Monday, December 28, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Is the American era ending?
But I can imagine some Roman Bigwig around the middle of fourth century saying the same things about the empire.
He was right, as in his prophecy proved correct.
Paradoxically, the words he used were wrong.
He should have said, "Pretty soon here, people will be coming to kick in your door, take your stuff, and burn your house. And we won't be able to stop them."
I wonder if he had said that, would the Romans have been more motivated to stand up for the idea of Rome? Or, had the men kicking in doors and taking stuff been their own government officials so long, that the people didn't see much difference between the new plunderers and the old?
Oh, by the way did you see the news?
Enough of this sort of thing and sharia law might start looking good to someone who just wants a little peace and quiet.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Others, will balance the risks against the rewards: How much gold? What kind of snake? What are the odds, what are my chances? They may end up bitten, but at least are making a stab at critical thought.
Admittedly, it seems to work out that way often enough that people will start believing it is true. Bernie Madoff appeared able to turn snakes into gold... for a time.
They are Kieth Olbermann.
Maybe, "win the crowd" means something different to non-continuum people. Maybe to them, it means, "In the next appropriations bill, we'll write an earmark for some bike path improvements, and a library." It is a time tested tactic for winning over even the crankiest voters. I'll bet Mr. and Mrs. Teaparty will go right home and shut up once they see the nifty new bike path they have been gifted. It really isn't a bad bet if you are the one doing the handing out. And has the added plus of letting you avoid mingling with, well frankly, the commoners.
They think it's guaranteed.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I haven't see this mentioned explicitly, but the next big fear for the Democrats is if things improve economically in Va. and N.J. - an alternative to their plans will have been shown to work.
Now, honesty compels me to admit the economy might improve on its own - the business cycle is hard to repress - even by our current ham-handed-dolts-in-charge.
But people being what they are - firmly convinced post hoc ergo propter hoc, the new governors in those states will get the credit anyway, and the dems know it.
They are trapped into wishing ill on the citizens of New Jersey and Virginia to advance their own (never let a good crisis go to waste) agenda.
Would a Chicago lawyer and product of the Cook County Democratic machine be so low as to try to sabotage any recovery in those states to punish them for voting wrong?
I'd like to think not. But people being what they are, it should be watched for nonetheless.
As I recall, no one believed a king would order the death of an archbishop.
Um... except for the guys who did the cutting -- I guess they believed it.
But that type of sycophantic follower never ends up near the seat of power anymore, because only kings and czars , not presidents, have any use for blindly obedient hatchet men.
Friday, October 30, 2009
But, before you do, let's try a little thought experiment.
Suppose you had two thousand dollars in the bank. "Yay," you say, "I've got two large to cover my expenses until next payday."
Now suppose some scoundrel broke in and swiped a thousand of your dollars. "Boo-hoo-hoo," you say, "half my savings have just disappeared."
Further suppose your spouse went out and charged a hundred dollars worth of clothes on the old MasterCard, went directly to the pawn shop, resold them for fifty, and deposited that money in the bank giving you now a thousand and fifty smackers.
A. Dance about yelling, "Woot, woot, my personal economy grew at a rate of five percent, I'll make up for that stolen dough in no time!"
B. Be very sad because, not only are you out a thousand dollars, you are also an additional hundred dollars (at 20% interest) in the hole and don't even have any new clothes to wear to bankruptcy court.
I do not know which terrifies me more, the thought that our overlords think we are stupid enough to believe a single quarter of borrowed-money-fueled GDP increase is good news, or that they might believe it themselves.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
I like this sort of thing because it lends it self easily to the game of "Internet Compare And Contrast".
From the report, comes a glowing review of the wonderful work they are doing in South Africa:
The Firearms Control Act (FCA) of 2000 replaced earlier apartheid-era regulations covering civilians and state arms holders. The parliamentary committee was directed to ‘produce progressive policy proposals which will contribute to a drastic reduction in the number of legal firearms in circulation in South Africa.’ Under the new law, civilian owners must be, among other things:
• a South African citizen or a permanent resident;
• be 21 years or older (previously the minimum age had been 16);
• a ‘fit and proper person’;
• of a stable mental condition and not inclined towards violence;
• not addicted to drugs or alcohol;
• not convicted of a violent crime within the past five years;
• in possession of an appropriate firearm safe; and
• in possession of a competency certificate.
To obtain the competency certificate, applicants must demonstrate knowledge of the gun laws
and demonstrate safe handling. The process also includes a background check and may include
interviews with intimate partners and/or neighbours. An individual may possess a maximum of
four licenses, with only one designed for self-defence. Licenses must be renewed on a regular
basis (every five years for self-defence guns, ten years for sports shooting, ten years for a private collection, two years for a business license and ten years for hunting licenses). The law also prohibits owners from lending his or her firearm to another person unless the borrower is ‘under his/her immediate supervision where it is safe to use the firearm and for a lawful purpose’. All of these regulations apply to civilians, private security officers, police and security force users.
So how is it working out? The magic Google eight ball finds a Sept. 2008 article from the Economist containing this nugget:
Police figures put the murder rate in 2007-08 at more than 38 per 100,000 and rape at more than 75 per 100,000. This marks a big fall over the past several years, but is still astronomical by international standards (the murder rate was 5.6 per 100,000 in the United States last year).
Gun free paradise to be sure.
It may be a stretch. But what the heck, I'll go out on a limb here: I don't think all the caring, sharing, morally progressive types who write this stuff for the United Nations give a rat's patoot about diminishing suffering; I think they are more interested in shoving their agenda down the world's throat so they can sit around telling each other how caring, sharing, morally progressive they are.
