Monthly Archives: July 2009

>Think Globally, Act Locally: 20 More Questions on "Let’s Win"

>Victor Davis Hanson lays out the overall tactical situation here. Sample section below, but do read the whole thing:

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…Stimulus, Stimulus and Not a Drop…

A “stimulus” of nearly a trillion dollars was proposed, without which we were told, unemployment would skyrocket and credit would tighten further. Six months later — unemployment having risen even higher than the administration’s forecast would have been the case had their stimulus package not been implemented — now the same proponents of massive borrowing demand a second stimulus to accomplish what the first ’successful’ borrowing apparently did not. If you fail, then try the same thing to fail even bigger the second time — while calling for more success to follow the earlier success?

The Larger Agenda

Note here I mean something quite different from the accustomed notion of “accomplish.” You see, I think the point was never much to build more bike paths on borrowed money or just bail out GM, but rather more to reengineer the tax code, as part of a grander vision of creating a new equality of result in America.

Soon we will all end up after each April 15 about making the same, driving the same sort of cars and using the same sort of mass transit, living in about the same sorts of houses, and having about the same sorts of “”they will take care of it for me” philosophies — all overseen by brilliant, but highly ranked and exempt Platonic Guardians who suffer on our behalf as they jet and limo at breakneck speed ensuring our welfare.

Gorging “the Beast”

We are beginning to sense the debate is not about “stimulus” (politicians did not even read the various bills that they rammed through and care little about the fiscal impact from them). Rather, we are witnessing an inversion of Reagan’s sort of playing chicken, once called “starve the beast” (which I thought was a wrong notion), a philosophy of cutting taxes to cut revenue to starve the federal government’s excessive spending in the face of spiraling deficits.

Under Obama’s “gorge the beast” version, America will simply write so many bounced checks, run up such an enormous $10 trillion debt, that taxes will have to rise on “them” — and wasn’t this really the point of it all anyway: to “spread the wealth around” and “never let a crisis go to waste”? Since new programs never shrink, but, like Johnson grass, grow with impunity, and since Democrats, even more so than wasteful Republicans, don’t worry about deficits, taxes must escalate to avoid catastrophe.

The Bad Guys

Ponder a simple fact: The Obama administration is dispersing income lavishly to those who do not pay taxes and it will have to be paid for by those who do. For all the talk of that awful percentile who make over $200,000, this administration has not distinguished the hyper-rich 1% that make untold money (e.g., the Buffets, Soroses, Turners, Gateses, Kerrys, Gores, etc.), from the much more demonized, larger 5% of the population whose income does not come from investments and insider influence and deal-making, but rather from providing more tangible goods and services — the family doctor, the plumbing contractor, the small lumber company owner, the car dealer, the local family-held insurance company, the airline pilot, the car-leasing firm, the patent attorney, etc.

“Their Fair Share”

Last fall we heard that this percentile was unpatriotic, did not wish to spread the wealth around, and had made off like bandits under Bush. But the fact is, to quote Mayor Gavin Newsome’s ‘like it or not’, they are precisely those who decide most dynamically whether to hire, fire, expand, contract, buy/sell goods, etc.

And the results of the Obama war against them are threefold: 1) in major key states, the productive minority’s state income taxes will near or exceed 10%; their federal rates will go to 40%; the abolition of caps on FICA will ensure 15% plus of most their income will go for new Medicare and Social Security bites; and they may well be eligible for a newly proposed punitive health-care surcharge tax of 4-6%.

Add It Up

1) If one were to add all that up (forget rises in sales taxes, inheritance taxes, luxury taxes, etc.), then one can get to 70% of one’s income. So right this minute, the electrical contractor is thinking:

‘I made $412,000 last year due to Saturday jobs, overtime, risky bidding, gambles on new equipment, and new lines of credit, but under Obama I will pay maybe $50-80,000 more of my income to the government. In other words the cost of, say, hiring two more entry-level electricians, or the cost of outfitting an entire new van with boom and equipment, or what I cleared every Saturday last year — all that will go to the government.”

