Saturday, October 31, 2009

How not to run a country or economy

'In the case of a hyperinflation, essentially, the government gets a slight discount, based on the fact that it knows how much money is in existence, and you don't. It prints the dollars, and uses them to buy goods, and then the oversupply of dollars pushes up prices still further. But the discount is actually pretty small, and hyperinflationary seignorage turns out to be a very inefficient way of generating tax revenue, especially in a world where there are modern financial markets monitoring government behavior. The much maligned Laffer Curve is actually a pretty effective model at describing hyperinflation; it's very easy to get on the wrong side, where inflationary expectations and deadweight loss start killing the revenue you can raise. It is possible to end up in a place where, as with the Zimbabwean dollar, your monopoly right to print your currency becomes worthless, because the demand for that currency is essentially zero--no one will give you goods and services in exchange for your paper.'

Which incidental mention of Zimbabwe brought on these thoughts... I recently read "Dinner with Mugabe", a terribly written but moderately interesting psycho-social analysis of Robert Mugabes personality. The author is brimming with hatred for the now non-existent white Rhodesians, and constantly throws supposedly damning allegations at them throughout the book. One is that they provided no education for black Rhodesians- a patent and easily refuted falsehood. Which brings me to my real point. There was lots of classroom education in Rhodesia- too much in fact. What black Rhodesians really needed to know was how to rebuild an internal combustion engine, how to manage a large farm, how to run a bus company, how to start and run a small business, how to manage an economy and how not to completely devalue a currency.

Many times I've watched Zimbabwean ministers on TV. They are, to a man, well spoken, craft their sentances beautifully and use very long and impressive words. They sound, if anything, like academics. Unfortunately, that does not make them good ministers. They have collectively presided over the complete destruction of the Zimbabwean economy and currency. They literally don't know how to run a country. Which is unfortunate because they nevertheless have to. Their learning curve is extremely shallow too, from all appearances...

Long before America had vast quantities of college graduates, it had hard-headed businessmen, engineers, stockmen, inventors and farmers. They were the people who built and maintained the important America. The frilly niceties came later. Zimbabwe has a shocking, indeed diminishing number of the former, but plenty of English Literature graduates. Mugabe has three degrees. Three. Yet he is not even marginally economically literate. The skills that Africa needs are not the ones delivered to it in large part. And now they have chased away the white Zimbabweans to a very large extent, Zimbabwe has no one to learn the skills from.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Is it the ignorance or the incompetence?

It is just becoming possible to discern a slight detachment of thoughtful Democrats and intellectuals from the Obama bandwagon. Associated Press, which is absolutely riddled with lefty Democrats, has become a little more assertive in pointing out disparities between both executive branch and legislative branch pronouncements, and reality.

The Obama administration are hoping that people will lose interest in where that nearly a trillion dollars of stimulus money went. But even AP understand what that enormous sum represents to taxpayers- the potential for enormous pork and beyond that plain old corruption. These very big stories might have languished three months ago- but like aging athletes the big legacy media organisations are wheezing into action- finally!

Perhaps the sight of Valerie Jarrett, fifth or perhaps sixth most powerful person in the White House, talking about 'speaking truth to power' oblivious to the the unintended comedy, has brought the serious and thoughtful among Democrats up against a sad truth: the current White House occupants are shambolic amateurs, utterly unprepared for the hefty responsibilities they have taken on. They are college radicals for whom banal cliches and slogans occupy the place where sober analysis and judgement reside in real leaders. They are fighting The Man when they ARE The Man. The President is Commander in Chief of the most powerful armed forces in the world. He is the Chief Executive of the worlds richest and most economically powerful country. But his number five wants to speak truth to... Fox News?

I'm not sure how far this slight divergence will go. Many Democrats have an enormous emotional investment in Obama which they will be loathe to give up. And partisan tribalism will quell many an honest public appraisal. Nevertheless, it is significant. It makes much less likely some of the more extreme paths that the current situation could tumble down. And over time I believe it will lead to a coalescence of opinion around a much more realistic appraisal of who Obama is and what the real nature of his administration is in the cold light of day. How that will play out in terms of legislation passed and policies persued its far too early to say. But it adds to the growing scepticism of the American people about the man they elected president such a short time ago.

Cheap shots make you look bad

'I appreciate the candor of left-wing congressmen from Massachusetts. The other day, Barney Frank said, “We are trying on every front to increase the role of government.” Well, of course — and thank you for the frank (Frank?) acknowledgement! Frank was also the guy who said that a “public option” plan in health care was “the best way to reach single-payer.” He proceeded to say it was not only the best way but “the only way.” Again, of course — and thank you.'

Sloppy argument makes you look bad. Barney Frank actually said something completely different from what is quoted out of context above. He said "We are trying on every front to increase the role of government in the area of regulation". I might not like that, but it's a very different point than the one ascribed to him above. It makes me sad when supposedly authoritative individuals at leading institutions like the National Review pass on bullshit non-existent talking points.

There is more than enough red meat (pun intended) to get your teeth into with this congress without making up stuff.

Lets debate- now shut up!

The Obama administration has a schizophrenic view of debate. They are constantly blathering on about how much they want to have a proper debate- except when they are shouting down the only people giving an opposing viewpoint. Its an interesting tactic. If one were jaundiced, one might think they are not really all that interested in a debate...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Utterly compromised

'Geologist Bakutbek Ermenbaev points up through the pine trees at the glacier above us in Kyrgyzstan's Alatau mountains.

"That one - called Adigene - has decreased in size by about 20% over the last 50 years," he says.

He adds that a neighbouring glacier, Aksai, has disappeared completely.

Mr Ermenbaev, who works for the government's hydrogeology agency, says global warming is to blame.

And he warns that unless action is taken to reduce this warming, all of Kyrgyzstan's 2,200 glaciers could have melted within a century.'

This article doesn't even try to keep critical distance from Global Warmingism. Here is the concluding paragraph-

'Mr Ermenbaev says that the only long-term solution is to halt global warming, otherwise the mountain landscape could change for ever.'

This is not reporting- these are frightening bedtime stories for children. This is propaganda pure and simple. The constant reiteration of the same bullshit over and over and over and over again, in exactly the same phraseology, is propaganda. It could come right out of 1984. It doesn't matter that the melting, according to the story, started fifty years ago, long before Global Warming was supposed to have taken off. It doesn't matter that global temperatures have not risen for the last ten years. It doesn't matter that evidence for Co2 levels being responsible for global heating have taken significant knocks recently. The same message still comes out of every BBC article, every popular scientific magazine, every psuedo-scientific documentary on the National Geographic channel.

Global Warmingism is now a fully-fledged proto-religion. Its exponents are happy to lie, cheat and threaten on its behalf. They are happy to crucify the non-believers. They have their mantras, and no amount of evidence that they are talking shit can budge their self-righteous hauteur. Fortunately, the fightback, which took a while to get started, is now beginning to flower into something powerful and effective. Many, many people have noted how strong the correspondence is between the goals of Global Warmingism and those of Marxism. Weird that. Especially as many of the 'scientists' and 'politicians' espousing Global Warmingism were just a short while back Marxists.

And as for the BBC- stuffed with Marxists? No, really? Who would have thought!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thoughts on Rugby

I watched some of the London NFL game last night- Patriots against Tampa Bay. It reminded me again with perhaps greater force than usual how inferior American football is to rugby. Sixty minutes of playing time is squeezed into three and a half hours... two eighty minute rugby matches can fit neatly into the same time... Over and over again you see American football players injuring each other with their helmets. Why did old American football not need a helmet, but new American football does? Many linemen (the four or five huge fat guys facing off against four or five equally fat people) are too chunky to engage in any aerobic sport (except maybe Sumo)- and yet have lengthy careers in American football... There are minutes of standing around between each extremely short burst of activity, while people chat, get instructions, eat three course meals etc. The 'plays', as the short bursts of activity are known, are mostly extremely dull. Once you've watched a few American football games, you will recognise the seven or eight plays which get called 95% of the time. That means mainly running up the middle; that, or a short pass to a guy just over the 'line of scrimmage'. The patterns of play are almost completely fixed. Everybody starts each play in exactly the place each time. The quarterback runs backwards a few paces, and his protective line form a shield around him. Everybody else runs off down the pitch. Over and over and over and over again. Until you are asleep.

About once every three games, an interesting play will be called. Maybe the quarterback hands the ball off to a running back who then throws it downfield to a reciever. But mostly not. Play calling is extremely conservative. Need to make a foot to get a first down? Find your fattest running back and have him run straight up the middle behind your fattest lineman- every single time. Most running plays end at approximately the line of scrimmage in a huge pile of lycra-clad limbs. Most passing plays end with the ball being batted down by the defender.

The overwhelming feeling from watching a whole NFL match live and in real time is of fat men standing around looking at each other. Its like discount day at Bobs Big and Tall. Very very occasionally, a game will burst into life, if you have two really high quality teams who both try very hard. But mostly that doesn't happen.