I wonder what the people who do the real work of helping those in need could do with the money that went into writing, researching, and distributing this report.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Here is a clue for Michigan, Ohio, California, New York, New Jersey, and every other state in need of, as French and Wilkinson write...
... if you desperately need someone, don't treat them like a cash cow to be milked to pay for political goodies given out to buy the votes of the old, ignorant, low-wage earners who make up your political base. It's not that complicated; it's just hard for politicians to accept.
If it weren't so sad, I would laugh at the sheer pig-ignorant lunkheadedness of this...
Least understood by whom? Retarded wombats? Dead roadside animals? Walleye? Because by the time any human reaches the age of seven, they understand a few basic principles: People go where they are more likely to be rewarded rather than punished; if mom takes your hard-earned paper route money and shares it out with your lazy sibling, you're going to hide the fruits of your labor; the feckless and sluggardly have no incentive to get up and look for a better deal - the intelligent and ambitious do; and finally, people will go out of their way to get back at those who hurt them - if taking a net loss in a move to South Carolina lets them thumb their noses at Michigan... they'll do it in a heartbeat.
That's not so difficult is it?
Saturday, February 28, 2009
I don't know much about the CIA, but after thirty years of simply holding a job, I know a lot about how people in organizations act. I know the lessons I have learned are scalable - the same backstabbing that gets you ahead at McDonald's, gets you ahead at Microsoft, gets you ahead in politics, gets you ahead at the CIA. The difference is simply one of degree.
I know the CIA may always have been, but is certainly now, a political organization - the Church Committee used the crisis of confidence of the 1970's to give politicians in congress more control over intelligence operations. Whether done to make the CIA more accountable to oversight, or to carve out for the legislative branch a slice of power heretofore held by the executive, is irrelevant - the results speak for themselves, the CIA is both player and pawn in the Washington tug of war.
For the last eight years, some in the CIA were brave whistleblowers, exposing the excesses of the evil Bush administration, or they were sleazy double dealers selling their country down the river to curry favor with the leftist establishment - toe-may-to, toe-mah-to. For the last eight years, some in the CIA were dedicated civil servants doing their best under difficult circumstances to protect the nation from those who wanted to do it harm, or they were unquestioning fascist drones mindlessly following the orders of the sinister syndicate who controlled the White House - poe-tay-to, poe-tah-to.
The past doesn't matter, because what is being shilled as an investigation into the abuses of the neocon cabal, is really of course, a purge - the house, senate, and president want to make sure what was done to Bush is not done to them, so anyone who seems to harbor too much loyalty to the previous regime has to go.
There are a couple of things I know from watching innumerable city council, planning commission, and architectural review board show trials ... er, meetings: first, the issues are already decided before the show starts, and second, the first ones in the dock are the erstwhile allies of the new boss - every new boss with a modicum of sense disposes of old friends before going after new enemies. This does not bode well for last year's whistleblowers who are now looking to the new powers-that-be for rewards for services rendered. Any Joe Wilsons or Valerie Plames still working at the CIA should take note.
And finally, just to kill any optimism anyone might have - consider the implications of this snippet from the article:
That's certain to end well. Machiavelli put it best:
Translation: if you are going to have a purge, do it quickly, completely, and if possible, in one night - if you drag it out for a year, expecting your target to wait passively for the ax to fall, you are a fool, or a member of the senate intelligence committee.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
New republican rebranding slogan: Hey! We can be just as intrusive, statist, and authoritarian as the democrats - plus with us, you get extra stupid sauce!
*it's more obscene than anything in a porn flick - hence the asterisks
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
In his first speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, President Obama warned that America faces a "day of reckoning" after years of trying to make a fast buck, but said the economic turmoil and ruination offer the chance to right the feckless ways of the past and reinvest in institutions and technologies that will ensure a prosperous future.
Is that what you heard Mr. Allison?
Because that's not what I heard. One of us needs to get their ears checked.
Probably me; I've spent twenty-three years on very loud construction sites - so I don't hear as well as I used to.
Over that time, I worked my way up from six dollar an hour grunt to white (ish) collar licenced professional. I make a buck, but you tell your messiah it isn't a fast or easy one.
I pay my mortgage on time, own two paid for ten year old cars, live within my means, and until things got really slow, put ten percent of my paycheck into a 401K and watched another thirty percent disappear down the bottomless gullet of the government. I had to cut back on the ten, but somehow the thirty keeps getting taken. I guess that's how a Chicago community organizer with a government job and a platinum parachute pension defines feckless.
So, you're all orgasmic that the president is going bring back hard work. My friend, it never left - it's just that you and your tin god wouldn't know it if you saw it.
We heard different things all right. You heard the siren song of hopeychange, I heard a whiny, narcissistic, man-bitch informing me I am nothing but a pocket to be picked so he'll have money enough to buy the vote of every bloated, tax-leeching four flusher in the nation, and I damn well better keep working because they don't come cheap.
You say road to recovery; I say road to serfdom - time will tell.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Not just any jobs either, but high paying, white shirted, clipboard carrying jobs. The kind of job a man... er woman... er person of diversityness can be proud of. Jobs requiring the monitoring of flashing lights while hovering about around machines that go "beep" in the sterile, renewable, non-polluting brave, green, science-fiction-ey new world.
The fiction part they got right.
How could anyone believe this crap in the first place?
My guess is many people have grown up with teachers, parents, and authority figures of all sorts telling them their dreams are not only obtainable, but that the world owes them the realization of those dreams. Further, they have been convinced that should their dreams not be delivered in a timely manner, it is not because they are lazy, or stupid, or unlucky, or those dreams were unrealistic, but the result of a conspiracy to cheat them of what is rightfully theirs.
