Saturday, June 27, 2009

Free Iran!

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I am, as of now, DONE with people who say we shouldn’t “impose American values” or “promote democracy” in the Middle East. They are morally bankrupt. As of 24 June 2009 they have slip-slid into the category of apologists for genocide.

To know of this degree of radical evil, and have the power to act against it but fail to do so, is to become accomplice to the evil. The time for the overthrow of the Iranian regime, by any feasible means up to and including full-scale war, has come.

Free Iran!

But of course we don't need to invade. A gasoline importation embargo would be all that's required as was pointed out by this interview.

But of course the Mullahs would attack anything and everything as it took hold so full-scale war it would be. The only good news is that there's some chance it wouldn't be a nuclear one.

But if you think we can let things go much longer and keep the nutjobs from getting nukes and then using them, I'll use Eric's idiom: You're an idiot.

And if you read the comments on Eric's post you'll find a huge representation of idiots. Well, except for the Iranians of course.


The Spanish professor is puzzled. Why, Gabriel Calzada wonders, is the U.S. president recommending that America emulate the Spanish model for creating "green jobs" in "alternative energy" even though Spain's unemployment rate is 18.1 percent -- more than double the European Union average -- partly because of spending on such jobs?

Calzada says Spain's torrential spending -- no other nation has so aggressively supported production of electricity from renewable sources -- on wind farms and other forms of alternative energy has indeed created jobs. But Calzada's report concludes that they often are temporary and have received $752,000 to $800,000 each in subsidies -- wind industry jobs cost even more, $1.4 million each. And each new job entails the loss of 2.2 other jobs
Windmills are iconic in the land of Don Quixote, whose tilting at them became emblematic of comic futility. Spain's new windmills are neither amusing nor emblematic of policies America should emulate.

This Is Genocide, This Is Hitler

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Another miracle from CNN. They actually have another interview that isn't craven Khameini Kool-aid. Listen only if you have a strong stomach.

The "Green" Future

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I’m 55, my late grandparents born in the infant years of the 1900’s and my parents growing up during the Depression. It wasn’t that long ago I participated in a management training class and used as an example of frugality the practice of “darning” and almost half the class had no clue what I was talking about.

Look. Look close at the picture to the right. That is the picture of an American who had only a small carbon footprint upon the American land. Women didn’t work outside the home because they were discriminated against but household duties were full time. Electricity was limited so no washing machines or dryers. No refrigerators.

Look at the woman at right — she is 32 years old in that picture. If nothing else, the Democrats hysterical rush to return to the artificially prolonged era that produced her should give most American women pause.

Is this the “green” future they really want to return to?

The Guards Of Fascism

There are many different ways to look at the developments in Iran. One perspective that seems to have been ignored is what I regard as the cardinal role of the Revolutionary Guards.

Over the twenty years that Ayatollah Khamenei has been the rahbar or leader, he has allied himself ever more closely with the Revolutionary Guards—to such an extent that it is no longer apparent to me who is leading and who is following. The Revolutionary Guards have been granted extraordinary influence over all functions of the Islamic Republic—military, political, economic and even Islamic. Technically, they take their orders from the leader, but has he ever dared to contradict them? On the contrary, he seems always to court them by granting them ever-greater influence and responsibilities.

This is a formula for the kind of a militarized and nationalist corporate state under a single controlling ideology that is not dissimilar to fascist rule in an earlier day.


In five short months, it's become a tradition: you have to watch the news wires carefully on Friday evening, because that's when the Obama administration announces or leaks actions or decisions that they want to stay under the radar. Last night, it came out that the administration is considering an executive order to detain some of the Guantanamo inmates indefinitely:

The Obama administration is considering issuing an executive order that would allow the government to indefinitely detain some of the prisoners now at Guantanamo Bay, according to published reports on Friday evening.

Progressive Disaster

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President Obama has bet the economy on his program to grow the government and finance it with a more progressive tax system. It's hard to miss the irony that he's pitching this change in Washington even as the same governance model is imploding in three of the largest American states where it has been dominant for years -- California, New Jersey and New York.

Soak the rich. Mr. Obama plans to pay for his government investments through higher tax rates on the top 1% and 2% of taxpayers.

Instead of balanced budgets, these high taxes have produced record red ink. California's deficit for 2010 is projected at $33.9 billion, New Jersey's $7 billion and New York's $17.9 billion, despite multiple tax increases this decade. The Manhattan Institute finds that three-quarters of the loss in revenues this year in Albany is a result of reduced income tax payments by rich people even though the state keeps raising taxes on high earners.


