Sunday, November 30, 2008

The REAL Threat to Western Society: Attack of the Field Mouse

In an interview dated 1 December 2008 in the German publication Frankfurter Allgemeine, the erstwhile Swedish "Weapons inspector" for the UN, Hans Blix stated the following as translated by TransAtlantic Intelligencer:

Q. Many Arab countries want to obtain atomic energy. Are you worried about this?

A. Everything involves risks, including atomic energy. But in the long run I'm more worried about global warming than about weapons of mass destruction.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine interviewer appeared to mistakenly include Iran in the category of "Arab" country.

As many Arab and Muslim majority countries are committed to the violent (if necessary) destruction of Israel as well as the US, this response by Mr. Blix is an interesting (but not surprising) position to be extolled by a European UN bureaucrat. The EU, having committed itself to the exponential accretion of power to its unelected bureaucracy by signing on to the warmista agenda (which thankfully is being increasingly questioned by the scientific community) this comes as no surprise.

This writer would posit that there is developing an even greater threat to our culture than "global warming" and that is the "Attack of the Field Mouse". We could probably get the politicians and politicised scientists to accept this threat if they can be convinced a governmental program to address it will increase their emoluments and perquisites.

In a previous posting I misquoted (since corrected) Mr. George Monbiot attributing to him a statement in his book "Heat" a remark which was in fact written by a blogger. For that reason I link to a posting on Mr. Monbiot's blog concerning the total "decarbonization" of the global economy. I will leave it to you dear reader to evaluate the charicterization of Mr Monbiot as "moonbat".

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust?

There are several emerging factors that lead this blogger to conclude that the long visible light at the end of the global warming cum climate change hoax tunnel is growing larger and it is obviously not the oncoming train of catastrophic sea level rise.

1. Your humble scribbler was required to fire up the wood stove 10 full days earlier than last year. Unscientific you say? No more so than the female journalist in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution reporting on recent heavy rains along the Gulf coast using the statement: "These flood producing heavy rains from Texas to Tallahassee simply scream of global warming".

2. The shrillness of the warmista religionists in hurling invective at any and all of the increasing number of climate and geological scientists who posit that no global cataclysm is immanent as a result of climate change. The following is a partial list of the epithets used to describe the growing number of so called "deniers": extremist denier, moron, rank amateur, stupid, pimp, liar, pseudo scientists, malpractitioners, right wing, bastards etc.

3. The calls to hush and censor scientists and others who have, on the basis of emperical data recanted their belief that human activity has had any significant negative impact on global climate change as evidenced by Joseph Romm in Climate Progress who states the following: "Modern journalists from traditional media have for years made the mistake of balancing stories on the reality [?] of accelerating human-caused global warming with a quote or two from deniers, though some are starting to do that less."
On his blog "Gristmill", David Roberts makes the following statement: "...we should have war crimes trials for these bastards -- some sort of climate Nuremberg."

4. And NOW, this just in (ht/¡No Pasarán!):

German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced calls from fellow conservatives Sunday to fight to water down a European Union climate pact until the recession-wracked economy is moving again.

Bavarian premier Horst Seehofer said in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that he had written to Merkel calling on her to back away from EU climate protection goals to be approved next month for a time.

Added bonus:

German Economy Minister Michael Glos, also of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, agreed that Germany could ill-afford to make a priority of climate protection with the economy hobbled by the global financial crisis.

"It is not the time to burden the economy with excessive environmental targets," he said.

Perhaps we can add the warmista religion to the list of doctrines that have vanished by being "overtaken by events"?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Desde Cuba (From Cuba in the Winter)

The following is translated from a the posting 19 November 2008 of a Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez. She posts from Havana and must surreptitiously view her blog from a tourist hotel which excludes Cuban citizens who are not Communist Party apparatchiks. It seems not much has changed since ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ visited that hapless communist nation some years ago. See here, here and here.