In comparison, rugby union is a riot of action and invention. Not only are the athletes in better shape, they do a lot more work, and a lot more thinking. Each player in rugby is responsible for running the game in his area, and his specialist position. But quite often, they may be required by circumstances to do someone else's specialist task- maybe a back row forward has to be scrumhalf because the actual scrumhalf is under a pile of bodies. Despite rugby having some predetermined 'shapes' determined by rules like those governing offside, the lineout and scrums, quite often in open play there is no shape at all, but a mass of free-flowing movement where guile, trickery and fleetness of mind and hand come to the fore. Quite often rugby players have to improvise because of bad bounces, mud on the ball, an unkind gust of wind or a thousand other contingencies.

And more than any sport I know of, there is a continual tension in rugby between the outstanding individual and his brilliant actions, and the requirement for the team to play as one, in coordination and in a way that will be easy for your teammates to respond to and work with. There is no point a speedy back haring off down the field only to be caught without support and losing the ball at the breakdown. Rugby absolutely requires that you have a living bond of communication between players- or things just don't work right.

As a balance between structured play and unstructured, rugby is a far superior product than American football. If you took away the latters constantly chattering commentators, nobody would stand for three and a half hours of virtually no action.

If I had my preference, they would change the rugby rules a little bit. Scoring would change to encourage more tries. A try would be six points, then one point for the conversion (like in American football). A penalty would be two points, a drop goal three because its harder. Sin bins would be five minutes rather than ten. Ten minute sin-bins ruin games very often. Serious or repeated infractions would result in sendings off rather than sin-binnings. The whole issue of rucks and the breakdown needs to be rethought. At the moment there are a whole slew of rules about tackles, rucks and the breakdown point that conflict and make it virtually impossible to both play within the rules, and administer the rules if you are the referee. Depending on the geographic location, mood of the ref and sunspot activity, rucks can be refereed completely differently. That is stupid. It must be decided once and for all how important it is for rugby that possession of the ball be contested at the tackle-point. At the moment, the rule is that only players who are on their feet can contest a ball; but everything about the breakdown in real rugby matches militates towards people being off their feet- the number of people reaching for the same ball, the fact that a second prior to the ruck the ball carrier was running full speed, the fact that the ball is on the ground etc. So already the rule butts up against the limits of human capability. Add to that that you have to enter rucks like a dowager entering a formal gala- if you dive in you will be penalised for, well, diving in. And if you fail to come in from behind the feet of the hindmost player in the ruck, you will be penalised for coming in at the side. And if you are sprawled out half on your feet and half off and you lay hands on the ball, you might get penalised for playing the ball while on the ground- or you might not. Its a complete mess.

I don't have a ready-made solution. The rugby league breakdown, for instance is laughable. It involves the tackler lying foursquare on top of the ball-carrier, while the latter tries to get up but mainly succeeds in looking like a beetle trapped on his back. Once the ball carrier is up on his feet he passes the ball backwards between his legs. It manages to be both risible and pointless. A change of possession of the ball, which is often one of the main hinges of success in Union, virtually never changes hands at the breakdown in league. So a whole locus of combat is lost. Union should not go down that road in my opinion. So, given that the tackle breakdown area should be contested, how should that take place?

Well, it must take place in a way that mortal human beings (and children) can do it without being freaks of nature. It must be clear when it is not taking place legally. And it must not be too dangerous, while being interestingly combative. So there is a puzzle for those who like puzzles (not me).

I believe that fewer rules make better sport. And that continual rule-invention ruins a sport. Clue: American Football has the largest rule-book of any major sport.

Since you asked

What questions do you ask if you don't want to ask the obvious questions?

'Fox News has had a robust 2009 so far, and the recent decision by the White House to declare war on the channel is not likely to put a dent in the ratings. That decision has dispirited some of the President’s well-wishers. It has also puzzled them. In American politics, it should be considered a good thing when, after you have won a Presidential election by more than nine million votes, your chief critics accuse you of filling your Administration with Nazis, Maoists, anarchists, and Marxist revolutionaries. That is the voice of the fringe, and the fringe is exactly where you want the opposition to set up permanent shop.'

Lets leave aside the Nazis and Anarchists- I watch Fox News and I've never heard an accusation from anyone on there that Obama was hiring either- and concentrate on the Maoists and Marxists. To me, the obvious question to be asked when Fox accuse someone employed in the White House of being a Maoist or Marxist is, well, is it true? Is there credible evidence, like for instance, the person declaring themself to be a Maoist on video, that the claim is true? And if it is true, what does that say about the people in charge of the White House?

But when you are congenitally unable to ask the obvious questions, you have to resort to the much less valid ones-

'...wars of words are distracting, and Obama campaigned as a listener [tee hee]—a contrast with his supremely deaf predecessor that was evidently welcomed by the electorate. Why are his spokespersons throwing red meat to Fox’s angry white men? Wouldn’t it be better to supply them with only tofu smoothies?'

Well, yes. Why are they doing that? Could it be that the even-handed, highly intelligent metrosexual super-educated non-partisan uniter of the campaign trail was... a hoax? Could it be that Obama is really a closed-minded ideologue who becomes extremely tetchy when his ideological holy cows are trampled on or disdained? Could it be that the great listener wants us all to 'shut up and quit talking'? Could it be that the great proponent of bipartisanship is actually a partisan hack who holds the opposition in high contempt?

Yes, it not only could be, it is.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's all my dads fault!

Gotta say I disagree with pretty much every word of this:

"Why don't you guys study like the kids from Africa?"
In a moment of exasperation last spring, I asked that question to a virtually all-black class of 12th-graders who had done horribly on a test I had just given. A kid who seldom came to class -- and was constantly distracting other students when he did -- shot back: "It's because they have fathers who kick their butts and make them study."

Another student angrily challenged me: "You ask the class, just ask how many of us have our fathers living with us." When I did, not one hand went up.

I was stunned. These were good kids; I had grown attached to them over the school year. It hit me that these students, at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, understood what I knew too well: The lack of a father in their lives had undermined their education. The young man who spoke up knew that with a father in his house he probably wouldn't be ending 12 years of school in the bottom 10 percent of his class with a D average. His classmate, normally a sweet young woman with a great sense of humor, must have long harbored resentment at her father's absence to speak out as she did. Both had hit upon an essential difference between the kids who make it in school and those who don't: parents

My students knew intuitively that the reason they were lagging academically had nothing to do with race, which is the too-handy explanation for the achievement gap in Alexandria. And it wasn't because the school system had failed them. They knew that excuses about a lack of resources and access just didn't wash at the new, state-of-the-art, $100 million T.C. Williams, where every student is given a laptop and where there is open enrollment in Advanced Placement and honors courses. Rather, it was because their parents just weren't there for them -- at least not in the same way that parents of kids who were doing well tended to be.' [Hat Tip: Instapundit]

Why is it always somebody else's fault? Always. Having lived in Africa, I can honestly say that the droves of little kids who wandered past our house every morning at about eight had every disincentive you can think of not to go to school. Many of them had to walk eight, ten, twelve or more miles before classes. Many of them had either no shoes, or next to no shoes. Many could not afford more than one book. But their happy smiling faces remain with me to this day. They had a buzz for school!

'My daddy is a waster' is just another in a long, dismal succession of excuses why dark-skinned boys (and many dark-skinned girls) do so badly in the American (and British) education systems- a fact which no one disputes. The bulk of the reason, in my experience, is the terrible associations education has in Black culture, as opposed to Anglo-American culture, or Korean culture, or Chinese culture. In Black culture, the highest accolades and the very topmost cultural kudos are given to thugs, thieves and anti-American-culture posturers. Kanye West, Fifty Cent, Tupac, Mos Def, Talib and hundreds of others at the pinnacle of Black culture reinforce the message day after day. Stand up to The Man. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and many other 'politicians' advocate not individual achievement, but 'race identity' and how much you are owed by whitey.

Black culture is also extremely macho. Given the overwhelming scorn that Black culture has for nerdy swots and bookish types, how surprising is it no young black boy wants to be one? You can go out for football, no problem. That doesn't have a macho image problem. But to accomplish great things in class? Forget it. Hopelessly milquetoast.

Its true that dark-skinned Americans, because of the extremely macho nature of Black culture, also has a severe lack of stay-at-home have-a-job dads. But so does poor white America. And yet many more poor white Americans end up with University degrees, or doing great work in the Business world. And that is because even poor white culture in America is not necessarily anti-intellectual. Some poor whites are, some aren't.

But for as long as dark-skinned Americans stick with Black culture, they are going to continue to decline in most measurable ways with all the other colorations of American.

At least one aspect of this is not the fault of young dark-skinned Americans, of course. Universal education makes education vastly less attractive to children. Anything you have to do, which everyone else is doing too, becomes a chore, hard work, drudgery. The one critical thing about education in Zimbabwe- you went to school if you were fortunate, and didn't if you weren't. Many children lived too far away from a school to walk to one. So the ones who got to go treasured every minute, and sucked up the knowledge like happy sponges. When I become dictator of the world, the first thing I will do is make all education voluntary, rather than mandatory. Just so you know....

