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Financial Failure (continued)

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Fed Buying Maximum Legal Limit of Treasury Debt

The Fed is creating virtual money to buy 70% of new debt issued by the federal government.

This is what financial failure looks like boys and girls - except that your average family don't have access to the federal reserve handing them newly printed money so they can keep buying stuff even though they're broke, destitute, and so deeply in debt there's no way they can keep up with the payments.

This will have major consequences for the dollar, as the available pool of dollars represents a fixed amount of value (in the minds of the financiers, as well as those economists who are still sane and rational)

When the number of dollars keeps rising but the value of what it represents does not, what do you think happens to what you'll be able to get for the dollars you've had all along?

If you said "their value will decrease proportional to the proportion of new additions into the system" you have the first level of understanding. Actually, it's worse than that, as this sets of a cycle of "print more, devalue more" with the only people left out being those people with fixed numbers of dollars who don't have access to the printing press for more.

Yes, this amounts to a tax on those with fixed incomes and fixed assets, which does not, generally speaking, mean the wealthy. A *huge* tax, on those whom the Administration claims to want to help.

This is endgame. The government is going to face a crisis when the markets start wondering if it ever intends to pay those who hold its debts. Quite possibly, the fact that the election is so close may be all that is holding this crisis at bay. While I am not confident Mitt Romney or Gary Johnson can get us past this crisis with the United States as we know it more or less intact, I am quite certain Barack Obama not only will not try, he won't understand that there is a problem, even when the military starts selling its hardware so it can buy food for service folk and their dependents

Attaching labels like "extremist" "right wing" "left wing" "conservative" and "liberal" does not convey any factual information, not any reasons why the object of said derision is bad or wrong. If the only argument someone can come up with against a proposal or individual is by applying one of these labels, a more accurate and more honest English-to-English translation would be "I don't like it".

Most worthwhile thinkers and leaders throughout history have been labelled "extremist", often with some justice. That doesn't mean they were wrong, or that their ideas wouldn't work better than anyone else. Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill, Thomas Jefferson, and Martin Luther, among many others, were labelled "extremists" and similar epithets in their lifetimes - but every one of them made a positive difference in the world. The way to tell the good people and good ideas from the bad, sick, or twisted is ruthless examination of what what they do and the consequences of those ideas - not by labeling them with something that merely means you'd rather they didn't get a fair evaluation.

I am so sick of seeing this ad hominem used as if it's some kind of rational argument instead of the weakest most easily spotted fallacy there is.

It has become clear to me in the past few weeks that the United States is facing imminent financial failure.

I have known since at least the early 80s that if something were not done, the bill would come due within my lifetime. The difference now is that I'm seeing signs (or more accurately, putting together signs that have been there for some time) that this failure is imminent.

This isn't about our personal and individual finances. This is about the government failing to manage a sustainable budget and that failure getting progressively worse over a period of more than forty years to the point where the people it buys things from are considering not accepting the government's IOUs. But because the government is the guarantor of the dollar, bad things will explode out from that event, and the government is likely to make things much worse in order to maintain the status quo a little longer.

Watch this (if you haven't already). What happens when states fail, default on their pension and other obligations, and there's no money left in the federal treasury? Think they're going to keep printing and spending more indefinitely?

What happens when the people who have the things we need, be it money or other goods, stop accepting dollars for payment? It would have happened already except for the fact that the rest of the world has been so used to accepting dollars as payment that the government could basically print money to pretend it had the money to spend.

What happens when the rest of the world stops accepting dollars as payment?

Get this through your head: There is nothing any government function can do that actually creates wealth directly. The most it can do is create the conditions for producing wealth (something else our government has been doing a professional saboteurs' job with, but not the subject of this article). Every dollar the government spends has to come from someone's pocket in one of about four ways ranging from direct taxation to dilution of value. In fact, the $1 of government spending per $1 taken from someone's pocket is rather a "best possible theoretical case" and in large portions of our government, the ratio is over 2 to 1 even without considering the cost of interest on borrowed money.

Look to Weimar Germany or Zimbabwe to for a preview of when the world stops accepting dollars.

This is already starting to happen. Since the 1930s, oil has been sold in dollars. But probably not for much longer. People the world over have for decades accepted dollars for payment, rather than gold or their own local currency. That's starting to end.

