Sunday, October 12, 2008

Capitalists of the world unite and revolt!

If only...

Why is it that generation upon generation of people yearn to revolt in the name of socialism in spite of the chaos, stagnation, poverty, and tyranny that results and no one revolts in the name of capitalism when it breeds wealth, luxury, and the best of mankind?

Why is there no generation of young people willing to revolt in the name of reason and liberty? In the name of capitalism? In the name of all that is great and just and glorious? 

I can only imagine that it is because no coherent moral vision of a capitalist revolution exists. In spite of being entirely wrong and morally repugnant, such a clear vision does exists for socialism and the power of such should be self-evident.

A compelling and inspiring vision for a just revolution exists for socialism and in spite of near a century of appalling failure, it still converts millions of young men and women seeking a cause "greater than themselves."

Capitalism is nothing more or less than mankind free and rational. It isn't exploitative, racist, or destructive. In order for mankind to flourish we must act within the boundary of our nature and it is our nature to be free. Capitalism is the political expression of mankind at its best and it is in desperate need of defenders.

Ayn Rand attempted to write a moral defense of capitalism and in that she partially succeeded but no one has followed up with a moral defense for revolution and that is what is needed now.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Tyrant on the left

Rich Lowry at the often irritating (you hear me Jonah Goldberg? You suck!) National Review has written a decent article about Obama's and the lefts disturbing, yet predictable, tendency to quash and criminalize any speech they don't like.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The horror of bi-partisanship

It must not be forgotten that the worst and most destructive policies of the last eight years have, for the most part, been supported by both major political parties.

It strikes me that if the American people are anything other than sheep, they must seriously consider the viability of the libertarian party.

It's official

Bush is the worst president in American history.

Of course both the Democrats and Republicans in Congress have enabled him and deserve much of the responsibility for his failures, and as a result the U.S. is in for a very, very rough future.

Let's take a look at a few of his biggest mistakes:

1. The election of George W. Bush was as slim as slim gets and a reasonable man would have governed with some humility but instead he tried to use his slim margin to ram home his agenda which of course failed but did succeed in enraging the American left.

2. Post 9/11 management included bureaucratic nightmares such as the Department of Homeland security, affronts to liberty such as the patriot act, and an ill-conceived and undeclared war with ambiguous goals against an amorphous enemy.

3. The medicare prescription drug plan which was designed solely to ensure reelection and has since predictably proven to be anti-competition, wildly expensive, and a subsidy to the pharmaceutical companies that simply insured prices would continue to rise.

4. The Iraq war. This was a poorly managed, poorly planned, undeclared, ill-conceived, unnecessary, and wildly expensive war. Congress has supported this farce of foreign policy every step of the way illustrating not only their complicity in this nonsense but their cynicism and duplicity (in immediately condemning it and doing nothing to fix or stop it) as well. The consequence of this has been to completely ruin our international reputation, weaken our already shaky economic situation, and potentially radicalize another generation of muslims.

5. Nearly doubling the national debt in just over eight years. The potential effects of which include a downgrading of the U.S. credit rating and the potential for massive inflation.

6. The mortgage crisis and the bailouts.  This has been in the works mostly since Clinton, who bears much of the responsibility due his changes to the community reinvestment act, but it was the bailouts that truly made this a disaster. Our inept Congress gave away its constitutional obligation of financial oversight and allowed the treasury department unlimited, and unaccountable financial authority which it used to the tune of nearly a trillion dollars in bailouts thus effectively nationalizing our entire mortgage industry. The inevitable consequence of this is likely catastrophe... Why Congress would continue to give more and more power to someone who has shown such utter incompetence in using it shows quite clearly that they are simply biding their time until they can wield that same power - they care little for the success, security, freedom, or happiness of the American people when compared to wielding more and more power.

George W. Bush has not only destroyed the Republican party, of which McCain is its death throes, but he may have entrenched authoritarianism, imperialism, and socialism forever as natural elements of America's modern political and cultural identity. The U.S. is no longer a nation of reason, capitalism, and liberty. It is no longer the political expression of the philosophical enlightenment. It is no longer unique. It is no longer exceptional. It is no longer great.

Our demise has been in the works since Wilson involved us in World War 1 but we have had numerous opportunities to right the ship, but not anymore. The life narrative of the United States of America has run its course and its original brilliance and potential have degraded into a shameful and irrational tragedy. 

Friday, September 19, 2008

U.S. AAA rating in jeopardy?

Reuters is reporting that there is some legitimate pressure on our perfect AAA S&P rating.

Gee, with the U.S. government subsidizing incompetent and noncompetitive businesses, being excessively loose with monetary policy, racking up trillions in debt, and tens of trillions in future obligations, and then bailing out the financial sector to tune of a trillion dollars and mortgage market for five trillion, all while the airlines and auto industries clamor for bailouts as well, who would have thought that maybe our credit rating might take a hit?

Even our government can run out of money and fail if the U.S. bond market collapses when it become obvious that we can't pay our debts without using inflation to do so... and if I thought that it would teach people a lesson about capitalism I would encourage it to happen but it won't...

Ron Paul on the beginning of the mortgage crisis, the removal of much congressional oversight from the treasury dept., on the AIG bailout, and finally on the bigger inflationary problem from this.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Here is a quote from an article by Vanessa Grigoriadis that has received a bit of attention from the Vdare crowd for illustrating the implicit foolish sensitivity that any frank discussion of race brings:

"As I began to finish the reporting for this article, I mentioned to an Obama aide that I was interested in the different ways that Obama presents himself to black and white audiences. The aide hit the roof over this comment, which he claimed was racially divisive, and soon I received a call from Obama’s “African-American outreach coordinator,” who apparently clarifies race issues for reporters when they are perceived to have strayed. “I appreciate what you’re saying,” said Corey Ealons, “but I think it’s dangerous, quite frankly.”
I'll leave the obvious discussion to Steve Sailer and instead ask this questions:

Does Senator Obama's campaign strike anyone else as humorless and compulsively controlling? Recall how out of sorts he was for the first week after Gov. Palin was announced by the McCain campaign...

They protest too much, methinks.

Radley Balko over at Reason's Hit&Run posted this Orwellian blurb.

The gist? The TSA changed the name of Virginia hub from transportation security operations center to the "Freedom Center."

The U.S. is supposedly the home of the freedom and liberty yet we have, of late, taken to being rather pushy about declaring it even in the face of the absurd. It strikes me as suspicious because if we are so damn free, why do we have to constantly remind everyone of it? Shouldn't it be obvious?

Perhaps nothing of late indicates that we are a little past our freedom loving prime than this.

Capitalism and the problem of Abortion

I'm a strident capitalist. I absolutely endorese individual rights, reason, the protection of private property, and the  laissez-faire system that naturally extends. It would seem that I am one Dagny Taggart reference away from an Ayn Rand wet-dream except I'm not.

Don't get me wrong, I think that Ayn Rand was a brilliant thinker who did wonders articulating something this country desperately needed... a moral defense for capitalism. The problem was that she was also something of a paranoid polemicist with borderline delusions of grandeur and a penchant for scape-goating. This resulted in her late life banishment from the intellectual mainstream that has maintained to this day by her cultish followers because of their utter inability to admit that her philosophy isn't a closed, i.e. perfect system.

The crux of the problem for her is that her philosophy gives too much control of human values to our will and rational mind when in truth, our genetic make-up accounts for much of it. This accounts for her utter inability to explain and deal with children. Humans have a genetic nature and built into it is the occasional bit of tribal altruism. This is why the question of abortion is so tricky.

I think that most reasonable human would agree that a third-trimester abortion is pretty repugnant because you have to perform an explicit act not only to remove the fetus from the womb but to kill it. That second act separates late-term abortions from first and second trimester ones. Outlawing this procedure seems only reasonable and just.

The remaining six months of pregnancy are less clear morally but beside the point. Abortion is the premiere moral and legal wedge issue (but nowhere near its most important) in America today and it may very well be tearing this country apart.

