Monday, February 29, 2016

Snowden: US Presidential Campaign a Choice Between Trump and Goldman Sachs - By Stephen Lendman

It’s largely a choice of style, not substance, dirty business, as usual, continuing no matter who succeeds Obama. Still, Snowden has a point.
Hillary Clinton, like husband Bill, got super-rich through speechmaking, lucrative book deals, and other Big Money handouts.
Lots came from Wall Street and other corporate supporters – a rogue’s gallery of crony capitalist interests buying influence.
Her public financial disclosures show she earned $2,935,000 from 12 speeches to Wall Street banks alone from 2013 – 2015, five for $225,000 (her usual fee).
Deutsche Bank paid her $485,000, Goldman Sachs, an astonishing $675,000 for a single speech. Wall Street banks are her leading campaign contributors.
Over the same period, her financial disclosures show she earned $21,667,000 for 92 speeches to private organizations, mainly crony capitalist interests – expecting handsome dividends from their investments, the way dirty business in Washington works.
America’s political process is too corrupted to fix, a Big Money-controlled one-party state with two wings. All duopoly power candidates march to the same drummer – differing only in style, not how they intend governing if elected.
Uninformed, out-of-touch US voters are easy marks to be fooled each electoral cycle. Media scoundrels promote the illusion of democracy, existing in name only.
Popular interests are ignored, independent candidates entirely shut out. Names and faces change. Dirty business as usual wins every time.
Scattered reforms won’t work. Transformational change in needed. The only solution is a popular grassroots revolution.
The alternative is endless wars, neoserfdom, and tyranny, a horror no one should tolerate.

How The Seeds Of Revolution Take Root: the Middle Class Loses Upward Mobility - by Charles Hugh Smith