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dede Scozzafava - she is everything which is wrong with the Republican Party

Sarah Palin has come out in support of Doug Hoffman, the conservative in the New York 23rd Congressional district race. This is a watershed moment. Sarah Palin was not only disgustingly treated by Democrats, she was also treated with pomposity and disdain by the withered old fossils who run the Republican party.

We'll see how they like this outcome! Sow the wind...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mickey Kaus- all you need to know

'Suppose on October 25th, 2008 I'd discovered, without doubt, and with documentation, that Barack Obama cheated on his taxes. Would I publish it? Probably not. I think Bill Keller would publish it way before I would. Would Marty Peretz publish something true that had a high probability of leading to the destruction of the State of Israel?' [Hat Tip: Instapundit]

Perhaps, deep in Kaus's subsconscious, he has understood the relationship between the Birther conspiracy theory and the Truther conspiracy theory. Kaus replicates that equilavence almost perfectly. Like I said before, the first, if true, might jeopardize the career of one Chicago politician. The second, if true, would mean that the United States government was one of the more disgusting criminal organisations on the face of the planet.

If someone published a story about Obama not paying his taxes, it would jeopardize one mans career. If someone published a story that brought about the destruction of Israel, six million people would die. Yeah, Mickey, they're the same. Idiot.

But the rest of his arguments are if anything less convincing and lamer. We are expected to take these assertions at face value?: '...MSNBC and the NYT and are not neutral. They all have an agenda and they pursue it. But they are independent. The Obama White House can't tell Bill Keller what to do. They can't tell Keith Olbermann what to do. (They can suck up to him, and it will probably work, but that's a different issue.) Breitbart is for sure independent--I can't see anyone telling him what to do.'

I can't see anyone telling him what to do? Yeah, that's the same as nobody telling them what to do... Talk about seeing what you want to see. The presumption of independence is not even close to being independent.

If you followed the last nine months of the Obama campaign, there was a concerted effort by all the media organisations heavily populated by Democrats to suppress all stories about Obama which showed a) his past associations, b) his views on issues expressed when he could almost certainly be presumed to be giving his real views, c) and what his policies would be in power given his real views. Everybody in the world who is not a Democrat or a Democrat stooge can agree that as a consequence of those concerted actions, Obama won a large slice of the non-partisan independent votes in the US electorate. Since he took office and started governing, the independent voters who were lied to and who had the truth hidden from them can now see who and what Obama is. They have reversed their opinion of Obama by eighty percent at a conservative estimate. Obama came to power by the force of lies and dissembling. Lies and dissembling organised and executed by the people Mickey Kaus says are 'independent'.

If Kaus can point to one history-changing lying campaign that can be laid at Fox News door, let him tell us. Virtually all the 'lies' and 'smears' that Fox revealed during the Obama campaign have proven to be correct. In particular, the association of Obama with 'Reverend' Jeremiah Wright was supposed to indicate nothing whatsoever about Obama and his views of the world. And yet Obamas foreign policy must absolutely get the Jeremiah Wright seal-of-approval- leaving Israel out in the cold, chumming it up with Chavez and Ahmadinejad, apologising to the 'muslim world' for Americas war against them under the hated Bush- all straight out of the Wright playbook.

To finish two facts. First fact: At the most pivotal point in the 2008 election campaign, The New York Times ran a hit-job on McCain in which it accused him of having an affair with a striking blonde lobbyist. Proof? None. Completely unsubstantiated. Number of other news outlets that ran with the story? All of the Dem-dominated media.

Second fact: When Joe the Plumber asked Obama a perfectly reasonable question and Obama flubbed the response by telling the truth about his real views, the Dem-dominated news organisations went hell-bent-for-leather to destroy... Joe the Plumber. People are being prosecuted right now for abusing their access to databases trying to trawl up dirt on Joe the Plumber. For asking a question their guy couldn't answer...

Independent my arse.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Election shenanigans in the Deep South

'Ms. King's letter in the Kinston case states that because of the low turnout black voters must be "viewed as a minority for analytical purposes," and that "minority turnout is relevant" to determining whether the Justice Department should be allowed a change to election protocol.'

Byzantine or Kafka-esque? You decide.

'Black voters account for 9,702 of the city's 15,402 registered voters but typically don't vote at the rates whites do.

As a result of the low turnout, Ms. King wrote, "black voters have had limited success in electing candidates of choice during recent municipal elections."'

So... almost two thirds of the voters are dark-skinned but they must be considered a minority because they are too damn lazy to vote. And to make up for their laziness, startling statistical fakery must be performed on their behalf. Not just that, but dark-skinned candidates are the only ones who can represent dark-skinned people. But never vice versa. You couldn't make this stuff up.

What is wrong with this question?

I was watching FOX news yesterday (I know, that makes me an adjunct of the Propaganda Arm of the Republican Party), and there was an interview by Neil Cavuto of a woman from the Tea Party movement in New Jersey. Didn't catch her name sadly. Quick recap of the background: there is a congressional races currently going on there, and a Tea Party independent is going up against the GOP candidate, some Cozzafava woman.

Cavuto's first question: Will you be happy when the Democrat wins because your Tea Party candidate splits the Republican vote?

It was also his second question, third question, fourth question, etc.

What is wrong with this question?

Presumably, anything anywhere ever that threatens an RNC-anointed candidate is at the very least a misdemeanor. It is entirely possible that in the next round of elections in 2010, many hundreds, perhaps thousands of constituencies across America will face exactly this scenario. According to 'mainstream' Republicans like Cavuto, the annoying pleb upstart Tea Party people should shut up and get out of the way. His message: stop interfereing with the political process! The cosy political process with the two big people! The ones who really know what is going on! Just quit tampering with that tried and tested arrangement!

Fact: There will be many more Democrats elected as a result. Whose 'fault' is that? Not that it is very important to assign blame, but almost certainly the main cause will be the massive disconnect between RINO Republican candidates, and the people they supposedly represent. At very long last, many independents and conservative Americans have noticed that their elected representatives hold diametrically opposing views of how the country should be run, in particular in respect of spending taxpayers wealth. According to Neil Cavuto, they should just put up with that, and get down to the voting booth like good children.

I don't think that is going to happen. There is an urgency, a visceral anger and a vivid desire to change things out in the American electorate that has not been there for many a year. Many of those people are not going to vote for their RINO Republican incumbent. That is just the way it is.

Millions of Americans want a party to vote for which is fiscally responsible. Where can they get it from? The rubble of a dying Republican party? A wholly new party? Who really cares? As long as they end up with one to vote for!

The gradual demolition of our Nation

'Extremists hijack' military name

The reputation of the armed forces is being tarnished by right-wing political "extremists", a group of former military leaders has warned.

Two former heads of the Army are among those to put their names to a letter accusing "those who seek to hijack the good name of Britain's military".

It does not name the BNP but was issued as part of a campaign against them.

... "We call on all those who seek to hijack the good name of Britain's military for their own advantage to cease and desist. The values of these extremists - many of whom are essentially racist - are fundamentally at odds with the values of the modern British military, such as tolerance and fairness."

I hope to god that the values of the British military are not tolerance and fairness. The job of the military is to kill people as efficiently and effectively as possible without being themselves killed. It is not the Boy Scouts. It isn't a political party. It is not some crappy government bureaucracy. It is a killing machine. If the military is to be successful at its job, it must be intolerant and unfair- cunning and ruthless would be my choices.

I have a very high opinion of the native Englishman. I have a quite low opinion of the natives of very many other nations. By the terms of most lefties and apparently the top Military brass, that makes me a racist. Most people in the world, by this definition, are racists. Including most lefties, if you scratch the surface. Why would a soldier go into battle and risk his life? Mainly because he feels his nation and its native people are worth him risking it. His unit, made up of men like him, becomes his second family. He will often sacrifice his own life to protect or assist his second family. These are real things. The mellifluous multicultural crap being cited by the Generals? Not real.

'And asked if he thought there was support for the BNP among ordinary soldiers, he said: "I sincerely hope not."'

He knows there is. And why not? It is a legitimate political party in a country which still putatively allows freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and freedom to organize political organizations. These generals have every right to criticize the BNP; what they don't have is the right to castigate the BNP on behalf of the Armed Forces. Let every sailor, soldier and airman make up their own mind which political party they want to support. I bet there are far more Labour voters than anything else. I don't remember any far right generals going on the radio to demonise the Labour party and put pressure on military personnel not to vote for it or support it. Yet the Labour party are at least half socialist, a disease which has caused the planet even more harm than its close cousin fascism.

