Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Mailvox: Iraqi Tet

DU asks: Are you willing to entertain the possibility that this may be the Iraq version of the Tet Offensive? That the resistance might just have staked everything on this uprising and we put it down that they will be broken?

I'm certainly open to the possibility. It's not that I'm impressed by the savagery of the resistance or anything, after all, as much as it grieves me greatly that a single Marine should be lost, this was hardly the first day of Tarawa. But I am not at all sure that lowering the boom, so to speak, is likely to work greatly against a populace against which numerous booms have been lowered for decades. Remember, the jihad considered Afghanistan a win against the Soviets, never mind that they probably lost 20-1 casualties there, possibly even higher. And if you're accustomed to your neighbors being fed to plastic shredders, I'm not sure the notion of being arrested and being fed well by the Americans is particularly frightening.

I'm also not impressed with the Bush administration's idiotic notion of keeping Iraq together in this bizarre forced embrace of bitter enemies. If they had any real desire to make the situation work and bring freedom to Iraq, they'd carve it up according to tribal and religious zones and allow each group complete independence. Of course, the administration is not seriously dedicated to freedom and self-determination for Iraqis, but it's a pleasant-sounding fiction. I don't know precisely what their goals are, but democracy and free self-determination are clearly not two of them.

Venomous wisdom

From the Mogambo Guru: For the first time in a long time, two things happened at the same time. First, I wasn't lashing out at a cruel world when I woke up, and the second thing is that Foreign Custody Holdings at the Fed decreased last week. In fact, it went down by a whopping $16.8 billion. I will pause a minute while you rub your eyes in disbelief at both of these revelations, as I think I speak for us all when I say that we are all dumbfounded that the Mogambo even HAS any mood other than "bad" or that foreign central banks would not want to continue to fund the appetites of a consumption-addled bunch of financial and economic dimwits like us Americans. What in the hell could they have been thinking?

The banks, since we are speaking of a real dimwitted bunch of losers, soaked up $18.2 billion of government debt in the same week, taking their holdings of that toxic asset to a new, all-time record, which indicates that their supply of smarts has hit a new all-time low, in a kind of symmetrical yin-yang banking thing. But then again, I am sure that you remember that the whole history of macroeconomic crises is always the result of banks acting like greedy morons, and that this sordid history lesson goes all the way back to caveman days, when the First National Bank of Og financed the Great Depression of the Thirteenth Year of the Rule of King Ga the Merciless, and I am sure that I do not have to recount for you the terrible aftermath, wherein all the mastodons, well, why go into that unpleasantness all over again?

And the banks are starting to increase their reserves too. Worried about a potential run? Probably not, since a bank can't go bust these days, not as long as we have Ben Bernahnke's magic printing press backed by the full faith and confidence of the federal government.

Fallujah and the lessons of Chechnya

Here's what I don't understand about what I consider to be the horrendously bad idea to occupy Iraq. Given the failed French colonization of Algeria, the failed Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and the failing Russian occupation of Chechnya, why does anyone believe that an American occupation of Iraq is likely to be any more successful? Yes, I'm aware of the success of the Japanese and German occupations, but in case you hadn't noticed, there are significant differences between those two cultures and Arabic culture. We won the war - which I believe was justified by virtue of Hussein's repeated violations of the 1991 ceasefire - but once Baghdad had fallen and Hussein was in our hands, our job was done.

In the last six years, the Russians have killed almost ten percent of the Chechnyan population, and yesterday they still lost almost as many troops as we did in fighting the bloodiest battle of the Iraqi occupation to date. Does anyone seriously think that the USA is going to be willing wipe out 2.2 million Iraqis in an attempt to pacify the country? I don't believe that for a second, and yet the Chechnyan example indicates that even that might not be enough. Iraq is not exactly a country unaccustomed to suffering savage butchery.

It is a foolish, foolish thing to stake national prestige on changing the hearts and minds of another culture. In order to successfully extricate our forces without creating significant doubts about our military power, it will now probably be necessary to topple another regime before declaring victory and bringing our troops home as we should have done once Baghdad had fallen and Hussein was in our hands. I imagine Iran is the next target, since Israel is going to hit them soon before their nuclear production facilities go online if we don't do anything first.

And before Bane, Rat Spleen and company start leaping all over me with unfounded accusations of martial cowardice and dovishness, I'd ask them to answer one question. If we're not as ruthless as the Russians and the French, and their greater ruthlessness did not suffice to pacify other Arab nations, how and why do you expect this occupation to end well? And what is your metric, at what point would you be willing to admit that the occupation has failed and the troops should come home?

One of history's most repetitive lessons is that there are limits to what can be accomplished through military power. As governments since the days of Nero have learned time and time again, you cannot force people to think and behave as you wish if they prefer to die. You can only kill them, and in doing so, you invariably sow the seeds of your own destruction.

The Romans maintained their dominance for so long by constantly sowing discord among their enemies, keeping them off-balance and invading primarily when a leader appeared and gathered enough power to pose a danger to the empire. As Roma moderna, we would do well to imitate them in this regard.

Enough with the Nazis

Someone get all that stuff to the CAVE, will you? Do we have one yet? Anyhow, just copy all that stuff and throw it in there and I'll clean it up later. I'm not really in the mood to deal with it now, as I've got a car in the shop to repair the damage inflicted after getting hit while parked at the gas pump and Arsenal got knocked out of the Champions League by bloody Chelsea after losing in the FA Cup to United.

If they blow the Premiership now, I'm going to think about switching my allegiance to Scunthorpe or something.

Also, LD has something going at Check it out, even via RSS if you like. It should allow for more in depth conversation for those who wish it, although I rather like the Haloscan limits since it keeps things to the point. If you want something to go further in depth, you can always email me and request it to be posted. Except for Resispa, I'm a little frightened of what he might come up with if given half the chance.

Shifting Sands

AA began: ideologically the Nazi party was more right-wing than left.... The Nazi party did implement socialist programs, though many were gone by the end of the war because they didn't have the money to keep them going. That doesn't make them socialist, and the pluralism, egalitarianism, etc. that are central to the democratic party's platform are hardly mirrored anywhere in the Nazi party's platform. The opposite, right-wing alternatives are.

After this thesis came under severe pressure, he subsequently wrote: ...covering them all, we see that there are some specific similiarities with Republicans, some vague similarities to democrats and socialists, and some things that don't resemble either side of the political spectrum in America today. And: I cited all 25 and went through them. Since few of the 25 were even associated with the Democratic party, and those that were, were vague, this whole post baffles me.

Meanwhile, I had written "Over a third of the 1920 Munich Manifesto precisely matched goals put forth by the American Democratic party, and that percentage more than doubled if one eliminates the historical aspects of the Nazi platform that simply have no application today."

This prompted him to assert: The American Left is not mirrored in the Nazi manifesto, and neither is the Left, even if they both share qualities and aims with it. In fact, many of the aims are consumate with our Constitution. Actually, I think the Democratic party shared fewer than 7 (of the 25) by itself... Final tallies: Democrats: 7 Socialists: 14 Communists: 14 Republicans: 17 Libertarians: 6

At which point, I went through, point by point, and assessed where the various ideologies stood with relation to the National Socialist program. Which prompted him to reassess again and write: Doing percentages here is strange, but if we make these into percentages, Republicans are half Nazi, Communists 2/3, Libertarians less than 1/3, Democrats a little less than 1/2, and Socialists a little more than 1/2. Of course, in reality, none of these ideologies share the nastiness of Nazism, the total disregard for life, the all-encompassing power of the state, etc.

Care to tell us again how your views aren't changing, how you're boldly standing your ground? The only significant difference now between your latest assessment and mine is that you're still trying to disguise the Democrats' Nazi tendencies despite having to double your original count. I, too, had the Communists most similar and the Republicans at almost 50 percent. But not only are a number of your mutating assessments still incorrect - the idea that Democrats, (not to mention Socialists), don't support government-controlled media is risible, I'll take that seriously when they get rid of NPR, the NEA and "campaign-finance reform" - but your original assertion that the National Socialists were right-wing is again blown away by your own calculations.

