Monthly Archives: June 2007

Natty Geo’s 100 Greatest Non-Fiction Adventure Books of All Time

Make up your reading list at the National Geographic site.

h/t: Pajamas and Instapundit

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Harvard Professor Lies for Islam

As reported in Spero News:

Harvard professor Jessica Stern told a New York audience yesterday that criticism of Muslim clerics for not condemning Muslim violence was unwarranted. “I’ve heard a lot of bashing of Muslim clerics for not stepping up to the plate and condemning extremist violence,” she said. “But Catholic priests are not stepping up to condemn those who kill abortion doctors…[and] rabbis are not condemning the violent settlers’ movement.” (Spero)

William Donohue responds:

“Forced moral equivalency is immoral, and that is exactly what Jessica Stern is promoting. The silence of Muslim clerics in the face of Muslim violence is well-known. But when it comes to killing abortionists, the Catholic clergy have an impeccable record. It should be noted, too, that as the New York Sun pointed out today, rabbis everywhere condemned Yigal Amir’s 1995 assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin—the very incident that Stern cited as an example of Jewish silence. “To begin with, there has not been a single abortionist killed in the U.S. since 1998. When there were killings in the mid-1990s, Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, chairman of the Pro-Life Activities of the bishops’ conference, said that such shootings make ‘a mockery of everything we stand for.’ When there were two killings at Massachusetts abortion clinics, Cardinal Bernard Law not only denounced them, he ordered a moratorium on sidewalk protest vigils outside abortion clinics in Boston. Cardinal John O’Connor’s response in New York was profound: ‘If anyone has an urge to kill an abortionist, kill me instead.’ “Just this week, a report of Muslim violence against Iraqi Christians was released. The study, Incipient Genocide, describes in detail ‘the deaths of Christian children—including babies—laypeople, priests and nuns who were burned, beaten or blown up in car bombs throughout the past few years.’ Moreover, Christian girls are being raped and having nitric acid thrown in their faces for not wearing veils. And the Muslim silence is deafening.”

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Readings on the Muslim Brotherhood

Adrian Morgan has a new four-part series on the Muslim Brotherhood’s war on the West. Parts 1, 2, and 3 are out now.

Also by the same author, How Britain encouraged terrorism (Part 1, 2, 3, 4)

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CNN Reports New Amnesty/Borders/Immigration Bill most unpopular ever among bloggers

Who woulda thunk it?

I have a modest proposal. I propose that in the future the sponsors of any bill that is introduced at more than 10,000 words should be horse-whipped on the Senate floor.

I’ll eventually close the circle, but give me a little time to get around to it.

Different conservative blogs have different pet issues — government transparency, federal judges, Fred Thompson, to name a few.

But no issue in recent memory has united conservative bloggers like the debate over immigration. Their frustration has culminated in a full-scale revolt against the Bush administration and a Senate bill that activists say does little to solve the country’s border security problems.

[…] Conservative bloggers make various arguments against the bill. Some say the bill grants amnesty to illegal immigrants who have already broken the law. Others say normalizing millions of new workers would depress wages and harm American workers.

Most conservative bloggers see border enforcement as the priority, an issue they say the president can enforce on his own without having to push a bill through Congress. (CNN)

And of course there is one other reason that conservatives and non-conservatives who care about the Counterjihad care about this issue. They look at the desultory way in which Bush danced around the case for an America-led, comprehensive global Counterjihad in Afghanistan, Iraq, in the US, Africa, and other places, while refusing to clarify issues and name the problem (Jihadism), they look at the growth of Hizballah and other forms of criminal Jihadism in the Americas, and they wonder why the American border shouldn’t be protected against Jihadists like Adnan Shukrijumah who want to kill us here.

Many bloggers said they are disappointed the president has pushed so hard for the immigration bill while letting the war and other issues conservatives care about fall by the wayside. (CNN)

Bush has also insulted his own supporters over this bad bill.

“The White House will go out and zealously promote Harriet Miers [the former White House counsel who Bush unsuccessfully nominated for the Supreme Court], defend [Attorney General] Alberto Gonzales, promote this bill, but will not take a firm stand on the war,” said Erickson. “I know people who are boiling with rage that the president has been beating up his own side over this bill but won’t take the bully pulpit to beat up Democrats over the war.”

Bush did little to help his relationship with bloggers on May 29, when he told a crowd in Glynco, Georgia, that critics of the immigration bill “don’t want to do what’s right for America.” (CNN)

And of course it’s not only conservatives and milbloggers who give two shakes about the issue, as Ace of Spades notes about Mickey Kaus of Slate.

What are the concrete problems that would lead people to oppose this very bad bill? Senator Jeff Sessions has released a list of Twenty Loopholes of the bill that nullify most if not all of the security aspects of the bill. One of the most egregious problems with the bill is the standard of evidence that immigrants are required to produce in their favor.

