Articles

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Shawarma Republics are Burning

Syria is burning, not because of the Arab Spring or Tyranny or Twitter, or any of the other popular explanations. The fire in Syria is the same firestorm burning in Iraq, in Turkey, in Lebanon and throughout much of the Muslim world. It has nothing to do with human rights or democracy. There is no revolution here. Only the eternal civil war.

Most people accept countries with ancient names like Egypt, Jordan and Syria as a given. If they think about it at all they assume that they were always around, or were restored after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. But actually the countries of the Middle East are mostly artificial creations borrowing a history that is not their own.

When Mohammed unleashed a fanatical round of conquests and crusades, he began by wrecking the cultures and religions of his native region. And his followers went on to do the same throughout the region and across the world.

Entire peoples lost their history, their past, their religion and their way of life. This cultural genocide was worst in Africa, Asia and parts of Europe. But the Middle Eastern peoples lost much of their heritage as well.

The Muslim conquerors made a special point of persecuting and exterminating the native beliefs and indigenous inhabitants they dominated. Israeli Jews, Assyrian Christians and Persian Zoroastrians faced special persecution.

Conquered peoples were expected to become Muslims. Those who resisted were repressed as Dhimmis. But those who submitted and became Muslims suffered a much worse fate, losing major portions of their traditions and history. They were expected to define themselves as Muslims first and look back to the great day when their conquerors subjugated them as the beginning of their history. Their pre-Islamic history faded into the mists of the ignorant past.

But Islam did not lead to a unified region, only to a prison of nations. The Caliphates, like the USSR, held sway over a divided empire through repression and force. Many of those peoples had lost a clear sense of themselves, but they still maintained differences that they expressed by modifying Islam to accommodate their existing beliefs and customs.

Islamic authorities viewed this as nothing short of heresy. It was against some such heresies that the Wahhabi movement was born. But these attempts to force the peoples of the region into one mold were doomed to fail.

Islam came about to stamp out all differences, to reduce all men to one, to blend state and mosque into one monstrous law for all. And it did succeed to some extent. Many cultures and beliefs were driven nearly to extinction. Jews, Christians and others struggled to survive in the walls of a hostile civilization. But Islam could not remain united and the divisions resurfaced in other ways.

Muslim armies did succeed in conquering much of the world in a frenzy of plunder and death. But they quickly turned on each other. Rather than conquering the world, they went on to fight over the plunder and the power. Nothing has really changed since then.

The fall of the Ottoman Empire brought in the Europeans to reconstruct the Middle East. The modern states are the work of their hands. A clumsy mismatch of borders and warring peoples. The USSR came after with its own line of coups and Arab Socialist dictatorships. Now the third wave of Islamist tyrannies is on the march. But none of them can solve the basic problems of the region.

Syria is burning not because of human rights, but because it's a collection of different peoples with different variants of Islam who don't get along. A handful are descended from the original natives. The rest are foreign Arab invaders, some more recent than others. The story repeats itself across the region. And across the world.

Iraq, Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon are just some examples of countries permanently divided by such a mismatch of peoples. Agreements and elections come to nothing because no group believes that they will be treated as equals if they aren't in power. And they're right. Equality doesn't just come from open elections, but from a cultural acceptance of differences. This simply does not exist in the Muslim world where gender differences mean you're a force of corruption or a slave, ethnic differences mean you are the son of a dog, and religious differences mean you're an enemy.

Had the forces of Islam not turned the Middle East upside down, the nation state might have evolved out of individual cultures, rather than as a strange hybrid of feudalism and Great Powers colonialism. For all their bluster and viciousness, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon are abandoned colonies. The Gulf states are even worse, backward clans of cutthroat merchants who are parasitically feeding off the West, even as they try to destroy it.

The rulers invariably marry Western women or women with a large dose of Western blood. Sadat married the daughter of an English woman. Mubarak married the daughter of a Welsh woman. For all that the Hashemites tout their descent from Mohammed, Queen Noor is more Anglo-Saxon than Arab. And the current Jordanian King's mother was originally known as Toni Gardner. Even when they do marry Arab women, they are usually Christian Arabs and British educated.

There's something pathetic about the sight of the post-colonial Arab leadership trying to gain some psychological legitimacy by intermarrying with their former rulers. As if pumping enough English blood into the veins of their offspring will somehow make them as capable as the Empire that ruled them and then left to attend to its own affairs.

But not nearly as pathetic as half of them claiming descent from Mohammed. Both reveal the underlying historical instability of their rule. These aren't nation states, they're hopelessly dysfunctional geographical divisions bristling with Western weapons and money, with interpretations of the Koran and texts on Arab Socialism, where everyone is a philosopher and a scholar-- but no government lasts longer than it takes to overthrow it.

Every colonel and general dreams of empire, and every cleric in his flea ridden robes theorizes on the Islamic state, but none of them can do anything but act out the same murderous dramas. Building their house of cards and then watching it tumble down.

Had Western shenanigans not raised the price of bread, while providing support to local leftists from wealthy families, the Arab Spring would not exist. Now that it has, it's only another excuse for locals to fight their civil wars and then erect another ramshackle regime on the ruins of the old.

This isn't 1848 as some have theorized. It's 848, over and over again. Worse still, it's 748. 

When you don't have a nation, but you do have an army, then what you have is not a state, but a Shawarma Republic. To keep the army from overthrowing the leader, he must find internal or external enemies. When a downturn occurs, and the mobs gather, either the army massacres the mob or overthrows the ruler. Or the rebels cut a deal with some internal elements and wipe out the loyalists.

This is an old regional narrative that has nothing to do with democracy, human rights, Twitter or any of the other nonsense flowing through New York Times columns faster than the sewers of Cairo.

The modern Shawarma Republic has some royal or military ruler at the top who receives money from the West or from its enemies to hold up his end of the bargain. Which to him means stowing the money into foreign bank accounts, sending his trophy wife on shopping trips to Paris and striking a fine balancing between wiping out his enemies and buying them off.

Naturally he carries on the ritualistic chant of "Death to Israel", and if Israel ever looks weak enough, or his new Chinese or Iranian allies kick in the money for a full fledged invasion, he may even take a whack at it. But mostly the chants of "Death to Israel" are a convenient way of executing his enemies for collaborating with Israel.

In Syria, Assad's Shawarma Republic (officially the Syrian Arab Republic, formerly the United Arab Republic, after a bunch of coups and one kingdom, the privately owned fiefdom of the dumbest scion of the clan) is on fire. Because the enemies of the regime, and some of its former allies, got around to exploiting Bashar Assad's weakness.

For now Assad's armies backed by his Iranian allies are in control of the Shawarma Republic of Syria but that might change. Especially now that Turkey and much of the Arab world have stepped into the anti-Assad camp. And when the fireworks die down, and the corpses are cleaned up off the streets, there will be another Shawarma Republic. This one may not be run by the Alawites. But it will be run by someone, and it won't be the people.

The irony is that after turning Lebanon into its puppet, Syria got the same treatment from Iran. And if a revolt succeeds, then it might get the same treatment from Turkey. The big dog bites the little dog, and the bigger dog bites it.

The process can't be stopped, because the Islamic conquests that wrecked the region, the Caliphates that tried to make it static, and the colonial mapmakers who turned it into a ridiculous puzzle of fake countries filled with people who hate each other-- make it impossible.

There was a brief window after the war when the exit of empires and the presence of a large Western educated class seemed as if they might lead to working societies. Instead they led to the pathetic imitations of the worst of the West, dress up generals and scholars cranking out monographs explaining how everything could be made right with their theory. Now it's leading back to Islamism and the bloody clashes in the desert that led to this permanent state of dysfunction.

The Islamic Caliphate as a panacea for the problems caused by Islamic caliphates is about as good an idea as pouring gasoline on a fire. Which is exactly what the Islamists financed by Gulf royals, who can't help cutting throats even when it's their own, are doing.

You can't build a country out of sand and a book. Nor out of armies and billions of dollars. The last 70 years testify to that. The reason that Israel works and the Arab world doesn't is very simple. The Jews retained their identity and their humanity. The perpetrators and victims of Islam who surround them have no roots. Only the sword in their hand and the shifting sand underneath their feet.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Madness of King Gore the Second

They say that everyone talks about the weather, and no one ever does anything about it-- but since the mid-1980's we've been expected to do things about it. Two generations of children have grown up with the mantra that putting the empty soda in the right trash can is all that stands between them and the destruction of the planet, not to mention all the dead dolphins, paddling polar bears and crying indians.

There are just too many people, we're told, and too many of them are buying things and eating things and living too long. And all that is killing the planet. Sure you can guzzle Fair Trade coffee until your face turns green, bike to work until you're sterile and smugly lecture everyone else on the importance of saving the planet-- but no matter what you do, you're coughing up carbon into the air like a defective air conditioner.

