Archive for the ‘Euroweenies’ Category.

Why I Think Bombing ISIS Is a Bad Idea

Every bomb we drop will kill civilians. If it’s a car full of jihadis they will turn it into a school bus full of orphans. A command and control center will become a day-care center. ISIS has learned Hamas’s playb0ok well, thanks to the liberal morons in the media who propagate whatever they are fed because they are incapable of deciding between truth and lies, having been indoctrinated into viewing both on equal footing.

If we are going to bomb anyone it should be Qatar, for financing ISIS, and Turkey, for supporting their recruitment efforts. Oh, and Saudi Arabia for starting this whole fundamentalist mess in the first place. Then give the Kurds any weapon they want as well as the military advisers to use it, and let them take care of business.

But just watch. The first pictures of dead children will soon be coming our way, and Obama and the Europeans do not have the stomach for this fight.

It’s not that I don’t believe ISIS needs to be stopped, just that bombing is not going to fix anything. Radical Islam is suffocating less violent and more tolerant sects of Islam around the world thanks to the funding by the Gulf States including Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and is abetted by the doctrine of Political Correctness in the West which is ideologically blind to the intolerance of radical Islam and holds it to a lower standard than any other religion. The Westboro Baptist Church is notorious in the United States for its intolerant view of Christianity, yet the WBC is politically and ideologically liberal compared ISIS, Hamas, and fundamentalist Wahhabi sects taking over mosques around the world. WBC has not killed a single human being; the same cannot be said for these radical Islamic sects.

In order to fight ISIS we would need to remove the blinders of political correctness that prevent us from seeing the world as it is. The Koran is filled with brutality, and while the Bible is too, the difference is that no one today is killing in the name of Christ while tens of thousands kill in the name of Allah. Having Obama portray himself as a Muslim Imam, as Bookworm Room aptly puts it, telling us what Islam teaches shows the moral and intellectual vacuum at the center of today’s policy-making elite. Political Correctness is a form of elitism no different from the “white man’s burden” of Colonialism. Exactly how is Obama telling Muslims what their beliefs should be any different from European missionaries in colonial Africa? Why should we listen to American and European liberals tell us what Islam believes instead of the Muslims themselves?

We cannot defeat an enemy we refuse to see, so there is little point in wasting the lives of men and material on limited air strikes. All we will be doing is “cutting the grass” – an aphorism Israelis use to illustrate their Gaza strategy. Do enough to keep the militants in check, but not too much to defeat them. This strategy works when the threat is somewhat contained as it is in the Gaza strip, but not when it is growing and strengthening.

Hamas might be weakened by such a strategy but ISIS is not. With each new beheading video ISIS’s brand grows throughout the world. Its ideas and ideology spread in ways that must seem puzzling to the elites driving hybrids with COEXIST bumper stickers on them. These elites can’t even fathom another world view especially one as alien to liberal beliefs as Islam. ISIS and a sizable portion of the Muslim community do not want coexistence. Coexistence is something you do while you are weak, not when your forces are rolling through the desert sands in triumph. They have made it very clear that their goals are nothing less than the Muslim conquest of the world. In such a world there will be no place for Jews and Christians, or the LGBT community for that matter. There will be no freedom or democracy because both are haram, forbidden by Islamic law that states the only law is God’s Law.

It’s not like ISIS suddenly discovered this in the Koran. The basis for Islamic world domination has been laying in that book since it was written. “I (Allah) will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them. This because they contended against Allah and His Messenger: If any contend against Allah and His Messenger, Allah is strict in punishment,” (Koran 8:9, 12-13). The Koran and the associated Hadith and other Islamic texts also portray Mohammad as the Ideal Man, al-insan al-kamil – the Perfect Man,  a 7th century Ubermensch whose actions and life were to be emulated by all good Muslims. Unfortunately Mohammad is closer in life and action to Genghis Khan than he is Gautama Buddha or Jesus Christ, and the table below proves it.

Number killed by Mohammad or under his direct orders:

Number KilledWhereCircumstances
?tens?Nakhla RaidMuhammad justifies the killing of women and children (Al-Mushrikun) (1)
2unclearMuhammad orders an adulterous couple stoned to death. (2)
70Battle of BadrMuhammad personally leads his warriors into battle against superior forces. (3)
1Battle of BadrUqba bin Abi Mu'ait begs for his life. "Who will look after my children, O Muhammad?" "Hell" Muhammad replies and orders Uqba killed.
1Battle of BadrAbu Jahl beheaded.
1unclearJewish poet Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf assassinated on Mohammed's orders for writing verses insulting Muslim women.
1unclearJewish merchant Ibn Sunayna killed after Mohammed orders his followers to "Kill any Jew that falls into your power." Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirate Rasul Allah, A. Guillaume trans, 369
1unclearSufyan ibn Khalid al-Hudhali killed on Mohammed's orders.
1Uhud MountainMuhammad kills Quraysh warrior Ubayy bin Khalaf who had once taunted him.
600+Banu Qurayzah tribeMuhammad participates in the killing of captives in the marketplace of Medina.
?100s?Banu Mustaliq tribeMen killed, women, children enslaved.
93Khaybar RaidMuhammad breaks treaty with Jewish tribe.
1Khaybar RaidKinana bin al-Rabi tortured to reveal location of treasure, beheaded by Mohammed.
1unclearZaynab bint al-Harith attempts to poison Mohammed (some traditions say she was spared).
?100s?MeccaMuhammad orders those who resist, and those on a list to be killed.
3unclearMurder of the Poets. Muhammad orders murders of Abu 'Afak, Asma bint Marwan - the latter of whom was pregnant.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
700 - 2,000Total

So for those of you keeping score at home, here is the number of people killed by Jesus:

Jesus:  -1 (Christ raised Lazarus from the dead)

From the elite’s point of view both prophets are highly fictionalized characters whose believers are equally misguided. Political Correctness simply wipes away the misdeeds of Mohammad and places him on equal footing with Christ, and in doing so says more about their mindset than the reality of Christianity and Islam. And their ignorance has led them to make policies that have created the conditions whereby an entire generation of Muslims now sees the best chance at the global caliphate since the siege of Vienna. This vision of Islam has displaced all others including the most tolerant and pacifistic of sects from Nigeria to Indonesia.

You cannot defeat an enemy by leaving his ideology intact. In order to stop ISIS we must accept they are fighting on behalf of Islam. Accepting that reality then forces us to confront a larger question: How do we fight Islam?

I’m not sure a religious war of Islam against Infidel is necessary at this point. I refuse to believe that all Muslims sympathize with ISIS, and that some are just as sickened by their beliefs as non-Muslims are. They need to be the ones leading the fight against ISIS on ideological grounds, not President Obama. Obama is the commander in chief. All he needs to do is say “Harm an American and your death will be imminent.” That’s it. No grand speeches about what Islam is or isn’t. We’ll leave that to the Muslims in the US and Europe to decide.

So until the ruling class loses its political correctness, until American Muslims stand against ISIS, and until the President stops issuing threats and unleashes the gates of hell on anyone that kills an American, then I believe bombing ISIS will do more harm than good and is therefore a bad idea.

 

 
————
Sources:
1. Muhammed Ibn Ismaiel Al-Bukhari, Shih al-Bukhari: The Translation of the Meanings, Muhammed M. Khan trans, Dar Es Salaam, 1997, vol 4, book 56, no. 3012. Note that other traditions in (nos. 3014 and 3015) have Muhammad forbidding the massacre of women and children.

Here is how no. 3012 reads:

The prophet passed by me at a place called Al-Abwa’ or Waddan, and was asked whether it was permissible to attack Al-Mushrikun (unbelieving) warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, “They (i.e. women and children) are from them (i.e. Al-Mushrikun).”

2. Bukhari, vol. 4, book 61, no. 3635
3. Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, A. Guillaume, trans, Oxford University Press, 1955, p. 301

It’s Jews All The Way Down

The name of this journal is in honor to Occam’s Razor, the tool of logic used to decide when faced with two theories having the same evidence the simpler theory is most likely true. I selected this name because of the explosion of conspiracy theories that followed the 9-11 attacks. Occam’s Razor is to a conspiracy theory what a can of RAID is to a cockroach. In the immediate aftermath of the attack there were a multitude of explanations and justifications, from Bin Laden striking the blow to protest America’s refusal to curb global warming to the controlled demolition of the towers by the US government itself. Like cockroaches these theories managed to survive and evolve into what we now call 9-11 Truthers, a movement that has become a cottage industry where the only people not responsible for the 9-11 attacks are the ones who actually claimed responsibility for committing them.