Our government is running over a trillion dollar deficit every year for the foreseeable future (again, unless some major changes are made - but the people in Washington DC in both parties have made it plain they are unwilling to make those changes. Unfortunately, the longer they pretend they don't have to, the worse it's going to be.)

Since at least 1964, the attitude of the government (and most of the public at large) has been that "we're the richest country and the richest people in the world. We can afford to pay for anything."

Well, no we can't. The rational people have known we've been burning through our existing capital throwing a massive government (i.e. taxpayer) funded party for the last 40-plus years. The party has lasted this long because we were so wealthy to begin with, but no longer. The day of reckoning is imminent, when not only is the money all gone, everything we can borrow, beg, or steal is also gone.

The party is almost over. I can't tell you what day or even what month it's going to happen, but I would be immensely surprised if it were longer than the next national election.

That means the politicians in office now and the ones entering office in two weeks will be the ones who have to deal with it. There is no more time to find anybody better or anyone else.

This article isn't about blame. There's more than enough of that to go around. This is about what we're going to do. The more we think and talk about this in next weeks or months the more likely we are to have the best available answer when when the moment arrives.

Possible steps include (but are not limited to)

Currency devaluation. If the dollar is suddenly worth 1000 times less, we can easily pay existing debts. Here's that $5000 we promised you. Too bad for you it's only worth enough to buy a loaf of bread OR a gallon of milk. The problem with this is that it usually begins a vicious cycle of further devaluations in fact, whether the government recognizes it officially or not. This is about the worst thing we could possibly do as far as implications in its pain to average citizens, but unfortunately it's politically one of the easiest. The problem is that it not only impacts our ability to borrow money - driving those costs way up - but it also means that even our ability to actually pay cash for something we absolutely have to have simply vanishes. When the government uses other methods to cut obligations, $1 is still worth $1, and the costs of "normal" inflation are predictable. When the government starts devaluing currency, people won't want to talk dollars because they can be redefined as being worth less at any time. The people who have the stuff we want to buy aren't stupid. They understand this. "Last time I took $10 for this, and it suddenly became worth 10 cents. This time, I want not only the factor of 100 more dollars to compensate for what happened last time, but I also want another factor of 100 in case it happens again." This is how complete economic collapse happens. Once you start this cycle, you never know where it's going to end. Totalitarian Dictatorship is historically one of the most likely outcomes of currency devaluations of a magnitude big enough to make a difference for us.

Default on existing debt: Say "We're simply not going to try to pay you." Or we could partially default - "We theoretically owe you $1000 but all you're getting is $200" (and that ratio is likely to be more generous than we can afford). As far as I'm aware, none of the existing debt is subject to specific collateralization. In other words, they're all general creditors. They can't take Yellowstone or Yosemite away from us, haul off Lincoln Memorial to be sold at auction, or any of that. The problems are: we can do this only once, and it would negate the ability of the United States to borrow money for the foreseeable future. That ends the party, and the political way of life for the last 40-plus years. Therefore, politicians won't want to do it. Furthermore, the large creditors have lots of money to bribe, er, "make campaign contributions to" our politicians in currencies that will still be worth something. Politically this is the most difficult option to implement, but of the options I see, the one causing the second least amount of suffering on behalf of our citizens.

Cut government spending. Drastically. We're not going to have any choice about this. The only question is how much is going to be required. Hard as it is, this is the least painful of the available options (and politically easiest given the current environment), but we're so far in the hole that it's not going to be enough on its own, and there are things we have to continue to spend money on if we're not going to end up someone else's new territory.

Reduce government obligations going forward (i.e. pensions and public benefits). The current public pension plans are unsustainable on their own, never mind in the current environment. Even if we weren't facing imminent financial failure as a country, these would have eventually brought the treasury to its knees all on their own. The current situation is only accelerating it. Social Security, Medicare, public pensions, everything. If you're one of those currently receiving these monies, I've got a question for you: Which would you like better, modifying what's due to you or getting every penny but having it be completely worthless? Those are your choices. If there is no United States Treasury, how much are your benefits dollars going to be worth? Politically damned difficult, second only to defaulting on existing debts in terms of political difficulty, but reducing those obligations twenty, thirty or even fifty percent will harm these creditors much less than currency devaluation will hurt everyone including them.

Sell Stuff. States have been doing this. Arizona sold its capitol buildings and leased them back among many other examples. There's no reason the federal government can't. Actually, the Federal Government does this every day. Unfortunately, it's traditionally been a means for political cronies to enrich themselves at taxpayer expense, and that's unlikely to change. Furthermore, given the financial environment, the prices we get will make typical fire sale prices look good, and worst of all the government would likely be forced to lease a goodly proportion of this property back. Politically this is easy, but it will cost us massively more than we get. I'd like to see it held to a bare and unavoidable minimum, and only where it's not going to cause additional continuing future drain on the treasury in order to get a few bucks now.

Believe me, I'd like to hear some other options better than the above alternatives. And if it turns out I'm wrong and our government finds the will to do what is necessary avert the crisis, nobody will be happier than me (those actions would make any of the above options look politically easy). But don't assume that just because election day 2012 gets here before it happens doesn't mean it isn't coming. I'd be surprised if it goes that long, but that doesn't mean it might not take longer. Talk to me at the end of 2016 if you want an admission of being wrong. If it become obvious I was wrong sooner, I'll write an admission of it and be damned happy to do so.

If I'm right about this, the order I'd like to see happen is what I see as likely to cause the least damage and least permanent damage: Cut spending, Default on current debt, Reduce Obligations, Sell Stuff and currency devaluation only at the tail end of last possible options. We're going to have to use all of the first four to at least some extent, but I'd like to see the emphasis on the earlier entries of the list rather than the later ones. The pain will be more manageable, and more short-term. We'll still have to fix what's wrong, but the damage done will be less. The cycle a currency devaluation would trigger, however, makes everything else look like a pleasant walk in the park.

Caveat Emptor

(What's this got to do with a real estate site, you ask? Quite simply, it has gotten to the point where I felt it was irresponsible not to say something. I am quite confident that real estate is going to be a good investment for when it all shakes out, but in the meantime, it's not a liquid asset. You can't eat it if things get that bad for a while (unless it's a working farm). Once you have enough liquid assets in negotiable non-dollar denominated form, yes buying real estate intelligently is going to turn out to be one of the smartest moves you can make - especially if the currency ends up being devalued. However, if your money won't buy you food in the meantime, you may not be around to appreciate it.)


Rock. Earth. Gravity.

Russian convoy heads into Georgia, violating truce

A Russian military convoy thrust deep into Georgia on Wednesday and Georgian officials said Russian troops bombed and looted the crossroads city of Gori, violating a freshly brokered truce intended to end the conflict

The Georgians are out of Abkhazia and South Ossetia entirely. There is no justification for this.

"The border has been along this river for 1,000 years," separatist official Ruslan Kishmaria told AP on Wednesday. He said Georgia would have to accept the new border and taunted the departed Georgian forces by saying they had received "American training in running away."

Yes, and how long will it be before they find out they've made the same sort of bargain the Iranians did in 1978, the Germans in 1933, and the Russians in 1917? Or, to quote from popular culture: "I am altering the terms of our agreement. Pray I don't alter it any further."

By the way, Georgia has about 26,000 men total in their armed services. That's maybe one combat division and the support troops. By comparison, the map StratFor had up Monday showed six Russian combat divisions (Mechanized) plus thee armored combat brigades and two battalions of combat engineers in or very close to Georgia. That's more combat forces than the US-led Coalition has in Iraq. You don't have that kind of force in the area and ready to go by accident. This was planned, this was deliberate, and the Russian troops are doing precisely what they have been ordered to do.

Russia's deputy chief of General Staff Col.-Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn denied any tanks were in Gori. He said Russians went into the city to try to implement the truce with local Georgian officials but could not find any.

An APTN television crew in Gori saw some Russian armored vehicles Wednesday morning near a military base there. Puffs of smoke in the air indicated some military action.

Stonewall, denial, keep doing what you want while the rest of the world denies the facts, because doing so is immediately convenient. Same dance, different floor.

Georgia insisted its troops were driven from Abkhazia by Russian forces. At first, Russia said separatists - not Russian forces - had done the job. But the claim rang hollow - an AP reporter saw 135 Russian military vehicles heading toward the gorge Tuesday and Russia is the military patron for the separatists.

Nogovitsyn said Wednesday that Russian peacekeepers had disarmed Georgian troops in Kodori - the very peacekeepers Georgia wants withdrawn. Still, the effect was clear. Abkhazia was out of Georgian hands and it would take more than an EU peace plan to get it back in.

Why? Because Putin wants the Soviet Empire back, and Georgia controls the only oil pipelines that break the Russian monopoly on oil in Europe. With that pipeline as well as the Russian ones firmly in possession, Europe can either 1) dance to Putin's tune, or 2) Starve and freeze. I don't remember where I saw it, but somebody this morning said, "I have looked into (Putin's) soul, and seen three letters: KGB"

Georgia sits on a strategic oil pipeline carrying Caspian crude to Western markets and bypassing Russia. The British oil company BP shut down one of three Georgian pipelines, saying it was a precaution.

Try running Ploesti oil fields through a search engine if you want a historical parallel.

Aargghhh! tells us why the breakaway provinces are important to Georgia

Wizbang on why Georgia and similar nations are important to the US and the world.

Some history: Putin the terrible

Even if this invasion leaves a nominally independent Georgia, it will be a Russian puppet in at least this one respect, and probably in others. This is a wake-up call to the world, but we're handling it pretty much like we did this.


On Scene: A Cry for Unity in Georgia

"We are all Georgians today," U.S. presidential candidate John McCain said Tuesday. But it was eastern European leaders who showed up in force in Georgia on a sultry evening to reassure the huge crowd of Georgians. No fewer than six heads of state flew into Tbilisi to pay their respects and show their solidarity with this small nation of 4.5 million people. They included France's Nicolas Sarkozy and the Presidents of five other regional neighbors, including Poland and Ukraine. Sarkozy stayed behind closed doors, trying to hammer out a ceasefire agreement, but the others unabashedly threw in their hat with the Georgian side.

That and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee. When the other side is willing to use violence and you are not, you are at their mercy. I don't think Putin and the Russian nationalists will have any, in this case.

Time Magazine has been all over this, to its credit:
The Russian Empire Strikes Back

Failing the Georgia Test

the incursion of Russian troops beyond the secessionist province of South Ossetia represents a direct challenge by Moscow to the U.S., the European Union and NATO, reviving the old confrontation between the former Cold War adversaries.

The United States Shares the Blame for the Russia-Georgia Crisis

Washington established two precedents: use of force without approval of the United Nations Security Council and the division of a sovereign nation without U.N. consent. Both precedents emerged out of Kosovo's quest for independence from Serbia, which led in 1999 to U.S.-directed NATO airstrikes against Serbia to drive Serbian military and police forces out of its Kosovo province. The Clinton administration and NATO conducted the strikes--both in Kosovo and in Serbia proper, where the attacks targeted not only security units but also civilian infrastructure, like power stations--over Russia's strong opposition in the Security Council. Russia today is repeating NATO's 1999 justification of its action in arguing that Georgia conducted ethnic cleansing and genocide in South Ossetia and that Moscow was obliged to respond because of its role as a peacekeeper.

I'm not so certain of his second point - that Bush administration officials support for Georgia was a cause. First, there is a real need to be willing to support allies in ways that actually cost something. Otherwise, all you have is a friendship of the moment. Second - and this is critical - Georgia did not attack Russia. They only attempted to regain their own breakaway provinces. The Russians had been doing everything possible to lay the groundwork for annexation since Putin's accession, but South Ossetia and Abkhazia were part of Georgia, according to all the international accords.

John McCain saw the reality immediately, to his resounding credit, while his opposition once again betrayed his authoritarian bias

On Friday, Russian tanks and troops moved through the Roki Tunnel, across an internationally-recognized border, and into the Georgian province of South Ossetia. Two years ago, I traveled to South Ossetia, my friends, and we went through this barricade, and as soon as we got into this place, which the Russians are maintaining hundreds and now thousands of troops, there's this huge billboard and it said, 'Vladimir Putin, Our President.' Have no doubt about Russian ambitions in this area.

The Russian government stated it was acting only to protect Ossetians, and yet, on Saturday, its bombing campaign encompassed the whole of Georgia. Hundreds of innocent civilians have been wounded and killed -- possibly thousands. Military bases, apartment buildings, and other infrastructure all came under Russian fire. And the Russian Black Sea Fleet began concentrating off of the Georgian coast.

Russian hackers continue attacks on Georgian sites

Attacks by Russian hackers against Georgian Web sites, including one hosted in the United States, continued Tuesday even as Russian President Dmitri Medvedev ordered a halt to hostilities against Georgia.

How long does it take to stop a computer-based attack? The answer may be up there in the range of whole entire seconds - mostly from the need to communicate with the person running it and enter the commands necessary.

Richard Fernandez on the reports that the computer attacks preceded even the Georgian assault.

Is Ukraine next?

The U.S. has long seen Georgia and Ukraine as counterweights to Russia's influence in the region. Opposition leaders in the two countries came to power after U.S.-backed popular protests in 2003 and 2004. Their ascension advanced an American strategy of expanding NATO to include both countries and securing energy routes from the Caspian Sea that bypass Russia. The BP Plc-led Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline to Turkey runs through Georgia.

This is nothing less than the opening shots of a new campaign for world domination on the part of Putin. His actions are too consistently aimed in that direction to deny it.

American Troops Help Defend Georgia (127 trainers)

Israel understands what's happening: Israeli Military Sales To Georgia Continue

Victor Davis Hanson says it best: Moscow's Sinister Brilliance

There will be no Russian demonstrations about an "illegal war," much less nonsense about "blood for oil," but instead rejoicing at the payback of an uppity former province that felt its Western credentials somehow trumped Russian tanks.

and

Indeed, tired of European lectures, the Russians are now telling the world that soft power is, well, soft. Moscow doesn't give a damn about the United Nations, the European Union, the World Court at the Hague, or any finger-pointing moralist from Geneva or London. Did anyone in Paris miss any sleep over the rubble of Grozny

and

The Russians have sized up the moral bankruptcy of the Western Left. They know that half-a-million Europeans would turn out to damn their patron the United States for removing a dictator and fostering democracy, but not more than a half-dozen would do the same to criticize their long-time enemy from bombing a constitutional state.

and

From what the Russians learned of the Western reaction to Iraq, they expect their best apologists will be American politicians, pundits, professors, and essayists -- and once more they will not be disappointed. We are a culture, after all, that after damning Iraqi democracy as too violent, broke, and disorganized, is now damning Iraqi democracy as too conniving, rich, and self-interested -- the only common denominator being whatever we do, and whomever we help, cannot be good.

Big Lizards has some good suggestions as to a future plan of action. Nothing in the way of immediate military action, but that's not realistically on the table for logistical reasons.

Q and Oalso speaks sanity.

The pause that deposes

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov refused to negotiate with Georgia's elected government, saying publicly that Mikheil Saakashvili "has to go", while President Dmitri Medvedev ordered his troops to "crush" any remaining Georgian resistance.

If that sounds like peace, it's the peace of the graveyard:

Does anyone else remember that the word for "peace" in Russian is the same as the word for "world"? (Mir)



On the Israel-Gaza-Lebanon front, Hisbollah is owned, lock stock and barrel, by Iran. Hamas gets a lot of funding from the crazy mullahs. If anybody thinks this entire episode of kidnapping Israelis is a coincidence instead of intended to take heat off the Iranian nuclear issue (after all, they don't have bombs yet), I have some beachfront property in Wyoming.



Q and O has an open letter to Lebanon worth reading. It applies to other nations as well.



Tigerhawk notes Saudi Arabia taking Israel's side, if not quite explicitly.



LGF publishes a letter from a Lebanese group on the israeli invasion. I'm not familiar with this group; for all I know they could be puppets of Israel.



LGF also notes that Iranian Revolutionary Guards (known to be in Southern Lebanon) may have fired a ballistic missile that hit Haifa. If this is so, the gloves may come off; It would certainly be a valid causus belli for Israel. About number two million and one.



Wizbang notes that Hezbollah may be planning the transfer the two soldiers it kidnapped to Iran. Causus belli number two million and two.



Kesher Talk has a roundup from the Arab side



Hot Air has more, including a video of detailing the Israeli accusations that Iranian guards fired the missile. I suggest you watch the video.



I do not want a confrontation with Iran, but if one must come, the worst we could do is delay it until they have nuclear weapons. If we have to nuke them in order to survive, our allies in the region (including 1.2 billion Indians) will reap fallout, and I suspect China would use the fallout to manufacture an incident. The US can flatten Iran if we have to. I don't want to, but if it must be done, a thought I am becoming resigned to, best we do it now while we have the luxury of being humane and conventional.



Of course the Evil Overlord in me is wondering if this was all carefully orchestrated by the folks in the White House as world cover for giving Israel, the US, and any allies he may have lined up a shot at Iran. Unfortunately, the situational facts of the kidnappings and Palestinian situation speak against this.



The slightly less Macchiavellian side of me answers back: Bad Evil Overlord! The shalt not feed Delusional Paranoia



Michelle Malkin has an excellent round up of links to 9/11 memories.



On the evening of September 11, 2001, I posted an essay to a listserv of a science fiction club which I was attending at the time. In it, I talked about some of the warnings we had had over the years, and the changes to our mindset necesary to prevail over those who had done this. I touched only very lightly on the need for a certain degree of unity among ourselves, thinking it should be obvious to anyone with any grasp of history what happens to a people with factions willing to do anything for political gain.



I was wrong. Judging by the evidence, the average american has never heard of Bosworth Field or Manzikert or any number of other historical situations where members of a society seeking political advantage over another member provided the wedge for outsiders to bring the society low and eventually destroy it. It is all very well and good to campaign based upon who will do a better job. It is something else again to continually hound and vilify your leaders, denigrate their decision making, require that they sat a "timetable for withdrawal" (for the terminally clueless, withdrawal means retreat) thus telling out enemies that they only have to hold out until a certain date. Last I checked, we still have bases and troops in Germany and Japan and we haven't fought either of them since 1945.



I've often speculated on how the societal inability to carry extended projects to completion is rooted in the rise of the 30 or 60 minute television program, where the situation at the end of the program has all been resolved due to some artifice of the writer and everything is exactly as it was at the beginning of the program. This is the generation that crippled President Nixon's attempts to deal with the Vietnam situation because they presumed when he said he wanted to end the war he would just wave some kind of magic wand and the troops would all be out by dinner time on Inauguration day just like on their favorite TV program.



I've linked Bill Whittle's essays over at Eject! Eject Eject! before. If you haven't, I suggest you read all of them. In his most recent, Tribes, he talks accurately upon the unwillingness of the sheep to believe that there really are wolves in the world. People are both profoundly lazy, and at the same time want to believe that they are safe, regardless of whether or not they are. It is easy to pretend you don't see clear evidence that there are people in the world who will do anything to get what they want, and who do not care if they hurt others in the process. Some of these want direct personal power (Hitler and Stalin come to mind, and Mugabe and Kim today). Others want their pre-eminence and worldly dominion for their religion (Savanarola, Torquemada, and Mohammed historically, Khameni and Bin Ladin today) and personal power may only have been a byproduct of that.



The more I look around and consider the situation, the more convinced I am that the die-hard left of today is different only in degree, not in kind, from these individuals and their followers. The immediate "don't question my/his/our patriotism!" before anybody has is only the first confirmation. Many times I have seen them throw this out when nobody has questioned their patriotism, only their judgment. There is a line out of Shakespeare, "The lady doth protest too much," which deals precisely with this sort of situation.



Well for me, that all ends today, right now. Everybody has a right to wonder at others motivations, and should have the ability to speculate as to the true causes and roots of motivation for this. When every action you undertake supports a hypothesis of "You seem motivated to sabotage the current leadership of the United States no matter the cost to your fellow citizens and our military and our long term well-being as a country", that is a mindset of treason, and whether or not the actual crime of treason has been committed, should be noted and broadcast so that our fellow citizens are aware of your predilections.



Criticize the mistakes of the administration all you want. That is your right under the Constitution. I myself criticize the administration on several fronts (immigration, spending, trade policy, etcetera). I'll criticize needless mistakes in the War on Terror as they occur, but keep in mind that this is a war, and the next war where there are no major mistakes made will be the very first in the history of all the world. In the War on Terror, this administration "gets it" in a way that I can't point to in any back to at least Truman, and before him not back to Lincoln. Trying to undercut them on this one point puts yourself on the same moral level as Ducas at Manzikert. He got power out of it, but destroyed the Byzantine Empire just as certainly as if he'd overrun it with a Mongol horde. Whether you like it or not, we are committed to this war. If we stop prosecuting it to the maximum and most effective level, we will lose troops and fight (and lose) battles that we otherwise wouldn't. If we don't fight it effectively enough, the real fundamentalist hordes will take us over, compared to which Pat Robertson and his ilk are but ill-behaved children to compared to true psychopaths. If you love our artwork, look at what the Taliban did to Afghanistan's. If you love high culture and civilization, compare modern day India to Pakistan, and consider that they were one society until the British left and placed the Hindus in charge of one and the Muslims in charge of the other. Consider what Pakistan did to what is now Bangladesh until India intervened. If you love female equality, look at how it exists in Iran today. If you love the ability to dissent from official truth, look at how it existed in Iraq under the Ba'athists, and contrast with how it exists in the same place today. If you want homosexuals to be able to participate freely and openly in society, look at anywhere in the Muslim world, and compare it to here, where various cities host quite "in your face" gay pride festivals and it is those who would sequester homosexuals who are marginalized to the shadows. If you love the ability to ignore what the priest who may not even be of your religion says, look at what happens here versus what happens in Iran, or Saudi Arabia, or even Indonesia. These vermin are saying exactly what they want to do to us, and if they don't want to actually do it, then I must say their actions belie this desire.



To ignore the evidence that the War on Terror is necessary is to go beyond an inability to see, to an unwillingness to see, or hear, or even consider. Anybody who tries to sabotage the War on Terror is not my friend, nor are they my children's friend, and they are definitely not my country's friend. Our ways, the very ways they are trying to end, require us to allow them to talk. But those same ways allow me (and others) to point out these facts as well; censorship is denied not only for me but also for thee.



And your attempts to shame or guilt or intimidate us into silence tells me that you can't meet us on the ground of open debate, either. But only sheep think that way, and those of us who support the President in the War on Terror are not sheep, not matter how much it may comfort you to think it so.

The Last of the Light Brigade



There were thirty million English who talked of England's might,
There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.

They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four!

They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey;
Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, "Let us go to the man who writes
The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites."

They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong,
To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song;
And, waiting his servant's order, by the garden gate they stayed,
A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.

They strove to stand to attention, to straighten the toil-bowed back;
They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack;
With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed,
They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.

The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, and "Beggin' your pardon," he said,
"You wrote o' the Light Brigade, sir. Here's all that isn't dead.
An' it's all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin' the mouth of hell;
For we're all of us nigh to the workhouse, an, we thought we'd call an' tell.

"No, thank you, we don't want food, sir; but couldn't you take an' write
A sort of 'to be continued' and 'see next page' o' the fight?
We think that someone has blundered, an' couldn't you tell 'em how?
You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now."

The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with "the scorn of scorn."
And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.

O thirty million English that babble of England's might,
Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night;
Our children's children are lisping to "honour the charge they made-"
And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!


Rudyard Kipling

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This number seems consistent with personal experience. I disagree that one agency should be responsible, however - just what we need, a new federal agency. What are they going to do, hire a whole agency full of people to watch, one, two or five in every air traffic facility just sitting there observing? That's brain damaged. That's part of what Air Traffic Control does. If ATC isn't in radio contact with that aircraft, what are they going to do about it anyway? If it hasn't been done yet, I would suggest dedicated hard lines from NORAD to every air traffic facility (including flight service stations), or at least put NORAD on every Air Traffic Control Interphone line so the involved controller can communicated directly with NORAD rather than through sometimes three lairs of intermediaries, but a whole new agency? Wasted money.



We could close down all of our general aviation in the country, but that would be a major wrong for not much gain. We can do nothing, in which case numbers like these will continue, and eventually somebody will fly a Gulfstream or KingAir full of explosives into something important before NORAD can react (Montgomery Field here in San Diego is within five miles of several major military bases, so a KingAir could get there within about 75 seconds from takeoff, a Gulfstream about 45. Even in the old days where the Air Force had fighters on constant standby, they had two minutes to get airborne. In case you're not aware, the 9/11 hijackers did some of their training here in San Diego, and if that doesn't give your backside a pucker...). Or we can maybe close a few general aviation airports that are the cause of vast majority of the problems and get serious about enforcement actions (I'm only aware of two sustained enforcement actions against all of the pilots that violated FARs at my various facilities handled during my twelve years working for them, and both of those were truly egregious and in our faces about the violations. But there's a lot of true bozos out there who won't do their homework, scraping by with their heads you-know-where by grace of a lax enforcement system. We never wanted to write anyone up - preferring education instead - and when we did it was because we were convinced they were a true danger to the flying public and there wasn't anything we further we could reasonably do that would help them. However, the general aviation lobby has made it impossible to successfully take action against someone's license for anything less than, well, 9/11).



UPDATE: It appears as if the original article has been updated since I wrote this post based on it this morning. This was an article on how clueless Congress and the Federal Bureaucracy is, but now it appears as if something constructive may come of it. It's like they read what I wrote. Either that or Congress is getting tired of being interrupted all the time. You decide.






First off, Glenn Reynolds has an excellent round up at the obvious place.



Project Nothing has another round up here



Arthur Chrenkoff has a series of good posts.



Powerline debunks a myth before it gets started, and later reported on the activities of Charlotte Yoest, whose site is down.



I must admit I was a little surprised at some of the quotes. On the other hand, this was a Muslim neighborhood.



Twenty-four years ago, Margaret Thatcher rallied the british people. Sixty-five years ago Winston Churchill provided a greater precedent. If necessary, Sir Winston would have provided "A majority of one", but it wasn't. As the world discovered, it was only the rulers who suffered from a crisis of will. The vast majority of the british people had no such weakness. Ms. Thatcher would have been unable to stir them if they were not fundamentally the same people.



Looking at the situation today, I am struck by odd parallels to the situation of December 1941, only this time it is we who have been fully engaged, and they who Mr. Blair has had to drag kicking and screaming into the world of reality, as Mr. Roosevelt had to contend with our isolationists prior to Pearl Harbor. Go look up US politics through the newspaper stories of late 1939 to December 1941. There was a large, vocal, powerful minority, particularly in the upper crust, who didn't want the US to go to war. Nonetheless, the US military was performing convoy operations and sub hunting out of Iceland, among other places, there were US Volunteers in the RAF, and there were many levels of cooperation with british and allied forces everywhere. Not perhaps, the level of cooperation the british have already shown us, but significant nonetheless (Had the Axis won the war, you can bet there would have been war crimes trials).



On December 7, 1941, that changed. Having read several military memoirs of the period, among both militaries there seemed to be a feeling of inevitabilty to America's entry to the war which was only given specific impetus by Pearl Harbor. But suddenly the whole weight and conviction of the United States entered the war.



The situation is no different here. The british appeasers and opponents of the war on terror (from what I can tell, much louder there than here), have just been handed their wake up call. Many - too many - thought Mr. Blair was just buying trouble. Perhaps, as a few tried briefly here in 1941, it will be portrayed as just desserts. I don't think the british public will buy it now any more than they did during the Irish troubles. I believe that the vast majority of the britons will shift solidly towards support for the war.



The English Lion no longer bestrides the world like the colossus it once was. But it is still capable not only of roaring defiance, but biting back hard. And I firmly believe that the british are still fundamentally the same great people who stood alone and toe to toe with Hitler's Wehrmacht. They're not going to run from a little thing like a few thousand islamic terrorists who are afraid to come out and fight soldier to soldier.



UPDATE: Dean Esmay has a post urging us all to not link Daily Kos due to a particularly rancid post. Yes, I agree that they are crazy barking moonbats with no clue as to reality, political, military, economic or otherwise. I've done at least one takedown of his idiocy in my short three weeks of blogging. Furthermore, I do see hatred on the site, and definite trollish behavior.



Nonetheless, I must reluctantly refuse Dean's request. It is important to know these people, to keep track of them, and to be able to illustrate with examples off of their own keyboards lest some unwitting stranger believe they are rational. Furthermore, although there is hate, the various left wing websites are for the most part, not conscious, intentional traitors. I can point to several posts I've made here and here and especially here that indicate I am not exactly of moderate mind in the War on Terror. Nonetheless, I believe we must not cut them out of the discussion in the War on Terror. First, to do so of necessity limits our comprehension of the opposition. This is one mistake the right wing in this country attempted in the 1950s and 1960s. I decline to repeat it. Second, to use an old saying, even a stopped watch is correct twice a day. There may be issues where we can learn from him, provided we do not blind ourselves by pretending he can teach us nothing. Third, I do not believe that the site is so far gone that there is nothing which can penetrate.



So the link stays up. I'm sorry, Dean, and if you choose to de-link me I will understand, but this is more important than a place in the ecosystem.



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