Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Some Union Bosses are Willing to Risk Bringing Everything Down

Violence that occurs around union action is not accidental or coincidental. It is part of the union tactics and strategy. When intimidation and threat of violence is insufficient, targeted violence can often get the unions what they want.

A lot of union bosses act as if they don't care whether the system survives or not. If you watch this union instructional video, you may begin to realise that there are union bosses who actually wish the system would crash, pushing things in that direction.

video h/t breitbart

Imagine all levels of US government under the thumb of people such as this. What hope for a decent future could ordinary Americans possibly have in such a situation? The US is not that far away from such a disaster, unless ordinary Americans take action to prevent it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

No Matter How Bad You Think It Is: It Really Is Worse

The pain of the ongoing financial and economic crisis is far more widely distributed across the US than is generally known. Certainly neither the US government nor the popular media are helping to make the situation clear. No doubt they have reasons of their own for their reticence. But anyone who wants to look into the future over just a small distance, needs to have a fairly clear idea of the present and recent past.
"If unemployment was computed the way BLS [Bureau of Labor Statistics] did it prior to 1994," the true unemployment rate in the United States "would be 22.2%".

And while the prospect of more than a fifth of the workforce being idle is scary enough, inflation in consumer prices is even scarier, particularly to the aforementioned one-in-five unemployed. And unemployed or their plight as concerns dealing with inflation in prices, he says, "In current economic analysis, inflation is largely in the eye of the beholder, and depending on how you choose to look, very different stories emerge."

This is where I thought he would mention the unemployed, or the poor, and their harrowing experiences in paying higher prices without any income, but he doesn't.

He says, instead, that it is all worse than I think, thanks to the way the American government calculates inflation. "In the US," he says, "food and beverages count for just 16.4% of the CPI [Consumer Price Index] calculation. The Chinese apparently believe that the basic necessities of life should count for more, assigning a 33% weight to the nutritional components. These differences in measurement are partially responsible for the divergent inflation climate in both countries, and make most people believe that inflation is fickle and localized."

It is not, and Mr Pento agrees, saying, almost poetically, "From my perspective, inflation is a global wave that will ultimately swamp all shores." _ATimes
Most of the financial disaster of 2008 was triggered by US government policies which forced financial institutions to make bad loans. Unfortunately, the financial institutions then tried to be clever, and built an international financial empire of risk upon these bad loans -- leveraging them to the hilt. Rating agencies failed to grasp the high-risk nature of these clever financial instruments -- "worth" many $trillions.

The disaster that followed should not have been such a surprise to anyone paying attention -- both of them. But every governmental and inter-governmental agency appears bent on 2 things: Covering up their role in what happened, AND re-inflating the bubble all over again. (Among other horrendously ludicrous mis-steps which will be covered later)

In other words, the world's economic fate sits in the hands of idiots, fools, and criminals -- big surprise!

What do you do about it, in the middle of a growing Idiocracy?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why Couldn't Sub-Saharan Africans Invent the Wheel?

IQ Map of World

Before relatively recent contact with outside cultures, Subsaharan Africans did not invent the wheel, did not invent writing, developed minimal art, or agriculture, lacked musical instruments beyond simple percussion, and came up virtually empty in terms of math, science, and technology. Why the absence of invention and development?

The map of world IQ at top provides a tentative answer to the question, but the map raises a more central question: Why do SubSaharan African populations test so low, on average, on tests of IQ, executive function, and impulse control? Is it possible that a significant part of the development of the human "superbrain" -- which makes modern advanced civilisation possible -- developed after humans left the African birthplace?
The dispersal of modern humans from Africa to Europe some 50,000 to 60,000 years ago provides a “minimum date” for the development of language, Hoffecker speculated. “Since all languages have basically the same structure, it is inconceivable to me that they could have evolved independently at different times and places.”

A 2007 study led by Hoffecker and colleagues at the Russian Academy of Sciences pinpointed the earliest evidence of modern humans in Europe dating back 45,000 years ago. Located on the Don River 250 miles south of Moscow, the multiple sites, collectively known as Kostenki, also yielded ancient bone and ivory needles complete with eyelets, showing the inhabitants tailored furs to survive the harsh winters.