If you cap the volcano, eventually the pressure beneath rises to the point that the cap gets blown off in spectacular fashion.
That the dramatic upheavals of war, pestilence and environmental collapse can trigger social disorder and revolution is well-established.
Indeed, this dynamic can be viewed as the standard model of social disorder/revolution: a large-scale crisis—often a bolt-from-the-blue externality—upends the status quo.
Another model identifies warring elites and imperial meddling as a source of revolution: a new elite forcibly replaces the current elite (known colloquially as meet the new boss, same as the old boss) or a dominant nation-state/empire arranges a political coup to replace the current leadership with a more compliant elite.
A third model was described by David Hackett Fischer in The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History. By assembling price and wage data stretching back hundreds of years, Fischer found that cycles of economic growth spawn population growth, resulting in more workers entering the market economy. Their earnings trigger a demand-driven expansion of essential commodities such as grain and energy (wood, coal, oil, etc.).
In the initial phase, wages rise and commodity prices remain stable as supplies of essential goods expand and the demand for labor pushes up wages.
But this virtuous cycle reverses when the supply of essentials no longer keeps pace with rising population and demand: the price of essentials begin an inexorable rise even as an oversupply of labor drives down wages.
Fisher found that this wage/price cycle often ends in transformational social upheaval.
While proponents of these models have a wealth of historical examples to draw upon, these models miss a key factor:  the vulnerability or resilience of the nation-state facing crises.
Some nations survive invasions, environmental catastrophes, epidemics and inflation without disintegrating into disorder. Something about these nation’s social/ economic /political order makes them more resilient than other nations.
So rather than accept the proximate causes of disorder as the sole factors, we should look deeper into the social order for the factors behind a nation’s relative fragility or resilience.
The Decline Of Shared Purpose
Historian Peter Turchin defined a key factor in the resilience of the social order as "the degree of solidarity felt between the commons and aristocracy," that is, the sense of purpose and identity shared by the aristocracy and commoners alike.
"Unlike the selfish elites of the later periods, the aristocracy of the early Republic did not spare its blood or treasure in the service of the common interest. When 50,000 Romans, a staggering one fifth of Rome’s total manpower, perished in the battle of Cannae, the senate lost almost one third of its membership. This suggests that the senatorial aristocracy was more likely to be killed in wars than the average citizen….
The wealthy classes were also the first to volunteer extra taxes when they were needed… A graduated scale was used in which the senators paid the most, followed by the knights, and then other citizens. In addition, officers and centurions (but not common soldiers!) served without pay, saving the state 20 percent of the legion’s payroll….
The richest 1 percent of the Romans during the early Republic was only 10 to 20 times as wealthy as an average Roman citizen.
Roman historians of the later age stressed the modest way of life, even poverty of the leading citizens. For example, when Cincinnatus was summoned to be dictator, while working at the plow, he reportedly exclaimed, 'My land will not be sown this year and so we shall run the risk of not having enough to eat!'"
Once the aristocracy’s ethic of public unity and service was replaced by personal greed and pursuit of self-interest, the empire lost its social resilience.
Turchin also identified rising wealth inequality as a factor in weakening social solidarity. By the end-days of the Western Roman Empire, elites held not 10 times as much wealth commoners but 10,000 times as much as average citizens.
Wealth inequality is both a cause and a symptom: it is a cause of weakening social resilience, but it also symptomatic of a system that enables the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few at the expense of the many.
Diminishing Returns On Complexity & Expansion
Thomas Homer-Dixon’s excellent book The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization outlines two systemic sources of increasing fragility: diminishing returns on complexity and the rising costs of continuing strategies that worked well in the past but no longer yield positive results.
Successful economies generate surpluses that are skimmed by various elites to support new layers of complexity: temple priests, state bureaucracies, standing armies, etc.
All this complexity adds cost but beyond the initial positive impact of rationalizing production, it reduces productivity by draining potentially productive investments from the economy.
Building temple complexes and vast palaces for the aristocracy appears affordable in the initial surge of productivity, but as investment in productivity declines and the population of state dependents expands, surpluses shrink while costs rise.
Meanwhile, strategies that boosted yields in the beginning also suffer diminishing returns. Conquering nearby lands and extracting their wealth paid off handsomely at first, but as the distance to newly conquered territories lengthen, the payoff declines: supplying distant armies to maintain control over distant lands costs more, while the yield on marginal new conquests drops.
Expanding land under production was easy in the river valley, but once water has to be carried up hillsides, the net yield plummets.
What worked well at first no longer works well, but those in charge are wedded to the existing system; why change what has worked so brilliantly?
As the costs of complexity and state dependents rise, productive people grow tired of supporting an economy suffering from terminal diminishing returns.
Empires do not just suddenly collapse; they are abandoned by the productive citizenry as the burdens become unbearable. The independent class of tradespeople (a.k.a. the middle class), driven into serfdom by taxes, lose their shared identity with the aristocracy. Beneath the surface, social cohesion frays. Once the benefits of the status quo no longer outweigh its costs, the system is vulnerable to an external disruption that would have been easily handled in previous eras.
The Suppression Of Social Mobility
There is another key factor in the resilience or fragility of social order: the permeability of the barrier between the ruling class and everyone below. We call this permeability social mobility: how easy is it for a working class family to rise up to the middle class, and how easy is it for a middle class family to enter the political and financial aristocracy?
I recently read Venice: A New History, a fascinating account of Venice's rise to regional empire and its decline to tourist destination.
What struck me most powerfully was Venice's long success as a republic: it was the world's only republic for roughly 1,000 years.
How did the Venetians manage this?  Their system of participatory democracy accreted over time, and was by no means perfect; only men of substance had much of a say. But strikingly, key political turning points were often triggered by mass gatherings of craftsmen and laborers.
Most importantly, the system was carefully designed to enable new blood to enter the higher levels of power. Commoners could rise to power (and take their families with them if their wealth outlasted the founding generation) via commercial success or military service.
The Republic also developed a culture that frowned on personal glorification and cults of personality: the nobility and commoners alike deferred to the Republic rather than any one leader.
In Venice, the political leadership (the doge and the Council) were elected via a convoluted series of steps that made it essentially impossible for one clique to control the entire process.
The doge was elected for a term, not for life, and he had to be acceptable not just to the elites but to the much larger class of movers and shakers--roughly 1,000 people in a city of at most 150,000.
Venice's crises emerged when the upwelling of social and financial mobility was capped by elites who were over-zealous in their pursuit of hegemony: all those blocked from rising to power/influence became the source of political revolt.
If you cap the volcano, eventually the pressure beneath rises to the point that the cap gets blown off in spectacular fashion.
The suppression of social mobility and the monopolization of power by the few at the expense of the many are universal dynamics in social orders.
Broadly speaking, Venice's 1,000-year Republican government, with its complex rules to limit concentrations of power and insure the boundaries between elites and commoners were porous enough to diffuse revolution and social disorder, speak to what is once again in play around the world: social unrest due to the concentration of power and the suppression of social mobility.
I don't think it's a stretch to say that the greater the concentration of power, the lower the social mobility, the greater the odds that the system will collapse when faced with crisis.
When the entire economy is expanding faster than population, and this tide is raising all ships, the majority of people feel their chances of getting ahead are positive.
But when the economy is stagnating, and those in power are amassing most of the gains, the majority realizes their chances of securing a better life are declining. This is the pressure that is being capped by the status quo that first and foremost protects the privileged.
How porous are the barriers to social mobility in our society? That a few people become billionaires from technological innovations that scale globally is not a real measure of social mobility for the masses.
In Part 2 we identify the wellspring of revolution, and reach a conclusion that may surprise many.
Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)
This essay was first published on, where I am a contributing writer.

