The Spokane area is basically out of commission this week because of heavy snow. Not up to Buffalo standards, but still tiresome. We normally get about 50 inches of snow in a winter, but it's normally spaced out evenly, two or three inches per week. Gives time to melt and shovel easily. This time we got a couple of big storms in a row, and the infrastructure isn't coping well.
Wash governor Christine Gregoire flew over the mountains to check things and plan a state-level emergency response. I must say, she is extremely
good at this sort of thing. In other areas of governance she's competent enough: frugal, responsive to needs, no big ideas. But she truly knows how to handle an emergency. Knows how to avoid panic, how to explain things honestly and directly. One interesting thing she mentioned just now ... the Feds are entirely out of money for emergencies, told her the state was on its own. This isn't nationally known.
Gregoire would be a good choice for FEMA director under Hillary.
War is about three things ... (continued)
David Warren's latest column
points out that our enemy understands the basic purpose of war perfectly. The Army of Allah, basically Arab and originally Egyptian, is using the Palestinians of Gaza to take over the vaguely pro-Western and definitely prosperous government of Egypt. Their steady goal is to gain territory
for Allah, and we're doing very little to stop them. Instead, we "advise" Israel to give up more territory each day, which is like advising an anorexic fashion model to lose 10 pounds each day.
War is about three things.....
Professor Polistra briefly returns to this decade bearing the gift of clarity.
All of our elites believe --- or claim to believe --- in the image of America as the selfless altruistic bringer of liberty.
Miss Romney is especially annoying in her constant emphasis on this point. "Isn't this country just wonderful as the dickens?", she chirps. "America always fights wars for the freedom of others and never takes anything."
Well, Miss, it's not wonderful. It's suicidal.
And we didn't always do it this way, either.
For the first half of our life as a nation, we fought wars in the normal human way: to gain or regain territory. And when we gained, we used the territory to advantage: mined its resources, farmed its land, built forts to defend it. Wars were fought for a net profit, even if not always calculable in strict monetary terms. The investment in money and blood was meant to be repaid.
Sometimes we were able to buy territory from faded empires, as when we bought the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803, or Alaska from Russia in 1867; but mostly we fought wars to gain or keep.
Lincoln's war was all about regaining the territory of the South, and his successors behaved normally after winning that war. The Union milked the South for everything it could grab. (See 'Carpetbagger'.) In 1940 we still understood the situation accurately, but since then we've rewritten the whole mess as a pure angelic impulse to free the slaves.
Our largest warlike expansion was between 1870 and 1910, when we fought aggressively against Spain to claim the Phillipines and Cuba, and fought Mexico to gain the present Arizona and New Mexico. In that same period we also turned most of Central America into "commercial colonies", essentially plantations managed by the United Fruit Company.
The first exception to the rule was Wilson's entry into WW1. We had no immediate territorial stake, though Germany was trying to muscle in on our Central American quasi-colonies. When WW1 was done, we claimed no spoils. Instead Wilson claimed the right to spread Democracy. The result was WW2, which should have taught us something.
What brought us into WW2 was a threat to our colonies, not a threat to our national homeland. Radio news bulletins on 12/7/41 treated Jap attacks on the Phillipines and Hawaii as parallel, and FDR's 'day of infamy' speech also refers to Manila and Honolulu equally. In our modern non-colonial fantasy, we've rewritten the event as a pure threat on our national territory (because Hawaii became a state 18 years later), and we've forgotten Manila.
Professor Polistra thinks the non-colonial fantasy was imposed on us by the Soviets in a clever bank-shot gambit.
In the '50s, France and Britain were exhausted and devastated from WW2, and couldn't spare the energy and personnel to manage their African and Asian colonies. Russia was even more devastated, but Stalin was more concerned with gaining territory and resources than with rebuilding the homeland. Stalin manipulated our Wilsonian delusion of self-determination to grab much of Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean under the guise of independence from colonial masters.
