Wednesday, October 26, 2011

China's One-Child Rule Has Led to Abuses

China can claim to have curbed its birth rate to around 1.5 children per woman since the policy was introduced in 1979.

Without the birth limits, which no other country applies as rigorously or on such a scale, the world's most populous nation would have hundreds of millions more mouths to feed than the 1.34 billion it has now.

But from modern cities to remote villages, its implementation has involved abuses from mass sterilisation to abortions as late as eight months into the pregnancy. Baby girls have also been abandoned and killed.

Couples who defy the rule can face fines amounting to several years' salary, have access to social services cut and even go to prison. Their so-called "black children" have no legal status in China.
Imagine how it would feel to be Chinese, born in China, and to have no legal status inside China.

The one-child policy is having other effects on China -- it is causing the country's population to grow old very quickly.
...three decades on, demographers, sociologists and economists are warning of a looming crisis as China becomes the only developing country in the world to face growing old before it grows rich.

China's crisis is approaching "incomparably faster" than in Europe, where fertility has fallen very gradually over the last century, Paris-based demographer Christophe Guilmoto told AFP.
In the next five years the number of people in China over 60 will jump from 178 million to 221 million -- 13.3 percent to 16 percent of the population -- according to the People's Daily Online

By 2050, a quarter of China's population will be over 65, the Commission for Population and Family Planning said, compared to just nine percent today.

Already, half of China's over-60s live alone, a situation unthinkable before, when four generations would live under one roof.

The upside-down pyramid -- whereby a single child shoulders responsibility for two parents and four grandparents -- is a major headache for the government, particularly as unemployment rises, forcing more and more people to migrate to cities for work.

Liang Zhongtang, a demographer involved in family planning, said the pressure would grow as Chinese born between 1962 and 1972 retire. _YahooNews
If each child becomes responsible for two parents and four grandparents, what if that "one child" dies? The social safety net can fall apart rather quickly in a country with an upside-down population pyramid.

What if China relaxed its one-child rule. Would fertility quickly jump back up where it was prior to the policy?
"Even if China relaxes the one-child policy, I believe there won't be many couples wanting too many children", He told AFP, as middle-class couples around the world opt increasingly for smaller families.

Guilmoto is hopeful that fertility might rise in the future, even if "this is very uncertain when we look at the most advanced regions where it comes close to one child per woman".
Women are increasingly deciding against having children at all, opting instead to pursue careers and enjoy their growing material wealth.

But the southern province of Guangdong -- the engine of China's economy with its 104 million residents -- this month decided against relaxing the policy.

China's most populous province ruled there would be "no major adjustments" to the policy in the next five years, said Zhang Feng, head of the Population and Family Planning Commission.
A society where children have no brothers or sisters, uncles or aunts, no cousins...that is a society where alienation could easily occur. This alienation and potential indifference to the sufferings of others, was on full display recently when a 2 year old girl named Yue Yue was left bleeding in the middle of a Guangdong road by several passers-by.

The Chinese preference for sons has led to a disproportionate number of male youth -- an excess into the millions. This imbalance is likely to grow worse over time, leading to a dangerous male youth bulge that could easily lead to internal unrest, or war.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bombing Iran Into an Islamic Stone Age -- Who'd Know the Diffierence?

Iran has threatened to destroy America, and has been frantically working to develop the type of nuclear missile technology which could throw the US back into a pre-industrial age. Both Iran and North Korea understand how easy it would be to detonate a nuclear warhead hundreds of miles above the US -- in outer space -- then sit back and watch American society implode. Both rogue nations are working to develop both the nuclear and the missil technology to achieve that feat.

But the irascible Spengler says that the US should not wait for Iran to collapse its electrical infrastructure. No, Spengler says the US should pre-empt Iranian plans, and do whatever is necessary to prevent the mad mullahs from making that one, last, fatal gesture:
Iran has terrorized the United States, and inevitably will acquire nuclear weapons — unless it’s stopped. At that point its terror capacity will multiply a thousand-fold, because its terrorists will operate under a nuclear umbrella. So the argument boils down to this: Iran is a terrorist state ready to murder American citizens and American allies all over the Middle East and around the world. Which means that we had better not stop them from acquiring nuclear weapons, because then they might be mad at us, and hurt us. What does that imply about what a nuclear-armed Iran might do?

