Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Comment on the Belmont Club
"The real thing"

And the generals — where are they?

My guess is that the generals are turning turtle. They can either resign dramatically (few will) or try to protect their own little world until the storm passes. What is extremely unlikely is any coordination that leads to a Seven Days in May conspiracy. That simply isn't in the culture in the US military. Communication means exposure and exposure means risk. Survival depends on focused inward routinization of process. Generals who survive this will offer no new plans that would require organizational growth or systems development. They will probably get busy instead documenting the effort they are putting into base safety programs and anti-smoking campaigns.

Pakistan is like 18th century Prussia, an army with a country attached. Unfortunately for them they lack neighbors they can dominate, a population acquiescent to the concept of national unity and a Fredrick the Great. Fortunately for everyone they lack pre-21st century Germans (although Pushtuns are close) and a culture of innovation. They lack the benefits of the European Enlightenment and capital growth.

Pakistan is not an American ally. It is an ally of China and occasional client of the US. Given the conditions alluded to in the top half of my comment we can expect no bold measures that would redraw the map and decisively defeat the forces in Quetta, Islamabad and Riyadh that are opposed to Western (or for that matter Indian Eastern) Civilization. The best that we can hope for is that in Afghanistan and in Iraq the American presence will leave a residue of awareness that there is another path. Over time that may complicate the efforts of the totalitarians to impose a gray uniformity over a fractious landscape.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Comment on the Belmont Club
"The second derivative"

Some effects of the collapse of the old Liberal order will be real disasters, people dead as trade implodes and totalitarians rage unchecked and migrating peoples desperate to escape bring diseases and grievances with them. Some effects may turn out positive. We will not return to the 19th century and forget everything that has been invented since. Resources can be redirected to productive work, Gender Studies and Community advocacy departments will go away and Engineering and History will be revived.

We will never be rid of the tendency of society to divide itself into those who work, those who fight and those who pray. The difference is that the mechanisms that kept those who pray concerned with the welfare of those who work will need to be revived. The role of those who rule has shifted from being entrusted to those who fight to those who pray. The later are now found in the Universities or other institutions but they serve the same role as Medieval clergy. There is always a struggle between the two subgroups as to who controls the levers of power. The record seems to be that the fighters stay more loyal to the workers but each needs the other two to keep them all honest.

What tools are available to socialize the clergy that have been stripped away over the last century? Perhaps a period of military service, a period of productive labor and adjustments to inheritance laws may help. Other practical ideas may come to mind.

Comment on Theo Spark,
"Spending your way out of debt
......from Rico"

(The chart is from the OECD)

Why is Israel the outlier? What have they done right? Maybe they are anomalous because of outside transfers due to foreign aid or support from American Jews or capital inflows because of the favorable investment climate. Ireland also got some return for their expenditures. Does this indicate those two choose to pay down debt and ride out the storm, Israel successfully and Ireland less successfully, while everyone else but Italy just tacked on more sail? Other metaphors involving pouring water or gasoline on a fire may be considered.

Is there a natural level, say at 7%, below which a modern economy can recover and above which it is in trouble? If so is everyone to the left of Germany facing a real collapse? Can countries that have wasted less than 5% of GDP, such as Italy Portugal and the Scandinavians, adopt the Israeli-Irish model and get out of the hole?

My choice of the 7% and 5% lines is arbitrary. Other combinations could be selected and tested. At what levels of structural debt can an economy recover and what will happen to those who can not?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Implausible Deniability

(from the thread "Ultimatum est")

luddy barsen,
(who thinks Iranians may use missiles as a ruse and smuggle a nuke)
There are no end to the iterations you can put that train through. What if they are only pretending to pretend to be apocalyptic so that less crazy technicians collaborate on the missiles project expecting the real bomb to be delivered by small boat? What if the small boat or camel herd smuggler thinks that the real weapons are being prepared for delivery by missile and do not know that they have the genuine dingus? Remember that only the four pilots on the 9-11 hijacking teams knew that they were on one way missions.

We will only be safe when the study of Twelverism is like the study of Carlism or the study of the Cult of Kali. That is something used to inspire improbable adventure movies and to provide thesis fodder for graduate students cultivating obscurity.

We live in a world of mass communications. That means that diseases of the body or of the spirit can climb out of unfumigated holes and spread around the globe.

Comments on The Belmont Club
"Law for legends"

The argument of the license of artists as a nobility of talent goes back to Lord Byron and farther. Oscar Wilde had defenders on just that basis, not so much on whether what he did should be sanctioned at all. The touchstone case however was Ezra Pound. Brilliant artist, unregenerate Fascist sympathizer and without doubt legally sane when he was locked up in an asylum to avoid a treason trial.

Mercy is a fine quality. It is associated with the Divine and with those who exercise authority on Earth, either as consecrated agents of God or as the representatives of popular majesty. We should all praise our judges when they display the quality of mercy. True mercy is unencumbered by private interest. Therefor it is offered not to the great but to the small.
Caesar's lesson is in the last minute.

Mercy is only meaningful when it is offered after the expectation of justice being fulfilled and the full rigor of the law being applied. Mercy prior to the guilty party displaying submission to the law is impossible because then it is not being granted as a gift from a sovereign power but is merely being conceded as result of a political negotiation. If the law is created arbitrarily according to the competitive influences of interest groups then there is no objective standard. Then there is no law only arbitrary power and tyranny.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pic of The Day

H/T Theo Spark's spud farm.

Comment on The Belmont Club
"The winds of Manakoora"

The Typhoon of 1944 was part of the backstory of The Caine Mutiny.

The sheer size of a hurricane is part of what makes it seem like a monster in a child's nightmare. You can try to run and get behind it but the ocean suddenly seems small, the South China Sea certainly does, and full of treacherous reefs. Which is the most terrifying, a hurricane, an earthquake, or a volcano?

Perhaps the very harshness and unpredictability of nature, when contrasted with the beauty when it is at peace, is part of what makes us love a place. We were not made for a dull Paradise.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Pic of The Day

From The Bukharian Times, no direct copy available unfortunately.

Comment on The Belmont Club
"Ultimatum est"

Oh no! Not the dreaded "increased pressure and isolation, and deny opportunity to their own people."

Obama is still emitting Green gases. He sounds like a High School Class President boasting of his appearance at a Model UN meeting. This is sad, pathetic even. Instead of leading with Iran he runs through the embarrassing laundry list of self congratulation over nothing first. The warning to Iran is therefor all the more obviously empty. As I said on the last thread, my expectation is that we will eventually find evidence that the administration was working with Iran to conceal the evidence of their secret program. Obama panicked and ran to Brown and Sarkozy for cover when the press in Vienna got wind of what he had already known for months.

he’s using a different dictionary

Everyone uses a slightly unique dictionary based on their family, education and occupation. The wonder is that there is sufficient commonality that most of the time we can communicate. When you cannot understand someone or get it wildly wrong then there are things to check. First, is are they using a special dictionary shared with their group (understandable) or are they only talking to themselves (possible insanity)? Secondly, is the miscommunication accidental or deliberate?

For the Democrats their dictionaries are drawn from their core support groups. Two of their biggest sources of support are lawyers and creative media. For lawyers negotiations translate as "billable hours." They happen after an event has already created damages, or to create a contract for a mutually agreed upon goal. The suggestion that they must be brought to a resolution because something bad might happen in the future does not translate for them. For the media conflict and negotiation are plot devices to be sustained. I can see them sitting around a table brainstorming a show called "The Ultimate Ultimatum."

massaging the message

You are getting warm. For some people in the Process profession having the different parties using incompatible dictionaries is a feature and not a bug. They define success as having everyone leave the 5 star hotel happy with a beautiful piece of paper. They do not worry about thise same people getting angry when they discover that others do not think the agreement means what they do. In the opinion of the professional cynic the other parties are going to find something to be unhappy about later anyway so it really doesn't matter what they get upset about. If they are happy on the day you need them for a photo shoot then that will do.

