Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The Triumph of the Will"


wretchard,
You are welcome and thank you for all this unremunerated effort.

Walt was right that I blog and no one reads it. So much of what we do is the electronic equivalent of shouting into a barrel. On the BC I spend an hour writing a comment and the thread closes. With no feedback I wonder if it is even read. My Twitter list has 70 followers. Pure spam feeds or portals that never post have a thousand and I get 70? Most of those are not even real people but bots. In my dreams Roger Ailes or Glenn Beck will read these threads and yell at somebody "Hire that guy" but I have enough of a grip on reality to know that is not a strategy or even a hope.

Why blog? It reminds me that I have a mind and experience and I can be productive. It makes me part of a conversation. It reminds me of wonders I have seen and gives me a reason to learn new things, that keeps me young. Perhaps I blog because those who would reduce us all to isolated and ignorant objects wish I didn't. The Nihilists may want to consign us all to a black hole but each of us can defy them by continuing to speak.

wretchard,
You are welcome and thank you for all this unremunerated effort.

Walt was right that I blog and no one reads it. So much of what we do is the electronic equivalent of shouting into a barrel. On the BC I spend an hour writing a comment and the thread closes. With no feedback I wonder if it is even read. My Twitter list has 70 followers. Pure spam feeds or portals that never post have a thousand and I get 70? Most of those are not even real people but bots. In my dreams Roger Ailes or Glenn Beck will read these threads and yell at somebody "Hire that guy" but I have enough of a grip on reality to know that is not a strategy or even a hope.

Why blog? It reminds me that I have a mind and experience and I can be productive. It makes me part of a conversation. It reminds me of wonders I have seen and gives me a reason to learn new things, that keeps me young. Perhaps I blog because those who would reduce us all to isolated and ignorant objects wish I didn't. The Nihilists may want to consign us all to a black hole but each of us can defy them by continuing to speak.

We are not gods descending from the clouds.

We are but humans who observe each other and the heavens.

-------
Habu,
So if I understand you then learning qua learning from any source is valuable even if it is manipulated propaganda, given that even propaganda can teach one that it exists, provided they have the a priori knowledge sufficient to catch the mendacity they read
Thank you, that was well phrased. My only caveat would be to change "is valuable" to read "may be valuable." Yes I would teach about The Communist Manifesto rather than try to suppress it or leave it out there as tempting as pornography. A competent social studies teacher should be able to do so fairly for the 10th grade. On the other hand I suspect that Mein Kampf is a thornier problem and greater care should be exercised in exposing the average student to it. I own a copy of that book that was published in the United States during WW-II. At that time we were confident enough to make the statement that even wartime rationing was no reason not to expose the ideas of our enemies to public examination.

Children need prior training in how to evaluate sources and we need to worry about the nature of the training they receive. Adults must judge each source for themselves and those who offer criticism of other sources should themselves be seen as competing for attention and credibility within the same market as the sources they purport to judge. Unlike Geert Wilders I would not ban the Koran or hadiths. I wish that more people understood what was really in them. The need to ensure that the instructors are competent and not biased is a real problem and I encourage all of us to be actively engaged in local politics and the oversight of public education.

To tie this back to the theme of this thread, none of us should be comfortable giving any individual, especially but not solely if they have the authority and capacity for exercising lawful violence of the government, with the power to censor and purge our rivals a priori from the ideological marketplace. That power should belong to the collective wisdom of the people as expressed in a market.

This does not make me a libertarian absolutist. The addictive quality of pornography and the need to restrict its availability to the young is a real issue. Also there are many cases where the right to speak should not imply the right to compel others to hear. It is my hope that the SCOTUS will find a way to reject the claim that Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church has a right to desecrate funerals and inflict trauma on the grieving.

Does the Wikipedia Matter?


(fm the BC thread "Into the Memory Hole")

Habu,
I’d wear this as a badge of honor
While within our small community that may be true as an issue in the greater contest of ideas I must disagree without I hope being disagreeable.

The core of Wikipedia is the Britannica 11th edition of 1911. That is an invaluable resource that people should be encouraged to access. The wiki is also the first place that many people go to when exploring a wide range of subjects, especially students. If we are concerned about how the education system is failing our civilization then we want to ensure that the best and least biased information is available to those students. We who frequent this Club have repeatedly reviewed the many challenges facing us. The consensus appears to be that there are only three possible responses;
1. surrender,
2. rebellion,
3. engagement.

The first I find unacceptable and the second while possible, or even important to be willing to accept if circumstances warrant it, is one that we must to be true to our own values avoid if at all possible. That leaves engagement. We must prove that we cherish our civilization and Constitution and are seeking to preserve them. That means involvement in local politics and education. From that it follows that we must care about the quality of the information that students access. It does no good to rail against the wiki and say that students should learn better search techniques. We all use the wiki too, if only to find out how the information stream is being polluted.

If a good high school or college student is preparing an assignment on the naval event in Korea, or the Health Care vote or Climategate, we want them to do a search and find the Belmont Club on the list of results. If they are researching the War on Terror we want them to find the "Three Conjectures," which I think should be available on a side bar link under the heading "Classics."

We know that they will and maybe should look at the wiki to find out about the sources offered and to find out if they are credible enough to consider or even spend time looking at. If the wiki does not include the BC but does include the HuffPo then thousands of students will potentially be cut off from us. Our ability to engage in the conversation where it counts, that is outside of this narrow circle, will be reduced. That is a real impact that hurts us.

In another issue if not being listed in the wiki reduces traffic to here, even if those visitors would not be direct referrals from the wiki, then that costs the owners of PJM advertising revenue.

-----
Note, the Belmont Club article has been restored by Wikipedia

The Leak Inquiry


(fm the BC thread "Into the Memory Hole")

Add this to the catalog of great white-washes in history.
AP: "UK 'Climategate' inquiry largely clears scientists."

For the AP this was a balanced report once you get past the lede.

Lawmakers stressed that their report — which was written after only a single day of oral testimony — did not cover all the issues and would not be as in-depth as the two other inquiries into the e-mail scandal that are still pending.

Willis said the lawmakers had been in a rush to publish something before Britain's next national election, which is widely expected in just over a month's time.

"Clearly we would have liked to spend more time of this," he said, before adding jokingly: "We had to get something out before we were sent packing."
There is nothing to see here. You may count on the superior learning of your Lords and Masters who have conducted a thorough internal review. There is no need for a formal public inquiry.


Lord Denning did better.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Into the Memory Hole"


jaybird,
(who's discovery of the deletion of the BC I growled at)
I owe you an apology.

My comment from Nihiltres' wiki Talk page:
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
The Belmont Club is deleted by Nihitres the Nihilist. Prejudice unencumbered by wisdom, learning, or experience sits in judgment. If this system worked rationally the senior administrators would see that you are destroying the value of their product and remove you quickly. One day you may have the misfortune of stepping outside of the cossetted air of the university Common Room or even face life in the private sector. My expectation is that with your ignorant and presumptuous penchant to not just criticize but to damage the value of what others work on, I am here referring to the Wikipedia, you would not last three days.

Can you see him pushing a mop?


wretchard,
Power means the power to delete
Power can also mean the power not to delete. Oskar Schidnler told Amon Goth that true power was the power of the King to say "I pardon you." It did not take but at least he tried.


The Hindus, to not do them justice, give Brahman or God three aspects, Brahman the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer. We can not create as God can but we can explore creation and preserve.

-------
wretchard,
Theirs is the god of tiny things

Tiny things count. There are people who would destroy ideas and they do not stop there.
Dort wo man B├╝cher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen.
* Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people.
- Heinrich Heine
Jews say that if you save a single life you save a world.