To get some perspective on this, let's visit Tokyo, one of the major centers of the global economy, (not literally of course, because that's just too expensive) home of the Japanese royal family and the largest metropolitan area on the planet. When Hollywood writers imagine what the world will look like in 2282 or 5692 or some other random collection of numbers that leads to a world where everyone wears silver spandex and is rebelling against a totalitarian government, they usually use Tokyo as a model of the terrible future of flying cars, soulless skyscrapers and genetic scans that we're bound for.

And how big is the Tokyo metropolitan area? About 5,000 square miles, which takes up a lot of room in the 197 million square mile surface area of the planet. Imagine a wart on an ant that's living under the sink of your twenty room mansion, and you get some idea of the significance of the largest city we have in relation to the planet itself.

Every now and then some environmentalists insist that the planet is alive and angry at us, but if it were alive, it would notice us as about as much as you notice the mites on your skin. And then imagine the mites holding seminars worried about their impact on your epidermal layer, warning that if any more dead skin flakes off, it could be the end.

But environmentalism really isn't about the environment-- it's about the environmentalists. Watch the tree-hugger who warns that if we don't shape up, we'll be living in a wasteland of used tires and toxic fumes, take a jet to wherever he wants to go. Or the celebrity who proposes that we save the planet by drinking rat's milk, drive off in a gas guzzling car.

Most of all though, it's about Albert Gore the Second, the insecure boy who grew up to be an insecure man. The thing about Gore is that he tends to lose his mind when he experiences a setback. After losing the election to Bush, he grew a beard, became a mad hermit and emerged only to offer his insights on journalism based on the plum position of a senator's son on an army paper back in Vietnam.

Now Al Gore is losing it again because people have stopped paying attention to his cult because they're too busy waiting in line to collect their unemployment checks. His outbursts and crazy rants are cries for help from a man with serious mental problems who tried to submerge his neurosis in politics. And they're being ignored by a party that decided he was a millstone around their necks, the last time he became a running joke.

It may be the fate of most modern vice presidents to become jokes. Certainly it's been the case since after the Reagan Administration, which was saddled with George H.W. Bush, a man whom not even a lineup of angry liberal comedy writers could mold into anything humorous. And while Biden is the reigning gaffe champion of America, China and parts of the North Pole, he has never managed to take a single line and turn it into a national punchline for three years running.

"I invented the internet." It was that scent of hubris that would stick with Gore. The uncomfortable man, standing stiffly next to more affable politicians. The man who would rather be thought a nerd, than be known for the nobody that he was. The scion of a clan who was unable to live up to his family's expectations. Who inherited power, but had no idea what to do with it.

The internet would never belong to Gore the Second, but the environment briefly did. Gore had latched on to the environment, not because he knew anything about it, but because he knew that hardly anyone did. It was a perfect pose for a man who had nothing to offer, a subject that everyone pretended to care about, but no one knew anything about. And it was the subject that he turned to again after the dreaded electoral college turned him down.

The environment made Gore relevant again and it helped make him wealthy. Suddenly the stiff man was the prom king of Gaia High School and everyone wanted him to sign their hockey graph. But the environment is also a cruel mistress, no sooner do you bring out a line of biodegradable dish towels which go to help train Guatemalan farmers to grow sustainable coffee beans, than people stop paying attention to you all over again.

For celebrities, the environment is a part time gig, twenty minutes posing in front of a green screen on which a grim vision of smokestacks spewing pollutants into the air will be added in editing, and then jet on to France where they're having a film festival to celebrate the works of the only expat American director in Paris who didn't molest any children.

But for Al, the environment was his only gig. It will be a desperate Rotary Club that pays him to talk about changing economic conditions or doing business in China. Gore's way of doing business in China is not exactly accessible to anyone who doesn't have a hall pass to the Oval Office anyway. The environment is the only reason anyone has paid attention to him. And that's going away now.

Like some evil spirit who shrivels up and blows away when people don't pay attention to him, Gore is turning shriller as an act of desperation. A prolonged cry of why isn't anyone paying attention to the environment, when what he really means is why isn't anyone paying attention to me.

Recently Gore proposed that we start treating people who don't believe that humanity is destroying the planet like racists. If he means like, Albert Gore the First, who voted against the Civil Rights Act, then we would elect them to the Senate and then name a highway after them.

This pathetic outburst followed a Rolling Stone editorial and an obscenity-laced tirade all on the same theme-- those damned deniers who question that fraudulent science that was on the verge of carving up American industry to benefit Wall Street and the Green Mafia. But Gore is wrong about this being the fault of Global Warming critics. It's not the critics that tanked his cause, it's Obama and the economy.

Gore's second coming was a matter of good timing. An Inconvenient Truth was part of a liberal surge that took Congress and neutered the Bush Administration. While Obama waited backstage, lighting up a blunt and practicing his teleprompter face-- the new wave lacked a public figure and a message besides Iraq. Al Gore provided both.

The Democratic Party did not expect to ride the green horse to the White House, but it was one of a series of causes that welded together a liberal coalition and made the next few years seem less like the pig party that it actually was. But Gore's star faded, as Obama's star rose. In the new party of the cult of personality, there was only room for one star, and it wasn't an overweight aging man who had already embarrassed the party once.

Gore's intent seriousness concealed his basic lack of ideas, it was the one trick he had picked up over the years, and that seriousness could also be confused with integrity. A man this awkward and serious had to be sincere, was the takeaway. But Gore's post-election meltdown had already revealed how little there was to the fake Jimmy Carteresque sincerity and the pompous pseudo-religiosity, and how many missing windows there were in the mansions of his cranium.

The latest batch of meltdowns is just another reminder of what Gore is, an insecure man drawn to a limelight that he can never hold. But it is also a reminder of the sort of man who is drawn to the green and the motives for it.

Environmentalism promotes grandiosity, the idea that man shapes the environment, rather than the other way around as science had always held. There is nothing scientific about the notion that human industry is dooming the planet-- it is a wholly apocalyptic belief that makes use of twisted science to promote a grandiose notion.

The Flying Global Warming Monster is a religion, but is a faith in the absence of faith. Liberal theology does not provide its own apocalypses, but liberal activists have stepped into the breach to manufacture a manmade apocalypse. A disaster with its own prophets and rituals to propitiate the Flying Global Warming Monster who lurks in the sky and will raise surface temperatures by one tenth of a fourth of a degree if we do not begin using reusable cloth bags.

Al Gore, with his latent interest in theology, was always drawn to the ecclesiastical role, his equine features with their look of placidly serious idiocy perfect for looking down his hawk nose at people and nodding in all the right places. But instead he followed the family business to its end, and like a phoenix rising from Montecito, reinvented himself as the figurehead of his own church, preaching against the apocalyptic sunburn and the rising tide, while taking a cut of the Cap and Trade profits.

It was a good time to be Gore, but now it's over. What Obama didn't do to overshadow him, the economy has. When times are good, then people are ready to dump money on all sorts of silly things, including the crazy belief that the thriving polar bear population is about to vanish because there are too many cows in Wyoming. But when times are bad, then the doomsayers had better step up their act. Armageddon is scary, but being out of work is even more frightening and leaves folks with less money to drop in Reverend Gore's green biodegradable plate after services.

Gore reinvented himself once, but he's not ready to do it again, instead like a man about to lose the woman of his dreams, he's panicking and behaving in a way that makes the country want to file a restraining order against him. The Madness of King Gore the Second is back, as the national madness for the environment fades into the shadow of the old fads. The nation is putting aside foolish things and climate change tops the list. Gore the Second raves from his multi-monitor setup in Montecito. Long may he rave.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Panic Nation

As I sit here in the sunken ruins of New York City, breathing oxygen through a two mile straw, and shopping by dispatching orders through a helpful school of fish-- I can't help but think that I should have listened to the media when they told me to panic, run to the stores and pay 40 dollars for batteries, and then listen to every weather update while waiting for the end to come.

But of course none of that actually happened. There are places where hurricanes are dangerous, but the city I live in is not one of them. Aside from a few downed trees, some power loss and a little flooding near the river, the same things that happen every few years, there was nothing to speak of. Nothing except a vast media driven overreaction.

Hurricane Irene is just another entry in the non-stop shriek of media driven panic. The news cycle is fed by three main types of stories, salacious gossip, horrible tragedies and panic stories. All three are culturally destructive, but the third is the most insidious because it contains a germ of truth that is inflated to spread panic. Hurricanes are dangerous, so are child molesters and the swine flu-- but they are also elements in a news cycle that is intended to induce a state of permanent panic.

Permanent panic is another word for 'helplessness'. Consume enough panic stories and you begin to feel like your life is out of control. And that is the intended or unintended consequence of the media. People who feel helpless are eager to listen to anyone who promises to help and willing to accept any solution.

Media driven panics agitate the public and encourage politicians to cluelessly leap on the bandwagon with bad policies. Then when the policies fail, the media blasts the politicians, feeding a backlash to a mess that it created. And when the politicians go back to ignoring the problem, they run alarmist stories and the cycle repeats itself.

The common denominators in the media driven panics are reports that assume the worst case scenario with only shallow reporting on the nature of the problem leading to general overreactions, rather than intelligent problem solving.