Loophole 12 – Affidavits From Friends Accepted As Evidence:

Records from day-labor centers, labor unions, and “sworn declarations” from any non-relative (acquaintances, friends, coworkers, etc) are to be accepted as evidence that the illegal alien has satisfied the bill’s amnesty requirements. This low burden of proof will invite fraud and more illegal immigration – even aliens who are not yet in the U.S. will likely meet this burden of proof. DHS will not have the resources to examine whether the claims contained in the “sworn declarations” of the alien’s friends (that the alien was here prior to January 1, 2007 and is currently employed) are actually valid. [See p. 293: 13-16].

You mean, if I can find someone, even someone in a bar, a meth-lab, a brothel or a crack-house, to swear who I am and that I was here before February 2007 I can get into the country and get a tamper-proof ID that says I am whoever I want it to say? Say, if Osama Bin Laden were here illegally and presented someone who was willing to swear that his name was Juan Garcia or John Thomas then he’d get a tamper-proof ID proving it?

And this isn’t an invitation to identity fraud how?

All the major problems of this bill are hidden in one statistic. The bill is over 300 pages long. It was introduced into the Senate like a bombshell that was supposed to be debated and fixed in a day and then voted on. Yet nobody except a tiny, sinister cabal of staffers and their senators had seen it beforehand. We get one defender of the bill saying this about the bill, and another saying that, and they are all saying that the Sessions loopholes aren’t really loopholes.

If the bill says this and that, and it doesn’t open the loopholes, then why isn’t the bill shorter? Why doesn’t it say this and that, then stop? Instead it goes on for hundreds of pages, hiding all sorts of nasty loopholes, implementation details, earmarks, and bribes to various identity groups in the bill.

The Constitution of the United States is 4,612 words including the signatures at the bottom. The Bill of Rights is 936 words. All the other amendments together take 2,974 words. All the most important rights and laws of the United States take up less than 10,000 words. It is an insult to the nation and to its constitution that such important issues as immigration reform, which I agree is necessary and a public good for many reasons, are not presented in a clear way that can be understood by everybody, especially by the Senators and Representatives who are the people’s proxy in the formulation and implementation of our national will. Instead the bill blathers on for more than 300 pages of foolishness.

And that is why I propose that in the future the sponsors of any bill that is introduced at more than 10,000 words should be horse-whipped on the Senate floor.

Maybe we should start with this bill. Misters Kyl and Kennedy, please proceed to the front of the chamber.

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You know something is wrong at the border when…

You know something is wrong at the border when a terrorist, complete with fatigues, balaclava, and AK47, crawls through the X-Ray machine and nobody raises an eyebrow.

See TigerHawk for more captions for this AP photo from the civil war in Gaza (now Hamastan).

h/t: Pajamas

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The Upcoming Economic Collapse(s)

Economic Collapse seems to be a popular meme in the media and blogosphere. While there is no market for predictions of economic collapse on the idle Prediction Market, there should be.

Lyndon LaRouche has been talking about the upcoming economic collapse of the United States for a few years. Mike Whitney of the leftist electronic fish-wrapper Counterpunch agrees. Conveniently, Whitney interprets VP Dick Cheney’s conservative investment strategy, entirely congruent with both his age and legal requirements that the VP of the USA not take any active stock positions while serving, as a conspiratorial bet on economic collapse.

While I, like many, am unhappy with the US government policies that have been weakening the dollar for the past number of years, I believe that there is at least an argument in favor of these policies. The argument being that a weaker dollar will make US products more affordable on the world market. Of course, the missing piece to this argument is the requirement that there be sufficient US manufacturing to create the products.

Still, certain elements on the far left were saying the same thing about the US under Bill Clinton 13 years ago. I guess he wasn’t leftist enough for them.

How about Venezuela, land of the new anti-kulak campaigns, and its economic woes? For leftist commentary exorcising a country’s economy from signs of imminent collapse, we only have to look at this apologetic website for Fidel Chavez, I mean Hugo Castro, I mean Hugo Chavez. In 2002, even the formidable, reliably pro-socialist BBC reported that Venezuela’s economy was in a bad way. More recently, Bloomberg reports that the Venezuelan and Ecuadoran economies are the shakiest in South America. Here Bloomberg describes how Venezuela’s central bank is doing everything it can to slow inflation from last year’s 19.5% to 12%, which is low for Venezuela. OK, the US had similarly high interest rates and equally high unemployment back in the stagflation days of Jimmy Carter, but it took Ronald Reagan’s policies of (military) government spending and tax rate decreases to shake the country out of its Carterista malaise. Does anybody see Hurricane Hugo doing something like this in the misty depths of their crystal ball?

Me neither.

