Freitag, März 30, 2007

Surprise, surprise, surprise...

Every once in a while - a very long while - there does appear something in the German media that makes you wonder.

Read this.

Now, this is so untypical for a piece of German journalism that you wonder if somebody kidnapped his kids and made him write this.

But it's not. While there are huge numbers of left-wing idiots (sorry, I repeat myself) in journalism that couldn't distinguish between propaganda and reality if it came and bit them, there are plenty of "real" Germans, those who bother to exercise their brains, who know the difference.

It's a lovely piece, but I can't help wondering why it was published in Der Spiegel, which is sort of a cross between Time and Newsweek with a big chunk of vulgar marxism added in.

Guess the guy who wrote it - Claus Christian Malzahn - has a soft spot for us unlamented, backwards capitalists. Here's lookat a tyou... :-)

And thanks ...

Dienstag, März 20, 2007

Speaking Truth To Power...

I met now-retired Gen. Klaus Naumann back in 1984 or 1985 when I went to NATO HQ in Bruxelles with retired Gen. Bennecke, who was teaching security policy at the Albert-Ludwigs Universität zu Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. He was a Lt. Col. at that time and gave an incredibly kick-ass talk on the NATO dual-track decision that remained very controversial at that time. His competence and mastery of every aspect of that decision was very impressive, done with no notes, no preparation, zilch, and he underscored for me the fact that really successful modern officers are not the kind of idiots that your typical leftist or journalist (sorry, I repeat myself) usually thinks they are, but rather consummate professionals, the ones you want on your side and really, really worry about if they are not.

Well, he's up to his old tricks, and he does it so well...

It's up here, unfortunately in German only, but here's my quick-and-dirty translation of the relevant part:

Ex-NATO-General accuses German politicians of ignorance

Ex-General Naumann has blown a gasket: in terms of the loud criticism of the planned US-rocket shield, the former NATO commander points out that leading German politicians have absolutely no idea of what they are talking about. Their statements show "an almost unbelievable ignorance".

In the debate, most facts are left unmentioned. In Deutschland-Funk (a radio station - JO) he pointed out that most of the facts point not to a threat against the Russians, but rather the opposite. The US is planning to put in only 10 rockets, says Naumann. Given the more than 1000 Russian atom rockets with multiple warheads, their use against Russia is completely senseless. The warnings of leading politicians about a new arms race documents their complete ignorance.

In addition, so Neumann, the US missiles are to be stationed in eastern Europe. This means that in an attack they couldn't even reach any Russian missiles fired at the US, since these rockets would be fired over the North Pole and not over Europe. If Russia claims that the rocket shield in Poland and the Czech Republic is threatening their security, then this must be classified as an unashamed manipulation of the public.

He also emphasized that the US has been talking with Russia about their plans to move in these missiles. These discussions were part of bilateral talks with the Russians before Putin's talk at the Munich Security Conference. That's why it is amazing that the German Foreign Secretary Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD), immediately after Putin's speech, called for the necessity of at least talking to the Russians, criticized the former German general.

The rest of the article is about the French response and doesn't go into more detail.

Suffice to say: Naumann is absolutely correct. Absolutely. If you add to these facts the fact that the whole missiles-in-Poland plan was offered to NATO to be a part of about 8 years ago and rejected by them then, well...sort of puts it all in perspective, don't it?

The modern German political parties - mainly the SPD, but this unfortunately holds true for the rest of them - are idiots when it comes to the military and woefully ignorant of military affairs.

This is really speaking truth to power: to point out the woeful ignorance of the facts is on a completely different basis than what the populist left means when they claim to be "speaking truth to power" while in reality they are just yammering about how lousy the government is because they're not in power.

The last really good German Defense Minister was Manfred Wörner (1982-1988) who was then the NATO General Secretary from 1988 to his untimely death from cancer in 1994. Steinmeier is a joke.