That's how we decided to strip search everyone getting on a plane, rather than profile likely terrorists, or treat any stranger as a potential child molester. Or why a city where weather kills less people than panhandlers, had to shut down over a hurricane. These overreactions create a siege mentality which shuts down critical thinking and leads people to accept otherwise unacceptable solutions without asking questions.

The media often likes to pretend that it is the voice of reason, investigating and asking the questions that the public doesn't know enough to ask. In reality its chief function is to stop people from asking questions and accept its narrative. Panicked people are less likely to ask questions and more likely to do what they're told.

Questions narrow down a problem and its solution-- which is the opposite of the media's presentation that maximizes the possible danger to everyone by keeping the details as vague as possible. Whether it's bird flu or terrorism-- the two questions that most need to be asked,where is the problem coming from and what is the actual risk go unanswered.

Panic is created when people are told that their survival and the welfare of their families is on the line, but are given little information about the real risk to them or how to deal with the threat. Media driven panic saturates the airwaves, the print media and the internet with empty reporting that emphasizes the scale of the threat, but provides little useful risk assessment information. These gaps are filled in with the usual gimmicks, on the spot reporting, man on the street interviews, which are usually pitched to make the state of panic seem universal.

"It's happening in Denver, it's happening in Atlanta, everything is worried and doesn't know what to do."

The media's own political slant keeps it away from the subject of Islamic terrorism, but even without that it is in its interest to keep the nature of the terrorist threat as vague as possible. White people are a larger and less avoidable threat constellation than Muslims. The media works hard to dissuade us from fearing outsiders-- but it works twice as hard to teach us to fear each other.

The media is a vertical top down messaging apparatus and its vertical dominance is almost unchallenged. The greatest threat to it comes from horizontal messaging, peer to peer, and community to community. The internet has made horizontal communications much easier and more competitive which has badly rocked the media's boat. And it has compensated for it with more panic. And when the media panics, everyone else is supposed to panic.

Creating public mistrust within a community or a nation disrupts horizontal communications which helps those who control vertical communications. The less people trust each other, the more they are forced to trust the media. It's why Free floating paranoia is the media's drug of choice. And every broadcast injects into their listeners' ears and eyeballs over and over again.

Even when we aren't being taught to fear each other-- we are being taught to perceive other people as incompetent. Hurricane weather inevitably brings a rash of stories that emphasize how unprepared people are. How weak and stupid-- in contrast to those smart people who listen to the media. It isn't really about the hurricane, it's about modeling behavior by teaching viewers that smart means doing what you're told-- and stupid means refusing to listen to the media. This affects much more than hurricane preparation, it's meant to model a response to any and all events.

Citizen incompetence is one of the media's main narratives which teaches us that most people around us are dumb and barely able to cross the street. Again horizontal communications are being torn down to make way for top down messaging. If other people are stupid, then why listen to them? Much better to listen to the wiser heads in the media instead.

This sense of personal incompetence and group incompetence only strengthens the sense of isolation leaving only one voice in the room. The voice of the radio. The voice of the television. The voice of the press.

So a vast nation is whittled down, isolated and shunted off into the highways of conventional wisdom that everyone is supposed to obey. And always kept on the edge, uncertain of what will come the next day and the day after that. There are always a bewildering array of new threats. The oceans will rise if you don't recycle. Planes will explode if you carry baby milk along. It becomes easier to obey than to resist.

A permanent state of panic strains the nervous system to the breaking point, and pushes people into fight or flight responses, a state that makes lateral thinking difficult. False choices are given. If we don't bail out the banks then the economy will be destroyed. Either we raise the debt ceiling or the economy is destroyed. Either we follow the leader or absolute disaster follows.

It becomes easier to frighten people with a threat, than to have a conversation about our options. But the louder the alarm bells ring, the more the demands for action grow. We must raise the debt ceiling because the consequences are unthinkable. But how can they be unthinkable when the public is never given the chance to think about them-- when any debate or discussion is immediately squashed.

The failure to act immediately is branded as irresponsible. Debate becomes obstruction. Asking questions is a felony. Responsible leaders are told, do things immediately. They don't negotiate or debate. They just leap in. Or else everything is lost.

Obama's rule by executive order is an extension of the same media driven state of emergency, if urgent decisions have to be made right away, there's no time to discuss them. And even when we discuss them, all that we discuss is how terrible it would be if we don't make them. If is only the consequences of not making them that are discussed- never the consequences of not making them. "We have to pass the bill to find out what's in the bill."

Panic bridges the values gap between the media and the public. Panic blinds the people to the growth of incremental change that is drastically altering their way of life. A thousand mini-crises are used as weapons of mass distraction to prevent people from seeing how prices have gone up, morals have gone down and the very idea of what the nation used to be is being destroyed all around them.

Enough distractions and the voters with their antiquated notions of personal freedom and values can be kept at bay, while the country is torn down and rebuilt into a perverted mockery of itself. Enough panic and they will go along with it and even cheer the saviors that are presented to them. The men who will save them from themselves.

A permanent state of panic leads people to welcome anyone who will give them a sense of security no matter how baseless it might be. That was FDR's secret, the New Deal was a disaster, but it promised security. As did Obama's confident smirk-- the confident smirk, voters assumed of a man who knows what he's doing. They found out a little too late that he didn't, but there will be more confident smirkers coming along. And more panics for them to smirk through.

The important questions will go on being unasked, because to ask them would topple the empire of panic and the messiah of the confident smirk. If people began asking and answering those questions for themselves, they would no longer need the media to panic them or the smirkers to give them a sense of security. They would own their birthright again.

In other news, a satanic cult of industrialists is melting the ice floes using incandescent lightbulbs and saturated fats.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

America's One Child Policy

Vice President Joe Biden, Commissar of the Cracked Head Club, visited China and voiced his understanding of China's One Child Policy. The part that he understood was the forced abortions and the eugenics of baby girls. The part that he didn't understand was how the Chinese government expects one breadwinner to support four retirees. But as usual Biden had it backward.

The Chinese government isn't worried about how retirees will be supported, because they have no investment in them. They'll receive whatever social benefits are doled out, and that's it. China's brutal pragmatism and lack of democracy makes rationing health care and anything else easy. Massive rallies and protests happen all the time in the People's Republic, unreported by the media, and are ignored by the authorities. Tienanmen Square showed the limits of popular protest in creating political change. It's a lesson that neither the leadership nor the people have forgotten.

Biden should have really been asking his question in Washington D.C. While America has no official one child policy, it has promoted a shift from family savings and support, to a government supervised safety net. Taxes have gone up, the single income family has become rarer and birth rates have dropped. Marriage and children have become more expensive, the former has dropped at a staggering rate among lower income families, and the latter has gone up leading to large numbers of single parents.

The modern state has all for intents and purposes tried to replace the family, providing an expensive cradle to grave social support network. A network that favors those most who work the least.

The government replaces fathers, mothers and children. Children are cared for by the government. So are their elderly parents. The utility of having children diminishes. And the entire system is funded by higher taxes and economic gimmicks that decrease jobs and diminish buying power which lowers the number of self-supporting families, and lowers birth rates in general and especially among the productive working class who usually provide the biological base for population expansion.

Boosting tax revenues means rewarding spenders over savers, which leads to a consumeristic society that drives even more people into the social welfare system. And even those who stay out of it and try to save, are operating in a system whose monetary policy and programs are set against them. The short term tax revenue gains and monetary policy gimmicks lead to much larger problem as again they create more dependency as everyone is forced into relying on the government social safety net.

Birth rate is the engine behind the social safety net. If the birth rate falls, then even when practiced with the best intentions, the whole system becomes a massive Ponzi scheme. But how do you keep the birth rate high when taxes are high, higher education has become mandatory and a consumer society teaches people to reward themselves now, instead of deferring instant gratification until later?

And without a high birth rate, a major revenue gap opens up. If solvent long term funds were used to prepare for the gap, then the day of disaster could be delayed. But the same political elite that created the problem is also guilty of uncontrollably spending all those funds, and then holding out their hand for more.

In Europe, one answer has been more government subsidies for children. A typical statist solution that tries to use the unacknowledged source of the problem to create incentives to bypass its consequences. While subsidies can marginally increase birth rates, they do not address the real problem.

Taking away people's money and then paying them to go shopping in order to stimulate the economy is common enough in the United States. And it never works. You can't restore a healthy economy with subsidies and you can't restore a healthy birth rate with some social benefits. It's not just about the money, it's also about the culture that was created by those policies. A post-family culture.

So the other Western solution is to import immigrants from a different culture with high birth rates. Europe has all but destroyed itself with that approach, and America is speedily following along. Sure, the total birth rate numbers look good, and no one is supposed to care how many European countries are set to be Muslim by 2100.

But the economics of it still don't work because social utilization goes up drastically to pay for all those extra children, many of whom will never work legally, others who will take far more out of the economy than they will ever put back in. The cost of trying and then imprisoning a single criminal for a year is staggering. Those rapes, murders and drug deals don't just have a human cost-- they have a shocking economic toll. And throw in a major riot like in London and the economic damage adds up to the loss of entire major cities.