Furthermore, the National Socialist annual percentage rate of domestic democide was .138, which is much lower than the AVERAGE annual rate of Communist domestic democides at .769, which not only includes famous killing fields such as the People's Democratic Republic of Kampuchea and the People's Republic of China, but also post-WWII Poland and Czechoslovakia. You're right, they didn't share the Nazi disregard for life, they far exceeded it.* But why let small things like historical facts get in the way of your baseless assertions?

AA is beginning to remind me of the guy who refuses to believe that his girlfriend is having an affair with another man. "But, she said she loves me," he argues, with a heartbreakingly serious expression. "Democrats say they believe in individual freedom, ergo it must be true! Socialists say they only want to help everyone, therefore it's got to be true!" And I'm forced to try to keep from rolling my eyes in disbelief as I tell him - just as I told a too-innocent friend of mine a few months ago - that sometimes people say things that simply are not true.

*true, the Nazis had a vicious 1.59 percentage rate of foreign democide, but this is not easily compared with the Communist and other Socialist regimes, since those bloodstained governments are usually too busy killing their own people to conquer foreign lands And even that rate pales before the 4.131 foreign democidal rate achieved by Indonesia for a much longer period of time in the murderous years between 1965 and 1987.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Walking the planks II

Here are the ten pillars of the Communist Manifesto, measures which Marx himself admitted were "despotic inroads on the rights of property" and "appear economically insufficient and untenable", but were necessary and unavoidable in order to make "further inroads upon the old social order".

I have analyzed these as well, from the point of view of the following four political ideologies: National Socialist, Democratic, Republican and Libertarian. Since there are only 10 points, each is assigned a value ranging from zero to 10, otherwise, the analytical process is much as before.

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

None of the four ideologies examined are willing to go to this extreme. National Socialists are the most openly enthusiastic about commandeering private property, while Democrats and Republicans have claimed 31.1 percent of the nation's land for the government between them. Democrats, however, are greater proponents of property use regulations. Libertarians oppose government ownership of land.

6 (6) National Socialists
5 (5) Democrats
4 (4) Republicans
0 (0) Libertarians

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

This one is not very difficult. I haven't done much research on National Socialist tax rates, but knowing their overall philosophy of the State I'll give them a conservative 5. If anyone has solid information, please let me know. Democrats score a perfect 10, Republicans favor lower taxes in general, but will usually raise them as well rather than cut spending. Libertarians oppose all income taxes.

10 (15) Democrats
05 (12) National Socialists
06 (10) Republicans
00 (00) Libertarians

3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

Certainly these were not recognized in the case of Jews and enemies of the Nazi State, as proved by property that is still getting back to its rightful heirs sixty years later. I'll need to dig up their inheritance laws too. Democrats are much stronger proponents of the estate tax, whereas this is one tax that the Republicans have actually managed make progress towards abolishing. Libertarians oppose inheritance taxes.

05 (20) Democrats
07 (19) National Socialists
00 (10) Republicans
00 (00) Libertarians

I'll finish this later, as I have to see a television set about a soccer game. But you can have a look at the rest of the Communist platform and draw your own conclusions in the meantime.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc.

Walking the planks

I have analyzed the foundational platform of the historical National Socialist German Workers Party and characterize how each of the following four political ideologies can be compared to it: Communist, Democratic, Republican and Libertarian. I have assigned a value from zero to four to each of the 25 points, depending on how closely the position of the ideology parallels that of the Nazi program. In cases where a point had multiple aspects, I simply attempted to look at each aspect separately, then add the total.

This analysis does not attempt to account for motivations. In a Senate of 100 senators, each may have a different reason for voting for a specific bill, but in determining a senator's ideological rating, one does not speculate as to why he voted for the bill, all that matters is his vote. Specific actions always take precedence over general pretensions.

1. We demand the union of all Germans, on the basis of the right of the self-determination of peoples, to form a Great Germany.

The key words here are forced union and right of self-determination of PEOPLES, plural, as well as a nationalist concept. Communists support forced union and collective group identification, but not self-determination. Democrats support forced union, collective group identification and self-determination. Republicans support forced union and self-determination, but not collective group identification. There is, however, a nationalist flavor that modern Democrats and Communists abjure and Republicans tend to favor. Libertarians support none of the above, favoring free association.

3 (3) Democrats
3 (3) Republicans
2 (2) Communists
0 (0) Libertarians

2. We demand equality of rights for the German people in its dealings with other nations, and abolition of the Peace Treaties of Versailles and St. Germain.

The second half is irrelevant to all four ideologies, but there is both a notion of collective rights as well as same strong sense of involuntary national identity mentioned above.

2 (5) Democrats
2 (4) Communists
1 (4) Republicans
0 (0) Libertarians

3. We demand land and territoryfor the nourishment of our people and for settling our surplus population.

Democrats and Republicans alike support military intervention on behalf of national economic self-interest, Republicans a little more strongly. Communists favor world revolution by conquest if necessary; the rationale is different but the policy is the same. Libertarians do not support this.

3 (8) Democrats
4 (8) Communists
4 (8) Republicans
0 (0) Libertarians

4. None but members of the nation may be citizens of the State. None but those of German blood, whatever their creed, may be members of the nation. No Jew, therefore, may be a member of the nation.

Neither Democrats nor Republicans seek any serious limitations on citizenship or immigration although a branch of the Republicans would support some. Both parties strongly support Israel and the Jewish people. Communist nations are viciously opposed to Israel and have historically targeted Jews, though without the single-minded ferocity of the Nazis. Communists have never suggested limiting citizenship. There is a collective race consciousness here that is shared by Democrats.

2 (10) Communists
1 (09) Democrats
1 (09) Republicans
0 (00) Libertarians

5. Anyone who is not a citizen of the State may live in Germany only as a guest and must be regarded as being subject to the Alien Laws.

This is pretty standard for both major American ideologies, although I must recognize the love Democrats harbor for illegal immigrants. Libertarians tend to favor open door policies, although not as strongly as other philosophical tenets.

4 (14) Communists
4 (13) Republicans
3 (12) Democrats
1 (01) Libertarians

6. The right of voting on the leadership and laws of the State is to be enjoyed by the citizens of the State alone. We demand, therefore, that all official positions, of whatever kind, whether in the Reich, the provinces, or the small communities, shall be held by citizens of the State alone. We oppose the corrupt parliamentary custom of filling posts merely with a view to party considerations, and without reference to character or ability.

I don't know of any ideology that seriously argues for the right of non-citizens to vote; this is irrelevant for comparative purposes. Communists, Republicans and Democrats all strongly favor filling posts with views to party considerations, albeit the American parties do so far less stringently than do the one-party Communists, nor do they apply them to the mass of the bureacracy. Libertarians would fire everyone and abolish the posts, regardless of party.

4 (18) Communists
2 (15) Republicans
2 (14) Democrats
0 (01) Libertarians

7. We demand that the State shall make it its first duty to promote the industry and livelihood of the citizens of the State. If it is not possible to nourish the entire population of the State, foreign nationals must be excluded from the Reich.

Democrats strongly support both government management of the economy as well as individual welfare, but not corporate welfare. Republicans strongly support government management of the economy and corporate welfare, but not individual welfare. One could make a deeply cynical comment about the Communist position here, but we'll resist the temptation. The latter half is massively irrelevant to the United States of Adiposity.

4 (22) Communists
3 (18) Republicans
3 (17) Democrats
0 (01) Libertarians

8. All further non-German immigration must be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans who entered Germany subsequently to August 2, 1914, shall be required forthwith to depart from the Reich.