Because the Wilsonian delusion was ours -- and because much of our bureaucracy was loyal to Russia -- we couldn't and wouldn't deal with Africa honestly. We couldn't speak the plain truth: those African and Caribbean colonies were not qualified for self-rule. We had to support the notion of independence, which meant ceding much of the world to the Soviet Empire. (A few people did speak the truth, but they were ruthlessly condemned and silenced by our Sovietized elite media.)
JFK tried to turn the tide and got himself killed. Reagan tried again, and Russia tried again to kill him, but didn't send a sufficiently competent assassin. When Reagan and the Pope survived their parallel assassins, they worked together to collapse the Soviet Empire. Since the victory happened slightly after Reagan's last term, it's not clear how he would have clinched it, but in any case the presidents since Reagan have returned to serving Lenin, even as the center of the ideology moved from Russia to China.
The current occupant of the Oval Office, Putin's dear soulmate, has followed the Wilson delusion more feverishly than Wilson himself. He spends thousands of lives and trillions of dollars to "bring Democracy" to the Middle East, and in the process he makes resources even harder
to reach. He won't even claim our OWN offshore territory for oil extraction; he defines allies as enemies and enemies as allies; he kisses the ring of our Saudi attackers when he should have depopulated their country and claimed its oil as American property.
None of the current candidates will question the Wilsonian delusion; all of them take the bizarre position that Putin's soulmate is fighting this war with maximum strength and loyalty. Some promise to stay on the current path until we are totally bankrupt and exhausted (though they don't say the last part of the sentence) and some promise to surrender quickly and cleanly. Since those are the only available choices, quick and clean surrender is preferable. At least we will know where we stand, and we will not be spending the next 100 years in a long terminal illness.
The idiots and traitors in DC are planning to spend about $150 billion for 'stimulus', most of which will end up in China. No surprise.
This is what you'd expect from a government that has sold its soul to China.
But what could a loyal American government do for us with $150 billion?
We could build at least TWENTY nuclear power plants, maybe thirty or forty.
From an article
on the French EDF plants:
EDF has put the cost of the Civaux units at $4.1 billion.
Once operating, the plants should outperform conventional thermal units. EDF has stated Chooz B1's operating costs are 2 cents per kWh, compared to its estimates of gas-fired operating costs of 2.9 cents per kWh and coal-fired costs of 2.5 cents per kWh.
Think about that. Four billion for construction of one plant. French labor and material costs are in the same ballpark as American, so the basic figure would be the same here, if we could skip the uncertainty and delays from litigation and regulation. A President who served America instead of China could accomplish this by executive order. We could build the plants on existing power plant compounds and idle military bases, thus avoiding NIMBY and land-acquisition costs.
Even allowing twice that amount for site preparation and other stuff, we could still have twenty new nuclear plants within a few years. Those plants would make new natural-gas and coal plants unnecessary.
Polistra imagines an ideal Christmas:
Tonight's MSNBC debate .... notes.......
Huck has picked up the Hunter agenda (resist China, expand our production) along with the Hunter endorsement.
Since this is exactly what I hoped for,
I'm thoroughly happy.
Huck on the stimulus:
Most of this stimulus will go to China.
Says: As governor, I built new highways that did more to stimulate my state's economy than any sort of giveaway.
Suggests that improving our interstates, using "American labor, American steel, American concrete", would do a lot more for our country in a permanent way.
Properly reminds us that he saw the economic disaster afflicting most of America before these other Wall Street and Beltway candidates did.
On the question "should we have gone into Iraq", he explains the good reasons for that war much better than Bush ever did. If a Huckabee-quality communicator had been President in 2002, we wouldn't have many of our current problems.
Romney picks up Huckabee's China point, gives him credit, asks Rudy how we should handle China. Rudy goes flatly wrong: takes the time-worn American optimism toward China ("how can we ignore a billion customers?") which has been proved wrong over and over, as this commentary from 1944
demonstrates. In previous years, this dumb optimism only led to repeated disappointment (China wasn't a good export market), but in today's conditions it's suicidal.
