Monday, November 30, 2009

Theo Spark: Slain Washington Officers Identified

Theo Spark: Slain Washington Officers Identified

If you are in uniform you are always a target and always must remain on guard. When in groups someone can stay in alert mode so others can relax.
If more than 5 are present then two should remain focused on the outside.

The bottom lines are:
1) Never assume you are safe
2) Never stop fighting.

Architecture by Lawyers

(fm the BC thread "Homogenized, sterilized and pasteurized")

Dime will get you a donut that a lawyer invents the “Swiss Minaret.” It looks just like a regular Minaret only it has a watch attached to the outside. Presto!, it becomes an Islamic Clock Tower.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Comment on The Belmont Club,
"Homogenized, sterilized and pasteurized"

Once again Yes Minister has proven to be way ahead of all of us. Clearly Sir Humphrey would be very disappointed in the leadership at the CRU. He would probably pack them all off to the War Graves Commission or Vehicle Licensing Centre Swansea.

From the episode "The Skeleton in the Closet," which aired November 25th, 1982.
This file contains the complete set of available papers except for:
(a)    a small number of secret documents
(b)    a few documents which are part of
        still active files
(c)    some correspondence lost in the floods
        of 1967
(d)    some records which went astray in the
        move to London
(e)    other records which went astray when the
        War Office was incorporated into the
        Ministry of Defence
(f)    the normal withdrawal of papers whose
        publication could give grounds for an
        action for libel or breach of confidence
        or cause embarrassment to friendly governments.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Comment on The Belmont Club,
"A Blast from the Past"

"We are all going to die"

Advice to those of an excitable nature, offered as a template.
Why yes we are. Is that news to you? Now stop thrashing about in the water and do something useful. Ideally create wealth so that we can use some of it for nice things like cleaning up and improving education, to a quality level we had 70 years ago. The correct answer is never to display poverty, ignorance, and bad teeth as a badge of honor. To do so is Onanism.

Is CO₂ a poison? Everything is really. The reason that living organisms developed elegant and sophisticated systems for oxidizing iron and transporting the bound oxygen for exchange with CO₂ is that the O₂ is a deadly poison. Many of the processes of life on Earth can be looked at as efforts to survive the corrosive effects of a high Oxygen environment. If the Earth had less free Oxygen and instead the atmosphere was a Nitrogen and Methane mix then organic compounds would be very stable. So stable that they would not need to devote scarce energy to Redox operations and the transportation and elimination of subsequent wastes. Fortunately our distance from the Sun provided the optimal amount of energy to sustain these reactions. More and the compounds would have become unstable and less and the complex chains never react.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Comment on The Belmont Club,
"More AGW controversy"

Once upon a time the ideological circus pitched its tent, or their armies massed for battle, in the great capitals of Western Civilization. Those were London, Berlin, Paris, Milan and New York. The Bolshevik putsch in Petrograd and subsequent move to Moscow shifted the physical confrontation to Europe's periphery. While the physical confrontation was largely on the margins of civilization, except spectacularly when the Nazis and Fascists took power in the very heart of Europe, the intellectual contest remained in the key upper middle class salons and universities of the West.

Those outside of these centers were largely sheltered. This was particularly true in the English speaking world. While the heritage of the Anglo-saxon Dominions was more feudal and Statist than the American model and concepts like Fabian Socialism were spread widely, the broad tolerant moderation of a culture that respected privacy in thought and property and expected high standards of probity from those respected as scholars, clergy and politicians generally held.

The Eurocentric view of the struggle was increasingly outdated as the left turned to anti-imperialist theory to spread their message. This successfully grafted itself onto anti-colonial movements so that the movement against a dominating Statist Center that had been ruled by an arbitrary aristocracy did not follow the American model but instead was co-opted to advance another dominating Statist model that while in theory more meritocratic was in truth ruled by an equally arbitrary, and often distant, elite. For those English speaking communities not swept up by the great ethnic based revolutionary movements of the 20th century, Canada, New Zealand, the English (not Afrikaans) minority in South Africa and most of America these intellectual disputes did nothing to shake their faith in institutions or elites. They were like the hobbits in sheltered backwaters.

Now we see that the anti-morality that produces situational ethics and views even scientific inquiry as ripe for manipulation to attain a political end has spread to the Antipodes. For a totalitarian ideologue this is a win-win situation. If the people of New Zealand swallow the lie then a new regime of control and exploitation is established. If they see the fraud and reject it though their faith in key institutions is wounded. Without that basic faith in the honesty and loyalty of scholars, clergy, politicians and other leaders of society individuals become isolated and rootless. Then they become ripe for mobilization by a totalitarian movement.

Comment on The Belmont Club,
"So sue me"

1. This is the same Eric Holder who ordered the New Black Panthers, who had plead guilty, to walk after the most blatant case of recorded voter intimidation in 40 years.

2. This is the same Eric Holder that ordered KSM to stand trial in NY, along with 4 other senior terrorists who had already offered to plead guilty before a military tribunal.

3. The consequence of these charges will be that prisoners will not be taken. If any are taken they can not be subject to battlefield interrogation before being mirandized and turned over to the civilian system.

4. The loss of intelligence information will result in Americans being killed.

5. Junior Officers will have to either attempt to carry out the orders of Senior Officers or will cover up for enlisted members who choose not to take prisoners. The result either way will be a breakdown in discipline. That will also cost lives. If the JO confronts his troops he will do so at considerable peril. If he sides with his troops then the integrity of the Chain of Command is destroyed.

It is almost as if the HuffPo conspiracy fantasists of the extreme Left were disappointed to discover that the US military, especially the Special Forces community, really are a disciplined group of professionals who were highly apolitical in their conduct and devoted to upholding civilian authority. Frustrated at not meeting the fascist cabal they had expected they now are proceeding to provoke the troops so as to justify subjecting them to the radical reforms they anticipated enacting. I wonder if they are getting advice from Chavez on how to do this?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Judging Character

(fm the BC thread "Wild, wild east")

my 20 year old cat Ninja has just died

My sympathy on the passing of your friend the honest carnivore. While my four footed friend does not share my appreciation I believe that cats are better judges of character than dogs are. On occasion I have advised young ladies that if their cat hisses at a gentleman caller (and yes I talk that way) then they should get him out the door as fast as possible. A dog licking someone's hand may just mean they recently handled bacon.

Wishing all a good Turkey Day. We have so many turkeys these days to give thanks for.

Comment on The Belmont Club,
"Wild, wild east"

Today, or should I say yesterday, I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and saw the special exhibit, The Art of the Samurai. Over 20 years ago I had been to the National Museum in Ueno and seen some of the swords honored as National Treasures but as the Met exhibit made clear there is no place else, not even in Japan, that one can go to and see a collection of this significance. These swords are venerated as religious objects. Some were used in combat. These were violent people. I believe that it was mentioned regarding one blade that Nobunaga was insulted by a server dressed as a priest during a tea ceremony and he killed the man by driving the sword through the table the man was hiding under. And yet despite that capacity for violence the Japanese create and maintain a highly effective and organized government. The two qualities or impulses, the creative and the destructive, are not mutually exclusive. The same men who wielded those blades studied Buddhism and wrote poetry. They were not, and their descendants are not, effete. The same applies for the British and the Americans. The thugs and bullies exist. Sometimes a society manages to control them and sometimes it manages to suppress them and sometimes it falls victim to them. There is no reason that I can think of for the Philippines as a country to be less effective as an expression of the Philippine nation than Britain has been of her nations or America or Japan or Israel has been. The only difference I am aware of is the annual rainfall.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club,
"The Big Green Machine"

These AGW regulation and tax policies are devices to transfer power and wealth from the American taxpayer to EU (former Common Market) bureaucrats. In less PC times Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister described these people. Yes Minister on the EEC, from season 1, episode 12.
The typical Common Market official is said to have the organizing capacity of the Italians, the flexibility of the Germans and the modesty of the French. He tops all that up with the imagination of the Belgians, the generosity of the Dutch, and the intelligence of the Irish.
They had in episode 5 explained why the web of regulations has been allowed to grow in Europe until Kudzu like it now threatens to choke off everything in its home and spread across the planet.
The Germans will love it, the French will ignore it, and the Italians and Irish will be to chaotic to enforce it. Only the British will resent it.
The only change is that the British are largely defanged now and only the Americans are expected to comply with these restrictions and fees while the rest of the world laughs.