The team also discovered a carved piece of mammoth ivory that appears to be the head of a small figurine dating to more than 40,000 years ago. “If that turns out to be the case, it would be the oldest piece of figurative art ever discovered,” said Hoffecker, whose research at Kostenki is funded in part by the National Science Foundation.

The finds from Kostenki illustrate the impact of the creative mind of modern humans as they spread out of Africa into places that were sometimes cold and lean in resources, Hoffecker said. “Fresh from the tropics, they adapted to ice age environments in the central plain of Russia through creative innovations in technology.”

Ancient musical instruments and figurative art discovered in caves in France and Germany date to before 30,000 years ago, he said. “Humans have the ability to imagine something in the brain that doesn’t exist and then create it,” he said. “Whether it’s a hand axe, a flute or a Chevrolet, humans are continually recombining bits of information into novel forms, and the variations are potentially infinite.” _SB

The absence of sophisticated invention or innovation prior to the human diaspora out of Africa, or in SubSaharan Africa since that diaspora, suggests a potentially deep distinction in the way that humans inside SS Africa think in comparison to how Eurasian humans learned to think.

It would be good to be able to research this puzzle, but unfortunately, the straitjacket of Political Correctness prevents the raising of such questions -- even for purposes of objective scientific research. Which means that those of us who are curious will have to conduct our investigations under the table, so to speak.

Is that not always how it is, when intelligent and curious humans are faced with oppressive and authoritarian culture-reichs, such as the modern quasi-left postmodern PC culture?

Ancient Inventions

Inventions of Ancient China

Top 10 Ancient Inventions

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Murder as Initiation: A Sick, Violent, Resentful Culture w/ Poor Impulse Control

James Cooper, 25, and James Kouzaris, 24, were in Florida when they were killed at 3am in a gangland area rarely visited by tourists.

They apparently accepted a lift from someone they met in a bar, thinking they were being driven home....Officers suspect they believed they were being driven the 12 miles to the resort of Longboat Key.

Instead, they were taken to Newtown, Sarasota, where they were confronted by a gang of masked men. _Telegraph
In a flashback to the Zebra killings of the 1970s San Francisco Bay area (archive.org free 400 page PDF download "Zebra"), two tourists from the UK were driven to a housing project and murdered by a 16 year old black man in what looks like a gang initiation. The two young Britons, who were traveling abroad without their own ground transportation, believed they were being driven to a tourist resort, but were instead the apparent victims of a planned race murder. Just as in the Zebra killings, the killing of members of other races appears to be the condition for acceptance into some violent gangs.

The industry of racial hatred within the black community is thriving across the US. Drumming up hatred against whites often results in murders, rapes, assaults, and other trans-racial crime. Black on white murder, rape, and assault are far more common than white on black crime, yet it is typically only considered a racial hate crime when a black person is attacked.

“Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit violent crime against a white person than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery.” (If decent black folks have trouble hailing a cab, and they do, these numbers may help explain it.)

* Black-on-white rape is 115 times more common than the reverse. _Buchanan

On black community talk radio, in black newspapers, in black churches of the Nation of Islam and Black Liberation Theology variety, the message of hatred against whites is trumpeted as if it were the path to salvation or the way to the promised land. Similar messages were delivered on a regular basis at President Obama's own Trinity church of Black Liberation Theology in Chicago, where he attended services over a period of decades.

I was interested to learn that during the deadly 1992 Los Angeles riots, black gang members from Oakland, California, traveled hundreds of miles south in order to get in on the murderous civil unrest that was occurring in LA.

We know that blacks test a full standard deviation lower on IQ tests than the population average, in the US. It is also clear that American blacks have poorer frontal lobe executive functions, and lower levels of impulse control -- both elements of behaviour which play important roles in lifetime success or failure, AND both of which are strongly under genetic control -- just like IQ.

Given those critical tidbits of information about seemingly innate behavioural tendencies, it seems most unwise to fill such heads with messages of resentment and violent retribution -- at least in my opinion.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Leftists Behaving Badly, As Usual, and the Consequent Backlash

Leftists are proud of being able to shout down the opposition. They are willing to go to extremes to keep opposing voices from being heard. This makes leftists rather unique among modern political movements -- except perhaps among Germany's "ultra-rightists" skinheads.