H/T wikiquote

Better to Rule in Hell


(fm the BC thread "The Man in the Mirror")

wretchard,
without the benefit of conspiracy (...) both the conservatives and the left

Yes and no, which is to say maybe no. There is an asymmetry between the two sides that stems from their philosophical antecedents.

The Right is a heterogeneous fusion of several strands that often work against each other. These include both faith based and traditionalist communitarian influences that emphasis a respect for institutions and precedents and the rationalist and Liberal traditions that emphasis the market, skepticism open inquiry. Both have been relied upon to support a system depends on the rule of law and tolerance for minorities and their novel ideas while defending an open system of government that holds the rulers accountable to the people. The sources of knowledge are in Nature as discovered through a process of scientific study open to anyone and through the wisdom of the people as communicated to their representatives. Both streams of knowledge depend on a preexisting reality and a spirit of honest participation in working within that reality that ultimately was seen to come from God.

The Left is less diverse or at least more internally consistent in its influences. It can be traced back to the Dialectic of Hegel and then through the cabal of the Jacobin Clubs all the way back to the Gnostic heresies of the Middle Ages or earlier. What is common that distinguishes them is a belief in belief as transcending reality. They believe that a small group with a special secret knowledge, that is not available to the masses, have the power to triumph over the reality of creation and defy the laws of Nature to remold humanity and change history for some greater good. To these people that reality cannot be properly perceived by normal means because of the ignorance and corruption of man.

These beliefs and their encouragement of a reliance on closed self replicating authorities to dominate society and denigrate or destroy all possible alternatives have periodically been very influential even within the mainstream. For example the efforts of the Medieval Church to suppress the study of nature and to restrict access to the Bible showed the influence of those same forces the Church had condemned as heretical. There is a natural tendency to become somewhat like the enemy you struggle against.

The Left is always more likely to both accuse the Right of entering a conspiracy and also to resort to a conspiracy themselves because that is the model that they see as the proper way to gain and hold power. A Left wing administration is an ongoing conspiracy burdened by the unhappy necessity of governing. For the Left revolution is not really a means to Marx's Utopia but is an end to itself. It is the permanent rebellion of the enlightened angels against nature. Milton understood their motives.

Consider how they resort as their first position to falsifying data to prove their position over Global Warming. They assume that they have to engage in conspiratorial activities and they project onto legitimate businesses the assumption that everything those businesses do is part of some grand dishonest conspiracy in a struggle against the left. They believe this even if their adherents have entered into positions of influence within the organizations they seem themselves competing with. They believe their suspected rivals are engaging in conspiratorial manipulations as the they would without regard to the cost to any business of doing so while still attempting to perform some task in the marketplace. Leftists always act shocked to discover that a businessman is actually in the business of making shirts instead of participating in some titanic CIA operation to track down the Leftist.

While conservatives may enter into a conspiracy they do so in the expectation that they are doing so temporarily and it is an unnatural act. At the risk of entering into a "no true Scotsman" fallacy by my standards those ostensibly conservative movements that organize themselves as ongoing conspiracies against society such as militia movements or supremacist splinter groups, as opposed to ad hoc responses to real conditions such as the Tea Parties are, should not be viewed as being of the Right at all. They are a deformed projection of the Left.

As an aside this view of the special role of the bearers of a secret wisdom in guiding humanity may explain some of the affinity between the Left and Islam. If you assume that people are inherently corrupt and that the truth can not be learned either by the scientific study of nature nor by the expression of the popular will as expressed through freely chosen representatives under a transparent system of law then you may turn instead to a circular set of truths that need no validation from reality and which justify their adherents using any means necessary to dominate and control the masses.

The Sterile Tower


(fm the BC thread "The Man in the Mirror")

It is interesting how a thread wanders after a while.

Regarding Priestly Celibacy, if this non-christian may opine, I believe it came rather late into canon law. It is not a Doctrine. Bishops or their Eastern equivalents were always celibate. About the 6th to 7th centuries, give or take, the Western Church was drowning in the Arian sea and had no strong secular protector like the Eastern Church did. Left to shift for themselves they needed to create a body of Priests who could function as shock troops with no other loyalties. This saved the Latin Church in Spain Italy and Gaul as the barbarians were slowly won over. The practice became formalized in the West later, about the time of the schism with the East. There have always been priests in communion with Rome who are married. The Maronite Catholics of Lebanon are part of the Roman Catholic family with an Eastern influenced liturgy and a married priesthood. Recently the Pope issued a call to the Church of England offering to speed the entrance of their clergy into holy orders under the Church of Rome and keeping their access to marriage. This may draw up to a third of the English clergy into Rome's orbit. It strikes me as an elegant way for the Church to elide the problem of celibacy. Unfortunately relying on the Church of England to provide an exit from the problem of a homosexual episcopate seems to require an excess of faith. The BC had a thread on this.

The Royal Gazette


(fm the BC thread "The Man in the Mirror")

Insufficiently Sensitive,
(CPB) proudly announces that $10,000,000 (...) will be devoted (to) creating “local journalism centers”

During WW-II the Democratic Congress snapped at FDR and insisted that the Office of War Information (OWI) curtail its domestic activities. The USIA and Department of State are prohibited from distributing domestically, except I believe for academic research, materials produced to influence opinion overseas. It is not only unconstitutional but illegal to spend any taxpayer dollars for a partisan purpose within the United States.

For those who claim that PBS is really "an independent agency" that happens to be "owned by the American people," I appreciate the invitation to laugh but decline to find this amusing. For those who claim that if you hold the books a certain way and count up all the tote bags and DVD sets sold they do not really depend on taxpayer support or their quasi-official status I think that shows a faith in creative accounting that should earn ample time going over the details in conversation with Ken Lay, or if you are less fortunate another guest of the government named Viper. There is no basis in even the most generous interpretation of the Commerce Clause for a public agency that competes with private agencies in the provision of journalism services.

The original justification for Public Broadcasting was that these were locally controlled educational outlets geared to assist the public schools. All the educational and Civic functions once served by Public Broadcasting can now be delivered by cable services, such as The Learning Channel, The History Channel and C-Span, without violating the Constitution. Since the switch to digital broadcasting PBS television does not even provide it's services to people who do not have access to cable.

The CPB system, especially the radio arm NPR, provides generous incomes to Establishment leftists. They are spared having to compete in the marketplace and produce their content for the tiny minority who are their social and ideological peers. Our Lords and Ladies think they can use tell us what is good for us. It is now a cossetted Middle Class Rip Off.

Freedom Of and From Speech


(fm the BC thread "The Man in the Mirror")

wretchard,
There seems to be a limitation in Tocque. When I submit the troll it can evade the block by simply altering its name. The feature needs to be linked to the users IP, which will probably change with dynamic addressing, and the associated email address. It would give some pleasure to know that a purely disruptive and deliberately offensive person is reduced to shouting their vitriol at a screen but without being heard. The purely masturbatory nature of their personality is thereby made clear. The bad news is that they still get to consume bandwidth and tie up PJM's resources. Also the troll still shows in my email.

Today the Innertubes ran like molasses so that I thought that our creditors in Asia might have decided to repossess the two Dixie™ cups and a string.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Girl in the Mirror


(fm the BC thread "The Man in the Mirror")

People see the Other as they wish to and they see in the mirror what they wish to. There is a set of photographs that they showed us down at FLETC, among other similar sets, that had been on display in the New York City Police's Central Booking Unit at the Tombs.


The subject reportedly was brought in for one of her numerous arrests and pointed at the images and said with pride "That's Me." The Instructor was a retired Southern Police Chief and a Minister. When I asked him in horror "How could she?" he looked grave and answered, "You must understand that she only sees herself as the girl in the first photograph. That is who she sees when she looks in the mirror." The first photograph was taken when she was 22 years old and the last was taken a few weeks before her death at age 36.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The Man in the Mirror"


the impudence to distort the truth so infamously
Herr Schicklgruber had discovered the Audacity of Hope.