Definition of European Heaven: The engineers are German, the police are British, the cooks are French, the administrators are Swiss, and the lovers are Italian.

Definition of European Hell: The engineers are French, the police are German, the cooks are British, the administrators are Italian, and the lovers are Swiss.

There are more candidates for life in Hell.
Swedish comedians.
Spanish soldiers.
Russian Diplomats.

My father once described someone as having, "the nerve of a burglar." The people tied to the AGW scheme, and all associated schemes or other efforts to seize power based on dubious or manipulated statistics, including a financial crisis they created, are now facing down the audience and saying, "Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?" Their replies to being challenged now boil down to a declaration that they don't give a damn and they think they have your children anyway. They just want anyone who knows how to question them to hurry up and die. The historical example of someone making the same claim for the inevitable triumph of their vision and authority based on control over the education system and the culture invokes Godwin's Law.

Whatever they pass can be repealed

I have made the point before that the Republicans should declare Rollback their policy. Everyone should be put on notice that the acts of this administration are viewed as unconstitutional and illegitimate. Nothing signed by these people should be considered binding. Anyone who signs a contract with GM that assumes the permanence or legality of the seizure of the equity in that company by the government and its transfer to the UAW should have no more expectation that they will have that contract honored than if they were a receiver of any stolen goods. Anybody who signs a contract to transfer wealth from the United States in fulfillment of a contract under a carbon offsets scheme such as profits Al Gore can expect the validity of those contracts to be repudiated in American law. Make these people untouchable and their partners will wither.

Also you are correct that -15 in the Rasmussen Daily Poll is significant. It is a new low and a possible breakthrough. If he goes to -20, with strong negatives reaching 45% and strong positives near 25% then something will have to happen. His core support will never go below 25 and probably not much below 28 IMHO. Still if he ever has 45 to 48% strongly opposed, and I think he is headed that way this next 90 days, and the middle are breaking 2 to 1 against him, then the Democrats may want to ease him out before the mid-terms elections. Remember the real bad news will happen in late Summer to late Fall, they may not be able to kick it past the election and may panic at the prospect.

Good News

(fm the BC thread "Odds against tomorrow")

The good news is that a Reset Button will probably work.
Economies are based on three (you can count on me) factors, otherwise called Capital Assets.
1) Physical Capital, that is plants, equipment, and transportation and communications lines.
2) Natural Resource Capital, oil, minerals, water, seaports, fertile soil and climate.
3) Human Capital, the training and the culture of the people.

Finance Capital is a poor and distant component of what determines countries long term wealth.
While there has been some neglect and investment is always needed the United States still has the best infrastructure for a country of it's size. The second category is also one in which the US has no peer competitor. For the third, and really the most critical factor of Human Capital while many hear bemoan the fecklessness of 20% to 30% of the population the fact is that on average the American worker is skilled and productive and has the accumulated capital of a culture that encourages productivity and self reliance to guide them.

Germany and Japan bounced back from the devastation of WW-II within 10 years of when their economies were unchained. What is needed is an American Ludwig Erhard to spark another Wirtschaftswunder. Note the Wiki mendaciously ascribes post war growth to the benefits of nationalization.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club,
"Odds against tomorrow"

Finance is charging for the time value of money

Yes but there are risk variables that have to be considered. Why is money due in the future or money lent to Mr Sketchy worth more than money in the till or lent to the Widow Murgatroyd? If the money is in your possession then it is at less risk then if you are expecting it later and Mr Sketchy has to pay more than Mrs M because he showed up last Thursday and his promise is backed by the expectation that some greater fool is going to do business with him later while Mrs. M has never broken her word in her life and has always done the same thing at the same place. Geithner and Obama are personally a pair of Mr Sketchys. They have debased the reliability of the United States. The Treasury was Mrs Murgatroyde and now looks like an aging Tart.

To parse out the connections here we have politicians and political appointees who personally lie and fail to pay their taxes or take items of value, like Obama's back yard, from criminals. They improperly take additional value, such as campaign money, from foreigners. They also promoted policies that created the conditions in which financial institutions took on risky loans and transferred those toxic assets to other institutions. They then created a mechanism to transfer taxpayer wealth to foreigners who may be linked to those who made the illegal donations or who otherwise may profit from America's relative decline. At the same time they push other initiatives that weaken the United States and increase the relative power of foreigners and reward the relative economic standing of private businesses, GE and Goldman-Sachs, whose executives gave them money or who they have hired to formulate and execute policy.

Given these conditions the interest rates would have to rise as the US is seen as no longer a safe haven for value. In addition the need to pay for the massive debt that has been generated will induce both crippling taxes and regulations, which will increase risk and raise costs as the economy shrinks, and which will also generate monetary (meaning supply as opposed to risk based) inflation.

The Democrats may hope that between now and the 2010 election the inflationary bubble may produce a "wealth effect" that will tamp down unemployment over the Summer and save some of their seats. Today they were advertising that an Economists report claims that there will be recovery with modest growth next year. This I suspect will be a Suckers Rally.

To sum up, two sources of inflation are coming. 1) Monetary based Inflation from Treasury debt service, 2) Risk based Inflation from the loss of confidence as Geithner & Obama exposed as frauds. A network of corrupt corporate and hostile foreign interests are profiting from this.

The obligations that were being traded in the expectation that the underlaying loans would possibly pay off were a form of Derivative. The first thing I learned about such instruments when I studied for a Series 7 license is that an Uncovered Call entails "Infinite Risk." The instructor repeated that slowly to make sure that we all got it. If the value goes down then you can lose the principle invested but if it goes up and you are forced to buy the asset then there is no end to how much it might cost you. He also pointed out that by definition a "sophisticated investor" who is anybody worth over $1 million, is allowed to self destruct but poor widows and orphans are protected. The banks and governments here were not poor orphans. By paying off the foreign banks at 100% on the dollar Geithner effectively paid off their assumption of enormous risk. In effect the banks were granted a Put by the US government that they did not have to pay for.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Simple Messages

Channeling Groucho
Any mail for me while I was gone?

The response of the Left to the exposure of the AGW fraud is forming and it seems to be to double down and brazen it out.

We need to be constantly communicating a set of interlocking and mutually reinforcing messages on multiple levels. We must seize control of the debate on the high end of scholarship. We must seize control of the debate on the middle ground of practical politics. We must seize control of the debate on the low ground of popular perception.

On the high end that will mean an unashamed and relentless turning back to core principles in response to every question and an affirmative and vocal campaign linking the practical wisdom that applies from prior knowledge, by referencing the Bible and Aristotle and Washington and other Dead White Males. Be proud of them and use them as scholarly tools and denigrate the arguments of those who can not justify their positions by the standards of the Canon. Scholars must retake the high ground and prove that our side stands for something.

On the mid level of practical politics that means a simple ideologically consistent message tied to a defined set of policy alternatives, similar to Reagan's precepts or Gingrich's Contract With America. It is the art of politicians to take the water of wisdom from the well of scholarship that is prepared by Scholars and deliver it to three (you can count on me) audiences. First the general public, who are prepared by polemicists and others to receive the message. Second are other mostly foreign elites, who must be made aware of our intentions and capabilities to either inspire their support or deter their interference. Third will be their fellow politicians who, being the most cynical and self interested of people, may hear of a plan for national renewal and choose to hop on the bandwagon.