McCain asks Huck about the effect of the national sales tax on the poor. It's an obvious softball, and Huck knocked it out of the park ... wonder why McCain asked it? Russert follows up with a tougher question about the numbers; why wouldn't it cause poor folks to pay more? Huck answers with numbers. Not fully convincing, but solid.
Huck asks Romney about 2nd Amendment and assault weapons. Not well asked; doesn't get into the facts about effectiveness of self-defense, which really needed to be mentioned in such a question. Romney gives his universal answer to every question: I'll consult my lawyers.
Later: Rudy pushes hard for nuclear power. Good, even if he's doing it in the context of a full-throated "Credo in unum Gaia."
McCain swears his allegiance to the Goddess [pbuh] in even more detail, and supports High Priest Algore's cap and trade system, which is purely a gift to China. Does his Pascal Wager
McCain: "...because they know that I'll put my country above my party every single time."
No, sir. Dead wrong. You, Comrade McCain, have stated openly, consistenly and repeatedly that you will put your own personal scruples above the safety of the country; that you will not allow interrogators to stop a pending attack. You have stated that you will allow millions of Americans to die rather than offend your own precious feelings. You have sworn an OATH OF DISLOYALTY to this country, Comrade McCain.
Ron Paul hits the false calibration problem: We really have 10 to 12% inflation, but the fraudulent 'Core Inflation' used for government benefits gives them only a 2% increase.
Russert asks Huck about the solution to Social Security. Huck pulls a cute joke to Romney, then gets specific. Says his national sales tax gives a more reliable funding stream for SS ... Russert scoffs, Huck does the Hunter thing again. Bringing back our industries and productivity is the best way to bring back our economy. Good point in itself, but the question about SS and sales tax never got specifically answered.
[I need to look at the 'Fair Tax' info to see if the numbers really do work out!]
Overall, good questions by Russert, fair treatment of all candidates including Paul.
Satan Edwards, this blood is on your hands.
Story from NWCN.COM:
PORTLAND - Oregon Health & Science University plans to cut at least 200 jobs and raise tuition by at least 10 percent to free the money needed for higher insurance costs following an Oregon Supreme Court ruling.
The December ruling cleared the way for the family of a brain-damaged child to pursue malpractice damages from the university. It effectively eliminated a liability cap of $200,000 designed to protect state agencies from major damage awards.
Besides trimming jobs and hiking tuition, OHSU expects to restructure or close clinical, research and education programs, and scale back construction on Portland's South Waterfront.
OHSU said the court ruling will add $30 million a year in insurance and administrative expenses. Though that's only 2 percent of OHSU's annual operating budget of about $1.5 billion, it amounts to more than 60 percent of its annual support from the state's general fund.
OHSU is a major teaching hospital for Portland, running a number of clinics serving low-income neighborhoods. These clinics will be closed. It's also a major medical research institution. Many sick people in the "Second America" will now die, and many diseases will now remain uncured, all because Satan Edwards and his vicious genocidal buddies have conspired with a cell of black-robed saboteurs to fill their bloody pockets with even more bloody money, money, money, money, money, money, money, money.
Shame, shame, shame, shame, shame.
Shame, shame, shame, shame, shame.
Shame, shame, shame, shame, shame.
The terms Ruthless Desire and Reckless Greed, which I've been [over]using lately, are woefully insufficient.
= = = = =
(And as always, I must apologize to Satan for comparing him to John Edwards.)
I like to keep the TV picture on with closed-captioning, while I listen to old-time radio on CD. Wasteful, but satisfies a need to be informed in case something really important happens. The closed captioning also provides some interesting evidence of bias. For instance, during one minute of primary coverage last night, the Fox News CC referred to Huckabee as 'UCK BEE' and 'MUCK BEE', which corresponds nicely with the Brand-R establishment's attitude toward Huck. Later, while showing a clip from Huck's stump speech, the captioning went like this:
AN OLD LADY APPROACHED ME AND ASKED IF I WAS AN ORDAINED MINISTER. I SAID CORRECT, IM A BAATHIST.