Neither Republicans nor Democrats support racial-based immigration laws, but Democrats are more strongly against them. However, there is again the collective race consciousness shared by modern Democrats. The strong government control of immigration is shared by Communists, but not the racial flavor.

3 (25) Communists
1 (19) Republicans
1 (18) Democrats
0 (01) Libertarians

9. All citizens of the State shall possess equal rights and duties.

All four strains believe in equal rights, but it is the duty towards the state aspect that is the salient point here, indicating that the State's rights supersede those of the individuals living in it. Democrats believe this more strongly than Republicans, who are often accused of being indifferent to their social responsibilities. Duties to the State is, of course, central to Communist ideology.

4 (29) Communists
4 (22) Democrats
2 (21) Republicans
2 (03) Libertarians

10. It must be the first duty of every citizen of the State to perform mental or physical work. The activities of the individual must not clash with the interests of the whole, but must proceed within the framework of the community and must be for the general good.

Again, the State and the collective are elevated over the individual. However, citizens are required to work, which Democrats do not support despite the Clinton-era reforms.

4 (33) Communists
3 (25) Democrats
1 (22) Republicans
0 (03) Libertarians

11. Abolition of incomes unearned by work. BREAKING OF THE THRALDOM OF INTEREST.

Democrats regularly decry those who “unfairly” prosper, supposedly at the expense of others. They have not yet begun to propose legislation to abolish such incomes, however. Republicans and Libertarians alike oppose this vehemently, while Communists agree completely.

4 (37) Communists
2 (27) Democrats
0 (22) Republicans
0 (03) Libertarians

12. In view of the enormous sacrifice of life and property demanded of a nation by every war, personal enrichment through war must be regarded as a crime against the nation. We demand, therefore, the total confiscation of all war profits.

Communists don't support profit of any kind. Democrats don't like “excess” profits of any kind, and also call regularly for legislation against arms dealers. Republicans and Libertarians are both generally opposed to confiscation of profit.

4 (41) Communists
2 (29) Democrats
0 (22) Republicans
0 (03) Libertarians

13. We demand the nationalization of all businesses which have been amalgamated.

Democrats do not support nationalization of all businesses, only some. Republicans continue to support existing national monopolies such as the Post Office. Communists wish to nationalize everything, whereas Libertarians would privatize the Marines.

4 (45) Communists
2 (31) Democrats
1 (23) Republicans
0 (03) Libertarians

14. We demand that there shall be profit sharing in the great industries.

Democrats support the minimum wage, require steep social security and health care contributions from the employer and are favorable towards forced distribution of private property. Republicans likewise, but less enthusiastically. Communists want to share out not only the profit, but the entire industry. Libertarians, as usual, oppose completely.

4 (49) Communists
4 (35) Democrats
2 (25) Republicans
0 (03) Libertarians

15. We demand a generous development of provision for old age.

Democrats and Republicans alike support Social Security, but it was a Democratic entitlement passed over Republican opposition. Furthermore, it is Democrats who oppose Republican attempts to modify it in any way and are constantly telling the elderly that Republicans want to slash their benefits. Communists support, Libertarians oppose.

4 (53) Communists
4 (39) Democrats
2 (27) Republicans
0 (03) Libertarians

16. We demand the creation and maintenance of a healthy middle class, immediate communalization of the large department stores and their lease at a low rate to small traders, and that the most careful consideration shall be shown to all small traders in purveying to the State, the provinces, or smaller communities.

The notion that the state is even capable of creating and maintaining a social class is a fundamentally socialist notion on several levels. This also smacks not only of the Keynesianism of both American parties, but also of the Democratic hatred for Walmart. Communists believe that the bourgeiosie should be executed; they have as little in common with the Nazi concept here as do the Libertarians.

0 (53) Communists
3 (42) Democrats
2 (29) Republicans
0 (03) Libertarians

17. We demand a land reform suitable to our national requirements, the passing of a law for the confiscation without compensation of land for communal purposes, the abolition of interest on land mortgages, and prohibition of all speculation in land.

Republicans, Democrats and Communists alike support the confiscation of land for communal purposes, although their level of enthusiasm varies. Only Communists would abolish interest – although Greenspan appears to be trying – and Democrats are far more supportive of zoning and government management of land than are Republicans.

4 (57) Communists
2 (44) Democrats
1 (30) Republicans
0 (03) Libertarians

18. We demand ruthless war upon all those whose activities are injurious to the common interest. Sordid criminals against the nation, usurers, profiteers, etc., must be punished with death, whatever their creed or race.

Far too extreme for any American philosophy, although Democrats buy into the notion of a common interest that supercedes individual rights. Republicans favor the death penalty, Democrats largely don't. Communists support, Libertarians oppose.

4 (61) Communists
2 (46) Democrats
1 (31) Republicans
0 (03) Libertarians

19. We demand that the Roman law, which serves the materialistic world order, shall be replaced by a German common law.

The Libertarians score some Nazi points! Both Republicans and Democrats favor admiralty law, which is the equivalent of Roman law here, and have actively worked to remove the English common law from the US legal system. The Communists are violently opposed to common law, while the Libertarians support it strongly.

0 (61) Communists
0 (46) Democrats
0 (31) Republicans
4 (07) Libertarians

20. With the aim of opening to every capable and industrious German the possibility of higher education and consequent advancement to leading positions, the State must consider a thorough reconstruction of our national system of education. The curriculum of all educational establishments must be brought into line with the requirements of practical life. Directly the mind begins to develop the schools must aim at teaching the pupil to understand the idea of the State. We demand the education of specially gifted children of poor parents, whatever their class or occupation, at the expense of the State.

Ah, yes, the public schools. Both Republicans and Democrats are actually more extreme than the Nazi platform, which only called for the education of elite children at state expense. Communists support, Libertarians oppose.

4 (65) Communists
4 (50) Democrats
4 (35) Republicans
0 (07) Libertarians

21. The State must apply itself to raising the standard of health in the nation by protecting mothers and infants, prohibiting child labor, and increasing bodily efficiency by legally obligatory gymnastics and sports, and by extensive support of clubs engaged in the physical training of the young.

Democrats believe that the State is responsible for individual health, Republicans have lately begun to embrace this concept with the Medicare entitlement. Democrats are enthusiastic about government youth programs, while only the Communists make sports obligatory.

4 (69) Communists
3 (53) Democrats
2 (37) Republicans
0 (07) Libertarians

22. We demand the abolition of mercenary troops and the formation of a national army.

Regardless of the question of mercenary troops meaning militia, (I believe it does), only the Libertarians are opposed, at all, to a national standing army, but even they are open to a small defensively oriented professional army augmented by a large national militia as in the case of Switzerland.

4 (73) Communists
4 (57) Democrats
4 (41) Republicans
2 (09) Libertarians

23. We demand legal warfare against conscious political lies and their dissemination in the press. In order to facilitate the creation of a German national press we demand that: (a) all editors, and their co-workers, of newspapers employing the German language must be members of the nation; (b) special permission from the State shall be necessary before non-German newspapers may appear (these need not necessarily be printed in the German language); ( c ) non-Germans shall be prohibited by law from participating financially in or influencing German newspapers, and the penalty for contravention of the shall be suppression of any such newspaper, and immediate deportation of the non-German involved It must be forbidden to publish newspapers which are damaging to the national welfare. We demand the legal prosecution of all tendencies in art and literature which exert a destructive influence on our national life and the closing of institutions which militate against the above-mentioned requirements.

Democrats strongly support government-funded media as well as government limitations on the media. See the Equal Time bills and McCain-Feingold for details. Republicans support the latter to a lesser extent. Except for flag-burning, Republicans do not support government censorship, they support the ending of government funding, which is not at all the same thing, but Democrats support legal prosecution and closing of institutions which offend those groups they wish to protect. Communists support, Libertarians oppose.

