Sunday, December 14, 2008

Comment on Belmont Club "I Talk to the Trees - then and now"

The problem with the Earth First crowd is that like all terrorists, and they are, they are profoundly selfish. They are consumers. They are consumers of nature who contribute nothing to preserving or maintaining any form of life. They are vampires.

Many many years ago a girl that I probably should have married told me that her plan was to buy 100 acres in Indiana and plant it with Black Walnut trees in the expectation that our grandchildren then would not have to work. That is wisdom. It is the opposite of the “Hooking Up” culture that Amy Alkin defends.

@Doug (a BC poster),
Jamie Gorelick having destroyed the foundations of capitalism at Fannie Mae and the foundations of national security at Justice, leading to both the housing meltdown and looming Depression as well as 9-11 and global war, moved on to Schlumberger. Where do I turn to for protection as I believe she is to her vast profit stalking me?

Dec 14, 2008 - 9:51 am

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Comment on Belmont Club "The Age of Pyramids and the power of illusion"

“The Law in its infinite majesty forbids the rich man as well as the poor …”

Why does the GOP get blamed for this? All the evidence is that the Democrats are the party of the very rich and of people who derive incomes from services and rentiers, as well as the clueless rented. The Republicans are the party of small business and skilled labor.

Dec 11, 2008 - 11:47 pm

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Comment on Belmont Club "Disappearance of the future"

Marriage rates should be for % of adult population. Given that the population has doubled over the last 60 years it sure looks like a declining rate to me.

Adam Smith was a Professor of Moral Philosophy. Really that meant that he taught 4 year long courses to what we could consider very hard working under 20 secondary school students. We have a compilation from his first year Ethics course in The Theory of Moral Sentiments. He makes it clear that the cultivation of “sympathy” is essential for all further social activity. That would include his subsequent lecture courses in Rhetoric, Jurisprudence and Political Economy. We do not have his work for the middle two subjects. The Wealth of Nations is of course the culmination of both his life’s work and of what was intended as a systematic train of thought based on a moral perspective.

Dec 10, 2008 - 9:23 pm

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Comment on Belmont Club "Rules for radicals"

Islamism is different. Islamist schools are different. The threat from Islamist subversion is different and it is real. Given that how do we respond? You can go with fred (a poster on BC) and call for mass expulsion and bloodshed or you can think of what actions to avoid, because they increase the threat as creating a seperate Islamic educational system will, and what actions to encourage, such as a range of other vibrant religious and secular institutions..

Dec 2, 2008 - 10:16 am

Monday, November 24, 2008

Comment on Belmont Club "Contingent events"

Fuel Cell Systems are coming along and offer a far quieter power system without detectable waste products. The Germans and the Russians are both bringing these to production. The US has allowed the Nuclear power union to stop all possible competitive alternatives to current power technology. I like the benefits that nuclear propulsion brings but that is no reason to avoid developing good non-nuclear inshore submersible systems. The Israelis and the Taiwanese both want to buy such boats from the US.

Nov 24, 2008 - 6:10 pm

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Victory in Iraq Day

Today is VI Day and a hearty well done to our troops.
America's best have done America proud.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Victory in Iraq

VI day, an excellent idea. The MSM, who have achieved the election of a man with no real accomplishments, indeed with no real proof of his work history, education or even birth, now seek to create a virtual defeat to offset our real victory. For this I will agree with an old Rabbi who said "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." Spread the truth.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Comment on Belmont Club "Black Sea blues"

I see three possible outcomes (for almost everything I see 3 possible outcomes, it was the training :-).)

1. Obama really wants to be a “Good President” but he feels trapped when his incompetence is exposed and the Bad Guys start moving chess pieces. Result massive warfare and avoidable death leading to Global Depression and more bloodshed.

2. Obama really is in the tank as a tool for Soros, Putin or some other Looney Tunes Marxist anti-American and anti-Semitic crowd. The result is we implode relatively peacefully as the world dissolves into ignorance poverty and hate.

3. Obama is incredibly lucky as the “Bad Guys” collapse even faster than America does. He ends up looking like a hero as professionals manage to kick the can down the road again.

Anyone want to take bets?

Nov 15, 2008 - 12:51 pm

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Comment on PJM "Top 30 Errors the Doomed McCain"

The Democrats could have nominated any other candidate and won this year without the criminality, fraud and foriegn terror money. They choose to submit themselves and the nation to this grab from the extreme left.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Comment on PJM "Obama Supporter Assaults Female McCain Supporter in NY"

I was there 2 minutes after this happened. The cops were right there on the spot. The McCain people were doing everything correctly and by the book. Not obstructing traffic, holding signs, offering small flyers and calling out politely things like “McCain for Manhattan” or “Good afternoon, John McCain for President.” Occasionally some angry looking older woman or very arrogant and angry looking young man would walk past us and yell over their shoulder “Go home” or “More War.” One woman did come up and say “Don’t you want the war to end?” and another yelled “Zionists.” A few young Blacks stood in the intersection and started chanting “Obama” for a couple of minutes. Most out of towners were very friendly and enthusiastic and maybe one out of four locals gave us a quick thumbs up or said something encouraging. More of the McCain support seemed to come from working class rather than people in business suits but it was spread out. A percentage of the people, maybe one in every 20, would say something like “You are brave to do this” without identifying their position.

Obama told his people to “Get in their faces.” Obama is responsible for all the violence in this campaign. The McCain campaign is obsessed with being inclusive. Black Americans are present, often in leadership roles, at most events. If anything, a sign, a chant, anything at all, has even a hint of being in questionable taste everyone jumps all over it to stop it.

I have spent years in Hyde Park/Kenwood. I do not know the Obamas personally but I know the people around them. The reality is almost as bad as the imaginings on the web. I have met the McCains and the Palins. They are OK. That is the best I can offer you as advice.

Regarding Colin Powell’s motives, see The Belmont Club threads on PJM on the money linking Obama, radical Carbon Offset control of the economy and Powell.

Comment on Belmont Club "God's green earth"

The implosion of American wealth and power that this transformation to socialist regulation leads to will cause a global depression. However the relative impact will fall hardest on the US. Therefore the Third World and the Arabs will suffer from a loss of power but will see their relative positions improve compared to that of the Americans. The liquidation of Israel and the subjegation of Eurabia will be able to proceed without interruption.

Oct 20, 2008 - 5:48 am

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Comment on Belmont Club "Sing for change"

Regarding the song Tomorrow Belongs to Me from Cabaret; people do confuse it with the Horst Wessel. There is some satisfaction in noting that Jewish artists could make a better Nazi anthem than the real Nazis could.

The bad news today is the closing of the NY Sun. The world is a smaller darker place with fewer brave and free voices being heard against the panic of the herd and the braying of the barbarians.

Sep 30, 2008 - 10:05 pm

Monday, September 29, 2008

Comment on Belmont Club "Memory lane"

The Republicans have to offer some straight talk. Here is a script proposal.

This financial panic was not largely caused by deregulation. A few good regulations, such as the “uptick rule” and other controls to prevent abusive short selling should be restored. This panic was caused by bad regulations, beginning with the Community Reinvestment Act that forced banks to offer loans to unqualified buyers and then sell those sub-prime loans to other institutions. Once the buyers of those homes began to default on their mortgages it created a cascade of bad debt that has swept through the entire system. Banks that did not participate in these risky practices were threatened by Congress members and the very agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that had been created to keep the industry operating smoothly and safely. Senior officers of those agencies collected millions of dollars due to what may have been fraud while concealing the growing insolvency. Therefore any program to restore liquidity to the economy, which is essential so that businesses can hire and ship and qualified buyers can buy the homes that are now more reasonably priced, must include the repeal of those laws and regulations that created this disaster.

In addition no business or agency should be considered “To big to fail.” That would open the public treasury to blackmail by every large and inefficient business competing against clever but smaller new firms. It would stifle the entrepreneurship that renews America. Any large firm facing such a crisis should have an opportunity under the bankruptcy laws to reorganize as smaller units with a better chance of surviving. If a firm is a threat to the overall safety of the nation due to its size and possible weakness then the government might need a procedure to order the firm divided, as we have done in other cases with Anti-trust law. As part of the recovery from this crisis we will propose that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac be divided into 12 smaller units. Each will be tied to operate within a Federal Reserve district and operate under the eye of the local Federal Reserve Bank to promote the health of the economy in its assigned region.

