Saturday, January 03, 2009

Jewish and English history

Punditarian has some comments on my recent posts about Jews. We appear to be in substantial agreement -- with the main problem being that he has completely missed my point when I compared the English and the Jews. I was not at all interested in the question of what the future holds for the English. I was merely trying to extract what lessons we can learn from their rather distinguished history to date. How did the English do so well from the 11th to the 20th centuries? I think the answer to that could have lessons for Jews. And there is nothing in that answer that is at all threatening to Jewry or Judaism. Quite to the contrary. Jews have survived for 3,000 years amid great suffering. I believe that there are ways to reduce that suffering. It has been said that when we stop learning we die so I do hope that Jews are still capable of learning some things. If so, I believe that the English are one group who could teach most people something.

I think the only area where Punditarian and I disagree is fairly trivial. He wants to call Jews a nation. I have no strong feelings about that at all. My only point is that Jews are not a race and he seems to agree with that. Nonetheless his use of "nation" is a bit peculiar. In ordinary usage, "nation" refers to the people of a particular place under a single government. So Israel is undoubtedly a nation but Jews generally are not. Whether you call Jews a nation, a people or just a group, however, the only really interesting question, it seems to me, is how they are defined. It is of course an old question that has been debated for many years and Israel itself has effectively thrown up its hands over the matter and declared that you are a Jew if you think you are. Being one of those pesky social scientists, however, I still strive to bring a bit of order out of chaos so I still like my definition that you are a Jew either because of your own religion or the religion of one of your recent forebears.

In an earlier post, Punditarian conflated geneology with genetics in discussing one of my statements but I concede that the statement concerned was unclear enough to enable that. I could not see how any modern day Western Jew could trace a GENEOLOGICAL connection to the Israel of 2,000 years ago but Punditarian took me to be referring to a GENETIC connection. There is of course no doubt (as we see here) that some Western Jews derive some of their genes from the Middle East and, hence probably from ancient Israel. Overall, however, Jews are racially very mixed. I trace some of my ancestry to Scotland but that does not mean that I am a Scot.

One point made by Punditarian that I rather liked, however, was his point that Jews have always been only weakly endogamous. As he notes, the Bible itself records plenty of examples of marrying "out". The book of Ruth is in fact all about one such episode.


"I'm keeping Kosher for Christmas"

A rather fun video about Jews and Christmas below. Definitely no suicide bombers involved. But it does look like the Yiddisher Momma has won most of the battles. But the video link was afer all sent to me by a real Yiddisher Momma!

She also sent me An interview with God that has some good thoughts in it.


Has Israel learned its lesson?

ISRAEL'S 2006 WAR against Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terrorist army based in Lebanon, was a disaster -- an ill-planned operation that did more damage to Israel's military reputation than to Hezbollah's resolve and influence. Now, as it fights Hamas in Gaza, Israel seems determined not to repeat the mistakes it made 2« years ago. This time, Israeli prewar preparations were much more meticulous. Months were devoted to gathering detailed information on scores of Hamas targets, including training camps and offices, rocket launchers, underground bunkers, weapons-making sites, tunnels from Egypt, and the homes of terrorist commanders. Israel's military and political operations appear better coordinated than in 2006, and Israeli diplomats are making use of online weapons -- launching a dedicated YouTube channel, for example, and conducting a live citizens' press conference via Twitter -- to get its message out.

But it remains an open question whether Israel's leaders have learned the most critical lesson of all: that genocidal jihadists and other mortal foes cannot be wheedled, negotiated, bribed, or ignored into quietude. In a war with enemies like Hezbollah and Hamas and the PLO -- enemies explicitly committed to Israel's destruction -- goodwill gestures beget no goodwill, and peace processes do not lead to peace.

The proximate cause of the fighting in Gaza was the sharp increase in rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli civilians after Hamas refused to extend its tenuous cease-fire with Israel past Dec. 19. But the deeper cause was the transformation of Gaza into an Iranian proxy and terrorist hub following Israel's reckless "disengagement" in 2005. Israelis convinced themselves that ethnically cleansing Gaza of its Jews and handing over the territory to the Palestinians would reduce violence and make Israel safer. It did just the opposite. In 2000, Israelis had similarly believed that a unilateral retreat from southern Lebanon would deprive Hezbollah of any pretext for continuing its war against the Jewish state. But far from extinguishing Hezbollah's jihadist dreams, it inflamed them.

There are heartening indications this week of a more realistic and unsentimental approach. Defense Minister Ehud Barak described the offensive against Hamas as a "war to the bitter end" and told an American interviewer, "For us to be asked to have a cease-fire with Hamas is like asking you to have a cease-fire with al-Qaeda." Both leading contenders in the upcoming Israeli election, Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister and head of Kadima, promise to make it a priority "to topple the Hamas regime" if elected prime minister. Israel's UN ambassador, Gabriela Shalev, has said that the operation in Gaza will last "as long as it takes to dismantle Hamas completely."

More here



Obama Promises Bush III on Iran: "President-elect Barack Obama has promised major changes in U.S. diplomacy and repeatedly criticized the Bush administration on both substance and style. On Iran, also for over five years, Mr. Bush has endorsed vigorous European diplomacy. The Europeans offered every imaginable carrot to persuade Iran to drop its nuclear program in exchange for a different relationship with Europe and America. This produced no change in Iran's strategic objective of acquiring deliverable nuclear weapons. The only real consequence is that Iran is five years closer to achieving that objective. It now has indigenous mastery over the entire nuclear fuel cycle. The Obama alternative? "Present the Iranian regime with a clear choice" by using carrots and sticks to induce Iran to give up its nuclear aspirations. What does Mr. Obama think Mr. Bush and the Europeans have been doing? Does he really think his smooth talking will achieve more than Europe's smoothest talkers, who were in fact talking for us the whole time? Neither North Korea nor Iran is prepared to voluntarily give up nuclear or ballistic missile programs. The Bush policy was flawed not because its diplomacy was ineffective or disengaged, not because it was too intimidating to its adversaries, and not because it lacked persistence. Mr. Bush's flaw was believing that negotiation and mutual concession could accomplish the U.S. objective.... Mr. Obama's handling of the rogue states will -- at best -- continue the Bush policies, which failed to stop nuclear proliferation. Get ready for a dangerous ride."

The need for votes ensures centrism: "Anyone looking for an example of the genius of American politics, and how Barack Obama exemplifies it, need go no further than the just-announced program for Inauguration Day: Aretha Franklin, the queen of soul herself, will sing; the Rev. Rick Warren will deliver a surely purpose-driven prayer; Yo-Yo Ma will play the cello and Itzhak Perlman the violin; a certified professor of African American Studies will contribute the inaugural poem ... and so eclectically on."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Friday, January 02, 2009

The Nigerian strategy comes to America








********************** update

Obama's spending spree won't rescue the US economy from recession : By setting his face against this policy of expanding capacity and to rely entirely on monetary expansion to promote recovery while at the same time promising higher energy prices in the future and a huge tax hike in 2010 or 2011 Obama will be fuelling uncertainty as well as inflation
Manufacturing contraction will deepen the recession : Once again the Reserve has put us on a monetary roller-coaster. But will it be enough to pull us out of recession? I for one think it highly unlikely. As we are already in recession, I expect it to get much worse. This leave one vital point that needs to be continually stressed: It is central bank monetary policy that is causing these economic crises in the first place
The psychopathology of Bush hatred : Hatred of Bush has been relentless and pathological in its intensity. The Left and the media act just like the lynch mobs of old. Listen to their voices and you'll hear the ancient roar of the mob. There are no words to describe just how despicable this mob is
Are price controls on the way? : Bernanke's willingness to flood the economy with money in a futile attempt to give the economy a 'jolt' has convinced many economists that the US could find itself in an inflationary spiral
The big three bailout: Disgusting political humbug: What would Obama, a combination of messiah and male model, know of the auto industry. Any involvement he might have in the matter would be governed exclusively by political expediency, and hence can hardly be expected to promote the auto companies' long-term economic viability and the interests of the economy as a whole
Obama and Hollywood's hatred of conservatives: American patriots are in Jessica Lange's debt. She helped reveal the totalitarian thinking that lurks beneath the surface of Hollywood's leftwing activists. Their hatred of alternative views and their unspoken belief that all Republican administrations are illegitimate and do not have a moral or legal right to exist. This is Lange's real message and it is one that patriotic Americans should never forget
A trillion here, a trillion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money : It used to be, before the age of reason expired, that government spending was more or less in line with government income. Since most people paid taxes back then, the idea of raising their taxes was not popular. Today however when not all people pay taxes, the idea of raising taxes sounds pretty good to a large number of voters, citizens or not, because they are on the receiving end of government handouts
Baal and the gods of liberalism : Does there exist a gruesome and honest analogy between the liberals' fanatical support of abortion in all its forms the ancient Canaanite cult of Baal?