Every generation has its tin-foil hat crowd, as do both sides of the political spectrum. FDR knew about Pearl Harbor well before the Japanese launched the attack. JFK was killed by the CIA, mob, Cubans or a conspiracy involving all three. The moon landings were faked as was Elvis’s death. Reagan was killed by Hinkley and replaced with an imposter. The CIA was behind the AIDS and Crack epidemics of the 1980s. Vince Foster was “suicided” by the Clintons.

There’s an anecdote where a great scientist delivers a lecture on cosmology in which he remarks the earth orbits around the sun. At the end of the lecture an old woman stands up and shouts, “That’s poppycock. Everyone knows the earth sits on the back of a giant turtle.” The scientist then asks the woman, if that were true what is that turtle resting on? “It’s turtles all the way down,” she answers.

I’m reminded of this anecdote whenever I visit sites like Zero Hedge where it seems the vast majority of posters are advocates of one conspiracy or another, and often many. Whether its the downing of Malaysian Flight MH17, the rise of ISIS, the civil war in Ukraine, rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza or the Ebola outbreak, some insidious group is behind it – and it’s never the obvious the person or group claiming ownership. Instead that person or group is claimed to be a shill or patsy.

Take for example the Ukrainian civil war. Although Russia is the obvious aggressor because it has the most to lose by having an independent and prosperous Ukraine on its border, the Russian government is not to blame. Instead a belligerent undercover NATO forces are massacring Russian speakers in the East and goading Russia into the war. NATO also bombed Flight MH17 and fabricated the telemetry and satellite data showing the plane was downed by a missile fired from Russian controlled territory. The whole purpose of this exercise is for the West to ignite a war with Russia, one that will cause the price of fuel to skyrocket for the benefit of American energy companies.

Then there’s al-Qaeda and its off-shoot ISIS. It’s a common belief that these groups are under the control of the CIA and the Mossad. All the terrorist attacks committed by these groups, all the beheadings and massacres are manufactured by bureaucrats in Langley and Tel Aviv, operating “false flag” divisions devoted to creating mayhem that then provides justification for their governments to meddle in the Middle East on behalf of the TPTB, the Powers that Be.

Mind you there is not a scintilla of proof behind any of this, and when proof countering this narrative is raised the conspiracy theorists simply move the goal-posts onto another area where the proof is not as definitive. Or they claim the proof offered was itself manufactured, making it impossible to disprove their position. Conspiracy theorists believe such maneuvers make their positions stronger, but the impossibility of disproving a theory actually weakens it from a rational point of view. For example a single piece of evidence could disprove Evolution; simply find the fossil of a modern animal such as a human or horse in sediments dating from the Jurassic Period, and the theory would be gravely weakened. Yet there is no such evidence that can possibly refute the theory that the World Trade Centers were destroyed through explosives set in the structures by the CIA or Mossad as many Truthers believe. The fact that we have video and thousands of eyewitness accounts of the airliners slamming into the buildings does not weaken their convictions. The dearth of such acceptable contrarian evidence forces these ideas out of the realm of factuality and into faith.

And who are the TPTB? It depends on whom you ask. For many it’s the extremely wealthy oligarchs that run the world’s economies, men of unimaginable wealth whose faces are not known, but who control the fates of Man in the same way the gods controlled the fates of the Greeks and Romans. But then one could ask, well, who controls The Powers That Be? Inevitably we run into the Jews. The Jews are the world’s favorite Wizard of Oz, the man behind the curtain that controls everything Evil. If something bad happens there is inevitably a Jew behind it.

But why stop there? Who’s behind the Jews? And then the lady at the back of the room stands up and says “It’s Jews all the way down…”

Over the past 5000 years of their existence other tribes and their religions have come and gone but the Jews remain. They have survived countless persecutions, pogroms, and the greatest mass-murder in History and still they remain true to their faith and identity. Over that time Jews have risen to the heights of power in every civilization they have lived in, wielding power in service to Ottoman sultans, defining Communism in Russia, and serving the cause of freedom and democracy in the American senate. Their success in the Arts is unparalleled. Countless writers, actors, directors and musicians hail from the ethnic group. Their importance to finance, established during the middle ages due to the prohibition of usury by the Catholic Church, gave them the control of wealth that lays at the heart of most anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. This survival and even thriving at times is historically unusual, and when you put success together with survival over 5 millennia, you have a recipe for those of weaker minds to fall for conspiracies involving favoritism or treachery.

And I must emphasize that anti-Semitism is the purvey of weaker minds. It takes much effort to understand History and its complexities, and that is simply too much for many to employ. It is much easier to fall back on conspiratorial beliefs that are simplistic but with a strong history of their own. And that I think is the problem with facts: they take more effort to put together to create the Truth than to weave falsehoods into a great Lie. It is much easier to dream up a conspiracy theory that explains the loss of Malaysian Flight MH17 than it is to objectively examine the evidence. It is also a much more compelling story. But just because it’s compelling doesn’t mean it’s correct, and that apocryphal lady’s belief in turtles will not pluck the Earth from orbit around the Sun and set it upon an infinite column of reptiles just as the Jews are as guilty or innocent as any other ethnic group for the sins of this world.

Weasel of the Week: Rotherham City Council

The Watcher’s Council has awarded it’s first weasel of the week award to the Rotherham City Council.

For 16 years these politicians and constables protected a ring of Muslim Pakistani men who raped, beat and sexually abused 1,400 young British girls in the Yorkshire area. The number of victims who suffered is only surpassed by the sexual abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church for two decades. But while the Pope has plausible deniability for these claims , the head of the Rotherham City Council head Martin Kimber and South Y0rkshire’s Chief Constable David Compton don’t. They knew what was happening and protected the pedophiles, even sending a researcher to diversity training in 2001 and telling her to never ever speak about her discoveries again. Had they acted hundreds of young girls would not have suffered, but instead they clung to their politically correct faith that believes all cultures are superior to ours, even those that encourage child abuse.

1,400 young lives irreparably damaged, no thanks to Compton and Kimber. Your families must be so proud.

Given the scope of the scandal, I think Rotherham needs to change it’s motto. Here are my suggestions:

PC Authorities Silence Sex Abuse Victims in the UK

Political Correctness is the monster created by the Left and that monster is stampeding across Great Britain leaving suffering in its wake. 1,400 young white girls systematically abused over 16 years in Rotherham, and the authorities not only knew about it, they sent one of their own to a re-education camp diversity training for raising the alarm about it. The scale of this scandal is only surpassed by the sex scandals of the Catholic Church. In both cases ideology served to blind the authorities to their own morality if not common sense. Just imagine the outcry if the races of the pedophiles and their victims were reversed – white men gang raping 12 year old Asian kids – the outcry would be tremendous.

The politically correct doctrine is as racist as the Klan’s and as sexist as Wahhabi Islam that keeps women covered head to toe in black bags in Saudi Arabian heat. At the heart of political correctness there is the racism of “the white man’s burden” whereby whites know better than other ethnic groups, and critically that only whites are morally and intellectually capable of Evil; other ethnic groups are blameless since they are incapable of understanding right and wrong due to their oppression by whites. There is also unrelenting sexism that a Victorian era gentleman would understand. Women are weaker and incapable of making their own decisions and must be controlled – only by the State instead of their husbands, and women are victims of a patriarchal society and incapable of independence. When these two come in conflict, however, racism trumps sexism; the way the female victims were treated by these so-called “enlightened” authorities in Rotherham appear as progressive as the members of the Westboro Baptist Church.

There is a special place in hell for pedophiles, but there is also an even crueler place for those who know about such abuse and remain silent. The sooner these authorities experience that place the better.

Guess I Am Racist Too

Allison Pearson writing for the Daily Telegraph lays out the end result of political correctness run amok in her piece, Are We All Racists Now. She starts with a conversation between her children, her mother and herself when  her kids call her mother “racist” for using the term “negro spiritual.”

“Grandma is not racist…“Heinrich Himmler is a racist. Grandma, not so much.”

“Who’s Henry Himmer?”

“Heinrich HIMMLER was a foul, Jew-exterminating, Nazi fiend whom your grandmother’s parents and their whole generation fought a world war to defeat in order that she could sit here 70 years later and be called racist by her sanctimonious and ungrateful grandchildren. Anyone for crumble?”