The same attitude can be seen in school administrators who just want the parent happy on graduation day and who really don't care about what anyone will think in the future about the student's lack of education. For a different job I had a boss who told me to do something wrong, copyright infringement in a University of Chicago duplicating office I managed, because it would make some faculty happy and by the time anyone important complained, "We would both be gone." I left first.

What I fear about Mr. Obama is that we have the worst of all worlds–an incompetent scoundrel.

That raises an interesting question. Should we prefer that our scoundrels be competent or not?

There is an old joke in which a businessman is describing the government as stupid, slothful, ignorant, corrupt and incompetent at doing any of the things it claims it intends to do. His partner listens and then pats him on the shoulder, "Harry, thank God for that."

Anny Mouse,
(who asked for Bugs Bunny daring Yosemite Sam to "Cross that line")
Here you go.

For the last thread I was looking for the clip from Die Hard with the sap Ellis "negotiating" with Gruber as McClane tries to warn him.
A lesson in a can.

erc rodson,
That was Fredrick the Great's management paradigm. There was an article about it in Naval Institute Proceedings many years ago.

Most troops were lazy slugs in Fred's opinion but that was OK if they feared his officers. The officers should be the smart and ambitious ones. Every organization can have one guy who wants to be lazy and dull. In F the G's modest opinion that was Fred only he had to stay up late working hard worrying about the ambitious stupid guy. In modern naval parlance that is the Petty Officer 2nd class who tries to fix the nuclear power plant on his own just to impress the Chief. That is the guy who kills people.

I am not putting Christianity into a position analogous to Islam. That is part of my point, they are completely different. Christianity arose among practicing Jews as one of many variants. After a period in excess of a hundred years people began to understand that it was a new religion. Islam was created by a man who had met some Jewish merchants and decided that they did not know their own religion. The Ethiopian Falasha are interesting. While there are differences between their practices and those of other Jews, such as the Yemenite community, and I am sure their history is fascinating, I would consider them Jews. They are certainly closer to mainstream Judaism than the Samaritans are. My point was that the official Jewish view of the Samaritans cast them in a light similar to Islam but that I suspect that to be unfair.

Mark B,
(who noted that I maligned the professionalism of naval nuclear techs)
Pax. Everything about nukes, power or specweaps, is very tightly controlled. I remember when we did a movement and I was the PRP Courier. The Marines looked happy. They had been told that if an officer stepped over the invisible line they could shoot him. Never wanted to be a Nuke myself. Takes a special type to live in a sewer pipe. OK already I'll stop. Nukes are more highly selected and their community benefits from not having to deal with the personnel problems and frictions faced by the rest of the service.

Subotai Bahdur,
(who reviewed post Revolutionary War treatment of Tories)
While I am uncomfortable with your TWANLOC designation I do find your general argument about the nature of the problem thoughtful. There is an issue with drawing lines between those who are part of the democratic community and those who aren't. Who gets to decide? The unfortunate record seems to be that the deciders get corrupted and drive wedges within the presumptively loyal members of the polis.

Sep 28, 2009 - 12:29 pm

Comment on The Belmont Club

the moves of (a) chess master

The sheer arrogance and stupidity of this cannot be beat. This is the Sheriff who boasts "Don't worry I can always use force as a last resort" but who is already destroying his own gun before the bad guy comes out into the street. This is the chess player who tosses away a few pawns and a bishop and a knight and then points out a few moves to his opponent, just to be helpful. This is the conceited jerk who says "Go ahead I'll tie one hand behind my back. You take the first punch."

The only reason that this administration said anything is that they were caught. Why did the Iranians send the letter? Maybe just to shove a thumb in our eye. It would not surprise me if one day we find evidence that the administration sent messages to Tehran begging them not to reveal the truth and advising them on how to evade inspection.

This might explain yesterday's Big Government headline that I blogged about, "Sarkozy Mocks Obama at UN."

Comment on Big Government
"Sarkozy Mocks Obama at UN ..."

Sarkozy has done impressive work in restoring French credibility and cleaning up some of the legacy of corruption left by Chirac and Co. Not only does Sarkozy seem to speak more directly and honestly about the threats before us than Obama does but he also has better taste in women.

I rest my case.

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Steel Stimulus Plan

(From The Belmont Club "Statesmen" thread)

always right,
20 something anarchists versus Pittsburgh residents

Change that to Steel town residents and the point becomes clearer.

If I was running for POTUS I’d go to Pittsburgh and say the following
“Here is my Stimulus plan. Elect me and next year we will cut steel to build 50 warships. The next year we will cut steel to build 100 warships. The following year another 100. If you good citizens and The Lord grant me the time I intend to go on like that for 8 years. Any questions?
Thank you”

On an Enemy Within the Gates

Kejda Gjermani/(Medaura at LGF) works as an assistant online editor for Commentary magazine. Her name appears on their online masthead. While Commentary is no longer owned by the American Jewish Committee it is an important and influential voice. That is the place where Norman Podhoretz helped create a revolution. The current editor is John Podhoretz, who I met almost 30 years ago at The University of Chicago. The insinuation of Medaura into a position at that venue is a tragedy. The hateful statements that she has uttered are such that I do not believe that she should be granted United States citizenship. Given her obvious capacity for work and her intelligence and viciousness when thwarted she is capable of getting entry into a media organization and using it for her own purposes. She could turn Commentary as she turned LGF. If anyone connected with PJM can get word to Podhoretz they would be doing him and his many admirers a favor.

Comment on The Belmont Club

WMD and one shot delivery systems and asymmetric warfare terrorist proxies can wound the US. Given the downward spiral that any ruler like Chavez, or Ahmadinejehad or Kim imposes on their societies just how much of a serious threat do any of them pose? Are they worthy of confronting because they can serve as a base for other threats, as the Taliban did? Is it right for an outside power to impose regime change out of a decent respect for the victims of these rulers and should we include in our calculations the wealth and creativity thwarted by these poisonous egos? Those opportunity costs make the world poorer for having these men around. Those same costs make their regimes less of a threat.

Is the answer reviving the very 17 - 19th centuries concept of different classes of nations? The civilized nations that were treated as legal and moral equals in the post Westphalian order, especially in the post Napoleonic world order, included the Powers of Europe (Britain, France, Spain, HRE-Austrian Empire, Russia, and by special dispensation the Ottoman Sublime Porte.) These were joined at the table by the Low Countries, the Scandinavians, the Holy See and Poland while it lasted. Later America got a seat. China was a case closer to the Ottoman Caliphate in that it's pretensions so far exceeded its reality that it was more propped up by jealous outside rivals than by it's own efforts. Near the end Italy and Germany were admitted as equals. The vast majority of the planet was seen as inhabited as other nations which were deemed incapable of conducting the business of diplomacy and abiding to basic norms regarding law, contracts and impartiality at the level practiced by members of the civilized club.

Both the British Empire and the League made the division into different classes of nationhood explicit. The British Empire was never a single unified structure but rather a series of bilateral relations that reflected the status of the parties. The League indicated the different classed of members or potential members both in the Council and Assembly structure and in the Mandate system.

Those members of the Empire deemed capable of self government and most important of contribution and participation in external affairs up to European standards became the Dominions. In other cases there were a hodgepodge of differing grades of dependency. In India some Princely States, Hyderabad is an example, were in effect independent countries in a treaty of alliance with the Crown. Other nations became Protectorates. A relatively few places became pure colonies ruled directly by Britain and inhabited by a native population with only limited self government.

In the League the Council included Japan and Italy as being among the first rank nations but not America, or Russia. Germany. was restricted to the Assembly where they were eventually joined by the Russians. There were three classes of Mandates for nations not deemed ready to assume the considerable responsibilities that came with membership. Mandates were territories surrendered by the defeated Central Powers and reassigned by the League to other members for a period of tutelage and development under the supervision of the assigned Mandatory Power and of the League. The League was after all both a legal system, with members pledged to abide by the standards of International Law, and a treaty of alliance with members pledged to undertake military burdens in a collective security pact.

