Friday, April 1, 2011

I Pity These April Fools

It really is hilarious how Obama keeps trying to pin the Libya debacle (yes – it already merits that term) on NATO. NATO?? You've got to be kidding. Any usefulness that bland, gray organization might have had vanished when the Soviet Union broke up. All it is now is another word for “us” -- and whoever is willing to get involved in our latest folly. I mean, I guess it is a good way to deflect blame... but when everyone knows whose hand is in the sock puppet, it's a bit farcical to expect the charade to remain believable (assuming it ever was). NATO is one of those outfits that has long since outlived its usefulness – at least of the legitimate sort. But as a cover for our overseas adventures, it still has a bit of utility, even though it's totally transparent and no one is fooled, least of all the Arab/Islamic world, which has just added to its long list of “Things We Hate About the U.S.”

Quote for the day: “I only ask God not to give me a single extra day alive if it is not a day I can be proud of.” That was Jose Alencar, former vice president of Brazil, speaking. Wow – imagine if American politicians had that attitude. It could result in the largest mass funeral in our history. And who knows, Arlington Cemetery might have to start using computers instead of pencil and paper.

Arizona – that hotbed of “hate”! -- has passed “what is likely the first legislation in the nation to ban abortions over ethnicity.” Well... other than the problem of proving why a given abortion was done, consider this: Who's going to get an abortion based on the “ethnicity” (by which they of course mean “race”) of the child? I mean... isn't that likely to be the same race as that of the parent? And how many parents are going to object to their child being the same race they are? Am I missing something here?

At least that bottomless pit called “foreign aid” has not gone unnoticed by Republican budget cutters. But I have yet to hear of one describing foreign aid using the correct terminology – namely bribery.

The recent unpleasantness in Japan has given the anti-nuke movement a new lease on life. And of course the counterargument is that nuclear power is perfectly safe, efficient, “clean”, cheap, etc. in almost all cases – except, of course, when it isn't. Whereas all other effective major power sources (i.e., excluding solar, wind, tides, hot springs, geysers, squirrel cages, etc.) have some serious “non-green”, environmental issues. No argument there... but I think both sides are missing the point. Nuclear energy is perfectly valid on all counts, from the mining of uranium to the production of energy. But then we get to the nuclear waste disposal issue, and aye – I mean, oy! -- there's the rub. We still, after these many decades, haven't figured out how to effectively deal with nuclear waste. This crap's going to be around until we evolve into another species. In fact, it may _help_ us evolve into another species. But in the meantime, we'll be dealing with ever-expanding “hot” dump sites, and with all the delightful impacts thereof. It may turn out that all that “cheap” nuclear energy bore way too high a price.

When it comes to the budget “showdown” (and isn't there one every year?), I expect the Republicans to blink. Not the “tea partiers”, mind – but there are too few of them to make a difference. I think in the typical Republican brain pan lies the thought that if we can just slightly reduce the rate of acceleration of the rise in the deficit, our job is done. Which is kind of like saying that falling from a height of 9,000 feet is safer than falling from a height of 10,000 feet. But that's the way they think... and we keep electing them. Plus, they're still carrying all that scar tissue from the last government shutdown over budgets -- the one that Bill Clinton won, and that kept the Republicans out of power for many years afterwards. Don't you know that the media are just waiting for a chance to "grinch" the Republicans, when and if there's a shutdown? I just don't think they have that kind of fortitude. Could be wrong; we'll see.

Pittsburgh may have a four-season climate, but it's a three-season city when it comes to sports. Hockey season overlaps with baseball, baseball overlaps with football, and football overlaps with hockey. So on nearly any given night or weekend day of the year, you'll find the streets, alleyways, and public transportation filled with semi-stuporous fans celebrating a victory or mourning a defeat. And who says we don't have “games and circuses” in our time – and for the same reason the Romans did, namely to keep the mob preoccupied?

I'm always amazed at these people who take an “adventure vacation” then start griping when they're eaten by a Bengal tiger, or lose a limb or two to a great white shark. What I suspect is that these people are drawn from the subpopulation that has a Rousseauean view of nature – that it is all good, all benign, and all “on their side”... that nature can, in fact, tell the difference between humans who are sensitive to the natural order of things and those who just want to slash, burn, and exploit. Well... sorry folks, but nature, while it is “good” in that it is part of the created order, is totally indifferent to your political attitudes, life style, and even your very existence. Creatures of the wild don't ask to see your political party identification card before they take a swipe at your neck; they really don't. A liberal tree-hugger tastes just as good as a strip mine owner; maybe better, because they're more likely to be vegetarians. So next time you venture into the wild, don't forget that there's a reason it's called “wild”.