She then takes on the rising tide of the European Right which makes me wonder whether Great Britain’s experience be the future of America’s.

As shell-shocked politicians from the main parties struggle to discern the causes of Ukip’s deafening electoral success, here’s a tip: look in the mirror, chaps! It is politicians, not the British people, who are to blame for a resurgence in racism; politicians who have ignored public opinion and created the conditions in which resentments fester and grow. Specifically, though not exclusively, it is New Labour who welcomed workers from the new, accession countries of the EU at a time when countries such as France and Germany wisely exercised their right to keep them out for another seven years. According to Jack Straw, this was a “spectacular” error. And Jack should know, because he was Home Secretary at the time. The plan of Tony Blair’s government, as laid bare by Andrew Neather, then a Blair speechwriter, was to banish that old, hideously white, retrograde England and usher in a new, vibrant, multicultural country which, rather conveniently, would vote Labour. Mr Blair now works in international conflict resolution, having stored up enough conflict in his homeland to keep future generations busy for centuries.

America appears to be on the cusp of granting millions citizenship. The government is scrambling to care for tens of thousands of children crossing illegally into the US apparently in the hope of being granted citizenship. Pearson suggests that the elites in Europe have lost touch with the common people, and that the common people are beginning to revolt. And the Democrats and their Republican allies aren’t ready for it.

The Democrats see the demographics of the immigrants and become positively giddy. These immigrants aren’t coming from libertarian meccas like Switzerland. They are coming from collectivist societies where they were taken care of by the government so they’re expected to vote Democrat, although if that worked so well, why are they leaving? Big labor sees more dues paying members in the few remaining private sector unions.  The GOP supporters are in the pockets of big business. They see the world in purely supply and demand terms. By boosting the supply of workers the cost of labor will go down, which is just peachy for businesses that employ lots of low-skilled labor in the food processing, service and manufacturing industries.

Because of the demographics in my area, I tend to associate with some very decent people from humble circumstances. These people will be directly impacted by the immigrants. They will compete directly with them for jobs and will have to suffer lower wages as a result of the increased supply of labor. At the same time their taxes will go up to pay for the increased services consumed by the newcomers. Now imagine a situation where America was flooded by lawyers, businessmen and wealthy immigrants. The price of attorneys and salaries of company leaders would tumble, while at the same time the costs of beach homes in the Outer Banks and prime properties in the Hamptons and Cape Cod would skyrocket. One wonders whether the elites would brand themselves as “racist” for questioning the flood of immigrants as those on the Right here and in Europe have been.

Such a wave of high-skilled, wealthy immigrants isn’t possible. The door has always been open for those, and there simply is fewer of those than there are low-skilled and unskilled poor people in the world. But it would be nice if the elites experienced life as an ordinary citizen or even TRIED to imagine life. I suppose it’s much easier to turn them into non-entities, vaporizing them in a flash from their thoughts with the term “racist.”

Putin’s Man in the White House

So this is what a weak America looks like. President Obama issues threats to the Russians over their takeover of the Crimea, and they respond with laughter. Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov tweets a picture of Obama wearing a Russian lieutenant’s uniform.

A Russian news anchor states, “Russia is the only country in the world realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash.” Pundits on the Left and Right, in Europe and the US see no way for the administration and its western allies to respond. Now Ukraine watches nervously with 60,000 Russian troops on its borders, awaiting Vladimir Putin’s next move. There is no downside to whatever it is. Putin can send the troops to take the Ukraine by force and nothing will stop him. The EU will fume, and the President will make another phone call, but nothing will stop him.

Putin has a once in a century shot at rebuilding the Russian empire at no cost. He’d be stupid to stop now. Not only Ukraine is at play, the entire former Warsaw Pact is now up for grabs. The Baltic states of Latvia and Estonia can’t resist Russian pressure, and neither can Poland. Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. The promise of 1989, of freedom and democracy for half a continent that had known nothing but war followed by repression, is threatened by a Russia that laughs at Western sanctions and posts photoshopped pictures of the American president. Oh, and one shouldn’t forget that it is also home to 4,500 nuclear warheads, so that comment about turning America into radioactive ash is not hyperbole.

For decades the Left has detested American exceptionalism. Starting after World War 2 and supported by the KGB, the Left has demanded America unilaterally disarm. Every movement the United States made to protect Europe was resisted by leftist parliamentarians, student protests and protestors chaining themselves to the gates of American military bases.  European bureaucrats condoned this anti-Americanism while at the same time relied upon the American soldiers stationed at these bases as well as the political leadership in Washington DC that was willing to use them.

Now one of those Leftists sits in the White House. He has unilaterally withdrawn American forces from Iraq and now does the same with Afghanistan. Around the world American forces are being cut back to pre-World War 2 levels, replacing American soldiers with rhetoric. He has led an administration that rewards American adversaries like Russia, Iran and China, and punishes its friends like the UK and Israel. In short he has acted like conservatives expected him to act: gutting the military, weakening America and its alliances, and encouraging its foes. Putin’s actions in the Ukraine merely reflect this new reality.

Some leftists, particularly the more ideologically pure, will see these events in a positive light. A humbled America is the final bulwark standing between transnational socialism so its demise at the hands of one of their own will usher in the the triumph of socialist intellectual thought over capitalist avarice. The fact that China and Russia, two of the largest remaining socialist powers on the planet, are preparing to reap the benefits of the end of Pax Americana is as it should be.

The problem with this train of thought, perhaps perceived clearly by the Leftists in Europe, is that neither Russia nor China are true socialist states. Russia is controlled by the basest form of crony capitalism, with the oligarchs siding with Vladimir Putin reaping the state’s largess at the expense of the masses, before shuttling it off to offshore banks in Switzerland. China too is not very socialist. The people do not own the means of production unless you specify the term “people” to mean the children of party leaders. In fact China today has one of the purest forms of capitalism around, more akin to Britain during the industrial revolution and America a century ago as opposed to some communist utopia. In fifty years it’s more likely to look like 20th century America than some sort of Marxist paradise.

Since World War 2 some European states like Sweden and Denmark  have crafted socialist paradises, and others like Germany, France and the UK have pursued socialist policies that now find themselves threatened by Russia. Russia controls 30% of the natural gas flowing to the continent, and has shown the willingness to use this resource as a weapon in the past. There is nothing to stop it from doing so in the future, which would destabilize these socialist-leaning European states through higher energy prices. With the Ukraine crisis proving NATO to be a paper-tiger, the continent lays ripe for the picking for Putin and his kleptocrats. The only realistic constraint on Russia is logistical: Putin doesn’t have enough men-at-arms or the ability to project force with lengthy supply lines.

In less than 3 years time America will replace the leftist in chief with another leader. Can Europe hold off Putin until then? The likely butt in the Oval Office chair will either belong to Hillary Clinton, a woman whose political experience helped create this problem with Russia in the first place, or Rand Paul, a neo-isolationist libertarian. Either case would mean the American Calvary wouldn’t be charging anytime soon to save Europe for a third time in a century.

Europe is on its own and will be for the foreseeable future. It will have to deal with Mr. Putin on his terms. For decades European lefties have dreamed of a weak America and it has succeeded. President Obama has taken a 300 lb man who was respected and feared and turned him into a 90lb weakling respected by no one, the laughing stock of the international community. It will be interested to watch how the Continent handles this blessing. At the very least, the Germans and Swedes better hope they don’t have any Russian-speaking minorities.

Update: Did Russian Intelligence Promote Obama from Lieutenant to Colonel? Personally I think his behavior warrants a promotion for the devotion he has shown to the Motherland.

 

 

Class Is In Session For Obama

Russian leaders have many qualities but unpredictability isn’t one of them. Events unfolding in the Ukraine have followed a pattern blazed by Soviet tanks crushing rebellions in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia 12 years later. The only question at this point is where will they stop?

Any world leader that reacts with surprise over recent events in the Crimea, the appearance of soldiers wearing uniforms without insignia outside of airports, then the appearance of similarly clad men at other key facilities in the peninsula, followed by a formal request for Russian troops by the puppet authorities put into place by the men in the insignia-less uniforms, should be immediately impeached. Since his rise to power Vladimir Putin has acted the way one would expect the former head of the KGB in Soviet times to act. Putin sees the world in zero sum, Cold War era terms, and has acted accordingly.