Class A Mandates were expected to rapidly assume full independence and become full members of the League. They had or were assumed to have internal cohesion, that is an effective native government that could execute the laws and control defined borders over a territory inhabited a defined population. Those were the traditional attributes of sovereignty in international law. In addition they were reasonably solvent and potentially prosperous. One example of a Class A Mandate was Mesopotamia. Upon further reflection we may ask how this territory invented by the British by cobbling together Ottoman Viliyats and importing a Hashemite Prince could have been judged to meet the listed criteria. It was however one of the best developed territories and started with high hopes. All of the Class A Mandates were former Ottoman territories. Remember that I mentioned above that treating the Ottomans as a rough equal had been a principal of the pre-war international system. Therefor it was easy to assume that territories separated from the defeated Ottomans were nearly ready for independence.

Former German colonial territories were to be reorganized as Class B Mandates. In practice this meant that they were open to periodic inspection by representatives of the Mandate Committee with the long term goal of preparing them to move up to Class A status. I am unaware of any territory that made that transition.

Class C Mandates were considered special territories with almost no capacity for self government. The Japanese received the Marianas Islands as a Class C Mandate and the South Africans received South-West Africa. Other Pacific territories were assigned to Australia and New Zealand.

Former territories of the Austro-Hungarian Empire did not become Mandates. They were reorganized as independent countries and admitted directly to the League.

In the 2009 Freedom House ranking of 193 countries and 16 dependent of disputed territories they showed fewer than half as Free and things are not getting better. My proposition is simple. Anyone who represents one of the 42 "Not Free" countries should have no say at all in determining international law. They have not earned a vote. They should not be admitted to the table or the podium used by the Free. They should be kept in a separate room, one with rubber walls.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Comment on The Belmont Club
"Two eras"

There are lunatics ... No one doubts ... It is accepted

The tropes used to control debate and deny those who want to consider facts access to a productive conversation have not changed although they have been refined. Socialists and utopians try to preempt any effort to disagree and to empty the intellectual market of competing content. They do not use political debate as part of a process of deductive inquiry to discover information and refine policy. Instead they advance their grip on power using an inductive method in which the conclusion is predetermined and then various components of the audience are tested to see if they conform.

Is there anything useful gained from organizations like the League of Nations or the United Nations? Yes but only if they are considered as tools to be used in the narrowest and most technical sense and without sentimentality. They could follow on to the pattern set by the Congress of Vienna. In that case the assembled leaders of the European powers responded promptly to the threat of Napoleon's escape from Elba and dispatched their armies to intercept the French at Waterloo. As communications improve the need for formal assemblies of Ministers and Ambassadors with plenipotentiary power declines.

International technical bodies, the best of which preceded the League, have done good work. Examples of useful organizations include the International Meteorological Organization and the International Postal Union.

Disarmament does not work because it is based on the false logic of Collective Security. If everyone is equally in the community then who is the community defending against? In theory that would reduce the aggressor to the status of a criminal. As the woman said in the video, "call the police." That does not work for several reasons. To do so means empowering the overall authority with significant power, including tax authority and the monopoly on violence that is the mark of a Sovereign. At the local level we can do so because the criminals are rare and the police represent a community the vast majority share common values that make us willing to submit to the judgement and wisdom of our peers and of the legitimate authority we mutually accede to. That willingness to share in a common good or commonwealth is an expression of a quality called "comity." However in the international sphere the players do not share comity, and that can not be imposed from above. Also in the international sphere violent offenders are not limited in number or poorer in resources than are the authorities they challenge. The creation of hundreds of new governments in the name of self determination after WW-I and decolonization after WW-II, most of which are not democracies, makes it impossible to trust any global organization with such authority.

In addition even in smaller groupings where the actors do share common values the risk of Free Rider effects can cripple an organization. This has crippled Nato and while it has not proven fatal to the United States the question of fair distribution of burdens and benefits and voting rights remains.

The rise of asymmetric warfare and WMD in fact means that small states and non-state actors have the ability to challenge norms of international order. The corrosive effects of wealth transfers to forces hostile to western values have further impeded the ability of institutions to respond to threats.

Comments on Hot Air, Green Room
" ... Ongoing Self-Destruction of LGF ..."

I think that RSM could have been more forthright and less Clintonesque in simply denying the "revulsion" charge. Eventually I see, or at least believe that I see, that he did.

CJ is an excellent site designer and coder and a professional musician. That does not make him an astute political theorist. His opinions on most matters of public debate are worth no more and no less than are mine or those of thousands of others who blog. The condemnation of people who mean well in a process of guilt by association is wrong because it is ultimately self destructive. It is wrong because it is obviously ineffective. While trolls and mobys are real threats, to extreme a control policy destroys the value of the intellectual market. Managing debate, on a blog or in a classroom or at the dinner table, is an art as much as a science. The evidence is that CJ got it wrong and a few people who bring little intellectual value to the conversation have been empowered and more thoughtful voices have departed.

That does not mean that I feel that CJ is wrong about each case or issue. Some I disagree with him on and some I do not feel as important as he does but he can choose the topics in his own house. He also is entitled to set the rules and ban people if he wishes. LGF is thank God not a government site and the 1st Amendment does not apply.

Having expressed these opinions on the related Powerline Blog thread my LGF account was blocked.

Victor Davis Hanson has spoken up in defense of Charles Johnson. He defends the current topic focus as being the host's prerogative. On that I agree, although the standards of proof relied upon in LGF to assign to persons labels such as racist or fascist sympathizer are not addressed by Mr Hanson. He also does not address the issues of blog management and commentator blocking or nonscatalogical comment deletion.

I agree with Prof. Hanson about the following opinion about the birth certificate issue,
why he won’t release his college transcripts is a far more interesting and valid inquiry.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Comment on The Belmont Club
"Equal to ourselves"

What the totalitarians have succeeded in doing is poisoning the fruit of the wisdom of crowds. Democracy rests upon the theory that since the spark is within us we can recognize it in others. As individuals we may be venial, corrupt and in the Calvinist sense damned, but as a community we can recognize the truth and will choose to be ruled by "the better angels of our nature." Ideally we would elect the Elect.

Through the art of demagoguery and due to some mechanical tricks coming from a practical experience based on lay knowledge of the science of neurology those who would be Masters have learned to impede the ability of the Commons to discriminate in their judgement. The masses repeat the memes that Reagan was an idiot and Obama is a genius with no consideration of the actual evidence.

On the "East versus west" thread I noted that over time the model of man as a slave will fail. What a waste though in all the glory that will be lost and the blighted hopes that will be ruined while freedom sleeps.

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
- J.R.R. Tolkein

Comment on The Belmont Club
"The New Great Game"

The United States faces two kinds of vulnerabilities in dealing with rogue states such as Pakistan and North Korea. The external and the internal.

External constraints are imposed by the system and prevent or impede us from undertaking certain courses of action. For example we are constrained from eliminating the North Korean problem by dropping 20 nuclear weapons on that country, even though doing so would decisively solve that problem. The reason that we feel constrained from taking what might be an effective course of action is that the resulting effects of such an event would severely degrade our relations with Japan or other places downwind.

Internal constraints include limitations that we have imposed on ourselves with either no external compulsion or a fraudulent collaboration between internal and external actors. An example of that is the abandonment of missile defense systems. The argument that we did it to obtain goodwill from outside parties rings as false as if a left wing municipality arranged to be sued by an outside agency that they had a prior relationship with in order to compel a consent decree that imposes conditions without submitting to the normal legislative process.

If we had engaged on a program of thorough rearmament then Kim and Chavez and Putin would have to recalculate. That would have made the world a safer place. We did the opposite and the world is more dangerous.