4 (77) Communists
3 (60) Democrats
1 (42) Republicans
0 (09) Libertarians

24. We demand liberty for all religious denominations in the State, so far as they are not a danger to it and do not militate against the moral and ethical feelings of the German race. The Party, as such, stands for positive Christianity, but does not bind itself in the matter of creed to any particular confession. It combats the Jewish-materialist spirit within and without us, and is convinced that our nation can achieve permanent recovery from within only on the principle: THE COMMON INTEREST BEFORE SELF-INTEREST

This is qualified religious liberty, with the State elevated over the Church. There is a mention of Christianity, but also a strongly worded repetition of the theme that the common interest supercedes all. Democrats very much support this qualified religious liberty as well as the common interest, and at least when running for office, claim to be Christian. Republicans are less supportive of such qualifications and the notion of common interest, Libertarians reject both that as well as the State's right to interfere with private religion at all. Communists do not recognize religious liberty, but very much agree on the common interest front.

2 (79) Communists
4 (64) Democrats
2 (44) Republicans
0 (09) Libertarians

25. That all the foregoing requirements may be realized we demand the creation of a strong, central national authority; unconditional authority of the central legislative body over the entire Reich and its organizations in general; and the formation of diets and vocational chambers for the purpose of executing the general laws promulgated by the Reich in the various States of the Confederation. The leaders of the Party swear to proceed regardless of consequences - if necessary at the sacrifice of their lives - toward the fulfillment of the foregoing Points.

That's easy enough. Strong, central national authority. Deified by Communists, yearned for by Democrats, supported by modern Republicans and hated by Libertarians.

4 (83) Communists
4 (68) Democrats
3 (47) Republicans
0 (09) Libertarians

In conclusion, I believe the facts support my assertion that the Communists and National Socialists were very closely akin philosophically, that the policies and platform of the modern Democratic party are ideological cousins to the historical National Socialist program, that the Republican party has more in common with the National Socialists than many of its members would like to think, and that Libertarian ideology is the only political philosophy in direct and consistent intellectual opposition to Communism and National Socialism.

I certainly welcome any comments or logical criticisms of my analysis, however, I wish to see firm and articulated reasoning with factual support, not nebulous assertions that fail to directly address the relevant issues. Violators will not be prosecuted, however, they will be mercilessly mocked.

The Hydratic Equation

As I've stated in the past, arguing with leftists is an interesting challenge. Since their intellectual foundation built on conceptual sand, their arguments are constantly shifting and mutating. Not only do they abjure and outright mock the very notion of logical consistency – the inevitable hobgoblin quote is one of about ten common to every leftist – but they tend to be far more interested in scoring momentary style points than they are in actually winning any debate. My theory is that this is because they so seldom actually win debates with any but a completely overmatched opponent.

Thus, arguing with even the most educated leftist is rather like fighting a hydra, and like Hercules, requires one to be prepared to cauterize each tangential argument by destroying it entirely instead of merely lopping it off with a quick dismissal. I hope this Left-Wing Nazi debate with AA has been instructive, in that it has revealed many of the petty dishonesties and devious maneuvers to which even the most honest and well-meaning leftist is forced to resort in order to maintain a semblance of his base position. Please note that this is nothing personal; I am no more personally involved in this than I was when physically beating down a lesser belt in the dojo, and I very much admire AA's unusual willingness to examine the relevant facts of the matter in this and other cases.

Consider how much ground has shifted under AA's feet since he first took issue with my assertion that the National Socialists were of the Left. He made some hasty assertions and after being shown how they pointed to a contrary conclusion, has tried to shift the argument from easily verifiable platforms and policies to nebulous generalizations. In the process, he attempted to conflate Republican policies with contradictory conservative philosophy while simultaneously separating extant Democratic policies from parallel left-liberal concepts, and tried to use modern Republican support to obscure to the fundamentally left-wing nature of specific programs. He has tried to completely redefine the political spectrum in such a manner as to render it utterly meaningless - how does one measure pluralism on an idealistic-pragmatic scale? - and either revealed a total ignorance of libertarianism or been shamefully dishonest in his characterization of it.

Finally, and apparently aware of the complete failure of his rapidly mutating argument to hold any water, AA retreats to the usual left-liberal ground of claiming that the issue is inane and irrelevant.

Meanwhile, I must point out that I have not shifted my positions or definitions one iota, nor altered my argument in the least. The National Socialists were left-wing extremists, with platform and policies that predominantly fall in between the Communists to the left, and the American Democratic party to the right. In the event that anyone regards the numerous flaws in AA's meta-argument as insufficient proof, later today, I will provide a detailed analysis of the Munich Manifesto and the ten pillars of the Communist Manifesto and compare them to Democratic, Republican and Libertarian policies and philosophy.

Monday, April 05, 2004

A lot of upside

Right-of-Center bloggers asked 171 bloggers which contemporary right-wing figure they'd like to have to dinner. To my chagrin, not only did none of the 46 respondents see fit to invite me out for a bite and a chat, but just to add insult to injury, I didn't even get asked to vote. But I choose to regard this as an indication that my rapid rise to intellectual Internet stardom lies before me. I am 100 percent upside. Oh, who am I kidding. I don't actually care. Anyhow, the list is below. I think I'd probably have to go with Ann, but if Space Bunny put up a fuss, I think it would be Thomas Sowell, followed by John Derbyshire and Victor Davis Hanson. But best of all would be to go drinking with Rumsfeld, PJ and the White Buffalo.

Honorable Mentions: Clarence Thomas (4), Arnold Schwarzenegger (4), Colin Powell (4), PJ O'Rourke (4), James Lileks (4), Charles Krauthammer (4), Sean Hannity (4), Rudolph Giuliani (4), Larry Elder (4), Steven Den Beste (4), George Bush Sr. (4), Neal Boortz (4)

18) Karl Rove (5)
18) Glenn Reynolds (5)
18) David Horowitz (5)
18) Christopher Hitchens (5)
18) Newt Gingrich (5)
18) Dick Cheney (5)
16) Walter Williams (6)
16) William Buckley (6)
12) Margaret Thatcher (7)
12) Dennis Miller (7)
12) Laura Ingraham (7)
12) Milton Friedman (7)
10) Victor Davis Hanson (8)
10) Mel Gibson (8)
8) Jonah Goldberg (10)
8) Ann Coulter (10)
7) Mark Steyn (11)
5) Rush Limbaugh (12)
5) Tony Blair (12)
4) Thomas Sowell (13)
3) Donald Rumsfeld (18.5)
2) George W. Bush (21.5)
1) Condi Rice (25)

Mailvox: are you even listening

AA takes the time to go through the Munich Manifesto and characterize each of the 25 points, stating along the way: 15. This is Social Security, something both Democrats and Republicans support. 16. Not at all Democratic, and not really Socialist, either. This was basically a way of redistributing the company's wealth to citizens.

AA, by your own - inaccurate - count, you've got four things assigned to Republicans/right wing alone. You've got seven assigned to Socialists/extreme Communists/Democrats alone. And this does not even involve putting Social Security on the left - which it is, as the historical Republicans and modern libertarians oppose it - and includes accepting your bizarre notion that forced distribution of corporate wealth to labor is not socialist.

By your own freaking count the Nazis are left-wing! I am forced to ask the question, are you even listening to yourself?

The Left-wing Nazi

Here we go again. Leftists are always desperately trying to argue that Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Hitler did not belong to the Left. Trotsky and the Fabians they'll claim, for some reason, probably because no one knows who they are. I imagine they'd get around to denying Mao and Pol Pot too, except that Leftists don't care that much about dark-skinned people who don't happen to live in America. Today we're only getting Hitler denial, as AbleArt states: ideologically the Nazi party was more right-wing than left... The Nazi party did implement socialist programs, though many were gone by the end of the war because they didn't have the money to keep them going. That doesn't make them socialist, and the pluralism, egalitarianism, etc. that are central to the democratic party's platform are hardly mirrored anywhere in the Nazi party's platform. The opposite, right-wing alternatives are.