This is not a sign of a fundamental weakness in the American economy. We are facing a largely self inflicted wound caused by bad politics and greed. We can fix this and permit the American people to continue to create new industries and build new wealth. Other real concerns that can affect our future prosperity, such as dependence on foreign oil, will have to be dealt with. We will work on that. We will also lay out a policy to expand and restore the global reach and flexibility of our Armed Forces. That will include a significant expansion of industrial activity that will stimulate the economy. For now be assured that this crisis, while serious, can be surmounted.

Sep 29, 2008 - 9:50 pm

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Comment on Belmont Club "Both Ends and the Middle"

The US needs to ensure the survival of our army in Afghanistan. We would benefit from the Indians placing an army to the West of Pakistan but that just duplicates the problem. How is the Indian army expected to get to Afghanistan or get supplied once it is there? Now if the Pakistanis cannot provide America with a secure route from the sea to the Khyber Pass then we may have to consider writing down our investments in Pakistan and supporting an Indian move through Lahore to the Khyber. If the Pakistanis see this as an existential problem than they might secure transit rights for the Indians and Americans but frankly I doubt it. In all probability Pakistan dissolves and hundreds of thousands or more will die until some new structure is established. We need to be working now on how to keep our army alive during the coming implosion. We may have to march to the sea. What route should it be, East through the Khyber or South to Karachi? While many would hope for a coordinated move on Iran that option is clearly no longer on the table.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Comment on Belmont Club "Who Won the Debate?"

My theory, and I’m sticking with it, is that the script trolls whether for Obama or Putin are really the same people. In fact I suspect they are the employees of phone/web-chat sex boiler rooms who are rented out for the occasion. They may be domestic or in India depending on the market. Notoriously they are portrayed in literature and TV as little old ladies supplementing their social security by following scripts that protray them as 23 year old bombshells. Posting for Obama is a holiday for them by comparison.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Comment on PJM "David Zucker Commits Hollywood Treason"

Not Blacklisting but Blackberrying same result different technology. A distinction without a difference brought by the same people who think that lawyers create content, as opposed to the valuable work they do in protecting property and clearing transaction obstacles away. Their addiction to politicking, intrigue and cruelty shows an emotional life frozen in adolescence.

Aug 21, 2008 - 10:04 pm

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Comment on Belmont Club "Choose"

When this ends the Georgian government must be backed in asserting its right to expel every non-citizen from Georgian territory. In Georgia, as in the United States, accepting a foreign passport or claiming dual citizenship must give the government the right to declare the lose of your original citizenship and therefor the lose of all right to be in the country’s territory. When this is finished the only Russian troops permitted anywhere on the planet south of 44º N should be embassy guards and staff, with no more than 50 each in all but a half dozen countries.

Good morning sports fans.

Fred I think you have to be careful about letting your emotions get repressed. Why don’t you tell us what you really think? Seriously despite the frustrations and costs the President was right to stay focused on a humane transformative approach to Iraq and he is right to establish our moral superiority in the Caucasus. Once that is done it is my sincere hope that things are rearranged to make the loss to the Russians unambiguous.

Now we see the Chinese are continuing to team with the Sudanese and Saudis to perform ethnic cleansing for oil in North Darfur. We do not need that for a host of reasons. Perhaps we can encourage them to consider other resources that are closer (cough due North cough) to home?

Cannoneer (a BC poster),
Re: your bit on the Russian officer returning the stolen car, in a few years we should get a run of books by former Russian officers giving their opinions of the “oppressed minorities” that Putin sent them off to kill and die for. The Russian officers probably identify far more with the avowedly European Georgians.

buddy (a BC poster),
It isn’t crazy because it is the way Putin and company look at the world. When training a dog you quickly learn that it is not profitable to expect the dog to think like a human being. Fortunately humans are sophisticated enough to think about how a wolf or dog views a situation and then act in a way that fits the beasts expectations. Putin is human, more or less, but he does have very fixed prejudices and expectations. That does not mean that he is stupid. He is not, the bear is intelligent. The Nazis and the Soviets always had strong common elements, just look at their art.

A friend of mine was repeating the TV propaganda. “The Georgians ran away leaving their ammunition behind I saw it on TV.”

The interim score for Putin’s brilliant effort at playing a Napoleon

1. The Black Sea is lost to Russia.
2. The Caspian Sea oil is largely lost to Russia.
3. The American’s have a clear shot at Iran any time they want to.
4. The Chinese are pissed at Putin and open to a deal at the expense of Russia.
5. The EU and Nato have not been more united and pro-American in decades.
6. McCain is much more likely to be the next US President.

Genius sheer genius.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Comments on Belmont Club "Voluntary Amputation"

This war could flip as fast as the Russian adventure at the other end of the asian landmass did just over 100 years ago, The Japanese eliminated the Russian Navy in 45 minutes. The Russian Black Sea fleet with troop transports could vanish just as fast. If it becomes a shooting war I expect the first shots will be the disappearance of Russian submarines followed by surface ships desperately and hopelessly running in panic. The Turkish government and their military are deciding which way to jump right now. Could they allow a Russian triumph? Yes but how could that be in their interest? Even if it came with a German promise to support EU membership it would not be worth having in Putin’s world. Better for the Turks to line up with the East Europeans and Americans and the real pro-American Sunnis of Iraq. The Iranians may be more likely to find allies among the Kurds.

Aug 11, 2008 - 8:07 pm

I’d like to say that I’m shocked and amazed of the number of posters on this forum and others who treat this as some sort of internal dispute between a bully (Saakashvili) and an ethnic minority, with the Russians in effect doing a very bad thing, but probably the only thing they could do.

It’s the FSB/KGB playbook - period. Or, it’s the pre-WWII isolationist playbook, avoid foreign entanglements, and the such. Take your pick. Neither describes the real world as it is.

Then there is the absolute fantasy (no insult intended) of perhaps giving nucs to Georgia, of rushing the 82nd Airborne in to key points (followed by what? their reduction via 500 Russian tanks and local air power?), of blowing Iran to hell just because it might make Putin feel bad, or of miracle resupply of superman SOCOM operators changing defeat to victory overnight. It’s not happening, folks.

And of course, there’s the obligatory “it’s all about oil.. oil is bad.. oil causes war..”.

Let’s get serious here, people.

1) This is well planned, naked Russian aggression. The situation on the ground in S. Ossetia was and is irrelevant, and particularly so to Putin. The Russians identified Georgia as a strategic goal on their shopping list for national expansion, and they’re just going to take it. They want the black sea naval base, they want the oil pipeline, and they want the strategic military road network (Southern terminus of the Sukhumi Military Road, the Georgian and Ossetian Military Roads).

2) Putin is a man of great ambitions. He has already set Russia on a course to restore the USSR. If Gorbachav and Yeltsin were the authors of the USSR’s demise, Putin will be the father of a new Union. The FSB is back in full force. Putin has eliminated by force every potential political opponent as well as the free press. He has set a path of confrontation against the U.S. for the past five years, and has returned to the prior Soviet strategy of working to isolate and divorce American from Europe.

3) Energy: Again, lose the left-wing Al Gore storybook fantasy. Natural resources are a strategic concern, and oil is the top concern - bar none. He who controls the world oil supply (if it can be done), controls the world. Oil is not evil. Oil is freedom for America and the West. Those who would deny America access to oil only strengthen our enemies. Those who are enemies of “oil” are also enemies of freedom.

4) We need to view the current Russian campaign and a potential Georgian capitulation in the long view. My heart goes out to the Georgians, but as Saakashvili said, it’s in their hands now. Air superiority, 500 tanks a 5:1 advantage in troops trumps anything the Georgians will put in the filed. Much as France and Eastern Europe were lost in the early days of Hitler’s Blitzkrieg, Georgia may very well be lost to Russian. It’s is vital for the future of Georgia that the nucleus of their leadership and military not share the fate of the Polish military officers and families in the Katyń Forest. They are not fighting for territory, but for survival.