And there we are back again to Europe set for a Muslim majority, and America set for a Hispanic majority, and both are going completely bankrupt anyway.

Chinese leaders could have pointed all this out to Biden, but they find it easier to let our civilizations collapse in their own time, while the Century of China gets underway. China may never make it, its own economy is parasitically interlinked with ours and its centrally planned economics and social unrest will probably take it down before 2050. This would be nothing new for China which has gone down this way before. And dynasty or party, it has never really learned from its mistakes.

And Europe arguably has never learned from the mistakes of the Roman Empire, instead again overreaching its conquests, outsourcing its defense, showing weakness at the worst possible time, opening cities to barbarians and engaging in absolute folly in a crisis have been repeated. And the United States is following along.

Peering at the world through the spyglass of history, it would seem as if every people are repeating their old errors again. The State of Israel looks a lot like the latter days of its kingdoms, placing its faith in an untrustworthy power, Egypt and Rome, and allowing itself to be led to disaster by internal division and treason. The Muslim world is aching to revive the Caliphate with the same end results, cultural decay and collapse.

It's astounding that no one has learned anything in thousands of years except how to make a better smartphone. We can put people on the moon and make dinner in five minutes, but we can't stop destroying ourselves in cycle after cycle of history while finding creative ways to justify our suicides.

America doesn't need a One Child Policy, but it has one anyway that punishes childbirth among productive populations and rewards it among unproductive populations. That leads to a division of lower income populations into a working class and a welfare class. With the working class supporting the welfare class. Marriage is down among both classes. It's too expensive for the working class and too unnecessary for the welfare class. Why bother getting married when the local aid office is already your husband, wife and parents combined? The more children you have, the more the government takes care of you.

If China's One Child Policy is a moral horror, the Western One Child Policy is an economic and social horror that has already destroyed major European and American cities. And it's just getting started.

The left's fear and loathing of Western self-perpetuation translates into shrill agitation for population control. Which means more tax penalized one child or no child families in the West alongside ten child Bangladeshi families living off social welfare since tax penalties can't be expected to apply to people who don't pay taxes.

The countries worried about population growth have too little of it, and the countries that aren't worried about it have too much of it. Globalists dream of some UN administered worldwide population scheme, but if no major country was willing to turn over its nuclear weapons to the UN, how likely is it that they'll turn over their babies?

Ted Turner has praised China's One Child policy and suggested that tax penalties could be used to dissuade large families, along with Cap and Trade for babies to allow those families or countries who don't have children to sell their childbearing rights to more fertile people and places.

Turner's plan would allow Europe to sell its child credits to Africa, but how would Africa afford it? China would have an entirely new export in baby credits, but the main countries buying it wouldn't be able to pay for it either. There's something ghoulish about such talk of trading unborn babies between the continents, aborted Western and Chinese babies being sold as credits to create new babies in countries subsidized by Western aid.

But we're trading enough live babies already. There is a booming trade in Chinese and African babies being adopted by Western couples. As with other Western industries, the manufacturing is outsourced to China, while the Western consumer overpays for a product that seems convenient in the short term, but is highly injurious to him and his society in the long term.

The consequences of using the Third World as a baby manufacturing factory, through immigration or adoption, are the end of the First World. You can outsource your energy production to countries that hate you and finance a wave of global terrorism. You can outsource your manufacturing and industry to countries that hate you and lose much of your economy and gain a powerful new enemy. But when you outsource your population replacement to peoples that hate you-- then you're gone.

A country can survive anything but its own self-inflicted genocide. And low birth rates combined with population replacement amount to that. Suicidal genocide by a civilization that no longer thinks there's any reason to go on.

The West has subsidized population booms in the Third World with its medicine and its aid. Now it's subsidizing its own population replacement by them. Uncle Sam, John Bull and Madam Liberty are sitting in a skyscraper somewhere with pistols to their heads, cheerfully making plans for their farewell parties. The parties will have a very diverse invitation list. And the evening will end with the suicide of the cultures that contributed so much to the world in the last 500 years.

But the fecklessness of Western liberals and liberalized conservatives may stem their self-inflicted suicide. Before the populations are wiped out, the economies will be.

America and Europe are coming up against the impossibility of maintaining their governments and their economies at the same time. They will have to choose one or the other, and whichever choice they make will leave their countries much less attractive to immigrants.

Either the end of the social safety net or the end of economic growth will significantly reduce rates of immigration and even lead to the exit of some immigrants. It's already happening in America just on the current unemployment rates alone. A complete economic collapse would dramatically reverse the number of opportunistic immigrants who come for profits, rather than for freedoms. But this isn't any kind of solution, it's more like a suicide realizing that he can't hang himself and jump into the water at the same time. He'll have to choose one or the other.

But drowning a dog to kill the fleas on it is no answer. Even if you reduce the number of fleas, the dog is still dead. And it's not clear if the dog can be revived again. The Russian people have never recovered from the damage done to them by Communism. Neither have their birth rates. America isn't as badly off-- but many European countries may have passed the point of return. The easiest way to tell may be to see which countries have an active political movement dedicated to national survival and which don't.

The 2012 election looks set to come down to a contest between a candidate who favors open borders and economic growth-- and a candidate who favors open borders and big government. Lucky us. We'll get to choose between a man who still wants us to have hope and faith in being able to hang ourselves and jump in the lake at the same time-- and a man who believes the future lies in jumping into the Rio Grande and lowering taxes. As they say north of the border, Dios Bendice a Estados Undisos Mexicanos.

Not that it matters. The fleas aren't killing the dog, they're feeding off its self-inflicted wounds. And the wounds are economic and cultural. Japan kept out immigrants, but its low birth rate and falling marriage rate, under the shadow of a big government maintained recession puts it in the same club as the rest of the First World  It may avoid filling its cities with Third Worlders doing manual labor and low level crime, and instead replace them with robots, but it's still on the path to extinction.

Meanwhile back in China, the Commissar of the Cracked Head Club, was explaining to his hosts who were trying to stifle their laughter, how unsustainable their system is.

"Poor dumb bastard," they think, "doesn't he understand that this is what drives our competitiveness. That Chinese parents push their child even harder to succeed when he is their sole source of support?

But how could Biden understand, what government control, estate taxes and the death of the family have robbed America of? Chinese families may have only one child, or two, but they still think in the long term. That child is their future. But Biden's own party is barely capable of thinking two weeks ahead. His opposition is hardly much better. Show me a Republican with a long term plan for the country, and I'll show you an unelectable candidate. Show me a Republican with short term solutions that ignore long term problems-- and I'll call him, Mr. President.

Having children is about thinking of the future. Cultures that stop thinking of the future, that cannot imagine the world going on after they die, find innovative ways to commit suicidal genocide. The left is right that having children is not selfless, it's long term selfishness. It's our willful desire to keep our blood and our people around on the planet long after we're gone.

Long term selfishness like that built this country. It built a lot of countries. It raised industries out of the ground and covered the continent with people. But when a culture loses its sense of long term selfishness, what replaces it is a short attention span and instant gratification. And as the economic reasons for having children vanish, and so does the structure of the family, the reasons for having children diminish. The biological need is replaced by housepets and casual sex.

China's competitiveness is personal, but it transcends the personal. Its leaders are venal, greedy and amoral-- but they also think of the future. American competitiveness is personal. It doesn't look to the future. Our companies are satisfied with making short term gains. Our politicians look for short term successes. Our culture seeks only to lock in the benefits of the present, while China sacrifices the present for the future. It does so in brutal and ugly ways, but you don't have to fight a duel nicely to win. You just have to play to win.

Children are the staying power of a nation. They are its long term projection into the future. When a nation does not think of the future, then it has no children and when a nation has no children, then it has no future.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Jews Say Yes

Some 70 years after high school students, shopkeepers and doctors stood with their backs to the wall of the ghettos and sang, "Never Say You Walk Upon Your Final Way" while reloading their pistols, a rally organized by "Jews Say No" gathered to protest against Israel for defending itself.

The Partisan's song of the ghettos was a courageous affirmation of life by those who went off to fight in Warsaw and in Jerusalem. And today there are the ugly chants of those who deny that affirmation. Who insist that the Jews are better off dead. Their rhetoric cloaks this agenda in the occupation,

Jerusalem Post columnist Larry Derfner wrote on his blog that, "the Palestinians have the right to use terrorism against us." Of the terrorists who killed eight Israelis last week, "however vile their ideology was, they were justified to attack."

Larry Derfner is honest, if equally vile, he doesn't bother justifying the genocidal Islamism of the post-PLO order, instead he settles for justifying the murders without regard to ideology. It doesn't matter what you believe anymore, or what you're fighting for, the left now extends the right to kill Jews without any belief test. You can be on the left, you can even be on the right, you can have beliefs identical to those of the Nazis, but with an Islamic veneer. It's all good.