First, this is a profoundly stupid and ignorant statement about the right. The Misean libertarian right is as hard core opposition to the Left as it gets, and there is probably less than a five percent overlap between the Libertarian party and the historical National Socialist party. The same is clearly not true for the American Democratic party, or, for that matter, the American Republican Party. Able cites 10 points of the 1920 Munich Manifesto, unsurprisingly, he is unable to find a correlation between the Nazi position on the Versailles Treaty and one in the 2000 Democratic Party platform. You probably won't find much about Versailles in any Republican, Libertarian or Constitution platforms either.

He thoughtfully leaves out 15 of the 25 points, 11 of which are intellectually akin to current Democratic Party positions, as are two of the points he did mention which referred to welfare and government control of the media. 13 of the 25, however narrow still the majority of the Nazi positions, are therefore held in common. As I mentioned in my August, 2003 column entitled Hitler and Hillary, I pointed out "These supposedly right-wing extremists were calling for national health care, social security, state-run schools, communal land development and centralized government control. They were determined advocates of gun control. And if they did not believe it took a village to raise a child, they were certainly enthusiastic about public youth programs. And then there were the complaints about vast conspiracies in the private press. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?" And this does not even delve into the links, intellectual and direct, between Planned Parenthood and Nazi eugenicists.

The National Socialists were distinctly to the Left of the Democratic Party, which is not yet calling for abolishing incomes unearned by work or nationalization of all corporations. In another column on the political spectrum, I broke down five well-known strains of political thought according to what I consider to be the ten most important political issues as follows:

00 Communist
15 National Socialist
36 Democrat
52 Republican
85 Libertarian

The National Socialists not only belong on the Left, they are rightly to be considered a radical philosophy of left-wing extremism. The primary difference between Hitler and Marx was the idea of social classes, and whereas Marx saw no value in individuals, Hitler wished to direct individual achievement towards the interests of the State. And for further edification, I recommend taking a test to see if you is, or is you ain't a Nazi. The Left is always trying to resort to generalizations in order to attempt to wipe the bloodstains off its shoes and blame it on the Right, but if you take the time to actually examine the particulars, the truth always comes out.

The truth is that there was one great foe of Nazi totalitarianism, who was forced to flee from it twice. Ludwig von Mises, the most significant figure of the Libertarian Right, who published his landmark work Socialism in 1922, and his anti-Nazi The Socialist Calumny Against the Jews in 1944. Those of us on the libertarian Right have nothing to apologize for, because we have always been anti-Nazis. It is good to see that our Leftist friends now see the National Socialists as evil, here's hoping that they'll abjure their many Nazi social policies soon and join us in assigning the highest value to individual freedom and liberty in opposition to the State.

Holy Iron Crosses, kamerad!

Bastardsword answers a typically silly leftist charge of Nazihood: In case you’ve been asleep since WW-II, the modern anti-war movement is an outgrowth of the Nazi Party, after undergoing a constant stream of communist revisions. The people in Berkeley who were protesting Lend-Lease and waving pro-Hitler banners were forced to decide between Hitler and Stalin when the Hitler-Stalin pact was broken. Since Hitler was the aggressor they decided to support Stalin. With America’s entry into WW-II they took conscientious objector status and sat out the war. After the war they founded the Pacifica Radio network, which they ran till the Trotskyites took it over. The Maoists ousted the Trotskyites from control of the network in the 1960’s, and have dominated it ever since, with the exception of constant purges and counter-takeovers. These are not right-wing accusations, this is what the various DJ’s and directors of Pacifica proudly proclaim in their retrospectives on the battles, posted on their own websites....

So to put it bluntly, you’re heir to the goals of the Nazi party, chief of which is the disarmament and defeat of the Anglo-American capitalists, which is requisite for the advancement of the glories of National Socialism, embodied so well in the rule of Saddam Hussein.

I knew that there were huge similarities between American leftists and the goals of the historical National Socialist German Worker's Party. And I also knew that there were Nazi sympathizers here in the United States as well as in the UK. I did not realize, however, that the kinship was more than merely intellectual, that there was a direct line of descent from those pro-Nazi groups of the 1930s to the hard-left "anti-war" groups of today.

This sort of thing, assuming that Bastardsword has his history correct, demonstrates the absurdity of those who desperately attempt to postulate that Nazis and Communists are some kind of Manichean polar opposites. They're actually more like half-siblings than cousins, which is obvious to anyone who's read the theoretical works of both. What's interesting is that Hitler is more insane and prone to complete fantasies than Marx, but both his analyses and policies are more firmly based in reality than those of his utopian German step-brother.

If you think Twain, it usually isn't

JM hates to quibble: But the correct attribution of the item you quote in the first line of your article is _not_ Mark Twain, but Benjamin D'israeli.... Prime Minister of England and noted wit and conversationalist... Please, correct this.

Sorry, no can do. I don't have access to the WND server anymore, so I can no longer correct such inaccuracies. It might as well be a newspaper. It's a pity, but there's nothing I can do about it. My apologies for the false attribution of the reference.

Sunday, April 04, 2004


After 116,000 words, the first draft of my fourth novel is in the bag. Sure, there's all the back and forth with the publisher, the revisions, the galleys, the corrections and whatnot, and it'll probably be a year before it's on bookshelves anywhere, but this is the point that I consider a book to be pretty much done. I've been in a good mood all day with the finish line growing ever closer; now I'm not entirely sure what to do with myself.

- Actual conversation -

VD: Hey, guess what? I'm done. With the book.
SB: So, you now just have to write the epilogue or whatever?
VD: No, I wrote that too. I was on a roll today. Four thousand words.
SB: Wow, that's great, honey. Are you going to send it in tomorrow?
VD: No, I'm just -
SB: (buries head in hands)

No wonder they can't be held responsible

From the Washington Times: A review of state police monitoring of sexually violent predators under Megan's Law found that community notification about these felons is often "incorrect, late and ineffective," Pennsylvania's chief auditor says. The head of the state police says the agency is making efforts to improve the administration of the Megan's Law registry. Convicted sex offenders classified as sexually violent predators are considered to have a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes them likely to reoffend. They are subject to more stringent monitoring than the wider class of 6,210 sex offenders in Pennsylvania. The review identified shortcomings in notifying the public on the whereabouts of 13 out of 17 sexually violent predators who had home addresses in the state during a nine-month period that ended in January, state Auditor General Robert P. Casey Jr. said Friday. Currently, Pennsylvania has 31 sexually violent predators, but 12 of them are in state prisons.

In seven of the 17 cases, the study found that schools and child care centers had not been told a violent predator was living nearby. One predator came to the attention of police only when he contacted them. In another instance, state police told local police about a violent predator only after he had left the area.

So, the Pennsylvania police can't manage to keep track of only 17 of the worst criminals in the state, but anti-gun liberals believe that everyone should give up their Second Amendment rights because they are so sure that the police will be there to take defend them whenever a criminal decides to go for their life or property. Maybe liberals really are too stupid to be responsible for themselves.

You'd think that with only 17 predators to track, Pennsylvania police would have more than enough manpower to have someone literally holding the bad guys' hands 24-7. But they're probably too busy doing important things like sending 12 troopers bursting into the homes of people with suspiciously high electric bills.

The bull case

Here's a summary of why everything is peachy keen with the economy. My comments are interspersed below in blue.

The fundamental view is that we have come out of a short recessionary period; the excesses that built up in the late 1990's have gone through a much needed steep correction complete with corporate wrongdoings that are now under better control with stiffer governance and that now we should be able to move forward in a positive manner. Of course, we have no reason to believe that corporate behavior has changed in the least. I know of no CEO or serious corporate observer who believes they have. Interest rates are low; the Fed is providing sufficient monetary stimulus and they are prepared to maintain the low interest rate environment to ensure that the economy grows if maintaining low interest rates were all that was necessary to maintain growth, why hasn't it been done before? Answer = inflation and that we eventually move to the next stage of the recovery which will be a return of jobs as we did when we came out of the early 1990's recession. And how many of those jobs are/will be parasitic government jobs which add nothing to the economy but instead detract from productive capital? (Note: writing this as today's job numbers were higher than expected).