The sky is not always that precious blue of the tourist postcards. Thank goodness, because I can not imagine a year with scorching sun without the pause of these weeks that bring cold fronts. Since Monday a cloud has come, bringing London to Havana and severe flooding in the east of the country. The streets are remarkably empty at night because the cold scares away the usual denizens of the parks and sidewalks. Boarding a crowded bus is no longer the fastest way to acquire odor in one’s armpits, rather the entrance to a warm and friendly space. With the low temperatures, humor and tolerance improve; for the old, their bones ache and hot chocolate becomes a recurring hallucination. December is so close that it’s not worth starting anything, say those who have postponed projects throughout the year. The time to spend more is coming, presaging that pockets will be especially empty this Christmas. However, the most sensitive topic is that of coats and blankets, the little protection from the damp cold that enters through the gaps in the windows.

I see people on the street with sweaters and thick, padded synthetic coats, but none of these garments could be purchased with the wages they earn from their work. One has a leather coat sent to him by a sister who lives in New York and the striped one was given to the girl as a gift from a tourist passing through the city. A young boy has a waterproof raincoat inherited from his brother, who in turn got it from an uncle who confiscates luggage at customs. The old woman crossing the street is careful of her wool socks, which she got from a neighbor in exchange for a blender. Only the guard at the hotel boasts a denim jacket, with shiny new buttons.

I like the winter and the affability it awakens in people, but I know that for many it’s the season of certain worries and shame. Of not being able to sleep on the park bench, where the rest of the year one gentleman with raggedy clothes has his only home. Of children mocked in school for wearing a coat purchased during the rationing of the 1980s. The cold emphasizes the differences between those who can close the door and those who don’t have a house with windows that shut. It highlights the contrast between those with a long-sleeved garment and those who wear two sweaters because they don’t have a coat. Everything depends on the thermometer and its not dropping another ten degrees, because the housing and clothes of the poor will not withstand a single snowflake.

To experience Cuba under the Communist regime is to view any society which is unfortunate enough to fall under the sway of the collectivists. Yoani is from time to time arrested and harassed by the Cuban police.

cross posted at: Eternity Road

Friday, November 21, 2008

They're Going to do it Again...

But this time it is likely to be worse!

I suspect that most readers of these postings are not old enough to have first hand recollections of the Great Depression and fewer still have a grasp of its causes and effects. In any event, it will be worth while for those with Mp3 and podcast capabilities to spend the required 15 minutes to listen to THIS.

I will guarantee that the above podcast will generate one of 3 responses:
1. Anger
2. Fear
3. Disbelief

For those whose reaction is #3: I sincerely hope you are correct and enjoy your delusion. Meanwhile, please steal, copy or plagiarize this posting.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cost Effective Defense vs Government

During the 23 years this humble scribbler lived aboard and cruised his 34' sailboat LEONIDAS from San Francisco to Trinidad, he lost count of the instances various "authorities" boarded and searched his vessel for "contraband". Generally the contraband sought was drugs but often the authorities were searching for firearms. As a US flagged vessel, firearms are allowed on board but they must be surrendered for "safekeeping" when entering most foreign ports. This can become a hassle as occasionally the Port Captain will "misplace" the weapons and thus several hundreds of dollars worth are "lost" (no compensation was ever offered that we are aware of). We know of several cruising families that simply cleverly concealed their defensive armament on board in discrete hiding places and falsely declared that no weapons were in their possession. That is usually all well and good as third world corrupt officials are often less than competent in the art of searching.

That scenario had an unfortunate outcome in one instance we know of in the far out islands of the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos. It seems that some of the marine police were moonlighting as pirates and upon accosting a couple aboard their 36' sailboat anchored in a remote cove near Great Inagua island they demanded the ship's valuables at gunpoint. The skipper asked his wife to retrieve the cash (wink wink) from below decks. Instead, she shortly emerged and handed the skipper his .45 caliber pistol. The ensuing gunfight left 2 off duty marine police/pirates dead. The couple who knew what "justice" they would be accorded by the local gendarmery simply weighed anchor and departed for The Virgin Islands leaving the two pirates with emptied service revolvers adrift in their fishing skiff.