Political parties have essentially realigned along pro-choice and pro-life factions and what's been lost in the mix is political principles. The champions of reason and individual liberty are incapable of leaving abortion to discussion simply because Ayn Rand didn't and were all suffering as a consequence.


Bailouts for the Detroit auto-industry seem likely. Damn it to hell! I hate politicians...

The sickening assault of Sarah

Jay Nordlinger from the corner at the NRO has said exactly what I've been thinking this last week about Sarah Palin.

She isn't being attacked for the legitimate weaknesses she has but is instead being destroyed personally and publicly. It is a sickening spectacle to watch the jackals in action...

Carter, Clinton, Obama, and the mortgage crisis.

In 1977 Jimmy Carter signed into law the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) which forced banks away from market oriented, conservative lending into high-risk loans to unqualified customers in order to improve home-ownership rate in minority neighborhoods. He signed the CRA largely due to political pressure from left-wing activist groups and against the overwhelming opposition from the mainstream banking community.

The CRA was a poorly enforced, moderately harmful, albeit well-intended bill and it stayed that way until, in 1995, president Clinton turned it into the monster that it is today. Turning the subjective regulations into statistical mandates, Clinton essentially forced the banking industry to maintain a large percentage of their business in high-risk, low-income minority neighborhoods. The result was that the percentage of loans that qualified as CRA approved increased at more than double the rate of normal loans. Essentially, the government forced banks to put more and more of their resources into increasingly insecure, albeit politically correct investments.

It gets worse though when you look at so-called community groups like ACORN and how they use the CRA to extort millions of dollars from banks. An additional Clinton era regulation was the increased severity to a banks rating not only if they didn't fulfill enough CRA loans but also if one of dozens of activist groups complained - a simple complaint could cost the bank their rating. These so-called community groups are not blind to the power they wield and neither are the banks. There is a semi-silent but mutual agreement that if these groups don't make complaints then the banks will not only give out the required loans to unqualified minorities but that they will also give millions of dollars directly to the activist group itself. ACORN (as well as it's many, many other seedy and criminal aspects) is one of the worst extortionists of this kind and has long-standing ties to Barack Obama.

Sen. Obama has not only briefly worked for ACORN but he has also doled out millions of dollars to them by way of his work as a board of director on the Woods fund of Chicago as well as his time as an Illinois state senator. A housing bill currently in the senate, supported by Obama and ACORN would set aside millions of dollars in tax-payer money for these "community groups."

The overall effect is that banks are forced into irresponsible practices by a coalition of powerful lobbyist/activist groups, indebted or corrupt politicians, and the coercive laws that they put in place leading inevitably to financial ruin, leaving the taxpayers footing the bill for tens of billions in losses while lining the pockets of racist opportunists to the tune of millions.

Will Senator Obama likely continue the Clinton-era interventionism that helped create this economic crisis by pandering to groups like ACORN? Given his explicit support of the group up to this point, it seems likely...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Please go away!

I would like to take this moment to list some more people that I would like to see unemployed as quickly as possible:

1. Rachel Maddow - this woman reminds me of an old philosophy professor of mine. She is not a political leftist so much as she is a philosophical leftist. What I mean by that is that she is absolutely familiar with the underlying foundations of her political beliefs and she stills believes them, which makes her all the more repugnant. That being said, she has moved from the purgatory that is Air America to the near-purgatory that is MSNBC bringing her utterly conventional (if you've spent any time on a college campus of late that is) leftist ramblings. This is the type of woman who believes every charge against a conservative not because she is gullible but because the truth is an irrelevant concept to her - it's all about social justice.

2. Josh Howard - this guys a real tosser. His most recent stupidity? Declaring that the he doesn't pay respect to this country and its national anthem because he's black and thus implicitly not part of the greater American history and culture. Okay asshole...

3. George W. Bush - do you have to ask why? This time my reason is that he made no effort to put a stop to this absurd bailout of AIG and he was entirely on board for the bailout of Bear Sterns. Damn it man! Can't you do ANYTHING like an actual conservative? If I'd wanted a 1960's democrat then I would have invented a time machine, gone back in time, and voted for LBJ. Of course I didn't but it sure the fuck feels like I did.

In a just and decent world these people would be begging for change on a street corner but instead they are all in the public eye making me vaguely empathetic with Vladmir Putin and his tendency to imprison anyone that irritates him.

Georgia not just an innocent victim?

It would seem that Georgia isn't quite as innocent and virtuous as they have led the west to believe and is instead as cynical and stupid as I suggested.

And it begins

As the 2008 presidential election inevitably (yes, that's right, I said inevitably) tightened up, it was equally inevitable that chant of racism would be begin.

The left adores Barack Obama more so than any Democratic candidate in history but also despises the current Republicans enough to heighten their emotional investment - "he must win or the country is doomed."

Barack Obama is, for many Democrats, a Goldwater figure. He is the candidate that they've always wanted, not the compromise of a Rockefeller or a Clinton. They can't emotionally handle the idea of him losing and know that if he does, his ideas will essentially be abandoned as were Goldwaters. Thus, the cry of racism.

So here comes the anger, hysteria, and unseemly nastiness that have characterized the far-left of the Democratic party for the last forty years. Enjoy, because I sure won't.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The moral choice

As we rapidly approach the Nov. election I would like to take this opportunity to remind the people that your vote, like all political actions, is not so much an intellectual choice or civic duty but rather it is a moral decision.

Who will you enslave for that social program you are fond of? Who's freedoms are you willing to curtail for your own comfort? Do your fellow men owe you their property? Their time? Their lives?

Whether you are voting on an initiative in California or sitting on a jury, you are not simply a part of the process - you are the process. You are ultimately accountable for your political choices and their often severe consequences. Please choose wisely and rationally this November.

A hidden cause of the mortgage crisis

An editorial from the Investors business daily does lay a lot of the blame for the mortgage meltdown on the government - the Clinton government that is. Here are the key excerpts:

"But it was the Clinton administration, obsessed with multiculturalism, that dictated where mortgage lenders could lend, and originally helped create the market for the high-risk subprime loans now infecting like a retrovirus the balance sheets of many of Wall Street's most revered institutions.

Tough new regulations forced lenders into high-risk areas where they had no choice but to lower lending standards to make the loans that sound business practices had previously guarded against making. It was either that or face stiff government penalties.

The untold story in this whole national crisis is that President Clinton put on steroids the Community Redevelopment Act, a well-intended Carter-era law designed to encourage minority homeownership. And in so doing, he helped create the market for the risky subprime loans..."

This is what happens when the government interferes in the private market... catastrophe.

The Democrats obsession with social tinkering has now cost the U.S. economy hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars, helped to destroy some of our oldest and most prestigious firms, and forced the U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill for tens of billions of dollars in loses.

The virtues of multiculturalism are debatable but we must understand that the government, by its very nature and essence, is a destructive entity that corrupts everything in its sphere of influence. 

The question of immigration

I would like to briefly discuss immigration, as it seems to fallen out of the political discussion of late.

Whether in Europe or the U.S., mass immigration is the fastest and largest migration of people in human history and it needs to be discussed. There are political ramifications, social and cultural consequences, as well as economic effects.

A nation has border integrity in order to maintain a nation-states primary virtue: it allows for culturally and politically like-minded people to exist together. That is why distinct nations have distinctly different political and social characters. If every nation becomes an egalitarian mixture of people then every nation will be essentially the same. What happens to those people that wish to live a different way?

What happens to those that wish to be libertarian freedom lovers?

What about those that love communism?

What about countries that simply adore ping-pong?

Where do those people go when every nation has become homogenized?

The world is better when people are free to move to a nation but also when that nation is free to refuse them entry. Sometimes preserving national character is a good thing, especially if you like that national character.

The problem with the multicultural egalitarians is that they disdain personal choice. They discount that perhaps the French LIKE being French for better or worse. Perhaps the homogenous Japanese would prefer to stay homogenous even with the economic consequences of an aging population.

It is perfectly reasonable for some countries to embrace multiculturalism while others do not. There needs to be an open discussion concerning the issues of mass migration and its consequences because there's no turning back the clock once the deed is done and the buyers remorse on this one might be fatal.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Let them die!

