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  • Archive for September, 2009

    Flight 93

    Posted by Lexington Green on 11th September 2009 (All posts by )

    Thanks to Trent, I was reminded of something that I have always considered to be the most important fact about 9/11, yet which is rarely mentioned in these terms:

    The only part of the American national security establishment that successfully defended America on 9/11 was the portion of the reserve militia on board Flight 93, acting without orders, without hierarchy, without uniforms or weapons, by spontaneous organization and action.

    Most people don’t even know they are part of the reserve militia.

    But the genius of the Founders lives on in this legal category, which recognizes that the ultimate responsibility for the defense of the country rests on and in the people. The standing Army, and the organized militia (National Guard) are the main line of defense, but the people are an army in latent form, the ultimate defense force, as any democratic people should be and must be.

    This article, entitled The Militia And The Constitution: A Legal History, is very good. it establishes the deep roots of the militia concept, down to the American founding. Buried in the last footnote, it says:

    The United States technically continues to have a national “general” militia, consisting of all able-bodied males between the ages of 17 and 45 years of age who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia. 10 U.S.C. § 311 (West Supp.1989). Likewise, state codes contain provisions establishing general “unorganized” militias. See, e.g., VA. CODE ANN. § 44-1 (Michie Supp.1989). For practical purposes, however, these “organizations” have ceased to play any real role in national defense.

    (emphasis added) But look how wrong, how 20th Century, that last comment is. In the era of mass armies, the “practical purposes” of national defense did not have a place for the “reserve militia”. But in an era of scattered, seemingly random, attacks, by terrorists and saboteurs, the only reasonable hope to thwart, contain, defeat and respond to these modern enemies is if the population at large is resilient and mentally and physically prepared — and armed — to respond to the surprise and the initiative of the enemy, as the Flight 93 passengers did. For practical purposes, on 9/11 the “general militia” far from “ceasing” to play a “real role in national defense”, was the only “organization” that successfully played any role in national defense.

    (The spontaneous evacution of Manhattan by ship and boat owners was a similar bottom-up response.)

    The lessons of 9/11 have been left unlearned for eight years in America.

    These lessons contradict most of what people claim to know about America, modernity, and how the world works.

    Bottom-up, inductive, spontaneous self-organization is the essence of America.

    It works in all fields when it is allowed to do so.

    UPDATE: Jim Bennett wrote to remind me of his observation, “The Era of Osama lasted about an hour and a half or so, from the time the first plane hit the tower to the moment the General Militia of Flight 93 reported for duty.” Jim’s UPI column appears not to be online (why not?), but Mark Steyn quotes him here. We Anglospherists take the long view on these issues.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Aviation, Civil Society, History, Human Behavior, Islam, RKBA, Society, Terrorism, USA | 13 Comments »

    The Giants of Flight 93

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 11th September 2009 (All posts by )

    Hello,

    I’m Trent Telenko and I have been a member of the Chicagoboyz for about a year, but I have been far too busy with my own life to post here, until now.

    In October 2002 a friend of mine, Tom Holsinger, wrote about 9/11/2001 and the people on Flight 93 — Our fellow citizens who rose up and fought Al Qaeda, when all others, our military, our political leaders, our law enforcement, were frozen in surprise — at strategypage.com.

    I have not read any written commemoration of their act, before or since, as moving as this passage:

    Students of American character should pay close attention to Flight 93. A random sample of American adults was subjected to the highest possible stress and organized themselves in a terribly brief period, without benefit of training or group tradition other than their inherent national consciousness, to foil a well planned and executed terrorist attack. Recordings show the passengers and cabin crew of Flight 93 – ordinary Americans all – exemplified the virtues Americans hold most dear.
     
    Certain death came for them by surprise but they did not panic and instead immediately organized, fought and robbed terror of its victory. They died but were not defeated.
     