Israel's Response Is Disproportionate : " I condemn Israel's disproportionate attack on Hamas because, so far, it has only lasted four days and I would like to see a proportionate response that terrifies Hamas for seven years, the years that have filled Sderot and neighboring towns with nightmares, death, amputations and trauma coming from rockets and mortars fired from Gaza. Perhaps a proportionate response would have Gaza's leaders fearful of being killed every day for the next two years, as Gilad Shalit has been terrified of torture and death every day for the last two years in his solitary Gaza dungeon. A proportionate response would so intimidate Hamas that they will grovel and, as a "gesture," send cocoa and jam into Sderot, the way Israel has groveled in response to rockets from Hamas, sending cocoa and jam into Gaza. Imagine Churchill sending cocoa and jam into Berlin as a humanitarian gesture after - during - the bombing of London. A proportionate response would be one that will convince Hamas there is no military solution, no solution but surrender. They can then call surrender a "peace process," if they like, just as the mostly unanswered attacks on Jews have convinced some Jews that there is no military solution but surrender to any and all demands."

Congress targets philanthropy: "Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-Ca.) thinks he's discovered a new source of political treasure: the money inside private and community foundations. The tax exemption foundations enjoy, says Mr. Becerra, is a `$32 billion earmark.' As he explains: `I have an obligation to make sure that those $32 billion that would have gone to the federal government are used for a . public good.' Unless foundations reprogram money in the direction of Mr. Becerra's preferences, he'll start proceedings to dismantle their tax exemption."

Palin, populism and potential: "Sarah Palin was, at least in part, an antidote to the Democrat stranglehold on populist rhetoric, and Democrat Party operatives recognized that. They had to discredit her and render her ineffective as quickly as possible or she might have stolen the election. In many respects, this anti-Palin campaign manifested in the minds of many of her supporters as `hate,' and given the attitude that many hard left Democrats have demonstrated during the last quarter century; that anyone who does not share their beliefs has no legitimate right to be heard, this belief is reasonable. Also, the fact that Sarah Palin manifested as an antidote to the Democrats' false populism, as a someone who can capture a significant following leads us to an important conclusion; that there is a market for Conservative Populism in the American Electorate, if it has the right candidate to follow. What should also be clear is that Sarah Palin has provided Republicans and Conservatives with a roadmap."

Hank's Deals on Wheels : "Hurry to your local GM dealer, because Hank Paulson has a deal for you. Within hours of receiving a $5 billion lifeline from the U.S. Treasury on Monday, GMAC -- the financing arm of General Motors -- slashed its car-loan rates and lowered its lending standards to help GM sell, sell, sell. As of Tuesday, GMAC was offering 0% financing on several models -- hey, if 0% is good enough for Ben Bernanke, it's good enough for you -- and said it would extend credit to buyers with credit scores as low as 621 -- right on the edge of subprime territory. The median credit rating is 723. Once Washington got into the business of owning car makers, it was only a matter of time before Hank Paulson & Co. started trying to sell cars too. It's now the American public's investment in Detroit that's on the line, after all."

The UAW's Money-Squandering Corruptocracy: "Nero fiddled while Rome burned. The UAW golfed. While carmakers soak up $17 billion in taxpayer bailout funds and demand more for their ailing industry, United Auto Workers bosses have wasted tens of millions of their workers' dues on gold-plated resorts and rotten investments. The labor organization's money-losing golf compound is just the tip of the iceberg... In February 2000, the union poured $14.7 million into Pro Air, a Detroit start-up airline that, well, didn't get off the ground. Plagued by safety problems, the feds shuttered the company less than a year later. The union didn't fare much better in its venture with a liberal radio network. "

Palin: Future son-in-law is no high school dropout : "Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says her future son-in-law is not a high school dropout as the press is reporting. The former Republican vice presidential candidate also issued a statement about the birth of her first grandchild. Palin told The Associated Press on Wednesday that 18-year-old Levi Johnston is enrolled in high school through a correspondence program. Palin said some media outlets also are erroneously reporting that her 18-year-old daughter, Bristol, is a high school dropout. The governor said her daughter is enrolled in regular high school and has taken correspondence courses."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Thursday, January 01, 2009


To all those who come by here


The interregnum

We are at the moment in a sort of interregnum -- in between the election of the Lightbringer and his enthronement on Jan. 20. I am using that time to explore a little more than usual those issues which transcend the issues of the day. So I have been writing a bit lately on the issue that most transcends time: The Jews. Being part of such an issue is of course often uncomfortable for individual Jews so I do admire the courage and resolution of those who continue to claim a Jewish identity. And I expect that I will continue to touch on that identity for a little while yet. I think I have so far managed to generate an unusually frank dialogue on the matter so that does encourage me to continue.

Below is an email recently received from a Jewish friend that questions one of the points I have made so far. It is in fact not directly about Jews at all but traces back to my comparison of Jews with the English. It challenges in part my description of the English as having survived the last 1000 years "in style". It does not challenge the external achievements of the English but does point to internal problems. I follow that challenge with some more comments of my own.
I wish to add some objections to your core thesis that agues that the English have survived in style for the last millennium and a half.

While on the surface this carries with it an apparent truism it overlooks the fact that English history, despite a popular misconception, has not been in and of itself peaceful. Looking at the period after 1066 (the time when England was last successfully invaded) Albion has witnessed on local soils rebellions by the Saxons against Norman Feudalism, the Baron Wars, Peasant Rebellions, the War of the Roses (which really spanned the era between Richard II and Henry VII), the English Civil War, the Jacobite War and the insurrection of Monmouth. If one adds in the American Revolution (which for all intent of purpose can be looked at as an internal struggle between English speaking people) it is evident that the English have had a long history of warring amongst themselves.

In addition if you add in the numerous English lives (mostly commoners) that have been lost in the pursuit of Empire on a global basis -not to mention those lives foregone in conflicts with Spain, the Netherlands, France, Scotland, Denmark, the United States etc - the idea of surviving with style, at least how it reflects down to the bulk of the populace, is found wanting.

Now I will not deny the fact the English have been very successful in transmitting their culture on a worldwide basis. The dominance of the English language and systems of education and governance attest to this phenomenon but it has come at a price which I believe cannot be swept so easily under the proverbial rug.

The English are a very admirable people (I have been somewhat of an anglophile for most of my life although my enthusiasm has waned as of late as British institutions which I once respected continue to shed ground to the Stealth Jihad) but the accident of geography that has afforded them island status clearly played a large role in their success (yes the Scots and Welsh could harass the English but by sheer force of number were unlikely to ever win the upper hand..).