Israel attempted to assume the role of protector of the christian community in Lebanon in 1982. That didn't exactly work out. Israel should have annexed Bethlehem when she absorbed the neighboring district of East Jerusalem in 1967. That would have made Israel explicitly the protector of the arab christian communities and would have revolutionized the relationships of all parties with the Vatican and center-right Europeans. The failure to do so was one of those administrative oversights that proves that history is not explainable simply through cartesian logic.

Comment on The Belmont Club
"Crouching bear, hidden dragon"

The naval expansion needed to fight WW-II was planned 10 years earlier. FDR, to give the former Navy Secretary some credit, was way ahead of the British in this respect. There former First Sea Lord Churchill was frozen out of power. FDR's motivation wasn't primarily strategic. Cutting steel to build a navy was a jobs program. If the Democrats in 2008-'09 had been serious about the Stimulus they would have proposed a similar rearmaments program. Planning and executing a major weapons program takes over twice as long as it did 70 years ago. That is legitimate, despite the benefits of computer aided design and construction, due to the quantum increase in complexity.

Will the Navy get the funding to build the new missile defense ships?
Did the administration please Russia only to accidentally displease
     China? Or was it a calculated move?
Was the Obama decision to abandon the Eastern European systems
     (assuming the ships are built) really a better defense choice?

To answer your 4 questions.
1. No (The Navy will I predict be tied up in thought control sessions,
             like after Tailhook)
2. Yes (They only dream of dealing with 2 issues at a time,
             as said by others, they can't play chess)
3. No (Only in the juvenile sense that some giggling idiots in that crew
             think they are being clever)
4. No (For the threat from Iran and for the alliance with the
             East Europeans the land based systems were best)

Comment on The Belmont Club
"East versus west"

Which of the two world views is based on reality? And which of the two world views, if in conflict, would prevail?

These are false choices. They presuppose that one of these views is based on reality. On the margin however the views of the pacifists of Rochedale are grounded in a deeper reality.

The basis of Communism is an uncompromising materialism that completely denies all of the accumulated wisdom of humanity in how to solve problems or how to create wealth. Communism, despite the pretensions of Marx's theory of Historical Dialectical Materialism, exist out of time. Problems are to be solved only in the here and now by command. The source of all creativity is the singular will of the Leader, who is divorced from individual choices and consequences.

The basis of Pacifism is a world view that is informed by a knowledge of the worth of each individual and the remarkable achievement and terrible violence that we are all capable of. The problem with the pacifists is not that they ignore all of the fundamentals but that they select the information that they process to a high degree, but still I would argue to a lesser degree than do the communists, to reach their desired results. Therefor there conclusions are wrong even if their intentions and awareness of history are to a considerable extent not.

In a short term conflict the forces of Korea could annihilate the forces of Rochedale. In the long term, when we are all dead, the Korean Communist model is a dead end that will collapse. The civilization that produced the pacifists is the stronger and will prevail. Consider the Pacifists as a natural by product of a healthy cultural body. They must be processed and not allowed to accumulate to the point where they poison the system but in moderation their presence need not be considered dangerous. The communists on the other hand are a pure bad. They represent a cancerous mutation that can only harm the host.

The values that built our strategic deterrent as portrayed in Crimson Tide are based in the values that motivate the people of Rochedale, whether those people in England know it or not. The Air Farce had it right, to give them their due, when they said "Peace Is Our Profession."

(who found my prose sickening)
Why the vertigo? If you love the people as your name claims then what you strive and build and fight for is their safety.
General Douglas MacArthur got this right. The military is devoted to "Duty, Honor, Country."

The soldier above all other people prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer ,,,

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Comment on The Belmont Club

It interests, well me actually, that in America the color red is used to designate conservative regions and groups while in the rest of the world that color is considered symbolic of the left.

Fellow denizens of the Belmont Club we must steel ourselves for a terrible possibility. Our host Wretchard the Cat may have been taken by hideous aliens under the cover of the red fog. Australia may be lost to us and soon they will be invaded by Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton and the rest of the Reds.

But there is hope. Maybe it is just Red Dust and they'll be invaded by Clark Gable and Jean Harlow.

Fashionable Security

(from the Belmont Club thread "What's up doc?")

Missile defense is so provocative and it is unfashionable to boot.

News flash
Today Community Leaders gathered to protest the issuance of bullet proof vests to the police. Reverend Sharp Suit Rotundity said, "They are so bulky they intimidate our youths." Mrs. Priscilla Rockington Smythe agreed saying, "Without those horrid vests they are much nicer, almost cuddly."

Comment on The Belmont Club
"Policy debates"

American Leftists and Tranzis always misjudge the American military. They assume, based on some movie like Seven Days in May or some book their Critical Gender and Transformative Dynamics Theory Professor made them buy that the armed forces are run by knuckle dragging Capitalists. The truth is that the military is the most Socialist community in America. It does have its own culture and the looming conflict between members of that community and Obama will flow not from policy differences but from their evaluation of him as a man and a leader.

The military obeys orders. That is what they do. Like a faithful dog they can be lead to do amazing things. They will even conform to a policy that lacks basic competency or which goes against their own interests. However the ability to give those orders depends on a reciprocal relationship. Nothing about this is a secret. What the military values and expects in a leader are two things, courage and honesty. If you posses those then you can get them to follow you into any situation and they will execute any policy.

For example while most but not all members of the military disagreed with President Carter they followed his orders without to much dissent. They obeyed the orders of President Clinton also but I think that the linkages between Hillary and the discredited Wesley Clark, who was seen as lacking moral courage and was deceitful in a manner beyond that accepted in a Pentagon bureaucrat, would make it hard for her to be an effective leader. John Kerry was destroyed as a potential candidate for POTUS when the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacked him on these issues, not on his policy positions.

The problem that Obama faces is that he is being judged, not by right wing partisans or birthers or 2nd Amend. "gun nuts," but by people who after close observation are concluding that he is a coward and that he is dishonest. This is a tragedy and once that cord of trust is broken it can not be restored.

(who traced Taliban support to Russia, China, Iran and the Gulf)
Interesting comment. Three recurring themes among the journalists/punditry have been the implacable rivalry between Russia and China and the eternal war between Sunni and Shia and the unbridgeable gulf between Islam and present or "former" communists. We are repeatedly told to ignore any signs of cooperation among these supposedly implacable enemies. Without a doubt the all hate and despise each other. Sometimes when you hear all the parties to a drawn out dispute explain the failings of each other the only conclusion is, "You are all correct. You are all terrible." That does not mean that you get to withdraw to a faculty lounge and sip sherry while bemoaning how dreadful the world is. The evidence is that while they hate and despise each other they are perfectly capable of cooperating to reduce the power of the United States.

One small note of comfort. If BHO purges the officer corps to promote the likes of Weasley Clark and abandons the fight over there then those who survive the ensuing debacle will remember and come 2010 the Democrats will find it harder to throw their votes away, as the Democrats did to the troops who voted while deployed.

Comment on PJM, Barbara Curtis
"PalinTracker: An Open Letter ..."

At the office yesterday the Leftists were positively chortling and giggling over Vanity Fair. Their reaction to attacks on Sarah Palin could fairly be described as collective masturbation.

As a former naval officer I can assure you that the the SM-3 AEGIS system, wonderful as it is, is not a replacement for a land based BMD for countering the threat from Iran. We would need to build dozens of more ships. The cost has not even been considered and will not be spent on the military by this administration. So the entire proposal is a fraud. Also look at a map, the sea based systems are an effective counter to a threat from North Korea but expecting them to be reliably in position to intercept missiles from Iran is a fantasy.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Sad news, Newscorp is closing the Far Eastern Economic Review. When my ship stopped in Sasebo I went to Tokyo a quarter century ago and went drinking with the BBC radio and FEER correspondents. My weekly copy was a joy to read. Just having it made me feel I was part of a special club. For the last several years it has been a Beijing based monthly that I did not follow but the Hong Kong based scrappy weekly with the yellow cover and the black name plate was the best.

