Out and About on a Sunday

The Baltic Dry Index has reached a 29 year low: here’s the “we’re all gonna die” take on it and the “no worries” view. I lean towards the former – it just can’t be good when an index like this crashes through the floor. On the other hand, the central bankers have been astoundingly successful in keeping up appearances since 2009 and I have no idea how much longer they’ll be able to do it. I expect a Dow above 20k before it crashes…on the other other hand (all conservatives being three-handed mutant lizard people, after all), I have started to hear radio ads urging people to take out home equity loans and to start getting into house flipping…which is just what I heard in 2008. So, make of it what you will.

News story says Obama threatened to shoot down Israeli air force jets if Israel tried to strike Iran’s nuclear program. I don’t know if its true – don’t know if its completely mythical or absolutely true or if its just someone who heard an Obama official getting really mad and saying something along these lines. However: if it turns out to be true, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. In geo-strategic terms, the American left has hated the state of the world since 1991 – since the USSR fell, that is, and left the United States as the world’s sole super power. It just isn’t fair that there’s no power on earth which can restrain the United States, ya dig? A nuclear-armed Iran will re-balance power in the Middle East…just as a rebuilt Russian Empire will re-balance it in Europe and a powerful China re-balances it in east Asia. All else being equal, our liberals prefer a world where the United States is forced to be circumspect in world affairs…the enemy (who is only an enemy because of our crimes/errors, per the left) must be able to stand up to us. A nuclear-armed Iran is a feature, not a bug, in liberal strategy. Once it exists, they’ll be able to say, “well, there’s nothing we can do so we’ll need to go the route of peaceful co-existence and detente with Iran (Russia/China)…”. Anyone who wants to oppose Iran will be accused of wanting 24-hour-round-the-clock nuclear holocaust and dismissed from the debate. Look for ISALT (Iran Strategic Arms Limitations Talks) to start in 2018 or so…

Rep. Peter King (RINO-NY) has had it with the “delusional wing” of the GOP. Hey, Pete, guess what? We’ve rather had it with you. Why don’t you become a Democrat or Independent and leave us alone? If we’re doomed to defeat without the likes of you in the party, then we’ll sing proudly of our defeat.

More and more Walker to Reagan comparisons are being made, and I’m seeing the point. Liberals called Reagan the “teflon President” because nothing stuck to him. Now, in the fevered mind of the left, this meant that Reagan was horrible and corrupt but they could never get the American people to see that. The reality is that Reagan was incorruptible and thus liberal slanders just rolled off him…when you are innocent, you genuinely can laugh off nonsense. Liberals are doing everything they can to slander Walker – they are already deep into just making stuff up and seeing if it flies – but it isn’t sticking. One thing I’ve always enjoyed is liberals who come across a conservative they just can’t beat no matter how hard they try.

Venezuela’s crazy commie dictatorship does some crazy, commie stuff

Gas prices have been spiking - worst in California but whenever non-Californians hear bad economic news from California, we just laugh: its your own darned fault, California – you really thought that Jerry Brown was going to make things better? Geesh! But, it is also bad news in general…a lot of the not-quite-dead-glow on the U.S. economy for the past couple months has been from lower gas prices…

I guess the Germans felt the need to brush up on their anti-Semitism. Can’t get too far behind the French, huh? Hitler’s mindless tome is to be re-released in Germany for the first time since World War Two.

In a bit of entirely unrelated news, the religion of peace does a little bit of literary criticism.

Jeb wants to be our 2nd choice for 2016 – meaning we conservatives. Sorry, Jeb; at best you’d be my 8th or 9th choice…and if its between you and Hillary, what is my reason for voting?

Out and About on a Saturday

I had written an article on the 21 Martyrs in Libya – but I couldn’t get it right. Then I tried dipping my toes into the “Does Obama Love America” debate, and that didn’t come out right, either (spoiler: I don’t think he really does). I’m kind of at a loss – but I also feel we are in a great change in America…and it has to do with the combination of the 21 Martyrs and Obama being someone who isn’t over fond of America. I don’t think that America in 2017 will be quite what Obama hopes it will be.

That said, just a few things:

Want a name for your residential high-rise? Stay away from “Torch“.