McCain and Pascal
McCain's stump speech contains a couple of interesting points, but neither one works well.
First, he states accurately that he was pushing for 'The Surge' long before Bush did it. This is supposed to reassure hawks, but it doesn't reassure me. Many of us in the blogworld were advocating a normal pattern to the Iraq war: keep going until you win. In the modern political world this apparently seems weird and radical, but in the longer run of history it was so trivially obvious that it didn't even need to be discussed. Kudos to McCain for being the only major power player to understand the insanity of the Bush approach. (Start a war with great enthusiasm, then stop halfway to smell the roses while the enemy kills our soldiers.)
Problem with this: McCain is
a power player, not a blogger. He's been in the Senate long enough to have plenty of seniority, and his party had the majority from '02 through '06. He may have been advocating a normal war strategy, but he didn't say it audibly at the time, and he apparently went along with Bush's abnormal and insane strategy. Bush didn't switch to normal conduct ('The Surge') until the other party took over Congress, which tells us which side he respects. So McCain is not entitled to claim this as a reason to vote for him; in fact, it's evidence that he lacks leadership ability.
Second, he's making a Pascal's Wager on the subject of the all-encompassing and genocidal fraud of 'global warming'. McCain says that he tends to believe in the Earth Goddess Gaia [pbuh] but even if you don't believe, we'll be better off if we follow the orders of Gaia's High Priest Albert Gore.
This is logically and factually wrong. Pascal was dealing with a purely indeterminate question - the existence of a god and the presence of an afterlife - so there was no data to weigh on one side or the other. He was free to bet on pure possibility. On the question of anthropogenic global warming, we have
data, and the data indicates that we've already passed the peak of this particular hump in the temperature cycle. The data also indicates that CO2 increases after the earth's surface warms, so it can't be the primary causative factor. Thus anything we do to decrease the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere is absurdly useless ... sort of like pushing your car's speedometer needle down instead of hitting the brake pedal.
And most of the steps recommended by High Priest Gore will not even decrease CO2; they will just drain trillions of dollars from the Western economy and leave more room for China to generate more CO2. Which was the whole point all along, since Maurice Strong, the First Prophet of Gaia, has always been an agent of the Chinese Government.
Update on the Maldives Boy Scout....
Turns out that the assassin - stopped by the heroic Boy Scout - was indeed a full-fledged Jihadi, not a 'lone knifeman'.
Full story here.
Ibrahim said he had no doubt the attacker was a militant or inspired by an extremist vision of the world, a view seconded by people who know the suspect.
"He had a long beard; he shouted 'Allahu akbar' when he took out his knife. He kept shouting it," Ibrahim said from the hospital in Male where he is recovering from wounds to his left hand sustained in the attack.
The assassin [according to his mother] had long been pious and often listened to Islamic CDs. Another person who knew the assassin — a former teacher who asked not to be further identified for fear of attracting attention — told the AP he had in recent years become more interested in the more extreme elements of Islam and frequently watched videos made by militants in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Romney ramblings again......
Listening to a Romney speech on C-Span. He's talking at length about a '62 Rambler that he bought as a gift recently; telling how his grandkids instinctively grabbed for the seatbelt but didn't find one, and telling how the defroster made lots of noise but didn't work as well as modern defrosters. His point is partly valid (competition causes improvement) but it's oddly out of place when discussing Nash products.
Nash introduced optional seat belts in 1950, long before other American cars, and long before the Feds required them. It wasn't competition that put seatbelts on all cars, it was regulation.
And Nash introduced the first really good heater and defroster in 1938, leading the market by several years.
The Nash heater actually included a cleanable dust filter, visible here ... a feature that was unfortunately abandoned by Nash later, and wasn't picked up by other carmakers until the 1990s.