While the US and Europe viewed the Cold War as long over, Putin evidently failed to get the memo. George W. Bush believed his personal relationship with “Pootie-Poot” would help him in his global war against terrorism. Putin provided little support, instead bolstering socialist regimes in Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela, capping off 2008 with an invasion of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. By then relations with Russia had deteriorated to the point where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised a reset of relations with the Kremlin, blaming the problems with Russia on the Bush administration. Putin acted accordingly, helping Iran develop its nuclear capabilities. Missing an opportunity to bolster the Libyan regime of Mohamar Khadaffi, Putin didn’t pass up the chance when the Arab Spring swept into Syria. While the West dithered over the support of rebels against Bashir Assad’s regime, Russia didn’t hold back. It provided money and diplomatic cover for the regime in the United Nations, the favorite playground for the post-Cold War thinkers proliferating in the West, and did the same for Assad’s primary backer Iran.

For those of us educated during the Cold War, none of this is surprising or new. Of course Obama and his crew were all educated during the Cold War as well, but evidently they were educated into believing the US was the reason the Soviets did the things they did. Such an attitude also manifests itself in what is called “beaten spouse syndrome” where an abused person believes he or she can control the abuser if only he or she did the right thing. This attitude is narcissistic, fantasy-based and wrong.

The control the US had against the Soviets was blunt. Brute force, mountains of men and material and lots of cash. Truman used it in Berlin in 1948, and for the next 40 years this power was wielded by his successors with varying degrees of effectiveness. That was pretty much it. Every word we said was backed up by the use of force. It was a simple language originating from the dawn of Time and the Soviets understood it.

Now Putin and his Soviet-era thinking has confronted Obama and his liberal idealist philosophy. And the winner? Well… The Russians still control most of Georgia. Iran is still refining uranium. Syria still has its chemical weapons. And the Ukraine is experiencing the same type of fear and hysteria Czechoslovakia felt in 1968.

A famous Democrat once said, “No man can tame a tiger by stroking it.” Before him one of his relatives once cautioned, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” These lessons have been lost on Obama and his minions  who have lived in their comfy cocoons for too long. They are about to be schooled by Putin and the Russians, and this time Obama’s transcripts will be there for everyone to see.

There is nothing short of full-out war that Obama and the European leaders can do about Putin’s annexation of the Crimea. Putin knows the West has no stomach for war, so it will acquiesce to his aggression. Then the question is, where should Putin stop?

From a realpolitik standpoint, I see no reason why Putin should not fan his forces northward out of the Crimea to liberate Ukraine. At this point the only hindrances would be logistical. Do his forces have enough supplies to make it to Kiev? My guess is that local resistance would be miniscule in the countryside, and that most small and medium sized towns would side with the Russians. Only in Kiev would the Ukrainian regime be able to mount any type of notable resistance, and that could be handled through deals with many of the Ukrainian oligarchs supporting the regime. With Russia in control of the countryside, funding in-fighting and supplying anti-regime forces inside Kiev while laying a de facto siege to the city, resistance wouldn’t take long to overcome. Putin then could sweep away the current regime,  promise elections in the fall to give a veneer of Democracy to the re-installation of a pro-Russian regime. This playbook was written in Eastern Europe after World War 2.

Will he stop with Ukraine? Success breeds success which is another way of saying people get greedy. I have no idea, but I’m reminded of something said long ago after another “surprise” annexation in Europe. When Chamberlain returned from Munich, Winston Churchill said, “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war.” Obama and the Europeans have shown their dishonor, and as a result the likelihood of war next week is much greater than it was last week.

Failure – The Obama Administration’s Foreign Policy Legacy

I’m fascinated by disaster and failure. I’m not talking natural disaster; although fascinating in themselves (who around back then does not recall when Mount St. Helens blew up in 1980?) natural disasters don’t provide teachable moments the way a man-made failure or disaster does. Soon the Discovery Channel and The Science Channel will simulcast a scripted movie about the Challenger disaster. The movie is based on Dr. Richard Feynman’s memoir “What Do You Care What Other People Think” and will invariably show how Science and the human analytical mind went from a cloud of smoke and debris at 50,000 feet to the reason for the disaster: an O-ring seal in a solid rocket booster. Such failure analysis is why travel on large aluminum jets is the safest method of transportation in human history, going from perhaps the deadliest form of transport to the safest in less than a century. Such success came about through hard detective work the scene of each disaster, followed by a long period of investigation and analysis where the failure was pinpointed and most importantly, having the lessons learned applied to the rest of the industry.

The bible for those interested in the study of failure is German professor Dietrich Dorner’s 1996 book, The Logic of Failure. The book is based on a set of cognitive experiments done with software simulating a small town’s society in the US, and a fictional area in the Sahel. The studies found that while participants came from varied walks of life and backgrounds, “People court failure in predictable ways.” It then ties the experiments to real life failures such as the nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl. As a systems analyst involved with complex multi-million dollar software development programs, I consider the book “must reading” for everyone in IT. Feel free to pass along a copy to those behind the Obamacare rollout.

Five years ago the people of Iraq had, thanks to the blood of thousands of American and allied soldiers, achieved a level of freedom unparalleled in their history. The national sport of kite flying was legal again and girls headed to school in Afghanistan. al Qaeda and its affiliates were on the run and confined to lawless patches in northern Pakistan, northern Nigeria and Somalia. Iran was boxed in between biting sanctions that undermined the regime internally, successful American military operations on either side of it, and an Israel ready, willing and backed by American leadership to attack Iran to stop it from acquiring nuclear weapons. China was busy flooding the world with cheap crap, content to use North Korea as its proxy to stir up trouble in favor of the regime in Beijing. Our relationship with Russia had begun drifting away from engagement towards confrontation over its aggression towards Georgia, but Russia was clearly a state in decline both internally and internationally. Even Syria was seen as a player, with Democrats having genuflected at Bashir Assad’s feet, Nancy Pelosi having claimed “the road to peace begins in Damascus” in 2007, four years before Vogue’s schmaltzy interview with the Assad family, “A Rose In the Desert.”

Today Iraq is a client state of Iran, its skies filled with Iranian cargo planes resupplying the Assad regime in Syria and Hezballah in Lebanon, its social fabric once again ripped by car bombs as the Sunni/Shi’a war rages on the ground. The Obama administration, convinced of its failure before it took office walked away from American success in Iraq by its refusal to negotiate a status of forces agreement with Baghdad. Historians will one day ask “Who lost Iraq?” and the answer will be Barack Obama. Immediately after setting up their base in Afghanistan in 2001, the Marines buried a piece of steel taken from the World Trade Center rubble on the site. Soon the Taliban and their al Qaeda allies will reclaim this as a war trophy as the kites and girls disappear from the streets, and the music that has filled the air in Kabul since 2001 will be replaced once again with silence punctuated by gunfire and explosions. Again historians will ask “Who condemned these people to savagery? Who lost Afghanistan?” Again the answer will be President Obama, a man who once called Afghanistan “the good war.”

After taking power President Obama fluttered around the world on what critics like me called his “Apology tour,” apologizing for American misdeeds both real and imagined, in the belief that the new-found humility would please our friends and sway our enemies. The Obama Administration has accomplished exactly the opposite. Today Iran is expanding its “Shi’a Crescent” throughout the Middle East, and the only ones standing in the way is Israel in an unlikely (and unspoken) alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. This after a popular rebellion took the streets in 2009 that could have changed the course of History, but it received no hint of support or backing from the Obama administration and it was ruthlessly crushed. It will be decades before the people rise up against the theocracy, if they ever do.

Today from Morocco across northern Africa to the Sinai, and from Nigeria across the continent to Somalia Africa burns with Muslim extremists allied with al Qaeda. Obama’s support of the rebellion to replace Mohammar Khaddafi in Libya has opened a Pandora’s Box of weaponry built over decades by Libya’s Great Loon, handing AK-47s, RPGs, and anti-aircraft missiles to everyone with an axe to grind and a Koran burning a hole in their hearts. Where there had been one failed state 5 years ago, Somalia, there are now at least 3 (Somalia, Mali, Libya) with numerous others (Algeria, Chad, Mauritania, Nigeria, Niger, Western Sahara) circling the drain. After Khaddafi’s fall al Qaeda training camps sprouted like mushrooms across North Africa and the Sub-Sahara, breathing the lawlessness that the Libyan Debacle created, and repaying the Obama administration for its “lead from behind” strategy by killing an American ambassador and his three bodyguards in the first such incident in 30 years.

