The rats abandon ship

Turbo Timmy is looking to leave:

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has signaled to White House officials that he’s considering leaving the administration after President Barack Obama reaches an agreement with Congress to raise the national debt limit, according to three people familiar with the matter.

It’s telling that he thinks it is safe to assume that the Republicans, for all their brave talk about not raising the debt limit, are going to cave, wouldn’t you say?


More and smaller wars

The post-WWII period has not been as peaceful as is usually presumed:

We may think the world enjoyed periods of relative freedom from war between the Cold War and 9/11 but the new research by Professor Mark Harrison from at the University of Warwick’s the Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy, and Professor Nikolaus Wolf from Humboldt University, shows that the number of conflicts between pairs of states rose steadily from 6 per year on average between 1870 and 1913 to 17 per year in the period of the two World Wars, 31 per year in the Cold War, and 36 per year in the 1990s.

Professor Mark Harrison from the University of Warwick said: “The number of conflicts has been rising on a stable trend. Because of two world wars, the pattern is obviously disturbed between 1914 and 1945 but remarkably, after 1945 the frequency of wars resumed its upward course on pretty much the same path as before 1913.”

One of the key drivers is the number of countries, which has risen dramatically – from 47 in 1870 to 187 in 2001.

As the historically aware observer increasingly gathers, the second-worst president in the history of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, has an awful lot for which to answer. It is largely his pre-neocon vision of world democratic revolution and declaration of U.S. support for tribal self-determination around the globe that is behind this increase in the amount of international conflict. I note that this study does not take the rising amount of intra-national violence into account, or the historical picture would likely look even worse.


The Costs of War

All the clueless, self-styled “conservatives” who think they can simultaneously support small government and foreign wars need to have “$4 trillion” stamped on their small, sloping foreheads. No amount of militarily and historically illiterate blathering about how “we gots to kill dem ober deah so’s dey doan kills us heah” is going to change the fact that borrowing trillions of dollars in order to kill a few hapless goat humpers is demonstrably neither a sustainable nor an effective approach to war:

Staggering as it is, that figure grossly underestimates the total cost of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the U.S. Treasury and ignores more imposing costs yet to come, according to a study released Wednesday. The final bill will reach at least $3.7 trillion and could be as high as $4.4 trillion, according to the research project “Costs of War” by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies.

In the 10 years since U.S. troops went into Afghanistan to root out the al-Qaida leaders behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, spending on the conflicts totaled $2.3 trillion to $2.7 trillion. Those numbers will continue to soar when considering often overlooked costs such as long-term obligations to wounded veterans and projected war spending from 2012 through 2020.

The estimates do not include at least $1 trillion more in interest payments coming due and many billions more in expenses that cannot be counted, according to the study.

I’ve heard some say that the “isolationism” of Ron Paul and others is dangerous and crazy. The fact is that if you do not subscribe to that “isolationism”, you are without question historically illiterate, militarily ignorant, and a complete, unmitigated financial moron. That $4 trillion spent on the unnecessary Bush-Obama wars could have been used to completely eliminate all of the state and local government debt in the country while reducing outstanding federal debt by 16 percent.

What profit it a nation to guard the borders of Germany and South Korea while leaving its own unmanned?


The benefits of free trade

Do let’s hear more about how wonderful free trade is and what an intrinsic benefit it must be to everyone:

Last year, the U.S. Navy bought 59,000 microchips for use in everything from missiles to transponders and all of them turned out to be counterfeits from China. Wired reports the chips weren’t only low-quality fakes, they had been made with a “back-door” and could have been remotely shut down at any time. If left undiscovered the result could have rendered useless U.S. missiles and killed the signal from aircraft that tells everyone whether it’s friend or foe.

Apparently foreign chip makers are often better at making cheap microchips and U.S. defense contractors are loathe to pass up the better deal.