Winston Churchill was correct in arguing that the island situation was an advantage that could not last forever and that Britain would need to work on establishing alliances to ensure survival. This was not a novel idea at the Empire level (regional alliances with the Iroquois, the Basuto, the Sikhs were common) but in the more critical area of European politics it was particular loathsome to the English mindset. After the Napoleonic Wars and the obvious realization that the European Powers (Russia, Prussia and Austria) were intent on turning back the forces of liberalism and nationalism (via the Concert System) Britain retreated into a type of 'splendid isolation' where it focused on growing its Empire alone without outside interference. With the possible exception of the Crimean War this attitude characterized British geo-politically thinking up to the Second Anglo Boer War. It was only after the South African conflict, where British resources were stretched to breaking point by the guerilla tactics of well organized militia that the need for global allies would become a necessity. In fact one can pinpoint this change in policy to the signing of the Anglo-Japanese Agreement of 1902, a framework that set the foundation for the Entente Cordiale with France and the Anglo-Russian Entente.

However even in this regard the Brits were slow to the post, for one the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy was already well established. Germany also had cultivated an ally in the Ottoman Turks. One could even argue (with hindsight) that Britain's decision to enter into a system of alliances and thereby join the trend was ultimately what caused the weakening of the Empire by forcing London to engage in a vortex of events leading to the disastrous Great War (although I suspect that you will argue otherwise using the pretext that the growing influence of German Naval Power made war inevitable).

I believe that the success of the English people resides with a combination of factors. They are a very resourceful people (their pragmatic creativity during the First Industrial Revolution and beyond bears this out) but so does a commitment to the free inquiry. The former has its structural origins in the English Reformation, but was further augmented by the battle against autocracy during the Civil War and the Hanoverian transfer of power during the reign of George I. These changes were not as forthcoming amongst Britain/England's continental rivals who were forced to delay the coming of modernism to the Enlightenment Period.

However what has most served the English is their ability to adapt - to take the best from the outside and make it somehow English. They did this with the Roman system of laws, Grecian Rationalism, Judeo-Christian Ethics, Stoicism and Iberian naval proficiency. It is this same characteristic that the family branch of the English, the Americans, have utilized with remarkable success today (Another island nation, the Japanese, are similar to the English in this regard).

It is this adaptation that has created the illusion that the English have resisted invasion. While no army since William the Conqueror have overwhelmed the English on the home front since the 11th century (although the Hungarians humbled the English football team at Wembley in the 1950s) it is equally true that the English monarchy has resided in the hands of foreigners since then. The Normans were of a Franco/Norse stock, the House of Plantagenet, and its spin offs in Lancaster and York were all Gallic, the Tudors were Welsh, The Stuarts - Scottish and Hanover, Saxe-Coburg and Windsor were/are all German. Yes not since the ill-fated Harold Godwinson (aka Harold II) has England had a monarch of English ethnicity and before that power was invested for some time with Danish kings such as Canute and Hardicanute.

What is most remarkable though is that within a short period the English turned these foreigners into extensions of England that their ethnicity is more a matter of historical detail than anything else.

However with each addition and influx of change a point of saturation is neared. Changes are rarely neutral with respect to key factors. The utility of adaptation carries with it a double-edged outcome. At what point in a series of changes is the system or the people no longer English?

British Internationalism, the overriding policy of adaptation, that dominates the nation in 2008 is a consequence of this underlying tendency, however in subjecting itself to the relativism of multiculturalism the Brits seem to have shot the bolt and traded away the base in one foul swoop. Could it be that the English will simply wither away? Over-adapted themselves to death? Maybe there is a grace in this style but I am at a loss to find it.

Phew! Where do I start there and where do I finish? The argument is too detailed for most readers to judge so I think I should content myself with some fairly general remarks in reply. I am inclined to make remarks along the lines that that the Jacobite wars were fought mainly in Scotland and that the Monmouth rebellion was trivial but that would just move the debate too far afield.

A major point above, and one I had been waiting for someone to make, is that, although there has been no foreign invasion of any moment, the English have at times fought amongst themselves -- and the Scots also got a bit far South on some occasions.

And I do not for a moment deny the savagery of some of England's internecine wars. There were large areas of civility in the wars concerned but there were some nasty incidents too. My point, however, is simply that foreign invasions would have made things much worse and England managed to avoid those. The English have never had a magic wand that insulates them from all harm but they have done better than almost anybody (Yes. I know about Iceland and Japan) at keeping out foreigners. Internecine wars are regrettably common just about everywhere -- see for instance pre-Tokugawa Japan and the numerous wars that for so long consumed the German states. And see Renaissance Italy and classical Greece for that matter. So the English did little better than others on the internecine front but they did wonders on the foreign front. Life in England would have been a lot nastier and much more destructive if foreign troops had marched through England's "green and pleasant land" as well.

And I will be a little pesky and point out that England's internal strife came to a halt a remarkably long time ago. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 terminated England's internecine wars. Since then there have been lots of nasty internecine wars in other places: Two of them in America in fact. So the English even got the internecine problem under control earlier than most. I can already hear a few roars about my mention of America, though.

I think the next point made above by my friendly critic is that lots of English troops have died in England's wars abroad. That is of course true. EVERY nation has lost sons in foreign wars. But, again, the English have generally got off pretty lightly. In WWII, for instance, English losses were piffling compared to the losses of men (and population generally) suffered by Germany and Russia. Britain's alliance with the Soviets was unpleasant but, as with most of Britain's alliances, it did succeed in getting lots of foreigners to die for English liberty. Clever? You judge.

So I think at this point I will make a concession to my critic above: I may have given an impression of complete tranquillity in England and that would certainly not be justified. But nearly a thousand years of freedom from foreign invasion was still a major achievement and it sure beats almost anything elsewhere. And that seems worth study.

We now move into an area that is a bit fuzzier. How consistent has been Britain's seeking of alliances? I have not the slightest problem in saying that their seeking of alliances has waxed and waned. The seeking of alliances was simply an English tendency, not some rule laid down from on high. So I will not spend too much time on each era of English history. My critic does descry, however, a period in which the enthusiasm for alliances was low but admits that the Crimean war took place during that period.

I cannot let the magnitude of that pass unremarked. In the Crimean war (against Russia), the English were allied with the FRENCH! The enormity of that can hardly be understated. Perhaps a small anecdote will help. Since Norman times, the French have always been England's chief enemy. And when the allied generals in the Crimea were discussing strategy to be used against the Russian enemy, the English generals had the unfortunate tendency of referring to the enemy as "The French"! That did not go down too well with their French allies, of course. So the English propensity for seeking allies was strong enough at that time to cause them to enter into the most unlikely and unpopular alliance which was at that time conceivable. So I don't think that the English enthusiasm for alliances was too far submerged in that era either.

This post is already way too long so I will finish by making a tiny point about the many late 19th century alliances that were negotiated in Europe. It is true that Britain was not an enthusiastic participant in them but there was a good reason for that. The prime mover in the alliances concerned was Germany's brilliant Otto von Bismarck and Bismarck kept playing musical chairs with Germany's alliances as a way of keeping everyone off balance and thus preventing the rest of Europe from ganging up on the new Germany and thus igniting a hugely destructive war. So the British were rightly deeply skeptical of all those manouvres. And when Bismarck was gone we see how right he was about the dogs of war that lay in wait for Europe. Without his mercurial diplomacy to prevent it, Europe entered WWI.

And it is true that I think the German fleet was the main reason for Britain coming in on the side of France in WWI. The battle of Jutland showed that the German fleet was rightly feared. But that is all another story. The rest of my critic's observations I broadly agree with.

By the way: Most readers here will know that I am Australian, not English, but I want to make that clear for any new readers. Thanks to our British forebears, Australia is the only nation that has an entire continent to itself -- which is exceptionally neat. And Australians are probably even more devoted to alliances than the English are. Wherever British or American troops are fighting, Australian troops will normally be there too lending a hand. And in the more than 200 years of our history, we have not seen the campfires of an invader either. Nor have we had any civil wars. So Australia really has had a tranquil past -- lightyears more tranquil than the history of the Jews over the same period. And Australia is a pretty tranquil place today too.