Samstag, März 17, 2007

The Mind Boggles...


A guy thinks the market is going to tank.

He has an asset in the market.

He puts the asset on the market.

Then he publicly announces that he thinks the market is going to tank.

And he really thinks that his asset will then be bought?

The mind boggles.

The guy? Jim Rogers, commodities "guru".

How the hell did the guy ever get a job?

Oh, I see. A buddy of George Soros, the living proof that someone who is more than willing to crash a currency in order to make a buck doesn't mean that they know diddly squat about anything besides being outright bastards.

Freitag, März 16, 2007

Gaining Perspective...

Sometimes the MSM does a good job.

This article on Kofi Annan, from Perry Anderson over at The Nation, is well researched and informative, and give us a partially new perspective on a number of things.

First of all, that Kofi Annan was a creation of the Clinton White House and was rammed down the throats of the collective security council by the Clinton White House.

Note the emphasis that I lay here on the Clinton White House: Anderson, of course, refers only to the US.

Why this emphasis? Because Kofi Annan didn't play the same game with the Bush White House as he did with the Clinton White House. He did not oppose US-led UN actions in what was left of Yugoslavia; he most certainly did when the US tried to lead the UN into concerted action against the failed state of Iraq. He was more than happy to let the French block the UN Security Council in order to desperately try to avoid French corruption from coming to the light of day and scrutiny.

This fits in nicely with the position of the Clintonistas, who were - and are - more than happy to use Iraq as a political tool against the Bush administration.

And, predictably, Annan pulled the UN out of Iraq when it was clear that they were being targetted by insurgents. What else could he have done?

Well, he could have addressed the General Assembly on the reasons why the UN was attacked in Iraq and point out to them that by attacking the UN, the insurgents were attacking the very structure of international cooperation, and that the member nations of the UN must condemn the attacks and work to ensure that the UN could operate safely. Not support the US mission - that would take the speculation here into the realm of wishful thinking - but support the UN mission of bringing order to chaos.

Instead he sacrificed those who died to appease the war critics, ensuring that the conflict would be longer, bloodier and for the people of Iraq infinitely more desperate than would have been the case if the UN had grown a backbone.

Anderson's take on Annan is a good one: never strong, nor an independent actor. A bureaucrat, with a failed education. He was the creature of the Clinton White House and never one of the Bush White House: when Annan's involvement in the Oil for Food scandal became clear, it was a series of Clintonistas that rallied to his defense.

Montag, März 12, 2007

Bye Bye Chirac ...

The worst President that France ever had is finally going to disappear from the political scene.

Not a day too soon.

Why do I say the worst?

Because he was.

Most fundamentally, Chirac was responsible for the greatest foreign policy blunder of the Fifth Republic since Suez.

On September 11th, he proclaimed "We are all Americans".

He started off right: he supported UN Resolution 1368 and sent troops to Afghanistan.

But starting on 15 Oct 2001 things started to go downhill. True French solidarity lasted only slightly more than 1 month.

His reluctance to get involved is based on the fear of getting involved in the Third World. In sharp contrast to his predecessor, Mitterand, Chirac's life wasn't heavily impacted by WW2, and it shows.

On 15 Oct 2001 he acknowledged that a clash of civilizations was developing, but saw a completely, radically different solution: engagement and discussion, with the West needing to take on the responsibility for the plight of the developing world, whose production of terrorists was the result of poverty and misery in those countries.

This is, of course, a crass misunderstanding of modern terrorism, which does not have its roots in poverty and misery, but rather comes from the upper levels of Arab society and has its roots in the failure of those societies to achieve anything remotely like the economic development of the West, despite their heritage and money from oil. This failure, because Arab pride does not allow honesty, can only be the result of repression and subjugation of Arabs by the West, hence the West must be eliminated as a source of comparison in order for the failure of Arab culture not to be made so obvious. I know that this is a simplification, but this lies at the core of why modern terrorism is largely an Arab problem, with the use of Islamic fundamentalism not merely a welcome tool for this purpose, but rather one of the driving forces behind it.