In fact, leftists have made such arses of themselves for so long that they are due for something of a backlash. No, not like the American "Tea Party" movement. Those folks are far too civilised to be considered a backlash movement. The tea partiers simply want their government to return to its minimalist roots, socially, and to spend within its means, economically.

No, when I say "backlash," I really mean backlash, in a very painful and effective sense. The left leaves itself open to attack from many directions. It is fortunate for leftists that the media largely covers for their misdeeds and contretemps. That is not likely to always be the case, of course.

While academia is generally full of leftists, occasionally a more rational and honest intellectual will persist through the deadly obstacle course and become well-known and popular enough that academic and media institutions cannot deny them a voice. Such a person is Niall Ferguson, historian:
The historian has been living back in the UK for almost a year, the first time since leaving for the US in 2002, where he now teaches at Harvard. From the outside, it's looked like quite a successful stay; his Channel 4 series, Civilization, was broadly well-received, and the accompanying book is another dollop of vintage Ferguson history, devoted to the superiority of western civilisation. While here he's also been advising Michael Gove on the history curriculum in secondary schools, and now that the Tories, of whom he approves, are back in charge of the country, he must have found the political climate more to his tastes. But when I ask him for the single biggest change he's observed since leaving Britain, he replies with a kind of theatrical despair,

"I think the situation in British universities has gone from being parlous to being catastrophic. When you look at where British universities are going, and where Harvard's going, you'd have to really love other things about England to take the hit."

...He is forever insisting he is not rightwing – so could he offer some examples of his thinking which would demonstrate that he isn't?

"Ask me not are you rightwing, but ask me are you a committed believer in individual freedom, the values of the enlightenment? Then, yeah, if being rightwing means believing Adam Smith was right, both in the Wealth of Nations and the Theory of Moral Sentiments, then I'm rightwing. If being rightwing is thinking that Karl Marx's doctrine was a catastrophe for humanity, then I'm rightwing. If you think that it's rightwing to say that the welfare state has trapped 10-20% of the population of western Europe in a dependency culture, an abyss of social failure, then I'm rightwing." _Guardian
The dimwitted bimbette from the Guardian who interviewed Ferguson was clearly unprepared to face a non-leftist of Ferguson's articulateness and "in-your-faceness."

Not that Ferguson is representative of the backlash I mention. No, he is just that niggling little feeling in the back of the minds of leftists, which makes them wonder if perhaps their little academic monopoly game might not go on forever.

No, they wish that Ferguson represented the backlash, just as they wish the Tea Party movement were as bad as a backlash might get.

The backlash which leftists deserve is far worse than they can imagine, but it is unlikely they will receive the maximum sentence they are due. Yet they are such whining pathetic creatures, that anything except complete capitulation to their catastrophically dysfunctional and destructive plans is seen as a hellish punishment, through their eyes.

The thing that is coming will be somewhere in between what they deserve, and the taste of internal hell they are receiving as a result of the need for governments to reduce their disastrous levels of debt. And that particular adjustment of spending priorities is likely to go on for a long, long time, and to cut many of their pet causes very, very deeply.

Not the backlash, no. But it is coming all the same. And although it will not be particularly violent, it will be devilishly clever and effective.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Moochers, Looters, and Producers

Makers are essential to life. Humans must exert effort to create the food, housing, clothing, and other things we need and want. Producers are the people who make that effort and deliver the goods.

Some think producers are limited to corporate moguls, but in fact, they include anyone on any level — from janitors to company presidents, in small or large organizations — who earn what they have and don’t steal from others.

Producers offer their goods through voluntary trade — capitalism. Whenever producers have been the freest, the result has been an explosion of wealth and prosperity and a high standard of living for everyone. Witness 19th-century America or today’s least-regulated fields, like technology.

The opposite type is the taker, who wants to forcibly live off others’ efforts. Looters are takers who jockey for positions in government in order to seize wealth and gain power over producers. Moochers vote the looters into power in order to receive government benefits like welfare, subsidies, grants, business advantages, or jobs.