... keep in mind that Iran is a dying nation. As I report in How Civilizations Die (and Why Islam is Dying, Too), Iran is suffering the fastest fertility decline on record, any time, ever. The average Iranian has six or seven brothers and sisters, but will have one or two children. The population pyramid will invert: within a single generation, it will go from having 7 children to take care of elderly parents, to just 1.5. And in a country where the average person has $4000 to spend per year, that means starvation. The Iranian leadership knows it. They’ve been screaming about it in public for years. Like Hitler, they think they have one last chance at empire before the curtain comes down. If they’re not stopped, millions of Americans might die. _PJMedia
Rather than decapitation strikes against Iran's leaders, or deep penetration bombing strikes against Iran's nuclear infrastructure, some have suggested that the US should use EMP on Iran, to throw the nation back into an "Islamic stone age." Yes, "Islamic stone age" is a redundant phrase, granted. And it is possible that no one would even notice the difference.

But Iran's international terrorist proclivities are enabled by its energy wealth, and knocking out the ability of Iran to get its energy to market would certainly cut the legs out from under the ability of Iran to export terror and mayhem.

But if the more enlightened world were to use EMP against Iran, it would be better not to use a nuclear variety of EMP weapon, but rather one of the more advanced conventional EMP weapons. Such weapons could be mass produced, pre-placed, and timed to knock out selected electrical and electronic infrastructure. Alternatively, they could be unleashed from cruise missiles or drone aircraft.

When combined with advanced energy beam weapons, such an attack could effectively "decapitate" the mad mullahs' ability to commit mischief abroad.

Oil prices would naturally shoot up, which would upset the already-shaky economies of Europe. Iranian allies such as Russia, China, North Korea, Syria, Gaza, and Venezuela would likewise be upset at the loss of revenues and the loss of a useful cat's paw.

But if the possible EMP threat from Iran is to be taken seriously, one must weigh all the options for a possible response.

Once the EMP djinn is let out of the bottle, there is no telling where it might stop. We like to assume that advanced societies could rebuild their infrastructures within a year or two, but that is assuming that somewhere in the world an advanced infrastructure willing and able to supply their replacement transformers and other massively expensive replacement infrastructure, has survived attack. That is an unlikely bet, once the dogs of EMP war are unleashed.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Haunting Video of 2 Year Old YueYue: Death by Indifference in Guangdong

Warning! Do not watch this video if you have a tender heart. The brutal indifference of ordinary Chinese in Guangdong shown toward a badly injured 2 year old girl is almost unbelievable. And China considers itself the civilised society!

(h/t Mish)

Two year old YueYue died in the hospital after a week in coma. She died of progressive organ failure.

The media is claiming that the little girl's injury, neglect, and subsequent death raises painful questions in China about the value of human life in the Celestial Kingdom. The media is also saying that "it was too dark to see" the little girl, lying crushed and bleeding in the middle of the road.

But let's be honest about this tragic incident. The original van driver may not have seen the little girl before knocking her down. But after that, he knew he had hit something or someone -- and never bothered to look! After that, the events unfolded as if in a zombie movie -- except without the flesh-eating.

The video speaks for itself.

In the Al Fin blogs, we have commented at length on the alienating nature of Chinese society, particularly its one-child policy which leaves individuals with no siblings, no uncles or aunts, no cousins, no extended family or sense of belonging. In this case, if YueYue was an only child, the line stops there.

Ray Kurzweil vs. Paul Allen: Is the Singularity Near?

When will humanity reach Singularity, that now-famous point in time when artificial intelligence becomes greater than human intelligence? It is aptly called the Singularity proponents like Ray Kurzweil: like the singularity at the center of a black hole, we have no idea what happens once we reach it. However, the debate today is not what happens after the Singularity, but when will it happen. _BigThink
In the video below, Kurzweil discusses some of his ideas about the coming singularity, including timelines and cautionary notes.

Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Paul Allen recently expressed skepticism about Kurzweil's timeline for the singularity, in a Technology Review article.
Futurists like Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil have argued that the world is rapidly approaching a tipping point, where the accelerating pace of smarter and smarter machines will soon outrun all human capabilities. They call this tipping point the singularity, because they believe it is impossible to predict how the human future might unfold after this point. Once these machines exist, Kurzweil and Vinge claim, they'll possess a superhuman intelligence that is so incomprehensible to us that we cannot even rationally guess how our life experiences would be altered. Vinge asks us to ponder the role of humans in a world where machines are as much smarter than us as we are smarter than our pet dogs and cats. Kurzweil, who is a bit more optimistic, envisions a future in which developments in medical nanotechnology will allow us to download a copy of our individual brains into these superhuman machines, leave our bodies behind, and, in a sense, live forever. It's heady stuff.

While we suppose this kind of singularity might one day occur, we don't think it is near.

...Kurzweil's reasoning rests on the Law of Accelerating Returns and its siblings, but these are not physical laws. They are assertions about how past rates of scientific and technical progress can predict the future rate. Therefore, like other attempts to forecast the future from the past, these "laws" will work until they don't. More problematically for the singularity, these kinds of extrapolations derive much of their overall exponential shape from supposing that there will be a constant supply of increasingly more powerful computing capabilities. For the Law to apply and the singularity to occur circa 2045, the advances in capability have to occur not only in a computer's hardware technologies (memory, processing power, bus speed, etc.) but also in the software we create to run on these more capable computers. To achieve the singularity, it isn't enough to just run today's software faster. We would also need to build smarter and more capable software programs. Creating this kind of advanced software requires a prior scientific understanding of the foundations of human cognition, and we are just scraping the surface of this. _Technology Review_Paul Allen
Allen goes on to discuss the "complexity brake," which the limitations of the human brain (and the limitations of the human understanding of the human brain) will apply to any endeavour that begins to accelerate in complexity too quickly.

Allen's argument is remarkably similar to arguments previously put forward by Al Fin neurscientists and cognitivists. The actual way that the human brain works, is something that is very poorly understood -- even by the best neuroscientists and cognitivists. If that is true, the understanding of the brain by artificial intelligence researchers tends to be orders of magnitude poorer. If these are the people who are supposed to come up with super-human intelligence and the "uploading of human brains" technology that posthuman wannabes are counting on, good luck!

But now, Ray Kurzweil has chosen the same forum to respond to Paul Allen's objections:
Allen writes that "the Law of Accelerating Returns (LOAR). . . is not a physical law." I would point out that most scientific laws are not physical laws, but result from the emergent properties of a large number of events at a finer level. A classical example is the laws of thermodynamics (LOT). If you look at the mathematics underlying the LOT, they model each particle as following a random walk. So by definition, we cannot predict where any particular particle will be at any future time. Yet the overall properties of the gas are highly predictable to a high degree of precision according to the laws of thermodynamics. So it is with the law of accelerating returns. Each technology project and contributor is unpredictable, yet the overall trajectory as quantified by basic measures of price-performance and capacity nonetheless follow remarkably predictable paths.

...Allen writes that "these 'laws' work until they don't." Here, Allen is confusing paradigms with the ongoing trajectory of a basic area of information technology. If we were examining the trend of creating ever-smaller vacuum tubes, the paradigm for improving computation in the 1950s, it's true that this specific trend continued until it didn't. But as the end of this particular paradigm became clear, research pressure grew for the next paradigm.

...Allen's statement that every structure and neural circuit is unique is simply impossible. That would mean that the design of the brain would require hundreds of trillions of bytes of information. Yet the design of the brain (like the rest of the body) is contained in the genome. And while the translation of the genome into a brain is not straightforward, the brain cannot have more design information than the genome. Note that epigenetic information (such as the peptides controlling gene expression) do not appreciably add to the amount of information in the genome. Experience and learning do add significantly to the amount of information, but the same can be said of AI systems.

...How do we get on the order of 100 trillion connections in the brain from only tens of millions of bytes of design information? Obviously, the answer is through redundancy. There are on the order of a billion pattern-recognition mechanisms in the cortex. They are interconnected in intricate ways, but even in the connections there is massive redundancy. The cerebellum also has billions of repeated patterns of neurons.

