Feb 042011
 

Self-government Avoidance

In the absence of the willingness to self-govern, or to have a conversation about how to be more effective at the little self-governing we actually do, is it fair to look at failing American states and cities as anomalous? ¬†Is it reasonable to suppose that they are, at bottom, that much different than Haiti, or Zimbabwe, Argentina or Venezuela? ¬†If Democracy is just used as an excuse to use an ignorant, disengaged populace as a path to power, isn’t the inevitable default to a kleptocracy? ¬†Were America’s founders wrong, in the end, in misjudging the willingness of enough people to engage in governance to make the American experiment work? ¬†If we abandon our responsibility to be informed and engaged enough to monitor and direct those we elect to public office, is a prosperous life under free-market capitalism sustainable?

Chicago Pharaoh

In other words, is the Chicago model of token democracy the default, the natural mode of a society too preoccupied individually to care that they are electing people whose sole incentive is to loot the government and divert the public purse to themselves and their necessary allies (e.g., unions)? ¬†Are Ayn Rand’s looters (of the treasury and the productive sector) not necessarily a spiral towards collapse, but a form of stagnation that is sustainable as long as you have enough employers who won’t go John Galt and either drop out or limit their own productivity?

After all, Chicago can hollow out its public services with patronage, extravagant contracts, exuberant pensions and sell-offs of public assets.  In return, the citizens of that fair city get fifty years of one-party rule and a minimum of actual public service:  Poor schools, transport, education and safety Рbut not poor enough to create demand for change.

Just wondering, because it appears that while American constitutional principles are scalable to any population size, the 1787 system designed for their implementation is not. ¬†It’s too easy, in a massive population, for the weak and corrupt to hide from citizen scrutiny. ¬†It’s too easy for the corrupt to manipulate parts of a large system to defraud the taxpayer and transfer decision making power from the taxpayer to the government. ¬†It’s then a small step in what is nominally a democracy for the elected to slip the bonds of “the consent of the governed” and with the most reasonable of explanations at each step, to require the governed to silently assent to any proposal or demand whatever.

If done gradually, and it usually is, the befuddled and the discontented adjust to the new paradigm. ¬†If this is done well – by the “enlightened” leaders – the new paradigm will look enough like the old paradigm to allow each citizen to feel free and independent. ¬†Instead of the old tyrannical, authoritarian paradigm wherein citizens are told lies that they either swallow or ignore (think cynical Russians in the former USSR), it will be more common to have the Edward Bernaysian propaganda model wherein the government creates a psychological environment that allows you to think your newfound loss of freedom is your own idea. ¬†(Currently, we get both: ¬†The big lie, repeated by leftist propagandists until it morphs into accepted truth, and the more modern propaganda model that forms your opinion by altering your environment.)

But I digress. ¬†The question before us is whether kleptocracy – a systematic looting by elected officials and their minions – and arbitrary rule of the masses (us) by the elites is the natural default position for governance of our species, and the arrangement most comfortable and convenient to all. ¬†Especially following the ¬†informal collapse, overthrow or degradation of democracy. ¬†If so, it – and not a quest for individual freedom and responsibility – will become (or remain) the model for planet Earth. ¬†Maybe urging people to engage in active self-governance ¬†in order to see their lives improve is a fools errand – every bit as quixotic as the socialist yearning for a workers’ utopia. ¬†In the end, the ugly truth may very well be that we are too lazy, self-involved, shallow and opportunistic to desire more than the ability to satisfy basic needs. ¬†We barely want to govern ourselves, let alone a society.

When Good Men do Nothing

Some might think it odd that we live in an age of unlimited communication; unlimited access to information (except state secrets and hidden agendas), yet can’t derive enough information from our reading to conclude that deferring all societal decision to a handful of folks at the head of a humongous government structure is suicidal, both to our founding principles and our personal well-being. ¬†It is peculiarly shallow to think that “letting someone else take care of that stuff” is without consequence.

What has become increasingly clear is that casting an occasional vote is no longer an adequate discharge of our responsibility to self-govern.  Nothing less than full-bore engagement is required in order to cope with the size of our society and its increasing complexity.  Smaller units of (self-organized?) engagement, with routine participation by all, appears to be essential.

So, the answer to “Who Refuses to Govern ¬†America?” is: ¬†We do.

Dec 072010
 

For our Spanish-speakers, here is a provocative essay by the Argentine economic consultant Armando P. Ribas, author of Entre la Libertad y la Servidumbre. This should help clear up some of the confusion between Marxism and Socialism.  A very thoughtful piece, contributed to HACER by frequent contributor RCR.

So, with a big hat tip to Eneas Biglione, editor of¬†Hacer (Hispanic-American Center for Economic Research), we are pleased to be able to offer this very thoughtful piece. ¬†Incidentally, you can sign up for a Hacer weekly e-mail, and I’m sure that, as a non-profit, they would greatly appreciate any small donation you can manage.

Lastly, if you want to read this in English, just click on the Translate tab at the top of the page.

Enjoy.

Death Spiral

‚ÄúNo Hay diferencia entre comunismo y socialismo, excepto en la manera de conseguir el mismo objetivo final: el comunismo propone esclavizar al hombre mediante la fuerza, el socialismo mediante el voto. Es la misma diferencia que hay entre asesinato y suicidio‚ÄĚ.
Ayn Rand

‚Äú El ego√≠smo bien entendido de los ciudadanos es s√≥lo un vicio para el ego√≠smo de los gobiernos que personifican a los Estados.‚ÄĚ
Juan Bautista Alberdi

La historia reciente del enfrentamiento entre la Rusia Soviética en manos del comunismo, y los Estados Unidos como representante del capitalismo, ha provocado igualmente una confusión en el análisis político ideológico. Conforme a esa alternativa hemos liberado al socialismo de su origen ideológico marxista. Ante tal disyuntiva creo procedente dar honor a quien honor merece y reconocer que fueron Marx y Engels los creadores del socialismo científico.

Ya hab√≠a escrito Karl Marx en su versi√≥n de la dial√©ctica hegeliana que la historia de la lucha de clases part√≠a de la tesis feudalismo- ant√≠tesis ‚Äď capitalismo y s√≠ntesis que fuera el socialismo. La llegada del socialismo habr√≠a de producirse a trav√©s de la revoluci√≥n, supuestamente generada por la explotaci√≥n de los trabajadores por los capitalistas, y su teor√≠a de la alienaci√≥n. Es decir conforme a Marx y Engels, el capitalismo llevaba en s√≠ mismo la g√©nesis de su destrucci√≥n.

Llevada a cabo la revolución socialista, el primer paso hacia el comunismo sería la dictadura del proletariado, en sustitución del Estado, para lograr expropiar a los expropiadores, pues la naturaleza del capitalismo residía en la desigualdad, que tal como ya la había escrito Jean Jacques Rousseau, se debía a la propiedad privada. Cumplida tal misión, de conformidad con Engels y su obra anti-during el Estado desaparecería (will wither away) y así se arribaría al fin de la historia que sería el comunismo. Y recordemos al Sr. Fukuyama que quien predijo el fin de la historia fue Marx y no Hegel, pues ello ocurriría como consecuencia de la desaparición de los antagonismos.

Igualmente Marx consideraba que el origen de la falta de libertad resid√≠a en la escasez, y el comunismo ser√≠a la etapa en que superada la escasez el estado desaparecer√≠a como antes se dijo y ser√≠a la ‚Äúsociedad‚ÄĚ la encargada de distribuir los bienes. As√≠ dice Marx, en La Filosof√≠a Alemana: ‚Äú ..en la sociedad comunista, donde nadie tiene una esfera exclusiva de actividad pero cada cual puede llevar a cabo cualquier rama que desee, la sociedad regula la producci√≥n general y hace posible para mi el hacer una cosa hoy y otra ma√Īana, el cazar en la ma√Īana, pescar al mediod√≠a, arrear ganado en la tarde y criticar despu√©s de la cena, tal como yo lo tenga en mente, sin que nunca me convierta en cazador, pescador, pastor o cr√≠tico‚ÄĚ. As√≠ habr√≠a desparecido la divisi√≥n del trabajo. Voy a insistir en este aspecto y as√≠ Marx escribi√≥ respecto a la divisi√≥n del trabajo: ‚ÄúEste inter√©s com√ļn no existe s√≥lo en la imaginaci√≥n como el inter√©s general, sino principalmente en la realidad, como la interdependencia mutua de los individuos entre los cuales se divide el trabajo‚ĶEn tanto exista una escisi√≥n entre el inter√©s particular y el inter√©s com√ļn las acciones del hombre se convierten en un poder ajeno que lo esclaviza‚ÄĚ.

Perd√≥n por la longitud de la cita pero la creo imprescindible para conocer la verdadera ideolog√≠a que sigue apoderada del mundo moderno. No puedo evitar entonces un par√©ntesis para expresar mi sentimiento de que solo un imb√©cil o un c√≠nico podr√≠a creer tal pretensi√≥n ut√≥pica y por tanto tal como se√Īalara Karl Popper, la utop√≠a es la madre de la violencia. Y hoy lo seguimos viendo a trav√©s del terrorismo ya fuere religioso ‚Äď musulmanes o racional como las FARC, etc. No obstante esta realidad inconducente, en una encuesta reciente en Europa sobre quien hab√≠a sido el pensador m√°s grande en la historia, la respuesta fue Karl Marx. No nos podemos extra√Īar de la crisis europea en manos del estado de bienestar, que cada vez es m√°s malestar. Fue as√≠ que cuando Sarkozy pretendi√≥ aumentar la edad de jubilaci√≥n de 60 a 62 a√Īos, salieron a la calle tres millones de personas, para protestar por tama√Īa osad√≠a en contra de los derechos humanos.

Pero volviendo entonces a nuestro tema original, fue Edward Bernstein quien en 1899 publicara ‚ÄúLas Precondiciones del Socialismo‚ÄĚ que con la aprobaci√≥n de los anteriores principios creara la social democracia. Es decir el socialismo sin revoluci√≥n ni dictadura del proletariado sino democracia mediante. As√≠ en un supuesto original expres√≥ que el socialismo era el heredero leg√≠timo del liberalismo y que no hab√≠a ning√ļn pensamiento liberal que no perteneciera a los elementos de las ideas del socialismo.(SIC). Nada m√°s falaz que este pensamiento, pues el socialismo surge de la idea √©tica respecto a la naturaleza humana antit√©tica a la que sustenta el sistema liberal. El liberalismo parte del principio de Hume respecto a que la naturaleza humana es inmodificable y si queremos cambiar los comportamientos debemos cambiar las circunstancias. El socialismo desde Rousseau en adelante y con Kant y sus imperativos categ√≥ricos se sustenta en la idea de la creaci√≥n de un hombre nuevo conforme al deber ser.. As√≠ Bernstein sosten√≠a que no era necesaria la expropiaci√≥n inmediata sino solo la regulaci√≥n estatal y de las cooperativas. La nacionalizaci√≥n de las empresas privadas sobrevendr√≠a finalmente de motus propio.(SIC)

El socialismo si surgi√≥ como un proceso democr√°tico antag√≥nico al presupuesto revolucionario marxista. Fue entonces Lenin quien en contraposici√≥n a Bernstein construir√≠a, con la ayuda germana el socialismo en Rusia mediante el partido bolchevique, que se convirti√≥ en el partido comunista. Fue as√≠ que en Rusia ocurri√≥ lo que habr√≠a sido una sorpresa para Marx, quien crey√≥ que el advenimiento del socialismo como superaci√≥n del capitalismo, se producir√≠a en los pa√≠ses desarrollados como Inglaterra y no en los pa√≠ses subdesarrollados como Rusia en el a√Īo 1917. Aparece entonces ante el mundo la dicotom√≠a del comunismo totalitario y socialismo democr√°tico. Consecuentemente la ca√≠da del muro del Berl√≠n hizo desaparecer la realidad del socialismo marxista dejando inc√≥lume la utop√≠a socialista, en manos de los defensores de los derechos del pueblo. Y recordemos las palabras de Lamartine respecto a la personalidad de Marat: ‚ÄúAmaba al pueblo y odiaba a los hombres‚ÄĚ

No debi√©ramos olvidar que el origen del fascismo con Hitler y Mussolini a la cabeza surgi√≥ de la mente de Lenin, ante su experiencia del proceso econ√≥mico comunista en Rusia. Fue entonces que escribi√≥ la Nueva Econ√≥mica donde dijo: ‚ÄúLos capitalistas est√°n operando a nuestro lado. Est√°n operando como ladrones; hacen ganancias; pero ellos saben como hacer las cosas‚ÄĚ.Entonces, claramente los capitalistas ante la posibilidad de que los nacionalizaran aceptan la colusi√≥n con la dictadura democr√°tica, pues no olvidemos que tanto Hitler como Mussolini llegaron al poder por elecciones. Sepamos entonces que donde no se respeten los derechos de propiedad y exista un poder absoluto, la alternativa es la colusi√≥n y √©sta es la ant√≠tesis de la eficiencia capitalista basada precisamente en la competencia. (Adam Smith)

El marxismo est√° presente, y como bien dijera Alexis de Tocqueville: ‚ÄúEl socialismo y la concentraci√≥n de poder son frutos del mismo suelo‚ÄĚ y esta realidad es que enfrentamos en nuestro continente bajo el influjo del socialismo del siglo XXI, y la inspiraci√≥n de Fidel Castro, hoy felicitado por el Papa por estar a favor de los pobres y de la solidaridad. El socialismo, o sea la demagogia como tergiversaci√≥n de la democracia es la causa de la crisis europea y del populismo latinoamericano sumido en la pobreza. Debemos aprender definitivamente que el llamado sistema capitalista es el reino del rule of law. Es decir el respeto por los derechos individuales, la eticidad de los intereses particulares y la limitaci√≥n del poder pol√≠tico. Esa es la esencia de la libertad y la creaci√≥n de riqueza que es la √ļnica alternativa a la superaci√≥n de la pobreza. No olvidemos que los derechos individuales son √©ticamente la ant√≠tesis a los denominados derechos humanos en los cuales prevalece la demagogia para logra el voto de los pobres. Por tanto puedo decir que el marxismo est√° presente social democracia mediante despu√©s de la ca√≠da del Muro de Berl√≠n y la permanencia del Muro del Malec√≥n.

Fuente: HACER

Sep 282010
 

Drugs for $, $ for Votes

(Illustration courtesy Photobucket.com and Ronbosoldier.blogspot.com)

CORRUPTION FIESTA

It’s really hard to tell whose form of corruption is worse, the United States’ or Mexico’s. ¬†America (del Norte) wants to influence Mexico’s elections (pliancy), use their cheap labor, and farm their migrants for Democratic votes. ¬†Mexico, on the other hand, wants to colonize us, keep expat votes, export violent gangbangers to cities all over America, keep huge remittances flowing, and benefit from our drug dollars. ¬†Together, the two countries have created the rather well-deserved appearance that nothing will be done to stop the flow of ¬†drugs, gangs or aliens – even as we’ve recently reached a critical mass with all three.

Arguably, both countries have (slowly) failing governments, and important elections pending over the next two years. ¬†In the meantime, ¬†both are losing control over sovereign territory, bodies are piling up in Mexico — with some spillover here — and illegal aliens are being touted here as victimized, legal immigrants. ¬†Cartel-related crimes are on the rise in both countries — just ask an Arizonan or Texan — and the response is just expensive, dramatic symbolism. ¬†Logrolling gridlock.

MUTUAL COMPLACENCY

Anything more than casual observation of our “neighbor to the South” must lead to what poet T.S. Elliot referred to in “The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock” as “an overwhelming question.” ¬† The elusive part of this is that none of the actors involved, on either side of the border, dare ask it. ¬†To ask, you see, is for this diversity of actors to risk exposing their own inherent interest in having the chaotic status quo continue. ¬†And the question? ¬†Quite simply: ¬†Where does this lead?

With at least 23 of it’s 31 states and the Federal District surrounding Mexico City under siege by DTO’s (Drug Trafficking Organizations — not to be confused with gangs, which are there in abundance and working for the DTO’s) and close to a million of its citizens illegally crossing our border each year, and another half-million or so Mexican gangbangers flooding our cities — why the complacency? ¬†Why the political paralysis – on both sides of the border – over the seven million or so Mexicans who’ve illegally invaded our country?

LA CAUSA — TAKE BACK THE LAND!

A lot of ink has been spilled over speculation that Mexico is becoming a “failed state.” ¬†Others are concerned that too many Mexicans here legally and otherwise have no intention of ever assimilating into our culture, but are content to colonize us until their numbers are sufficient to use the electoral system to reclaim most of the US Southwest as Mexico, restored to its status prior to the Mexican-American war of 1846-48. ¬†In other words, the natives that were once conquered and colonized by Europeans, are colonizing us with a clear plan of re-conquest — The Reconquista.

If this sounds absurd and not a little bit paranoid to you, contact your local lobbyist for the National Council of La Raza, or the National MEChA. ¬†They’ll angrily confirm all of the above, and then demand free tuition, medical care, and amnesty. ¬†Of course, there’s always the indigenous peoples of North and South America who have organized to take both back from the European (ancestry) “illegals” and their “anchor babies.” ¬†That would be the Mexica Movement, a small but determined group that rejects even the names “La Raza” and “Hispanic” due to their European origins.

[These folks aren't concerned about the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the Mexican-American war in 1848.  Nope.  They want things restored to pre-1492.  They are really upset about Christopher Columbus and the smallpox epidemic that killed indigenous people who had no immune defense against the disease -- hence the accusation of European genocide.  As if Columbus invented germ warfare and deliberately killed the people whose labor and cooperation he needed.  Sorry, just an interesting footnote.]

POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC MOTIVES FOR STASIS

Harper,Obama,Calderon, Dithering

Our business community is happy to have workers who are used to earning the equivalent of $4.5o/hr in their home country, our unions are eager to have millions of new members (if we taxpayers will foot the bill for the labor contracts that supply fresh jobs), and the Democrats know full well that every naturalized Mexican (and quite a few phony ID’d illegals) will pull the ‘D’ lever at election time.

The Mexican government gets to continue receiving dollar remittances for years to come, while granting dual-citizenship and absentee voting rights to a population of 30 million Mexican-Americans and another seven million or so amnestied and naturalized that won’t have to push up the unemployment stats in Mexico, or angrily lobby for essential Mexican government reforms.

Meanwhile, American consumption of the recreational drugs that Mexico either produces or transports continues unabated, allowing the threats and bribery that go hand-in-hand with prohibition to slowly destroy trust in our institutions and exacerbate racial hostility. ¬†Drug money is now funding hundreds of American police departments through legal (but probably unconstitutional) pre-trial property confiscations, and fighting the possibility of addiction is now a massive employment program at every level of our government. ¬†So it’s small wonder that you don’t see American ¬†politicians voluntarily raising ¬†the possibility of drug legalization.

MIGRATION

Unhappy Invaders

The tsunami of folks (sometimes whole families) who used to be called illegal aliens, then ‘immigrants,’ and now “Displaced Foreign Travellers,” (feel free to laugh) ¬†is wreaking havoc on our border states, and has been occurring for so long that even a large increase in the pace and volume causes no concern among the American population. ¬†Parts of those states have become “no go” zones for American citizens — too dangerous. ¬†Gang shootouts occur in these areas regularly. ¬†Many are in our national parks, where the warning signs were posted by the United States Bureau of Land Management. ¬†Did you know that the counterfeit identification card business is worth in the area of a billion dollars a year?

But maybe our concerns are misplaced. ¬†The 195 U.S. cities currently occupied by Mexican street gangs with no known legal occcupation may turn out to be just be a bunch of misguided kids working their way through a bad situation by selling drugs and killing folks you don’t know. ¬†It may be that the international drug cartels who earn billions supplying these kids with drugs for resale will never become the murderous problem here that they have at home. ¬†After all, we’d hate to have to see our armed forces shooting and arresting our police forces just because the police and the judiciary and the legislators and the bureaucrats couldn’t help but accept the free money offered by the cartels. ¬†You yourself wouldn’t, of course, until the cartel mentioned that if you don’t accept the bribe, they’ll torture and kill your family — then, you. ¬†A really effective sales pitch.¬†One, by the way, which the army isn’t immune to, either.

WAR AT OUR DOORSTEP — BARBARIANS RULE

So the killing in Mexico — which now includes large numbers of random citizens unconnected to the drug trade — ¬†has become pervasive, and anonymous, and without accountability. ¬†Having a problem in Mexico? ¬†Calling the police to complain could be fatal. ¬†Practicing ¬†journalism, likewise. Oh, and you might not want to actually show up for that office you were just elected to. ¬†A lot of deceased Mayors and Governors stumbled on that realization the hard way. ¬†Since law has broken down, the country is no longer a safe place for women…for anyone, really. ¬†So the Mexican armed forces are fighting the cartels, and there is no fallback if that doesn’t work. ¬†Up North, we used to call our harassment of drug users and dealers “the war on drugs; in Mexico it’s actually a war: ¬†They’ve had an official count of over 28,000 killed in less than four years, and fresh killing and discovery of bodies from old killings occurs daily.

Maybe a government that can’t protect its citizens hasn’t really failed. Let’s not be harsh. ¬†President Calderon assures us that the violence will abate after a while, that it is really occcurring because of the success of the military in putting down what our Secretary of State Clinton referred to as a narco-insurgency. ¬†Back in the U.S., we shouldn’t panic that we are in a sort of “drug bubble” in which everyone, ultimately, wants a piece of that free money that you can only get through the sale of illegal drugs. ¬†Can’t happen here, right? ¬†Or is there some kind of tipping point. ¬†A point where all of these diverse agendas come together, separately, with a grotesque unintended consequence that no one knows how to undo. Like, when there’s no one left to trust. ¬†Nah!

OPEN BORDER KUMBAYA

We’re probably thinking about this all wrong. ¬†We need a positive attitude. ¬†Here goes: ¬†Mexicans don’t think we stole a huge part of their country. ¬†The gangs and cartels really just shoot each other (and an occasional innocent bystander). ¬†And Mexicans mostly want to adopt our American culture; read, speak ¬†and vote strictly in english, and avoid living in ethnic ghettoes that mimic their home towns in Mexico. ¬†Our businessmen will be happy to go back to paying much higher wages, our unions will calmly continue their well-deserved shrinkage, and the Democrats will abandon any notion that they have to import voters (and campaign funds) in order to be successful at the ballot box.

Which bring us to a happier place. ¬†The gentle, cooperative merger of the two countries. ¬†Given Mexicans’ historical aversion to “Yanqui imperialism,” we obviously couldn’t annex Mexico. ¬†Whether they like us or not, we’re certainly not going to war with them again (hell, given the ¬†military equipment owned by the cartels, they just might win!) ¬†And I don’t think they would volunteer to become a territory, like Puerto Rico — which didn’t, of course, volunteer. ¬†What to do…what to do? ¬†How about this: ¬†The Emily Litella Strategy. ¬†We just disband our border controls, say “never mind — and bienvenidos.”¬†I think that would be the world peace thing to do, don’t you?

It’ not as if we were proud of our racist, imperialist, exploitational country to begin with, is it? ¬†Nope. ¬†Let’s have someone with ancient roots on this continent step in and try to repair some of the damage we’ve done with our greed and ignorance. ¬†Let’s just hope that, in time, the proper inheritors of this foolish nation will forgive us. ¬†Oops! we’ll be gone; so, ¬†please forgive our despised memory.

