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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dealing with Iran, Part 1: The Persian Pickle

America's relationship with Iran hasn't been a good one for the past half-century. The Cold War situation and Mossadeq's insistence of aligning himself with the Soviets led to his overthrow. The return of the Shah wasn't a popular request and Shah's rule wasn't exactly perfect (torture, secret police, oppression; that kind of thing). Then came the Shah's overthrow by a coalition of leftists, Islamists, democratic reformers and other dissidents of the monarchy. That wouldn't have been a bad thing except the alliance of revolutionaries rallied behind Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Mousavi Khomeini, one of the top leaders of Islamic revival at the time. He was famous for his opposition to the Shah, but after coming to power he betrayed the other factions and established an theocracy in which clerics and himself had the final say on almost everything in the nation. He rallied the country under the slogan of “DEATH TO AMERICA!” and “DEATH TO THE GREAT SATAN!” Needless to say, they weren't exactly our friends after that.

Since 1979, Iran has expanded its role in the Middle East and Near Asia. Aside from the Iran-Iraq War, Iran has created or co-opted several terror groups including Hezbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine. It has a vast network of intelligence operatives across Europe and is currently making headway in South America through Venezuela. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people have been killed by Iranian-backed or Iranian-committed terrorist attacks. This does not include the tens of thousands that have been killed by Iranian-backed militias and terrorists in Iraq since 2003.

Iranian expansionism has been mostly covert for the last 30 plus years, but with the Global War on Terror expanding past simply defeating Al-Qeada to the rooting out of WMD programs by rouge states, the Iranians were put into a bind when their nuclear program was flushed out into the open by dissidents in 2002. The IAEA demanded that they be allowed to inspect the program. After negotiations, the IAEA was allowed to inspect Iran's nuclear sites in early 2003. The IAEA determined that Iran had not lived up to its agreements concerning nuclear material and that there had been a pattern of deception. Since then, Iran has had many offers thrown its way so it could have a peaceful nuclear power infrastructure, but the Iranians have insisted that any deal must allow them to enrich uranium. Enriching uranium is essential to both nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

Despite calls to allow the international community vindicate Iranian claims of a peaceful program, it continues to both deceive the West as well as antagonize it, creating a situation where all the players are put into places they do not want to be, save for Russia. Russia has the singular position of coming out on top in almost any realistic scenario. I'll summarize these positions:
Iran - The country is destabilizing due to the recent fraudulent re-election of President Ahmadinejad. Since the election last summer, millions have protested and thousands have been killed on the streets or executed by the regime. A vast internet-based campaign to free Iran from the mullahs has taken root and the campaign is supported by millions of people across the world. Iranian dissidents who used to be cowed by the state's security forces have upped the ante by confronting them and, in some cases, killing them. While the “Green Revolution” has not panned out as hoped, it has made its mark on the Iranian political structure, creating an air of uncertainty around the ruling Iranian elite. This makes Iranian brinkmanship with the West much more precarious if it turns on them. On the bright side for Iran, if it can get nuclear weapons, it will have completed its goal and would cement its rule over the Near East and Middle East. If a conflict were to happen, it benefits from a rugged terrain, vast territory and a military that has been modernizing for a while. Also, its ability to reach American and Israeli targets with its ballistic missiles and its terrorist network gives it ample room to maneuver if foreign troops start landing on its shores.

United States – Debts, deficits and nearly ten years of continuous low-level war against Al-Qeada, the Taliban and Iraqi sectarians have made the American people tired of war. While its no guarantee that Americans won't initially support a strike or invasion of Iran because of the nuclear threat, the aftermath of any attack will involve hardships the American public would not tolerate. The cost of another war domestically, let alone geo-politically, is currently too much for the US to burden itself with. Its options for dealing with Iran are very narrow, which is never a good position to be in.

Russia – Russia has the best position out of any of the countries involved. If Iran backs down and accepts internationally enriched uranium for its nuclear power program, Russia would be the country most likely to be building those plants and supplying the Iranians with the technology to maintain them. If a conflict erupts between Iran and any of the Western powers, Russia can easily bring Europe to its knees with gas and oil embargoes, which puts pressure on the US and Israel (the most likely combatants with Iran) to end the conflict quickly without regard to the goals of the conflict being met. After any conflict, Russia would have ability to quickly help Iran rebuild.

Western Europe
– Over the decades, Western Europe has put itself into a position of energy servitude to Russia. Most of Europe's gas and oil needs comes from its big neighbor and by that, its negotiation position with Russia's ally Iran can only do so much. Already, Italy has been caught dealing with Iran in the face of sanctions and European unity. Russia has already shown it can force the Europeans to their knees with gas shortages. Any conflict with Iran, even if the Europeans don't participate, will end up harming them greatly (gas price rises, forced gas shortages) unless they do the unthinkable and side with Russia/Iran in the conflict.