...Allen mischaracterizes my proposal to learn about the brain from scanning the brain to understand its fine structure. It is not my proposal to simulate an entire brain "bottom up" without understanding the information processing functions. We do need to understand in detail how individual types of neurons work, and then gather information about how functional modules are connected. The functional methods that are derived from this type of analysis can then guide the development of intelligent systems. Basically, we are looking for biologically inspired methods that can accelerate work in AI, much of which has progressed without significant insight as to how the brain performs similar functions. _TechnologyReview_Ray Kurzweil
Kurzweil's attitude seems to be: "Because difficult problems have arisen and been solved in the past, we can expect that all difficult problems that arise in the future will also be solved." Perhaps I am being unfair to Kurzweil here, but his reasoning appears to be fallacious in a rather facile manner.

Al Fin neuroscientists and cognitivists warn Kurzweil and other singularity enthusiasts not to confuse the cerebellum with the cerebrum, in terms of complexity. They further warn Kurzweil not to assume that a machine intelligence researcher can simply program a machine to emulate neurons and neuronal networks to a certain level of fidelity, and then vastly expand that model to the point that it achieves human-level intelligence. That is a dead end trap, which will end up wasting many billions of dollars of research funds in North America, Europe, and elsewhere to discover.

This debate has barely entered its opening phase. Paul Allen is ahead in terms of a realistic appraisal of the difficulties ahead. Ray Kurzweil scores points based upon his endless optimism and his proven record of skillful reductionist analyses and solutions of previous problems.

Simply put, the singularity is not nearly as near as Mr. Kurzweil predicts. But the problem should not be considered impossible. Clearly, we will need a much smarter breed of human before we can see our way clear to the singularity. As smart as Mr. Kurzweil is, and as rich as Mr. Allen is, we are going to need something more from whatever humans who eventually birth the singularity.

Originally written for Al Fin, the Next Level

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Hollow Paper Tiger That is Russia's Military

Russia's severe and growing shortage of 18 year old men fit for military conscription is sending repercussions throughout the corrupt and corroding infrastructure of Russian defense forces. When a nation's military is as unpopular with its own people as the Russian military, its credibility as a viable defense diminishes. As this process continues to its seemingly inevitable conclusion, the bulk of Eastern Siberia becomes less and less likely to remain in Russian hands for many more decades.
The basic problem is two-fold. First, military service is very unpopular, and potential conscripts are increasingly successful at dodging the draft. But the biggest problem is that the number of 18 year olds is rapidly declining each year. The latest crop of draftees was those born after the Soviet Union dissolved. That was when the birth rate went south. Not so much because the Soviet Union was gone, but more because of the economic collapse (caused by decades of communist misrule) that precipitated the collapse of the communist government. The number of available draftees went from 1.5 million a year in the early 1990s, to 800,000 today. Less than half those potential conscripts are showing up, and many have criminal records (or tendencies) that help sustain the abuse of new recruits that has made military service so unsavory.

With conscripts now in for only a year, rather than two, the military is forced to take a lot of marginal (sickly, overweight, bad attitudes, drug users) recruits in order to keep the military and Ministry of Interior units up to strength. But this means that even elite airborne and commando units are using a lot of conscripts. Most of these young guys take a year to master the skills needed to be useful, and then they are discharged. Few choose to remain in uniform and become career soldiers. That's primarily because the Russian military is seen as a crippled institution, and one not likely to get better any time soon. With so many of the troops now one year conscripts, an increasing number of the best officers and NCOs get tired of coping with all the alcoholics, drug users and petty criminals that are taken in just to make quotas. With the exodus of the best leaders, and growing number of ill-trained and unreliable conscripts, the Russian military is more of a mirage than an effective combat (or even police) organization.

...Conscription itself, and the prospect of being exposed to the hazing, has led to a massive increase in draft dodging. Bribes, and document fraud, are freely used. Few parents, or potential conscripts, consider this a crime. Avoiding the draft is seen as a form of self-preservation.

...When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, it had five million troops in its armed forces. Now it's less than one million in just Russia (which got about half the population of the Soviet Union, and most of the territory). Although the Russian armed forces lost over 80 percent of its strength in the last 18 years, a disproportionate number of officers remained.

...As a result of these personnel problems, Russian efforts to reform and upgrade its armed forces have, so far, failed. The basic problem is that few Russian men are willing to join, even at good pay rates. Efforts to recruit women and foreigners have not made up for this. The Russian military has an image problem that just won't go away. This resulted in the period of service for conscripts being lowered to one year (from two) in 2008. That was partly to placate the growing number of parents who were encouraging, and assisting, their kids in avoiding military service.