It seems that most modern politicians utterly lack courage or discipline because every time something wacky happens to rock the boat, they freak out, especially in the economy.

Take the fannie mae and mac "crisis." They aren't going to collapse (neither will Lehman's or Merrill Lynch but more on that later) because the tax payers are going to bail them out just like we bail out the airlines and railroads and anyone else who screws up. Why?

Because politicians are stupid, corrupt, weak-willed, short-sighted tossers. By bailing out companies that "are too big to allow to fail" even when they deserve too, you create an incentive for companies to tolerate risk in favor of size. 

Companies will know that no matter how crazy the risks they take, they taxpayers will bail them out if anything goes wrong. This utterly corrupts the market, rotting it from the inside out, and will inevitably lead to disaster because there won't be an incentive for these companies to improve and as a result their debt and size will only continue to increase (to insure a government bailout if necessary) and they will actually fail more and more often.

Bad companies are supposed to fail and be reborn in more competent hands. Bad companies are a cancer on the economy and they need to die. When the government fearfully bails them out it keeps that cancer alive and increases the chance that it will one day do irreparable damage to the economy as a whole.

Not only should we let these companies fail, but we should embrace it and enjoy it. Their demise means our health - it means a stronger, richer, and more nimble America. It means more jobs, better jobs, and more opportunities.

Fannie Mae, Merrill Lynch, and Lehman Brothers are all towering monuments to incompetence, recklessness, poor planning, and bad management and are no better than the criminal Enron and Worldcom. They are cancer, poison, economic death. They are fear mongers, tempters, and parasites.

Let them die so that better companies run by better people can rise in their place. 

Let them die to lighten our burden. 

Let them die because they deserve it.

Let them die. Let them die. Let them die. 

We deserve better then them. Let them die so that we can have it.

The death of a republic

I wish to make it explicitly clear to any who might read my little blog, that civilization is receding and it's probably, in part, your fault. 

You have abandoned reason, rational thought, moral courage, intellectual honesty, and the eternal vigilance necessary to preserve a free society.

Don't complain because most of the time, most of the people get exactly what they deserve and we are, as a group, getting just that. Sit back and enjoy. You earned it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What genius thought this up?

Obama = Jesus.

I'm not a religious man and am in fact, an explicit atheist, and yet I find this comparison offensive on many levels.

The first and most obvious point is that it is a stupid, stupid, stupid comparison only to be made by people so ignorant of religious tenets and political tactics that they actual think it's a clever idea. Do they not understand the concept of blasphemy? Does it not occur to them that Christians might, just might find this a bit offensive. Do they think that average voters might not want to worship their candidate? Nope, at least the dailykos doesn't think so.

The second point is that it's factually inaccurate and reeks of nasty elitism. A community organizer is someone who goes out and lobby's the community to support some project or political agenda. They are either mercenaries or true believers. Jesus was supposedly the word of God - truth. It might have been fair to compare one of the apostles or missionaries to a community organizer but Jesus? 

The last point is that it's just creepy. I don't worship anyone and I don't want too. Obama isn't divine and he isn't salvation and he isn't a damn prophet. He's a fucking politician and what matters is his character, judgement, and ideas and when you take a look at him, he isn't the truth, he's just another politician.

This is why Democrats lose nationally. Like Mrs. Kael they simply don't understand the country they live in.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Is Sarah Palin the Devil??

In 1972, Richard Nixon swept 49 states in a crushing electoral domination over George McGovern which elicited from The New Yorker's film critic Pauline Kael this famous quote: 

"How could that be? I don't know a single person who voted for Nixon."
In that singular quote she elegantly and ironically explained her utter isolation from the bulk of America. She truly couldn't comprehend the actions of the American people because she truly didn't understand the people themselves.

Over the last two weeks Gov. Sarah Palin has endured (beyond the normal legitimate political assaults) a savage beating of outright lies, unsubstantiated rumors, misrepresentation, and ridicule from the mainstream media and left-leaning bloggers. This merciless assault on her has elicited utter confusion from a pretty diverse range of women that I've come into contact with of late. 

Women young and old, liberal or conservative, single or married, hispanic, asian, and white have all expressed, to me, shock at the vitriol and open hostility. "Why?" they ask. " I kind of like her."

Irreverent genius/buffoon Greg Gutfeld over at Fox's Redeye has a wonderful answer:

But I know the real reason why every single elitist media type is terrified of her. They've never met her. And by "her," I don't mean Sarah Palin. I mean "her," an actual normal woman with a bunch of kids, an average husband and no desire to watch "The L Word."

Spot on Greg, spot on. 

Sarah Palin has many of the same qualities that flummoxed 1960's feminists about Ayn Rand. She's a smart, successful career woman who disagrees with them. Because they are utterly incapable of imagining such a mythical creature they naturally assume that she must secretly be a religious nut, incompetent parent, country rube, liar, and political fraud. They simply can't believe that she is the real deal and they will surrender their integrity, honesty, good judgement, and reputations in order satisfy their pathological belief. 

Remember Dan Rather throwing away a long and successful career over a B.S. story about George W. Bush? Why do it? Why not do a cursory investigation? Spend a day to check the facts? Hadn't the president already failed enough to condemn him with the truth, did he need a fake story as well? Simply because in Rather's world, it HAD to be true. And so it is with the media and Sarah Palin.

Is Sarah Palin a Republican Harry Truman, a Reagan revival, another George W. Bush, or something else entirely? I don't know that answer but I do know that she's smart, tough, likably plucky and isn't afraid of anyone.

Obama under pressure?

So when the polls tighten up, excitement builds for his rival, Barack Obama goes on the offensive General Custer style. Reminds me a bid of Canada in 1993...

Rather than questioning McCain's foreign policy judgement, imperial tendencies, his utter lack of knowledge about the economy, or any other reasonable point of attack, Obama decides to call McCain out of touch.

In his latest ad, Obama's crack team suggests that McCain is out of touch because can't send an e-mail, which he really can't. The only problem is that McCain is actually quite technologically savvy and can't send an e-mail because he was tortured in Vietnam and instead of typing dictates to his wife.

Way to respond under pressure there Barack.

Jonah Goldberg at The Corner handled this one.

Running their campaign the same way they run everything else...

Here is this years most amusing article from Wonkette dealing with the problems that a Chicago girl scout troop had trying to get a little bit of free stuff from the Obama campaign.

Seriously, petty, small-minded dopes who are incapable of using their own judgement and always looking for a rule to follow or an authority to direct them. That tells you more about the underlying psychology of the Democratic party and Obama than anything else I've seen this election cycle.

Oh Maureen! Oh Matt!

So what do Maureen Dowd and Matt Damon have in common?

They are both so partisan (and possibly apathetic in the case of Dowd) that neither one of them can be bothered to fact-check anything that confirms their predetermined view of the world.

A blogger wrote and posted a series of fake Sarah Palin quotes as a parody a couple of weeks ago and ever since some of the quotes have been kicking around the rabidly excitable left-wing blogosphere, democratic mailing lists, and the empty heads of douche baggy actors.

That brings us back to Maureen and Matt, both of whom in a public forum repeated a quote about dinosaurs. Now, I suspect that Maureen, in her own acerbic way, made the mistake first and Matt just repeated it like a lemming but it's hard to say.

What I do know for certain is that for all of the problems with conservatives in America, they aren't quite as frothing, hysterical, fearful, petty, angry elitists as leftists are, for whatever that's worth.

The future of the America's political parties.

The Democratic party has long portrayed the Republicans as the party of old, greedy, out of touch, white men while they were the party that reflected America's diversity, youth, and vigor.

A more accurate assessment is that the Republican party is rapidly becoming, as Howard Dean noted, the white party. They are no longer the party of international restraint (sorry Dr. Paul, you are alone on that one) thanks in large part to Ronald Reagan, two George Bushes, and some Arab terrorists. They are no longer the party of constitutional government since abandoning those principles after Barry Goldwater's defeat in 1968. They certainly aren't the small government loving, libertarian leaning conservatives that Reagan hoped to galvanize. They aren't even the pro-business party anymore with the McCain-Palin ticket. 