Israel – Israel is in the best position if Iran backs down, but worst position out of all other nations if conflict erupts. If Iran ends its arms program, Israel's goal of security would be met and it would not have to risk striking Iran and inciting war. But if Iran doesn't back down, then it is near certain that Israel will strike any and all Iranian nuclear facilities and maybe even attempt a decapitation strike on the Iranian civilian, religious and military leadership. Israel has no less than three Iranian allies on and within its borders: Hamas, Hezbullah and Syria. There is no doubt that Israel would suffer heavy, if not enormous, losses during a war with Iran and its allies, but the Israeli military is one of the best armed and best trained in the region and while it for sure it would suffer greatly, there is a high chance it could come out on top. The aftermath for Israel of any conflict would be moderate unrest within the country due to the diversity of Israeli politics as well as the ethnic tensions created by any war Israel has with its Islamic/Islamist neighbors. Also, even if Israel successfully attacks Iran without any overt military retaliation by Syria (something that is very unlikely), it will absolutely face a ramped up terrorist assault by Hamas and Hezbullah, and maybe even the more radical factions within the Fatah movement.
As you can see, this situation is very much skewed against war if any of the nations save Russia wish to come out on top. There are many alternatives to war which should be considered, and which I will expand upon in part 2, but it should be very clear that while Iran's nuclear arms program is very dangerous to world stability, its also very dangerous to attempt to stop it by force. There is very little the West can do right now without creating a worst situation, but that does not mean they should stop trying to prevent an expansionist and radical government from acquiring one of the most horrific weapons on the planet.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Magic Lamp Syndrome

Is it me or do the people of America watch too much TV?

In the past few years we've seen two superstars from both ideological sides ride into Washington on waves of adoration and political comeuppance. They stroll into the Capitol with their heads cocked up, their eyes burning with change and their backs being patted by citizen and a party alike. And then, wouldn't you know it? They betray the masses in a single stroke or a single vote.

POOF! The magic is gone. What is an American to do?

Stop believing in political superstars. Obama has already alienated almost everyone with the health care bill except the puppets over at the Center for American Progress and DailyKos. Brown just cut off his cajones despite his voting base for a jobs bill that doesn't create jobs.. Palin has taken it upon herself to lecture us on the sensitivity of the mentally handicapped while trying to court the anti-PC crowd. Reacting to one-line e jokes in TV cartoons, no matter how legit the complaint, is just dumb.

The woman who thought Obama would pay her way to happiness is now probably one of the 10% of homeowners in foreclosure. The Tea Party got its ass handed to them by Scott Brown's reverse Romney, voting for statism AFTER being in the limelight. These Ds and Rs are not genies that'll fix the country once you vote them in. They are people who make the choice to take up political office, usually with the foreknowledge that to get there it takes no small amount of lying and breaking promises.

The less Americans laud the preening pansies of Washington, the more readily they'll notice the crap they get in return.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Michelle Called It

Scott Brown has sided with the Democratic jobs bill.

Not too along ago Michelle said:
November, 2010, poses one of the best opportunities in decades to get candidates in office who understand economics and will fight for free market principles. While I am thrilled to see people embracing these ideas and rejecting the current statist agenda and equally thrilled to see the Democrat machine take a hit in Massachusetts, I don’t want voters to lose sight of the long-term picture. Scott Brown is not the long-term solution we need to put America back on the path to prosperity.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Disgustingly Cute

That's what this DailyKos post is. Here's the meat of it:
Really, I couldn't have said it better than MinistryOfTruth's Recommended diary: "President Obama has caught more Taliban Leaders in 1 month than Bush/Cheney did in 6 years."
These are the same folk who think interrogations are torture and the war is wrong. Now it's so boss it rocks the socks off anything the Bush administration did.

Reminds me of a certain presidential candidate that blogs at DailyKos.

These people are truly TSTAP

Thursday, February 18, 2010

One Step Closer

Just freakin' fantastic:
The council of EU finance ministers said Athens must comply with austerity demands by March 16 or lose control over its own tax and spend policies altogether. It if fails to do so, the EU will itself impose cuts under the draconian Article 126.9 of the Lisbon Treaty in what would amount to economic suzerainty.

While the symbolic move to suspend Greece of its voting rights at one meeting makes no practical difference, it marks a constitutional watershed and represents a crushing loss of sovereignty.

"We certainly won't let them off the hook," said Austria's finance minister, Josef Proll, echoing views shared by colleagues in Northern Europe. Some German officials have called for Greece to be denied a vote in all EU matter until it emerges from "receivership".
This is the future of Europe. The path the EU has taken since its inception two decades ago has been one of authoritarianism and political usurpation. From Spanish courts being given the right to prosecute non-nationals (Americans) in the name on “international law” to the undemocratic passing of the Lisbon Treaty by most European governments and now to taking away Greek sovereignty, the foreshadowing couldn't be any clearer. Michelle and I took on the question of the US and EU months ago. We concluded:
If a constitution is not devised as a mechanism to preserve individual freedom and reign in the powers of government, then the creation of such a document serves no purpose. Constitutions should not be devised to band nations together to create a super-power rival to other powerful nations with the “power-elite” in control. Constitutions written with such motives lead to oppression and tyranny. If the EU wishes to follow the footsteps of America’s Founding Fathers, then the framers of the EU Constitution must recognize the importance of localized power, and adhere to the rights of the individual nations’ liberty.

