Monday, May 31, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Hotline to History"

Belmont Club » Hotline to History

For nine years now we have endured lectures from the smug and half educated about how the bitter rivalry between Sunni and Shia meant that there was plenty of room to sit back and let master chess players spin competing alliances. It was always balderdash. Not that they don't hate each other, they do, but that means nothing since we cannot trust any of them in any such engagement. This internal dispute has been going on for over 1200 years. The Sunni would be happy to see Israel bloody Iran and they would be happy to see Iran exterminate Jews. If they can gain power versus Iran cheaply they would be happy but if they have to endure a temporary Iranian ascendancy they would do that, and then betray it at the first opportunity, rather than actually exert themselves or assist in Israel becoming a permanent fixture with allies who are freed of dependence on imported energy.

Compare the fruitless cobbling together of fantasy alliances to control the Iranians now with those of Nixon/Kissinger 40 years ago. Now we dance around the Iranian regime while refusing to acknowledge the organizing principle they base their entire program on and which they repeatedly shout in our faces while our suave sophisticated pundits stick fingers in ears and go "I can't hear you." The efforts of the Tricky Dick and Henry K, who still produce a foaming two minute hate when mentioned to one of the bien pessants, were by comparison successful and would have endured if not tossed away by Wee Jimmy Carter. That is because Nixon/Kissinger recognized that the Pahlevi Shah's regime was not based on the quicksand of religion but on nationalism. That is a firmer basis for negotiating lasting agreements. Nations have interests, citizens or subjects, and assets that they can build on and be held to agreements based on reciprocity.

Religions only have followers who are tools that can be picked up or dropped as convenient and they can always back out of an agreement after citing a new instruction from a Higher Authority. This is especially true with regard to Islam whose founder routinely, whether on destroying irrigation and date trees, having sex with a nine year old, executing prisoners after a truce, or sending assassins under cover of friendship, would violate what had been his own traditional moral code to suit his purpose. It has proven difficult to negotiate agreements for any but the most narrow and specific alliances with the Arabs because most of them are still not real nation-states. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 dragged that country back from the Shah's efforts to modernize it through nationalism. Similarly the Islamists in Turkey are unraveling the efforts of Mustafa Kemal, which had for four generations partly transformed the former seat of the Caliphate.

The post nationalist tranzis like the Yurps think that is wonderful, since their experience of nationalism has included unhappy events like the two World Wars. They are confusing the primitivism of prenationalism, either religious or tribal, with the post-nationalist administration of communities already transformed by capitalism and socialism. They have proven wrong on every count. The Europeans are proving to be still stubbornly best organized in national units. Failure to do so only stimulates regression to more tribal identifiers and criminal pre-capitalist social behavior. In Weberian terms they regress from a state of Organic to Mechanical Solidarity. The non-Europeans who were never transformed by capitalism and nationalism and will only respond to immediate external pressure for short time goals.

The Japanese are a modern capitalist society who like the Europeans could move into post nationalist relations, if they had different neighbors. As it is they are emerging from the shadow of American power and will have to negotiate how to safely restore themselves as national, and nationalist, actors. Potentially Korea, Taiwan and the non-Islamic nations of South East Asia could all emerge as normal nation-states.

China is attempting to conduct itself as a rational national actor, as opposed to being motivated by some ideology, but they have two handicaps;
1. their capitalist revolution is imperfect and the rule of law is poorly instituted,
2. because of their size and history they have imperfect demarcations between local loyalties and national pretensions. China is really very fragile as both an economy and a polity.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Where the Old Flotilla Lay"

Belmont Club » Where the Old Flotilla Lay

the third are the unintended consequences of President Obama’s diplomacy

Nothing is "unintended." For B. Hussein O. the destruction of Israel is a goal.

makes the Jewish state that much more paranoid

It is not paranoid when you recognize a real enemy who is determined to kill you.

Israel is at war. It faces an existential threat. Retreat, compromise or even surrender would do nothing to change the goals sought by the Salafists and Khomeinists who control the Ummah. Therefor they must undertake certain steps in the short run to control the tactical situation and additional steps to defeat the Ummah over time. Immediate steps for Israel to take include;

1. tit for tat or asymmetric response to any provocation by incrementally emptying Gaza using my "squeezing the tooth-paste tube" method,

2. the elimination of the Ba'athist regime in Syria by the destruction of the Alawite strongholds.
A long term plan to defeat the Ummah and remove its grip on not just Israel but the entire Western community would include the following;

1. a widespread campaign to eliminate politicians, spokesmen and financiers who support the Ummah,

2. when car bombs go off outside of terror cells in Western cities, such as Milan, then those cities will cease to be safe havens for terrorists, so initiate a campaign using the methods of the jihadis against them and their supporters globally that could utilize their own factional disputes so that they eliminate each other and hosts are motivated to expel them,

3. the development of technologies that free both Israel and other countries from dependence on Ummah controlled energy sources.

Finally Israel needs to institute the prepositioning of 200 nuclear devices, some small within Western cities and some larger within Islamic regions, in secure shielded locations from which they could eliminate a large section of the Ummah under the Sampson option and make clear that the costs to others of assisting in the destruction of Israel would be unacceptable. Let Putin tear the Moscow subways and sewers apart looking for the bomb before he sends a box of zippo lighters to Iran.

Israel cannot permanently sustain rotating diesel submarines with a 50 day mission window to Iran when their fleet is so small. They need more submarines and they need submarines with greater endurance. In the meantime they need to place MRBMs on converted Merchant ships who can loiter in the Arabian Gulf between Diego Garcia and the Straits of Hormuz.

There is one part of the Gaza flotilla ploy as a propaganda device at this time that we can be grateful for. It makes clear how there is a linkage between the goals and methods of both the antisemitic efforts of supporters of the Ummah, who were heard shouting "khaybar khaybar ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad Sawfa Ya’ud" from the ships off Gaza, and the methods and goals of the Open Borders supporters of La Raza who are marching against Arizona. The two movements may share operational links through Iranian agents operating with Chavez and a known Hezbollah presence in Northern Mexico.

Israeli prime minister's office says he's canceling White House visit to deal with Gaza crisis - AP

Some of the Hamas ships were flying the Turkish flag. Will the Turkish government now attempt to invoke the Nato Treaty, only previously used in response to the attack on America on 9-11? Will Obama use this fig leaf to set up a confrontation between US forces and Israel? Susan Powers has been itching for this for years. What will US UK FR or IT military do?

16. ADE,
Thank you.

24. Rosinante,
The moose is loose

60. geoffgo,
neutron bomb

We can assume that such devices can be scaled from 0.02 kt to 200 kt, constrained by the increased difficulty of transporting and assembling a larger device and depending on the nature of the target. Similarly devices can be designed either to deliver a set effect when constructed or be dialed at activation to deliver their energy at a chosen point on a curve of neutron yield or thermal effects.

111. Bob,
Be careful with your phrasing, or you may be having a conversation with the Secret Service.

I am generally careful not to engage in statements of posturing or advocacy in here, partly because that is my preference and partly because of an awareness that those who indulge in such talk are putting the forum at risk. That occasionally makes me seem stiff or even a scold, so if I did transgress it would be proper to correct me. In this case I believe that a fair reading would indicate that I am not advocating an act of unlawful violence against any American, that already puts me ahead of our government, but rather using my educated yet unclassified skills to speculate as to how a country facing an existential threat may see itself compelled to act. That should not earn me an interview as a Person of Interest from the USSS but could ideally earn me an interview for a job with DIA or CIA.

115. Aqua,
Welcome, wish our genial host's Tocque system was back up. That deserved thumbs up and clip and save status.

For those who suggested that there are non-lethal means to disable a small merchant ship's screws I agree and think that the ideal solution for the Israelis would be to disable such vessels within tow distance of Cyprus or simply ensure that they sink at the pier.

For those who are urging the Israelis to organize relief expeditions for the Kurds or other oppressed minorities it makes a difference if their homeland is landlocked. Geography is harsh.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Memory and Survival"

What is the group whose protection can lay claim to an individual’s sacrifice? All change happens at an interface, so defining just where those boundaries are is always the bedrock problem.

In a prior post I began to explore how different draw competing boundaries around something as basic as the Constitution, result in different loyalties. On the last thread I noted how American Jews, one among many immigrant groups, can be divided by their history into smaller groups with differing patters of political, exploitative or altruistic behavior.

