Monday, August 31, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club
"Santo Claus versus the Martians"


A related video that comes up after Monster a Go Go is The Thing that Couldn’t Die. Considering the next thread and the theme of this one, could this administration put Rahm Emanuel in charge of “The Ministry of Love?” Will Emanuel’s brother, Dr Kevorkian, find a future running “Information Retrieval?” Where is our Harry Tuttle?

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The Ivans are back at the Belmont Club and Georgia is surrounded. I expected this weeks ago but maybe something will happen before campaign season ends. There is of course no truth at all in the KGB fantasy that the CIA created Osama and Co. CIA support went elsewhere. The seeds of the Islamist terrorists were sown by the KGB. They are shocked that the monster came back to haunt them. Regarding Serbia, Milosovic and Karadzic behaved so brutally that any grievance they may have had got erased by their own misdeeds. In terms of culpability for the suffering they brought upon themselves the Serbs resemble the Palestinians who have no legitimate claims any more. Whatever issue they could have made in theory has been washed away in blood.

Aug 31, 2009 - 8:10 pm

Comment on The Belmont Club
"Rahming things through"


The great American Odd Couple. Obama is an artificial projection of his follower's dreams who concealed every fact about his past and who has almost never done anything that could be called work. Emmanuel from the little we know of him is also a self reinvention. The former ballet major, with a physical defect (he lost part of his finger), according to the wiki both his first and last names were chosen to honor members of fringe terror groups from Israel's War of Independence. At the same time he has put forth a story of having served as a civilian volunteer with the IDF, which grossly overstates a few days cleaning truck brakes while he was stuck in Israel during the first Gulf War.

There is something about Emanuel that comes across as infuriatingly wrong. To me it is his assuming the cloak of jewish orthodoxy and ethics while confronting the world with unremitting hostility and abuse. For good ends it is necessary for a man to sometimes use force, not just physical but emotional force. Arguments have to be won, people need to get fired, decisions have to be made. The purpose behind socialization, the familial, communal, educational and religious processes we have discussed on other threads, is to ensure that force, even emotional force, when used is done proportionately and is tempered with a constant appreciation of the fragile nature of the structures (social human or physical, all are God's work) that are being changed. Rahm Emanuel is a caricature, a human pit bull. He will destroy more then he creates or preserve. As Grandma would have said, "Bad for the Jews."

Since his energy is so untempered by apparent mature reflection on the results of his deeds he is subject to manipulation. He is focused on process, on winning battles without regard to how the world will be after after the war, He has to surrender his critical judgement to someone because his world otherwise becomes one of random disconnected confrontations without a purpose. Emanuel has linked himself to Bill Clinton, David Axelrod and Barack Obama. All three are possibly sociopathic manipulators who treat humans as objects. Emanuel is a classic case of the ideologue that a skilled intelligence agent could flip into an asset, without any use of torture. He is a weapon that can be picked up and used by anyone who knows how.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club
"The last brother"


Amit,
(who asked if it is moral to use the blue pill that sanctifies on a monster)
Kennedy's father lobotomized his own daughter. To the power mad we are all objects to be arranged, used and disposed of. Real education is part of societies balancing act. We need to raise people who are empathic and other directed while at the same time secure in their own individuality and creative. People who are not easily manipulated but who decline to manipulate while remaining engaged. We need people who do not simply live in a herd but who explore the path, without going out onto that ledge. How is this balancing act achieved? Through the family and religion and education.

Broken families or abusive ones spread dysfunction like a virus and yet millions do survive and rewire a path around the damage. The brain can compensate for a defect on the retina and still allow the eye to see a normal picture, until the damage is to great to work around and the failure in the neurology becomes catastrophic.

While partisans might argue for the purity of their religion there is a commonality among most but not all creeds. It is clear to me that in principle how a religion describes the nature of God and of man does affect the ability of someone to walk the line without viewing members of their own community as sheep or those of other communities as cattle. Did the callous hypocrisy of the Kennedy's stem from some defect in 20th century Boston Catholicism or were they a force of nature that the diocese could not control? Perhaps the Vatican will seek to repair any damage the infection they brought caused. Was the malevolence of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed caused by the Wahabi creed or is it general to Islam? If either can it be contained or cured?

Can education serve a moral purpose? In 1987 John Mearsheimer gave the "Aims of Education" address to the incoming class of 2001 at The University of Chicago. http://tinyurl.com/nc7t3y If you search using the terms "John Mearsheimer on moral education" you get an interesting set of responses.

My fear is that those who seek to rule believe that there is a blue pill that will "turn a fanatical monster into Mother Teresa" and they want to use it. Sixty years ago little old ladies in tennis shoes got excited about the fluoridation of water because they thought that it represented an effort to slip the blue pill into our system. All they did was set themselves up for Alinskyite ridicule as caricatured by Stanley Kubrick in Dr Strangelove. There the little old ladies morphed into the lunatic General Jack Ripper. My worry is that those who want to hand out the pills to others are at heart themselves Khalid Sheikh Mohammeds.


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Mad in Madtown,
(who worried that John McCain admitted that he broke under torture)
Everybody breaks. That is the lesson of SERE school. Every military pilot and every CIA Clandestine Service officer goes through it. Once you know where your line is you are stronger. It is the fear of the unknown that weakens you. I did not have to go through it, others I knew did.

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exhelodrvr,
Thank you for confirming my thoughts on SERE school.

wretchard,
And so it is with the war terror. Such an impolite word
The designation WoT always suffered for being an elision. If it had to be broad enough to threaten the NorKs as well as Islamofascists then we should have considered calling it the "War to make the world safe for Democracy."

Bogoe wheel,
Stanley Kubrick disliked The Ox-bow Incident (which was shown to me in Junior High under the title "Due Process Denied") because it condemned the lynching of an innocent man. He made a point of rubbing in how guilty Alex was in A Clockwork Orange because he wanted to drive home his objection to any State control of an individual, even a guilty one. Kubrick was talking through his hat. He knew photography and filmaking but nothing of the subjects he instructed on. Born in 1928 he was an adolescent in NYC during WW-II and somehow he managed to avoid Korea.

wretchard,
the process of more or less killing the wrong people
You mistake the purpose of revolutionary terror. People are not killed to effect justice. Their guilt or innocence is incidental to their fate. They are killed to instill fear in the audience who are thereby stripped bare of all defenses and made receptive to the messages of the revolutionary vanguard. Terror is a heuristic tool. When the Black Marias come for you what happens once you are off stage is a mere administrative or technical problem. The important moment is when you are taken, with your neighbors leaning on their doors listening.

Mongoose,
May I propose a campaign theme for 2010?
You don't have a damn thing to apologize for.
You don't own anybody anything.


Aug 30, 2009 - 8:28 pm

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luddy barsen,
Agreed about Barry Lyndon, Good movies are a collection of good photographs and Kubrick was a great photographer. He was also a perfectionist about details. His unmade movie about Napoleon would have interested me. What he did not understand were the underlaying issues behind war (and peace) and crime (and punishment). He did have the right attitude about drugs though.

Aug 31, 2009 - 7:00 am

On Credentialling


Comments from the end of the last BC thread.

James,
a culture of deferring to experts

One problem with Socialism as a cultural system is that ti debases expertise just as it debases the currency. Both rely on symbolic representations of value that are vulnerable to counterfeiting and inflation.

Have you seen this story from last week? Germany expands probe into Ph.D. bribe scheme. There are two ways to look at this. It could be an attempt by the regulators to justify their existence and by officials in the guild of degree granting institutions to limit access to the field by entrepreneurs. Alternatively, it could be as it purports an indication that less qualified applicants found a way to evade the traditional standards demanded to receive the doctorate.
In Germany, a Ph.D. is a highly-sought credential for those aiming for the top of their field. Professionals referred to as "Herr Dr." and "Frau Dr." are common in disciplines far removed from academia and medicine, such as politics and finance.

With the pressure to secure the career-elevating honorary so high, people are often willing to pay to expedite the lengthy process of locating a professor with the correct expertise and enough time to advise their doctorate work, said Matthias Jaroch, a spokesman for the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers.

