Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pakinsanity: Now Even Being an Active Anti-American Terrorist Doesn’t Make You Off-Limits for The Obama Administration

Even the New York Times is shocked. Here’s how the story begins:
“Just a month after accusing Pakistan’s spy agency of secretly supporting the Haqqani terrorist network, which has mounted attacks on Americans, the Obama administration is now relying on the same intelligence service to help organize and kick-start reconciliation talks aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan.”

There are two problems here:

–Despite massive financial aid, Pakistan has proven to be unreliable in fighting terrorists or helping the United States capture them. It is also a major sponsor of terrorism. In Afghanistan, it has worked secretly with the Taliban and other violent Islamist groups.

So why is the United States making that country the centerpiece of its Afghanistan plans? Note the parallel to making the hostile Islamist Turkish regime the manager of its Syria policy. It’s also coddling up to the Muslim Brotherhood as well. If it weren’t for the power of pro-Israel sentiment in the country, I’d bet the Obama Administration would be making nice with Hamas and Hizballah as well.

–The Administration is also ready to deal with the Taliban, remember that it was an enabler for the September 11 attack, and the Haqqani network, a group close to al-Qaida and one that is very active in terrorism against Americans, including a recent assault on the U.S. embassy in Pakistan and now a suicide bomber attack killing ten Americans in Kabul.

As usual, double-talk is employed to make this absurd policy sound reasonable. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls it, “Fight, Talk, Build.” The United States will attack Haqqani while trying to get it to negotiate.

Aside from an ideology that portrays the United States as a minion of Satan (a serious barrier to becoming friends), the Haqqani and their Pakistani sponsors know that the United States is leaving any way. So why not just outwait the attacks? Moreover, the United States is not able to hit them hard enough to make a difference.

Or as the New York Times puts it so well, Pakistan’s powerful intelligence chieftains, “see little advantage in forcing those negotiations, because they see the insurgents as perhaps their best bet for maintaining influence in Afghanistan as the United States reduces its presence there.”

As senseless policies and failures proliferate, dissent grows inside the administration. A “senior American official” summarized the Pakistani position as “Cease-fire, Talk, Wait for the Americans to Leave.”

In sharp contrast to Iraq, Afghanistan is likely to collapse in bloodshed after the U.S. departure and a radical, probably Islamist, and anti-American regime will come to power. That would be still another monument to the Obama Administration policy of rewarding enemies and punishing friends.



Small Business And Regulation again

Sheila Ogle is somewhat like Jessica Hadler Baines from Tuesday’s small business profile. She too has seen the financing woes that Dodd-Frank has caused for smaller firms.

“One of the tenants in my commercial buildings, she’s a veterinarian,” said Ogle. “She’s been trying for over a year to borrow money to build her own building. She’s been in business three years and showing a profit. She’s been to six banks and overwhelmed with paperwork.”

Ogle’s own struggle with regulations has come via the Environmental Protection Agency. She owns three small businesses in Cary, North Carolina: MRPP, an advertising firm; the Matthew’s House (used for receptions); and the Matthew’s House Catering.

A few years ago, Sheila and her husband expanded the kitchen at Matthew’s House so that it would be a full-service catering kitchen. To do this, they had to expand the retention pond on the land. A retention pond is a basin designed to catch run-off water.

“When you have a commercial building, the EPA can require you to have a retention pond that retains storm water run-off so that impurities don’t get into the city water,” said Ogle. The pond takes up about a quarter of an acre at Matthew’s House.

“There are lots and lots of guidelines you have to follow (to get the EPA to approve)” she said. “When we expanded Matthew’s House we had to add more depth to the pond, more gravel and more vegetation.”

The cost to do that was about $30,000. That’s $30,000 she was not able to invest in her business.



In Praise of Capitalist Inequality

As both Ayn Rand and Steve Jobs would remind them, the economic inequality that the OWS protestors oppose is not something to be condemned, but to be celebrated

For several weeks now, the Occupy Wall Street protestors in New York City and around the country have been demanding “economic justice,” which includes a mishmash of leftist goals including universal health care, forgiveness of student loan debt, and higher taxes on the wealthy. To the extent the OWS protestors have a unifying theme, it’s that capitalism is bad and that redistributing wealth to reduce “inequality” is good.