...Russia has tried to change public attitudes towards the armed forces, by publicizing all the new changes and programs. But word got around that most of these efforts failed. Blame that on the Internet. A recent poll revealed that 75 percent of military age men do not want to serve in the military, and the main reason is the hazing and prison-like conditions in the barracks. _StrategyPage
That is not entirely true. There are far too many reasons to list, as to why 75% of military age men do not want to serve in the military. Take away the hazing and the prison-like conditions, and perhaps only 74% of military age men would not want to serve in the military.

But the way things are going, the number of military age men in Russia of sound mind, body, and character -- and who are also ethnic Russians -- are shrinking rapidly.

If the Russians were smart, they would get rid of Putin however they could, and make firm and irrevocable partnership and investment deals with successful and reputable outside entities, to allow upgrading of Russia's infrastructure from top to bottom. Such a move would hurt the famous Russian pride and egomania, but it might just save the country from itself, and make it a place worth living for once.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Occupy Sit-Ins: Nostalgia for the 60's, or Haven for Rape and Pedophilia?

According to Walter Russell Mead, the Occupy movement's sit-ins and demonstrations remind him a lot of similar leftist demonstration in the US 1960's.
The news that 175 people were arrested over the weekend in a Chicago OWS protest started me thinking about the ritualized nature of left demonstrations. The drums, the chants, the defiance, the arrests — and, sometimes, the glass smashing and the fire setting: it all unfolds according to a predictable pattern that in its modern form is essentially unchanged since the Vietnam War.

...Back in the day, when most workers in American industry had workweeks of seventy and eighty hours, had little or no formal education and lacked the money and the leisure to do much about politics as individuals, mass demonstrations really meant something. People were giving up all the leisure time they had in a week, they were risking being blacklisted — losing their jobs and being blocked from working in their field in a time with no unemployment insurance or social safety net — and they were walking into situations where “police brutality” meant getting killed or disabled, with no lawsuits or compensation.

...Those demonstrations were often the only way people had to show what was on their minds and how deeply they felt. These days, when the electorate is being constantly polled, and cable news channels are feverishly tracing every tiny tick in public opinion, demonstrations don’t really tell us anything. Nor do they change things much; if the Tea Party had stopped with rallies, it would have been forgotten very quickly. It was only when Tea Party activists stopped dressing up in those ridiculous three cornered hats and started organizing, fundraising and attending town halls that the movement had a substantive impact. _WalterRussellMead
He does have a point. The Occupy protestors are either professional activists, unemployed dropouts, or union agitators on the make -- with a few anarchists, pedophiles, and other career criminals to add diversity.

At the Cleveland Occupy sit-in, a young girl was raped -- and the organisers apparently tried to cover it up. At the Baltimore Occupy sit-ins, the cover-up machine is in full pre-emptive swing. At the Seattle Occupy sit-in, a pedophile was out exposing himself to young children. And how many other incidents are we not hearing about, because the politically correct clamp-down is in full effect. Remember: If it shows Obama and his supporters in a bad light, the skankstream media will simply ignore it.

It is instructive to look at the riots occurring on the tiny island of Mayotte. The native islanders -- largely unemployed and on the dole -- have gone on the rampage, demanding much more generous welfare benefits from the paternal French protectors of the island. How do these island riots -- and similar riots on French islands in the Caribbean -- relate to the Occupy movement?

It is quite simple. Persons who are largely outside the productive wealth-generating system of a society will often demand to be supported by the government apparatus of redistribution, once they feel they have the political power to make those demands. Rather than gaining the skills, competencies, and expertise to become part of the productive, wealth-generating segment of society themselves, they choose to use the threat of violence and civil disorder to extort redistributionist "tribute" from the state.

The Occupy sit-ins are not about justice in any meaningful sense of the word. Instead, they are about moolah. They are about taking money from productive persons and transferring that money to layabouts, so that they can continue to pay their bills while laying about.