Alexis,
The distorted mirror could also be called the “smoking mirror”

The mark of the true Insider is the ability to affect a disdain for the lie that you are feeding to lesser mortals. Like O'Brien in Nineteen Eighty-Four they claim the freedom to turn off the view screen or even tell forbidden truths about Fearless Leader. It is all a masquerade that they project, a zombie like show of autonomy within their emptiness. The Nazgul may have sat around laughing at the little orcs who were scared of the Boss but they only existed as distorded images in his smoky mirror.

BTW wretchard, Zombie the photojournalist is neither a He nor a She. Zombie is properly addressed as the Undead It.

During the Clinton years the nation was afflicted according to the Press and Janet Reno with a plague of right wing militias. They never seemed to show the capacity to take over a corner pool hall let alone threaten the government. Several did manage to get themselves killed, possibly under circumstances in which a more professional approach would have avoided much bloodshed, and the loosely associated team of McVeigh and Nichols finally emerged as the Central Casting examples of a the threat that Janet Napolitano now stays awake at night worrying about.

We spent the following dozen years building a domestic law enforcement system to identify such people. Nothing that I am saying here is a criticism of real law enforcement efforts to identify real threats. My criticism is with a political distortion, a fun house mirror, that misidentifies the nature of the threats and which by misallocating resources puts us all at risk.

All the evidence is that being a frustrated underachieving and socially isolated person filled with rage is something that makes it unlikely that you will be become part of some larger conspiracy. Even modestly more functional people acting out fantasies of being in an invisible army would find the cases like McVeigh hard to associate with.

Such conduct has no real ideological content, putting a box of right or left wing around such people does little good. The points they string together could come from Larouche or Chomsky and they would not know for sure themselves. Perhaps now such people simple get stuck where McVeigh started, in Internet addiction and cyber hacking.

What is interesting to me is how the threat from the militias disappeared when George Bush became President, even though they hated him almost as much as Clinton. Clinton scared them for what they thought he did but Bush, through his father, fit with all the worst conspiracy theories of the fringe about a Preppy Tri-lateral alliance of global wealth and power. If this thread stays open long enough someone will respond to me by talking about the Illuminati.

What the ebb and flow of the concern about militias and domestic terrorism from the right tells us is very little about the nature of the threat and much about the nature of the regime.

As a final note the tragic effects of a political interference in a law enforcement situation does not only have to result in the deaths of white right wing conspiracy theorists. In 1985 the Philadelphia Police Department dropped an explosive on the dwelling occupied by the Move Organization resulting in the deaths of 11 people including 5 children. A retired police officer who had participated in the subsequent investigation assured me that it was a case of simple murder by Mayor Wilson Goode.

Comment on Times Online (UK):
"Nazi scandal engulfs Human Rights Watch"


When I asked the Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson if HRW was ever going to release one, she said: “We have a draft, but I’m not sure I want to put one out.” Asked the same question, executive director Kenneth Roth told me that the problem with doing a report on Iran was the difficulty of getting into the country.
What we have here is an organization that takes money from Human Rights abusers to investigate abuses in places with fewer abuses. This is like a Public Health Inspector who took money from a slumlord to restrict themselves to inspecting housing conditions in Beverly Hills.

The organization was founded as Helsinki Watch and has outlived its remit. This is much worse than the March of Dimes that reinvented itself after polio was conquered as a useful charity that had discovered an incurable condition. Human Rights Watch simply has surrendered to the abusers.

There are serious organizations working to expose human rights abuses. My suggestion would be to begin by supporting the people at Freedom House.

Sub Hunting


(fm the BC thread "The Birds")

Subotai Bahadur,
No ASROC on board, no Harpoons on board

Good work, it is strange to me that an ASW ship would have no ASROC or helicopter. The onboard Mk-46 tubes, like the depth charges on the fantail, are only useful for close in work and that is not how you want to fight a submarine. The reason may be that the Pohang corvettes are designed to deal with NorK minisubs, which are really suicide weapons, in a coastal or harbor defense role. The US Navy has not even carried depth charges for decades.

For a Carrier Battle Group ASW is conducted in layers. Ideally the engagement takes place at a distance with the weapons delivered by an aircraft. These can be fixed wing like the P-3 for large area patrols, in WW-II we used blimps, or helicopters with a tactical range greater than that of the submarines torpedoes or anti-ship cruise missiles. For a threat closer than half a dozen miles response time is critical and the best thing to have is an ASROC. If the enemy is detected within the destroyer screen or closer than a few thousand yards then the best thing to do is dump a torpedo in the water and pray. Getting out of Dodge may not be an option.

The only remaining question is could the RoKs have run over their own mine? Either they court martial their own Commanding Officer or they charge the NorKs with either deliberately attacking them or with the war crime of using floating mines. As I read this there is no other choice.

-------
From the AP
SKorea: Mine from NKorea may have sunk naval ship
Published: 20 minutes ago

BAENGNYEONG ISLAND, South Korea (AP) - South Korea's defense minister says North Korea may have intentionally floated a mine to damage a naval ship that exploded and sank this week.

Forty-six crew members are missing and believed trapped within the wreckage of the ship, which went down Friday. Fifty-eight were rescued

While the cause of the explosion is unknown, Defense Minister Kim Tae-young told lawmakers in Seoul on Monday that rival North Korea may have floated a mine toward the ship. He also said the explosion could have been caused by a mine placed during the Korean War.

South Korean officials had earlier said they did not believe the North was behind the explosion.

The two nations remain at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE.

-----
Surprise!

For the AP this is a decent piece of reporting.

The speculation that a mine from 60 years ago could have broken lose is a new twist. Like in space it is a big ocean and things can turn up after a long time out of sight. The following original AP story makes clear that no one is alive but the public does not want to hear that message.

-------
Subotai Bahadur,
(who laid out the limitations on ASROC and small combatants)
When I owned Deck Division on a cruiser and had to clean around the thing the ASROC always struck me as a Rube Goldberg ASW contraption. It was a model of lethal efficiency compared to the world's worst AAW system, the BPDMS (pronounced beep-a-deemus) that I owned on an amphib.

wildiris,
(who asked about evidence of what caused the explosion)
Yes, if it was a mine the questions of whose? and how old was it? will be answered by the glamorous only on TV forensic team. Assuming the NorKs did it what will the response be? My prediction is, nothing if the Americans get to decide.

The "We Shoulds" of Terror


Video from Moscow at Bluegrass Pundit.


We should support Moscow in combating Chechen terror.
We should support Israel in combating Palestinian terror.
We should support India in combating Pakistani sponsored terror.
We should trace all terror to support from Khomeinist Iran and
        Salafist Saudi Arabia.
We should recognize Baathist Syria as the sewer terror flows through.
We should link support for Moscow to support for Israel.
We should use every tool available to confront and destroy the
        regime in Tehran.
We should use every tool available to confront and destroy the
        regime in Damascus.
We should use every tool available to neutralize the nuclear
        threat from Pakistan.

Prehistoric Man


(fm the BC thread "The Girlie Men")

What do women want?
They want Prehistoric Man.


What do women want? They want me.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

To be blogged under the title, awe heck just guess.

-------
dan,
(who wishes women didn't get tattoos)

Truth in advertising.
Don't you wish more people likely to cause you grief gave you warning?
If only all the haters and self haters walked around with a sign;

Treat with the courtesy of a Tarantula
       Save yourself all of the Agita

-------
Add David Niven to the list as being not a pretty boy who did his service well. He had graduated from Sandhurst and went back to serve in the Commandos during WW-II. It cost him too when the twerps at HRH's Inland Revenue charged him for all the money he earned while in Hollywood.