In 2008 the grandchildren of assimilated Liberal American Jews went to Florida to urge their elders to vote for Obama. In 2010 Rahm Emanuel is in Jerusalem for his son’s bar mitzvah, and is subject to public castigation. The reckless and feckless descendants of the survivors of the Shoah did not rest content with transferring their loyalty from the shtetl to America, a thing worthy of their altruism. They further offered their loyalty to an aspirational international order. It is secular or Islamic in content, universal or Gaia base in scope, Socialist in origin, and Totalitarian or genocidal in its consequences.

What will the bright sincere children who traveled from Brandeis University to Florida do when the dead cry out to them? Perhaps they expect that Jennifer Love Hewitt will come to them as The Ghost Whisperer and make the problem go away. After all the advertising says, “Love is kind.”

A Taxonomy of Jews

(fm the BC thread "Sixteen inch Typeface")

The American Jewish community is divided between three groups;
1. the descendants of the great immigration waves from before 1960,
2. those who left Eastern Europe and the (former) Soviet Union after 1974,
3. Israelis who have relocated to America

The first group are overwhelmingly tied to the Democratic Party except for a small intellectual cadre of Neocons who originally were former Leftists. These are the Jews who are well represented in the learned professions, theater, teaching, government work and entrepreneurial industries such as retailing and schmattas, the rag trade. They built the now fading branches of Conservative and Reform Judaism, along with Reconstructionism. Some, mostly descendants of German Jews, remained Orthodox but have not generally absorbed newer arrivals from further East. Their grandchildren have tended strongly towards secularism, assimilation and intermarriage. While criminal elements arose in the early immigrant experience, think of Meyer Lansky and Murder Incorporated, and can still arise, think of Bernard Madoff, as a group they have been highly law abiding and rarely use let alone abuse welfare and other social services.

The second group are more complex. Their general approach, scarred by experience in hostile socialist societies, is cynical. They may reject the Democrats but they may also join it as a means of controlling and associating themselves with what they see as the source of power. Social and political interaction is strongly based on the local Orthodox religious synagogue unit. They will avail themselves of every possible benefit and loophole available for personal gain with an assumption that any inquiry that is not backed by immediate coercive force can be ignored. These are people seen wearing silks and furs shopping with food stamps and then buying caviar with cash.

The third group can consist of various subgroups reflecting the divisions within Israeli society. All identify with Orthodox Judaism although the descendants of the founding Sabras are highly secularized. They as with their American counterparts in group one tend to be politically liberal. Descendants of refugees from Arab countries and Iran tend to be more conservative. Those who came to Israel after the US, with the "Jackson-Vanik Amendment" of 1974, pressured the Soviet Union to release the refuseniks are more like group two as described above but may, and this is highly anecdotal, tend to be more actively politically conservative.

In the meantime consider this tweet from the Israeli foreign minister:
Members of flotilla heard shouting: khaybar khaybar ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad Sawfa Ya'ud - זיכרו את ח'יבר, יהודים,...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Sixteen inch Typeface"

Belmont Club » Sixteen inch Typeface

The problem with treason charges is knowing just what people are or think they are supposed to be loyal to. In an old fashioned monarchy it was easy, your loyalty was to the person of the King. In America it is also supposed to be easy, your loyalty is to the Constitution. What exactly that means however gives ample scope to persons who devote their energies into parsing the interstices between competing claims on loyalty.

To Justice Brennan the Constitution meant the preservation of a claim to Privacy as a right, even though it is found only in his perception of the penumbra of the document. In fact the devotion to the protection of this right, that is now passionately believed in by millions, including many who have no support for or even awareness that it was linked to the abortion decision, is such that they will cling to it even at the point of defying and challenging other clearly constitutional government functions. For example people refuse to cooperate with the Census stating that it violates their privacy without regard to the fact that the Census is found in both the Federal Code and the Constitution while their right to privacy is found in neither.

To certain prominent citizens of South Carolina and others 150 years ago their loyalty to the Constitution was based upon the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act and the preservation of the 3/5ths compromise. To do so they were willing to suborn the violation of numerous other clauses and the doctrines underpinning the Declaration, that keel and the deck of the ship upon which the Constitution rests.

To the NYT the idea behind the Constitution is that it enshrines the freedom of The Times, and only those approved of by The Times, to special protection that exempts them from any consequence for an act of theft, slander, sedition, blackmail or espionage that suits their partisan or commercial interests. Leave aside whether the Pentagon Papers case was wrongly decided, it only stated that there could not be prior restraint on publication. It did not say that publication that results in identifiable harm would be protected from subsequent prosecution.

Their are 3 basic categories of classified information, leaving aside the many codes for special programs and restricting access only to subjects where there is "a need to know." Each level of classification is identified by the risk associated with unauthorized disclosure.

Confidential: unauthorized disclosure could result in some identifiable risk of harm to the United States. For example a Ship's "Plan of the Day" or a unit personnel list could aid an enemy in keeping track of movements and judging activity and alert levels. Routine Signals, as used with flags or Morse Code that remain constant over time are also Confidential. Any citizen should normally be able to gain access to Confidential information used in their job after a basic level of background check to verify identity and determine that there is no felony record or any active warrants. Compromise of Confidential information may most likely cause the United States unnecessary expense, possible inconvenience and trouble or diplomatic effort and may assist an enemy in maintaining their picture of our general capabilities.

Secret: unauthorized disclosure would likely result in specific and identifiable harm to the United States. Ship's Movement Orders, Intelligence Summaries and Technical Publications for weapons, electronic communications and sensor systems are among many items at this level. Access is based on a thorough background investigation, more than was required 30 years ago. Compromise of Secret information could cost lives by revealing our capabilities and general intentions thus giving the enemy an advantage in battle.

Top Secret: unauthorized disclosure will result in grave harm to the United States. Information that reveals time sensitive codes and the sources and methods used to collect intelligence as well as specific operational plans regarding strategic and national assets are included at this level. When Top Secret information is disclosed people die and sometimes wars are lost.

Blood is on Pinch Sulzberger's hands. He has descended beyond a parody of political hackery to pushing farago of social and sexual infantilism under the direction of Frank Rich, while shamelessly trading the paper's legacy to advance the interests of Slim of Mexico and Ratner of Real Estate. Pinch is one case where the wiki has been scrubbed.

Comment on Ed Morrissey: Hot Air »
Axelrod: No evidence that Sestak is telling the truth

Hot Air » Axelrod: No evidence that Sestak is telling the truth

How could someone who;
1. had no combat experience,
2. was extraordinarily political with ideological fringe positions,
3. is haplessly naive and clueless about ruthless dishonest people,
rise in the Navy and get promoted to 3 stars? If Mike Mullen hadn't come along and fired the guy Sestak would have become CNO.

In 1986 Sestak worked for COMNAVSURFPAC at Coronado CA as his Chief of Staff. I was there for a few months working in the Intel shop so I must have met the guy. By all accounts he seems to have been an efficient hardworking competent officer. The worst I have heard about him on a nonpolicy level is that as a Congressman he has an extraordinarily high level of staff turnover because he expects everyone to work as hard as he does.

That inability to deal with mediocrity can resonate with his current problem. One weakness in liberalism is that it assumes hard work and good intentions from everyone. Problems are assumed to be because of a failure in communication, not from bad intentions. Unproductive people are marginalized within the inner circle, liberals can be tougher bosses than conservatives, but they fail to extend to society as a whole the freedom to make those judgments that they exercise themselves. They can choose who to hire and fire as individuals but you or a "faceless corporation" they do not trust with the same authority. Oddly enough in the military it is very hard to fire someone, officers can get a bad Fitness Report but to actually remove a lazy sailor as opposed to letting them coast a few years can be difficult. Sestak has little training in how to handle the incompetent, less in how to deal with the unmotivated or indifferent, and none in how to deal with the hostile and malicious. He operated a very efficient ship but he never actually engaged an enemy.

Now we have a report that the job putatively offered to Sestak, on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, is one that as a sitting Member of Congress he was ineligible for.

(fm the BC thread "Ye Olde Shell Game")

SECNAV would be a much bigger deal if it was offered. Do you have a source to link?