When everybody in political life turn on one political party, demonise it, attempt to expel it from the political process, lie about it and misrepresent it continually to the public, alarm bells should go off in peoples minds. I would say this if it were one of the myriad of tiny Communist parties, or the Transcendental Meditation
National Law Party, or the Labour party. It makes no difference. Deligitimizing a party with which you disagree and trying to have it ousted from the forums of public debate is to fundamentally weaken democracy. The fact that so much of the party politics of Britain is now either socialist or proto-socialist, and the target of the deligitimization is a fascist party should be even more alarming. This is no collaboration of neutrals to eliminate a criminal organisation- it is a collection of partisans desperately trying to rid themselves of a rival; By completely illigitimate means.

There are laws in place in Britain which make certain political views criminal. The BNP are currently under threat from laws banning organisations from discriminating who their membership is based on race, gender and various other factors. Embodying political views in laws is a characteristic of banana republics and tyrannies, not liberal democracies.

My parents, if they were still alive, would not recognise the country they were born into any more.

Juvenile and incompetent

"What I think is fair to say about Fox -- and certainly it's the way we view it -- is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party," Dunn said on CNN. "They take their talking points, put them on the air; take their opposition research, put them on the air. And that's fine. But let's not pretend they're a news network the way CNN is."

I am no expert on the history of the various White House media machines and the large news organisations. But to my knowledge, this is unprecedented, certainly since Nixon. Airing opposition research in a society with free speech? Disgusting! Orf with their heads.

Given that fully half of the US population like Obama and think he is doing a good job leads you to the conclusion that people either don't know about things like this that go on constantly; or they don't see anything wrong in them. It is sad but true that I, an Englishman, won an award at my high school in the states for "Outstanding Proficiency in American History" and numerous ones for Civics knowledge. The reason that it was sad is that I didn't really have Outstanding proficiency. I just knew something about those things, and pretty much everybody else didn't. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

Are Americans waking up to the fact that in a democracy you have to know these things, at least to some extent?

Is the gutter wrangling of the current White House press office fatal to American free speech and a permanent source of danger? Definitely not. Is it an all-time low of behaviour and decorum for the occupants of those important posts? Probably. What does it mean in the big sense? It is one more sign that it is amateur hour at the White House, and that the people clustered around Barack Obama, his longstanding friends and groupies, are juvenile and incompetent.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Kiss me Son of god

Hat Tip: IowaHawk

Grow up, you adolescent flouncers!

'...It certainly set a new tone in the response to the Nobel committee itself. Reporters gasped when they heard the announcement. Bloggers thought they had clicked by mistake on satire sites like the Onion and Scrappleface. "This is ridiculous--embarrassing even," said Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post. "Ridiculous," echoed Mother Jones's Kevin Drum. "Folks across the spectrum are asking, 'what has he done?' " wrote Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics, and many of the most appalled and scalding of comments would come from the left. "This is so far out of nowhere that it could be almost embarrassing," said the Guardian's Michael Tomasky. Even the Huffington Post couldn't stand it: "It is enormously premature .  .  . [and] to a certain extent cheapens the prior recipients," opined one of its contributors. Aside from the bad taste, the timing was terrible, as Obamania had started to fade in America, (his approval ratings were stuck around 50 percent), and a meme had been born that he was failing to meet expectations. The prize, as Politico noted, felt like "a breathless fan letter from the European elite."

And some in that elite weren't buying it either. "While it is OK to give school children prizes for 'effort' .  .  . statesmen should probably be held to a higher standard," wrote the Financial Times's Gideon Rachman. "It might have been wiser to hold judgment," said the Economist. At the Times of London, Michael Binyon declared that "the prize risks looking preposterous in its claims, patronizing in its intentions, and demeaning in its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun his period in office. .  .  . Rarely has an award had such an obvious political and partisan intent."

Back in America, the Los Angeles Times said that the committee's award had embarrassed Obama and diminished its own credibility. "I like Barack Obama as much as the next liberal, but this is a farce," said Peter Beinart in Tina Brown's Daily Beast. "Let's hope the Nobel Committee's decision meets with such a deafening chorus of chortles and jeers that it never does something this stupid again." [Hat Tip: Instapundit]

If you have read "What's left?" by Nick Cohen, you will know that juvenileness and lack of seriousness are now the defining features of the left. The stupidity and self-defeating nature of the award of a Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama after eleven days in office are perfect evocations of this fact. The Barack Obama White House is just as juvenile as the Nobel committee- trash-talking the one TV channel that doesn't just roll out its party line, and snubbing them by not going on their Sunday afternoon talk shows. How old are they? Thirteen?

Untwist those knickers, lamo

'It is not surprising that someone in Romm’s position might disagree with much of what we wrote about global warming. In this first post – he has since written several more – he had some particularly dismissive things to say about Nathan Myhrvold’s dismissal of solar power as unscalable. (More on that soon, in a following post.)

But more broadly, he made it sound as if we had distorted Ken Caldeira’s views in the worst way: “He [Caldeira] has responded to many e-mail queries of mine over the weekend,” Romm wrote. “He simply doesn’t believe what the Superfreaks make it seem like he believes.”

This was the blog post that launched a thousand more. The headlines varied a bit but the general thrust, perhaps inspired by Romm’s exciting headline, was always the same: two guys who aren’t climate scientists wrote a book with a chapter about climate science and one of the main climate scientists in this chapter is saying they badly misrepresented his views.

Yikes. If that were true, I would come after us with pitchforks too.'

Without getting into the rights and wrongs of anthropogenic global warming/climate change/whatever they are calling it this week, I was struck by the sentance above. It seems precisely right for the so-called 'debate' about the topic. A mob of lunk-headed peasants with burning torches and pitchforks, boiling with self-righteous anger, hunting down and lynching anybody who dares to contradict their religion. What mystifies me though, is why the author of the piece is so afraid of them. After all, its only a metaphorical lynch mob, whose real weapons are flame blog posts on scatalogical websites.

Does this guy really give a crap that he is being virtually lynched? I wouldn't.

Great ideas, shame about the writing

'Why Ayn Rand is Hot Again: The unconservative Ayn Rand and her relationship to the American right'

Interesting article. I'm just in the middle (OK, nearer the first quarter, but whatever) of 'Atlas Shrugged' and here are my observations so far.

Seems very much influenced by Nietzsche and Hegel. Its all about will and overcoming and fighting in a very selfish and self-directed fashion for what you want. In that respect, it comes across as the thoughts of an adolescent in the throes of separation from her parents. The characters are not characters at all. They are chicken-wire constructs which wander about according to the dictates of the author. They do not have distinctive voices- all of them sound the same, from the bums and winos to the masters of industry. The 'world' itself does not seem like the world, but sketchily drawn 3-D space for rendering the chicken-wire people. The interaction between the 'characters' is laughable. There has not been one situation so far which I would deem authentic or realistic. The language is very heavily larded with the same phrases used over and over again. They are mostly to do with loneliness, isolation and emptiness.

That is the bad news. The good news is that the fundamental ideas in 'Atlas Shrugged' are very interesting ones. And despite the literary shortcomings, she does manage to introduce the ideas successfully. What happens to driven, ambitious people when the atmosphere and environment in which they work becomes so hostile to drive and ambition that they pretty much can't work? What is the difference between those not driven to succeed in business and commerce, and those who are? Can driven successful people only have inchoate emotions, the roots of which are hidden from them? Is a driven, successful person morally superior to a not-driven, unsuccessful one? Can it possibly be true that 99% of people have the wrong conception of sexual fidelity, and that only driven, successful people do it right? If selfish desire is the only moral rule, why can't I kill you if I want to?

And to me, the most important question: if you throw away Judeo-Christian morality, do you really know what would happen in societies based on it? My first thought was that Nazi Germany would seem to be the closest mankind has come to achieving the Randian dream. Although saying that, National Socialism was based fundamentally on group (Aryan) identity rather than personal selfishness. So perhaps not. America is definitely not Randian- although the domestic and international left havew been trumpeting for the last hundred and twenty years that it is. American society is based on a mixture of protestant Christianity, enlightenment political theory and Anglo-saxon notions of equality, social responsibility and fair play. To remove any of those things would coarsen and diminish the health of American society. To the extent they have been removed and negated, America is starting to be like everywhere else.

The world proffered by Ayn Rand is extreme- it reminds me a lot of the new world as proposed by Karl Marx. Brutal, violently birthed and full of a hollow grandeur. It is the kind of greatness admired by tyrants and mass-murdering dictators. It is large-scale and completely despises the small-scale, cosy and bourgeois. There is no room for mercy, for generosity, for playfulness or absent-minded meandering. You are not allowed to disappear into a cottage on the edge of the woods and grow a cottage garden. You aren't allowed to have have a nine to five mediocre job, or collect miniature fantasy figures. The only valid life, the only life given the Ayn Rand seal of approval is a high-flying executive lifestyle without the fun. It must be Spartan as well as successful to pass muster. If you swan about on your yacht or have parties you actually enjoy, you are just as bad as the clumping mediocrities.