The New Woodrow Wilson

(from the BC thread "What's up doc?")

Das and Herb,
(who think that BHO is unstable and does not want to be POTUS)
Regarding the role that Obama sees himself in and his stability under pressure. The President that mostly closely resembles BHO IMHO is Woody Wilson. WW came close to being kicked upstairs to President of the World and only failed when Henry Cabot Lodge balked at the Treaty of Versailles. That precipitated his collapse and a period in which the administration was effectively in the hands of his wife Edith and his physician Grayson. In his private nightmares Obama might blame Ted Kennedy for dying before the Health Care bill came to a vote as a similar frustration. If he does collapse under the pressures of the job I pray that we will be spared government by Michelle.

What Makes Georgie Run?

(from the BC thread "What's up doc?")

I think Soros is in it for the money only, and doesn’t give diddly-squat about things that go boom.

That is an assumption. Soros has many motives and links. The ties to ideological movements and shady global actors may be an indulgence and a cost of doing business that follow from his commercial interests. They may also be the motivation behind his financial activities. Postulate the worst case that Soros is a planted agent of influence recruited by the KGB who spotted him following his ambivalent performance as a jew who collaborated with the nazis. It would fit the pattern for such agents that he became self funding and then used his influence to weaken America. That is not to say that I am endorsing that theory. It merely means that whatever view we take of a person like Mr Soros must be based on what we can learn of his past and what we see as the consequences of his activities.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club
"What's up doc?"

NahnCee and Rah,
Well done, this is what the BC does best.

Capitalist systems operate without a central command, which may seem strange to an egotist.

Who herds their man flock?
- Aeschylus The Persians

Democrats have a great advantage over Republicans because even when out of power they present themselves as a government in waiting. From their perches in a web of interlocking NGOs, projects, charities, think tanks, universities, publications and investment banks they are constantly planning, and more important announcing to the public that they are planning, what to do once the low brow Rethuglican intruders are shown the back gate. Republicans can not match that. When out of office they are not busy preparing policy papers on how to run the world. They have jobs, that is they used to until Obama scorched the earth, and they are to busy running parts to plan on running the whole. Besides they believe that if the parts are run right then the whole will run itself.

BHO's admission that he was not only not ready on Day One but is not ready on Day 240 destroys the myth of the Democrats as the natural party of government. Eventually the units below him are going to rewire themselves to bypass the White House. This won't be for ideological reasons but for practical ones. It would be bad enough to the bureaucrats if the White House and the Czars really were absorbing all power into the Neutron star of BHO's center and then delivering a comprehensive, even if wrong headed, plan. Since the reality is that Obama and his collection of tax cheats and bullies have proven incapable of managing an enterprise the size of Knott's Berry Farm the machinery of government will naturally find a way to isolate him.

Now that the system has taken its' measure of him, as the rest of the world has, he will probably become like Jim Hacker. He will be lead into a never ending series of increasingly meaningless activities, cuddly farm displays, while the professionals get busy around him. Unfortunately that could only work in a benign foreign security and domestic economic climate. It would also necessitate the presence of a competent back stop to keep the wheels moving while the POTUS dithers. That is not a role that I see Joe Biden filling.

Leo Linbeck III,
He believes that wisdom is a function of knowledge and education

That one item on your list seems questionable. As the Satomayor nomination indicated Obama is a classic racist. I will take it as a given that he agrees with Satomayor unless it can be proven to the contrary. He believes that wisdom comes from experience and that experience can be inherited. Not only can wisdom and virtue be inherited by oppressed peoples but the corollary is that error and guilt are also attributable to groups. The categories that serve as the vessels for these qualities, both positive and negative, are arbitrarily determined and flow from the prior wisdom of the determiner. The process is similar to that of Apostolic Succession in which Obama, despite his being descended from the oppresing slavers rather than the enslaved, can act ex cathedra in determining who is wise or deserving of compensation. That enables him to assign guilt to the majority of Americans whose ancestors never owned slaves and who fled to the new world to escape persecution.

Bob Smith,
(who noted Obama's illegal campaign contributions from the Middle East)
If some authority with subpoena power could be found then the records of the possible half a million to two million transactions that flowed from the Gazan phone banks could be retrieved. Once the onion begins to peel it should quickly fall apart.

Why is Obama so keen on denuclearization?

One reason is probably the left wing pacifism that has roots going back to the German Anabaptists and the English Nonconformists. That is a strain within Socialism but it is not identical with that movement. There are other strands within the Left that are not quietist or pacifist in nature.

Another reason may be a more particular form of triumphalism. If nuclear weapons were a useful but arbitrary component of American strength, like the Winter wheat belt, then they would attract less attention. My theory is that Obama wants to see the nuclear systems dismantled because they are the legacy of an accumulated capital, both material and more importantly intellectual, that he wants to demolish. When he discards our strategic arsenal he will be consigning to the dustbin of history the life's work of Edward Teller and Albert Wohlstetter and Herman Khan, all Jews incidentally, and countless others. He will be killing something that he could not create and which we will probably never be able to restore.

Leo Linbeck III,
(who believes the Left screens for education more than for race)
The problem is displaced to the second order. Obama, Jones, Satomayor and Holder all possess the validating certificates from elite educational institutions but their tickets into those institutions were punched on account of their racial groups. Under the strictures of affirmative action once admitted it is very hard to fail if one is a minority. That then creates pressure to lower standards so that matriculants who are not minorities do not fail at a greater rate. Over time that degrades the quality of the graduates and the stature of the institution. That however is paid for in the future and in socialist accounting the future is like the past, Another Country.

We are both right.

Leo Linbeck III,
(who reviewed the credentials of key administration players)
Well argued. Are the players divided into two classes? There might be the Useful Idiots (Clinton, Geithner, Orszag, Locke and Gates) who may also be considered the Expendables, and the Inner Idiots (Holder, Jarrette, Michelle la Belle) who are the crew.

Emanuel I see as an honorary Brother and inner crew member. He is like the Mouth of Sauron in that his betrayals have placed him beyond the reach of the community he ostensibly comes from. Remember that he spent the last two days confessing his sins to God and being reminded that the injury he has caused to other humans, both jew and gentile, can only be absolved by the injured parties. Then again it still may turn out that Obama is only the Mouth of Emanuel. I see them as the real heart of this administration, more so even than Michelle is. MO though she frightens me at least as much as Hillary ever did.

Biden is a nobody. He is not even a Useful Idiot. He fills the Spiro Agnew role of being so manifestly unsuited to the Presidency that he functions as an insurance policy against any scenario that could lead to Obama's removal.

My argument was not with your perceiving that the Establishment, like all establishments, relies on credentials. The value of the credentials is being debased just as the value of the currency is being debased. My point is that Obama's paradigm is basically racist and he uses that template in picking winners as his policies unfold.

Comment on PJM, Rusty Shackleford
"New York City Terror Plot and the Post-9/11 Catch-22"

The best question a teacher can ask a student is "Who owns this problem?" Those who are incompletely socialized or immature are constantly projecting their failings onto external authorities. The adolescent will stand in front of you, or slouch in a chair, and say "I don't have my homework (or "I am failing" etc.) What are you going to do about it?" The answer is "Fail you. It is your problem. You fix it." If a student engages in misconduct, say cheating or vandalism, and another covers up then you let them know that the accessory has bought a problem. At some point group benefits (such as a trip, party or extracurricular activity) are withdrawn. Actions have consequences.

Is collective punishment "unfair?" Maybe so but it works as one tool among many. The risks are twofold.
1) Delinquents will try to provoke a reduction in the groups standard of living in order to isolate it from the external authority. This is akin to an Alynskite tactic except that it is directed at the minority community in parallel to the host oppressor.
2) Genuinely abusive agents will take advantage of the vulnerability of the isolated minority community for personal gain under the cover of the host's authority. An example of that was people who seized the assets of interned Japanese in America during WW-II, the "Bad Day at Black Rock."