Further, the US Administration is, given the War on Terror and in Iraq, providing sufficient fiscal stimulus to the economy and that as the economy grows coupled with the tax cuts the current budget deficits will eventually disappear. That's an interesting premise given that the deficits are rapidly increasing. Furthermore, the tax cuts have been more than absorbed by concomitant state and local tax hikes. The debt is not a major problem as it has not reached the levels that were seen in the 1980's fighting the cold war and that the debt as overall percentage of the economy is also not a problem and remains below countries such as Japan and Europe. First, the official debt numbers are too low by 33 percent, second, the cumulative US debt may well be higher than in most countries in Europe, as with the exception of Switzerland, our sub-federal governments carry far more debt than do theirs. At our March 2004 rate of increase, Federal debt-to-GDP will surpass European pacesetter Italy's levels in 2011.

We are in a low inflationary period which is expected to continue as the cost of goods consumed by society keep coming down and should remain low going forward. The CPI is wholly mythical and commodity prices have been rising for three years. Stock valuations are down from the highs that were seen in the late 1990's and given the outlook for earnings, valuations in many cases are fair valuations are still absurdly high, in many cases higher than they were before the 1929 crash. and there is room for growth particularly as the high tech sector recovers and new technological innovations increase productivity which will allow stock prices to move higher over time. The productivity-growth calculations are little more than circular logic which mean nothing.

In summary, I'd say that the bull case is very convincing, as long as you take everything in it at face value and ignore the actual facts. Buy! Buy! Buy!

Aye, there's the question

Resispa writes of Republican betrayal: I agree with your sentiment on this one. Moreover, I just love the banner ad for the RNC reelect Bush campaign at the top of the blog page. If libertarians didn’t smoke such a large portion of their political war chest, maybe you could get them to buy ad space. What da ya think?

I don't sell ad space on this blog, that's a Blogger thing. I'm just trying to decide if it's a step up or a step down from the lesbian dating service ads we were getting around here a few months ago.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

New Faves

I had to add them because they're from Minnesota and aren't named Franken. And because at least one of them actually knew my video game column. But really it was due to posts like this:

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog was interviewed by Fraters Fave Terry Gross a few months back.... The great thing about the interview is that Terry tries to play along and pretend that Triumph is only doing "bits" when he is actually dissing her and NPR in general:

Terry: So you are saying that NPR may not be the target audience for your new CD?
Triumph: Oh, yes, yes, Terry. My target audience is six 50-year-old hippies who listen to this crap!

Toad Swallowers

John Miller reports on NRO's Corner: The Virginia toad swallowers--Republicans who support tax hikes--may push through their budget on Tuesday, according to the Washington Post. Now the Virginia Club for Growth says it will find primary challengers for GOPers who betray their party's principles. That's okay with Delegate James H. Dillard, Republican of Fairfax, who says, "The right-wing crazies may give you a primary, but they don't get you elected."

Got that, everyone? If you don't support tax hikes, you are a right-wing crazy according to elected Republican Party officeholders. I don't wish to give in to the language leaped immediately to the fore of my mind here, but let's just say that it involves these politician-prostitutes, the equines on which they rode, and intimate inter-species relations.

I have much respect for conservatives as well as those who love freedom and small government, but I have no time or regard for the Republican Party. They might as well rename it Fredo. I'm starting to feel about them the way I feel about Democratics, only with an added sense of betrayal to boot.

I must get my hands on this game

From GameSpy: Here's the short version of my preview: Star Wars: Battlefront lets you witness and/or participate in the mass genocide of Ewoks and Gungans. That alone is easily worth $50. If it allowed me to lop off Wicket's and Jar Jar's heads, impale them on a stick, and go gleefully parading around the galaxy, then I -- and many other moviegoers -- would gladly pay $500.

Good to know that game reviewers all haven't gone soft since I stopped writing my review column.

The girl who cried wolf

Madison police reported this afternoon that Audrey Seiler admitted to staging her own abduction. "We do not believe there is a suspect at large, period," said Acting Police Chief Noble Wray about the sketch of the man who Seiler reported had kidnapped her at knifepoint. Seiler, a 20-year-old University of Wisconsin students from Rockford, Minn., told police that the man who abducted her used tape, gum, cold medicine, a rope and a knife "against her," Wray said. Police found those items in the area Seiler said she had been held captive, but found earlier videotape of Seiler going into a local store and buying the items, Wray said.

And yet when I wrote a column about the FBI-compiled statistics of how many women are forced to admit their own rape accusations are false, it outraged feminists, some of whom parroted the official Sisterhood line that women never lie about such things. Um, okay, whatever. Of course, there are real male predators out there, which is why I recommend that women carry firearms. Then again, I won't be terribly shocked if the case against Kobe Bryant begins to fall apart soon either.

The boy who cried wolf should have been a girl.

Why do I suspect that Alice is to blame?

Via Drudge: The Observer has learned that the deal for former Vice President Al Gore and his business partner Joel Hyatt to acquire digital-cable channel Newsworld International (NWI) has hit a major obstacle and may have fallen through in the 11th hour of negotiations.

I'm guessing that this major investor took one look at the dinosaur-killing debacle that is Alice's show and decided that a humorless Democratic political operative is the very last sort of person who should be trusted to run an entertainment entity.

The most ridiculous thing I've ever heard

From the Washington Times: Preschoolers are leading the growth in use of antidepressants by U.S. children, even though many questions persist about the safety and effectiveness of using these drugs on minors. A study published in the journal Psychiatric Services found that children 5 years old and younger are the fastest-growing segment of the nonadult population using antidepressants today.... Tom Delate, director of research for Express Scripts and lead author of the study, declined to provide specific numbers of children taking antidepressants in various age groups. But one table in his report suggests that nearly 30,000 children 18 and under were taking antidepressants in 1998; and that the total was 45,000 in 2002. Prevalence of use is far greater among older children. The study found that in 2002, nearly 6.4 percent of U.S. girls ages 15 to 18 years — or 640 per 10,000 — were taking antidepressants. Among boys that age, 4.2 percent — or 420 per 10,000 — were on such drugs, the study showed.

But at least they're not smoking pot! Here's what I'd like to know. What percentage of these children drugged into complacent zombiedom by their parents are homeschooled? Or perhaps I should say, what percentage of these chemically adjusted children are attending, or will be attending, public schools? And am I supposed to believe that parents who drug their children into socially acceptable passivity love their children just as much as normal parents too?

Friday, April 02, 2004

And she doesn't know from porcupines either

Virgin Atlantic Airways was forced to ditch plans to offer hip, fun urinals in the men's rooms of its lounge at New York's JFK Airport after feminists complained that the designs were offensive to women, reports the New York Daily News. The airline wanted to put bright-red urinals shaped like women's lips into the restrooms, but the National Organization for Women had a hissy fit.

"I don't know many men who think it's cool to pee in a woman's mouth, even a porcelain one," NOW President Kim Gandy wrote on the group's Web site.

I have no way of knowing, of course, but I'm guessing the Kimster doesn't spend a lot of time in the internet Newsgroups. Back before the net went GUI, I had a friend once who had a collection of Japanese schoolgirls in uniforms that must have represented a statistically significant percentage of the population of Japanese high school girls. He filled up a twenty-meg hard drive with them! Sure, I was appropriately appalled, but I have to admit that I was pretty impressed with his dedication to his hobby.

And I felt bad, too. Here'd I'd actually been living in Japan for six months and I didn't bring back one picture of a girl in uniform for the guy.

A quickly rising sea

Nate asks: Do you have the figures on total debt vs. the GDP?

