Friday, January 28, 2011

Confident, arrogant or frightened?

French President Sarkozy, via Ad Orientem:
France and Germany will never turn their backs on the euro, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said in his most robust defence of the troubled single currency to date.

Addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos, he told speculators to be prepared for big losses if they bet against the euro. “[Germany’s] Chancellor Merkel and myself will never – do you hear me, never – let the euro fall,” he said.

“The euro is Europe. And Europe spells 60 years of peace. Therefore we will never let the euro go or be destroyed… To those who bet against the euro, watch out for your money because we are fully determined to defend the euro.”

Questions, Nico. Questions.

Have private French and German citizens been consulted about their purported greater duty to Europe?

Have the Turkish, Middle Eastern and North African peoples who will shortly constitute the French and German majorities agreed to work harder, accept less benefits and pay more taxes for the sake of "Europe?"

How does Southern Europe feel about Franco-German dominance? How does Eastern Europe feel about this?

How much longer will Americans pay to have their military garrisoned overseas to preserve "60 years of peace" for Europe? In particular, when Mexico and parts of the US Southwest slip into anarchy, where will US military priorities lie?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The lie of college football

Auburn And The Opiate Of America, from Alternative Right.

In 2007, then-Stanford University head football coach Jim Harbaugh (now of the San Francisco 49ers) made statements about his alma mater, the University of Michigan, that cast aspersions on the school’s practice of admitting substandard students in order to compete in the Big Ten Conference. Said Harbaugh,

Michigan is a good school and I got a good education there… but the athletic department has ways to get borderline guys in and, when they’re in, they steer them to courses in sports communications. They’re adulated when they’re playing, but when they get out, the people who adulated them won’t hire them...

College football (and basketball) offer Black Americans opportunities to attend schools like Michigan that their academic records and performance on SAT/ACT tests would never grant them, even with affirmative action. Blacks make up only six percent of National Champion Auburn University’s 23,000 undergraduate body, for instance; they comprise around 80 percent of the football team’s starting lineup. Black people, who would seem to have little in common with many of the institutions for which they play, become heroes to students, alumni, and fans alike. Universities, in turn, rely on athletes like Auburn’s Cam Newton—and, by all indications, pay them handsomely—in order to bring in hundreds of millions in revenue each year.

Read the article in its entirety at the link. Richard Spencer and Paul Kersey tell an uncomfortable truth. College football allows erstwhile conservative, white sport fans to salve their consciences rather than acknowledge the hard reality: most black athletes have no business attending college and are in fact horribly disserved by it.
College football is an opiate for America, particularly Red State America, a way of recasting the world in an egalitarian image. Cam Newton, Michael Dyer—and Michael Vick—are exalted. And the White Americans who cheer them on are hardly willing to contemplate the reality of what they’re watching. Jim Harbaugh only hinted at it.

The solution is for the NBA and NFL to adopt minor leagues and let college athletics return to its roots as a purely amateur pursuit among academic rivals. Unfortunately, we are light-years past the point when any common sense could have prevailed.

Breaching the social contract

The inter-generational compact within families is that the adults will take care of the children through years of dependency, and when the youngsters become adults in their turn, they will take care of those who formerly took care of them.

Beginning with Chancellor Bismarck in 1884, the State took one of its periodic Great Leaps Forward and inserted itself into this social contract, and proposed to underwrite, through taxation, the care of the elderly. But every government action crowds out private action: if the government says you can just pay part of your income into the social security fund rather than saving it yourself for the future needs of your and other older family members, most people will take it at its word. What could go wrong?

Of course, from the perspective of 2011 we see: practically all the welfare states' social security funds are permanently bankrupt, as the taxation and anti-family culture of the welfare state takes its awful toll.

The British state has responded by repealing the 65-years "default retirement age," that is, the age at which an employer could fire a worker without penalty. The government despite its earlier promise must now renege: the State simply cannot afford so many pensioners and must apply the policy levers to keep the elderly in the work force. But having put itself and us all into this jam, we are not so easily got out, as the inter-generational and inter-familial ties that bound older and younger family members have been displaced.

Alex Kurtagic at AltRight observes,

[T]he phrase 'ageing population', because it is refers to a generalised phenomenon driven by several causes, conceals the unwillingness of the government to make the economy more family friendly: indigenous Europeans are delaying starting a family, having smaller ones, or not having them altogether, partly because of the cost relative to their incomes—resulting from, on the one hand, pressure from the consumer culture, and on the other, inflation, predatory taxation, and labyrinthine regulation—is seen as too high. (Another factor is Marxist feminism.)

Also concealed is the implicit realisation that the levels of immigration that would be required to close the fiscal gap is high enough to risk serious social disturbance and a significant rise in support for anti-immigration parties: one way of increasing the workforce without importing or creating new citizens is to allow existing citizens to work for longer.