The Irish socialist playwright George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” The Occupy Wall Street protestors demanding government redistribution of wealth from the richest Americans (“the 1%”) to themselves (“the 99%”) would certainly agree. But as some of them are starting to learn, if their ideas were actually put into practice they’d end up being the Peters, not the Pauls.

Already, some of the OWS protestors are finding their ideas coming back to bite them. Recently, OWS kitchen staff staged a mini-revolt because they were tired of working 18-hour days to prepare meals for “freeloaders.” Another OWS protestor was upset that someone had stolen her $5500 Macintosh computer. Redistributing wealth suddenly became a lot less appealing when one was the victim of the “redistribution,” rather than the recipient.

The OWS protestors are learning first hand about something that novelist Ayn Rand discussed more than 50 years ago in Atlas Shrugged, in her vignette about the Twentieth Century Motor Company. In the novel, the new owners of the factory decided to run the company according to the supposedly noble precept of “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Workers would be assigned duties based according to their expected ability — but paid according to how much money they needed, rather than how much they produced.

In theory, this would result in a more equitable distribution of wealth. But in practice, it meant the men of greater ability worked longer hours without hope of reward. Hence, the more competent workers either left or deliberately underperformed. In contrast, the more irresponsible workers received more money because of their “need” — regardless of how hard they worked. Of course, eventually the company went bankrupt.

But Rand’s lesson was not merely that such a model was economically unsustainable. She also made a deeper moral point about the motivations of the workers who supported this scheme. As one of the characters in the story said:

There wasn’t a man rich and smart enough but that he didn’t think that somebody was richer and smarter, and this plan would give him a share of his better’s wealth and brain. But while he was thinking that he’d get unearned benefits from the men above, he forgot about the men below who’d get unearned benefits, too. He forgot about all his inferiors who’d rush to drain him just as he hoped to drain his superiors. The worker who liked the idea that his need entitled him to a limousine like his boss’s, forgot that every bum and beggar on earth would come howling that their need entitled them to an icebox like his own.

This is precisely the lesson that the OWS kitchen staff (or the woman with the laptop) have learned the hard way. Most people who advocate robbing Peter to pay Paul always imagine themselves as Paul — never as Peter. But when their desired forced redistribution is applied at a national level, the result is the near-universal misery and squalor of socialist countries like Cuba and North Korea. Except for a few political elites, everyone is equal — but poor.

In a free society, the economic inequality that the OWS protestors oppose is not something to be condemned, but something to be celebrated. A fully capitalist society allows people to rise as far as their ability and efforts allow. Because people differ in their talents, work ethic, and personal priorities, the natural result would be unequal levels of wealth.

Unequal “power law” distributions are the norm in a free society. A small number of authors sell a disproportionate number of books — just ask Harry Potter author JK Rowling. A relatively small fraction of blogs attracts a majority of web traffic. Or as anyone who works in a customer service field knows all too well, a small minority of customers always account for the majority of complaints.

Hence, it’s natural that a relatively small fraction of individuals might possess a disproportionate share of the wealth. In a free society, such inequality per se is not a problem, especially given that there is still income mobility for people to rise (or fall) as they deserve based on their talent and willingness to work hard — which is still the case in America.

Fortunately, many Americans still have a healthy respect for earned inequality. When Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently passed away, William Stoddard poignantly wrote:

I’ve given many thousands of dollars to Apple over the decades, a substantial part of which went to Jobs. And every dollar I’ve spent has brought me something that was worth more than the money was. Jobs spent his life giving me things of greater value than the money he accepted in exchange. And the same is true for his other customers. He gave the world far more value than the value of his personal wealth. If his fortune looked huge, it was a measure of the immense number of other people he made better off.

The fact that Steve Jobs earned a greater fortune than most others reflects the fact that he created much more value than most others — and in the process enhanced others’ lives to a proportionately greater degree. Steve Jobs’ earned wealth was a direct reflection of the value he added for himself and others — and his wealth should be praised and respected as a noble achievement.

It is also important to recognize that America is not currently a capitalist country, but rather a mixed economy with both capitalist and socialist elements. Hence, some Americans have become undeservedly rich through political “pull” and favors. But the OWS protestors aren’t opposed to government favoritism in principle — they merely want to shift those special favors onto themselves.