Was John Wayne a fraud and a hypocrite? No he was not. Did Republic Pictures do wrong by him and did he fail to measure up to his own standard? He said so himself.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fashion's Moving Target


(fm the BC thread "The Girlie Men")

hdgreene,
In a peasant society the woman will think the tanned version is a field hand

This is an excellent point that probably goes in cycles. The important thing for the rich is to not appear poor. For most of history only the very rich ate well but the diet, workplace and exercise performed by the masses varied over time. The anecdote of ridgerunner confirms this.

When the peasants are tanned and muscular the then aristocrats concentrated on indoor pleasures and doused themselves in scent. In France the monarch actively encouraged such corruption to weaken vitality of the First Estate, "Ancient Oaks rotted by time." There were real dangers in the elites adopting such a posture and hard reality pressured them to remain more vigorous and capable or suffer consequences. Think of the real life Playwright General Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne bringing his wine cellar with him on campaign or the fictional fops of the Scarlet Pimpernel. RCM makes the same point.

Later the commoners moved into dark satanic mills and grew pale while their lords ostentatiously played polo and sunned themselves in Monaco or more exotic locations. Memoirs have remarked on how in WW-I the British troops appeared pale and scrawny compared to their robust officers. This applied even to the Welsh coal miners who followed the sons of the English gentry into the machine gun fire of the Somme.

After WW-II cheap airfare, cheap protein, and gymnasiums gave every working stiff the ability to travel to the same places as and sculpt bodies that looked like those of their betters. In response the elites retreated into advocacy for vegan diets (an ostentatious affectation) and a sterile aestheticism. The motivation is always in the capacity of the majority and not the pretensions of their ostensible leaders.

On A Call For a Constitutional Convention


The Lt Governor of South Carolina has issued the following message.
Andre Bauer
Lieutenant Governor
State of South Carolina

March 25, 2010

To my colleagues in the S.C. General Assembly:

As you know, President Obama and Congress have - against the wishes of the majority of the citizens of this nation - enacted a law forcing all citizens to participate in government-run health care.

I believe this action, left unchallenged, is the beginning of the end of the America we know and love. The freedoms we have enjoyed in our lifetimes are being steadily eroded, and future generations will suffer the consequences. The time has come for bold action, and I am asking you today to join me in leading this bold action.

While there are other steps being considered, I am not certain that any of them can be successful. Planned lawsuits, I am informed by legal experts, will not likely be successful. Repeal efforts, while noble, would most certainly be vetoed by the President, almost certainly be overturned by the courts.

As I have carefully researched this matter to find a solution, I have found but one sure- fire way to overturn the new socialized medicine law: a constitutional convention, called for by the states, as provided for in Article Five of the United States Constitution.

I am asking you to support a legislative resolution calling for a constitutional convention, hopefully by joining as a sponsor of the resolution which, at my request, is already being prepared by Senators Campbell and Cleary in the Senate, and Representatives Frye and Scott in the House.

If we in South Carolina, along with 33 other state legislatures, pass a resolution calling for a national constitutional convention, we will be able to make an amendment to the constitution to reverse the dangerous action taken by Obama and Congress, which will then need to be ratified by 38 state legislatures.

While this action is bold, it is nonetheless an actual, workable solution. (As you may recall, this is the same action that Senator McConnell probably our state;s foremost legislative authority, suggested to help solve the illegal immigration stalemate.)

For your convenience, I am including the pertinent article of the U.S. Constitution below:

(next page, please)

Article V - Amendment: The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress

I am asking you to act quickly to join as a sponsor of this legislation so that we can move NOW to reverse this law. Every day this law is allowed to stand is day of oppression of the basic freedoms which have symbolized America. (Today and tomorrow, I am contacting other state legislatures to ask them to initiate similar resolutions.)

If you have any questions do not hesitate to call or email. You may reach me by phone at 803-734-2080 or by email at ltgov@scsenate.gov.

Thank you,


Andre Bauer

cc:        Legislative leadership, all 50 states
             Interested parties

My response follows.
Andre Bauer
Lieutenant Governor
State of South Carolina

Sir,
Permit me to applaud your efforts to craft a reasonable response to the usurpation of power by the current administration in Washington. There are two concerns that I have with calls for a Constitutional Convention.

First I am worried that such a convention could prove to be an enormous trap that once called for by moderate and traditionally inclined persons seeking a restoration of Constitutional government would instead prove to be a Trojan Horse subject to exploitation by those seeking the most radical transformation of our society. Remember that Mr Obama's chief political operative and Campaign Manager David Axelrod arranged for the effective hijacking of the caucus process in Iowa and Texas so as to produce results contrary to those desired by the voters in those state's primaries.

Second is my concern that the text of Article V indicates that Congress shall determine the method of ratification to be used for any amendments that are proposed by such a convention. This confirms that not only will those calling for a Constitutional Convention have little control over what will be proposed, it being my belief that no prior constraint can be placed on such an assembly as to what issues it considers or remedies it reports, but that those who are seeking to subvert the rule of law will still be able to use their offices to control or frustrate the ratification process.

Neither of my concerns need be fatal but both should give us pause. If this effort bears fruit under the supervision of sober and loyal citizens then I for one will wish to be of assistance. There are several proposals worth considering that I have seen or with modesty suggested myself. The problem remains that no legal structure is sufficient to protect us from widespread lawlessness and ill will on the part of those in high office if they have the support of a significant portion of the people.

You are correct to try to focus your colleagues efforts on effective measures. Given the unhappy history of our nation purely theatrical gestures, such as Nullification, that would offer critics in the media an opportunity to stereotype and degrade your efforts should be avoided. The ongoing hard work of educating the people in the knowledge, skills and principles needed for citizenship in a free society must go on at the local level. The political struggle must also be constantly engaged with unwearying good will. There are no substitutes for these hard tasks.

If I can be of any further assistance to you in formulating a response to the current efforts to radically alter our country please let me know. I wish you well in your efforts.

Sincerely,


(LOtM)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The Girlie Men"


(a study claims women with better health care prefer less masculine men)

Anderson Cooper is not a metrosexual. He is a homosexual. That is why he knew what he was saying when he started calling people "Tea Baggers."

Most of these problems are simply the result of veneers of learned behaviors that have been imposed over a fairly short time of two to three generations. These are mere affectations that can be easily scraped off if, to mix metaphors, the frog is given reason to jump out of the water. The repudiation of the current monopoly on education by the feminized, a pejorative that did not apply to Albert Shanker, and left wing teacher's unions and the reinstitution of a period of controlled military service would result in a male population less tolerant of ritualized abuse and women more appreciative of men who genuinely like them.

The assignment to this phenomenon of responsibility for the Fall of the Roman Empire without significant supporting evidence stretches credulity. The Romans were tough characters and their critics in the early Christian Church were tough enough to face the lions. The prettified image of them says more about Hollywood in the 20th century than of Rome in the 3rd or of Ravenna in the 4th.

bogie wheel,
What explains the rise of "Queer Eye For the Straight Guy" during the time the troops were fighting in Iraq is probably the smae thing that explains the surge for ratification of the XVIIIth and XIXth Amendments during the First World War and its aftermath. All the men were out of town or busy.

Marty,
(who introduced fertility rates into the question)
Well said.

-------
Mad Fiddler,
Concur. The only distinguishing physical feature I noticed in the SEALs I met were their wide shoulders. Some were otherwise not particularly large or tough looking. In temperament they tended to project the calm demeanor of the big dog that sees no reason to start a fight, being confident that he can end one. My expectation is that they make excellent Junior High School teachers.