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MICKEY KAUS: “The U.A.W., now a major GM shareholder, has delivered its final punishment to those auto workers who dared move to Spring Hill, Tennessee and show up the rest of the union by building reliable car without Wagner-style work rules. GM’s new small car will be made in Michigan, and the Spring Hill plant will close. …. P.S.: Nikke Finke has a better chance of making money producing this car than GM does.”


The Obama Administration appears to me to be pursuing many goals, poorly. Here are four:

1) The stimulus failed to meet Larry Summers' famous criteria of timely, targeted, or temporary.

2) The cap and trade legislation maximizes rent-seeking (favoritism
toward particular businesses) and minimizes carbon reduction.

The proposed financial reforms are mostly cosmetic and fail to address
the key issues of housing policy and regulatory capital arbitrage.

In championing health care reform, the President stresses the
unsustainability of our current system, while insisting that nothing
will change (you can keep your insurance, keep your doctor, etc.).

pattern that I see is one of following the path of least political
resistance, even if it means failing to make any significant
contribution to solving the actual public policy problem. I cannot say
that I am completely shocked by this. It is sort of Public Choice 101.

Neda And The Freak Show

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For previous generations, the question:  “Where were you when Kennedy was shot” has served as a conversation starter as well as a catalyst for exploration of a shared history.  It would seem that the quintessential question will soon be:  “where were you when you found out Michael Jackson was dead?”?

You know what would be really shocking?  Michael Jackson dying at the age of 87.  That would have been a real stunner, well deserving of the nauseating nonstop narration that should be reserved for heads of state.

Which is why the interest in the life and death of Neda Agah-Soltan was so facilely dwarfed by the opulent freak show that surrounds Michael Jackson.

Friday, June 26, 2009


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According to my grandfather, as told to me around 1910, Carl Menger had made the following remarks:

The policies being pursued by the European powers will lead to a terrible war ending with gruesome revolutions, the extinction of European culture and destruction of prosperity for people of all nations. In anticipation of these inevitable events, all that can be recommended are investments in gold hoards and the securities of the two Scandinavian countries.

Menger's savings, in fact, were invested in Swedish securities.

One who so clearly foresees disaster and the destruction of everything he deems valuable before his fortieth year cannot avoid pessimism and depression. Ancient rhetoricians were careful to consider the kind of life King Priam would have had, had he at the age of twenty already foreseen the fall of Ilium![5] Carl Menger barely had the first half of his life behind him when he recognized the inevitability of the demise of his own Troy.

Just Hang Up

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cellphone Technology

Knowledge is not power in any proximate sense; it would be truer to say that "imagery is power." The entire political situation in Pakistan was recently changed, thanks to a home video of a very young woman being held down and ritually beaten by bearded Taliban, in Swat, for the crime of being in the company of a man not her male guardian. The screams of that girl somehow galvanized a significant part of Pakistani opinion to demand that their government stop retreating.
Likewise, the murder of Neda Agha-Soltan in Tehran -- picked off in the street by a plainclothed gunman of the regime's unspeakable Basiji, and shown to the world by video -- has galvanized the ayatollahs' opponents, everywhere.
Imagery can of course be false; can be staged.
But it is unlikely that either of the scenes I mention above were staged; and they communicate the truth of the situation far more eloquently than yet another speech by the American charlatan.

And for that: thank you, cellphone technology.


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HMM: MPs ’snub’ Ahmadinejad poll party. “More than 180 Iranian MPs appear to have snubbed an invitation to celebrate President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election win, local press reports say. All 290 MPs were invited to the victory party on Wednesday night, but only 105 turned up, the reports say. A BBC correspondent says the move is a sign of the deep split at the top of Iran after disputed presidential polls.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

COTD: He Won't Go Against His Brothers

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Why is the US so limp in its response to the crisis? Well, I would ask you to reflect for a moment on the interesting parallels between the current regime in Iran and our own here in the US. Obama has, is and will always be campaigning/fighting for his political future and to remain in power and keep his party in power. He doesn’t want to have to be popular with the people, but he needs their support, and support has begun to wane. Similar to the mullahs and Ahmadinejad who are fighting to retain control in Iran, Obama will not hesitate to silence those who criticize or oppose him. Check the latest round of administration firings for your proof. Obama feels a strong bond to those in the struggle of the powerful over those who have granted them that power. Obama and his czars will continue to move to consolidate their power as the Imams have done, until that point when they can’t be challenged any longer. That is the dream of the powerful and power hungry in this world.

Hitch Reprise: Perfectly Stated

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That last observation also applies to the Obama administration. Want to take a noninterventionist position? All right, then, take a noninterventionist position. This would mean not referring to Khamenei in fawning tones as the supreme leader and not calling Iran itself by the tyrannical title of “the Islamic republic.” But be aware that nothing will stop the theocrats from slandering you for interfering anyway. Also try to bear in mind that one day you will have to face the young Iranian democrats who risked their all in the battle and explain to them just what you were doing when they were being beaten and gassed. [emphasis mine].