Ripples of Doubt

And that means rippling throughout this key sector of the economy — even before these taxes have been enacted — are hesitation, stasis, and ultimately constriction — at first for psychological reasons, soon confirmed by the actual facts of less money. In short, very bright people will be thinking how to hide income, how to barter, how to slow down and not produce goods and services, rather than blast full speed ahead and enrich angry others.

A Certain Paranoia

2) Do not discount again the psychological element. This putative electrical contractor also knows that after handing over his profits to the new government, and delaying or ending his plans for enlargement, he will not be praised, but continually demonized (I scanned CNN, MSNBC, CBS, and NBC the other evening, and all the stories had a common theme: the “rich” (yes, you see, ACME Electric is now about the equivalent to AIG and Citibank) will have to pay their “fair share” for all sorts of “overdue” necessities: cap-and-trade, nationalized health care, education grants and freebies, and new social programs.

You Owe Us

So our electrician senses that despite his newfound, sizable contribution to the public good, he will a) not be thanked but only further ridiculed; b) see his money diverted from his own wise use of it, to anonymous agencies’ liberal expenditures of it: the money will not be just lost, but invested in things that will make things worse, not better, through subsidies of failed programs and the destruction of incentives; c) see that the world under Obama is now unfair in Orwellian fashion: the Citibanks and AIGs, in Robert Rubin fashion, are so well connected to both parties that they will suffer little for their mistakes; the Ivy-League and Washington technocratic class that is to run all this is happy with its government perks and does not think new taxes and compliance apply to themselves (cf. Dodd, Rangel, Geithner, Daschle, Murtha, etc.).

You Never Needed All That Anyway

3) Finally the now chastised and ossified electrician will begin to see that his new truck, his boat, his vacation home, all these are somehow immoral in carbon, political, cultural, racial, and social terms. And he senses that others, who do not pay any income taxes (approaching 50% of the population), see themselves at war with him: the more he pays in taxes, the more others see that his compliance with such new burdens is proof of what he “really” owed all the time, and a sign that he can pay even more next round…
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Vandam gives us the strategic outlook here; money graf:

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…The great principle of America is that free people pursue their interests freely and the government attends only to the irreducible commonalities. That has already been eroded to the point where Americans, one way or another, stand in line in the government cafeteria. This presidency is adding bars to the windows even as it sucks the air out of the room. It’s going to be a dreadful experience. It will be everything that the most self-loathing of Americans have long wanted but didn’t have the initiative to emigrate to Cuba and get it straight up for themselves…
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We also know what the price was to crack the national government’s will in a much more virile America, circa 1968. By the end of that year, 36,152 American troops had been killed in the Vietnam conflict. That fact led to a change in the national government, which in turn sued its opponents for peace.

Goethe has supplied an operational concept.

So let’s ask another “20 Questions”, using the following assumptions:

– Two of the three branches of the Federal Government, along with most of their constituent agencies and bureaucracies, have been captured by totalitarian statists who routinely violate the limitations on their power expressly required by the US Constitution/Bill of Rights;

– The so-called “opposition party” is only marginally less statist than the incumbents, and in fact sponsored many of the most egregiously unconstitutional programs when they last held power;

– State and local governments are so financially dependent on Federal transfer payments that they are de facto mere departments of the national government, rather than the separate sovereigns envisioned by the Founding Fathers; and

– All rational prognoses are for the situation to grow worse with each passing quarter for the foreseeable future.

1) Do you know, if you deem such actions to be both moral and necessary, which targets in your area– both materiel and otherwise — you would select for political action?

2) Do you have the means (i.e., the tools and materials) needed to engage each of those targets successfully?

3) Do you have the skill sets and mindset needed to engage each of those targets successfully?

4) Do you have the operational support needed to engage each of those targets successfully?

5) Having engaged those targets in your area successfully, do you have the

– means,
– skill sets,
– mindset, and
– operational support

to evade investigation, capture, interrogation, and sentencing, so as to be capable of future missions against different targets in your area or elsewhere?

6) Do you have the means and skill sets to properly and safely exploit your successful missions for maximum propaganda value via YouTube and other media?

7) Do you have the resources to help others execute steps 1-6 in your area without compromising your own operational ability?

8) Do you have the ability to relocate successfully to other parts of the country as part of your post-mission exfiltration/recovery period?