By painting this legislative development as an act of government generosity, the report also misrepresents the facts. The desired implication is that the government is now 'allowing' those eager to work to do so for longer, and 'forcing' employers not to retire and not to deny employment to workers above a certain age. It fits in with the equality discourse that permeates modern culture. But the reality is that working past 65 is not a choice for many (because many hate their jobs), but a necessity. As we well know, Western governments have incurred unpayable debts and, as predicted by Kotlikoff years ago, they have decided money printing is the only way out: they cannot raise taxes nor cut welfare programmes enough without causing a revolution. The consequence is, of course, inflation, and neither incomes nor pensions being able to keep up with the devaluation of the currency. Most workers will increasingly have to work until they drop, occupying progressively more menial positions as age takes its toll.

I suspect other Western countries with default retirement ages still in place will be forced to follow. They may at first extend the retirement age, but they will eventually 'liberalise' or 'relax' employment legislation and it will be sold to the public as a way to keep active and boost the economy, just as it has been done here.

Westerners were sold a lie: that the secular State could eliminate the vagaries of family ties and provide a dignified retirement for the elderly. And having had the rug yanked out from under them, and their children laboring under their own tax burdens, the elderly must now go to work.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The powers that be are outraged!

Poisonous Politics, from Pat Buchanan at Taki's.
Elements on the left are now connecting the dots—the words of Palin and Fox News—to the deeds of accused mass murderer Jared Loughner.

This is not political hardball. This is political dirt ball.

Do any such dots exist in reality? Or only in the embittered minds and malevolent motives of those unreconciled to the defeat they suffered on Nov. 2?

Undeniably, political rhetoric is hotter than it has been since the 1960s and ought to be dialed down. But Barack Obama, talking tough in 2008 about how he would deal with Republican attacks, himself said, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun. ... Folks in Philly like a good brawl.”

In 2010, Obama called on Hispanics to join him and “punish our enemies.” Harry Reid in 2009 called Tea Party critics “evil-mongers” who disrupt town-hall meetings with “lies, innuendo and rumors.”

It is easy for journalists to imply or impute a causal connection between hot words and horrible acts. Simply twin the two in a story, or ask an interviewee if he thinks these words and those deeds are not connected. And then let the public imagination do the rest...

From the comments:
[Tom:] I don’t know anything about this particular congresswoman, but I find it ironic that the elites are up in arms over 1 nut taking a few shots at a member of congress, when our elected officials and their handlers are swimming in innocent blood. And their answer to the situation is to circle the wagons and threaten the American population with further erosions of our civil liberties. In the end, that could well be the legacy of this whole incident. Either way, it shows that the two political parties and their monied handlers really stand together against the people who elect them.

I also love how it is the fault of average Americans for the “heated rhetoric” that supposedly caused this incident. The elites are far more radical, paranoid and violent than the population at large! These people use the U.S. military (which they and the children rarely serve in) around the globe with disasterous results, force radical demographic and social change at home that few want, destroy our economic/employment base and spend massive amounts of money that will have to be paid through generations of higher taxes, with practically no input from citizens, and claim to be surprised that they are disliked! I’m not advocating violence, but what do these people expect? Average Americans are at least as alienated as the radical left was 40 or 50 years ago.

And why are there separate laws for shooting at a national politician or government worker? Are the penalties stiffer?

War is the ultimate act of political violence, and our elites don't think twice about starting unjustified wars of aggression that kill untold numbers of innocent soldiers and civilians, waste massive amounts of money and cause unnecessary damage. I don't advocate political violence, but I also understand that our elites, and the politicians who do their bidding, are not innocent are niave. Sometimes they get shot at, too. Unfortunately, actual innocent bystanders get caught in the crossfire, whic is the real tragedy.

And another one:
[Bb]: "Undeniably, political rhetoric is hotter than it has been since the 1960s and ought to be dialed down."

But it won't be. Never before have the stakes been so high. We have an obtrusively "in-your-face" government, run on debt to the detrement of the citizens' wealth (and to the benefit of the well-connected), full of increasingly insular politicians and their hirelings, whose disdain towards "petition for redress of grievences" has grown into an air of untouchability.

Well, this past weekend, some nutjob touched 'em.

Monday, January 10, 2011

True Grit

The Coen brothers continue with their relentless message that civilization is inimical, or at least not conducive, to human morality. In the frontier, Rooster Cogburn protects the weak and dispenses justice according to the reward of the wicked and the innocent. In secular civilization, he is a carnival attraction. In frontier morality, for example, a man who does not recognize the special status of women by getting to his feet is trash meriting the same contempt as men who rob children of their fathers. I'm reminded of the scene in Gone With The Wind when Mammy chides the carpetbaggers for their overt approaches to Scarlett. The Coens place special emphasis on Cogburn's and LeBoeuf's status as Confederate veterans as well.

