Monday, February 28, 2011

The United States is so over


It's no longer the view only of a cranky fringe. Longstanding patriotic conditioning is giving way to a dry-eyed, realistic assessment of a country that is becoming less of a country every day.

Third World America is here, now. What's left of the middle class is squeezed in a pincer movement: one one side, a federal government that believes it is entitled to regulate everything for the benefit of professional politicians, the permanent bureaucracy, and globalist corporations; on the other side, a campaign of population replacement.

In a guest post at Zero Hedge, a writer with the nom de blog Free Radical writes:
The first, most fundamental, and most necessary step in the transition to a free society is the demise of the modern “monster state.” And the first, most fundamental, and most necessary step in this process is the demise of the monstrous American state, its erstwhile role as a beacon to the world having long ago given way to a superpower that brings not light but heat, pulling a shroud over its own people in the process. ...
It is increasingly clear, moreover, that the American welfare-warfare state is on its last legs and that its use of the present crisis to extend its reach both at home and abroad is an act of desperation, its towering inferno of debt being inextinguishable for the simple reason that desperation is what fuels it.
The United States Government isn’t fighting fire with fire, in other words; the American Empire is setting the world aflame with domestic overindulgence and foreign overextension, the difference being that it won’t merely become the latest victim of “imperial overstretch”; instead, it will become the last victim, its collapse igniting a worldwide devolution of power the likes of which the world has never known.  For while it might be assumed that Russia or China will rush in to fill the resulting power vacuum, it is far more likely that the collapse of the American Empire will precipitate a worldwide devolution revolution that no state – least of all the “monster states” – will be able to withstand, as emboldened bodies politic and sympathetic international spectators frustrate central government efforts to suppress secessionist uprisings.
Devolution of nations and empires looks to be very much part of our Zeitgeist.  The Soviet Union was the first, but certainly not the last, to crack. Then it was Yugoslavia's turn. Czechoslovakia is now divided into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Quebec is Canadian in name only. Scotland is distancing itself from the U.K. and has its own parliament. Do you really believe no such thing could ever happen in the un-United States?

It's significant that some state politicians, such as the governor of Wisconsin and many attorneys general, have decided it is politically beneficial to themselves to challenge the Washington Politburo.

Free Radical again:
No matter that their central government no longer recognizes this principle, the fact is that is no law against – i.e., no Constitutional prohibition of – secession.  On the contrary, "The procedure for joining the Union also applied to withdrawing from the Union. And the Tenth Amendment, which reserved to the states powers not delegated to the federal government, would seem to put the matter of secession with the states and the people."
So, too, would the fact that the delegations of three states, in ratifying the Constitution, specifically reserved not only each state’s right to withdraw from the Union but the people’s right to do so. For example, "The People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whosoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression … ."
Talking about secession of states, groups of states, or parts of states is not a counsel of defeat for traditionalist conservatism. It's a sensible strategy in a "country" that is permanently divided about basic values and being infused with large-scale Third World immigration to prevent any effective counter-force to Washington's lords, according to the age-old principle of "divide and conquer."

The Leftist Establishment gleefully insists that we can't turn back the clock, that statism and multi-culturalism are now a fait accompli. They are partly right. There can never again be a United States with reasonably congruent values from sea to shining sea.

But while much has been lost, much remains. There is a substantial bloc of conservative Americans who want limited government, an end to mass immigration, and a constitutional republic. As long as they spend their political capital trying to "convince" the other side of their beliefs, though, they are wasting their time. The Left's long march through the institutions and its helping hand to reconquista have seen off any possibility of reunification.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: We need a constitutional amendment spelling out how legal, peaceful secession can take place. How can such an amendment (written very carefully to prohibit judicial nullification) create any problem? If, as some people insist, secession is impractical or impossible, then the issue will never arise and separation per the amendment will not happen.

The alternative is to carry on, for a while, as a house divided against itself, with parts of the country eventually going their own way regardless. And then a federal attempt to suppress them, quite possibly giving the world a picture much like that of the Soviets sending their armies and tanks into Budapest and Prague.