In many third world countries tourists and cruising sailors are routinely mugged and robbed while their means of self defense are securely in the custody of the local port captain. Such are the risks of world travel aboard one's own vessel.

These days we learn of other instances of piracy where the stakes are considerably higher. For example:

Writes Felix Moreno:

The piracy case in Somalia is a perfect example of victim disarmament at sea. Most merchant ships are forbidden by their countries' laws from having weapons on board (a ban which is enforced by rigorous inspections), which leaves a 20.000tn ship worth hundreds of million of dollars vulnerable to a pirate dinghy with a crew of five armed with AKs and RPGs worth a few hundred bucks. So do we allow owners to spend a few thousand dollars on weapons and private security on board? God forbid! No, much better to send a carrier group, or just nuke the high seas.

At present the war navies of India, Russia, Britain, the US, Malasya [sic] and a NATO taskforce are in the Gulf of Aden playing cat-and-mouse with a few Somali pirates. An EU fleet is on its way.

This seems to be the way our world is moving. Meanwhile, the US will continue to fund the United Nations efforts to disarm the victims.


cross posted at: Eternity Road

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Imagine That II

Now that the election is over there seems to be more than a few people doing postmortems on the reasons behind the outcome. One such effort is by John Ziegler and another is the Zogby polling firm. The results are rather interesting and appear to confirm several theories. Two of the theories are widespread media bias and voter ignorance.

Take a few minutes from your busy schedule and view this video.

This is pretty scary stuff.

h/t: Neal Boortz

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Holding Back the Tide

The current government panic at the cascading disintegration of the global markets and the accompanying pressures forcing price deflation recalls the legend of King Canute who after unsuccessfully commanding the tides of the sea to recede stated: "Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings. For there is none worthy of the name but God, whom heaven, earth and sea obey."

One wonders at the reasons for the desperate efforts of the US treasury and Federal Reserve Bank injecting mind numbing quantities of fiat "money" into the system in order to avoid price deflation. It is the same policy that was followed beginning in 1930 by the Hoover administration and continued by FDR's "New Deal". Those policies of protectionism (Smoot Hawley Tariff) and destroying agricultural products to prop up prices as well as raising taxes resulted in an ordinary and recurring recessionary event being prolonged into a decade long depression.

Apropos the present situation one need only ask: qui bono? Who benefits from price deflation (a decline in the market prices of goods and services)? Answer: consumers and savers whose savings will purchase more products. Conversely, who is damaged by deflation? Answer: Borrowers who must repay debts formerly contracted at elevated rates.

The greatest beneficiaries of inflation are borrowers who repay bonds and debts with devalued currency. Who are the greatest debtors in the history of civilization? If you answered "governments", go to the head of the class. That is the reason for the panic expansion of fiat currency by governments who have been financing their wars and Marxist social engineering with money borrowed or created out of thin air rather than raising the tax burden on the productive elements of society beyond the already confiscatory levels. I fear that in view of the falling prices of many commodities the Fed and Treasury will presently discover the futility of its policy; but the wreckage will not be a pleasant sight to behold.

Viva deflation!

cross posted at: Eternity Road

Friday, November 14, 2008

Is The "Fix" In?

The national debt of the US as of this date is over 10.5 Trillion dollars and has been increasing at the rate of just under 4 billion dollars per day. That is all about to change very soon as Washington issues bales of new treasury notes to fund the massive bailouts of the various banks, insurance companies, and industrial enterprises lining up at the door of "Bailout" Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson. Various estimates of the ultimate cost of filling the trough from which these failing parasites are about to sup range from a low of $3.6 Trillion to upwards of $5 trillion when the interest is computed.

