Saturday, January 09, 2010

And From The Right

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By Your Friends You Shall Be Known

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A Not sO Flattering View From The Left

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MJT: And yet the other side, the radical Islamist side, hysterically calls us all Crusaders and Zionists.

Hitchens: Here's a way of throwing an Oregon progressive into a state of confusion: ask him or her if they've read the latest Al Qaeda pronouncements on the Hindu question. Or, shall we put it another way, a billion infidels, brown-skinned, third world, living in a secular democracy, and all of them deemed by fatwa as fit only for slaughter.

Who's the racist here? Me for pointing that out?

The Necessary Outcome

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So successfully has the socialist ideal of freedom — social, economic and political been preached that the old cry of the opponents that socialism means slavery has been completely silenced. Probably the great majority of the socialist intellectuals regard themselves as the true upholders of the great tradition of intellectual and cultural liberty against that threatening monster — the authoritarian Leviathan.

Yet here and there, in the writings of some of the more independent minds of our time who have generally welcomed the universal trend toward collectivism, a note of disquiet can be discerned. The question has forced itself upon them whether some of the shocking developments of the past decades may not be the necessary outcome of the tendencies which they had themselves favored.

Look Outside

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Paris –
After three years sans snow, Paris got hit twice this week. The city doesn’t do snow plows, and the novelty of icicles on the Eiffel is wearing off. Even city birds seem to be shivering. “Global warming I care about, but look outside,” offered a denizen of the 8th District.

“Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow,” is fine at Christmas. But in post-holiday Europe, bus engine oil is freezing in Norway. Ireland reports the lowest temperature in 50 years. In Britain, the Army got called out to tow drivers caught in snow drifts, amid possible government gas rationing and fireside chats by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is turning into the nation’s weather comforter-in-chief.

Satellite imagery shows the UK swathed entirely in snow, looking like a baby Greenland.

“Snowfall is expected to be heavy,” warned the French meterological service today, “even exceptional” -- as 600 trucks waited for a major artery to be cleared.


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2.25 million is a large number when one considers that the most recent SAAR came out at 11 million and change. Not only has the government goosed up auto sales with direct subsidies in the form of Cash For Clunkers, but has additionally provided a majority of the marginal financing that would not have been there otherwise for incremental car purchases in 2009.

However, stimuli, zero cost financings, AIG bailouts, record Wall Street profits, and other boons courtesy of Uncle Sam and US taxpayers will only continue for so long before the current administration is booted out as voters realize they have been had and all the current stability is at the expense of tens of trillions of new debt on the back end. When said booting occurs, watch as the floor falls out of the economy, and as the PPT becomes just a little troubled with containing the stock market together.

Sui O Generis

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This was true especially for young people, who formed one of the demographics most responsible for Obama’s win. Young people may be cynical (although they tend not to be as jaded as their elders). But what cynicism they had most of them suspended in the case of Obama. One had only to look at their shining eyes to see how much they believed, and whether it was because of hypnosis or the “possiblity of magic”—still, they had real (if misplaced) faith in Obama’s openness and veracity.

So Obama’s lie was about who he fundamentally is in terms of honesty and openness. It was a lie about lying itself. I cannot recall another president who built his campaign so heavily on an important personal characteristic and then demonstrated the exact opposite so quickly, nakedly, and without apology. In sum: Obama lied about the most central fact of his character.

I submit that this is not business as usual. This is something sui generis in American politics.

Balloon Update

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Don't believe the scaremongering by Wall Street firms about the end of cheap money. Dig into the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee of Ben Bernanke's central bank and comfort yourself. The great gift of quantitative easing is not yet over, and it won't be for several months, at least.

The cost of Fed funds will remain at zero to 0.25%, and the central bank during the next 90 days will buy another $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities and $175 billion in housing agency debt to lubricate the still moribund housing market. These purchases will increase the Fed's balance sheet by another 50% in three months to $3.445 trillion.

The nation's money supply is getting another massive injection, as large of a goose as the one it got in late 2008 at the apex of the financial crisis.


Miss Klass, a model for Marks & Spencer and a former singer with the pop group Hear'Say, was in her kitchen in the early hours of Friday when she saw two teenagers behaving suspiciously in her garden. The youths approached the kitchen window, before attempting to break into her garden shed, prompting Miss Klass to wave a kitchen knife to scare them away.