The result of Chirac's fundamentally incorrect perception of the world led to the greatest fiasco of French foreign policy, one that will literally take decades to correct.

Almost one year exactly after the attack of 11 Sep, he basically said: "Attempting to change the regime in foreign countries means entering these countries and dealing with foreign cultures," and he felt that this was a very dangerous attitude.

He's right: changing the regimes in foreign countries is a dangerous thing, as things never turn out as you might like. But given the dangers that the failed countries of the Middle East represent, Chirac failed to provide any sort of alternative course besides "let's simply not do it".

This was born the obstructionist policy of France in dealing with the Middle East: France under Chirac actively broke with the US on dealing with the countries of the Middle East, first and foremost with Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

According to Chirac's biographer, both the political and military circles in France vastly underestimated the determination that Chirac had not to allow the US to follow its policies. Chirac decided to block the US at all costs. The threat of the veto at the UN virtually destroyed the UN as the premier place to work out the strategy of the West against the terror threats from the Middle East, as it basically came out of the blue. All observers, including the French, expected France to object and try to modify US behavior - which has been a constant in US-French relations since at least Suez - before then agreeing to US actions.

Instead, the threat of the veto suprised everyone and did the one thing that Chirac didn't really expect (but was more than willing to accept as fallout from his actions): it emboldened Saddam Hussein to resist any political solution, destroying any chance that there even could be a peaceful resolution of UN Resolution 1444. This is, I think, something that can be clearly laid at Chirac's door as the legacy of his short-sighted objections to the US policy towards Iraq in the wake of the post-11 Sep environment.

The attempt during the UN security council debates to build a counter-alliance with Russia, China, Germany and Belgium, as well as countries from Latin America and Africa was also unprecedented and correctly viewed by the US as a massive undermining of their position in trying to resolve the conflict with Iraq. Rather than show solidarity and also take responsibility for their own failures in the past (France was a major supplier to Iraq under Saddam Hussein and were active in the undermining of the sanctions), the French deliberately took the other side, perhaps not of being on the side of Saddam Hussein, but of being a belligerent neutral firmly opposed to whatever actions the US took.

This put France not in its traditional role of independent NATO partner, but put them instead in the camp that was opposed to the US exercise of power, a fundamental break with the long history and tradition of US-French relations.

Bluntly, this has been the greatest failure of any European president since Suez.

But it didn't stop there. Chirac never viewed European unity as a proponent for European unity as an end in itself, but much more as a nationalist politician seeking to create the best possible result for France, even at the cost of other European countries more dedicated to European unity than he. The abject failure of the European constitution in France, voted down by a solid majority, despite the advantages for France in a Europe unified under the draft constitution, underscored the contradictions that the people saw in Chirac: trumpeting European unity while ensuring that France was primes inter pares.

In terms of military affairs, Chirac will probably be remembered best by his call, in January 2006, for the French use of nuclear weapons if France and French interests are attacked. He did transform the French military from a draftee army to a professional, modern army, but he also ordered the testing of new nuclear warhead designs, despite world-wide protests, and elevated the Force de Frappe (the nuclear forces of France) to a much higher status than they had with the collapse of the Soviets.

Domestically, Chirac wouldn't have been President without Le Pen, whose surprisingly strong election results led to Chirac's success. Chirac has significant problems with corruption, dating from his time as the mayor of Paris, and this remains unresolved. Chirac is, fundamentally, extremely judgemental and identifies with a radical nationalist proto-socialism that he learned from his grandfather, rejecting free trade and globalism, but at the same time having no trouble whatsoever of being friendly with despots and dictators whilst showing distain for democratization and liberalization of the Third World. Chirac operates very much within the French elitist tradition and a deeply troubling cultural pessimism that shows at its core uncertainty about the universality of Western values.