Iran isn’t doing well. Thomas P. M. Barnett has a brief article about Iran’s economic troubles. Inflation is running around 12%, and exports are doing well because of oil and petrochemicals, which made up 87% of exports in 2004. Oil-exporting Iran is expected to go into a trade deficit by 2008. OK, so Iran is probably not going to collapse in the next six months. But it’s poised for a popular uprising of some sort.

Gaza, a.k.a. Hamastan, a.k.a. Fatahstan, not only is already in a state of economic and societal self-cannibalization, but the lunatics are running the asylum. It is the first suicide-bomb-state, having a terminal case of the jihads that will cause death by hemorrage. And quick. But we hear nothing about Gaza from the usual suspects, except that it’s all the Jews’ fault.

How about Zimbabwe? A leaked (unsourced) aid group estimate predicts that Zimbabwe’s economy will collapse within six months at the most. Zimbabwe’s current inflation rate stands at 3,714%, with prices doubling every two weeks. Projecting out to the end of 2007 gives an inflation rate of 512,000%. To put that in layman’s language, 5,120 Zimbabwean dollars at the beginning of the year would have the purchasing power that one Zimbabwean dollar had at the end of the year. Imagine convincing your boss that your pay needs to be doubled every two weeks and you will start to understand what this means to the unfortunates trapped inside Marxist-thug Mugabe’s miserable command economy.

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On the Creation of Wealth

Wealth really isn’t all that hard to understand.

A person’s Wealth is measured by what other people are willing to give him to purchase everything he owns.

It’s nice to have cash, since its value is guaranteed by the government. The Wealth value of other possessions is not quite so reliable. Total Wealth is measured by what everyone is willing to pay to own everything that can be owned.

Manufacturing or agriculture is the way that wealth is created (as measured by the value of human property) as opposed to transferring it (like doctors and lawyers do).

Though in an ideal world, everyone would agree with me and this note would already be over, it is possible that the reader may be skeptical of this claim. Let us consider an example of a small manufacturer.

Consider a guitarist and budding luthier, who has made several electric guitars from hardwoods, hardware, and electronics. Some of his friends and acquaintances have begged him for guitars of their own, and he has accepted a commission to make a $1,000 guitar for someone.

  1. At process beginning, he obtains $200 worth of hardwoods, hardware, and electronics.
  2. He already has $1,000 in tools to shape and finish the guitar and install the electronic parts.
  3. Finally, he sells the guitar for $1,000.

The value of everything at the process beginning is $1,200. At the process end the value is $2,000. The increase in value, or profit, is $800. The process is repeatable. Each guitar continues to be worth $1,000 after being sold, so the person who buys it has just as much wealth after the transaction as before, while the luthier has the created wealth as a reward for his hard work and taking a risk on selling the product of his work. $800 of wealth was created by the process. This is the process by which all manufacturing, not just the manufacture of guitars, produces wealth. Agriculture works the same way as manufacturing.

If our luthier produces enough guitars to sell two guitars per week that’s a gross annual profit of $83,200. After accounting for taxes, tool replacements, and the various penalties for self employment his will be the equivalent of a $40-50,000 salary. If he wants to make more at the end of the year he reinvests his income in an expanded workshop with an attached high-end-boutique-store and hires employees to follow his system of manufacture and sales. The more efficient the system is, the more money there is for everybody including employees and business owner, and the better the product that is available to customers.

The way to get customers into his boutique business is to do something simple like teaching, painting guitars for people, upgrading pickups, repairing worn out fretboards and replacing old tuning machines. That’s how advertising works, as a way to get the business’ name to people.

Compare manufacturing to a medical clinic.

  1. At process beginning, the customer walks into the medical clinic.
  2. The doctor at the clinic uses $500,000 worth of equipment to perform some tests on the customer.
  3. Finally, the customer leaves after paying $500 to the medical clinic for his test.

The value of everything in the process at its beginning is $500,000 and it is the same at the end. The customer simply pays the $500 fee for the privilege of getting a use of the equipment and the doctor’s training. No wealth was created. Wealth was transferred from the customer to the clinic, where it will tend to accumulate.

The way that wealth will be created from the clinic is when the clinic purchases more manufactured equipment.

The proportion of manufacturing in an economy will determine the amount of growth built into the economy. Economies dominated by services tend to be stagnant. If an economy grows, then everybody who is part of it becomes more wealthy. If an economy is stagnant, then the economy tends to fracture, with high status occupations such as doctors and lawyers getting richer and lower status occupations getting poorer. The engine of the economy that evens wealth by bringing the level of wealth up, is manufacturing and agriculture.

As misbegotten government programs, product safety lawsuits, and NIMBY lawsuits drive manufacturing out of America, so shall the economy stagnate. If you want to see which country will become the next superpower standing astride the world girded in impregnable armor and wielding its terrible swift sword, look to the economy that focuses all its efforts on agriculture and manufacturing.

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