Since its inception, America has been a land of producers. The world’s most can-do people cleared farms, opened shops, lived and traded with one another in harmony, and created the great middle class — the producer class. Now, many Americans take no responsibility for their lives. Instead, they line up for money that’s not theirs; it’s simply “Obama money.” _DC
From Madison, Wisconsin to Washington, DC, the battle of moochers vs. producers is being played out across the US. Interestingly, this contemporary battle was foreseen half a century ago by an author whose magnum opus is just now making it to the silver screen.
Atlas Shrugged: Part I,” which opens April 15th, is a movie unlike any other. Based on Ayn Rand’s novel, it dramatizes the fundamental conflict gripping our world: the battle between those who create value and wealth through their own efforts (the producers) and those who seek them through force (the looters and moochers).

With eerie accuracy, Rand’s novel depicted — in 1957 — the very struggle between these diametrical opposites that we’re witnessing today. This battle couldn’t be more important because the fate of civilization rests on the outcome. Since this conflict inescapably affects everyone, it’s crucial to know which side you’re on.

In Atlas Shrugged, producers like railroad executive Dagny Taggart and self-made steel titan Hank Rearden create new products and services, offer them in free trade, and consequently become rich. They are exploited by looters and moochers like Dagny’s brother James Taggart and steel executive Orren Boyle, who seek government intervention that favors them and thwarts their competition. In the story, the producers are vilified and their property expropriated, until they disappear. Without them, the country collapses.

Sound familiar? Today, America is in decline. The Wall Street Journal reports that “the number of U.S. IPOs has plunged to an annual average of about 130 since 2001 from an average of 503 during the 1990s.” Our nation’s debt is skyrocketing. Government has seized unprecedented control over industries like healthcare and banking. Corruption, group warfare, and the sense of “entitlement” to other people’s money are rampant. As Steve Moore notes in “We’ve Become a Nation of Takers, Not Makers,” public jobs, money, and power are burgeoning while the private sector is shrinking _DC

More on how the US became a "looter state."
Producers may either generate something of value, or they may trade items of value on the open market. Moochers tend to beg, borrow, and steal with no intention of reciprocating value for value. When governments and government employees become net moochers, citizens often have nowhere to turn for redress of grievances. That is how life has been for the governed since the inception of central governments above a certain size.

As the above article states, the US was set up to benefit producers -- either creators of value or merchants of value. But the moochers have creeped into control over time, portraying themselves as protectors of the disenfranchised -- much to their own benefit, and to the gradual but accelerating ruination of the entire nation's economy and productive base.

Consider reading Atlas Shrugged, or seeing the movie, just to get your subconscious working on solutions to the problem. It will not be easy, because things have degenerated much too far. Start with planning a competent community able to pick itself up and take off from there. Then consider how such communities might work together over time to build entire regions that are more producer friendly.

The idea is too important to leave to just one nation.

Cross-posted from Al Fin

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

10 Oil Price Drivers, and What Happens Now?

The following list of 10 oil price drivers is taken from a John Hampson article on Seeking Alpha:
1. Developments in the Middle East and North Africa - A real supply loss in Libya and fear of supply loss elsewhere. The fear factor and uncertainty premium is likely to last all the way through to new elections, but intermittent "good news" from the region should ease the oil price.

2. Excessive liquidity and speculative momentum: Due to low interest rates in the developed world, money is encouraged to seek a return in hard assets...

3. A secular bull market in commodities: Born out of underinvestment in supply in the 1980s and 1990s and increased global demand (industrialisation of China, global population growth). This provides an ongoing anchor for oil investors and speculators, although not forever...

4. Peak oil: Where demand permanently exceeds supply...

5. Global growth: Leading indicators and global growth forecasts continue to point to 2011 being a strong year. However, higher crude oil prices crimp growth....

6. A hedge against inflation: ... inflation appears set to accelerate...

7. Technical analysis...

8. A weak U.S. dollar...

9. Crude oil price versus futures price 11 months out....

10. Solar cycles... _SeekingAlpha
Most of the items on the list relate to speculative drivers, investment strategies for big investors, and fear factors. Predictions of sustained global growth at this point in time are ludicrous. The most useful driver-predictors listed are those relating to monetary policies of central banks, and the weakening Obama dollar.