I guess the EU doesn't want to follow in the footsteps of the Founders. It has plenty of its own history.

Michelle and I will keep up on this frightening issue.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Major Blow to Taliban

The seizure of the Afghan Taliban's top military leader in Pakistan represents a turning point in the U.S.-led war against the militants, U.S. officials and analysts said.

The arrest of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar represents the most significant Taliban capture since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, a senior Obama administration official said Tuesday.

Baradar has been a close associate of Osama bin Laden's and is seen as the No. 2 figure in the Afghan Taliban, behind Mullah Mohammed Omar.
Also on the case are And So It Goes In Shreveport and Report on Arrakis. As well as Legal Insurrection.

If true, this could be the biggest blow to the Taliban since the start of the war.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

House - Season 6 - Episode "5 to 9"

Newsbusters took a swipe at the most recent episode of House, MD because of perceived bias for nationalized health care and a demonization of insurance companies. I recently got around to watching the episode and while I did see some over the top “eeeeeevil” from the insurance CEO, there wasn't really that much mallet-on-the-noggin advocacy in the show.

Newsbusters left out some important information. I'll fill it in. Starting with this:
In one story line, a former patient was suing the hospital for reattaching his severed thumb. The surgeon who had done it explained that, "his insurance only covered 60 percent of his in-patient expenses," so the patient wanted only the least expensive option. The surgeon reattached it anyway. "I wasn't going to let him throw his thumb away over a few dollars." Owing the money for the procedure to the insurance company, the man protested to Cuddy that he was in danger of losing his house.
What wasn't acknowledged is that the bottom-feeder lawyer hired by the patient starts going on a tantrum about the expensive cars the doctors have. Cuddy rebuts with reality, telling them both that doctors get paid like everyone else and that man's procedure costs money, and because of his suit the hospital may (rightly) have to take his house to get it.

Polite Dissent
, a blog that reviews House, MD from a medical standpoint does make this observation though:
Though it was mentioned briefly at the beginning, both Cuddy and the lawyer are glossing over the key fact that the treatment Mr. Acevedo received was not covered by the informed consent he signed. Chase may have done what he thought was best for the patient, but he did it through lying and dishonesty. Sure, Mr. Acevedo kept his thumb, and this will probably restrain the jury’s and judge’s enthusiasm for a large payout, but there is clear written evidence that Chase was deceitful in his treatment of the patient. The hospital’s insurance company will pay this off long before it sees a courtroom. And as for Chase, skipping informed consent or lying on it is a good way to lose a medical license.
Newsbusters continues:
In another scene, Cuddy was consulting a patient with cancer was convinced that human breast milk was his only cure. When she refused to write him a prescription for it, he accused her of being "some type of shill for the insurance company." He had paid premiums all this life, he said, and never been sick a day, but was now being denied the only thing that would save him. Cuddy assured him her refusal had nothing to do with insurance, and the scene ended.
Polite Dissent agrees with Cuddy:
First, she’s right: the insurance company will not pay for it, even with a prescription — they’ll consider it an experimental treatment. Second, it’s her signature on the prescription, and she should not write any prescription she is not comfortable signing. Finally, and she should have pushed this part harder, the breast milk is at best a shot in the dark — it’s wishful thinking — and by writing the prescription she would be confirming the patient’s false hope. She handled it well: she was upfront and truthful and told the patient she would not write the prescription. He didn’t like what she said, but he’s free to find a new physician.
Moving on to the main plot. Newsbusters:
But in the main story, Cuddy was renegotiating the terms of the hospital's contract with a major regional insurer. Because her hospital was small, it couldn't get the same reimbursement rates that larger, though less prestigious institutions received. "It's about leverage," said the insurance company negotiator. "They have it. You don't."

Going above his head, Cuddy burst in on the head of the insurance company at lunch in suitably exclusive-looking restaurant. "Princeton Plainsboro has the highest rated ER in the state," she said, "the most advanced ICU, "and the most innovative diagnostic medicine department in the entire country."

When the CEO tried to dismiss her, she said, "While Atlantic Net Insurance has a marketing budget that's more than our pediatric ICU and transplant units combined. Your PGA sponsorship could pay for our walk-in clinic, and the money you spend to fuel your two private jets could fund our air ambulance service for the next three years."

Cuddy's point, she explained, was that "Your growth may be good for your bottom line but ours allows us to save lives." She then threatened to go public with Atlantic Net's ... well, the show never really explained what exactly the company had done wrong. But it's an insurance company, so it must be something.
I believe Cuddy did say what she was going to go public with: AtlanticNet's false PR. Her point of holding out for a fair increase in reimbursements in the contract was based on the fact her small hospital was the reason AtlanticNet gets high ratings in quality, modernization and other sectors. Without it, AtlanticNet's ratings would be lowered and their PR machine would have a hog trying to explain it away. It was a very vaild point.

The most “eeeeeeevil” part of the show was the response to the CEO to Cuddy's logical explanation to holding out for a fair deal:
Had he had a black mustache, the CEO would have twirled it while delivering his response: "You can portray me as a rich bastard in the press all you want ... just as long as I stay rich."
That was totally unnecessary.