Miss Klass, 31, who was alone in her house in Potters Bar, Herts, with her two-year-old daughter, Ava, called the police. When they arrived at her house they informed her that she should not have used a knife to scare off the youths because carrying an "offensive weapon" - even in her own home - was illegal.


This is just one of many similar recent stories, some involving criminal charges that have been brought against homeowners who tried to defend themselves against murderous thugs who invaded their homes. In England, astonishing as it may seem, self-defense is illegal.

Am I missing something, or is Great Britain doomed?

Health Care To Remain "Private"

So what is shaping up behind closed doors is classic National Socialist legislation. The government will not overtly take over the insurance industry ("seizing the means of production," in Marxist terms). Rather, ostensibly private institutions will be left in place, at least for the time being. But those "private" institutions--the health insurance companies--will be subjected to top-down regulation that turns them into agents of state power. No meaningful competition will be permitted. The federal government will run health care, but will do so behind a facade of private enterprise. Mussolini would be proud of Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid.

Presumably this arrangement is only temporary. As we have noted before, the Left doesn't really need a public option. President Obama has said that under his proposal, private insurance companies would be driven out of business over a period of ten to twenty years.

The Coffee Boy

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Third or fourth hand via Ted Kennedy (drink!) via an anonymous friend of Kennedy's via journalists. Still, if true, it's just jaw-dropping:

[A]s Hillary bungled Caroline, Bill’s handling of Ted was even worse. The day after Iowa, he phoned Kennedy and pressed for an endorsement, making the case for his wife. But Bill then went on, belittling Obama in a manner that deeply offended Kennedy. Recounting the conversation later to a friend, Teddy fumed that Clinton had said, A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.

This is, like the Reid quote posted below, from Jon Heliemann and Mark Halperin's new book, Game Change. I don't normally read books on politics (excepting the ones readers have thrown my way), but if this thing is as juicy as it sounds, I might just have to get it.

More: Now, I'm mostly sure that Clinton didn't mean it the way it sounds. But if a Republican former president had said this there would be riots. The DNC would be making ads already.

Jack-ss With Cream On Top

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Dan Riehl comments: “Thank God Reid isn’t a Republican, or he’d be being savaged as a racist. We all know that’s not true. They aren’t racists. They simply don’t believe blacks can be successful without being helped by a white person. That isn’t racism, silly. It’s compassion, or so we’re told.”

MORE: Over at Talking Points Memo, where Trent Lott came in for plenty of criticism, reader Brian Torrez notes that there’s currently . . . nothing about Reid’s remarks at all. Well, people blog about what they find interesting and apparently this doesn’t interest ‘em. I’ll note that I was on the Lott story, though . . . . (Bumped).

Nope Again

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POLL: Massachusetts Senate Race Now A Toss-Up. I had noticed that the powers-that-be in Massachusetts were acting kinda nervous, so maybe their own polls say something similar. It must be troubling when your push-pollers ask people if it would affect their vote if the guy was a Nazi and the respondents say “Nope, he’d still be better than Coakley.”

More Fun

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Iguana Who?

Who's there?


Iguana who?

Iguana need a hardhat.

Saturday Fun

(I actually saw this ad some years ago on tv. I don't know why the word "layout" is superimposed on this, it's the only English language version I could find.)

Corruptocrat Watch

Looks as though if a Massachusetts Dem wins a special federal election, they get it certified ASAP if the vote is needed in Congress. However, were Scott Brown to defeat Martha Coakley, Democrats are already suggesting any election certification could be delayed. Kennedy's current fill in intends to support the issue with a yes vote no matter what.

In contrast, Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell) was sworn in at the U.S. House of Representatives on Oct. 18, 2007, just two days after winning a special election to replace Martin Meehan. In that case, Tsongas made it to Capitol Hill in time to override a presidential veto of the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Yesterday, Brown, who has been closing the gap with Coakley in polls and fund raising, blasted the political double standard.

“This is a stunning admission by Paul Kirk and the Beacon Hill political machine,” said Brown in a statement.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Only 45%?