Although the administration’s failure vis-a-vis China is not as bad as the disaster it has created in the Middle East, the Obama Doctrine of placating our foes while dissing our friends has been noticed in Asian capitals. South Korea is developing closer ties with China at the same time Japan rearms and prepares to ditch its anti-war constitution ghost written by Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Nations like Pakistan who haven’t really decided whether they are American allies or its enemies see no downside to throwing their lots in with the Chinese or Iranians. Pakistan even provides China the tail-section of a top-secret stealth helicopter used in the operation to kill Osama Bin Laden, America’s enemy number 1 watching porn in air conditioned comfort on Pakistani soil. There is no blow-back, no consequences suffered for entertaining the man responsible for the deaths of 3,000 Americans, and none for handing over the tail rotor section to America’s greatest military adversary. And to top it off, the true hero of the event, a local doctor who had the guts to help the Americans confirm Bin Laden’s identity, sits in jail as a traitor to his people. If anything playing up to America’s adversaries almost wins respect from the Obama administration itself. China understands this best, waging a cyber war against the US government and private industry without retribution.

Then there’s Europe. When the Obama Administration hasn’t sacrificed its allies to appease its enemies in Teheran and Moscow, it bugged their phones, proving yet again this administration’s inability to differentiate friend from foe. “Everyone does it,” is not an acceptable excuse for a superpower. There is absolutely no reason the US should be bugging Angela Merkel’s phone just as there is no reason it should be spying on 10 Downing Street. Perhaps the mushy-headedness that comes with moral relativism has blinded the administration to the differences of say, between Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin, or David Cameron and Ayatollah Khamenei.  The “Special Relationship” with the UK is special for a reason, one that is much older than the inhabitants of the West Wing and much more sublime than the political wonks can comprehend. Ditto the German Chancellor. Frau Merkel was born in East Germany and has first hand experience with illegal and unjustified surveillance. Unlike some of her predecessors, she has not risen to power on an anti-American platform, and has done an exemplary job of aligning the interests of Germany with the broader interests of Europe and the United States. Spying on her was a stupid idea that should never have been approved, and once approved, it should have been cancelled, and if not cancelled it should never have been revealed. Yet a contract DBA waltzed off with the keys to the entire American Intelligence in the worst espionage failure since Klaus Fuchs handed the Soviets the Bomb. Again, no consequences. No one fired let alone jailed.

Many on the right have concluded that this is all by plan, that the Obama administration and his Democratic party supporters have been intent on taking the ship of state and intentionally running it aground because they are socialists or communists. In the Irving Kristol Lecture to the American Enterprise Institute on February 10, 2004 Charles Krauthammer suggests it is more complex and subtle than that:

“What I do know is that today it is a mistake to see liberal foreign policy as deriving from anti-Americanism or lack of patriotism or a late efflorescence of 1960s radicalism.

On the contrary. The liberal aversion to national interest stems from an idealism, a larger vision of country, a vision of some ambition and nobility – the ideal of a true international community. And that is: To transform the international system from the Hobbesian universe into a Lockean universe. To turn the state of nature into a norm-driven community. To turn the law of the jungle into the rule of law – of treaties and contracts and UN resolutions. In short, to remake the international system in the image of domestic civil society…

And to create such a true international community, you have to temper, transcend and, in the end, abolish the very idea of state power and national interest. Hence the antipathy to American hegemony and American power. If you are going to break the international arena to the mold of domestic society, you have to domesticate its single most powerful actor. You have to abolish American dominance, not only as an affront to fairness but also as the greatest obstacle on the whole planet to democratized international system where all live under self-governing international institutions and self-enforcing international norms.” – Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passion, Pastimes and Politics

Seen in this light, Obama’s foreign policy has not been a failure at all. It has accomplished exactly what it was intended to do. It has weakened America’s foreign policy hand across the board. America’s military is weakened through political purges of its officer corps, lack of direction and budget cuts. Its diplomatic corps is undermined by the lack of protection of its staff, as proven in Benghazi, by the White House’s high-handedness shown towards America’s closest friends the UK and Israel, and the spying program targeting American allies as well as its enemies that State Department personnel are forced to explain in their host countries. Its adversaries Syria, Iran and North Korea are all in better positions than they were five years ago. Ditto China and Russia. As the US weakens its enemies strengthen, and its allies are then forced to either band together (EU standing up to Russia and encouraging Ukraine to join, ASEAN nations co-coordinating efforts to balance China) or leave its sphere of influence entirely (Saudi Arabia, Egypt and perhaps Israel in the Middle East, South Korea in East Asia).

Obama has domesticated America on the international stage, to use Krauthammer’s term: so now what? Where is the Golden Age promised by Locke and the internationalists? If they are correct, a humbled America should encourage its enemies to stop their own military buildups (they don’t need offensive military capability with America’s gone). North Korea and Iran no longer need nukes now that American nukes are rusting away awaiting destruction as Obama unilaterally disarms. Without American backing Israel should engage its enemies diplomatically in a desperate bid to secure peace with the Palestinians. The world should be much better today than it was five years ago.

Is it? I suppose that depends on your perspective. Five years ago Americans could have traveled safely throughout Africa except for one nation Somalia. Today I’d hesitate to walk through the narrow streets of Zanzibar as I once did freely nearly two decades ago, and have struck Valley of the Kings in Egypt off my bucket list until further notice. Northern Kenya, Mali, Eritrea, Mauritania, Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Western Sahara, and Libya are now no-go areas for Westerners. I suppose that’s great if you can’t help but shout Allahu Akhbar every time you touch an AK-47, but for the rest of us things have gotten worse not better under the new regime.

Dietrich Doerner writes, “For them (people who failed most often at complex analytical tests) to propose a hypothesis was to understand reality; testing that hypothesis was unnecessary. Instead of generating hypotheses, they generated ‘truths’.” The Obama administration came to power proposing a hypothesis, that the world would be a better place with the United States weakened. It treated this hypothesis as a truth, steadfastly refusing to let go of it, sacrificing ambassadors, diplomatic relationships built over generations, and American influence in the process. When Doerner’s study participants failed, they invariably blamed others for their failures just as the Administration has focused the blame on the GOP.

When the Obama administration took power I and many others had hoped it would govern from the center, that things wouldn’t be as dire as we had feared. We hoped that it would try its crazy ideas, learn they didn’t work, then try something else. But they didn’t learn. They stuck to their “truths.” Five years on our foreign policy is a shambles, America weaker and friendless as it has been at no other time in its history. The disaster is worse than we expected, and we still have 3 full years left in this president’s term.

Will America be able to survive this epic failure? Thirty-two years ago Ronald Reagan took power and turned around foreign policy debacles of the previous Carter administration pretty quickly. Will a Republican president be able to do the same after eight years of disaster? And what if the GOP selects the wrong candidate and Hillary Clinton wins in 2016? How much failure can this country accept and still survive?

New Scientist Off Its Environmental Nut: Advocates for More Dams

I live on a small river that grows for hundreds of miles before turning into one of the largest rivers in the American southeast.  It is home to numerous freshwater fish species, reptiles, birds – all types of flora and fauna. In the Summer people drift down it in kayaks and inner tubes and people fish it around the year. At times I can hear the rumble of the river through my open windows, at other times it is silenced. I have seen it flooded and I have seen it so low it seemingly struggles to wind its way past the boulders in its bed. It is nowhere near as grand as the Mississippi or Delaware rivers, but it is a noble river in its own way especially since it is thought to be one of the oldest rivers in North America.  My love of rivers can be traced back to my hometown of St. Louis that sits at the confluence of two of them, so it’s perhaps no accident that I find myself living within a stone’s skip near one.

If you love rivers you are going to hate dams. You don’t have to be a tree-hugging hippy to see the damage dams cause. They drown habitats upstream from them and lay waste to those downstream making dams about as environmentally sound as strip mining. Since people tend to live near water they displace entire communities. China’s thirst for cheap power has led to its building monstrosities such as the Three Gorges Dam, perhaps the most obscene use of concrete since the Colosseum. It’s plans to develop dams throughout southeast Asia have alarmed its neighbors, and in Africa an Ethiopian project to dam the Nile is causing tense relations between it and countries downstream including the Sudan and Egypt, increasing the possibility of the world’s first war fought over water resources.