It is a world without love. Love is for sissies. Tenderness and intimacy are for sissies. Only the toughest fighters are morally good in the Randian world. Sex is used as a way of signing off someone as a fully paid-up member of the Randian elite- and only for that. All other uses of sex are crap and diminish those participating.

I can't help coming away from 'Atlas Shrugged' feeling that everybody in it is Ayn Rand. That it is a map of her soul rather than a story about the world, about us. Saying that, I'm only a quarter of the way through, so I'll update the review when I'm done.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Couldn't argue their way out of a damp paper bag

“It’s OK to vote for Obama because he’s black,”

'White enthusiasm for Obama is driven by his race. But there’s nothing wrong with that fact. Those who criticize it are simultaneously too idealistic and too cynical: They assume that it’s possible to simply ignore Obama’s race, while also imputing unsavory motivations to those who are inspired by it. The truth is that whites’ race-driven enthusiasm for Obama is an almost unreservedly positive thing — both because electing a black president is a good thing in its own right, and because of what that enthusiasm says about race relations in America today.'

Talk about a series of extremely contentious assertions presented as if they make a logical case!

It is not possible to ignore Obama's race? For a start, what race is Obama? He is half American and half Kenyan. I'm not sure that qualifies as any particular race. And thats absolutely fine with me. Because its completely trivial. Who cares where his parents came from? No one. Of course, what the author is ACTUALLY talking about is not race, whatever that means, but skin colour.

For my money, the real question is what kind of man is he? That is the only question worth asking.

What exactly does it mean to be 'inspired by Obama's race'? Given that his race skin colour is dark, and also that it is trivial, being 'inspired by Obama's race' would at best be weird. At worst, it would be applauding a fantasy/caricature. The fantasy/caricature generated by the NAACP and all the other permanent victimhood peddlers- what I call Black. The Black fantasy/Caricature posits the beautiful innocent negro transplanted, tortured and martyred by the despicable beastly white slave owner. The negro who is NEVER responsible for anything because he has been a historic victim. The negro who is in a permanent state of need imprinted on them by their historic victimhood; needs that must be met by their former torturers. The negro can't make it in whiteys world because The Man is still keeping him in his slave ropes. The negro, no matter how disgustingly depraved his behaviour and lifestyle is not really depraved- just an innocent victim of circumstances enforced on him by evil white society.

So: what they actually mean when lefties talk about being 'inspired by Obama's race' they mean animated by their feelings of guilt after being constantly pounded with the Black fantasy/caricature.

Let us contrast this with Martin Luther King Jr. While not forgetting history, Martin Luther King wanted dark skinned Americans to benefit from the American dream- the full potential of what America is and always has been for light-skinned Americans. He wanted dark-skinned people to be treated exactly the same- not better, differently or specially. He understood that equality before the law, and later on equality in the social sense, were of inestimable value. It would mean that people could just forget about skin colour. They could lead their lives without any reference to it- like what went on during the Bush administrations for instance. Only liberal/lefties talked about Condoleeza Rice's skin colour. Pretty much everybody else thought of her as a dignified and effective servant of American foreign policy, in the same way Donald Rumsfeld was a slightly less dignified but just as effective servant of American defense policy. The Martin Luther King Jr dream is not just achievable- it has already happened.

Sadly, the lefties are not on board. And that is because they don't share the Martin Luther King Jr dream. They have the Black fantasy/caricature and they aren't giving up on it. They want to club light-skinned Americans over the head with it to extort wealth and power without the drudgery of having to work for it. And they don't intend to give it up- not now not ever. Race relations have definitely worsened since Obama came to power. And that is because rather than getting any closer to the Martin Luther King Jr dream, the self-declared keepers of the Black fantasy/caricature now feel that they can turn the extortion dial up to 11. Want to pass legislation that will take the US health care industries into public ownership? Declare all opposition to it racist! Want to shut down debate at town halls? Declare it racist! Want to get out of an embarrassing situation with a policeman? Declare him a racist!

Over and over again, being Black is used as a way of avoiding the dull plodding drudgery of obeying the rules all other Americans live by. Its a free pass, a shortcut, a last refuge. Martin Luther King Jrs dream is slipping away, lost in a tide of resentment and alienation on the part of light-skinned Americans.

But back to the original story- lets take this sentance: "The truth is that whites’ race-driven enthusiasm for Obama is an almost unreservedly positive thing ... because electing a black president is a good thing in its own right". Thats not even a tautology- it's the supporting of one assertion by making a second assertion. Let us parse that using the Martin Luther King Jr test. What should matter to voters is the content of a candidate's soul, not the colour of his skin. There are millions of dark-skinned men in America who no sane person should want as president- because of the content of their souls. Exactly as there are millions of light-skinned men in America who should never be president for exactly the same reason. A completely trivial and unworthy reason for voting for someone would be skin colour. And yet, here we have a lefty asserting without reserve that doing so is a good thing 'in its own right'. Apparently, thought of any kind eludes the left.

Lets now take the second part of that sentance: "The truth is that whites’ race-driven enthusiasm for Obama is an almost unreservedly positive thing ... because of what that enthusiasm says about race relations in America today." What does it say? It mainly says that during the eight years of President Bushs terms, skin colour became to a very large chunk of Americans much less important, and the content of their souls (or at least what they could ascertain about the content of one mans soul from attack ads and stump speeches) much more so. For that, President Bush should get great credit. And the discernable steps backwards that race relations have suffered under President Obama can to a large extent be blamed on him and his coterie of hard left ideologues. Barack Obama was a direct beneficiary of Americans determined to see the Martin Luther King Jr dream become a reality.

And his response to that amazing good fortune? To try to supplant it with the dismal Black fantasy/caricature...

There are millions of people in America who were alive when the Jim Crow laws were still in operation, and when a dark-skinned person in America was seriously discriminated against in many humiliating ways. But forty years have passed and the world has changed, even in deepest darkest Alabama and Mississippi. Many older dark-skinned Americans are still bitter about the discrimination; perfectly understandable because it happened to them, and in some cases ruined their lives. But for the succeeding generations, of which there are now two, real discrimination has all but disappeared. And certainly in the twenty first century, there are no barriers to success for dark-skinned Americans other than attitudinal and competence ones.

Black in America is not a race, it is a culture. Millions of dark skinned Americans are not Black- they are dark-skinned Americans. They serve in the Police, Army, Navy, as teachers, businessmen, journalists and a million other jobs- as Americans. Blacks, dark-skinned people who do not see themselves as American at all, but Black, have a separate culture, pseudo-history, set of social mores and moral code. They live their lives in opposition to America, indeed hate it, and join religions like islam which they percieve to be fundementally opposed to America and Americans. They boil with rage at America, and fantasize paranoid fantasies about it continually.

Unsurprisingly, it is virtually impossible to be Black and employed in America. It's not hard to think why. Big attitude and open hostility don't go down well at job interviews. Neither do bizarre and obscene dress. And bizarre and extreme language. And a complete absence of skills. And extremely low educational attainement. And the absence of a work ethic. Apart from 'singing' hip hop, running highly politicised and ungodly 'churches', and going into professional sports, there is virtually no workplace in America who will employ Blacks. Martin Luther King Jr was not Black- he was American. The 'Reverend' Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obamas 'pastor' for twenty years is Black. It really isn't tough to spot the differences.

The continued existence of Black in America is the cause of 99% of racial tensions. That is because it seeks out confrontation, it wears its hostility as a badge of pride, and its attitude to America is one of extreme negativity. Most lighter skinned Americans are perfectly comfortable with dark-skinned Americans- but they have a big problem with Blacks. And always will. Another side effect of the continued existence of Black is the emergence of Latino, its Mexican immigrant counterpart. Latino hasn't metastisized into something as inimical as Black yet, but I'm not optimistic.

One of the defining characteristics of the 2008 election was that a large chunk of Democrat voters, a great swathe of independents and even a few Republicans with very poor judgement came to understand that Barack Obama was a dark-skinned American. Only too late they saw he was not- he's Black.

All the fancy suits, Harvard pedigree and whatnot only served to disguise the reality of Barack Obama. He was never Martin Luther King Jr the sequel. He is Jeremiah Wright with a politicians sense of when NOT to reveal that he is Jeremiah Wright.

Will the general run of the American voting populace take the correct lessons away from the events of the last eighteen months? I want to say yes, but my head says no.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Do they deserve a comeback?

'Tea-Party Activists Complicate Republican Comeback Strategy'

Or... Tea-Party organisations on their way to providing conservative alternative to deeply compromised, rudderless, leaderless GOP?

'But these newly energized conservatives present GOP leaders with a potential problem: The party's strategy for attracting moderate voters risks alienating activists who are demanding ideological purity, who may then gravitate to other candidates or stay at home. It's a classic dilemma faced by parties in the minority -- tension between those who want a return to the party's ideological roots and those who want candidates most likely to win in their districts.'

