Archive for the ‘Euroweenies’ Category.

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.

Europe Paying the Price For the Amnesia of Its Past

Even though I live in a low crime area of the rural American South, I still lock the doors of my home. I also never leave my keys inside my car. That’s because while the likelihood of someone burglarizing my home or stealing my car may be small, they are not zero and such things as locking doors and not leaving ones keys in a vehicle are prudent. Similarly this year there have been numerous tornadoes around the state that have killed scores of people, but having grown up in the Midwest I was sure to buy a home with deep basement. I have also stocked it with a few days of emergency supplies “just in case.” Like many here I also do more to protect my home and family from unlikely events because where we live there is no one else to rely on if these events occur. As a fan of the book The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, I recognize that it is impossible to prepare in detail for every possible contingency, so instead I have followed general principles for home protection and disaster preparedness that work across the board.

I’ve been thinking about this topic as I watched the horror in Norway unfold and as the European contingent of NATO has struggled this Summer with trying to remove a despot from power in Libya. To continue the metaphor, Europe has lost the ability to act prudently to defend itself. It has forgotten to lock its doors and to take its keys with it.

Both Taleb and Dietrich Dorner, author of The Logic of Failure, recognize that humans are terrible at assessing risk. Dorner believes that humans often continue risky behavior because the likelihood of bearing the consequences of the behavior is small.  Take speeding, for example. The first time a driver drives over the speed limit, the chance of being caught and ticketed by the police  is almost nothing; that it encourages him to continue to break the law. He enjoys the benefits of speeding (shaving a few minutes off his commute) while not fully appreciating the risk because it is so small. So he continues to speed and forgets that he is engaging in a risky – and illegal – behavior. The more he speeds, the more likely the odds are that he will attract the attention of the cops. That day eventually comes and he ends up holding a speeding ticket in his hands while contemplating a bump in his insurance premium. Even though he has been engaging in a risky behavior, he will doubtlessly think that he has been picked on by the police. Because the risk was so small for speeding, the driver had come to believe that it was in fact a risk-free behavior when in fact it wasn’t.

World War 2 was of such an epic scale that it devastated Europe both physically and psychologically. The war had so weakened the continent that it had no choice but to rely upon the United States for its defense. But an odd thing happened over the years. The defense was so complete that threats became invisible. Professional militaries cost money to equip and maintain, and the likelihood of needing them is small. So European governments cut them to the point where today, NATO is struggling to provide logistical support to a group of rebels in a small country in North Africa. Without the United States providing most of the equipment and personnel the effort to overthrow Mohammar Khadafi would collapse. European governments outsourced their defense to an outside power, and for sixty-five years have enjoyed the benefits of protection provided by the United States, while ignoring the risk of their behavior.

It’s easy to forget that for most of its history the United States has been an isolationist power; it has only been the last seventy-odd years that it has acted as an international one. The country was founded and later populated by people who fled from other places, particularly Europe, and weren’t particularly keen on getting involved with the politics of the places they left. Add in the buffers provided by two large oceans and Isolationism becomes the default state for America; internationalism is the outlier.

The risk of the United States turning isolationist and withdrawing from Europe seemed remote to Europeans, but it was not zero. Europe reaped the benefits of not having to provide for its own defense, so it was easy to devalue the risk further. Plus an odd thing happened through the years. The continent of Europe, so steeped in blood that it makes the entire known history of the Middle East and other regions of the world seem bloodless by comparison,  forgot it’s history. Instead of appreciating the American presence in Europe for providing for its defense, the Americans became viewed by some quarters as a cause of War, not a force for preventing it. It was the equivalent of viewing the police as the cause of crime. This attitude was transferred to the national militaries that worked closely with Americans in NATO and even the local police forces (who are often more closely allied with the national military than in the US) as well. Their budgets were slashed even further and those who served became denigrated by the very societies they had sworn to protect. Any inner city cop in America could relate.