A FEW ALTERNATIVES TO MUTUAL COLLAPSE

JUST DO SOMETHING!


But that’ll take a while to effectuate; so, while we’re waiting to be replaced, ¬†I’d like to suggest a few interim measures to alleviate some of the righteous tension that seems to have accrued on both sides of the Southern border. ¬†Let’s join Mexico in legalizing drugs — all of them. Mexico decriminalized personal use amounts of recreational drugs in the summer of ’09. ¬†Small amounts of marijuana, meth, coke and heroin are no longer prosecuted. ¬†This keeps corrupt cops from filling the jails with small drug-busts and shaking down the already-terrified citizens. ¬†But that only helps with that small part of the problem.

Our continuing purchase of their drugs is the unsolved problem. ¬†It’s time to man-up as a nation and admit we are responsible for the slaughter of innocents and worldwide devastation because of our drug prohibition policies. I think we are smart enough to create regulations, just as we do with alcohol, to mitigate addiction. ¬†The free money created with illegality just unleashes a horde of drug salesmen on society, increasing the addiction we had hoped to prevent. ¬†And, because the Black American community stands in the street to sell drugs to the white community, we are exacerbating our race relations as we disproportionately jail the blacks. ¬†Abroad, we arm our enemies, as well as armies of criminals, with our recreational drug spending. ¬†We really can’t afford to have Mexico go down, or to continue the pretense that prohibition is a beneficial policy. ¬†If we don’t change, those currently benefitting from this suicidal policy will act surprised to find themselves living in a world returned to barbarism.

At the border, we need to have a massive, organized, guest worker program, so that most of those people working here — or searching for work, can come in legally, without risking their lives, and being preyed upon by their own people. ¬†Then we can take our time fencing the border, because only Jihadis and other criminal types will still have an incentive to cross illegally. ¬†We will save billions in both drug and border enforcement, and our government, at every level, will earn their share of the billions in tax revenue to be collected through the sale of recreational drugs (I know…the prohibitionists say there will be no net gain in tax revenue from legal drug sales).

It’s not intelligence that prevents these measures from enactment; it’s self-interest, coupled with political cowardice. ¬†The tipping point, though, ¬†should be when your policies are arming your enemies, destroying your friends and menacing the democratic institutions that so many have worked and died for. There are other ways to protect borders; other ways to curb addiction; other ways to be virtuous.

Sep 042010
 

Now It's Up to Us

ELECTION MADNESS

Never mind the voting machines many states never fixed after the year 2,000 fiasco; or the Motor Voter fraud, or the absentee ballot fraud, or the gerrymandering, or all the ineligible voters left on state voter registration lists, or the shafting of military voters, or the Acorn violations, or the lack of voter fraud prosecutions, or the New Black Panthers lack of prosecution for voter intimidation, or the post-election recount scams. ¬†Author John Fund, and others, have written extensively about these very serious erosions of our election system. ¬†And there’s always the attempt to rid us of the Electoral College established by the Constitution. ¬†No. ¬†What I’m talking about right now is Federal.

In addition to the items above which can often be addressed at the state level, we need to free ourselves of the madness surrounding our presidential elections. ¬†Way too much time; way too much money; primaries that make no sense, and a media influence that borders on the criminal. ¬†In addition, we’ve allowed congressional districts to be created that are drawn by race and party, such that there is guaranteed incumbency, and no input from broader constituencies that live in the same area.

CONGRESS TRAPPED

No point in criticizing Congress at this point; they’re a bit like some medieval armies which, after any given war was over, wandered about the countryside, looting and pillaging towns at random, even those of their own countries. ¬†Or at least that’s the perception, which explains the abysmal congressional public-approval ratings (currently at 12%). ¬†I have bigger fish to fry. ¬†Since 435 Congressmen and 100 Senators have been in some form of disapproval for years, regardless of party affiliation, and despite the heroic efforts of some of their members to behave honorably, it’s past time to wonder if we couldn’t devise a different set of incentives.

What’t the point? ¬†Isn’t that just rearranging the furniture? ¬†If they’re stupid, incompetent or corrupt, you might say, no system will change it. ¬†Not at all. ¬†This seems to be a dilemma that can be created, over time, in one form or another, in nearly any human ¬†organization. ¬† Ambition,competition,¬†finessing the rules to create advantage, feathering nests, pandering to contributors, lying to the benighted, the ill-informed, the groupies.

TEA PARTY TRIGGER

For whatever the Tea Party has become, or is evolving into, only those tied to a set of outworn prejudices can deny that the movement started out of the spontaneous outrage of ordinary citizens who felt that the Federal government had violated the social compact. ¬†Everyone, myself included, was inured to deceit and incompetence; buffoonery and bluster, unwarranted spending and manipulative posturing. ¬†Those became routine, and we went about our lives as if it would somehow never get worse. ¬†Then…it did. ¬†A line was crossed.

Spending that was already insanely out of hand got ignored for fresh spending. ¬†The reason provided was shocking – a complete reordering of society. ¬†A new economy that would replace the old, fourteen-trillion dollar economy with one that would be devised by a government convinced that America was an unjust society. ¬†Henceforth, honest employment would consist of making “green” cars, building fields of huge wind turbines, covering acres of land with solar panels and putting food in our gas tanks. ¬†Massive entitlement programs were to be created, oil and coal eliminated, our financial system captured.

Those who pay nearly all of America’s taxes would have their burden increased so that the money could be distributed to non-taxpayers, in the form of “refunds,’ as promised by Senator Obama – and ignored by the electorate – during his presidential campaign. ¬†The discussion regarding how these changes would impact the lives of individuals from all walks of life was confined to vague “hope and change,” references, as well as even vaguer references by the candidate to “difficult times ahead.” ¬†Maybe because explicitly stating that our society had supposedly failed its people and it was time for the government to fix that by creating a new society — would not have been as winning a campaign speech.

It didn’t really matter whether you believed our new President and his entourage to be Socialists, Statists, Fascists, Radicals or Revolutionaries; it was outrageous with any label. ¬†Way too much spending; way too much federal government. ¬†Instant Tea. ¬†The fossils who run the Republican Party clearly didn’t get it, and their opponents reflexively lashed out at a spontaneous movement that ¬†appeared to them to be another dirty trick by conservatives.

TEA PARTY BURDEN — PATRIOTS’ DILEMMA

If I haven’t made the point already, I apologize. ¬†If the people, independent of political party, or with heavy influence on a party, are the last bastions of preservation of our founders’ ideology, ¬†acting on the local level will be imperative — and the most important act will be to clean up the elections systems in each state, followed by a push for federal legislation that removes the current money chase. ¬†Whatever you might think of John McCain, he at least identified an existential problem for our nation when he campaigned for election reform. ¬†And that without taking up the current practice of micro-cheating on post-election challenges.

This cannot stand.

Sep 022010
 

It Works!

If our economic system doesn’t “distribute” wealth, how in the world can it be “redistributed?” ¬†Yet that’s what our happy fisher for tax dollars says he – with the complicity of a ‘Progressive’ Congress – wants to do. ¬† In fact, it’s well under way, with gobs more in the planning. ¬†Was there a “national conversation” about this?
The national conversation about race that Democrats, in particular, seem insistent that we should have…has been incessant for the last thirty years or so. ¬†It seems we never tire of talking about race, and the proliferation of communication technologies has exacerbated the exercise.

But my concern is not about race, right now, but rather the priorities in our national conversation (whatever that is). ¬†We don’t have an honest discussion about the real causes of poverty, or the slow disintegration of our governing institutions. ¬†We have just elected an administration that is intent on the redistribution of wealth, but without a conversation about what that means, and to whom, for how long, and with what general consequence.

The point of the adage about teaching a person to fish, rather than just giving them a fish, is that Рonce the fish is gone Рthe recipient of the fish-charity is right back where they started.  The notion of resourcefulness starts with the assumption that you can create or find your own resources, rather than relying on someone else who then has to create resources for both of you.

This is why the welfare system failed so badly.  Public housing meant to house folks who were temporarily in distress became a multi-generational trap for it occupants.  No skills, no incentives, no memory of having to work like their fellow Americans in order to share in the national work ethic; in order to give meaning and dignity to a life enhanced by personal accomplishment.  And, following an insanely belated reform, numerous individuals interviewed by the press were elated that their lives had changed in a positive way.

So how does redistribution differ from the old welfare trap?  Ask any Russian how it feels to be dependent on the government for everything.  Look at the Indian Reservations.  Prior to the casino boondoggle, wall to wall poverty and hopelessness.  After independence, India copied their former colonizers in adopting Socialism as their economic model.  Nearly destroyed India; they finally changed to a free market economy and are swiftly developing, thanks to the education and enterprise of their professional class.  The rest are slowly coming along, but at the mercy of an entrenched government bureaucracy who has to slowly leave their socialist corruption behind in order to properly serve the common man and facilitate free enterprise.

Isn’t it evident that distributing limited resources in a race to the bottom is not a benefit to someone who has to live a long human life-span, often responsible for themselves and other family members? ¬†As a safety net for the temporarily disadvantaged and those unable to fend for themselves, sure, but for an able person who simply lacks skills, nothing could be more cruel. ¬†And the society that adopts such a policy is shortsightedly destructive. ¬†Unfortunately, these societies are often led by trained professionals with good hearts who simply won’t look at where such policies inevitably lead.

So, money and other largesse doesn’t work. ¬†But there is, I think, a form of redistribution that does: ¬†Education. ¬†Education is, in fact, a redistribution of knowledge, of skills. ¬†That’s right: ¬†Teach people to fish. ¬†And how an economy works. ¬†And the history of their civilization. ¬†And how to run a business. ¬†And how to manage money. ¬†And the unique value of their heritage as a country; the genius and sacrifice they are heirs to.

The difference between “earned” and “distributed.” ¬†How¬†to think; not¬†what¬†to think. ¬†Knowing which “national¬†conversations” are important.

Redistribute that.

Jul 272010
 

When this supposedly dysfunctional, imperialist nation founded by profiteering, white male slave-owners is finally – however gradually – converted to a truly ‘just society’ that allows all Americans (if that term is still to be used) to live in dignity and comfort — who will be its masters? Who will rule Post-American America? ¬† Will it be Transnational Collectivists, Muslim Extremists, or Organized Criminals?

Why bother to speculate on something that is unthinkable for a country as strong and resilient as the U.S? ¬†We’ll glance at that later; but first, let’s look at our most likely inheritors. ¬†And no, it is very unlikely that, as in the good old days, a nation-state will try to overtly invade the US; stealth is back in style, and subversion – on a na√Įve population – works like any good lie in history.

COLLECTIVISTS.

Save the Planet! Destroy Capitalism!

‘Revolution’ Sponsor George Soros

We’ve all gotten used to the idea that at every international government or corporate meeting of any supposed consequence, there will be staged demonstrations by the world’s Leftist organizations. ¬†Many months of planning will go into the ‘spontaneous’ demonstrations, and pledges of peaceful marching and non-violence will be made to the local government officials.

The police will come out with batons and shields and water guns, tear-gas and rubber bullets. ¬†The ‘peaceful’ demonstrators will smash retailers’ windows, throw molotov cocktails, taunt the police into reacting violently before the cameras in order to prove to the world that the demonstrators are ‘oppressed,’ and, occasionally, someone will die.

They are ‘oppressed’ by Western Civilization, in general, and the United States (Leader of the Free World) in particular. ¬†They think of themselves as ‘revolutionaries’ and think that if they get the ‘change’ they seek, it will look something like the Galactic Republic depicted in Star Wars: planets represented at council, rather than (the archaic, destructive idea of) nations.’

Your Fellow Americans

They generally refer to themselves as “the movement’ – even though they comprise many distinct movements joined to fight a common foe — Us. ¬† They do not feel obliged to respect the voting ‘masses’ they say they are fighting to liberate, and they only like elections – not, mind you, the idea of elections – that result in an outcome they¬†can rig, both before and after.

Foregoing any candor regarding their goal of achieving power by whatever means necessary, they have cheated and bullied their way into control¬†of large portions of the planet. ¬†And due to Democrats’ embrace of movement principles — and Republicans who believe Global Warming/Climate Change is actually about the climate — ¬†they are winning nearly everywhere. ¬†They have the numbers and the resources; there seems to be no reason why they won’t continue to prevail.

GANGSTERS.

We’ve also all gotten used to the gangbangers and the drug cartels, and the casual violence that ensues from their various illegal activities. ¬†The notion that free money in the form of drug profits destroys society’s institutions from within, and its citizens from without seems to bore folks who have the luxury of keeping the bribery and executions at a distance, even as they use the ‘recreational drugs’ that are aggressively sold by the perps.

Having gangs larger and better-armed than most police departments, and some armies, is not much different than acknowledging the existence of various sports teams. ¬†The violence occurs elsewhere, while we attend church, smug in our ‘drug-free’ world. ¬†Who could possibly blame us for all the crap that happens to drug dealers and addicts, somewhere else.

And what part of the Western brain lights up when we hear the phrase “Failed State?” ¬†Do we think “Oh my God, the criminals are stronger than those governments, and our drug laws caused it, and it could happen to us if we don’t change our laws?” ¬†Of course not. ¬†That would mean changing our fondest beliefs. It would also damage everyone who is legally profiting from these wickedly destructive laws, whether through employment, or votes gained, or prestige, or personal virtue. ¬†Even the liquor industry, to avoid competing drugs.

Random Citizens are Next

What often happens is that the organized criminals have boodles of cash to spend on government servants, and they are willing to murder said servant and family in the absence of cooperation. ¬†This results in an unannounced partnership. ¬†The public no longer knows who to trust, and taxpayers, like spider’s prey, are kept alive for the next fresh feeding.

Organized crime has been international for a long time, and our government’s cowardice and pandering in not dealing with this has allowed the free drug money to finance expansion into multiple rackets (slavery, extortion, kidnapping, counterfeiting, piracy, and legitimate business fronts) such that it may be too late to turn the situation around through legislation, or law enforcement, or military action.

Offering to kill you or those you care about, or bribe you (an offer you can’t refuse) is an effective strategy that is not going away. ¬†And if your response is “I would just call the police,” you need to know that this brand of corruption will make that a mistake – perhaps your last.

MUSLIM EXTREMISTS. -aka Jihadis


This Freedom Can be Yours

PHOTO NOTE: There is no intention to imply that the ladies pictured above are anything other than normal, devout Muslims Рcertainly not Jihadis or Muslim Extremists.  I grabbed the photo with the intent of reminding Western ladies that they would lose their accustomed freedoms under Muslim rule.

The third thing we’ve also all gotten used to is the “terrorist threat.” ¬†I call it that because, while my fellow Americans know we are at war in the Mideast, many prefer to think we went into Iraq under false pretenses (they assume it was to get oil), ¬†while ¬†Afghanistan is just a mistake incident to our hunt for (the criminal) Osama bin Laden and his cronies.

The Executive Branch of the United States government will not utter the word “Jihadi.” (The President finally said the phrase “Radical Islam,” presumably to at least acknowledge that some of the people killing American soldiers and civilians are doing so out of religious conviction.) The Leftists we talked about earlier admire the Jihadis as “Freedom Fighters” and are their natural allies because of their mutual antipathy toward the West, with Israel and the U.S. as prime targets.

 

¬†Palestinians are the poster children for U.S. ‘imperialism.’ ¬†Since it ¬†is repulsive to most Americans to consider anyone an enemy because of their religious beliefs, and since we fear a backlash against Muslims in America because of the wars, the Administration has placed many Muslims in prominent positions in our government (Muslim Affirmative Action?).

Those who take the Jihadis’ word that they are, indeed, at war with us, whether we acknowledge it or not, see the Muslim religion as one of conquest and subjugation, whose primary ‘Religion of Peace’ goal is to force the Muslim religion on the entire human population, killing or subjugating all who refuse to cooperate, including other Muslims. ¬†If you listen to the Koranic scholars and understand that there is no possibility of the separation of church and state, or of this religious mission being abandoned, you will conclude that they are the enemy they say they are. ¬†The rest is willful blindness.

In the event, there are over a billion of them, and they have been attacking Western Civilization – the heir to what was once known as “Christendom,” off and on for about 1,200 years. ¬†We forget that; they don’t. ¬†Our society’s dominant philosophy is that we can only have enemies through actions or misunderstandings we ourselves created; diplomacy will work it out. ¬†But diplomacy has no effect when there is nothing the other party wants from you except either your demise, or submission to their rule. ¬†What is the likely outcome in a conflict ¬†between one party who always has an enemy and another who never has an enemy?

SPIRALING DOWN.

But why – you ask – the quasi-paranoid gloom? Well, the non-violent revolutions always take time, and are necessarily cheered-on by a significant portion of the populace; Hugo Chavez’ slow replacement of a free-market democracy plagued by corruption with an explicitly Communist dictatorship is a prime example.

But then, all the Socialists worldwide have caught on to the use of Democratic procedures and gestures to smother dissenting views and interests and gain control over whatever parts of the society are the best leverage for control. ¬†The rest, they’ve learned, can remain untouched, including Capitalist taxpayers and voting citizens. ¬†The Capitalists that matter will either be ‘captives” of the government – earning their profits from the ‘special relationship’ – ¬†or regulated into total cooperation with the government’s aims.

We’ve seen this movie before. ¬†The last time, it was titled Fascism, this time probably some variation of The Green Economy. Tyranny, after all, is such a small price to pay for supposedly ‘saving the planet.’ ¬†And no one need be uncomfortable, because the tyrants will look just like the Congress you already have, and (rigged) elections with carefully selected candidates will still be held, and everyone will still have the liberty to attend free universities for indoctrination and training for government-approved businesses.

Every one who belongs to a union will have a job, whether the employer needs that person or not. ¬†Better yet, those most loyal to the beloved government and its ‘Dear Leader” will be rewarded with the homes and accouterments of the former ruling class. ¬†All property will be distributed by degree of cooperation. ¬†Years of the drip, drip, drip of leaking liberty, until the roof finally collapses. ¬†You see, it can happen here.

Noted syndicated columnist and TV Pundit Charles Krauthammer recently opined that the Obama Administration is interested in control of Health Care, Education and Energy. ¬†He thought that the Auto companies and financial industry were just windfalls (I disagree, if he means that they don’t want control of the auto companies in order to preserve union jobs and churn out green cars the government –but not necessarily the people — wants, or that the government doesn’t relish the idea of controlling salary and credit levels through bullying financial regs and administrators.)

Does that necessarily mean that the administration is conducting a slow-motion revolution? ¬†No, but remember that if you’re wrong, it’s the founding vision of this country¬†– and all it’s subsequent success — that you’re betting against. ¬†Regardless, a huge number of citizens are online, expressing their concern, and voicing their outrage over collectivist policies aimed at replacing a free-market constitutional Republic with a “Just Society.”

I think we already have a “Just Society” in the sense that, if you work within the system, it is still possible to address economic and social issues for which there’s a constituency. ¬†It’s admittedly gotten harder as Washington has been gamed by nearly all participants, but that’s a topic for another day.

“You Have a Republic if You Can Keep It”

What I’m concerned about now is, what happens to the United States, it’s founding principles, and its citizens if the eighteenth-century old-white-guy system is dismantled before something coherent is available to replace it? The adage¬†There’s many a slip twixt cup and lip can mean millions of American corpses if society collapses, a la Cambodia – where real people’s lives were made to submit to a radical theory about how a ‘fair’ society should be organized, and the result was millions of dead Cambodians.

Same in Russia. ¬†Same in China. ¬†The National Socialist Party was mimicking the above behavior in Germany before its own “Dear Leader” decided to commit the nation’s resources to conquest and genocide based on old national grudges. ¬†The Italians, who invented Fascism, were much admired for inventing a “Third Way” between Capitalism and Socialism.” ¬†Then they wrecked the country by jumping on the NAZI bandwagon. England, after fighting Socialist governments throughout WWII, turned Socialist after the war. ¬†Beguiled by their intellectuals into an economic death spiral. ¬†We have intellectuals, too. ¬†They’re in charge of indoctrination and propaganda.

Well, even if your worst scenario occurs, Gress, who — of the above candidates — do you think would be our new masters? ¬†And why?

Can’t know, of course, but running a thought experiment for at least one scenario can’t hurt; might jump-start you into trying out your own. ¬†Do that, and you might start looking even harder at what various parts of our government are up to, why, and possible outcomes. ¬†Here goes:

POSSIBLE END GAME FOR THE WEST.

As noted above, the Collectivists of all stripes are on a tear, all over the globe.  Short term, I think they will definitely erode, then ultimately banish Capitalism as we know it, keeping alive the industries that will play ball and support the government tax programs.  Because the Collectivists see Jihadis as US victims, and therefore natural allies, they will initially have many Muslim partners, as both private and National actors.  The Muslims will play along as long as their numbers are small and their resources weak.

Must be Allah’s Will

The gangsters will take control over many aspects of (formerly) American life from the ground up — through the control of cities. ¬†The control will not be overt, just as it is not overt in many world cities now. ¬†But the politicians who play ball will prosper, and those that don’t will meet with violent reprisal. ¬†The terrified average citizen will not know who is in charge, and will be too scared to express public concern. ¬†Journalists who report anything that could possibly offend a capo will meet their maker.

The Federal government, meanwhile, will be in a slightly lesser, but nevertheless real partnership with crime elements until the Muslim numbers are large enough to demand whatever they want from the remaining Collectivists.   The Muslims will then kill or enslave the Leftists and go to war with the criminals, a war they will eventually win.  Game, Set, Match for Allah.  (See Jihadi-improved map of Europe, at right.)

CAVEAT:

This scenario is only the battle for Western Civilization. Once won, there will be a standoff between the Muslims and the Chinese.  War will eventuate, and Asians will probably emerge triumphant due to their greater numbers and education levels.  After the fall of the West, India will probably have no choice but to either join, or be conquered by, China.  Russia has the potential for evolving into a nuclear-armed crime syndicate.

CONCLUSION:

Teach your kids Chinese; ¬†leave the Western Hemisphere. ¬†We’ve already blown it (but don’t hurry — this stuff all takes time).

Apotheosis

Jul 152010
 

Therefore, U.S. Vehicle Emissions Are 5.4% of Total World Man-made CO2 Emissions

(The above figure was corrected when we found the latest (?) world vehicle totals (750,000.000)

Globally, road transport is responsible for about 16% of man-made CO2 emissions.  It is a common misconception that global warming is mainly caused by cars and trucks. It is important to understand that there are other, larger, contributors and ALL sources of CO2 emission must be addressed if the problem is to be solved.  The chart is all global man-made CO2 emissions.

If, there is, in fact, a problem. ¬†The chart is from the International Association of Vehicle Manufacturers, here. If you don’t trust a global professional association that represents evil, polluting corporations, you are encouraged to do what I do: ¬†search the internet. ¬†I just thought it interesting that, if OICA is right with their chart, it is of more than passing interest that most of us thought vehicles were responsible for a greater share of CO2 emissions.