Free Radical believes the response won't get to that point, or it if it does, it won't work: "Imagine the spectacle, say, of a few thousand secessionists gathered in the same nonviolent civil disobedience that Gandhi, following Thoreau, used to liquefy the British Empire, to say nothing of the  media onslaught that brought down the monstrous Mubarak regime in a matter of days. That is, imagine U.S. Government troops rolling in and dragging off American citizens, each clutching a copy of the Declaration of Independence, with cable news, Google, Facebook, and Twitter providing real-time worldwide coverage. Can one possibly believe that in light of such a blatant act of hypocrisy the American state could weather the resultant loss of whatever moral authority it still pretended to have?"

American history leaves no doubt that the Constitution was meant to create an association of states bound together for protection and trade, not an empire ruled by caesars and apparatchiks from Washington. That a mentally ill president in the 1860s was willing to send more than half a million Americans to their graves for "the Union" did not create a morally binding precedent. Let us do what is needed to insure that no one must ever again be prosecuted or killed for the crime of living in a republic rather than a centralized soft dictatorship.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The joys of unadventurous, inauthentic travel

Your blogger contemplating the rise and fall of empires.
Getty Villa, Malibu, California.

Just going on vacation is bad form. To be respectable among the "Stuff White People Like" crowd, you must include a one-upmanship gambit, for example, Adventure Travel and Authentic Travel.

The two overlap some. In both, it is imperative that you go someplace you cannot fly to (except in a helicopter that was last overhauled in 1970 and whose pilot is neither type rated nor current for his machine). Preferably a deal of hiking should be involved. If you must use ground transportation, the more primitive the better. A birchbark canoe is a good bet, unless you are traveling on a river, where a canoe would be too efficient -- really gauche. Better still is a sedan chair, so long as you are one of the bearers and a native is riding in the seat.


But Adventure Travel and Authentic Travel each have a slightly different emphasis.

Adventure travel involves risking your neck. You don't want to overdo it and actually get yourself killed, which would make telling your acquaintances about it later difficult, but there must be a tingle of danger at the minimum. Ideally you should almost lose a life or a limb. You want to gauge this carefully.

Where to go on your Adventure Travel can be determined by the following formula:

DH x ¬ET


DH is the distance from your home

multiplied by , degrees of latitude north or south of the globe's temperate regions, not including any ET

where ET = Eiffel Tower, that is, any recognizable tourist attraction.

You have, of course, seen the Eiffel Tower every time you were in Paris (except when you spent a week doing ParisUnderground®, during which you never saw the light of day. You explored the city's major sewage systems, wells, and subterranean streams, with accommodations in a refurbished medieval plague pit decorated by Philippe Starck). The same goes for all picture postcard sights, everywhere. Be warned: should you glance, even inadvertently, on an ET you turn into a pillar of salt. Your Adventure Travel is invalid. Game over.


Now let us consider the requirements for Authentic Travel. For this I am indebted to an article in the April 2004 Condé Nast Traveler. (I only read travel magazines when I'm actually on a trip; at home they seem boring and irrelevant. Hence, they tend to stay around the dwelling for a long time. Now, I suppose, Authentic has been supplanted at the top of the political correctness pyramid by Green, but a Green side dish with your Authenticity is probably unbeatable in the one-upmanship stakes).

Titled "Keeping It Real," the piece offers important suggestions, to wit:

"Museums and alumni organizations are two of the best sources of guided luxury tours that explore remote regions and their cultures in depth. The American Museum of Natural History, for instance, recently began offering its Margaret Mead Anthropology Series ... based on Mead's belief that the best way to understand a culture is to be immersed in it, the trips focus on one-on-one interactions between travelers and members of local communities. Designed by anthropologists, they provide an intimate view of isolated corners of the world while taking great care not to disrupt them."

"If you don't mind roughing it a little, a number of less costly ways to gain cultural understanding are available. Canadian tour operator GAP Adventures, for example, runs small-group trips to more than 60 destinations around the world ... . GAP saves money by using public buses and trains and by booking small, locally owned hotels. 