"A doctor title is not only an earning advantage, it's prestigious," Jaroch said. "That's the source of people's willingness to pay for this, even by illegal means."
Americans are as fascinated by titles as Europeans are, maybe more so. We are impressed by a Baron or even a Baronet more I think then people who come from the places that produce such creatures. Our research universities of the 19th century were based on the German model and our devotion to the honorific "Doctor" approaches the germanic. At the same time the conditions of centralized bureaucratic administration that accompany a socialized government regulated society create powerful drives to increase credentialling.

The whole idea of the Civil Service is to remove the ability of politicians and by extension managers to subjectively evaluate people. Therefore there is an incentive to rely on theoretically objective criteria, such as academic credentials. What this really does is off load the evaluation onto the subjective opinion of the authority that granted the degree or certificate. The pay scales become tied to the accumulation of certifications and degrees. This results in an industry that provides government workers with courses and certificates that can be used to justify professional advancement. These can have little relevance to the actual work performed, which is as previously noted difficult to evaluate. There becomes a drive to actually allow this activity to replace the work for which the taxpayers hired these putative experts in the first place.

In the public schools in NYC teachers have mandated paid time for attending these courses and thousands are employed in producing these credentials. The doctorate in education (D.Ed.) from Teacher's College at Columbia, or from Nobody Heard Of It State, will boost the recipients income and promotability to a Superintendency as much or more then a Ph.D. that represents work of more intellectual merit.

Originally the academic degree granted by a law school was a bachelors degree (the LL.B.) which was not even required to enter the profession and which was considered a sign of a liberal arts education. However when the lawyers who established the federal pay scales realized that importance of possessing a graduate degree the humble Bachelors of Laws metamorphosed into the Juris Doctor (JD).

This pressure to credential is resisted within a hierarchy by the desire to be promoted of those who are not in possession of such externally awarded qualifications. This results in two competing dynamics. Those who rely on credentials and those who rely on tenure. The latter is known as "Buggins' Law" as in Buggins got here first so he gets promoted.

In the Federal government every job lists minimal qualifications for consideration. These include Knowledge Skills and Abilities (KSAs), minimum level of education for a pay grade and experience. With few exceptions service over one year in the next lowest pay grade qualifies for consideration for a promotion. Therefor consider two candidates, one has spent years at universities and has accumulated a BA an MA and a PhD. He is 28 years old and can apply for a position as a GS-9. His starting income will be about $40,000. Another candidate entered government service at age 19 with a High School diploma as a GS-3 and completed a BA from the local municipal college while being advanced in the normal course of service. Promotions from GS-5 up to level GS-9 are often not competitive and it is even possible to reach GS-11 without facing a review beyond general fitness for employment. Law enforcement jobs automatically promote to the GS-11 level or even higher. The even numbers do not really exist before the GS-12 level. It is possible that if he is minimally competent then before he is 30 he will be able to compete successfully for promotion to GS-11. There he will serve as the Supervisor for the entering PhD. The employee who entered at age 19 can then expect a total income, depending on locality, of around $80-100,000/annum. Obviously he is under some pressure to obtain certificates and degrees also, no matter if they are of lower objective quality, to increase his chances or promotion beyond the GS-9 level.

Robert Heinlein had Jubal Harshaw, MD JD refuse to use the honorific Dr until it will not be confused with a Playground Superintendent.

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JFSanders031,
(who would choose experience over credentials EVERY time)
Your point about the value of experience is well founded but my argument meant to focus on the defects of a centralized government bureaucracy in evaluating talent. In your private business you should be able to consider the strengths of all candidates for a job, both internal and external, and fit the right person into each position. My point is that in government both tools, credentials and tenure, are flawed and serve as improper substitutes for real managerial judgement. Once people who rely on these false criteria are promoted they produce flawed evaluations and countenance political manipulation of the HR process. This is either done covertly or can become codified under EEO processes. This decoupling of evaluations and promotions from honest managerial work related judgement is endemic in the government service. Even worse is that the government seeks through the legal system to force private employers to conform to government HR practices.

Aug 30, 2009 - 9:03 am

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club
"The political soap opera"


(people had been discussing RSS readers)
On my Safari Bookmarks bar is a “News” toggle that default carries NYT, Google, CNET, ESPN, LAT, BBC, NPR and USA Today. I usually glance at a couple those just to see what the official noise of the day is and I added Infolicious from Breitbart. Once a day I spend several minutes scrolling through that. The problem is that the front end is still the same biased AP reporting.

Regarding EMK, Ramadan and BHO as yesterday’s news. PJ O’Rourke once said that young women knew where the cutting edge was and got there. That was in the 80’s when the cutting edge was conservative. Sorry whiskey but he had a point. Well timed Alinskyite tactics could cripple the Left with ridicule and swing crucial cohorts away from them.

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Rurik,
(who knew someone in HS who had been a Hungarian Freedom Fighter)
When I was in elementary school I had a friend whose parents both had numbers tattooed on their arms. One day I asked what they meant. After they told me that they told me how later they had run across the bridge between Hungary and Austria with Russian soldiers on their heels shooting at them. They were carrying their infant child, my friend. Then they gave me wonderful food.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club
"Pathways of stone"


pharmaguy,
(who claims R.I.'s Patrick Kennedy is the stupidist Congress member)
Dumber then Barbara Boxer? How does he keep breathing?

49erDweet,
In less than 250 years they’ve gone from “Minutemen” status to sucking on the public’s hind teat

When did the change happen? In Marquand’s 1937 novel The Late George Apley there is an ossification of the elites, and a sterile sense of nostalgia. Emerson is worshiped rather than appreciated. The ideals of the Revolution are as embalmed by Modernism as the memory of Latin was by the Humanism of Petrarch. Apley is already dead at the beginning of his story as a boy in the 19th century. Another humorous look at the same social relics was in the novel and movie, directed by John Ford and starring Spencer Tracy, about Mayor Curley, The Last Hurrah.
Members, whilst at Sup, shall not be disturbed, except in the event of fire, flood or of Indian attack.
My guess is that the vigor of the New England Congregationalists bled out on the battlefields of the Civil War as the vigor of Old England Anglicans bled out in the trenches of the First World War.

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no mo uro,
(who gave EMK's base as Boston Irish, trust funders, and union thugs)
EMK did try to build a support base among women and illegal immigrants. Do you think that was ineffective?

Tee,
(who thinks EMK was a Great Senator)
Your definition of a Senator's job is in error, therefor your determination of EMK's stature is flawed. He was only a skilled politician. You fail to answer robohobo's view of the ethical background of the Kennedy clan.

Doug,
(who discussed EMK's overture to Andropov)
Well noted, his position in the United States Senate gave him no license to violate the Logan Act.

Contempt for the law and a willingness to align with foreign enemies seems to be a family trait. Joe Kennedy II, during his career in Congress on the Banking Committee, contributed to the Fannie/Freddie housing bubble that wrecked the economy. He also shoveled tax payer money into "affordable housing" schemes. That makes me think of Rezco and cash for Obama. Joe's most outrageous private abuse of privilege was his use of connections to obtain a secret annulment of his first marriage that was later overturned by the Vatican. His most outrageous private abuse of his family name was his acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Hugo Chavez. The Citizen's Energy advertisements with Joe extolling heating oil as a gift "from the people of Venezuela" were lobbying for a hostile regime and should earn him a trip to jail.

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steeple,
(who claimed there were no honest NY politicians)
Be fair.
Even Bloomberg’s enemies admit that he is honest. As a product of Boston he might assume that no one else is

Aug 29, 2009 - 6:42 am

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Steeple,
(who compared most of America to europeanized New England)
Good comment.

JMH,
(who noted that EMK benefited from his brothers deeds)
Concur,
We can descend into the endless fantasy game of the Left. What would JFK have evolved into? The evidence of his positions from his time in public life is that he might have taken Ted aside and beaten him to death.

Any chance in a few years that we will be able to dig him up and ship him out?

Regarding MASSvote, does “nonpartisan” equal tax exempt? Are there no lawyers on our side?

Aug 29, 2009 - 10:59 am

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Is Tee the return of Teresita of the multiple identities? The problem with people who display multiple personalities is that on closer examination they often prove to have no personality at all.

Wadeusaf,
Concur with your list of great liberal Democrats. Please add Daniel Patrick Moynihan to the collection. Even when I disagreed with him I had to stop and reexamine the issues. The time when he explained to Jesse Helms how a nuclear bomb works, “This is the part that goes boom,” was the best thing that happened in the US Senate in decades.