The Current State of Climate Alarmism - By Ari Halperin

America’s affliction with climate alarmism is shaped by two facts:
First, the main instigators have crossed the Rubicon and have no choice but to fight. How has this happened? Nature was one cause: the short-term natural warming in 1978-1998 was mistaken for anthropogenic warming through the confirmation bias. Natural cooling from 1999 onward has canceled the expected anthropogenic warming (which is small, beneficial, and caused by a variety of factors -- not just carbon dioxide release).
But other causes were entirely manmade.  In hindsight, it is clear that for almost two decades (approximately 1988 -- 2004) multiple groups of climate “scientists” have been fabricating results in parallel, unaware that others were doing the same. Mann with his hockey stick got the most fame, but he was just one among many. Computer models, descriptions of the carbon cycle, and even instrumental temperature records were forged to exaggerate climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide, to hide past climate variations, to argue that carbon dioxide release is irreversible, etc. The environmental movement, encouraging and encouraged by this perversion of science, made global warming its central theme. And so did many mainstream politicians. Al Gore was the towering figure among them. He used his two terms as vice president to gut American science, replacing scientists with environmentalists and lawyers (see the book Politicizing Science: The Alchemy of Policymaking, which contains essays by William Happer, Bernard Cohen, Patrick Michaels, Fred Singer and other scientists who experienced or witnessed this process). A vicious spiral developed: alarmist politicians handpicked scientists supporting the alarm, then they believed their claims, and so it went.  A hardened core of climate alarmism was formed from such politicians and their quasi-scientists. This core attracted multiple layers of followers, ranging from ordinary profiteers and leftist extremists to totally innocent duped believers………
The second problem can be illustrated by the words of former Senator Timothy Wirth, which he said no later than 1993: "We've got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing, in terms of economic policy and environmental policy." Too bad he did not ask where the ride was heading and who was at the wheel. The result was that many liberal or left-leaning institutions, including the whole Democratic Party, hitched themselves to the hostile agendas of the UN and European Greens. Timothy Wirth became the Chairman of the UN Foundation. Unable to get off this hellish ride, some of his allies effectively became tools of foreign governments and NGOs. An example of such behavior at the highest level is the joint climate change statement with China, in which the U.S. promised to decrease carbon dioxide emissions, while China promised to increase them! This document was signed by Obama and praised by the formerly mainstream media as a breakthrough agreement…….

When their less committed followers, including Democrat congresspersons, Senators, editors of major media outlets, liberal billionaires etc., suspect foul play, the alarmist core throws a fit and demands that they stop thinking, acting, and most of all listening to the “deniers.” Amazingly, the followers obey, even though some of them are extremely smart and experienced. Apparently, these people do not notice that the so-called “climate scientists” have no scientific achievements outside of the insular “climate science,” and that whatever honors they received were given either by their non-distinguished peers or by politicized bodies (Heinz Awards, MacArthur Foundation Awards, etc.). The “scientific consensus” is not an argument but passive-aggressive acknowledgement of a lack of arguments, and their allegations of a denial machine, secretly funded by “fossil fuels,” are just conspiracy theories. The alleged 97% agreement is closer to election results in the former Soviet Union than to the opinions of actual scientists. 
The forecast is not comforting: the alarmist core has no choice but to escalate its assault on society, and to push its powerful followers (including the Obama administration) to more and more desperate acts.
Read more:

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Christian Action Project – Notes and Asides - #3 – The Preface (Unconditional Surrender)