"Similarly affordable is Global Exchange, a California-based human rights group that leads what it calls Reality Tours in Afghanistan [this in 2004, not a vintage year for Afghanistan], Cambodia, Iran, and South Africa. The tours attract politically active clients who are more interested in culture than in comfort -- and who want to meet with women's groups to inspect health facilities, and to visit small villages."


Traveling on public buses and meeting women's groups to inspect health facilities in Iran is not my idea of a good time, but you understand that having a good time is strictly for the white boorjwah. You want to be politically active, you got to go where the wretched of the earth are, do what they do. But imagine being able to talk about it later to your SWPL friends! That's the beauty of it: this is conceptual travel.

My problem is that I've spent enough of my life riding buses and experiencing the reality of poverty. Been there, done that, and I suspect poverty is essentially pretty much the same in Cambodia or the Ivory Coast as it is anywhere; and if unique in some way, I'm ready to take your word for it rather than check it out personally, you know what I'm saying? But do tell me when you get back, in 25 words or fewer, about what the Women's Collective is doing for health facilities in Bongoland.

Contemplating a bust of the American economy.

People asked me why I would go to Los Angeles -- Eewwww! -- for a week's vacation. Well, I know my way around reasonably well, including where to keep my distance from, there are great art museums, the world's best movie theaters, all kinds of nifty restaurants, jazz clubs, Amoeba Records where I could browse all day (but don't, in deference to my better half), and a pretty decent chance of sunshine and moderate temperatures in February. All in aid of unadventurous, inauthentic enjoyment.

Wait a minute ... I'm forgetting LA's freeways. They're an adventure. And one to be shared with a great number of locals.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

The see-through city

Say what you like -- or don't like -- about Los Angeles, it remains a laboratory of human behavior unequaled anywhere else I know of.

There are those who say LA is all surface, but paradoxically, all surface is no surface. Angelinos are transparent.

Aldous Huxley described how he replied to an aspiring writer who asked how to create realistic fictional characters. I think the questioner was asking the wrong person, but Huxley's answer was thoughtful. He said, watch a bunch of kittens at play.

Kittens have no self-consciousness, no awareness of rules or ideas, and are answerable only to physiological needs such as for sleep and food. Other than programmed instinctual actions, they do what they feel like doing.

LA can seem like that. It is the world capital of non-judgmentalism, the mecca of personal expression. No one will reject you because of any "lifestyle," aside from overt criminality (and not even that among certain subcultures). Except by smoking, failing to recycle, or questioning multi-culturalism, it is hard to court disapproval in Los Angeles. (I suspect there are still people who privately are displeased by some of what they witness, but they understand that the social norms don't permit them to say so.)


So every form, and just about every extreme, of behavior is right there or not very well hidden. Shops on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood sell things few people even talked about 50 years ago. There are storefront offices staffed by M.D.s who will write you a prescription for medical marijuana; I didn't try it, but I'm guessing all you have to do is walk in and tell them you're feeling down, or have "come down" with a cold.  You can express your self-image by being tattooed all over or dressing like Cleopatra.

Is this degree of freedom and non-judgmentalism a good or bad thing? Both, it seems to me.


I'm just old enough to remember when there were very strict standards of how people presented themselves, and only one style, the style, for how to look. Respectable men wore gray suits and white shirts. Women's skirts were all the same length, give or take a few centimeters.

Having spent some of my formative years in Berkeley in the '60s, I'm still glad the mold was broken. It's demeaning for everyone who wants to be accepted to have to follow a formula, for instance of corporate masculinity or Parisian fashion.

Now, of course, and particularly in LA, we're at the other end of the personal behavior spectrum. People parade themselves as -- well, not perhaps exactly as they are, but as they want to be seen by the world. It's fascinating. Sometimes the results are beautiful, creative, evocative. Sometimes they're gross. Does the "anything goes" LA culture encourage grossness, or simply let out what is there? Are some forms of personal psychology better kept hidden or suppressed? It's easy to answer yes, of course! -- and that's what almost every previous generation did. But it's not so easy to find the perfect balancing point, of rejecting distasteful expression without forcing everyone into bland conformity.