But in its zeal to promote renewable energy, New Scientist magazine has become a cheerleader for dams. On it’s July 6, 2013 cover it hails the “Age of Renewables: Green Electricity Poised to Overtake Gas.” “The Age of renewable energy is upon us. Within three years, the amount of electricity generated worldwide from wind, solar and hydro energy will exceed what is made using natural gas…” Of the renewables, hydroelectric is the heavy lifter according to a sidebar article “Top Of The Green Energy Charts” at 16% of global electricity generation in 2011, compared to only 4.2% for onshore wind, biofuels, geothermal and solar panels combined. So for this to be the age of renewables, dams will have to do the heavy lifting: “Room for development: in Africa only 8 per cent of the potential hydropower sources have been used.” Supposedly that includes the sources Ethiopia and Sudan are threatening war over.

For the first century of its existence the Army Corps of Engineers dammed nearly every free-flowing river in the country, and it was the environmentalists who fought the Corps in the courts, engineering a reversal whereby the Corps is now dismantling dams and helping to restore the habitats of land spoiled by them. Now environmentalists are changing their minds and advocating for their construction? Are they nuts?

Irrational global warming alarmism coupled with fear of nuclear power and fracking gas production have twisted the minds of environmentalists to where they are now advocating solutions they would have protested against as recently as a decade ago. “”There are now well-developed procedures for managing the sustainability of dams,” says (International Energy Agency spokesman Adam) Brown. A planned dam on the Congo river, for instance, will not flood any land: the river flows at such high volumes that a reservoir isn’t needed.” Dam sustainability makes as much sense as “clean coal”; both are oxymorons with no evidence backing them in contrast to the proven safety of nuclear power and fracking. Environmentalists attack natural gas production even though it has lowered American carbon emissions to levels not thought possible without gutting the American economy. Over 100,000 wells having been subjected to fracking, and the science regarding its safety is settled; but that hasn’t stopped environmentalists from spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt about the safety of fracking. Movies like Gasland and its sequel are about as scientifically honest and accurate as a poorly edited Creationist pamphlet left on a gasoline pump, yet Greens believe the lies and thereby undermine their own cause by supporting dams. My how times have changed.

At a time when European governments are cutting back their subsidies on renewable energy, a fact mentioned nowhere in the article nor considered a primary contributory to the supposed “age of renewables”, this article seems ill timed. But leaving that aside the advocating of building dams is as striking to me as saying “Go ahead and throw your garbage out of your car window while you’re driving.” Of course this is the same movement (and magazine) that supports wind turbines, ugly monstrosities that blight the landscapes and chew up birds. So perhaps it’s not just the love of dams that prove environmentalists are off their nut. After all rivers can run free and birds soar without being cut to pieces around a nuclear or gas fired power plant.

 

 

The EU: Stealing From The Poor And Giving To The Rich

The exact importance of the theft of euros from Cypriot banks this past weekend is difficult to determine at this stage but cannot be understated. The European Union government is stealing the private property from citizens and handing it to the wealthy backers of the banks. It is a bank robbery in reverse as this cartoon below shows:

EU Bank Robbery in Cyprus

The EU spin machine is trying to hide this truth, calling the 6.7%/9.9% theft a “wealth tax.” Mark J. Grant writing at ZeroHedge puts the lie to this bit of obfuscation:

Let’s get some things straight and look what has happened directly in the face. There was no tax on the bank accounts in Cyprus. There still is no tax; the Cyprus Parliament has not passed it and will not vote on it until tomorrow so whatever action takes place it is retroactive. Next, this was not enacted by Cyprus. The people from Nicosia did not go to the Summit and ask to have the bank accounts in their country minimized to help pay the bills. Far from it; the nations of Europe, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the rest, demanded that this take place, a “fait accompli,” the President of Cyprus said and Europe annexes Cyprus. Let’s be quite clear; the European Union has confiscated the private property of the citizens in Cyprus without debate, legislation or Parliamentary agreement.

If someone breaks into your home while your away and steals 10% of your possessions, we call it burglary and Society prosecutes and jails the thief if caught. If you run a small shop and the local mafia sends some thugs to extract a 10% “business tax” to do business on their turf, it’s called “extortion” and authorities prosecute it as a crime. In the United States the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution states citizens “shall not be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation,” but even this has not prevented the abuse of eminent domain laws, most recently in New London Connecticut in a case that reached the US Supreme Court (Kelo v. City of New London). Europeans love to take Americans to task for our outdated or overly-restrictive constitution, yet that piece of parchment does at least stand between an abusive government backed by force and the powerless citizen.

The EU spinmeisters will also tar Cyprus with the same brush they use on the Greeks, Italians and Spanish – the southern EU states that spend too much and work too little, while the industrious and spend-thrift northern EU states (e.g. Germany) bail them out. But let’s not forget what a bank bailout does and does not do. A bank bailout does not punish debtor nations for laziness, it rewards the investors and owners of banks for their failures to practice due diligence and lend accordingly. Bank bailouts shift the losses the wealthiest would suffer onto the balance sheets of governments and the taxpayers who fund them. Since the vast majority of tax payers are of modest means, bank bailouts benefit the rich at the expense of the poor. Germany isn’t bailing out Greece because it’s generous; it’s bailing them out because wealthy Germans who own the banks would lose their shirts if the banks were allowed to go bankrupt.

For months, really years now, the world has watched the EU try to hold itself together, not because it worried about Greeks or Spaniards starving in the streets, but rather to protect the rich who fund the banks and also exercise undue influence on the government. Cypriots would not lose 10% of their money if the banks failed because the banks are covered by deposit insurance, but the wealthy Germans who backed the banks would lose their investments. Similarly if Greece refused to pay its debt and left the euro, Greeks would be freed from the burden of austerity measures dictated by Germany and be able to prosper with a devalued currency, but the German investors who back the banks who lent money to Greece would suffer.

In 1992 the European Union heralded a new beginning for the continent promising economic cooperation and prosperity for its peoples. Two decades on the EU has become a grotesque caricature that resorts to petty theft to survive in order to protect its wealthy elite. Pathetic.

UPDATE: Walter Russell Meade disagrees, writing, ” Any sentient depositor in a Cypriot bank had to know that things weren’t right. The dubious nature of the Cypriot banking system has been a notorious fact for almost a generation; during all this time Cypriots seemed perfectly happy that their country was running an offshore money laundry for some of the nastiest people around.”

I respect Meade a lot, and you will will find more links to his articles on this site than any other, but I believe the good professor is wrong in his conclusions. First, as recently as July 2011 Cypriot banks passed European Banking Authority (EBA) stress tests. It’s not as if everyone knew Cypriot banks were wobbly and it was only a matter of time before they collapsed. Second, these banks were operating under EBA rules and authority so if they were indeed “running an offshore money laundry for some of the nastiest people around,” they were doing so under EU regulation. Finally, if these accounts were held by “nasty people” why didn’t the EU charge them with crimes or go to court to confiscate their money? There are all types of nasty people sitting in jails around the USA waiting for their day in court, and that day will come and they will be afforded due process and allowed to defend themselves. Would Meade support pronouncing all of them guilty and order them to serve prison sentences simply because they were nasty?

I don’t care a wit about how the money was acquired in those bank accounts. What I care about is the unprecedented decision to steal private property without due process. There are ways that dirty money can be tracked and expunged from the banking system. Within the USA there are numerous processes in place that prevent funds being funneled to rogue regimes like Iran or nasty characters like Mexican drug lords, but everyone, drug lord and drug abuser are afforded due process before their money is confiscated.

By stealing money from bank accounts, the EU is courting a disaster whose scale threatens world prosperity. A bank run in Europe would destabilize the entire economic system, from Cyprus to South Africa and New York to Nanjing. The international economic system is robust but it is not indestructible, and History has shown time and time again that the Achilles Heel of the system is the banks, and their weakness is the freedom of depositor to take their cash. Break the trust with the depositor, and the results are always catastrophic.

Update 2: The Cypriot parliament has told the EU to take a long run off a short pier. No one knows what happens next. Interesting times.

The Death of the Euro: Cyprus Suffers Confiscation

Imagine waking up one morning and finding out that while you were asleep someone accessed your bank account and stole 10% of your money.