The world cannot wish away tyrants. While America might be able to ignore an insignificant little dictatorship minutes from her shore (that would be Cuba, folks), we cannot ignore a reinvigorated, rearming, territory-hungry Russia, a man of continental ambitions such as Chavez, or a lunatic such as Iran’s Ahmadinejad.

The first lessons I learned and took to heart during my Navy officer training was America’s position in the world as an island nation, the importance of “free sea lanes of communication”, and the value of power projection versus playing defense from one’s own back yard. We need to recognize Putin’s game. We would tend to think “limited excursion”, because the west simply could not fathom a nation state seizing control of another nation state by force. WE would not do it, not in Iraq, not in Iran, not in post WWII Europe, so certainly, no other civilized society would do so. Banish that thought from your FSB-confused little minds, and look at the facts as we know them.

Russian is making it’s move, and Putin will not stop unless stopped. He may not have the remilitarized society he needs to fulfill his ambitions, but he’s been moving methodically to put those pieces in place. A lot of planes, tanks, and submarines can be put into service in 2-3 years, if a country has the will to do so, and the petro-rubles.

We need to think in terms of a long term, military campaign. It may be a cold war, it will certainly be a hot one at times, but it’s not our choice and yet it’s coming. Whether Obama or McCain is the next President is now a pivotal issue. I really do not have a dog in that hunt, i.e. I can support neither candidate based on their history. However, at this point, the fantasy-world-view of the Democrats may prove fatal for America’s future security.

You want change that you can believe in? Well, ask a Georgian about the relevant value of change. It’s time to get real, America.

Aug 11, 2008 - 7:54 pm
Old Salt,
That was publishable. That was worth money. You said it better than I did.

Aug 11, 2008 - 8:30 pm

The one part of this equation that I am having the hardest time getting a handle on is Soros. If the Georgian government is a Soros funded and run operation then why would it align itself with American power projection into Iraq and Iran? We have Putin, the Chinese, Bush and Soros (he of the Invisible Empire) playing four way chess here. Clearly it is in America’s interest to see Putin lose but what else is a desired result? No physicist can model even a three body problem.

Aug 12, 2008 - 6:56 am

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Comment on Belmont Club "When you see The Southern Cross for the first time"

The problem with Suez was that it went down the same weekend the Soviets invaded Hungary. Dulles and Eisenhower had supported the British position to the extent that we withdrew from funding the Aswan Dam project. That precipitated Nasser’s seizure of the canal. Anthony Eden did not include the American’s in the Sévres negotiations with the French and Israelis and Eisenhower did not feel bound to a non Nato action taken without prior consultation.

Of course I would like to believe that I would have been gifted with such insight that the effect of this humiliation of our allies on Britain and France and Nasser and other enemies would have given me pause. We can grant Fletcher (a BC poster) this much. The world would probably be a better place if Nasser had been defeated. The European allies would still have needed to undergo a painful readjustment to a post colonial world. Fletcher’s seething hostility to America is the British equivalent of Pat Buchananism. Eventually he will run into the embrace of the enemies of all he cherishes to punish the ally he despises.

Aug 5, 2008 - 10:10 pm

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Comment on LGF 07-23-2008
"Overnight Open Thread"

#118 lifeofthemind 7/23/2008 10:11:04 pm PDT
re: #91 Racer X

Gee, does anyone really think this is going to be a success now that an "anonymous senior Iraqi military officer" has spilled the beans to the media?
Hey, where did they all go?

This is how third world, particularly Arab military or police forces operate. Arrange a big show for the visiting Americans. Make lots of loud noises and be sure the troops look inspection ready. Somehow though the word always gets out and the targets slip away. Remember the Americans will one day leave and everyone else will remain. Nobody wants to get caught up in a blood feud. Besides everyone is really related to some degree and you can't hurt your Uncles Cousins Nephews In Laws Niece's husband. If that fails everyone is a Muslim and protected (except for the few who are not and who are targets). Like with canine packs a leader's aggression is used to compel signs of submission after which the threat recedes. Saddam violated this rule by actually going after people and communities. In that he showed himself more a student of the secular soviets than of the religious tribal culture of Iraq. AQI also violated the expected standard and lost the tribes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Comment on LGF 07-23-2008
"Al Jazeera Throws Party for Child Killer"

#101 lifeofthemind 7/23/2008 10:01:30 am PDT
The biggest difference between Judaism/Christianity and Islam may be that in the former divine justice means that God decides and punishes while each individual is responsible for their own choices. In Islam God needs human help so when his laws are broken the offender must be punished on Earth. There have been obvious cases of people in the West who were so arrogant as to claim they were acting for God but there is no consensus supporting that position as based on religious necessity. Instead in the West judgement and punishment in this world are a matter of temporal law and spiritual judgement is left to God. In Islam there is no secular or temporal law separate from the sacred and offenses against divine law demand punishment here. Each Muslim is commanded to not only judge their own conduct but that of every other human. In Judaism/Christianity the works of God are Life and as such to precious for any person to pass judgement over without clear cause. In Islam Life indeed the whole of Creation is but a transitory fancy that may be revoked by a God that is beyond comprehension. Humans therefore can only slavishly seek to enforce all his laws here on earth, even when it means imposing a flawed human perception through violence on others.

Comment on LGF 07-22-2008
"Overnight Open Thread"

#802 lifeofthemind 7/23/2008 7:13:24 am PDT
re: #748 CIA Reject

Maybe some of the old salts with USN experience can help me out with this one. In a previous life I worked a job as a civilian contractor that required significant time spent aboard US Navy ships (both ashore and at sea) and on Navy bases. One of the things the company advised us was that it was considered a breach of Navy etiquette to discuss politics, religion, sex, or the United States Civil War either on base or aboard ship. Is that so, or was the company just being over cautious?

The rules of the officer's wardroom are the rules that would apply to any place where gentlemen gather. You do not discuss money in a manner that could intrude on privacy or embarrass. You do not discuss religion or The War Between the States. You do not discuss a woman who is neither a public figure nor a lady of easy virtue.

We had a "Dining In" when in the Philippines. This is a formal affair, we wore Summer Blues with cummerbunds, paraded the beef and Mr Vice recorded infractions of the rules while Mr President (The ship's XO) assessed fines to cover the cost of the dinner. It was all great fun. One Lieutenant pointed out that an Ensign had violated the rules by spending most of the meal talking about his wife. The Ensign was ordered to stand up and explain himself. He arose and began, "My wife is a Lady of Easy Virtue and I can prove it." Seems that she sent every officer present a Christmas Card and his had arrived late. The XO replied good answer and fined the complaining officer $20. Of course the officer serving as Mr Vice had made no record of the fines issued and everyone just tossed money into the pot to pay for the meal.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Comment on LGF 07-18-2008
"War on the horizon"

#240 lifeofthemind 7/18/2008 10:28:38 am PDT
The whole point of the Geneva Conventions and the distinction between Lawful and Unlawful Combatants that the SCOTUS could not figure out is that it provides a powerful incentive to protect civilians, even during unconventional forms of warfare. Those stuffed shirt diplomats sixty to a hundred and ten years ago were actually rather savvy about the real world. Hezbollah is using civilian hostages to cover their combat operations and Hezbollah and only they and their enablers should be held accountable for that war crime and all the suffering that follows. When every person flees their presence and turns them in to a strong authority, Lebanese or Israeli, then the threat of Hezbollah will fade and the local population will be both innocent and safe. What the villagers cannot do is cheer for them, make videos and press releases honoring them, provide aid and comfort to them, and then claim they are innocent victims.

Comments on Michelle Malkin 07-18-2008
"A cast of hundreds: Who isn't an Obama foreign policy advisor?"

On July 18th, 2008 at 10:45 am, Lifeofthemind said:
The Spartans had 300 willing to die for freedom.
Persian: A thousand nations of the Persian empire descend upon
                you. Our arrows will blot out the sun!
Stelios: Then we will fight in the shade.
We have 300 feckless academics eager to become bureaucrats.

On July 18th, 2008 at 11:27 am, Lifeofthemind said:
From Die Hard Obama’s kind of advisor, Harry Ellis:
Business is business. You use a gun, I use a fountain pen.
What’s the difference?
The bad guys are going to eat these fools for lunch.