Incredibly, the EPA considers CO2 to be 95% of vehicle emissions.  That implies to me, a non-scientist, that either the millions of tons of CO2 being constantly dumped into our atmosphere are having no provable or observable effect, or that there is something wrong with the theory of man-made green house gases causing global warming.  It also seems to imply that the 5% of emissions that are sulpher dioxide, nitrogen oxide, ozone, carbon-monoxide, methane, lead and particulate matter have been successfully reduced to a non-threatening state, either to humans or the planet.

If humans are only contributing gases to the atmosphere that the planet is easily able to dissipate, and we are not demonstrably harming humans after putting 250 million vehicles on the road in the US alone, why are we being told that it is necessary to replace our entire ten trillion dollar economy with a so-called “Green Economy” – ¬†and who benefits from this idea?

Why our apparent interest in having eight dollar a gallon gasoline, as in Europe, when their prices are born out of necessity; they have no oil of their own, and most of their streets were designed hundreds of years ago, necessitating small vehicles for local access. ¬†They also impose onerous gas taxes in order to discourage driving. ¬†We, on the other hand, are said to be running out of oil and gas; our only alternative is to quickly find alternative, non-polluting fuels. ¬†This notion is known as “Peak-Oil” theory. ¬†Peak oil always makes sense as a concept, based on the very intuitive notion that there is no such thing as an inexhaustible resource, and so we must prepare for the day when that resource is exhausted.

Problem is, we have more oil today than when experts of all kinds (qualified or not) began predicting peak supplies. ¬†We don’t have a shortage of ‘fossil fuels” or other types of energy in the United States; we have a shortage of energy defined as recoverable or explorable at a given price in defined geographic areas. ¬†We have a shortage of drilling equipment and trained workers. ¬†We have a shortage of government leaders dedicated to continue the use of fossil fuels because they’ve bought into the theory that to do so would harm the planet. ¬†They are tragically, destructively wrong, and their persistence in this fantasy is liable to cause an ‘energy bubble’ that is based on having borrowed — on behalf of taxpayers — billions of dollars to be thrown at a non-existent problem fostering destructive, nonsensical solutions.

Which brings us to an overwhelming question: Are the American People so eager to be seen as virtuous that they are unwilling to let themselves see that self-interested governments and businesses, working together,  are relying on that need for virtue to create opportunities for themselves. And are there enough Americans left whose BS detectors are well-developed enough to recognize a persistent propaganda campaign that is intended to rob them of their birthright so that others can construct a new society that benefits themselves and whoever they choose?

WHAT IS THE NEED? Surely, before deciding that our constitutional republic and free market economy are failures, we can pause to ask: ¬†Why the supposed necessity for change? ¬†The folks who used to warn against man-made Global Warming and have now abandoned that claim – in the face of enormous opposition – in favor of the even-more-general Climate Change (now,¬†that’s¬†chutzpah!), would seem to assert the following reasons:

1)  Protect  planet.

Does it really need protecting?  All of humanity occupies only 1% of the entire surface of the planet.  Our scientists have only just begun to understand weather and climate, even with the most sophisticated technology.  The computer models constructed so far (on which the IPCC depends; the EPA then depends on the IPCC) have been unable to accurately predict even short-term events.  They have also been unable to use the models to accurately describe historical events that correspond to GHG theory.  MIT Meteorology professor Richard S. Lindzen explains the implausibility of the theory, here.

Some food for thought:

#   CO2 is .038% of the atmosphere (one ten-thousandth of one per cent), a trace-gas that is alleged to be responsible for the       disastrous warming of the planet due to human Рmainly American Рemissions.

# ¬† This insignificant trace-gas has limited ability to absorb heat. ¬†CO2′s ability to absorb heat is logarithmic, meaning the more CO2 ¬† there is, the less heat it can absorb. The first 20ppm of CO2 absorbs more heat than the next 500ppm and so forth.

#   Apparently a mathematical error involving vectors contributed to the belief that massive amounts of CO2 were heating the earth (the climatologists counted both the inbound and outbound radiation, rather than allow them  to cancel each other out Рa zero sum).

#   Our atmosphere does not, in fact, act like a greenhouse Рclouds are not a pane of glass.

# ¬†The entire atmosphere is a greenhouse gas, absorbing heat and radiating it back out into space ( See scientist Alan Siddons article¬†The Hidden Flaw in Greenhouse Theory by clicking on it at this blog’s Post titled¬†Greenhouse Gas Theory Explained).

#   A commenter to that Post said the theory is all about feedbacks РAGW says that clouds are a positive feedback because they reflect heat back to the surface; he claims its actually a negative feedback, forming clouds and producing rain when the surface heats, allowing radiation to exit the earth.

30,000 Scientists Say “No” to “Settled Science”
30,000 scientists signed a petition stating that the science on Global Warming/Climate Change is in its infancy.  There is no consensus that we even have a problem that there is any more to do about than what we have been doing.  Science does not operate on consensus, in any event Рit is a method by which any theory can be overthrown by the next proof.  This requires vigorous debate over any theory, which in turn requires broad publication and review of both theory and data by your scientific peers.  This simply does not exist in the AGW world, where bogus science is cranked out to support a political agenda, backed by massive government grants.  All of this is verifiable by anyone wishing to inform themselves, as opposed to embracing a political agenda disguised as science.
And last year 130 German scientists sent a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel expressing their dissent from global warming fears and its non-science. ¬†They called the phenomenon a “pseudo religion” and said that CO2 has no effect on global temperatures.

While you’re scouring the internet to satisfy your thirst for truth, please note the following:

The Polar Bear population is increasing – they are marine animals, accustomed to swimming; Kilimanjaro’s snowmelt has nothing to do with CO2; the ocean is neither acidifying nor rising; Antarctica’s glaciers are not disappearing; Arctic ice is thicker rather than wider, and does not melt and cause sea-rise (Archimedes’s Principle); hurricanes are not increasing in number and are not caused by AGW; highest recent temperatures were recorded in the 1930′s; steady cooling since 1998; sunspot activity biggest influence on variation; CO2 abundant in ice ages and in cold desert at night; Many scientists think CO2 increases follow warming periods.

That’s just off the top; I’m sure you can improve on the list with a little patient Googling at sites that are not dedicated to promoting the Alarmists’ attempts to fool you into giving them the political power to save the planet on your behalf, an endless task requiring monitoring of nearly every facet of life on earth.

Finally, regarding CO2.  All of life on earth is part of the carbon chain.  We are carbon.  We breathe in nitrogen and oxygen, and exhale carbon dioxide.  This makes plants and trees happy, because that is what they need for nourishment.  CO2 is plant food.  (And since we have a lot of forests, away from the big cities full of voters terrified of CO2, much of our emissions are sopped up by the trees.)

Not an elegant explanation, and I may have some of it wrong, but hopefully enough fact and rationality to keep you from being manipulated by dangerously ill-informed do-gooders.  Go find your virtue elsewhere.

2)  Curb pollution.


Our pollution problems have been left to the tender mercies of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. ¬†They’ve been around for forty years and had 17,384 employees as of 2010. ¬†They have ten regional offices which coordinate and supervise the environmental agencies of the fifty states. ¬†They have a reputation, at least among non-progressives, as being a very politicized agency, but are very proud of their progress in cleaning the environment, and the improvements, especially to air and water over the last forty years are manifest throughout the country. ¬†In other words, we have the problem covered, now and going forward.


3)  Escape Peak.


Getting straightforward information on oil and gas supplies is tough, because both government and business have reason not to be candid. ¬†The current government, as most of us know, does not want anything to do with fossil fuels, and wants us to cut back on our use of energy of all kinds, by government mandate, if necessary. ¬†Oil and gas companies need to perpetuate the idea of scarcity in order to keep prices high. ¬†They also have to fool their competitors regarding their intentions about a particular exploratory project. ¬†They’re a lot like treasure hunters; even if they are pretty sure they know where the treasure is – maybe due to a map that only they possess – they can’t let others know until they find it and make their claim. ¬†Once having made that claim in oil or gas, they may be reluctant to reveal what they believe to be the full potential of the new find.

Thus, Peak Oil has become a self-perpetuating legend — constantly disproven by the passage of time and each new oil or gas discovery — that is embraced nevertheless, because the story is useful to so many different actors. ¬†If you are of a mind to hate ‘fossil fuels’ because you think they damage the planet, “Peak Oil” is for you. ¬†If you are a government that thinks the only way to curb energy usage growth is to raise prices, “Peak Oil” is a gift. ¬†If you’re in the energy business, well, as I said…

So, where is one to go for accurate info regarding availability of supplies. ¬†The United States Geological Survey(USGS), which reports on such matters, is too constrained by the definitions of the things on which they report. Most oil is owned by sovereign nations, who are either mum or mendacious on the subject. ¬†(Some probably don’t really know any data more useful than that these resources are a great political piggy bank.) ¬†What if we were able to ask ¬†someone who was recently prominent in the field and is now retired and no longer constrained by the exigencies of the business?

John Hofmeister, the recently retired CEO of Shell Oil is selling a book (Why We Hate the Oil Companies). ¬†We don’t know to what extent he is willing to stretch the truth in either the writing or the promoting of the book, but in all other aspects he should be a reliable source of information regarding his life’s work, which happened to be fossil fuels. ¬†He says we have more oil than Saudi Arabia. ¬†Sure, read the sentence again. ¬†Not a typo. ¬†He thinks there’s a trillion barrels in the Shale of the Piceance Basin of Western Colorado. ¬†He says another 500 billion bbl in the Bakken Formation of Wyoming, North Dakota and Canada. ¬†Maybe another 100 billion bbl off of our coasts. (We use about 9 million barrels/day.)

The Bakken and part of Colorado are being drilled right now, but probably not with the major actors that are needed to satisfy our growing fuel demands ¬†(no, we’re not ‘addicted’ to oil; it fuels our prosperity and creates our jobs and products). ¬†The shallow offshore fields are off limits by government fiat, as well as some inland exploration sites. ¬†The deeper offshore sites in the Gulf are very productive, but the federal moratorium on new projects will, in Hofmeister’s estimation, cost a million barrels a day, causing a $1.50-$2.00 rise in gasoline prices, and a recession in the Gulf states.


It would come as a surprise to most Americans, but not to environmentalists (who hate the idea) that the Russians, and perhaps the Chinese, drill for oil on a completely different theory regarding its origins. ¬†They don’t believe there is any such thing as Fossil Fuel, that is, oil and gas resulting from the long-ago decay of plants and animals. ¬†The largest Saudi oil well, for instance, would require a cube of decayed matter 19 miles per side to explain that well’s volume of oil. ¬†They believe, instead, that oil is formed under great heat and pressure beneath the earth’s mantle, and is spun up along the tectonic faults. ¬†The opponents of this theory say the oil would not survive the heat, and that chemical analysis always shows biological identifiers in the oil.

A topic for another Post, but a good source for in-depth info is this article with hyper-links. ¬†Nevertheless, as of mid-2009, the Russians have become the world’s biggest oil producers.

4)   Protect diversity.

This is a bit of a puzzle. ¬†Richard Heinberg is an avowed opponent of the abiotic oil theory and has written about it extensively; you can google him and a lot will come up. ¬†I read one of his analyses of the phenomenon, wherein he concludes that, although there may, indeed, exist the possibility that oil is continuously formed in the bowels of the earth, it really doesn’t matter, because he considers an overabundance of oil to be as much a disaster as a shortage. ¬†He goes on to cite CO2 emissions & Global Warming, of course, but then, without explanation, he adds the last two items on our list: diversity and other resources.

I’m just going to wing these two. ¬†If you want to make a research project of them, be my guest. ¬†The diversity issue seems to be an anti-mobility complaint. ¬†The more fuel we have, the more travel, inevitably resulting in destruction of habitat as we build roads and continue to “sprawl.” ¬†This is a viewpoint widely held by those who would have us all living in high-density communes, eating locally grown foods, and walking or cycling everywhere. ¬†In a country of 300 million people who rely on mobility and individual choice, there is no way for this to be other than a disaster, but that seems to be the dream.

5)   Preserve  resources.

This also seems to be pretty straight-forward, Rousseau-ian anti-modernity stuff. ¬†If we keep using oil and gas and driving cars powered by internal-combustion engines, we will also continue to use the finite supplies of all the components that go into cars (steel, aluminum, fabrics, plastics, etc.), which just encourages destruction and selfish “materialism.” ¬†These folks are resistant to our history of discovering uses for materials that previously had either limited utility, or none at all. ¬†It is our inventiveness, based on our freedom, that turns these organic and inorganic materials into what then become known as “resources.”

Unless we try to let government decide everything, we will alway invent and innovate; always creating new technologies and processes. ¬†Americans are free to choose not to like technology; it’s just that without it, approximately 200 million of their fellow citizens would no longer be able to survive. ¬†Put more simply, it’s our technological infrastructure that allows so many to live in comfort and security, rather than “On Walden Pond.”

Now, I understand that the BS detector I’ve begged you to sharpen up can easily be turned on me. ¬†Fair enough. ¬†Just remember that there are determined people who think the Constitution is a malleable document written by a bunch of outmoded bigots who don’t understand that Social Justice requires a modern, Progressive mindset. ¬†These folks are unabashedly part of a movement that is out to create a just world. ¬†Unfortunately, our old, unjust world will have to be discarded in the process. ¬†Environmentalism is a great political tool for capturing the minds of even the most sophisticated; after all, who is opposed to saving the planet? ¬†And it’s just dandy ¬†as a vehicle for obtaining — and keeping — political power.

Our founders were brilliant, and prudent enough to understand that even a democracy can turn into a tyranny of the majority. ¬†That’s why they made it so hard for the federal government to reach consensus, to have a runaway branch, to bully the states, or to interfere in the lives of individual citizens. ¬†This country is neither a commune nor a parking place for folks who think their physical presence entitles them to be called Americans. ¬†America is a shared concept about liberty and protecting the individual from capricious rule.

Environmentalism is about replacing that.  The CO2 part is just hot air.

Jun 182010
 

Big Bucks You Can Believe In!

By now, almost everyone who cares knows that the US President sat down with BP executives and received a commitment to hand over twenty billion dollars towards oil-spill compensation. ¬†Also, that there’s no cap on liability and that the criminal investigation of the company will continue. ¬†The fund will be run by a Presidential appointee, and the President made it perfectly clear that the $20,000,000,000. ¬†fund was only a good-faith payment (in quarterly installments) ¬†that does not preclude unlimited liability over indefinite periods of time.

Payment to businesses even remotely-related, and inland from the gulf, would not be beyond consideration. ¬†Payment for direct income loss, as well as opportunity-costs for those not immediately affected. ¬†Compensation to all victims of the President’s moratorium of new, deep-water drilling. ¬†Without time or geographic limits.

Senior management gave their spill testimony to Congress this past week. ¬†The standard ritual-evisceration of the demon-ized executives for the benefit of ¬†the angry congressional constituents back home. ¬†Some other, related items, received less attention. ¬†We’ll attend to those, even as we segue into your favorite blog feature, and ours:

FREQUENTLY UNASKED QUESTIONS


Could the federal government have played a greater role in speeding-up the process? ¬†That is, couldn’t a large number of federal employees and volunteers have been marshaled to accelerate a task that a foreign corporation would lack the US resources for?

Wouldn’t that have been a sign of the total government dedication the President promised; and wouldn’t it have further assured the American people that the federal government is, in fact, competent, and should be encouraged to take a prominent role in disaster relief? ¬†(Note here a recent report that the Justice Department lawyers say they are totally unprepared to respond – as is their mandate – to a national attack.)

  • BP neither explicitly nor implicitly denied liability for the accident or their willingness to pay for all damages. ¬†These statements were broadcast repeatedly in interviews with BP executives.

That being so, why were all utterances from the administration based on the unspoken assumption that BP could not be trusted to do what they were already doing (restitution and compensation) and had committed to continue doing?

Why was there an unspoken assumption that one of the world’s largest corporations wouldn’t be able to meet that financial obligation?

If the facts of the accident were still being determined, a process expected to last a great while longer, why would our Department of Justice announce the beginning of a criminal investigation against the very people they were relying on to stop the spill and contain the damage?

If it’s true that BP is a large campaign contributor to the President and other Democrats, and if it’s further true that BP was completely on board with the proposed Cap & Trade plan and the switch to renewables, isn’t it odd that they would be pilloried and forced to turn over their shareholders’ dividends, in effect, to a foreign government – us – for discretionary use?

And why would that be done with absolutely no concession other than a statement that the Administration didn’t believe BP should be put out of business?

  • Back to the President. ¬†He belatedly said he was taking charge and, then, after floundering a while longer, discovered his only response could be lots of meetings and speeches, blaming Bush (required) and suing somebody (he’s a lawyer). ¬†Since this accident was unprecedented, no federal employee could possibly have the experience to cope with it, so the Administration was reduced to watching helplessly as the people who make a living drilling oil tried their best to solve the problem.

Hence, his Oval Office speech.  Reassure, threaten, cajole; everyone was disappointed, and it was widely interpreted by the press as a place-holder of a speech with only symbolic significance.  Not so.  He set the stage for the extortion of the $20,000,000,000. from BP.

  • The Economist magazine, a British publication, is upset enough with this extortive behavior to label him Vladimir Obama. Makes me look shy and reticent.

The Bully Pulpit in Action

  • This brings us to the widely-reported congressional hearing in which ¬†Republican Congressman Joe Barton of Texas apologized to the BP CEO for what he termed the “shakedown” of his corporation. ¬†This was widely regarded as a gaffe, even by other Republicans, who hastened to apologize for his conduct. ¬†He even apologized later, himself. ¬†He shouldn’t have; and other Republicans are ass-covering cowards for not backing him.

He just expressed something poorly that he made clear was not a defense of BP, but of principle. ¬†He said BP was at fault and restitution should continue to be made; but the “shakedown’” was not a reasonable way to do it. (It abuses our allies, undermines our laws, and soils our image as principled world leaders.) ¬†In other words, though poorly expressed, it was a principled stand for American rule of law, not a defense of BP.

  • Political analyst Charles Krauthammer, appearing on the dreaded and thoroughly discredited Fox News show hosted by Bret Baier, said the statement was the worst political statement of the year, and declared the contest for that honor over. ¬†He then went on to say that the congressman had mistated his own case, inadvertently failing to point out that extorting large sums of money from public corporations, ala Henry Paulson and the money-center banks was an extra-legal maneuver that should not be encouraged.

If this is approximately correct, are we allowing the anger of the American public to stampede us into supporting authoritarian behavior that puts us on a slippery slope to rule by angry mobs impatient with the principles of law that have provided Western Civilization in general, and the United States, in particular, with true “social justice?”

Is that the kind of leadership we really want?

Isn’t having the patience to let our system work – in order to preserve it – worth the doubt and aggravation?

Finally, do we still have enough informed, serious citizens who will place principle above passion, in order to preserve the Republic?

A Cincinnatus, a Man of Principle – Read His Story
Jun 102010
 

Arab Magical-Thinking Map

Well, anti-Semitic fools – it looks like we’re finally approaching the end game for our fascinating, long-running drama fatuously called the Israeli-Palestinian “dispute.” ¬†Or is it simply the “Israeli Occupation?” ¬†You’ve all fallen hook, line and sinker for the anti-Israel propaganda package sponsored by the Arab League, the Russians and the United-effing-Nations. ¬†Sixty plus years worth. ¬†You really ought to be ashamed of yourselves for being so na√Įve and self-indulgent; for letting yourself relax into Jew-hating so you could polish your Leftist virtue up a bit. ¬†No problem. ¬†They’ll all finally be dead or displaced, so you’ll have your shadenfreude, and then, after a decent interval of, say, a news cycle, you can join the rest of your wad in agreeing that the Jews brought it on themselves, after all.

And, yes, it would be nice if there weren’t so many American Jews tsk-tsking the imminent demise of their spiritual homeland, but there it is.

There is no longer a ¬†U.S. ally – only a piece of paper that will never be honored under this profoundly dishonorable administration. ¬†The Turks are gone; not because of the Mavi Marmara incident, but because the Turks have switched from Atat√ľrk to Osama. ¬†That was just their official coming out. (And it looks like they intend to keep coming.)

The Persian-backed Syrians are ready. Their Hezbollah avatars are bristling with thousands of longer-range rockets; and the rest of the crowd that’s attacked this Chicago Metro-sized (or London)country so often in the past without success, finally has the technology and coordination to finish the job. ¬†It won’t be pretty, but to an ahistorical Western World, it will be just another TV drama. ¬†OK, maybe a little better because they’ve spent so many years slowly building up their Jew-hatred and resentment that passed so well as objection to the cruelty of Israel to the helpless Palestinian victims. ¬†A splendid morality play produced by schemers, for dreamers.

There was a time, not so terribly long ago, when I really didn’t give a rat’s ass about this particular morality play. ¬†I thought I was looking at two groups of religious fanatics, and that maybe Israel really just should never have shown up in the area. ¬†I didn’t want to know any more about the conflict; it had gone on too long, with too much repetition and posturing, and no hope of progress. ¬†A pox on both their houses. ¬†No more. ¬†As a blogger devoted to the exploration and analysis of pressing issues, I know that this is simply not an issue that can be brushed aside in a fit of pique. ¬†I realized this a few years ago and started doing my homework. ¬†Not being a scholar, and given to fits of intellectual laziness and despair, you’ll just have to trust that I did my best as a fallible human to decide what was fair and true in the matter.

The problem, of course, is that this issue concerns events that, in their most current form, have engaged the world’s attention for more than sixty years. ¬†So I have to be careful not to wander too deeply into a thicket that has been studied and written about extensively over that entire period, but focus on summarizing what I believe (as above) based on my reading, and providing just a few links that are either information resources or serve to illustrate the discussion.

I need to warn you that, because of the density of material out there, I can only share my conclusions and point you to some resources that are only a fly-speck in the universe of data and discussion available. ¬†IOW, not ‘proof’ of my point of view, or a point-by-point rebuttal to some of the absurd claims made both historically and daily regarding Israel and the Jews, but an invitation to explore the matter more deeply in order to shield yourself from a blizzard of propaganda. ¬†This is an area in which all of us need to keep our BS detectors turned on maximum sensitivity because there are powerful local and global interests who really need for us to buy into specific narratives. ¬†I’ll try to explore why that is so, if only for a bit, but you’ll need to do your own homework, for all our sakes.

ISRAEL-DENIERS PET NARRATIVE.

While not accepted in every detail by each denier of Israel’s right to survive, the Narrative generally goes like this: ¬†A bunch of European Jews who had made themselves unwelcome in their own countries decided to migrate to their biblical home of more than a thousand years ago and re-establish a Jewish state. ¬†Unfortunately, the territory was already occupied by the Palestinian people, who were horrified to learn of their plans. ¬†They complained to the British rulers of the land, but to no avail, and when it was announced that there would be two states created, Israel and Palestine, the Arabs revolted.

The Jews won through terrorism and terrible war crimes and commenced to steal all the Palestinian’s land, renaming it Israel. ¬†This was the beginning of the Occupation. ¬†Although all of the Arab states were willing to go to war, repeatedly, to dislodge the occupier, they were unsuccessful due to the Zionist Entity’s financial and military support by “The Great Satan,” America. ¬†With this illegal and immoral alliance, the Zionists have felt free to starve, rob and beat the millions of Palestinian Refugees who are prisoners in their own homeland.