Russian says USA is doomed: "For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. For most of that time, he admits, few took his argument -- that an economic and moral collapse will trigger a civil war and the eventual breakup of the U.S. -- very seriously. Now he's found an eager audience: Russian state media. In recent weeks, he's been interviewed as much as twice a day about his predictions. "It's a record," says Prof. Panarin. "But I think the attention is going to grow even stronger." Prof. Panarin, 50 years old, is not a fringe figure. A former KGB analyst, he is dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry's academy for future diplomats. He is invited to Kremlin receptions, lectures students, publishes books, and appears in the media as an expert on U.S.-Russia relations."

Another doomster gets it wrong: "Henry Kaufman, the former Salomon Brothers chief economist whose bearish views decades ago earned him the nickname "Dr. Doom," lost several million dollars with Bernard Madoff, making him one of the most prominent Wall Street figures to emerge as a victim of the alleged Ponzi scheme. Mr. Kaufman, 81 years old, had the money in a brokerage account with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities for more than five years, he said in an interview Tuesday."

Baubles instead of thrift not wise: "At Society Hill Loan, a pawnshop in a middle-class neighborhood here, a steady rain fell outside as a fashionably dressed young man parked his Cadillac Escalade outside. Looking around warily, he came in to speak with Nat Leonard, co-owner of the store. The visitor was a 29-year-old engineer who was laid off earlier this year from one of the local chemical companies. Since then, he's been cleaning planes at the airport for less than half the salary he was earning a year ago. Now he needs a $2,500 loan on his watch -- a Movado Fiero with a diamond bezel -- to pay his mortgage note. "I want to help," said Mr. Leonard. But unlike Rolex and a few other brands, "there's no market" for Movado in his pawn universe. The young man, who didn't wish to give his name, left the store disappointed. "I'm not sure what I'm going to do," he said."

Leftist hatred identified by one who knows: "An `Untouchable' in India's caste system has changed his mind. Chandra Bhan Prasad, an Indian writer and activist, was once the worst kind of socialist. According to a profile in the New York Times, he had been the kind of Maoist revolutionary who `carried a pistol and recruited his people to kill their upper-caste landlords.' Now Prasad says the best way to lift low-caste members of society out of poverty is to increase economic freedom, let capitalism flourish. He accuses hardcore leftists of `hatred for those who are happy.'"


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The debate continues

Well! I have certainly got a range of responses to my recent posts about Jews. There were of course plenty of antisemitic raves which I promptly deleted but the responses from my Jewish readers were generally well informed and well reasoned -- with one exception. I got a series of emails from a New York Ashkenazi man who would not for one minute concede that modern-day Jews are racially mixed. To him Jews are a single race. To quote him: "All Jews are descendents of Jacob". I found it rather hard to argue with someone who seemed to me a nutty Jewish racist but I did my best -- to no avail. He had a farrago of scientific bits and pieces in support of his view which reminded me of nothing so much as the farrago of scientific bits and pieces that you find on antisemitic sites. Predictable I suppose.

Since I am rather surprised to find ANY Jewish racists about, perhaps I should take this opportunity to say a little about his arguments. As readers of my previous writings on the subject will be aware, I did briefly look at whether Jews can be considered as a race and made the point that there are rather a lot of blue eyes among the Ashkenazim and that that betokened a genetic contribution from Northern Europe, well away from Israel.

Our racist friend answered that by saying, quite correctly, that races tend to move about over time and appeared to believe that there must once have been blue eyes in the Israel of Biblical times. He supported that view by pointing to a recent conclusion by geneticists to the effect that blue eyes are a mutation that originally arose in prehistoric times in the Black Sea area -- which is indeed somewhat closer to Israel than Northern Europe is. Where something arose and where it ends up are however two different stories and there is no doubt that blue eyes originally survived only in Northern Europe. What caused that is still a matter of some debate but it is in fact remarkable how dark eyes seem never to have made the grade in Northern Europe nor blue eyes further South. The further North you go, the more frequent blue eyes become -- until they are almost universal in native-born Scandinavians. So for as far back as we can see, blue eyes are clearly a Northern European phenomenon.

In the last 2,000 years, of course, there have been various invasions of Southern lands by Northern Europeans and that has left a small legacy of blue eyes in Mediterranean lands too. But the overwhelming rule remains blue in the North and dark in the South, with some regions being intermediate. But however you look at it, blue eyes in a predominantly dark-eyed population are a sign of racial admixture.

But the speculation that blue eyes in Jews has an ancient origin is ignoring the obvious. Many Jews strongly resemble the populations from which they emerged in the 19th and 20th centuries. All the Lithuanian Jews I have met, for instance, looked like Lithuanians: Fair skin, blue eyes and fair hair. Whereas Jews who have come from Arab lands tend to look like Arabs: darker skin, dark eyes and black hair. So it is clear that for one reason or another Jews have tended to interbreed heavily with the people among whom they found themselves. They do it in New York to this day, much to the ire of many a Yiddisher Momma. But I think I have already spent too much time on the nonsense argument to the contrary.

Tomorrow I am going to put up an email from a Jewish man who knows a lot about British history. That should put me on my mettle! I have no idea why but my racist interlocutor did forward me a rather pleasant picture in one of his emails. I reproduce it below:


Israel is Right to Defend Its People

Comment from Britain

Hamas are a bunch of murderous thugs. Over the past few years they have fired 5,000 rockets on Israel from residential parts of the Gaza strip, killing and injuring dozens of innocent Israelis. Israel has done its best not to react, but in the end their patience has snapped - and understandably so. They have acted using the only kind of force Hamas can understand.

According to Conservative Friends of Israel, over the past week more than 300 rockets, missiles and mortar rounds have been fired from Gaza by Hamas and other militants at Israeli villages and towns. More than 560 have been fired since Hamas escalated rocket firing on 4 November. This is on top of the 5,000 which have been fired from Gaza this year. The media seem to think these rockets are fairly harmless. They are not. They are weapons of terror.

BBC reports suggest that in recent days none of these rockets has resulted in any Israeli deaths or injuries. Not true. CFI report today that: "An Israeli man was killed and four others were seriously wounded when a missile hit a house in Netivot. Another man was seriously wounded when a rocket struck at the community of Mivtahim later this afternoon." Over the last four years, 92% of Sderot residents (a town of 20,000 people) have experienced a Qassam rocket falling on their or an adjacent street. Sixteen Israelis have been killed by Qassam rockets and hundreds have been injured and maimed.

Israel should have dealt with this situation long before now. Instead, it allowed itself to be persuaded to call a truce with Hamas. It may have gone down well in the international community, but all it achieved was to allow Hamas time to regroup and rearm. According to CFI:
Under cover of the truce, Hamas engaged in a major campaign to upgrade its terrorist capabilities, manufacturing and smuggling massive quantities of weapons into Gaza - including rockets, explosive charges and machine guns - and constructing a network of underground tunnels for combat purposes. Israel cannot acquiesce to the presence of a Hizbullah-like organization on its southern border.

Hamas broke the ceasefire by firing more rockets into Israel. Imagine if this had happened here. Imagine if France fired rockets onto Dover from Calais. Would the British people expect its government to stand idly by and do nothing? Of course not.

British politicians are calling on both sides to act with restraint. Fine words, which are totally hollow. It is not right to treat both sides equally. Israel is a democratic ally, while Hamas are nothing more than an Iranian backed terror group, which is subjugating the people of Gaza in order to radicalise them. Once they have done that they intend to repeat the experience on the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority, led by Fatah's Mahmoud Abbas are well aware of this and their condemnation of the Israeli action is notable for its reticence. It's easy to understand why. They know full well what Hamas is like, and what its endgame is. This report is from the Press Association...
In a news conference today from Cairo, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas placed the blame for the violence in the Gaza Strip squarely on the shoulders of Hamas. He described how he repeatedly made contact with Hamas and implored them not to break the ceasefire. He lamented that the violence in the Gaza Strip could have been avoided had Hamas not broken the ceasefire. The following is Mahmoud Abbas's statement at a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu al-Gheit.