The Republican party is essentially Christian and white. Ron Paul and John McCain in the same party along with Rudy Giuliani, Tom Tancredo, Patrick Buchanan, and Sarah Palin? There is no cohesive political vision that holds that group together except for Christianity.

What does that make the Democrats though? Well, they are effectively the party of blacks and Catholic, non-Cuban hispanics, baby-boomers, and explicit socialists. The Democrats having been losing control over white women as a reliable voting block since Reagan and the question of abortion ruptured the feminist movement; they've nearly completely lost white and hispanic evangelicals; Unions are rapidly diminishing in influence and power; Free-trade issues and low taxes became winning issues and were co-opted by Clinton in 1992. The Democrats where losing political viability, and quickly. 

Of course George W. Bush saved the day for the opposition party through his obscene incompetence and wild unpopularity. The Democrats had been given a new lease on life but how were they to remake themselves?

Their preferred method was to simply import voters by way of illegal immigration. That issue stalled (for now) and so they temporarily wandered in the dark with John Kerry's tired and vacuous run in 2004. Now in 2008 they have regrouped, reorganized, and recreated themselves by traveling back in time to 1968 with Barack Obama as the neo-Nixon figure.

Their 2008 platform reads like a history lesson on bad domestic ideas for the last seventy years. Tax the rich, massive regulations, huge government programs, etc. Barack Obama has capitalized on his racial-celebrity status to court the media, identity politics to build a base, rhetoric of change to court swing voters (his natural opponent was strangely enough Ron Paul - who actually had ideas), a wildly unpopular president with a wildly unpopular war to court the youth vote.

The Democrats don't have ideas and they don't want them, they want power, influence, but ultimately control which is the only thing leftists ever want. Republicans have abandoned their ideas for political expediency and have learned the cruel Randian lesson that if you sacrifice principle for practicality, you lose. Thus the future of American politics looks to be purely a demographic battle for dominance.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Deepak Chopra (?) takes a shot at Sarah Palin

So now, hero of the New Thought Movement, Deepak Chopra has written an article attacking Sarah Palin - a bit strange for a new age medical guru to be delving so harshly into partisan politics, or is it?

As it often the case when put under pressure, leftist show their true nature and that is all that has happened here. Deepak Chopra is a leftist first, and a new age guru second. Oddly, that doesn't make him unique among leftists.

Think of Wendy Doniger declaring that Sarah Palin is in fact, not a woman because she isn't a leftist, biology and facts notwithstanding. She is of the Gloria Steinem school of feminism that has nothing whatsoever to do with women and everything to do with leftist ideology. I prefer my feminism Camille Paglia style - with intellectual honesty.

That is how leftism works. They co-opt some group whether cultural, gender, race, nation, religion, etc. and use said group to push their ideas. They then discard that group when it is no longer useful but before they do that, they attack anyone that threatens their control of that group. That is what is happening now.

Sarah Palin is a vision of feminism that the left never wanted to let see the light of day and now that it has, they are enraged and terrified.

I've no intention of defending Sarah Palin's politics (although I did predict her as McCain's pick - if only I had bothered to blog about it) but she has certainly unnerved the left enough for them to unleash hell upon her. First the media assaults, overreach, and misrepresentation and now sheer insanity. Come on, sending Deepak Chopra, Matt Damon, and Roger Ebert to attack a charmingly folksy vice-presidential pick reeks of sheer terror like nothing else.

Why the bias?

The media is biased. That's a concession that any reasonably aware and competent person would have to make. To what is it biased and why are entirely debatable questions and ones that I would like to address here.

Is the media a bland, homogenized, corporate entity that crushes independent thought in favor of profits? If you ask many on the left then the answer would seem to be yes.

Is the media a haven for social liberals who are hostile to conservative religion and values? Yes again, if you ask nearly any conservative.

So who's right? Well, they are both quite wrong and a bit right.

The media IS overrun with self-described liberals who are independently hostile to conservative cultural and political values. It's true. Then again, the corporate media entities are obscenely interrelated and unquestioningly profit seeking agents. Those facts alone do not explain the full nature of the media's bias.

The simple truth is that the media is primarily biased towards statism. Why though?

Simply because journalists aren't the heroic truth seekers that they have portrayed themselves as since the 1950's (before that, journalists were often portrayed as fools) in films like Deadline U.S.A. and All The Presidents Men. The media is just like every other business in the world and most journalists are stupid, lazy, and don't want to do any more work than is absolutely necessary to please their boss so they can cash their paycheck.

Many, if not most news articles and reports are not written by so-called journalists but are simply reprinted nearly verbatim from press releases. The stock footage behind the talking heads is generally prepared in advance by some source or public relations firm and hand-fed to major news outlets. Journalists publish this prepackaged work rather than research their own material simply because it's easy.

If you are pursuing a story about the economy then talking to economists and businessmen would make a lot of sense. The same goes for ethical issues about abortion, legal theory about states rights, or science issues. The problem is that academics, specialists, and businessmen don't have press releases ready for publication nor handy-dandy stock footage ready for air. Governments, on the other hand, do.

Government manipulates the media by capitalizing on its primary weakness: it's need for immediate, new, easy stories ready for print. Government agencies provide a plethora of "sources" for lazy journalists and those sources will almost always trend towards the statist.

Governments employ hundreds of thousands of people (beyond attention seeking politicians) and those people are the real source of media bias. Their careers thrive, regardless of their political affiliation, on big government. The more government does, the more work they have. Statism is good for their careers and as a result, they favor it in their media relations.

A journalist reporting a story on the environment will likely use the EPA as a source; the pentagon or state department for a foreign affairs story; the treasury department or federal reserve when writing about the economy. Rarely will they consult an ecologist, historian, or businessman. They don't pursue the truth but rather the easiest story and that is almost always means a pro-government statist tainted story.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Idealess Convention 2008

If you've watched any of the first two days of the Democratic convention then you could be excused from believing that what separates democrats from republicans is that republicans apparently hate the middle-class, are sending poor helpless soldiers into a meatgrinder, and are stealing your wealth in order to give it to Exxon.

I would like to ask? What exactly is the middle-class? I know how it's defined economically but I can't help but wonder what people the democratic politicians and pundits are talking about. 

The only thing that I can gleam is that the middle-class is suffering immensely and that they all live in the idyllic small towns, drive pick-up trucks, and work in blue-collar jobs. WTF?!? 

Soldiers are a lot of things but helpless and innocent, no matter how ill-conceived the war, isn't one of them. They are highly trained men with guns sent to kill not innocent kids plucked from a neighborhood park by a psychopath.

I'm no fan of my money being taken from me and redistributed, regardless of who it goes too. That being said, it sure as hell isn't going to Exxon rather it's going to the elderly, foreign countries, and the poor. I would almost rather it go to Exxon because at least then I get something in return.

The most curious speaker was Xavier Becerra (D- Los Angeles) who apparently represents migrant workers in Congress. I didn't know they had their own district.

It seems that the democrats have finally given up thinking entirely in favor of rote repetition of empty, vaguely marxist political platitudes. That's generally in line with Obama's candidacy but still a bit sad. No matter how bad the republicans are, the democrats will always be more vacuous.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Heroic dignity

In what is likely to be my last Olympics post I would like to talk about the athletes that lost. Some reacted bitterly, and some violently, some with justifiable shock, and others still with a quiet dignity.

Alicia Sacramone's fourth place vault finish due to inexplicable judging and her disastrous floor routine that almost certainly cost the American's the gold could have resulted in moaning, complaining, and excuses. She instead took responsibility for the mistakes she made and refused to complain in the face of legitimate injustice. It was a disappointing Olympics for a 20 year old girl with huge aspirations and she handled it with class and dignity.

Matt Emmons blundered away his chance for gold on his final shot for the second straight Olympics and how did he respond? With such restraint and dignity that it was singled out by Olympics chief Jacques Rogge as the most touching moment of the games.