On the low end of popular propaganda we need clear in your face messages on basic themes. We need to convince the majority that we do not stand for what the Left will accuse us of. They charge us with hate, fear, pollution, impoverishment, lawlessness and censorship. We need to respond on every level with very simple and focused messages that constantly reinforce that the record proves that every negative thing we are accused of we did not do but in fact the Left delivers. On the popular level simple not defensive messages, they said we would do "x" the facts are we did not and they did "x." Photos and quotes on each topic. Here are some more messages:

1, It is your money, not theirs. They can't order you to buy insurance to live.
2. The Constitution says they can build roads, not run hospitals.
3. Obama stole GM and gave it to cronies for money, they're all thieves.
4. Obama took money from foreigners, that is a criminal act.
5. Obama is a liar with something to hide.
6. Obama is surrounded by crooks, thugs, cheats, bigots and liars, and
     always has been.
7. You don't owe money to a mobster. We don't owe money to countries
     who bought politicians.
8. America can be rich free and strong. Triple the Armed Forces.
9. Anybody goes to war with America, anyplace or anytime, we fight to win.
10. Victory is our policy.
11. Global Warming is a fraud and a scam to make money for GE,
      Goldman-Sachs and Al Gore.
12. Look at who our enemies are and choose to be on the side of Freedom.

These are all billboard and T-shirt ready. We need to get the messages out and dare them to sue us. I want copyright and residuals.

Burning Down the House

On the Belmont Club buddy larsen demolishes the moonbat Poor Citizen.

First the Troll:
204. Poor Citizen:
I really believe that the pollution of our world and the ways in which we decide to start to clean it up, must be global and beyond politics. Also, there must be some sacrafice involved by our citizens and within our worldwide industry goals. Remember, our future quality of life is at stake here. We have spent hundreds of years destroying our planet. It will take hundreds of years to repair it. Its that simple. Thanks for the article.

Nov 22, 2009 - 2:50 am

Now the reply:
206. buddy larsen:

PC/204; We have spent hundreds of years destroying our planet
I know exactly what you mean. The planet (”plan it!”) is like a house with a family living in it. Every meal time the family destroys the clean kitchen. At night they go to bed and destroy the clean sheets. They use the bathroom and destroy the sanitation –the previous cleanup and the sanitary condition it had created.

They track in dirt from outside and destroy the vacuuming job, the cleanliness of the carpet, and the lack of a sampling from outside, the recent neighborhood and commute-loop depositings of fresh dog, cat and bird droppings and other various & sundry small-animal excreta, plus human hair, viruses, bacteria, sneeze snot from flu-ridden seven year olds, human urinary tract dried effluvia and fecal matter from unwashed hands on doorknobs, countertops, and the dishes off which you ate lunch downtown.

It’s horrible alright –the family house has to be straightened up, quick-cleaned, spot-cleaned, more or less continuously as the members move through their activities inside, and then the must-do deeper, more general cleanups such as weekly or monthly vacuuming and mopping, toilet & kitchen prep area sanitizing and so forth.

Unless of course the family wants to live among hordes of bacteria and and possible pathogens and piles of dirty dishes, dirty laundry, expired insects and the odd dessicated hamster (and/or parakeet), the sloughed skin cells rammed like railroad spikes between the woven fibers of bathroom towels, mucous-glued multi-hued booger stalagtites dangling underneath the furniture wherever the youngsters (and at times perhaps an oldster or two) pick to hang out, and hair –oh good golly gobs and gobs of hair –everywhere.

Of course, if everyone would just go away, the sanitary empty house would stay oodles cleaner for oodles longer. There wouldn’t be anyone around to enjoy it though. That’s the conunumdrum rapt in a paired ox, inside an enema (to quote Churchill on Stalin or something).

No sooner than a consciousness notes the cleanliness, there goes the cleanliness again. The durn noticing-agent is almost certain to be a carbon critter –and sure to litter, backenforth twixt fridgenshitter, making mess he ain’t no quitter, lots to eat and time to fritter, love thy neighbor or die bitter

Nov 22, 2009 - 4:36 am

That could not be improved on.
However I gave Mr Larsen the opportunity to amend and extend his remarks for the record, all changes were minor.

Two critical links in explaining what the CRU emails revealed.
1. Powerline Blog, The Alarmist do "Science": A Case Study.
The summary given by John Hinderocker,
the conclusion an observer is likely to draw from the CRU archive is that the climate alarmists are making up the science as they go along and are fitting facts to reach a predetermined conclusion rather than objectively seeking after truth. What they are doing is politics, not science.

2. Steve McIntyre's Climate Audit, Mike's Nature Trick.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Taxonomy of Creeps

(fm the BC thread "The CRU Hack")

buddy larsen,
Husbandry, according to KSA ... One doesn’t hear ... that sort of thinking in Russia

We can construct a Taxonomy of Creeps.

The Saudis are classic rent seekers. Their god has given them an asset and they live off of it. The rent they get is either consumed or used to purchase other assets. They produce almost nothing for export except murderous young men and clerics who teach others to be violent and uncreative.

The Russians are thugs. They explore the vulnerabilities in their neighbors and then get control over them by whatever means they can. It could be by manipulating energy supplies or drugs or internet traffic. They are willing to work, just not work for mutual advantage. Given how Russians see the correlation of forces, China rising and the West imploding, it is rational to them. Their biggest problem isn't the temporary nature of their hydrocarbon supplies but the shrinking pool of Russians.

So they are different. With luck if the US were to pull back from brink of auto-castration advocated by Obama through AGW self impoverishment, Health Care socialization, and unilateral disarmament, the Russians could respond by switching from being a junior partner to China in the SCO to being supporters of Western civilization. For the Saudis I see no path to a positive outcome.

(who notes the absence of trolls defending the AGW cause)
We are at the stage now when we have just uncovered one of their lairs. Let's see who panics and which rabbits start running in what directions.

Silent Power

(fm the BC thread "The CRU Hack")

I am eager to see Fuel-Cell systems developed for silent submarine propulsion. Taiwan, Japan, Israel and the EU would all want in on that. The Navy nuke lobby has hurt security, blocking all alternative systems to their specialty.

The German Type 212 submarines already do that.

Eggzactly. So why aren't we in the fuel-cell powered submarine business? Specialization unions make a difference. The aviators and the missile shooters combined and got all the guns over 5", and most of the smaller guns, removed from the fleet. In fact we had Terrier missile shooters that we called cruisers that had no guns on them at all for anti surface ship or shore bombardment use. We are building amphibious assault ships that have only a couple of 40 mm guns for the suicide dinghy threat but nothing for the Marines. The reason is that aviators don't want the competition. Similarly the nuclear propulsion community has made sure the US builds no non-nuclear powered submarines.

If Israel had four Type 212 mods, each with 4 to 6 Polaris type MRBMs, so one could always be on station wherever, and another four as hunter-killers, so one could always be off Hormuz, it would not eliminate the threat from Iran but it would change it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Unnatural Gas?

(fm the BC thread "The CRU Hack")

Tarnsman and Geeze Louise,
Conversion energy technologies like coal gasification have no natural political base in America from either side.

1) The Democrats have bought into the carbon emissions AGW story. Even if they do not understand it the simpler meme for them is Energy Companies Bad, Bush Cheney blood for oil, is impure US must not touch. No drill no dig no burn no industry. That they can wrap themselves around. But they want jobs for the working man, and working girl too when on a junket.

2) Republicans are caught up by one legacy from Reagan. He did manage to shut down the US Synthetic Fuels Corp. that was set up in 1980 under Jimmy Carter in response to the Arab oil embargo during the 1973 Mideast War. While much good work was done and the plant built still functions it was a typical wasteful government agency that laid itself open to the charge of boondoggle. Any government managed industrial enterprise probably will. The great exceptions, like the Manhattan Project, deserve study to determine what went right.

On balance I feel that if we had the right legal, tax and fiscal structures then private capital would flow to such projects, if they were worthy of development, without direct government administration.

Gilder Grantsmanship

(fm the BC thread "The CRU Hack")

The American Museum of Natural History in NY has started it's own PhD program in Bio-Diversity at the Richard Gilder Graduate School. Going over their web site I surfed over to the curriculum and noticed that in the 4 year program every student will take a 3 credit course during their first year on grant writing and proposals. From the catalog,
RGGS502 Grantsmanship, Ethics, and Communication
Credits: 3 This course will be offered in a workshop format and focused on how scientists operate within the broader range of society.
• Section 1—Grantsmanship: preparing grants, identifying granting agencies, developing and maintaining grant budgets, and practical development of a grant application (e.g., Predoctoral Fellowship or Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant).
• Section 2—Ethical issues in science, including scientific misconduct, interpersonal responsibilities, institutional responsibilities, mentoring, peer review of papers and grants, serving on panels and boards, and use of animals in research.
• Section 3—Communication: writing quality papers, targeting papers to particular journals, crafting press releases, dealing with the media, and giving high-quality presentations.
Now I have no doubt that this is a terrific school and the training will be top notch and these are serious and ethical people who care about getting things right. However about a year ago I saw an assemblage of eminent worthies on Charlie Rose to assure everyone the debate was over and a or the top person from the AMNH was among them.