The next president of France will have his or her hands full in cleaning up after Chirac. He will be remembered by history as one of the greatest catastrophes in French politics.

Sonntag, März 11, 2007

The Gallstone the Stomach of Power?

In case you doubt that what I posted just a few minutes ago has some validity, then take a look at this post here and try and tell me that the ex-Mr. Jane Fonda isn't a useful idiot that thinks he's a revolutionary elite. Ok, progressive. Whatever.

To quote:

It is in the nature of truly mass movements that people choose the paths that seem to promise effective results, even victories. So it should surprise no one that much of the energy of the peace and justice movement flowed into presidential campaigns for Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich and ultimately John Kerry (the UnBush).

As a result millions of people become engaged politically on grassroots levels, many for the first time. The peace and justice message was heard more widely than before.

and this:

There is a lesson here for progressives. Since the anti-war sentiment was a factor of public opinion during the presidential race that made Bush defer tough decisions, the movement needs to create an even greater force of opposition that will become indigestible, a kind of gallstone in the stomach of power.

and this:

The first step is to build pressure at congressional district levels to oppose any further funding or additional troops for war. If members of Congress balk at cutting off all assistance and want to propose "conditions" for further aid, it is a small step toward threatening funding. If only 75 members of Congress go on record against any further funding, that's a step in the right direction – towards the exit.

The important thing is for anti-war activists to become more grounded in the everyday political life of their districts, organizing anti-war coalitions including clergy, labor and inner city representatives to knock loudly on congressional doors and demand that the $200 billion squandered on Iraq go to infrastructure and schools at home. When trapped between imperial elites and their own insistent constituents, members of Congress will tend to side with their voters. That is how the wars in Vietnam and Cambodia were ended in 1975.

Two, we need to build a Progressive Democratic movement which will pressure the Democrats to become an anti-war opposition party. The anti-war movement has done enough for the Democratic Party this year. It is time for the Democratic leadership to end its collaboration with the Bush administration – with its endorsement of the offensive on Fallujah, the talk of "victory" and "killing the terrorists" – and now play the role of the opposition. The progressive activists of the party should refuse to contribute any more resources – volunteers, money, etc. – to candidates or incumbents who act as collaborators.


Three, we need to build alliances with Republican anti-war conservatives. Non-partisan anti-war groups (such as Win Without War) should reach out to conservatives who, according to the New York Times, are "ready to rumble" against Iraq. Pillars of the American right, including Paul Weyrich, Pat Buchanan and William F. Buckley, are seriously questioning the quagmire created by the neoconservatives. Strategists like Grover Norquist call the war "a drag on votes" and "threatening to the Bush coalition" that cost Bush six percentage points in the election. The left cannot create a left majority, but it can foster a left-right majority that threatens the hawks in both parties.

Four, we must build solidarity with dissenting combat veterans, reservists, their families and those who suffered in 9/11. Just as wars cannot be fought without taxpayer funding, wars cannot be fought without soldiers willing to die, even for a mistake. Every person who cares about peace should start their daily e-mail messages with the current body count, including a question mark after the category "Iraqi civilians."


Five, we need to defeat the U.S. strategy of "Iraqization." "Clearly, it's better for us if they're in the front-line," Paul Wolfowitz explained last February. This cynical strategy is based on putting an Iraqi "face" on the U.S. occupation in order to reduce the number of American casualties, neutralize opposition in other Arab countries, and slowly legitimize the puppet regime. In truth, it means changing the color of the body count.


Six, we should work to dismantle the U.S. war "Coalition" by building a "Peace Coalition" by the means of the global anti-war movement. Groups with international links (such as Global Exchange or other solidarity groups) could organize conferences and exchanges aimed at uniting public opinion against any regimes with troops supporting the U.S. in Iraq. Every time an American official shows up in Europe demanding support, there should be speakers from the American anti-war movement offering a rebuttal to the official line.