The State Department, fresh off of hash-tagging our enemies into submission (I mean, Boko Haram brought back the girls, right?), has now put out a snappy website designed to get on top of “violent extremism”. Violent Extremism is bad – but only really, really bad – and politically useful – when it can be assigned to straight, white, Christian, American males who live in fly-over country. A lot of people are upset about this, but really it’s been the liberal MO for a while now – to soft-peddle the really bad actors while massively exaggerating the involvement of their particular, political opponents with the tiny, tiny number of home-grown bad actors in the United States. But, I’m sure that State Department presentation will get the whole problem licked in no time…

Greece and the EU come to a sort-of agreement on continued bail outs. Why? Because for all their white-hot rhetoric, the new, leftwing government of Greece is peas as a pod to the rest of the European Ruling Class. Some day a genuinely populist movement might gain power in an European country and tell the Eurocrats to pound sand, but that day isn’t today.

ObamaCare continues to be the complete nightmare of a worthless program we all said it would be.

Condi Rice leads a crowded field to replace out-going Senator (and numbskull) Barbara Boxer. Rice might be a very good fit for California – a bit socially liberal, fiscally conservative…smarter than all the Democrats in California combined. We’ll see if this comes to be.

Shocking News! Brazil’s experiment in socialism isn’t ushering in peace and prosperity.

Plurality of Democrats think Obama should just ignore the law – a very solid majority of Obama thinks he should, too.

Very widespread global warming activity going on. We here in Vegas are sitting at about 72 degrees and we’re just laughing and laughing and laughing…

Friday Open Thread

First up – global warming hoax update:

Arctic sea ice has reached the largest December extent in a decade. Government experts will of course not acknowledge this, because their funding and reputations depend on a misinformed public and Congress.

Here in Las Vegas, there is a chance we’ll have a light dusting of global warming on New Years Eve.

Does it seem like politics are stupid? You know, where the debate is about absurd, asinine things put forth by shrieking nincompoops? I think it is intentional – it is impossible to win stupid arguments. You can’t have a rational debate over an irrational proposition…this, I believe, is a tactic of the left: Keep it Stupid. The more we have people shouting stupid slogans, the less actual debate goes on, the more time the left has to grind their policies through the bureaucracies and courts.

The Washington Post notes that the Islamic State is not very good at State-building:

In the Iraqi city of Mosul, the water has become undrinkable because supplies of chlorine have dried up, said a journalist living there, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect his safety…

Which tells you this: ISIS is in control in Mosul…and I think, for the moment, that is ISIS’ main plan. Sure, they are putting out propaganda showing themselves in a good light (and I think the beheading videos are classified under “happy talk” propaganda in ISIS), but the real goal, for now, is absolute power…they’ll worry about drinking water once the infidels are smashed. I get the feeling that WaPo is tut-tutting here…as if a bloodthirsty tyranny judges its successes based upon whether or not there is day care available. We’re losing the war against this ideology because we are refusing to think in war terms.

As we suspected: Fast and Furious was about getting stricter gun control. You know, get guns out there, blame the gun dealers for it, put restrictions on gun dealers…

Noted on Twitter: every winning GOP ticket since 1928 has had a Bush or a Nixon on it. So, we’re doomed.

Merry Christmas!

First a bit about the reason for the season:

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that the whole world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrollment,
when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth
to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem,
because he was of the house and family of David,
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
While they were there,
the time came for her to have her child,
and she gave birth to her firstborn son.
She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields
and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

A merry Christmas to all of you! Remember, do count your blessings; remember that there literal billions worse off than you; give thanks to God for all things and let us pray for a good New Year.

Monday Open Thread

Hands Up, Don’t Shoot – its entered the popular mind. Another great example of just how well the Big Lie works.

Liberal stupidity continues – Minnesota plans to eliminate gender gender distinctions in sports…leading to either a 200 lb boy tackling a 90 lb girl, or the banning of anyone weighing more than 90 lbs playing football…or a ban on football (which would probably be a liberal goal these days).

Apparently, Dear Leader is not to be offended - be nice if next time there’s a GOP President that the Presidential kids are actually off limits.

How about we just leave Ferguson burned down? We can call it the Barack H Obama memorial ruin.

Does Merit Lead to Success?