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Sestak Scandal

From Twitter:
Been on the air. Rahm talked to Clinton, Clinton talked to Sestak....low-level jobs were discussed, Sestak said no.

Is Rahm under the bus? Is Clinton, if so which one? Would they eat a bullet for Obama?

Update: AP says former President Bill Clinton carried the message for the White House.

Update 2: 11:50 PM
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High crimes and misdemeanors.
Do we now need a national education on what the meaning of Bribery is?

Obama has gotten, or always was, lazy because he never has had to deliver much up front in his 20 years of Chicago style corrupt dealmaking. He stiffed Blago and got away with it. He got the judge to unseal the Ryan divorce papers for nothing obvious. Now he has Rahm Emanuel, the snake that walks, arrange for Bill Clinton, a man unencumbered by sentimental illusions about Obama, to deliver to Sestak a job offer worse than the one that Lyndon Johnson used to sucker punch Arthur Goldberg off of the Supreme Court.

Perhaps they can come up with a defense here. The offer was so clearly laughable that it proves that the White House wasn't seriously trying to bribe Sestak at all. What we had here was a diabolically clever triple cross to ensure that Sestak stayed in and won and get the unreelectable Arlen Spector eased out.

The True Cost of Labor

(fm the BC thread "Ye Olde Shell Game")

The problems are not only the cost of regulation that drives away skilled jobs and the cost of labor that drives away unskilled jobs. The third component of the engine of economic destruction is cultural. American low skill labor is unemployable at almost any wage rate. It does not cost the $1/hr a more motivated and skilled worker in a place like China or the $2 a worker in India costs to employ an American, it does not cost the $7/hr that people think after looking at the minimum wage rate. It does not cost the $15/hr or so that some can calculate, I have not gotten the exact numbers but they are out there, after adding in mandated regulations and benefits. The actual cost includes the wages of all the Supervisors and EEO counselors and Lawyers needed to follow around the low skill American worker and get them to do anything without putting the company out of business.

Under those circumstances the added costs of translation, coordination and shipping needed to move manufacturing overseas become no barrier. The costs of moving overseas are predictable and decline over time. The costs of remaining in America increase over time. The only industries that cannot move offshore are agriculture and mining, including energy extraction. The former is composed of less than 2% of the workforce and that is under pressure from inheritance taxes. The latter is being eliminated by environmental regulations. The difference between America and the 3rd world commodity producers in 10 years may be that they can generate income by exporting commodities while we refuse to. My expectation however is that by that time the Chinese will have gained control of the extractable resources and we shall see the regulations relaxed.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Ye Olde Shell Game"

As usual wretchard's thread title means something. Keep your eye on the moving pea and the rotating shells. One of three things will happen;
1. you will prove to be a rube who naturally fixates on the game,
2. you will reject the game and attempt to sweep the shells and pea away,
3. you will realize the true nature of the pea and gain control over the

Obama destroys the economy to make America safe for the world. He then claims that he will focus on the economy because a poor America creates international instability. In Obamaland America's greed generated wealth creates world poverty and oppression and American regulated and deindustrialized poverty also creates world poverty and oppression. He will flog the horse until wolves have carried off its last bones. Even then he will look for some collection of inbred bitter clingers to send the environmental impact bill to for the cost of one dead horse.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:

The Olympian disdain for mere mortals that people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton cannot help expressing resembles that of the decadent Imperial Envoy in Issac Asimov's Foundation series who who waved off the pretensions of breakaway satraps. It is far worse than that of Neville Chamberlain who was famous for,
How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing.
Under the current Democrats our passivity has extended to the Mexicans, whose inside the aristocracy President gets to comment on our domestic laws and the employment of our National Guard while we ignore organized armed forces in his country operating alongside, or even crossing over, our own border. Given that how can anyone expect us to be seriously concerned about a conflict in Korea?

Pink Bits

(fm the BC thread "The New International Order")

Objectively, as Old Leftists would couch an argument, most of the former “pink bits” on the map would be better off if the Empire was resurrected. The problem is that would it take at least 30 years to convince the British they were capable of it again, the believing being the essential part, but it would be at least equally hard to convince them that it would be worth the effort. They did not give up the assorted colonies, protectorates, princely states, subordinate allies and Dominions out of altruism but because they were convinced that it was a bad deal for the Home Islands.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Victory Through Dispersal

(fm the BC thread "The Ghost of Donald Rumsfeld")

Subotai Bahadur,
There are precedents for successful dispersal and reconstitution programs, just none that I am aware of in Korean history. The Soviets moved much of the government, and much of their industrial capacity, from Moscow to East of the Urals in 1941-42. The propaganda value in giving everyone something to do during a national crisis, as opposed to allowing them to be passive observers, was as important as the preservation of assets. In that case it resonated with the existing Russian national mythos of triumph following the withdrawal before Napoleon in 1812.

More closely attuned to the Korean story might be that of their cultural big brother China in WW-II. The withdrawal of the Nationalists to their National Redoubt in Szechuan was intended as a similar unifying epic. While it has since been overshadowed in the popular imagination by the victory of the Communists following the Long March educated Asians may appreciate the symbolism, as Americans did when they watched Frank Capra's monumental "Why We Fight" series episode The Battle of China.

China could trade space for time. Unfortunately Korea lacks both. As an aside years ago I took several classes from Tang Tsou, the author of America's Failure in China: 1941 - 1950. He had received his undergraduate degree in Kunming when dispersed in the face of the Japanese invasion. Properly executed a program of national survival in the face of invasion can help unify a nation and build credibility for the leadership. The reverse can also happen.

Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

Daily Presidential Tracking Poll

Posted using ShareThis

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 23% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-five percent (45%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -22. That’s the lowest Approval Index rating yet measured for this president.

Enthusiasm for the president among Democrats, which bounced following passage of the health care law, has faded again. Just 48% of those in the president’s party now Strongly Approve of Obama’s performance. That’s down from 65% earlier.

Among men, 20% Strongly Approve and 50% Strongly Disapprove. Among women, those numbers are 27% and 40%.
This is another lurch down, or ratchet if you prefer in the failure of this administration that I have been chronicling for months. Look at how the spread is growing and how it resembles a step function.

Then look at how is total approval is underwater and consider the series of hammer blows this country faces over the next 4 months.

Desperate people are dangerous and given the situation that Obama is in and given the confluence of events, regarding Iran, Korea, China (both the fragile economy there and the interrelated geopolitical challenges), and the probably second strike at the US economy from exposure to the imploding Euro and the under reported commercial real estate bubble imploding, if Obama was not desperate that would in itself be an indicator of something very wrong with him.

The best solution would be a deal between the Republicans and the Democrats that preserves the Republic while keeping the peace during what will be an inevitable realignment come November, if the Democrats can be urged to refrain from public fraud to preserve their jobs. What can the Republicans offer? The best deal to me would be to assure that the bloodbath remains purely political and that, as in the South African model, the old guard be allowed to depart peacefully once the facts are explained to a candid world.

Ideally Joe Biden would be convinced to resign after discovering an incurable hangnail and the Senate would select John McCain to replace him. Then Obama would be allowed to resign and depart with the first order of business of the new administration being a Bill of Indemnity and Oblivion, named after the English Act of 1660, establishing a South African style "Truth Commission" procedure to lay out the facts with the proviso that cooperation would assure immunity from further prosecution. Some may prefer to use the Impeachment mechanism to lay out the facts in a scripted trial with as per the Constitution no penalty proscribed other than ineligibility from ocupying any further position of profit or trust. If the challenges of the next two years are going to be as serious as I fear then we shall need all Americans focused on working to rebuild the country in the face of a more lawless international scene than we have known in over 60 years.

From Twitter,
RT @jaketapper: saw Sandy Berger & Frank Carlucci on way into WH. Reg meet NSC Advsr Jones has w/preds//Saw Zbig & Scowcroft too, leaving WH
May be routine, or not.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The Ghost of Donald Rumsfeld"

Special Forces and surgical air-strikes can do many wonderful things but there is one role that they fail in, deterrence. If you really believe that war is essentially a kinetic phase of a political and psychological encounter, Napoleon's three parts moral, then the measure of a successful plan is whether it prevents the enemy from making you execute the plan. The secret of the Britain's Royal Navy when they ruled the waves was that everyone agreed that it would be impossible to challenge them so no one even tried for almost a hundred years. That allowed the British to keep their fleet largely in port and let politicians wonder about the pointless expenditure.