Second while this is a very real part of every research scientists life it is sad that they have to devote a considerable chunk of their professional training to a course on how to get the money. Why isn't there a system within the academic culture for training senior faculty on the duties of how to take suction on donors and the Mentoring process, and training the juniors on how to write and the ethics involved, that would have covered these topics in a different setting? If there was it seems to have deteriorated. It is good that the last two topics in the syllabus are being addressed. What worries is that the first topic is conflated with them and will overwhelm the curriculum. In the military there is a separate officer field, the Medical Service Corps, that does the administration and paperwork for the Physicians. That is harder to do in academia where peer review is everything in ascertaining the merit of work done or proposed.

Comments on The Belmont Club,
"The CRU Hack"

They took the server off line.
The poor innocent little server sits in a corner not sure of its fate. It is not the only one that will get scrubbed.

The basic precept was given by Monsieur l'President
“The aim of ecological fiscal policy is not to fill state coffers but to incite French people and companies to change their behaviour,” Mr Sarkozy said
Who in hell elects anyone in a Democracy to change their behavior? Isn't the whole idea of Democracy, of the Right to the Pursuit of Happiness, of the Rights of Man, that you employ a government so that you can safely and in private conduct your own behavior? Besides even if M. Sarkozy has only noble, if indeed aristocratically Noble and elitist, motives, we can see the slavering crowd behind him that have already budgeted for the use of these new taxes.

Now there are two groups at work. First are the sincere Goo-Goos.These are the people who really do believe that the world is threatened by electricity production, or flatulent cows, or trans fats, or ... just please think of the children.

Just because these people are ridiculous does not mean they are not dangerous. They are the ones who believe they are righteously entitled to take away everyone else's freedom for a good cause. Second are the upfront crooks. Most Americans like an honest thief who will take your last dollar and light a cigar with it.

We want to punish the crooks because they are stealing our money. We also just wish that there was some way to get them to work on our side.

One problem with the unchecked spread of con-men and sob sisters is that they corrupt institutions and put at risk our willingness to support idealists and voluntary associations that are essential for the success of a Toquevillian-Republic. Charitable foundations, research institutes and advocacy groups are important. Maybe they are founded by evil old monopolists and bigots, like Rockefeller and Ford or by people with a religious vision. Maybe their founders were wrong but they still must be allowed to explore new ideas and offer solutions. More often the original vision is worthy and the problem comes in later when Agents take over and pervert the course of the foundation. It is unlikely that Henry Ford would be pleased by how his legacy is now used. What will happen to the Gates Foundation when Bill and Melinda are no longer able to keep an eye on it?

Re. my earlier point about the role of government in a Democracy and no one votes their own pain, If the idea is good why do you need gov't to change other people?

Geeze Louise,
portable nuclear power plants

Concur about that. This would be a great time to buy surplus merchant ships cheap. Get them retrofitted with a safe sealed mini-nuke plant and run them with a small crew. Anybody have an extra $50 million so we can get started?

If you try to follow the West End Paisley Tax to closely you'll get a headache or a hangover. The good news is that India is fighting an effort to impose the Bleeding Madras Tax that could kill the IT industry. The truly good news would be that these European taxes just might save Wall Street as the hub of the Financial industry. The evil alternative theory would be that the strings are being pulled by China to cripple the industry in Europe so that they can move it to Shanghai.

Isn't the plan to use off peak demand wind power to pump water uphill in reservoirs that would be emptied through turbines during high demand hours? In effect making the system a large battery?

Another problem with wind systems is that the tall turbine poles are themselves environmentally destructive. They destroy migrating birds like giant zappers get mosquitos.

Comment on The Belmont Club,
"The PACmen"

The biggest puzzle for me was why did the Republicans hold back and not aggressively challenge Obama and his corruption? John McCain is a decent man. He wanted to be President. He sincerely asked people to work for him and spent years working for it. While I was a volunteer and driver for the campaign I met him several times and do not think he wanted to lose. He was personally decent and generous to me. Before the last debate the campaign brought me in to have a private photo with John and Cindy and Sarah and Todd. That was when the big donors were getting their photos taken. I got to exchange a few words with him and I told him to "Expend all ordnance." He looked exhausted and clearly kew that the polls said he was going to lose. He held back, he assured the public that Obama was decent and honorable and it would be OK if he became President. Why? The reason simply escapes me, unless McCain was convinced that he would lose and it was important for America to try and heal the wounds.

McCain should have stared Obama down and said, "Why are you so arrogant?" He should have said that he did not believe the birther line but that a decent respect for the public required releasing all your documents, including birth and educational records, before asking for the job. He should have forced the issue on national television about phone banks in Gaza and bundling of foreign money and the hypocrisy of the Democrats reneging on their pledge to use the public campaign finance system. Why did McCain hold back? If you fight a campaign, win. Obama used about 3/4 Billion dollars, half foreign and illegal. McCain had the chance to strike when the world was watching. It was the only way to break past the blanket media endorsement of Obama.

He held back and now are all stranded as the barbarians sweep around us. We are like the Byzantines after Manzikert.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


(fm the BC thread "Green eggs and ham")

(A Medical School instructor whose class debated the Right to Health Care)

You could inform the students that by ancient right they all could bring a sheep to graze in the campus commons. The sheep provides both food and clothing, and for some companionship but we won't go there. Are those not basic necessities of life as much as health care? Who would dare to enclose the commons off and take away such a right? It would be a tragedy. Of course the real Tragedy of the Commons was the destruction caused by free access to what is proclaimed a public good.

Kurt Vonnegut touched on the same theme as L.P. Hartley of PC equality run amok. Why not weigh down thin attractive people with weights and fat suits? KV was a moonbat but he had that right.

Thank you for the technical overview. What would be needed to get 500 Doctors in white coats to go up to Capitol Hill and the White House with butterfly nets? It would do more for the public health than the Public Health Service.

BTW for you both I once knew a charming young lady who was in the PHS and slated to go to a reservation. Sorry I lost track of her.

Thank you, I endorse most of what you say, especially about having one price, or a free deductible waiver, for all customers for a given service performed. Later you seem to alter that position regarding the unemployed Bubba paying something but less rather than full price. No auto service shop can operate without displaying the initial charge to investigate the problem. There is extensive experience with the concept of pricing a fair estimate in many fields. It should always be possible for a Bubba to pay a portion of the full price if a charity separate from whoever owns the examining room or surgery makes up the difference to equal the standard price. I could see schemes to fund charity to Bubba by advertising a set fee and then encourage the full fare retail customer Mr Readycash to make a deductible contribution with some defined benefits. Those could be prettier nurses or access to preferred examination schedules. Maybe the less charitable would get the old hypodermics with the curved metal handles and the square needles.

Back when all doctor were in the AMA and fees were standardized, that is to say fixed, you chose your Dr based on the quality of their National Geographics.

Nov 20, 2009 - 9:01 pm

How long did it take to write either of the 2,000 page bills we have ready to cram down our throats?

I think the 2,000 pages just floated over the transom or appeared one morning next to the porcelain throne. I think it has less literary merit than a Mickey Spillane novel, that arguably took less time to write than to read. If you dropped it on someone it might qualify as a cheap alternative to the Gas Passer.

Nov 20, 2009 - 10:08 pm

Other than that Mrs Lincoln ...?

(fm the BC thread "Green eggs and ham")

"... you look damn near beaten!"
Pretty much feel that way too.

Be of good cheer. It may not be Reagan's "Morning in America" but it is Spring in Oz.