Lolo Jones roared into the lead with two hurdles to go, assuring her of a gold medal only to clip the ninth hurdle breaking her rhythm just enough to deny her any medal at all. In few sports is the consequence for a small mistake larger than for a hurdler and yet she handled the massive disappointment with profound stoicism. She held her composure long enough to give numerous interviews, hug her rivals as they walked by and congratulate the winners with genuine respect. For what must felt like an eternity she was the epitome of good grace, never diminishing the glory of her rivals by surrendering to personal pain, knowing as she did that at 26 this was almost certainly her only Olympics.

Only later, standing alone in the dark did a cameraman finally catch glimpse of the immense pain and disappointment. Holding her head low, trying hard not to break down completely, it became obvious how much she hurt. Still, with the full weight of the disappointment resting on her and after all of her struggles, she refused to surrender her dignity and for that she will always be golden.

A gay diver? Shocking!

There seems to be a bit of hullabaloo about NBC not making a bit of hullabaloo about Matthew Mitcham's sexuality.

In a sense they do have a point. NBC commentators delved into the personal lives of numerous athletes during the games, with most of the stories being far more mundane than his. Sports is after all partly about human interest stories. We want to root for people that inspire us personally and his story was certainly a great one for many gay viewers.

Of course NBC also has a point but one that they didn't express. The Olympics are watched by a worldwide audience that is far less supportive of homosexuality than the U.S. population, especially the worldwide sports audience. Most of their decisions are made with similar considerations and if there were hundreds of millions of people that would have enjoyed that story then no doubt it would have been the talk of the mens diving competition. Still, business is business and supporting homosexual pride just wasn't quite cost effective enough.

What I find more curious is that anyone is surprised. I just assumed that he was gay and in fact I assumed that most (or at least more than the average) of male divers are gay just like I assume that many male figure skaters are gay. Am I making a stereotype? Obviously yes but am I wrong? I doubt it.

This quote also requires a response:

"His sexuality, specifically because he’s the ONLY ONE, and because gay men are painted as unathletic in our culture, makes it a big part of the story."

Really? In my experience gay men (and far more prevalent stereotype about lesbians is that they are quite common as female athletes) are regarded as fitness freaks, very competitive, and quite athletic. It isn't that gay men aren't perceived as athletic it's that heterosexual athletes in generally mainstream athletics don't like homosexuals. Basketball, football, baseball, hockey, soccer, even tennis and golf all are generally sports that are hostile to gay men and that is an entirely different problem. Certainly no one who watches figure skating cares one way or the other and probably not in diving either.

Had Matthew Mitcham been a gay basketball player or discus thrower or even a swimmer then it would almost certainly been far too big a story to suppress over ratings concerns.


Apparently a North Dakota teenage motorcyclist grabbed the attention of the local police by popping a wheelie on his bike and then speeding off at nearly 150 mph to escape police pursuit. Most interestingly though, a few minutes after successfully managing to evade the police he simply pulled over to the side of the road to answer his cellphone and was promptly arrested.

I don't really see how a wheelie is any business of the police but what I really don't understand is why the kid simply waited by the side of the road?

I would love to make a point how the police pursuit actually created a more dangerous environment than the wheelie ever could and that it's just another example of petty tyranny by the state but I just can't summon the will to because I just can't comprehend why this kid just stopped. Why?

Hippy Cancer

It is being reported that incense may increase the risk of certain types of cancer. Take it with a grain of salt as nearly everything causes cancer in high enough dosages. Still, any opportunity that I have to chuckle at incense-loving neo-hippies, who have longed used similar studies to justify everything from vegetarianism to outlawing smoking, gives me a small amount of satisfaction.

I don't really think that incense is dangerous but I also don't think cell-phones, red meat, and DDT are either. It always comes down to dosage... just ask a chemist.

Celebrity feud: McCain v. Madonna

So Madonna took a shot at John McCain? Shocking!

She compared him to Hitler? How fresh and original!

McCain's campaign predictably responded in the most humorless and ironic way imaginable. They actually took her seriously. McCain in his own petty, authoritarian way can't stand to be tweaked and rather than dismissing Madonna as an irrelevant old whore with a fake British accent, had his campaign actually responded with outrage. Outrage!

I'm sorry but are fucking kidding me? Madonna is a lot of things, a brilliant self-promoter to be sure, a clever business woman no doubt, but hardly still culturally relevant. She certainly garners media attention and sells tickets but her Hitler-McCain comparison smacks of stale desperation as does his reaction to it.

Madonna attacking a mainstream Republican is about as unexpected as Michael Moore or the DailyKos doing so and her particular attack was about as unique and clever as an episode of America's Funniest Home Videos.

McCain seems to have really embraced the Republican parties recent tyrannical tendencies including it's utter inability to shrug something off. A tyrant can't stand to be criticized no matter how minor or silly it is and while McCain is certainly no tyrant, it is more because of the limitations of his office than any restraint in his character.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Obama-Biden 2008

The news of the day is why Joe Biden? What does it say about Barack Obama?

Some on the right have speculated that it suggests a lack of confidence but I'm not quite buying it.

I find Joe Biden to be a troubling pick but one that will almost assuredly help Sen. Obama. It isn't that Sen. Biden has any particular baggage that I know of, he doesn't. Nothing more than an almost quaint habit of being a blowhard. Nor is it that he's politically more offensive than Obama as he certainly isn't that. Rather, it's that he is the perfect media pick for Sen. Obama to distract from his obvious short-comings.

Sen. Obama had an immediate appeal for three distinct reasons: he was running against Hillary Clinton; he presents a large, grand vision of "change;" He's dignified - don't underestimate this one after sixteen years of shameless Clintonism and W. Bush incompetence. 

What he lacks though, is personal charisma, political achievement, or really any qualifications for the job of the Presidency. When standing across from Hillary or in front of ten-thousand people, Barack Obama is appealing, even to some conservatives. He elegantly contrasts with the seedy, petty, nasty partisanship of the post-Kennedy era that defines the lives of most of the media and electorate. However, that image of him only holds when viewed from a distance and that is what Joe Biden does for Barack Obama.

When viewed up close, Obama is an old school hyper-liberal. He is way of the left of America on issues like gay marriage and abortion, supports the kind of massive socialist programs that Bill Clinton had supposedly excised from the democratic party, and is as partisan as anyone. Obama is largely politically indistinguishable from the divisive Nancy Pelosi or Ted Kennedy and has even less political experience or achievement than George W. Bush did when he ran for president. He is considered, by many, to be personally aloof, arrogant, and testy when pressured.

Joe Biden will be sold to America as a Cheneyesque figure that brings needed experience into an Obama White House, alleviating Obama's one real weakness. That isn't true. In truth, Biden will be a bait and switch of sorts. He will do much of the retail politicking that Obama isn't good at, some of the attacking that Obama wants to avoid, but mostly he will keep America at arms length from Obama. Biden is very media friendly. He is quotable, charismatic, energetic, well-reasoned, detailed, and occasionally clumsy - all things that allow Barack Obama to avoid any serious scrutiny.

Whenever anyone tries to investigate Obama's vacuous  yet grandiose vision of fluffy change, they will be met instead with the meat and potatoes of Joe Biden. Biden will shake your hand, look you in the eye, and point to Obama on a podium or a magazine cover and assure you that he is ready. America will be charmed by, distracted by, and reassured by Joe Biden and they will elect Barack Obama. Something that seemed much less likely when the focus was on Obama himself which is exactly why he hasn't been able to pull away from John McCain.

Sen. Biden is a magic trick, a bit of distraction from the real candidate, but a tactically outstanding choice for Vice President. Kudos to you Sen. Obama for your shrewdness but shame on you for proving that you are no different from the Clinton, Bush, or Karl Rove. Your just what I thought you were.

Crystal Mangum's next shameless fifteen minutes

Don't remember Crystal Gail Mangum?

She was the stripper who falsely accused three Duke Lacrosse players of raping her and is now the quixotic beneficiary of a book deal, rather than a jail sentence.