A number of analysts are starting to see a commodities selloff in the near future. More large institutions are beginning to recommend a selling of commodities assets that are heavily weighted in crude oil. It is clear that the price of oil is inflated, but it can be tricky teasing the genuine threads of long-term causation from the threads of fear, speculation, and government interference.

In the long run, crude oil becomes less ideal as fuel, feedstock, or investment.   Synthetic liquid fuels will be priced more competitively with oil over the next decade, as improved catalysts and industrial methods are perfected.  Unconventional gas will find more uses to substitute for crude oil and conventional gas.  Coal, bitumens, and kerogens are likely to find many new uses in substitution for conventional crude.  Biomass fuels and microbial fuels will likewise improve technologically, and eventually be placed at a strategic advantage vis a vis crude oil.

As improved nuclear energy technologies come on line, the need for coal and gas for electric power generation will diminish, and those feedstocks will be more cheaply available as transportation fuels and industrial feedstocks.

In the long run, the trends all point to a reduced need for crude oil in all its uses.  But over the next 30 years or so world markets will be subject to all the real and imagined drivers of oil prices.  Bad political leadership (as in President Obama's "energy starvation" policies) will tend to multiply the economic difficulties of residents, over the short to intermediate term.

But it is important that more observant and discerning individuals pay attention to the imminent divide between a growing Idiocracy, and an emerging coalition of competence.  The more competent coalition may not have the benefit of operating under a UN sanctioned nation-state government, but it should be able to take advantage of all the benefits of modern technologies all the same.

Pay attention.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Fantasy Politics Based on Wishful Thinking

When we embark on a course of action which is unconsciously driven by wishful thinking, all may seem to go well for a time, in what may be called the “dream stage”. But because this make-believe can never be reconciled with reality, it leads to a “frustration stage” as things start to go wrong, prompting a more determined effort to keep the fantasy in being. As reality presses in, it leads to a “nightmare stage” as everything goes wrong, culminating in an “explosion into reality”, when the fantasy finally falls apart.

Recent events show us two huge examples of this cycle moving to its final stages. One is the belief, which took hold 20 years ago, that the world was in the grip of runaway global warming, caused by our emissions of greenhouse gases. The planet could only be saved by abandoning fossil fuels and drawing our energy from wind and sun. For a while (the dream stage), all seemed to go according to the theory. As CO2 levels rose and the Earth continued to warm, our politicians started to propose every kind of drastic measure to reduce our emissions, such as building thousands of wind turbines. But in all sorts of ways, in the past few years, this dream and the theory behind it have begun colliding with reality.

Carbon dioxide levels continued to rise, but global temperatures failed to follow. Three times in the past 13 years – in 1998, 2006 and 2010 – they spiked upwards, thanks to periodic shifts in a major Pacific ocean current – the phenomenon known as “El Niño” – which brings warm water to the surface and boosts temperatures across the world. Each time it was trumpeted as “the hottest year ever”. But each time, as the ocean current reversed into “La Niña”, the spike was followed by an equally sharp cooling.

In 2007, temperatures fell by 0.75C, more than the entire net rise recorded through the whole of the 20th century. After they rose again to a new El Niño peak in 2010, we were told, only three months ago, by the compilers of the two chief surface-temperature records – the UK Met Office, in association with Phil Jones of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, and James Hansen of NASA – that 2010 was the “equal warmest” or “second warmest” year ever.

Last week, however, with a new La Niña, it was reported that global temperatures, as measured by satellites, had fallen by 0.65C since March 2010, making the world cooler now than its mean over the past 30 years. Yet again the computer models, predicting that, thanks to rising CO2, the world should have warmed in the past decade by 0.3C, have proved hopelessly wrong.

... the 3,168 turbines we have built, at a cost of billions of pounds, contributed on average, if very irregularly, only 1,141 megawatts to the national grid last year – less than the output of a single large coal-fired power station. From the DECC figures it is possible to work out that, for this derisory contribution, we paid through our electricity bills a subsidy of nearly £1.2 billion, on top of the price of the electricity itself.