Multitasking is hard but I could do with more of it. Not only am I out of work, and concerned about my eyesight, but today the State Unemployment sent me a drop dead letter. They determined that the part time temporary political work I did for the Bloomberg campaign did not pay me enough over a long enough period to qualify me for benefits. If I had simply extended my prior unemployment rather than taken the work I would have received thousands of dollars more. Now they canceled my old claim, disallowed my new one, and leave me with nothing.
Lord Acton,
(who compared the overreaching Democrats to Paulus' XVI Army)
Great Galloping Ghost of Godwin's Law! You are right of course.
The Greeks said it best, ὕβρις.


(fm the BC thread "Green eggs and ham")

There is an alternative to the regulated insurance based model. It is called doing what has worked. It relies on three (you can count on me) factors.
1. A healthy American economy that produces sufficient wealth to pay for
    services for the indigent.
2. An economic, legal and regulatory system that encourages private
    initiative, risk taking and the development of new procedures and
3. A culture rooted in the essential goodness of the American people and a
    legal system that does not discourage their natural generosity.

These three conditions produced a system that created vast wealth, raised living standards and encouraged charity sufficient to care for any who were unable to care for themselves. Americans are incredibly generous and take care of both their own and anyone in need. By comparison the Europeans we are being urged to emulate are cheap skinflints who would allow their own grandparents to die in an attic rather than interrupt a Summer vacation, and then complain that the government hadn't done something about it.

Charity works. The government is determined to destroy it.

Israel's Borders

(fm the BC thread "The devil you know")

Utopia Parkway,
Regarding the wording of UN resolution 242 the story is even more complicated than you might think. The problem is that legally there was no border between Israel and any other entity within former Mandatory Palestine. There were borders between Palestine (as established by the British in the 1920's) and other recognized international actors. Those were the French Mandates and their successor states of Syria and Lebanon to the North and Egypt to the South. There are minor disputes along the Syrian border, the Shaba'a Farms (that Hezbollah has tried to reassign to Lebanon to manufacture a casus belli and some question about the Galilee coastline but the fact that there is a true border that has standing in the law is not disputed. All other demarcations between assigned Jewish territories and other portions of the British Mandate were provisional and had no standing in International law. In 1948 Gaza was occupied by the Egyptian army and a Cease Fire was signed. The Jordanian army entered the West Bank and East Jerusalem and another Cease Fire was signed. Count Bernadotte also supervised agreements covering the North that closely followed the recognized borders. Those documents between the new State of Israel and Egypt or the KIngdom of Trans-jordan (as it was then known) did not create legal borders. That is why the territories are properly referred to as "Disputed" and not as "Occupied" by Israel. Egypt had no legal claim over Gaza as there is a proper border between the Strip and Sinai, which the Egyptians have always enforced. The Jordanians however themselves have a state within a portion of former British Palestine. The borders between two states within the Mandate can only be established by treaty. That happened when Israel signed a treaty with Jordan that fixed the Western border of Jordan at the river. That did not determine the status of territories between the river and Israel. There is not and never has been anything in International law that prevents Israel from annexing any or all of a stateless territory, as long as they deal properly with the inhabitants thereof. Israel would owe little to inhabitants of a territory that it determined not to include within it's borders.

Utopia Parkway,
We are not disputing the important facts here. The original Mandates were assigned by dividing up the Ottoman territory ruled from Damascus between the French and British. Messrs Sykes and Picot divided up the districts within the Damascus Vilyat. The boundaries within the Ottoman Empire were not surveyed or promulgated with all the formality of a demarcation between two tax districts in Germany. For the sake of argument I agree that the initial line as approved by the League of Nations would have been in the water of the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) and it was shortly after moved East of the lake shore by an agreement between France and the UK. That agreement was in effect a binding treaty between two sovereigns and could establish a border in international law. Therefor the legal border between Mandatory Palestine and Syria was where Israel claims and that remains the border between their successor states, unless those states change it by a subsequent treaty.

Now the Arabs may claim that the actions of the Colonial powers were unjust. They may cry that reason, logic and the unswerving determination of billions cry out to undo the legacy of the League of Nations sponsored mandates and the successor Israeli settler state. None of that should matter or have any bearing in law. The standing and rights of the Arabs who contest Israel's borders or presence are based in the same League of Nations, and earlier European initiated treaty, sponsored legal system that they would repudiate in this case. We could offer to return the French Mandated districts to the status quo ante 1880. That would entail giving entire region of the Levant back to the Turks, expelling most of the Shia from Lebanon West of the Bekaa valley, and dividing the remainder between the Druze and Christians and returning the descendants of the Sunni who migrated South. Somehow I do not think that is the deal they are looking for.

By the way one interesting point about the borders and occupation question happens in the case of Gaza. While for the Israelis the Gaza strip is a Disputed territory with no legal border between it and the State of Israel for the Egyptians it was an Occupied territory because they had to cross an international border to get there..

Comment on The Belmont Club,
"Green eggs and ham"

As usual Yes Minister was ahead of us, "The Compassionate Society."

A couple of days ago I went down to the VA medical center. My eyes have been giving me some trouble and I fear it is getting worse. Some years ago I had Lasik and it worked great. A year ago, after the bullets did not hit the target at FLETC, I had the surgeon who did the job take a look and he said that physically everything was good. Since my focus seems to slip on occasion now I fear that I might have sustained an injury in training that is manifesting itself and could at worst case produce an aneurysm. Of course it could just be age and dog hair or a cold in my system.

At the VA in Manhattan I was seen remarkably fast by the intake nurse. After waiting less than half an hour she listened to me, took my BP and weight, gave me a flu shot, and asked me a series of questions that the VA mandates "Were you ever sexual assaulted on active duty?" That made me mention my last active duty CO's Fitness Report. "Do you have any thoughts of depression or suicide?" That got me to mention that I would rather give others reason to have such thoughts than have them myself. The nurse loved me. A nice young woman was the Dr who took a look and checked reflexes and then told me to go up to Opthalmology, where they would look at me and decide if I should go to Neuro. When I got upstairs the clerk at the desk, if you open the dictionary to GS-5 you will see his portrait, asked me my name. I spelled out my name for him and added my last 5 as he looked up the referral in the computer. His phone rang and he juggled a personal call and my records. He got it wrong and I repeated the process. He asked me my name again and I spelled it. He then said "No, your name is XXX isn't it? That is your name." This was clearly a bully who got his jollies in a very dull job by asserting authority over the Veterans who must come to him before they can see a physician. He said my record said "routine" and I would have to make an appointment. When I said the Dr had indicated that she expected me to be seen today he then said that there were two notations and he disappeared into the back and came out a minute later and said I was to come back for an appointment in December. Arguing the point would clearly only result in terrible things happening to my records. After making the appointment I went back downstairs and informed the nurse at intake and she promised to inform the referring Dr.

The system is stuffed with people like the clerk. The more that government gets to influence healthcare the more it will resemble the VA. Most of the people are in fact caring, the professional staff who are part of the NYU hospitals are excellent and caring. The problem is that adding government to the mix, at the top end with lawyers and at the bottom end with clerks, only makes things worse.

Obama's Slide Continues

Today's Rasmussen Reports, Daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows that Obama's slide continues. In fairness we should ignore his poll numbers on first taking office or during his first month. It would be almost impossible for anyone not to suffer as a sold image is confronted by reality. It is his decline over the subsequent 8 months that demonstrates the public's realization of his inability to respond effectively to the challenges and opportunities that reality offered.

Since the end of February the percentage of likely voters rating him as Highly Favorable has declined by over 10 points, from nearly 40% to just above 25%. His Highly Unfavorable Rating has increased even more dramatically by over 15%, from less than 25% to nearly 40%. That means the two extremes have reversed position in a strong move away from Mr Obama. In addition the polls seem to indicate that those in the middle, undecideds or those moderately on side or the other, when they decide break almost 2 to 1 against the current administration.