"I say in all honesty, we made contact with leaders of the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip. We spoke with them in all honesty and directly, and after that we spoke with them indirectly, through more than one Arab and non-Arab side... We spoke with them on the telephone and we said to them: We ask of you, don't stop the ceasefire, the ceasefire must continue and not stop, in order to avoid what has happened, and if only we had avoided it."

The US ambassador to the US Zalmay Khalilzad has suggested Hamas held the key to restoring calm. "We believe the way forward from here is for rocket attacks against Israel to stop, for all violence to end," he said. CFI reports that Khalilzad was "implicitly backed up from Cairo by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who claimed the current situation could have been avoided had Hamas renewed the ceasefire before it lapsed and ceased all violence towards Israel."

If you doubt my interpretation of Hamas's motives and are deluded enough to think that they are genuine freedom fighters, just click HERE. To the horror of the Egyptians Hamas are not even allowing ambulances in to Gaza to treat the injured.
Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the wounded were "barred from crossing" and he blamed "those in control of Gaza" for putting the lives of the injured at risk.

And we shouldn't forget who funds Hamas - the Iranians. Without their money and weapons Hamas wouldn't be half the force it is today, either in Gaza or in the Lebanon. Hamas is classified as a terror organisation by the UN. Virtually every Middle East country won't have any dealings with Hamas, yet in this country they seem to be treated by many as a legitimate organisation with whom the Israelis should negotiate. The only country which exalts Hamas is the one to whose President Channel 4 disgracefully gave a platform on Christmas Day.

People blame Israel for the terrible state of living standards in the Gaza Strip. They are wrong. Hamas is to blame for keeping its people in abject poverty. Israel handed over the governmental administration of the Gaza Strip in 2005 to the Palestinian Authority. They had an opportunity to run it themselves. Instead, since Hamas took power, they have done everything in their power to keep their people in poverty and use it as an excuse to radicalise those who are inclined to believe their propaganda. But even despite this, Israel was providing huge amounts of humanitarian aid to Gaza - more than 4,000 truck loads a month as well as fuel and electricity (despite the ongoing rocket attacks). Conditions were by no means good, but there was no humanitarian crisis, according to Khaled Abdel Shaafi, director the United Nations Development Programme in Gaza. He said this month that "this is not a humanitarian crisis... It's an economic crisis, a political crisis, but it's not a humanitarian crisis. People aren't starving."

It is highly regrettable that more than 250 people have been killed over the last few days. If Hamas hadn't been firing their rockets from residential areas the death toll would have been much lower. But Hamas have sited them there deliberately, so they can portray any Israeli response as heartless and disproportionate.

Gordon Brown was absolutely bang on with his response to what's happening in Gaza. He said: "I call on Gazan militants to cease all rocket attacks on Israel immediately. These attacks are designed to cause random destruction and to undermine the prospects of peace talks led by president Abbas. I understand the Israeli government's sense of obligation to its population."

William Hague, though, was perhaps a little less unequivocal, which I think is a shame. He said: "We deeply regret the loss of civilian life in Gaza today. We call on the Israeli government to show restraint. At the same time we call on Hamas to stop the rocket attacks which are an unacceptable threat to Israel's security, so that the ceasefire, which Hamas failed to renew, can be urgently restored."

The trouble is that any Hamas backed ceasefire isn't worth the paper it is written on. If we have learned nothing from recent history, surely we have learned that. Israel will only be able to restore open borders with Gaza and cease its military action when it is clear that no further rockets are being fired. In the meantime they should have the backing of every right thinking democrat in destroying the sites from which rockets are being fired and the tunnels through which Hamas are smuggling arms from Egypt.

As you can tell, I support Israel 100% in their actions in Gaza. But I fully recognise that there is an opposing viewpoint, which others are espousing on other blogs - mostly on the left. Whenever I write about Israel or the Middle East it provokes the loonies to come out of hiding. Let's keep the debate moderate and insult free in the comments please.

UPDATE: Courtesy of Dizzy...

Quote of the Day by the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit
The Israelis have been warning you that this was coming if you continue your cross border rocket attacks. Egypt has been imploring you to stop firing rockets into Israel, but you ignored our words. We have been urging you to renew the cease-fire with Israel, but you refused. You have brought this upon yourselves. You are responsible for what is happening to the people of Gaza.




The Church of England turns the Bible on its head: "The Church of England has reached an historic agreement on the consecration of women bishops. After years of struggle to avoid schism, bishops have agreed a formula that enshrines the principle of equality for male and female bishops while appeasing opponents of women's ordination. The first women bishops could take their place in the Church of England within three years. The deal, published in a new report yesterday, provides for a class of "complementary" traditionalist bishop for parishes that refuse to accept a woman diocesan bishop. Such "flying" bishops would have to abide by the authority of the woman bishop, according to the accompanying code of practice." [Maybe they should get themselves a new holy book. "Das Kapital", perhaps]

British airport security. The expected efficiency: "Security at one of the UK's biggest airports has been branded 'a total failure' after a man flew to Pakistan using his little sister's passport. Businessman Kasim Raja went unchallenged through three security checks at Birmingham International Airport using his sister Samina Raja's ID. He then boarded a Pakistan International Airlines flight to Islamabad, where he was finally spotted. He said the wrong passport was checked at the first desk and also at the boarding gate before he was waved through. It was only when the 26-year-old finally reached the Pakistani capital that border control staff there noticed the mistake and ordered him home. Despite pleading with them to contact the British Embassy to try to sort out the mix-up, they bundled him on to a flight back to the UK because he had no valid passport. Mr Raja said he had been staggered Birmingham International Airport had not noticed he was carrying his sister's ID, which he had picked up by mistake. The local businessman questioned how many others had slipped through the net. He said: 'It's frightening. It is a total failure in security and I could have been anyone trying to escape the country."

Black teens killing each other in U.S. soars by 34%: "The number of black teenagers killing each other has soared by 34 per cent in the United States, it was revealed yesterday. The FBI figures, hidden in an overall fall in murder and violent crimes, were analysed by criminal justice experts James Alan Fox and Marc Swatt. The number of black male murder victims aged from 14 to 17 rose by almost 40 per cent. The professors, of Northeastern University, Boston, said federal cash for schemes to help troubled youngsters dried up after the 9/11 terror attacks, when cash was prioritised elsewhere. Mr Fox added: 'We either pay for these programmes now or pray for the victims later. Crime doesn't wait until the economy improves.' The increases, covering the period from 2000 to 2007, far exceed the corresponding statistics for white males of the same age range of 17 and 3 per cent respectively. Among their findings: an increase of more than 39 per cent in the number of black males between the ages of 14 and 17 killed between 2000 and 2007, and an increase of 34 per cent in the number of blacks in that age group who committed homicide. The increases for white male teens age 14-17 during that same period were about 17 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively."

Bailouts aggravate financial crisis : "In the New York Times, economist Tyler Cowen of George Mason University argues that the $700 billion financial-system bailout is impeding an economic recovery. Because of the `ad hoc,' standardless way the money is being doled out, `the market doesn't know what to expect and many financial institutions are sitting on the sidelines, waiting to see what regulators will do next. Regulatory uncertainty is stifling the ability of financial markets to engineer at least a partial recovery.'"