Readers who remember discussions here about psychological neoteny, the flight from childhood responsibility, and the lack of meaningful rites of passage in modern child-raising, will start to understand how movements such as Occupy can gain traction -- even in a modern society.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Third World? It's Murder Out There

The above map gives a rough idea of where the global hot spots of murder occur. Across Latin America, the Caribbean, SubSaharan Africa, and other third world areas. A finer level of detail would reveal the third world hot spots of crime within the cities of North America, Europe, and Oceania.
Intentional homicide tends to drop off in areas of greater development, and where populations are most homogeneous and the least multicultural. As Europe, Canada, and Oceania become more multicultural -- closer to the United States -- the crime rates for those areas are likely to approach the crime rates in the US. If countries such as Finland are able to resist immigration from the third world, they should be able to keep their crime rates among the lowest in the world.

Honduras is on the path to having the highest murder rates in the world.

Jamaica is a perennial crime capital of the Caribbean -- which is saying quite a lot.

Latin America is often dangerous, but if you look you should find some safe havens.

Part of the problem involves race. As we have noted before, in the US, African American males are the worst offenders. Take away African American crime from the US, and the country compares well with the best of Europe on that score. Areas of the world with large populations of African descent will typically have high rates of violent crime. Low IQ and low impulse control appear to be the most likely heritable traits contributing to high violent crime in persons of African descent.

US Hispanics likewise exhibit higher rates of violent crime than both European and Asian Americans, although Hispanic crime rates are not nearly as high as African American crime rates. That being the case, one must wonder why Latin American crime rates rival the worst of African rates.

Part of the problem is the violently competitive drug trade in Latin America. Another part of the problem is the conflation caused by African American populations living in Latin American cities who exhibit high crime rates there. In addition, given the extreme high rates of crime within some indigenous tribes in Latin America, one must allow for the possibility that some behavioural traits contributing to criminal behaviour are inherited within the mestizo communities.

Given these possible reasons for high crime in Africa and Latin America, it should be clear that the politically correct agenda of modern leftists will be of absolutely no help at all in lowering third world crime rates.

So what do we do? First of all, immigration from the third world into the advanced world should be severely curtailed immediately. Second, black markets within the advanced world which contribute to third world crime should be crippled, using market means and deregulation as much as possible rather than law enforcement. Third, every effort should be made to aid the deportation of third world career criminals who have taken up residence within advanced nations.

More on this topic later.

And You Thought There Was No Such Thing As Zombies!

We live in a time when zombies walk the Earth. This breed of zombie is proud of its lack of knowledge and its inability to think through complex issues. Simplifying the problems of societies to just a few emotion-laden issues is the most that these addle-brained zombies can handle.

This zombie movement is spurred by a global economic recession without apparent end. And the zombie contagion is spreading...
Thousands of people across the world railed against corporate power, grinding poverty and government cuts Saturday as the Occupy Wall Street movement spread to the streets of Europe, Asia and Australia -- and took a particularly violent turn in Rome....

...Police said hundreds of anarchists in Rome moved in where peaceful demonstrators had gathered as part of the global Occupy movement. The anarchists -- some wearing ski masks and belonging to a group termed "Black Bloc" -- torched cars, broke windows and clashed with police.

...In London, protester Peter Vaughn, reflecting the mood of many in the crowd there, said people criticized financial institutions that have "gambled away our money."

...Europeans turned out amid debt troubles and austerity plans in Greece, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Germany.

United for Global Change -- the central site for the movement organizing worldwide protests -- said 951 cities in 82 countries were to take part in the demonstrations after online organizers called for a worldwide rally.

...Around the world, protesters marched, listened to speeches, and displayed banners reading anti-corporate slogans, including the now ubiquitous "we are the 99%," "Banks are cancer" and tax the rich 1%."

...Canadians turned out in Toronto, with placards jutting up from a crowd saying "Arrest the 1%" and "Stop ignoring the youth, we are your tomorrow." A sign on a dog said "99% against (corporate) fat cats."

...Australian cities of Melbourne and Sydney joined rallies against "corporate greed" as protesters aligned themselves with the global movement.

...The worldwide movement is galvanized by the Occupy Wall Street movement started last month as a backlash against the economy and what demonstrators say is an out-of-touch corporate, financial and political elite.