In short: pinch the funding arteries, push the Democrats to become an opposition party, ally with anti-war Republicans, support dissenting soldiers, make "Iraqization" more difficult, and build a peace coalition against the war coalition. If the politicians are too frightened or ideologically incapable of implementing an exit strategy, the only alternative is for the people to pull the plug.

Remember, Hayden was a visiting professor at Harvard recently and is a professor at Occidental College in LA.

We have all the attributes here: a willingness to subvert everything to the gaining of political power, radicalization for the sake of radicalization, unthinking and uncritical rejection of democratically legitimized government decisions.

Samstag, März 10, 2007

Answering A Question...

One of the better Blogs out there, Dr. Sanity, is basically asking the question of how we got where we are today, with the crisis of the western Spirit, to coin a phrase.

What we seem to be facing is not something that has recently happened, but rather is something that has accumulated over time. The crisis we are facing is not a crisis of the western Spirit, but rather a crisis of that ideology that dominated most of the last century, the crisis of socialism.

What did socialists want? They were radical utopianists, believing that they would be the culmination of the historical processes described by Marx, who was inspired by Hegel. Dead white males all of them.

The key to understanding socialism isn't the usual mickeymouse ideological palaver, but rather understanding that it was the attempt by European intellectuals of the 19th century to find a way to come to power, to grasp control of their societies from the hereditary genetic cesspools of European nobility. In order to do this, they had to create a new man, the utopia of a new man. To achieve their goals they also needed to generate a new mode of behavior, a pre-revolutionary actionism, embodied by the anarchists and nihilists that ended up generating WW1 by killing the Archduke Ferdinand and bringing ruin to the established societies of Europe. Germany was just a few meals away from socialist revolution, while England lost its empire due to exhaustion; France was decimated, losing an entire generation of petite bourgeoisie.

The key to any sort of revolution or pre-revolutionary activity is the creation of the activist, the committed party member whose dedication to the revolutionary goals stops at nothing, not with family, not with laws and civil society, not with morals, not with anything but the revolution as such.

This person believes that they understand society better than the society itself ever can, and that they are morally superior to that society, because the society is per definitio morally corrupt and incapable of reform. This moral superiority exists only in the minds of the revolutionary elite and is based on the need for destruction of the existing system, regardless of the costs, because the future goal, the radical utopian society, is valued above all. Destroying the existing society in order to achieve the radical utopian society is absolutely necessary, for in reality the revolutionary must transcend his or her former morals, social strictures and civil constructions.

The dedicated revolutionary has nothing but contempt for those living in what they believe to be the outmoded society, as the failures of that society condemn it, in the revolutionary socialist construct, necessarily to destruction, with the rebirth of the future radical utopian society guided, of course, by the revolutionary elite. This is standard leninist revolutionary theory, and serves as the core functionality for all communist revolutions in the 20th century.

It is, of course, condemned to failure as human nature will invariably bring the collapse of the revolution and it's descent, as has been the case for all socialist and communist revolutions, into corruption, mass murder and abject failure.

But the problem is that for a certain kind of individual, the potential for power is so fundamentally attractive that they will do anything, literally, to achieve the kind of power to reshape the world as they see fit.

For this purpose they need what they call, in the literature, "useful idiots". Useful idiots are a manifestation of the failure of society, as they are committed to destroy it without the necessary revolutionary consciousness: they possess, at best, "false consciousness" that after the revolution provides the basis by which the true revolutionary elite can purge them from any sort of position of power.

What makes a "useful idiot"?

First of all, that they can be manipulated by the revolutionary elite for their aims. The good and proper useful idiot is someone who unreflexively adopts revolutionary positions and thought as their own, unable to understand that they are adopting positions that lead to their own destruction. They are usually shallow individuals, failures themselves in bourgeois society, people of unsound intellectual abilities who adopt the revolutionary themes as a replacement for their own failure to leave a meaningful life. They parrot the terminology without being able to think for themselves, indeed adopting positions that invariably lead to their own destruction, as they long for superior positions in society - that they feel are wrongly denied to them - while the revolutionary elite will never allow them to take such positions, as they are reserved for themselves.