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Biology and the Jews

My recent meditations about the fate of the Jews were of course put on the net with some trepidation. Almost any discussion of the topic at all is likely to elicit immediate shrieks of racism -- particularly if a gentile is making the comment and the comments are not wholly laudatory. I am therefore delighted to see that a reasonably polite "Reply" to my comments has appeared which addresses my arguments rather than simply abusing me. I believe that I have already covered the points he raises but I obviously need to sharpen up my message.

I am not surprised, however, to see signs that emotion has overwhelmed logic in the reply. A central point in my posts on the subject was comparisons of Jews with others and my critic rightly sees that. His comment on the subject is, however, quite astonishing. He says of my comparison between Jews and Christians:

The problem is that he is comparing the number of members of a nation, with the number of adherents of a religion

Christians are members of a religion and Jews are not? What is Judaism then? Judging by the frequency of blue eyes among Askenazi Jews, Jews often are clearly not geneticaly connected to the Middle East. As far as I am aware, in fact, no member of the Ashkenazim can trace their ancestry to the Middle East. And I gather that it would be a rare Jew who identifies Jews as a race. That would make Jewish pride racist and the number of Jews who would wish to wear that label must be vanishingly small. What makes Jews Jews is their religious heritage, even if most Jews are not these days religious. What irreligious Jews trace back to as the source of their Jewishness is not a place but a forebear who identified himself or herself as a follower of the Jewish religion. So I see no invalidity at all in my comparison between Jews and Christians. Lots of Christians are pretty nominal too. My father never went to church but he would always put himself down on forms as "Church of England".

My critic says that it is understandable that Jews have proliferated less because they are endogamous and exclusive. But that is a point I make too. Endogamy (marrying within the clan) is very common in the human race and I think it is precisely the Christian abandonment of that which is wiser and a step forward. And biology looks primarily at numbers and the numbers do clearly show that the exogamy and general welcoming of others which is basic to Pauline Christianity has been a more adaptive survival and perpetuation strategy. From a purely biological standpoint, one could argue that Christianity is a more highly evolved form of Judaism. OK. I know that those will be taken as fighting words but they are not meant to be. They are meant as a normal deduction from the numbers within evolutionary biology. That Christianity is a more highly evolved form of Judaism is also, of course, a central Christian claim but, as an atheist, I am not influenced by that.

The remaining point in what my critic says is to deny that Jews have adopted a less than optimal survival strategy. Many groups are listed which are either extinct or smaller in number than the Jews. That however is to sell Jews short. I was not interested in such trivial comparisons. I don't for one second deny the miracle of Jewish survival. They have clearly outdone all of humanity in terms of the time they have survived. I was looking only at how they could survive in more security. Pharaonic Egypt one looked as if it would last forever but it did not. The same could be true of the Jews. It does not pay to be complacent. In other words, I wanted to compare Jews with the MOST successful of other groups, not with any of the many less successful groups. Jews are undoubtedly illustrious as far as survival is concerned but can they learn something from other groups that are also illustrious survivors? In particular can they learn from groups that could be seen as MORE successful in various ways?

What I did, then, was to look at another group that has not only survived for a significant length of time (c. 1500 years) but done so in style -- without having to endure horrendous pogroms, holocausts and decimating wars -- the English. Their influence on the modern world has been immense so I was comparing Jews not with unsuccessful groups but with an outstandingly successful group. The English may well by now have had their day but how they had such a splendid day is surely of interest. For nearly a thousand years their land has not been invaded. Unlike most other countries and groups, foreign soldiers have not tramped through their land, destroying, stealing, killing and raping women. Instead the English have conquered huge slices of the lands of other people and left those lands in the control of their descendants. Biologically, that is hot stuff, awesome, even. It is certainly without precedent. So we see, for instance, that Richmond-upon-Thames, the affluent southwest London borough has given its name to 55 settlements on three continents.

And so I still think that Jews can learn from the English. But you will have to read my earlier posts to see why and how I think they can do that. I have combined my three previous posts into a single article here.



Bystander intervention still lives on in Australia: "A passer-by thwarted a bank robbery in Sydney's west this morning after tackling a thief as he fled with a bag of cash, police say. The thief entered the bank on Jersey Road, Plumpton, about 10.50am, telling staff he was armed and demanding money, a police spokeswoman said. However the thief was not believed to be armed, she said. "We've been told he then allegedly took a female staff member hostage," she said. The man then left the bank with cash, but was tackled a short time later by a member of the public, she said. The man was in custody at Mount Druitt police station, and was believed to be uninjured, she said."

Another reason why NOBODY should trust the British government with personal information: "More than one Government computer goes missing every day, ministers have admitted. Since the start of 2002 nearly 3,000 computers have been lost or stolen across Whitehall, which equates to eight every week. In total 1,774 laptop computers and 1,035 desktop computers have been lost or stolen, a rate of nearly five a week and three a week respectively. This year alone 238 laptops and 40 desktops have gone missing. The past seven years have also seen 676 mobile phones, 202 hard drives and 195 memory sticks lost or stolen. The worst offender is the Ministry of Defence, which handles some of the most sensitive information in Government. It has had 866 laptops stolen and has lost 178 - more than half the total of missing laptops. The MoD is losing laptops at a rate of nearly three a week and has also had 157 desktops stolen and lost seven. The Department of Work and Pensions, which processes details of millions of bank accounts, national insurance contributions and benefit and pension payments, is not far behind. The DWP has had 828 desktops mislaid or stolen - 80 per cent of all those lost to the Government since 2002 - as well as 271 laptops."

Corruption's cost, beyond Blagojevich : "Gordon Tullock is not a household name. It's a shame that he's not. In contrast, disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is a household name. It's a shame that he is. These two men have little in common except that Mr. Tullock, an eminent economist, is the first scholar who systematically grasped and explained why the actions of politicians such as Mr. Blagojevich are so harmful to the rest of us. It takes no genius to understand why Blagojevich sought to enrich his purse and enlarge his power by allegedly trying to sell a US Senate seat. . As H.L. Mencken observed long ago about homo politicus: `[I]t is to his interest to augment his powers at all hazards, and to make his compensation all the traffic will bear.' Understanding just how actions such as Blagojevich's create widespread harm, however, is more involved than it appears."

The New Deal would have worked, if . : "The standard liberal-progressive-socialist litany is that socialism, in the New Deal and subsequent years, would have succeeded, if only the government had spent more money for a longer time. Many liberals lament that the New Deal didn't go far enough in socializing the economy. That was a major reason for the savage antagonism between the liberal establishment of the 1960s and the New Left student radicals like Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, the spiritual parents of president-elect Obama's educational policies. In addition to blind religious faith in the secular religion of socialism, liberal-progressives are beset by ignorance. For three generations, students have been taught a completely false version of the Depression's causes and of the actual results attained by President Roosevelt's New Deal."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Monday, December 29, 2008

America can't win with its critics

"Retail Sales Plummet," read the Christmas headline in the Wall Street Journal. "Sales plunged across most categories on shrinking consumer spending."

Hey, that's great news, isn't it? After all, everyone knows Americans consume too much. What was it that then Senator Obama said on the subject? "We can't just keep driving our SUVs, eating whatever we want, keeping our homes at 72 degrees at all times regardless of whether we live in the tundra or the desert and keep consuming 25 percent of the world's resources with just 4 percent of the world's population, and expect the rest of the world to say you just go ahead, we'll be fine."

And boy, we took the great man's words to heart. SUV sales have nosedived, and 72 is no longer your home's thermostat setting but its current value expressed as a percentage of what you paid for it. If I understand then Senator Obama's logic, in a just world Americans would be 4 percent of the population and consume a fair and reasonable 4 percent of the world's resources. And in these last few months we've made an excellent start toward that blessed utopia: Americans are driving smaller cars, buying smaller homes, giving smaller Christmas presents.

And yet, strangely, President-Elect Obama doesn't seem terribly happy about the Obamafication of the American economy. He's proposing some 5.7 bazillion dollar "stimulus" package or whatever it is now to "stimulate" it back into its bad old ways.