Occupy Wall Street organizers say they are inspired by the Arab Spring that led to the toppling of regimes in Tunisia and Egypt. _CNN

Similar worldwide zombie movements have led to bombings in New York, London, Madrid, Bali, Israel, and across the zombie lands from the near east to the far east. Zombies are single-minded in their hunger and violent compulsions. Whether obsessed with global warming and peak oil, the "greed of the 1%", doomsday comets, or the need to spread Islam to every nation, zombies have one-track minds. Should these different breeds of zombies somehow join together for just a short time into a truly global movement, the resulting devastation could be the tipping point into the Idiocracy.
It is not so far from the obsessive-compulsive "occupy zombies" or the "islamosupremacist zombies" to the blood-thirst zombies of legend and lore. Once societies let slip the autophagic forces of zombiehood, the fragile bonds that tie a society together are also "let slip."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

President Obama Makes Economic Prediction Easy

Growing a healthy economy is very much like growing a healthy garden. Economies need the proper conditions to grow, just as gardens do. When a gardener is neglectful of his garden, one can predict a poor result long before the crop is due to mature. The same thing applies to the managers of an economy. Bad -- incompetent or even malicious -- managers make prediction of the future easy.

US President Obama rode into the White House on a huge wave of hope, change, and popular enthusiasm. Everywhere he went, he was met by huge and adoring crowds. Expectations for this new president were astronomically high . . . . and then something happened -- the new president was inaugurated and put in a position where he had to accomplish something, for the first time in his life.
Over the years, Mr. Obama's achievements failed to live up to his promises and the astronomical expectations set for him. As the economy failed to improve -- and in many ways actually worsened -- the number of people flocking to his banner gradually and reluctantly fell away. "How could I have known that he would be such a bad president?", Obama voters would ask themselves, as they walked away from the president, sadly shaking their heads in disappointment and shame.
But in the real world, anyone paying attention could have predicted the ongoing debacle of the Obama economic descent into quagmire. Instead of providing conditions for the economy to grow and prosper, under Obama, debt, designed energy-starvation, and growth-strangling regulations expanded exponentially.

It is easy to see where the economy was going when the gardener is a narcissistic clown of no achievement and no competence, such as Obama. Never having participated in the productive private sector, Obama had no interest in seeing the prospering of markets and trade.

Consequently, debt has ballooned, the dollar has progressively lost value, the cost of consumables has exploded, jobs have disappeared in the millions, wages have shrunk, government has grown, regulations that make starting businesses difficult have proliferated, gold and silver prices have soared, and anyone with cash is holding onto it, just waiting for a glimmer of hope -- such as the Obama's packing up and moving out of the White House.

Of course, the damage Obama has done will live on for many years and decades. Once government regulations and departments are established, they can become almost impossible to remove -- no matter how destructive they are to the prosperity and well-being of the people.

And yet, economic seeds of prosperity -- just like the seeds of plants -- are still there waiting for the proper conditions that will allow them to bloom and grow. Growth and prosperity will be much spottier than they would have been without Obama, but they will come back to parts of the US. Look to the places where shale oil & gas fracking are being done to see pockets of prosperity so strong as to resist even Obama's attempts to shut them down.

The Obama economic agenda is equivalent to a "salting of the soil" approach to gardening. But even salt-toxic soil can be remediated so that healthy growth can take place again. But as I said, the post-Obama recovery in the US (and consequently around the globe) will be spotty. Keep your eyes open. Pay attention.

Predicting the economy will not be so easy when a different president is elected.

Cross-posted from Al Fin

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Quick! Someone Tell Tea Partiers that Herman Cain is Black!

Either the Tea Partiers were never properly instructed in the art of being racists, or they are unaware that presidential candidate Herman Cain is black. Cain is enjoying increasing support among members of the Tea Party movement and among the more conservative GOP voters. Walter Russel Mead wants to know how the media "spin" on the Tea Party went so badly wrong:
Either a lot of Democrats have been slandering millions of American voters as racist, or the Tea Party hasn’t gotten the word that Herman Cain is African American. That is the only conclusion that can be drawn after a slew of recent polls shows that Cain is picking up the ‘teavangelical’ vote as former favorites like Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry fade.

In particular, this morning we get the word from my native state of South Carolina that Cain is the leader in the Republican primary there. According to this American Research Group poll, Cain has a small and statistically insignificant lead over Mitt Romney: 26 percent to 25 percent.