Before posting Study 5, I would like to further explain some of the fundamental structure of the whole series of CAP and the basic premise behind it.
Over the last 15- 20 years, I have read many books and watched some DVD series on Christian history and American politics. I have also tried to keep up with social, cultural, scientific and economic developments. As Christians, we should have a solid grounding in most of these areas.
So far, I have brought into play in this CAP series - two books and one DVD. I periodically draw from each, as I see the topic developing. If I had to select just one resource which encapsulates most of what I’ve learned and best expresses it in a readable style, it would be Gary North’s “Unconditional Surrender” book. In fact, he wrote it because he couldn’t find one which he could recommend to others.
This book has become the basic track on which our CAP series will run, in the short term at least. It is so well organized that we don’t have to read the whole book from beginning to end chronologically. Each topic has been helpful to me as an entity unto itself, with an excellent summary and conclusion. Some of you might want to order it yourself and I would certainly recommend it. The best price I have found is at American Vision. A free download is also available.
The basic premise behind this book is that we are now living in this phase of the Kingdom of God, which Jesus began upon His first advent. This is fundamentally in opposition to what a large percentage of Christians believe. That is why I have decided to post Mr. North’s Preface to his book.
(The following is from “Unconditional Surrender”.)
This book was born of necessity. In 1980, I was publishing a bi weekly economic newsletter, Remnant Review, which was sent to people who are interested in ways of preserving and increasing their capital. In my June 6, 1980 issue, I wrote about the "Four G’s” in investing: gold, groceries, guns, and God. I had plenty of recommendations on the first three, but when I came to the fourth, I got stuck. I wanted to recommend a good introductory book on the significance of Christianity for the modern world, and I couldn't think of one. There are books of many kinds, all dealing with one aspect or another of Christian faith and worship, but I couldn't think of one that was general, theologically accurate, comprehensive, and readable.
This began to bother me. At the time I was publishing seven newsletters - and writing four of them - so my time was extremely scarce. Furthermore, I ran the Institute for Christian Economics, and one of my continuing projects was writing a complete economic commentary on the Bible. Then as now, I spent a minimum of ten hours a week, fifty weeks per year, on this project. So I knew I didn't have much time to write a book. At the same time, I became convinced that an introductory book was needed.
To get the job done without ruining my schedule, I decided to write this book, but with a time limit. That limit was two weeks. I began on July 2, 1980, and I finished the first draft on July 14. In fact, I even had half a day to spare, since I finished in the afternoon.
This was the last book I ever wrote on a typewriter:  an IBM Selectric III.  By the end of the year, I had switched to a word processing program called SSI, which a year later became WordPerfect.  I used the SSI program that another ministry owned.  I plugged into its minicomputer by means of a wire strung across the street.  In those days, SSI sold for $7,500, which in today’s money is $20,000.  It ran on a $25,000 used minicomputer, which in today’s money is $66,000.  ICE bought it for me to use.  Mistake!  Within a year, it was possible to buy WordPerfect for $495, and an IBM PC for under $2,000.  I had bought too soon!  But in just one week, I doubled my output.  No other tool ever accomplished that in my lifetime.
I had James Jordan read the manuscript, and he made some important suggestions. I have included most of them in the final version. Still, the book is basically the product of two weeks of writing. The entire project took one month: from start to final draft.
I wanted it to be readable. Complexity makes books unreadable, so I wrote it rapidly: no notes, no outline, and with only the chapter headings in mind. But I had been studying the Bible for over twenty years before I began this project. (I used the King James Version for citations, since most readers own this translation.) With Jordan’s help, I made major revisions in the chapter on “Man”, in the section dealing with salvation. I am least happy with this section, since it's more complex than I had hoped, but I have been unable to figure out a way to make it shorter or easier. I wanted it to be accurate.
I simply didn't have time to be more thorough. I hope that my approach has at least made the book readable. Anyone who wants to pursue some of these topics in greater detail can follow through by reading further. No single handbook can serve as a final source on the meaning and implications of Christianity.
I decided originally to call the book Christianity: What Difference Does It Make? Some of my associates wanted me to call it Sheer Christianity, a title reminiscent of C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity. But I stuck with Unconditional Surrender, since I think it comes closer to the major themes of this book.
I wanted to produce a handbook that could serve as an introduction to the basics of Christianity, as well as a study guide for people who are already Christians, but who have never spent much time considering the social, political, and economic implications of Christianity. It might be thought of as a fat tract. It might be thought of as a Christian manifesto. My hope is that it will at least be thought of.
The book is divided into three sections. The first section, "Foundations," covers the fundamentals of orthodox Christianity. These are the religious principles that set Christianity apart from all other religions. The second section, "Institutions," covers the implications of Christianity for the major institutions of human life. We should expect to find a very different approach in each major institution from what we would expect to find in non-Christian cultures. Finally, there is the third section on "Expectations." What should we expect in the future? How will we implement the principles we found in section one? Do we have time to develop the institutional base of section two? What is the proper plan of action? What are we required by God to do?
In the third edition, published in 1987, I added the chapter on “Time”, and in this edition, I have added another chapter, “Judgment”.  I did this because I recognized that the book should be structured in terms of the five points of the biblical covenant model.  This five-point structure was the basis of Ray Sutton’s book, That You May Prosper: Dominion By Covenant, which the ICE published in 1987.  The first three chapters of this book matched the first three chapters of his.
I knew in 1980 that this book will inevitably offend everybody. It breaks with most of what we know as "establishment Christianity." There are many establishment Christians who think they aren't part of a religious establishment, but they are. When they read this book, and if they think about what they are reading, they will either have to reject much of what I conclude in this book or else they will have to begin to labor long and hard to rethink the religious principles they have been taught for many years.
Any time a reader doesn't like what he's reading, he should check his premises. Then he should check out the documentation I provide. Errors in any human book are inevitable, but it's a question of reducing errors to a minimum. This book breaks with many of the current slogans of Christian churches, yet it was written in terms of this presupposition: the Bible is the inspired Word of God. It was perfect in the original manuscripts (autographs). It is because I believe the Bible is inspired with respect to both its historical data and its theological judgments, that I decided to write this book. I am convinced that much of what passes for conservative Christianity in the early twenty-first century is neither conservative nor Christian.
What I recommend to the reader is simple to state but difficult to achieve: respect for what the Bible says. Something isn't Christian because I say it is, but because the Bible says it is. At the same time, something isn't Christian just because some pastor or some familiar book says it is. Just because you haven't heard anything like the message this book presents doesn't mean it isn't an accurate message. You have to make up your own mind. Tradition is no substitute for personal responsibility. Slogans you learned in Sunday school may not be what the Bible really teaches. Just because you may have an outline at the foot of each page in your Bible doesn't guarantee that the text of the Bible teaches what's in those footnotes. You have to decide, not in terms of what men say, but what the Bible says.                           
                                                                                                                        -July, 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Glenn Reynolds makes a connection between the Trumpening and #Brexit: - comments by Vox Day