Rumsfeld crafted and managed systems and plans that could rip through the legacy Stalinist forces of Iraq in 2003 or the tribal formations of the Taliban in 2001. They could and still probably can win any engagement against a potential aggressor. What they cannot do is convince the other party not to challenge us in the first place. It takes two to tango and unfortunately to many players out there look at old newsreels from WW-II and expect to see thousands of tanks and hundreds of artillery tubes lined up side by side with a sky filled with planes overhead and so many ships in the sea that the army could walk across. They are like the drunk in the small town bar who simply will not back down when the female LEO walks in. Yes she is well trained and yes she knows how to use her weapon and yes she can if need be kill him but for reasons that have nothing to do with fairness the drunk will be more likely to sit down and shut up when a 6" 4" 240 lb man in uniform walks in than when a 5' 4" 124 lb female in uniform walks in. If your purpose is to prevent violence then life is not fair and you will on the margin get better results with the big guy.

If the United States had 6 or 700 ships in the Navy, with 15 CVBGs and 9 ARGs, and 15 full strength Army divisions, equipped with artillery they are unafraid to name Crusader, 20,000 nuclear warheads deployed both tactically and in a full strategic triad and at least 500 long range heavy bombers supported by 200 F-22s and 2500 F-35s, then Lil Kim would still be busy trying to kidnap Japanese film starlets, the Chinese would be offering to deliver Soros and Strong in a package with fraternal proof of securities fraud, and the Iranians would be busy exhorting special subsidies for the pistachio market.

Are all those systems expensive? Yes they are and we should only buy 5% more than is necessary to get the bar-room bully to stay in his chair. War is more expensive than peace.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The Crystal Ball"

What distinguishes human beings from other animals in our conceit is the ability to learn from the experience of others. Unfortunately this gives rise to two vulnerabilities;
1. a belief that not just humans but other natural systems can also learn and adapt we call Lysenkoism,
2. since we are dependent on experiences that are recorded and then transmitted through cultural patterns, such as writing and the educational systems, we are vulnerable to having those sources we rely on corrupted.

Socialists use the first weakness, an imperfect ability to weld expectations to reality, to create sufficient suspension of the reliance on personal experience that they call "Hope." This is then compounded by the Gramscian corruption of those institutions relied upon for the education of future generations. Eventually you arrive at a point where people cannot read the crystal ball. Their eyes have been taught not to focus and the ball they do look in has been tuned to deliver only reruns from the "West Wing" TV show. What is needed, lest we become less than a memory, is a new crystal ball, a palantir that can look with "straight sight" back Into the West and remind us of how things ought to be.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The New International Order"

If you try to be all things to all people you end up being nothing to nobody. Socialism comes with an inability to set boundaries and order priorities. As reality intrudes and forces some allocation of resources that function gets taken up, not by the market for goods and services but instead by the less efficient political market.

We have dealt with the “New World Order” before.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Columbia Needs Help

About 33 years ago John Coatsworth, now the head of Columbia's School of International Studies, was my Latin American Civ Instructor at Chicago. He was an open communist then, espoused professional standards in scholarship, and treated me with courtesy. My reason for mentioning this is that under Coatsworth Columbia's International Studies program has become a venue for promoting left wing and Islamist positions that are increasingly openly anti-Semitic. For example in addition to hosting the conference discussed at the link he also sponsored and hosted Iran's Ahmadinejehad.

My fear is that the Islamists may feel that they are at their high water mark and the tide is turning against them. If that is so then they may become reckless or even desperate in their efforts to force through efforts to control and intimidate other voices. I hope that everyone working on a campus stays safe.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"One Track Mind"

James Garner is one of the best actors of the post WW-II era but he made some duds. Still Tank may interest some as a curiosity.

At one time most Americans could drive a tractor and if you could do that then you could drive a tank. At one time Americans learned to drive on Model-T Fords with a pin instead of a gas peddle. They were guaranteed to break down every couple of hundred miles but anybody could learn to fix them with simple tools. That made us a nation of engineers. In theory in extremis the militia could operate and repair the tools of the military. Now systems are so complicated and the populace are so unskilled that even the armed forces can't repair their equipment. They have to send parts back for repair by civilian specialists while critical assets are rendered non-combat ready.

What is the best reason to do something like own a tank? Knowing that there are people who do such things gives the readership of The Nation ulcers.

Does it take bio-diesel so I can get a tax credit?

Not so much takes as gives. The thing was designed to turn Nazis into compost. That deserves credit in my book.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pay to Play

(fm the BC thread "Flower in a Crannied Wall")

everyone files a tax return regardless of income with some minimum payment

Thank you. A call for a "Shareholder's Democracy?" It is corporatist and there would be issues regarding retained earnings and dividends from foreign owned entities but it has some promise. Combined with strict controls on lobbying from unions and businesses it would encourage investment, employment and dividend distribution domestically, in order to create a bloc of voters supportive of business interests. The slogan could be "No Representation Without Taxation." It would be interesting to see a state attempt it, if the SCOTUS wasn't reading the XIVth Amendment as grounds for destroying federalism.

Comment on the Belmont Club:

What we lose with the Obama method is the intelligence that could have been gained by interrogation. As always the true costs are opportunity costs. To the fantasists this is not a bug but a feature. With less information they have a cleaner set of data to consider so to them the system looks more functional, until it fails catastrophically. This is like the Seaman who changes the range on the radar repeater from 6 miles to 1 without telling anybody. Things sure do look cleaner and easier to understand until a contact does show up, real big and close.

Bro Ken, Dys Funk Shen-al and Dis Ari Ray sound like the new Kitchen Cabinet.

Concur, Blair was responsible for attempting to install the anti-Semite Chas Freeman as his aide. That episode in rattling the Israeli cage might have been all he was intended for.

Vole Power

(fm the BC thread "I Feel Like I Owe It To Someone")

South African newspaper publishes a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad complaining his followers lack a sense of humor

Here is the direct link;
Uproar over M&G Prophet Muhammad cartoon - Mail & Guardian Online: The smart news source:

While the council pleaded with the judge not to throw the case out on technical grounds, she answered that "as a judge and as a Muslim I am bound by our constitution and the rules of our courts".

Earlier, the judge made a decision to not recuse herself, saying her own religious background wouldn't influence her.

Violent backlash
The Council of Muslim Theologians is the same organisation that succeeded in preventing the Sunday Times in 2006 from republishing the controversial Danish cartoons of the prophet.

During Thursday's application the council repeatedly raised the spectre of a violent backlash, saying that the timing of the cartoon was bad because of a possible threat to the Soccer World Cup.

It added that while it wouldn't advocate violence, it couldn't necessarily guarantee that there wouldn't be any.

"We very much saw that as a threat, and our counsel vigorously objected," said Dawes. The judge upheld the objection.

Mole Upstaged by Vole
A rat would have shown more professional courtesy.

Once the power of the market takes over the ability of control freaks to shape the debate deteriorates. They respond by attempting to restrict the scope of human activity. That is why totalitarians induce poverty as a feature, not a bug. This explains the backwardness and failure not only of the former Soviet Union but also of the Moslem Ummah. The dynamism and complexity of humanity are beyond the capacity of any individuals or collective to comprehend and control. This is despite the fact that people do have built in flaws that can be temporarily exploited.

My hope is that once the meme of ridiculing the pretensions of the self appointed elites is spread it will be impossible to stop. Genies can not be stuffed back into bottles. Let us hope that within a few months students will be wearing Mo-toons t-shirts and "The vole not the mole" will go viral.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

In The People's House

My only question is why didn't 20 Congressmen stand up during Calderon's speech and raise a Point of Personal Privilege regarding the improper abuse of The House and the American people by someone who had come claiming the privileges of hospitality as a guest?

Mo Day

We see a robed figure in a desert landscape. His head is a blank and over the scene is a scowling crescent moon. On a rock ledge a crow observes. Is the Crescent Moon really his own personality projected up or is he a cipher to be filled by the angry Moon?

LoTM's Laws

(fm the BC thread "Flower in a Crannied Wall")

“The entropy of a system not in equilibrium will increase over time”

The Universe is governed by Entropy and Inertia. That means that things tend to go to Hell and stay there. The countervailing force is called variously Intelligence or Wisdom or Sentience. It is what gives us Reason, including a reason for Hope. We can get the universe off the dime. Our mind and will combine to make Archimedes' Lever. With them we can achieve amazing things.