Unreflexive, unthinking support is the key: this is best spread amongst the young and impressionable, with special emphasis on recruiting the attractive, exploiting as well the loopholes and contradictions of sexual mores so as to appeal to the lower instincts. True revolutionaries are not distracted by such methods, but useful udiots are.

Further, useful idiots are the kind of political activists for whom literally everything is about politics, where politics are forcibly introduced into all streams of human activity, where the entire goal is the politicization of every day life, with the goal of "exposing" the contradictions of society and creating the kind of emotional responses that only radicalized politics (or fundamental religious fervor) achieves: the shutting down, as it were, of the higher intellectual thought processes in order to install unthinking hate and reflex disgust. The methods are well-known and require only funding and finding the necessary provocateurs to create a pre-revolutionary mass, unthinking and reflexive, furious with the existing power structure, with the demonization of their opponents, up to and including the declaration that the political opponents are not really even human (usually describing them as pigs, jackals, hyenas, dogs, etc).

Any existing society has its problems and contradicitons. That is why any given society can be attacked by not merely exposing those problems and contradictions - that is the start - but more fundamentally turning that society into nothing more than the problems and contradictions. Hence the positive aspects of any society must be nullified: if a society has a strong and robust economic sector providing high levels of employment, that must be attacked and the economy severally weakend in order to achieve pre-revolutionary status; if a society has strong family structures, then these must be destroyed for the same reason. The key for the revolutionary elite is to create the pre-revolutionary situation, where none are satisfied, where the demand for change and leadership becomes paramount, where the revolutionary elite can start to show itself and achieve control of the revolutionary process.

We're not talking here of any concrete example, any concrete society: this is much more the generic blueprint of how a leninist elite attacks any society, be it agrarian, developing, developed or whatever.

Now, Dr. Sanity asks this question:

Is it any wonder that we are horribly confused and disoriented, not knowing who we are or where we are going? Is it any wonder that today's events do not seem to have any rhyme or reason?

Does what I have written now start to make sense? I am not convinced that we are looking at a pre-revolutionary situation in the US, but we are looking at the attempt. The uncertainty, the lack of direction, the "failure" of the system are at the core of what we are looking at.

She also says this:

Somewhere in the last fifty years or so, the entire field of philosophy has been completely hijacked by its most narcissistically-inclined branch--politics. Metaphysics, epistemology, and even ethics, are all now subservient to politic hows. Normally there is a heirarchical relationship between all the branches; with the base being metaphysics, the study and the nature of existence. Epistemology is dependent on and closely related to metaphysics, and it is the study of how we know reality and existence; while ethics, the study of how humans should act, is dependent on epistemology. Politics--or how humans should interact in society--should be dependent on ethics. Yet in our postmodern world we have turned it all upside down. We are told how we should properly interact and it has become the ethical standard of behavior. Having set up this relativistic ethical standard; postmodern intellectuals can now question both how we know reality and even insist that it does not exist separately and independenly from our senses.

The question isn't how it came to this: we know that liberal society has been under attack for decades. Post-modern intellectuals have become the useful idiots of the 21st century: for them, everything is politicized, everything is interpreted by the filter of political activism and the core underlying will to power; the only thing that matters, literally, is power, its achievement, with little or no thought as to why this power is supposed to be achieved.

The Democratic Party has abdicated to the radical left that is now trying to write the future, a very ugly future, and is filled with useful idiots, the screaming and gesticulating fools whose fundamental lack of understanding for what they are doing will condemn either them to perdition or will lead to a massive break in the US body politic.