Thus, in return for less than 3 per cent of our electricity, nearly 7 per cent of our billls were made up of hidden subsidies to the wind developers, a percentage due to treble and quadruple in coming years as the Government strives to meet EU “renewables” target by building up to 10,000 more turbines, at a cost of £100 billion. The dream of using the wind to keep our lights on is being shown by reality to be one of the most absurd fantasies of our time. _GWPF Christopher Booker
The advanced world is immersed in fantasy politics, fantasy economics, fantasy energy planning, fantasy carbon hysteria, and fantasy education. Reality has little to do with the workings of the govenments of Europe, the Anglosphere, and the other advanced nations which are caught up in the vortex of debt, demography, and delusional ideology.

That being the case, it may be time to take a less on from "Atlas Shrugged" (Atlas Shrugged The Movie Part I coming to theatres this weekend): Going Galt.

Going Galt means to find (or create) a community of competent fellow independent-thinkers who are willing and able to create a "shadow government". A shadow government is nothing more than a group of cooperating individuals and families who can provide essential services for themselves so that the government is rendered irrelevant and unnecessary.

This concept is different from conventional survivalism where individuals and families often attempt to go it alone without necessarily cooperating and trading with outsiders. Such purist forms of survivalism are essentially unworkable. A far more workable approach is the formation of nuclei (or foci) of competence which cooperate with each other on terms of mutual advantage. One individual may form the nucleus of such a nucleus of competence -- or at least the initial motive force. But such efforts are only workable to the extent that they can enlist the cooperation of ever larger numbers of competent persons, families, and groups.

We are seeing the end-stage terminal dead-end of the nanny state approach to government. It is unsustainable and doomed to collapse. Debt, demography, and delusional ideology are growing to dimensions which were unimaginable a generation or two ago. And they are accelerating -- or "doubling down".

Time to look to alternatives to the mainstream.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Obama's Fake Economic Recovery, Where it is Leading

US President Obama's vaunted economic recovery is based upon massive monetary stimulus by the US Federal Reserve, on top of a fiscal policy of deficit spending by the US Congress. It is like a cocaine addicts high -- either stop the drug and crash, or keep increasing the dose and eventually die from the hollow over-stimulus. The QE2 is due to expire in June 2011, and the Fed will have a choice whether to keep hitting the coke, or go cold turkey. Neither option will be pleasant for US citizens, but at least one option allows for survival and a gradual rebuilding.
The trouble with this latest US recovery is that it amounts to little more than an economic “sugar-rush”. The recent growth-burst is built on monetary and fiscal policies which are wildly expansionary, wholly unsustainable and will surely soon come to an end. When the sugar-rush is over, and it won’t be long, the US will end up with a serious economic headache. Investors should keep that in mind.

...America is being blamed, rightly, for artificially depressing the dollar, so unfairly boosting US exports at the expense of those from elsewhere. At the same time, a lower greenback cuts the real value of the huge debts that America owes overseas creditors - not least the Chinese. _Telegraph
The author of the article above suggests that the Chinese and other US securities and bond holders will force the US to stop its serial QE attacks on the value of the US dollar and US treasuries. But can Obama's government afford to get off the twin railed (deficits and QE) train to perdition? Does Obama have the guts to take the bitter pill, when it is almost certain to mean defeat at the polls in 2012? Not likely.

One side of the inevitable disaster -- stopping QE. You know it will be a disaster either way, but one choice leads to an earlier painful disaster from which it will be possible to recover, eventually. The other choice leads to even more serious inflation than the US is already on the brink of.

The US is no longer a land of opportunity, but has become the land of government affiliated leeches and rent-seekers. That means that although government entitlements are rising exponentially, government revenues are becoming stuck, unable to compensate. Deficit spending at all levels of government is thus likely, until a final catastrophe brings the building train wreck to a screeching halt.

Lest you start to think that China or Europe will be safe economic havens and drivers of a global recovery -- better think again. Europe's demographic collapse on top of its welfare nanny state mentality, is a disaster building before our eyes. China's corrupt central economy is wrapping itself into hopeless knots.

The US economic debacle -- which no one in the US government or Fed is willing to face -- will compound the ongoing problems overseas.

How long before Obama's house of cards falls down? You gotta ask yourself one question: Do you feel lucky?