    Ordinary Americans confronted by enemies behaved exactly like the citizen-soldiers eulogized in Victor Davis Hanson’s Carnage and Culture.
     
    Herman Wouk called the heroic sacrifice of the USS Enterprise’s Torpedo 8 squadron at the Battle of Midway “… the soul of America in action.” Flight 93 was the soul of America, and the American people know it. They spontaneously created a shrine at the crash site to express what is in their hearts and minds but not their mouths. They are waiting for a poet. Normally a President fills this role.
     
    But Americans feel it now. They don’t need a government or leader for that, and didn’t to guide their actions on Flight 93, because they really are America.Go to the crash shrine and talk to people there. Something significant resonates through them which is different from, and possibly greater than, the shock of suffering a Pearl Harbor attack at home.
     
    Pearl Harbor remains a useful analogy given Admiral Isokoru Yamamoto’s statement on December 7, 1941 – “I fear we have woken a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve.” They were giants on Flight 93.

    Go to Strateypage.com and read the whole thing at this link http://www.strategypage.com/strategypolitics/articles/20021017.asp

    Posted in Anglosphere, History, Military Affairs, Morality and Philosphy, National Security, Society, Terrorism, USA, War and Peace | 2 Comments »

    9/11 Plus Eight Years

    Posted by David Foster on 11th September 2009 (All posts by )

    (This is basically a rerun of my posts from this day in 2006-2008. Some new links added this year are at the bottom of the post.)

    I am increasingly worried about our prospects for success in the battle against those who would destroy our civilization. America and the other democracies possess great military, economic, and intellectual strengths–but severe internal divisions threaten our ability to use these resources effectively.

    Within days of the collapse of the Towers, it started. “Progressive” demonstrators brought out the stilt-walkers, the Uncle Sam constumes, and the giant puppets of George Bush. They carried signs accusing America of planning “genocide” against the people of Afghanistan.

    Professors and journalists preached about the sins of Western civilization, asserting that we had brought it all on ourselves. A well-known writer wrote of her unease when her daughter chose to buy and display an American flag. Some universities banned the display of American flags in dormitories, claiming that such display was “provocative.”
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Academia, Anti-Americanism, Civil Society, Islam, Terrorism, War and Peace | 19 Comments »

    Yeah, I’m not really feeling it Mr. President

    Posted by onparkstreet on 11th September 2009 (All posts by )

    Our dear President recently delivered an important speech on health care. Sample excerpts are provided below (in italics) with select commentary by yours truly – a busy working physician with no real expertise in health care policy. I do, however, have a keen sense of  ‘so, this is probably gonna hurt, and hurt bad, right?’

    There are those on the left who believe that the only way to fix the system is through a single-payer system like Canada’s, where we would severely restrict the private insurance market and have the government provide coverage for everyone. On the right, there are those who argue that we should end the employer-based system and leave individuals to buy health insurance on their own.

    That’s a nice summary of the issues, Mr. President. So, what do you think?

    While there remain some significant details to be ironed out, I believe a broad consensus exists for the aspects of the plan I just outlined: consumer protections for those with insurance, an exchange that allows individuals and small businesses to purchase affordable coverage, and a requirement that people who can afford insurance get insurance.

    I’m keenly interested in those significant ‘details to be ironed out,’ sir. Is it okay if I remain skeptical about your plan until you, and related House and Senate committees, are done with the ironing? Although, I may not be too pleased with the cuffs-and-collars once that crew is through…..

    And to my Republican friends, I say that rather than making wild claims about a government takeover of health care, we should work together to address any legitimate concerns you may have.

    Hey, it’s nice to call me a friend (although, I’m not really feeling it for the GOP these days, either), but I sense a problem with your logic. If someone is making a wild claim, what legitimate concerns would that person have?

    Second, we’ve estimated that most of this plan can be paid for by finding savings within the existing health care system – a system that is currently full of waste and abuse.