I can understand how people who grew up never finding out there is no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy can end up in a place where political fantasies seem real, but my question is, "In what universe does your womyns studies-underwater basket weaving degree, belief that stones have souls and conviction that mathematics is a tool of patriarchal oppression suit you to being anything but the floor mopper for the green, glorious, high tech industries run by all those Indian, Chinese, and Korean kids who have been grinding down on calculus, science, and engineering since grade school?"
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Colonel Rodriguez scored one of the few air to air kills in the first Gulf War and later a special forces team found the wreck and extracted the last few frames of video from the Iraqi pilot's HUD. The last frame shows an AIM-7 air to air missile about to hit the cockpit.
Missile to the face - the poor guy never knew what hit him.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Commenter UTDave responding to this post:
And again on this post:
Dave is making a couple of arguments: First, that a spending bill isn't the end of the world - we managed to survive the higher spending of the Bush years; we will survive this.
Here he makes a couple of mistakes. First, about the amount of spending over the last eight years - below is a graph from the Wall Street Journal posted by Greg Mankiw showing the nation's debt related to the GDP since 1980:
Granted, the last eight years haven't been great, but the stimulus debt for this year alone (and remember, the spending is projected for several more years) dives well into uncharted territory.
Dave's next error is blaming "the administration" when it is congress that controls the money. The president may ask, demand, beg, or cajole, but he doesn't get a penny unless the legislature gives it to him. And for the last two years, that would have been a democratic legislature keeping the money faucets open full blast.
And that money kept flowing because congress had no incentive to shut it off. Dave mentions the war in Iraq, but overlooks additional hundreds of billions spent on pork-filled agriculture, transportation, and prescription drug plans - all written in the congress not the White House.
Therefore, a more accurate, if less emotionally satisfying, way of phrasing it would be, "For the last eight years, the congress, whether controlled by democrats or republicans, and with the approval of the president spent the hell out of the economy."
The best thing however, about Dave's Tu Quoque argument is I can give the entire thing away and agree completely - you got me - George Bush used his mind control powers to subvert the constitution and trick the congress into giving him the keys to the treasury, then proceeded to bankrupt the nation playing high stakes Texas Hold'em with Vladimir Putin.
But it still leaves the question of how spending another trillion dollars we don't have is going fix things.
Dave next claims the stimulus won't be the end of the country - apparently because that's just what us right wing drama queens say will happen. I'm not sure about the connection here, but apparently it is some variation on the Cassandra theme where the truth of the message is contingent on the messenger.
Nonetheless, I agree - it doesn't mean the end of the country; it means the end of the Republic - different thing.
A republic can survive only so long as there is a clear line between the government sphere and the private one - the more defined that line the better, and as that line is erased, so also, is individual liberty.
To illustrate, here is another graph, this time from Fabius Maximus:
Every data point on that red line represents someone whose livelihood, whose mortgage payment, grocery bill, and car payment is provided by taxes. Add to that welfare, social security recipients, and the beneficiaries of all other federal largess and ask yourself what freedom can there be when so many are demanding the legislature pick your pocket to provide them their daily bread?
But there is more, because hidden within the thousand pages of stimulus legislation are the seeds of new and expanded bureaucracies - more and more people added to the payroll who create no wealth yet will require pay, and vacation, and medical insurance, and pensions - all on your dime.
And when it comes time for your congressman to troll for votes, are you so sure he won't find it easier to take more of what is yours and give it to them in return for those votes?
He won't if he is a man of the highest moral and intellectual caliber - Washington is just full of those types... right?
Finally Dave argues, that all reservations aside, the government is acting with its constitutional scope, so whatever we think is academic, because the rules say the government can do what its doing. That worked so well for Dred Scott didn't it?
Funny thing that constitution - it has a letter and a spirit, and depending where you are standing and which way the wind is blowing, you are an advocate of one or the other.
Schools in the south still segregated? Just send in the troops, and if the constitution doesn't explicitly say you can, It certainly implies it - so says the supreme court. Abortion, death penalty abolished and reinstated, Miranda warning... same with all of those. And all were accepted because the people generally agreed that in order for this to be the country they wanted, those things had to be.
But can you think of any means short of violence whereby they could have been imposed had the vast majority been adamantly opposed? In the end, what is constitutional is not what the congress passes, or the supreme court decides, but what the citizens will accept.
The usual recourse when the government has pushed too far beyond what the people will accept is to vote the bums out. The problem with the stimulus package is many of its provisions exist specifically to insulate the government from that possibility.
If you can vote every November, you have a democracy, but if the government is immune to fundamental changes because too many are dependent upon it for sustenance to allow that change, you no longer have a republic.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
I love that the republicans are so quick to resort to treason when things don't go their way.
So anon, I've got a couple of questions for you.
Was it treason when the New York Times to disclosed the agreements between the United States Government and the corporation running the SWIFT program, thereby alerting terrorist groups there finances were being watched?
When Sean Penn, a private citizen to meet with Saddam Hussein the head of state of a country which was an avowed enemy of the United States, was that treason?
When protesters attempted to block the port of Tacoma to keep equipment from reach United States military personnel engaged in combat operations... treason?
It's alright if you argue that none of those cases were treason, that every American citizen is a free and sovereign individual, and has a God-given right to stand up to what they see as a tyrannical government - I would agree with you.