Some people take ages to get out of long-standing patterns of thought. Like the person who wrote this. Many of the people in the tea-party movement(s) are not Republicans. They are moderates or unaligned people who care that the basic fabric of their society is being torn to pieces by the hated ideology of socialism. They instinctively understand the enormous structural impact of the trillions of debt overhang on the economy and their childrens futures. They understand that what Obama and his rag-tag band of commie lightweights can do to America with the power they currently weild is frightening- and they want elected representatives who will go into combat against that on their behalf.

They hold no tribal allegiance to the Republican party. They understand that many of the beltway Republicans are not fiscal conservatives, and are deeply beholden to large corporations and/or lobbying constituencies. Big government/big corporation statism is just as rife among these Republicans as it is Democrats- which is why its hard to distinguish between them. What these independents and conservatives want is a REAL alternative to Republican/Democrat statism and corruption. Joe the Plumber is a perfect example of this. Not a Republican ideologue, just a man who wants his country run the RIGHT way.

It may actually be too late for a conservative party in the US. There must be a mathematical equation for the point where the number of people who are the financial beneficiaries of state-run theft by tax exceeds the number of voters needed to prevent tax increases and vast government programs. I suspect that the US has already passed the point of no return. What a tragedy.

Who is John Galt?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Poor Zimbabwe

"Zimbabwe MDC 'in unity boycott'

Zimbabwe's prime minister has said his party will disengage from the unity government until outstanding issues of a power-sharing deal are dealt with.

Morgan Tsvangirai said the MDC was not "pulling out officially", but would not continue working with President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

He said the move was prompted by the detention this week of senior MDC aide Roy Bennett on terrorism charges.

It showed Zanu-PF to be a "unreliable" partner, AFP quoted him as saying."

Bitter-sweet news. From the beginning, the 'Power Sharing' deal seemed to have a distinct air of master/slave about it. ZANU PF moved very little towards an actual sharing arrangement, and seemed to think it ought to get vast rewards for the few sops it did provide. Having completely destroyed the countries economy, they now want foreigners to pick up the tab for 'fixing' it. The same foreigners they have serially accused of everything from modern-day slavery to trying to assassinate Mugabe.

Mr Tsvangirai has been tarnished by association with this arrangement, although not much. Observers can tell that his intentions were good, even if his judgement was not. But it is a very poor step for Zimbabwe as a whole. The only positive thing of note to have occured since 1999, when the whole debacle kicked off, is now history.

Poor, poor Zimbabwe.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Candid Camera Woopsie

Ok, I know I don't usually blog about this kind of thing, but it made me laugh hysterically.

If you are going to do a candid camera bit where a criminal act is acted out, try to screen out special forces personnel from the vicinity. Too funny.

[Hat Tip:]

I understand these morons!

Its always nice when a Democrat pundit spends a bit of time trying to understand the conservative morons.

'Obama can't do much about those who are against him because of his race. Even a 1 percent unemployment rate wouldn't change the minds most scarred by prejudice. But there is a second level of angry opposition to which Obama needs to pay more attention. It involves the genuine rage of those who felt displaced in our economy even before the great recession and who are now hurting even more.'

And not only is he taking his valuable time to think about the conservative brain-deads, he will even defend them from unfair criticism!

'The problem with status-anxiety theory is that it focuses on feelings and psychology, thus easily crossing into condescension. It implies that the victims of status anxiety should be doing a better job accepting their new situations and plays down the idea that they might have something real to be angry about.'

Because E J Dionne is not condescending at all. Nuh uh.

'No doubt some who despise Obama will see the judges in Norway as part of that latte-sipping crowd and will hold their esteem for the president against him. He can't do much about this. What he can do -- and perhaps then deserve the domestic equivalent of a peace prize -- is reach out to the angry white men with policies that address their grievances, and do so with an understanding that what matters to them is not status but simply a chance to make a decent living again.'

Or... you could actually listen to what the 'angry white men' are saying, and acknowledge that. Virtually none of the vituperation at town halls and tea parties has been denigration of 'latte-sipping elites'. 95% of it has been about spending too much taxpayer money on enormous government programs; growing the Federal government far beyond the size and scope intended by the founding fathers; and keeping an economy based on capitalism. But to know that, E J Dionne would actually have had to watch the recordings of what went on at the town halls and tea parties.

He is just as guilty as the rest of the Democrat punditocracy of misrepresenting the substance of the vast majority of anti-Obama-Policy opposition. But then given the performance of those same people over the last three years of the Bush presidency, it is hardly surprising. The hatred and disrespect they showed for John McCain, a dyed-in-the-wool centrist bipartisan candidate, during the election campaign tells me they should really be analyzing their own psychoses rather than trying to diagnose non-existent ones on the right.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Everybody else catches up...

'Whether it’s the loose confederation of Washington-oriented groups that have played an organizational role or the state-level activists who are channeling grass-roots anger into action back home, tea party forces are confronting the Republican establishment by backing insurgent conservatives and generating their own candidates — even if it means taking on GOP incumbents.'

'...even if it means taking on GOP incumbents'? Where the pucking puck have these people been? Exactly taking on GOP incumbents- and Democrat incumbents. In fact, incumbents. They are the people who have very largely presided over enormous crises while:

- denying any responsibility
- ignoring huge public anger
- rejecting very specific advice on what worked in similar circumstances in the past
- developing an excruciating style of combined smugness and myopia
- giving every evidence of not being up to the tasks they were sent to DC to do

Given that, most of them will be lucky to have their plush job with four years of now. Their combined approval rating, last time I checked, was 21%. Get ready for your pink slips, people.

Propaganda always has a hard time getting a laugh

'Does SNL [Saturday Night Live] really deserve attention for poking fun at Barack Obama?

Is it that they're doing it at all? Because they are not doing it well!' [Hat Tip: Instapundit]

There was a thin drizzle of discussion about a month after Obama took over about why the late night 'comedy' hosts, Saturday Nigh Live, the Colbert Report and Jon Stewart weren't making any jokes about him. And their almost universal response was that there just wasn't anything about him to make fun of.

Which provoked universal merriment and giddy laughter. After eight years of eviscerating President Bush nightly, and finding a billion ways of making him look stupid, inept, callow, cowardly, racist, miserly, aristocratic etc. their collective imaginations registered no signal. How amazing! A few of them actually went out of their way to point out that he was nearly a saint. And mocking him would be tantamount to unholy.

Which brings us to the question, is there any real actual comedy being made at this moment in history? Or just left-wing propaganda very thinly disguised as comedy?

I long ago gave up watching British TV 'comedy'. Not only is it anti-intellectual to the point of infantility, it is crashingly pro-communist, anti-religious and hedonistic. The butt of every joke is either a conservative, pro-lifer, Christian, businessperson or rich. One character in the TV show 'Harry Enfield and Friends' called Tory Boy didn't even bother to disguise its loathing with euphemism. Needless to 99.9% of the 'comedy' fraternity in Britain are hard left.

Perhaps that is why 'comedy' shows in Britain get such pitiful ratings. The only big draw on TV here now is Harry Hill, who happens to present completely non-political comedy. He is the last vestige of what used to dominate British comedy, music hall. Which while allowing itself the occasional topical joke never took partisan politics even remotely seriously. The 'New Comedy' was proud to wear its communism as a badge of pride. It accepted as agreed that Margaret Thatcher was Satan, and Michael Foot a misunderstood genius. So where is 'New Comedy' now? Most of them are living in huge mansions having dinner parties which they drive to in their Bentleys. I love communists.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tim Rutten: Worst pundit in the world?

To the best of my knowledge I've never read Tim Rutten before, and please God never will again. His arguments are some of the lamest recorded by pixel.

'For his noble words, Obama deserves the prize: The negative reaction to the president's Nobel Peace Prize ignores history.'

'Within hours of Friday's announcement that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize, commentators and politicians all over the map were denouncing the award as "absurd."

At first blush, that seems the only reasonable response, because the president has yet to bring peace anywhere, and given the Nobel committee's deadlines, his nomination for the prize must have occurred within 11 days of his inauguration. On the other hand, under the terms of Alfred Nobel's will, the peace prize is awarded by five lawmakers selected from the Norwegian Storting, or parliament. The committee's current president is Norway's former prime minister, Thorbjorn Jagland, now president of the Storting.'

Those are the two most rediculous sentances ever tied together by the words 'On the other hand'. Ever. I checked.

'In other words, the prize was conferred by experienced politicians who seem to know exactly what they were doing.'

Ah right, yes, that does make it a lot less absurd.

'Expressing its particular approval of Obama's "vision ... of a world without nuclear weapons," the committee wrote: "Obama has as president created a new climate in international politics. ... Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. ... For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman."'

Rah Rah Rah, we love Obama! Sis boom bah, we hate Bush!

'This year's prize, then, is meant to reward words and not deeds.'

Yes because giving speeches is so much harder and more challenging than getting things done.

Now, I have to preface this next bit because you just won't believe what the premise is- it is so unbelievably insulting and disrespectful. The premise is that the people who won the prize in the past were mostly failures and the stuff they did, the actual labors they undertook, sometimes requiring lifetimes of hard work, were worthless. I told you you wouldn't believe me...