The current crop of urban dilettantes of many sexes are I think less likely to survive if hard times move them to Green Acres then the real Hungarian import Gabor sisters, or the men they gravitated towards, would have.

Strategic Survivability


(fm the BC thread "A Whole New World")

Habu,
Morton Kaplan always thought the worst of Kissinger. I have found Kissinger's books to be worthwhile and thought that his conduct at the end of the Vietnam War was due to his belief that the American people had chosen defeat. Given the conduct of the Congress, who betrayed our Vietnamese ally while the battle was still in doubt with less justification than their predecessors had in cutting off the Nationalist Chinese 25 years earlier, that position on his part was understandable.

Eggplant,
My chief concerns with your well laid out position on moving to fewer but more reliable nuclear weapons are,

1. Congress has killed efforts to create a mix of high thermal/low radiation yield bunker busters or Counter Value weapons and low thermal/high radiation yield (neutron bomb) Counter Force or tactical weapons so the credibility of a move to technical improvement is questionable under the current regime,

2. fewer weapons are inherently destabilizing because they simplify the targeting problem for an enemy contemplating a decapitating first strike such that if you are going to have nuclear weapons you are far better off with five thousand of them than five hundred,

3. I do not understand your desire to abandon MIRV systems that complicate the enemy's ABM problem as there is no reason to believe that all parties, including China, would verifiably abandon this technology in which we hold an advantage,

4. the multi-megaton city killers of 40 years ago were retired with the Titan launch vehicle and I believe that all US current strategic weapons scale up to the 200 kt range.

RWE,
(for points re. the CRA, Bush & Citicorp, and Congress & nukes)
Well said.

-------
Habu,
(who recounted his experience regarding the fall of Saigon)

35 years less 4 weeks ago the NVA drove down Highway 1 with their tanks headlights on. A handful of passes by B-52s would have done to them what we did to Saddam's army on the road between Kuwait and Basrah. One of the terrible things is that those old OSS hands whose word was a bond were largely Democrats, the last gasp of the patriotic liberals and the self consciously Best and the Brightest who had come from the Ivy League like their counterparts from Oxbridge that had gone into the SIS, and they were betrayed by their own children.

Comment on Theo Spark:
Black conservative hits back
@ tea party racism claims...

Tea Bagger Tries To Say Democratic Operatives
Are Doing Damage To Democratic Buildings



The "Tea Bagger" slur popularized by Anderson Cooper, who knows that term means a person who engages in fellatio of the gonads, should earn MSNBC the most costly liabilities possible. There should be no 1st Amendment defense for anyone who uses this form of slander.

Comment on BBC, Have Your Say:
"Is the financial plan to help Greece a good one?"


Greece is an example of what Socialism gets you. The only things that government should do are National Defense, maintaining a sound currency, and the administration of Justice. Almost everything else is guaranteed to become corrupt and inefficient when done by the government. The Greek Civil Servants produce almost nothing of value. They keep on looking for new victims to fund their nest feathering. The same thing is happening in other countries. Tax eaters in England think that the EU will mean that someone someplace will pay for them just like the tax eaters in Greece do. Each knows that the well at home is dry but they assume that if they swap victims or talk the Germans or Americans into being the suckers then the bill will be picked up.

If you met a man who tried to talk you into investing in a company that was going to sell automobiles for less than their production cost you would ask how they made a profit. If they answered "We make it up on volume" you know that they are criminals and they think that you are a fool. The Socialists are running the same intellectually bankrupt scheme. They tell people that economically irrational conduct can work if only the volume of people participating in the scheme is so large that unsuspecting suckers from some other country will pay the bills. That is like turning your finances over to Bernie Madoff. One day you will wake up and discover that the money is gone.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"A Whole New World"


Holding the signing ceremony in Prague, the Czechs like the Poles having been betrayed by Obama, is a special bit of triumphalism on the part of the Russians. They should perform their duties as host with all the good will that Obama just showed to Netanyahu. They should pelt the motorcades with rotten eggs.

The plot of Frankenhiemer's Seven Days in May revolved around an ill conceived strategic weapons treaty. My guess is that Obama once saw it, smirked and then thought "I can pull it off."


Can this turkey get through the Senate? There are no longer Senators of the standing of Henry Cabot Lodge who faced down Wilson and stopped the Versailles Treaty. Obama is damaged goods but who will stop the train as it heads for the abyss?

-------
If Obama is giving up the Trident ICBMs on the submarines then it is game set and match. Five of those boomers on patrol mean more than a thousand silo based missiles did. If that is true then my first reaction is that there is no limit to what I would expect any decent public servant to do to stop him. The wiki implies, and Obama as quoted in The Times states, that Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn are behind this. Even when I disagree with them on an issue I have always considered them responsible adults. Based on that I am going to have to go over this carefully to see what I might have missed.

The Times coverage also claims that the submarine based leg of the triad is not effected.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The Birds"


Why does China support an independent North Korea?

If they do so to put pressure on a perceived threat from a US lead alliance of South Korea, Japan and the legacy of SEATO then they are viewing the situation exactly backwards. SEATO is dead and buried and there is zero chance of any outside power intervening in East Asia except for the United States or possibly Russia. The local nations are bound in ASEAN, which is not a military alliance or are linked by bilateral relations with Japan or Taiwan. The nearest regional powers are Australia and India.

What would happen if the Chinese pressed for the peaceful unwinding of the Pyongyang regime? Normal regional politics, that have been frozen by the imposition of a Cold War division between the United States and whoever is supporting North Korea, would proceed. The American military presence would rapidly decline. This would probably happen more dramatically than it did in Europe after the Cold War. The Republic of Korea would be transformed from an American client forced into an uneasy quasi-alliance with Japan into a strong neutral balancing between China, Russia and Japan. The benefits for trade and resource development for all concerned would be significant.

The Chinese could upset this scenario by escalating tensions with a drive for resources that mimics the drive of Imperial Japan 70 years ago. In that worst case eventuality how much of an asset would North Korea prove to China? Would they serve as a club to hold off Japan or the ROK cooperating with America or would they prove to be a liability? My suspicion is that China would regret being tied to an alliance with the DPRK as much as Nazi Germany learned to regret being tied to Fascist Italy after Mussolini dragged Hitler's forces into the distraction of the Balkans.

For Immigration


(fm theBC thread "The Gathering Storm")

Forgotten Man,
Concur.

We are a big empty country. All I ask is that people obey the law and love the Republic. Arguments about marginal tax rates don't bother me. On those I can be right and lose the politics and just hope that people learn from the market. Bigots might fret over the new arrivals but my view is that if we believe in ourselves and have an educational system that teaches why we are a country worth moving to then all will be fine. People came here from some nasty places where life was cheap, Czarist Russia, famine ravaged Ireland, Imperial China, even feud beset Italy, and they did so legally and they became good citizens.

They got along beautifully in America.

(The fuller version I linked to has embedding disabled)

-------
Habu,
(who feels my "blue sky view" is misplaced)

As Subotai Bahadur and Papa Ray have said I believe, and I believe that you have indicated yourself, the real hard unrelenting work is in constantly talking to people of all ages and conditions. School Boards are the keystone. We all need to push back from the computers and go out for two reasons,
1. to remind ourselves of why it is all worth the struggle,
2. to talk to people and engage in nuts and bolts politics.

All the bad things may happen but if we haven't been doing the work now then we will be in no position to lead later.

We have to keep dealing with people as individuals and a with a hopeful spirit, because that is what we stand for. That does not mean that we should not be prepared or fail to observe a strangers eyes and hands.

Enjoy the Big Sky, I wish you well.