On July 18th, 2008 at 11:37 am, Lifeofthemind said:
It isn’t even a coherent group that is falling in behind him. An Assertive Realist like Mearshiemer along with Institutional Liberals and Soft Power advocates? Obama is counting on timing to get him over the finish line before the wheels come off his contraption. All that they have is a hatred of the “Neo-cons” meaning Jews who liked or had heard of Dick Cheney. This is a swamp of failure, resentment, entitlement and bigotry.

Comment on Thomas Lifson, 07/17/08
"The Rapid Decline of The New York Times"


Stopped reading the Times and now I read The New York Sun. The President should issue an executive order prohibiting the expenditure of any government funds to subscribe to or support the Times. It was a magnificent machine that has sunk into a pool of resentment and sexual confusion.

Oh how the mighty have fallen! Many years ago my mother took her class on the pilgrimage to the Times. While they were there paying homage at the shrine of the newsroom they ran into Anthony Lewis. It must have been his annual trip down to NYC from Cambridge. One of the teachers tried to look smart by asking Mr Lewis what he thought of USA Today. The Great Man drew himself up and pronounced, "Fish would jump out of it!"

Jul 18, 2008 - 4:40 am

Comment on Belmont Club, 07/17/08
"Who wants to know?"

Last line of “Monty Python’s Life of Brian”
Worse things happen at sea.
There are important lessons to be learned from these cases. First it reinforces that we have a common set of references. To some extent, like the Western canon in literature, these are arbitrary but it is very important that we can build trust by sharing a common historical vocabulary. Second the real important topics that are learned from these events are human issues. Communications, prioritizing, command and control and caring about human beings making choices under stress. We care about the characters in Greek drama, even though their world is long gone, for the same reason.

Jul 18, 2008 - 4:09 am

Comment on Belmont Club "Who wants to know?"

Last line of “Monty Python’s Life of Brian”
"Worse things happen at sea."
There are important lessons to be learned from these cases. First it reinforces that we have a common set of references. To some extent, like the Western canon in literature, these are arbitrary but it is very important that we can build trust by sharing a common historical vocabulary. Second the real important topics that are learned from these events are human issues. Communications, prioritizing, command and control and caring about human beings making choices under stress. We care about the characters in Greek drama, even though there world long gone, for the same reason.

Jul 18, 2008 - 4:09 am

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Comment on Michelle Malkin 07-16-2008
"Crime out of control in Dem-run Chicago

On July 17th, 2008 at 12:39 am, Lifeofthemind said:
The policeman isn’t there to create disorder; the policeman is there to preserve disorder.
Richard J. Daley

The problem is that for 40 years the center left establishment in Chicago has been trying to buy off professional grievance mongers like Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama. While this at first allowed authorities to focus on severe threats such as the Blackstone Rangers=Black P Stone Nation=El Ruk’n it corrupted the system over time. Now it is harder for members of marginalized communities to achieve success in mainstream society than it once was. Like the Romans after having hired the barbarian mercenaries the civic society of Chicago is defenseless before today’s barbarians.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Comment on Belmont Club
"John McCain on Afghanistan"

Every President brings his own experience and expertise to the office. Eisenhower was an expert at coalition politics. JFK, like Clinton, was an expert on rhetoric and skirt chasing. Lyndon Johnson (who learned from studying FDR) was an expert on bureaucratic empire building. Nixon was a competent lawyer who excelled at nurturing grievances and intrigue. Ford like Johnson knew inside politics better than any real craft. Carter was a small time micro-manager, he knew the back end of a ship and the front end of a peanut warehouse. Reagan not only remembered the economics he learned at college but he really knew the skills he learned as a union boss and as a professional communicator. Ronald Reagan may have been America’s President with the broadest outside experience. Bush 41 was like Eisenhower. He knew the world of diplomacy and intelligence. Bush 43 knows B-school stuff, spreadsheets and tickler files for accountability. He also knows the energy business, you can hear it in his press conferences. McCain knows survival and endurance and how the military works but like Obama, and most other politicians who make it this far, he has limited experience out of government. Obama knows rhetoric, low level cause advocacy, which is not the same as really being a good lawyer, and almost nothing else.

Jul 15, 2008 - 8:07 pm

Comments on Megan McArdle
re: Chicago Faculty Letter re: Friedman

As an alumnus of the Economics Department who spent, with time off for bad behavior, longer on campus than does my reputation good, this touches several nerves. Could someone provide me with a link so I can see who actually signed this letter?
Thank you.
Posted by Lifeofthemind | July 15, 2008 8:32 PM

Sorry, found the link.
This is a hit job out of the Anthropology Department. Many years ago Chicago's Anthro Department was truly cutting edge. The work Robert Redfield did in Mexico set the standard for field work. More recently it has become a theory factory sliding perilously close to dissolving into a form of Sociology meets Linguistics. That is to say that the larger the number of methods employed the fewer the results. In addition I see that they bolster their ranks by adding Bruce Cummings, a genuine apologist for the mass murdering totalitarian maniac in North Korea.
Posted by Lifeofthemind | July 15, 2008 8:47 PM

A Popperism (edit. commentary that reduces long winded theory) sounds like a useful category.
Here is a true Chicago Economics story. One day some famous guru of Economic Geography supposedly came to campus and gave a long lecture touting Site Location Theory with drawings of triangles and nodes etc. When he finishes Bert Hoselitz looks up and says "So, people will go farther for a baby grand piano than a lousy pack of cigarettes?"
Posted by lifeofthemind | July 15, 2008 10:13 PM

Monday, July 14, 2008

Comment on Michelle Malkin 07-14-2008
"Grow a pair, Obama"

On July 14th, 2008 at 6:43 am, Lifeofthemind said:
Bush keeps moving on because he is focused on results. He doesn’t sweat the small stuff. Obama and the Moonbats focus on grievance and display because that is all they have. The cornering of the term Move On by the left was brilliant because that was the one thing they can not do. Results are meaningless to them. All they can do is attack those who create and build and solve problems. If Obama didn’t have non-issues to agonize over, like someone insulting him, then he would have to talk about the substance of an issue. Now Obama gets to talk about the appearance of substance. The hate filled thugs that attack Condi Rice are not an aberration, they are Obama’s core constituency.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Comment on LGF 07-13-2008
"Muslim Creationism on the Rise in Europe"

#19 lifeofthemind 7/13/2008 6:49:17 pm PDT
1. Insist on being ignorant, ensure that you have a tiny fraction of the creative intellectual activity in other communities.
2. Treat women as breeding machines so you have an expanding and impoverished population with unsocialized and resentful young males.
3. Watch your entire civilization and nations stagnate and become mired in poverty and misery, despite having Trillions of dollars flow through your coffers.
4. Export your unemployed people to more successful and tolerant neighbors.
5. Undermine them so they become miserable failures also.
6. Repeat as necessary.

#38 lifeofthemind 7/13/2008 7:00:51 pm PDT
In fact Europe has seen something similar to this before.

In the 16th century Spain conquered the New World and incredible wealth flowed into the Spanish treasury. Despite initial intellectual flowering in the Renaissance and Humanist period the Counter reformation effectively ended any free inquiry in Spain. The result was the impoverishment of the old aristocracy who were tied to landed wealth and the ruination of the economy at large due to uncontrolled inflation. By the 17th century Spain was unable to overwhelm the Dutch and were soon well on their way to becoming a backwater.

Comment on Michelle Malkin 07-12-2008
"Tony Snow R.I.P."

On July 13th, 2008 at 12:04 am, Lifeofthemind said:
Just for the record, I knew Tony Snow slightly. That is to say that I interviewed with him for a job 20 years ago, spending a couple of days at The Washington Times. It is my fault that I didn’t focus on what was needed and get the job. My memory was of just how impressive Snow was and what a pleasure it would have been to do good work for him.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Comment on Belmont Club, 07/11/08
"Yes we can"

Part of the problem is that we, that is the United States of America, can do just about about anything if we are willing to pay for it. The problem with “I want” thinking is that it is coupled with economic irrationality. Many things can be desired and the US can do amazing things but it cannot defy basic laws of physics and economics. Can the US build a force capable of extricating the entire army and it’s equipment within two years? Probably yes, if you are willing to devote truly enormous resources to the project. We could build a new seaport and build a half dozen major airfield and build heavy airlift and sealift and build new rail lines. We can do it. We cannot do it on the cheap and spend billions on everything else Obama has promised. We can not do it while chained to the social and legal regulations and agencies that have grown over the last 50 years. We simply have to choose what we want to do. Eventually however the regulated nanny state will sap enough of the fiber out of America that we will be just like the Europeans. We will be able to look at a problem and say, “No we can’t.”