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UPDATE: From the comments: “Preferably the Yellow Pages!!! At least they can run a business.” Heh.

Sowell Is Back

Just in time to refresh us for battle in the coming year, Thomas Sowell has a new book out: Intellectuals and Society. It is a must-read and  follows in the steps of two of his previous books The Vision of the Anointed and A Conflict of Visions.

One of the themes of Sowell's work is that decisions in society should be made by people who will experience the consequences of those decisions and that the more there is a separation between power and consequences the greater the danger to society.

Sowell makes a distinction between people whose occupations require high intellectual capacity - engineering, the professions, etc. - but who are judged by the results of their intellectual efforts - does the bridge hold up, does a surgeon's patient recover - and those whose occupations are to generate ideas in the abstract, the merit of which are never subject to empirical tests.


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Ace is angry but I think he’s forgetting that Obama has basically rigged these trials from the get-go with his two-tiered approach to detainees. Remember? When he’s got a bunch of evidence on someone such that the confession is basically unnecessary, they go to federal court so that The One can boast about due process. When he doesn’t have much evidence besides the confession, they go to a military tribunal so that the confession can be admitted into evidence and he can boast about the eventual conviction. It’s a sham, and it’s crowned by the fact that he’s all but promised to keep dangerous detainees imprisoned even if they’re acquitted, but that’s the game he’s decided he wants to play.
If he and Holder miscalculate and end up sending some low-level jihadi to federal court on the assumption that they can get a conviction even if the confession’s thrown out, and then the defendant is freed, the uproar will be such that he’ll have to rethink his whole stupid KSM strategy.


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According to Barack Obama, Al Qaeda keeps attacking us and recruiting new terrorists because GTMO exists.

Unfortunately for Obama, Al Qaeda says the recent attack on the CIA was actually because of our drones.

If we follow Obama’s logic that the existence of GTMO causes terror attacks, we must conclude that Obama will now shut down the remote drone program.

Of course it is frightening to follow Obama’s logic.

According to him, GTMO is used as a recruiting tool in the Arabian world. Al Qaeda recruits terrorists who want to come to America to kill us because their brethren are in GTMO.

Do not … REPEAT … do not ask Barack Obama how moving the GTMO prisoners to a prison on domestic soil will somehow cause Al Qaeda to say, “Yo, we’re cool now.” In fact, if GTMO causes Al Qaeda to want to come to America to kill Americans, how much more so will a prison in Illinois incite them to come here and not only kill us but also free their brethren.

This guy is an amateur.

I Know Nothing!

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Obama Shocker:
"I hear nothing, I see nothing, I know nothing!"

Or If You Prefer: No More Food For The Dogs

They say a picture paints a thousand words. Well this picture paints very clearly the American Economy for the last 30 years.

Ever decreasing Bond Yields which = EVER EXPANDING DEBT.

The chart below shows that interest rates have been decreasing by approximately 0.5% every 2 years. Put simply, As the price of debt becomes cheaper more is created and then spent, and that effectively is the economy.


That is until the market runs ahead of itself and then crashes WHICH HAS NOW HAPPENED, or until you reach the ZERO BOUND position of 0% interest rates WHICH HAS NOW ALSO HAPPENED.

The economy is 70% based on the consumer, and the consumer has been trained over the last 30 years, just like Pavlov dogs to expect ever decreasing interest rates and attendant increasing property prices. However the Fed have a problem they have no more food for the dogs, as they are now at 0%.

The Consumer is tapped out, so now the Government has taken over the perpetual debt machine

Look No Further

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The only chart that matters for the past 3 decades, courtesy of Morgan Stanley.

And the same idea, from Katana Capital

We The People

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Du'O (Part 86,931)

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No surprise. Either the courts must accept -- and bless as Constitutional -- the extraordinary treatment due to these vile monsters, and thus bless such treatment for all criminal suspects in the United States (plainly a hateful conclusion), or they must toss out all the evidence against them and set terrorists free.

It is the left's hateful agitation against all things Bush, plus Obama's delicately theoretical comprehension of the real-life flesh-and-blood world, that has brought us to this point.

And it will get worse.