This probably has a lot to say about our culture of celebrity, indifference to justice, embrace of victimization, irrationality, and racial egalitarian fantasy but I just don't think I can stomach it at the moment.

PETA's virtual animal park?

It is being reported (who knows if it's true or not) that PETA has acquired a big-time donor willing to help them purchase one of the Seaworld parks which, after rehabbing and freeing the animals, they would turn into a virtual animal park. This, is one of the worst and funniest ideas I have ever heard.

Animal rights folk, like most leftist, have a lot of big dumb ideas. Remember Air America? Who on this earth would travel miles to go to a virtual animal park? Do they understand how these big parks make their money? It isn't with entrance fees but rather by charging eight dollars for a glass of lemonade to people who are... wait for it, watching animals do tricks.

I hope that they find some way, although I know truly that this will never happen, to buy one of the three Seaworld parks just so I can experience a bit of schadenfreude at their expense.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

This seems reasonable

In the on-going statist efforts to legislate and criminalize any conduct deemed disorderly or undesirable comes this gem concerning an overdue library book in Wisconsin:

"[Heidi Dalibor], 20, was arrested earlier this month in connection with a pair of books overdue for several months."
Really? If this absurd display of authoritarian control doesn't shock you, then how about this one:

"Eleven-year-old Katie and three-year-old Sabrina Lewis have been selling spare melons, radishes, and of course, zucchini from their family garden at a roadside stand on Saturday mornings. Recently, the cops showed to bust them."
Bureaucracy and statism out of control yet again.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A bit of Beethoven

My primary recommendation of the week is for solo piano enthusiasts:

Beethoven's 15 variations with fugue on a theme from Prometheus.

There are many good versions so find a good one and enjoy.

Cash for grades?

An interesting article from the generally awful New York Post reports that last years privately funded initiative to reward minority  (black and hispanic, not asian) students with monetary rewards in exchange for passing AP tests has failed. In fact, the number of these students who passed the AP exams actually decreased from last year.

The laughably misguided quote of the article is here:

"Those behind the privately funded initiative said they saw many positive results on which to build, including an 8 percent increase in the number of AP tests taken and a 19 percent increase in students scoring at the top point level."

So, more kids took the tests and less passed? I call that a disaster.

What actually happened should be obvious... the students who were already motivated to do well did even better. Students on the bubble overreached by taking exams and failed them and of course the unmotivated students didn't even bother.

I suspect that it was a deeply disenfranchising experience for the middle-ground students and irritating to the poorer performers.

Surely the program was well intended but it obviously failed to address the underlying reasons why so many black and hispanic students perform poorly in academics. It's awfully difficult to get the correct answer when you don't know what the problem is.

I don't know the answer but I do know that public schools are not primarily structured around academic success. Colleges are set up to keep you in school as long as possible, elementary is daycare, junior highs are prisons, and high school is primarily designed to keep bands of criminal teenagers from roaming the streets while keeping the teachers unions happy. Not exactly ideal for solving this problem...

Smoke 'em if everyones got 'em

A handful of bar owners in West Virginia decided to protest the new ban on smoking in bars. The most interesting quote is this one:

"Either rescind the order or enforce it," Ellison said. "Either make it happen or let it go. I want a level playing field."

It would seem that liberty, property rights, and freedom of association are not his primary concern but rather equality. I often feel like I'm living in the wrong century, caring as I do about such anachronistic and outdated ideas as freedom.

Another reason I despise the British press

This article concerning Barack Obama's half-brother from the London Telegraph. 

Another reason why I love the Onion so much.

So I ask this? What is the purpose of this kind of reporting? George Obama made it clear that he prefers this information remain a secret. It tells us nothing at all about Sen. Obama's policies or fitness to be president. 

Does the Telegraph have nothing better to spend its resources on, for example British issues?

Do-nothing congress?

So the Wall Street Journal reports that this Congress hasn't been doing much in the way of passing legislation:

"In two decades of record keeping, no sitting Congress has passed fewer public laws at this point in the session -- 294 so far -- than this one."

It seems as though they have been spending the bulk of their time on meaningless drivel:

" Congress in the same 20 years has been so prolific when it comes to proposing resolutions -- more than 1,900, according to a tally by the nonpartisan Taxpayers for Common Sense.

...Congress has saluted such milestones as the Idaho Potato Commission's 70th anniversary and recognized soil as an "essential natural resource."

I'm not even sure how to respond to this but I will try.

It's always my preference for Congress to do as little as humanly possible because then they can't do much in the way of damage. I'm more than a little pleased that they are wasting their time on such meaningless nonsense but it makes me think that maybe it's time to consider a part-time Congress?

A man can dream...

Friday, August 15, 2008

An olympic update

So one of the worlds most sparsely populated nations and one of it's most populace are now celebrating having both won their first olympic individual gold medal.

So to Tuvshinbayar Naidan and Abhinav Bindra I can only say congratulations on your success.

I find India and Mongolia's juxtaposition to be an inexplicable curiosity that I just can't wrap my head around... and I've long had a mild affection for both nations. Congrat's all around.

Be a prick, go to jail.

Another charming development for free speech and the right to be a public jerk.

Apparently, intimidation is now a crime so long as you do it with racial overtones... and so Jeremiah Munsen from Alexandria, La. gets to spend four months in prison for driving around a civil rights rally with a noose tied to his truck.

Tacky? Sure.
Racist? Probably.
Juvenile? Oh yes.
Criminal? Apparently so...

This is another blow to the principle of  free speech and I wonder how long until we reach European standards and start prosecuting anyone who says anything that is deemed racially insensitive? I imagine not long...

Phelps, NBC's Savior?

That's what the Adam Buckman at the New York Post thinks.

As great as Michael Phelps is, his achievements will not be the ones that I remember most vividly from this olympics but rather it will be those last thirty-five meters swam by Jason Lezak in the 4x100 m freestyle relay that will go down in my memory along with the 2007 fiesta bowl and the 2004 ALCS as one of the most thrilling sports moments in my life. He may have very well swam the greatest finish in swimming history, chasing down the great Alain Bernard to smash two records and win a gold medal.

Fake fireworks and singers, and the fake minorities in the opening ceremonies, random violence, blatant rules violations, and a war, have all marred this olympics. Suspicious judging, underachieving Americans, and NBC's idiotic "live" delay out here on the west coast could have easily dulled my interest. Yet, it's Lezak's relay swim and even more so, the individual medal he wanted so badly that keep me tuning in.

Sorry Michael, as great as your story is, it's the Jason Lezaks of this olympics like the Rulon Gardner's of past ones that keep me watching. Phelps is the glory of sport, the icon but Lezak is the drama and the heart; he is the man we identify with because he is never the favorite, his wins are never easy, and his achievements so rarely headline making. Rather, his victories are often by slim margins, hard fought, and deeply, deeply personal... just like ours.

Stable sure, but...

A decent op-ed fromt the Wall Street Journal.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A willing decent into tyranny

Rasmussen's latest poll on the so-called fairness doctrine brings some very discouraging results for the liberty minded. 

47% of polled likely voters believe that the government should mandate equal airtime for opposing viewpoints on television and radio.

Even more shocking is that 31% believe the same of the internet. I can't imagine how that would even work or be enforceable but nearly a third of likely voters seem utterly unimpaired by similar concerns.

Here's a list of questions for this mass of potential voters:

1. What would the standard be for determining legitimate opposing viewpoints? Would libertarians get equal air time? Pro-life Democrats? Communists? Larouchites? How would this be determined and by whom?

2. Doesn't having the government mandating political entertainment and discussion on the airwaves encourage abuse? First amendment, anyone? Hello?

3. What about the rights of radio and television stations? Would they be forced into airing unprofitable material in order to fulfill some government mandate?

4. Where on earth does the government get the authority to do this?

5. Are you all fucking crazy?

I don't think that I have to address the myriad of problems with the fairness doctrine in this blog because they are well reported on in conservative circles. What this really suggests to me is that potential voters in this country are appallingly ignorant of the long-term implications of their actions.