I think the episode was pretty well balanced, minus the evil CEO. What Newsbusters needs to understand is that Cuddy is an idealist despite her position as dean. Throughout the series, she has been confronted with countless situations where House is the voice of reason to her idealism and naïve views. Though, Newsbusters is right to point out that there aren't any exposition lines explaining why she's being an ass.

Newsbusters is a great site to find the latest in liberal media bullcrap, but I've noticed that many of its reviews of television shows have been less than stellar, in my opinion. I hope they can find a way to improve them to the quality of their reviews of the news media.

ClimateGate Prof.: No Warming Since 1995

Big ouch to the "consensus"...
The academic at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ affair, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that he has trouble ‘keeping track’ of the information.

Colleagues say that the reason Professor Phil Jones has refused Freedom of Information requests is that he may have actually lost the relevant papers.

Professor Jones told the BBC yesterday there was truth in the observations of colleagues that he lacked organisational skills, that his office was swamped with piles of paper and that his record keeping is ‘not as good as it should be’.

The data is crucial to the famous ‘hockey stick graph’ used by climate change advocates to support the theory.

Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.
It's one thing to say humans have an effect on the environment. That's a given. It's another to attempt to keep your stature as God of climate science and attack the mere mortals who may have questions about your questionable science. Another knife in the heart of politicized science and another win for real science and its perpetual skepticism.

American Power has more.

UPDATE II: Uh oh. World may not be warming, say scientists.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pot, Kettle. Kettle, Pot.

Obama Poised to Use Executive Power to Muscle Through Domestic Agenda
Faced with a resurgent GOP and a largely stalled legislative agenda, President Obama is planning to use his executive powers to forge ahead with his domestic initiatives, including on energy, the environment and the economy, The New York Times reported.

"We are reviewing a list of presidential executive orders and directives to get the job done across a front of issues," White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told the newspaper.

But aides told the newspaper that Obama is still hopeful that progress can be made on Capitol Hill, citing the bipartisan summit on health care scheduled later this month. Yet the GOP's stunning capture last month of the Senate seat previously held by Ted Kennedy has prompted the White House to prepare to go solo to break any partisan gridlock heading into the midterm elections.

The president has a range of powers -- from executive orders to agency initiatives -- that don't require legislative action, and White House officials argue that the increased focus on executive powers is not uncommon in the second year of any presidency.
Now, wasn't it the Left, and Obama later on, that harped on President Bush and his administration for holding to the unitary executive theory?

I am not against the idea of a strong executive when its in the context of limited government, but the current version of American government gives much more to a president who has a vast domestic agenda like Obama does. The most authoritarian of presidents before the modern era did not have a tenth of the power a president has now. FEC, EPA, DOT, DOE, IRS, etc. There are dozens upon dozens of agencies in the American government that have an effect on American lives. From simple things like thermostat changes to big things like political speech.

A lot of the criticism towards President Bush and his strong executive involved enemy combatants, the terrorist wiretapping program and black sites. All that had to do with military and war matters and while some of it could be called into question (most of all, Bush's reluctance to legally declare war on Iraq), it's nothing like President Obama has planned. The EPA ruling on carbon dioxide is only a glimpse of what could come.

Is it the tyrannical fist of Comrade Obama some fear? No. But it is disquieting that instead of listening to the people, something that should never be dismissed when it comes to domestic issues, the President will push his agenda forward. An agenda that many Americans are questioning in totality.

The Jawa Report Names Utah Sanest State



Friday, February 12, 2010

Awesome! We Have Frickin' Lasers!

Take that, alien scum!
A U.S. high-powered airborne laser weapon shot down a ballistic missile in the first successful test of a futuristic directed energy weapon, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said on Friday.

The agency said in a statement the test took place at 8:44 p.m. PST (11:44 p.m. EST) on Thursday /0444 GMT on Friday) at Point Mugu's Naval Air Warfare Center-Weapons Division Sea Range off Ventura in central California.

"The Missile Defense Agency demonstrated the potential use of directed energy to defend against ballistic missiles when the Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB) successfully destroyed a boosting ballistic missile" the agency said.

Polling Around With Right-Wingers

A poll by RightWingNews yours truly participated in. It's a re-hash of the poll done by DailyKos on right-wingers, except it actually asked right-wing people.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Capt. Phil Dies

Deadliest Catch skipper Phil Harris has died.
In announcing their father's death last night, sons (and deckhands) Josh and Jake issued the following statement: "Dad has always been a fighter and continued to be until the end. For us and the crew, he was someone who never backed down. We will remember and celebrate that strength. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers."
The hits keep on coming today, don't they?

Charlie Wilson Dies

Former Texas Democratic representative Charlie Wilson has died.
Charlie Wilson, the former U.S. congressman from Texas whose funding of Afghanistan's resistance to the Soviet Union was chronicled in the movie "Charlie Wilson's War," has died. He was 76.