And how does the rest of the world, of whose tender sensibilities then Senator Obama was so mindful, feel about the collapse of American consumer excess? They're aghast, they're terrified, they're on a one-way express elevator down to Sub-Basement Level 37 of the abyss with no hope of putting on the brakes unless the global economy can restore aggregate demand. What does all that mumbo-jumbo about "aggregate demand" mean? Well, that's a fancy term for you - yes, you, Joe Lardbutt, the bloated disgusting embodiment of American excess, driving around in your Chevy Behemoth, getting two blocks to the gallon as you shear the roof off the drive-thru lane to pick up your $7.93 decaf gingersnap-mocha-pepperoni-zebra mussel frappuccino, which makes for a wonderful cool refreshing thirst-quencher after you've been working up a sweat watching the plasma TV in your rec room all morning with the thermostat set to 87. The message from the European political class couldn't be more straightforward: If you crass, vulgar Americans don't ramp up the demand, we're kaput. Unless you get back to previous levels of planet-devastating consumption, the planet is screwed.

"Much of the load will fall on the US," wrote Martin Wolf in the Financial Times, "largely because the Europeans, Japanese and even the Chinese are too inert, too complacent, or too weak." The European Union has 500 million people, compared with America's 300 million. Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain are advanced economies whose combined population adds up to that of the United States. Many EU members have enjoyed for decades the enlightened progressive policies Americans won't be getting until January 20th. Why then are they so "inert" that their economic fortunes depend on the despised moronic Yanks?



No Peace in the Holy Land

It's no surprise that Israel would launch a new offensive against Hamas. Israeli officials have been warning that they would not sit back indefinitely and let Hamas rain missiles on their citizens. The timing - after Christmas and before Obama is sworn in - make sense. It's also no surprise that much of the coverage has ignored the years of missile attacks Israel has endured or treats them as though they are just a minor annoyance: Can't the Israelis use umbrellas or something?

A CNN piece I saw earlier today made no mention of the missiles until the very end when they quoted from a White House statement calling on Hamas to finally put a stop to the rocket salvos.

Context is also missing from many reports: Israelis left Gaza in 2005 - after years of being told that if they "ended the occupation" the violence would subside. It's been just the opposite. Instead of proving to the world that they are capable of building a free and democratic state, the Palestinians voted in the militant Islamist group Hamas which - with support from Tehran - quickly turned Gaza into a terrorist enclave. Hamas then took over full control of Gaza in a bloody operation against the Palestinian Authority and its supporters.

In June of 2006, Hamas "commandos" invaded Israel and kidnapped an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. The "international community" has been virtually silent about Shalit who - unlike the detainees at Guantamo - has never had access to the Red Cross much less to an attorney. The real question now is will Israel do to Hamas what it failed to do to Hezbollah: demonstrate clearly that terrorism is a dead end - figuratively and literally - for those who employ it, sponsor it and support it?



The corrupt UAW makes it impossible for GM to compete

An insider tells how hard UAW workers work

As a former supervisor of UAW workers at a GM facility, I will say that poor management and union malpractice made the Detroit Three uncompetitive long before the government sent in their arsonists. To put it bluntly, the UAW takes the hard-earned money of the best workers and spends it defending the very worst workers while tying up the industry with thousands of pages of work rules that make it impossible to be competitive. And the spineless management often makes short-sighted decisions to satisfy the union and maximize immediate benefits over long-term sustainability. The strength of the union and the weakness of management made it impossible to conduct business properly at any level. .

I supervised a loading dock and 21 UAW workers who worked approximately five hours per day for eight hours' pay. They could easily load one-third more rail cars and still maintain their union-negotiated break times, but when I tried to make them increase production ever so slightly they sabotaged my ability to make even the current production levels by hiding stock, calling in sick, feigning equipment problems, and even once, as a show of force, used a fork lift truck and pallets and racks to create a car part prison where they trapped me while I was conducting inventory. The reaction of upper management to my request to boost production was that I should "not be naive."

One afternoon I was helping oversee the plant while upper management was off site. The workers brought an RV into the loading yard with a female "entertainer" who danced for them and then "entertained" them in the RV. With no other management around, I went to labor relations for assistance. As a twenty-five-year-old woman, I was not about to try to break up a crowd of fifty rowdy men. The labor relations rep pulled out the work rules and asked me which of the rules the men were breaking. I read through the rules and none applied directly, of course. Who wrote work rules to cover prostitutes at lunch? The only "legal" cause I had was an unauthorized vehicle and person and that blame did not fall on the union workers who were being "entertained" but on the security guards at the gate. Not one person suffered any consequence.



Preparations for the day when Obama is confirmed as ineligible to be President?

A new report from the U.S. Army War College discusses the use of American troops to quell civil unrest brought about by a worsening economic crisis. The report from the War College's Strategic Studies Institute warns that the U.S. military must prepare for a "violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States" that could be provoked by "unforeseen economic collapse" or "loss of functioning political and legal order."

Entitled "Known Unknowns: Unconventional `Strategic Shocks' in Defense Strategy Development," the report was produced by Nathan Freier, a recently retired Army lieutenant colonel who is a professor at the college - the Army's main training institute for prospective senior officers. He writes: "To the extent events like this involve organized violence against local, state, and national authorities and exceed the capacity of the former two to restore public order and protect vulnerable populations, DoD [Department of Defense] would be required to fill the gap."

Freier continues: "Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order . An American government and defense establishment lulled into complacency by a long-secure domestic order would be forced to rapidly divest some or most external security commitments in order to address rapidly expanding human insecurity at home."




NYT wobbling financially: "Seeking to fortify its core assets, The New York Times Company is actively shopping its stake in the holding company of the Boston Red Sox baseball club, according to two people familiar with the discussions. Times Co, which faces a cash shortage accelerated by steep industry-wide revenue declines, has been rumoured for months to be open to selling non-core assets. Besides its flagship newspaper, Times Co owns the Boston Globe, and a 17.5 per cent stake in New England Sports Ventures (NESV), which owns the Red Sox, their fabled ballpark Fenway Park and most of the cable network that airs the team's games. Times Co pushed discussions beyond the exploration phase early last month at a quarterly meeting of NESV's limited partners, at which the company indicated to the partnership its intention to sell. Since then Times Co has been pursuing potential buyers, according to people familiar with the discussions. Barclays Capital has pegged the value of the investment at about $US166 million ($244 million). A spokeswoman for the company declined to comment".

Darling Caroline: "It seems that Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, or how ever she is styling herself this week, has been carrying on a "close friendship" with NY Times publisher Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger (in this context his nickname is most appropriate) and the NY Times refuses to comment on the subject. Sez them: "we don't report stuff like this, regardless of the people involved." To which a person who hasn't been in a coma for the better part of a year would ask, why didn't that standard apply to John McCain when the NYT ran its scurrilous front page insinuation of adultery? And why wouldn't they cover this as the NYT will be covering Ms. Whatever's actions in Washington when Governor Paterson (boy is it ever a metaphor that he is blind) appoints her a Senator.


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Why the U.S. needs a space-based missile defense against an electro-magnetic pulse attack

America will no more heed this warning than Britain heeded Churchill's warnings about Hitler, of course

Consider Iran. For the past decade, Iran -- with the assistance of Russia, China and North Korea -- has been developing missile technology. Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani announced in 2004 their ability to mass produce the Shahab-3 missile capable of carrying a lethal payload to Israel or -- if launched from a ship -- to an American city. The current controversy over Iran's nuclear production is really about whether it is capable of producing nuclear warheads. This possibility is made more urgent by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statement in 2005: "Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism? But you had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely can be achieved."