So, two Jewish men remain devoted and rigorous filmographers of Anglo-American history and culture, and from a perspective strikingly different from most of their Hollywood peers.

Convert growth in Orthodoxy

New converts flocking to an ancient church. From Ad Orientem.

Like many of his parishioners, Father Richard Petranek came to the Orthodox church in search of the past.

After 30 years as an Episcopalian priest, Petranek converted to the Antiochian Orthodox Church and leads a new but growing parish in west Houston, filled almost entirely with converts to the ancient faith.

"Most people come for the stability," he said. "The same thing that is taught today in the Orthodox church was taught 500 years ago, was taught 1,000 years ago, was taught 1,500 years ago."

At a time when most mainline Christian churches are losing members, Eastern Orthodox churches — which trace their beliefs to the church described in the New Testament - are growing, both in Houston and across the United States.

The numbers are still small: the 2010 U.S. Orthodox census estimates there are about 32,000 active Orthodox churchgoers in Texas and just more than 1 million nationally, although other estimates are higher. But the number of U.S. Orthodox parishes grew 16 percent over the past decade.

In Houston and its suburbs, the growth has been more dramatic, fueled by immigration from Eastern Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere, along with an increasing number of converts.

The Orthodox tradition includes Greek Orthodox, Antiochian Orthodox, Russian Orthodox and the Orthodox Church in America, among others.

"We were amazed the church still existed, and it had never changed," said Lana Jobe, who with her husband, Lloyd, left a Baptist church to join Petranek at St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church four years ago. "That was so important to us." ...

Much as I enjoy reading about this, I can't refrain from some minor carping. There is a superficial feel to this article, although that may be due to a reporter out of her element. What these individuals must internalize is that Orthodoxy is not, so to speak, the denomination that has it all figured out (No women priests! Use real wine!), or interprets the Bible CORRECTLY, even though we do.

Orthodoxy is the Faith; the very Church, founded when the Holy Spirit descended on Christ's followers after His ascension. The Apostles were her first priests and bishops, then their successors, and so on to the present day.

The Church, the Bride of Christ, is the way she is because she can be no other way. You have not found the one group that really gets it. You simply were not in the Church, and now you are in the Church.

People who come to the Church because it's the group that's "right" (like I kept trying to tell my liberal friends!) or because it's "traditional" (They wear robes! Incense!) will wash in, see the inter-ethnic squabbles, the corrupt hierarchs, the obtuse, incompetent priests, and then wash back out and on to the next American-christian fad.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The end of facebook

Among other things its founder, Mark Zuckerburg, was named Time's Person Of The Year.

Richard Spencer at AltRight explains:
...Facebook’s recent re-design has transformed each profile into even more of a consumer preference survey just waiting to be data-mined—one now is encouraged to define one’s self by which professional sports team one roots for, which corporations one “likes,” etc. Facebook is ultimately a cluttered mess, with numerous redundancies, unhelpful features, and comment boxes suitable only for scattered, snarky one-liners and little else. It is quickly becoming the opposite of the intuitively functional web—losing its clean, Ivy League aura that originally helped its triumph over the ghetto-fied MySpace.

The kicker to all this is that Facebook has really no barrier to exit. There’s little stopping its hundreds of millions of users from stampeding to the exits, transforming the current Babylon of social media into something resembling the mysterious ruins of the Friendster civilization.

There are other articles predicting the demise here and here.

As Spencer notes, Facebook is losing its original, functional aesthetic as its programmers begin to design for the third-party advertisers who actually pay for the bandwidth. Facebook suffers from the AOL curse of being first-with-the-best in an industry with extremely low barriers to entry. Demand for equity appears high now, but I'm thinking Zuckerburg better roll the IPO out sooner rather than later. A social network is ultimately just a medium. Will the income stream from ads (how many of us have actually clicked and purchased from a hyperlink?) and beta-issue games support a fifteen to fifty BILLION dollar valuation?

Facebook may ultimately be just an echo of the old dot-com bubble. I question whether we can pay our collective bills as a nation of graphic designers and software developers who don't actually make anything.

By the way, here's a sarcastic post on iSteve--what were the best films of 2010? that had me cracking up all day:
the social network: I simply liked the movie's heartening message:

1) Jewish American princesses are wonderful, heroic women (even if they changed their name to Albright).

2) Asian girls are whores! Jewish men should avoid them.

3) Light-skinned and dark-skinned Jews should work together to crush WASP competitors and new aspiring minorities (Indians).

