managers are working day and night, ruthlessly focused on opening new markets and uncovering new revenue streams. The pace and intensity of the work is radically different.

The attacks will first take on the appearance of partnerships for handling the IT infrastructure, and the distribution and marketing of courses, but will quickly deteriorate into the tail wagging the dog.

Those attacking colleges, albeit indirectly, will be companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and IBM. Many colleges already have working relationships with these companies.

Colleges have long enjoyed the government-sanctioned protections of accreditation and degree-granting ability. This too is about to come under attack. Companies are playing for major stakes, and very little is off-limits in corporate America.

What’s at stake is the possible development of a singular website capable of creating and distributing the vast majority of all courses in the world. It has the potential for becoming the largest and most influential website in the entire online universe.

In business terms, the online education arena has the potential to connect every living person on the face of the earth and become the largest and most profitable company in the world. That’s what’s at stake.

For colleges that get the lifeblood sucked out of them, victims of collateral damage, it’s not that the corporate world has set out to destroy them. Rather, as the intensity for gaining new market share heats up, the gloves come off, and the ensuing wake that follows will leave behind a tidal wave of destruction.

GREENE: So, in the long run, will this lead to a better educated society?

FREY: Students will have far more options to match up with the appropriate style and form of education that clicks with them. They will also have the option of taking the course they are most interested in at the time they are interested in taking it.

The needs of the student will stop evolving around the needs of the college, and [with] the cost of learning plummeting, most barriers will go away, making education far more accessible.

My thinking is that this will lead to a far more educated society, with people far more prepared to handle the demands of the future. _ImpactLab
More at Da Vinci Institute.

A great deal of college and university infrastructure is devoted to wasteful and counter-productive outlays: dormitories and cafeterias segregated by race, special studies departments devoted to indoctrination into left-victimist dogma, entire staff departments dedicated to granting special preferences to preferred groups by ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation etc etc. Universities must return to the core purpose: education and empowerment of individual students. At some point, indoctrination and special preferences became priorities over a good education. Instilling ideology grew more important to faculty and staff than the assisting of individual students in finding, pursuing, and magnifying their strengths and special interests.

Rather than for 10% of all colleges to fail, much better for every college to fail that is not willing to get back to the empowerment and education of individual students and assisting in their individual growth irregardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, philosophy, or political ideology.

Universities have been stewing in '60s garbage for too long. Either get over it, or go away.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Buildings in China Crack, Crumble, Collapse -- Don't Last Long

Compared to the less than 30-year average life expectancy of China’s buildings, the average life span of a building in Britain is capable of 132 years and in the United States it is 74 years.

...Alarm was raised several times in 2009 over the poor quality of the country's buildings.

In October of that year, a six-story apartment block collapsed in Central China's Wuhan, Hubei province. It was later found to have been held together by "steel supports as thin as iron wires", according to the subsequent investigation.

Earlier, in June 2009 a 13-floor building in the Lotus Riverside residential complex in Shanghai toppled, killing one worker. An investigation revealed the building's foundations had been undermined by a combination of soil piled 10 m high on one side of the structure and the digging of a 4.6-m underground car garage on the other.

One month later, a construction pit at the site of a planned building in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, collapsed and is believed to have caused massive cracks on nearby residential buildings. _ChinaDaily_via_ImpactLab
China is a massive consumer of the world's materials, energies, and resources, but is China putting the world's resources to good use? We know that China pollutes the world's skies, oceans, and land masses. But is it for a good cause?
"Every year, new buildings in China total up to 2 billion square meters and use up 40 percent of the world's cement and steel, but our buildings can only stand 25 to 30 years on average," Qiu Baoxing, vice-minister of housing and urban-rural development, said at a recent international forum on green and energy-efficient building.

This means the average life span of China's residential buildings is shorter than their intended life span of 50 years at the blueprint stage. As a result, property developers have been urged to extend the median life span of buildings.

Industry sources have added to the mix by stating that the per unit energy consumption of China's short- lived residential buildings is two or three times that of residential buildings in developed nations.

In China, construction waste comprises 30 to 40 percent of the total urban waste.
The construction of a 10,000-sq-m building will create 500 to 600 tons of waste, while the demolition of a 10,000-sq-m old building will create 7,000 to 12,000 tons of waste, according to industrial data.

Space from building demolition in China annually constitutes about 40 percent of the total construction area. _ChinaDaily

Eventually, one must ask the question: "What is the point of it all?" Why is China devouring so much of the world's resources to build a huge volume of construction, when it is all going to be torn down -- or will fall down on its own -- within 30 years? Particularly when most of this new space is unoccupied, and may well never be occupied before collapsing or being demo'd.