As of today, the national debt is $7,122,841,728,666.17. Of course, this doesn't include the 50 State debts, or the various county, city and local debts. The national GDP is $10.5 trillion, so the debt-to-GDP ratio is 67.83 percent. That's about twice what I've seen officially reported elsewhere, but then, many of those numbers are as many as three years old, when the debt was only 80 percent of what it is now. As of March, it's also growing at an annual rate of 7.3 percent of GDP, so would hit Italianate levels of 100 percent in 2011.

By the way, based on a notion I put forward my discussion last week with Strange and AA, this would suggest that the USA is markedly more socialist than we'd been thinking then and that such socialism is growing ever more quickly. Thank goodness it won't slow down our economic growth at all!

UPDATE: DR writes: Here's some more numbers for you:Total US household equity: $45,000,000,000.000 Total unfunded US government liability: $44,000,000,000,000 Source: Fannie Mae and, I think GAO. Do you suppose it's just a coincidence?

I suppose they figure that their lenders figure they can always grab the equity. After all, as Nate pointed out, they technically own it all anyhow. That $300k you laid out for a mortgage only makes you a higher class of renter. Can anyone confirm these numbers?

It's not just the feds

This is a disgusting story about how local governments are seizing homes over tax bills as small as $572. That's a good business. Seize the home for nothing over an unpaid tax bill, then sell it for a gain of more than 10x at auction. Maybe I should get into that business... although I suppose if I did it, we would call it theft or loan-sharking.

But it's worth it, of course. Because they need most of the money to run the cursed public schools. Did I hear public schools again? Is there an echo in here?

Boortz nails it

A great article by Neal Boortz today on the UN's attempt to take over the Internet. He even points out the same thing that I have been attempting to stress for years - Article 29, Section 3 - which proves that the UN is a totalitarian organization with no respect whatsoever for human rights.

The United Nations is no friend of freedom .. and its eyes are on your Internet. If operational control of this fantastic source of information is ever transferred to the United Nations you can rest assured that Article 29, Section 3 will be used to destroy what we enjoy so much today.

US exit UN. Now. Before it's too late, or there will be another war to preserve an entirely different Union.

The pecker don't know no color

A quartet of Minnesota men with a radio show of their own, the Fraters Libertas, pronounce Alice's show "an unqualified disaster: As an example, take the Strom Thurmond impression Franken did about 30 minutes ago. After taking about 5 minutes to outline the premise with his side kick (Cacklin’ Katherine Lanpher), it consisted of these words, in a gravel voiced, LOUD, angry, southern drawl:

“I screwed colored girls! I screwed Puerto Rican girls! I screwed them all! The pecker don’t know no color!”

And he said it over and over and over again. I actually had a shudder of embarrassment run down my spine and I considered crawling under the car seat to somehow distance myself from what was coming out of my speakers. The bit didn’t contain even a rumor of humor, just a guy shouting hateful nonsense in an attempt to be irreverent and edgy. Even Cacklin’ Katherine could only manage a few bursts of uncomfortable, embarrassed courtesy laughter. Which is more than she wanted to give, I’m sure. Can you imagine her reaction to someone saying those words on her old MPR program? Or imagine her and Franken’s reaction if Rush Limbaugh had said those words (even under the guise of it being satire)?

I think we need a new Toxic Pool, only this one measuring the lifespan of Alice's show. I'm just not sure if we should do it in days or weeks. I expected a disaster, but not one of dinosaur-eradicating proportions. "The pecker don't know no color!" That should serve nicely for Alice's epitaph. I was going to ignore the show, honestly I was, but holy cats! This is like trying to ignore a semi colliding head-on with bus one lane over.

UPDATE: Even worse, that was planned and prescripted. According to Saint Paul of the Fraters, that hysterical little bit was in the works two weeks ago: [Franken] and his team of writers have been compiling files on a range of topics that is utterly Frankenesque. The Bush tax policy will be ''a huge story for us,'' says Ben Wikler, Franken's producer. Then, too, Franken unleashes a hilarious, X-rated Strom Thurmond impersonation that has been playing in his head and that he desperately wants to make work....

I'm not sure dinosaur-eradicating will suffice. Alice, you might want to stop listening to the voices in your head. They aren't funny.

Mailvox: Vox gung agley

PM writes: Vox, if I remember correctly, Chuck D. mentioned that "rhetoric" as referring to the idea that Americans have a sense of superiority (which is confused with patriotism) and that they travel all over the world with complete disregard for anybody they meet. This wasn't mentioned in a collective sense. He then immediately discussed how he goes all over the world with his music and finds that the people he meets are just as much people as Americans.

No, in that context, I quite agree with you. And had I understood that was the context, which was not clear from the Atlanta newspaper account, I would not have written that post in that manner. I'm quite pleased to know that the Rhyme Animal is not an ein Welt, ein Reich globalist. As you may recall, I was so disturbed by the notion that I was forced to turn to quoting Les Miserables to express the depth of my shock, horror and dismay.

It just goes to show that it's a mistake to comment on things known secondhand, which is why I've just been recalculating my own debt-to-GDP numbers for next week's column. It turns out Mogambo was off by half a percent, but then, he always says he's bad with a calculator. Unbelievably, he turns out to be too optimistic for a change! I guess I'll go back to ignoring Alice's show; I'm certainly not going to bother listening to it.

However, I think it would be difficult to deny that the mindset I described is rather common among the globalist set, which equates both charity and loving one's neighbor with extortion, fraud and judicial force. I still stand by my statements, although I am happy to retract them where Chuck D, and apparently PM are concerned. My apologies. As far as the points about arguing like a libertarian goes, I'll confess to being guilty of going off half-cocked in openly stated ignorance, but I don't see that any of the rest of it applies to me.

I have not traveled as extensively as the Time-Bomb Ticking, but I speak more languages than he does and have probably immersed myself more thoroughly in at least two more cultures than he has. Because of this, I would disagree slightly with the notion that people are just people everywhere you go. They are all human beings, all children of God, to be sure, but I can state with some authority that different cultures do, indeed, cause noticeable and significant differences in the way individuals raised in them think, act and behave.

Not your grandfather's Dow Jones

If you talk to the average stockbroker, or even regular office guy with a 401k, they'll tell you how stocks always go up over time; just look at the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Forget the effects of inflation, what they also neglect to factor into their stunningly ignorant equation is that the Dow is not the Dow of yore. It's barely even the Dow of yesterday.

The century-old Dow Jones Industrial Average was reshuffled yesterday in a way that reflects the strains from the recent recession, globalization and information-technology revolution on American businesses. Three venerable but declining companies — AT&T Corp., International Paper and Eastman Kodak — were replaced by three recent winners in today's globe-spanning competition: insurance giant American International Group Inc.; the largest local U.S. phone company, Verizon Communications; and the world's biggest drug company, Pfizer Inc.

Why? Well, according to the managing editor of the Wall Street Journal: "Evolutionary trends in the economy and the stock market — in particular, the rise of financial and health care stocks and "the diminishing relative weight of basic materials stocks" But apparently no one told the traders that they were supposed to explain it in terms that make the average guy's eyes glaze over: "They're putting in much larger companies that have had better results over the last couple of years," said Owen Fitzpatrick, a portfolio manager at Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management." Yeah, I thought that might have something to do with it.

The 1999 makeover also heralded the ascendance of "new economy" technology bellwethers such as SBC, Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp., over the "old economy" icons they replaced: Sears, Roebuck & Co., Union Carbide Corp., Chevron Corp. and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Home Depot Inc., a hardware chain store whose meteoric rise has mirrored record growth in home sales and the remodeling industry, also was added to the Dow at that time.

So, if you get rid of the worst-performing ten percent of the index and replace them with fast-growing new companies every five years, you can keep things moving onward and upward forever. It's almost the opposite of the management of the Consumer Price Index, which excludes, through hedonics interpretation, "substitution" or simple exclusion, all the prices that are going up. Are you noticing a pattern here?