By Hope I do not mean an expectation of an outcome but a recognition of variability arising from the dimension of time. If you believe that the future can only be more of the present then you are in Flatland and there is no reason to use your reason as you cannot expect change to happen. If you believe that change can happen then you have a motivation to act and since actions have consequences there will be at least the possibility of a more desirable future. This quality uses reason and sentience but it is not dependent on logic, it is a condition that emanates from the variability of our existence. Truly, where there is life there is hope.

Regarding Archimedes and the lawyers, that sounds like a dirty joke or at least an invitation to speculate on how a Sicilian would resolve impositions by the arrogant and elitist, but I do have thoughts on restoring a more practical education to our future professional leadership. My first suggestion is to put everyone through 6 months of universal military training after their 17th birthday would expose people to certain practical problem solving situations that would benefit in many ways. It would ensure that most future academics and lawyers would, as their predecessors did, have a sympathy for just those engineering principles that you espouse. This would provide an anchor to their legal and theoretical deliberations that should on the margin prove helpful.

The secondary school curriculum should be revised to include basic accounting for all, now it is offered if at all only to the slower vocational track students, as well as Junior Achievement style entrepreneurship studies, Series 7 training, and basic shop skills classes. The inclusion or restoration of these will leave little room I fear for classes on gender identification for those aged 15 and campaigns to support the political interests of the Teacher's Union.

(who takes 194 more words to explain why space debris is bad)

Space shrapnel or Cosmic buckshot.

May 20, 2010 - 4:23 pm

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Flower in a Crannied Wall"

Secret hidden knowledge? Sounds like more Gnosticism. The Law of Large numbers means that over a long enough period of time even unlikely events come to pass. The flaw in the human psyche is that we extrapolate that data into an expectation that the unlikely even could be repeated, despite the logic to the contrary. That is why I am going to buy a lottery ticket today. Any given utopian conspiracy is sure to fail for several reasons;
1. it attracts dysfunctional losers who repel sane people,
2. its adherents prefer convoluted theories to Occam's Razor,
3. at almost any time society has the tools to destroy the conspiracy.

However over a long enough time period some conspiracies will succeed in taking power and then destroying their host society. It is an error of logic to believe that just because a course of action will be suboptimal it will not happen. Failure happens, it only reduces the ability of the one failing to repeat their error. Examples of utopian conspiracies based on secret hidden knowledge that succeeded in taking power include the Muhammadans in Yathrib in 624, Bolsheviks in Russia in 1917, the Khomeinists in Iran in 1979, and the Obamists in America in 2008.

On Oil Ticks

I do NOT like the group Facebook: Gulf Oil Spill Relief because they are a partisan front site using the tragedy to increase their volunteer ranks and raise money. The threatened wildlife needs help but the Sierra Club are no better than GreenPeace now. They are using this to attack the entire petroleum industry, not to protect the planet which is secondary to them, but to weaken capitalist America. We need energy. With more energy we have more wealth. It takes wealth the grow food, defeat terrorists and totalitarians and bullies, educate people and nurture nature.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The Nationale"

Amateurs are in charge.

What puzzles me is that for over 100 years the Republicans were the party of Rotary Club amateurs and Democrats were the party of the professional machine. That had nothing to do directly with ideology about marginal tax rates. It had much to do with the ability of the machine to harness the immigrants who thought that they benefited from the programs that higher taxes paid for. Now the party of the Clintons and the Daleys and the Kennedys can't hit the floor with a fork. The determined incompetence of the Republicans, who believe in their bones that politics is not a real job but rather like the English view of the Church something the fool in the family goes into, may still save the Democrats. Today the POTUS stood with the President of a foreign country to condemn the popular government of Arizona for passing a law that most Democrats approve of. If Hizzoner Richard J. Daley had heard anyone propose something that stupid he would have bounced them out so hard they would have landed in Canada.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Deep Kim Chee"

The Nork artillery model has been exported to the Hezbollah in Lebanon. If this could be held off for a year, which I doubt, then the Israelis could sell several billion dollars worth of Iron Dome systems to the RoKs.

The RoKs should first up the ante by staging a massive civil defense exercise and evacuating the North suburbs and select districts of Seoul. If the balloon goes up they would have to anyway and it needs to be planned and tested. If the NorKs react by upping the ante, which I find unlikely but their apologists will have vapors predicting disaster from a provocative defensive response, then it will be better to have begun the evacuation earlier.

Legally there is a state of war and the Cease Fire, not even a real Armistice, is void for two reasons;
1. Even the wiki says, "North Korea unilaterally withdrew from the armistice on May 27, 2009, thus returning to a de jure state of war"
2. the terms of the agreement, seen here at Wikisource, have been violated point by point.

Given that legal condition there is no reason that the UN Command, that is the Americans, could not adopt a 3 step strategy to bring North Korea back into compliance with the agreement and other Security Council declarations;
1. evacuation of civilians within 40 km of the DMZ,
2. imposition of a blockade on the seas and airspace of North Korea,
3. destruction of the artillery sites and missile launch and WMD storage facilities.

None of this would require referral back to the UN Security Council for further deliberation. Legally we have the authority to go now. Step one is a purely defensive measure. Step 2 is legally an Act of War but as noted above the State of War already exists. Under this Step I would include the interception of aircraft over international waters and the destruction of naval assets. Step 3 is as I discuss below best done preemptively rather than in response to a Korean attack. If the Kim regime wishes to back down it can do so at any time, even after the destruction of its military assets. If it fails to do so then the last step would be the elimination of all regime officials. It would help to get China to see their interest in forestalling the violent end of their Pyongyang client. One way to do that would be to assure them that any resultant refugee flow would be as likely to be headed into their territory as South.

In terms of a time table I would think that Step 1 should take a week, there is a limit to how long the evacuation can be maintained before either relaxing it or moving on to Step 2. The second phase should last for two to three weeks. If the NorKs refuse all efforts to get them to restore the Cease Fire and abandon their threats to employ WMD then a coordinated campaign to destroy the tube and missile sites and WMD facilities should begin. At that point secrecy will not be our objective. Indeed we will want it to be absolutely clear to the Chinese and Russians what we will be doing.

My expectation is that if a war breaks out the NorK military will shatter. By the 1980s the same would have happened to Soviets on the Fulda Gap if some idiot had tried to push through to the Rhine. That does not mean that the threat was not real or had been exaggerated. It was very real and in the early 1950s Europe was very vulnerable. In the case of Europe as in the case of Korea there was a real possibility of massive civilian casualties during hostilities. In the case of Korea if the DPRK is given the initiative they could kill 250,000 or more civilians within the first 30 minutes. After 2 to 6 hours I would expect their ability to operate as an effective threat to be degraded. Four years from now after the impact of Obama's demilitarization of the United States is realized that ability to respond will be far less than it still is. We are actually more able to respond with conventional forces now than we were 40+ years ago. When the NorKs attacked the USS Pueblo it turned out that the only aircraft on strip alert were carrying nuclear payloads.

The ridiculous text of Nato's official response, not even delivered over the name of the Secretary General.


NATO Press release (2010)068 (Corr)

Statement by the NATO Spokeman on the sinking of South Korean Cheonan

NATO strongly condemns the North Korean actions which resulted in the sinking of the Cheonan, established in the findings of the multinational investigation. The Alliance expresses its sympathy over the loss of the 46 South Korean sailors and condemns the act of aggression that led to their deaths. The sinking of the Cheonan by North Korea constitutes a clear breach of international law and poses a serious threat to the region.

The North Atlantic Council has in the past strongly urged North Korea to refrain from actions which could contribute to raising tensions. Once again, NATO calls upon Pyongyang to fulfil its international obligations.

End of mail

Comment on CDR Salamander:
No problem getting volunteers ....

CDR Salamander: No problem getting volunteers ....