    Oh, so that’s where we’ll find my legitimate concerns. Most of the plan will be payed for by savings within the existing health care system, you say? I’m sure that will happen. Also, I might be Angelina Jolie. That’s about as likely, sir.

    So, to review: the left and the right disagree, the plan ain’t all worked out, quit complaining about it anyway, Republicans, and pixie dust will pay for everything. Got it! Not making wild claims, sir, just kidding around. Because, this is gonna hurt, and hurt bad, isn’t it?

    Posted in Health Care | 10 Comments »

    Health Care and the Crypto-Marxist Model

    Posted by Shannon Love on 10th September 2009 (All posts by )

    From the Presidents latest health care policy speech:

    Despite all this, the insurance companies and their allies don’t like this idea. They argue that these private companies can’t fairly compete with the government. And they’d be right if taxpayers were subsidizing this public insurance option. But they won’t be. I’ve insisted that like any private insurance company, the public insurance option would have to be self-sufficient and rely on the premiums it collects. But by avoiding some of the overhead that gets eaten up at private companies by profits and excessive administrative costs and executive salaries, it could provide a good deal for consumers, and would also keep pressure on private insurers to keep their policies affordable and treat their customers better, the same way public colleges and universities provide additional choice and competition to students without in any way inhibiting a vibrant system of private colleges and universities.

    There’s a lot that’s revealed in this paragraph about how Obama views the world. Most importantly, I think his statement about profits being inefficient reveals his crypto-Marxist model of economics.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Economics & Finance, Health Care, Leftism | 25 Comments »

    Because It’s the Politicians’ Money

    Posted by Shannon Love on 10th September 2009 (All posts by )

    Writing on Obama’s claim he would pay for politically-managed health care by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse, Megan McArdle says:

    Ah, our old friends, waste, fraud, and abuse, the bane of politicians everywhere.  Based on the number of politicians I have heard during my adult lifetime promising to generate massive savings from cutting waste, fraud, and abuse, I estimate that this diabolical trio accounts for approximately 113% of all Federal spending.  The percentage may be even higher at the state and local levels.

    I learned what a scam this was back in my wayward leftist youth when I observed that rightwing politicians loved to claim they would pay for tax cuts, without reducing benefits, by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse.

    Of course they never did, and as I grew older I realized that no one ever believed that politicians could find savings of 10%+ in massive government programs as quickly as they could cut taxes. Instead, the “eliminating waste, fraud and abuse” claim served as a ritualistic fig leaf so that politicians wouldn’t have to answer the question of where the real money was coming from.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Health Care, Politics | 2 Comments »

    Looks Like Obama’s Speech Did Not Move the Ball

    Posted by Lexington Green on 10th September 2009 (All posts by )

    The guy is stalled.

    Good.

    Now the GOP needs to start getting serious about alternative plans.

    There is a lot not to like about the status quo.

    Fill the void with your own stuff.

    It is fun and easy to just kick the other guy when he is down.

    And if you make no proposals you cannot be attacked.

    It looks like strength, but it is weakness.

    Merely being negative, and taking no risks, expends the precious asset of the other guy’s weakness.

    It is at best defensive play.

    Defense cannot lead to victory.

    Victory would be a set of reforms that would actually make the American people better off.

    Obama’s plan, to the extent it exists at all, fails on that count for too many people, at too great an additional cost.

    GOP: Your move

    Let’s see it.

    Posted in Health Care, Politics | 6 Comments »

    Paglia on the Democrats

    Posted by David Foster on 10th September 2009 (All posts by )

    Camille Paglia on the Democratic Party and its cheering section in the media. Plenty of shots at the Republicans, too.

    (via the Advice Goddess)

    Posted in Conservatism, Health Care, Leftism, Politics, War and Peace | 2 Comments »

    “In the United States of America, no one should go broke because they get sick.”

    Posted by Jonathan on 9th September 2009 (All posts by )

    Thus spake President Obama.