Unless there has been a heretofore unnoticed surge of Black voters into the ranks of the South Carolina GOP, this means that one out of every four voters in the most conservative electorate in the United States are now ready to vote for a Black candidate for president. _WalterRusselMead
Mead goes on to describe a few other incongruities between the skankstream media spin on southern US voters and the reality on the ground.

I suppose it takes at least 4 years of university indoctrination to learn how to ignore reality, and stick to the approved message. All of those paid demostrators at the "Occupy" sit-ins, for example, must be exceptionally well indoctrinated. They must have at least 8 or 10 years of college apiece, on average. All that self righteousness on display, and $22 an hour too! Just to protest in support of the Obama status quo. Heh! And the media skanks love the "occupiers", too, not like the Tea Party rough-housers, rabble rousers and racists.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Age of Professional Activists: Protest as a Permanent Avocation

Billionaire George Soros who is backing the protests for reasons still not clear will probably have to rethink.

On Monday one of the demonstrators wore a T-shirt with the message, "The present is struggle. The future is ours. - Che". Another protestor had a placard with the Latin American revolutionary Che Guevara on it, and it read: "Si se puede - The workers' struggle has no borders". _allAfrica
Left-wing Obama supporters, ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protesters have continued a third week of demonstrations conveying “hope” that President Barack Obama will continue on with “change” and his path of socialist reforms and anti-capitalist government policies.

The movement has earned the financial support and public endorsement of [billionaire curency market manipulator] George Soros, which means Obama may soon coordinate community activism from the White House. _DallasBlog

...what are OccupyLA, Occupy Wall Street and other movements like them? What do they think about? Where do they hope to get?

“Our message right now is very vague. It’s left vague, slightly intentionally,” Davis says as passing cars honk in support and news cameras lurk nearby. “What we’re trying to do is unify a voice.”

Such is life in New York, Los Angeles and other venues throughout the U.S. for those that have taken up this “vague” cause that seems to have put a bulls-eye on Wall Street’s back. Bands of mostly young adults are gathering in normally peaceful settings to generally express their outrage over the inequity between the haves and have-nots. _Marketwatch
Who is paying these people to sit around and "protest" for weeks at a time? Labour unions? Community organiser grous like ACORN? Obama's DNC? Difficult to say. But the blatant lack of an agenda -- other than to support Obama when he is down -- is rubbing some genuine activists the wrong way.
“If you are doing a protest you need to have an agenda. If you wake up in the morning and poke a guitar, take a drum downtown and someone is singing and another one is dancing and movie stars are coming and saying do this, do that… and everyone is confused, you’ll be there for a long time.”
Some pundits believe that a likely avenue for Occupy Wall Street is to develop into a left-wing version of the conservative Tea Party movement.
The Tea Party has likewise lacked unity over much other than anger at the status quo. Yet it proved a powerful weapon during the 2010 congressional elections.
According to this scenario, the youth-driven activists of Occupy Wall Street would then reignite Obama’s tattered base just in time for what will likely be a bitter reelection fight in 2012.
A budding alliance between the activists and high-profile trade unions already has the potential to generate considerable street power. _BigGovernment
To be sustained, such a pointless, waste-of-time movement requires some deep-pockets supporters, such as George Soros, organised labour, big-money green movements, and socialist / communist movements which get their money from the international shadows.
NYTimes Graphs Ascent of Activist Media Whores

With the bandwagon alliance of media whore protestors and the mainstream media growing and firming up nicely, expect to see more protests -- perhaps with a bit more gratuitous violence for extra emphasis. At least until the weather grows nasty in the northern US states. At that point, the protests may move into the sun belt.

As long as George Soros and the other big money backers of Obama wish to keep up the charade of serious protests, US media consumers are apt to be hammered by this pretend activism political street theatre. You can get a lot of activism as long as you are willing to pay for it.

The Tea Party activists, on the other hand, held limited events, and always cleaned up after themselves. They had jobs and families to attend to after all, and they took their responsibilities seriously.

The Obama style professional troupe of activists, on the other hand, just live to do what they are doing. They are protesting, you see, for the status quo. A very odd breed of activist indeed.