Make the dream complete. Station a bird-farm and cruiser at Freemantle and scatter some of the rest of the battle group. My LHA visited Freemantle and my CG visited Albany once and I would pack bags right now to be a J.O. in that town again. Albany is the farthest south you can get in Western Oz and it is where the Anzac mustered for the Gallipoli campaign. When Nasser took over Egypt he threw down the monument that had stood in Alexandria, the final jumping off point, which to me was a theatrical echo of Sauron destroying the monument of Numenor at Umbar. The Aussies rebuilt the monument on top of the cliffs over the harbor in one of the most beautiful memorial parks I have seen. The harbor is magnificent and from on top of the cliffs the Southern Ocean stretches out to Antartica. A quarter century ago the mayor cooked me dinner.

They explained to me that Perth/Freemantle was the most isolated European city on Earth. The closest sizable city of any nationality is Singapore, 2,400 miles away. You can get some good wine in the Swan valley near Perth and the local university has a lovely campus. There are still Australians who remember that the Americans saved them from invasion when we turned back the Japanese fleet at the Coral Sea. There is an advantage to having an older population that partially balances the demographic concerns of Mark Steyn.

Ideally we would forward deploy not only a CVBG, which we need twice as many of in a dangerous world, but also an amphibious group. The Australians may not be able to host a base of the size that would entail though. The fastest way to upgrade the Australian forces would be to give them 25 B-52 bombers instead of destroying them. with new engines and upgraded avionics those magnificent planes could serve for another 50 years as a counter to a potential Chinese thrust.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The Jolly Green Badge of Courage"

We prefer life and the jihadis worship death. Life is stronger and when we have to we can deal death like the Wrath of God. It does not matter what their race creed color or language is, a brother is a brother. This is how nations are born.

Comment on - Times Online:
"Coalition creates 100 peers with Lords deal"

Coalition creates 100 peers with Lords deal - Times Online

The more the Lords is made to mirror party votes in the Commons the more corrupt and inefficient it will be. The original unreformed Lords, a collection of almost random people able to review legislation and stop it was more truly democratic. Why not restore the old hereditary peerage, not because they are "better" than every body else but because they are not? Top them off with occasional people granted recognition for public service, not in the government civil service and not in politics. Finally divide England into 5 assembly districts and add people for 10 year terms selected completely at random from the 8 regional units, England 5, Scotland, Ulster, and Wales.

(added to the Leader, "House of Who?"original not posted)
There is a precedent for choosing members of a government council by lot. Call it the Attic solution.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Means and Ends"

Brussels has advanced from feeding off of the wealth of Africa to feeding off of the wealth of Europe.

In the military the job of the non-commissioned officers is to tell the troops what to do. The job of the commissioned officers is to communicate, preferably not just with words, that someone knows why they are doing it. That does not apply to the aviation side, where junior officers almost never talk to the troops. They do however talk to each other with their hands doing vector simulations.

My suspicion is that senior and mid-level military officers have watched the series of program cancellations and the divulging of our nuclear stockpile secrets by this administration and they are now hunkered down in survival mode. The military is now going through something far worse that what happened to them during the post Vietnam draw-down or the Carter years. It is closer I think to what happened to the CIA after the Church disembowelment.

Regarding your last quote from Heart of Darkness; the evocation of "eloquence" uprooted from morality, devoid of the humility that comes from real collegial learning, and used solely to satisfy the impulses of the Ego. To me that sounds like Obama.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

More from the AZ Boycott Thread:
The Volokh Conspiracy

“Where there is no evidence of prior illegal entry"

That is the story buried in the lede. It is often said by advocates for illegals that there is no crime. Now you were careful not to say that but you phrased it in a way that can slide past an observer. If someone is lawfully admitted to the United States, that is if they present themselves at an official and open border crossing and after inspection by CBP they are allowed entry into the United States, then if they subsequently violate the terms of their entry, by overstaying for example, they will have not committed a criminal act only a civil offense. If however they cross the border illegally then they have committed a crime. What percentage of the illegal aliens that will be stopped by a LEO in Arizona for some other valid reason and who upon questioning are unable to produce any documentation as to their identity or immigration status will turn out to be persons who had been lawfully admitted and who just left their border crossing card at home or who overstayed a valid visa? The numbers will be so small as to prove insignificant especially when compared to the public interest in controlling what is in effect a mass migration from a combat zone. As was noted above any person who is detained for questioning who proves to be lawfully present will be speedily released, just as when the police question people around a crime scene. Persons who did not commit an illegal entry and who both overstayed their permitted time and failed to carry identification will suffer for their errors and the heightened scrutiny caused by the vast mass of illegal entrants. They should however have full rights to the protection of the courts and will not as I understand it be subject to expedited removal. Only an illegal entrant who is otherwise stopped by the police for a valid reason and who subsequently is determined to be both trespassing on US soil will be turned over to ICE for expedited removal. The idea that an officer must have some reasonable basis to effect a stop and question someone is not vacuous. The officer will have to articulate the reasons for his actions. That has been true for many years. Officers need better training on how to do that. If this reasonable effort by Arizona is frustrated then their next step could be to invoke Article IV, section 4 and declare themselves under invasion.

I believe that more officers should get properly trained and only a very foolish department would allow untrained officers to conduct the questioning.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The Ten Ships"

Wars are fought on two levels, the tactical and the strategic. On the tactical level you have to fight the enemy where he is. Much of the fashionable intellectual attachment with avoiding that and running in circles or straining at sideshows can be traced back the Sir B. H. Liddell Hart's espousal of the "indirect approach." It never did rise to the coherence of a theory let alone a doctrine but as a catch phrase used and misused by the half educated it has persisted. In the mouths of amateurs it does almost as much harm as misusing Clausewitz's quote on war and politics does to justify responding to real aggression with paper exercises. In happier days John Mearsheimer did a good job of discrediting Hart in "Liddell Hart and the Weight of History."

On the strategic level we need plans to deal with energy and other resources. We need a plan to deal realistically with China and Islam. We can not ignore tactical issues in the name of Olympian disdain while studying larger issues. To do so quickly degenerates into a sterile dilettantism that masques cowardice for restraint. We also cannot allow our enemies, the term adversaries should be banned from public use, to control our actions by leading us into wasteful limited engagements.

In the Pacific War the Navy wanted to drive straight for Taiwan and use it as an unsinkable aircraft carrier to control both Japan and China. The Army insisted on first honoring Douglas MacArthur's promise to return to the Philippines. In hindsight it is possible that costly as the sweep up the Solomons and the forgotten campaign in New Guinea were they may have been the surer path to victory. The direct lunge across to Taiwan, if attempted before the destruction of the Japanese forces in the Slot and the Philippine Sea, might have proven even more disastrous than Montgomery's lunge to shorten the European conflict in the Market-Garden "A Bridge to Far" campaign.

For the long term would it have served American interests if we had ended the war with a base structure on Taiwan? Probably and post war efforts to create that infrastructure proved more transient and less effective than a stronger earlier presence might have. If we had conquered Taiwan and then used it to support our interests in China, rather than simply negotiating basing arrangements with the soon to be defeated KMT, we might still have a presence there and greater influence over China. My suggestion does not imply that we would have frustrated Chiang kai Shek's ambitions and pretensions or used such bases to attack the mainland but only that we might have been able to secure a more permanent footing similar to that we hold over Gitmo.

Fighting in Thailand, Michael Yon is live-blogging on FaceBook and Twitter. Also he published a BOLO for a possible attack in Kabul, very bad possible compromise of security. I would be surprised if he gets any further cooperation from DoD or CIA, unless it was a deliberate leak.

To tie back to the thread, are the Thai "Red Shirts" among China's ships? How do we respond? Do we render them ineffective by pressing for social and political reform in Thailand? Do we urge the Thai government to crush the threat and support an ally? Do we respond by attacking a Chinese interest elsewhere to get China to order their agents to pull back?

M. Simon,
Liddell Hart was more than muddled in his use of the term "indirect approach." Rather than offer it as an interesting tool to be considered among others when evaluating a situation he attempted to raise it to the level of a universal principle. To do so he applied it to every case that he could no matter how inappropriate. He constantly changed his definitions and even reversed himself, for example on the relative value of the offense versus the defense, in a desperate effort to retain his position as an authority figure.