We have been following these polls for months and blogged about them on August 17th , 19th and 22nd and September 10th and 17th. One day perturbations mean nothing here but a sustained trend is important. It looks like Obama gambled on a massive push in Congress and the Media to regain his momentum during early September, culminating with his speech to a joint session on Health Care. The evidence is that the effort failed. As I noted on Sept. 17th he did rise from -13 to only -3 following the speech. In the ten weeks since then the air has clearly gone out of his balloon. He is now at -14 and there is every reason, as I will go over below, to expect him to continue to drop. Despite the uptick mentioned above my predictions on August 17th seems pleasantly prescient.

Let us first consider the domestic policy related events that have happened since Obama's September effort that almost, but not quite, restored his standing in the polls. He has gotten a version of the Health Care Bill through the House by a vote of 220 to 215. That included the lone Republican defector and the possibly tainted vote from Owens, the declared winner of the NY 23rd district race where absentee ballots that could, but are unlikely to, change the outcome are still being counted. The unpleasant effects of the tactics used to get this bill through, including the insertion and probably subsequent deletion of the Stupak amendment on abortion as well as the probability that the Democrats will resort to reconciliation will cost. In addition reports now indicate that on domestic policy Obama's team, Geithner et al, misspent or wasted hundreds of billions of dollars from the TARP and Stimulus programs. The vaunted job creation claims have been shown to be a fraud with unemployment now higher than the Democrats said would happen if they were not put in charge. The links between senior members of the administration and executives (AIG) and financiers (Goldman-Sachs) that have profited from these programs would draw the attention of Grand Juries in normal circumstances. The ties between the 2008 campaign as well as Obama's earlier career and Acorn and associated radicals is less effectively repressed. Efforts to suppress media that do not conform to the desired view have become shrill and have even cost him support from the Left. Acorn itself is now publicly discredited and that story could not be kept out of the public view. The 2009 elections were largely a disaster for the White House with those they endorsed being almost uniformly repudiated. The public in the market place has rejected the Obama linked GM (Government Motors) whose market share has collapsed in favor of Ford.

In the area of National Security and Foreign Affairs the results have proven equally if not even more depressing for him or at least for his supporters who will face an election soon. The shooting at Fort Hood not only made the public fear the impact of Obama and his supporters on the military, the most trusted institution in America, but the response to it was bungled. Obama's initial reaction was the insensitive and indeed amateurish insertion of anodyne appropriate remarks into an event after a "Shout Out" to his supporters. The subsequent announcement by his Attorney General, a man whose law firm did volunteer work for terrorists, that the top five prisoners at Gitmo would receive a civilian trial in New York City was made on a Friday evening as the President was out of town. The public is learning that this happened after they had offered to plead guilty before the military commissions. This was condemned by people of all political backgrounds. At best the way it was done made the Chief Executive look insensitive or cowardly for leaving this decision and announcement to a subordinate. His failure to effectively craft and implement his own policy in Afghanistan, in theory the signature initiative he had claimed he was ready to implement over 6 months ago, reveals his treatment of the Armed Forces to be deceitful and callous or incompetent. His claims regarding Russian intentions that lead to his abandonment of our allies in Eastern Europe, and their millions of Democrat leaning relatives in America, were immediately made a mockery by Putin. The Iranians and their proxies treat his words and representatives with open contempt. The North Koreans have engaged in border skirmishes and search for new ways to issue challenges. Chavez mobilizes on the Columbian border.

In every way at every level both in domestic and international affairs the results for this administration have been a series of disasters. While certain corporate interests, GE and Goldman-Sachs, a core of left wing academics and media activists, and some Unions (UAW and SEIU) will continue to support him the base will continue to shrink. Elected officials hoping to survive will begin to run away from him. If his poll numbers get down to
-20 before the midterm elections the Blue Dogs might revolt en masse.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Comment on PJM, Ed Driscoll
"The Torch Has Been Passed To A New Generation"

Ed Driscoll,
Are you Karl Rove's even more evil twin Skippy?
That could almost get me to crack open my wallet and air out a two dollar bill.
Should we try to flood Google with our blog posts about how we are really terrified of the prospect of a Senator Corzine?

Oh no Bre'r Fox don't please. Anything but don't send anyone else from Goldman Sachs to Washington, Please Sir.

Counter-Force or Counter-Value?

(fm the BC thread "The devil you know")

para 2. we went for Counter Value – we would Launch Under Attack
          (the McNamara Doctrine.
para 3. Bush Doctrine essentially avowed a Launch On Warning
          Pre-Emptive Strike Counter-Force strategy

para 4. a successful or failed application of the Bush Doctrine
          that a Counter Value strategy will be used

Not quite following you here. After a successful Counter-Force First Strike you intend to follow up with Counter-Value? A little unclear how that works. If we intercept a jihadi plot would you then destroy the Aswan High Dam and kill several million Copts? Personally I am surprised the bad guys haven't done that themselves.

Part of the problem is in defining what the Force in their structure is for us to target. Is it only the personnel who swore a personal blood oath the Osama bin Laden? That would fir with a narrow legalist view of the struggle. Is it the membership of the network of affiliates like the Taliban, the TeL, the MILF? That appears to be current DoD doctrine. Does it include the personnel and weapons labs of regimes, such as Iran, Sudan and Syria, that construct a plausible deniability screen and act through proxies like Hamas and Hezbollah to attack US interests? That I think approximates the Bush Doctrine. Should we push it out another ring to include Russia and China or the Special Rapporteurs of the EU and the UN? Are the Saudi and Gulf bankers and arms merchants and their funded Mullahs who promote violence and teach hate not as much part of the Force, the actual weapons systems to be targeted as the guy digging a hole for a 155 shell by the side of a road? Is not the entire belief system that endures through a faith in the inviolability of the Kabaa and the invincibility of the Ummah part of the Force arrayed against us that must be broken or at least demonstrated to be inferior?

My point is that these distinctions are useful but they are constructs. If we hunt down every tool in the enemies arsenal there will be precious little Value for us to hit with a followup Counter-Value strike. If we reach the existential point of having to kick over the board, or call Four No Trump to end the game then we can all have a chuckle after at the concerns of the AGW crowd. Hopefully we can strip away the Forces at the enemies disposal on a steady basis. Kinetic encounters should deal with some threats and social and economic tools may over time attenuate others. All of our tools depend on the health and strength of our Forces and the Value base behind them.

Unfortunately any response strategy Counter-Force or Counter-Value depends on us have the tools to do the job. Obama is systematically stripping away our ability to respond effectively under any strategic doctrine. His diplomatic, economic and social policies are so crippling America that we will be unable to attract loyalty as a superior alternative through social and economic power. Oddly enough the advocates of "Soft Power" have made it less likely that such tools can be effective. His military initiatives, in particular his plan to radically reduce the size, robustness and flexibility of the United States strategic deterrent means that that the possibility of an overwhelming Counter-Value follow on to an enemy Counter-Force attack, the US Second Strike will be lost. This makes it more likely that we will face both increased terrorism at the low end and nuclear blackmail.

For those unclear what calling Four No Trump means.

Comments on the Belmont Club,
"The devil you know"

One way to look at the problem is what can you measure? It is hard to determine what Iran is building in an underground plant. It is impossible to determine whether it is planning to launch an attack if it has a weapon. It was difficult to determine if the Soviets or Russians were on Alert status. It is impossible to know if they are telling the truth when they say the missiles have been retargeted. The reliability of information about intentions, a highly subjective subject, must be considered also.

On balance the policy of negotiating arms control agreements with the Russians, based upon a reasonable level of assurance that they were hostile but rational actors, can be defended but can also be disputed on specifics. The policy of treating the Iranians as an equivalent case is based entirely on wishful thinking. Since we have absolutely no reason to take their word on anything, including the targeting or intent to use pre-emptively any weapons they acquire, and since we have no way of verifying what they are building in concealed facilities, and since the very act of going to the expense of building shielded underground plants is more consistent with an aggressive weapons program than any peaceful project, we must stop them from conducting any activities that could contribute to hostile activities. That means that the burden must be on Iran to prove that it is not dangerous and the US and anyone else threatened should issue an Ultimatum and destroy the underground facilities and anything that would support the production of WMD unless they are made completely and unconditionally transparent within a period of no more than 72 hours.