Glenn Reynolds makes a connection between the Trumpening and #Brexit:
In America, Donald Trump — who many of the experts thought had no chance — is dominating the polls. In Britain, meanwhile, much of the public seems to be mobilizing in favor of exiting the troubled European Union — a British Exit, or Brexit.

Writing in The Spectator, Brendan O’Neill puts this down to a class revolt on both sides of the Atlantic. And he’s right as far as he goes, but I think there’s more than just a class revolt. I think there’s also a developing preference cascade. O’Neill writes: “In both Middle America and Middle England, among both rednecks and chavs, voters who have had more than they can stomach of being patronised, nudged, nagged and basically treated as diseased bodies to be corrected rather than lively minds to be engaged are now putting their hope into a different kind of politics. And the entitled Third Way brigade, schooled to rule, believing themselves possessed of a technocratic expertise that trumps the little people’s vulgar political convictions, are not happy. Not one bit.”

Well, that’s certainly true. Both America and Britain have developed a ruling class that is increasingly insular and removed from — and contemptuous of — the people it deigns to rule. The ruled are now returning the contempt.
Robert Prechter predicted this more than a decade ago. It's also happening in other European countries. This is what happens when the social mood changes. The blithe, mindless optimism that permits the populace to be used and abused by the financial elite is gone. People are seeing more clearly now, and they are beginning to recognize what was done to them, and by whom.

There will be a reckoning. There will be many reckonings. And unfortunately, not all of them will be pretty, or even civilized.

When the tide goes out, it's easy to see who was naked all along.

More From the Housewives, Please - by Gavin McInnes

“Coming up next we have retired Air Force lieutenant general Tom McInerney, financial analyst Ross Gerber, and a housewife from Nebraska named Pam.” Why don’t we ever see that on the news? I’m serious. Housewives make up almost a third of American moms and that is a massive piece of the voting puzzle. After all, it was the female vote that got Obama elected. I’m not sure why so many of them voted for him. He thinks they’re losers. “Sometimes, someone, usually Mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids,” he said in a Rhode Island speech last year, “and that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.” This isn’t an unusual sentiment. I’ve seen women who answer the “What do you do?” question with “I’m a stay-at-home mom” being met with looks of disappointment as if they had replied, “Nothing.” Top Manager in Charge of Ad Buying is just spending someone else’s money on something that probably doesn’t work, but it garners a helluva lot more respect than Creator of Human Life Who Then Shapes Said Lives. When Mitt Romney cited his stay-at-home spouse as an example of a housewife who cares about politics, a snarky “Democratic strategist” insisted Ann had “never worked a day in her life.” The implication being, housewives are too stupid to understand economics. On the contrary, they are far more invested than Rachel Maddow……