'Considering the 89 Nobel Peace Prizes that have been awarded since 1901 is a melancholy experience. By and large, they're the chronicle of a blood-soaked century's fitful hopes and consistent failures. With the exception of a handful of organizations -- the Red Cross, the American Friends Service Committee, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees -- whose good efforts continue, it's largely a story of individuals involved with forgotten peace initiatives, abandoned agreements and ultimately ineffectual treaties. The notable recent exceptions are the prizes given to the people who brought an end to South African apartheid and Ulster's civil strife.

But it's certainly true of the three previous American officeholders who were awarded the prize. Theodore Roosevelt won for his role in forging the Portsmouth Treaty, which ended the Russo-Japanese War but brought only a temporary cessation of animosity between those two countries. Woodrow Wilson won for his promotion of the League of Nations, but he was unable to persuade even his own country to join, and the organization failed utterly after the rise of fascism. Vice President Charles Gates Dawes was given the 1925 award for his formulation of a "plan" that was supposed to stabilize the German economy while allowing the payment of reparations for World War I. It didn't, but it did further poison his already bitter relationship with President Coolidge, whose Cabinet meetings Dawes refused to attend.'

Teddy Roosevelt was a failure? Yeah, because Russia and Japan have been fighting solidly for a hundred years, no? What is a cessation of animosity? To deserve the Nobel, do the countries you bring peace to have to fall in love as well? Woodrow Wilson created a whole massive organisation! But he is a failure too, in the through-the-looking-glass world of Rutten. Ok, the League of Nations was destroyed by fascism, but so was half the civilised world. That was Wilson's fault?

All the other sad bastards that won the Nobel spent their time on 'forgotten peace initiatives, abandoned agreements and ultimately ineffectual treaties'. What use are they? They didn't give sexually stimulating speeches!

'Against that backdrop, the Norwegian pols' preference for Obama's hopeful rhetoric doesn't seem quite so absurd.'

[Our blogger has run screaming from the room, scrabbling around frantically for Valium].

'...Many Europeans -- and particularly those associated with the prize -- are bound to recall that just 45 years ago, the Nobel went to another black American, Martin Luther King Jr., then involved in the struggle against legalized racial separation in the United States. Now, against all odds and expectations, that same United States has elected an African American president...'

So why don't the American people get the Nobel?

'...It would have been unthinkable a few years ago that the opposition party would not have at least extended the president perfunctory congratulations for this honor; he is, after all, the head of state. No longer. Before Obama even had a chance to speak in public, Republican National Chairman Michael Steele denounced the award...'

Why is it that Democrats have elided the entire second Bush term from their collective memory? If President Bush had won anything, anything at all, it would have recieved the same vicious deranged foul-mouthed lambasting that everything remotely relating to President Bush recieved. When you say 'a few years ago' Rutten, do you mean the fifties? Thought so.

'...Still, the Nobel Prize is a funny thing that sometimes confers its own peculiar specific gravity. Earlier this week, for example, the literature award went to a Romanian-born author, Herta Muller, who is little read in her adopted country -- Germany, in whose language she writes -- and known hardly at all in this country. On Thursday morning, when the award was announced, "The Land of Green Plums," by all accounts her best book, was No. 56,359 on; by the close of business that day, it was No. 7.

If the peace prize increases our attention to Obama's continuing appeal to our nature's better angels -- both at home and abroad -- by a mere fraction of that climb, where's the absurdity?'

Mellifluous piffle is mostly harmless. Mellifluous piffle mobilised to hide a socialist and statist agenda is both morally despicable and deeply cynical. Giving a man doing the latter a prize for doing it? That is worse than absurd.

So, apparently, Ruttens argument is this: giving Obama a profile boost is worth permanently diminishing the already diminished worth of the prize, because he says nice things. Oh, and all the other guys that won it? Losers!

Next week, Tim Rutten explains why forcing people to buy healthcare increases their freedom and choice.,0,6945839.column [Hat Tip: HotAir]

Taking on the empires

Interesting article, though I think for many of us who have been paying attention over the last eight years there is pretty much nothing new here.

But it did suggest in my mind a psychological possibility about islamic thinking. Why attack America? Why not attack Israel, the 'little Satan'? Strategically, their choice of opponent seems ludicrous.

Here is my idea. Islam benefitted greatly from the mostly collapsed nature of the Roman empire, and the weakness of the small successor states, at the point where it began its own imperial expansion. It could pretend to itself that it was the destroyer of the Roman empire, and that the rightness of its cause, its religious correctness was the reason it succeeded. In 1989, the Mujahideen and the tiny scraps of foreign Arabs in Afghanistan believed, against all the evidence, that they had 'destroyed' the Soviet empire.

So despite the fact that Putins war in Chechnya followed on closely the 'defeat' in Afghanistan, and that it was against muslims, the self-image of islamists is, at least to some extent, that they are plucky empire slayers. So, which empire now presents itself? The American one.

I realise that there is vastly more to the situation than just this, but I also think that this is one of the psychological planks that goes into making the islamist mindset. And because it is so historically mistaken, it has led to the tragic and hubristic assault on America. They are very lucky to get an Obama in the White House, and not a Harry Truman...

Friday, October 09, 2009

Thanks for the comedy

'He didn't campaign, he didn't seek, he cast no vote, offered no "pork," "bribe," or "inducement." All he did was be who he was and the WORLD recognized him for his Noble effort. These were people who placed no credence in the honor, word or merit of Limbaugh, Steele, Beck, Coburn, Inhofe, or that blonde haired, pinch faced woman with the fingernails-on-chalkboard voice railing on American television. It looks as if Rush has failed to have Obama fail. No other President has achieved such an honor in a mere 1 month in office. Not one. And the head scratching clowns can't figure it out. They don't get it, never did get it and never will get it. But Obama got it. Hope and change, baby, hope and change.

Posted by: NoFailure | Oct 9, 2009 7:21:51 AM

Comments section, [Hat Tip: Instapundit]

Monday, October 05, 2009

Controlling the Culture

'More importantly, [the mainstream media] control the culture, which administers endless injections of their ideology to the apolitical “swing” voters who are so critical to elections. The parade of businessmen and religious zealots who serve as Hollywood’s corps of villains, plot lines designed to make liberalism seem irresistible, a thousand little jokes and asides that paint the Right as psychotic… It takes a lot of wattage to blast a conservative idea through all that white noise.'

This always reminds me of M.A.S.H. Even back in the early eighties when I watched this show, I was occasionally struck by how anachronistic the politics of the show was. Not only was it wrong for Korea, it was even more wrong for the nineteen eighties. M.A.S.H was made by boomers nostalgic for the sixties. These self-righteous pricks have dominated large parts of the TV production system in the US (and therefore the world) for at least three decades. Despite being clearly very much a minority with minority views at the beginning of this period, they have swung the pendulum of mass opinion in their direction by ceaseless repitition of their mantras:

1. Religion has caused most wars in history

2. Christian people are stupid. No eductated person would ever belong to a Christian church.

3. Other religions are superior to Christianity. Especially hippy religions like Buddhism and Taoism. Islam is cool because its not Christianity.

4. Conservatives are boring, square and stuck in the past.

5. Progressives and Democrats are hip, modern and represent the future.

6. Conservatives are not necessarily evil, but provide cover for the evil corporations, evil cynical corrupt politicians, and the military-industrial complex.

7. America is always wrong and evil. Its intentions are always evil and greedy and corrupt.

8. As a necessary concomitant of 7, all the genuinely evil dictatorships and tyrannies in the world are less evil and tyrannical because they aren't America (see Saddam Hussein).

9. All that the world needs for beautiful multicultural harmony and joy to break out worldwide is to castrate America.

10. We might need to exaggerate America's evilness a little bit to get people to buy 1 thru 9. Ok, we might need to exaggerate a lot. But its all in a good cause.

Barack Obama is a fully-paid signed up believer in all the above, if we are to believe his words and actions.

UPDATE 14.30 p.m.

'The Obama presidency has given many people who dislike politics no choice but to become political. Political control has infiltrated every aspect of their lives. As they awaken to this reality, they’re looking around for someone besides Obama, someone who can show them an alternative to the total State, which they can no longer pretend not to see. They will not turn to someone quietly waiting to be noticed. The announcement of Going Rogue marks the moment when Palin’s future became more important than her past. What she “used to be” is no longer as important as what she is, and may become.'
[Quoted from the same piece]
This immediately made me think of a tsunami. Usual waves have only a few hundred yards of water behind them. That amount of moving mass is not enough to buckle sea defenses or crush towns. But tsunamis have millions of tons of water behind them, and that relentless crushing power is what makes them devastating. Sarah Palin with a huge mass of mainstream American voters behind her will not just crush the Democrats but also the establishment RINO-type Republicans who hate Ms Palin because she ISN'T establishment and represents such a devestating threat to that cosy world. Things could get interesting.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The truly educated

'I love nothing so much as reading the utterly exquisite Marxist prose of Perry Anderson, for example, on early modern Europe. If I could write as he does I would be pretty darn happy. The problem is, when I look and see what he has written over the years in the same exquisite style about The Crisis, referring to the contemporary period and not, say, the Enclosure Movement, over in the pages of New Left Review, I can’t say that any of it seems to turn out as argued. And after enough times when it doesn’t, even I start to wonder if maybe it isn’t quite the right way to think about early modern Europe, either.'