-------
Storm-Rider,
(who thought the immigrants came from "Bolshevik Russia")

Definitely Czarist, just look up the numbers.

America has swung between extremes in our immigration policy, with the door either wide open or slammed shut, based upon the perceived needs of our economy. For 20 years after WW-II we had what looks like a reasonable balance. Then Ted Kennedy created the nightmare we now have. This system relies chiefly on the concept of "family reunification" and encourages fraud, deceit, illegal immigration and "anchor babies." We can return to a policy that offers hope to honest people offering loyalty and ambition to earn a place while encouraging those with talent or potential achievement to move here. There is reason to expect that we do not need to vastly reduce the number of legal immigrants. The need to return to the rule of law and system that ensures that legal immigrants are first considered on the basis of their expected benefit to America is something I support. My interpretation of that may be broader than yours but I hope that you would be satisfied with a return to a system that both worked and could enjoy broad political support.

I agree with you about making babies. Perhaps we could try an advertising campaign? "Make babies, it's Fun."

whiskey,
(who is focused on race and La Raza)

Snap out of your despair. It is a dead end.
Make something better. Repeat once a day.

Jim Nicholas,
Thank you for your kind words.

The worst case may happen. We should be prudently prepared. Eventually we will die. Until then let us live well standing on our feet and each with a smile on our face as examples of civilized achievement.

The wiki says that you live in the footprint of the bed of Lake Agassiz. When can you expect the special tax levy to offset the victims of colonialism who have been denied full access to peatlands connected with mesozoic formations around the world? You may find it mentioned between pages 850 and 1200 of any bill that comes out of Congress.

AKA,
to secure this country’s security, opportunity and prosperity

The only thing that secures those are not the laws of Congress but the people who elect that Congress. Wise laws help but they come from a wise people and do not create them. Work with your neighbors and get involved in your local schools. It is late but it is better to start than stare at a clock. If it turns out that it is to late then what have you lost?

Yellow Sea, Black Oil


(fm the BC thread "The Birds" 30 minutes later)
(originally posted for the BC thread "The Gathering Storm")

Regarding my suspicions on the cause of today's possible naval conflict off Korea reported by Subotai Bahadur I did a little homework.

A couple of searches on "offshore drilling equipment" and "oil exploration yellow sea" yielded some interesting results. Clearly the DPRK is exploring in the area.

The industry is large and complicated this is a good web site, SubSea.org, but has little on the North China/Yellow Sea area.

The Norks are against the wall. If the industry told China that they can not do business as long as the waters are not safe then the DPRK may get defanged. The South Koreans manufacture much of the drilling equipment so there may be an opening to induce China to apply pressure.

My expectation is that in the event of a real war North Korea might simply implode leaving a humanitarian disaster behind. The biggest constraint on South Korea is not the mayhem that the North could inflict for 24 to 72 hours, which is real given the proximity of Seoul to the DMZ, but the cost of absorbing their impoverished cousins. The burden that West Germany assumed by unification with the DDR was seen. For 20 years now the ROK governments have paid to keep the North on life support.

This time "Some damn fool thing in the Balkans" can happen anywhere.

Asian Waters


(fm the BC thread "The Gathering Storm")

Habu,
East China Sea, think oil.

Regarding immigrant groups to many treat them as a uniform mass, which is both insulting and defeatist. Mexicans are not Puerto Ricans and neither are anything like Argentinians, Chileans or Columbians. What is especially dissonant is the complete failure of the Republicans to effectively communicate to Asians. Most Koreans Chinese and Vietnamese should be affiliated with the Republicans and their children should be rising to elective office through the Party. This is not happening. Bobby Jindal did poorly in his first nationally televised response to Obama but the Democrats are understandably terrified of him. Like Sarah Palin he represents an existential threat to them.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The Gathering Storm"


More bad news from the Washington Times,
CBO report: Debt will rise to 90% of GDP.

If this is Greece I should go to Astoria for a meal or a cup of espresso.

Tcobb is correct about the impending citizenship amnesty drive.

Storm-Rider given the time we spent going back and forth over this I find it unpleasant that you simply did a cut and paste of your original statement on a prior thread. My disagreements with your timetable, your reliance on fiat by principles when dealing with those who are held to no principles, and your intent to return the government to the feeble condition of the Confederation when we face many enemies in a dangerous world, remain.

It is interesting that the Democrats are accusing the Republicans of selling fear. This is a shot of pure projection with a chaser of preemption. The entire Democratic program has been based on increasing the level of fear in order to provoke a sense of crisis. As Rahm Emanuel said, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."


The legislation they have produced in this blind panic have some common features. The bills are large and ill constructed. They have not been actually read by the people voting on them. They mandate large expenditures far in the future, not in the near term as would be true if they were a response to a genuine crisis. They are produced in response to planned and orchestrated media campaigns and triggering events. Those events are caused by the same people who benefit from the legislation, by the elimination of competition, and who the legislation will ostensibly regulate. An example is the crisis in the housing market caused by the managers of Fannie Mae and the financiers of Goldman Sachs. They are still profiting while their competitors were destroyed.

Will everyone please be careful, any expression that crosses the line into advocating violence is not only unwarranted but endangers the credibility of this forum. My belief is that there are agents provacateurs going onto conservative blogs to incite people to advocate for violence.

Subotai Bahadur,
(Who reported a naval clash)
Thank you for the information about Korea.

Mark,
Jews know that the ultimate portable wealth, for when you have to get out of town quickly, is what is between your ears. Human Capital is everything, read Gary Becker.

-------
HsvToolFool,
While I disagree with your desire to repeal the XVI Amendment in full I agree with the general thrust of your suggestion. The history of my back and forth with Storm-Rider on this is on the last thread.

How to prevent prevent vast unread bills is a thorny problem. Some bills need large texts appended or the alternative is simply ceding the legislative authority to a regulatory agency. For example should the tariff schedule be created by bureaucrats or by elected Representatives? The line item veto is a possible improvement but that too could be used abusively to change the intent of Congress. Sunset provisions may be another approach that addresses the problem. By making the law, whether large or small, go away after 5 or ten years the incentive to craft vast unreadable bills that include complicated linked payoffs that generate corruption over time is reduced. There are undoubtedly drawbacks to that approach also.

The best system is one that has honest people staffing it, then we don't have to jury rig procedural barriers to venality. Unfortunately if everyone was honest then no government would be needed at all but that is not the case. The paradox is that we need government because people are not honest and we can't trust or control the government because people are not honest. Now that we have Health Care Reform we are placing new demands on this paradox.

So a Pair of Docs walk into a bar and one says ...

Storm-Rider,
(who noted he had amended his proposed Amendment)
I will reread more closely, I might be wrong. Thought I was wrong once but I was mistaken. Your general intent I always agreed with, our argument is more over timing, flexibility and the role of the Declaration, not the goal.

Papa Ray,
(who concurred with my warning)
Thank you.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Comment on Telegraph Blogs,
Nigel Gardiner:

Barack Obama’s humiliation of Israel is a disgrace


This is how bad it is getting
Obama snubbed Netanyahu for dinner with Michelle and the girls,
Israelis claim


The United States treated the representatives of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan with more courtesy. Obama is bird flipping trash. He writes checks for others to cash. He wants to provoke a fight between the US and Israel because those who would suffer would all be people he despises on both sides, whether the Jews of Israel or the American military.

Funding Defense


(fm the BC thread "It's For the Children")

Storm-Rider,
Military spending is only $658 Billion (21%)

Thank you for your reply. You understand I believe that I am broadly sympathetic with your goal of reducing federal expenditures in areas not included in the enumerated powers. There are only four points that I would like you to consider at this time.