Revolts by Palestinian Freedom Fighters have only resulted in assassinations by Israel, the mass murder of civilians, unjust imprisonment, and the deliberate destruction of Palestinian property, depriving families of their homes and children of their schools. ¬†Zionist influence is so great on the US Congress, that they annually vote Israel the largest amounts of foreign aid. ¬†This money is then used to buy weapons to use against the Palestinian people. The US accuses Hamas, the legally-elected government of Gaza (Palestine) of being a terrorist organization. ¬†They have built a wall around Israel that prevents Palestinians from earning a living, and set up a blockade of Gaza that is intended to starve the population into submission or death. ¬†It is genocide practiced by the same people who claim to be history’s greatest victims of genocide.

ISRAEL’S RESPONSE.

The Arab occupiers of the area designated as Palestine have never existed as a nation or, if you prefer, a state. ¬†They have always been ruled by other entities, the most recent being the Ottoman Empire, followed by Great Britain. ¬†Palestinians, until recently considered themselves to be part of greater Syria. ¬†They have a regional dialect, but otherwise their language is Arabic, and they are in most other regards not distinguishable from their fellow Arabs. ¬†In other words, before you can be considered “occupied,” you need to be a homogeneous entity bound under autonomous laws of your own making. ¬†There was never a Palestinian ‘State’ to ‘occupy.’

The Allies won WWI, defeating the Ottomans, among others, and taking control of the defeated territories. ¬†The French and British established Mandates over the Middle Eastern geography we’re discussing, with the British Mandate in control of Palestine. ¬†The League of Nations, predecessor to the United Nations, granted Israel the right to have a homeland in that territory, an international law that survives today. ¬†The UN later divided the territory in its effort to create separate Palestine and Israeli states, and the Israeli’s acceded to this in order to keep the peace.

The Eastern half of the division became Jordan, which immediately closed its borders to Jews. ¬†The compromise didn’t work, in any event, because the Palestinians rejected the offer of their own state alongside Israel and immediately went to war, along with the rest of the members of the Arab League. ¬†They lost, and have been attacking Israel ever since.

And just one little footnote to the question of the provenance of the ‘Palestinian People:” ¬†(From FreeRepublic.com)

Way back on March 31, 1977, the Dutch newspaper Trouw published an interview with Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Zahir Muhsein. Here’s what he said:

The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism.

We’ll list our version of Deniers’ Motives, by group, but first, more maps. ¬†(I know, but this issue is about Real Estate possession, and we need to all see just what it is we’re talking about – and we Americans are notoriously uninterested in Geography.)

First, just for fun (and I have to note that Wikipedia always has great maps and pictures), here’s a map showing the greatest extent of the Ottoman Empire, in 1683. ¬†It all ended when they backed the wrong horse during WWI. (Which resulted in Great Britain getting the Palestine Mandate.)

OK, just three more maps that we need for historical understanding; ¬†The British Mandate, under the League of Nations; the UN Partition, and the current map showing Gaza, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. ¬†Then, if you’re still up for it, we’ll cover a little history (woo-hoo!)

Mostly Israel prior to UN Partition

(The actual mandate was in 1923)

Shrinkage for Peace (Didn’t Work!)

And down to Today’s Nightmare:

How are Two States Possible?

All of these maps are from Wikipedia-Palestine. ¬†If you go there you’ll get Palestine’s entire geographic history, with links to other Palestine articles, including its political history.

So let’s do a little history. ¬†You deserve a break from reading, so we’ll go to one of those much-maligned, knee-jerk American legislators who can’t seem to break the Israeli spell, Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey. ¬†This is a pretty short You Tube speech on the Senate floor summarizing Israel’s history. ¬†If you don’t read another word, you’ll find this helpful.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuOH2YycFP8[/youtube]

All well and good, you say, but (if you’re still inclined to deny Israel’s right to survival) what about all those Palestinian victims we’ve heard so much about and watched suffer on the evening news? ¬†Where, Gress – in other words – is your sense of balance and fairness? ¬†Right you are. ¬†A healthy dose of pure Hamas-supporting vitriol is called for, and I know just the place to go: ¬†Canada! ¬†A bit longish tirade here; but kinda admirable in its hateful comprehensiveness (For the record, it’s called Global Research). ¬†A few excerpts:

Because of the unconditional support of the entire political class in the US, from the White House to Congress, including both Parties, incoming and outgoing elected officials and all the principle print and electronic mass media, the Israeli Government feels no compunction in publicly proclaiming a detailed and graphic account of its policy of mass extermination of the population of Gaza.

Israel’s sustained and comprehensive bombing campaign of every aspect of governance, civic institutions and society is directed toward destroying civilized life in Gaza. Israel’s totalitarian vision is driven by the practice of a permanent purge of Arab Palestine informed by Zionism, an ethno-racist ideology, promulgated by the Jewish state and justified, enforced and pursued by its organized backers in the United States.

The facts of Israeli extermination have become known: In the first six days of round the clock terror bombing of major and minor populations centers, the Jewish State has murdered and seriously maimed over 2,500 people, mostly dismembered and burned in the open ovens of missile fire. Scores of children and women have been slaughtered as well as defenseless civilians and officials.

They have sealed off all access to Gaza and declared it a military, free fire zone, while expanding their target to include the entire population of 1.5 millions semi-starved prisoners. According to the¬†Boston Globe (December 30, 2008):¬†Israeli military officials said their target lists have expanded to include the¬†vast support network on which the Islamist movement relies to stay in power “‚Ķwe are trying to hit the¬†whole spectrum, becauseeverything is connected and everything supports terrorism against Israel (my emphasis)”. A top Israeli in its secret police apparatus is quoted saying,“Hamas‚Äô¬†civilian infrastructure is a very sensitive target” (ibid). What the Israeli Jewish politicians and military planners designate as “Hamas” is the entire social service network, the entire government and the vast majority of economic activity, embracing almost the entire 1.5 million imprisoned residents of Gaza.

Or, how about this:

From the moment that the Israeli Government decided it would destroy the newly elected Hamas government and punish the democratic electorate of Gaza with starvation and murder, the entire Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) in the US, including the PMAJO, pulled all stops in implementing the Israeli policy. The PMAJO encompasses the fifty-two Jewish organizations with the largest membership, with the greatest financial clout and the most influential backers. The most prominent lobbyist within the PMAJO is AIPAC, which has over 100,000 members and 150 full-time operatives in Washington actively pressuring the US Congress, the White House and all administrative agencies whose policies may relate to the interests of the State of Israel. However Israeli political extends far beyond its non-governmental agencies. Over two score legislators in the Congress and over a dozen senators are committed Zionists who automatically back Israel’s policies and push for US funding and armaments for its military machine. Top officials in key administrative positions, in Treasury, Commerce and the National Security Council, senior functionaries in the Pentagon and top advisers on Middle East affairs are also life-long, fanatically committed Zionists, who consistently and unreservedly back the policies of the State of Israel.

Or this:

The Zionist-controlled US print media, in particular the¬†New York Times and the¬†Washington Post, systematically fabricated an account that fit perfectly with Israel‚Äôs official line defending its massive assault on Gaza: Omitting any historical account of the hundreds of Israeli armed incursions and ‚Äėtargeted‚Äô assassinations of Palestinian leaders and officials (even in their own homes) which repeatedly violated the ‚Äėcease fire‚Äô agreed by Hamas and provoked its retaliation in self-defense of its people; omitting the years of an Israeli enforced starvation embargo of food and essentials that threatened the lives of 1.5 million Palestinians and led to the desperate efforts of the elected Hamas leadership to secure supplies for the people‚Äôs survival via tunnels across the Egyptian border and through missile attacks against Israel to pressure the Jewish state to negotiate an end of the criminal blockade.

Having fun yet? ¬†Me neither. ¬†Let’s go back to the question of “The Occupation.” ¬†We already discussed how it’s not really possible to “occupy” random groups of people who happen to be governed by someone else (The Ottomans). ¬†Here’s a brief analysis of the matter, in letter form, to a group of Jewish Jurists:

The following document was presented by Eli Hertz at the meeting of the Board of Governors of the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists on December 3, 2009 in Washington D.C.

Dear friend,

Have you ever asked yourself why during the period between 1917 and 1947 hundreds of thousands of Jews throughout the world woke up one morning and decided to leave their homes and go to Palestine? The majority did this because they heard that a future National Home for the Jewish people was being established in Palestine, on the basis of the League of Nations’ obligation under the “Mandate for Palestine.” This historical document laid down the Jewish legal right to settle anywhere in western Palestine, the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, an entitlement unaltered in international law.

The “Mandate for Palestine” was not a na√Įve vision briefly embraced by the international community. Fifty-one member countries – the entire League of Nations – unanimously declared on July 24, 1922:

“Whereas recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.”

American Support for a Jewish National Home:

On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution (the Lodge Fish Resolution) of both Houses of Congress of the United States unanimously endorsed the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,” confirming the irrevocable right of Jews to settle in the area of Palestine ‚Äď anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea:

“Favoring the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.

“Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That the United States of America favors the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which should prejudice the civil and religious rights of Christian and all other non-Jewish communities in Palestine, and that the holy places and religious buildings and sites in Palestine shall be adequately protected.” [italics in the original]

On September 21, 1922, President Warren G. Harding signed the Lodge-Fish Resolution, endorsing the Balfour Declaration and the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

The U.S. Government (not a member of the League of Nations) maintained that her participation in WWI and her contribution to the defeat of Germany and the defeat of her Allies, entitled the United States to be consulted as to the terms of the “Mandate for Palestine.”

The outcome of this request was a “Convention [Treaty] between the United States of America and the United Kingdom with respect to the rights of the two governments and their nationals in Palestine,” a relationship governed by international law. The Convention contains the entire text of the “Mandate for Palestine” including the preamble and was concluded and signed by their respective plenipotentiaries in London on December 3, 1924; Ratification advised by the Senate, February 20, 1925; Ratified by President Calvin Coolidge, March 2, 1925; Ratified by Great Britain, March 18, 1925; Ratifications exchanged at London, December 3, 1925; Proclaimed, December 5, 1925.

In ratifying the Convention, the United States of America formally recognized the terms of the “Mandate for Palestine” and the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.

Any attempt to negate the Jewish people’s right to Palestine – Eretz-Israel – and to deny them access and control in the area designated for the Jewish people by the League of Nations is an actionable infringement of both international law and the Supremacy Clause (Article VI, paragraph 2 of the United States Constitution), which dictates that Treaties “shall be the supreme Law of the Land”.

We collectively and individually must do all we can to support the Jewish people and the state of Israel. There is no more crucial time than today, and I believe that this body has the capacity to help defeat the “Occupation” mantra by insisting that the land of Israel has been given to the Jewish people as of right, and in accordance with existing international law.

Sincerely,
Eli E. Hertz
eMail: eli@hertztec.com

And one more that I’ve lost the link to, but if you really want good perspective on the so-called “Occupation,” the Professor has it pretty well nailed.

Israel ‘Occupies’ no Arab Territories

June 1, 2010 | Guest: Professor Louis René Beres

In urgent matters of national survival and geopolitics, words matter. The still generally unchallenged language referring provocatively to an Israeli “Occupation” always overlooks the pertinent and incontestable history of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza.

Perhaps the most evident omission concerns the unwitting manner in which these “Territories” fell into Israel’s hands in the first place. It is simply and widely disregarded that “occupation” followed the multi-state Arab aggression of 1967 – one never disguised by Egypt, Syria or Jordan. A sovereign state of “Palestine” did not exist before 1967 or 1948. Nor was a state of “Palestine” ever promised by UN Security Council Resolution 242. Contrary to popular understanding, a state of “Palestine” has never existed. Never. Even as a non-state legal entity, “Palestine” ceased to exist in 1948, when Great Britain relinquished its League of Nations mandate. During the 1948-49 Israeli War of Independence (a war of survival fought because the entire Arab world had rejected the authoritative United Nations recommendation to create a Jewish state), the West Bank and Gaza came under the illegal control of Jordan and Egypt respectively. These Arab conquests did not put an end to an already-existing state or to an ongoing trust territory. What these aggressions did accomplish was the effective prevention, sui generis, of a state of”Palestine.”

The original hopes for Palestine were dashed, therefore, not by the new Jewish state or by its supporters, but by the Arab states, especially Jordan and Egypt. Let us return to an earlier time in history. From the Biblical Period ( 1350 BCE to 586 BCE) to the British Mandate (1922 – 1948), the land named by the Romans after the ancient Philistines was controlled only by non-Palestinian elements.

Significantly, however, a continuous chain of Jewish possession of the land was legally recognized after World War I, at the San Remo Peace Conference of April 1920. There, a binding treaty was signed in which Great Britain was given mandatory authority over Palestine (the area had been ruled by the Ottoman Turks for 400 years since 1516) to prepare it to become the “national home for the Jewish People.” Palestine, according to the Treaty, comprised territories encompassing what are now the states of Jordan and Israel, including the West Bank and Gaza. Present-day Israel comprises only 23 percent of Palestine as defined and ratified at the San Remo Peace Conference. In 1922, Great Britain with questionable authority split off 77 percent of the lands originally promised to the Jewish people - all of Palestine east of the Jordan River – and gave it to Abdullah, the non-Palestinian Arab son of the Sharif of Mecca. Eastern Palestine now t ook the name Trans-Jordan, which it retained until April 1949, when it was renamed as Jordan.

From the moment of its creation, Trans-Jordan was closed to all Jewish migration and settlement, a clear betrayal of the British promise in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and a patent contravention of its Mandatory obligations under international law. On July 20, 1951, a Palestinian Arab assassinated King Abdullah for the latter’s hostility to Palestinian Arabs aspirations and concerns. Regarding these aspirations, Jordan’s “moderate” King Hussein – 19 years later, during September 1970 – brutally murdered thousands of defenseless Palestinian Arabs under “his protection.”

In 1947, several years prior to Abdullah’s killing, the newly-formed United Nations, rather than designate the entire land west of the Jordan River as the long-promised Jewish national homeland, enacted a second partition. Curiously, considering that this second fission again gave complete advantage to Arab interests, Jewish leaders accepted the painful recommendation. The Arab states did not. On May 15, 1948, exactly 24 hours after the State of Israel came into existence, Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, declared to a tiny new country founded upon the ashes of the Holocaust: “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre.” This unambiguous declaration has been at the very heart of all subsequent Arab orientations toward Israel, including those of “moderate” Fatah.

Even by the strict legal standards of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Arab actions and attitudes toward the microscopic Jewish state in their midst has remained patently genocidal. For some reason, this persistence has repeatedly been made to appear benign.

In 1967, almost 20 years after Israel’s entry into the community of nations, the Jewish state, as a result of its unexpected military victory over Arab aggressor states, gained unintended control over the West Bank and Gaza. Although the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war is codified in the UN, there existed no authoritative sovereign to whom the Territories could be “returned.” Israel could hardly have been expected to transfer them back to Jordan and Egypt, which had exercised unauthorized and terribly cruel control since the Arab-initiated war of “extermination” in 1948-49.

Moreover, the idea of Palestinian Arabs “self-determination” had only just begun to emerge after the Six Day War, and – significantly – had not even been included in UN Security Council Resolution 242, which was adopted on November 22, 1967. For their part, the Arab states convened a summit in Khartoum in August 1967, concluding: “No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it …” The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed three years earlier, in 1964, before there were any “Israeli Occupied Territories.” Exactly what was it, therefore, that the PLO sought to “liberate” between 1964 and 1967?

This question should now be raised in connection with the US-sponsored “Road Map to peace in the Middle East,” a twisted cartography leading to Palestine.

This has been a very brief account of essential historic reasons why the so-called “Palestinian Territories” are not occupied by Israel. Several other equally valid reasons stem from Israel’s inherent legal right to security and self-defense. International law is not a suicide pact. Because a Palestinian Arab state would severely threaten the very existence of Israel – a fact that remains altogether unhidden in Arab media and governments – the Jewish State is under no binding obligation to end a falsely alleged “Occupation.” No state can ever be required to accept complicity in its own dismemberment and annihilation. Neither Jerusalem nor Washington should be deceived by the so-called “Road Map to peace in the Middle East,” a distorted bit of highway that makes entirely inaccurate claims about “Palestinian Territories” and “Israeli Occupation.”

For substantially documented reasons of history and national security, it is imperative that a twenty-second Arab state never be carved out of the still-living body of Israel. If anyone should still have doubts about Palestinian Arabs’ intentions, they need look only to former Prime Minister Sharon’s “disengagement” from Gaza, an area that is now used by Hamas to stage rocket attacks upon Israeli noncombatants, and by al-Qaeda to mount future terrorist operations against American cities.


Professor Louis René Beres, Professor of Political Science at Purdue, was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971). Born in Zurich, Switzerland, at the end of World War II, he is the author of many major books, monographs and articles dealing with international law, strategic theory, Israeli nuclear policy, and regional nuclear war. In Israel, where he served as Chair of Project Daniel, his work is known to selected military and intelligence communities.

It pains me to report that it would be irresponsible to ignore the issue of land ownership, description and transfer.  Controversial, but for mostly practical reasons that emerge on examination. I strongly urge you to go to this site for at least a glance at the parameters of the problem.

Here are the opening paragraphs.

The Land Question in Palestine – The issue of land ownership is crucial to understanding the evolution of Zionism in Palestine and the genesis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The issues surrounding the Land Question are not simple, and they have been the subject of numerous claims and counter-claims since the start of the British Mandate. The proportion of rhetoric on this question, relative to the amount of hard data, has always been very high.

The two major Palestinian claims are 1) that Zionists were systematically dispossessing Arab fellahin in the period 1917-1948 and 2)¬† by 1948, the Zionists had purchased less than 8% of the land of Palestine, while the Arabs “owned” about 45% and the rest was government land.

This segues to the following:

A study by Kenneth W. Stein (Stein, Kenneth W.,¬†The Land Question In Palestine, 1917-1939, Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1984 and Stein, Kenneth W., Palestine’s Rural Economy, 1917 – 1939, Studies in Zionism, Vol. 8, no. 1 (1987); pp. 25 – 49 ) concluded that Palestinian Arab fellahin were being systematically displaced from the land, but that this was an ongoing process that had begun in Ottoman times, and was not related to Zionist settlement. Rather, he attributed it to the archaic land laws, the Tanzimat reform of those laws which favored the rich, competition from inexpensive imports and the depredations of World War I, which had ruined Palestinian agriculture and put many poor peasants hopelessly in debt. The eagerness of owners large and small to sell their land no doubt increased as the prices that others were willing to pay increased. As in all countries at the beginning of the twentieth century, agriculture became less and less capable of supplying a livelihood and could not compete with other land uses and labor opportunities. Greedy landlords found ways to evict tenants and sell the land or put it to more productive uses, subverting laws intended to protect tenant farmers. The land was usually not sold to Zionists or Jews.

Different statistics have been advanced by each side to prove whatever point they wished to prove at any given time, and actual statistics of land ownership and utilization are very scarce and non-systematic.

We then move to descriptions of the eight different land categories available under the Ottomans. ¬†There’s a lot of government and unsurveyed land, leading to much confusion and the ability of both sides to make unprovable claims. ¬†Here is just one of the categories:

Mawat – (or Mewat) So-called ‚Äúdead‚ÄĚ, unreclaimed land. It constituted about 50 to 60% of the land in Palestine. It belonged to the government. Private individuals could purchase and register this land as their own for its unreclaimed value, but it was just as easy to simply cultivate it.( Stein, Land Question, p. 13). If the land had been cultivated with permission, it would be registered, at least under the Mandate, free of charge. Communities and individuals often expanded their land land holdings “informally” by cultivating or using such land. According to¬† theHope-Simpson Report Mewat land was probably of considerable extent. It was defined as any land that was more than a mile and a half from a village, and was not owned by anyone. However, no systematic survey was ever done, so it was impossible to determine the precise extent of Mewat land.

And later on to some hint at the problems that ensued:

From the point of view of the Arabs, all these lands “belonged” to Arabs, since all of the land of Palestine “belonged” to the Arabs, inasmuch as they considered themselves the rightful owners. It is a circular definition of ownership and not very meaningful. The Arabs of Palestine had never exercised sovereignty and did not own most of the land by private purchase. It was government land that had belonged to the Ottoman empire and before that to the various Turkish and Arab empires. If there had been “actual” owners in history, they were probably Jews of 2,000 or more years ago.

A map that is often presented in pro-Palestinian accounts enhances the impression that Palestine had belonged to the Arabs and had been “stolen” by the Jews. The map was prepared by a subcommittee of the UN and shows “Jewish” and “non-Jewish” land ownership in different areas. The “catch” is that all of the land that was not purchased and registered to Jews or the Jewish agency, including government lands, is categorized as “non-Jewish.” The Beersheba district, which was 99% government land, is shown as being 99% “Non-Jewish” (seePalestine Land Ownership Map 1944) It was also “99% non-Arab.”

From the point of view of the Arabs, likewise, the Mandate provisions for “close settlement” of Jews on the land, and the entire mandate, were illegal creations of the Western imperialists. But the League of Nations British Mandate was international law. For some reason, the Arab concern for “international legitimacy” evaporates when such laws favor the Zionists. Moreover, the land of Palestine was for the most part virtually worthless prior to the mandate. Land prices soared because of the mandate, and this was due almost entirely to Jewish settlement and Zionist investment. The land of the Sursocks was sold in 1921 for 3 to 6 Egyptian piasters per dunam, which was 40 to 80 times what they had paid for the land. (Stein, Land Question, page 65). In effect, the British policy and the Arab “land claims” amounted to saying “we will take the money of the Jews, but we will not give them their rights).

Here’s the map:

This map, prepared by the UN “Subcommittee on the Palestine Question” purports to show that Arabs owned most of the land in Mandatory Palestine. Arab landownership is deliberately exaggerated by dividing the land into “Jewish” and “non-Jewish” ownership. However, the land included under “non-Jewish ownership includes government lands. For example, the map shows that “Jews” owned less than 1% of the land in the Beersheba district. In fact, nearly all the land in the Beersheba district was government owned land that belonged to the British mandate, and should have been made available for Jewish ownership under article 6 of the League of Nations mandate. In any case, “Arabs” did not own this land. From the map, we can also learn that the eventual outlines of “Green Line” Israel (borders of 1949 armistice) closely followed the pattern of Jewish land ownership. In the West Bank, Jews owned less than 1% of the land, and in Gaza about 4%. Small areas of land abandoned in 1948 were recaptured in the 1967¬†Six day war. See also¬†The Land Question in Palestine

Since this is a map the Palestinians approve of, and we’ve already examined their complaints, we won’t attempt to make this a book-length post by pursuing the matter further. ¬†This post is an attempt to add clarity to an issue, not be comprehensive. ¬†(although it’s beginning to look that way; maybe I should be submitting this to Wikipedia instead of borrowing their maps.)

Alright, that covers international legitimacy, the ‘occupancy’ issue, land sales, British, Arab and United Nations betrayal of the Jews, and a light reference to the many wars that have been covered extensively in the press. ¬†I promised you my notions of why so many world actors have turned on Israel, and I’m forced to admit that all I can do is a slight impressionistic painting of a few. ¬†That’s OK, I think, because I’m going to risk boring the bejesus out of you by marching through a trail of bullet points that indicates the general line of my thinking on the matter, and if that doesn’t work, I apoligize in advance for wasting your time.