Aug 29, 2009 - 5:34 pm

-------
Best epitaph ever:

Here lies the Prelate, Judge and Poet, Peter,
Who broke the laws of God and Man and Meter


Aug 29, 2009 - 7:05 pm

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Comment on The Belmont Club
"5G"


MarkJ,
(who advocates an alumni boycott of left wing colleges)
The answer to “donations are down” for university administrators is “publicly funded.”

Marsh Arab,
What the left really wants in the right is a leader
ATOSSA: But who herds the manflock? Who lords the army?
- Aeschylus, The Persians

Aug 27, 2009 - 5:45 am

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mac,
Good catch and brave of you to visit Kos, hope you had a chance to shower after. Kos makes sure that there is only one car available for his family because he is a control freak.

Aug 27, 2009 - 5:55 am

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According to this report Panetta is out at CIA.
about 5 hours ago from Tweetie
ewerickson Looks like I was right. ABC News's Brian Ross says Leon Panetta is done.


Conservatives are in an interesting position. There is a tension between the belief in Democracy as a political system, along with its economic coevals Capitalism and the associated free market as a valuation and exchange system, and the belief in an absolute truth that is not subject to alteration at the whim of whoever can manipulate imagery to sway the opinions of a mob.

Haque is like the oily Inquisition interrogator trying to trap his victim into a confession of heresy. Sarah Palin is like Galileo standing before the assembled Cardinals and whispering, Nevertheless, it moves. Here is Jacob Bronowski on the trial.


Perhaps she is even more boldly to be compared to Martin Luther saying to the Emperor, Here I stand. (newer version) http://tinyurl.com/l2k7yo
(older version)


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Promethea,
(who visited family where everyone loves BHO)
Evanston Illinois, still so devoted to human liberty.
How is the Women’s Christian Temperance Union doing these days?

Aug 27, 2009 - 8:43 pm

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Comment on The Belmont Club,
"Losing the embed"


maineman,
(who asked why comments were closed on Edward Kennedy's death)
Finis

Regarding Yon and by extension the Kennedy and Obama and Dodd etc. scandals, control of the narrative is more important to the bureaucrat then effective activity. If Yon concentrated on stories of Troopers thinking of Mom's blueberry pie and prayers the folks back home in Britain support the NHS then the desk jockeys would be eager to have him around. Real reporting that discloses how to improve the function of the organization reveals errors and abuses. Does the US Senate want newshounds telling people about the waitress sandwiches that boozy Kennedy and Dodd made or do they want tame journalists who pen stories about the Lion of Camelot?

Comment on PJM, Nate Hale
"Morale at CIA Plummets as Panetta Makes a Bad Situation Worse"


Crusader,
we won’t be hearing too much from the “torture is always wrong” crowd anymore

Unfortunately you are wrong. The Left shut up for exactly three weeks after 9-11. Bill Maher opened his mouth to preen and be snarky and got slapped down but he kept his job. After three weeks they rallied in October and Soros provided the seed money to use ANSWER to organize the opposition to President Bush. If you want to trace the recovery of the Left Establishment just go to http://www.charlierose.com, click on "view full schedule" and then go back to September and October of 2001.

The people at the CIA know they are playing for keeps. They should get all the documentation they can on Obama out to the public. Wonder if they have a copy of the Rashid Khalidi party video the LA Times sat on before the election?

Comments on The Belmont Club,
"What's the frequency?"


One reason that a society of independent small business men is preferred to one of government agencies and large protected concessions is that the former give more opportunity for the social correction of misconduct. Remember when OJ went into a franchise restaurant and the owner told him to leave? If that was a government feeding plan cafeteria the manager would have been unable to express any such opinion. The fact is that while government workers are often rude in small things they can not challenge individuals about larger things. Here is another example, Dan Rather goes into the airport and passes through security. If anyone says anything that he objects to they are out of a job. Consider what would happen if the Security was not run by TSA at the behest of enormous airlines that avoid liability risk, but by Fred's Security Service under a contract with Happy Skies Charter Air. In the second case there is a chance that if Mr Rather showed up the Supervisor could at least loudly order his staff to check everything real carefully because this person had already dealt in forged documents. Fred of Fred's can't sit in judgement on everyone because he has a business to run but he at least has the freedom to speak up when he wants to.

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Tobb,
character should not be judged so much by someone’s goals but rather by the means they use

Well said, that was part of my point behind my shared unhappiness about poor conduct by a Host at a party. The best definition of a Gentleman I ever read, I think it comes from Anna Karenina, was that a "Gentleman is a man who strives never to be unintentionally rude." When the time is propitious and the achievement is worth while then by all means be rude to Dan Rather. When the occasion is one where you are expected to be gracious to guests then think only of what will make others happy.

A proper Liberal Education did not impart a vast store of technically useful information but it did provide a framework and examples that could serve as a guide to conduct. The idea behind "muscular christianity" was that well trained young men would at least think of ends and means before choosing a course of action and on the margin would tend to avoid the easier path to reach a questionable goal.

Personally I am not made completely comfortable by some of the evangelism we sometimes have in here but I am aware of how when properly guided that spirit can lead to conduct that is both disciplined and tolerant. There are few major cultures that do not support dealing honestly and justly with those who are strangers to the core community. Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism all would condemn Rather/Mapes' falsification for personal or even tribal gain. Even the extinct Nordic or Greco-Roman systems shared these standards. The position of Shinto is less clear to me and Confucian ethics did draw distinctions between duties to those close or in authority and strangers but that does not mean that dishonesty was condoned. The position of Scientology on this topic is also unclear to me.

In Communism, in Islam, and in some of the Native American tribal cultures, it is accepted to engage in deceit to gain an advantage over an outsider. The last are now marginalized and of mainly historical interest. Other small faith groups that espouse an unconventional view of morality exist, for example Crowley's Church of Satan. The first two global faiths mentioned in this paragraph are of course universal in their claims and both have the subjugation of rivals as a core principle. Judaism is not universal in its claims except at an abstract level. It has not routinely proselytized for over two thousand years. Christianity is a universal and proselytizing faith but it does not have the subjugation of others as a core principle and does not condone deceit to obtain a goal.

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A few years ago there was a minor explosion aimed at TSA when Ted Kennedy came up on the "No Fly List." The fact was that he was on the list and it was no accident. An airline submitted his name for good cause. If Ted Kennedy got on your plane at 10 AM it was no big deal but if he got on your plane at 7 PM the he was an abusive drunk who refused to follow aircrew instructions and who groped the stewardesses. They were sick of it.

Aug 26, 2009 - 11:03 am

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In The Portrat of Dorian Gray the monster within is revealed by a painting hidden in a locked room while the beast kept a fair appearance. In the case of Edward Kennedy his outward appearance displayed the corrupt monster within. The horror is that his followers refused to see reality and clung to the pretty pictures offered by the media.

Aug 26, 2009 - 1:05 pm

-------
whiskey,
(who thinks wanna be Princesses love the Kennedys)
Parvenau princesses have no clue what a real aristocrat is. If you asked any real Duke or Earl or Baron or Roman Senator or Greek Hoplite what their job was they would all have had the same answer, farmer. An aristocrat was always an independent farmer with the wealth and leisure to serve the Sovereign.

Aug 26, 2009 - 1:29 pm

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club,
"The mandate of heaven"


Ajami got it, It shall be seen whether the man swept into office in the moment of national panic will adjust to the nation’s recovery of its self-confidence.

The plan for BHO and Rahm Emmanuel is to keep manufacturing crises. It doesn't matter to them what the crises is because the response has nothing much to do with the precipitating event. Remember Emmanuel's "Never let a good crisis go to waste?" The Democrats began this pattern before the election by cracking the economy and ramming through the TARP in a panic. Bush was simply overwhelmed by the orchestrated attacks and failed to rally the country.

Is there any reason to be pressing on Health Care while the economy is still under pressure? None at all, except that the atmosphere of panic produced by an unrelated subject can be used to stampede legislation through Congress. The problem for BHO is that after the seizure of GM and Chrysler to reward the UAW the magnitude of the bait and switch corruption became to obvious to hide. You can con a sucker once, or even twice but you can't con him and then con his friends and then come back a third time. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain had the con men know that they had to sneak out of town with the money before the third performance of the fake play. Is BHO the Dauphin or the Duke of Bilgewater?