First, you elide from desiring a 10% ceiling on Income taxes to fund the entire government to calling for a government that consumes 10% of GDP. These are two different, although linked, things.

Second, even if the expenditures that you wish to eliminate totaled a trillion dollars a year it is not physically possible to simply defund Medicare etc. What is needed is a practical 20 year path to getting out from under the rock that the Baby Boomers lifted over our heads. During some considerable period of time we simply will have to keep paying for the follies of the past. Once we begin the glide path back to solvency the interest on the debt will begin to decline. If my idea of withholding the vote from the tax eaters were adopted this would be much easier but there is no benefit in dreaming that we can simply repudiate half the budget. Even in my dreams I like to follow a workable path to my goal. If I could simply close my eyes and be surrounded by beautiful and friendly women it would nice but in my dreams I tend to be exploring the stony path to my goal more than the goal itself. If my dreams start to get more interesting I may share them with you.

Third, you accept the current level of military spending as a base line. Why? While it is true that the Left wants to see it cut in half or more it is already far below what we have maintained over most of the last 60 years. My personal expectation is that during peacetime, or nominal peacetime given that we are in an effective, if officially unrecognized, Cold War with China and Russia again, we should expect to spend between 6.5% and 7.5% of GDP on Defense. The Armed Forces should be tripled in size over an eight year period, and then increased a further 50% over the following four years. Doing so would not make the military larger as a percent of the population or as a percent of the economy than we have been able to support during periods of growth. Such an expansion would not only solve many of our economic and social problems but it would also forestall a wave of aggressive conduct overseas that is arising in the face of America's retreat.

A larger military consuming the taxpayers money in training is a better investment for both America and the world than a smaller military stretched by constant conflict. As I see it a smaller military in accordance with a more Isolationist policy is, while admittedly in the absence of external conditions desirable to many for understandable reasons, simply to dangerous. VA and associated expenditures are also underfunded and should be counted separately. All of this is expensive but a reasonable response to the conditions we face.

My expectation is that for the near term, at least 10 years, we will need to spend at least 2.5 trillion dollars a year, even if we reorder our priorities. Your desire to get the budget down to the $1.5 trillion line is one that I share but do not expect us to get to under any scenario for at least 15 years.

Finally, I am concerned by how you expect to pay for a genuine crisis.
during time of war they could ask the American people for donations

Now that is not serious. Yes during WW-II we held Bond Drives.

We had people in Iowa hanging blackout curtains, but not to pay for the war but to build morale and a sense of solidarity with the war effort. War time rationing was economically irrational, as were most scrap metal collections, but they were politically important. The worst thing about them is that they established the popular emotional connection with economically irrational recycling under government mandate that has been hijacked by the environmental movement. Such efforts are often desirable under wartime conditions and we may need more of them but they are not part of a sound financial policy.

To be blogged under the title "Funding Defense."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On Specialized High Schools


(fm the BC thread "It's For the Children")

Leo Linbeck III,
You make a good point about how special High Schools track from functional neighborhood zoned Primary Schools. For the present I will not discuss Middle Schools which are probably a disaster everywhere, it is a rough age for the kids. While there is a correlation between family income and the performance of a school it is not a simple identity with race. whiskey is simply wrong about this. What matters is culture and expectations.

In New York the Specialized High Schools for math and science enrichment, Stuyvesant and Brooklyn Tech and Bronx Science, as well as other elite public High Schools, Hunter and Townsend Harris, are only partly there to serve as an anchor for the white Middle Class. They largely serve as ladders for immigrants seeking entry into elite colleges. The real elites in the city are not sending their children to those schools. They are sending them to private schools. Fifteen years ago the student body at Bronx Science was approximately 5% Upper Middle Class Whites (mostly Protestant), 10% Black, 10% Hispanic, 10% South Asian, 10% White ethnic Catholic (mostly Italian), 15% Jewish (including Russians) and 40% East Asian. The last being about equally divided between Chinese and Koreans. A few Japanese and some South East Asians completed the mix. The majority of these were immigrants or the children of immigrants. Korean girls would sit with a dictionary open on their laps and they would work and they would succeed. Most of the Black students barely scrapped by, not because of a lack of intelligence but because of a lack of a work ethic that comes from the home and the local school.

Good schools are not the problem. The problem is in the bad schools and in the public administration of the schools and in the union that discourages hard work and in the homes. Any student can get in trouble as much as any student can learn to work. Either result must be recognized. The child of two wealthy lawyers who are never there for her is as or more likely to get in trouble as the child of immigrants working in a dry cleaner who is feeling enormous pressure to achieve.

Don't Chain Congress


(fm the BC thread "It's For the Children")

Storm-Rider,
Your suggestions, which I have seen offered before, simply will not work.

1. The Declaration of Independence is a statement of moral law, not a Constitutional guide. If you enter it as a special litmus test then you are admitting the concept of positive rights, and once the ones you like are in play then the same method can be used to discover someone's other than yours. The DoI is already there for those who care about original intent. Being repetitive, like reissuing the Xth Amendment, does nothing. Unless you intend to have yourself set up above the people we have hired to ensure that basic principles are not violated the problem will always remain.

2. A 10% limit on taxation may be to much at some times and not enough during others. If the government had no authority to issue debt and was held to the arbitrarily low level you suggest then we could not have fought WW-II. Schemes have been proposed to demand super majorities to exceed a certain limit or go into debt. They never so far have been workable. What will stop the Congress from funding the waste first and then demanding extra revenues for the basics that you desire? If a Super majority is demanded then you are empowering any destructive minority to block critical action unless bribed. For years a Democratic minority obstructed Bush and set the nation up for the crisis that propelled Obama into office.

3. If the only revenues the government can collect are from the Income Tax then you are denying the right to use tariffs and excises as an instrument of policy. While I am generally supportive of free trade and do not want to return to the age when the government was almost completely funded by import duties, they remain a valuable tool of diplomacy.

There are arguments to be made on both sides regarding term limits.

The possibility of an over ride of a Supreme Court verdict is worth exploring. My suggestion was for using the Electoral College rather then the Court for the final judicial review process. That would make them available for Congress to use for an appeal from the Court. Congress already has the right, rarely used, to establish Rules for the Judiciary and also has the right of Impeachment. That A.C. Hastings, an impeached judge, is sitting in Congress is something that should have been prevented. The theoretical power of the Court is largely a myth that relies more on inertia than on the text of the Constitution.

Our government is designed for a free and honest people. You cannot design a system that will both protect your liberties and control the venality of the majority if they are not themselves predisposed towards moral conduct. The answer, even though I have proposed Amendments myself, lies not in reworking the Constitution to return to the less effective system of the Articles of Confederation or some similar structural constraint. The only answer is in persistent local efforts to regain control of the machinery of government and restore the integrity of the educational system. Without functioning schools we will not have a citizenry that can support a free country under any constitutional structure.

On the repeal of the XVIIth Amendment I concur.

wretchard,
Jesse Jackson avoided the problem of finding a better public school for his children. He sent them to the nearby, he lived at 47th and Lake Park, University of Chicago Laboratory School on 59th Street.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"It's For the Children"


Scott was found with a gunshot wound to the left side of his head

Large bottles of aspirin are no longer the preferred method of suicide in Chicago?

There is the risk that are apples and oranges getting confused here. The corruption of process inherent in political administration is a problem. The existence of nonuniform institutions to deliver alternative, specialized or even superior services is a good thing.

Magnet schools do help to keep the middle class in the city and offer teachers enduring dreary years in dangerous holding facilities for the future felons of America at least the dream that they can be transferred into a functioning school. They also can offer a model of how education should work. When the town is burning down you do not knock down the only intact building and call it a firebreak. It is pure socialism to destroy it in the name of fairness.