For those of you who continue to miss this point, there it is, perfectly stated.

One Government Problem Creating Another One

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Buffet: Shambles

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How much progress do you think we've made in that war?

BUFFETT:  Well, it's been pretty flat.  I get figures on 70-odd businesses, a lot of them daily.  Everything that I see about the economy is that we've had no bounce.  The financial system was really where the crisis was last September and October, and that's been surmounted and that's enormously important.   But in terms of the economy coming back, it takes a while.  There were a lot of excesses to be wrung out and that process is still underway and it looks to me like it will be underway for quite a while.  In the (Berkshire Hathaway) annual report I said the economy would be in a shambles this year and probably well beyond.  I'm afraid that's true.

Taking a firm position in an ongoing debate in the financial markets, Buffett says he's not concerned about deflation, but thinks inflation will be a problem

Buffett repeated his criticism of "cap and trade" as a method to control pollution, saying it would be a huge, regressive tax.

Misunderstood Again

In a lengthy sermon Friday that reaffirmed the disputed re-election of Mr. Ahmadinejad, Ayatollah Khamenei made an oblique reference to a letter from the U.S. but embedded the reference in a diatribe against purported U.S. interference in Iranian affairs.

"The American president was quoted as saying that he expected the people of Iran to take to the streets," Ayatollah Khamenei misquoted Mr. Obama as saying, according to a translation by


Here is the one immutable fact of President Barack Obama's foreign policy agenda as it relates to Iran: It's over. The rule book he came in with is as irrelevant as a tourist guide to the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

If the forces of reform and democracy win, Obama's plan to negotiate with the regime is moot, for the regime will be gone. And if the forces of reform are crushed into submission by the regime, Obama's plan is moot because the regime will still be there.

Politics and decency will simply demand that the world condemn or shun the regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei if they come out on top. Even the most soulless realists will be repulsed by the blood on the regime's collective hands.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ze Drem

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with the "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Dupe Check

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A.P. FACT CHECK: Obama’s words about Iran get tougher. “President Barack Obama described himself on Tuesday as being ‘entirely consistent’ in his expressions of concern about the disputed Iranian election and the government crackdown that followed street protests. But his language clearly has gotten tougher since his first statement that the suppression of dissent was ‘of concern to me.’” Whenever Obama starts talking about his consistency, it’s a pretty safe bet he’s in the process of changing his position.


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A couple of surprising words were missing from President Barack Obama’s 55-minute news conference on Wednesday: “Iraq” — and “Afghanistan.”

Also MIA: “Korea,” “Pakistan,” “soldiers,” “surge” and “war” — as well as the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

How many times did the word “I” appear?

Jeff Goldberg On "Chamberlain" Cohen

Andrew writes of Roger Cohen:
He too saw this coming, and was vilified by the usual suspects for reaching for peace. If you want to read classic old media journalism by a reporter with passion and courage, his missive tonight is as good as it gets. Cohen proves the old media is not dead. May it rise again.
On behalf of the "usual suspects," let me just say this: Roger Cohen in no way "saw this coming." In fact, he made a name for himself internationally as one of the leading Western apologists for Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, arguing that the regime was substantially benign and that engagement with these murderers was practically a moral necessity. He saw nothing coming, nothing at all. He has even admitted as much. To his credit, last week he wrote: "I erred in underestimating the brutality and cynicism of a regime that understands the uses of ruthlessness."

Might Start Too Many People Thinking

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ANN ALTHOUSE TRANSLATES: “Excuse me. If I may be so bold. I hate to trouble you but…. I don’t mean to impose… I’m not at interfering… Far be it from me to suggest anything that you might be able to characterize as meddling. I’m no meddler. Not at all. I’m just over here, modestly deploring violence.”

MORE: Reader Michael Tubergen writes: “I can’t help but wonder why the President couldn’t just read from the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence. That pretty much says everything that needs to be said about the Iranian situation.”

Might start too many people thinking.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Three Rules Of Hope, Change And Plunder

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Michale Barone, observing the Obama presidency as it unfolds, has penned his own “Three Rules of Obama”.

Rule one:

First, Obama likes to execute long-range strategies but suffers from cognitive dissonance when new facts render them inappropriate.

Barone cites Obama’s long range strategy of conciliatory diplomacy with the likes of Iran and North Korea being “undercut by North Korea’s missile launches and demonstrations in Iran against the mullah regime’s apparent election fraud.”

Second, he does not seem to care much about the details of policy.