Anonymous, you are aware that above individual liberty exists because the men who wrote the constitution didn't just cobble it together out of scraps found in history books. They all agreed on certain bedrock principles - principles which were inspired, radical, and almost untried in all the bloody history of the world. They could could have played it safe - created a king, and a peerage, and a parliament like every other nation of the time, yet chose instead to sail the new nation into uncharted waters.
The most radical of their ideas was the concept of enumerated powers - unless an act was on the list of things the constitution said could be done, the government could not do it. If everyone in the country wanted something not otherwise allowed, they would have to amend the constitution to allow it, otherwise it was not within the power of the government to do.
No one had tried it before, and really, no one has tried it since. Yes they compromised on the evil of slavery, near fatally as it turns out, but that doesn't change the fact the founders of the United States began by forcing the people to be free. They said right from the start, "No king, no overlord, no great leader, no emperor, this government is your servant and is limited to defending the borders, treating with other governments, and collecting a few tariffs to sustain itself - other than that, you are on your own - succeed or fail; you are on your own."
A couple more questions then:
What enumerated power gives the congress of the United States the authority to mortgage my future to the tune of a trillion dollars?
What enumerated power gives the congress of the United States the authority to enforce debt obligations on generations not yet born who cannot possibly have agreed to them?
What enumerated power gives the congress of the United States the authority to hold sway over the commercial life of the nation by taking money from all of us and distributing it those they deem worthy, and withholding it from those not do deemed?
And finally, anonymous, even if you are so clever as to unravel the skein of sophistry, double talk, and back room dealing which led to here, and then place even a thin gloss of constitutionality over this execrable mess, do you believe Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, et.al., would look upon this law, this government for that matter, and be proud to claim it as a descendant of their work?
I await your reply.
Treasonously yours etc.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
But don't forget to come back for your daily dose of spittle-flecked rantiness.
Update: People read this damn thing - how curious! Please also welcome the dashing and erudite Mark Alger prop. Baby Troll Blog and the estimable Earl owner /operator of Just The Library Keeper my apologies for not doing this sooner, I did not intend to slight, I'm just a lazy and lackadaisical housekeeper.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed?
I. Do. Not. Consent.
I do not consent to being a serf tending the land of a lord to pay off a feudal obligation I did not agree to.
I do not consent to having one third and more of the wealth I earn taken from me and distributed to those who hold me and my beliefs in contempt.
I do not consent to live under a system where wealth and power are distributed based on proximity to, and support of, the ruling party.
I do not consent to being told what liberties I may or may not have because a glib and empty man convinced 51 percent of the populace to deliver my birthright and freedom to him in return for his glib and empty promise of security.
And I do not consent to having the fruit of my labor stripped from me and distributed to the ignorant and lazy so they may escape the consequences of their own bad choices.
I do not expect liberty has gone forever, and I hope that when next a free people charter themselves a government, they look back on this day and learn from our mistakes.
Recently, the proprietors posted about a Time magazine article profiling the last draftee still on active duty in the U.S. military - Army Command Sergeant Major Jeffrey Mellinger. I remember reading the article and being amazed and humbled by the man's story.
But after reading the post about the article, I feel nothing but contempt for Time, and the rest of the paleo-media. Especially this part:
After reading that, I feel no sympathy, for media types whose newspaper jobs, t.v. gigs, and magazine assignments are disappearing. All I can say is I am glad hard times have come to you because you are scum, and you work for scum, and I hope the rest of your lives consist of nothing but hardship and travail.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I try not to adopt the facade of world-weary cynicism common to teenagers, Europeans, politicians, and the rest of the mentally immature. Sometimes however, I run across items of such monumental stupidity, paleo-ignorance, bedrock knuckle-headedness that I am left gasping.
Our hairy-assed ancestors came in two flavors, those who felt large carnivores should be poked, and provoked, and those who felt they should be avoided. The former did not live to reproduce, while the latter did. Face it, "cave bear tag" is not a pastime for those who want to have kids.
Apparently however, some of them were frozen in ice before the consequences of their idiotery (Hey, I made a word!) were suffered. The are called democrats, and many of them ended up in the New York general assembly.
From Greg Mankiw, Harvard Economist and someone who should be in charge of things, comes the following:
Assembly Passes Rent-Regulation Revisions Opposed by Landlords
Maybe, "Assembly Passes Rent-Regulation Revisions That Will Bankrupt Building Owners; Leave Hundreds Of Vacant, Deteriorating Structures Filled With Vermin And Crazy People; Create A Black Market In Housing; Stimulate Political Corruption; And Help To Further Wreck The Economy" was too long.
Or maybe in bizarro New York Times Land, forcing someone to charge less than the market rate for their products is considered a good incentive to get them to produce more. You, know, the "You're losing money on every sale, but you'll make it up in volume" theory.
According to the story anyway, that's seems to be the idea:
*That last sentence might have been a little garbled - I was dizzy from banging my head on my desk.
I try not to lose hope, but sometimes it is hard.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Ignoring the inflation resulting from the printing of mountains of new money, aside from financially strengthening the most regressive, doctrinaire, and thuggish democrat special interest groups, leaving out the moral destruction of forcing a free people to become vassals of the state in order to feed their families, the true damage of this massive transfer of treasure from private hands to the public coffers, will be the sheer destruction of wealth it represents. It is as though every home, car, computer, or book which might otherwise have been purchased, were thrown into a fire and burned. Worse – at least if they were placed on a pyre and set alight, we could warm ourselves at the flames. This way all those goods and services, and the jobs, paychecks, and creative human potential they represent, become phantoms – things which might have been, but never were.