For all of those who insist that China is the place to invest one's assets, perhaps it is time to begin to pay attention to what is actually going on.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Obama Bows to Potemkin Putin

Russia saw more protests in the first three months of 2010 than it has seen over the past few years. A wave of demonstrations swept from one end of the country to the other. From Kaliningrad to Vladivostok, demonstrators for the first time made both economic and political demands, shouting “Down with the tariff increase!” and “Putin must go!”

The gap between the people and the government is widening further and further. _MoscowTimes

If more Russians could wake up from a vodka-sotted nationalistic stupour long enough to see how Putin's rule is destroying Russia, we would see even more protests in Russia. But Russians are too busy committing suicide, getting drunk, and dying of HIV / TB / heart disease / liver disease / and a growing curse of COPD, to comprehend how their government is sucking their irreplaceable life's blood.
Today, before our very eyes, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s once seemingly impregnable regime may be fading in the same way as its predecessors. In just ten years, Putinism, which was consciously designed by its image-makers as a simulacrum of a great ideological style, has run through all the classical stages of Soviet history. Indeed, Putinism now seems like a trite parody of all of them.

And yet the Obama - Pelosi reich is frantically rushing to provide Putin's pathetic Russia with a nuclear strategic advantage over a much larger, stronger, and richer United States. Why is Obama bowing to Potemkin Putin?

Because he is doing what he has wanted to do all his life -- what he has been saying that he would do if he ever got the chance. He is in the process of "dealing with" the fly in the ointment of a glorious dream that he inherited from his mother. A magnificent vision of a world without the anti-socialist hegemon.

Even if Obama is to be only a one-term president, he intends to make that one term count, in a way that is irreversible. He has already set the US on course for a catastrophic level of national debt that is 90% of national GDP before the end of the decade. We will see what other damage he can do in the time he has left.

Hope and change. The reality of Obama's form of the latter (change) makes the former (hope) so much more necessary than it ever was before. And so much more futile.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

How Many Tea Partiers Voted for Obama?

Probably as many as 30%. The Tea Party movement is made up of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. A growing proportion of Tea Partiers consist of disillusioned Obama supporters who finally started paying attention to what Obama was doing -- not just what he was saying.
A Pew poll in early March found 71 percent of Americans "dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country today," while a CNN poll showed that 56 percent of Americans are more than just discontented with Washington. Instead, that majority of respondents agreed that the government is "so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens."

..."The tea party is the middle 50 percent of America that wants good governance and lean more to the right of Barack Obama on economic issues," says Mr. Hecker, the tea party activist. "By calling them bloodthirsty extremists you're kind of alienating a lot of independents that voted for Obama." _CSM

The fringe left now controls the Democratic Party, most of the US media, a large part of US academia and much of the loudest part of US intellectual life. Their natural instinct is to attack Tea Partiers like junkyard dogs. That may backfire.
The Tea Party is a movement defined by its preference for fiscal restraint and low taxes. Presented with two competing proposals to create jobs, over four out of five Tea Party members say tax cuts for small business will create more jobs than increased government spending on infrastructure. When the options were expanded, tax cuts still were chosen as the top job creator, but are closely followed by “expanding development of all energy resources.” Interestingly enough, the next runner up – “cracking down on illegal immigration” – was not more popular among Tea Party members (19 percent) than voters overall (16 percent).

Read more at the Washington Examiner: _Examiner

Of course, once Obama - Pelosi begin focusing on their amnesty reform for illegal immigrants, a lot of Tea Partiers may get up to speed on immigration themselves. There is a difference, of course. A lot of pro-illegal immigration people are attorneys with ties to illegal organisations. The potential for violence during demonstrations against illegal immigration is higher than for anti-Obamacabre demonstrations.

Obama is losing support among the more productive and thoughtful members of society. He retains a firm grip on his large following of corrupt insiders, immature and inexperienced voters, Obama zombies, and the less intelligent members of society.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Tea Party is the Tip of the Iceberg

If the Obama - Pelosi regime chooses to pursue its program of radical dismantling of the Constitutional protections and liberties that a free nation needs, in order to prosper, it will have something of a fight on its hands.

It is good for this clear philosophical divide to be given time to play out. Members of law enforcement and the armed forces have financial reasons to support the Obama - Pelosi reich, even when it pursues unconstitutional methods to reach its anti-constitutional ends. But those members of the armed forces and law enforcement whose allegiance is to the constitution rather than to cradle-to-grave security, will have time to make a clear choice.

Private citizens do not have the same choice. They must either choose the freedom of the Constitutional path, or slavery to a statist anti-constitutional regime, existing as beggars living on scraps left over from the sumptuous tables of DC.