Jul 11, 2008 - 8:51 pm

Re: Mary Katherine Ham 07-11-2008
"Jesse vs. Spike, and the Shift in Black Leadership"

Lifeofthemind: MKH, As always when dealing with Chicago machine hacks you simply have to consider personal turf and follow the money. Jesse Jackson dropped out of the local Chicago Theological Seminery, or was asked to leave, and set up Operation Push just North of the University in Hyde Park-Kenwood, sent his kids to the University's private school and built a nice little business extorting from regional businesses. Along comes Obama with a better set of credentials and with the help of Tony Rezko and ACORN he creates another money machine that cuts Jesse out. Obama moves into the same neighborhood and his wife takes a part time job at the University Hospitals making $347,000/yr for Community Outreach. Jesse feels like the old Mobster in the God Father II when the young Corleone doesn't show him enough respect by letting the old man "wet his beak."

On the other hand it might all just be a set up to make Obama look good by comparison.
July 11, 11:11 PM

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Comment on Michelle Malkin 07-10-2008
"What if Al-Qaeda had a corporate newsletter?"

On July 10th, 2008 at 8:19 pm, Lifeofthemind said:
Actually the Times and NPR and other very well paid feeders at the information trough would be very unhappy if al Qaeda cut them out of the equation. They view terrorists the same way a Legal Defense Fund views poor people. That is as a special interest to cultivate and use for fundraising. There is plenty of work though for the terrorist apparatus in acting as content providers to the voracious careerists of the media. That is why there is always a job for local representatives of the terrorists, such as Bilal in Iraq or in Gaza with the al Dura fraud.

Comment on Belmont Club, 07/10/08
"Pars for the course"

Since Total Elf was wired into the Chirac - Saddam oil for food money pump that even reached into the Canadian government Sarkozy has a job to do in cleaning out that sewer. His ability to pry this cash cow away from the Iranians is one of the most significant victories so far in the GWOT. This project could also have served as a technology funnel to the Russian partners in Gazprom (who suffer a financial loss and who have to rethink all their political threads going forward) and to the Chinese. Now the Chinese investment in Iran looks riskier which reduces the interest in that UN Security Council member in protecting the Mullahs. THe missiles Iran tested weren’t only seen buy Israel. Everyone is under Iran’s gun and they may just kick over the table. Alternately, it gives other neighbors a possible interest in setting up a confrontation between Iran and someone else, read Israel. These links of financial betrayal and chicanery make an old Raymond Chandler novel look straight forward.

Jul 10, 2008 - 4:59 pm

Comment on LGF 07-09-2008
"Iran's Photoshopped Missile Launch"

#491 lifeofthemind 7/09/2008 8:32:45 pm PDT
Why release fake photos? Maybe to fool a foreign audience into believing that their threats are credible. If they believe their own propaganda then they may think we are so credulous as to swallow this unexamined. Another explanation could be that it was for an internal audience. Some screw up in the Revolutionary Guards getting it made to hide from his bosses the fact that the program is not meeting goals. Saddam probably thought he had stocks of WMD ready to unleash on invaders and an active nuke program. The mullahs are in a similar position. If I was a scientist in one of these dictatorships I would string the bosses along and loot the program to fund an escape for my family. These regimes are always crippled by corruption that deceives even the rulers. I believe it is in The Source by James Michener where a character explains why an Egyptian army could not get from Cairo to Israel.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Comment on LGF 07-09-2008
"Creationist Propaganda"

Posted in: Creationist Propaganda at National Review

#382 lifeofthemind 7/09/2008 8:59:24 pm PDT
Charles I will attempt a serious comment on this. Please do not ban me. It is your site and I think it is ridiculous for people to complain about what topics you cover. If they do not like a thread they can get up, walk the dog, eat a meal, get a life. Personally as someone who has worked in education I come here to explore other topics and this does not trip my trigger but that is my concern and nobody else's. There are two issues I see being conflated in this debate.

First is what should be taught in publicly financed schools? Clearly the tax payers are entitled to some control over curriculum even though the unions want the saps to just pay up and shut up. Here it becomes an matter of insurgent parent amateurs or allied pressure groups trying to insert an ideological agenda into a position where they can prosper at public expense. Numerous left wing groups have been doing this for decades and now a presumptively right wing or conservative group is trying to emulate that process. In this case of Intelligent Design it probably is correct that it must be stopped or Islamists and others will pick up this ball and run with it.

Second is the question of what standard of education should the state government demand of any educational system, public, private, religious, or home? How can they ensure that children are getting the minimum standard of learning needed or them to function as citizens and not become a public charge later in life? This seems to be an almost exclusively positive process. That is to say that it seems proper for the state to draw up a list of certain skills and a body of knowledge that some standardized tests and inspections can verify have been taught. Scientific method and cartesian logic probably do belong on the must learn list.

There may be a small number of items that a public debate could consider on things that if they are being taught it would constitute a form of child abuse. That is to say things that are not simply untrue, such as saying the world is 6,000 years old or praising the fine work of modern architects but spreading damaging viewpoints like racism. We must be very careful on this and keep such an inspection authority from growing uncontrolled like the Canadian Human Rights councils. Hopefully the government will eventually get out of the business of providing education and focus on the business of inspecting that it has been delivered by others.

Comment on Michelle Malkin 07-09-2008
"McCain's Joke about Iran"

On July 8th, 2008 at 11:58 pm, Lifeofthemind said:
Obama may be sane enough to tell a joke in private but he is such a tightly wrapped control freak, despite being a gaffe machine, that we won’t know. McCain despite the frustration that he generates is a fundamentally sane person. The most telling armchair shrink criticism of Nixon I read was that he once tried to tell a dirty joke when he was with friends and he couldn’t. McCain, like Truman, is a political animal but also a human being. Many people will be reassured by this and angered by the effort to use it against him.

Comment on Michelle Malkin 07-09-2008
"Obama and Assymetric Warfare"

On July 9th, 2008 at 12:18 am, Lifeofthemind said:
Obama’s policy can be described as Complacency Pacifism. It is similar to the policy of the British Exchequer (their Treasury) after the First World War. It was policy to write defense budgets under the assumption that there would be no serious threat within a 10 year period. That argument got by in 1930 when everyone was broke and weak. It was cheap and popular with bean counters. Of course they didn’t change it until after 1936 by which time it was a little late to react to the real world growing threat.

Shoving problems off into the future when they will become someone else’s problem is a natural policy for the party of the permanent bureaucracy. If and when things blow up you just form a commission of inquiry, like after 9-11, to muddy the waters. They show the same inability to take action on defense issues as they do on energy. On the other hand a non-issue like long term environmental change can serve as a wedge to grow the government and regulate choices. That they have plenty of time and energy for.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Comment on LGF 07-08-2008
"Relatives of July 07 Suicide Bomber Have a Party"

#263 lifeofthemind 7/08/2008 8:43:10 pm PDT
Terrorists, drug dealers and other criminals frequently arrange, or act in the knowledge that their families will arrange, elaborate memorials. At one time a plurality of the cocaine dealers in NY came from two towns on the North coast of the Dominican Republic. Those towns I once read are the sites of unusually impressive cemeteries, as well as homes with impressive satellite systems.

It should be the policy of civilized nations that memorials to criminals of above average size or distinction shall be destroyed whenever possible and without prior warning. Remove incentives and you may get better behavior. In Israel they reasonably have the attitude that if you destroy people and property then the state will destroy your house. Gives everyone a reason not to encourage sociopathy.

Comment on Michelle Malkin 07-08-2008
"More nosy doctors who don't like guns"

On July 8th, 2008 at 7:03 pm, Lifeofthemind said:
The conceit that says that everything is a health issue, or a legal issue, or a psychological issue, or a religious issue, or an architecture issue (you get my point insert any narrow professional specialization in here) is a sign of weakening standards of professionalism. Real professionals focus on their craft and use the respect they earn to help and offer analogies of their experience and wisdom, not to bully and compel.