We’ll close with my own conclusions and assertion on the issue (at least to date), a quick description of the dilemmas faced by both sides and a summary by writer Barry Rubin of how he thinks the Jihadis see the struggle between, not just themselves and Israel, but between them and Western Civilization (nee Christendom). ¬†Along the way, I intend to link to yet more articles that tend to support this narrative. ¬†I strongly recommend you read this, because it concerns the targeted gullibility of the good citizens of the West, who see themselves as too civilized to even entertain the idea that they are at war with a radical religion. ¬†One that is determinedly at war with them, no matter what they say or do. ¬†(Your objection that it is only a few radicals acting in the name of a religion has merit only if that religion really is one of peace.)

But first, the impressionism.

EUROPEANS. Have a proprietary outlook toward the Mideast; the Arabs in particular, since about the time of Napoleon. ¬†Paternalistic, Commercial, perhaps just a whiff of condescension, they feel their ‘special relationship’ trumps all other considerations. ¬†Their reflexive, traditional American bashing makes it all the more delightful to watch us bungle relations with their…colonials?

RUSSIANS.  Not exactly Europeans, if you know what I mean.  Putin is KGB through and through, and he and his ilk have a very long history of meddling in the Middle East.  Oil, goods, arms, influence;  it is good to rebuild the empire and stick it to the stupid Americans at the same time.

TURKS. Failed European applicants, they elected Islamists eight years ago and are careening toward becoming the new Algeria. ¬†The lesson here is to never elect Islamists unless you understand that it will be the last secular, democratic election you will ever enjoy. ¬†Your challenge is to spot them before it’s too late. ¬†Prime Minister Erdogan seems primed for a fight with Israel. ¬†We’ll have to wait and see just how far he thinks he can go.

AMERICANS. Another former ally of Israel, the current Transnational Administration is eager to befriend the Arabs, Turks and Persians, in order to gain approval of Global Leftists who despise Israel for its intransigency toward Palestinians. ¬†(Otherwise known as survival.) ¬†Flaunting its ‘evenhandedness’ has only convinced the ME that the US has lost its will, clearing the way for aggression on all fronts. ¬†After sixty years of anti-Zionist propaganda, cowardly, authoritarian nations find it easy to use Israel to distract from their own shortcomings. ¬†The problem is exacerbated by the fact that most American Jews are Democrats, which today means Progressives and Collectivists. ¬†The consensus in that party is that the Palestinian are victims of the Israelis. ¬†If you want to know how that particular circle is squared, quiz your Jewish friends.

THE UNITED NATIONS. A global gathering of America and Israel-bashing Kleptocrats whose incompetence and corruption has been so extensively documented that it is only of interest to those who would prefer to think of it as an international charity.  Condemning Israel is like breathing for these folks, and merits no special attention.

For Instance, regarding the flotilla incident:

Citing facts and figures, Mr. Yemini (The Middle East correspondent for Phildelphia’s “The Bulletin“) asserted that the U.N. Human Rights Council¬†has a clear bias against, or obsession with, Israel, and he notes: ‚ÄúThe proposal to form a fact-finding mission was supported by Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, and was submitted by the Palestinians and Pakistanis, which represented the Islamic states.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúThis is a disgrace to true human rights,‚ÄĚ said Hillel Neuer, head of¬†U.N. Watch who was present¬†at the meeting. ‚ÄúOnly three countries voted against: ¬†the U.S., Holland and Italy. The rest of the countries of the free world abstained. The automatic majority of the benighted countries did not leave any chance of any other decision.‚ÄĚ

You get the idea – piling on – where Israel is concerned – has reached pandemic proportions in the West.

I have only one more map, I think, that helps to illustrate the absurdity of the notion that Israel has stolen, and continues to illegitimately acquire – Palestinian land. ¬†If you look at the British mandate map bestowing (yes, they could legally do that) the territory that today comprises almost all of Jordan, Palestine, the West Bank and Gaza, and compare it to the British and UN reduced version that exists today, you have to wonder how anyone can give credence to the idea of an expansionist (and thieving) Israel. ¬†On top of that, in order to gain a peace that was never to be, the Israelis gave back the entire Sinai peninsula to Egypt (won in an Egyptian-initiated war), totally vacated Gaza, where two million Arabs dwell, and continue suffering the occupation of the West Bank that was originally theirs. ¬†Your BS detector does not have to really be that good to realize the stolen land idea simply cannot hold water. ¬†You can also tell from the maps that the various land divisions and mixture of Arab and Jewish settlements (Israel, remember, has one million Arab citizens, and some Arab members of the Knesset) make practically impossible a two-state solution. ¬†This map is just to put Israel’s amount of ¬†land ownership in perspective when looking at a map of the Middle East.

The Little Blue Sliver is the Land-grabbers

Connoisseurs of ME geography will note how really insignificant Israel would become if the other, non-Arab,  Muslim states were also highlighted.

And here, as a later add-on to this post (that I find irresistible) is an even better perspective on the situation:

 

Israel Clearly Colonized the Middle East

Since this Post is necessarily finite, I’ll refrain from attempting to refute every accusation made against Israel over these many decades; instead, I’ll volunteer to be your punching bag by running through a list of my own conclusions and assertions on the matter, although you can certainly have concluded by now that, while I consider the Palestinians victims, I do not think they have ever been victimized by the Israelis. ¬†Here we go:

# ¬†Israel is our strategic Ally in the Middle East. ¬†(If you feel the US should have no influence there, and hence no leverage over the region’s bad actors, then perhaps no strategic ally is needed.)

# ¬†Israel is the only fully functioning democracy in the Middle East. ¬†(Iraq, as well, but needs time to develop.) ¬†This represents hope for a Middle Eastern future that is more ‘tolerant, inclusive and protective of individual rights.’ ¬†That, in turn, means more peace and less threats to the US and its interests.)

# ¬†Israel has been invaluable over the years in supplying the US with intelligence. ¬†They are also superb at weapons development. ¬†(If the neighborhood is not dangerous, then, of course, there’s no need for those things.)

# ¬†The US, because of the above, gets more than its money’s worth for having Israel as its top foreign-aid recipient.

# ¬†The Muslims of the Middle East are anachronistic, dysfunctional and violent (in general). ¬†They thrive on newspapers and magazines that attack the US and Israel daily, with truth being the first casualty. ¬†This distracts them from protesting their own governments and lifestyles. ¬†Islam is a political religion that is authoritarian and imperialistic. ¬†There is no separation of Church and state; the Church is the state; and everything is the will of Allah. It is not compatible with Western values, economies or the rule of law (no such thing); Sharia is rule by God, enforced by the entire community, the ummah. ¬†Look it up…in the Koran.

#  Al Queda started as a protest against having American Infidels on Saudi Arabian soil; the holy land, Mecca.  It was never about Israel until years later when it seemed opportunistic to throw them into the mix.  (Hey, everyone else does)

# ¬†This stalemate will never be broken (the hoped-for breakthrough by Western diplomats) because it is not about concessions for peace, let alone land for peace, which has failed 100%. ¬†It’s about Jew-hatred and the Muslim determination to have the Jews leave, or die. ¬†There is no time or resource limit to this. ¬†All of Arabia agrees (the Arab League). ¬†Go back to the top of this Post and look at the map of Palestine without Israel. ¬†It’s a common map there.

# ¬†Islam is not a “Religion of Peace.” ¬†It is a warrior’s code for the entire community. ¬†In countries where Islam is in the majority, Infidels (non-believers) are 2nd class citizens, or worse.

# ¬†So-called “Moderate Muslims” are simply those not engaged in battle. ¬†If they are a minority in another population, they are encouraged to lie to Infidels, and forbidden by the Koran from making friends with non-believers.

# ¬†It is perfectly understandable that America’s political class would not accept the above as fact or act on its implications, but it looks as if some in the Israeli government are so desperate for peace (or so deluded) they will rationalize all of the above away and offer anything either the Arabs or the West tells them might bring peace. ¬†This is suicidal, and they are running out of time and options.

# ¬†Nearly every conflict on the planet is caused by either the Jihadis or some strain of Marxism. ¬†Yet America and Israel are demonized as the major sources of evil in the world. ¬†Bring them to heel, the conventional wisdom goes, and we will have a new era of peace ¬†(prosperity not particularly desired, as it’s a capitalist trait); with inequality banished and justice finally established. ¬†We just lack the will and the ‘right’ leaders to make it happen.

#  Our moral obligations are not to Israel alone.  They are to any human on the planet who wishes to live in a society that protects the individual through the rule of (just) law.   If we realize we are the only ones able to help, it becomes binding.

# ¬†Where does that leave the Palestinians? ¬†They were told if they fought the Turks, they would be given a state of their own. ¬†They thought it would be exclusive and include all of Palestine. ¬†They were offered a state side-by-side with the Jews, instead. ¬†Unacceptable. ¬†Then they were betrayed by the Egyptians and Jordanians who came in and occupied Gaza and the West Bank, precluding the possibility of a whole Palestinian state. ¬†Their biggest betrayal by their fellow Arabs, though, was the refusal to allow them to relocate to Arab League countries. ¬†Instead, they were held hostage to the cause of removing Jews from the Mideast. ¬†Generations grew up in UN-run ‘Refugee Camps.” ¬†How long can you be a ‘refugee’ before somebody starts asking why you don’t go somewhere else? ¬†Pawns; prisoners forced to think their wardens were Israelis.

# ¬†As soon as Israel was founded, they were attacked by the Arab League and the Palestinians. ¬†They’ve been fighting ever since (1948). ¬†Hamas was chartered for the sole purpose of eliminating the Jews.

# ¬†Arafat was dedicated to removing the Jews from Palestine. ¬†All the diplomacy was fake; it just bought time to rest and rearm for the next phase of violence against Israel. ¬†There are a number of international intelligence operatives who believe he was an Egyptian who was adopted by the KGB after a couple of years of fighting and taught that propaganda and convincing the world of his victimhood would be more effective in eliminating Israel. ¬†That’s when Palestinians started to become victims in the eyes of the world. ¬†Americans aren’t used to such enemies. ¬†Religion and decades-long propaganda campaigns.

#  The Gazans rain missiles down on the Israelis who left Gaza completely at a cost of billions, in order to buy peace.

# ¬†The Gazans elected Hamas, knowing full well who they were ¬†(they were really tired of Fatah). ¬†This is not a society of Israeli victims. ¬†They’re in it for the long haul, and the US is providing the dollars to rebuild the damage done by Israel when it went in to close the weapon-smuggling tunnels between Egypt and Gaza. ¬†And, of course, to stop the constant barrage of rockets on Israeli communities.

DILEMMAS.

UNITED STATES. Is committed to a Land-for-Peace, Two-State solution, and the conviction that it is the only proper negotiator for a final resolution of the problem. ¬†Presidents seem to love the photo-ops, and it gives the entire State Department something to focus on when they’re not dealing with the rest of the Mideast, or the assorted global Marxist regimes. ¬†But, since they are committed to the same strategy administration after administration, they keep getting the same results. ¬†They’re alternatives seem to be, a) Do nothing, b) Find some way to talk the Palestinians into giving up the fight, or c) Getting creative, dramatic and innovative, risking large, bold initiatives that involve borders and populations and coalitions and threats; especially threats. ¬†The rest is FAIL.

PALESTINIANS. An indeterminate number have grown up dependent on UN and foreign aid, with their only goal to be either Shahids (martyrs) or guerrillas fighting the Israelis. ¬†Of course, many have traditionally worked in Israel proper, and a great many are working in other Arab countries. ¬†There problem with mobility across borders and getting food and other provisions when they need it is the ongoing war. ¬†If they wished full mobility and access to jobs or supplies, all they would have to do is stop trying to drive the Jews out of Palestine. ¬†But they can’t. ¬†And this probably explains the miserable job they do at governing when elected or appointed; they aren’t about peace and stability and the quiet tedium of administration – they are committed to a cause. ¬†They don’t want a state of their own as long as there is such a thing as a state also for the Jews. ¬†They’ve turned down that offer repeatedly. ¬†They’re trapped in their own ideology.

ISRAELIS. Even if peace were to occur, the demographics of Israel’s Arab citizens would eventually require that the state founded on Jewish identity would have Jews as a minority. ¬†Being a minority in a Muslim population is not promising for anyone, let alone Jews. ¬†If I were a Jew, I would initiate a program to slowly relocate all of the Palestinians to Jordan and elsewhere, over time, but with certitude. ¬†Relocation expenses would be paid, and by, say, 2020, Israel’s borders would be from Jordan to the sea. ¬†I would negotiate back the Sinai, threaten to annihilate Syria the next time Hizbollah even thinks of attacking, and I would put a permanent quota on non-Jewish citizens in Israel. ¬†But that’s just me. ¬†I’m sure our State Department could…oh, never mind.

I’m reminded that for some problems there really is no solution; I just don’t want a bunch of smarmy, self-indulgent Americans to violate the principles on which their country was founded by lamely encouraging the destruction of a friend who so bravely shares those principles.

As promised, I’m closing with this rather grim description by Author Barry Rubin of the mindset of Jihadis everywhere. ¬†It’s a warning.

Islamist Strategy in a Nutshell by Barry Rubin [Here’s a hint:  it counts on our ignorance and naivete to work..]

In what follows, ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ represents such disparate forces as Hamas, Hizballah, Iran, Iraqi insurgents, al-Qaida, Syria, the Taliban, and others including radical Arab nationalists and now Turkish Islamists. These forces are not all alike or allied but do often follow a parallel set of rules quite different from how international affairs have generally been conducted.

‚ÄďWe‚Äôll never give up. No matter what you do, we will continue fighting. No matter what you offer we will keep attacking you. Since you can‚Äôt win you should give up.

‚ÄďWe‚Äôre indifferent to pressure you put on us. We will turn this pressure against you. Against us, deterrence does not exist; diplomacy does not convince. Neither does the carrot buy us off, nor does the stick make us yield. There are no solutions that can end the conflict. You cannot win militarily nor make peace through diplomacy.

‚ÄďIf you set economic sanctions we‚Äôll say you are starving our people in an act of ‚Äúcollective punishment.‚ÄĚ Moreover, sanctions will cost you money and generate opposition among those who lose profits.

‚ÄďIn response to military operations we‚Äôll attack your civilians. Casualties will undermine your internal support. We will try to force you to kill civilians accidentally. We won‚Äôt care but will use this to persuade many that you are evil. Thus, we will simultaneously murder your civilians and get you condemned as human rights‚Äô violators.

‚ÄďIf you try to isolate us we will use your own media and intellectuals against you. At times, we‚Äôll hint at moderation and make promises of change. We won‚Äôt do so enough to alienate our own followers but enough to subvert yours. They will demand you engage us, which means you making concessions for nothing real in exchange.

‚ÄďTalking to our own people, we foment hatred and demonize you. Speaking to the West, we will accuse you of fomenting hatred. We will hypocritically turn against you all the concepts you developed: racism, imperialism, failure to understand the ‚Äúother,‚ÄĚ and so on. These, of course, are our ideas but your feelings of guilt, ignorance about us, and indifference to ideology will make you not notice that fact.

‚ÄďWe will claim to be victims and ‚Äúunderdogs.‚ÄĚ Because you are the stronger and more ‚Äúadvanced‚ÄĚ that means you are the villains. We‚Äôre not held responsible for our deeds or expected to live up to the same standards. There is no shortage of, to quote Lenin, ‚Äúuseful idiots‚ÄĚ who will echo our propaganda.

‚ÄďSince our societies are weak, undemocratic, and have few real moderates, you will have to make deals with phoney moderates and dictatorial regimes weakened by corruption and incompetence.

‚ÄďEven the less radical regimes, often our immediate adversaries, partly play into our hands. Due to popular pressure‚Äďplus their desire to mobilize support and distract attention from their own shortcomings‚Äďthey trumpet Arab and Islamic solidarity. They denounce the West, blame all problems on Israel, and revile America, even as they accept your aid. They glorify interpretations of Islam not too far from ours. They cheer Iraqi insurgents, Hizballah, and Hamas. They don‚Äôt struggle against Iran getting nuclear weapons. They lay the basis for our mass support and recruits, as Lenin said selling us the rope to hang them as well as you.

‚ÄďThere‚Äôs no diplomatic solution for you, though you yearn to find one. There‚Äôs no military solution for you, whether you try that or not. You love life, we love death; you are divided, we are united; you want to get back to material satisfaction, we are dedicated revolutionaries. We will outlast you.

‚ÄďFinally, our greatest weapon is that you truly don‚Äôt understand all the points made above. You are taught, informed, and often led by people who simply don‚Äôt comprehend what an alternative, highly ideological, revolutionary worldview means. In effect, we will try, and often succeed, to turn your ‚Äúbest and brightest‚ÄĚ into the worst and dimmest who think you can persuade us, blame you for the conflicts, or expect that we will alter our course, and we will use those mistakes against you.

The above analysis seems pessimistic but actually is the opposite. Most of this strategy’s power is based on spreading illusions, depending on gullibility. Much of the rest relies on their enemies’ psychological weaknesses.

Jun 042010
 

US Historical Oil & Gas Production Sites

If you’ve been following the oil spill, you know the president has declared a six-month moratorium on offshore oil drilling. ¬†This is in addition to the existing ban on drilling closer to shore, as well as exploration and drilling on most land-based applications. ¬†Jobs will be lost by the thousands, and gasoline prices will soar. ¬†As reported in the Inside Louisiana News.com blog, Governor Jindal of Louisiana wrote an alarmed letter regarding the job losses, here.

Proof that the economic damage has already begun is illustrated by the invoking of force majeur clauses to cancel existing drilling contracts and ceasing activity until the end of the moratorium, as reported here, on Tom Fowler’s Energy blog. ¬†I thought the following comment in the thread that followed was indicative of what we can anticipate:

I have to wonder if President Obama and his advisors have thought thru the ripple effects of halting 33 projects in the Gulf of Mexico and putting a 6-month stop on new drilling. Employees of oil and gas operators; employees of drilling rig contractors; employees of multiple oil and gas service companies; employees of crew boat companies; employees of helicopter service companies; vendors who supply fuel and groceries, etc. to rigs….and I’m sure there are more that just haven’t come to mind, who will lose work in a time when, on another hand, President Obama is promoting increased employment and healing the economy. His decision will wreak havoc on Texas and Louisiana economies with ripple effects beyond that.

Finally, a little food for thought regarding the importance of oil drilling to our livelihoods. ¬†Most of America needs a car to get to work. ¬†They also do not have public transportation as a substitute. ¬†Not everyone has the year-round weather, safe-paths, or age and health related ability to ride a bike to work. ¬†We can’t know how much oil we have domestically until we stop acting as if we can simply will our dependency away. ¬†The poor will suffer the most, and the middle-class our administration claims to love and protect – will become poor. ¬†Some will conclude that this is all for the good of the country, the planet, humanity. ¬†Draw your own conclusions in this short interview with the former President of Shell Oil. ¬† ¬†Maybe the thought of $6 to $8 gasoline could be your motivation.

(The video that originally accompanied the article made the interviewers look a bit foolish, so they killed it and substituted another part of the interview in which Hofmeister just talks about his book. ¬†He is just barely allowed to make his points in this tendentious piece on Yahoo Finance’s Tech Ticker.)

The above map at the US Geological Survey is a humongous, size-adjustable pdf map with color-coded explanation if you wish to visit, here.

May 042010
 

Distribution of 12M Unauthorized 'guests'

Here’s the controversial Arizona law, SB 1070. ¬†The following is just the first paragraph; the actual statute is 17 pages long. ¬†What’s important to note, though, is that in the public conversation about this, THERE IS NO LAW; there is only the¬†perception of a law. ¬†The perception varies widely depending on group identification. ¬†Opponents of immigration laws claim they are inherently racist because, well, their sponsors are racists. ¬†A charge of racial profiling follows, borrowed from the worst experiences of African-Americans, who are not, in fact, illegal immigrants.

The problem is that linking historical racial strife with the word “profiling” delegitimizes the act of¬†profiling, which has been an essential part of legitimate police work forever. ¬†An explanation, here, from author Paul Schlicta, writing for The American Thinker. Since there was widespread public concern that the law permitted some form of racial profiling (by being ambiguous), a second draft allayed those fears. ¬†There will always be lingering doubt, do to the human factor, but the law very closely parallels existing Federal legislation. Here’s an excerpt – regarding the changes to the law – from the PolitiFact blog, in case you wish to read in its entirety:

Critics had said that the original version of the law permitted racial profiling. But the changes signed by Brewer on April 30 were intended to blunt those charges.


The new version of the law says: “A law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution.”

The prior version had said that an official “may not solely consider race” in such circumstances.

(“Solely,” above, was removed in the final bill.)

S.B. 1070

- 1 -
1 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
2 Section 1. Intent
3 The legislature finds that there is a compelling interest in the
4 cooperative enforcement of federal immigration laws throughout all of
5 Arizona. The legislature declares that the intent of this act is to make
6 attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local
7 government agencies in Arizona. The provisions of this act are intended to
8 work together to discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of
9 aliens and economic activity by persons unlawfully present in the United
10 States.
MEXICO’S TREATMENT OF IMMIGRANTS

And here, as described by investigative journalist Michelle Malkin, is how immigrants and visitors can expect to be treated in Mexico. ¬†Note that everyone, native-born or visitor, has to carry ID; it’s jail time for failing to do so. (For obvious reasons, tourists are left alone.) ¬†Political demonstrations are totally forbidden in Mexico. ¬†Read the whole thing for perspective – then skip to the bottom of this post for the skinny on how Mexicans view our national sovereignty.

IMMIGRATION LAWS ARE NECESSARY.


If you want to make sure there are enough jobs for all Americans, you have to carefully control the number of people who come here for jobs. ¬†America has been called a “beacon,” usually meaning for liberty, but certainly for financial opportunity as well. ¬†We have the largest job markets, and we hire on ability. ¬†If you can pool together a little money (family, friends and credit cards are the usual paths for beginners), you can start or buy a very small business and build it through hard work and imagination. ¬†People from all over the world clamor to get from where they are to here, and we have formal national procedures for controlling this demand.

In other words, there is no possible way to not have immigration laws and procedures, as well as quotas and qualifications. ¬†Many are waiting for visas and “green card” work permits, others for their approval for citizenship. ¬†If people find a way to enter the country illegally (many overstay their visas and disappear into the population, for instance), they disadvantage all of those others who use our legal procedures. We are, indeed, a land of immigrants…legal immigrants, most of whom have become citizens and were proud to assimilate into American culture.

They didn’t do this to derogate their former culture which, after all, still remains in the land of their birth, but to celebrate, with us, the idea of ¬†belonging to a nation dedicated to the protection of the individual from the state. ¬†And the idea of free markets, where the individual chooses a ¬†job, a career, a business to start. ¬†Where a single human being’s idea can be owned and developed into a product or service that provides a livelihood for that person, as well as opportunity for anyone hired, and more choices for their customers. ¬† Something that could be grown and shared. Or a job as a career path or stepping stone/learning experience.

They now could belong to a country, and a culture, that extends or withholds permissions to their government, not the other way around; not as in the country they left. ¬†This is why immigrants gain citizenship and assimilate into our culture, and they want others to follow the same rules. ¬†(I’ve heard that the actual bureaucracy that controls this is awful, ¬†and the waiting times and screw-ups are legion, but that’s a subject for another post.)