The important lesson here is that economics are not and cannot be the sole factor taken into consideration when one is contemplating the pros and cons of free trade. The fact that there is no blanket economic justification for free trade is an entirely separate matter.

HT: The Market Ticker


The Burning of Thomas Ball

Dr. Helen writes about the lack of media response to Thomas Ball’s suicide:

There are some pundits and commenters who have said that Ball does not deserve any compassion or that he should hardly be the poster boy for men’s rights because he may or may not have been jerked around by the family court. He did slap his then four-year-old daughter, giving her a cut on the lip, when she refused to obey him after three verbal warnings, etc. This isn’t great, but it doesn’t warrant jail time, arrest, or having one’s children taken away. If it does, there are so many women out there who qualify for the same treatment, I shudder to think about it.

But whether you think Ball is a good man, a bad man, or a crazy man doesn’t really matter. What matters is that Ball’s death — and the reaction to it — should serve as a wake-up call to how men and boys are being treated in a society that devalues their very existence. Males commit suicide at much higher rates than women and no one cares; they are treated unfairly by courts and no one bats an eye. They are abused by the women in their life and people say “tough shit.” So they ratchet up the game a little and start setting themselves on fire to get some attention to their cause and, once again, the media and society react with: “So what?”

Can we really stand by and do nothing about the treatment of men and boys in our society much longer? When I look at the picture of Mr. Ball in flames on the steps of that courthouse, I think the only answer is a resounding: “Hell, no!”

As I previously wrote, I think Ball’s chosen form of suicide was a relatively futile one and I suspect the media would have paid considerably more attention if he had instead set one or more of the many cogs in the family court system on fire. Like every other bureaucratic industry, the abuses of the family court system are not going to be ended by those who presently perpetrate them; there are too many parties with a vested interest in the continuation of the system. Since not only the system, but the law itself has been corrupted, the only possible solutions have to be external. The ideal outcome is the most likely one, which is that the family court system will collapse naturally with the rest of the bureaucratic system when extend-and-pretend finally runs out of new government debt to keep it going.

However, it doesn’t take an expert on the Tamil Tigers or the Sendero Luminoso to note that if a portion of the estimated 5,000 annual divorce-related male suicides ever become murder-suicides, this would likely trigger a sudden and urgent impetus towards revision of the mechanics of the current system.

Ball’s self-immolation illustrates the intrinsic problem with socially engineered injustice. While injustice is always wrong, it can at least be socially stable when directed against minorities or the unproductive. Targeted injustice against the productive majority whose labor is required for social survival is downright madness. Even if we set aside the interests of the unfortunate Mr. Ball, who benefits from his incindiary death? His ex-wife will receive no alimony. His children will receive no child support and will likely grow up with more than their fair share of social pathologies common among the fatherless. The state will receive no more taxes and the economy will no longer benefit from either his labor or his consumption.

And finally, as others have pointed out, if slapping a child somehow justifies burning at the stake, logic dictates that 21st century America will have to burn more women to death than the witch hunters of the 16th and 17th century ever did.


Where is the REAL birth certificate

The electronic document released by the White House is confirmed to be a forgery:

Bitmap text versus antialiasing text: Notice the bitmap X checkbox in question compared to the antialiased X checkbox in question “e” – major inconsistency.

Additionally, the checkboxes are slightly different widths and positioned differently. (Pixels of checkboxes on the bottom right overlap line pixels below, almost as if the boxes were copied and pasted and manually positioned).

Some letter characters are identical, pixel for pixel, almost as if they were copied and pasted and then moved into position. For example, the lowercase “i” in the word Inside is identical to the first “i” in judicial. There are many similar identical instances as there are dissimilar typesetting examples of different fonts – both suggesting compilation of a document digitally.

Irregular typesetting spacing which is not consistent with proportional spacing used by computers or monospacing used by typewriters in 1961 – but is consistent with copy and pasting and moving letters around. Example: The word “Yes,” which has too much space between “Y” and “e” and not enough space between “e” and “s.”