If the Iranian regime went to all this expense and trouble to build underground aspirin factories and teddy bear storage in order to prove how bad the Americans and Zionists are by precipitating an attack that destroys Iran then the responsibility for the suffering caused will rest on them. It is the responsibility of the Iranian people to evaluate the risk and remove the regime that places them in danger by engaging in reckless provocation.

In Pakistan we can not take their word that the gun will not be pointed at us. In addition we have no reason to want the gun pointed at India, which is a better friend and a more useful trade partner now. Therefor our policy should also be focused there on identifying what we can measure, if there is a training camp at all, and not what we can't measure, who is in it and what they are going to attack. We should then focus on shutting down the camps and getting the Pakistanis to devote their resources to more worthwhile projects. Those would include building law, order, secular education, and infrastructure.

any plan BHO devises trying to Spell Out “if A, then B” ... completely irrational relationships between A and B,

We need to stop trying to reinvent the wheel. We had a doctrine that worked.
Here it is laid out by John Foster Dulles. The key phrase is
The way to deter aggression is for the free community to be willing and able to respond vigorously at places and with means of its own choosing.
This is completely at variance with the legalist model that Obama and Holder are devoted to.

On Religion and Ethics

(fm the BC thread "Forlorn hope")

Max Weber made the case for The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. In fairness he might have overstated the influence of small nations with bad climates on the Northern periphery of Europe and understated the amount of scientific innovation and entrepreneurship that arose in Catholic regions of Germany and areas influenced by German culture, such as Northern Italy, France and Hungary.

The disproportionate influence of Scandinavians and Scots may have been due to their willingness to relocate and the significant contributions of the Northern Catholic regions may have been obscured by two factors. First they were contained between hostile Islamic and Protestant regions and relatively land locked. Second, and this relates to the first issue, their intellectuals and entrepreneurs were less likely to relocate. Northern Italians often identify more with Germanic Mitteleuropa to the North than with their co-nationals to the South. If the country ever broke in two I think the North would debate naming itself Ostrogothia, New Lombardy or South Switzerland.

The Protestant emphasis on individual salvation and moral responsibility is consciously modeled on the Jewish concept of Righteousness. Puritans would call each other a "Good Jew" as a compliment. That did not mean that they were not anti-Semitic if they ever encountered an actual "Hebrew." In Judaism there is a tension between two forces. First is the need for the collective, it takes ten to make a minyan. "God will meet with 10 street sweepers but not with 9 rabbis." Community and family are what makes us human. They are the manifestation of a divine blessing. The ultimate punishment that can befall a sinner is to be cut off and have no parents, wife or children. Second is the idea of individual responsibility. God only absolves sins against God and not harm done to another person. You have to clear your own debts.

It is possible though for the sins present in a community to result in harm to an innocent. The consequence of that increases the responsibility of the individual sinner within the group who failed to act to reduce the risk to the innocent. Each person in Sodom was responsible for the harm that befell any innocent trapped in the city when it was destroyed.

The Commandments are not policy instructions for a Leader acting on behalf of the collective but obligations on each person to conduct themselves ethically. Each is obligated to treat God's creation fairly, not to abuse or be wantonly cruel, as in the laws on diet or not yoking a mother and her calf together. Each is obligated not to abuse their family, as in the sexual prohibitions. Each is obligated to love the stranger.

While both Christian and Moslem advocates would argue that at heart their ethical messages are the same the differences are important. In Catholicism, and other traditions that rely on the absolution of sin through the Eucharist, individual responsibility is subsumed in a collective and God absolves you of responsibility for Sins committed by harming other people. In Protestantism the difference from Judaism may be more subtle. Judaism is not a proselytizing religion. The stranger is left alone to seek their own truth and leadership is shown by example. For Christians the obligation to Witness takes on a more positive nature. This can be shown in the desire to reform and change the world through Good Works or political action that secular Liberals who come out of the Protestant tradition, or Counter-Reformation Catholic movements, exhibit.

In Islam the concept of individual responsibility is overwhelmed by the ever present example of the conduct of Muhammad, the emphasis on ethics being the responsibility of a political ruler who acts and instructs on the communities behalf, and the need to submit to the judgements of experts on how to interpret a welter of conflicting precepts. The cost of error is so high that for any individual to take responsibility and act ethically against a popular but sinful pressure is almost impossible. For a Lot to face down a crowd to protect two strangers in an Islamic community would take a lot.

American Chaos

(fm the BC thread "Forlorn hope")

The great tragedy of the Mexican diaspora though is the absorbtion of American squalor.

La Eme is a product of the CA prison system.

The Official Line in Latin America is that the US is exporting crime and corruption South. That is why Napolitano's initiative to inspect Southbound traffic, separate from the possible merits of the program, fits a larger narrative.

Traditional patriarchal cultures have the tools to control the pathologies, corruption and latent violence, we associate with them. The key word in my last sentence is "latent." In a small rural traditional community life is very organized and disciplined. Everyone knows their place. While there is the potential for young men to turn violent it rarely happens. Those impulses are either exported, into the military if kept socially redeemable or into criminal gangs that prey on outsiders but at a social cost or they are sublimated into religious and social rituals. That is why tourists can visit an authoritarian hell hole and remark on how peaceful and friendly everyone was. The price people pay for that level of control is ignorance and stagnation.

When I taught in the most dangerous school in New York City there were only two parts of the system that worked. By worked I mean maintained a functioning classroom atmosphere in which some level of education could take place.

First was the Special Ed program which is run as a separate world at vast cost in which there are usually two adults present with a very small number of students. The teacher is under little pressure to achieve results so any progress makes them look like a genius. In the very controlled conditions many emotionally disabled students do respond and I have known Special Ed teachers who love their work.

When the system insists on moving the identified Special Ed students into the general population, known as "Mainstreaming" chaos results. Remember that many of the regular students are not evaluated as belonging in a special program because there are pressures not to make the diagnoses due to the costs involved. Mainstreaming always comes with the promise of additional support resources and stirring PC affirmations of inclusion and exposure being a valuable teaching experience for all concerned. They lie about the resources, the idea is to cut costs, and the rhetoric reveals a typical elitist program that uses human beings as objects in an emotionally motivated experiment at the cost of real education and opportunity.

Second was the Bilingual program. Before I started teaching my prejudice was to object to a special program for Spanish speakers on political grounds, then I saw what happened. Note that the term Bilingual covers two formats, one in which students are mixed in with the general population with additional special services offered. That is similar to mainstreaming Special Ed students and leads to disaster. The other system that works is where Bilingual is really Monolingual and is run as a separate system with its own teachers and student body, in effect a school within a school. The closed Spanish language classrooms worked. They were an island of calm in a sea of chaos.

Picture the Social Studies department office, with three or four teachers hanging around on their off period. A student pokes his head around the door, "Hey Teach I needs (or my Teach needs, or Da Man needs) this copied." The response would be "Drop dead" or some variant thereof. A second student arrives and knocks on the door. "Who is it?" "Pardon Señor, Professor Salazar sent me. He would like to know if I could make some some copies please?" "For Professor Salazar? But of course. I shall make the copies for you." People stand up to help and smile at the student. Teachers would volunteer to cover "Professor" Salazar's class if he was not there.

Two students arrive in The Bronx on the same day. They both come from islands in the Caribbean. They both come from so far back in the hills that you have to pump in sunlight. They both show up their first day in crisp white shirts and dark pants and new shoes. Both are soft spoken and polite. One comes from an Island where the official language is English and the other from an island where the official language is Spanish. In point of fact neither is really fluent in a standard form of any language, they both might as well have come from the Moon. The Spanish speaker goes into the special program and the English speaker into the regular program. In 60 days the student placed in the regular program is trashed. His pants are falling off, his mouth is foul, his associates are criminals, his prospects are nil. The student placed in "Professor" Salazar's class has a fighting chance.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Breaking the 4th Wall

(fm the BC thread "Forlorn hope")

E. Nigma,
We are all on the road to Serfdom

I prefer Bob and Bing on The Road to Morocco.