9) Do you have the funds and personal items (essential medicines, etc.) that you would need if you suddenly had to relocate?

10) Do you have viable forms of alternate identification?

11) If you have alternative identification, do you know how reliable it is?

12) Do you have Spandoflage headwear as part of your mission kit?

13) Do you have viable gloves that will be usable in tactical situations yet unobtrusive during both your ingress and egress?

14) What steps — in detail — have you taken to avoid the standard crime scene rule that “everyone leaves evidence behind, while at the same time takes evidence away”?

15) Have you been dedicated in your physical training?

16) Have you considered the very-close-work operational utility of a snubnose .38 revolver with a dehorned hammer?

17) Have you considered the close-work operational utility of the rifled slug (12 or 20 gauge) fired from a short-barreled shotgun?

18) Have you considered all of the wonderful ways that modern statist technology is vulnerable to the creative application of force/friction/heat/cold/electrical current/water, both as a standalone event and as a triggering event for a subsequent response?

19) Are you morally squared-away for what you are about to do?

20) Have you practiced your tactics and skills so that you have a realistic assessment of your own strengths and weaknesses, and have your plans been modified in light of that assessment?

Special bonus question:

21) Do you understand that, with the millions upon millions of vulnerable, unarmed, government-paid collaborators and Quislings at the local, state, and Federal levels, let alone all of the government-owned property in every jurisdiction of this huge country just aching for traditional American political action, one of your biggest problems (after the initial decision and commitment, of course) will be in focusing your efforts so as to achieve maximum effect with minimal exposure to you?

Audentes fortuna iuvat.

>Beck: First Lab on the Left

>From Billy Beck:

Ricketyclick links an item that I saw the other day, and I thought, “That figures.” Zombietime walks us down memory lane with Obama’s Assistant for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. John Holdren was a compadre of the notorious kook Paul Ehrlich. Go have a glance at the book that they authored together in 1977. He is now ascended to the eminence of “czar”.

Let’s just suppose, ladies and gentlemen, that Holdren no longer subscribes the particular object of his view, stated thirty years ago, that “Individual rights must be balanced against the power of the government to control human reproduction”. Somehow, this man has come to power in a political party which holds “reproductive rights” as one of its strident tenets, and really doesn’t believe anymore in a “planetary regime” with the power of forced abortion and mass sterilization.

What I would like you to think about is the assertion of “balance”, and consider the prospect that this man even now views your life — you, yourself — as anything more than an insect to be managed in his own personal laboratory. You can take that bet if you want to. In any case, just be reminded that he subsists on your productivity. More: he acts on your sanction. This person is one of myriad “delegations” to representative democracy that are taken for granted as implicit every other year in the national voting hysteria. Look at the explication, kids. If he now only believes one-tenth of what he did in 1977, he would still be enough to make an American’s blood hot with defiance.

And there he sits. Would “take politics out of science” — from the seat of a “czar”. He has “wasted years” to make up — at bringing America into line with slugs and poofters the world over who have still never produced on the general level that our forebears did. He’s bringing “new regulations” that will prevent scientific advice from being influenced by politics — in a culture of euphemasia: the murder of truth by dissociation of the language from reality. What you’re seeing here is the assumption of science by politics. This is a wholesale expropriation of science by conceptual and linguistic perversion: the disclaimer of politics in a manifestly political arena arrives as a command to ignore the reality of politics as “scientific” motive.

You live because of science. The apprehensions of reality which are the task of science are applied now everywhere around you to scope and degree not dreamed of by giants only two centuries ago, and you live as you do because of fantastic efforts to bring these understandings to wide practical benefit on scales economically sufficient to make them possible.

All of that is now subject to the assertions of people like John Holdren and those who hired him stroked him into his commissariat. Do you understand? Never before has the essential intellectual dynamo that sustains human life been so comprehensively in the hands of collectivist ideology in America. They have a lot to tear down, these nicely-dressed savages who would dictate the terms and conditions of your life.

How can you wait until the next election while they’re doing that?