That’s the rude awakening the citizens of the island nation Cyprus had this weekend, after the European Union presented the Cypriot government with an offer it could not refuse – confiscate 9.9% of bank deposits over 100,000 Euro, 6.7% of anything below that – or watch their banks go bankrupt. The Cypriot government, in power for less than a month, chose the former route, and the people of Cyprus ran to ATMs and drained the machines of as much cash as they could before the machines ran out; all attempts at electronically transferring funds were cancelled by the government.

But fear not, “European officials said it would not set a precedent.”

Funny thing about precedents: they tend to set themselves regardless of what an unelected bureaucrat in Brussels says. Banking is a fragile affair that relies on trust. People hand their money over to the bank and trust they can get it back. Once that trust is broken in Cyprus, who’s to guarantee the trust in Ireland, in Italy, Greece or Spain will remain? The same group of EU bureaucrats who broke it in Cyprus?

It’s difficult not to think a rubicon has been crossed, that punishing depositors to allow lenders to avoid the consequences of their poor investment decisions will remain localized in Cyprus. Is it the fault of depositors the banking sector is 8x bigger in Cyprus than elsewhere? Without trust, people will pull their wealth out of banks and stash it under their mattresses. They will convert it into foreign currencies not threatened by confiscation, or transform it into gold and silver.

In order to counter these moves governments tend towards oppression, banning forex transactions, limiting transfers of money abroad and confiscating and banning the ownership of precious metals, tactics used by the United States government under the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s. Such tactics may annoy the wealthiest citizens of a country, but they don’t suffer much. With armies of attorneys and tax accountants at their disposal the wealthy are able to shield their assets from the thievery of governments. Lacking those resources the middle and lower classes are the ones who suffer the most.

For years the fragility of the European Union has been on display, with agreement upon agreement announced on a seemingly monthly basis. The Cassandras who have been predicting the collapse of the Euro have been shouting for so long that their din has disappeared into the background. But eventually anything that is under enough strain will break, and do so suddenly and in unpredictable ways. It’s worth remembering that on the eve of World War I, war was expected yet it began not with a massive attack on a large country like Austria or France, but with the assassination of a minor Austrian nobleman in the far-flung province leading to the declaration of war against tiny Serbia. The single bullet that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand set off World War I which in turn laid the groundwork for the following World War. Could this be the single bullet that sets the death of the European Union in motion? Have the Europeans finally broken their own economic system by stealing from the Cypriots? The confiscation is predicted to net 6 billion euro against a 13 billion euro bailout package. The relatively insignificant sum raised by the confiscation may come to haunt the Europeans for days, weeks, perhaps even decades to come just as the ghost of Archduke Ferdinand haunted Europe through the trenches, the blitzkrieg, and the Holocaust that followed decades later.

It will be interesting to see how depositors respond in Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Greece and Italy over the coming days. These economies are so fragile to begin with that it is unlikely the EU could survive even a small bank run or investor panic. It is quite likely, though I’m not foolish enough to say exactly when, the EU will unravel very soon, with countries refusing to abide by the dictates of Brussels, drop out of the Euro, and face the world on their own. There’s even a chance the government of Cyprus will renege on the deal, and the nation be forced out of the Euro. Such an action would in the short term be worse for Cypriot depositors, who could see losses of 25% or more as their Euro assets are changed into Cypriot Pounds, but over the long term such devaluation would allow Cyprus to recover at its own pace without suffering the draconian economic program demanded by the EU.

At the very least it makes one realize how little governments respect the hard work and sacrifices of their own citizens, and that the gold bugs aren’t completely nuts after all.

Update: Via ZeroHedge, RBS analysts explain the situation (I’ll pretend to forget that RBS itself went down in flames only to be resurrected by bailout a few years back). Cyprus deposits total €126.4bn, or over 7-times GDP. Much of that money is of Russian origin, which is why the EU thinks the Cypriots will swallow the medicine. But Russians aren’t the ones draining ATMs, Cypriots are. When Spaniards, Italians and Greeks see the freak out in Cyprus, even the dullest of them will question whether their assets are safe from EU bureaucrats. And it will also be interesting to see how Russia takes the hit. Russia isn’t the most magnanimous nation, so expect it to gain something from the mess – like a Mediterranean port.

What The Hell Is Wrong With The British?

UPDATE: What the hell is wrong with me? Jack Snyder in the comments section points out that I leapt to conclusions without learning the facts behind the Munir Hussain case. As is often the case he’s right. Hussain crossed the line by attacking his attacker outside of his house after he and his family were safe. Had I done this first I would probably not have written the piece below, or at least, without as much piss and vinegar. I’m sorry for this mistake. SK———-
The Brits don’t seem to think self defense is a human right.

In 2009, the millionaire businessman Munir Hussain fought back with a metal pole and a cricket bat against a knife-wielding burglar who tied up his family at their home in Buckinghamshire. Hussain was jailed for two and a half years, despite his attacker being spared prison.

Appeal judges reduced the sentence to a year’s jail, suspended.

How very sporting of them. A knife wielding burglar ties up a man’s family and he gets prison for fighting the guy off with a cricket bat and metal pole while the assailant walks free? Are you serious? No wonder the Brits don’t understand Americans. I would have shot dead a knife-wielding burglar who tied up my family, not just battered them about the head with cricket bats and metal poles and slept well at night thanks to the Castle laws on the books here in North Carolina, which ironically enough derive from English common law that states “an Englishman’s home is his castle.”

Honestly, I love the UK and the British people, but I’m sometimes simply stunned by how… wussified the English have become. What the hell happened to fighting on the beaches, fields and streets and never surrendering? The Nazis would have conquered this lot in a fortnight.

Irony – Now Fortified With Even More Irony

So Ryuichi Sakamoto and Kraftwerk headline an anti-nuclear power concert in Japan. Both Sakamoto and Kraftwerk are considered pioneers in the electronic music frontier, and as an avid electronic music fan myself I appreciate the music of both.


Kraftwerk Lobbies for Fossil Fuels

The interesting fact about electronic music is that by definition it requires electrons, and lots of them. One cannot play electronic music without them the way a folk musician can pick up an acoustic guitar and play folk music. Although I believe it would be intriguing to have a full acoustic orchestra play techno music, electronic music simply cannot be done without electricity, and that requires generation from fossil fuels, wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, and nuclear sources. Japan is only 16% energy self-sufficient, and nuclear power provides 13% of its energy needs down from about a 24% prior to the disaster. But it hasn’t replaced nuclear power with renewables such as wind or solar. Even if it wanted to do so Japan lacks the space for solar and wind farms, so it has substituted coal, natural gas and oil.

Copyright 2012 Washington Post

Having an electronic music concert at night when solar power is not available to power the instruments, computers, sound boards, amplifiers, speakers, lighting effects, communications gear, air conditioning, and transportation to and from the venue to protest a form of power that such events require allows a connoisseur of irony to indulge in one of modern life’s increasingly common pleasures.

In my view the backlash against nuclear power since the Fukushima disaster is misguided. All Fukushima reactors survived one of the largest earthquakes in modern history and operated as designed. The failure was one of imagination: siting all backup power where a tsunami could destroy it. Backup systems should have been redundant and sited in several locations immune to all possible waves. The disaster presents an opportunity to learn from mistakes and make nuclear power even safer than it is today just as flight went from being one of the most dangerous ways to travel to the safest in less than a century. More people die in coal mining and solar panel manufacturing and installation every year than have died during the entire history of nuclear power generation. I’ve always believed that people fear nuclear power because of the images of the atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, plus the awe-inspiring power of images of above ground atomic bomb blasts and the fact that we cannot see, taste, smell or touch radiation. The irrational fear of nuclear power makes otherwise intelligent people act stupid, and the anti-nuke movement is filled with scientists, engineers and others who should know better.

Concerts like No Nukes 2012 are more of an emotional reaction than a rational one. For environmentalists concerned about global warming, nuclear power presents unlimited carbon-free power. To avoid using nuclear power, fossil fuels must be substituted, meaning increased carbon emissions. These are not a problem for those of us who are not global warming alarmists, but it must be a terrible dilemma for those who are. Conservation can only do so much in a modern world increasingly reliant on technology, and besides, isn’t an electronic music concert held at night for thousands by European musicians flying from the other side of a planet to perform a luxury that a warming world can’t afford? It would have been much more effective to have had the concert completely online, with Kraftwerk performing from Europe during the day, using solar panels to power their instruments while Sakamoto used hydroelectric to power his portion of the broadcast – unless of course Kraftwerk, Sakamoto and the organizers of No Nukes 2012 really aren’t concerned with their carbon footprints, but they still aren’t off the hook: they should perform benefit concerts for those who die in the fossil fuel extraction business, plus the untold numbers killed by radiation, mercury, dioxins and other poisons released when fossil fuels are burned and solar panels are manufactured.