The “closing” of Guantanamo is perhaps the perfect example. Obviously politically satisfying at the time it was announced, its execution has been an absolute fiasco. None of the underlying problems of closing the prison had apparently been researched or considered when the promise was made.

Third, he does business Chicago-style.

“Transparency” and “openness” are now just a words

Hope and change.

Good Luck With That

Last week I stumbled across the following chart in a deck of slides from J.P. Morgan. It basically shows how much economic growth would be required to return the unemployment rate to "only" 6% -- recognizing that we had grown used to it being under 5% -- over the next one to three years, given a "starting" unemployment rate at the end of this year. It goes some distance to explaining in graphical terms why the Obama administration has thrown anything and everything into stimulating the current economy.

Grim picture


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A “man-cession.” That’s what some economists are starting to call it. Of the 5.7 million jobs Americans lost between December 2007 and May 2009, nearly 80 percent had been held by men. Mark Perry, an economist at the University of Michigan, characterizes the recession as a “downturn” for women but a “catastrophe” for men.

Men are bearing the brunt of the current economic crisis because they predominate in manufacturing and construction, the hardest-hit sectors, which have lost more than 3 million jobs since December 2007. Women, by contrast, are a majority in recession-resistant fields such as education and health care, which gained 588,000 jobs during the same period. Rescuing hundreds of thousands of unemployed crane operators, welders, production line managers, and machine setters was never going to be easy. But the concerted opposition of several powerful women’s groups has made it all but impossible. . . .

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I Had Waited Thirty Years For This

People gather and stop him. He’s furious, ‘Why should I not? They beat tiny girls! They beat everyone! Bastard!’

I shout at him, ‘But we’re not beasts! We’re not like them!’ Somebody takes the Basiji away as people curse him. I think, ‘But the bastard deserves it. To come out of your house in the morning, just to beat up people you don’t even know.’ I don’t recognize myself and my feelings anymore.

You can get in any car to go back home. People trust one another now. The woman in the back seat sitting next to me says, ‘It’s no longer about Mousavi or election results. We have suffered for thirty years. We didn’t live a life.’ An old man next to her offers me fresh bread. They tell jokes about the political figures and laugh out loud. They feel victorious. ‘I had waited thirty years for this. Now I feel relieved.’ She writes down my phone number to send me news. ‘Send it to The Guardian!’, she says.

I will. I promise.

Another snip from this RTWT.

Damn Me!

If we want to go forward we need to pass through tear gas. So we ask a car to give us a lift. Then there is an attack. They cannot tell enemy from other people although they want to show everything is fine and they’re only after trouble-makers. There is a woman who is being beaten. She’s horrified and hysterical but not as much as the anti-riot police officer facing her. She shrieks, ‘Where can I go? You tell me go down the street and you beat me. Then you come up from the other side and beat me again. Where can I go?’ In sheer desperation, the officer hits his helmet several times hard with his baton. ‘Damn me! Damn me! What the hell do I know!’

I ask myself, ‘how much longer can these officers tolerate stress? How many among them would be willing to give their lives for somebody like Ahmadinejhad?’


The Triple Oxymoron

As Amir Taheri has put it, the opposition candidate who lost the rigged election, Mir Hossein Mousavi, is just "a balloon that a section of the Iranian middle class inflated to show its anger not only at Ahmadinejad but also at the entire Khomeinist regime."
They want "regime change." They do not want an amelioration, but an end, to the morality laws, the thugs who enforce them, the secret prisons, the international brinkmanship, the terror networks, and the rest of the regime's infrastructure of power.

They explicitly want an end to the "Islamic Republic of Iran," which, as Taheri and others have long been explaining, is a triple oxymoron (it isn't Islamic in any orthodox sense, it isn't a Republic in any political sense, and it does not recognize Iran as a nation).
President Reagan, who extracted more concessions from Soviet tyrants than all previous presidents combined, did not do so by making nice to them.

Cartoon Of The Day

No Papers?

Complaints to Homeland Security higher ups about these “routine checks” were answered by spokeswoman Kelly Ivahnenko with a statement that said, and I accurately paraphrase, “we maintain we have this power and authority, you can expect we will continue to do it whenever and wherever we wish, and there is no requirement that we justify ourselves or explain our reasons.”

This answer itself is, in my opinion, even more frightening than screaming gun-wielding agents.

Capt. Vasili Borodin: I will live in Montana. And I will marry a round American woman and raise rabbits, and she will cook them for me. And I will have a pickup truck… maybe even a “recreational vehicle.” And drive from state to state. Do they let you do that?
Captain Ramius: I suppose.
Capt. Vasili Borodin: No papers?
Captain Ramius: No papers.