Derfner dresses up his murderous permissiveness in talk of resistance, but if the fathers of one of the children killed by Fatah terrorist attacks were to kick Abbas in the shin, he would be the first to call for his head. It's resistance when you kill Jews. It's occupation when Jews fight back.

Larry Derfner's comments aren't atypical, they're widely believed on the left, but less often said outside their own circles, and even less often in English by a well known columnist. The reason for that isn't that the Israeli left are any more moral than their American counterparts, but in a country where going off to the army is still a national duty, those are explosive words.

The Israeli left makes a game of harassing soldiers with groups such as Machsom Watch, but it also tries to maintain the fiction that it is advocating on behalf of the soldiers by freeing them of dangerous duty in the territories, rather than openly approving of murdering them. Opinions such as Derfner's can be found among anarchists and the far left which marches openly with red flags, but rarely among a Post columnist

But times are changing. The Israeli left of 2010 is less likely to have sons in the army than 50 years ago. The IDF is more religious and more tanned. Like the United States, service is less of a national duty, and more a matter of choice. There are those who serve, and those who go play on the Riviera or move to Hollywood. Or strap on their guitars and strum their best ripoff of a Lennon song, while taunting those who do serve.

These are the Jews who say no, whether they say it in New York near the Israeli embassy, smirking for the camera, or writing on their blogs ideas which are a little too much for the Jerusalem Post, it is still the same word. It is not a new word. For every Jew who picked up a rifle in the Warsaw Ghetto and refused to give up, there were those who also said, "No."

Worse than the Judenrats and the Kapos, was Zagiew and Group 13, collaborator groups who were ideologically opposed to fighting the Nazis and tried to track and betray those who did on behalf of their masters. The Jewish Nazi collaborator who was not hunted down by the resistance and survived the war, rarely felt any guilt over what he did. George Soros' complete lack of moral awareness is not an aberration. It is perfectly normal for such people.

The Soviet Union too had its Jews who said, "No". This was the Yevesktsia, or the Jewish Section, which shut down synagogues, persecuted Rabbis, executed Zionists or anyone suspected of Jewish activities. Like Zagiew, Group 13 and the Kapos-- the Yevsektsia was eventually purged by its own masters. But its spirit is reborn in a thousand modern day left wing groups like J-Street.

There were always more Jews who resisted, than turned Soros. More Jews who picked up a rifle or taught their children to pray. But the majority were neither. Like most people of every race and religion, they allowed themselves to be swept up by the tide. And the illusion that there were two sides kept them neutral. Balanced between those Jews who refused to die and those Jews who were trying to kill them.

In every society under occupation, there are those who collaborate and those who resist. But the modern occupation is not a thing of armies and fortresses. It is the occupation of the mind.

The occupation of the Jewish mind is an old story. A people cannot live as a minority without experiencing this occupation. The Fuhrer and Commissar of the mind who teaches you to love yourself by loathing your own people.  But the occupation of the Western mind is a newer thing. These occupations are all the more insidious because there is no army to drive out, no barricades to charge.

How does one challenge an occupation of Larry Derfners and J-Streets? In the ghettos they waited until the inevitable moment had come, and the situation was as bad as it was going to get, and those appeasers who had some scrap of decency committed suicide or stood aside. But a Warsaw Ghetto doomed last stand would be a terrible thing in Israel or the rest of the free world.

The Israeli right was proven right about appeasing terrorists over and over again. Every prediction that was made, from Arafat violating the accords, to widespread terrorism, to Jerusalem being on the table have come true. The right predicted disaster after withdrawal from Lebanon. They were right. They predicted that the pullout from Gaza would lead to a Hamas terrorist state, and they were right.

We can go back further than that to Jabotinsky pleading with the Jews of Poland to flee while they had the chance. He was right, but as usual it didn't matter. The Jews of Eastern Europe were wiped out as he had predicted. But the left still went on ridiculing him. What were a few million dead there. What are a few million more dead here?

Being right isn't enough. the left is rapidly metastasizing into its final genocidal form. Its occupation of the minds of civilized men has become a disease that is consuming the host. And like a mosquito deadening the nerve endings of the skin of its victim, the first symptom of the disease is an inability to recognize the problem. Its final symptom is to state that the problem is not the mosquito drinking blood, but the amount of blood that hasn't been drunk yet.

This is the point of view of the mosquito, of the Israeli left, the American left and of every left. It is Code Pink, the ACLU, Not in Our Name, Women in Black, J Street, Jews Say No, Please Kill Us Because We Raped the Planet and Don't Deserve to Go On Living.

The optimist says that the glass is half empty. The pessimist says that it is half full. The left says that it should be completely empty and you should feel ashamed that there is any water in it at all. And that if you had any humanity and decency, you would pour out that water right now. If you don't, then you're fair game. And if you do, you're fair game, because you didn't do it quickly enough. And if you do it quickly, you're fair game because you are descended from people who didn't pour out their own water quickly enough.

This is the occupation of the mind. It has a surface logic over an utterly irrational mindset. Its goal is to convince you to kill yourself. Its goal is to convince you to say, No, or at least, Maybe.

Most Jews will never say, No, but quite a few will say, Maybe-- because we are terribly reasonable people and we like to listen to both sides of the argument, even when one side insists that there are perfectly good reasons for killing us. And any concession to No, is a slow path to suicide.

People who say Maybe have announced that they are unwilling to stand up to those who say, No. Their minds are already under occupation. By saying Maybe they have given their assent to mass murder and all that follows. By refusing to stand up, they lie down and let the worst do their ugly work.

The Maybes are very concerned with extremism and finding a safe middle ground. They want to be reasonable. But eventually the reasonable people still end up behind barbed wire, waiting to die. And here lies the difference between reason and reasonable. To use reason is to know that there is no use in being reasonable in the face of people who want to kill you.

The occupation, says Larry Derfner. The occupation, choruses, Women in Black, Jews Say No and a thousand other organizations.

But what occupation was there when the Jews of Hebron were massacred in 1929? Ah, but there were Jews in Hebron. There is your occupation.

And why were the Jews massacred by Muslim mobs in 1066? Obviously they were occupying Spain. Not to mention Morocco, Syria and Iran-- and every Muslim country where Jews were persecuted for centuries before Herzl or Moshe Dayan.

"...the Jews of the city were herded into their synagogues and slaughtered to the last man; the young women were raped..."

Thus ended the Jewish occupation of Aleppo in 1400. Much as Hitler ended the Jewish occupation of Berlin. And as the Muslim world remains committed to ending the Jewish occupation of Israel.There are always occupations. The occupation of those who kill Jews, and the occupation of those who justify the acts. Those who say, No.

Those who say No to Israel, say Yes to genocide. As those who said, No, to the Jews of Warsaw did. That there are Jews who say no to the right of the Jewish people to live is the definitive testament to the occupation. And why the occupation of the mind must be broken.

This is our war. It is what we fight against. The left's colonization of the Jewish mind is manifested in the No's and the Maybe's. In the modern incarnations of the Yevesktisas and the Group 13's. It is easy to dismiss many of them, like Jews Say No's list of signatories, which include such prominent Jews as Enoch Wu, Maher Awartani and Kelly McCann. The "No's" will always remain a minority. But they are also a living symbol of the occupation we face. The occupation of our identity and of our right to live.

The No's can never be entirely defeated, but that is not the point. The Warsaw Ghetto uprising did not bring down the Third Reich, but it remains a powerful symbol of "Yes". The Maccabee uprising too was a short term triumph, that ended in Roman occupation, but the story of Chanukah is eternal. These "Yes" moments represent our will to live, free of physical and mental occupation. They are the story of our national dignity.

The Jewish people began its history as slaves, every time we rise to fight impossible odds, we burn into our collective memory that our slavery is a temporary thing. That when we go down in defeat, we still do it as free men and women. The "No" is the legacy of the slave. It is a disease that lurks in the human mind. Every time we defeat it, we experience freedom if only for a moment. Every time we reject the colonization of our minds and the occupation of our experiences, we leave Egypt as free men and women once again.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Afternoon Roundup - The Rise of the Oceans Began to Slow



"This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal," the Chosen Zero said in his speech of speeches.

Now as we prepare for Hurricane Irene (known to Congresswoman Shirley Jackson Lee as Hurricane Waneesha) the oceans proved to be as immune to Obama's reality distortion field as the economy. Maybe it was us. If only we had believed in him, then like Tinkerbell, the magic of the Zero would have transformed the planet. But we lost faith in him, and once the rose colored glasses came off, there were mountains of unemployment. And even earthquakes in Washington D.C.

Who's to blame? Global warming, duh.

"Hurricane another sign of global warming's impact‎," says the New Jersey Star-Ledger, which scrambled out ahead of the evacuation to outsource its headline writing to Al Gore's ghostwriter.

"Bill McKibben: Global warming to blame for Hurricane Irene". Who's Bill McKibben? Glad you asked. He's the author of "Eaarth" ( yes it's spelled that way, that's the environmentally correct way to spell it) also he's running a a global-warming awareness campaign that is planning a Global Work Party on climate change for 10-10-10.