Note that I'm talking only about outward behavior. In the much-maligned, relatively non-ideological '50s there was a good deal more freedom of speech than in our politically correct times.


Anyway, I wish that people would recognize their freedom to act out whoever they want to be while willingly not choosing vulgarity. But to insist that everyone meet my ideal veers toward the kind of Utopianism that has caused, and continues to cause, so much misery.

By the way, the non-judgmental culture doesn't mean conformity is a thing of the past. Many just choose a subculture to model themselves on. Looking for someplace to have lunch, we happened to find ourselves at the freaky-deaky end of Melrose Avenue, where the compulsively hip go to be hip. The first time I saw Melrose, in the mid-'80s, I confess I got a kick out of it. Punk and its middle class version, "New Wave," were still fresh then, a deliberately outrageous style that at least had some vitality. 

The area looks similar today, except that the T-shirt shops have been replaced by tattoo parlors with doubtless higher profit margins. But imagination and any genuine free spirited vibe seemed to me to have vanished. What's left isn't rebellion but nostalgia for rebellion.


I observed a young woman, probably no more than a teenager, with dyed red-purple hair and wearing vintage Cyndi Lauper kit. Did she understand that she was imitating -- there's no other word for it -- a style from before she was born? Or did she imagine she was out there on the cutting edge, rejecting a commercial society (of the very kind that turned the talented Cyndi Lauper into a parody)?

Arthur Koestler, in an essay titled "The Urge to Self-destruction": 
... One of the central features of the human predicament is [the] overwhelming capacity and need for identification with a social group and/or a system of beliefs which is indifferent to reason, indifferent to self-interest and even to the claims of self-preservation. Extreme manifestations of this self-transcending tendency -- as one might call it -- are the hypnotic rapport, a variety of trance-like or ecstatic states, the phenomena of individual and collective suggestibility which dominate life in primitive and not so primitive societies, culminating in mass hysteria in its overt and latent form. One need not march in a crowd to become a victim of crowd-mentality -- the true believer is its captive all the time.
Ironically, Melrose Avenue and its backward-looking devotees of cool are irrelevant in today's Los Angeles. Melrose has gone viral. Almost everyone in every social class is determined to display coolness; it's de rigueur. And hard to pull off: how can you be hip, which by definition is a rejection of the mainstream, when everybody is hip? Such a dilemma.


Saturday, February 12, 2011


PhotobucketI will be on vacation for the next week. I'm also taking the week off from blogging, unless some extraordinary event calls for it.

This space will re-activate after February 19. Meanwhile, be well, and thank you for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

U.S. global corporations to America: Drop dead

Charles Hugh Smith at Of Two Minds points out a core truth about the American economy that is hardly ever discussed in the mainstream media: nominally U.S. companies don't need to worry their heads over unemployment and poverty in the States, because most of their profit comes from elsewhere. (Tip of the hat: Zero Hedge.)
Global Corporate America has been decoupling from its country of origin for a long time, and the last weak bonds appear to be snapping. ...

Let's look at the number of consumers of global U.S. corporations' goods and services in aggregate. According to the FDIC, about 25% of Americans have little or no access to credit. This is an excellent metric of poverty: in other words, 75 million Americans are too poor to purchase much more than rent (subsidized by Section 8 vouchers, etc.) food (subsidized by SNAP food stamps), minimal healthcare (subsidized by Medicaid), toothpaste, cable TV, mobile phone service and fancy footwear made in Asia. (Every "poor" person above the level of homeless I see on the subway or bus has fancy footwear and a cellphone.)

That leaves about 225 million Americans with enough discretionary income to be more rabid consumers of global corporate America's goods and services.

Alas, the U.S. is a mature consumer economy and the limits of consumer debt and leveraging seem to have been reached. As a result, corporate revenue growth in the domestic market is limited to GDP growth (most of which is generated by Federal borrowing and spending at this point): roughly 2-3%.

You can't "grow profits" 10% a year on this sort of tepid growth. So Corporate America's focus on international markets is not just rational but essential: there is no other way to grow revenues and profits.
The U.S.A. is increasingly a small frog in a big pond. Multinational corporations don't think of it (or any country) as "home," for whose citizens it has some responsibility. If you work for one of these outfits in a managerial role, you don't live in the United States even if that's your mailing address; you are "based" there. Next month you could be "based" in Beijing or London or Brazil.