Mr. Ahmadinejad takes seriously, even if the average Iranian does not, radical Islam's goal of converting, subjugating or destroying the infidel peoples -- first and foremost the citizens of the U.S. and Israel. Even after 9/11, we appear not to take that threat seriously. We should. Think about this scenario: An ordinary-looking freighter ship heading toward New York or Los Angeles launches a missile from its hull or from a canister lowered into the sea. It hits a densely populated area. A million people are incinerated. The ship is then sunk. No one claims responsibility. There is no firm evidence as to who sponsored the attack, and thus no one against whom to launch a counterstrike.

But as terrible as that scenario sounds, there is one that is worse. Let us say the freighter ship launches a nuclear-armed Shahab-3 missile off the coast of the U.S. and the missile explodes 300 miles over Chicago. The nuclear detonation in space creates an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Gamma rays from the explosion, through the Compton Effect, generate three classes of disruptive electromagnetic pulses, which permanently destroy consumer electronics, the electronics in some automobiles and, most importantly, the hundreds of large transformers that distribute power throughout the U.S. All of our lights, refrigerators, water-pumping stations, TVs and radios stop running. We have no communication and no ability to provide food and water to 300 million Americans.

This is what is referred to as an EMP attack, and such an attack would effectively throw America back technologically into the early 19th century. It would require the Iranians to be able to produce a warhead as sophisticated as we expect the Russians or the Chinese to possess. But that is certainly attainable. Common sense would suggest that, absent food and water, the number of people who could die of deprivation and as a result of social breakdown might run well into the millions. Let us be clear. A successful EMP attack on the U.S. would have a dramatic effect on the country, to say the least. Even one that only affected part of the country would cripple the economy for years. Dropping nuclear weapons on or retaliating against whoever caused the attack would not help. And an EMP attack is not far-fetched.

Twice in the last eight years, in the Caspian Sea, the Iranians have tested their ability to launch ballistic missiles in a way to set off an EMP. The congressionally mandated EMP Commission, with some of America's finest scientists, has released its findings and issued two separate reports, the most recent in April, describing the devastating effects of such an attack on the U.S.

The only solution to this problem is a robust, multilayered missile-defense system. The most effective layer in this system is in space, using space-based interceptors that destroy an enemy warhead in its ascent phase when it is easily identifiable, slower, and has not yet deployed decoys. We know it can work from tests conducted in the early 1990s. We have the technology. What we lack is the political will to make it a reality.

An EMP attack is not one from which America could recover as we did after Pearl Harbor. Such an attack might mean the end of the United States and most likely the Free World. It is of the highest priority to have a president and policy makers not merely acknowledge the problem, but also make comprehensive missile defense a reality as soon as possible.

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Does this explain why Blagojevich is not giving in?

Ex-mayor Willie Brown has shed some critical light onto the Obama-Blagojevich affair. It seems now that this was all a push initiated by team Obama to stop Blagojevich from selecting a successor to Obama. It seems Blagojevich has a candidate in mind that Obama wanted to stop. In light of what Willie Brown has uncovered in his recent talks with Gov Blag, it seems Team Obama was the one putting the pressure on Team Blagojevich and not the other way around!
I wouldn't bet on him stepping aside anytime soon. If anything, his hand is getting stronger by the day. I can't go into details, but my impression is that the whole mess started because the governor had been considering appointing a political rival, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, to the Senate so she wouldn't be able to run against him when he went up for re-election in 2010.

Apparently, Obama's people weren't happy about the idea of Madigan coming to Washington, and there were some pretty heated conversations between Blagojevich and Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, which I understand will burn your ears off.

This really changes everything we read from Fitzgerald. Now Blagojevich's rants about Obama giving nothing to get Obama's selection(s) into the US Senate has morphed into Obama pressuring a sitting governor to allow the President-Elect to dictate the selection. Blagojevich's requirements for a quid pro quo are now maybe a push back against an incoming administration who wanted control over who got into the Senate. Now the quid pro quo discussions are about what Obama would be willing to give up in order for Blagojevich to do Obama's bidding on the selection and not go with his preferred choice of Madigan (who I warned should keep her mouth shut about impeachment, etc until the facts came out). Now the awkwardness of the Obama denials make sense.
This political problem arose in part because Obama was so eager to appear purer than any politician can actually be. In his initial statements, he sounded as if he was trying to say that he knew nothing at all about the selection of his successor. "I had no contact with the governor or his office and so we were not, I was not aware of what was happening," he told the press, and refused to elaborate.

That remark clarified nothing; today it seems like obfuscation at best and prevarication at worst. Nobody is likely to believe that Emanuel spoke more than 20 times with Blagojevich or the governor's aide John Harris without informing Obama about those conversations. To insist that he had "no contact" when his top aide was involved in so many contacts is precisely the kind of parsing that undermines confidence.

Well, it wouldn't make sense if Team Obama was being pressured by a crooked governor to pay something for a candidate they preferred. But it does make sense if Team Obama is the one that was applying the pressure. If it is true that Team Obama was in contact with Team Blagojevich to pressure Blagojevich to dump his own preference and defer to Team Obama's directives the whole thing turns around.

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Theodore Roosevelt Was No Conservative

There's a reason he left the GOP to lead the Progressive Party

The fact that conservative politicians such as John McCain and writers like William Kristol and Karl Rove are attracted to our 26th president is strange because, if we want to understand where in the American political tradition the idea of unlimited, redistributive government came from, we need look no further than to Roosevelt and others who shared his outlook.

Progressives of both parties, including Roosevelt, were the original big-government liberals. They understood full well that the greatest obstacle to their schemes of social justice and equality of material condition was the U.S. Constitution as it was originally written and understood: as creating a national government of limited, enumerated powers that was dedicated to securing the individual natural rights of its citizens, especially liberty of contract and private property.

It was the Republican TR, who insisted in his 1910 speech on the "New Nationalism" that there was a "general right of the community to regulate" the earning of income and use of private property "to whatever degree the public welfare may require it." He was at one here with Democrat Woodrow Wilson, who had in 1885 condemned Americans' respect for their Constitution as "blind worship," and suggested that his countrymen dedicate themselves to the Declaration of Independence by leaving out its "preface" -- i.e., the part of it that establishes the protection of equal natural rights as the permanent task of government....

In his New Nationalism speech he noted how, in aiming to use state power to bring about economic equality, the government should permit a man to earn and keep his property "only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community." The government itself of course would determine what represented a benefit to the community, and whether society would be better off if an individual's wealth was transferred to somebody else. We can see the triumph of this outlook in progressive income taxation, which TR trumpeted in his speech (along with progressive estate taxes). We may also see this theory in action when a government seizes private property through eminent domain, transferring it to others in order to generate higher tax revenues -- a practice blessed by the Supreme Court in its notorious Kelo v. New London decision of 2005.

Some conservatives today are misled by the battle between TR and Wilson in the 1912 presidential election. But Wilson implemented most of TR's program once he took office in 1913, including a progressive income tax and the establishment of several regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission. Others are misled by TR's crusade against an activist judiciary. But unlike our courts today, the judiciary during the Progressive era properly struck down legislation that violated our bedrock rights to liberty of contract and private property. TR hated the judiciary precisely for standing up for the Constitution; this is certainly no reason for conservatives today to latch on to his antijudicial rhetoric.

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I think that another reason why TR is sometimes identified as a conservative is his warlike foreign policy. America built lots of battleships and took over several countries (Cuba, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, Hawaii) under his influence. But that is in fact not conservative at all. American conservatism is traditionally isolationist. It was Democrats who dragged America into most of its wars -- from WWI to Serbia. Conservatives go to war only when attacked, as in the response by GWB to the 9/11 events. Which is also why FDR pushed Japan into war. He knew that Americans up to that point wanted no part of WWII. TR also had generally realistic views about race -- with his warning about Japan being particularly prescient -- and that certainly separates him from modern-day Leftists. But that did not at all separate him from the Leftists of his day


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)