The admissions process into every good school is subject to pressure and corruption. It is a standing sure fire seller for journals in New York to run articles on the desperate efforts of Upper Middle Class parents to place their child in the right private preschool. There is an enormous industry devoted to helping get 4 year old children into schools that their parents are convinced will set them up for life. That is just a market condition, even if it is subject to manipulation and the self righteous and often hypocritical ostensible leftists of the schools and their bien pessant customers set your teeth on edge.

The problem therefor is not that there are some good schools but that the government is involved in their management. Now normally the Magnet schools are subject to attack by left wing Levelers both among the parents of the general population, whose children would view the children in the magnet schools as a source of loose change, and by jealous teachers who do not want to actually work hard at a good school but who also hate to think that somebody someplace has a desk with a lock that isn't broken.

In NYC the "Specialized" High Schools are protected some by State Law. That delays the attacks usually and in government delay means victory since everything goes by legislative calendars. In addition the city has created large numbers of smaller theme schools that have taken some of the political pressure off of the elite schools. These have no better a student body then the regular 'zone' schools but are smaller and offer the possibility of letting the teacher entertain themselves by playing with the lessons. If a student actually does get something that is all the better.

Keeping expectations low can be a good thing if you are cynical enough because then the teacher can be given more freedom to alter their lessons. Basic curriculum in the theme schools still should be covered. For those who decry 'teaching to a test' budget constraints will limit the number of subject matter 'Regents' examinations in the future. My expectation is that without the light of the examination less teaching will happen.

In Chicago for many years those who did not send their children to an elite private school, like the Latin School of Chicago or the University of Chicago Laboratory School, or one of the Magnets had the option of a functioning Catholic parochial system. The Church schools in Chicago unlike in New York endured for years as the place where people of all faiths would send their children. Sending your child to a regular Chicago Public School should be considered evidence of child abuse.

How can the poison of corruption be withdrawn from the administration of education? It cannot because this is such a basic human need that people will use every advantage to secure something for their offspring. The corruption seen in arranging access to a superior education when it is under government control is a model for what will happen when the allocation of health care services is to be determined by government administrators.

The best that I can suggest is to privatize the individual schools and distribute vouchers to the parents. The inspection of the schools will undoubtedly yield a rich crop of fraud as they fail to meet standards to receive the voucher payments. The inspection of the Inspectors will also without a doubt provide for regular material for crusading journalists. Those School Inspectors in Chicago will under any Voucher program continue to be employees of the same civic machine that hires Building Inspectors. Once I knew someone who claimed he had to pay several times their recorded salary for a chance to get that humble office.

Comment on PJM, Kim Zigfeld:
"U.S. Troops to March in Red Square Parade"


Israel announces while Joe Biden is there to bloviate that it is building housing in its own capital and America goes nuts, with Obama subsequently refusing to be photographed with Netanyahu. Russia announces while Hillary Clinton is cooling her heels in a waiting room that it is helping the Iranian regime that is actively killing Americans to build nuclear bombs, and we offer them an additional photo-op.

The four Allied Powers should hold their parade in Berlin.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Three Body Problems


(fm the BC thread "Someday I'll Meet You Again")

Charles,
I see no conflict between L3's narrative and mine. He describes the expectations of the foot soldiers, the wannabe LBJs or Ickes of the new millennium. My effort was to square the circle between that desire and the more apocalyptic vision put forth by Habu and others.

No event including any which threatens the bankruptcy of the United States can be explained simply as the result of manipulations by powerful interests. Paranoia is a dead end because the evil genius of a virtual enemy will always be one step ahead of any effort to unravel their plans. Similarly 'Great Man' theories of History neglect the real interests and motives of the people who do the work at the behest of the leader in the fancy suit. As an aside a successful 'Great Man' such as Napoleon knew better than to fall for his own hype and always focused on the dreams of the soldiers who did the bleeding for him.

The strict reliance on Occam's razor to ascribe to a complex political movement only the interests and motives of the average member also can miss important signals. In the case of the adherents to the legacy of the Vanguard Left their own myths trace back, like a criminal gang that can trace its lineage back to Quantrill's Raiders, through the agents of the Third International and the Paris Commune to the members of the Committee of Public Safety in 1792. Their belief in the power of a small organized conspiracy to shape history matters.

Finally there is a third potential agency at work that could be acting in a manner that both resonates with the ideological constructs of the foot soldiers of the Democratic Party and could use those who see themselves as a guiding conspiracy for purposes external to those of either the many nostalgic for the New Deal or the few aspiring to the roles of Lenin or Svengali. Foreign powers have interests of their own. Not just Putin or Hu Jintao or whoever is this year's blue suit in Moscow or gray suit in Beijing but their nations are at work.

The world is a complex place. It is a series of interlocking three body problems hurtling through time. We have interests groups and manipulating individuals or small would be conspiracies that operate according to visions or templates rooted in time and dispersed across space. The exist in every society and the more open and complex the society then the more such associations interact. They exist within the self defined boundaries of each nation and are also subject to interference by outside agents, occasionally hostile.

Over time just as the market provides information to produce a Pareto Optimum distribution of goods and services we hope that real information will be processed to support the increased influence of those movements and individuals who most effectively respond to reality. Given the ability of outside agents to distort the domestic political market and the persistence of attachment to historically failed ideological models that hope that the domestic political market will function to support effective responses to real conditions may be misplaced.

We need to conduct effective politics by crafting messages that use our own historical legacy to support a narrative that is as powerful as that of the Left. The fact that it also produces results that are proven over time to be more effective is helpful but not sufficient in achieving victory in the political arena. While we do that to win the allegiance of the voters from those seeking to relive the New Deal we also must expose the efforts of small conspiratorial groups to manipulate the broader movements and provoke crises and also be aware that outside agents may seek to crash the system for their own ends.

There are no easy answers to these problems except the one simple and old one, there is work to do.

Alexis,
Very good post on male responsibility.

Long Range Planning


(fm the BC thread "Someday I'll Meet You Again")

The general consensus of the discussion here seems to be that three things are likely to happen, although the order may vary.

1. The enrollment of 15-20 million new citizens through an Amnesty process, with a similar number to follow under relaxed immigration rules including "family reunification."

2. A severe reaction by the voters, the belief in which is justified both by recent special and gubernatorial elections as well as historical off year patterns, at the midterm elections that cost the Democrats at least control of the House and conceivably the Senate.

3. A series of disasters and humiliations that will befall America including economic trauma and foreign aggression.

The question seems to be as to whether the effects of the first and third events will be used to ensure a series of measures that place political control beyond the reach of the current moderate conservative majority. That theory has been advanced by Subotai Bahadur and Habu on the preceding thread.

An alternative theory occurs to me. Perhaps the Republicans do take control of Congress and then take control of the White House in 2012 but the real bad news does not happen for another 24 months. The effects of an Amnesty and the political turmoil caused by widespread bankruptcies on the part of States during the near term could frustrate efforts to repeal the Democrats social welfare program. It will be argued that wasteful and unproductive as the millions of SEIU members employed under this plan are they still have jobs and it is hard to fire anyone during Hard Times.

Under this perspective it is better for the Democrats to lose massively in Congress now and then either have smaller losses or even hold their position in Congress while giving up the White House in 2012. So come 2012 the Republicans would own the entire government, with the entrenched and hostile alliance of New Americans and the Democratic Base in opposition, when the roof really falls in.

Many have speculated that the events of September 2008 were an arranged Black Swan. If that was to happen again then the Republican Party as a national institution would be destroyed. The whole scenario depends on whether the really bad news hits before or after the election in 2012. It is possible that to long range thinkers, Soros and the Chinese possibly, Democratic Party losses in the midterms are not a bug but a feature.