    What remained unsaid was that he thinks it’s OK if insurance companies go broke.

    Whatever you may think about insurance companies, they provide insurance. If they are driven out of business by government mandates that raise their costs — and Obama’s expansive, intrusive program will raise their costs, significantly, if it’s implemented — health insurance will be less available from the private sector. This means that under his scheme health insurance will become increasingly and inevitably a government-provided service.

    Obama also said that he isn’t against insurance companies. Maybe he’s not, I don’t know. But he wants them to change their behavior in ways that will increase their costs and reduce their profits. Whatever he says he wants to do, and wants other people to do, he can’t force anyone to provide goods or services. Companies will eventually choose to go out of business if their alternative is to lose money in perpetuity. And on the margin a future of money-losing alternatives is what President Obama offers to health-insurance companies (and perhaps also to drug companies, medical-device manufacturers, hospital operators and many physicians) under his plans.

    Posted in Economics & Finance, Health Care, Politics | 15 Comments »

    The Word Really Doesn’t Mean Anything Anymore

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 9th September 2009 (All posts by )

    Certain words, when used over and over again seem to lose their meaning.

    When I was growing up, if I would have been asked to take out the trash and I woud have uttered the phrase “this sucks”, it would have been met with a bar of soap in my mouth and more than likely several lashes with my dad’s leather belt. Today, if someone has a little sniffle or a cold, I would say to them “that sucks” and everone would go on their way without blinking an eye. In general, from what I have experienced, I would say that we have become more vulgar in a big way over the last few decades.

    Another word that has lost much of it’s intended meaning is “racism” or “racist”. This morning I passed a van on the way to work. On the side were these words:

    “Eliminating Racism, Empowering Women”. I will let you guess the organization before the fold.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments »

    Mini-Book Review — Cochran/Harpending — The 10,000 Year Explosion

    Posted by James McCormick on 9th September 2009 (All posts by )

    Cochran G. and Harpending, H., The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution, Perseus Books, NY, 2009.

    In an earlier cb review of a book on the role of culture and education on American intelligence (Nisbett’s Intelligence and How to Get It:, I mentioned a hypothesis by physicist and iconoclast scholar Gregory Cochran suggesting a genetic basis for Ashkenazi intelligence scores (slightly less than one standard deviation above the American population’s average). Nisbett noted that this slight difference in average IQ translated into massive differences in the distribution of individuals at the very highest IQ levels (140+).

    Cochran, and anthropologist Henry Harpending, have now written a fuller discussion of their Ashkenazi hypothesis within the context of a much wider contrarian, and occasionally irreverent, book on the new discoveries in human genetics affecting our understanding of the evolution of modern humans. The authors explicitly reject the convential wisdom that human evolution largely stalled with the emergence of Homo sapiens sapiens as the sole hominid species on the planet.

    With new techniques for examining the human genome, it’s possible to give approximate dates on the major recent changes to human physiology triggered by migrations into new environments or the adoption of new economic lifestyles (such as pastoralism or agriculture). Key physiological adaptations such as lactose tolerance, resistance to diabetes or obesity, Vitamin D absorption through skin, malarial protections (subject to recessive genetic disease such as sickle-cell anemia), high-altitude occupation, and the aforementioned Ashkenazis’ IQ, now have associated dates and timetables … and new research promises to nail down the timing and nature of similar genetic changes amongst the world’s populations. The impact of such genetic changes, and associated vulnerabilities, on the human occupation of Europe, North America, and Africa/Asia for the last 50,000 years are the focus of this book.

    In contrast to most authors in the biological and social sciences, Cochran and Harpending believe that significant and influential human evolution has occurred in the recent past and that the pace of such evolution continues and even accelerates as selective pressures on modern populations intensify. The larger population pools in turn make it more likely that valuable mutations can spread widely and relatively quickly … often in ways that are completely independent of the X and Y sex chromosomes first used to map human genetic history. For example, Cochran and Harpending suggest that there may well have been an exchange of advantageous genetic mutations (through “introgression”) from Neanderthals to Cro-Magnon/H. sapiens sapiens without any associated impact on the paternal or maternal lines of genetic material associated with our species.