Europe finds itself today paying the price for the amnesia of its past.  America is slowly returning to its isolationist nature, leaving the Europeans to fend for themselves. But wars in the former state of Yugoslavia and now in Libya show that Europe is in no condition to protect itself, let alone the people at risk of genocide in the region. The fact that Norwegian authorities had to beg for guns from their supervisors and took 90 minutes to respond to a single gunman on a rampage proves that Europe’s police forces are in no condition to act to protect its citizenry. Some may console themselves that the attack executed by a single madman is a rare event, but so is having one’s house burglarized or one’s car stolen. Sensible people still lock their doors and don’t leave their keys in the car.

It is time for Europe to come to terms with its past and become “normal.” This means losing the pacifism that infantilized it during the Cold War and recognizing that threats to it exist from within and without – that is, if it survives the coming collapse of the Eurozone. Europe needs to prepare for rare events by creating a better trained and equipped police force matched by a similarly trained and equipped military. Europe also needs to accept that it has not “evolved beyond war” as some have come to believe. Only then will it be able to prevent mass murders from happening in Norway or in countries like Libya.

Haiti: Obama’s Katrina

It’s been a week after a 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti and within minutes of the disaster the world was presented with televised images of the event. Over the past several days we have watched Haiti descend into savagery as people go without food and water, law and order break down, and the injured join the ranks of the dead who go unburied in the streets. We have also seen a massive relief effort mobilize, but witness relief supplies and rescue efforts become snarled in red tape.

Complaints about American actions are pouring in. France blames the USA for the congestion at the Port au Prince airport. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is also claiming that the US is occupying Haiti, a claim that is backed by the French. What started out as a natural disaster is quickly becoming a man-made one as looters and gangs take to the streets in the absence law. Aid is pouring into the country but cannot get through critical chokepoints to those in need.

Although Obama’s lapdogs in the mainstream news media have yet to prick up their ears regarding the similarities between Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake, Howard Fineman writing for MSNBC notes the irony of the situation: “Elected in part out of revulsion at the Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina, Obama now finds himself confronting an even more devastating and complex humanitarian crisis.” Dan Kennedy writing for the Guardian takes issue with Fineman’s characterization as well as those of others seeing similarities between the two disasters. Kennedy writes, “In fact, though we would all (OK, not Limbaugh) like to see the US alongside other countries and relief agencies doing everything they can in Haiti, the disaster is so large, the people are so poor and the social structure is so dysfunctional that it is bound to end in something that looks like failure.”

Evidently Kennedy isn’t familiar with Louisiana and Mississippi – two of America’s poorest states with state and local governments that are dysfunctional at best, corrupt at worst. While the divisions between local, state and federal government snarled the Katrina relief effort in 2005, the divisions between the UN authority, the US military, US Department of State, French and other governments pouring men and material into the devastated nation are just as bedeviling today. Kennedy argues that it takes time to work through these divisions, but President Bush was not afforded the luxury of that excuse 4 years ago. Why should Obama be exempt today?

It is true that a disaster of this scale cannot be practiced and prepared for beforehand. Nations cannot meet and design a coordinated plan for every possible disaster scenario that may or may not happen. But as President Bush was judged by the actions of the federal government in the Hurricane Katrina disaster, so too should President Obama be held responsible for the failures in Haiti. The precedent has been set Obama himself.

Copenhagen a Disaster: Obama to Blame

Try as he might our president cannot seem to please the Left. He bows to foreign leaders, kowtows to China, rubs shoulders with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, and allows Iran to develop nuclear weapons so that it can finish off what the German ultra-right started 77 years ago: cleansing the world of Jews. Obama traveled to Copenhagen two months ago to beg for the Olympics to come to Chicago and left empty-handed. Now he’s preparing to leave Denmark without a climate deal, and the Left is blaming him. The Guardian newspaper, an outfit that makes Pravda and Izvestya look as conservative as Fox News, writes:


Tim Jones, a spokesman for the World Development Movement, said: “The president said he came to act, but showed little evidence of doing so. He showed no awareness of the inequality and injustice of climate change. If America has really made its choice, it is a choice that condemns hundreds of millions of people to climate change disaster.”