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What Holder is doing is criminalizing the process of giving advice contrary to the desires of the Left. My argument that follows is somewhat tortured. It relies on a distinction between what could be defended as possible in theory, prosecuting an interrogator, and what would be extremely unwise in practice, prosecuting a lawyer for advising someone to order the interrogation.

It is not the act of waterboarding itself that important here. It is possible for reasonable people to disagree about that. If they had chosen to prosecute an interrogator for being personally responsible for causing suffering then a jury could hear the arguments. The interrogator could not win by pleading that they were "just following orders." The Nuremberg precedent precludes that. It would be unwise to do so because if it was deemed illegal to perform an act it does not mean that it would wise to make it be illegal to issue an order for someone else to do the act.

The Left are assuming that the public will accept that it was criminal for the lawyers who advised Bush and Cheney to advise a course of action and that it was illegal for them to act on that advice. What should protect the operator from being charged for acting in accordance with instructions is that doing so would be against the interests of those who give advice contrary to that which the operator acted on. Could they prosecute the chain of command all the way up to George Bush without indicting the lawyers and neocon publicists that justified the former administration's policy? It may have been possible to do so but Holder already began by threatening people like Douglas Feith.

Given that the Democratic Party is far more dependent on the legal community then the Republicans are it surprises me that there hasn't been a louder call from the ranks for them to pull back from this course of action. Once the giving of advice is criminalized then the entire apparatus that the Left has built up over the last seventy years is open to deconstruction. The entire network of lobbyists and law firms, of foundations and NGOs and research institutes that have become a permanent government in exile when they are out of office and an unaccountable sources of policy and personnel when they are in power will be open to attack. The Right by comparison has a shallow bench with only a handful of similar institutions.

If the Left begins to lose elections then the entire structure with tens of thousands of people in it will face investigation and possible retribution. The hard core pushing for radical change may desire this because it binds the troops closer to the radical agenda. If failure means exposure and poverty or prison then the nomenklatura will become as bound to the radical project as the purple shirts of the SEIU and Acorn.

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no mo uro,
(who said that winning ideas are not enough)
Well said. The triumph of the messenger over the message goes back to the Kennedy-Nixon TV debate.

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There are four different states in which groups of people can interact. These are legal constructs, like marriage, divorce or commercial-client relations are for individuals. People, even criminals, are assumed to be members of social and political communities unless they are certified not to be. People who are not members of any recognized community who then commit acts of violence are Pirates.

1) Comity, that is the state of trust and equality shared by citizens who are mutually pledged to support a common sovereign authority that they empower. Disputes and criminal damages are handled by the legal system.

2) Peace, that is the state of defined legal relations that foster peaceful trade and travel between citizens of different sovereignties. A state regulates its citizenry and takes responsibility for their conduct. Disputes or criminal acts done by persons when in a foreign jurisdiction are resolved by procedures agreed to between the respective states. If a citizen of one state causes injury to a citizen of another then the claim is made between the two governments. While this may be modified for convenience in practice the fact remains that if you as an American are owed something in France and the US government negotiates an agreement that settles all claims between the governments you may or may not get anything yourself. France will no longer owe you and any claim you have on the US government would be a separate matter.

4) War, this is a state in which most legal contracts are abrogated and violence by agents of the state may be used under defined conditions. A state regulates its armed forces and takes responsibility for their conduct.

5) Piracy, this is a state in which there are no legal boundaries binding the parties, making it in effect a "State of Nature."

Khalid Sheik Muhhamed is a pirate. The only constraints on how he is to be dealt with should related to determining his status to begin with. Once it is verified that he is not a criminal, subject to the laws and authority of a nation that takes responsibility for him, and that he is not a soldier protected by treaties and laws governing the treatment of prisoners of war, then the only protections he has are those administrative policies against random brutality. He is effectively not a human being but a dangerous beast.

Non-state actors, like al-Qaeda, cannot be allowed to claim the benefits for their members that are granted to state actors, even hostile ones, that take some responsibility for the people under their jurisdiction.

Aug 25, 2009 - 9:41 am

Monday, August 24, 2009

On the Study of Linguistics


From the BC thread "A Tribute To Our Decency," linked to below.
bob,
(whose daughter is enthused about a course)
The Origins of Language course sounds interesting. Linguistics is a complex field that draws from many other traditions, such as neurology and philosophy. It is however a very dense and jargon laced discipline that is, like the related subject of psychology, subject to abuse if taught at an undergraduate level before a thorough grounding in another area, such as anthropology, is obtained at the entry level. Instruction in complex and technical matters to students without a prior firm grasp of broader underlying principles can easily become indoctrination into arcane matters that are accepted as a faith.

The worst case scenario would be if the course was used to recruit adherents for the ideology of Noam Chomsky. Some years ago his work was discussed in the Belmont Club by others who know more about it then I do. My suggestion to you is that you read up on the subject and particularly on Mr. Chomsky. Given my criticisms of some web based information in the past you can understand my urging you to be careful when evaluating anything in wikipedia. Still that would be a good place to start by reviewing the articles on Linguistics and Chomsky. A look at the articles associated discussion pages may at least alert you to a partisan debate that is attempting to pass as an assertion of fact.

The good news is that Linguists are in demand in the job market. Intelligence shops, like the NSA, love them.

On the Regression to Feudal Law


From the BC thread "What a Wonderful World" linked to below.
Mad Fiddler,
(who commented on "Thought Crimes")
The continued rise of the concepts of thought crimes, the allocation of punishment based on inferred intent or reliance upon either aggravating associations on the part of the perpetrator or membership in a protected class on the part of the plaintiff or victim. troubles me. First as you indicated it empowers a bureaucrat to make subjective judgements. Second is that is a return to the feudal concepts of special laws for members of special communities or guilds. In England Peers of the Realm can no longer demand trial before the Lords and you no longer face special punishments for offending the nobility. In America however if you are charged with an offense against a member of a protected group then your motives will be examined to determine if that aggravates the crime and increases your punishment. In America between the end of the oppressive Black Codes and the rise of the EEOC codes, and related criminal and civil procedures, there was a brief period when the only vestiges of such laws giving special punishments based on the identity of the victim was in the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Theo Spark is on a roll today.


1) http://tinyurl.com/lmlzej on the draining of FDIC and the Reserve Ratio. What will the next two points on the graph be?
2) http://tinyurl.com/mcu2mr What if the health care rules logic applied to Obama’s children?
3) http://tinyurl.com/l5ncou The continuing housing/credit meltdown.
What Barney Franks and friends have wrought.
And the best for last.
4) http://tinyurl.com/m6tp3u Telling it to The Man at a Town Hall.

Comments on The Belmont Club,
"A Tribute To Our Decency"


bob,
(whose daughter is unfocused at college)
Seriously, do you think that a tour in the military might teach her the value of work? If she were a bad girl it would be a disaster because she would get in trouble but if she is a good girl and just needs to appreciate how things work then it might help.

My policy is to only walk out on one party a night. People expect little of politicians because they are no longer educated to expect better. The point of the old curriculum was to teach values, what were called “republican virtues.” Stories of the Roman Republic and the sacrifices they made. Like the Senator who killed his own son for breaking discipline. These served two roles. One it was a common language since everyone read the same histories along with Shakespeare, the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. Second the provided examples that people really could judge conduct by.

Compare that to my consternation at the bottom of the last thread in how people simply had no idea how to respond to rudeness that I encountered earlier this evening.

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Alexis,
(who called anti-Americanism "Royalism")
The chicken and egg question regarding European anti-Americanism is whether it precedes from or leads to their virulent anti-Semitism? The distinctions between right and left in this regard are of largely anthropological interest.

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It is getting hard to tell the players without a scorecard. The CIA that Bush 41 rebuilt and that by some accounts worshiped him, the same CIA that sabotaged Bush 43 with a thousand leaks, is now at war with BHO? What do they want? If this was a hostile tin pot dictatorship we would be sending high level emissaries over and offering them scholarships for the manager's kids. Instead they have Leon Panetta and the house is on fire.

-------
The circle to square is how to wish no harm for those innocents that MacAskill holds dear but to wish that he experiences a trauma great enough that he will know empathy, not a politician's sympathy, with the Libyan's victims.

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ADE,
I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you are in the best tribe
Good point. My guess is that Oliver Cromwell would have sided with the King against Franks, Reid, Soros & Co.