This weekend, the worlds G-20 industrialized nations will be meeting in Washington to discuss addressing the planet's monetary/economic crisis (arguably caused by the insane creation of fiat money and junk credit by those same nations). The "fix" (yes gentle readers those are scare quotes) will likely be the devaluation of the world's currencies by "monetizing" most outstanding debt. In other words:

They cease all gold sales and instead [of confiscating it], raise the current official central bank price of gold from its booked value of $42.22 an ounce — to a price that monetizes a large enough portion of the world's outstanding debts.

That way, just like in 1933, the debts become a fraction of re-inflated asset prices (led higher by the gold price).

And this time, instead of staying with the dollar as a reserve currency, the G-20 issues three new monetary units of exchange, each with equal reserve status.

The three currencies will essentially be a new dollar, new euro, and a new pan-Asian currency. (The Chinese yuan may survive as a fourth currency, but it will be linked to a basket of the three new currencies.)

Under this nightmare(?) the new price of gold would range between $53,000 and $10,000 per ounce depending on the percentage of the debt to be monetized. One's first reaction to the possibility of such a scenario playing itself out is incredulity; but consider this: 1. The Constitution of the United States in Article I section 8 assigns the power to coin money to the Congress. The US currency has had NO connection to metal coinage since August of 1971. 2. Twenty years ago would we have foreseen that in 2008 a more or less admitted Marxist would be elected to the US presidency?


cross posted at: Eternity Road

Monday, November 10, 2008

Your Government at Work

In yesterday's posting I referenced the truism that "government can never do just one thing" citing the federal income tax legislation impact on social engineering. Now we learn that the governmental love affair with recycling is having some unforeseen consequences resulting from the current and projected economic downturn. Due to said downturn the demand for discarded material which many municipalities mandate that their citizens recycle is at a record low bordering on the non existent. Consequently, these materials are accumulating at collection depots and in some cases constituting a health hazard. Unless this condition (the market) experiences an early turnaround, the material will need to be disposed of in various landfills, a scenario that among others the governmental action was intended to terminate.

As regards so many governmental programs, recycling mandates are based on often faulty or at least debatable premises, to wit:
1.Natural resources are finite and mankind will inevitably exhaust them.
This premise ignores the development and discovery of substitutes and new technologies. For example, the "crisis" experienced in the 1850s over the depletion of whale oil for lighting purposes miraculously disappeared with the new technology associated with petroleum. The free market with its supply and demand cost adjustments is invariably a better mechanism than a government bureaucrat or a pointy headed academic with a political agenda for the determining the use of resources.
2. The continued use of paper and other wood products will result in the complete deforestation of the planet'
In fact, not only are trees a renewable resource, but tree farming has resulted in the existence of more trees now than existed in 1820.
3. The areas available for landfills are finite and we will eventually be buried by our garbage.
A. Clark Wiseman, an economist at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, has calculated that if Americans keep generating garbage at current rates for 1,000 years, and if all their garbage is put in a landfill 100 yards deep, by the year 3000 this national garbage heap will fill a square piece of land 35 miles on each side. This doesn't seem a huge imposition in a country the size of America. The garbage would occupy only 5 percent of the area needed for the national array of solar panels proposed by environmentalists. The millennial landfill would fit on one-tenth of 1 percent of the range land now available for grazing in the continental United States. And if it still pains you to think of depriving posterity of that 35-mile square, remember that the loss will be only temporary. Eventually, like previous landfills, the mounds of trash will be covered with grass and become a minuscule addition to the nation's 150,000 square miles of parkland."

In any event, the various government entities will discover the truth in what Michael Munger, the Chair of Political Science at Duke University, wrote ,
"... if recycling is more expensive than using new materials, it can't possibly be efficient... There is a simple test for determining whether something is a resource... or just garbage... If someone will pay you for the item, it's a resource [absent a government subsidy]... But if you have to pay someone to take the item away... then the item is garbage."

We shall await with bated breath the actions taken by our rulers upon making this discovery. All the evidence points to substantial increases on the fees for garbage collection.

h/t: Fred Mangels
cross posted at: Eternity Road

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Coming Soon?