Do members of minority groups have any responsibility to confront misconduct arising from members of their community? How did Jews respond to the predations of Meyer Lansky and Bernard Madoff? They isolated them denounced them and publicly rejected them in an overt effort to reassure the host majority that they were loyal to greater community. How did Japanese Americans respond to the perceived threat from within their community after the attack on Pearl Harbor? Despite the pain and humiliation caused by the internments they volunteereden masse for service with the highly decorated units such as the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. How did Italian Americans react to Joe Colombo's efforts to wrap them in the cloak of victimology and isolate them as a cover for la cosa nostra? Despite some initial uncertainty, Frank Sinatra headlined a concert for Colombo's Italian American Anti-Defamation League, the legacy of gang culture was largely ridiculed and rejected by Americans of Italian ancestry. More members of that community want to identify with Rudy Giuliani than John Gotti.

Ultimately it is the responsibility of each person to police their own conduct and then their family's. If people choose to isolate themselves and give cover to those who threaten the larger society then they will engender mistrust. As John Donne said, "No man is an island." Any threat to the greater community that we are aware of is our responsibility to confront if possible. If that can not be done due to physical threats then it is still, indeed it is then all the more, a responsibility to warn and cooperate with law enforcement.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Comments on PJM Ed Driscoll
"President’s Racist Past Tossed Down The Memory Hole"

Carter is a repellent little man. Not so much in physical but in emotional stature. He must have been a joy in a submarine's wardroom. It surprises me that Admiral Rickover let him into the nuclear service. It surprises me even more that he passed the psych-eval.

By some accounts his wife is worse. I once did my reserve drills with a Naval Intelligence unit at NAS Glenview Il. That is one of many bases that no longer exist. About 22 years ago it was so hot that Vice President, George H.W. Bush flew in to give a check to the Governor, a yet to be indicted Big Jim Thompson. Note that almost all Illinois politicians had names like Big Jim or Fast Eddie in those days. The C.O. said "Now if all you junior officers want to go see the Vice President ..." So we stampeded out of the door before he could finish. Almost everyone in our unit were some kind of Federal Law Enforcement so the Secret Service guys were unusually chatty while we were waiting for the VP. They told us that if they had a guy who needed an attitude adjustment they would send him down to Plains Georgia to wash Rosalynn's car for two weeks and he would come back a happy camper.

They also told us that they adored Bush Sr. who was a real gentleman. He was always the Boss but one who knew how to treat the staff. That was confirmed when the plane landed and after Barbara ran into the waiting air conditioned limo the Vice President came over in the 104° heat to talk with us for a few minutes. It turns out that Glenview Illinois was one of the many places that he had been briefly stationed at after getting shot down.

Since then I have had occasion to talk with many USSS agents and they have confirmed these impressions of both the Carter and the Bush families. Rosalynn may have slowed down since then but Hillary more then fills the role of punishment detail. I have no information on what it is like working with Michelle Obama.

On four occasions I have met Hillary Clinton and I share the low opinion of her that I have heard from USSS agents.

On Cabinet Impeachment

(From the Belmont Club thread "Earnest")

myth buster,
(who worries about BHO's instability)
Agreed. He is the kind who likely said, "I'll do something and you'll all be really really sorry. Just you wait and see."

Under the 25th Amendment the Cabinet could declare him unfit and remove him. In effect they can impeach the President and refer him to a Senate trial. That is why confident mature Presidents chose cabinet officers who are strong leaders in their own rights but weak men like Obama choose a Cabinet full of nonentities with scandals revealed, and probably more in the drawer, who could never work together to remove the POTUS.

Comments on The Belmont Club
"To the manner born"

There are two issues that this thread brings to mind. Both are occasioned by the return of the trolls on the last thread.

The first topic is the distinction between internal conflict and external intervention. Externally injected manipulation in a domestic competition for resources within the political market can exaggerate tensions geometrically. This becomes a positive feedback loop in which restrictions on discourse are pealed away among the internal players. We have two forms of external overt manipulation to consider. First are the SVR trolls who inject memes or false data into the conversation here or at KOS which is eventually picked up at a cocktail party attended by a NY Times stringer. The second is the injection of financial resources from overseas, whether by Soros or by the Gaza phone banks that sent possibly hundreds of millions of dollars to Obama for the election.

The second topic concerns blog management. How do we deal with trolls? The two models are that of Charles Johnson on Little Green Footballs and that evidenced here on the Belmont Club. When CJ detects someone he determines is a troll he blocks or bans them. The difference is I believe that a ban means that your record of postings are erased from the data base, a fate similar to being "expunged" from Harvard. Here commentators who spread false or malicious information are generally tolerated except in the most extreme circumstances. Now to be clear I am assuming for the sake of argument, despite the fact that I was blocked, that CJ might be correct in his basic principles and accurate in his judgements as to the intents of those he does not want commenting in his house.

The benefits of our hosts more tolerant approach are twofold. First the limitation of external information even false information limits your knowledge of what the other side is saying. There is an Intelligence function that benefits from being aware of what the SVR or other Other's talking points are. That is only true when the exterior agent is crude and easily identified. When they are sophisticated it can get harder to separate the wheat from the chaff.

A second benefit of the more tolerant approach is that restrictions become by their nature progressive. As dissenting voices are removed the ones that remain practice self censorship. These devolves into a positive feedback loop and reduces the conversation to an echo chamber which can be of little use to the one guiding the conversation.

Personally I would probably be less tolerant than our genial host but I see the benefits in his approach.

Stupidity is an intellectual condition and is a product of either a neurological or heuristic deficit. Idiocy is a moral condition.

Sep 19, 2009 - 5:20 pm

“Th’ Sinnit has no rhules. ‘Tis governed by courtesy, like th’ Longshoremen’s Union.”
- Mr. Dooley (Peter Finley Dunne)

But do you mean “to the manor/manner born” or “to the manor/manner borne”?
That is like asking a veteran if he is “battle scarred” or “bottle scared” or vice a versa.

There was a Britcom called “To the Manor Born.”

Sep 19, 2009 - 7:02 pm

Friday, September 18, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club

Russia risked Washington’s wrath
That is the knee slapper line of the day.

Rasmussen calls for integrated Russia, US, NATO missile system
Why not add China to the control system and put the whole thing under the UN Security Council? We can have an incredibly sophisticated and complex universal defense system that will defend against nobody.

In fact I will now predict that a follow on to the Global Warming enthusiasm will be the Rogue Asteroid scare. We will face demands that we respond to an urgent global threat from outer space that can only be faced with a united world effort by placing our space and missile defense systems under the supervision of a body that represents all of humanity, plus Cass Sunstein's furry, finny or creepy friends.

Once again reality is ahead of me. A Youtube search of "asteroid threat" indicates that both sides are hyperventilating on this. The Globalists like the BBC are taking it seriously and the anti-globalists take it seriously as a wedge for another power grab.

(who supports. "informal cooperation among space-faring nations")
I generally concur with your position and I also support real research on biodiversity and climatology, neither of which should send a dime to Al Gore.

Regarding the threat of Iranian missiles the promise of future deployments of sea based interceptors is a red herring. I like sea based systems and want more of them and for countering the threat from North Korea they show real promise but if you look at a map then they just don't work in the Iranian case.

The correct response to the Iranian threat was the one put out by McCain.
1) Develop every domestic energy source, Alaskan, Coal, Offshore, Nuclear, Shale and exotic.
2) Strengthen links with America's allies, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Eastern Europe.
3) Isolate and destabilize the Iranian regime.