Wilson died Wednesday at Memorial Medical Center-Lufkin after he started having difficulty breathing while attending a meeting in the eastern Texas town where he lived, said hospital spokeswoman Yana Ogletree. Wilson was pronounced dead on arrival, and the preliminary cause of death was cardiopulmonary arrest, she said.

Wilson represented the 2nd district in east Texas in the U.S. House from 1973 to 1996 and was known as "Good Time Charlie" when he was in Washington.

Actor Tom Hanks portrayed Wilson in the 2007 movie about Wilson's efforts to arm Afghani mujahedeen during their war against the Soviet Union. Wilson, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, helped secure money for weapons.
Our hearts go out to his family.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Double Standard

This article talks about controversial billboards by an Atlanta pro-life group, but it was this passage that caught my eye:
The idea that abortion clinics are specifically "targeting" pregnant black women is not new. A 2001 paper from the New York University History Department titled "Birth Control or Race Control? Sanger and the Negro Project," describes efforts by the Birth Control Federation of America (which later became Planned Parenthood) to provide contraceptives to the black community as "constructed in terms and with perceptions that today smack of racism."

Loretta Ross, the executive director of Atlanta's SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective offers another theory. "The reason we have so many Planned Parenthoods in the black community is because leaders in the black community in the '20s and '30s went to Margaret Sanger and asked for them," Ross told the Times. "Controlling our fertility was part of our uplift out of poverty strategy, and it still works."
Am I reading this right? Is Loretta Ross of the flowerly named leftist group actually advocating population control for blacks for economic reasons? Is that supposed to make us feel better about the procedure? How would a woman feel if she was torn about an abortion and she goes see Mrs/Ms/Mizz Ross and she says, "You should get one. It'll keep the poverty percentage down!"

How is that argument any less horrifying than when it was proposed by the Progressives and their fascist cousins? Double standard much?

Way to win hearts and minds on the issue, there.

I Wouldn't Want To Be Single Today

The Weekly Standard has an amazing article on the modern dating scene, if you can actually call it dating. The author takes the feminists and the sexual revolution to task for the axing of old school courtship and marriage, saying that the removal of these things has lead to a world where both men and women are more worried about getting laid as many times as possible before "life" (aka, maurity, masculinity, good social norms) catches up to them. This, in turn, has robbed beta males and females of good stock, as well as psychologically damaged the views they have of traditional society and marriage. The most damaging thing of all, in my eyes, is that preening, metrosexual, American Psycho-style looks obsessiveness is considered alpha male content.

Really, how the hell did this guy become more manly than this guy?

She concludes with this:
The whole point of the sexual and feminist revolutions was to obliterate the sexual double standard that supposedly stood in the way of ultimate female freedom. The twin revolutions obliterated much more, but the double standard has reemerged in a harsher, crueler form: wreaking havoc on beta men and on beta women, too, who, as the declining marriage rate indicates, have trouble finding and securing long-term mates in a supply-saturated short-term sexual marketplace. Gorgeous alpha women fare fine—for a few years until the younger competition comes of age. But no woman, alpha or beta, seems able to escape the atavistic preference of men both alpha and beta for ladylike and virginal wives (the Darwinist explanation is that those traits are predictors of marital fidelity, assuring men that the offspring that their spouses bear are theirs, too). And every aspect of New Paleolithic mating culture discourages the sexual restraint once imposed on both sexes that constituted a firm foundation for both family life and civilization.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Ambush of Senator McCain

WSJ has an excerpt from Henry Paulson's book on the 2008 collapse. It appears McCain made a bet that he could score points by looking bipartisan, but Obama and the Democrats ambushed him so beautifully...
The president asked me to speak, and I once again described the dire conditions in the market and the need for emergency powers. When I finished, the president said he had a simple test for making a decision on this: "If Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke say it's going to work and help stabilize the financial system, we are for it."

By protocol, the president turned to call on the speaker of the House. And when Nancy Pelosi spoke, it was clear the Democrats had done their homework and had planned a skillful response for McCain.

Ms. Pelosi said that Obama would represent the Democrats. Then Obama sketched the broad outlines of the problem and stressed the need for immediate action. He said the Democrats had been working closely with me; he ran through the rough terms of the morning's discussion on the Hill, then mentioned the need for adjustments on oversight and executive compensation, as well as help for homeowners. He spoke without notes—much less a teleprompter—and spoke eloquently. "The Democrats will deliver the votes," he asserted.

Then he sprang the trap that the Democrats had set: "Yesterday, Senator McCain and I issued a joint statement, saying in one voice that this is no time to be playing politics. And on the way here, we were on the brink of a deal. Now, there are those who think we should start from scratch. ... If we are indeed starting over, the consequences could well be severe."

But, of course, there was no deal yet. [Rep. Spencer] Bachus [R., Ala.] had been maneuvered into giving credibility to the appearance of one. But he, [House Minority Leader John] Boehner and [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell had since issued statements disclaiming the idea that there ever had been a deal. Now Obama and the Democrats were skillfully setting up the story line that McCain's intervention had polarized the situation and that Republicans were walking away from an agreement. It was brilliant political theater that was about to degenerate into farce. Skipping protocol, the president turned to McCain to offer him a chance to respond: "I think it's fair that I give you the chance to speak next."