    By looking back into post-Neanderthal human prehistory with new genetic data, scholars can track the movement of humans out of Africa and into Asia, Europe, Australia, and the Americas. They can also begin to hypothesize about the role that genetic change played in the relative reproductive success of Upper Paleolithic hunters, the first agricultural communities in Eurasia, and the Indo-Europeans who left their cultural and linguistic imprint on roughly 3 billion of the people in the world today.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Book Notes, Health Care, History, Judaism, Science | Comments Off on Mini-Book Review — Cochran/Harpending — The 10,000 Year Explosion

    Gov. Palin on Health Care Reform

    Posted by Lexington Green on 8th September 2009 (All posts by )

    From the WSJ: Obama and the Bureaucratization of Health Care: The president’s proposals would give unelected officials life-and-death rationing powers.

    Instead of poll-driven “solutions,” let’s talk about real health-care reform: market-oriented, patient-centered, and result-driven. As the Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon and others have argued, such policies include giving all individuals the same tax benefits received by those who get coverage through their employers; providing Medicare recipients with vouchers that allow them to purchase their own coverage; reforming tort laws to potentially save billions each year in wasteful spending; and changing costly state regulations to allow people to buy insurance across state lines. Rather than another top-down government plan, let’s give Americans control over their own health care.
     
    Democrats have never seriously considered such ideas, instead rushing through their own controversial proposals. After all, they don’t need Republicans to sign on: Democrats control the House, the Senate and the presidency. But if passed, the Democrats’ proposals will significantly alter a large sector of our economy. They will not improve our health care. They will not save us money. And, despite what the president says, they will not “provide more stability and security to every American.”

    Nicely done. A solid critique of Obama and the Democrats which ends with some proposals to do it another way.

    (Anybody read anything by this guy, Cannon?)

    More like this, please, Gov. Palin.

    Posted in Health Care, History, Politics, Society, That's NOT Funny | 10 Comments »

    Neville Chamberlain Announces Britain’s Declaration of War

    Posted by Lexington Green on 8th September 2009 (All posts by )

    A good speech. The Germans were given every possible chance, and chose war. Chamberlain did not, like us, live in the shadow of “Munich”. He lived in the shadow of July-August 1914, where the major powers of Europe failed to talk, failed to bargain, failed to try to make reasonable accomodations to each other’s demands, and World War I with its millions of deaths resulted. That is what Chamberlain tried to avoid. But, when it proved to be impossible, he led Britain into war, and he did so with a country united because it knew every other possible avenue had been explored. Churchill was right to be charitable to Chamberlain, even as he was right to say Chamberlain should have drawn the line earlier. But few in Britain agreed with Churchill at the time. They did not want to fight the Battle of the Somme again. As it turned out, they had no choice. They were not interested in war, but as the saying goes, it was interested in them.

    Hat tip Conservative History.

    Posted in Britain, Germany, History, Military Affairs, Speeches, Video | 5 Comments »

    The following may be related. Or not.

    Posted by onparkstreet on 7th September 2009 (All posts by )

    It’s your call.

    1. But the democratic legislature will long hesitate to relinquish the decisions on really vital issues, and so long as it does so it makes it impossible for anyone else to provide the comprehensive plan. Yet agreement that planning is necessary, together with the inability of democratic assemblies to produce a plan, will evoke stronger and stronger demands that the government or some single individual should be given powers to act on their own responsibility. The belief is becoming more and more widespread that, if things are to get done, the responsible authorities must be freed from the fetters of democratic procedure. F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom.

    2. List of President Obama’s “czars” from Politico (I count 32, but I might be wrong because my eyes started glazing over after the “Great Lakes Czar”…….).