Should you trust the credentials of a man who can't even spell "Earth" to tell us that hurricanes come from too many people using old fashioned lightbulbs? Well he is wearing a ski jacket in warm weather while leaning casually on a fencepost and smiling awkwardly at the camera. I find that very convincing.

It's not clear if he has an actual degree in anything related to environmental science, but he is a fellow at the Post-Carbon Institute, which is certain to alienate the inhabitants of the new all-carbon planet that has just been discovered by actual scientists.

Last week a NASA report warned that a failure to crack down on carbon might alienate the aliens, (who of course are bound to be militant environmentalists), but perhaps by embracing carbon, we might actually find things in common with them. Like our mutual hatred of ski jacket wearing carbon hating busybodies.

Bryan Walsh at Time dampens McKibben's enthusiasm a little, while of course paying home to the Flying Climate Change Monster whom we must all worship by buying carbon credits and shopping at Whole Foods.




EVERYBODY NEEDS A FRIEND

Everybody needs a friend, that's what Mr. Rogers said, or maybe it was Colonel Gaddafi, but it's true. Especially terrorists, they really need their friends. And the American Friends Service Committee are the faithful friends of the terrorists.

When the former officers of the Holy Land Foundation who had served as Hamas’ fundraising arm went before the US Court of Appeals– there weren’t many organizations willing to file an Amicus brief. But the American Friends Service Committee​ was first among them.

The American Friends Service Committee had good reason to be worried. It had worked with Life for Relief and Development, an Islamic charity also accused of being a Hamas front. Its concern over the criminal prosecution of charities that passed money along to terrorists was even more pressing because it has a substantial presence in Hamas-run Gaza.

But the AFSC are Quakers, non-violent pacifists, right? Not so much.

By the 1970′s, the American Friends Service Committee had legitimized terrorism and discarded the veneer of non-violence. In a pamphlet titled, “Non-Violence: Not First For Export”,  leading AFSC figure, James E. Bristol wrote, “before we deplore terrorism, it is essential for us to recognize whose ‘terrorism’ came first.”

Read the whole thin in my article, With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies

Friendship in the Muslim world is a passing thing too. One day they're selling you cut rate souvenirs and threatening to marry your sister, and the next day they're cutting your throat and marrying your sister. But at least the Arab Spring is making the Middle East a better place. Really? Not so much.

Last year, Israel had three stable borders and one unstable border. Now that the Arab Spring has turned into Terror Summer, those numbers have flipped around. Israel’s border with Egypt has become as troubled as the Lebanese border. And the Syrian border is following close behind.

Such is the passing nature of friendship. But Obama did succeed in finally passing Carter.

The Camp David Accords were one of the few good things that Carter ever did.  And in a dubious achievement, Obama has managed to bring down the only good thing that the worst administration until his had done.

That's quite a legacy. "Worse Than Carter." See the whole piece on Egypt and Israel in my Front Page article, Arab Spring for Dummies





HOW ABOUT A LITTLE INFLATION

Forget the crazy Inlataphobes. They're as nuts as those guys worried about Muslim terrorism. And overreach of executive powers.

It's time to welcome in inflation, also Muslims and hurricanes. And possible cholera. But definitely inflation.

The Fed has room to use additional asset purchases to stimulate the economy and create moderate inflation to aid indebted consumers, as Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signals he’s ready to spurn “inflation-obsessed fanatics,

Those fanatics always obsessed with the return of the Carter Administration. Don't they know that inflation isn't a problem. It's just a really fun way to drive up food prices. And wipe out the middle class.

Policy makers seeking to rescue the U.S. economy are wrong to worry about the threat of inflation and should heed Warren Buffett’s call for higher taxes on the wealthy, according to Don Brownstein, manager of last year’s top-performing hedge fund.

Some Federal Reserve members and lawmakers, acting the part of “modern day ‘Know-Nothings,’” have been “raving about imaginary uncontrolled inflation and wringing their hands over government deficits,”

I'm sure Don in no way stands to profit from inflation. Just like he didn't profit from the subprime meltdown. But as it turns out Don did. Just as Warren Buffett just made a killing on Bank of America with a sweet little sweetheart deal.

For starters, Buffett's investment company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.    , will collect $300 million annually for letting BofA, Washington state's largest bank by market share, hold its money. Where else do you get that kind of return these days? And it's a pretty safe investment; only at risk if BofA goes belly-up.

When BofA is ready to exit Buffett's equity stake, it'll have to buy the shares back at a 6 percent premium, meaning Buffett gets his $5 billion back, plus $300 million. That's on top of the dividends he received in the meantime.

He would rake in a total of $1.2 billion in dividends and premium payments, a 24 percent return. Then there are the warrants. BofA's two-year high share price was $19.48 in April 2010. If the shares were to reach that point again, Buffett could exercise his warrants, then sell the shares at a profit of $8.7 billion.

And where's all that profit coming from? Well... the American people.

“This is the taxpayer giving Warren Buffett a great return,” said Amar Bhide, a professor of international business at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. “He knows that Bank of America is too big to fail. If it is too big to fail, then why not?”

Bank of America is in business because of a massive bailout, and it is guaranteed by the government. Which makes this Buffett's no risk looting bit of crony capitalism.

 Now, observation No. 2. BofA continues to say it didn't need the capital. So why do the deal? Credibility.

And if you believe that, I've got some real estate overlooking the river to sell you. It's got a lot of ropes and things attached to it, and people drive cars over it between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Anyone who seriously thinks Buffett's tax tirade and the B of A deal are randomly timed is rather optimistic about human nature. And about the kind of crony capitalism practiced routinely among dedicated socialists.

I wrote about this back in the day, Wednesday,

"New York Times columnists may kvell over Warren Buffett's eagerness to be taxed at a higher rate, but most people suspect that it isn't saintliness at work, but personal economic interest. The same interest that led Buffett, Bill Gates and other top billionaires to support Obama. There is nothing strange about the phenomenon of anti-capitalist capitalists. Capitalism is one way to make money. Socialism is another. The modern monopoly is as likely to rest on government regulation as on the naked marketplace. And the modern trust operates out of the White House and Capitol Hill."

And Small Dead Animals calls it the New Fealty. This isn't new. These fights were happening when Hamilton and Jefferson were glaring at each over over the bargaining table. But they've gotten way bigger since. And the loot has gotten so much sweeter.

The investment had many drawing comparisons to September 2008, when Buffett invested $5 billion in Goldman Sachs during the height of the financial crisis and secured a lucrative deal for his company. That was right before the government passed a bailout package known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, rescuing a range of financial firms and confirming the wisdom of Buffett’s bet.

The old oracles were someone whispering through a tube into a statue. The Oracle of Omaha, well let's just say he's as oracular as Soros and the rest of the gang.

Forget Wall Street, they're just the middle men for a gang of vampires who make Dracula look like a stockboy. And they're robbing America blind and strongly backing a system that will turn America into a penny stock that they can pick up at fire sale prices.

Let's flash back to Warren Buffett's tender love note to the Obama admin in 2010, in the pages of the New York Times.

DEAR Uncle Sam,

My mother told me to send thank-you notes promptly. I’ve been remiss...

Many of our largest industrial companies, dependent on commercial paper financing that had disappeared, were weeks away from exhausting their cash resources. Indeed, all of corporate America’s dominoes were lined up, ready to topple at lightning speed. My own company, Berkshire Hathaway, might have been the last to fall, but that distinction provided little solace...

I don’t know precisely how you orchestrated these. But I did have a pretty good seat as events unfolded, and I would like to commend a few of your troops. In the darkest of days, Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner and Sheila Bair grasped the gravity of the situation and acted with courage and dispatch...

Your grateful nephew,

Warren


Warren E. Buffett is the chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, a diversified holding company.

If we ever intend to save this country, we might start doing something about all those 'Nephews' who loot by night and then call for higher taxes by day-- while laughing all the way to the Bank of America.

Ah finally the other company that was a beneficiary of Buffett's largess...

Shortly after the Goldman deal, Berkshire also invested $3 billion in General Electric Co. in exchange for preferred stock and warrants.

The CEO of GE just happens to be our good friend, Jeffrey Immelt, also chairperson of Obama's Chairperson of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.. and GE is now moving its X-Ray business to China.

Times like these, I have to wonder whether we really are any better than Putin's Russia. Federal law enforcement doesn't shoot critics and then call it a suicide-- but especially in Obama's term, we don't have a government, we have a self-righteous greed machine that steals everything it can, and then lectures us on our obligations.





 LOWEST OF THE LOW


How do you get any lower than that? Well you could be Larry Derfner who suggested that terrorists are justified in attacking Israelis. But to be fair, Derfner is a columnist for the Tehran Times. Except he's actually a columnist for the Jerusalem Post.

"Whoever the Palestinians were who killed the eight Israelis near Eilat last week, however vile their ideology was, they were justified to attack."

If you don't think that someone who writes that sort of thing should be a Jerusalem Post columnist, drop the editor a line.