So… there’s not just some arbitrary rule that say’s “Don’t cross our border without permission,” there’s a principle that precedes and underlies the rule: ¬†“We need to provide for our own citizen’s safety and opportunities first. ¬†Also, by knowing who has entered our country, and for how long, our police and homeland security agencies have essential investigative information in case of a serious problem. ¬†By knowing¬†how many have entered, we can keep an eye on the job markets, as well as a fair distribution of visas for visitors from anound the globe.

It follows from the above that we simply have to control our 2,000 mile long border, determine our quotas, issue work permits before admitting non-citizens, and supply procedures for obtaining US citizenship. ¬†Would it were so. ¬†The border is porous, quotas and work permits become meaningless among a flood of illegal entries, and people who take the legal route are forced to wait many years to become citizens. ¬†EXCEPT –anchor babies. ¬†A child born in America is an American citizen, regardless of whether the parents arrived legally. ¬†There are legal interpretations of this, but for another discussion.

Like the drug war, something as screwed up and persistent as this can only survive when it has a lot of active beneficiaries. ¬†And that’s not even counting the illegal immigrants. ¬†If you’re reading this for a solution, move on – we are way beyond solutions. (I’ve often been taken by the thought, expressed elsewhere, that it is impossible for most of us to accept that there are some problems for which there is no solution.) ¬†In this case, the can has been kicked down the road so many times – by the governments involved – that to do something timely and effective is no longer possible, a situation that undoubtedly gladdens the heart of those benefiting from the gridlocked status quo.

THE ONGOING DILEMMA


It would be nice to have a complex description of all the sociological factors which contribute to the lack of gainful employment in the Mexican economy, but that’s not what this blog is about. ¬†We’ll have to settle for the explanation that a lot of semi-literate, rural Mexican peasants see no opportunities in their own communities or, indeed, in their own country. ¬†A parallel, more contemporary and probable explanation is that most illegals simply left a low wage Mexican job for a higher wage in the US. ¬†American wages are high enough, apparently, to offset the risks involved in illegal border crossing, as well as the expense of paying a Coyote to facilitate the trip.

We can assume that most Mexican villagers by now are aware that you can be killed or seriously injured, and still find it a risk worth taking.  The reward is grinding work and deprivation in the US while sending money back to the family in Mexico. (Remittances are said to be about 2% of Mexican GDP, and the third largest source of foreign exchange, after oil and manufacturing.  The linked web site incorrectly states in its text narrative that remittances are 2nd largest.)

The map above is self-explanatory, with approximately 7 million of the total originating in Mexico.  There are a lot of reasons for the Mexican laborer to come here, including the complicity of his own government in laying off their economic and political problems on the US, and the US government tacitly helping business, as well as eventually broadening their base of voters.  (Both parties vie for the Mexican votes, and each is afraid of offending that community, even when some of the offended are officially criminals!)

But that doesn’t explain why, in a country with a 10% or higher unemployment rate, there are so many jobs available for the illegals to fill. ¬†The Western US agricultural jobs that fostered the creation of the Braceros programs are the oldest and easiest to understand, and are probably the source of the canard that Mexicans fill jobs that Americans won’t take. ¬†Well, if we’re only talking about stoop labor in the fields in a modern economy in which farming is only a tiny, but vital, part – no problem. ¬†But what about all those manufacturing, construction, landscaping and service jobs scattered all over the country?

I can’t answer that here, but we can get some valuable help from the sources I’m excerpting and/or linking below. ¬†We will have to return to this topic, as there are too many salient aspects to be covered in a short post. ¬†I particularly want to explore more of what is happening on the other side of the border to exacerbate and perpetuate this dilemma. Meanwhile, a Cato Institute study shows that immigration has no negative impact on American job markets, and a study at Australia’s Monash University argues that increased legalization of the immigrant work force will benefit American workers higher-up in the job market, and grow the economy. ¬†Here’s the Executive Summary of their report (below). ¬†The entire report can be read on Cato’s site, here, and is 24 pages in length.

Restriction or Legalization? Measuring the Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform

by Peter B. Dixon and Maureen T. Rimmer

Australia's Largest University

Peter Dixon is the Sir John Monash Distinguished Professor and Maureen Rimmer is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre of Policy Studies at Monash University in Australia. Their USAGE model of the U.S. economy has been used by the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Agriculture, and Homeland Security, and the U.S. International Trade Commission.

By the latest estimates, 8.3 million workers in the United States are illegal immigrants. Proposed policy responses range from more restrictive border and workplace enforcement to legalization of workers who are already here and the admission of new workers through a temporary visa program. Policy choices made by Congress and the president could have a major economic impact on the welfare of U.S. households.

This study uses the U.S. Applied General Equilibrium model that has been developed for the U.S. International Trade Commission and other U.S. government agencies to estimate the welfare impact of seven different scenarios, which include increased enforcement at the border and in the workplace, and several different legalization options, including a visa program that allows more low-skilled workers to enter the U.S. workforce legally.

For each scenario, the USAGE model weighs the impact on such factors as public revenues and expenditures, the occupational mix and total employment of U.S. workers, the amount of capital owned by U.S. households, and price levels for imports and exports. This study finds that increased enforcement and reduced low-skilled immigration have a significant negative impact on the income of U.S. households. Modest savings in public expenditures would be more than offset by losses in economic output and job opportunities for more skilled American workers.

A policy that reduces the number of low-skilled immigrant workers by 28.6 percent compared to projected levels would reduce U.S. household welfare by about 0.5 percent, or $80 billion. In contrast, legalization of low-skilled immigrant workers would yield significant income gains for American workers and households. Legalization would eliminate smugglers’ fees and other costs faced by illegal immigrants. It would also allow immigrants to have higher productivity and create more openings for Americans in higherskilled occupations. The positive impact for U.S. households of legalization under an optimal visa tax would be 1.27 percent of GDP or $180 billion.

Ralph Peters of the New York Post has spent a lot of time on these issues. ¬†All of us are aware of the state of siege Mexico seems to be under by the narco-gangs who are killing their own citizens by the thousands and have been emboldened to kill some of ours, lately. ¬†He has a lot to say about that, here, in an article entitled Border Disorder. His piece on the Arizona immigration law dilemma is called Blaming the Citizen, which I’d encourage you to read, here, or stay here for some Ralph Peters advice:

As the left’s blame-the-citizen demands for special privileges for¬†all immigrants only intensify an anti-immigrant backlash, let’s apply some commonsense maxims:

* It is always the responsibility of the immigrant to conform to the laws and social norms of the host society. It is never the responsibility of a society to alter its traditions and values to please immigrants.

* The primary responsibility of government is to protect its citizens and territory. That demands robust border security.

* Illegal immigrants are entitled to basic human rights, but have no¬†civil rights: no right to an attorney, trial or “sanctuary.”

* Washington must remove current incentives to illegal immigration. This means relentlessly pursuing both those who hire illegals and illegals themselves,  doubling sentences for illegal-immigrant offenders, and a constitutional amendment eliminating the automatic citizenship granted to children born on our soil to illegals.

* At the same time, we must reform our legal immigration system to recognize the need for temporary workers, as well as for qualified new citizens.

* Turning 10 million illegals into US voters is not the answer.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/blaming_the_citizen_RXEVoCdMKmfm5mPSxqBWfL#ixzz0myGFYnEn

Here’s a quick summary, and access, to a 26 page immigration proposal put out by the Senate Democrats. ¬†It has a peculiar provision for a permanent immigration commission that bears an eerie similarity, in intent, to the Health Insurance Exchanges.

Democrats Unveil Outline for Amnesty


The proposal, which the Senators dubbed the REPAIR (Real Enforcement with Practical Answers for Immigration Reform) plan, did not come in the form of a bill, but a 26-page narrative describing what would be the main components of so-called “comprehensive immigration reform.”

The plan contains many of the provisions that made up the 2007 Bush-Kennedy amnesty bill (S.1639). It contains a mass amnesty program (called a “broad-based registration program”); a guest worker program with a path to citizenship; AgJOBS; the DREAM Act; an employment verification proposal based on a biometric social security card; and massive increases in legal immigration.

Unlike S.1639, the Reid proposal includes a commission on employment-based immigration to recommend policies that promote growth “while minimizing job displacement and wage depression and unauthorized employment”- a description that seems to concede that these are the natural result of our current immigration system.

This commission would be able to declare immigration emergencies, meaning a situation in which our employment-based system “is either substantially failing to admit a sufficient number of workers for the needs of the economy or is substantially admitting too many foreign workers.” After declaring an emergency, the commission would submit recommendations for changes to Congress and Congress would then be required to approve or vote down the recommendations. (See pp. 21-22 of the proposal).

Finally, we’d be remiss in not putting up the proposal by the two Arizona Senators. ¬†Enjoy.

SENATORS McCAIN AND KYL ANNOUNCE BORDER SECURITY PLAN


10-Point Plan To Better Secure The U.S.-Mexico Border In Arizona April 20, 2010 Washington, D.C. ‚Äď U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) were joined today by Arizona Sheriffs Larry Dever, Cochise County and Paul Babeu, Pinal County in introducing a 10-point comprehensive border security plan to combat illegal immigration, drug and alien smuggling, and violent activity along the southwest border.


Senators McCain and Kyl’s Ten Point Border Security Action Plan:


1) Immediately deploy 3,000 National Guard Troops along the Arizona/Mexico border, along with appropriate surveillance platforms, which shall remain in place until the Governor of Arizona certifies, after consulting with state, local and tribal law enforcement, that the Federal Government has achieved operational control of the border. Permanently add 3,000 Custom and Border Protection Agents to the Arizona/Mexico border by 2015.

2) Fully fund and support Operation Streamline in Arizona’s two Border Patrol Sectors to, at a minimum, ensure that repeat illegal border crossers go to jail for 15 to 60 days. Where Operation Streamline has been implemented, the number of illegal crossings has decreased significantly. Require the Obama Administration to complete a required report detailing the justice and enforcement resources needed to fully fund this program. Fully reimburse localities for any related detention costs.

3) Provide $100M, an increase of $40M, for Operation Stonegarden, a program that provides grants and reimbursement to Arizona’s border law enforcement for additional personnel, overtime, travel and other related costs related to illegal immigration and drug smuggling along the border.

4) Offer Hardship Duty Pay to Border Patrol Agents assigned to rural, high-trafficked areas, such as the CBP Willcox and Douglas Stations in the Tucson Sector.

5) Complete the 700 miles of fencing along the border with Mexico and construct double- and triple- layer fencing at appropriate locations along the Arizona-Mexico border.

6) Substantially increase the 25 mobile surveillance systems and three Predator B Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in place today along the Arizona/Mexico border and ensure the border patrol has the resources necessary to operate the UAVs 24 hours a day seven days a week. Send additional fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters to the Arizona-Mexico Border.

7) Increase funding for vital radio communications and interoperability between CBP and state, local, and tribal law enforcement to assist in apprehensions along the border.

8)  Provide funding for additional Border Patrol stations in the Tucson Sector and explore the possibility of an additional Border Patrol sector for Arizona. Create six additional permanent Border Patrol Forward Operating Bases, and provide funding to upgrade the existing bases to include modular buildings, electricity and potable water. Complete construction of the planned permanent checkpoint in Arizona. Deploy additional temporary roving checkpoints and increase horse patrols throughout the Tucson Sector.

9) Require the Federal government to fully reimburse state and local governments for the costs of incarcerating criminal aliens. Start by at least funding the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) at its authorized level of $950 million.

10) Place one full-time Federal Magistrate in Cochise County and provide full funding for and authorization of the Southwest Border Prosecution Initiative to reimburse state, county, tribal, and municipal governments for costs associated with the prosecution and pre-trial detention of federally-initiated criminal cases declined by local offices of the United States Attorneys.

#

OH, BY THE WAY… THE MEXICANS WANT ALL THOSE SOUTHWESTERN STATES BACK, AND THEY HAVE A PLAN. ¬†DO YOU?


Shores of Aztl√°n

As an important footnote, and possibly the subject of future posts, it’s important to note that many Mexicans feel quite strongly that a good portion of the American Southwest (all/pt. of 10 states) was stolen from them by the Gringos. ¬†They don’t feel that our presence in those states is legitimate, or that there should be a border at all. ¬†Their goal is to have many children, flood the area with their own people over time, and reclaim – in deed – what was supposedly taken from them.

The land they are slowly reclaiming is called Aztl√°n. Legend has it they originally migrated South from there, a spot that has been identified as on the border between Utah and Arizona, near Lake Powell (pictured,left). Their migration stopped near current Mexico city. ¬†They like this story a lot, because it gives them a sense of provenance as an indigenous people that preceded the Europeans that ‘stole’ their land.

They call their plan for re-occupation of the Southwest the “Reconquista,” the re-conquest. I mention this as a clue to the seemingly irrational behavior of people who we have declared illegal. ¬†They regard us as irrelevant; a passing nuisance. ¬†Here’s a map of Aztl√°n – temporarily occupied by the United States of America. ¬†Note the flag on the lower left designating the map as the “United States of Mexico.” ¬†(This is not some peculiar cult; it’s embedded in Mexican culture!)

Reclaiming their "stolen" land

From the “Gringo” side of this equation – and border – we regard the Southwest territories depicted above as the spoils of war, ceded to us in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo(1848), following Mexico’s loss to American forces (1847) in the Mexican-American War (1846-1848.) ¬†If every nation on the planet gave their country back to the original (conquered) indigenous peoples, a) nation-states would cease to exist, and b) You would spend a lot of time trying to determine the legitimate descendants, if any, of civilizations long gone from the planet.

You can only take the idea of “roots” so far. ¬†It wouldn’t be unfair to compare the above map to the Palestinian map that is notably absent the existence of Israel. ¬†It’s a cultural fantasy that is dangerously shared by the Mexican Mafia (here) and Latin gangbangers everywhere. ¬†In other words, an ignorant, heavily armed and violent force that exists in large numbers in the US. ¬†You can click to read a large database regarding gang activity in the US, including Mexican gangbangers. ¬†This was a 2009 collaborative effort between the National Gang Intelligence Center and the National Drug Intelligence Center.

Here’s a summary of their findings:

National Gang Threat Summary

Gangs pose a serious threat to public safety in many communities throughout the United States. Gang members are increasingly migrating from urban to suburban areas and are responsible for a growing percentage of crime and violence in many communities. Much gang-related criminal activity involves drug trafficking; however, gang members are increasingly engaging in alien and weapons trafficking. Additionally, a rising number of U.S.-based gangs are seemingly intent on developing working relationships with U.S.- and foreign-based drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) and other criminal organizations to gain direct access to foreign sources of illicit drugs.

Key Findings

The following key findings were developed by analysis of available federal, state, and local law enforcement information; 2008 National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) National Drug Threat Survey (NDTS) data; and verified open source information:

  • Approximately 1 million gang members belonging to more than 20,000 gangs were criminally active within all 50 states and the District of Columbia as of September 2008.
  • Local street gangs, or neighborhood-based street gangs, remain a significant threat because they continue to account for the largest number of gangs nationwide. Most engage in violence in conjunction with a variety of crimes, including retail-level drug distribution.
  • According to NDTS data, 58 percent of state and local law enforcement agencies reported that criminal gangs were active in their jurisdictions in 2008 compared with 45 percent of state and local agencies in 2004.
  • Gang members are migrating from urban areas to suburban and rural communities, expanding the gangs’ influence in most regions; they are doing so for a variety of reasons, including expanding drug distribution territories, increasing illicit revenue, recruiting new members, hiding from law enforcement, and escaping other gangs. Many suburban and rural communities are experiencing increasing gang-related crime and violence because of expanding gang influence.
  • Criminal gangs commit as much as 80 percent of the crime in many communities, according to law enforcement officials throughout the nation. Typical gang-related crimes include alien smuggling, armed robbery, assault, auto theft, drug trafficking, extortion, fraud, home invasions, identity theft, murder, and weapons trafficking.
  • Gang members are the primary retail-level distributors of most illicit drugs. They also are increasingly distributing wholesale-level quantities of marijuana and cocaine in most urban and suburban communities.
  • Some gangs traffic illicit drugs at the regional and national levels; several are capable of competing with U.S.-based Mexican DTOs.
  • U.S.-based gang members illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border for the express purpose of smuggling illicit drugs and illegal aliens from Mexico into the United States.
  • Many gangs actively use the Internet to recruit new members and to communicate with members in other areas of the United States and in foreign countries.
  • Street gangs and outlaw motorcycle gangs pose a growing threat to law enforcement along the U.S.-Canada border. They frequently associate with Canada-based gangs and criminal organizations to facilitate various criminal activities, including drug smuggling into the United States.

So, here – for your delectation…is the Treaty that got us the great American Southwest.

Spoils of War

In case you’re disturbed at the thought that you can’t really read this document and, in fact, have no way of knowing what’s behind the elegant red cover, you can see the document itself in the National Archives, here. You can also read the history of the Treaty and the war that preceded it.

Filling the Government Void

Since I’m not yet out of pictures, I’ll close with this one, that probably reflects the frustration of the 70% or so Arizonans who approve of the new immigration bill, and are tired of the really serious problems that come with being a border state and not being able to get the Federal Government to do its (non-exclusive) job of protecting the borders and enforcing immigration law.

Politicians are notorious for their fecklessness and opportunism, but sometimes they go further than citizens are willing to tolerate. ¬†That’ll do ’til next time.

Thanks for reading this far.

Apr 292010
 

J'accuse!


April 27, 2010  The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations


Comedy Gold as Senators (Levin, Collins, Kaufman,McCaskill,Coburn,McCain) pretended to be conducting a serious inquiry into the market practices of Goldman, Sachs. ¬†They obstinately refused to recognize that the mortgage CDO managers were not, in fact, financial advisers to their clients. ¬†Goldman’s ¬†job is to engage parties on both sides of future transactions in assembling a package on which they agree to…yes, bet. ¬†If Goldman subsequently decides to take a position on the CDO, it is not in regard to either supporting or betraying a client, but to managing their own risk regarding that deal, their current inventory of other instruments, and the market environment as it changes. ¬†Their function is to create an instrument that can be used by both buyers and sellers, without regard to the quality of the underlying assets or the intentions of the investors on each side of the market. ¬†(There is a price at which even the worst assets will be attractive to some professional investors – cheap enough for the longs and overpriced enough in the opinion of the shorts.)

Our elected heroes were not about engaging that idea, i.e. ‘reality.’ ¬†They had already assembled a narrative that must be supported: ¬†that Goldman and its operatives were betraying the trust of their “clients.” ¬†This clash between the fantasy political agenda – (aimed at bolstering a Democrat financial reform bill) ¬†and technicians calmly explaining how their roles were not supportive of those assumptions – would have been more amusing if it were not a cynical attempt by the Senators to divert responsibility for the financial collapse from themselves (government creating the housing bubble) to Wall Street.

It’s probably worth noting that most Senators are lawyers who operate in a different mental paradigm than business or financial people. ¬†In the lawyers’ world, transactions are about warrantying merchantability, the seller honestly representing the good or service sold, otherwise a fraud has occurred. ¬†It’s an adversarial world in which such matters don’t come to their attention until the fraud is at least suspected.

In the business world, fraud occurs occasionally, but most transactions are necessarily cooperative and mutually beneficial or the buyer would stop buying and the seller would go out of business.  Some businesses, like finance, sometimes act only as intermediaries in a dynamic situation in which two or more parties will interact in the market, but need a predicate action performed by a third party before this can happen.  The intermediary is not recommending or predicting the outcome of any market actions taken by the other parties.  The intermediary could decide to take one side or another of any bet on the performance of the instrument they compiled from existing assets, and they Рlike their clients Рcould win or lose that bet.  Disclosure is not an issue.

Note that the lawyers, and many voters encouraged by their elected representatives, speak scornfully of derivatives – esp. Synthetic CDO’s, as just “casino gambling,” which, because of the lack of an actual trading of assets, ought, in their opinion, to be outlawed. ¬†That’s crap. ¬†The whole stock market is a casino, individuals and institutions with individuals’ money, betting on the outcome of just about anything that can occur in a complicated, dynamic world marketplace. ¬†All of that – and the instruments used to make it happen – was just fine until everybody decided to bet that housing prices could rise indefinitely. ¬†A bad bet, that would have caused a problem eventually, but not as bad as dropping the underwriting standards on the loans that made those housing transactions possible.

Nothing wrong with bundling mortgages into securities and selling them to a world market in large quantities – even via exotic instruments – providing the mortgages were made to people who could repay them. ¬†So, our Senators and other congress-creatures can be smug about condemning Wall Street, and banks, for doing what they do well and in trillion dollar quantities, but let’s not forget that the government’s enthusiasm for cheap home ownership and government-guaranteed ¬†lending was the tinder that allowed this blaze to be set. ¬†And, not incidentally, that the officials righteously screaming J’accuse! at the Wall Streeters could have – along with the regulators they failed to oversee – nipped this whole thing in the bud years before the collapse. ¬†Have they no shame?

The More Things Change...Senator Joseph McCarthy

Apr 242010
 

They At Least Recognized a Threat

This blog post is a cheat! ¬†It’s my intention to do everything possible to avoid scouring the internet for source material and supporting opinions. ¬†My intention, instead, is to get some of my security concerns off my chest, because there seem to be large gaps in both policy and public understanding of our vulnerabilities.
  • CIVIL PREPAREDNESS.

During the Cold War, which Рfor those of you who were either too young or self-deluded at the time Рwas a real war, the national leadership thought it prudent to warn everyone to take steps against a nuclear attack.  We had children ducking under desks at school, lectures on blast and radiation, and instructions on how to build a bomb shelter.  If you were unfortunate enough to be away from a bomb shelter during an attack, there were widely-published directions on where your nearest refuge might be.  The entire society, in other words, took the threat of attack and possible annihilation seriously.

It’s been almost nine years since 9/11, yet the notion that citizens should be making any preparations for another attack is conspicuously absent. ¬†Yes, there have been some reported drills by First-Responders, but no “Civil Defense Corps” or other organized attempt to have people know what their options are in case of a calamitous attack. ¬†Where are emergency supplies stored within walking distance of most people? ¬†What, if any, are the communication options? ¬†If land lines and cell phones are inoperable, is there a plan that can be broadcast on radio? ¬†What medical aid can be expected, in order to allow citizens to cope with each type of attack? ¬†Where are the instructions for understanding the nature of the attack that is underway?

What will be done to control panic?  Looting, rape and robbery?  Is drinking-water available?  What about antidotes to biological attack?  Treatment against chemical attack?  Quarantine, if the attack is a deliberate spread of deadly virus.  Weapons training, authorization and supply in case of urban guerrilla warfare that overwhelms the police and National Guard.  (Deputation and a standing, back-up militia may be necessary.)  Training of volunteers in emergency medicine.  How to function effectively, i.e., survive, in the absence of electricity or support services.

  • THREAT AWARENESS.

More Threat Variety Today

According to the government, the US undergoes thousands of attacks, daily, on its government and civilian internet sites.  The commercial loss is staggering, and the extent to which government secrets are lost and vital networks compromised, we may never know.  What would be foolish for us to ignore is the probable disappearance of the internet and cell-phone networks in a real attack. Warfare is such today that we may never know who attacked us.  We have been effectively at war with Iran for years Рaccurately, them with us Р without a shot being acknowledged on either side.  China is notorious for stealing US industrial and military secrets, both in person and electronically.