This picture shows the heater in place, at lower right under the unique dash-centered shift lever. You can also see the theft-proof ignition-and-steering lock, which was more effective and harder to break than the post-1970 Federal requirement. [Must admit, I included this picture mainly because of the pleasant lady driver!]
Moral: Competition is good, but it's irrelevant to the features Mitt mentions. In both cases his father's company was ahead
of the competition and ahead
of the regulation. And such innovative leadership
is exactly what we need right now. Mitt has every right to emphasize his innovative genes, but it doesn't occur to him for some reason. His mindset is stuck in the purely quantitative bean-counting model of life and business.
= = = = =
Bit later, after more pondering: What really bothers me is not Mitt's political mindset. What really bothers me is that I, a mere dilettante and shade-tree mechanic, am more willing to defend and extol the qualities of Nash. While Mitt talks often about his father's job, he doesn't seem to understand his father's vocation
, for lack of a better word.
Speedboats and RDF
A random thought about the Persian speedboat cat-n-mouse game. Surely our Navy ships have directional antennas on their receivers? They did in WW2. With directional antennas on two ships, you can locate a transmission quite accurately. And if the transmission is coming from a speedboat zipping back and forth, you should be able to distinguish such an extreme side-to-side movement even without triangulation.
Thus the Navy's seeming uncertainty about the source of the Darth Vader voice is puzzling. Has George W. Gandhi ordered the Navy to abandon radio direction finding because it gave us an unfair advantage? Or is the whole thing a fraud?
Landsburg on Huckabee
The economist Steven Landsburg, who often cuts through nonsense to reach good empirical conclusions, has written an article
praising Huckabee's national sales tax. Landsburg is missing the basic point, though. He focuses strictly on the mathematical difference between paying tax immediately on income versus paying it later when you consume, and makes the completely nonsensical assumption that everyone always spends everything they earn. He thus considers the national sales tax to be equivalent to "unlimited IRAs", and says that we could accomplish the same purpose by simply allowing unlimited IRAs.
Landsburg is missing a couple of vital points.
1. When consumption is the target of tax, people will not only save more, they will borrow less. This will take the air out of our constant bubbles (stocks bought on margin, real estate bought on no-principal loans) which will dramatically improve the soundness of our economy, but will knock most of our bubble-boosting elites out of their jobs. Undoubtedly the elites understand this point even if they're not telling the proletariat about it, which accounts for their hissing anger and contempt.
2. Shifting tax to point-of-sale means that the pre-tax
prices of products made in America will be lower, because the personal and corporate income tax will be factored out of the price. Huckabee has pointed this out, but I don't think he's mentioned the best consequence of this change. Products from other countries
have a reduced pre-tax price. So the 'fair tax' will effectively impose a 20% tariff on products from China, which will also dramatically improve the soundness of our economy. Retailers will start to look for locally made products instead of instantly looking to China, which will return some types of manufacturing to America. Again our elites (including Romney and Giuliani) are more loyal to China than to America, so they understand and hate this consequence.
Batch of idiots, with one exception
In the Fox "forum" just now, Brit asked Huckabee about his record as governor:
Brit stated that Huck had raised taxes and increased the size of government, and asked if he would do the same thing as President.
Huck finally gave a halfway decent answer. Governors have to do something that Senators don't have to do: We have to take the situation as it stands, including Federal mandates, and make it work.
But there was a perfectly conservative, perfectly Constitutional, and powerfully Reaganite answer to the question, which Huckabee either doesn't understand or isn't willing to give.
This answer would be:
"Yes, I made tremendous improvements in Arkansas [give details] and this did require an increase in taxes and an increase in the size of the STATE government. And this is exactly how our federal system is supposed to work. The Tenth Amendment says that all powers not explicitly given to the Federal level shall be exercised at the State level.
By improving my own state instead of sitting back and letting the Feds do it all, as my Democrat predecessors had done, I was following the will of the Founders."