I like the way Russian leaders Putin and Medvedev are playing “good cop/bad cop” when it comes to our actions in Libya. One (guess which) calls it a “crusade”, and the other seems to more or less agree with what we're doing. So... does this reflect some sort of schism in the leadership? No, it's much more likely that it reflects a kind of positioning exercise, so that no matter how the Libya thing comes out one of them will have been right, which means that Russia will have been right, and they can hold their head high in the court of world opinion. If we get into another pit of quicksand like Iraq and Afghanistan, then Putin will have bragging rights; if the action against Libya actually works, then Medvedev can take a bow. But overall, Russia has absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain from our addiction to overseas meddling and adventures. We are paying the price for having won the Cold War... and they are reaping the benefits of having lost.

I see that the parade of presidential aspirants flying over to Israel for vetting and approval has already begun. A McLatchy article calls it “a well-trod path for presidential contenders” -- and what always amazes me is that Americans, by and large, consider this a perfectly natural phenomenon. What could possibly be wrong with American politicians having to get Israel's blessing before they run for office? The fact that a million American citizens have not already stormed Capitol Hill demanding an explanation for this absurdity shows how far we've progressed down the road to brainwashed, politically-correct serfdom.

This is hilarious. Apparently many Chinese started “panic buying” of salt in response to the threat of radiation from Japan's damaged nuclear reactors. What's salt got to do with it? Is it about iodine? No, not directly. Apparently a lot of China's domestic salt comes from coastal sea-salt deposits. So if they got irradiated to the point of unusability, the price would go up, right? But now that particular threat seems to have been exaggerated, so the Chinese salt addicts are racing back to Salt “R” Us and demanding refunds. To which the appropriate response of the merchants should be: “Pound salt!”

And as to the supposed rising tide of indignation against Obama, we have to remember that half the country still thinks he's great, and a demigod, and The One Who Is To Come. That has not changed since the 2008 election. And notice that this is the same half that thinks there's nothing in the world wrong with deficit spending, with a national debt that can never be repaid, with borrowing from China, and with perpetual warfare – as long as it's a liberal president who is waging the wars. So they are merrily going along on this doomed cruise ship, clinking champagne glasses, while the conservatives sit gloomily in the corner sipping on Geritol... and the paleocons and libertarians are about to hop in a lifeboat and head for the nearest island. But it must be pointed out that all of us – or nearly all – have benefited in some way from the national deficit, borrow-and-spend lifestyle that we have developed over the decades. We have been living beyond our means for as long as most of us have been alive... and as long as most of the world was willing to play along, we got away with it. But then a funny thing happened – they took a look at our life style and said, why can't we have all that too? Apparently they didn't realize that our lifestyle was based on borrowing, and indefinitely postponing the day of reckoning. Everyone loves the gambler who is actually using money from refinancing his house to treat himself and his friends. He's a good-time kind of guy... until the well runs dry, at which point those friends mysteriously vanish. We are approaching that point, and the insolvent “PIGS” of the E.U. are a very minor premonition of what is in store for us. And it may, in fact, be too late – not because of any iron laws of economics but because of the political realities at home... and the fact that there are too many other people in the world with an interest in seeing us fail. All of our politicians have to navigate between those two rocks, and rare is the one who succeeds... and when he does, he realizes how lonely a place he is then in. A righteous man in an empire that is ripe for destruction is going to be lonely, no doubt. I'm sure it's happened many times before in history; some have even written about it. It is some consolation that there will always be new empires – for better or worse. We always fancy that the 20th Century was the high water mark of totalitarianism, but I'm not so sure. The technologies that have been developed since, all of which lend themselves to accomplishing totalitarian goals, make the old-time tyrannies like Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, and China under Mao look crude, and almost quaint. The totalitarian states of the future are likely to look a lot more like the dystopias depicted in any number of “sci-fi” and futuristic novels and movies. The one thing they are all guaranteed to have is a ruling elite and a great, gray mass of slaves... with very few in between. Anyone out there want to deny that this is the direction in which we're heading?

“Mallard Fillmore” takes frequent pot shots at the societal obsession with “baby boomers” -- as if the turning of that generation into senior citizens is going to cause some sort of revolution in all sectors of society, great economic upheavals, crushing demands on the health care system, etc. Well... like most everything else that the media rave on about, it's mostly hysteria and exaggeration. They act as if no one was born during World War II, or at any time since around 1950 – which is obviously absurd, but somehow that generation is “special” in some way. Well – my guess is that what makes it “special” is that it was the first generation of Americans made up mostly of spoiled brats. I think that's going to cause more of a “revolution” in the senior-citizen world than sheer numbers. Senior citizen ranks will now be filled with people who are not only spoiled, but who are self-seeking and hedonistic (not to mention irreligious), and have never experienced true mortification or humility – although they had plenty of opportunities, no doubt! They have no regrets, and see no need for repentance... so they will continue their obnoxious habits of thought into their golden years. It's gonna be grotesque... and slightly amusing as well.