Geert Wilders: A 21st Century Canary in a Coal Mine

Mark Steyn had a good piece about Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician that is living under threat of death by various peace loving Muslims. Steyn pointed out something that I’ve often noticed with anyone who dares to question Leftist orthodoxy, the usage of adjectives such as “far” and “extreme” to describe them by reporters. Steyn noted, “the determination to place him beyond the pale is unceasing: “The far-right anti-immigration party of Geert Wilders” (The Financial Times) . . . “Far-right leader Geert Wilders” (The Guardian) . . . “Extreme right anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders” (Agence France-Presse) is “at the fringes of mainstream politics” (Time) . . . Mr. Wilders is so far out on the far-right extreme fringe that his party is the third biggest in parliament. Indeed, the present Dutch government governs only through the support of Wilders’ Party for Freedom. So he’s “extreme” and “far-right” and out on the “fringe,” but the seven parties that got far fewer votes than him are “mainstream”? That right there is a lot of what’s wrong with European political discourse and its media coverage: Maybe he only seems so “extreme” and “far-right” because they’re the ones out on the fringe.”

I’m a fan of Geert Wilders, as I was of another noted Dutch politician, Pym Fortuyn. Like Wilders Fortuyn was tarred with the extremist label, probably the first and only openly gay man ever slandered by the Left as a far right anything. Fortuyn didn’t see himself that way, likening himself to center-left politicians of the day, and was an ardent admirer of American President John F. Kennedy. Like Kennedy Fortuyn paid the ultimate price for his views, gunned down in broad daylight by Volkert van der Graaf, a self-described environmental and animal rights activist who acted in defense of Muslims and “weak members of society.” Wilders has yet to pay this price, but has to move discreetly between safe houses to avoid it.

As Steyn notes, Europe’s multiculturalism that has allowed Islam to thrive without any push back has resulted in a society where gays are hunted without fear of persecution, women and children are raped, and Jewish children are legitimate targets living on borrowed time. Muslims are free to exercise their intolerant views on everyone as they see fit, and those who dare fight back are labeled as Islamophobes and far-right extremists by the very people under greatest threat. When the editor of DC’s gay newspaper the Washington Blade and his boyfriend get beaten up in Amsterdam by 7 Moroccans, and Muslim apologists explain away the attacks as kids unsure of their own sexuality, you know something has gone terribly wrong in Holland.

Islamophobia is an irrational dislike of Islam. There is nothing irrational about refusing to tolerate a religion that views women as less than property, all other religions and political institutions as invalid and heretic, and homosexuality as an abomination punishable by death. There is also nothing irrational about despising a religion whose adherents have called for your death. Yet this is exactly what has happened with Fortuyn and now Wilders.

Throughout world history Europe has been a place where ideas, ideologies and civilizations mix and occasionally clash. Like all complex problems, there is more going on in Europe than just the spread of Islam.

Europe had a long history of Jewish pogroms and persecution long before Adolf Hitler came to power and instituted the Final Solution. Deportations and massacres of Jews were common on the continent well before then, so in a sense Europe’s default state is anti-Semitism. The aftermath of World War 2 changed that briefly as local Europeans were paraded through the concentration camps to see what their hatred wrought, and the guilt caused by the Holocaust swung the elites behind the Jews and the nascent Jewish state of Israel. For decades after it’s founding Israel’s primary supporter was not the United States, it was France, and the ties went beyond the love of socialism that Jews share with Europeans, there was guilt as well. It wasn’t until de Gaulle himself switched sides and backed Israel’s Arab enemies starting in 1967, setting a policy that has continued since. The return to its innate anti-Semitism was complete when French ambassador Daniel Bernard stooped to scapegoating the Jews for all evil in the world, saying in 2001 “All the current troubles in the world are because of that shitty little country Israel.” The problem with guilt is that it’s not static. It gets old and begins to change and when it does it easily changes into hatred. One can only feel guilty for so long before the pain of guilt turns to jealousy towards those in whom the guilt is directed at. It’s a short step from that emotion to hatred, and it’s a step that Europeans all over the continent have taken.

James Oberg, a NASA scientist and engineer once quipped, “You must keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.” The origins of multi-culturalism lies in cultural relativism, the belief that all cultures are equal. In order to achieve that equality multi-culturalists downplay the success and achievements of the dominant culture, criticizing its success as originating from the exploitation and domination of weaker cultures while exaggerating the latter’s achievements. Multi-culturalism became possible after the one culture took a dominant position in the world, and after World War 2 that culture was Western civilization based on Greco-Roman democratic ideals with Judeo-Christian morality supported by Anglo-American capitalism. Multi-culturalism attacked all three of these aspects of western culture in the post-war world. Having become entrenched in academia and to a lesser but substantial degree in non-elected governmental bureaucracies, multi-culturalists pushed for an end to the assimilation of immigrants into a country, viewing it as state enforced cultural genocide. As the western economies in Europe grew, they drew in millions of immigrants from around the Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Middle East. Because these immigrants were not forced let alone encouraged to assimilate, they found themselves at the fringes of their host societies, unable to speak the host nation’s language or participate in its civil life. Multi-culturalists quickly blamed the racism for this failure, unable to understand that contrary to their philosophy there are significant differences between western and Islamic culture, and that saying the two are alike shows an ignorance of both in the same way that Emerson took issue with the fallacy that all men were the same: “The wise man shows his wisdom in separation, in gradation, and his scale of creatures and of merits is as wide as nature. The foolish have no range in their scale, but suppose every man is as every other man.” Multi-culturalists now find themselves trapped by their ideology, defending the gender inequality and intolerance of Islam while unleashing its fury on any one who challenges it. They continually side with and condone the actions of wife beaters and gay bashers and murderers, the very people they are supposed to represent and in many cases are. In short their brains have fallen out.

These two changes in Europe, the return to its default anti-Semitism and the development of multi-culturalism that prevented assimilation of Muslim immigrants, would not have together ended the liberal freedoms that come with Western culture. The dollars spent by Western nations on cheap oil from the Middle East was recycled by the Saudis and other adherents of Wahhabi Islam around the Persian Gulf and used to fund mosques throughout Europe and North America. These mosques spread Wahhabi Islam, one of the strictest and least tolerant forms of Islam, across the West and throughout the Islamic world, replacing moderate and liberal forms that had arisen in the centuries after Mohammad’s conquering of the Arabian peninsula and nearby Levant. This “replacement” was often violent in places (e.g. in Pakistan, Thailand, Egypt) where internecine strife broke out between Wahhabi Sunni’s and followers of other Sunni sects or Shi’a, but happened quietly in the West, as other forms of Islam simply couldn’t compete with Saudi money to gain converts.

It is this toxic combination that Geert Wilders and his supporters recognize as a threat to their freedom, and by choosing to make a stand against it Wilders and those like him have found themselves condemned by the Left and hunted by Islamists. Their voices are few, but sound an alarm that warns the return to Europe of another of its default states: war.

Watermelon Environmentalists – Green on the Outside Red on the Inside

James Delingpole lays out the case against anthropogenic global warming hysteria and other environmentalist dogma’s in his book, “Watermelons: How Environmentalists Are Killing The Planet, Destroying The Economy And Stealing Your Children’s Future.” He writes about his experience in this article in The Daily Mail.

“As someone who loves long walks in unspoilt countryside and who wants a brighter future for his children, I’m sickened by the way environmental activists tar anyone who disagrees with them as a selfish, polluting, anti-science ‘denier’.

The real deniers are those ideological greens who refuse to look at hard evidence (not just pie-in-the-sky computer models which are no more accurate than the suspect data fed into them) and won’t accept that their well-intentioned schemes to make our world a better place are in fact making it uglier, poorer and less free.”

Rachel Carson and her ilk have blood on their hands. Millions of Africans and south Asians died because of their fear-mongering in the West. It’s a dirty secret that isn’t discussed by the mainstream environmental movement. In fact it’s a shame but it seems those who care about the environment aren’t associated with environmental groups anymore because even the Sierra Club and other so-called moderate organizations have been hijacked by zealots.