“A normal document scanned and saved as a PDF file would not display these inconsistencies unless the document had been digitally altered,” she said. “A digitally altered document is by definition a manufactured document, or in everyday parlance – a forgery.”

“My guess is that the creator of this document was inexperienced when it comes to a multitude of concepts in using Adobe software,” Zebest said. “Whoever forged the Obama birth certificate might have known enough to be dangerous, but not enough to know how to cover up their tracks.”

I find it remarkable that the White House is releasing forged documents and the mainstream media still has absolutely no interest in the story despite the fact that the release of the document disproved nearly all of their previous defenses of Mr. Obama/Soetoro/Soebarkah’s presidential eligibility. No doubt they’ll all be taken completely by surprise when Obama declines the Democratic nomination for “health reasons” or “to spend more time with his family”.

We don’t have a lapdog media any more, but one that sees its primary role as acting as the federal government’s defense attorney.


Science is inferior to Revelation

If one wishes to compare the relative effectiveness of Science and Revelation, it is first necessary to be sure one is comparing apples with apples and oranges with oranges:

ONE of the great strengths of science is that it can fix its own mistakes. “There are many hypotheses in science which are wrong,” the astrophysicist Carl Sagan once said. “That’s perfectly all right: it’s the aperture to finding out what’s right. Science is a self-correcting process.”

If only it were that simple. Scientists can certainly point with pride to many self-corrections, but science is not like an iPhone; it does not instantly auto-correct. As a series of controversies over the past few months have demonstrated, science fixes its mistakes more slowly, more fitfully and with more difficulty than Sagan’s words would suggest. Science runs forward better than it does backward.

Why? One simple answer is that it takes a lot of time to look back over other scientists’ work and replicate their experiments. Scientists are busy people, scrambling to get grants and tenure. As a result, papers that attract harsh criticism may nonetheless escape the careful scrutiny required if they are to be refuted…..

Even when scientists rerun an experiment, and even when they find that the original result is flawed, they still may have trouble getting their paper published. The reason is surprisingly mundane: journal editors typically prefer to publish groundbreaking new research, not dutiful replications.

In other words, real Science in practice is very different than ideal Science in theory. This is not a surprise. But it inevitably leads to the observation that if we are to compare Science and Revelation at all, we must compare theory with theory and practice with practice. The asserted superiority of Science is based on its supposedly self-correcting nature. But science that is never replicated is not going to be corrected, therefore Science in practice cannot be justified by this non-existent self-correction.

Furthermore, so long as one appeals to this nonexistent self-correction, one is appealing to an ideal Science in theory. But to this, one must compare a similarly ideal Revelation in theory. And, obviously, a direct line of information from the Creator of the Universe is far superior to a mere repetition of a scientific experiment; in this specific case, a literal appeal to legitimate divine authority is no logical fallacy. From the Platonic perspective, it is clear that ideal Science is inferior to ideal Revelation.

The remaining question is if the flawed version of Science as it is actually practiced, without self-correction, is superior to whatever flawed versions of Revelation are practiced, to the extent we can even hope to distinguish between the real and the flawed forms of the latter.

As for the appeal to Carl Sagan’s reasoning, we need merely note that Sagan is know to be either a historical illiterate or a deeply dishonest science propagandist; in either case, one has little choice but to dismiss his judgment with regards to the subject.


The show unicorn

Is anyone still buying into the public Obama being sold by the media?

The conventional wisdom, of course, is that Wall Street has turned its back on Mr. Obama out of frustration with his so-called antibusiness rhetoric and “fat cat” comments about bankers. But Wall Street’s absence may be more about optics — the way things appear— than reality. Behind the scenes, it seems that many bankers are not running away from the president as quickly as some might suspect.