The indication of a truly educated person is they can read exquisite prose and work out that it is nevertheless substantively crap.

Not him again

'Political capital is a precious commodity. It is never to be wasted. That’s why many have been questioning whether Obama is making too many media appearances, lessening the importance of each one. And that’s why almost every observer will wonder how the White House got snookered into Olympics-gate—an unnecessary humiliation that will be on the permanent list of losses for this Presidency.' [Hat Tip: Instapundit]

I saw an interview with a Democrat who may possibly have worked at the White House, but I'm not sure. She was being interviewed on Fox about the famous Sunday when Obama did all the weekly politics shows - except Fox. She was asked about whether she thought Obama risked losing some of his sheen due to continuous exposure to people in the press. And she seemed to imply that Obama being constantly in the press, on TV, news shows, magazines, newspapers was their plan. And she was a bit mysterious, like there was some machiavellian aspect to it. Very weird.

And I thought 'What could they possibly gain from Obama becoming so overwhelmingly wall-to-wall omnipresent?'. And I can't think of a single good thing. There is much evidence that Obama already hit the high water mark of his popularity. Amongst adults he has receded enormously in approval. Young kids and college students still love him but then, well, they're young. But eventually everybody will get tired of that dazzling fake smile. If it is thrust into their faces over breakfast, lunch and dinner, eventually people will want a different view.

It is revealing what happened to Obamas famous legions of email-listees. When the Health care tug-of-war was just heating up, the White House sent out millions of emails to the people who had voted for Obama and given an email address. The emails asked people to please go along to their local Town Hall meetings and verbally support the President and his plan (the plan we still don't know about). The response? Absolutely pitiful. A few thousand out of about six million people emailed showed up at a town hall.

Surprising? Not really. The people who supported Obama are lightweights. Not responsible, not perceptive, not experienced and not dependable. Many voted for Obama thinking they were going to get stuff- really, that's the level many of his black supporters were working on. But go to a town hall? What is that, some kind of white man thing? Sounds boring as hell. I ain't going down the wrong end of town to talk to no white idiots about health. Anyway, I'm busy. I'm sure the White House were shocked at the completely deadbeat response. And perhaps got an intimation of mortality. With supporters like that, will they get over any more electoral or political hurdles. Unlikely.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Listen to yourselves please

'It may have only been the Olympics but Obama's high-profile failure to win the games for Chicago has raised serious questions about his perceived international star power.'

'If Obama can't sway Olympic officials, how can he wring concessions from Iran on its nuclear program, secure crucial support from allies to overhaul two wars or rebuild the U.S. image in the Middle East?'

If there is one kind of argumentation which is guarunteed to get on my nerves, it is this one. Talk about cockamamie. Failure to win the Olympics is virtually nothing. It means virtually nothing. Hell, winning the dubious right to run the Olympics is virtually nothing. Its impact on the Obama brand? Virtually nothing. Its impact on Obamas potential to win over the Iranians or North Koreans? Absolutely nothing.

The fact that within half an hour I have heard this garbage from two separate right wing sources disturbs me not a little. Are you people serious? More pertinently, have you been reading the "Bumper Book of Democratic Argumentation" and taking notes? I can't hear people making a totally specious argument like this and take them seriously in the future.

There is plenty to worry about and critique with the Obama administration. You don't need this crap. There are plenty of genuine missteps and confusions in Obamas approach to his job. I thought it was a mistake for him to go mob handed to Copenhagen, but only from the perspective that he has the single most important job in the world, and he needs to take that seriously. But the success or failure of this trivial task? Who gives a flying fornication? Its trivial. Thats the whole point. He could have succeeded with aplomb and panache, and it would still be trivial. It wouldn't have polished his credentials, or made him much likelier to succeed in negotiations with the Iranians.

Well, unless I've totally misread the Iranians, and they are completely obsessed with Olympic locations and venues. If so, they are keeping that very quiet.

McChrystal: up to the job?

'At midday Saturday, after visiting the hospital and flying over the bombing site in a helicopter, the team met with two local officials. The NATO officers were expecting anger and calls for compensation. What they received was a totally unanticipated sort of criticism.

"I don't agree with the rumor that there were a lot of civilian casualties," said one key local official, who said he did not want to be named because he fears Taliban retribution. "Who goes out at 2 in the morning for fuel? These were bad people, and this was a good operation."

A few hours later, McChrystal arrived at the reconstruction team's base in Kunduz. A group of leaders from the area, including the chairman of the provincial council and the police chief, were there to meet him. So, too, were members of an investigative team dispatched by President Hamid Karzai.

McChrystal began expressing sympathy "for anyone who has been hurt or killed."

The council chairman, Ahmadullah Wardak, cut him off. He wanted to talk about the deteriorating security situation in Kunduz, where Taliban activity has increased significantly in recent months. NATO forces in the area, he told the fact-finding team before McChrystal arrived, need to be acting "more strongly" in the area.

His concern is shared by some officials at the NATO mission headquarters, who contend that German troops in Kunduz have not been confronting the rise in Taliban activity with enough ground patrols and comprehensive counterinsurgency tactics.

"If we do three more operations like was done the other night, stability will come to Kunduz," Wardak told McChrystal. "If people do not want to live in peace and harmony, that's not our fault."

McChrystal seemed to be caught off guard.

"We've been too nice to the thugs," Wardak continued.'

If you read the whole piece, you get the impression that General McChrystal is just not ready to hear what the local Afghans are saying to him.

'...McChrystal still had a message to deliver. Even if the Afghan officials were not angry, he certainly did not seem pleased.

After fording the muddy river to see the bombing site -- getting his pants wet up to his knees -- he addressed a small group of journalists at the reconstruction team headquarters and said it was "clear there were some civilians harmed at that site." He said NATO would fully investigate the incident.

"It's a serious event that's going to be a test of whether we are willing to be transparent and whether we are willing to show that we are going to protect the Afghan people," he said.'

My overall impression of McChrystal so far is not positive. There is no possible way in war to stop innocents from dying. You can attempt where possible to minimize the effects of war, but never completely. Except by ceasing to engage the enemy. The rules of engagement as they now stand make it nigh on impossible for the war in Afghanistan to be prosecuted. McChrystal is so focused on the PR show that his number one task, successfully eliminating the Taliban seems to have dropped out of view.

There is NO POSSIBLE WAY to sanitize a war, any war, engaged in by the United States, so that the left wing in America and all the America-haters worldwide will be placated. None. It is not possible. If you do what they insist this week, next week they will be back with ever more stringent limitations on what you can do.

So? Do not engage in the fantasy to begin with. Innocent people are going to die during the elimination of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. But, and this is a hugely important but, if you take your time, and fanny about with moronic rules of engagement, many many more innocents will die as a consequence. The war will rumble on and on, and the Taliban will learn more and more about our tactics and how to nullify them, and the public support for the mission will gradually fade away and eventually the US will pull out. And it will have lost- PR-wise and in fact. So will the Afghan people, who can look forward to a future of seventh century islamic ignorance, boredom and violence.

Afghanistan is not similar to Iraq- but just as the US evolved a way to win in Iraq, both militarily and politically, it can do the same in Afghanistan. I'm just not sure that plodding simpleton McChrystal is the man to do it. And Barack Obama is not the judge of character to notice. Poor Afghanistan.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

US foreign policy

'There is something slightly weird about all this activity. If the Obama team wanted to make a really significant break from past Bush policy, it would say it was not going to just talk with the world's worst strongmen but would give equal, public status to their democratic opposition groups. Instead, the baddest actors in the world get face time with Barack Obama, but their struggling opposition gets invisibility.'

First point - either the sentance about past Bush policy is very badly written, or the implication was to talk to the 'world's worst strongmen'. As I recall Bush policy in general it was to verbally chastise the worst regimes around the world, give verbal support to democrat oppositions in those countries, and invade the worst offenders and get rid of their dictators.

How what this Henninger guy is suggesting trumps that I can't imagine.

Second point - giving the same status as national governments to any group is entering very dubious territory indeed. And completely unnecessary to attain the goals sought.

Does she need a dictionary or a brain scan?

'In her speech in Copenhagen today, First Lady Michelle Obama said her trip to Denmark, along with the travel of her "dear friend" and "chit-chat buddy" Oprah Winfrey, as well as tomorrow's visit by President Obama, is a "sacrifice" on behalf of the children of Chicago and the United States.'

Can you imagine Eleanor Roosevelt saying this? Or doing it?