Annoy Mouse,
Concur about Chechnya. We gained nothing by taking the high road.
Also about the Troll being our Gremlin from the Kremlin, Duh, Ya Think? The important thing is that they are back. That is a close leading indicator that something is due to happen. The surprise over the Summer was the dog that didn't bark. We did not have the agitprop visitors and the tanks did not roll. Why not? Maybe it was because they did not want to step on Obama's first efforts to get his agenda through Congress. Now that he has stalled things may be moving again. But delay can be expensive. The Germans lost 10 weeks invading the Balkans that cost them Moscow. If the Russians move on Georgia or the Ukraine this year then the Poles and Balts and Czechs and Hungarians will have a year to get ready.

At this point I can not think of a good reason for any country not to build nukes or if so small that they cannot secure them against a first strike then combine into a secure federation. That emphatically would not be the EU, which has not earned the trust of the Eastern Europeans. The nations of New Europe should be holding urgent consultations on closer integration. Perhaps they could honor their federation with the name "Rumsfeld League."

Sep 18, 2009 - 5:56 pm

Comments on The Belmont Club
"The Lost World"

(video cross posted from the BC)

Perhaps my parents saw that travelogue on Havana before they honeymooned there in 1950. They said that the extremes of wealth and poverty and the prevalent contempt for decent and lawful conduct that was not compelled or narrowly expedient was so obvious as to be repellent. The atmosphere was one of fin de siecle waiting for the revolution.

In the 1930s and 40's an American could go anywhere and do anything. My Father went to Havana once and visited Batista, who came out from his sergeant's quarters at the barracks where his family was having dinner, just because as an American he could. An uncle of mine went to Dental School (before he went to Medical School) at the American University of Beirut. As a Jewish American it was perfectly safe and natural for him to go to Lebanon but he could not get into an American Medical School without first getting an advanced degree from overseas. Things change but there is hope.

(who asked if I thought Cuba was better off under Fidel)
Nothing I said indicates a preference for Fidel Castro over Fulgencio Batista. What Cuba lacked was a moral cohesion to go with their relative prosperity. The fact that it served as a playground for American corruption and profited from it is understandable.

As our host no doubt is aware there is a history of peripheral societies gaining capital by catering to the darker impulses of members of a wealthier center. For decades American sailors used Olongapao as a Sin City in the Philippines and the Filipinos paved roads and built schools with the money that came from the crews on shore leave. Both Cuba and the Philippines suffered from the alternating buffets of America's regional, racial, religious and commercial (sugar) interests. Both were drawn closer but rejected in their aspirations for statehood.

While the Phillippines remains threatened by Islamic insurgency and their is always a threat of a renewed Marxism they have so far survived and remain potentially on the path to a brighter future. Cuba that started out more developed than some states in the American Union fell. The cultural and moral transformations that will be needed for them to overcome the legacy of communism and the preceding moral vacuum that opened the door to Fidel will be much harder I think to achieve.

(who thinks "we are in violent agreement" about Castro and Batista)
Our agreement need not be violent. I abhor violence, it makes me unhappy, and then bad things happen.

Batista was an interesting man and his wiki (all disclaimers noted) seems reasonably even handed. Remember that when my father met him in 1933 Batista was a sergeant living in the barracks and was considered a reformer whose coup d'etat was arranged by the US envoy. That diplomat was none other than the close friend of FDR Sumner Welles. To me as a promising reformer who tragically sank into corruption Batista resembles Charlie Rangle.

While some of the old generation of Cuban exiles in Miami might dream of lost estates I doubt that many of their grandchildren would see a future in returning to the island, and fewer would be welcomed. Cuba has been stripped of its entrepreneurial classes to a far great extent than happened in Eastern Europe. This also changed the demographics of the nation. Most of those who fled the island were of European ancestry and most of those who remained are of African descent. This will complicate any future social and political settlement.

Sep 18, 2009 - 5:27 pm

On Obama and Hoover

(from the preceding Belmont Club thread, "The Full Ginzburg")

It’s actually unfortunate for American blacks that the MSM pulled off this swindle. For the next 20 years when ever a black guy runs for office the first question people will ask: Is this guy another Obama?

wretchard addressed this point on the Quangos discussion but it has metastasized across threads. Remember that the Democrats are still running against Herbert Hoover 80 years after the Crash of '29.

Perhaps there is hope in Obama's very emptiness. Since he is so content free, except for the hard core of socialism that few actually believe in, he will be easy for his constituencies to drop. As Jackson and other Blacks have pointed out Obama is not really a member of their community and they can dump him without shame. Once Blacks start standing up and asking "Who in H*ll is this guy?" the women and elites will run. My prediction is that a conspiracy theory will start making the rounds that BHO is really someone interjected by Da Man (read Soros and the Jews) onto the innocent black community.

Read his Wiki, Hoover was one of the finest men ever to grace the White House. When the Democrats attacked him they attacked the core values of individual achievement and volunteerism that built this nation. The Republicans could not run away from Hoover, even if they could criticize some of his tactical measures such as signing Smoot-Hawley.

Herbert Hoover saved millions of lives. Very few people in history have saved as many as he did both after WW-I and then again when asked by Truman after WW-II. FDR treated him like dirt and it speaks well of Truman that, partisan though he was, he reversed that policy.

It was small of FDR to reject Hoover's offer to serve in any capacity during WW-II. Great men reach out and allow their rivals to serve something greater than themselves. Churchill welcomed the dyeing Neville Chamberlain to serve in his Cabinet in WW-II, after Churchill had taken the Prime Ministership away from him. Chamberlain worked tirelessly to strengthen Britain and defeat the Axis. Churchill gave him an eulogy that sets the standard for respect and political maturity.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Comment on The Belmont Club
"The Full Ginzburg"

This Full Ginsburg talk show exposure is a greater risk for Obama than for a politician like Cheney because BHO is so devoid of content. The more time spent listening to a man like Cheney, or to be fair Ted Kennedy who was venial but intelligent, the more he could interest. For Obama the problem is that the more he is exposed the thinner the veneer will wear. Obama is like the airhead girlfriend that some get trapped into marrying. For the ladies I am sure there are vapid High School hunk equivalents who disappoint also. Now most women can fascinate most men, especially when both are in their 20s, for up to 36 hours. After that you have to think about whether you really want to try and have a conversation with this person. After Obama has trotted out the same tired rhetoric for the third time some reporter will feel a selfish itch to scratch and will ask him something like, "So was it a good thing that you were a lawyer for ACORN?"

Look at the Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll Index. Obama is slipping again. He was down to -13 before his big speech a week ago. That bounced him up to -3 but the air is going out again. He is now down to -8 and the uptick looks like an aberration in a steady decline. He can try to keep the pressure on but as I noted above the more he has to carry his own water the harder it gets. If he cannot get sustained returns from stunts like The Full Ginsburg over the next 5 weeks then his supporters might get crushed in the local off year elections coming up. If the economy faces a second crash in the Summer, as I suspect because of the unfunded debt, then the Democrats could get blown out in the midterm elections. This is not cause for complacency but hope is a basis for effort. Here is the graph for today from Rasmussen.

Comments on The Belmont Club
"Sending signals"

Given the demographic shifts happening there will be long term effects on American politics from Obama's betrayals. He has offended, or threatened people with real world experience with totalitarians, who are significant and potentially growing segments of the American electorate. These include Eastern Europeans, Indians, Koreans, Chinese, Orthodox and Conservative Jews, and most non-Mexican Latinos. Whose interests has he aligned with? That group includes Black Americans descended from slaves, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans and some descendants of Western European elites. All except for the Mexicans are in relative decline as a future voting base. If the Republicans have any competence then they should be able to run against Obama for the next thirty years and beat the Democrats into the ground.

And now for some good news. From Red State, A Signal that the European Parliament can govern from the right.

Comment on The Belmont Club
"Attack of the quangos"

Once again the geniuses behind Yes Minister were way ahead of us.
First of 3 parts.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Comment on The Belmont Club
"Two worlds"

Fifty years ago every American, those in other countries can speak to their knowledge, in High School learned the History of Western Civilization, starting with the Israelites and the Greeks and tracing the fusion of their ideas through Christianity into the Reformation and the Enlightenment. That was reinforced for almost all Liberal Arts majors in college. Now secondary school Social Studies focus on a celebration of global meaning nonWestern cultures, including an abbreviated European section that hurries within weeks into the evils of the Industrial Revolution. Technology and capital wealth are treated as givens and not as the products of the patient accumulation of generations of sacrifice.