As usual, it looks as though it's just a matter of time before the great public in this country puts an actual dictator in charge. Fantastic.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Utopian fantasies abound

One of the easiest ways to identify a philosophy, political outlook, or social vision that is doomed to failure, is to look for an underlying hint of utopianism. See if you can find it in John McCain's latest comments on the Russian conquest of Georgia.

Much the same as environmentalist's faith in ecological harmony being constrained by the fact that there is no such thing. The environment isn't harmonious but rather is starkly violent, hyper-competitive, and ever changing. What they are actually pursuing is a nostalgic return to childhood or primitivism, but not balance or harmony.

Then of course, there are the myriad of utopian political visions such as communism, multiculturalism, egalitarianism, etc. all of which suffer from the basic truth that human beings are not infinitely malleable. Hence their tendency to drift into authoritarianism in an attempt to force that change that our natures resist.

How about the neo-conservative utopian vision for the middle-east? Somehow, in spite of culture, race, religion, and history we could turn them into a nice, happy, pro-western democracy... and all we need to do to topple the dominoes, is strike Iraq. Worked out about as well as any other plan rooted in utopianism.

What is John McCain's utopianism? A frightful combination of 60's trauma induced faith in interventionism coupled with a new-age egalitarianism.

John McCain's foreign policy is rooted in the belief that American military influence can maintain an international equilibrium or harmony if you will. Somehow, we can prevent all wars, invasions, political uprisings, and genocide if we just try hard enough and have enough troops. That is the bold, imperial dream that defines his foreign policy and like any other utopian vision, it's rooted firmly in hope rather than fact. This kind of irrational disconnect from reality doesn't bother me much when I hear it from an athlete or motivational speaker but it's a bit more troubling when spoken by someone who might very well one day control the largest nuclear arsenal in the world.

I hate to take a cheap shot at the man but I've begun to suspect that his time spent imprisoned in Vietnam has left him permanently removed from reality, and stuck in his own vision of the world. He spent the worst years of the war in a prison camp being tortured with only his commitment to his duty to protect. He had to believe that the war was just or he wouldn't have been able to survive it. He didn't endure the most disillusioning years of the war as his fellow Senator's Hagel, Kerry, and Webb did. Instead he spent those years necessarily reinforcing the noble and just cause that lead to his imprisonment and torture. Couple that with his fathers belief that had the he been allowed to utilize total war, then the U.S. could have emerged successful. That, and not the facts of reality today, are what shape McCain's perfectionist foreign policy. While he may be a brave and decent man, he is also damaged in a way that makes him incapable of having a realistic view of the world. For him, the interventionist policies of the past sixty years are not failures, they just need more troops or more time and nothing will ever convince him otherwise.

The world is a chaotic and dynamic place with different nations, races, religions, corporations, and NGO's all vying for resources, influence, and power. It is an ever changing world where adaptability is second in importance only to having a keen sense of danger and the rational pursuit of our national interests. This requires a level of objectivity that the Arizona Senator is tragically incapable of.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The international senators

There is something about John McCain and Barack Obama that I find not only inappropriate, but generally distasteful: their habit of engaging in foreign policy while serving as senators.

I understand that they both need to look presidential and that they need to outline their vision of our foreign policy. That's perfectly fine.

What isn't fine is actually engaging in foreign policy assuring a nation at war with a nuclear power that every American supports them (McCain) or touring Europe as though he were already president (Obama).

Neither one of these two men represent anyone other than the people of their state, and only on issues of domestic policy. I don't discourage them from discussing foreign policy in an appropriate manner and in the appropriate places but I absolutely disdain the arrogance involved in attempting to represent me, and the American people, before we have explicitly given either of them the right to by way of an election.

John McCain, speaking for America

So John McCain declared publicly today that he told President Saakashvili today that he speaks for all of America when declaring our support for Georgia.


I don't support Georgia in this. I'm an American. How presumptuous, arrogant, and absurd of McCain to think that a good number of American's wouldn't support Georgia in this. Why you ask?

Because Georgia's President is a fool. The simple truth is that Georgia and Russia had a little border dispute over an advantageous region with an oil pipeline so what does Russia do? It sets a trap. It prepped its military for a fast conquest and then encouraged the South Ossetians to get uppity with the hopes that Georgia would send in the military thus giving Russia a pretense for invading and conquering Georgia. Of course, after diplomacy, they will give most of it back except for the regions they wanted in the first place.

Georgia walked right into this trap because President Saakashvili foolishly thought that the west or the U.N. would back him up. Russia knew better. Russia also knew that had they invaded without any justification, no matter how weak, then they wouldn't be able to rely on China protecting them from the one thing they fear: economic sanctions. Thus they tricked Georgia into giving them that justification. A trick predicated on Georgia's naive faith in the U.N. encouraging them to pick a suicidal fight with Russia, which they did.

President Saakashvili gambled the integrity of his country and lives of thousands of his countrymen on the absurd notion that the U.N., or NATO, or anyone else would come to help them. In the days before these useless organizations, Georgia might have instead developed allies in the region who might have been able and willing to help or solved the issue through diplomacy. Instead they relied on the idealism of the U.S. and the United Nations. Only a fool would risk so much on so little.

The other element is that while Georgia may have been provoked, they still picked this fight and it was a fight that they knew they couldn't win. They only reason they did it was their faith that the their allies and the U.N. would save them. That's a dangerous, dangerous fantasy which encourages war over diplomacy. A country in a difficult situation is less likely to make a concession and more likely to start fighting if they believe that their allies will come rescue them after a few days of fighting. These kinds of small scale wars can escalate out of control very easily by dragging larger, wealthier nations into a conflict that has virtually nothing to do with them. 

So while I have no affection for Russia and what they are doing (other than admiring the fact that they seem to understand the state of modern international diplomacy better than most), I also no interest in supporting Georgia. They don't deserve it, no matter what John McCain says.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Protesters of the world, unite

There has always seemed, at least to me, to be something terribly wrong with people who protest about things which are of little consequence to themselves, i.e. animal rights protesters, minimum wage laws, human rights abuses abroad, etc.

It isn't that I find protesting pointless and absurd... because I don't. It's that I find half-hearted protesting to be pointless and absurd. If you are going to protest then you should go all out when doing it. Put your heart and soul and life into it; risk your life or your property or your liberty or all three. Most protesters protest as a hobby, getting out and waving signs about some issue that means everything to them for a couple hours a week or month. The issues are purely ones of vanity, designed to give them a sense of moral superiority and their lives a veneer of meaning. They risk very little and change even less. 

"What are you doing to change the world?" They ask so arrogantly. 

"Nothing less than you," I usually respond.

Such behavior can often lead to overreaching and these olympics have brought the fools out in force. French rioters attacking a paraplegic bearer of the olympic flame or protesters flying to China in order to roll on the ground in a Tibetan flag. What is the purpose of this? Is it really to make a difference? Do these people really think that a nation that causally murdered hundreds of its students is going to listen to a handful of petty protesters?

No. Of course not. The point of most protests is the self-indulgent desire to feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves, without the work and effort of truly being so. It is sham and a fraud and it doesn't deserve any respect.

Most of these protests have nothing to do with the stated cause. They aren't really going to help animals, free Tibet, or stop wars for diamonds because doing so is difficult and often life-threatening. The only thing they are doing is trying to artificially give meaning to their lives by attaching themselves to an international cause. It doesn't matter that they will have no effect, and possibly diminish the issue. All that matters to them is the warm, fuzzy feeling of being together, fighting for the  downtrodden in a cause that's "real". They can  then return home to their "empty, consumeristic middle-class" that they despise. That same life that affords them the both luxury to fight for real change, rather than merely surviving, as well as self-indulgent exercises in futile vanity like most protests.

What most protesters do is a farce, an insult, and a disservice to the people who live with oppression, violence, and suffering every day. Are you really showing "solidarity" with political prisoners in Tibet by waving a sign a few times a week? Somehow I doubt it...