Which is exactly what any revolutionary elite wants. For them it's a win-win situation: on the one hand, the Democratic Party, if it collapses from within due to its own internal contradictions, with its great tradition and history, will be destroyed, sacrificed to radicalize a significant portion of American society; on the other hand, if there is a massive break in the US body politic, with massive alienation from the ideals and goals of this over 230 year experiment in republican democracy, the strains of that rupture will achieve the same effect.

Who is this revolutionary elite?

Well, they're not hiding. They have no need: no one is willing to take them at their word, just as no one was willing to believe what Lenin had written, as no one was willing to read what Hitler had written.

They are the people behind Move.On, behind the "democratic grassroots" activism, the people behind ANSWER.

And they truly believe themselves to be the revolutionary elite that will perservere, as they see their useful idiots falling over themselves to finance their own destruction. They do hide in the shadows, but only because they have been able to find so many useful idiots.

Guess He's Not Going To Get Many Invitations...

A small disclaimer: my grandmother on my father's side came from Czechoslovakia, so I've always had a bit of a soft spot for that tiny country.

And as an economist, I certainly can respect the fact that Vaclev Klaus is also a trained economist.

But the poor guy isn't going to be getting many invitations from Hollywood and elsewhere to come and party.

As you can see here, he sees the forest for the trees and calls it as it is: environmentalism is nothing more than a secular religion, and if environmentalism can be considered a science, then only as a social science, a soft science, one that relies on interpretation and induction rather than observable facts and deduction.

And he is absolutely right when he says the the whole damn thing is a waste of money: there are more important things to do.

Montag, März 05, 2007

No Basis For "Settled Science"


Dr. Allegre now says that he has broken with the dogma of environmentalists. His colleagues are aghast that he would say such a thing.

So what did he say?

That the cause of climate change is unknown.

Unknown. Not the dogma of athropogenesis.

And he isn't a loony: he is the architect of isotope geodynamics. He advised the Apollo program on cosmochemical research.

And he is revulsed by the nihilistic nature of the climate research debate.

To quote:

Calling the arguments of those who see catastrophe in climate change "simplistic and obscuring the true dangers," Dr. Allegre especially despairs at "the greenhouse-gas fanatics whose proclamations consist in denouncing man's role on the climate without doing anything about it except organizing conferences and preparing protocols that become dead letters." The world would be better off, Dr. Allegre believes, if these "denouncers" became less political and more practical, by proposing practical solutions to head off the dangers they see, such as developing technologies to sequester C02. His dream, he says, is to see "ecology become the engine of economic development and not an artificial obstacle that creates fear."

At last we see someone within the climatology world see the forest for the trees.

I've long been highly antagonistic to environmentalism, as they fail virtually any economics test as to the utility of the actions proposed. Stern's use of an absurd discount rate guaranteed his results and choosing a more sensible one - say the risk-free rate of investment - leads to results that are radically different than what Stern claims.

The Copenhagen Consensus is something I can support: finding out what really matters and needs to be solved, rather than what academics desperately want.

Bluntly, the environmentalist movement has been hijacked by the failed power seekers of the left, desperate for a reason to maintain their "critical" - in quotes because it is anything but that - ideologies and the accompanying life style and prestige.

Plus it beats the hell out of actually working for a living, too.

Kudos to Dr. Allegre for his fundamental honesty and integrity.

Freitag, März 02, 2007

Finally a word of wisdom...

Well, finally something sensible in the FT. Today's op-ed from Philip Stephens (unfortunately behind their subscription service here) raises a point that I fear too many are not merely not hearing, but are as well putting their fingers in their ears and going "la-la-la-la" so as not to have to deal with the problems it raises.

Stephens' point is that it behooves the Europeans to support the US.

That right there makes him virtually a pariah amongst the MSM. But his point is solid and rational (almost a contradiction, there, coming from the MSM): that hard-headed, pragmatic solutions to the problems in the Middle East are out there. They are being pursued by the US and deserve to be supported, instead of automatically being vilified for the sake of feeling morally superior.