A federal judge has tossed out most of the government's evidence against a tarrorism detainee on grounds his confessions were coerced, allegedly by U.S. forces, before he became a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


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The traditional “Top Ten Breakthroughs of the Decade” lists have been appearing in science-related publications. One breakthrough, however, is conspicuously missing from every list I’ve seen so far. I’m talking about the new understanding of the role and proper dosage of the sunshine vitamin D.

The “scientific consensus” that has held sway for four decades regarding both exposure to the sun and vitamin D has collapsed. What has emerged in place of the old “settled science” is the knowledge that most people in America are seriously vitamin D deficient or insufficient.

Simply put, unless you are one of the few people with optimal serum D levels, such as lifeguards and roofers in South Florida, you can cut your risks from most major diseases by 50 to 80 percent. All you have to do is get enough D. It also means we can significantly reduce both health care costs and the staggering national deficit by taking a few simple steps.

QOTD: Fighting Back

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“For years I’ve said that exactly two things have made us safer since 9/11: reinforcing the cockpit door and convincing passengers that they need to fight back.”

COTD: Hyper-Educated Nitwits

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I don’t think meritocracy is the problem, for meritocracy implies there is a reason for someone to be in the position he is in. The problem is today we have pseudo-meritocracy, which means that many are in high positions not because they were good at something but have credentials and degrees from universities which are regarded as a substitute for being good at something. But many of these people are hyper-educated nitwits, good at reading books and parroting back what they were fed but no good at thinking. Obama is the poster boy for the problem.

The Tinfoil Apocalypse Update: Hayek On Steroids

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One shakes one’s head in disbelief. Is there anything our “educated classes” can’t fuck up, any reality they won’t deny? Will Collier fails, however to ask the next question: why did they fail?

The obvious and most tempting hypothesis for a libertarian student of history like myself is that the Gramscian damage caught up with them.

I think there’s much more to it than that, though. When I look at the pattern of failures, I am reminded of something I learned from software engineering: planning fails when the complexity of the problem exceeds the capacity of the planners to reason about it. And the complexity of real-world planning problems almost never rises linearly; it tends to go up at least quadratically in the number of independent variables or problem elements.

I think the complexifying financial and political environment of the last few decades has simply outstripped the capacity of our “educated classes”, our cognitive elite, to cope with it.

Before The Election Would Have Been Better Timing

John McCain has run against Barack Obama before.

He's running against him again.

With campaign radio ads billing the five-term Republican senator as "Arizona's last line of defense,'' the GOP's nominee for president in 2008 is attempting to bolster his 2010 campaign for reelection to the Senate with a slam at the president.

"President Obama is leading an extreme left-wing crusade to bankrupt America,'' McCain says in one of the radio ads his campaign is airing.

McCain after meeting with Obama.jpg

"I stand in his way every day,'' McCain says. "If I get a bruise or two knocking some sense into heads in Washington, so be it.''


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Solar geomagnetic activity is at an all time low – what does this mean for climate?

We then had a string of sunspots in December that marked what many saw as a rejuvenation of solar cycle 24 after a long period of inactivity. See December sunspots on the rise

It even prompted people like Joe Romm to claim:

The hottest decade ends and since there’s no Maunder mininum — sorry deniers! — the hottest decade begins

But what Joe doesn’t understand is that sunspots are just one proxy, the simplest and most easily observed, for magnetic activity of the sun. It is the magnetic activity of the sun which is central to Svensmark’s theory of galactic cosmic ray modulation, which may affect cloud cover formation on earth, thus affecting global temperatures.

With the sunspot activity in December, I thought surely the Ap index would go up. Instead, it crashed.
back to 1844 when measurements first started, the significance of this value of “1″ becomes evident.

Just Wow (Part 84,973)

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I live blogged this earlier but if you haven't seen it, you really need to hear it from them to believe it.

Brennan is shocked that a group that got an individual close enough to wound the head of Saudi counter-terrorism and had expressed a desire to attack us could get a guy on a plane with a bomb? Really?

And Napolitano is shocked! Shocked to find out they might use an individual and not a group as on 9/11? Has she heard of Richard Reed?

Imagine for a moment if Sarah Palin had given the answer Napolitano did. She'd have been laughed out of public life. And rightfully so. Janet however will likely get another loving column from David Broder.

But don't worry, Obama took the blame so we're in the best of hands.