Friends of the Earth said in a statement, “Obama has deeply disappointed not only those listening to his speech at the UN talks, he has disappointed the whole world.”

Well, good. These are the same idiots that gave Chavez a standing ovation and allowed a genocidal African dictator Robert “Comrade Bob” Mugabe to speak and blame the West for failing to improve the lot of his people so that he could rape and pillage them some more. Seeing so-called “environmentalists” in league with some of the worlds most despicable dictators shows what a sham the fantasy of AGW really is. So Friends of the Earth: What will be the effects of the fallout from Iranian nuclear explosions in Israel, Jordan and Lebanon? Mr. Jones of the WDM, how much dosh do you get from Robert Mugabe and the people of Zimbabwe? Given that the former was once the wealthiest country in African and the latter now struggles to survive, I doubt that you have to worry much about converting Zimbabwean currency to the American dollars that constitute the majority of funding of your sucky little organization.

The issue that even the most liberal American politician cannot stomach is China’s refusal to allow inspections of their CO2 emissions. China wants to say that it cut emissions by X% and have the world believe it without actually checking. Meanwhile the US, Europe and Japan will be monitored (and hectored by the likes of Mr. Jones) for every cow fart and football hooligan belch emitted in these countries.

But Leftists have always given China a pass, probably due to the cool posters of Mao that they used to hang in their dorm rooms while getting stoned on Moroccan hash paid for by their wealthy parents. They tend to ignore things like Mao’s Great Leap Forward which forced China back into the middle ages technologically and killed anywhere between 30,000,000 and 100,000,000 depending on whose estimates you go by. They have forgotten the Cultural Revolution which forced intellectuals and academics like themselves out of the cities to slave on farm communes in the countryside where they were starved to death for not being peasants. Chinese communism is quite cool until you study it. Then it’s pretty uncool no matter how stoned you are.

So Obama will leave Denmark a failure once more. This makes me question why he went in the first place. Does he really believe that he alone can fix something as fucked as a UN Climate Conference? If not him, then is Rahm Emmanuel to blame? Whomever it is should be sent away to silk-screen Obama t-shirts.

But the conference wasn’t a total disaster. It did inspire the following from Gerald Warner writing for the Daily Telegraph:


What a bunch of buffoons. Not since Neville Chamberlain tugged a Claridge’s luncheon bill from his pocket and flourished it on the steps of the aircraft that brought him back from Munich has a worthless scrap of paper been so audaciously hyped. There was one good moment at Copenhagen, though: some seriously professional truncheon work by Danish Plod on the smellies. Otherwise, this event is strictly for Hans Christian Andersen.

Some seriously professional truncheon work by the Danish Plod on the smellies. Now that’s the kind of change I can believe in!

UPDATE: Obama has announced that a “meaningful deal” has been reached at the Summit, but it’s nonbinding and a step towards an agreement instead of an actual agreement. It saves some face for the thousands who traveled from around the world, filling the atmosphere with the very gases they believe will change the planet’s climate. Since it was a UN conference, your tax dollars helped pay for around a quarter of it. Hope you feel that you got your money’s worth.

Chutzpah of Climate Change Bureaucrats

Too bad the word “chutzpah” would be banned by the United Nations for being “Zionist” because UN official Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,sure has it. To believers of anthropogenic global warming, air travel is one of the largest contributors to global warming, producing not only CO2 but nitrous oxide which is believed to be twice as damaging. It has even led to protests by greens at Heathrow Airport, calling air travel non-essential and demanding that it be regulated.

Dr Rajendra Pachauri flew at least 443,243 miles on IPCC business in this 19 month period. This business included honorary degree ceremonies, a book launch and a Brookings Institute dinner, the latter involving a flight of 3500 miles.

...

So strong is his love for cricket that his colleagues recall the time the Nobel winner took a break during a seminar in New York and flew in to Delhi over the weekend to attend a practice session for a match before flying back. Again, he flew in for a day, just to play that match.

Yep, that’s chutzpah.