(Full text at link below)

Single women go to the doctor to get fillers and liposuction. Moms go because their son smashed his head on the coffee table and needs stitches. The latter experience is what matters to Americans when it comes to health care. Education gobbles up more money every year while test scores stay the same. Pundits have to research this, but housewives have been watching this happen from their eldest to their youngest. They volunteer in the library and see the books devoted to entertainers and sports stars. It was the mothers at my kid’s previous school who discovered a massive room full of brand-new musical instruments covered in dust. Antifeminists such as Dana Loesch and Lydia Lovric arrived at this headspace after seeing their sons chastised for being boys. Sure, I get a little worried about a mom being irrational about guns, but moms are also very protective and guns protect. Just ask Dana.
Of course, these are all examples of anecdotal evidence. But I’m not talking about one day with one housewife. I’m talking about making them an integral part of the conversation. There are more housewives than there are blacks. Where’s their voice? More moms are staying at home than ever, and Americans agree that it’s a good thing. Moms sway elections and do the vast majority of buying for the family. Pundits are amusing and they’ve practiced the art of cramming info into a small sound bite, but if we’re talking about experts, we ought to include the people on the front line. The irony is, few can be bothered. While we spend hours on TV arguing about what’s best for them, they’re too busy actually doing it.

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Are Environmentalism and Global Warming Effectively Religious Socialism? - by Dr. Tim Ball (A perfect case of circular reasoning)

Collectively, most of these wealthy socialists acted through their privileged group called the Club of Rome. The Club was formed in 1968 at David Rockefeller’s estate in Bellagio, Italy. In their 1994 book The First Global Revolution Alexander King and Bertrand Schneider wrote.
 “The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”
 They claim the list of enemies is designed to unite people. In fact, it is needed to overcome what they see as the divisiveness of nation-states and to justify the establishment of one-world government or global socialism. They believe that global warming is a global problem that national governments cannot resolve. The changed behavior they want is for all to become socialists.
 They finally settled on global warming as the environmental issue best suited for their goal. Of course, the plan was just the beginning. One of my favorite cartoons from theNew Yorker showed Moses on the mountain with the Ten Commandments. The caption read “Great idea, who is going to fund it?” Global warming and the identification of human produced CO2 as the problem suited all the political, financial, and pseudo-religious controls a socialist group could desire.
The Kyoto Protocol was presented as a solution to the problem of human-caused global warming. Those who created the Protocol also created the problem. Through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) they produced the science required to support their claim. It is a well-thought out, well-planned, classic circular argument. One of the early examples occurred in the book Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment co-authored by Paul and Anne Ehrlich and President Obama’s current Science Advisor John Holdren. While discussing the non-existent problem of overpopulation they wrote,
Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society.
The question is who “concluded that compulsory population-control” could be sustained? The answer is the authors did. The next question is who decides “if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society?” Again, it is the authors. So, they claim there is a problem, then they decide when it is severe enough to warrant complete suspension of legal controls against such totalitarianism.
More succinctly, they created the problem, created the proof of the problem, then offered the solution. This is what was done with the AGW claim. They assumed, incorrectly, that a CO2 increase causes a temperature increase. They then provided proof by programming computer models in which a CO2 increase caused a temperature increase. They ran the model(s) by doubling CO2, ceteris paribus. The results showed a temperature increase, which proved their claim. Now they could use CO2 as the lever for all their political objectives incorporated into the Kyoto Protocol. Science became the basis of blind faith.

Donors ask GOP consulting firm to research independent presidential bid - (How's that for party loyalty, eh?)

Remember when it was the mostest importantest election ever and it was vital that disappointed conservatives and libertarians rally around the Republican nominee? Yeah, well, it seemed those who appealed to party loyalty to get the disaffected right to vote for Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain, and Romney are suddenly singing a very different tune now that it is becoming apparent that Donald Trump is going to be the nominee:
Conservative donors have engaged a major GOP consulting firm in Florida to research the feasibility of mounting a late, independent run for president amid growing fears that Donald Trump could win the Republican nomination.

A memo prepared for the group zeroes in on ballot access as a looming obstacle for any independent candidate, along with actually identifying a viable, widely known contender and coalescing financial support for that person. The two states with the earliest deadlines for independent candidates, Texas and North Carolina, also have some of the highest hurdles for independents to get on the ballot, according to the research.