>Death of a Civilization

>As found at Kevin’s Smallest Minority, here is a piece that resonates with special force as the Destroyers secure their supermajority in the Senate:

Death of a Civilization

by David Deming

Over the past several years we have learned that small groups of people can engage in mass suicide. In 1978, 918 members of the Peoples’ Temple led by Jim Jones perished after drinking poisoned koolaid. In 1997, 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult died after drugging themselves and tieing plastic bags around their heads. Unfortunately, history also demonstrates that it is possible for an entire civilization to commit suicide by intentionally destroying the means of its subsistence.

In the early nineteenth century, the British colonized Southeast Africa. The native Xhosa resisted, but suffered repeated and humiliating defeats at the hands of British military forces. The Xhosa lost their independence and their native land became an English colony. The British adopted a policy of westernizing the Xhosa. They were to be converted to Christianity, and their native culture and religion was to be wiped out. Under the stress of being confronted by a superior and irresistible technology, the Xhosa developed feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. In this climate, a prophet appeared.

In April of 1856, a fifteen-year-old girl named Nongqawuse heard a voice telling her that the Xhosa must kill all their cattle, stop cultivating their fields, and destroy their stores of grain and food. The voice insisted that the Xhosa must also get rid of their hoes, cooking pots, and every utensil necessary for the maintenance of life. Once these things were accomplished, a new day would magically dawn. Everything necessary for life would spring spontaneously from the earth. The dead would be resurrected. The blind would see and the old would have their youth restored. New food and livestock would appear in abundance, spontaneously sprouting from the earth. The British would be swept into the sea, and the Xhosa would be restored to their former glory. What was promised was nothing less than the establishment of paradise on earth.

Nongqawuse told this story to her guardian and uncle, Mhlakaza. At first, the uncle was skeptical. But he became a believer after accompanying his niece to the spot where she heard the voices. Although Mhlakaza heard nothing, he became convinced that Nongqawuse was hearing the voice of her dead father, and that the instructions must be obeyed. Mhlakaza became the chief prophet and leader of the cattle-killing movement.

News of the prophecy spread rapidly, and within a few weeks the Xhosa king, Sarhili, became a convert. He ordered the Xhosa to slaughter their cattle and, in a symbolic act, killed his favorite ox. As the hysteria widened, other Xhosa began to have visions. Some saw shadows of the resurrected dead arising from the sea, standing in rushes on the river bank, or even floating in the air. Everywhere that people looked, they found evidence to support what they desperately wanted to be true.

The believers began their work in earnest. Vast amounts of grain were taken out of storage and scattered on the ground to rot. Cattle were killed so quickly and on such an immense scale that vultures could not entirely devour the rotting flesh. The ultimate number of cattle that the Xhosa slaughtered was 400,000. After killing their livestock, the Xhosa built new, larger kraals to hold the marvelous new beasts that they anticipated would rise out of the earth. The impetus of the movement became irresistible.

The resurrection of the dead was predicted to occur on the full moon of June, 1856. Nothing happened. The chief prophet of the cattle-killing movement, Mhlakaza, moved the date to the full moon of August. But again the prophecy was not fulfilled.

The cattle-killing movement now began to enter a final, deadly phase, which its own internal logic dictated as inevitable. The failure of the prophecies was blamed on the fact that the cattle-killing had not been completed. Most believers had retained a few cattle, chiefly consisting of milk cows that provided an immediate and continuous food supply. Worse yet, there was a minority community of skeptical non-believers who refused to kill their livestock.

The fall planting season came and went. Believers threw their spades into the rivers and did not sow a single seed in the ground. By December of 1856, the Xhosa began to feel the pangs of hunger. They scoured the fields and woods for berries and roots, and attempted to eat bark stripped from trees. Mhlakaza set a new date of December 11 for the fulfillment of the prophecy. When the anticipated event did not occur, unbelievers were blamed.

The resurrection was rescheduled yet again for February 16, 1857, but the believers were again disappointed. Even this late, the average believer still had three or four head of livestock alive. The repeated failure of the prophecies could only mean that the Xhosa had failed to fulfill the necessary requirement of killing every last head of cattle. Now, they finally began to complete the killing process. Not only cattle were slaughtered, but also chickens and goats. Any viable means of sustenance had to be destroyed. Any cattle that might have escaped earlier killing were now slaughtered for food.