Wealth is destroyed because Marxists, leftists, liberals, democratic politicians, and other childlike beings all love the labor theory of value. It’s easy on the brain, forms the basis of most of the courses they took in college, it's theoretically tidy, and the fact that it is completely wrong and generally leads to totalitarianism is no deterrent. Marx believed there was this stuff called raw material, and this stuff called labor. If the two were combined, iron ore became ships, wood became furniture, and cows became steak. The democratic party believes we have labor to spare, and raw materials lying around unused, and all that is necessary, is to take money from people in the form of taxes (and trust me, inflation is a form of taxation), give it to workers in the form of wages, and turn them loose to build roads, ships, and bridges – and instant recovery.
Let’s do a thought experiment: On my drive home today, I saw some guys digging a trench to install sewers. Tomorrow morning, I’ll come over to your place, dig a hole in your backyard, dump a bunch of pipe into it, and send you a bill. I have performed exactly the same tasks as the people I saw on the way home – have I created any wealth?
No fair you say. There has to be context – a third factor must be involved. The material and labor must come together at the right time and place.
Right. How about this, there are shipyards in New England that are underutilized. Give me all your money and I will give it to the workers there to build ships. Barks, brigs, clippers, schooners, cogs, and caravels, we will build thousands of them, providing good paying long term jobs to the men who build the boats. Hell we will build enough boats so, end to end; they will let us walk to Europe. Better? The nice tax collectors will be by in the morning to pick up your share.
Look, you say, no one wants that many boats. It doesn’t do any good building stuff nobody wants. You have to spend the money on things people want.
Okay then, I want a Corvette, a red one with leather interior (as if there was any other kind). And building high-end sports cars is just the kind of skilled labor job we are promoting – pony up.
Not a chance you reply, If you are footing the bill, it has to go for something you want.
Then why can’t you and I just agree to an exchange – I’ll give you something you want in return you give me something I want, and we’ll leave the government out of it. We appear to have left the labor theory back at the boatyard.
It’s funny, tell some leftwit gender is a social construct, and whatever type of plumbing you have results from the secret plots of the patriarchy, and he will take it as gospel. Tell him words mean the opposite of what they say, and the declaration of independence was really a coded call for slavery, and you will receive instant agreement. Saying the personal is the political is to speak an indisputable truth. Every one of history's huge slobbering abstractions is swallowed whole without thought, but tell the poor fool that all wealth results from the voluntary movement of things from where they valued less to where they are valued more, and he will give a look like a chimp that has just been handed a bowl of wax fruit.
The corollary is also true. Wealth is destroyed when things are moved from where they are valued more to where they are valued less. And our new aristocracy is about to involuntarily move an unfathomable amount of money from our wallets, where we value it highly, and give it to their friends and supporters who don’t think enough of it to even count it before they spend it.
Peter Beinart thinks congress should hold us down and force the crap sandwich down our throats.
Hmmm... where have I run across that theme before?
British cartoon depicting the fate of Boston customs officer John Malcomb, who was tarred and feathered and forced to drink tea, 1774
Biden to Iran: US will talk, but is ready to act
Uh Joe, if you can't convince a lazy, overweight surveyor in Ohio, who really wants it to be true, do you really think you're going to convince the frothing lunatics who run Iran?
For the record, I do not live anywhere near State Senator Steve Gross' district, so I cannot say with certainty that he does not have frequent carnal knowledge of dead farm animals.
If every blogger does a post assuring the world of something we cannot possibly know about Senator Gross. I'm certain the good politician would be overjoyed at the attention.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Outside a storm rages, the howling winds and towering waves toss the ship about as though it were a toy in a tub. Mothers, their faces rigid in terror, clutch crying babes tighter to their breasts as the frigid seawater rises around them. With each pitch and roll of the foundering vessel, suitcases, bedrolls, and stuffed animals slosh back and forth across the flooding deck. Somewhere, hidden from view in the shadowed recesses of the compartment, a voice, high pitched and quavering on the edge of panic, repeats over and over a prayer for deliverance.
Suddenly, a shaft of light falls from above as the hatch separating the poorest passengers from the more refined sections of the ship opens - revealing First Officer Nancy.
“Don’t worry folks,” she calls down in her best imitation of a command voice, “Captain Obama, Executive Officer Harry, and I, have a plan to save us.”
At the mere mention of the captain’s name the frightened men below stand taller, as though a tingle of some sort had just run up their legs, and the women sigh, many unconsciously adjusting their hair.
Captain Obama! How handsome he is, how calm and charismatic. True, he has never commanded so much as a row boat, and a quick jaunt on Lake Michigan in Tony Rezko’s yacht is the total of his seagoing experience, but just to behold the man, standing trim in his uniform, his eyes twinkling and his smile bringing light to a dreary world is to have confidence in his abilities.
First Officer Nancy’s voice interrupts the reverie of the huddled masses in the dim bowels of the great ship, “The problem is, were taking on too much water and if we don’t find a way to get rid of it, we’re going to the bottom like a stone.”
At the mention of sinking, fear returns to the faces of the reeking mass of waterlogged humanity.
“Get a grip on yourselves,” continues the first officer, “Like I said, we have a plan. What we’re going to do is knock a huge hole in the bottom of the ship – back over there somewhere.” First Officer Nancy gestures vaguely toward the shadows beyond the reach of the few working lights in the steerage hold and continues, “That should let the water start to run out.”
“A plan, a plan, Captain Obama has a plan.” The grateful wretches began whispering among themselves.
“But wait,” replies the smiling first officer, “Ours is a long term plan, so there’s a next step - after we knock a big hole in the bottom of the ship, were going to steer for the big rocks off the coast which should provide a soft landing, so the Union Leaders, Environmentalists, and Movie Stars in first class can walk ashore without getting their feet wet. Isn’t that great!”