Smith says, and I see no reason to disagree, that the multinational corporate employees' "loyalty during their working hours is to the corporation, and the goal of the corporation is to maximize return on investment for the shareholders, owners and senior managers who will profit most from rising revenues and profits."


Offshoring jobs and operations isn't only to take advantage of cheap labor, although that's part of the motivation. Equally important is that corporations want a big footprint in what they perceive as their most important markets -- beyond our borders.

Can't the United States require companies headquartered here to spend some of their profits in ways that benefit Americans as a whole? I don't know how, and even if it were feasible, the government dictating to private companies how they should apportion their profits would be a quasi-totalitarian solution worse than the problem.

As a practical matter, Smith says, multinationals are now so powerful that however much they spend on lobbying lawmakers, it's nickels and dimes compared to the worldwide income they stand to make.
U.S. corporations are pulling $500 billion in profits from non-U.S. sales, and they hold $1 trillion in stashed overseas profits in various tax havens. All the growth in their revenues and profits are coming from non-U.S. sources. Spending $3-$5 billion on lobbying and campaign contributions is an "investment" with extremely high returns: for that small sum, U.S.-based global corporations make sure the U.S. government and citizenry don't become overly burdensome or obstructive. 
What can the individual do? Invest in those corporations is the only answer I can offer. Gather a little of the action for yourself and your family. If that sounds too cynical, tell me a better idea.


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The lights are going out all over Europe. Again.


Geert Wilders, the brave opponent of European Islamization, is on trial for "hate speech" in Amsterdam, where marijuana and prostitution are legal but free speech about Islam is not.

The history-minded will recognize the phrase "the lights are going out all over Europe" as a quotation from the British foreign secretary, Lord Grey, at the beginning of the Great War. Lord Grey added, "We shall not see them lit again in our lifetimes." Nor, perhaps, in ours, if the disasters of the world wars left Europe with no faith in itself, its traditions, and its institutions, and prepared the ground for surrender to Islam.

No further commentary is needed; Wilders, as usual, speaks eloquently for himself in his opening statement to the court:
The lights are going out all over Europe. All over the continent where our culture flourished and where man created freedom, prosperity and civilization. The foundation of the West is under attack everywhere.
All over Europe the elites are acting as the protectors of an ideology that has been bent on destroying us for fourteen centuries. An ideology that has sprung from the desert and that can produce only deserts because it does not give people freedom. The Islamic Mozart, the Islamic Gerard Reve [a Dutch author], the Islamic Bill Gates; they do not exist because without freedom there is no creativity. The ideology of Islam is especially noted for killing and oppression and can only produce societies that are backward and impoverished. Surprisingly, the elites do not want to hear any criticism of this ideology.
My trial is not an isolated incident. Only fools believe it is. All over Europe multicultural elites are waging total war against their populations. Their goal is to continue the strategy of mass immigration, which will ultimately result in an Islamic Europe — a Europe without freedom: Eurabia.
The lights are going out all over Europe. Anyone who thinks or speaks individually is at risk. Freedom-loving citizens who criticize Islam, or even merely suggest that there is a relationship between Islam and crime or honour killing, must suffer, and are threatened or criminalized. Those who speak the truth are in danger.
The lights are going out all over Europe. Everywhere the Orwellian thought police are at work, on the lookout for thought crimes everywhere, casting the populace back within the confines where it is allowed to think.
This trial is not about me. It is about something much greater. Freedom of speech is not the property of those who happen to belong to the elites of a country. It is an inalienable right, the birthright of our people. For centuries battles have been fought for it, and now it is being sacrificed to please a totalitarian ideology.
Future generations will look back at this trial and wonder who was right. Who defended freedom and who wanted to get rid of it.
The lights are going out all over Europe. Our freedom is being restricted everywhere, so I repeat what I said here last year:
It is not only the privilege, but also the duty of free people — and hence also my duty as a member of the Dutch Parliament — to speak out against any ideology that threatens freedom. Hence it is a right and a duty to speak the truth about the evil ideology that is called Islam. I hope that freedom of speech will emerge triumphant from this trial. I hope not only that I shall be acquitted, but especially that freedom of speech will continue to exist in the Netherlands and in Europe.
Geert Wilders is risking not only his liberty but very likely his life by speaking these words. Pass them on.