Serious famine began in late spring of 1857. All the food was gone. The starving population broke into stables and ate horse food. They gathered bones that had lay bleaching in the sun for years and tried to make soup. They ate grass. Maddened by hunger, some resorted to cannibalism. Weakened by starvation, family members often had to lay and watch dogs devour the corpses of their spouses and children. Those who did not die directly from hunger fell prey to disease. To the end, true believers never renounced their faith. They simply starved to death, blaming the failure of the prophecy on the doubts of non-believers.

By the end of 1858, the Xhosa population had dropped from 105,000 to 26,000. Forty to fifty-thousand people starved to death, and the rest migrated. With Xhosa civilization destroyed, the land was cleared for white settlement. The British found that those Xhosa who survived proved to be docile and useful servants. What the British Empire had been unable to accomplish in more than fifty years of aggressive colonialism, the Xhosa did to themselves in less than two years.

Western civilization now stands on the brink of repeating the experience of the Xhosa. Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the late eighteenth century, Europe and North America have enjoyed the greatest prosperity ever known on earth. Life expectancy has doubled. In a little more than two hundred years, every objective measure of human welfare has increased more than in all of previous human history.

But Western Civilization is coasting on an impetus provided by our ancestors. There is scarcely anyone alive in Europe or America today who believes in the superiority of Western society. Guilt and shame hang around our necks like millstones, dragging our emasculated culture to the verge of self-immolation. Whatever faults the British Empire-builders may have had, they were certain of themselves.

Our forefathers built a technological civilization based on energy provided by carbon-based fossil fuels. Without the inexpensive and reliable energy provided by coal, oil, and gas, our civilization would quickly collapse. The prophets of global warming now want us to do precisely that.

Like the prophet Mhlakaza, Al Gore promises that if we stop using carbon-based energy, new energy technologies will magically appear. The laws of physics and chemistry will be repealed by political will power. We will achieve prosperity by destroying the very means by which prosperity is created.

While Western Civilization sits confused, crippled with self-doubt and guilt, the Chinese are rapidly building an energy-intensive technological civilization. They have 2,000 coal-fired power plants, and are currently constructing new ones at the rate of one a week. In China, more people believe in free-market economics than in the US. Our Asian friends are about to be nominated by history as the new torchbearers of human progress.

>Beck: The Way Home

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“Home becomes a foreign land.”

Scott DeSalvo verges on The Shattering.

Before I invited them to throw me out of that place, I used to tell him, “You’re going to come to me.” This is part of what I had in mind. It involves realization of reality. I cannot imagine the mental anemia that must be required to countenance the run of politics fully toward the collective in this country, now. I do understand, however, what it takes to see it for what it is. Every American now finds himself an exile in this land: the principal necessary element of the definition is a reverence for freedom. It is again, as Thomas Paine observed in 1776, “hunted round the globe,” and the heart of an American patriot is doubly wounded in realizing that this is where the fugitive was first taken in, with results that will ring through world history forever.

Nothing about this government is about freedom, now. That includes the biennial auto da fe at polls which is held out as the hope and duty of the dismal creatures who have fallen to this state of politics in this country. Just look at it: you get to wait two years before you’re allowed to roll up your little prayer in a vote-bottle to be cast off on tides of insanity and treachery. Meanwhile, the tides rage. In six months, Obama has wreaked more havoc on freedom than whole generations in the future should have to bear, with every sign of intent to make the job as complete as possible. Have your say if you want: he is having his way. And the damage that he can do before the next prayer round-up is incalculable, and you know it, if you’re capable of one moment’s thought.

“Hope”. The thing carries two sets of connotations: one suffused in florid tones ample to blotting out necessary facts, and the other actively cast in clear daylight apprehension of reality in order to look for “hope”.

I’m not sure where it is, either, but I know it will not be found in subscription to the politics that have brought us to all this. Every single one of these worms now crawling through the American idea must be instantly fired: put on notice that they have no authority, and every responsibility for the holes in this once noble house. This only happens one heart and mind at a time, and if it is true, then that’s the end of it. It is a radically — drastically — individualist proclamation to the whole world, even if no one ever hears it.