With that, First Officer Nancy slams and bolts the hatch sealing the steerage passengers in their iron tomb to await whatever fate has in store.
Walking away, she can hear their pathetic cries that the plan will leave them to die horribly.
“Maybe you didn’t understand,” she murmurs under her breath, “I said we had a plan to save us.”
Thursday, February 5, 2009
To its credit, the Washington Post, left the comments section open, but rather than have my reply lost among thousands of similar missives, I shall post it here to be lost among millions of similar blogs.
I read the president’s letter in stunned disbelief. He can’t be this dumb, can he? He doesn’t really believe this crap – no one could. The Russians never took the fullest advantage of Obama’s spiritual mentor, Jimmy Carter, because the culture of the politburo was such that the dumb ones died young, leaving only the most cunning predators to run the show, and they were constitutionally incapable of believing Carter was as stupid as he seemed. They felt his clueless demeanor must have been a mask for deviousness of such subtlety that even they could not fathom its depths.
Therein lies a historical axiom for those so inclined: Both geniuses and idiots overestimate the intelligence of idiots.
It must be the same with Obama’s stimulus - a trillion dollar crap sandwich so obviously doomed to failure you’d need a PHD in political science not to see it. It must be a deep conspiracy to sink the country into socialism by wrecking the economy and making a once free people dependent on government handouts – there can be no other explanation.
But what if there is? What if the seat warmers in D.C. are simply bloated tax leeches sitting around whining, “The plan has to work, if it doesn’t, I’ll have to get a job! Hey, push that button, maybe that will get things started!"
The theory gains some merit based on the president’s prescription of what is required:
What Americans expect from Washington is action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives -- action that's swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis.
Uh, Mr. President … Americans with over room temperature IQ's know that actions from Washington are the primary cause of the urgency they feel in their daily lives - and swiftness, boldness, and wisdom – from you guys? You're kidding, right?
Could it be that simple? Does out national leadership consist of a bunch of Peter Principled numbskulls willing to sell the whole thing down the toilet because if they admit they haven't the faintest clue about what to do, they won’t get to stay in Wonderland-On-The-Potomac playing grabass with the interns?
I’m feeling a little queasy.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
It won’t work- a few moments with any economics text will assure you of that. So why are we doing it?
Let’s be honest here - we are doing it, not congress, not the president, not the government – us. We the people are going to pick our own pocket, then pay our masters in
And we’re not just letting it happen; most of us are cheering for it to happen, hoping, pleading, and begging that it be done. There are a lot of people who know just how big a monstrosity this thing is, yet when they went to the polls last November, there was no ballot choice for them. Neither major party candidate offered any indication they were possessed of the political will to go against the tide of populist entitlement. And no, this is not some “We are all responsible for the genocide in
The dismal failure of political will on the part of the elected, is matched by an equal failure of civic will on the part of the voters. We, and the fact of the existence of the two nonentities we accepted as candidates on the most recent ballot stands as proof, are now as convinced that the government is a cause of, rather than a result of good, as any medieval serf was of his king. We have allowed ourselves to become a democracy rather than a republic. And if you have to ask what is so bad about that, there’s no help for you.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
We are so screwed.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Over the last week, I found myself locking ever tighter into the short term, watching this day's action in the legislature, or the hourly update on various news sources, my scope of attention growing ever narrower.
It is, I think, a symptom of the instant communication which is available to us, and is unavoidable. That is not to say it should not be recognized and resisted.
That is why I took great comfort in this news I came across after an internet wander I would detail, but that I can't remember.
The Pope is preparing to offer the Traditonal Anglican Communion, a group of half a million dissident Anglicans, its own personal prelature by Rome, according to reports this morning.
I am not very religious, and the comfort I derive from this news does not have its source in my feelings about the church. Indeed, many people would read this article and dismiss it as trivial compared to the monumental events of the day.
They would be wrong.
Like the white noise remnants of the formation of the universe we can hear in this story, if we care to listen in the right way, the echoes of passions, and events unleashed half a millennia ago and a half a world away. Events which have not been played out completely even yet.
Trivial? Not by any measure. To study history, is to follow the tracks of the human spirit back across the sands of time and to take comfort in the continuity of human affairs.
One wonders how the acts of our preening politicians, who flatter themselves that they are making history, will resonate as loudly as the hammer taps of a skeptical German monk.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Dems: GOP will pay political price for stimulus vote
So, the democrats won the vote handily, and will be the sole beneficiaries of the political rewards when the economy jumps up like Lazarus on meth.
Hey, the thing is done - it will happen, and there will be great rejoicing. Nan, Harry, and Babar can stand around waving like homecoming queens basking in the adulation of the little people. So, what's the problem? Why are they so upset about the republicans bowing out and leaving them the full measure of glory?
Perhaps the headline should read, "Dems: GOP will pay for leaving us to take the blame when this thing goes belly up"
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Funny thing, I'm a registered democrat - only for this year's primary though. I did it so I could vote for Hillary to keep the lefty bloodletting going since McCain was already the republican nominee and it didn't matter on that score. (and no, I'm not a Rushbot - I decided on my own to do it - mostly as a lark)
In truth, I've been a republican since I was old enough to vote (for Reagan in 1980). I grew up in a political family of old school, union democrats. How I ended up as the lone rightwinger, I'll never know. But after reading this from Politico about how the party's leadership is treating a guy who is trying to come up with a winnning strategy, I think it may be time to admit the Reagan revolution began and ended with its namesake.