Very interesting article by Robin Hanson:

How much does merit contribute to success? A rosy view is that success is mostly due to merit, while a dark view is that success is mostly not due to merit, but instead due to what we see as illicit factors, such as luck, looks, wit, wealth, race, gender, politics, etc.

Over a lifetime people gain data on the relation between success and merit. And one data point stands out most in their minds: the relation between their own success and merit. Since most people see themselves as being pretty meritorious, the sign of this data point depends mostly on their personal success. Successful people see a rosy view, that success and merit are strongly related. Unsuccessful people see a dark view, that success and merit are only weakly related…

And then James Joyner puts his two cents in:

…While lots of very successful people will acknowledge that luck played a large role in their success, most will point to the real merit that got them to where they are. They worked harder, were more persistent, delayed gratification, and otherwise behaved more admirably than their peers who were less successful. And, for the most part, they will be right on those scores while overlooking the extent to which luck also factored in.

Of course, defining “merit” and “success” will be controversial here, with reasonable and intelligent people disagreeing, sometimes quite broadly, as to what they mean. Several of Hanson’s commenters, for example, treat possession of extreme talent, even “genius,” as evidence of merit when it’s just as easily dismissed as luck. It’s not obvious why being extremely smart is any less a matter of happenstance than being pleasingly tall or attractive…

I don’t know – perhaps I haven’t met as many successful people as others have, but I don’t see many successful people acknowledging that luck played a role in their rise. And by “luck” I mean any particular factor which was outside of the individuals control – and this includes who your parents are, what sort of people you meet, etc. Most people I’ve met who have had the easy route to the top appear convinced that they really merited it all. To take the most egregious recent example, I get the distinct impression that Obama believes he’s President based upon his meritorious actions…even though I can’t think of any he’s done, other than being a good father to his daughters, which is a very meritorious thing, indeed, but hardly something to set him apart and raise him to the most powerful office in the world.

Continue reading

Some Random Thoughts Part II

Mary Katherine Ham over at Townhall wrote a piece on this very good blog article from the Village Voice. I have no idea who Andrew W.K. is and I will wager to say that he and I are diametrically opposed on the political issues, but on this subject, he and I are in 100% agreement. I am sure all of us have family members with opposing political views, but at the end of the day, we realize that while we disagree, we still love and cherish their presence in our life. Here are a few excerpts and comments from the article that I particularly liked:

The world is being hurt and damaged by one group of people believing they’re truly better people than the others who think differently. The world officially ends when we let our beliefs conquer love. We must not let this happen.

The following excerpt really resonated with me as a conservative. This is an issue many of us here have repeatedly spoken on, and that is the desire of the power elites to keep the general populace at odds with each other. I don’t overlook the GOP’s culpability in this area, but I think that the Democrats, and particularly the Obama Administration, have excelled at this over the last few years::

People and systems craving power take advantage of this desire and pit us against each other using a “this or that” mentality. The point is to create unrest, disagreement, resentment, and anger — a population constantly at war with itself, each side deeply believing that the other is not just wrong, but also a sincere threat to their very way of life and survival. This creates constant anxiety and distraction — the perfect conditions for oppression. The goal of this sort of politics is to keep people held down and mesmerized by a persistent parade of seemingly life-or-death debates, each one worth all of our emotional energy and primal passion.

This in no way means that we must compromise our principles and firm political beliefs, but we must always remember that we are all children of God and that we all face our own daily challenges of life and as a Christian and one who worships the life of Jesus Christ, it’s the right thing to do:

We must be tireless in our efforts to see things from the point of view we most disagree with. We must make endless efforts to try and understand the people we least relate to. And we must at all times force ourselves to love the people we dislike the most. Not because it’s nice or because they deserve it, but because our own sanity and survival depends on it.

I know Andrew is writing this article solely for Americans, and our political environment, so I keep the following sentence in perspective:

And if we do find ourselves pushed into a corner where we must kill others in order to survive, we must fully accept that we are killing people just as fully human as ourselves, and not some evil abstract creatures.

I will only say however that if we do find ourselves pushed into a corner by radical jihadist factions, I am not sure I agree that they are as fully human as we are. Just saying. I hope everyone has a great weekend.