Monday, February 07, 2011

Dumbing down IKEA


I dislike shopping, almost any kind of shopping, but when I first set foot in an IKEA big box some 20 years ago it was a pleasant surprise. I'd never seen anything like the Swedish-based store, with Euro-stylish furnishings at sane prices.

I've been back to various IKEA locations over the years, but the charm gradually wore off, and this past weekend it was a distinctively sour experience. I realized that the store has gradually been going downmarket. The designs are now bland and unoriginal. Colors and fabric patterns tend toward harsh reds and blacks or "neutral" hues like beige and off-white. Timeless Dorm Room.

The environment has been degraded, too, with continuous rock music to remind shoppers of what a thrill it is to buy.
A multi-national marketer like IKEA doesn't go in for basic changes by accident. Doubtless management has computer programs that tell them the exact profit they're making on everything they sell in a given unit of time. Something has caused IKEA to devolve from stylish to blah (in its American branches, anyway -- maybe they're different in other countries).


I think I figured it out, by observing the clientele. IKEA used to see its customers as middle class, college-educated; it offered the kind of goods that would appeal to that demographic. This weekend, though, a large percentage of the shoppers were ethnic minorities (or, collectively, majority minority), rounded out with the kind of whites who wear baseball caps and  "message" sweaters. About a quarter of the hunter-gatherers were speaking Spanish.

IKEA knows what it's doing. It's responding to the changes that our rulers have forced on us, rebranding itself for a Third World America. The middle class that IKEA once pitched to is shrinking, with its back to the wall, and not in a mood for spending. Sociologically, IKEA is now a "cool" dollar store.


Friday, February 04, 2011

Clash action


Over at American Thinker, James Simpson says that "if Egypt should fall, it will mark the beginning of the end for what little remaining stability there is in the Middle East."
A combination of leftist and Islamist forces provoked the protests, and we are likely looking at a ring of radical Islamic states rising up to surround Israel.  Once their power is solidified, perhaps in a year or two, they will combine forces to attack Israel.  If Israel falls, the United States will stand alone in a sea of virulent enemies and impotent allies.
It has been obvious to some of us for years that the Third World, burdened by a low-average-IQ population, too many people, and in many cases a politico-religious totalitarian system in a 7th century time warp, was going to blow. The most likely occasion would be a steep rise in food prices. 

The question wasn't whether, but when. We could say, with Hamlet: "If it be now, ’tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come -- the readiness is all." Well, it's here, at least the beginning of it, and to put it mildly we are not ready, and it's hard to know how we can be.

Papa Doc thinks he's ready though. Simpson again:
So whom does Obama support, Mubarak or his enemies?

Obama wasted no time in telling us.  He supports Mubarak's opponents, and he probably has been all along.  The Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday that the Obama administration favors a role for the Muslim Brotherhood in a new Egyptian government.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest extremist Muslim organization, is behind practically every Muslim terrorist organization ever formed.  And while they may have publicly renounced violence as the LA Times article claims, internal documents tell a completely different story.

And if that weren't bad enough, Obama's latest comment to Egypt's leader is that "an orderly transition ... must begin now."

Must begin.  Now.
A few posts ago, when the Egypt disorder was just finding its legs, I asked why we had to issue orders to those involved. I still think it is a mistake, particularly when Papa Doc supposedly speaking for us puts all the chips on the worse of two distasteful parties in the clash.

Papa Doc isn't the only American politician who has tried to throw his weight behind one side in a foreign civil conflict. In fact, every president in my lifetime has. Almost always, it's gotten us into a bad space, turned hearts and minds against us, and stamped TV news images of flag-draped caskets on our brains.