In places where there is a healthy gun culture doctors may own themselves. They would certainly know how to communicate their concerns in a dignified manner that respects the privacy of their patients. BTW, I don’t own a weapon but I respect those who choose to.

Comment on Belmont Club, 07/08/08 "Money, money money"

If you can not spend your money on rationed goods then you will have an incentive to divert your spending to non-rationed goods. This results in inflationary pressures as spending is increased on a small subset of goods. It will also induce the creation of inefficient after markets where people trade the non-rationed goods for the limited supply of legally distributed rationed goods. Also the presence of available but not legally purchasable goods in the rationed category will induce the creation of a black market and general lawlessness. Both of these inefficient illegal market activities will tend to increase the price of the rationed goods above their free market level. Therefor we can see that this scheme will be inflationary across all goods both rationed and non-rationed as well as contributing to a general breakdown of respect for the lawful market. The diversion of some assets to savings should have a small compensating effect.

Jul 8, 2008 - 11:56 am

Monday, July 07, 2008

Comment on Michelle Malkin 07-07-2008
"Annoying Platitude of the Day"

On July 7th, 2008 at 9:02 pm, Lifeofthemind said:

T. Sowell
The best the government can do is stay out of the way while other people create products, jobs and prosperity.”

There are functions that the Federal government can properly perform that can help the economy grow.

It is certainly within the rightful power of the people as represented by their government to define who is a citizen and who is a guest or an intruder and what the legal consequences of each status are. Clarity on these issues is essential for managing growth and avoiding needless costs to business or local communities.

Providing honest and predictable law enforcement and courts can reduce the risk of engaging in business and encourage entrepreneurship. The arbitrary and corrupt practices in Russia and other 3rd world states inhibit growth.

The provision of properly trained and disciplined forces that protect the nation from invasion and deter or punish aggressors as well as ensuring the freedom of peaceful commerce and navigation are a proper function of the federal authority. They also help create conditions that permit growth.

Issuing a sound currency and coinage encourages trade and commerce. It is reasonable that the government act in this field. A reasonable standardization of weights, measures and regulations between distant states or between the United States and foreign nations also is a proper role for the government.

A certain role for the government may exist in defined infrastructure improvements that encourage trade and communication.

These are of course the powers enumerated in our Constitution. We have a federal republic, not an anarchy, and the close attention of the government to its proper powers can create the conditions for growth and prosperity.

Comment on LGF 07-07-2008
"Rebuilding Ground Zero"

#178 lifeofthemind 7/07/2008 12:05:54 pm PDT

My 2¢'s worth. Build Three towers two of 100 stories each, one of 120.
First the Tower of Justice and Liberty, for government and legal tenants.
Second the Tower of Hope and Wisdom, with a Hospital and University.
Third the Tower of Freedom and Commerce, for entrepreneurs and artists.

Make the first 40 stories residential. Accept no delays and get it built!

Re: The Belmont Club 07-07-2008
"The Good Wars"

Excellent thread.
So much of what the left does today is simply political payback for past grievances. Like the classic feuds of history it reaches back to personality struggles hundreds of years old. There is no real policy dispute that justifies the continuing grudge match that sucks in new acolytes. Like the Islamists they ally with they use anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism as organizing structures in this permanent war. Since all but a small fringe of those that oppose them are focused more on having a life in this world than on a soul destroying cultivation of grievance and conflict the disciples of struggle have an advantage. They will not, can not, quit or go away. Revenge is all they have.

Jul 7, 2008 - 6:54 am

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Comment on LGF 07-06-2008
"Dubai: Slavery's New Mecca"

#301 lifeofthemind 7/06/08 5:34:58 pm reply quote 0

re: #294 Sharmuta

       I'm disgusted by this entire story, but to hear there are western servicemen
       supporting this is just sickening.

Now don't be naive. Military communities of young men away from home support prostitution, always have and always will. It was as wrong in Hawaii and the Philippines as it is now in Tiajuana and Thailand and in Dubai; it exists. Some feminists can make a case that all such relations, including pornography, are inherently about power and are a form of violence to women. They overstate the case by not setting boundaries so the reductio ad absurdum is reached that all relations including consensual marriage are really a form of rape. Some then even find themselves supporting prostitution as somehow more honest. At this point sane people throw up their hands and leave the gross materialists babbling in their psuedo Marxism. It is a good idea to point out to the troops the economic realities that drive women to act more friendly than a young enlistees charm may justify. That may help prevent some bad doomed marriages. The level of coercion involved in Dubai is probably an order of magnitude greater than that in Thailand and the troops need to be made aware of that. It should be a command briefing requirement.

Comment on Michelle Malkin 07-06-2008 "UN Aid official assasinated in Somalia"

On July 6th, 2008 at 4:00 pm, Lifeofthemind said:
At this point I do not see the benefit to civil liberties in not having a secure national ID system linked to universal fingerprints and retina scans. And for the one in a hundred million with neither eyes nor hands we can cover them. Also I think that laws against covering the face that were instituted to fight the terror of the KKK should be expanded and enforced. Anyone who claims they need to cover their face for a valid medical reason, not for religious reasons, should have to get that verified by both two Physicians and a Judge. Make it difficult, lives are at stake.

Finally I believe we need a law giving the Attorney General the ability to petition a Judge for a writ that would declare a defined geographic area, between a postal code and a county in size, to be in a state of “Civil Rebellion” if over 20% of the adult inhabitants can be shown to be fugitives from the law. That would allow authorities to isolate the area and identify all persons present to permit the safe removal of bail jumpers, wanted criminals and illegal aliens. At the same time the need to get judicial approval and limitation to the most flagrant cases should protect the average citizen from violations of their 4th amendment rights.

Comment on Belmont Club, 07/06/08 "Intermezzo"

Personally I always thought that the road to Baghdad went through Damascus rather than the other way around. There are historical arguments for both approaches. Given the suspicion that the public would not support a WW-II style series of operations it made sense to invade the center of the problem to change the regional dynamic and threaten both Iran and its proxy Syria. The Iraq operation also gave us a strategic cover over the Gulf which would have been very exposed to Iran and Iraq if the US had struck due East from Lebanon. The Syrian option would however have had other benefits that are now obvious. Allowing a stronger bastion for the long haul, particularly if Bush had been able to push straight into Anbar. Given the French interference that kept the 4th Infantry Division from invading out of Turkey we had 5 years of turmoil that are only now being resolved, at great cost in life and treasure. An assault from the East when the North was denied would have helped.

Jul 6, 2008 - 10:19 am

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Comment on TigerHawk: RubeWatch

The suggestion by Elise that there might be a window for Hillary to exploit at the convention is intriguing. If Obama starts melting before the Olympics suck up all the media attention then Hillary may unleash whatever bombs she has been hoarding. The window is of course very narrow for her to turn around in if she intends to stab him. There are $10,000,000 worth of reason for her to simply Move On.

By LifeoftheMind, at Sat Jul 05, 08:14:00 PM

Comment on Winds of Change "The Gift That Keeps On Giving"

#33 from Lifeofthemind at 12:53 am on Jul 06, 2008
George III was the best of a bad family. The English actually liked "Farmer George" and were puzzled by the colonists rebellion. After all he spoke English; a welcome change from the German speakers before him. Did the Brits have a case about the colonists paying for their own protection after the French and Indian Wars? Maybe but they sure did a poor job of making the case. Without an American Revolution the possible course of events such as the French Revolution, Parliamentary Reform in Britain and all subsequent interactions are simply to complicated to make intelligent guesses on.

One of the best bits in Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" is his predicting that if peace is restored with the colonies and they get parliamentary representation proportional to their contributions to the Exchequer (this was long before one man one vote) then in 100 years the capital of the British Empire would move to Philadelphia. Look it up.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Comment on Michelle Malkin “I am proud of my country because…”

Admittedly I am proud of this country for selfish reasons. For providing a safe refuge for my Grandparents where they could use their talents to build a life for their families and make the larger world a better place. I am proud of America for giving them and me something larger and better than ourselves to believe in and aspire to greater things for. Without that example of positive values, what is life but a meaningless rut best soon ended at the whim of an unloving god?