The disasters of WW-I were caused by many factors, some of them technical. The abuse that was subsequently heaped on the generals was without any distinction regarding their actual intentions or skills or the conditions they faced. Broadly speaking the Americans and British, despite the horror of the Somme, tried to avoid pointless attacks while the French and Italians spent the blood of their own people recklessly. Today we are also subject to criticism that may be self serving. Some criticism is needed and valuable and sometimes a good analyst whether within or outside of the services can propose a model that will result in a more efficient expenditure of resources. We all I presume hope that in a tiny way we contribute to that effort. Some critics are always so wedded to their own importance and their pet doctrine that they will bend both the terms of their theory and the evidence of a given problem to hammer both into a shape they find useful.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

No Boycotts

(fm the BC thread "Academic Freedom")

Regarding boycotts promulgated by cities, who are legally creatures of a State in the American federal system, they are unconstitutional as I read it.
Article I, Section 8, Clause 3:
“[The Congress shall have power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;”

Article IV, Section 1,
"Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof."

Section 2,
"The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States. ..."
No state or agent of a state is allowed to impose a tariff or restrain commerce between the states. That is what happened under the old Articles of Confederation. If California or some city within California can discriminate against Arizona then what could stop NY from imposing a tax on Vermont to simply extort money from them or threaten to prevent state residents from traveling to spend money on a ski vacation? Private citizens can refuse to spend money and I can see a state being allowed to buy within the state but how can a state prefer some members of the Union to others?

(last 2 sentences added at The Volokh Conspiracy)

(follow on comment at Volokh)
Nameless: “If I’m not mistaken, cops normally do not have the authority to enforce federal immigration laws or even to question people about their legal status — only the border patrol and related agencies can do that.”
You are mistaken. Not only CBP, ICE, the Coast Guard and the Border Patrol are authorized to question people. What they are allowed to do is conduct warrantless searches at the border or the functional equivalent of the border. That means not only the physical border and airports and ships at sea but if in hot pursuit anywhere on US soil. Any law enforcement officer can be trained and certified by Homeland Security to assist in enforcing immigration law. See this ICE link from FLETC.

Note federal customs and immigration officers can do warrantless searches because until someone is admitted they are not strictly speaking in the country, so the 4th Amendment does not apply. However if not followed in hot pursuit it must be assumed that someone has those rights until proven otherwise after a proper examination, at which point they are not simply searched, as they were after a warrant was obtained when not in hot pursuit, but deported. Local LEOs trained to conduct immigration inspections would not be doing warrantless searches.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Academic Freedom"

(who cited Theodore Dalrymple)
Common denominator? NO HUSBANDS.

The most important variable is the presence of a biological father at the breakfast table. Why that is so is not a political or even a moral question, it is something hard wired. He does not have to be Father of the Year. He can sit there in his underwear and grunt but for some reason his mere presence gives the child a sense that there are rules and structures and an order to the Universe. It is like Genesis, you start by drawing the boundaries and then the entire structure can be attached to that. Individuals can be socialized and taught to be successful if they lack that initial condition but groups cannot. Daniel Patrick Moynihan laid out decades ago how well intentioned social policies destroyed minority communities.

The damage can happen to all social and ethnic groups. For example I once taught at high school for the Talented and Gifted where some of our students came from solidly middle class homes. Those white children could get into trouble for the same reasons as the impoverished minority or recent immigrant kids. If both parents are lawyers working 90 hours a week then the child may feel like an orphan. Once you have to explain to a high powered mother that her daughter Laura has gotten the nickname "Oral" priorities get reexamined. The difference for the wealthy family is that they have more choices, they have the design margin to change and recover. The poorer, usually minority family, does not.

I have called the trapping of minority children in government run schools to serve the interests of the teacher's union a 13th Amendment issue. They are being held to involuntary servitude for the profit of others. If we just rounded up groups of adults based on some arbitrary category and corralled them into labor camps to make factory goods for the profit of Goldman Sachs and an oligarchic elite the violation would be clear. That does not happen much in America but we have off loaded the practice and it happens in China. In America the difference is that the factories do not even produce shoes and toasters but unemployables and the profits do not come from eager consumers but reluctant taxpayers.

The long term solution is not in the Charter schools, although the unions rightly fear them and all competition, but in vouchers. The unions try to destroy Charters, they barely tolerate competition from parochial schools and I suspect that much of the impetus to destroy the Catholic Church over the horrors of the child abuse scandals is motivated by left wing desire to eliminate an alternative educational structure, and they even try to expand district boundaries and deny people the right to vote with their feet and flee from the urban districts. The left wants to force people back into the cities where they can be controlled. The hostility to the automobile and other environmental causes resonate with that interest.

Government should either provide direct vouchers or tax credits for educational expenses, which is more efficient should be studied, and then inspect the schools and arrest those who take the money fraudulently. Government can do that effectively and if there are competing levels and agencies conducting the inspections then we could expect both many tabloid ready scandals and better educational results than in the present system.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Comment on Andrew Ian Dodge:
Examiner: Can the right like apple now?

I use and prefer Apple products. Given that I have no problem with anyone who says that it is not irrational to object to sending money to Al Gore, who serves no useful function at Apple or anywhere else. Putting Gore on the Board of a consumer products company was as arrogant and unprofessional as putting in John Ashcroft would be. It showed a lack of respect for potential customers that is not balanced by good business interests.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Pattern of Death"

There is some logic in chopping at the roots of the tree. What makes the Big Man so big? It is all the little men below him. Mao said the revolutionaries swim among the people like fish in the sea. If we drain the sea, or induce all the remoras to turn into piranhas then the big shark goes away. More realistically we can hope to get the little fish to avoid the big fish. My hope is for a cinematic image of Chavez types in funny hats wandering around an empty palace and looking for a replacement toilet paper roll because no one wants to go near them.

In the modern world when we go to war, especially when this is a protracted struggle, it is not personal dispute over an asset like a legal case is or most traditional conflicts were. It is a clash between cultures and communities who produce leaders. People who try to reduce the Arab Israeli conflict to the level of a tort claim over territory, as if it were some 18th century dispute between two monarchs over who owned a rock, fundamentally do not get the nature of what is at stake.

The leaders themselves in wars should be attacked for only two reasons;
1. to lance a boil and effect regime change in rare instances,
2. to humiliate and discredit the ideology that brought that leader power.

The best thing we did in Iraq was drag Saddam out of his spider hole. The second best thing was to hunt down the second level with the deck of cards. We have now supported the Iraqi government in ending deBaathification. It makes sense at some point to allow former supporters of the regime to rejoin public life. Not every German who had joined the NSDAP was a sadistic agent of the SS or Gestapo. What we must insist on is the permanent repudiation of the totalitarian ideologies that rallied the foot soldiers to support the tyrants. In AfPak we should hunt down the Taliban and enablers among the Pakistani ISI until they abandon the doctrine of permanent war with the dar al Harb. If North Korean officers just died every time they appeared in public, airborne lasers and snipers with a three mile range can do amazing things, and their ships just sank without any public comment Krazy Kim would end up trapped alone in corner when his starving people come for him. I envision that ending like a George Romero movie. If the bankers and brokers they used in Milan or Geneva or London found their cell phones explosively malfunctioning then no one would help the Norks ship weapons to Hamas, as they were caught attempting to do today.

Actions have consequences. That is what an action, as opposed to a purely internalized thought, is. At every level in life there has been a movement towards off loading responsibility.

The Palestinians face no consequences for their 45 year bloody campaign of terror, as if they were captives not of the Israelis but of the terrorists of Hamas that they voted for. In America's cities people complain about crime and filth while cursing the police and business and tossing trash around. The two extremes are linked.

Under Bush there was at least an ideological construct supporting the tactical responses as being linked to efforts to change the beliefs that produced radicalism. That has all been abandoned.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Comment on The Telegraph:
How David Cameron was outflanked as he prepared to enter No 10

How David Cameron was outflanked as he prepared to enter No 10 - Telegraph

The best way to break the threat of Proportional Representation is to increase the number of seats in the Commons.

The Conservatives should demand another election and run on a platform of a 1000 seat Parliament. They should also spin Scotland off.

(also from Daniel Hannan's FaceBook page and his Telegraph blog)

The way to avoid the problems of under represented views and gerrymandering is to increase the number of seats and reduce the number of people in each district. Why should Parliament be held to 650 seats?
There are two ways to fix the problem in the Commons;
1. double the size of the House of Commons,
2. either spin Scotland off completely or transfer most legislative power, except for defense and foreign policy and trade, to 4 or 5 regional assemblies within England.

If this happens, OK with a 3rd step of getting free of the EU, then England will take off under free market friendly leadership.