Mutating metrics. Interesting times.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Mailvox: You listened, now try reading

PM comments: Ah, chief evildoer al Franqen and the exploited, brainwashed blackman commit the cardinal sin of advocating our being good neighbors in the world. That would certainly seem to indicate that they're denying the new supreme commandment: that an American by birth is vastly superior to any other creature on earth and has an obligation to assert his dominion. (Having actually listened to the show, I don't recall either of them mentioning the UN here)

Right, there's no connection between world citizenship and the only institution with serious ambitions to become the government that will hand out the global ID cards. And Chuck D would be the first to tell you that he's exploited, after all, he's only recorded about 100 songs on just that very subject. Man, you sad little lefties can't even do sarcasm right, much less recognize the unconscious irony in a statement that the best Americans don't recognize their own national sovereignty.

It's truly a shame there's all that nonsense in the Bible about being a peacemaker and meek and loving your neighbor as yourself. I'm beginning to think that Jesus must have also been shilling for the UN.

If you can't tell the difference between instruction on interpersonal relations and advocating the seizure of private property by extortion, fraud and force in order to further globalist designs around the world, your reading comprehension is abysmal indeed. And if the Bible is any guide to the future, Jesus is far more likely to be gunning for the UN than he is to be shilling for it. He is the opposite of March, first Lamb, then Lion.

Good on him

Property rights champion Hernando de Soto wins Friedman Prize for Liberty. WASHINGTON--The Cato Institute today announced that the winner of the second biennial Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty is internationally recognized economist and property rights activist Hernando de Soto. The prize and its accompanying $500,000 cash award will be presented to de Soto May 6 in San Francisco. Named after Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, the prize is awarded every other year to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of human freedom....

Beginning in his native Peru, de Soto has focused on a revolutionary concept that is having repercussions throughout the world's poor countries: the lack of formal property rights as the source of poverty in poor countries. His decades of pioneering work, before presidents and in the streets on behalf of property rights for the poor, have led to global acclaim. As de Soto explained in his 1986 book The Other Path, these de facto owners were locked out of the formal, legal economy--and that was the root of the problem. "They have houses but not titles; crops but not deeds; businesses but not statutes of incorporation," he wrote.

I don't know how keen I am on the notion of awards and whatnot, but at least one is going to the good guys for a change. De Soto's work was truly pioneering, and certainly had an effect on my understanding of poverty, even if I recall him being a little debt-friendlier than I would generally approve. As usual, note that it's the State causing problems - although I don't see why it's necessary to turn to the state in order to fix them.

O Chuck, wherefore art thou

Chuck D said, on Alice's show: "The Right will dip into the old-style American rhetoric. The best Americans think of themselves as citizens of the world."

I've never been able to understand how someone could see problems so clearly, and advocate even worse solutions. I love Public Enemy - my columns are sprinkled with P.E. quotes, as some of you well know - but is he a UN lover now? I am agog, I am aghast! This should also make it clear that the entire American left, even the black radical left, is now ready to bow down and worship the global government. What an incredibly stupid, stupid group of people. Come on, Chuck! You're blind to the facts on who they are cause you're watching that nonsense. You're blind, baby.

Because it's the most important thing ever!

Derb writes on NRO's Corner: The Washington Post also signals its liberal bias by putting Al Franken on the front page AGAIN. Howard Kurtz reports from the battle front: “the signal was elusive in Los Angeles, its San Francisco station didn’t materialize, and its Internet feed kept breaking off.” So how on Earth is this front-page news? (Maybe it’s because this tinhorn network with next to no affiliates has “less than 100 employees.” Losing money hand over fist, eh?) Tom Brokaw did a whole story on his show last night, saying talk radio “of course, is dominated by conservatives.”

I'd be more annoyed about this bent to publicize every liberal effort in order to make them successful, except that it will make the inevitable crash-and-burn that much more enjoyable. Several front page stories in the Post and the NBC Nightly News? Are you kidding me? And as for the "less than 100" employees, I don't know if WND even has ten. If conservatives are supposed to have all the money, how come all the big businesses seem to line up with the liberals?

Oh wait, but we've got Fox, sort of....

Yet another reason women don't belong there

Sexual assaults by U.S. military men against their female comrades-in-arms amount to a different kind of "friendly fire" in the Iraqi-Afghan theater, victims' advocates told members of Congress on Wednesday. "While these friendly fire attacks leave no trail of blood, they leave many damaged souls in their wake," Scott Berkowitz, president of the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, told a panel of women lawmakers. "They rob our country of the services of many we have trained and nurtured to protect us." There have been 129 cases of sexual assault reported to the independent Miles Foundation in the current theater of operations -- Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Bahrain -- but only 27 were reported to military officials, according to foundation chief Christine Hansen.

Women should not be in the military. Period. No doubt some cretinous feminists will argue that the answer is to kick out the aggressive disrespecters of other individual's bodies and human rights instead. Of course, blowing someone's head off or incinerating them tends to require a certain disrespect for other's bodies, not to mention right to life, liberty and happiness, so you'd be sacrificing a lot of good potential killers-of-the-enemy in order to keep militarily useless rear echelon clerks. I don't know why this sort of thing should come as a surprise to anyone. If you've read any history at all, you know that in addition to killing the enemy, soldiers in wartime also tend to be rather more prone to burning things and raping women than the average peacetime civilian. It is far from the only reason, but the inevitability of intra-service rape is a good reason to keep women out of the military.

It must have blown big-time

From the Star Tribune: FRANKEN'S RADIO DEBUT SHY OF PERFECTION. Rush Limbaugh can sleep soundly. For now. Air America, the liberal radio network designed to disturb conservatives, had a shaky launch Wednesday as its flagship show, "The O'Franken Factor," struggled to find the proper balance among comedy, interviews and political grandstanding.

"The O'Franken Factor" should be of particular interest to Twin Cities listeners because it is hosted by Minnesota native Al Franken and Katherine Lanpher, a former host on Minnesota Public Radio. Their presence is the primary reason WMNN (1330 AM) picked up their three-hour weekday show (11 a.m.-2 p.m.), but not the rest of the network's 6 a.m.-to-11 p.m. programming. There's every reason to believe that the investment will eventually pay off. Franken is a well-read, prickly comic who rarely talks down to his audience and Lanpher is a sharp interviewer with a soothing voice, but the two of them together don't have any immediate chemistry. Lanpher is clearly not content just being Franken's sidekick. Just throwing to commercial breaks and reminding people what's coming up next is not her style; there may not be enough room in the booth for two captains.

If the Star and Sickle thought so poorly of Franken's show - for which it has been cheerleading for months - it must really have been bad. And it amuses me greatly to think that the first attempt at fixing it will probably involve kicking the pretentious air balloon that is Lanpher off the show. This is one dirigible crash that will be rather enjoyable to watch.

Oh, and Alice... I'm waiting....

Debating gold

You may recall that I was looking for a gold dip and then another move upward. It worked out pretty well according to my formula. While it never quite touched my estimated buy price of $385, the London Fix did close at 390.50 on March 3, which at 1.023 was well within my buy range of 1.02 to 1.03. Unfortunately, I had nothing with which to make a buy, but it's still nice to see things work out according to one's calculations. With the price rising 9.74 percent since then, I was considering a sale yesterday at $428, but upon looking at the numbers I saw that it was well short of my preferred sell range of 1.15 to 1.17.

Since I've already made the mistake once of not holding on during a swift move upward, I'll wait until we hit that range, which requires a price of approximately $450. The key, as always, is being correct about the general direction of the market. Since we appear to be in the early stages of a long term bull market in commodities, it shouldn't be too difficult to profit from the inevitable fluctuations But it's also best to maintain a buy-and-hold core stake during these markets, as completely missing out on the big leaps up will happen from time to time.

I'm still kicking myself for not picking up silver at $5, especially now that it's threatening to touch $8 less than three months later.
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