Aug 23, 2009 - 7:06 am

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bob,
When I started at Chicago tuition was $1,000 per quarter and room and board ran another several hundred. Of course back then you had to share your room with a sabre tooth and dodge roving bands of aborigines between your cave and the quadrangles.

Peter Boston,
Socrates was threatened by the Oligarchs and killed by the Democrats.

Aug 23, 2009 - 11:02 am
-------
bob,
The wolves are only using the elk for training. Soon they will begin to cull herds of grannies.

Tony,
I agree the CIA prosecution is a distraction. Expect more otrages of the day to chew up newstime and column inches while Pelosi and Reid use reconciliation to ram through the socialization of health care and more.

Sythianeedle,
Nice nordic metering. Have you read Tolkien's play on the Battle of Maldon, The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son?

Hige sceal pe heardra, heorte pe cenre,
Mod sceal pe mare, pe ure maegen lytla.

Will shall be the sterner, heart the bolder,
spirit the greater, as our strength lessens
.

Aug 24, 2009 - 7:12 pm
-------
The Battle of Maldon is totally On Topic in a discussion of the Sots, sorry I meant Scots, misplaced compassion. That was the battle one thousand and eighteen years and two weeks ago in which the Saxon commander, out of a misplaced sense of pride, allowed the Danish (Viking) army to cross a guarded bridge. The result was a battle lost, his life lost and much treasure in Danegeld lost.

Aug 24, 2009 - 7:47 pm

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hospitality


An hour ago I got back from one of the least pleasant events that I have ever attended. Had received an Evite for an End of Summer bar-b-que. The guest list consisted of people who had all volunteered on the McCain campaign last year. There was some concern on my mind as one of the invitees was someone who had behaved rather badly last Winter by informing me that I was of the wrong faith to be part of her social circle. Still I had not seen these people in almost a year and thought it would be proper to attend.

The evening began on an interesting note in that after picking up desert at the best German-French bakery in NY and gotten a bottle of liquor I walked down to the East Village. Just off 2nd Avenue on 10th street I saw an apparently young woman hunched over on a stoop. She was very still and supported herself with one hand on the pavement. After walking to the next corner I called 9-11 and reported it as a possible drug overdose. Somebody’s daughter, we still see such things and times are going to get worse.

Having arrived shortly after the appointed time I met the two ladies whose apartment we were in and things began well enough, meeting people, petting the dogs and nibbling on salad. Most people went to the back yard, a nice feature in NYC, to avoid some who were smoking where the grill was just getting set up. As a side note it is a good idea to start preparing the food before the guests arrive. One woman came over to me and said that I should not eat as others had not. I thought that was odd for three reasons, first it wasn’t her house, second the party had already begun and while guests were still arriving everyone had been eating whatever was available, and third I had not been eating at that moment, except for a piece of carrot and a grape. Later I helped set up a table and when some food was put out and others took some I asked for a piece and had some sliced hot dog bits. The same woman returned and said we should not be eating and took the cooked food away. Finally, about an hour and a half after the party began the people at the grill called out “Get some food” and after some people took some chicken I added a piece to my plate. The woman returned and yelled at me in front of the guests, “I told you to wait until everyone else gets to eat. You have been eating since you got here.” I asked “Who are you?” as one woman tried to stop her. She replied “I sent out the invitations.” So I said in a clear voice that everyone could hear that I would then leave and picked up the plum tart, best one in NYC by the way, and Slivovitz, and left.

Now the rules of hospitality and the duties of a host and a guest are simple, they haven’t changed much in 6,000 years. Leaving aside the technical matter that I had in fact not eaten before food was offered to others there are larger issues here. The fact that someone acted in a manner that is borderline deranged is not that unusual. At least I do not think that my concerns fall into the category of general internet gripe. Three issues come to my attention now.

First, are the general rules of hospitality. If someone had climbed the wall to steal food I would have called the police but I would never attempt to stop anyone from eating. You do not take food away from people once it has been offered. My biggest disappointment is that standards of conduct are so loose that people allowed this to happen and simply looked away. If I had seen someone else treated so shabbily I hope that I would have got up and left the party. If it was my apartment and someone had acted that way I would have thrown them out. If there was some arrangement between the hosts and the woman who sent the invitations that included the cost of supplies then I would have thrown money at her or asked for help before allowing a guest to be abused.

Second is what it says about the state of the conservative opposition that it gathered in this small group in New York City and could not handle this minor domestic drama effectively. The people are well meaning but clearly could not reach back into the collective memory and think of what to do when someone asserts unwarranted control and acts abusively.

That gets to my third point. If we are that ineffective in handling a situation that in any two reel movie or cheap novel could have been handled properly then how can we, and by “we” I mean those who were at the party and had been at the Tea Parties and fighting other losing causes, hope to have any chance against thugs like Axelrod and Emmanuel and the Jihadis? Rumsfeld said that you fight with the army you have and every political gathering attracts the socially awkward. That is especially true for struggling socially unrewarding movements like we represent in NYC. Add to those issues of gender and power that can provide a sub-text to any social encounter, especially likely given that we were across the street from Tompkins Square Park and the opportunities for the abusive and manipulative abound.

The ongoing challenge in any political or social group is to organize and motivate people to act correctly without either allowing the abusive to drive people out nor to allow excessive rigidity to discourage participation.

Hope the people at work appreciate the plum tart. Now what do I do with the Slivovitz?

Updated in Comments

Obama's Continued Slide


Posted on the last BC thread.

Take a look at today's Rasmussen Daily Presidential tracking poll, http://tinyurl.com/5tnd2b. He is now at -10 in the Approval Index. If my prior analysis holds up then the strong negatives will probably level off in the 40% range until the end of September. After that they will probably go up to at least 50% strongly negative. His strong positives are due in the next couple of weeks for another precipitous drop from the 30% range down to 22-25%. He will probably recover about half of that by November. Of the third of the likely voters who are in the middle the pattern now is that about twice as many are likely to break against Obama to the right as move left and support him.

This puts the Democrats in an almost existential position before the off year elections. While it is true that no congressional seats are at risk this year there are local contests.

The patronage jobs and union contracts riding on these elections are the life blood of the Democratic Party. The unhappiness this situation creates will be shared with Congress members. Given these facts it seems that the only way that Obama can push through any more power and money grabs is by using tactics that approach a Coup d’├ętat. My prediction is that marginal or Blue Dog Democrats are going to be blackmailed and their families threatened. Some will break and go public about it.

Comment on The Belmont Club
"What a wonderful world"


Talnick,
Good point, I'm expecting to hear that US Ambassadors start getting doors shut in their faces and wedgies on the elevator. The Italians could kick out the Sixth Fleet and the Canadians must be reviewing their options.

Dr. Sanity,
On the other thread we were looking for you. Technically speaking, just how nuts is Obama?
Good on you for the use of video on your blog. That is my style also. Elmer Gantry is a keeper.

The Civil Service credo is, "A good idea is an idea worth stealing and a great idea is an idea worth backdating a memo for the file for, so you can claim you came up with it first."

Friday, August 21, 2009

Comment on The Belmont Club,
"The nine trillion"


bob,
I’ve never met anybody yet that hates Sarah
Pauline Kael didn’t know anyone that voted for Nixon. They are out there.
Try and get a good wife in the canoe
I’m considering leaving a trail of M&Ms, but do you really think a paddle would help?

Comments on The Belmont Club,
"Unto Caesar"


One of the many strengths in Western Civilization is the separation between roles of the KIng or Basileus and that of the High Priest. At one time they were fused in the West as they historically were in the East. In the East a Despot or Khan was either God's agent over all realms or was a god themselves. In Eastern Orthodox christianity the Emperor dominated the Patriarchy and exercised jurisdiction in both roles under what is called Caesaro-papism. Western Christianity over the long term benefited because it had to survive without the protection of the Imperium. At the same time the material weakness of the papacy allowed independent political communities to develop.

This division between the sacred and profane powers is unusual and created enough complexity and variety in structures that doctrines of tolerance, individuality and privacy were allowed to develop. A parallel set of circumstances created out of physical disaster and dispersion allowed congruent doctrines to develop among the jewish communities that no longer had a unified state with an anointed KIng and a temple bound priesthood to enforce discipline.

