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!