They say generals are always fighting the last war, but usually this refers to complacent, winning generals. The losers have incentives to think outside the box, and innovate so as to win the next war. But for some reason, the party that's had its ass handed to it in the last two elections seems to feel doing the same things over and over again will eventually work. (Note to republican bigwigs: see Haig, Douglas).
I don't really know that much about Jim DeMint, but if he is really trying to reform things and the atricle is correct in noting:
They should understand clearly that legislative gridlock is their duty, and bi-partisanship really means they're just helping to hold us down while the democrats go through our wallets.
Yes, trying to stop the sinking of the country when so many seem to want it sunk, will get you scapegoated as an obstructionist; it might even cost you your seat. But going along to get along won't work either, and if you are going down, it might as well be fighting.
Monday, January 26, 2009
President Barack Obama has called for the US to become energy independent, saying its reliance on foreign oil and global warming posed threats.
I am afraid.
I do not fear Obama is selling the snake oil of energy independence to the economic retards of the country in a cynical attempt to get them to turn over more of the free market to the likes of him - that would be bad enough. No, I am afraid that the fool actually believes the goal of energy independence is possible or desirable.
Twenty years or so back the government conned us into believing universal home ownership was a good thing - that turned out well.
We can burn every, foreclosed house, standing tree and shrub, and then huddle in the freezing dark wondering what happened to our lives, but what the hell, at least the Saudis aren't getting any of our dollars for their filthy oil - mostly because we burned all those too. Ah, energy independent at last.
Satellite Image of energy independent North Korea at night. (for you public screwl kids, that's South Korea at the bottom with all the shiny lights)
Old Hopey Change sees the bright side however...
I can picture all the jobs now: rickshaw ambulances, mandatory turns on the treadmills to power the generators at the Obama House, wood chip gleaner to fish the last burnables out of the muck where the redwood used to grow - who needs doctors, engineers, and software designers, when the new green economy offers so much fulfilling labor. The work will make you free (sounds better in German).
I thought that last bit was a little unfair until I thought it through to its logical conclusion: When this is tried and inevitably fails because it is based on economic policy theories which would not pass muster with a group of drunken Barbary apes, the true believers will either slap their foreheads and say "How could we have been so stupid?!", or they will go looking for scapegoats to blame for thwarting the will of the glorious leader.
Anyone out there with a nodding acquaintance with history care to hazard a guess which one it will be?
Sunday, January 25, 2009
The times are indeed perilous, and our only hope is to fight like mad to keep our new president and his cohorts from wrecking the country even more. It's going to be an uphill battle, and today at least, things don't look so bright.
Brodsky does edge into a truth - sideways and blind squirrel like, when he says:
I agree with him here, but not for the reason he gives:
We have to refrain from slanderous, bad-faith attacks on Obama, because those things only work for the left, not us.
The same guy who spouts spittle-flecked accusations about George Bush, and the Masons, Skull and Bones, or Enron, rolls his eyes if asked about William Ayres or Jeremiah Wright. Point out the creepy cult of personality vibe of Obama's little blue book, (I hope it's a hoax, but it doesn't seem to be) and the adoration shown to a guy who is, in the end, just a politician, and be met with the same look my cat gives me when I start explaining calculus.
Lies, therefore, will not work - we do not have ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, CNN, the Washington Post, New York Times, Hollywood, and just about every public school, university, and probably pre-kindergarden to boost our message along on its way. We do not have the institutions necessary to make lies seem like the truth. All we have is the truth - it might work, if repeated enough, shouted enough, whispered and screamed enough.
So, Brodsky is right, again for the wrong reasons - to fall back on the tactics of the deranged left is to fall into despair - the belief that the house is better burned to the ground than run by someone other than us.
But as far as his belief in the efficacy of hopey change, a little anecdote is in order.
In October 1864, there was a battle at a place called Cedar Creek in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. At first, the Confederates drove the Union from the field, but then Phil Sheridan, the Union commander, led a counterattack to save the day. During the fight, Sheridan, who was one of the most inspiring of battlefield leaders, came across a young bluecoat bleeding on the ground. "What's wrong with you?" asked the general.
"I'm shot through and dying," replied the trooper.
"Nonsense, you ain't hurt a bit. Now get up and charge," was the reply.
With that, the young soldier rose to his feet and ran forward.
Only to collapse and die a few steps later.
The lesson here is fine speeches, and piles of glorious good feeling only get you so far. Someone who is bleeding out needs real help of the right kind, or all the good feeling in the world will accomplish nothing.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I thought to myself, "It's like that scene from Animal House...
Thanks to the magic that is Youtube, I watched it again, and was absolutely struck by the symmetry of the thing.
Langland's Plowman could not create a more apt allegory than those few minutes of of old film.
They're all there: the fat, blubbering, albeit earnest, everyman, desperate to be liked, to fit in with the cool people. So desperate in fact, that he will give them free reign with his treasured possessions. Also there, are the glib, careless, clever people - the ones who will never have to suffer the consequences of their actions, offering instead, to commit fraud rather than face the music. I have no doubt who would be left alone holding the bag should the bit of larceny described in the conclusion of the scene be found out.
And the line, "When I get done with this thing, you won't recognize it." If that isn't Barney and Chris talking about the economy, I don't know what is.
If I were a republican strategist, I would have the theme for the next half dozen election cycles...