In America religious communities have always influenced political debate but other voices would always jealously guard against being subsumed in one voice. Certainly much of the abolitionist movement and later progressive spirit came from the tradition of militant Unitarianism from the 19th century. The alternating alliances and rivalries among the protestant communities and between them and catholic or jewish immigrants helped shape the Republic. Uncertainty about having a religious voice to close to the political voice was raised when John Kennedy became the first Catholic President. That helped define the role of clergy in being a moral voice but keeping them ostentatiously away from formal policy roles over the following decades. Even Billy Graham while seen as a prominent voice close to the White House was not allowed to exercise as open a role in advocating for specific policies as theologians of an earlier era did.

The one exception to this was in the black community. There ordained clergy would regularly engage in roles as both pastors, politicians and organizational leaders with real financial influence. This may in part have been due to the paucity of university trained leaders other then clergy as a result of prior discrimination. Partly it might have been accepted as an indication of patronizing by the larger society in dealing with the minority as if it was a foreign client. In some countries military officers are similarly found in positions of commercial and political leadership also because they are the only pool of skilled professionals available.

Obama by attempting to mobilize clergy for a political dispute is spreading the structure of the black community into the general society. He risks inflaming those who will see this as an Islamic fusion in his mind of the roles of sacred and profane leadership.

We have a thread on the Czars, then we have a thread on Caesar. Do I detect a pattern? Which will come next Henry Kaiser or a thread on Egyptian Pharaonic monuments or Faro and gambling?
Place your bets.

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Promethea,
Reform Judaism has been a floppy branch of the Democratic party for 70 years Besides Reform is really an expression of German Jewish culture. That worked out well. At least the Sulzbergers of the NY Times left Temple Emanu-El and switched to Episcopalian.

Of more concern to me is the decline of what was the robust genuinely American theological movement of Conservative Judaism. This was in fact the bulk of American Judaism during the 20th century but it is under pressure, with some splitting off to become closer to Reform and new immigrants identifying with a reinvigorated Orthodox movement. They are not helped by a leadership that wants to change the relgion's name to something that sounds less "conservative."

Comment on PJM, Roger Kimball
"My final piece on Yale and the Danish cartoons: Martin Kramer connects the dots"


$20 Million from the Bass family, with the expectation of $500 million to come, was insufficient to sway Yale to endow Western Civilization during the flush days but now that the endowment has been flushed the expectation of $20 million is enough to make Yale crawl. Now that the Saudis know what they are dealing with they might as well offer $50 and bottle of cheap liquor. They can say they are just dickering over the price.

Over a dozen years ago I said to John Boyer, Dean of the College at Chicago and the man who hired Michelle Obama before she moved over to the hospitals, that I was saddened by the cuts to the Common Core and the Western Civilization requirements that had been the signature of a Chicago education going back to the Hutchins era. He replied then that if I had $20 million I could endow the program and he'd name it after me. That was before the flood of Saudi money ate into our universities. They had been buying up American foreign service officers at wholesale for years and the British schools and since then moved into the schools in America. This is the same Saudi Prince who had his check was thrown back at him by Rudy Giuliani.

Comment on The Belmont Club,
"Czar struck"


Habu,
But are the Czar’s any more than a kitchen cabinet?
Unlike the Kitchen Cabinet this lot get paid and come with a horde of locusts that eat out of the public treasury. In FDR's day connected people who had achieved prominence in industry considered it an honor to be offered a position as a "Dollar a Year Man."

All of the records and proceedings of these people who are occupying offices that are outside of congressional oversight should be subpoenaed for public review. Remember the Hillarycare Health Care Task Force? That also was an effort to make policy in the dark and it was exposed.

Once again Yes Minister proves to be the true oracle. They called the people given responsibility outside of Cabinet responsibilities "Supremos." When Jim Hacker became Transport Supremo he learned he was in trouble.
Jim: But I'm going to be Transport Supremo.
Sir Humphrey: I believe the Civil Service vernacular is Transport Muggins

The Bed of Nails, 1st of 3 parts.

part 2

part 3

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Comment on The Belmont Club,
"Healthy debate"


Wretchard,
My hope is that you are using the wrong analogy with Jutland here. If we are lucky then the Left are as arrogant as the Tsar who sent his fleet halfway around the world, only to see it destroyed at the Tsushima Straits.

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bob,
(who noted BHO said defining the start of life was "above my paygrade")
Good point. This could be a line in a film noir, "Say buddy, you know when life begins?" No, Mr. but I can tell you when it's time to end."

See, The Maltese Terrier starring Barack Obama as Wilmer the Gunsel, Barney Frank as Cairo, George Soros as Gutman, Hillary Clinton as Mary Astor (the fall girl) and Sarah Palin as Samantha Spade. In glorious Black and White.

Roderick Reilly,
(who quoted BHO)
We are God’s partners in matters of life and death
Where could he have learned this kind of arrogant, solipsistic, religious type of fervor and willingness to destroy real lives, wealth and laws in the name of an external certainty that holds him to a low standard of personal responsibility?

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With respect the model of Jutland or Gettysberg strike me as inapt. Theose were both meeting engagement in which neither side knew what the other was up to and neither was intending to fight a conclusive engagement at the time and place where it developed. While it might be true that the Republicans are flailing around in the dark the analogy just does not apply to the Democrats. They have been planning for decades to use health care as a wedge issue for overall regulatory expansion. The only thing that has surprised them is the effectiveness of the grass roots opposition that their plans have produced.

They Left walked into this cave knowing the treasure inside and knowing that a bear lives here. They just assumed that he was now old and toothless.

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Robohobo,
We are talking about controlling 1/5th or 1/6th of the largest economy in the world.
Be fair, they are trying to shrink the economy as fast as they can. Eight years of Obama with Cap and Trade and health taxes and everything else on their plate might produce an economy so small that even the Democrats can manage it.

Comments on The Belmont Club,
"The Collaborators"


History is written many times. Once by the victors and then rewritten by the scribes.
Reality is dropped into a hole by Winston Smith and everybody knows that Sarah Palin thought she could see Russia from her house.

There were Quislings and collaborators everywhere. The story in China of Wang Jingwei shows the wasteland that ambition and confusion can lead a man of talent into.

The fact is that most of the time the people who are advocating firm positions and calling for confronting power are cranks. Most people want to be in the middle, to get along, because that is where in a normal world production happens. The trick is to know when the shift to a true crisis has happened where you have to get up and join the unpleasant ideologues in risking all. The temptation is to wait until the choices are clear and then tell yourself that it is to late to make a difference.

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This sounds like another vanity project. Where is the audience for this? Not in America, not in China or the Phillipines. Not even I would think in Japan. Possibly in Europe and the Middle East. The investors should hire lawyers to protect their interests. In any other industry failure to exercise basic care to protect the capital that has been invested would result in personal liability. Hollywood needs corporate governance reform. Ever since the studio system got replaced by a web of agents, consultants and production companies, with distribution and financing controlled by divisions of offsite and often offshore conglomerates, there has been no accountability for where the money goes. Art Buchwald put a dent in the shell game when he sued years ago but a major overhaul is called for.

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There are differences in the social strata and groups that Communists and Fascist/Nazis drew from. To use the language of the Left, the communists are a proletarian based movement lead by a cadre from the intelligentsia, often from the upper bourgeoisie or old aristocracy. The fascist movements are rooted in the petit bourgeoisie and lumpen proletariat strata.

This fits with what is happening in America. The Left using shock troops from Acorn and the SEIU drawn from what can be called the laboring class are allied with wealth and power and the universities. They have their Kropotkins and Engels. They fear and despise the small business men and Joe the Pliumber upwardly mobile workers who they accuse of fascism.

Aug 20, 2009 - 11:30 pm

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Tcobb,
There is nothing so dangerous to an established regime as a prosperous middle class.

Your analysis is correct. The use of Marxist terminology is partly for fun and also because that is how they think. Know Yourself and Know Your Enemy. We need both the West (Delphi) and the East (Sun Tzu) on our side.

Historically aristocrats drew support from the peasant masses and the monarchy drew support from the middle class. When these alliances broke down the result was social upheaval and regime collapse. Examples include the English Civil War, when the monarchy lost the support of the Whig gentry and merchants, and the French Revoloution, when the nobility lost control of the peasantry. In both cases the fatal mistake for the monarchy was their attempting to base their support on the aristocrats rather than the commons. The aristocrats, or wanna be aristos, are always jealous of the legitimate Sovereign and the prosperous middle. This dynamic can even be seen in ancient Rome.