(related comment on the BC thread "Going Postal")

Kinuachdrach ,
(who defended a Lib-Dem Labour coalition)
The cure for gerrymandering in the US or UK is to increase the number of seats. The answer is not a move to a Proportional Representation system. If the Scots were spun off and the English had 1000 constituencies then the result would be a solid majority for the Conservatives. Alternatively I could see dividing England into four or five regions. With five it is unlikely that one in the South-West would vote for the Lib-Dems but one in the North might vote for Labour. The introduction of a strong Tory government would probably reduce the hold of Labour over London over time. If the Union Parliament was retained free of the interference of the EU and the current over representation of Scotland was corrected then with all social and most tax policies devolved to regional assemblies the ability of Labour and the Lib-Dems to hold the nation to ransom would be ended.

Forced to stand on its own Scotland would soon have to back off of the socialist follies that have squandered the oil wealth. They had dreamed of leveraging that similar to the way that Putin has tried to use the energy based wealth of Russia to extract political concessions from Europe. The failure of the Scots would serve as a lesson to others facing resource based blackmail. Sean Connery might be pleased as a backer of the Scottish Nationalists.

Comments on The Jerusalem Post:
Crisis between Israel, Russia averted

Crisis between Israel, Russia averted

The detention of the Israeli airplane is an example of the abuse and thuggery that are rife in any society that spent over 3 generations under socialism. The heritage of authoritarianism and a strong native element of antisemitic culture are part of the mix but this does not mean that it is official policy to be especially abusive towards Jews. It is unofficial policy to be abusive towards everyone.

Russia is a 3rd world country with an authoritarian legacy made worse by modern totalitarianism. In this they resemble the Islamic areas of the Middle East. Their release of the plane following the strong action of the Israeli Airport Authority shows the truth in Osama bin Laden's statement that people will follow a "strong horse" and the foolishness of Barack Obama's weak 'reset' policy.

Monday, May 10, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Mullah Omar Captured!

<span style="color: red">EXCLUSIVE: Mullah Omar Captured!</span>

48 hour rule in effect. Confirmation needed. Dream it but not ready for belief. This could inspire all sorts of tail chasing conspiracy theories about October surprises even in May, and I wouldn't put it past Axelrod to start such a rumor just to watch people chase it around instead of focusing on Kagan and the Supreme Court or other issues.

Update from Twitter (6:45 AM)

Since I have been asked this quite I bit, there is no indication that Taliban supremo Mullah Omar has been captured.
about 5 hours ago

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Going Postal"

First out of the gate with an OT but a related one, I saw this on Twitter;
Benigno Aquino III takes lead in Philippine presidential elections - Philippine Inquirer

Perhaps our host can comment on the attraction of celebrity and hereditary candidates in 3rd world enclaves, like until recently Boston. Are the Bush boys analogous to the Kennedys? Why or why not?

Having worked polling stations and possibly looking at getting into the election management business full time, knock on wood, I think no one should be allowed to vote without producing a valid government issued secure ID. No absentee ballot should be accepted without a thumbprint from the voter and another from any person who assisted. The Democrats over the last decade have broken out in pursuit of shameless vote fraud to a degree they would have previously avoided in public. Particularly notable are the fraudulent elections of Christine Gregoire in the state of Washington and Al Franken in Minnesota. Motor Voter will mean the end of any pretense of constitutional government in America.

“Somebody had already voted for me,” said Georgia Ireland.

Gives new meaning to the old phrase “Vote for me.”

Bangladeshi means Moslem. Bengali can mean Moslem or Hindu.

(who noted Davey's gift for vote buying)
Davey Crockett had an absentee record in Congress unmatched until Adam Clayton Powell.

(who noted recent immigrants to the UK come from the East)
That is what puzzles me. I can understand Labour pulling in immigrants from Pakistan and Jamaica to change the demographics and build a compliant electorate but why would they want or the Conservatives object to Eastern Europeans? I would think that a couple of million people with first hand experience with Socialism would be a bracing tonic to the UK. On the other hand I understand that nostalgia for the DDR is on the rise in Germany so this may be a measure of the human capacity to forget.

(Who linked to a report on Mullah Omar)
Confirmation and a 48 hour rule needed.

buddy larsen,
Thank you, I had forgotten about Obama's role for Acorn in the 1995 Illinois Motor Voter case. The only other time I know of that he briefly appeared as a lawyer was also for Acorn when they sued Bank of America to force them to issue sub-prime mortgages. The only other job, 'Community Organizing' does not count, I think he ever held was for a few months after college when he worked for a news clipping service. He inflated that during his 2008 campaign and I recall some mention that a coworker dryly noted that at his level he did not need to wear shoes.


(first fm the Bberry at 09:20 AM)

Toobin on CNN says that Kagan will be a Justice in the role of Powell, White and Warren. Let me dream that we find some young woman that was sexually harassed by her. Unfortunately a debate on constitutional principles went out with the Bork and Thomas hearings.

The Club has been discussing the utility and pondering possible costs or problems as we should, with two possible measures to restore the intended constitutional order. These are;

1. the repeal of the 17th Amendment
2. a political appeal from judicial fiat.
The two issues are related and therefor the solutions can be related.

Under the current system Senators are not selected by the States but by the same electorate as are Members of the House of Representatives. As was noted above by Micha Elyi to the undoubted distress of bogie wheel the Court now holds that the 14th Amendment created a doctrine of "one man one vote" that bars any differentiation between the qualifications to exercise the franchise between different houses in states with bicameral legislatures. In doing so they exercised a breathtaking reach beyond anything intended by the authors of the Amendment that is redolent of Justice Brennan's discovery of a penumbra of privacy to justify his ruling in Roe v. Wade. The result of this is that both the states and both Houses of Congress as well as the federal Judiciary are all dominated by the same constituency and are subject to manipulation by the same factional interests and passions. This is exactly the situation that the American system was designed to avoid.

Above I referred to this as "urban party politics," not so much to draw a distinction from some theoretically nobler rural yeoman model in the Jeffersonian sense as Papa Ray may have hoped, but because of the scope this has afforded to money interests and machinery whether foreign or domestic, to gain control over America. I appreciate both the city and the country and while I acknowledge the social and political problems that thrive in the cities I also cherish the many cultural and social benefits the city provides. You can not spell urbane without urban.

Restoring the selection of Senators to the States will go some distance to restoring the Constitution as intended but given the singularity of the electorate and its exposure to manipulation by concentrated interests with access to money and mass media that alone will not prevent the deformation of the system either through legislation in response to an orchestrated panic or by judicial fiat supported by media manipulation. Therefore I propose two other corrective measures;

1. specifying that the most numerous house a State's legislature must be elected using the principle of "one man one vote" but that other bodies may be established, provided that the criteria for serving as electors for those bodies does not violate standards established under the 15th and 19th Articles of Amendment to the Constitution,

2. specifying that a judge or justice may be removed by means of impeachment or by a resolution of the Senate with three fourths concurring.

The reason for not including the 26th Amendment in the list of bars on the states in determining an electorate for a second body is that there might be an argument for at least some states to experiment with such a distinction. The 3/4s for removal would set the bar higher than for confirmation, which would seem reasonable, and it also exceeds that 2/3s number needed for conviction following an impeachment by the House of Representatives. An alternative that would be less time sensitive would be to empower the States to effect a removal by having 3/4s approve a petition submitted by either body of Congress. Congress already has the power to control the courts by the power to make regulations and restrict jurisdiction as well as the power to amend the Constitution. See Article III sect.2,
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
PR, I have no special knowledge of Kagan's conduct. Her preferences are not a secret and her arrogance is on public display. Draw your own conclusions as to what a diligent investigator, if there was such a creature, might discover.

------- (at 07:08 PM)
I yield to none in the Club my carefully burnished image as an elitist snob but I also think that there are some responsibilities that accrue to both individuals and institutions that expect to extract servility from the general herd. Harvard Law School has had to put it gently a bad millennium so far. Eliot Spitzer, Barack Obama, Representative William 'Cold Cash' Jefferson, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, and Mary Robinson the prominent Irish antisemite have all recently performed badly on the public stage they entered based on their association with HLS and each other. Perhaps it is time to give Harvard a rest. Surely Yale has not completely closed up shop and I understand that people do run some one room school houses in other parts of the country.