But McCain demurred. "I'll wait my turn," he said. It was an incredible moment, in every sense. This was supposed to be McCain's meeting—he'd called it, not the president, who had simply accommodated the Republican candidate's wishes. Now it looked as if McCain had no plan at all—his idea had been to suspend his campaign and summon us all to this meeting. It was not a strategy, it was a political gambit, and the Democrats had matched it with one of their own.
Obama may be a dunce when it comes to leadership and pretty much every other issue, but it can't be denied he's one of the most masterful politicians we've seen in decades.

Oh, Please, No...

Call to action by Naomi Klein, Terry Tempest Williams, Bill McKibben, Dr. James Hansen and Peaceful Uprising

Dear God, stay the HELL out of my state. The kid already did enough damage to a legitimate and needed expansion of the natural resource industry in Utah. Now we have NASA's top activist... I mean, "scientist"... James Hansen and the rest of the nutter AGW troop invading Salt Lake like rabid dogs.

You idiots know the esoteric AGW cabal is falling apart, right?

Background on the case.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Who Dat!

Saints win by 14. Congrats!

But I wouldn't want to be any kind of law enforcement in New Orleans or Jefferson Parish...

Big Hollywood Approves of 24 - Season 8

They say it much better than I did.
As in previous seasons, the villains feel no compunction whatsoever in killing people, taking hostages, and committing a diversity of explosive mayhem in pursuit of their goals. The forces of good and order, by contrast, are constrained by their adherence to certain moral standards, although the protection of innocents justifies the performance of otherwise prohibited actions, and Jack’s actions and conversations about his choices (and Renee’s) typically reflect this tension.

Just when the danger to innocents is sufficient to override these ethical concerns without becoming an “end justifies the means” excuse is an eternal moral question, and it’s what has always been at the center of 24. It’s what makes the show serious and important while adding to its entertainment value.

Tebow Ad

Just saw that evil, evil Tebow Ad.

Wow. I can't say anything else, but wow.

You must be seriously f***ed in the head to think that is controversial.

The E*Trade baby has more reason to be pulled off the air than that ad.

UPDATE: American Power has some fun with it too.

UPDATE II: Powerline takes AP to task for making crap up about the ad.

UPDATE III: Even more reaming of the anti-Tebow lefties by theblogprof

A Socialist Experiment

Hat tip: Jawa Report:
An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we wi...ll have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan".

All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

Could not be any simpler than that.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Oh Crap. It's In All Caps.

I spread around Vox Day's version of male hierarchy to some friends and one of my left-wing friends returned with the following:
Jordan, you actually read Vox Day?

For those who aren't aware - Vox Day is the pen-name of Theodore Beale. He is a misogynist , a racist, and a anti-Semite.

While no evidence was ever given for the racism or antisemitism charges, the misogyny charge was followed by:

He wrote that according to the traditional Judeo-Christian ethic a woman who is not entertaining the possibility of sex with a man can only be considered a innocent victim should she be raped by that man, and that rape is no better or worse than extramarital sex from a moral perspective because "Christianity knows no hierarchy of sins."

The man is an unapologetic NAZI.
[emphasis mine]

Wow. That's just wrong.

You know, the leveling of the charge of Nazism on a Christian libertarian, not the moral opinion of a Christian man, who made sure to you knew he wasn't arguing anything but his own view on Christian morality, with a blog and no power or will to actually enforce his moral code on others.

I've written on here about how Nazis were neither Christians nor were they libertarians. I have no idea how a far-left, centralized, socialistic, neo-pagan ideology could get mixed up with a strict Christian libertarian who's against the War on Terror. Well, other than the normal historical ignorance of the Left.

And the kicker of all this for me: Nazi being in all caps. As if putting the word in ALL CAPS makes it irrefutable. *

My friend isn't the only one who does this, which is both sad and satisfying. Sad that so many people are ignorant to the ideological reality of Nazism and neo-Nazism. Satisfying that its so damn easy to refute.

Unless one can find me irrefutable evidence, not ALL CAPS mudslinging, against Vox, I'll stick to reading his blog for economic insight... and now, apparently, for the pure joy of annoying my far-left friends.

*Apologies to Jonah Goldberg for stealing his line

Friday, February 5, 2010

Alphas, Betas and Deltas

Vox Day at Vox Popoli posted this a while ago about the male social hierarchy:
Alphas - the male elite, the leaders of men for whom women naturally lust. Their mere presence sets women a-tingle regardless of whether she is taken or not. Once you've seen beautiful married women ignoring tall, handsome, wealthy, and even famous men because that ugly old troll Henry Kissinger walked in the room, you simply can't deny the reality of Alphadom. Example: Captain Kirk, Big from Sex in the City. Suggestion: Do you see a scoreboard? Right, so relax already!