“All this research has to happen before March 16, when inevitably Trump is the nominee, so that we have a plan in place," a source familiar with the discussions said. March 16 is the day after the GOP primary in Florida, a winner-take-all contest that Marco Rubio supporters have identified as a must-win to stop Trump's early momentum.
I wish I could say that I'm even a little bit surprised. But I'm not. It is rather funny, though, that the rules the moderates installed to permit a Romney clone to keep out the Ronulans are going to seal Trump's victory sooner rather than later.

Never trust a moderate. Never permit a moderate in a position of leadership. And the moment he snipes at you, treat him exactly like you would treat an enemy taking a shot at you.

Scalia’s Surprising Advice for Who His Replacement Should Be - By Dr. Richard Land

Surprisingly, Scalia gave some advice on his own replacement in this summer’s controversial Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision. And now, as Justice Scalia lies in repose Scalia’s insightful words ring true that a diverse Supreme Court should benefit—and represent—all Americans.
Justice Scalia left the nation a virtual legal memo with some unexpected advice on qualities we should look for in a future successor on the nation’s highest court, mainly religious, educational and geographic diversity. In Justice Scalia’s strongly worded dissent in last year’s Obergefell-Hodges decision, which mandated same-sex marriage in all 50 states, Justice Scalia said the following: “To allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation.”
What did Justice Scalia mean? Well, the current Court, prior to Justice Scalia’s death, consisted of nine justices; four of the justices were from New York City, and if you count Justice Alito from suburban New York and New Jersey, five of the justices come from greater New York. Of the other four, two were from California—Kennedy and Breyer—and one was from Georgia—Thomas—with just one justice, Chief Justice Roberts, from the vast Midwest of the United States.
Educationally, there are more common threads—four went to Harvard, three to Yale, one to Cornell and one to Stanford, and three received their undergraduate degrees from Princeton.
And this lack of diversity doesn’t stop there. Justice Scalia also explained in his dissent that the Supreme Court had “not a single Evangelical Christian, a group that comprises about one quarter of Americans, or even a Protestant of any denomination.” Before Scalia’s death, six Catholics and three Jews made up the court. Such an elitist group of judges, Scalia argued, was very likely to be dangerously out of step with the broader culture of the country they seek to serve. Indeed.
Justice Scalia did not believe that the Supreme Court should legislate from the bench. His point, however, was that if they were going to insist on legislating from the bench, they needed to be far more representative of the country religiously, educationally and geographically.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Robert Reich: The establishment is dying

The rise of figures like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump isn't the cause; it's the symptom
Step back from the campaign fray for just a moment and consider the enormity of what’s already occurred.
A 74-year-old Jew from Vermont who describes himself as a democratic socialist, who wasn’t even a Democrat until recently, has come within a whisker of beating Hillary Clinton in the Iowa caucus, routed her in the New Hampshire primary, and garnered over 47 percent of the caucus-goers in Nevada, of all places.
And a 69-year-old billionaire who has never held elective office or had anything to do with the Republican Party has taken a commanding lead in the Republican primaries.
Something very big has happened, and it’s not due to Bernie Sanders’ magnetism or Donald Trump’s likeability.
It’s a rebellion against the establishment.
The question is why the establishment has been so slow to see this. A year ago – which now seems like an eternity – it proclaimed Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush shoe-ins.
Both had all the advantages – deep bases of funders, well-established networks of political insiders, experienced political advisors, all the name recognition you could want.
But even now that Bush is out and Hillary is still leading but vulnerable, the establishment still doesn’t see what’s occurred. They explain everything by pointing to weaknesses: Bush, they now say, “never connected” and Hillary “has a trust problem.”
A respected political insider recently told me most Americans are largely content. “The economy is in good shape,” he said. “Most Americans are better off than they’ve been in years. The problem has been the major candidates themselves.”
I beg to differ.
Economic indicators may be up but they don’t reflect the economic insecurity most Americans still feel, nor the seeming arbitrariness and unfairness they experience.
Nor do the major indicators show the linkages Americans see between wealth and power, crony capitalism, declining real wages, soaring CEO pay, and a billionaire class that’s turning our democracy into an oligarchy.
Median family income lower now than it was sixteen years ago, adjusted for inflation.
Most economic gains, meanwhile, have gone to top.
These gains have translated into political power to rig the system with bank bailouts, corporate subsidies, special tax loopholes, trade deals, and increasing market power – all of which have further pushed down wages pulled up profits.