"America, I know you want to hang out with the beautiful people, but Ashton and Demi made their pledge, dusted off their hands and went on to other acting projects leaving you with the tab. Bruce sings a wonderful song about how tough the blue collar life is, but he doesn't actually have to live it. And guess what? Bill and Hillary are only faking it when they say they feel your pain. America, you're a little overweight, your hairline is receding, and and you sag a little bit - the pretty people want your stuff and your adoration, but please, use the servants entrance when you deliver it."
I see a big sign with Obama's benign face... Hey America, you fucked up; you trusted us.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Imagine a busy intersection - cars zooming by day and night, zoom, zoom, zoom. On each corner of this intersection is a gas station, each selling gas for a dollar a gallon (bear with me it's just an example). One day, one of the gas station men thinks to himself, "Hmmm, if I charge two dollars a gallon for my gas, I'll double my profits. I better hurry and change my sign before those other guys think of it. Hoo boy, I'm gonna be rolling in it!"
Do you think the gas station man really doubled his profits?
Of course not - everybody just went to his competitors to buy their gas.
But then the gas station men got another idea. They said to themselves, "We would sell a lot more gas if we could convince the suckers, err... consumers, that our gas is the key to a better life, and without our gas, their lives will be empty and miserable."
So they hired a pretty girl to sit in a fancy car and say to the men, "I will like you if you will buy gas for my car." And they hired a stern girl in a sensible car to say to the women, "You can be independent like me if you buy your own gas for your car."
And behold, the suckers, err... consumers bought it and believed that in order to get the life they wanted, they must have the success gas.
But there was a cloud on the horizon. Many people who wanted the success gas could not afford it, or really didn't want to do the work needed to earn the money for it, or just felt the success gas was something they were entitled to, so they whined to their congressmen for something to be done.
And the congressmen heard the whines of the suckers, err... consumers, and set up a gas loan program whereby the suckers, err... consumers could get loans from friendly loan men who wanted nothing so much as to help the suckers, err... consumers tap into the supply of success gas.
The gas station men were ecstatic, because now they could charge as much for gas as they wanted since the suckers, err consumers would just get a loan from the friendly loan man to cover the increase.
But there was another problem, even though some of the gas buyers actually used the gas to get somewhere, most of them simply filled up their cars and drove around in circles - never really going anywhere or doing anything. So when the friendly loan men asked for their money back, the suckers, err... consumers didn't have any to give.
Then the friendly loan men stopped being friendly and told the suckers, err... consumers to pay up, or else.
And the suckers, err... consumers whined to their congressmen saying, "We were lied to; the success gas didn't bring us the success we were entitled to, and now we owe a lot of money to the friendly loan men, but cannot pay - you have to do something."
And the congressmen said, "We feel your pain, and it is unfair that you should be burdened with these debts, so we will start a program....
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
So you’ve paid off the credit cards and torn them up. You’re driving a ten year old car that gets thirty mpg, and you change the oil and do the maintenance yourself. The only real debt you have is a mortgage, and you can afford that because you get your butt out of bed every day and go to work.
You selfish bastard – don’t you know there are people out there with no visible means of support and half million dollar mortgages who are going to lose their homes – you owe them. There are car companies out there who have been forced to make cars no one wants and to employ union guys who have sweetheart deals with the government – you owe them. There are public employee unions whose platinum parachute pensions are going down the toilet because their agreements with the politicians they supported basically came down to, “Don’t worry, we’ll make the taxpayers cover the difference.” You owe them. Them and every other tax-sucking parasite with a lobbyist and a political action committee.
And you're going to pay too. The legislature is going to get all bi-partisan you see. I read it in the Washington Post - Pelosi has streamlined the rules so none of that pesky debate can get in the way of saving your hide. Nationalize the banks – check! Healthcare? We are the government and we’ll just pass a law against being sick. Auto industry? Hey those new green, run-on-fairy-dust cars aren’t going to build themselves. Your 401K? What do you mean your 401K? You don’t want grandma to have to eat cat food now… do you? Fork it over. Global warming? Real or scam? Whothehellcares! We’re going to save you from that too. A trillion bucks to have people dig holes and fill them back in? That’s what we call infrastructure baby.
What, you don’t want any of the things we’re buying you? Who died and left you in charge? Just pay the bill and shut up.
Over on the senate side, Chris Dodd is making statesmanlike noises:
"There's something transformational happening here," … "It's the kind of year historians will write about. . . . Can this institution deal with it?"
For the last two years, Dodd and his ilk have been treating the American economy the same way someone with Munchausen by Proxy treats their kids, so he should take a moment to consider whether that historian is going to be more Doris Kearns Goodwin or Bruce Catton.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Update: James Rummel Takes exception to my use of the word failure.
Actually, he is correct, I was writing without thinking, and failure, was not the word I should have used.
What I was trying to convey, albeit clumsily, (hey, it was afternoon at work, and I was in the torpor stage of my day) is that all firearms - all machines actually - consist of a series of trade offs. With hand guns, you are balancing size, weight, capacity, power of cartridge, ease of use, cost, and many other factors.
Hideout pistols trade capacity, and in case of the .25 autos, stopping power, for concealability.
The Baby Browning I shot was a finely crafted pistol - well designed and a pleasure to look at, but I think in this case, too much was traded off for size.
It obviously wasn't a failure commercially, but a gun that you are likely to need "right here, right now" had best be as close to 100 per cent reliable as possible, and the Browning because of its small size (not design flaws) is susceptible to jams caused by improper grip.
It is not fair to compare a pistol designed in the early part of the twentieth century to modern designs, and if I had a chance to buy one at a decent price I would - It's a very cool gun, but I would not carry it for defense.
So, no, the Baby Browning was not a failure, and the dangerous dame from the above would just not be the same holding a Kel-Tec.