For your "established regime" I read "entrenched reactionary Old Regime."

Aug 21, 2009 - 7:06 am

On the cost of the "Thousand Year War"


Fletcher Christian,
(who asked on the BC "foundations of our world" thread)
The only true costs are opportunity costs.
Measure in the songs not sung, the books not written, the inventions not devised, the crops not planted, the lives and hopes blighted.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club,
"The foundations of our world"


One of the many things that infuriates about the preening transnational administrative class and their support base is the presumption that they know and care more about the mass of humanity while the bitter clingers of America are ignorant provincial rubes. We are the people who time after time have gone forth and saved the world. We are bound to distant lands with chains of blood. It is the Americans who escaped from the prisons of the Old World and then repeatedly have spent of ourselves to rescue our fallen cousins.

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El Jefe Maximo,
The plans for operations Olympic and Coronet are both covered in The West Point Atlas of American Wars. The maps are beautifully done and every student of history or the military arts should get the two volume set. The most striking thing about the invasion plans was that the code names for the beaches were drawn from American automobile marks. There were Cadillac beach, Pontiac beach, Nash beach, etc. The irony is to thick to do more then acknowledge it.

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The 8th Air Force was a death sentence. The Japanese couldn't do to the B-29s of 1945 what the Germans did to the B-17s of 1943-44. From the Air Force history fact page:

From May 1942 to July 1945, the Eighth planned and precisely executed America's daylight strategic bombing campaign against Nazi-occupied Europe, and in doing so the organization compiled an impressive war record. That record, however, carried a high price. For instance, the Eighth suffered about half of the U.S. Army Air Force's casualties (47,483 out of 115,332), including more than 26,000 dead. The Eighth's brave men earned 17 Medals of Honor, 220 Distinguished Service Crosses, and 442,000 Air Medals. The Eighth's combat record also shows 566 aces (261 fighter pilots with 31 having 15 or more victories and 305 enlisted gunners), over 440,000 bomber sorties to drop 697,000 tons of bombs, and over 5,100 aircraft losses and 11,200 aerial victories.

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Mark Framness,
(who linked to a photo of Corregidor)
Think about Tiny URL http://tunyurl.com, reduces the risk of being tossed into PJM/WordPress moderation.
I have walked along the ruins of the Mile Long Barracks and entered the hospital cave.

The fellow I relieved as Deck Division officer on the USS England told me that his father had gone from trading shots with the IJN across the River Shit that borders the old Subic Bay Naval Base to grabbing a meal at the Chuck Wagon O-Club dining facility, when it was a Quonset Hut. I got the Chuck Wagon polo shirt and remember seeing the wives of Commanders and Captains on the main club veranda, wearing Summer dresses and gloves. It was like the ghost of the Raj two generations after the British gave it up.

Aug 19, 2009 - 8:25 pm

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Fletcher Christian,
(who asked about the cost of a millennial conflict)
The only true costs are opportunity costs.
Measure in the songs not sung, the books not written, the inventions not devised, the crops not planted, the lives and hopes blighted.

Aug 20, 2009 - 3:31 am

Comments on The Belmont Club,
"Seeing-eye cat"


There are hand lettered signs up in my building warning people not to throw cigarettes out the window or face a fine of $500. When I saw them I thought two things.
1) Who in h*ll granted these third world idiots legislative, police or judicial powers?
2) That is a great thing to show anyone considering buying into this bankrupt co-op.

One minor functionary from the building threatened me the other day because I was combing my four footed friend about 50 feet from his garage. I told him to get a lawyer.

One problem is that the lawyers for the landlord seem to feel no need to advise their client on what is in the buildings best interest. To many lawyers just view themselves as hired guns instead of as counselors.
General Frank Savage: [on stalling the transfer paperwork] There can be trouble in this.
Major Harvey Stovall: I don't think so, sir. I never heard of a jury convicting the lawyer.
- 12 O'Clock High

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bob,
My friend was fixed, and if an animal does not have the potential of producing show quality offspring it is the right thing to do. It is also true that different breeds have different issues. For example American Pit Bull Terriers do not know how to let go. Given that I still feel that when an animal gets in trouble it is usually a sign that some abusive or incompetent owner needs a trip to get an operation more then the poor beast does. How many jerks are there that get their jollies by waving a brutalized dog around like it was a loaded weapon? It shouldn't take an Austrian accent to figure out what kind of inadequacy they are overcompensating for.

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While blue eyed white cats are often genetically inclined to be deaf I would think that using a vacuum near an animal is a bad idea simply because they might be more sensitive to the high frequency whine emitted by the motor.

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Wadeusaf,
(who linked to the site)

http://garfieldminusgarfield.net/day/2009/08/07/
Didn’t hold BHO back.

Aug 20, 2009 - 11:08 am

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Please adopt Pinky.

http://tinyurl.com/lum4eo
From Theo Spark.

Aug 20, 2009 - 8:37 pm

Comments on The Belmont Club,
"Sitting in judgement"


bogie wheel,
Within living memory in England a man's home was his castle and the King himself could not enter uninvited without showing cause before a magistrate and obtaining a warrant.

Anything can be done in the name of health. The Nuremburg Codes The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour that set the legal basis for Nazi racial policy were considered part of the Public Health Code. Less then 50 years ago decent liberal people understood this. Listen to Spencer Tracy in Stanley Kramer's Judgement at Nuremburg.

In The Lives of Others the Stasi agent has to sit in the attic in secrecy as he listens in to those suspected by the State.

In the future the State will be able to insist on monitoring equipment everywhere, for your own good, and will feel free to censure any conduct that might impose a cost on the public purse. How will this differ from the world of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, with its two way telescreens?

Liberals often justify nuisance laws on seatbelts and smoking by saying that those who violate the policy will use the public hospitals so, "We will all have to pay." When I ask who invited them to they lash out and accuse me of wanting to close all the hospitals and leave the poor defenseless. The natural instinct in the face of such idiocy is to either walk off in disgust or get physical. Either would please the adolescent ignoramuses. Like the bum on the subway they act as offensively as possible to preclude the possibility of being challenged.

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The Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll, Instapundit follows Gallup but I believe that Rasmussen has proven more accurate over the last couple of election cycles, continues to provide comfort. Both polls are trending against Obama which is more important then any transient perturbation. My thoughts on this were laid out in more detail on the "Cloudy Crystal Ball" thread.

The next 15 months will be decisive for three (my magic number again) reasons.
1) The Census and related efforts to effect permanent change will either be rammed through or fail.
2) The mid-term elections will be determinative for both parties for the next 20 years.
3) The $3,000,000,000,000 bill will come due. Since China is in no position to swallow this we can expect a hard crash.

OK, add a fourth reason in the spirit of Monty Python's benefits of Roman occupation.
4) The 3:00 AM phone call will happen, maybe several of them at once from Caracas, Tehran and Pyongyang.

Aug 18, 2009 - 10:39 pm

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Gaffe Prices,
You are correct about how bad a ruling Dred Scott was. Sotomayor looks to be a hack capable of coughing up something equally bad. You are also correct that Roe v Wade has roots as solid as Birnham Wood that came to Dunsinane. There were however thousands of free blacks in the South at one time. New Orleans had an especially strong free black community. The legal fiction, using the words of the 1795 Militia Act, under which Lincoln fought the war, was that since in the Southern states "the execution of the laws of the United States was obstructed by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings or the powers vested in marshals" he could call out the State Militias.

Aug 19, 2009 - 7:29 am

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Comment on The Belmont Club,
"Heat beneath the dome"


It is possible for an aristocratic state actor to enter a war with the expectation that it will lose. That is possibly how Spain behaved in the run up to the Spanish American War. It is even easier for a non-state actor to provoke a war without the expectation of a conventional victory. Think of the small dog in the run who causes trouble and then runs behind its owner or the rest of the pack. You can just hear them say, "OK Dad now it is your turn." Hezbollah is writing checks for others to cash.

My view since 2001 has been that the boil should have been lanced first in Damascus. The Sunnis everywhere will be delighted if the Syrian Alawite regime is destroyed. The Iraqis, including most Shia should feel relieved if the Iranian proxy to their rear is dispatched. The Turks would benefit by no longer facing Russian encirclement. Israel should avoid the planned trap and strike at the strings (Syria) between the puppet (Hezbollah) and the puppet masters (Iran/Russia).