Derfner has already taken down the post and "explained" that he meant the terrorist attacks are justified, but he didn't want them to actually happen. But foolishly some people assumed otherwise.

Writing that the killing of Israelis was justified and a matter of right took a vile image and attached words of seeming approval to it.

Yes, some people think that saying that murder is a right and justified makes it sound like approval. Derfner's new position is that... (drum roll)

What I mean is this: The occupation does not justify Palestinian terror. It does, however, provoke it. Palestinians do not have the right to attack or kill Israelis. They, do, however, have the incentive to, and part, though not all, of that incentive is provided them by the occupation.

Which puts him safely in the moderate left. The problem was that it isn't what he said.

"I think the Palestinians have the right to use terrorism against us" and "Whoever the Palestinians were who killed the eight Israelis near Eilat last week, however vile their ideology was, they were justified to attack."

So there are two possibilities here. Larry Derfner is so functionally illiterate that he doesn't understand the meaning of the word "right" and "justified." I can only pity him for that and hope that he receives the basic literacy training that he needs.

But if that's the case, the Jerusalem Post can no longer afford to damage its credibility by publishing the writing of a functionally illiterate man. It's a disservice to their readers.

The second possibility is that like the terrorists whose acts he approved of, Derfner is a coward. He was willing to suicide bomb an article on a blog where he thought that only his fellow travelers would see it. But when it was exposed, he scrambled to explain that he confused "incentive" with "right".

In that case he deserves a new job at Haaretz.





HURRICANE ROGER



Give climate change its due-- it was responsible for one of the more disastrous Roger Cohen article in recent memory. And considering that Roger Cohen's pen writes like clowns fight fires, that's a true catastrophe. Here are some fragments of the horror...



The Republican Texas governor clings to an ice floe of diminishing credibility

Perry said there are some gaps in the theory. If so, he is one.

Maybe more important, Perry waxed wrongly on global warming.


And that's just from the first two paragraphs. By the end of the second paragraph, Rog throws in McCarthy's skeleton rattling. Because no string of bad metaphors is complete without the old Senator's skeleton showing up to frighten liberals.


But no dead political skeleton could be scarier than Roger Cohen left alone in a room with a typewriter.


Perry’s quaint belief in the utter innocence of mankind when it comes to polluting our precious atmosphere might seem like an innocuous tick


It's possible that Roger Cohen meant 'tic', but I believe that he was actually back from a weekend of hunting bigfoot, and was discussing the innocuous ticks all over his body.


the entirely wacky conservative belief of yore that the fluoridation of drinking water was a communist tactic to addle the minds of youth


I don't know whether to blame fluoridation of drinking water for that addled sentence, or blame the man who told Roger Cohen that writing articles would keep him from having to serve in Tunisia.


But Roger Cohen can pull back on whatever mental breakdown made him write sentences like these. Perry isn't about to burn environmentalists at the stake.


Six years ago, Texas took an important step towards a cleaner environment and greater energy independence by requiring 3 percent of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2009. 

Senate Bill 20 calls for 5,880 megawatts… …or about 5 percent of the state’s electricity… …to come from renewable sources by 2015.

By 2025, the goal is to have clean sources supply a full 10 percent of the state’s power needs.

This bill will also help ensure that Texas has a diverse supply of clean energy by requiring 500 megawatts to be produced by renewable sources besides wind… such as biomass and solar power.

I am proud to put my name on this bill because it is good for our economy, our environment and our future. 


See Roger, it's not so bad. 




THE ROUNDUP

In the days and weeks leading to September 11, Zilla rounds up some thoughts and precedents for the conflict.

Norman Berdichevsky gets interviewed on the Andrea King show

Katy Perry stands up for Israel.. but not really.

Caroline Glick sums up Beck's visit

“Beck said that his movement will be one of individuals who work together to defend Israel and the Jews from those who seek our destruction. He argued that regular people are far more capable of understanding what needs to be done than the well-heeled experts who lead us down the garden path of weakness and demoralization.

And he is right.

And in bringing this message to Israel, he demonstrated his friendship. We should return the favor by taking his advice. We should trust ourselves and our instincts and stop listening to the ‘experts’ who preach weakness and surrender.”

And life is bad if you're a Pakistani orphan living near an area where dancing boys are on every warlord's list.

According to charities which work to protect street children in Pakistan, up to 90 percent are sexually abused on the first night that they sleep rough and 60 percent accuse police of sexually abusing them.

Another reminder that Islamic law works.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Political Messiahs in Tailored Suits

Let's not pretend that the right is any more immune to leader worship and cults of personality than the zombie hordes on the left. The cult of personality as a means of power predates political orientation, it dates back to the first men who understood that leadership is not about doing what the tribe wants, but about elevating yourself above the tribe.

Reasoned political involvement is about fixing toilets. When your toilet is broken, you look through the listings, find a plumber who seems to have a good track record, look at his rates and decide if you want to bring him in to do the job.

Leader worship is about ignoring the broken toilet and reveling in the greatness of the plumber who doesn't actually fix your toilet, but spends hours talking tough about fixing all the toilets or movingly about the broken toilet inside each and every one of us.

To worship a leader you must first turn off the discriminating part of your brain, the one that is able to spot flaws and think critically about a subject. The one that notices the toilets still aren't fixed. The one that questions his toilet fixing track record. You must fall in love.

People fall in love with leaders all the time. And they do it for the same reason that they fall in love with members of the opposite sex. Completion. Love bypasses the messier questions of life and gives us an immediate solution in the form of a man or woman. The one who fix everything wrong in our lives by just being there.

Leader worship is a lesser form of religion that seeks unity with a man, rather than a deity. Anyone who doubts that's so only need look back a few years to the zombie hordes who flocked to worship Obama and take in the glowing rays of his presence. While gods are invisible and out of sight, a political leader can be seen in the flesh, his flesh can be pressed, and when he talks, you hear him. Does he hear you? His followers like to think so, it's better than admitting the awful truth that no leader can save them. That the hard work of fighting for their cause is in their own hands.

How can you spot leader worship? The same way that you can an abusive relationship. Excuses. The more excuses there are, the more wrong there is underneath. The excuses are the rational part of the mind being suppressed by the devoted grey matter that throws out explanations for everything. As excuses begin to contradict principles, a defensive show of angry outbursts follows. And the thinner the excuses are, the greater the anger.

The left spent years making excuses for Obama. Now all it has left are the excuses and the anger. The love is gone, now all that's left are the rationalizations for it. And the rationalizations are stronger than the love, because they are a psychological defense mechanism that prevent them from admitting how foolishly they behaved.

A challenge to a reasonable position is met with reason. An attack on an emotional position is met with emotion. There is nothing wrong with emotional positions. Some things we accept uncritically like the love of one's country and people. If we examine them too critically, then it is easy enough to come to hate them as the left has. But the uncritical acceptance of a politician is a dangerous thing.

It may be a good thing to follow your heart in matters of the heart and to go on faith in matters of faith, but in matters of politics it means turning over the keys to the kingdom to a politician and then giving him a blank check to do what he will.

All human beings are flawed. Even the best leader will have mixed motives, clashing agendas and fundamental errors. The checks and balances that restrain one man's flaws are invested in the legislature and the voters who can collectively check any leader in his time. But they cannot do so unless they know he is wrong.

It is easy enough to tell a plumber that he hasn't fixed your toilet, unless you have accepted that the toilet is a metaphor, and your plumber has been selected for charisma and wordplay, rather than his plumbing skills. That is the state of the broken toilet in Washington D.C. And it's also the state of the nation. The toilets never get fixed, and the excuses become elaborate philosophies about the nature of toilets and why not fixing them is actually better than fixing them.

The age of kings is done, but the immediacy of media has made image king. Our leaders are to be tall and handsome. James Madison and John Adams would have never stood a chance of being elected today. They are to be polished speakers. Lincoln with his notoriously shrill speaking voice would have been laughed out of a modern debate. And Washington with his difficulties socializing, brief speeches and dislike of ceremony would have found the modern campaign trail unbearable.

There is no help for any of this. Or for a system that excludes the best from even seeking the office because they are not telegenic enough. But the media made image king is also a dangerous thing as it makes it all too easy to confuse the surface with the substance and confuse the physical qualities of leadership with the character of a leader. To fall in love with who a leader seems to be, rather than with who he really is.

Enthusiasm is the lifeblood of politics, but it's also a poison when it becomes a consuming embrace of a politician. Politicians will always let you down because they are only human beings practicing a corrupt profession. And even the best of them must be called on what they do wrong, or what results is the tyranny of charisma and the salesmanship of the slick.

What a politician fears the most is the discerning voter-- the man or woman that he cannot lie to for very long, who will not be carried away by flights of enthusiasm, and will look at the whole picture before making a decision. He fears this for the same reason that a car salesman fears a customer who knows all the tricks, has studied up everything about the car and will make a smart decision.

The politician and the car may be the best choice, but it is easier to deal with less discerning voters and customers. But that 'ease' breeds laziness and that laziness easily translates into corruption.