Betas - the lieutenants, the petty aristocracy. They're popular, they do well with women, they're pretty successful in life, and they may even be exceptionally good-looking. But they lack the Alpha's natural self-confidence and strength of character. They're not leaders and they're not the men to whom women are helplessly drawn. Most men who like to think they're Alphas because of their success are actually Betas. Most Betas won't change their game because they don't really have any need or reason to do so. This is probably the easiest social slot in which to find yourself, since the Beta enjoys many of the benefits of Alphadom without being trapped in the Alpha's endless cycle of competition. Example: Brad Pitt Suggestion: Have some compassion for the less naturally fortunate. Try to include them once in awhile.

Deltas - the great majority of men. These are Roissy's Betas. Almost all of you reading this are Deltas despite the natural desire to believe that you are a brave and bold Alpha snowflake notwithstanding. Deal with it. There's absolutely nothing wrong with being a Delta, it's just a simple statistical and observable reality. The sooner you accept the truth about yourself, the sooner you will be able to control your unconscious inclinations and modify your behavior in a manner that will help you achieve your goals. I've gone out of alphabetical order here because delta symbolizes change, which most Deltas are capable to some extent. Hence the synthetic alpha instruction set known as Game. Example: Probably you. Suggestion: Never forget that there are plenty of girls on the girl tree.

Gammas - the obsequious ones, the posterior puckerers, the nice guys who attempt to score through white-knighting, faux-chivalry, flattery, and omnipresence. All men except true Alphas will occasionally fall into Gamma behavior from time to time, this is the behavior and attitude that Roissy is attempting to teach men to recognize and avoid. The dividing line between a Gamma and a Delta is that the Gamma genuinely believes in the Gamma reality to the very core of his soul whereas the Delta is never truly comfortable with himself when he behaves in this manner despite being thoroughly indoctrinated in it by his culture. Example: Probably you if you've found yourself complaining about your lack of female companionship over the last two years. Suggestion: Remember that the statement "all are fallen" applies to women too. She isn't any more naturally pure or holy or ethereal than you are.

Lambdas - the gays. They have their own social hierarchy. They can fill any role from Alpha to Omega, but they tend to play the part rather than actually be it because the heterosexual social construct only encompasses the public part of their lives. Example: Neil Patrick Harris. Suggestion: Straights will be more tolerant if you keep the bathhouse behavior behind closed doors.

Sigmas - the lone wolves. Occasionally mistaken for Alphas, particularly by women and Alphas, they are not leaders and will actively resist the attempt of others to draft them. Alphas instinctively view them as challenges and either dislike or warily respect them. Some Deltas and most Omegas fancy themselves Sigmas, but the true Sigma's withdrawal from the pack is not a reaction to the way he is treated, it is pure instinct. Example: Clint Eastwood's movie persona. Suggestion: Entertain the possibility that other people are not always Hell. The banal idiocy is incidental, it's not intentional torture.

Omegas - the losers. Even the Gamma males despise them. That which doesn't kill them can make them stronger, but most never surmount the desperate need to belong caused by their social rejection. Omegas can be the most dangerous of men because the pain of their constant rejection renders the suffering of others completely meaningless in their eyes. Omegas tend to cluster in defensive groups; the dividing line between the Omega and the Sigma is twofold and can be easily recognized by a) the behavior of male Betas and Deltas and b) the behavior of women. Women tend to find outliers attractive in general, but while they respond to Sigmas almost as strongly as they do to Alphas, they correctly find Omega males creepier and much scarier than Gamma males. Example: Eric Harris Suggestion: Your rejection isn't entirely personal. Observe the difference in your own behavior and the way the Betas act. And try not to start off conversations with women by sharing "interesting facts" with them.
Me? Right now I'm Delta. I'm not too ambitious, but I'm pursuing a career that requires the ability to get out of Delta and in to at least a Beta. Like Vox says, "[t]he sooner you accept the truth about yourself, the sooner you will be able to control your unconscious inclinations and modify your behavior in a manner that will help you achieve your goals."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Great Society's Great Idea Is Greatly...

...losing money, like the Right has said for decades.

UPDATE: Michelle also did a great post on this exact subject a few months ago.

Canadians To Pay For Giant Banana

An Argentine artist called Caesar Saëz applied to the Canada Arts Council and le Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec and was given, between the two bodies, a grant of $130,000 to create a 300-metre long flying banana that would float over Texas protesting the policies of George W. Bush.

Why Canadian taxpayers are subsidizing Argentine artists to violate U.S. airspace is a topic best left to the next Summit of the Americas.

The good news is that Señor Saëz cashed the check and skipped the country.
Yeah... who thinks this was just a dandy idea?

Probably not taxpaying Canadians.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

National Aeronotical and Space Adminstration Told To Ignore Space


I may be about small government, balanced budgets and not wasting money, but space exploration is something very unique that America has done well.

The shift to climate science is pretty disheartening in light of the massive scandals surrounding the esoteric nature, not to mention the fudging of numbers, of climate science. That's not to say NASA can't work with agencies like NOAA on climate science, but NASA's main goal has always been expanding the understanding and pushing the frontier of space exploration by camera and by human beings. To axe its human exploration programs means we're too busy staring at our navels (a Baby Boomer aspect I did not miss) instead of going out into the unknown and finding awesome new stuff to do.