One criticism often leveled against the West is that we lack patience. Looking at that video I thought the opposite is true. The observers are very patient. We are linked to a past and, if we work for it, a future. Each of us helps to build a greater good, whether by flying the gunship or contributing to the Belmont Club. The enemies lead lives without meaning. They must make their sacrifices alone to an abstract and uncaring god. They have no past and no future only oblivion.

Comments on Michelle Malkin,
"What's missing from New York Times' coverage of ACORN"

The following list was posted by Malkin commentator purplepeep and is edited for line breaks and a typo.
Like the state controlled media and other left-run sites, I’ve noticed there is hardly a peep about ACORN, other than a quick mote how furious the left is that it’s being held up to scrutiny.
But in one of the rare posts about it at the Daily Kos Asylum, one commenter actually listed the ACORN front operations at just one location – here’s the list, verbatim:
“ACORN subsidiaries all located in 1024 Elysian Fields Ave, New Orleans 385 Palmetto Street Housing Fund Corp.
4415 San Jacinto Street Corp.
Acorn 2004 Housing Development Fund Corp.
Acorn 2005 Housing Development Fund Corp.
ACORN Associates
ACORN Benefi cial Association
ACORN Campaign Services
ACORN Campaign To Raise The Minimum Wage
ACORN Center for Housing, Inc.
ACORN Children’s Benefi cial Association
ACORN Community Land Association
ACORN Community Land Association of IL.
ACORN Community Land Association of LA
ACORN Community Land Association of PA
ACORN Community Labor Organizing Center
ACORN Cultural Trust
ACORNDumont-SnedikerHousingDevelopment Fund Corp.
ACORN Fair Housing
ACORN Housing Corp.
ACORN Housing Corp. of IL
ACORN Housing Corp. of MO
ACORN Housing Corp. of PA
ACORN Institute
ACORN Law For Education, Representation, And Training
ACORN Management Corp.
ACORN National Broadcasting Network
ACORN Services
ACORN Television In Action For Communities
ACORN Tenant Union Training And Organizing Project
ACORN Tenants Union
Affiliated Media Foundation Movement
Agape Broadcasting Foundation Inc

Among ACORN’s many affiliates and subsidiaries are:
American Environmental Justice Project Inc
American Home Childcare Providers Association
American Institute for Social Justice
Arizona ACORN Housing Corp.
Arkansas Broadcasting Foundation
Association for the Rights of Citizens Inc.
Associated Regional Maintenance Systems
Austin Organizing and Support Center
Baltimore Organizing and Support Center
Boston Organizing and Support Center
Broad Street Corp.
California Community Network
Chicago Organizing and Support Center
Chief Organizer Fund
Child Care Providers for Action Franklin
Citizens Action Research Project
Citizens Campaign for Work, Living Wage & Labor Peace
Citizens Consulting, Inc.
Citizens Campaign for Finance Reform
Citizens for Future Progress
Colorado ACORN Housing Corp.
Crescent City Broadcasting Corp.
Desert Rose Homes LLC
Dumont Avenue Housing Development Fund
Elysian Fields Corp., Inc
Elysian Fields Partnership
Fifteenth Street Corp.
Floridians For All PAC
Franklin ACORN Housing
Greenville Community Charter School Inc.
Greenwell Springs Corp.
Hospitality Hotel and Restaurant Organizing
Council (HOTROC)
Houston Organizing And Support Center
KABF Radio
KNON Radio
Labor Neighbor Research and Training Center Inc.
Living Wage Resource Center
Louisiana ACORN Fair Housing
Massachusetts ACORN Housing Corp.
Metro Technical Institute
Missouri Tax Justice Research Project
Montana Radio Network
Mott Haven ACORN Housing Development Fund Corp.
Mutual Housing Association of New York Inc.
National Center for Jobs & Justice
New Mexico Organizing and Support Center
New Orleans Community Housing Organization
New York ACORN Housing Company Inc.
New York Agency for Community Affairs Inc.
New York Organizing and Support Center Organizers Forum
Pennsylvania Institute for Community Affairs
People’s Equipment Resource Corp.
Phoenix Organizing And Support Center
Project Vote
SEIU Local 100
SEIU Local 880
Service Workers Action Team
Shreveport Community Television
Site Fighters
Sixth Avenue Corp.
Social Policy
Southern Training Center
St. Louis Organizing And Support Center
St. Louis Tax Reform Group
Student Minimum Wage Action Campaign
Texas ACORN Housing Corp. Inc.
Wal-Mart Workers Association
Wal-Mart Association for Reform Now
Working Families Association”
As the above list makes clear SEIU is part and parcel of this criminal conspiracy. RICO should be applied to them. In NY the worst thing George Pataki ever did is deal with Dennis Rivera of the SEIU. If this can get legislatures to forbid any expenditure of taxpayer dollars or contract relation with the SEIU then that would do two things.

1) It would be a massive blow against the criminal network.
2) It would be a massive shift in power from the judiciary to the legislature.

Obama was ACORN’s lawyer when they forced the banks to issue the CRA junk mortgages. He helped create the monster. He is, and should be, tied to them.

Comment on The Belmont Club
"A whole new world"

I still miss the NY Sun.
We do need editors in life. That is why God created women. What we don't need are multi million dollar anchors.

In the future publishers will be aggregators of independent agents. They can buy a feed from Michael Yon in the back of beyond or from two plucky kids in the Acorn sewer next door. The next week someone else will get to hire the talent. This model could resemble at its worst what happened to the film industry after the studio system collapsed and projects became the creation of a web of agents and independent craftsmen with the old studios becoming distributors. The cost of distribution however is falling even faster now and the costs of production are also declining so as to eliminate any role for a Miramax of internet news. The limiting factor is in fact the time available for the consumer. That is why credibility is important. The producer/publisher/aggregator may hire editors to enhance their products prestige and rise above Drudge level in reputation. That will be a market decision. If Tom Brokaw wants the job of reading and evaluating clippings for his boss's newsletter then he could apply. The job will probably pay around $12/hr. In fact it sounds like the job Barack Obama had after college.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Comment on PJM, Dan Miller
"A Sensible Approach to Piracy on the High Seas"

(who has both military and merchant marine experience)
While I agree with most of your points a few things may need clarification. First given that they hold reserve commissions Merchant Marine Academy graduates should all have basic firearms skills. It should be possible to arrange some course for the few nonveteran merchant seamen on US flag ships. 12 hour shifts sound nice but the standard for naval watches is 4 hours except for the "dog watches." If we are talking about a limited deployment of a team for up to two weeks then the shorter rotating watch could work. Agreed that after two weeks sleep deprivation becomes a factor. People start acting strange.

Dan Miller,
(who suggests using private security teams and who sails the Caribbean)
A professional security team could help IMHO. It should be possible to even deploy containerized 20 mm mounts that could be bolted on and removed after transit. Given the value of the ships some expenditure is reasonable and it should be born by the shipping company or insurer. A 6 man team sounds right if there is a support ship or a helicopter platform no more than 2 hours away. Otherwise the need for an embedded medical corpsman and commander and communications raise the number to at least 8. That would be the size of a SEAL or SOF squad on a detached mission.

The legal issues that inhibit the arming of Merchant ships only arose after WW-II. They are written on paper not in stone and the Congress should task the State Department with entering into agreements with other countries to facilitate the safety of US flagged ships. Other impediments to the US having a merchant shipping industry, such as the Jones Act, need to be addressed.

If I was sailing a yacht around in the Caribbean I would want a couple of guns in hidden sealed built in compartments, just in case.