Comment on PJM: Joseph Puder "Christians
Suffer Under the Palestinian Authority"

The sad thing about the plight of Bethlehem is that it was an accident. In 1967 when Israel conquered the West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem they intended to include the neighboring Bethlehem district. Due to a clerical oversight it was left out of the document that was forwarded to the Knesset. Moshe Dayan was appalled but the critical moment passed. For a brief time it looked like King Hussein would negotiate a Peace Treaty to get Bethlehem and the tourist revenue back. Israel was willing to cut that deal, so it held back on pressing the issue. By the time Hussein acceded to the rejectionist camp that assigned the West Bank to the previously irrelevant PLO lines had hardened and the Americans would not support any further changes. To ride back in now and claim Bethlehem for Israel would be a bold move that might work. It would mean decisive action also to free the Christians of Lebanon from the threat of Hezbollah. After Israel's past experiences there they may not want to but as the Iranians push for existential confrontation a pushing of the Reset Button may be in order.

Comments on The Belmont Club,
"Forlorn hope"

$230/week is not $23/ week. Mexico is not that bad off. If the legal system was reformed then it could become very wealthy. They have the natural resources to fund meaningful investments and, unlike most of the petroleum exporters, except pre-Khomenei Iran or pre-Chavez Venezuela, they have an educated middle class and a entrepreneurial base to build on. "Poverty" is a cheap excuse for offloading the problem. It is a mislabeling of Envy by Middle Class activist rent seekers and a few wealthy transnationals, the diplomats, who use the intellectual rent seekers as background noise to generate a cash flow from the West.

The needed order can come from either inside or outside. This is basic Weberian Sociology. For a healthy modern society the charisma that induces respect for the law should be institutionalized into the bureaucracy and the legal code. That results in Organic Solidarity, wherein the people support the rule of law because the Law is seen as an expression of their sovereignty. In Mexico they are still stuck in a Patron system of personalized charisma and authority. Efforts to institutionalize the rule of law after the 1911 revolution in theory transferred the authority from individuals to bureaucrats and the PRI. That is why it is the Party of the Institutionalized (permanent) Revolution. The model is straight Leninism but it was designed to combat Caudillismo. In doing so it attempted to institute the stable legal system without risking the passions and possible corruption associated with democracy.

Unfortunately that model, and its early variants in Europe, such as the Byzantine and Caliphate systems and the late Spanish KIngdom, and some other late 19th to early 20th century efforts, as well as modern post Mao China, end up with the worst of all systems. They get stagnating innovation, sclerotic bureaucracies, rampant corruption, and regional violence. Singapore has fared better but it was highly dependent on the charisma still being personalized in a founding Leader and that may not endure his departure.

If a society can not make the jump from primitive feudal Caudillo style justice to modernity what is to be done? From the 1950s until the 1990s the answer was to ignore them. We paid off our SOBs to keep a lid on and sent money to CARE and UNICEF once a year and considered an exotic vacation to a controlled resort, after retirement. 9-11 changed all that, we can't ignore these places any more even if they are 7,000 miles away. Mexico is 7 inches away and moving our way.

The alternative method of achieving social cohesion and respect for the law for those who have not reached Organic Solidarity is Mechanical Solidarity. That is to say you obey the rules not because they are your rules, or at least your communities accepted rules but because some really big ugly guy, preferably on a horse, is in your face making you obey. Everybody starts out there and we hope that they get past it. Most places are still ruled that way and find it very hard to make the transition.

For example in theory Islam provides for a high degree of consensus being needed to legitimate the rulings of a secular leader, who is bound by religious doctrine and a need to respect the members of the Ummah. Unfortunately that supposed Democratic or Organic element is vitiated by the rulers expectation to follow the example of Muhammad, who ruled as an arbitrary despot.

So if the society can not achieve a state of Organic Solidarity and lawlessness threatens to spill over to the global community how can we respond? First we can get a local to attempt to impose a state of Mechanical Solidarity. That is when we support a local warlord despite the screams of the Grauniad. When that fails, as it has in Somalia and may in many other places, the historical answer is to impose the Rule of Law from outside and engage in an intense period of tutelage that could enable the society to internalize the legal code. That demands sustained effort over time and at least initially the application of uncompromising force. What it would mean in a real sense is the resumption of a system of colonial administrations of dependent territories that incapable of self government.

Those who begin the process are only Forlorn if the effort is abandoned to soon. The truly brave souls are those within the occupied community who turn from the obvious, and often remunerative, path of violence and risk opprobrium by leaping into the breach to help their societies internalize the rule of law. Ramon Magsaysay and Jose Rizal did that in the Philippines and George Washington, the man who would not be King, did that in America.

in our southwest and with gangs such as MS-13

MS-13 are Salvadorans or other Mesoamericans. They are not Mexicans. They should IMHO be treated as an invading army. Their children should be denied US citizenship. The law already has a provision denying citizenship to a child of a camp follower of an invading army. If ICE was unshackled then they could begin to make a real difference in this problem. Of course that is the complete opposite of what is happening.

Hopeless cases like Somalia are easy. Mexico is bad but not hopeless. That is why it is a hard problem.

(who linked to this list of the most (and least) corrupt countries)

In Chicago they take a list like that as a challenge.

Under the Obamanation who knows

My seat of the pants prediction. Almost anyone with over 12 years in will try to stick it out to retirement. Anyone over 20, except for clinging dead wood that sees promotion opportunities or those who waited for their shot at a real command and can't say No, and almost everyone under 10 years in past their initial obligation, will get out. That will mean a real shortage at the O-3 and O-4, and some shortage at the O-5 levels, most O-5 and O-6 or O-7 will stick but we lose the best senior flag ranks O-8 through O-10. For the Army that means I think the Company Commanders (Captains) and Battalion Commanders (Lt Col) grades will get out as well as the Majors in between who are the heart of Middle Management and future Commanders. While Brigade Commanders (Colonels) and ambitious Brigadier Generals would likely stick around awhile if prospects look good, senior Generals are probably thinking about a book tour and a teaching or corporate job.

This is a disaster and it will take 15 years to rebuild from it. Training, the most important kind that comes from experience, will suffer. Good people will die.

The Department of Deadwood

IBM in the old days ran that way. There were whole departments, buildings full of talented Engineers who had created legacy projects but who were not part of the newer technology trends. No one was fired. They showed up and had nothing to do.

That is the idea behind the late 20th century House of Lords.
People got kicked upstairs.

Regarding military retention, there will be a similar effect on enlisted time in service retention, Early out option 15 yr retirement could result in a total clean out, that takes decades to recover.

Crassus Out of the Bath

(fm the BC thread "High Society")
Correction from peterike appended below, with gratitude.

The problem with being a Patrician is that occasionally you have to act like one.
Cicero to Caesar I believe, was it in Spartacus?

Our genial host’s initial entry raised two topics. First, the AGW money pump. Second, the sad state of what passes for elites these days. Both are tangled forests where monsters lurk. Both rest on roots as solid as Birnam Forest that comes to Dunsinane.

Elites are natural and necessary for a species that supports a complex social organization. There are many privileges for members of the Elite. What is demanded of them in return?

Historically there were two routes to power over those who work. You could belong to those who fight or those who pray.
The potential cost for those who fight is obviously the risk of death in combat. Those who pray appear to have a better deal. Vows of chastity and poverty may have been invented to impose compensating costs. What we have now are elites who not only are useless and wrong headed, that to be fair is neither new nor intolerable, but who are unwilling to demonstrate even the slightest pretense of sacrifice for the greater good.

Can anybody envision Lord Finsbury leading the troops into battle? The Aztec Priest who ripped your heart out to feed the Sun was more useful.

One of the disadvantages of being a patrician is that occasionally you’re obliged to act like one.

Crassus, as played fabulously by Lawrence Olivier, to the character of Marcus Publius Glabrus, portrayed as something of a Roman doofus by John Dall. Glabrus has just told Crassus he will be leading six cohorts of troops to take on Spartacus. Glabus is summarily defeated and sent back to Rome in humiliation.

This occurs just after one of those great, witty moments in the script. When Crassus hears of the plan to pursue Spartacus, he shouts:

Great merciful bloodstained gods! Your pardon. I always address heaven in moments of triumph.

Ahhhh, you hadda be there.