I'm not saying that the eruption in Cairo is unimportant or has no potentially serious consequences for the United States. Of course it will be a rum business if the Muslim Brotherhood takes the whip hand in Egypt (as our president's stance makes only more likely). For whatever it's worth, I doubt that Egypt falling into the militant Islam camp will by itself be a disaster. But when you throw in the wild cards of Pakistan and Iran, the odds that Israel will either be overrun or be forced to launch a pre-emptive strike get a lot grimmer.

It's still hard to see what good it does us to try to control what goes down in Egypt, at least through official diplomatic channels. (Conceivably we might accomplish something through clandestine action, but given the present incumbent in the White House, it's unlikely to be the right thing.) Does Papa Doc really believe that by acting the paterfamilias and demanding an "orderly transition" to a government including the Muslim Brotherhood, the MB will set aside their hatred of the Great Satan?

But Papa Doc, like his predecessors, cannot conceive that sometimes a policy of benign neglect is the the best option when all others are worse. He is an intervener by nature, a remaker, The One around whom the universe revolves. A U.S. federal judge rules the Obamacare law null and void, in toto? Screw him. Full speed ahead to the glorious triumph of government health care! He'll stand in the hospital door in defiance of the court!

Like most leftist utopians, Papa Doc recognizes no limits to his power to shape events to his liking. If he wants it, that makes it orderly. And the orderly transition must begin now.


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Let's put a headscarf on the climate

Monique al-Fashionista, aide to Ramzan Kadyrov,
dresses for the (political) climate. 

It seems like every other news article these days is about government wanting to control something. "Democracy" or dictatorship, it doesn't matter; politicians are agreed that nature cannot be left to take its course, nor people to decide personal questions for themselves. Papa Doc Somebody-or-Other wants to use the levers of power to see that the script is followed.

Obama administration threatens climate veto

... reads a headline in The Politico. My first thought was that Papa Doc Kenyatta didn't like the climate and was about to try to change it with the stroke of a pen. Well, hey, if he can get a law passed to force people (other than selected supporters) to buy medical insurance, with the goal of eventually making health care sourced only from Washington, why stop at vetoing a climate he disapproves of? But it's not quite that radical; he only promises to scupper legislation putting any limit on EPA bureaucrats setting the nation's energy and climate policy.

New York's busybody mayor, Papa Doc Bloomberg, isn't satisfied with sniffing for ingredients he deems unhealthful in his city's restaurants and banning them; now he's sending undercover agents to Arizona for "sting" operations against gun sellers there, where it's perfectly legal, so he can add his peremptory voice for federal anti-gun legislation.

But you have to look to Muslim-majority Chechnya, and its president, Papa Doc Ramzan Kadyrov, to see how control freaks temporarily installed in palaces do things. He said that "a local rule forcing women to wear headscarves was justified because the sight of female flesh prevents him from concentrating on his work."
Mr Kadyrov made the comments in a televised interview with Tina Kandelaki, a glamourous Russian television star who has posed for a number of men's magazines. "You are too provocatively dressed, so I'm trying not to look at you," Mr Kadyrov told the television presenter. Ms Kandelaki was wearing a black jacket and a knee-length skirt with tights.

"If women go to work half-naked, then men won't be able to work," the Chechen leader continued. "I'll look at you, and day and night I'll be thinking about how to say salaam alaikum [hello] to you. Work will be the last thing on my mind."
I understand his problem. Many men have experienced it from time to time, although most manage to get a scrap of work done anyway. Temptation is everywhere. I see a bloke driving an $80,000 convertible and I can't concentrate on my driving. I see a photo of Tahiti and nothing can stop me splashing out for a pair of air tickets.

Restaurants can entice the unwary too. But this is one lure I know how to handle. I call the chef over before consenting to be escorted to the table. "Monsieur,  I am sorely drawn to the wonderful aroma wafting from your cuisine, but if I yield I shall think of it all day and get no work done. I note that Michelin has awarded you 1.35 stars, mes felicitations, mais ... it has come to my attention that your food contains ... contains ... I can barely force the word from my lips ... salt.

"Mayor Bloomberg Has Spoken, and I'm trying not to look at you. Your cooking is entirely too provocative."