What should they do? Do I expect middle-class Americans to fight in foreign wars, etc? Not unless they really care that much, but if that's the case then they are probably already there. I just want people to fight for what matters to them. How about protecting liberty and freedom in your own town? Or cleaning up a local river? Or helping the suffering in your own city? By focusing on a distant issue that a person can't really affect, it gives that person a false sense of achievement and thusly depriving that person the opportunity to make a real difference in someone's life or in their community.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I was just following orders

Here is a video discussing the aftermath of the Charlie Lynch trial. 

Forgetting about the horrible abuse of power that was the prosecution of Mr. Lynch, what is most depressing to me about this was the Jury Foreman's response to after the trial. She (Kitty Meese) can be heard, starting at 1:02 into the video, making this horrifying statement:

"We found Mr. Lynch guilty on all five indictments. I think the majority of us thought he was a nice man with good intentions who didn't stay within the parameters of the federal law. Under the federal law we had no choice but to find [him] guilty."
The key phrase here is "no choice."

Kitty Meese, as well as her fellow jurors, is a symbol of everything that is wrong with our justice system.

Her sheepish sentiment that she isn't responsible for her decision; that she had to follow the law. She had to accept the states argument that it was acting justly without question. She couldn't question the appropriateness of the prosecution or the law used to justify it. Her judgement meant nothing and she wasn't responsible for the outcome of her decision. She had no choice.

This woman is morally reprehensible in my view.

First let me say that I despise drugs and drug users and very little philosophical sympathy for drug users, per se. My beef here is with tyrannical federal power that goes unchecked because of the meekness of those whose responsibility is to check it: the people.

Mrs. Meese is not without culpability here, just like the nazi officers who claimed to be just following orders. She isn't simply a cog in a machine or a part of the process. She is the process. She, and the eleven other jurors, are ultimately the ones responsible for what happens to Mr. Lynch. It is their responsibility not only to judge the facts of the case but whether the prosecution was just or the law constitutional.

What keeps the government from passing and enforcing oppressive laws? Juries.

What keeps the state from arbitrary, political, or personally motivated prosecutions? Juries.

The weapon of juries is the process of jury nullification. Their justification for its use should not be racism, celebrity awe, favoritism, etc. but rather the rational, independent judgement of each individual on the jury. 

Mr. Lynch may spend as much as one hundred years in jail for a prosecution based on a 5-4 supreme court judgement and the jury's morally responsibility is absolute. The state can't be blamed for abusive prosecutions, that's the nature of the government. What is supposed to keep the state in check is the people, by way of juries. Mrs. Meese and that jury abandoned their responsibility and tried to claim helplessness. The truth is that they cowardly ran from their greatest civic responsibility.

Mrs. Meese obviously lacks the moral courage or integrity to live in a free society and all of us will pay the price for it.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A quick comparison

I've argued many times that the left-wing blogs are sloppier and angrier than the conservative ones. That isn't to suggest that they are any more dishonest, partisan, or inaccurate because I'm pretty sure they are just about equal on that.

Radley Balko has done excellent work exposing police abuses in the drug war and his reporting on the inexcusable Berwyn Heights incident has garnered the raid some mainstream coverage. Forgetting about the irresponsibility and danger of unnecessary paramilitary raids for a moment, I would like to draw attention to the coverage of it to make my earlier point.

Over at Reason, Radley Balko's coverage is well researched, well reasoned, passionately honest even in condemnation and outrage. Other libertarian leaning blogs also picked up the story as one would expect.

Finding this story on classically conservative blogs such as national review's the corner or redstate is impossible. They don't seem to have any interest in the story which doesn't surprise me considering their recent fondness for law and order authoritarianism.

The most psychologically telling response was this one from the DailyKos. Note the opening paragraph:

By now you've probably heard about the brainless July 29 police assault on Cheye Calvo of Berwyn Heights, Md., and his family. First the cops plant marijuana on them, then storm the house, terrorize Calvo, his mother-in-law, and his wife, and shoot dead their two Labrador retrievers. Despite having apparently been investigating a pot-smuggling ring for some time, the cops didn't even know that Calvo is the community's mayor.

Bold portion is my highlight.

In no other report on this subject, is the idea that the drugs were planted ever even suggested. In fact, the origin of the marijuana is well documented and explained, so why on earth would this blogger think to suggest that they were planted? I don't know, perhaps someone should ask him:

This kind of paranoid outrage and disdain for evidence is extremely common on the left, especially in the blogosphere, and supports my general sentiment that the primary psychological state of a leftist is irrational terror.

Capitalism for social good

I've long been arguing the point that positive incentives rather than punitive ones are the most effective means towards nudging companies into socially beneficial behavior outside of the direct pursuit of profit. Business will always respond to economic incentives so... give them one.

It looks like someone else had the same idea:

Wow, what concept? Using the market forces to encourage your agenda rather than using the state to tyrannically demand the same. This is how capitalism is supposed to work. This is how the invisible hand is supposed to operate. This is environmentalism at its best: Envirocapitalism. 

I believe in solar power, energy efficiency, and various forms of recycling. I want clean air, and clean water but I want liberty more and I've never believed them to be mutually exclusive. Carrotmob gives me hope for a world where environmentalism need not also mean authoritarianism, where profit need not be a dirty word, and where people can act as stewards of the environment and still where a suit and tie.

To you Brent Schulkin and his team, a hearty thanks.

And there shall be nothing for all...

Another example of irrational and arbitrary guidelines (this time for the purpose of diversity and multi-culturalism) causing shortages and in this case the closure of a much needed service.

You Tell 'em McCain... On Second thought

So it appears that a border dispute over South Ossetia has broken out between Georgia and Russia. Honestly this doesn't really bother me and I can find very few reasons why anyone in the U.S. should care. True, Georgia is a somewhat firm U.S. ally but does that mean anything consequential? What should the U.S. position on this conflict be? I would hope that it would be something along the lines of:

Good luck with whatever your issues are, don't let this spread beyond the two of you.

Of course, no such luck. My favorite quote comes from Sen. McCain:

"Today, news reports indicate that Russian military forces crossed an internationally-recognized border into the sovereign territory of Georgia. Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory. What is most critical now is to avoid further confrontation between Russian and Georgian military forces. The consequences for Euro-Atlantic stability and security are grave."

Interesting. Not only does McCain feel comfortable giving orders (considering that his knowledge of the South Ossetian conflict likely comes from nothing more than a few minutes worth of briefings), but then has the audacity to suggest to these two warring states "what is most critical." I tend to think that Georgia and Russia have some ideas as to what is critical, that is after all why they are fighting in the first place. Not that Sen. Obama is much better. The Senator from Arizona isn't done yet though, as he goes on to suggest that the very stability of Europe is at risk. Seriously?

First of all, what business of the Senator McCain's is it to involve himself in what is essentially a border dispute? There is very little risk of this spreading, unless of course other nations recklessly, arrogantly, or needlessly insert themselves into this conflict.

Secondly, is Europe really threatened by this? This is a region of the world that has dealt with localized and not-so-localized conflicts for more than two millenia. Is there any reason to think that this will be any different or any worse? In short, no. 

Georgia and Russia have an issue and it's not one that concerns most of the rest of the world. It is a private issue between them and it will reach resolution without our meddling. One side will win and one side will lose, built up tension will be released, people will surely die, and maps will likely need to be redrawn. Or we could try to maintain "the stability" of the region and watch this issue flare up for rest of eternity or descend into chaos as tends to happen whenever the international community gets its collective panties in a knot about something.

And so this is the issue at hand: Does the U.S. have anything at stake in this conflict worth (an oil pipeline seems to be about it) the potential risk of involving ourselves in it? Is it appropriate for a potential president to be so casual in his decrees and condemnations concerning the seriousness of this issue to both Georgia and Russia? Should we even bother with attempts at mediation and U.N. resolutions considering how regularly they are simply ignored?

Considering the limited risk to the U.S. and Europe, why not simply allow this conflict the hash itself out and we can console the loser with a nice U.N. resolution after the fact? Why not indeed...