    UPDATE: Okay, I know many of these ‘czars’ are simply governmental department heads, and the like, but I still think the above is instructive as a point of discussion.

    Posted in Political Philosophy, Politics | 5 Comments »

    Posted by Jonathan on 6th September 2009 (All posts by )

    open your hood and say 'ah'...

    Socialized medicine runs like a finely tuned machine.

    Posted in Photos | 10 Comments »

    Healthcare: The Supply Side

    Posted by David Foster on 5th September 2009 (All posts by )

    Here’s a thought experiment. Suppose the year is 1902. Automobiles exist, but they are rare and expensive. The assembly line has not yet been invented, and car manufacturing, such as it is, is done entirely by craft methods.

    Now imagine that our politicians decide that every American family, as a matter of national policy, should have its own automobile. (Let’s also stipulate that the trades involved in automobile-building–machining, welding, carpentry, etc–are tightly controlled by guilds.)

    What would happen?
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Economics & Finance, Health Care | 45 Comments »

    “From time to time we get asked about the image SWJ and SWC uses in the upper left hand corner of all the main pages… “

    Posted by onparkstreet on 5th September 2009 (All posts by )

    From time to time we get asked about the image SWJ and SWC uses in the upper left hand corner of all the main pages… The image is called Tracking Bin Laden and was painted by U.S. Army Center of Military History, Museum Division’s staff artist Sergeant First Class Elzie Ray Golden, US Army. – SWJ

    I like the painting titled ‘The Hizara Province’ (at the link) – especially the use of color and the depiction of light. Some of the other paintings are, frankly, a little too intense for me (also, kind of disturbing) but that is the nature of the subject…..

    Posted in Military Affairs | 1 Comment »

    Pride in You Tube Voices

    Posted by Ginny on 5th September 2009 (All posts by )

    I’m tired of students who sit in my class for no better reason than that only “students” can remain on their parents’ insurance. I sympathize – I, too, want my children covered. But that’s a lousy reason to stay in school. I ran a small business and couldn’t cover my full-time employees – or at least cover them well. Hot Air links to a small businesswoman protesting. She argues for opened competition and tort reform. In a longer discussion on television, she explains she’d like catastrophic insurance. Portability, cross-state competition, tort reform, catastrophic insurance options – these appear real (direct, market-oriented, constitutional) solutions to real problems. Our system can be improved, but it seems to be righting itself – in the time since I sold my business, our local hmo has opened more options. Why shouldn’t they? We were potential customers.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Health Care, History | 6 Comments »

    Posted by Jonathan on 5th September 2009 (All posts by )

    Step 1: Connect electrodes...

    Under socialized medicine your doctor will have access to the latest diagnostic technology.

    Posted in Photos | 2 Comments »

    Bottled and Sold

    Posted by Shannon Love on 4th September 2009 (All posts by )

    Regardingthe story about the AP publishing pictures of a dying American soldier in Afghanistan [h/t Instapundit] over the objections of his squad mates, the Army, the Secretary of Defense and the soldier’s family, let me just say this:

    A noble man’s horrific last moments, the suffering of his squad mates and the grief of his family are not a product to be bottled and sold.

    We should never forget that journalism is a paid profession and that journalists, editors and publishers act from a profit motive. Whatever noble motives they may claim, they still took and published those pictures to make money .

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Media | 2 Comments »

    Gene Clark & Carla Olson, “Almost Saturday Night” (1986)

    Posted by Lexington Green on 3rd September 2009 (All posts by )

    Posted in Music, Video | Comments Off on Gene Clark & Carla Olson, “Almost Saturday Night” (1986)

    Replace Congress

    Posted by Jonathan on 3rd September 2009 (All posts by )

    Mark Tapscott:

    A seismic public opinion shift occurred this summer that Scott Rasmussen was first to measure – a clear majority of the American people, critically including two-thirds of independents, are ready to vote them all out and start over with a new Congress.
     