Also, I am proud that America is so achingly beautiful.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Comment on The Belmont Club - Plan C


There are two problems to deal with.
One is the ineffective and pusillanimous response of key elements in the West to threats and acts of violence. This encourages al Queda and costs lives. Many who advocate appeasement do so in the sincere belief that by demonstrating a more humane and tolerant alternative we can tease individuals out of the grip of the Ummah and get them to embrace the creative civilization we are proud of. Others encourage our enemies because they are so emotionally addicted to the cult of grievance and self pity fostered by gender, ethnic and social special interest advocacy identity politics over the last 45 years that they truly believe the West is the problem. The current election in the US may be the last chance for the traditional moderate center to reject the self destructive fringe.
The other problem is the remarkable grip that the Islamic view has on it’s disciples. Islamism isn’t the only system that induces people to ghettoize themselves. Ultra-Orthodox Jews choose to live in Mea Shearim. It is certainly the most successful system extant at both getting it’s members to imprison themselves and then attacking the host community to expand. We keep expecting people in the ghetto to try to escape but it isn’t simply a prison that others are forcing them into. The cage is in the human mind. Maybe this is tied to a sexual dysfunction like masochism that gets women who have choices to don the burqua. This phenomenon needs to be publicly studied and challenged.

Jul 2, 2008 - 10:48 am

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Comments on "Confirmed: Wesley Clark is an idiot"

On June 30th, 2008 at 9:01 am, Lifeofthemind said:
Goldwater Knight
Did you count your fingers afterwards? Met him once myself. Possibly the only unimpressive flag officer I’ve ever met.

On June 30th, 2008 at 9:15 am, Lifeofthemind said:
thefoundingfathers said:
Wesley Clark is the poster child for the saying we all rise to our own level of incompetence. In Mr. Clark’s defense he has risen at least five levels above his own level of incompetence. This shows how desperate the Democrats are to have people with miltary experience to put out in front of the American public. They seem to attract the Lt. Cmdr Queeg and Captain Binghamton types.
Now that isn’t fair to Captain Binghamton. I’m confident he turned out to be a pillar of yacht club society. No doubt he mixed a good martini too. Clark on the other hand is as Dr Johnson put it, “a most unclubable man.”

On June 30th, 2008 at 9:32 am, Lifeofthemind said:
Which scenario is better?
1) Obama uses and discards every element of the democratic coalition, ensuring that they are all so angry at him that he goes down in flames.
2) Obama ties himself to a shameless suck up incompetent like Clark, allowing McCain to demolish him so he goes down in flames?

On June 30th, 2008 at 9:50 am, Lifeofthemind said:
It is my belief that McCain was a success as a squadron CO. Readiness etc. dramatically improved under his command. Finances were straightened out. Also he has shown a fine sense of how to lead the troops in other ways. The story is that when he first ran for Congress he went up to the warehouse workers at his Father in Law’s beer business and said, (once again “Or words to that effect.”) “Either help get me elected or I will work here and I will be such a sonofabitch that you will all be sorry.” It worked, they helped, he got elected.

On June 30th, 2008 at 11:06 am, Lifeofthemind said:
Wish I could get back on active duty. Be happy to go in as an Ensign even or CWO, hate to think I might miss the show at Abadan when the balloon finally goes up.

On June 30th, 2008 at 11:07 am, Lifeofthemind said:
Cue claims of “Swiftboating” from Clark

On July 1st, 2008 at 11:32 am, Lifeofthemind said:
Well said. Your experience is part of the puzzle. It does not invalidate other anecdotal evidence that the man was a poor manager or leader before other people. Obviously we are talking about shades and gradations as well as a weakness to succumb to his worse instincts that may have grown over time. One reason that intelligent and hard working people, and I believe that Clark had those basic gifts, need to be careful not to act like a horse’s ass is that doing so deprives the society of the benefit of what they can contribute. In other words Clark screwed up first by getting a reputation as excessively manipulative and political (among an admittedly highly competitive group of officers) and second when in a combat leadership role in Bosnia and it cost him his job and made him ineligible for elective office. His frantic efforts to keep inserting himself into the public debate only compounds the problem. There is a reason that most retired senior officers sit on boards and play golf. Being a public person is with rare exceptions frowned upon as contrary to a warrior’s code in a democracy.

Re: Belmont Club "Thinking About China"

Count - “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

China is a real long term strategic rival. We should have responded much more decisively when they forced down the Navy EP-3 in 2001. Essentially they are in the a similar strategic situation to that Japan was in 1940. They are dependent on foreign resources and tempted by the weakly guarded assets to the North in Siberia and to the South in the South China Sea, Indonesia and Australia. All their neighbors are scared to death but given the defeatism that is being broadcast from America the temptation is to appease. Essentially it is similar to the demoralized elite accommodation to the challenge of Islam but in a much more traditional way. The Australians have agreed to the Chinese purchase of major mineral resources. The current Australian Prime Minister is a Sinologist who is committed to turning his country from the US to an alliance with China. That is not simply a contract to purchase production or a supervised minority investment scheme but a selling of the physical integrity of the nation. It is essentially the opposite of what happened to oil supplies over the last 40 years when producing nations asserted sovereignty. China does face real problems and may implode. Historically the case for keeping it a single unified empire is pretty weak. We should vastly increase our naval and air assets and work with the Australians and ASEAN to build a solid long term alliance. One thing I would do is give the Australians the remaining B-52 airframes and air to surface missiles so they can control their surrounding sea lanes.

Jul 1, 2008 - 12:33 am

Well it didn’t take long for the wingnut right to blend into the moonbat left over here. The very term Ex-republican has become a cliche on the web for trolls manufactured by koss kiddies and DU.

Mr Murphy saying that the economy in OZ is becoming dependent on China is to acknowledge that there might be a problem. The problem is the nature of the regime and the long term implications for the stability of the west and our shared civilization. No one wants war or an implosion of China. The fact is that much of the growth of China may be a bubble and much may be a matter of false accounting. The system is deeply corrupt. Numbers that are reported are much less reliable than those in the west. Enron was an aberration in the west, not the normal way business was done.

Technically China fits the definition of a corporatist fascist state. Most strategic investments are made by front companies that are owned by the army and used to channel funds to the children of a party oligarchy. This system is very unstable and is sustained by access to external raw materials and capital investment. This is the flip side of the problem of the Russian economy being sustained by artificially high oil prices. Eventually the wheels may come off this contraption. Hopefully by then the veneer of an educated modern elite that is developing in the coastal cities will have put down roots deep enough to permit a soft landing.

Jul 1, 2008 - 5:08 am

anon, To a point I agree with you. The caveats are three fold. First prudence should not devolve into lethargy. Patience and a long term approach should not be allowed to become an excuse for passivity and kicking the can down the road. Second there is a risk in overestimating the benefits of trade. The world’s largest trading partners in 1914 were Germany and England. A belief that others are paralyzed by trade dependence could encourage aggressive elements in the Chinese regime. Third is a matter of moral clarity. China is not a democracy now and when, I do not say if, it attempts to threaten or bully neighbors who are, such as Japan, India and Taiwan, we must stand firmly at the side of her neighbors. A credible American umbrella will we hope keep the peace but if it fails to do so then we must accept the conflict. The threat that China’s client North Korea poses extends this possible instability. It is in Beijing’s interest to ease that nasty little historical relic off stage.

Jul 1, 2008 - 5:28 am

Three at a time!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

On Belmont Club "What if nobody recognized Robert Mugabe?"