Not long ago a very prescient philosopher/economist uttered the following, which rightly should be emblazoned in the mind of every liberty loving resident of this fair land: "A government can never do just one thing". Whatever the motive for taking what appears to be a single action to address a so called "problem" the unforeseen will eventually emerge bearing its attendant consequences. A glaring and painful example of this natural law is the XVIth Amendment to the US Constitution (enabling the federal government to levy taxes directly on the citizens without being apportioned among the several states) whose proponents in the early years of the 20th century were attempting to address budgetary shortfalls in the operation of the Federal government . The top marginal tax rate on income in 1913 was 7% on incomes above $500,000.00 . In terms of purchasing power, 500,000 1913 dollars is the equivalent of several millions of 2008 dollars.

All of this is merely intended to illustrate that the original intent of the first income tax legislation to fund operations of the federal government has morphed into the leviathan of todays federal budget which includes transfer payments, subsidies, bailouts and foreign aid, not to mention the financing of questionable military adventures on a global scale.

During the debate on the recent "Patriot" Act, Homeland Security and electronic "eavesdropping" issues many on the conservative side of the political spectrum who were anxious to facilitate the "War on Terrorism" tarred the opponents of such proposals as unpatriotic and "soft on terrorism", including in these catagories such diverse opponents as civil libertarians and far leftists. This, even though the latter two groups have vastly differing motives for their respective positions.

As a member of the libertarian group which posited objections to aspects of these acts which negatively impacted individual liberties, ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ was occasionally mistakenly lumped by some into the far leftist camp which favors any action which weakens our society viz its enemies and whose aims are to erect a new collectivist society on the ashes of our individualistically oriented one.

With the militarization of law enforcement agencies which began during the middle to late 1960s and the widespread adoption of SWAT teams by even the smaller law enforcement agencies across the nation, our political "leaders" have accumulated the tools to suppress and bring to heel ANY opposition group which it can designate as "terrorist" (does the term Waco ring any bells?). What specific threat did those people pose to society?

Make no mistake, those of you who would entertain thoughts of resisting the impending collectivism by "civil disobedience" to the regime about to assume the reins of power on 20 January 2009; You will be branded as "terrorists" and be quashed with the tools you so cheerfully provided an administration whose policies you concurred with. I suggest you consult the white refugee farmers (who survived) of the former Rhodesia now Zimbabwe, concerning the fate of those who obstruct the policies of empowered collectivists.

Any who doubt the intentions of the soon to be installed collectivist regime in the nation's capitol should be aware that the implementation of a disciplined and regimented "youth" organization has been high on the agenda of all former and present totalitarian regimes. Such "voluntary" groups would include Hitler Youth in national socialist Germany, Young Pioneers in Soviet Russia and the Unión de Jóvenes Comunistas in Cuba.

Beware the government that bandies about such terms as National and Community "Service". They conjure up visions of involuntary servitude.

We are truly about to experience "interesting times".

UPDATE 10/11/08 08:27 EST: If you read nothing else today read THIS!


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Party Time for Usefull Idiots?

According to a Soviet author, "Before they died, people often lost their senses and ceased to be human beings." Yet one of Stalin's lieutenants in Ukraine stated in 1933 that the famine was a great success. It showed the peasants "who is the master here. It cost millions of lives, but the collective farm system is here to stay."


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A New Paradigm

We occasionally hear complaints (mostly from our Leftist friends*) concerning "hate radio". These complaints generally refer to the expression of opinions conflicting with leftist dogmas by conservative talk show hosts who populate the AM band of the broadcast media. The Leftists hope to reinstitute the so called "fairness doctrine" by the Federal Communications Commission in order to silence those with whom they disagree.

Although I have yet to hear a "right wing" host engage in so called "hate speech" per se, the following video comes, in my humble opinion very close to qualifying for the definition. The pertinent verbiage begins 58 seconds into the clip.

* The term "friend" is used parenthetically above due to the leftist author referring to ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ as "pal".