It lives alone, now.

When I told this man, several times, that he would “come to me”, he finally called it “creepy”, if I recall right. When he finds himself and sees that that’s what I was talking about, then in the words attributed to Gen. George S. Patton, he will know what to do.

>Smith: Interlocking Traps

>Continuing his articulation of The Collapse here, Charles Hugh Smith describes a series of mechanisms by which the Endarkenment will continue to accelerate.

Opener:

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Interlocking Traps

July 1, 2009

A number of lethal traps hobble structural reforms to the failing Status Quo.
NOTE: I apologize for the delays in responding to reader email; yesterday I was away from my desk all day and today our Internet service was down.

While I often refer here to cycles, trends and feedback loops, there is another class of forces called traps which are self-explanatory: once entered, traps are difficult or impossible to escape due to their inherent (ontological) nature. While all the traps have conceptual elements, each is very much grounded in the real world.

For example: once a nation misallocates its capital into unneeded malls, office towers and exurban housing which now sit vacant and decaying, that capital can never be recovered.

Here are few such traps:

1. Stagnation Trap. A pernicious positive feedback loop is at work as the Plutocracy and State continually increase their share of the national income: their power and influence increase proportionately, which then enables even more wealth acquisition and ever greater influence.

The primary consequence of this widening gap between the ever-poorer middle class taxpayers and the ever wealthier State and Plutocracy is a structural divergence between the interests of the Plutocracy and the State and those of the middle class. This widening structural imbalance of power and share of the national wealth creates an ontological (inherent) cynicism and profound political disunity which is reflected in the blocking of any structural solution by the State and Plutocracy.

Since the structural problem is State and Plutocracy over-reach, any real solution will necessarily reduce their shares of the national income and limit their joint powers. Loathe to accept even the smallest reduction in their income and power, both the Plutocracy and the State (including all those dependent on its various fiefdoms) resist all structural change with every force at their command.

The inevitable consequence is a profound structural stagnation in which real reform is betrayed in the name of compromise, the same simulacrum “solutions” which leave the powers and income of the State and Plutocracy fully intact are trotted out under new Orwellian names (“Save the American Homeowner Act,” etc.) and all discussions of truly structural solutions are ruthlessly eliminated from the mass media or belittled/undermined in classic propaganda manner.

Thus the State and Plutocracy prefer stagnation and eventual collapse to any present-day reduction in their income and power. This is the stagnation trap: in resisting structural change, the State and Plutocracy guarantee a stagnation which inevitably leads to collapse of the very system of privileges and powers they seek to maintain.

2. Scalability Trap. This is a way of describing the inevitability of job losses in any industry as it scales up to technologically optimum (automated) production. Oftwominds.com correspondent K.D. (who coined the term Scalability Trap, as far as I can tell) termed this process a “modernity tax,” or the cost of modern productivity.

Iit might be also be considered a “technology/trade tax on employment.” That is, if an economy refused technological production then it could not trade such expensively produced products profitably. Even the lowest-cost labor is more expensive than machines because machinery does not get sick, does not need to be trained, does not spoil production with errors, does not riot when idled, etc.

Just as the agricultural workforce of the U.S. has fallen to 2% from 50% as mechanization scaled up, any work which can be largely automated (not just manufacturing, but software coding, tax preparation, etc.) will fall into a scalability trap once the technology is available to automate production…
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Read the whole thing, as well as the takes by Billy Beck and Ed Rasimus on Smith’s prior piece.

Myself, I’d add two more traps to Smith’s list:

1) The taxation trap, whereby lower collections beget higher rates, which in turn beget still lower collections, requiring more tyrannical behavior by government apparatchiks in a vain attempt to fund unsustainable levels of government parasitical employment/services; and

2) The freedom trap, whereby well-intentioned folks engage in behavior that, if taken to its logical conclusion, might impact the boot aimed at one’s face. The trap arises due to the actors’ failure of intellectual honesty and will, resulting in a refusal to extend the actions to their necessary endpoints. Snyder nailed this one a decade ago.

Buckle your seat belts, kiddies — storm wall’s dead ahead.