What if everyone ignored Mugabe? Sorry Wretchard but this is a stretch to far that even the economist in the joke (assume a can opener) would shun. The problem is that the Chinese, the Arabs, the Iranians, Soros, Putin and Chavez are all pushing to deconstruct the post Cold War order. On any given day two of them will be betraying the rest but that does not mean that traditional diplomacy can resolve these problems. At the same time sizable elements in the West will be testing the envelope for reasons they may not even fathom themselves, such as an atavistic attachment to socialism or grievance mongering. If there was a consensus to uphold basic civilized standards then the isolation of Mugabe would be automatic. The integrity of the institution of the UN was compromised at birth when it shifted from a useful but unsentimental military alliance (theoretically enshrined in the Security Council of WW-II powers) to a successor of the failed League of Nations that was supposed to enshrine Wilsonian idealism. This was a sham at birth when non peace loving totalitarian states such as Saudi Arabia were admitted followed by the authoritarian wave from decolonization. At first it didn’t matter. The high sounding facade of the UN and the Declaration of Human Rights was maintained even as it was used as a brokerage shop for the bi-polar world. The fact that an increasing percentage and eventual majority of the body were not democracies was acceptable as long as the focus on the Cold War kept Western elites reasonably cohesive. All that collapsed in as after math of Vietnam demoralized the West and the collapse of the Soviets paradoxically increased the complexity of the networked anti-democratic threat and took the lid off Third World thuggery.

Jun 26, 2008 - 6:39 pm

Comment on Belmont Club "What if nobody recognized Robert Mugabe?"

What if everyone ignored Mugabe? Sorry Wretchard but this is a stretch to far that even the economist in the joke (assume a can opener) would shun. The problem is that the Chinese, the Arabs, the Iranians, Soros, Putin and Chavez are all pushing to deconstruct the post Cold War order. On any given day two of them will be betraying the rest but that does not mean that traditional diplomacy can resolve these problems. At the same time sizable elements in the West will be testing the envelope for reasons they may not even fathom themselves, such as an atavistic attachment to socialism or grievance mongering. If there was a consensus to uphold basic civilized standards then the isolation of Mugabe would be automatic. The integrity of the institution of the UN was compromised at birth when it shifted from a useful but unsentimental military alliance (theoretically enshrined in the Security Council of WW-II powers) to a successor of the failed League of Nations that was supposed to enshrine Wilsonian idealism. This was a sham at birth when non peace loving totalitarian states such as Saudi Arabia were admitted followed by the authoritarian wave from decolonization. At first it didn’t matter. The high sounding facade of the UN and the Declaration of HUman Rights was maintained even as it was used as a brokerage shop for the bi-polar world. The fact that an increasing percentage and eventual majority of the body were not democracies was acceptable as long as the focus on the Cold War kept Western elites reasonably cohesive. All that collapsed in as after math of Vietnam demoralized the West and the collapse of the Soviets paradoxically increased the complexity of the networked anti-democratic threat and took the lid off Third World thuggery.

Jun 26, 2008 - 6:39 pm

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Comment on PJM "Why Trains Just Don't Work in America"

Before the flood I took Amtrak between NY and Chicago and found it a vile experience. Then I found myself in need of transportation because of a car accident, which is another story, between Omaha and San Diego. That was when I was an Ensign after the flood but before the invention of electricity. I discovered that Amtrak west of the MIssissippi was a different and more pleasant experience. The small cars used to go through the twisty Eastern tunnel system are part of the reason that Amtrak is so unpleasant. Out west the cars are better. Back then I was able to take the Denver Rio Grande and Western Railway between Denver and Salt Lake City. It was just like train travel should be. White table cloths with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint flirting next to me. Maybe my memory is getting hazy there. Anyway the dwarf line is gone now.

Jun 24, 2008 - 5:28 pm

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Comment on "Does Hillary still have a miracle play left?" on The Belmont Club

LifeoftheMind said...
Hillary is in the position of being right on the facts regarding the super delegates. She is so tainted as a product of the movement that produced Obama and passed her by that her hypocrisy is breath taking. She is unworthy of benefiting from her narrow technical argument.

The Democrats failed to control the theatrical extremists at Chicago in 1968. After that they surrendered to activists and the "base." The SCOTUS has spoken that political parties can set their own rules for selecting candidates and presumably therefor recognizing their members. It is now up to the adults in both parties to take that message and run with it.

Hopefully we will end up with something closer to a parliamentary party system. In such a system unstable supporters of ideologues like Kucinich or Paul are made to feel unwelcome and the nominee is someone who has been inspected and tested over a couple of decades. Interestingly the party of the left is still more vulnerable to fringe elements in that system but the principle behind a representative and republican system of governance at the party level should apply.

As always this strengthens my argument for the Electoral College. If Mark Steyn can be self proclaimed a Demography Bore I want my niche.

2/23/2008 05:35:00 PM

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Comment on "The key to Iraqi reconciliation" on The Belmont Club

LifeoftheMind said...
America's singular Constitutional gift to the world is Federalism. Yes I know the Swiss got there first. Seriously if we can get the communities in Iraq to understand that the more diverse their overall society the safer they are as members of component communities then the drive for unitary political and moral domination which is at the heart of Islamism will be broken. That is why the Jihadis and their sponsors are in a panic. Bush got it right, our conversion of Iraq into something closer to a normal society poses an existential threat to backwards and totalitarian regimes across the region. Similarly the existence of a moderate multi-confessional Lebanon was barely tolerable when communications were primitive and the locals in some other backwater did not know it existed but in the modern age it is as great a threat as the presence of a modern democratic Israel.

2/13/2008 06:15:00 PM

Comment on "Daily Roundup February 16, 2008" on The Belmont Club

LifeoftheMind said...
The Republican's have suffered because of two holes in their platform.

1) Something they stand for that means more than "Conservatism" to the voters. Eight years ago after Clinton "Maturity" was the theme, as in "Isn't it time to let the adults take charge?" The pork barrel politicing that cost them the Congress two years ago made that a tough theme to run on. My suggestion is that they run on the theme of "Civilization." We are for it and it is worth defending. A good politician can make this an inclusive and uplifting approach. Reagan did this brilliantly.

2) We do need something to run against. It better not be seen as running against the woman or the black guy. Running against "Liberalism" is as tired and empty to the average voter as running for "Conservatism." At one time Republicans were very successful in running against Tip O'Neill. He became the poster boy for the old corrupt sounding insider politics we didn't want to be identified with. My suggestion is that Republicans run against the Trial Lawyers Association. Dan Quayle was unsuccessful in attempting this but the problem may have been the messenger more than the message.

The failure of the Democrats to pass the intelligence bill could be best attacked not on narrow legal or policy grounds. If we go down in those weeds the Democrats will flood Jim Lehrer's News Hour and other shows with windy explorations of the procedures of the FISA courts until America goes to sleep. In fact they have already started. If we attack it as a full employment gift to Trial Lawyers then we can build a band wagon.

The Democratic party rests financially on four interlocking pillars. One is the public service employees unions, especially teachers. Second is the inherited wealth of trust fund babies. That includes the management of the Foundations that have effectively inherited much of the great wealth of the Industrial Age, such as the Ford Foundation. Third is a very narrow self referential Arts and Culture elite. Finally there are the Trial Lawyers. Anything that redistributes power away from these four groups is good for America and good for the Republican Party.

2/16/2008 04:02:00 PM

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Comment on "Resign, Archbishop of Dhimmitude" on Michelle Malkin

On February 9th, 2008 at 9:36 pm, Lifeofthemind said:
Henry VIII always felt himself to be a Catholic. He probably believed that marrying his late brother’s (presumably unconsummated) widow was illegal. His title of Defender of the Faith from the Pope, that the English Throne uses to this day, was for his critique of Luther. Henry was an interesting and accomplished man.

The problem with the Church of England is that after the Civil Wars of the 17th century the teeth were drawn from the established religion. Establishment is not designed to increase the power of the Church but to defang it, house-train it and make it harmless. The tradition arose of sending the fool in the family into the Church. Tolerance became the central formal doctrine of the Church of England. The important thing was they had to be tolerant of royal whims and peculiarities and also of regional or political Protestant minority groups. The expectation was that the non-conformists of the Chapel would in return be politically loyal to the Crown. That was centuries before anyone thought about Moslem immigration. Tolerance for Jews and Catholics came more slowly. Troublesome non-conformist sects were largely exported or channeled into industrial and political movements. That is the historical basis for the Liberals and ultimately the Labor Party.

Americans sometimes have trouble understanding how the recent carnage of the 20th century, especially the First World War, created the deep strain of pacifism that Britain, and many other parts of Europe, exhibit today. It is much harder for us to understand how the horrors of the religious wars of the 17th century produced the desire for secularism and tolerance that dominates elite opinions in Europe.