I love the way our business leaders are putting on this great show of concern as to, whatever will the Obama people dream up next? Why, everything is so uncertain – taxes, regulations, balance of trade, monetary policy... isn't it safer to just hunker down and wait things out? Build a bunch of storm cellars where we can hide, along with all of our hoarded cash? This is the situation as depicted by the media... but they miss a very important point, which is that Obama is owned by the business interests every bit as much as any of his predecessors were. He's not going to lift a pinky without their OK – although they might allow him to, from time to time, mouth words to the effect of having to rein in “abuses”, and so forth. Let us not forget that when Obama ascended to office, the long knives did not come out. He treated “Wall Street” every bit as tenderly as George W. Bush had – I say “treated”, never mind anything he might have said, because that was part of an approved script. Presidents in our time are expected to put on a good show of being “men of the people” even though they are slaves to globalists and multinational corporations. That's just the way the game is played in our time. And as for the unions, well... a president can defend them all he wants, as long as he sees to it that the proportion of labor that is unionized continues to fall. Heck, Obama has even come out, of late, saying some placating words to the middle class... amounting to “No, we're not just going to exterminate you any day now.” But don't you believe it! That continues to be his agenda... and it's his agenda because it's his masters' agenda. And why that is... well, we've discussed that before.

Calypso Louie was back in town a couple of weeks ago, bemoaning the fact that “many of the gains of the civil rights movement have been lost”. I refer, of course, to Louis Farrakhan, a guy with whom I actually agree a lot of the time. Say what you will, but at least he's not an Uncle Tom like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, both of whom enthusiastically support the program of genocide against the black race. Oops, I meant “government-funded abortion on demand” -- like there's a difference! But in any case, Farrakhan said that “the black community as a community has flat-lined” -- which is true enough, but I wish he had pointed out that one of the main causes has been the very same liberal legislation that was considered to be a major accomplishment of the civil rights movement. This legislation was, in nearly all cases, of the “give a man a fish” variety, as opposed to the “teach a man to fish” variety – and it gave rise to many of the bad habits and dysfunctions we see today. Farrakhan has it right that the breakdown of traditional family structure and the diminished influence of religion had a lot to do with it – but the former was certainly a direct result of much liberal legislation (e.g., the structure of entitlements), and the latter is symbiotic with local culture... and when the local culture deteriorates, it's difficult for religion to fill all the gaps. There was one sour note to Farrakhan's appearance, however; it seems that he is still considered to be something of an “anti-Semite”. This reflects the always-uneasy relationship between blacks and Jews – which can easily be extrapolated to the relationship between blacks and white liberals. In my opinion, Farrakhan's main offense is that he has been one of the few black leaders to declare independence from the white liberal (Jewish or otherwise) community, and to go his own way. This, of course, is in direct defiance of one of the more hidden agenda items behind white involvement in civil rights – namely to substitute perpetual dependency and political “reliability” for the former state of oppression. So basically, when blacks start to bite the hand that fed them in years past, they tend to fight back in any way they can, within the bounds of liberal decorum. It's all quite amusing... and I'm always glad when Calypso Louie wins one of those battles.

“China has asked New Zealand to consider special compensation to parents of Chinese students killed in an earthquake last month because their loss was magnified under China's one-child policy.” Precisely. That's why the grieving parents should be demanding compensation from the Chinese government, not New Zealand's.

When you get on an airplane, just leave your religion at the gate – please! Now it's not only devout Moslems who are getting in trouble for praying on planes (and I have to say, it's quite an accomplishment knowing in which direction Mecca is when you're in mid-air) – it's also orthodox Jews. A couple of weeks ago, three of them caused a ruckus when they began “an elaborate orthodox Jewish prayer ritual” in mid-flight, using tefillin (long, thin leather straps with small black leather boxes attached – the boxes containing parchments inscribed with versus from scripture). And apparently the ritual is, indeed, quite elaborate – and obviously enough to freak out the average flight attendant, even though what it has in common with an underwear bomber has yet to be determined – I suspect very little.

I see where the rate of shift of the Magnetic North Pole (and, presumably, the South as well) is accelerating. Has this yet been blamed on George W. Bush, global warming, or talk radio? If not, someone at the DNC or in the Obama administration is clearly falling down on the job.

And finally... April Fool! All of the above articles and quotes are... for real. Sorry about that.