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It takes a platonic village

The happy, henny klatch:

NYT: Four women, one dad make 'twiblings' born days apart - Parenting -

Where to start? How about with this creature's pudgy, whipped, practically invisible husband-thing, Mr. Turkey Baster, slouching around in the background. She spends his money on a series of IVF treatments, then decides on surrogacy for not one but two eggs and not one but two surrogate carriers/wet nurses. She also apparently requires the services of some person called a doula and a nanny. Then she refers to herself as a 'mother.'

Some interesting excerpts:
I was 41 when, after a gazillion not-quite-right relationships and a broken engagement, I met Michael, the man I would marry. He was five years younger; socially, it didn’t seem like an important age difference, but in terms of fertility, it turned out to be.

So, two decades wasting her sexual market value on "a gazillion" different men and this is it, the crown jewel, the piece de la resistance: Beta Tubby-Hubby.

Knowing that, I was still taken aback by how discouraging one adoption agency was about our prospects for “competing” against other couples. “Most birth mothers do prefer younger women,” the woman informed me. “But you’ll get a letter from your doctor, certifying you are in excellent health for the social worker anyway.”

“Right,” I said, thinking about the arthritic condition that caused the chronic pain I had been struggling with for many years.

Neurotic. Addicted to painkillers.
But I knew Michael and I were a great couple — I had pined so long for the elusive feeling of rightness, and now that I finally had it, I was damned if I was going to let biology unbless us. And I knew if we let biology become Mother Nature, we actually would be damned.

Yes lady, that's correct. Nature has already determined you would be an unfit mother.
The nurse urged me to stick with it. “We don’t want you to feel like you can’t nurse,” she said. I suddenly felt cross. Did she really think I couldn’t handle the reality that my body was not producing milk after it didn’t give birth to my baby? I knew she was trying to be supportive, but her concern made me feel diminished, as if she thought the truth of my infertility were unbearable (yet so easily disguised with plastic tubing). I looked down at my breasts, and they looked awfully small, whereas Melissa’s were enormous, dripping with fecundity, like a relic of a fertility goddess. I ditched the tube.

I felt similarly when Violet was born five days later and another perfectly nice nurse presented us with the hospital’s certificate to commemorate her birth, on which there was no mention of Fie. It wasn’t a legal birth certificate (our lawyer obtained a “prebirth judgment order,” which meant that a legal birth certificate would come in the mail, naming us as the parents) but a sentimental keepsake with a blank space for the baby’s name followed by the words “born to” over a pair of baby footprints. When the nurse came back in, I insisted she reprint it and include all three of our names. Just at that moment, Fie knocked on the door from her adjoining room to complain about her birth certificate, which had been doctored just the opposite way, to exclude mention of us.

“I was just trying to make everyone feel good,” the nurse said, backing toward the door, flustered.

“We feel good about the truth,” I said firmly. And I wanted people to reinforce — not undermine — that feeling.

I once felt a prick of an unpleasant emotion. It was the week the Fairy Goddonor came to Portland for the egg retrieval. Over tapas one night, I watched her and Michael laughing and suddenly felt unhappy. I poured myself more wine, but instead of dispelling the feelings, it made me feel more alone. “You were so quiet at dinner,” Michael said as we got into the car. He turned to look at me. “Are you not feeling well?”

“Is it weird that you’re having babies with her instead of me?”

“I’m not having babies with her. I’m having babies with Melissa and Fie.”

The conversation dissolved into laughter. That was the thing about our conception: there were too many players to be jealous of any one.

I predict more wine and more painkillers.


Mexico is a failed state

Criminal cartels, hopelessly corrupt police and military, Iberian elites lording it over Aztec peasantry...Who knew?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's in Egypt

Car Bomb Kills 21 at Egyptian Church via Ad Orientem
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (AP) — Christians clashed with Egyptian police in the northern city of Alexandria on Saturday, furious over an apparent suicide bombing against worshippers leaving a New Year's Mass at a church that killed at least 21 people. It was the worst violence against the country's Christian minority in a decade.

The Interior Ministry blamed "foreign elements," and the Alexandria governor accused al-Qaida, pointing to the terror network's branch in Iraq, which has carried out a string of attacks on Christians there and has threatened Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Christian community as well.

Egypt's government has long insisted that the terror network does not have a significant presence in the country, and it has never been conclusively linked to any attacks here. If al-Qaida was involved, it raises the prospect of a serious new security threat within Egypt. (continued at link)

I am going to suggest that there is no 'foreign element' and this attack was not directed by Old Sammy Bin Laden in his super-secret underground fortress in Pakistan. Events indicate a pan-Islamic opinion that there is no compelling reason for Christianity to be preserved in their lands. At worst, Christians will be slaughtered in their very houses of worship.

If Muslims don't believe in multi-culturalism in their own lands, why do we grant it to them here?

If diversity + proximity = violence elsewhere, why do we assume things will be different here?

God rest the souls of His Coptic faithful.