Is that a casus belli? ¬†Or do we simply act as if it’s mischievous, while desperately fighting it in the shadows? ¬†Russia seems to be scrambling to reconstitute as much of the USSR as possible, while using Stalinist methods to combat internal dissidents. ¬†I’d have to check, but I seem to recall them being responsible for more journalist assassinations – currently – than anyone else. ¬†(Stalin’s philosophy regarding the murder of dissidents – or even those who might prove inconvenient at a later date – was said to be “No person, no problem.”)

I never forget that I’m living in a country that was thrown into a panic when unable to identify and capture two lone snipers. ¬†There are reports that Mexican and South American drug gangs have now occupied hundreds of medium-sized American cities. ¬†Some are better-armed than the military. ¬†Our own home-grown, multi-generational gangs have slowly evolved into international criminal cartels, originally fueled by illegal drug money, but now by slaves, drugs, prostitution, counterfeiting, money-laundering, kidnapping, extortion and, as the cherry on the banana-split…ownership of legitimate businesses. ¬†We tolerate that threat, because it only means the slow erosion of law and order and our ability to perform the necessary police functions of a civilized society.

But those folks aren’t our declared enemies; just our undeclared parasites. ¬†The declared enemies – those who actively strive to eliminate our presence on this planet, are twofold: ¬†Jihadis and Marxists. ¬†Jihadis get a lot of satisfaction from being martyrs, so there is no real incentive for them not to confront us violently, even if it’s with cowardly attacks with explosives. ¬†Since they have an unlimited supply of martyr volunteers, we can expect cars and individuals to be blowing themselves and us up for the foreseeable future.

Marxists are left over from the Cold War (which occasionally became hot – Korea and Vietnam come to mind) and have learned that violent confrontation is not such a hot idea, so they’ve become state-sponsors of terrorism. ¬†In other words, the Cold War has continued by proxy. ¬†China and Russia know that as long as they have deniability, we can be attacked in numerous ways by their proxies, all over the globe, and we will pretend each attack was the proxy’s idea. ¬†China has spent years modernizing its military, presumably with the aim of being the regional hegemon. ¬†This is not good news for Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, or the remainder of Southeast Asia. ¬†Meanwhile, it’s terribly convenient to have North Korea as their proxy for both local and Middle Eastern capers that wouldn’t be palatable if they had to front them themselves.

  • STEALTH CONQUEST

We're Not Prepared for Either!

A “nuclear umbrella” is mostly a bluff. ¬†We’re not going to start a nuclear exchange with someone unless we are absolutely certain that, otherwise, they will be doing something equally nasty to us. ¬†Our military and its equipment are mostly designed for a large, European land war (remember: ¬†we are the guarantors of their security). ¬†If we’re attacked by a proxy, or in a sufficiently stealth manner by a state, who will we retaliate against, and how? ¬†It looks like the state of technology today is such that a nuclear submarine or a nuke tipped rocket fired from a ship at sea could instantly have us living as we did 200 years ago. ¬†No electric; no modern technology to speak of. ¬†An electro-magnetic pulse weapon ( EMP – a nuke high in the atmosphere) would have that effect. The picture at left depicts a burst caused by solar radiation impacting Earth’s magnetic field – a way for nature to have the same effect as an enemy. ¬†The above link is to an article in “Space Review.”

Or, ¬†a nuclear sub – could, ¬†equipped with modern weapons – effectively incinerate the country. ¬†(I know, all the military buffs will call me out on that, but I think it’s generally true. ¬†If not, the destruction would still be enough to justify our concern.) ¬†If you’d like a novel that features a community trying to survive following an EMP attack, “One Second After” by William R. Forstchen is an interesting scenario that some find improbable, others possible. ¬†I don’t mean to harp on EMP, because it only represents one type of threat – however unlikely – but knowing it exists raises our awareness of the new weapons paradigm we find ourselves in. ¬†A government commission to investigate the threat was appointed in 2001, issued a report in 2004 (which you can click on at the EMP link above, was reconstituted in 2006, and issued its latest report in 2008.

  • CIVIL DEFENSE.

It is possible that we live in a world where, in a very short amount of time, and without warning, we could be effectively destroyed as a society, and not necessarily discover who caused it. ¬†It’s probably not paranoid to recognize that some of the above mentioned states and their proxies could coordinate an effective attack on this county that would leave them blameless and us as history. ¬†Our politicians don’t want to scare us and, God knows, they don’t want to raid their already empty coffers to pay for civil defense, but having all of us grow up a bit and act as if these things are real, would be a step in the right direction. ¬†You actually don’t need to spend a lot of money to recognize a threat and organize a response. ¬†Fatalism is not a traditional American characteristic; we need to recognize we’re in a new environment.

Apr 232010
 

Al’s Better Environment

THE CLIP BELOW SHOWS our¬†Socialist Climate Czar, appointed by President Obama without Senate confirmation. ¬†Wanting¬†World Government¬†is fine if your job isn’t to advise the chief executive of only one of those governments. ¬†Our government. ¬†Unless, of course, her boss also wants a world government.

JANUARY, 2011 UPDATE:  Socialist Climate Czar Browner finally exits the Obama administration.

Alright! ¬†We’ve now sat out our¬†Earth Hour in the dark, partied our way through¬†Earth Day celebrations (champagne, horns and confetti) and we’re careening our way toward the grand climax of¬†Earth Month. ¬†It just doesn’t get much better. ¬†Meanwhile, out in media-land, drums of ink have been slathered, billions of electrons exhausted and countless events attended, all to congratulate ourselves on our obsession with a wholesome environment. ¬†It’s the 40th year of a movement kicked off by an ambitious Democratic Senator trying to get out in front of the nascent protest movement manned by hippies, Marxist academics and assorted Nativists (see Rousseau, Thoreau, Marx).

Little did Senator Gaylord Nelson realize that the war protesters, collectivists and amateur anthropologists of then would evolve into an environmental movement that has a realistic goal of controlling the earth’s ecology through control of world government. ¬†Like you, I am more than enthusiastic about natural conservation; about clean air and water and preservation of resources. ¬†Where we part company is when these common-sense measures become a matter of personal virtue for some, and a pathway to political power for others. ¬†(The latter, if you haven’t noticed, sets the agenda for the former.)

And having that agenda dictating measures to be taken in their private lives is welcomed by the faithful because it enhances their sense of virtue.  Intellectually lazy and dependent on propaganda from the movement leaders, they and their friends practice Environmentalism as a New Age religion, while the distant theoreticians scarcely feel the need to share where their group allegiance will take all of us.

I feel threatened by the movement because of where its leaders want to go, and why. ¬†They surely know, as we all should by now, that this whole thing is not about our environment, or energy, or species: ¬†it’s about the age old ‘Leftists against Capitalism.‘ ¬†Their plan is to replace it with something else, perhaps to be decided later, but initially through world government via the United Nations. ¬†That means that our tired old paradigm born of the American Revolution will have to go – slowly, to be sure, but with finality. ¬†Dustbin of history, and all that. ¬†Since I like the founding principles of the US and don’t feel that we are experiencing a crisis of either Capitalism or the planet, I am totally opposed to going beyond prudent conservation principles and traditional free-market democracy – our Constitutional Republic.

On the lighter side, we have a bit of sardonic humor from George Carlin. ¬†If foul language – which I personally adore – bothers you, skip on – if you wish – to my further fulminations on the environment and Leftist True Believers, following the 8 minute video. ¬†In the interest of brevity, I’m going to be relying more on bullet points and hyperlinks to source material. ¬†Some of this is¬†speculative, and some simply can’t be known for sure at this stage of development, so if you’re looking for¬†proof¬†and¬†certainty,¬†you’re on your on, as am I. ¬†We both have to fight through a haze of imperfect information, plus our own preconceptions and comforting convictions – and simply work hard to find verifiable ¬†answers.

I have a proposition here; one I’ve raised before and will undoubtedly raise again, and that is this: Without Anthropogenic Global Warming caused by industrial nations’ emissions of CO2, we have no planetary emergency. ¬†Without the emergency, or its probability, what we refer to as fossil fuels would not have to be restricted beyond the common-sense need to curb pollution. ¬†Before spending trillions and completely upending our way of life in order to please both the virtuous and well-meaning, as well as the empire-building mal-intended, maybe we ought to tune up our BS detectors and dig a lot deeper into what’s going on here.

This calls for a quick anecdote. ¬†I’m attending a local live theater performance of a play called “The Johnstown Flood” and I’m writhing in mental anguish as the clearly communist-inspired playwright has a young man striding about the stage and shouting for us to all stand up against the injustice of unequal pay. ¬†I looked at my fellow attendees who were all twice the age of the actor – for sure – and probably the playwright as well, and were able to pay $53 a ticket and another $20 for parking only because of the Capitalist system being denounced for their edification. ¬†Theater folks, you see, think that they are supposed to be our conscience. ¬†Since their conscience is, culturally, Socialist, it’s all that’s on hand to deliver for our supposed benefit.

But here’s what I concluded with 20/20 hindsight. ¬†All of us sat and quietly listened to this crap – resenting every minute, with no trace of entertainment benefit or provocative adult insight (something the theater used to do prior to becoming our ‘conscience’ – out of¬†politeness.¬†Out of courtesy, no one would boo or shout out denouncements, let alone throw tomatoes, a tradition long since past. ¬†And I wondered if ourcowardice¬†about this matter didn’t actually extend to the environmentalists and socialists, as well. ¬†How many of us simply won’t tell our friends, or our Congress-Creature, or anyone, really, that Socialism is a murderous disaster. ¬†Americans whine, but are too polite to complain. ¬†We vote for personalities instead of substance. ¬†Now, it’s serious, and unless we grow up, fast, the consequences will be as cruel as any in history.

Back to ‘Earth’: ¬†Bjorn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, and a man thoroughly despised by the Greens as a traitor, has a short, interesting piece here reminding us of the great strides that have been made with the environment and how stubborn environmental doctrine victimizes those in the developing world who need (fossil fuel) help most. ¬†Take a quick look, right here.

In the same vein, but with more data points is¬†Reason Magazine’s¬†Science Editor, Ronald Bailey, author of “Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution.He traces the history of Earth Day, its founder and goals. ¬†His conclusion is that those goals have been almost completely realized and it’s time for a new approach. ¬†Enjoy reading it, here.

Since we’re addressing both¬†Climate Change¬†and¬†Global Green Ambitions, there are two more references that are pertinent. ¬†In other words, the science and the politics. ¬†On the political side, we turn to a site called¬†undue influence.com,¬†where they devote a lot of energy to following the politics of the Green Movement. ¬†Since ruling the world is an idea that is considered too crazy or threatening to discuss openly, the proponents of global green dominance have to be listened to pretty closely in order to determine their agenda, and whether it seems possible. ¬†Ron Arnold of the¬†Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise¬†hit pay-dirt at a conference, and he shares his insights here.¬†Read the whole thing.

Finally, for source material, we direct you to¬†a really interesting paper! ¬†It’s titled¬† Oil is NOT a Fossil Fuel and AGW ¬†is Non-Science.” ¬†This is not a title meant for provocation, but a serious introduction to the Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic oil creation, one that has turned them (Russia) into the largest petroleum producing and exporting nation in the world today. ¬†This is a very accessible read, with links to the science reports. ¬†The second part of the article delves into the nonsense of Anthropogenic Global Warming, with references to proofs (supposedly) of its impossibility. ¬†He also references the¬†Petition Project,¬†in which 30,000 scientists avow that the science is not remotely settled. ¬†You can read the whole thing here.

Since that’s quite a bit to digest for one “Earth Blog,’ ¬†I think I’ll just limit myself to some provocative assertions, some linked, some not – more a matter of time spent in hyperlinking than the availability of source material. ¬†Most everything in the non-comprehensive list that follows is actually contained in the links I’ve already provided, above. ¬†Enjoy.

There is NO emergency for the planet

Cheap fuel is at the heart of our economy

We ARE self-sufficient in energy

There are NO fossil fuels

If petroleum is non-fossil in origin, is natural gas also?

If abiotic, there is no such thing as “Peak Oil”

Abiotic means geothermal, i.e. sustainable

If oil is unlimited, discontinue unnecessary subsidies of renewables

If renewable subsidies discontinued, possible ‘Green Bubble’ could result

Stop covering our land with windmills and solar panels (they’re ugly, inefficient,expensive and marginal)

Stop putting our corn in gas tanks, raising food prices

Stop the government’s ban on exploration and drilling

Nuclear is safe to dispose and recycle

Nuclear is expensive to build; very cheap to operate

Modern exhaust-gas filters and scrubber, together with carbon sequestration, make coal our cheapest and most plentiful US resource

Yucca mountain is fine:  good for storing current accumulation; not necessary with modern plants

Smaller nuclear plants mean faster build, economical, more numerous

Battery disposal may be ‘Achilles-wheel’ of electric car

Cost to consumer of battery-replacement (shortens car life; raises cost; disposal problem)

There is NO AGW

CO2 is essential to life on earth (we exhale it; trees inhale it – it’s essential plant food)

CO2 is a trace gas

An increase in CO2 doesn’t increase ambient temperature

CO2 is a RESULT of warming; not a CAUSE

Warming is caused by the sun:  Heliocentric Global Warming

Predicted global catastrophe is based on flawed computer modeling

Models have failed to accurately predict short term or recent past

Not possible to predict long term

Scientific community has been bought by grant money

Government and Industry have bought into a “Green Economy”

Scientific method has been abandoned, i.e., consensus is a political word, not science

Many specialists (retired, non-academic, i.e., beyond coercion) say climate science is young and indefinite

Our air and water have already been purified substantially over the last 40 years

It is poverty, not prosperity, that destroys habitat

DDT is safe

GMO food is safe

Climate, energy and food debates are actually about Capitalism vs. Socialism

Premise behind movement is that technical progress and financial complexity are self-destructive; in order to heal humanity, we must return to a more simple, biologically harmonious way of life (see Rousseau; Thoreau; Marx).

Western NGO’s are governments-in-waiting, dedicated to world government on socialist model, w/environmentalism as pathway to power

Marx regarded Capitalism as a necessary step on the path to socialism

Mass transit is impractical and unnecessary (large urban, approx 1.7% of all transport)

The automobile is our liberating reward for study and work and good government.

Transport is technically-evolving with private-sector funds

Governments want to OWN the sources of taxation; eliminate the independent wealth-creator

Urban sprawl is code for affordable growth

Central Planning is inherently authoritarian and regressive

Glaciers are supposed to melt (results in beneficial fresh-water lakes)

Polar Bears are aquatic and increasing in number

Some of our viewers on this site have written requesting more opinion; well, the above should be enough to last you until the next Earth Day!

Apr 212010
 

Well, we’ve all seen the many articles lately expressing concern by Leftists that Rightwing violence is on the rise, and that the current political atmosphere is reminiscent of that preceding the Oklahoma bombing of the Murrah building by Timothy McVeigh. ¬†Any act of violence that can possibly be attributed to a right-wing attitude is being exhumed from the news files and trotted out as either a trend, or something to keep in mind when we see these crazy “Tea-Baggers” on the tube.

Former President Clinton, sitting proudly astride this particular hobby-horse, may or may not be aware that McVeigh was a devotee of the “Turner Diaries,” a Neo-Nazi screed. ¬†In other words, McVeigh was a large-government Leftist. ¬†(I know…the Nazis were supposed to be right wing screwballs, but they weren’t. ¬†“Nazi” is a German acronym for the “National Socialist Party” that Hitler rode to power.

So, what’s going on?

Well, the most plausible reason would be that our very own, would-be Democratic Socialist Party (Democrats, to you), certain to take a good ass-kicking in the fall, is lashing about for one or more narratives that will help to stanch the bleeding. ¬†They tried branding their fellow citizens who were crazy enough to attend “Tea Partys” as racist, homophobic morons.” ¬†Aside from seeming to always be obsessed with race, attributing every criticism or slight to it, they only had partial, temporary success with a race-bating ¬†narrative that usually works pretty well for them ¬†(white guilt and all).

They’ve also, for some time, been leaking out concerns that critics of the President’s policies (who just happen to be utterly fed up with Congress, as well), are either creating a climate that would be conducive to the attempted assasination of the President, or may even attempt it themselves (in the case of ‘militias.’) ¬†And let’s face it: ¬†most militias are just gun clubs with an attitude. ¬†They have no intention of attacking anybody – unless maybe Bill Clinton and Janet Reno show up at their doorsteps with tanks and machine guns.

Now, setting aside that every President gets actual death threats routinely (dutifully checked out by the Secret Service and the FBI) and that any society composed of 300 million souls is going to have a certain number of crazies), why, considering the long history of contentiousness in this country’s politics, should this (hyped) apprehension be taken more seriously than usual? ¬†Race? ¬†First mixed-race President? ¬†Could be. ¬†A slight uptick there, to allow for the addition to the assasination crazy-pool of some possible racists. ¬†But considering the massive number of white votes the President got, It’s not a very strong argument that he’s going to be killed for being either too black or not black enough.

Or that his policies are racial, rather than allegedly foolish and irresponsible. ¬†No, he could get killed because his supporters are foolish and irresponsible. ¬†You keep talking this stuff up, throwing around your notion of clever innuendo and subtle inference, and one of our nation’s crazies just might carry out your fantasy. ¬†And, on examination, it’ll turn out that his/her motive was so off the wall-crazy that no one could even imagine a plausible political (or racial) reason for the act. ¬†Loose lips sink…civilizations.

OK, there’s another, historically accurate scenario, and that’s one where someone from either the President’s own party or someone sympathetic to its causes decides to martyr him. ¬†The goal would be to blame the opposition, consolidate power and unite the faithful. ¬† It would arguably – but not provably – be the first time such a motive was employed in American history, but not even unusual in world history. ¬†And if such a dreadful event were to occur, you know that there would be conspiracy theories – particularly if it can’t be pinned on a ‘lone gunman.’

When that happens, aren’t some of the politicians and media folks currently spinning this crap just a little bit concerned that it’s their doors that the FBI would be knocking on, wondering why they were so prominent in the pre-assasination hate-mongering. ¬†And the investigation would have to proceed to establish the identities of all who would benefit by such a deed. ¬†President Biden and Vice-President Pelosi? ¬†Ironic that they would then be suspected of being power-hungry, racist conspiracists. ¬†Far fetched? ¬†Back when JFK was killed, one of the first public suspicions was that there was a conspiracy led by his Vice-President (from Texas, scene of the assassination), Lyndon Baines Johnson, his replacement as President and an icon of the Democratic Party. ¬†Using the tactic of telling lies in order to encourage distrust of your political opponents has consequences, among them, voter cynicism and distrust of government in general.

It would probably be a good idea if we all stopped considering vicious, nationally-divisive attacks as desirable political tactics. ¬†Maybe a dash of civility – not for your political opponent, necessarily, but for the sake of what’s left of our national unity.

Apr 162010
 

For our Spanish speakers, a timely review of the last decade of societal destruction by Hugo Chavez Frias. ¬†It’s a report put together by 21 Latin American Institutions and presented on the blog titled Andes Libres.com. English speakers should feel free to hit the translation button in the right sidebar, or go directly to Andes Libres and use the translation button there. ¬†I’m pulling part of the introduction and the conclusion. ¬†If you wish to dig deeper, by all means take yourself to the blog site of another freedom-loving South American.

Perdiendo Democracia

Here are the creators of the report:

Venezuela: Una década de Revolución Chavista

Firmantes:

√Ālvaro Vargas Llosa,¬†Independent Institute, Estados Unidos
Carlos Alberto Montaner, Internacional Liberal, Cuba
Carlos Ball AIPE, Venezuela
Rocio Guijarro, CEDICE Libertad, Venezuela
Cristi√°n Larroulet, Libertad y Desarrollo, Chile
Martín Krause, ESEADE Argentina
Gerardo Bongiovanni, Fundación Libertad Argentina
Oscar Ortiz, Fundación Nueva Democracia, Bolivia
María Luisa Brahm, Instituto Libertad, Chile
Miguel Flores, Fundación Jaime Guzmán, Chile
Marcela Prieto, Instituto de Ciencia Política, Colombia
Margaret Tse, Instituto Libertade, Brasil
Dora Ampuero, Instituto Ecuatoriano de Economía Política, Ecuador
Carlos Sabino, Universidad Francisco Marroquín, Guatemala
Guillermo Pe√Īa,¬†Instituto Veritas, Honduras
Rolando Espinosa, Centro de Estudios en Educación y Economía, A.C.
Academia de Investigación Humanística A.C, México
Edwar Enrique Escalante, Andes Libres, Per√ļ
Enrique Ghersi, CITEL, Per√ļ
Ian V√°squez, CATO Estados Unidos
Julian Morris,¬†International Policy Network, Gran Breta√Īa
Otto Guevara, Movimiento Libertario, Costa Rica

Introduccion

La causa esencial de la Revolución Bolivariana es buscar más y mejor nivel de vida para todos, en la lucha por instalar en Venezuela un nuevo sistema social, económico, político: el socialismo criollo, a lo venezolano.
‚ÄĒ Hugo Ch√°vez Fr√≠as

Al asumir¬† Hugo Ch√°vez¬† la presidencia de Venezuela, hace ya m√°s de una d√©cada, se comprometi√≥ con la puesta en marcha de un proyecto nacional, regional e internacional de izquierda radical, bajo la consigna de conformar una gran naci√≥n latinoamericana, ‚Äúcomo lo so√Īara Sim√≥n Bol√≠var‚ÄĚ.

En ese entonces, Ch√°vez se present√≥ como un antisistema¬†¬† y¬† prometi√≥ terminar con los vicios de la pol√≠tica tradicional venezolana, pero tras diez a√Īos no ha hecho nada para resolver los problemas del viejo r√©gimen, en tanto que la crisis general institucional no s√≥lo contin√ļa, sino que ha empeorado. Su concepto de Estado asistencial se ha visto afectado por la baja en el precio del petr√≥leo y el cambio constitucional -realizado en 1999- no ha sido garant√≠a de mejoras sociales que tengan sustento en el largo plazo.

Con el  fin de alcanzar sus objetivos, ha utilizado todos los recursos a su alcance -algunos abiertamente ilegales o rayando en la legalidad- para presionar y coartar el accionar de todos aquellos que no coinciden con él, incluyendo el pasar por encima del  estado de derecho, de las libertades individuales, la libertad de expresión y la justicia.

Desde que Ch√°vez lleg√≥ al poder, Venezue¬¨la se vio¬† inmersa en una serie de consultas electorales que comenzaron con el llamado a una Asamblea Constituyente, la que no estaba prevista en la Constituci√≥n vigente, y culminaron con su reelecci√≥n presidencial el 3 de diciembre del 2006, prolongando su mandato hasta diciembre de 2012, pudiendo reelegirse indefinidamente gracias a la enmienda aprobada en enero de este a√Īo. A trav√©s de esas consultas, y mediante una evidente manipulaci√≥n de la opini√≥n p√ļblica y las instituciones, el Presidente fue tomando control absoluto del pa√≠s.

El resultado de lo anterior, ha sido que Venezuela¬† a partir del a√Īo 2003 perdi√≥ su calificaci√≥n de pa√≠s Libre, especialmente por las transgresiones a las libertades civiles, como lo evidencia el √ćndice de Democracia de Freedom House y por consiguiente el fracaso en el fortalecimiento de una verdadera democracia m√°s estable y segura.