He also makes the point that the problems in the Middle East aren't the problems of the US: they are everyone's problems. And that the Europeans have abjectly failed in their own commitments and responsibilties: the failure of European nations to adequately man their NATO commitments in Afghanistan has led to speculation that NATO may fail there to secure the peace. The Canadians continue to fight heavy battles against the Taliban, for instance, but their NATO allies have failed to back them up: the Germans may claim historical reasons for their failure to commit troops to battle, but the French, Italians and Spaniards have no such justification for failing to commit combat troops to aid the Dutch, Canadian and British troops fighting in the South, let alone the American troops fighting there as well.

This is a singular failure of European foreign policies, one that emboldens the enemy. The European failure to work with the US - Stephens' analysis here is right on the ball, as financial pressure from the Europeans in the form of sanctions, accompanied by a carrot offered by the US, would show a concentrated and coordinated policy towards the Middle East by NATO and the West, something sorely lacking since the French decided that they were going to actively undermine US foreign policy solely because the US would not dance the French dance - is perhaps the major foreign policy blunder of the Europeans, equalled perhaps only by their blind and unquestioning support of the Palestinians, despite the almost unbelievable corruption and misuse of EU funds by those receiving them.

Stephens' point, that we all need to put rhetoric, posturing and schadenfreude behind us and work for the common good, is critical: the US has made a move towards multilaterism and discussion, it would well behoove the Europeans to support the US instead of carping.

Donnerstag, März 01, 2007

Another Reason Not To Trust Journalists...

Sometimes you gotta feel sorry for some journalists. They go and try to do a good story, spin a tune, and get taken in for a ride by those who are not only smarter than they are, but better at telling stories and spinning tunes than the journalist will ever be.

Seymour Hersh, for one.

If you look here, you can see how Hersh, thinking himself oh-so-clever, has swallowed the party line with hook and sinker. Whose party line? Why, that of Syria and Hezbollah: after all, I am sure that Hersh is thinking, the enemy of my enemy is my friend...

But it doesn't stop there: this shows how it's not just one man's opinion that Hersh has been been seduced by the dark side of the Force.

And it doesn't stop there either. Hersh is not only completely off on Lebanon, but has blown it describing Egypt as well, as can be seen here.

The reason why someone like Hersh is fooled?

Simple: he's a journalist. For him, getting the "story" is everything. If he doesn't get the story, he keeps on trying to get it.

Those who work for middle Eastern despots don't have that luxury. If they don't get the spin right, their families might die. These regimes aren't interested in PR for the sake of better ratings or maybe a Pulitzer, they're interested in PR of the kind that Hersh gives them because it is existential for the continued ability of the despots to survive.

Those who work to survive do it with vastly more elan and commitment than those who do it for a living, regardless of how much you might like your job.

The Sandmonkey put it this way, underscoring the sophist nature of modern journalism:

This is a man who could distort shit so well that he could disprove gravity.

Nothing more need be said.

Except that this is as good (from Beirut to the Beltway, see above):

Baer, Hersh and their friends have one thing in common: they all have abandoned reality for fiction. And we all know that fiction sells better. In the words of Hersh's proclaimed nemesis, George W. Bush, "Seymour Hersh is a liar".

Abandoned reality for fiction: it sounds like Hersh and his friends have so identified with the enemy of their enemy that they have assimilated Middle Eastern thinking patterns, becoming one with their rhetoric and the truth be damned.

And Seymour Hersh is considered to be one the best of the best in the MSM.

There's an old epithet in British English, the wog. While it probably comes from the use of pollywog as a epithet, there are those who made it into an acronym for "wily oriental gentleman".

I'd like to formally propose that wog be redefined.

Wishful old geezer, used to describe Carter Democrats, limousine liberals and anyone who thinks that Barbara Streisand has something meaningful to say about world politics.

You read it here first.