Neoreaction and the failure of democracy - by status451 and comments by Vox Day

A very good, very intelligent article called "What is Neoreaction" by Status 451:
Why democracy doesn’t work

In what ways does democracy fail?

First, as noted above, many people vote as an expressive act. The typical Obama voter knew nothing of his policies, but wanted to be “part” of “something”. There are all sorts of cultural and emotional connotations associated with Team Pepsi, and people want to affiliate themselves with those signals. Team Coke is no better: many Republican voters are in favor of a culture of God, Flag, and Apple Pie, and cast a vote for the GOP as an expressive act, without knowing or caring the actual positions of the candidates they vote for.

Second, we are rationally ignorant: even if every voter chose to vote based on policy, not emotions, our individual contribution to the outcome of an election is insanely close to zero, and — at some level — we all know this. Thus, almost none of us bothers to educate ourselves about the candidates and their positions. This is, individually, a smart choice.

Third, democracy has the principal-agent problem: we voters send politicians to Washington DC for — well, for whatever purposes we have. We hope that, once there, they will do our bidding…and we expect to motivate them to do that bidding by using the threat of our future votes and future campaign donations. But a lot is hidden in that “voters hope to motivate them”. Because voters don’t have time or inclination to monitor politicians, and because they tend to vote for expressive purposes rather than policy purposes (think of all the anti-war Democrats who support Obama and his various undeclared overseas wars), politicians need only do just enough to appear to serve the voters, while actually pursuing their own policies.

Fourth, we humans are hyperbolic discounters. Given the promise of one marshmallow now over two in five minutes, we choose the one now. Is it any surprise that we, en masse, repeatedly vote for the politicians who promise us bread and circuses today, and a bill that won’t come due for … a while?
Fifth, democracy has the public choice problem. There are many issues which affect each of us very little — ten cents per person in extra taxes for program X, or three dollars per person more in the price of a commodity because of trade barrier Y, or a slight bit of extra hassle in doing thing Z. These hassles, collectively, destroy a lot of value in our lives, but individually, harm us very little. However, these small barnacles did not randomly accrete on the body politic — each is placed there by the dedicated lobbying of some group that benefitsquite a lot from the tax, regulation, or trade barrier. Ethanol in our gasoline harms all of us a little, but helps a small influential group quite a lot. The outrageous salaries of some tenured public school teachers harms all of us a little, but helps a small influential group quite a lot. As long as one small group benefits from a regulation, they will be motivated to secure an outsized influence on politicians. And they will succeed.
However, I would note it should be kept in mind that what the author means by "democracy" here is "representative democracy" and not genuine direct democracy of the sort practiced in Greece, US state referendums, and European national referendums of the sort in which Great Britain is presently engaged. But regardless, a very good article.

My opinion, as I have previously expressed, is that the problems of "mob rule" of which the Founders so famously warned have proven to be considerably fewer and less problematic than the problems of establishing a political elite that uses the illusion of democratic approval as a protective shield. Now that technology makes it viable for larger polities, direct democracy is a moral imperative in any society with a government that is justified by the will of the people.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Trump - A Strong Dose of Reality! - By G. Murphy Donovan

Muslim migration is one of two things; a humanitarian crisis or the second wave of imperial Islam, a cultural blitzkrieg. Neither Europe nor America can decide which. Impaled on a moral dilemma of their own making, Brussels and Washington have accepted open borders by default. Concurrently, there are few open borders in the Ummah. Trump says that un-vetted Muslim immigration is an evolving disaster. If national sovereignty and national security are still virtues, he is correct.
A hiatus on Muslim immigration pending rigorous vetting and improved border control facilities is simple common sense. Acknowledged or not, the Islamic world is the nexus of modern global instability. Chaos, terror, sedition, and religious fascism are now Islam’s primary cultural exports.
The Ummah problem is both jihad and religious ideology. Islam is at war with the world, but only ayatollahs, imams, and gadflies like Netanyahu and Trump seem to acknowledge that reality.
Donald Trump often obscures intimations of policy with bombast, bad manners, and broad strokes. Fortunately, Trump is running for commander-in-chief, not Secretary of State. He defends the absence of specifics so as not to telegraph his punches. Indeed, the telegraphed punch has become a battle standard of hapless Team Obama in the Levant and South Asia. If Trump does nothing else in 2016, his broad policy strokes may herald a pragmatic and much needed revolution in 21st Century American foreign/military affairs.
Often, the ship of state must come about before it can fire for effect. Policy wonks can wait for the details.
Read more: