31 July 2012

Weirder than Fiction

How weird, you ask?

They invite you to customize your pan-galactic omnivorous transnational super-dooper–state (the EU). As if it actually makes sense to make an online survey substitute for the use of a democratic process as a way of presenting your gripes to the state, or presenting your vision of an entity with half a billion belching welfare moochers in it.

Maybe they’re doing this to look engaged with the public, or trrying to grow more relevant. I suppose that’s possible, but it’s unlikely to be as successful as, say, the fact that it’s National Cheesecake day – and what National Cheesecake day can be truly complete without bakeries giving out samples.

So, let me also wish you a happy belated Europe Day as Neelie is warmly extending to you in the video, if “happy” is indeed the right term. Maybe it’s “anxious,” or “merry,” or “bereft of meaning.” I don’t know what Emily Post would say on such an august occasion.

27 July 2012

So Long, and Thanks for all the Kleingebäck

In the town of Breisbach on the Rhein river near the gateway to the Black Forest - in the most prosperous and Cutsie-poo part of Germany, we discover the success of European social solidarity and integration of outsiders, their tolerance for others, and their whimsical and rich incorporation of the host society’s values.
Two ethnic Turkish men walking in on the Christian funeral service of a dead baby violently pulled the deceased from the coffin to ritually wash it.

The two men who caused the disturbance, 62 years and 28-years-old men will appear on the 1st of August before the District Court of Breisach (Breisgau in the Black Forest).

Throughout the ritual, the two accused had forcefully pushed all the guests who wanted to intervene, a court spokesman said on Wednesday. The baby died of sudden infant death syndrome.

The 28-year-old was the biological father of the child - but never acknowledged paternity. The 62 year old father took the corpse from the coffin, stripped it, and washed it in a tub that he brought. According to court spokesman, all the mourners could see the scars from the child's autopsy. After washing the remains, they wrapped it in cloth, placed it in the coffin, and buried quite crudely by the two men.

25 July 2012

“Trying to Make the World Safe for their Volvos”

That just about sums ‘em up.

24 July 2012

What’s Yours is Theirs’

L’Express’ personal fiance section runs down a list of things that will come under taxation assault in France. Painful and economically stupefying as they are, they don’t appear to produce much in the way of receipts.

Unearned income of all types, we are promised, will eventually be aligned with income tax rates, which is to say a nominal 34,5%. Oh joy, oh rapture.

- Social security sur-tax will be raised to 15,5% from 12,3%
- Tax on income from property will go up to 34,5%, as will capital gains from property sale which were at 32,5%
- Interest of life insurance returns will go up the “sociaux” rate of 15,5%
- Estate taxes will range from 30.5 to 50.5%, with some allowance for subtractions at the low end

This comes before the anticipated 75% income take rate on insufferably high income earners (<€1 Million/per annum) has yet to be announced. This is likely because they’re trying to sort out some sort of “exit tax” for people who take their wealth abroad where someone other than the government can use it. In case you think that all of this is some sort of realignment to “produce a sustainable society” that encourages personal responsibility and savings, employee savings will ONLY be taxed at a rate of 20%. On planet earth, employee retirement savings not only normally goes untaxed, but is incented by exempting it from taxable income. But since you will have less income and fewer earning prospects anyway due to the rise in income taxes generally, you won’t have a chance to save anything anyway. Whatever you have left, should you happen to actually want to shod your children’s feet or buy goods of virtually any durable sort, is subject to a VAT of 19,6%. The truly sick thing about it all is that when VAT was introduced, it was made of the argument that making goods more costly for everyone would create an incentive to save. The most common form of saves, however is subject to a 20% rate. Whatever, taxes were already punitively high, and they don’t think you made that cabbage on your own to begin with. So in conclusion, I hope your move goes smoothly, and that your new neighbors in Australia, the US, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK prove to be friendly, welcoming, and helpful.

23 July 2012

Rome’s Pantheon Symbolizes a Remarkable Leap in Human Knowledge

An article about the Pantheon in the Weekend WSJ provoked me to think about the example it represents to us in the broader context of human development.

Not only was it as good a solution to the idea of “just a dome over a drum” as can possibly be created Architecturally, it was also the first true concrete structure.

Aestheically, its’ précis is even more poetic in the economical use of ideas:
Seen from its north-facing front, the concrete-and-brick Pantheon consists of a pedimented entrance porch, a domed rotunda and a boxlike intermediate structure joining them. Their forms—triangle, hemisphere and rectangle—announce the underlying theme of pure geometry.
This is no small feat. While the Romans built arches and domes, there is no evidence that they actually understood the principals behind it. They understood their proportional thickness to span and limits of scale only by the skillful and advanced use of a much simpler principal that they used in the absence of other scientific knowledge: trial and error. This might seem like an insult to their intelligence, but it isn’t. Using a proxy for an engineering concept that you don’t have control of in order to use it is a risky strategy requiring their best engineering skills to manage.

Moreover the risk of using and evidence-based/ trial-and-error based engineering concept was high for other reasons: embarrassment in the face of failure of whomever tries it, and the ire of the powerful patron who put their resources and trust in whomever did it. Slavery or even beheading would not have been becoming when you’re a well-respected Architect in the Roman Empire or Republic, I’m sure.

We see that they cast coffers into the dome to lighten it, but we don’t know if they put two-and-two together, and understood that the space in between them turned into ribs made stronger by tie-ing them together with the concentric rings formed by the horizontal elements between the coffers. It took several centuries before we saw any rib-vaults that represent historical evidence that building technology knew and understood the concept.

The trial-and-error issue extend to the material too: they “discovered” concrete in that they thought it could do something based on making mortar. Using volcanic ash, they produced a hydrating-lime concrete without really knowing that it was the hydration that was producing something like modern concrete. The invention of modern concrete is attributed to French gardener in the 2nd half the 19th century noodling around with a better way to make flower pots, and an Englishman who observed some of the hydrating and heat generating reaction of slack lime.

So the take-away from this is that skillful use of what you know in order to do more than you know isn’t just possible, but it creates the examples that other can “reverse engineer” to determine the unknown engineering principals themselves.

So there you have it – someone had to take a leap of faith – but the results for civilization was the ability to build more and better shelter using fewer resources, and this incrementally improved the lives of more people. This whole concept is lost on modern environmentalists whose luddite outlook is based on a are nostalgia of something that never existed, and is detrimental to the largest number of people. After all, if you tried to engage in such an experiment today, they would do whatever they could to stop it because of the risk and use of resources, and immediately vilify the chemistry involved in making it as a “poison” that will only serve to pollute streams and “make the rich richer.”

21 July 2012

Isn’t Soylent Green a Place Name Somewhere in the UK?

In eastern Europe, there was a popular joke people told: “if the desert was made a socialist state, there would soon be a shortage of sand.”

Socialism creates shortages. Socialize medicine enough, and you create a reason not to treat people. Sooner or later they start making excuses for euthanasia to save money. After a while they stop concealing that this is why they tried to justify it.
‘Sanctity of life law has gone too far’.
said an editorial published in the British Medical Journal. The author then arrived at the conclusion that:
‘The logical implications of this judgment threaten to skew the delivery of severely resource limited healthcare services towards providing non-beneficial or minimally beneficial life prolonging treatments including artificial nutrition and hydration to thousands of severely demented patients whose families and friends believe they would not have wanted such treatment. The opportunity cost will probably be reduced provision of indisputably beneficial treatments to people who do want them.’
Now that THAT’s out of the way, how many years will it be before we have an artificial market and delivery structure that will make people in prosperous industrial nations fight over food ?

20 July 2012

It’s Just Like Obama’s Vision of America

Translation from original Klingon German: ... “Welfare is sexy” ...

In the Brussels Journal, George Handlery decrypts the symbolism of graffiti put up by people with everything to gain by having the state reach into your pocket.

19 July 2012

Citing Mister Cuddles

They are fossils, these old-line Marxist-Leninist / Permanent Revolution type Trotskyite variants. They even fall for phony, concocted quotations from their heroes of the near distant ago as a kind of scripture. Here, one present day “revolutionary” quotes this blog’s patron mass murderer Che, to try to convince the reader that Free Enterprise thanklessly exploits the worker, ignoring that under the Marxist-Leninism that the author never lived under the loving heel of the state, THE STATE is the corporate exploiter.
In carrying out whatever leadership task he was assigned, Che organized along a course that made it possible for workers to transform themselves and their social and political consciousness as they collectively transformed the social relations under which they worked, produced, and lived.

He explained that this is the only way working people carrying out the revolutionary process can make the new social relations more transparent and direct and, at the same time, base these relations on human solidarity. It is the only way to tear away the veils and fetishes behind which the capitalist system hides the brutal consequences of its exploitation of working people and obscures the unique contribution labor makes to all social and cultural progress.
So I suppose that he was going to lead by example, and tell us how many of his political opponents he capped? Not likely. He does, however, advocate chaos and the descent into a base, regressed society though:
By the time the Cuban revolution conquered, the balance sheet of twentieth-century experience had demonstrated beyond any doubt that society will not—and cannot—advance toward socialism and communism along any other course.

If it is directed down any other road, it will become mired in bureaucratic planning and management, fostering growing demoralization and alienation of working people from their labor. New privileged social layers will be spawned that ape the values and attitudes of the capitalist classes still dominant on a world scale. Willy-nilly, revolutionists will be turned into accomplices of the law of value and its corrosive social consequences. They will begin, at first even unconsciously, to seek support and collaboration from petty-bourgeois layers at home and from bourgeois forces internationally, as they turn their faces away from the toilers of the world, who are humanity’s only salvation.
There’s the perpetual argument pointing somewhere else: “sure, you’re suffering, or are trapped in these borders, or poor – but you’re doing it for the good of man. The irony is that that man, whoever the hell he is, was always somewhere else: Africa, South America, East Asia, etc.

After some more piffle about the worker, he is reputed to have said:
Fear that the example of Cuba would spread and that other pro-imperialist regimes would be overthrown by mass revolutionary struggle underlay Washington’s determination to crush the workers and farmers government in Cuba. At Wall Street’s bidding, bourgeois governments throughout the hemisphere rushed to try to isolate the revolutionary regime. …
Yes, and it was the workers who feared it, which is why they had to use violent intimidation and “never let a crisis go to waste”. Those who actually ARE workers, taking a moment to think about who the new boss is, realizes that not only does the State Mega-Nasty-Corp of the Socialists’ paradise have no competition, but they also have no incentive not to REALLY abuse the person.

Proof of this is plain: these regimes maintained impotent unions as a useful distraction to help keep the workers from rising up and taking their power away. Their job as a union, was to militate an already trapped people into towing the bosses’ political line. When the workers did rise up to protest unreasonable production quotas, they shot at them.

Can the fossils find even ONE example of anything that bad being done to working people by the state where there is Free Enterprise without massive repercussions? Well?

In that minor instance of the 1953 East German uprising, one of many events in the solidaristic “free world” that they called their walled-in lands, 170 were executed for political crimes, 123 for other ‘crimes’, connected to the protests in addition to the scores of victims shot down in the street when the protests were put down.

17 July 2012

Welcome to the Hotel California

Europeans are learning something is wrong with their long held utopian ideals. When even the slightest difficulty is presented to the Europeans as a whole, they passive-aggressively turn on one another – each threatening to take their football and go home.
On a recent BBC Newsnight debate, Jeremy Paxman drew applause by popping up on a screen a photo of Herman Van Rompuy, the rather nondescript Belgian president of the European Council, and asking the audience whether they had voted for him and even knew who he was. Argument over: of course we’d rather not be bossed about by unelected officials whom we can’t even name.

Except for this. It was tosh. Why didn’t he also put up photos of the Secretary General of Nato, or the head of the World Trade Organisation, or the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the International Maritime Organisation, or even the head of Fifa? We didn’t vote for any of those either; they come from funny foreign countries and we don’t even know their names – except perhaps the President of FIFA.
But naturally, it take a Briton to really understand that the issue is one of self-interest, having long-since shed the notion that there is such a thing called enlightened self interest. Writing in the Times of London, Bill Emmott reminds us that there are even bigger temples of dysfunction trying to exercise “global governance”, and that Europeans have been following along with all manner of nonsense with the UN, IMF, and a bunch of other alphabet soup outfits with a childish optimism about human nature.

The side effects have been the shaky legal ground this leaves them on, insofar as they really don’t actually say they’re ceding sovereignty on one matter of another when they are, and the irreversibility of it all:
The point is that a crucial part of British policy since 1945 has been that of setting up, and joining, international organisations to agree upon common rules for various activities, to foster co-operation rather than conflict, to increase collective security, or to promote freer trade. All of them involve the pooling of sovereignty in exchange for an expected benefit – rather as the FA joined Fifa to play in international tournaments and to all follow the same rules of football. We could be independent and set our own rules. But it wouldn’t get us very far.
[ ... ]
Is the extra degree of sovereignty regained enough to make it worthwhile? Is the then less Common Market still common enough? Is the loss of Britons’ automatic right to live and work in Spain, Italy, Germany or elsewhere a price worth paying?
No-one asked you that either, did they?

What’s the end result of all of this? Pretending to be a helpless, servile victim of these imagined external powers with a sort of universal power ascribed to them by the well promoted feeling that international institutions are of man’s way to build some sort of “heaven on earth,” with harmless, pointless lives for everyone. A case in point is a headline. Forget the content, just look at the tone, and the assumption of who’s in charge:
IMF tells eurozone to turn on printing presses
Actually, you really don’t HAVE to, friend.

16 July 2012

A Babe in the Woods

Free-riding is a problem. Eventually, the free-riders either believe that they are entitled to the position that they’ve put others into, or convince themselves of some other world view in order to ignore their real behavior.

Case in point: Lecturesome pacifist Germans being willfully ignorant of their nations’ arms sales.

Observing Hermann:
These pacifistic (German made) and very expensive peaceships not only make big profits for traditional Waffenschmiede (weapons makers) like Thyssen-Krupp Marine-Systeme, they finally give Germany’s alibi army something vernünftig (reasonable) to do: Train the folks who might actually be using these weapons one day.
Of course when sold to the right parties, the DO keep the peace, but it doesn’t square with the broadly held view among Germans that they can
1) ...somehow check out on having any responsibility in the world, and,
2) ...continue imagining the world can be some peaceful little dorf where people get along without making anyone else uncomfortable, shed anyone elses’ blood, or seize one anothers’ resources (as if there even exists such a dorf in Germany,) and,
3) ...abide by the vision of “peace” held by dewey-eyed adolescents.
4) ...keep that scary, icky world “away”, (after all, it’s just too far to go to these places other than on vacation,) and pretend it’s not there.

While they prefer to not be distracted by pretending their making totally unique art, or making money and expanding their economy on the back of goofy currency manipulation, they can’t keep it up for long.

11 July 2012

The Sewer of Revisionism Eventually Flows into the River of Implausible Stupidity

Jean Birnbaum writing in France’s newspaper of record, Le Monde uses his unresolved feelings about a violent murder to pen a loving portrait of Karl Marx. lumpenproletariat was not a sub, but an anti proletariat.

Mikhail Kalashnikov is part of this tradition. As noted by Olivier Rohe in his superb text called
Ma dernière création est un piège à taupes ("My Latest Creation Is A Mole Trap"), the ex-sergeant of the Red Army, who is now approaching 100 years of age, is basically an homme d’ordre, passionate by work done well and an abiding hatred towards criminals.

By inventing the AK-47 assault rifle in the aftermath of World War II, he wanted to arm the hand of the workingman along the road to emancipation. In another of those ironic twists of History, this globalized gun is now one of the most destructive tools in the service of international capitalism. It is seen also as a fetish for bling-bling gangsterism all over the world, and even in the heart of this urban France, of which Marx and Engels once so admired the lucidity.

On Sunday July 1, in the northern French city of Lille, a thug unloaded his “kalash” in front of a nightclub, where he'd not been allowed to enter. Two people were killed: a 25-year-old man, working for a company that manages low-rent housing, and a 26-year-old woman, who worked at the nightclub's coat-check to help pay her university fees. These two young workers have been killed by the bullets of a weapon, invented once upon a time with the aim of brightening the future for the underdogs of the world.

Just as his friend Karl Marx used to do, Friedrich Engels was telling the workers of the world to get rid of the “scum.” He used this term with no hesitation, while describing “these dredges of deprived persons,” those whom he viewed as the most dangerous enemy of the working classes. “At every revolution, when the French blue collars wrote on the walls of the houses “Death to thieves” and when they shot several of them, they were not acting out of enthusiasm for the ownership, but rather because they know they had to first get rid of this gang,” Engels said.
He doesn’t get around to mentioning that the crimes would come to mean “disagreeing with the revolution”, or for that matter, that the man with the “kalish” is more likely to have thought that HE was the lumpenproletarian, who, turned away, needed to address “the crime,” and wanted to emancipate the vicitms in his very own special way.

This is especially cute, in that the crime took place in Lille, a place where anarcho-syndicalism IS the only idea in the air. In fact, it runs a close secont to "red Brest" in it's communist-mob-rule tendencies.

Also by Birnbaum are titles such as:
Is our future democratic ? and
Is Nationalism about being Gay ?
...wherin he explores the “xenophobic excesses” of gays questioning the abuse of gays by extremely common and “mainstream” Moslems.

What’s curious about all of this is that Birnbaum was one of the last people to interview Jacques Derrida, who, while broadly known for his post-modern uncaring rubbish, was morally clear when it came to the defense of individuals rights against the oppressive force of a politically correct group, dominant world view, or social tribalism that hangs like a damp, cold, fog over published ideas and “philosophical conversation” in much of Europe.

At about the same time, Birnbaum was also feeding lines to pointless hater Thierry Ardisson for “Tous Le Monde en Parle

10 July 2012

I think the Buzz Wore Off

After, say, a week.

Zee street art, she says it oll.

06 July 2012

3rd "Summer of Recovery", AKA Obama-topia

05 July 2012

Steal This Book, (and Club the Busboy to Death with it)

On one hand, you have MEPs bloviating about how the piracy of intellectual is some sort of human right. On the other hand, after tch-tch-ing those clueless Americans (even using sock-puppets) about Arizona’s border enforcement code being some sort of RacistApartheidWallOfFascism, Maltese citizens beat illegal border-runners to death.
The Malian asylum seeker had escaped from Malta's Safi detention centre in August 2009. On Friday evening, he sought medical treatment at a clinic but staff alerted the authorities who picked him up in a van and transported him to a detention facility, report Maltese media. By the time he arrived at the facility early Saturday morning, he was found dead inside the van.

“He had blows to his groin. He did not die of natural causes,”

04 July 2012

Things to be Thankful For

Something MUST be Done, Dammit!

Despite being obscenely expensive and Bloomberg-esque in its degree of a paperwork frustration, all drivers in France are being treated like ex-DUI offenders:
In an attempt to cut back on the number of alcohol-related traffic accidents, each driver will from now on be required to keep a breathalyzer test in his or her vehicle. Those caught without the test, which cost between 1 and 3 euros a piece, can expect to pay a fine of 11 euros as of 1 November.
While that doesn’t seem like a lot of money, what we’re talking about here is a portable test that the police can make you take when they pull you over. YOU’RE supposed to have purchased it and have it on hand. Innocence not being assumed in the least, YOU need to have bought the test kit used to prove your sobriety.
According to an Ifop poll published in Dimanche Ouest France, only 39 percent of French drivers owned the test as of Saturday, just one day before the law came into effect.
Remember that Nanny doesn’t just loves you, but is always ready to hug you to death.

Also to include in Nanny’s pointless, morally vane strangulations is this sort of thing that the average European is so used to getting forced on them on a daily basis that they are conditioned into a sort of weird bliss of the servile:
In a measure to bring down electricity consumption, neon lights and illuminated advertisements will be forced off during the wee hours of the night. From 1 to 6 o’clock in the morning, even the town Christmas tree will have to go dark overnight.
Next week it will be something else. There always is.
The measure could cut CO2 emissions by 120,000 tons.
Irritating 60 million people in one small way or another, this will make up for the annual carbon dioxide output of a mere 7868 households.

They must be so proud.

02 July 2012

It Only Took 16 Hours

For someone to blame “man caused climate disruption” for the US mid-Atlantic derecho, or “land hurricane”.

And it was done using the most passive-aggressive yet evasive language possible:
As the intensity of the heat wave, without reservation, was a key factor in the destructiveness of this derecho event - it raises the question about the possible role of manmade climate warming (from elevated greenhouse concentrations). It’s a complicated, controversial question, but one that scientists will surely grapple with in case studies of this rare, extraordinary event.
Why doesn’t he go pound sand so we can study what the anthropogenic contribution to gasses in the atmosphere that might have an impact on.

The Chronicles of Prolixity

Zerohedge brings you a glossary of leftist economic illiteracy:
Fairness: Definition: A word used to motivate making sure outcomes do not match abilities or effort. Note, pre-1970 it meant roughly the opposite.
Many gems, many, many gems...

01 July 2012

“Our Heritage,” 1976

Our heritage is one of great ideas, not ethnicity, greed, and factional strife.

“Champions of the dignity of man, throughout the world.”