= = = = = = = =
Overall, I found myself thinking for the first time that Ron Paul makes sense. All the other candidates spent the entire debate getting tangled up in a total contradiction. All the other candidates were trying to convey two simultaneous and insanely incompatible messages:
Message 1. I pledge to continue the policies of George W. Bush totally, completely and utterly, in all things. Our government under George W. Bush is totally, completely and utterly perfect, the most wonderful of all possible worlds, Nirvana and Heaven rolled into one.
Message 2. I will change everything for the better, but I won't tell you how.
Only Dr. Paul states clearly the obvious truth: the current situation is disastrous.
Most of his diagnosis is wrong, which means most of his prescription is also wrong, but he's the only candidate who states the patient's condition accurately, and the only candidate who gives the correct PROGNOSIS if the patient continues its present lifestyle without treatment.
While we're all jabbering and yammering about Dixville Notch, playing all the usual Gotcha and How Dare You Say Gotcha and How Dare You Criticize Me For Saying How Dare You and It's Obscene That You Dare To Say How Dare You Criticize Me For Saying How Dare You .....
In a far corner of the world, a dramatic little event shows that humanity still has a chance, even among Mohammedans.
The Maldive Islands, a long chain of little islands near India, with roughly the same ethnic and religious makeup as Pakistan, just gave us a lesson.
An assassin came after the Maldives President with a knife; the president's bodyguards were slow to react, but a Boy Scout named Mohammed Jaisham Ibrahim got there first. He grabbed the blade and saved the president's life.
The bodyguards then arrested the assassin. At this point it's not clear whether the assassin was acting for Jihad [because the Maldives president is relatively pro-Western] or just some kind of local rebellion.
Moral of the story: As we focus ever more strongly on de-preparing and idiotizing the people; as we let the 'professionals' do all the jobs; as we allow lawyers to sue ordinary people and Boy Scouts into submission; we forget that problems are usually solved by a prepared (and armed) citizen. Or as George W. Gore would call him, a "vigilante".Story here.
I knew the Rambler, and Mr Romney, you're no Rambler.
A year ago when Romney first started campaigning, Polistra liked him and wrote at some length
about Romney's father and his beloved Rambler.
Mitt has recently started to tell this story, but after a longer exposure to Mitt we can see that the analogy doesn't work.
George Romney took over Nash in 1954, at a time when the Establishment (Ford and GM) were running strong, exhibiting all the worst qualities of Ruthless Desire and Reckless Greed. GM and Ford were pushing Numerical Superiority in every possible way: more length, more flash, more horsepower, more advertising, more gas usage. Worst of all, GM and Ford conspired to lower prices below cost in '54, for the specific purpose of knocking out the competition.
Romney Senior knew that Nash couldn't run the same race. He chose instead to emphasize quality over quantity, value over price. The Rambler was just large enough to hold a family comfortably; had just enough power to drive safely; had no flash whatsoever, but had a sense of firmness and solidity, combined with proven durability. These qualities kept Nash alive when the other small companies failed, and later took Rambler up to third place in the market, ahead of Plymouth in 1960-61.
Romney Junior has failed to learn the lesson, or perhaps his 'product' just isn't up to Rambler standards. In fact he's following the GM model, not the Nash model. What does he offer? Not something different, but a continuation of the same old Bush brand. He's had plenty of chances to separate himself from the Bush record, and every time he refuses. Instead, he concentrates on maximum flash, maximum advertising, maximum expenditure, and price cuts (i.e. Zero Zip Nada Taxes).
He's running on quantity, not quality.
"People are more important than the purse."
Polistra has heard about Huckabee's splendid victory, and since (unlike the author) she never had any doubts, she returns briefly from her vacation in 1940 to celebrate.
Obviously she didn't have time to re-dress for the current era of ruthless desire and reckless greed.....
Polistra believes that Huckabee carries the same quality of leadership that we experienced in the '30s and '40s, and she brings an example of the earlier form to remind us of how it worked.
This is Secretary of War Stimson talking to the nation on Christmas 1943. Listen.
Can we have leadership like this again? We damn sure need it.