El presente documento¬† centrado en los cambios efectuados durante la ‚Äúrevoluci√≥n chavista‚ÄĚ, en el panorama institucional, pol√≠tico y econ√≥mico de Venezuela, tiene como objetivo¬† demostrar que tras una turbulenta d√©cada, el pa√≠s ha desaprovechado su ventaja -por el alto precio del petr√≥leo- de convertirse en un ejemplo de crecimiento econ√≥mico y desarrollo democr√°tico.

Conclusión

El resultado tras diez a√Īos de administraci√≥n chavista acent√ļa una dependencia casi total del ingreso petrolero, la que ha sido instrumentalizada, para concentrar el poder pol√≠tico y econ√≥mico. El gobierno ha inducido un patr√≥n de inestabilidad econ√≥mica que repercute en la producci√≥n, el consumo, la inversi√≥n y el empleo productivo, y de all√≠ que ha comprometido las posibilidades de desarrollo integral que se esperaban con el alto precio del petr√≥leo.

A ello se agrega el avance del proceso de deterioro institucional, y p√©rdida del capital humano, pues los poderes p√ļblicos son cada vez m√°s parciales y dependientes del Ejecutivo. La ausencia de un instrumento importante de control del actuar p√ļblico, que se suma a la desaparici√≥n de los frenos y contrapesos del poder, tienen como resultado inevitable la erosi√≥n del sistema democr√°tico, que debe estar fundado en el pluralismo.

Chávez defiende la legitimidad de su gobierno invocando sus orígenes democráticos, pero ha convertido a su país en un Estado que vive una democracia plebiscitaria, pero no como ampliación de la democracia republicana, sino como algo que se le opone. La democracia no se agota en su origen, sino que requiere del ejercicio democrático, que supone respeto a las minorías y un Estado de Derecho efectivo, componentes que no existen actualmente en Venezuela.

En estos diez a√Īos, su gobierno ha dejado de cumplir varias de sus promesas, no ha sido capaz de encarar los problemas como la delincuencia, la violencia y la corrupci√≥n que han aumentado significativamente y pueden generar inestabilidad social. De hecho, se ha ido generando mayor movilizaci√≥n social en el √ļltimo tiempo, encabezada por los estudiantes.

Las acciones de Chávez nos muestran como cada día Venezuela atenta contra la Democracia, transformándose en un Gobierno ilegítimo. Además, el nivel de vida de los venezolanos ha caído a niveles alarmantes debido al gasto ineficiente de los ingresos petroleros. Junto con ello, con el ALBA se ha impedido la integración de la región, dificultando la unión de las naciones Latinoamericanas.

Si contin√ļa acentu√°ndose el deterioro econ√≥mico, social e institucional, como consecuencia directa de las pol√≠ticas empleadas por el gobierno chavista y si la tendencia a la autocracia prevalece, el futuro de este pa√≠s se perfila cada vez m√°s incierto.

In case you missed it above, you can read the whole report by clicking here.

Apr 162010
 

Tea Party Are Us

A FEW WORDS ABOUT TEA PARTIES:

  • It’s not about race.
  • It’s not about political party.
  • It’s not transitory.

We could add that they’re also not about ideology, but that would be a lie. ¬†The ideology is Americanism: ¬†an abiding belief in the founding principles and that the current ‘regime’ has violated them. ¬†Many pundits have already pointed out the disgrace of our government denouncing its dissenting citizens as “racists, homophobes and morons.” ¬†With the cooperation of the usual suspects in the media, they’ve desperately tried to paint us (yes, I have attended) as violence-prone crazies, not unlike the fringe-ier militias. ¬†More recently, as similar to the bombers of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma in ’95, or the guy who recently attacked an IRS office building with his private plane.

This is an old Saul Alinsky tactic, based on an old Marxist tactic: ¬†tell a lie often enough and it becomes recognized as the truth. ¬†Well, not only is the public catching on to this nonsense faster than these (unimaginative morons) would like, but their ‘movement,’ the one we foolishly elected, is now looking at our ‘movement.’ Ours started in 1776; theirs in 1917. ¬†They want to use their revolution to defeat ours; ¬†they are counter-revolutionaries. ¬† They have history on their side when they assume that we can be dismissed; that we’ll get tired or distracted and go away. ¬†Wrong. ¬†Not this time. ¬†The election of their movement and its attempt to collectivize our society in contravention of our society’s basis in the protection of the individual has gotten our attention. ¬†We are focused and angry.

And how could our focus on Washington not reveal the open fester that is the bazaar our precious system has gradually become? ¬†How could we not notice when our more candid elected officials tell us that it is no longer possible for them to change this disaster from within. ¬†The very ‘Cui Bono’ politicians who are most profiting from the status quo are the one’s asked to change it. ¬†And who can blame them. ¬†They’ve each overcome great difficulties to learn and take advantage of a corrupt system; to be its beneficiaries. ¬†Is it reasonable to ask them to give it up – to abandon their just reward?

And we’ve come to recognize it’s not just money. ¬†Greed comes in many forms, and many of those who rail against our capitalist system for being greedy would do most anything to preserve their incumbency and the privileges it bestows. ¬†The most effective one’s are happy to be passing laws that either directly benefit their campaign contributors or harass others into sending lobbyists to plead for relief (which ultimately produces more campaign contributors). ¬†And shame on us for allowing these same incumbents to sit down in private sessions and draw lines on the map around those most likely to vote for them. ¬†We used to pick our representatives; now they pick us (and our pockets). ¬†Now that’s greed!

But there’s another kind of government greed, and that’s a total disregard for the cost to the taxpayer, or to the society as a whole, or to the individuals and institutions caught in a tax system perverted to maximize collections and social control from Washington. ¬†When did we acquiesce to the notion that our tax system should be used to determine our social behavior? ¬†When did we accept the notion that half of society, or more – there is no official limit – will have no responsibility for financing our many government programs? ¬†Or the idea – by voters obsessed with the idea of ‘fairness’ – that an income tax (bad idea in itself) that goes up in rate at the same time as in volume is somehow ‘fair.’ ¬†(If you’re on the receiving end, it looks fair enough.)

We need a safety net for our most vulnerable citizens. ¬†But Democrats are proudly declaring that 99% of Americans got tax refunds this year! ¬†As in President Obama’s campaign, few wanted to point out that most of those tax ‘refunds’ were to people who were never required to pay income tax to begin with. ¬†IOW, they got a check from the government, what the economists call a transfer payment. ¬†I don’t recall voting on that, following the non-debate in Congress – do you?

So, the tea party will go on as long as we can maintain the Republic we have so carelessly allowed to fall into disrepair. ¬†There’s a lot of work to do, and we may not prevail. ¬†Our fabulous success as a free-market Republic dedicated to protecting the individual from government may disappear in a collectivist cloud – to be erased from memory in subsequent generations because our replacements could never afford to tell the truth about the magnificent thing we once were.

And, if you happen to still have a little more ‘Tea Party’ energy, here’s a fine article on the topic, less rant (me) and more fact and acute observation (her) from the fabulous Michelle Malkin, writing an Op-ed for Investor’s Business Daily, here.

[You can purchase the above-pictured, magnificent Patriotic Celebration Puzzle by artist Royce McClure at the Patriot Post Store, patriotshop.us, here.]

Apr 132010
 

European Taxation Soon!

OK, Here’s a Chicago Tribune Op-Ed by Consultant Dennis Byrne and his take on the European-style VAT sales tax that surfaced last year via Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. A tax that has been bandied about as a possibility to sop up the massive deficits that an already-broke federal government will need to add to our existing tax burden (Income, property, gasoline, entertainment, restaurant, etc.). ¬†Now, former Federal Reserve Chairman and present Obama Administration financial consultant Paul Volcker allows as how it’s “not a toxic idea.” ¬†This is a standard-length newspaper column, but in case you don’t get to the Trib’s site, I’ve pulled what look like the – literally – ‘money’ quotes for your instant edification.

Of greater surprise and importance about Democratic interest in the VAT is its punitive effect on poor and middle-class Americans. Liberals ‚ÄĒ at least old-school ones ‚ÄĒ long opposed sales taxes because the poor and middle class pay a greater percentage of their income for it than the rich. To put it bluntly, the regressive VAT leaves the poor and middle class holding the bag.

Here’s how: The tax is levied at each stage of production. A knitting mill, for example, pays a yarn-maker $1 for the yarn in each sweater. The mill then sells each sweater to Kmart for $3. The value added is $2 per sweater. If the VAT is 10 percent of the added value, the sweater-maker pays a 20-cent tax. Now comes the hitch: The sweater-maker may not have to pay the full 20 cents; when he pays his tax, he can deduct whatever everyone upstream in the supply chain, including the yarn-maker, paid in the VAT. For example, if the yarn-maker paid 10 cents for the value he added to the product, the mill can deduct that from the 20 cents he must pay.

Confusing, yes. But here’s how to keep it simple: Guess who pays the full cost of the VAT? The “end user.” That’d be you, the consumer. Unlike manufacturers, you can’t deduct the VAT paid by previous producers in the supply chain. You pay it all, because it is built into the price you pay for your sweaters, cars, appliances, etc. The sneaky part is that, unlike state and local sales taxes, the national sales tax is not separately listed on your receipt. So, it feels like you’re not paying the tax. From the viewpoint of the politicians, it’s a perfect tax because it is invisible.

You can read the whole Op-ed here. ¬†If you want to really dig into the issue, here’s a link to a one-hour discussion on May 11, 2005, by the “President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform.” ¬†Lastly, if you’re self-destructively wonky, here’s a report that’s a joint project of the Left-of-Center Urban Institute, the Brookings Institution and the New America Foundation. ¬†You’ll need some ability to read business equations for some of it, but skimming over it’s 39 pages, you might glean some idea of where this administration may want to go with this, and what they believe the trade-offs would be (Payroll and Corporate Income Taxes). ¬†And, it turns out, there is one more entry that is more accessible and comprehensive than either of the others. ¬†It’s from the conservative American Enterprise Institute and I’m adding it here so that sometime in the distant future, when I really want to get my head around this, I can just hit the link. ¬†You can do it now. ¬†Enjoy.

Apr 062010
 

old fashioned censorship

Here’s a really thoughtful -as usual – piece by law professor/blogger Glen Reynolds of Instapundit and PJTV. It cries out for reading because it aptly describes the knowledge problem that Congress has, with particular reference to the new health care reform. ¬†Enjoy.

In drafting the Obamacare bill they tried to time things for maximum political advantage, only to be tripped up by the complexities of the regulatory environment they had already created. It’s like a second-order Knowledge Problem.

Possibly this is simply because Waxman and his colleagues are dumb, and God knows there’s plenty of evidence that Congress isn’t a repository of rocket scientists. But it’s just as likely that adding 30 or 40 IQ points to the average congressman wouldn’t make much difference.

The United States Code — containing federal statutory law — is more than 50,000 pages long and comprises 40 volumes. The Code of Federal Regulations, which indexes administrative rules, is 161,117pages long and composes226volumes.

No one on Earth understands them all, and the potential interaction among all the different rules would choke a supercomputer. This means, of course, that when Congress changes the law, it not only can’t be aware of all the real-world complications it’s producing, it can’t even understand the legal and regulatory implications of what it’s doing.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Sunday_Reflections/Progressives-can_t-get-past-the-Knowledge-Problem-89780997.html#ixzz0kNgOdeTA

Another read, perhaps even scarier, is a longish essay that describes the politically-correct hell that Great Britain has formed for itself, with special attention to its education system. ¬†Our kids are already getting quite a bit of this, but the essay is a cautionary tale re where this can all lead if we continue to ignore the problem. ¬†And thinking we ought to just leave it to the parents and their teachers is just what the baddies would like us to do. I’ve pulled out a few paragraphs below. ¬†You can read the whole thing at Gates of Vienna. Warning! ¬†Gates is all about excoriating Jihadis, so if you still think people who attack us for religious reasons shouldn’t have their values discussed, let alone attacked, rest here. ¬†Behold!

We have seen the result of this in my earlier article¬†The BBC, Islam & Young Children which paints Christianity, indeed all indigenous Europeans, as a bunch of enslaving, sexist, racist murderers, whilst giving Islam a cute and cuddly clean bill of health. This happily complied-with instruction comes directly from the Department for Children, Schools and Families who have also decreed that the teaching of the Holocaust be¬†dropped by some schools to avoid upsetting Muslim sensibilities, even though Holocaust denial is a criminal offence ‚ÄĒ as long as the offender is not a Muslim of course.
Such reverence for religion is unreciprocated toward non-Muslims, however, where indigenous schoolteachers are advised to wash their handsbefore touching the Koran with their filthy, infidel, ape-like digits, and indigenous school children are instructed to copy the Shahadah from within it, which states:

‚ÄúThere is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.‚ÄĚ

The Shahadah, clearly not coincidentally, is the first of the five pillars of Islam, and the only statement one needs to recite in order to convert to Islam. It is the most important sentence in the Islamic world and as it is the only part of the Koran teachers are advised to tell their pupils to copy, one has to question the allegiance of Britain’s current rulers.

This assault upon indigenous British schoolchildren is beyond my comprehension. As a result it is no surprise to discover that white working class boys bear the brunt of this warped and sinister experiment in the Cultural Cleansing of the British, and languish at the very bottom of educational league tables.

The socialists Baljeet Ghales, Herman Ouselys, Vineeta Guptas, Keith Ajegbos and Chris Mullards have done their jobs well. Their hatred of whites, Europeans, the English and capitalism has been succoured and encouraged by white Socialists of the same bent, who now control all of our institutions and government and such is their influence they can even get to those outside their state sector remit, leading to the following quote from a privately educated girl on a BBC Have Your Say page:

‚ÄúA lot of people around me think that Britain is some amazing, rich, beautiful country. I think learning about the horrible things we have done help us to learn that our country isn‚Äôt as amazing as we make out.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ Jess. Year 10.

It is a shame that even privately educated children such as Jess appear not to have heard of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who knew a thing or two about totalitarianism and whose following observation might give Jess and her Year 10 friends pause for thought:

“To destroy a people, you must first sever their roots.“

Apr 062010
 

Free-Market Feminist

It’s fine to be railing against the threat of socialism, fascism, statism, progressivism, or whatever collectivist, authoritarian description fits your temperament and sophistication. ¬†The problem is that the train has pretty much left the station. ¬†We have gotten so used to treating our political system frivolously, and churlishly adapting ourselves to the lousy consequences – repeatedly- that when the time finally came to deal with something too serious to finesse, we just stuck to our bad habits.

Habits, incidentally, that power-hungry, authoritarian statists have been all too happy to encourage. ¬†As a result, we have half the American population feverishly focusing on the significance of having – in the last two national elections – installed officials who are dedicated to overturning the American Revolution: ¬†for the common good, of course. ¬†We elected a movement, and we’re fast in its (lying) grip.

Americans of all backgrounds, it seems, would much rather deal with clashes of personalities and group conflict than tutor themselves on social movements, or take seriously the historical effects of those movements on other societies. ¬†It’s appalling to me that the lesson we seemed to take away from our war with a Germany run by the National Socialist Party is that appeasement is bad and people should be careful not to elect populist demagogues. ¬†Well, they’re right on both counts, but seem to totally ignore the many years of debilitating dependency on central leadership that preceded it.

Many leaders of this country actively admired Adolph Hitler and his regime. ¬†FDR’S cabinet was in awe of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, who had convinced everyone that his formula for government-directed( but not controlled) industry was the “third way” between Communism and Capitalism. ¬†Both Hitler and Mussolini started their careers in the communist labor movements of the time, in societies that were already socialistic. ¬†They broke off with the Communists and used them as foils in building their own power structures. ¬†But all three were authoritarian collectivists. ¬†The Russians planned their economy; the Germans and Italians planned the planners. ¬†The workers triumphed…if they cooperated. ¬†And sometimes, they were disposed of regardless.

By pretending Hitler and Mussolini  belonged to a completely different ideology, Stalin found he could unify his people in the struggle against the Nazis and the Fascists, while they were each doing the same against him.  In the end it was all about control over the society, and the ability to pursue whatever petty, murderous agenda occurred to its new masters.  All of them were master propagandists, controlling the media in order to unify the society.

Hitler and Mussolini were masters of the grand public display, the massive gathering, the seemingly endless sea of consenting faces shouting the state’s slogans. ¬†But the most lethal and long lasting was Stalin, who controlled vast networks of “agents of influence” in Europe and the United States. ¬† Oh, there were spys and double-agents, of course; some of whom lived with spouses who had been assigned to them as handlers. ( Some even knew this was the case.)

Most effective, though, were the cultural agents who controlled the magazines and newspapers of the time, uniting the Western Democracies in the fight against Nazism, even as Stalin and Hitler plotted to use one another as an excuse to purge their own ranks of supporters now deemed superfluous.  The purges occurred and everyone accepted that the Nazis and Reds were enemies right up until the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939.  Stalin subverted, to one extent or another, France, England, the US and Spain, deliberately encouraging, then betraying, his supporters in Spain -resulting in the victory of the (Spanish) Republicans, and the conservative Franco dictatorship.  The rest continued to look kindly on the murderous Communist Revolution, as intended.

That, I have to admit, is a pretty course summary of what occurred during those years. ¬†My complaint, however, doesn’t rely on the accuracy of every jot and tittle of recent history, or in drilling down into the details. ¬†The recitation is just to remind you that matters consequential to our present lives happened then. ¬†And the future of our Republic, and of Western Civilization in general, depends on our acceptance – or at least some acknowledgement – of their significance.

My complaint is simple: ¬†We didn’t learn the right lessons, so, as the adage goes, we are doomed to repeat them. ¬†The lessons aren’t about stopping aggression and avoiding dictators. ¬†They aren’t about perseverance and sacrifice. ¬†They aren’t even about bravery in combat and having fine generals, intelligence agencies and natural resources. ¬†They’re about how the individual citizen views their own personal liberty vis-a-vis the state. They’re about societal planning and central control run amok.

They’re about governments buying the support of the people by creating common enemies, rewarding allies and grooming ruling elites. ¬†Governments that are so popular they are allowed to indoctrinate your children into a loyalty – not to the family – to the state. ¬†For everyone’s benefit, of course – with big, splashy public displays of popularity and massive welfare programs to encourage state dependency. ¬†We’re talking way beyond “safety net.”

The reason conservatives and libertarians talk about the works of Austrian Economist Friedrich Hayek is not for the greatness of his economic theories or his passion for liberty (both: ¬†excellent), but for his bravery in explaining to an unreceptive English population in the 1940′s what he had been through under European Socialism (in his native Austria, and later as a Professor in Berlin) and how it could be similarly destructive to the English social system if pursued. ¬†He labored to explain to the British socialists that centrally planned economies and the uniformity that must occur for such planning to be successful is inherently authoritarian, and that it is a process. ¬†Slow, incremental, destroying individual initiative and empowering the state.

He was scorned by the intellectuals and ignored by the rest. ¬†England continued down a path of slow economic ruin that wasn’t arrested until the advent of Margaret Thatcher. ¬†After she helped patch things up, they went back to the Labor Party and resumed the slow destruction of their economy and freedoms. ¬†They’re on the verge of an election today, and both topics are high on the agenda.

And, (via commenter Black Saint, responding to a Bill Frezza piece on Socialism in Real Clear Markets) Рat about the same time (1944), in the United States, six-time Presidential candidate for the Socialist Party, Norman Thomas,  said this in a speech:

“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism,’ they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.” He went on to say, “I no longer need to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democratic Party has adopted our platform.”

I should probably add that, based on my own experience, there are a great many people (voters) in this country, who think of themselves as liberals and never seem to have noticed that the Democrat party was long ago taken over by socialists and progressives. ¬†What these two groups have in common is a hatred of capitalism and a belief that the founding principles embedded in the US Constitution are relics that impede implementation of policies that will, if adopted, result in a “Just Society.”

They seem oblivious to the fact that they live in the most “Just Society” ever to have been devised; a society that has brought more opportunity – from the ground up – and personal liberty to more people than any in history. ¬†It is the reason immigrants flock here from all over the world. ¬†Of course, if we surrender the principles of the American Revolution to modern counter-revolutionaries, there won’t really be any reason for folks from oppressive or failed societies to seek opportunity here. ¬†We can use Venezuela (liberty) or Argentina(economy) as our role models. ¬†Maybe even rapprochement with our old enemyFidel. ¬†The benefits are endless.

But… back to the Brits and Von Hayek. ¬†The shocker here ¬†is that England had just come within a hair of losing their sovereignty to the Third Reich, and yet – narrowly victorious – they shrugged off the German social experience that led up to the war, and just “moved forward” as if there was no relationship whatever between their own governance style and that of those who had tried to annihilate them.

German Socialism is said to have been originated by Otto Von Bismarck, a strict militarist. ¬†The Weimar Republic was unable to resist the well-organized movement of the National Socialists led by Hitler, and stood by as he leveraged his election into a dictatorship. ¬†Mussolini was a rabble-rousing Professor who had spent years working on his theory of the perfect society. ¬†Stalin was an extremely clever thug who, like Che Guevara, started out as a hit man, but – unlike Che – simply took power from the (ruthless) intellectuals who were implementing “Scientific Socialism” on the Marxist model. ¬†(Castro was smart enough to get rid of Che before he could become a problem.)

So, with apologies for the slightly unfocused ramble, I just want to say that it’s all been tried before, in many ways, and always with bad results. ¬†Our Leftists, domestic and international, young and old, always try to weigh us down with guilt from a past that has seen us overcome our social problems faster and more effectively than any (large) society in history. ¬†They would have us become so despondent that any change would seem preferable to what we have now.

Don’t listen! ¬†These people don’t want the American Revolution, and they certainly don’t want you to notice that we have the tools within our Republic to address any problem that arises. ¬†They don’t want the national unity and social harmony that would have us talking about political renewal – about fixing some of the many problems that have arisen in the conduct of affairs in Washington and many state governments. ¬†They want you to desire replacement. ¬†Change. ¬†But the change they’re talking about is a an abandonment of the American experiment in favor of a collectivist utopia that has never been and will never be. ¬†No matter. ¬†It’s the dream that counts. ¬†It’s the personal virtue that accrues to the person who cleaves to the dream. ¬†And there is no end to the sacrifice on the part of others; to the pain to be endured by their fellow citizens, that they are willing to endure in the pursuit of “Social Justice.”

Next time you find yourself engaged with one of these benighted individuals, ask them if we don’t already have a fine system of “Social Justice.” ¬†And why they think we can’t work within that system to fix any problems we have, provided we have enough citizens who care. ¬†And why they would want a replacement system that has caused death and financial ruin all over the globe in the name of “Social Justice.”

Once you get past the tribal level, in size, there is nothing workable about collectivism in any of its forms. ¬†It’s a dangerous con; feeding on those who would prefer to “surround themselves with comforting convictions” (Bertrand Russell). ¬†It’s not cute. ¬†It’s not benign. ¬†It’s a social toxin.

Beyond the Safety Net required of any civilized nation, we have to guard against the slow introduction of this menace. ¬†And if it’s already among us, it must be rooted out, denounced for what it is, and banished forever from the presence of free human beings.