Comments on The Belmont Club,
"Take your medicine"


The best friends that The Republic have are the friends of Barack Obama and time. The face of the nomenklatura is now Howard Dean. This is good. The MSM got this crowd into power by keeping everyone focused on the smiling face of BHO and his post card children. It was like a hypnotism trick or a magician's sleight of hand. Michelle vanished for the election. Some very brave soul must have the job of being her keeper.

The more they try to do the more the public will get to see the mob, Dean, Emmanuel and a score of other hateful thugs slavering at the bit like wolves, and always hovering behind the curtain, Soros. Think about it, Howard Dean, the crazy Doctor, the failed candidate, the man who left his church because they would not give up land for a pet cause. We want the public to see more of him and remember why he was a loser.

They know that time is their enemy. That is why they desperately used lies and panic to ram through the Stimulus and seized the auto industry. They knew that if they didn't get someone as unqualified as Satomayor onto the SCOTUS fast they never would. They have to push the seizure of health care through before the second slump hits.

It is possible that the off year elections in ten weeks will show that the tide is running out for them.
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Roderick Reilly,
Kevorkiacracy,
That is excellent. We need to buy or build billboards everywhere. Right now CBS/Viacom has a lock on that industry. My idea is simple graphics, photos of Emmanuel and Dean one or two others (hold off on using Obama's image until he goes down another 10 points in the polls) with a stark slogan,
Merchants of Death.

The same tactic should be used with images of Dodd and Franks and Rezco and Gorelick. Their slogan,
Poverty Pimps.

Then watch the lawyers and local governments and media go crazy trying to shut it down.

The editorial from the NYT that ran the "General Betray Us" ad will be a joy to read. We could start writing it now ourselves for fun.

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luddy barsen,
(who linked to a story of suicide advocacy at the VA from NRO)
Is there no peer review panel or state licensing board that can look at the doctor and pull his plug?

The difference between a Physician and a Veterinarian is that a Physician is sworn to preserve human life and a Veterinarian is sworn to relieve animal suffering. It looks like someone needs a career change but is to arrogant to admit their mistake so they want to make the rest of the world change to please them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club,
"The cloudy crystal ball"


Many years ago my undone thesis foundered on my disinclination to cobble together a story based on numbers reported by the Chinese government. How big a threat will China become? The counsel of our fears tells us to expect the worst. There could be blue water fleets with red flags sweeping South and East in a replay of the Japanese effort of almost seventy years ago. Faced with the hollow shell of Russia to the North and the resource pools weakly controlled by barbarians to the South-West the Chinese could send forth million man armies in vast columns to grab in a replay of the Mongol conquests of almost a thousand years ago. But a small voice made me hesitate to tell a story based on numbers that are unreliable.

How big is the chinese economy? The truth is that no one knows. Mao constructed a system in which everyone had a powerful incentive to lie about how many eggs the chickens were laying. On a previous thread it was noted that Solzhenitsyn in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich showed how communism made it more rational to lie then to tell the truth to authority. We have problems with our Generally Accepted Accounting Principles based business model in America but on a basic level we can believe that real numbers are available for judging the state of a firm or of the economy. In the case of China the picture is much murkier. We can get information on resources consumed as a rough guide to what is going on in there. The authorities themselves are probably facing the same problem. What, they must ask themselves, if they are in the same fix that Saddam was in? They could end up giving orders to move nonexistent divisions and fire inoperable missiles that their own agents had fooled both the Americans and them into believing in.

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The good news is that under Obama's leadership the American economy will become as corrupt and opaque as the Chinese. We can hope that the resulting uncertainty about conditions here will cause foreign adversaries to hesitate before challenging us. The American, Russian and Chinese governments will have to devote CIA sized resources to teasing out what will really be happening in the new socialist America. What a brilliant stroke on Obama's part. That should keep us safe for years.

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I was just looking at the latest Daily Presidential Tracking Poll from Rasmussen Reports. http://tinyurl.com/5tnd2b
It looks to me like there is a story in those lines that someone who uses technical analysis on the stock market could get into. Personally I think that much of that is Voodoo because the Easter Bunny told me so. If I had the money to invest I would try one of two radical decision making systems instead. One is rarely used but has been known to work, it is called doing your homework. The other with a distinguished pedigree is called darts.

Now getting back to the fortunes of BHO. Currently the spread, called the "Approval Index" is at minus 7 and it has varied between minus 3 and minus 11 over the last month. It appears that over the last 6 months about 10% of the electorate has withdrawn their previously highly favorable opinion of the current occupant of the White House. During the same period twice as many voters, fully an additional 20%, have shifted to expressing a strongly negative view of Obama. While there are constant perturbations in the daily polls these shifts appear to be permanent. That means that the moderate middle is shrinking and turning against the present administration. Excuse the use of allusions but I do not want to say President, the word under present circumstances sticks in my craw. Another possibly interesting point is that while the general trend of the rise in the strong negatives is fairly constant the pattern over time of the decline in his strong favorable rating is more complex. The line appears to descend in a series of sudden breaks of 3 to 5 points, followed by a partial recovery and then by another drop. This step function quality shows that response is being effected by the White House's efforts to fight back and spin the story after each shock but that those efforts are ultimately unavailing.

To me it looks like each downward step represents another segment of the cobbled together Democratic coalition of 2008 that has peeled off. The more linear path of the rise of the strong negatives to me shows that the forces moving against the administration are broad based and are not the result of astroturfing or the controlled manipulation of discreet constituencies. If these trends continue then it looks like that by November to January another 5 points will have peeled of of his high favorables and another 7 to 10 points will have shifted into the strong negative camp.

All of this is happening before the second wave of economic contraction that I fear will be triggered by the bad debt run up by the deficits. As our genial host has pointed out here, we can not count on China to fund Obama's binge.

Aug 17, 2009 - 10:50 am

On: "Pentagon Worries Led to Command Change"


Interesting WP article on the firing of Gen. McKiernan in Afghanistan. The WaPo tries mightily to spin things as an exoneration of Obama but the message is clear that political connections are all that count now.

The best comment I read was to the effect that we started this war with Clinton's generals and that Obama and company will conduct another purge in favor of the morally dubious who specialize in politically connected projects at the expense of combat capability. Right now BHO is throwing resources at the new team that the Congress would have fought giving the old team but there is no credibility in the American regime. The smell of defeat hangs over us and the allies that were cultivated by Bush and his generals, even as they carped and foot dragged, will now cut and run. The partisans of the left are shrill and desperate in their efforts to assign responsibility for their disasters to Booooosh.

The question that remains is what are the of new team like? Is McChrystal another Weasley Clark? Is he a good man who just wants his shot at getting a job done? Does anybody know?
HT/Instapundit

Note: BC posted a thread on this topic, "Just attacking in another direction." Future comments will be copied to here.

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Habu,
(who questioned the number of comments on a popular culture topic)
We need a moral purpose for our struggle here at home as much as the Pashtun do in Afghanistan. The thread about "Mad Men" was to me a discussion of, “What are we fighting for?” Any topic is instantly transubstantiated into a higher cause by being discussed in the Belmont Club. This place purifies by contact, Honi soit qui mal y pense.

Gay Talese related the story in The Kingdom and the Power of how appalled some people were by the Times' coverage of a tabloid ready scandal in New Jersey, complete with politicians, girlfriends and money. When challenged at a cocktail party with a "How could you?" a senior Timesman drew himself up and proclaimed, "When they do it, it is sex. When we do it, it is sociology."

Aug 17, 2009 - 8:34 pm

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luddy barsen,
(who gave my comments unwarranted praise)
Aww Gee, right back at you Big Guy.
Now if only I can get myself taken seriously by a man with a job, or at least money, or a woman with, well anything. That reminds me of my college roommate who one night yelled up at the ceiling, "Two eyes and a lung XXX. Two eyes and a lung. That's all I'm asking for." Considering who he ended up marrying he can't complain that the Lord wasn't listening.
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Has anyone been following this story? Russia: Missing ship found, crew OK. Anyone in Hollywood who isn't seeing a movie in this should be fired. The "Pitch Session" could be right out of Robert Altman's The Player. "We can't miss, I'm thinking of Angelina Jolie as The Slippery SEAL."