Our civilization is never too old or too mature to not get excited at the idea of exploring.

201st Post: On 24 - Day 8

Happy 201st post for GP! Yay!



This is probably blasphemy to some, but I think this season of 24 is actually pretty good.

In the last few seasons the world has been on edge from all sorts of super complicated terrorist attacks like EMP bombs, backyard ICBMs, chemical weapons hidden at Ontario Airport, more nukes, a remote control for every nuclear plant in America... you get the idea. There's been a ton of out-of-this-world plots by all sorts of terrorist groups and international cabals. Not to mention the constant stream of traitors in CTU. The last few seasons, in fact, have had an arching storyline for those who can stomach some of the worst parts of the 24 series.

But here comes Day 8 and what do we have so far after 6 hours? A Rafki Harri attempted assassination on the moderate leader of the "Islamic Republic". The realization there is weapons-grade uranium in the US in the hands of criminals. A CTU member whose criminal ex-boyfriend is manipulating her battered person syndrome. And the most interesting plotline, Renee Walker's decent into darkness.

No insane plots. No twisted family connections. No lame love torn apart by terrorists. Day 8, aside from Day 1 and Day 3, seems to most realistic and most entertaining season yet.

Hopefully it stays that way.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Special Interest

What exactly is a special interest?

If you're our president, special interests are corporate lobbyists that shovel millions of dollars into the coffers of his enemies like Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and Barrack Obama... oh wait.

Anyway, if you're objective enough, you'll be able to see that special interests aren't just corporate lobbyists or fatcat unions like the AFL-CIO or the SEIU. Special interests are any kind of group that advocates on a national level to Congress and the President.

National Organization for Women? Special interests.

Focus on the Family? Special interest.

NAMBLA? Special interest.

Its a reality of our political system that groups will form on a national level to influence the government to their point of view. Its also their right to do that under the First Amendment. Yes, corporations too, but not because corporations are considered persons, but because corporations are (SURPRISE!!!) staffed by real people who have opinions and rights.

Others seem to think that removing the label special interest is only for the social justice crowd and not the gun rights crowd or the business crowd. Well, in my eyes, if you're not from the congressman's district and you're knocking on his door, you're a special interest.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Inside the Numbers: 5.7 Percent Fourth Quarter Gross Domestic Product Provides a False Sense of Optimism

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen gross domestic product (GDP) grow at such a robust rate. Not since the third quarter of 2003 has the United States experienced this type of growth. However, that’s all for the good news. Once this number is broken down, it reveals glaring weaknesses.

First off, about two-thirds of the 5.7 percent uptick is attributed to inventory replenishment. This marks an end to businesses’ panicked inventory liquidation and nothing more. Eventually, restocks are in order regardless of market conditions. Considering the mass liquation that has taken place, this number should have been much higher. Furthermore, private inventory investment does not address unemployment.

735,000 jobs were lost in the last six months of 2009. (1) The economy is continuing to shed jobs, as year-over-year GDP growth has remained flat. (2) One key indicator of a strengthening economy is real nonresidential fixed investment, as it indicates the level of confidence business has in the economy. The 2.9 percent increase seen in the fourth quarter does not come close to offsetting the 14.6 percent decline from 2008. (3) Upon digging deeper into the employment numbers, wages and benefits rose a meek 1.5 percent in 2009 – the smallest change since the series began in 1979. (4)

Some will tout the 18.1 percent increase in U.S. exports. (2) However, it is naïve to think the United States can play the same game as China. The pain felt and problems associated with a weak U.S. dollar are far greater than any reduction in the trade deficit. A weaker dollar leads to inflation and makes the prices of imports more expensive. Needless to say, there will be a lot of consumer frustration at the gas pump this summer.

After going inside the numbers, more evidence illustrates that none of the “growth” is real. Last quarter, positive GDP rode the coattails of government injected stimulus. This quarter, inevitable inventory replenishment along with growth being derived from government gimmicks is supposed to excite people. The key here is that sectors that are not benefiting from government stimulus are severely lagging such as equipment and software – down about 16 percent from 2008. (3)

History has proven that the government cannot prop up the economy. During the Great Depression, GDP grew at an average rate of 9 percent per year between 1933 and 1937. However, unemployment remained extremely high, and then the economy suffered another severe downturn in 1937 and 1938. The measures being taken today are not only planting the seeds for inflation, but are creating the conditions for the same kind of unstable environment seen during the Great Depression and the 1970’s.

President Obama’s $3.8 trillion budget will set a record breaking $1.56 trillion deficit for 2010. It is clear that Obama remains steadfast in pursuing anti-growth policies. Taxes on those who produce and provide jobs; burdensome regulation that serves as barrier to entry as well as escalating compliance costs for small businesses; increasing the government’s already huge presence in healthcare; and cap and trade which will increase taxes along with skyrocketing utility costs will ensure the current economic environment for years to come.

How long are people going to fall for the “if we didn’t act, things would be much worse” bit? How well is government-funded “growth” working? How many will be happy with positive first quarter 2010 GDP growth when it is very possible unemployment will continue to rise? Going inside the numbers reveals an ugly truth.