The OWS protestors claim to want “economic justice.” But real economic justice doesn’t consist of looting others’ wealth, but respecting others’ right to keep what they’ve earned. Unlike the OWS protestors, I don’t want to destroy the 1% to achieve a dubious “equality” where everyone is equally miserable. I don’t want to live in a dog-eat-dog world of constant “redistribution” and mutual predation where I survive only by looting from those wealthier than me, while those poorer than me survive by looting from me. Instead, I want a capitalist society which allows the top 1% the freedom to make their lives better — and in the process makes my life better as well.




Russia orders five Yasen class nuclear subs: "Russia announced plans to build five nuclear submarines and made $9 billion worth of orders for the navy on Wednesday as part of an ambitious programme to modernise its army and fleet spear headed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin."

Safety risks seen in computerized medical records: "The nation’s transition to electronic medical records, now in full swing, risks overlooking potential patient safety problems, independent advisers warned the Obama administration in a report Tuesday. Computerized medical records have been sold as a powerful tool to improve patient safety, for example by automatically alerting a doctor about to prescribe medication a patient is allergic to. But the report by a panel from the influential Institute of Medicine said such benefits shouldn’t be taken for granted."

Does Mars have rights?: "It may be technically possible to transform Mars so that it is more hospitable to terrestrial life, but some ethicists argue that it would be wrong to do so. Do we have a moral obligation to leave Mars and other worlds alone?"

Doug Casey on Occupy Wall Street: "Casey: "I am, clearly, one of the 1%. So are you. In fact, almost everyone who has worked hard, saved money, and not invested it unwisely is at least in the top 10%. What the OWS people are angry about -- or should be angry about -- are the people who made their money through government contacts, or connections. They didn't produce anything; they're really just sophisticated thieves. I have only contempt for those who feed at the public trough."

The FDA is killing us: "Recently, there have been shortages of some medicines. Cancer patients can't get drugs they need. Why not? One reason is that a big drugmaker shut down for a year in part to meet Food and Drug Administration rules. The FDA makes it so expensive and difficult to sell drugs that there isn't an eager pack of companies rushing to the fill the gap. ... Does the FDA say it's sorry for its part and back off? Of course not. Regulators almost never do that. In fact, the FDA wants more power."

SCOTUS wrestles with sticky Jerusalem passport case: "In a dispute that evokes Arab-Israeli tensions and important divisions of federal power, Supreme Court justices voiced doubt Monday that Congress could override the president and require U.S. passports of children born in Jerusalem to list the place of birth as Israel. For more than six decades, since the 1948 creation of the state of Israel, the U.S. government has declined to recognize any country as having sovereignty over Jerusalem."

We’re still not cutting: "In the spring fight to avert a government shutdown, Republicans promised $100 billion in real cuts but then compromised for $38.5 billion in future savings. In reality, the Congressional Budget Office found the deal still resulted in an increase of more than $170 billion in federal spending from 2010 to 2011. The 'largest spending cut in history' ended up being a spending increase."

The threat of electromagnetic pulse: "From an enemy's point of view, a single large device exploded 250 to 300 miles above Iowa would disrupt the entire United States. But getting a missile that far inland could be a problem for them. On the other hand, because the radius of destruction of one high-altitude explosion is very large (as much as 1400 miles), three missiles, launched almost straight up, from freighters off the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf coasts, should just about cover the lower 48 states with EMP surges that would all but incapacitate our nation."

The truth will get you fired: "What kind of friend is Hamid Karzai? If it weren’t for U.S. involvement in his corrupt administration propping him and his cronies up, and the deaths of thousands or our soldiers, Hamid Karzai, assuming he were lucky enough to still be alive, would be living in a cave and picking poppy flowers somewhere in the Afghan hinterland. Karzai takes our blood and treasure while stabbing us in the back. We should be firing him instead of General Fuller."

AL: County files for largest municipal bankruptcy: "Alabama's most populous county filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history Wednesday, years after being plunged more than $4 billion into debt by a corruption-riddled sewer project. Just two months after it seemed Jefferson County could stave off embarrassment by striking a deal with creditors, talks broke down over about $140 million, said Commissioner Jimmie Stephens, who made the motion to file for the protection."


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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)


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