Unmanaged workers are usually less productive than managed workers. And the voters are meant to be the managers of politicians. The ones who check up on them, call them out for their mistakes and demand better of them. Workers who can manipulate their managers are terrors, and so are politicians who can easily manipulate the voters.

Government is only productive to the extent that voters think critically, judge harshly and demand more from their leaders. It is useless to the extent that voters embrace politicians, fawn on them, admire their beach photos and join their cult of personality.

Nothing destroys a democracy so thoroughly and comprehensively as a cult of personality. The last three years should have taught us that. Nothing makes people close their eyes to what is going on as well as leader worship does. And then the thieves have their range of the store, the treasury and will go on signing promissory notes in our name for the rest of it.

A politician cannot save us from other politicians, only we can save ourselves from them by taking responsibility for our choices, by them professionally as men and women out to do a job on our behalf and holding them to our expectations, rather than being caught up in the illusion that their backers spin around them.

To do anything else is a poison that will destroy any hope of reform, that will corrupt us and our leaders, and perpetuate the state of corruption already in place. No man or woman can change the system through sheer force of personality and goodness. Only their accountability can do that.

We don't need more messiahs in tailored suits, what we need is a serious and critical examination of the man or woman we will choose to represent our cause in the nation. That means a balance of flaws and virtues, undertaken with the understanding that we are making choices, weighing the positives and negatives on a scale, and choosing the balance that serves our aim best.

This is the only rational thing to do and it is what we must do if we do not become caught up in cults of personality. If we do not close our eyes and let go of our minds and instead have faith in a man or woman to come to Washington D.C. and save us. The moment that we close our eyes, we are lost.

When a nation's leaders are corrupt, then the nation can be saved, but when the people worship them, then all is truly lost. In the coming time, we will have to determine who will go forth to stand for us in the district, the state and the nation. And balancing pragmatism against principles, having done the best we can, cast our die and hope that a higher power will guide our hand.

But all this depends on keeping a clear head when we play the game and on remembering that our cause is not the man, but the idea of freedom. We do not labor to find ourselves a better master, but to make ourselves the masters of those who would rule over us. And if we fail to do that, if we close our eyes, then our blindfolds will become our chains. And those we should command will rule over us instead.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

An Earthquake Comes to Washington

It took an earthquake to interrupt Obama's golf game. Nothing else until now has. But while the rumbling of tectonic plates comes and goes, the deeper rumbling of millions of voters will not. The rumbling is larger than this election. It is bigger than Obama and larger than his feckless party. It is an earthquake of self-definition.

There are two types of earthquake events in the last hundred years. Shocks that made Americans rethink their society, the government and the world around them. Economic depressions and unexpected wars.  The Great Depression, Pearl Harbor and September 11 were all shocks to the system that changed the country. That changed how Americans saw themselves. And we may now be in the midst of a fourth such event.

Obama's backers expected that a second depression would lead to a second New Deal. His victory seemed to bear out their predictions. The crisis was here, now was the time to exploit it. But instead of another New Deal, the crisis has led to an Anti-New Deal, a revolt against government regulation.

The left's dogmatic rigidity, its adherence to theories of history in which capitalism leads to socialism blinded it to the obvious. A major national economic crisis had come again, but the context of it had changed.

There was a world of difference between 1933 and 2010 in the level of government involvement in the economy. Today we are living in a New Deal world, reformed, moderated and elaborated on. Massive government intervention in the economy is not a radical new idea, it's business as usual. The architects of the New Deal could claim that they were addressing the failures of capitalism-- but today there is no longer any sector of the economy that legally takes place outside the sphere of government. The buck stops in DC.

The anti-capitalist rhetoric of the left has been unconvincing for that reason. When the two richest men in America hold fundraisers for the Democratic Party, does that mean the capitalists have taken over the party, or that the socialists have taken over capitalism? Most people intuitively know the answer to that. The modern economic reality is an oligarchy where public officials and private lobbies intersect.

The dirty handshakes between the public sector and the private led to this disaster. It's easy to call for more regulation in response-- but who regulates the regulators?

Obama rose to power on wheelbarrows of money from the rich, the super-rich and from unknown sources that have never been accounted for. He raised twice as much money as McCain, and while the media disinformation machine insists that it was the power of social media at work, it was actually the power of socialism.

Socialism is just crony capitalism misspelled, and everyone knows it. Everyone who has ever competed for a government contract, been forced to join a union by government mandate or been squeezed out of an industry by agreements negotiated between corporate lobbyists and their congressional allies that is. The more you regulate, the more you control.

New York Times columnists may kvell over Warren Buffett's eagerness to be taxed at a higher rate, but most people suspect that it isn't saintliness at work, but personal economic interest. The same interest that led Buffett, Bill Gates and other top billionaires to support Obama. There is nothing strange about the phenomenon of anti-capitalist capitalists. Capitalism is one way to make money. Socialism is another. The modern monopoly is as likely to rest on government regulation as on the naked marketplace. And the modern trust operates out of the White House and Capitol Hill.

But it is not just personal corruption that leaves the left a less than credible force of economic reform. The entire national context has changed.

There is no use denouncing the capitalists, as if it were 1929 outside the window instead of 2011. That old form of economic hegemony no longer exists except under government patronage. And there is also no use in pretending that the complex relationship between government and business can be untangled with only one of the parties getting the blame, while the other party gets the power.

The old FDR way of offering progressive government as the antidote to free market recklessness no longer works. It no longer comforts anyone or makes them feel secure. There is a long history of government recklessness that makes it impossible for more than a limited portion of the population to be that naive again.

The public is more accepting of government intervention today than it was then, but it is also more distrustful of it. And that distrust easily comes to the surface in a time of crisis which is why the movement to hold government accountable is gathering steam.

The Great Depression paved the way for a change in the relationship between the public and the government. And the Ought Depression may be doing the same thing. But while the New Deal made it a close relationship, the political wars of the last two years are leading instead to a breakup between the public and the government.

Progressive government has not only failed to avert several economic crises, it has also completely mismanaged the social safety net and become so hideously expensive that it can no longer be kept up. Those are all dangerously compelling answers and the left has come up with no response to them except to throw out conspiracy theories and cry racism. Such intellectual desperation reminiscent of a dictator ranting hysterically on a televised broadcast as the noose tightens around his regime.

This is the larger earthquake shaking Washington. And it's not just the ivory towers of the left that are trembling. The Republican Party has not built up the same type of political machine that its opposite numbers on the left have, but it's still the party of big government. Not for philosophical reasons, but for practical ones. Few people take a job only to make themselves redundant. And few politicians give up power once they have it.

The Republican Party is less likely to have a radical social agenda or to construct an empire of activists integrated into every level of the public and private sector to carry it through, but it isn't the party of freedom either. After the wild days of Teddy, it has been content to be the reasonable party. The party of moderates who come in to clean up the mess that the radical lunatics leave behind. To be the ones that the nation turn to when the FDRs and Jimmy Carters and Obamas make too great a mess. And then a very presidential figure sweeps in, fixes some things, throws out some others, raises taxes and does all the things that even his liberal predecessor couldn't get away with, and leaves to the cheers of a grateful nation with his 'Dime Store New Deal' clutched tightly in hand.

That's why the Tea Party is the real earthquake in Washington DC. A political movement dedicated to the political disarmament of government power. It's an attack on the centralization consensus, the cornerstone of progressive politics that says bigger is better and more central oversight is what gets the job done.

In a decade where a digital marketplace was created by allowing the natural self-organization of people to shape their own decision-- the decentralization proposed by the Tea Party is on the right side of history. The Federal government white elephant that seemed so impressive in 1955 looks like a hopeless antique in an age of freelance workers, reputation management and the self-ecosystem.

The evolution of technology has also led to a quantum leap in personal empowerment. Whether it's the Army of One or the Army of Davids-- the individual is the center of his own organization. And this conflicts with an ever more intrusive government which insists on telling people what to eat. With the family and the corporation collapsing-- the state is still trying to present itself as the one enduring thing in everyone's life. The cradle to grave state that can't take care of its finances, but promises to take care of you.

Obama was supposed to put a fresh technicolor coat of paint on the old outmoded systems, but his technocracy amounted to little more than incompetence disguised as self-promotion. A quality that is ubiquitous in social media, but also nakedly obvious after enough exposure to it. Not only did he fail to convince the country that government should be expanded, but his mismanagement gave rise to a populist opposition movement that is threatening to bring down the entire chain of assumptions of progressive government.

The exploitation of the economic disaster to create a 21st century New Deal failed because it was the ragged ends of the New Deal that had brought about the economic disaster, and the New New Deal that created an even bigger disaster with its uncontrolled spending.

The American public has lost faith in big government and in the messiah of big government. And a nation of people who feel out of control in the midst of a whirling economic crisis want to regain some control by taking it back from the bureaucrats, the lobbyists and the politicians. This is the real earthquake and when it strikes, then the golf game will be called on account of a hard electoral rain.