    But the crucial fact here is not the 57 percent of Rasmussen’s respondents who favor such action. Fully 59 percent said the same thing last October when Congress and the Bush administration were busily throwing $700 billion at Wall Street, allegedly to prevent an economic meltdown of unimagined severity.
     
    The key here is that President Barack Obama and his Democratic congressional allies have moved so far to the left that they have forced a monumental shift among independents, and it was the Obamacare proposal to replace doctors with federal bureaucrats that made it happen.
     
    Notes Rasmussen: “While Democrats have become more supportive of the legislators, voters not affiliated with either major party have moved in the opposite direction. Today, 70 percent of those not affiliated with either major party would vote to replace all of the elected politicians in the House and Senate. That’s up from 62 percent last year.”
     
    Opportunities like this come along once in a political lifetime. Instead of worrying about Whole Foods, the Tea Party leadership should be figuring out how to channel this tidal shift in American public opinion into concrete results in next year’s congressional elections.

    Do it!

    Posted in Elections, Politics | 8 Comments »

    Accidental Wars

    Posted by Shannon Love on 3rd September 2009 (All posts by )

    In this Reason Hit&Run post, the vile Patrick Buchanan takes a well deserved beating for his bizarre and ahistorical defense of Adolf Hitler in WWII. However, as loathsome, racist and stupid as he is, Buchanan is correct about one thing: Hitler did not intend to start a second world war that would drag in every industrialized country and leave 3/4 of the industrialized world in ruins.

    Instead, Hitler planned on fighting a short, sharp war in Poland. Based on his experience at Munich, he expected that France and Britain would either merely raise a token protest or that they would would fight briefly, realize that they couldn’t recover Poland and then negotiate a peace. He never envisioned that he would fight a gotterdammerung war of global destruction.

    Hitler miscalculated. In this he was far from alone. In the 20th Century every war that involved a liberal democracy resulted from the miscalculation of an autocratic leadership.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Korea, Middle East, Military Affairs, National Security, Political Philosophy, Terrorism, United Nations, Vietnam, War and Peace | 26 Comments »

    Can’t Even Clear Brush

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 2nd September 2009 (All posts by )

    I am used to writing about how our country can no longer site any sort of electricity transmission line or coal, nuclear or hydro generation plants because of our broken system that allows for endless delays and legal challenges. And pretty much any kind of significant public infrastructure project like a new highway or subway line takes literally decades from design to implementation, if they occur at all.

    But I didn’t really realize how bad it had gotten until I read that a possible cause of the wildfires raging in California is that this sort of situation is so bad that you CAN’T EVEN CLEAR AWAY BRUSH. From this article titled “Feds Didn’t Clear Brush In Wildfire Area”

    Steve Brink, a vice president with the California Forestry Association, an industry group, said as many as 8 million acres of national forest in California are overgrown and at risk of wildfire. He said that too few days provide the conditions necessary for larger, prescribed burns and that the Forest Service needs to speed up programs to thin forests, largely by machine.

    “Special interest groups that don’t want them to do it have appeals and litigation through the courts to stall or stop any project they wish. Consequently, the Forest Service is not able to put a dent in the problem,” Brink said.

    This story pretty much speaks for itself.

    Cross posted at LITGM

    Posted in Environment | 1 Comment »

    Compare and Contrast

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 2nd September 2009 (All posts by )

    Murdoc very kindly gave us a heads up to this fascinating photo blog. Pictures taken in Normandy during the 1944 invasion are compared side-by-side with images taken from the very same spot today. Looks like they cleaned up the place a bit since then.

    Uncle points us to this photo array. The weekly food intake of families from various parts of the world are shown in graphic fashion, and the money spent is tabulated. Makes me proud to be an American.

    Well worth your time.

    Posted in Economics & Finance, History, Photos, Society, Statistics, War and Peace | 4 Comments »