Have you ever noticed how Obama’s defenders always point to his public rhetoric rather than his actions in describing him? We are still supposed to believe that he is an anti-bank Christian opponent of homogamy, yet all of his supporters assume – and his actions more or less support – the idea that he is a secular homophile and the fully owned property of Wall Street… and that’s giving Mr. Soebarkah the benefit of the doubt and ignoring the very real possibility that he is a Muslim on the down low.

If one considers what eventually came out concerning the shenanigans of JFK’s presidency, one has to conclude there will be more than a few serious humdingers once the real story of Obama’s one term finds its way to the public thirty years from now.


Another round of Let’s Play Guess the Race

This round’s news comes from Philadelphia:

A WOMAN’S leg was broken and several other people were injured Saturday night when a large group of teens accosted pedestrians in Spring Garden, police and witnesses said. Philadelphia police responded to two reports of pedestrians being assaulted by a large group of young people along Broad Street about 9:30 p.m….

According to the police report of the incident, Guendelsberger was “jumped” by 30 to 40 men who punched and kicked her numerous times. Police said they checked the area for surveillance but had no luck.

So here’s the question. Were the “young people” involved:

a) White
b) Hispanic
c) Black
d) Asian

Read the article as closely as you like! You won’t find any clues there! For a bonus point, guess the a) number of arrests and b) the race of the “unruly teenagers” at a street fair in Cleveland.

About 40 Cleveland Heights police officers had to control a crowd of unruly teenagers in the last hour of the Coventry Street Arts Fair Sunday, an event hat closes Coventry Road every summer from Mayfield Road to Euclid Heights Boulevard. There were no reports of injuries, but Cleveland Heights police were expected later today to release the number of arrests made Sunday.

One seriously wonders who the morons in the media think they are kidding. As any horror director knows, the monster people imagine is always scarier than the one on screen.


The socialisthistorical end game

VDH notes the historical pattern of corrosive parasitism:

History is not kind to such collective states of mind. Pay an Athenian in the fifth century BC a subsidy to go to the theater; and in the fourth century BC he is demanding such pay to vote in the assembly as well — and there is not to be a third century free democratic polis. Extend to a Roman in the first century BC a small grain dole, and by the late first century AD he cannot live without a big dole, free entertainment in a huge new Coliseum, and disbursements of free coined money. Let the emperor Justinian try cutting back the bloated bureaucracy in sixth century AD Constantinople and he wins the Nika riots that almost destroy a civilization from within even as it is beset by hosts of foreign enemies.

Social Security started out as a few dollars a month to the elderly, in their last two or three years of life, to ensure that they could feed themselves without the indignity of borrowing from their children. It has morphed into someone living well for twenty years on far more money taken than was put in — or a young family with a dyslexic child on “disability” for life. To cut any for the latter would cause far more riot and mayhem than not to have given the former anything in the first place — despite the fact that the 21st century recipient was far less needy and got far more than the early 20th century recipient who needed more and got less.

VDH points out that there isn’t actually anything properly socialist about the nominal socialists who build their careers on transferring wealth from one party to another. And as we’ve seen demonstrated very clearly since 2008, the banks and large corporations are every bit as willing to play the “socialist” game as any labor union. It’s all about utilizing government power to forcibly redistribute tax income, and this is an old, old game that long precedes Marxism or any other form of socialism.

In the end, it is merely a rancid form of political corruption, and one that Aristotle would recognize as readily as Julius Caesar. In fact, Caesar may well have been the original Too Big To Fail, as one technique he used to guarantee continued support from the moneyed class was the gargantuan debts he incurred as he worked his way up the cursus honorum. His creditors knew that if he did not succeed to the Praetorship or the Consulship, they would never see their loans repaid, and so they were forced to remain solidly behind him.

Societies have a life cycle that is as obvious to the educated observer as the difference between a young Sports Illustrated model and a decrepit Social Security recipient. What we’re seeing in the USA and other Western countries isn’t progress, it is straightforward and unmistakable decline.