Thursday, September 27, 2012

Antidiscrimination + Deregulation Unleashed the Usury Beast

Living through the 2008 Financial Crisis and its lingering effects, I've read up on other panics, depressions, crashes and systems meant for maximum stability that create instability. One thing that is missing in the analysis of the current economic mess is the addition of post-68 liberalism, full of good intentions but bad results, to the common theme through time of human greed. There have been bubbles in the past. There were panics and crashes, but most of them centered on schemes for making money. Few ever had a social touch to them because socialism itself was a 19th century invention and bankers had minimal regulations. The centralization of power in the USA during FDR's reign combined with post-68 social justice allowed the banks an opportunity to shake off the chains of regulation and tradition of usury laws to plunder the nation under the guise of the 'democratization of credit'.

America has always had a strong anti-centralization streak, as well as a distrust of banks. Even when the Federal Reserve was created in 1913 it had regional banks with some autonomy. Over time, the FED gained more and more power through different crisis points, and the federal government became more intertwined with the FED. Durign the crash of 1929, power + responsibility shifted to the FED chairman rather than allow the NY Fed handle the panic. Truman sold out the chairman of the FED when he wouldn't play along with bankster wishes. The final consolidation happened in 1980. After decades of Glass-Steagall + heavy regulation, how did the FED and banksters get their way with repealing anti-usury laws?

The first step in the long march was the Civil Rights Commission in the Kennedy Admin finding that blacks had to make higher down payments or pay on quicker schedules. This was considered discriminatory. No attention was paid to borrower history or the financial history of black borrowers. FICO scores weren't even formulated until 1970, so there was no easy, impartial scoring system for banks to use. This injustice had to be addressed. In 1974, the US passed the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which made the act of discriminating on basis fo gender, race, etc subject to a fine. The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act followed in 1975 that allowed the FED to track mortgage lending. The problem of redlining districts, where banks discriminated against poor blacks was out in the open, which created the need for the Community Reinvestment Act. Social justice would find a way and now banks HAD to lend to poor blacks (in 1977 blacks were the only oppressed minority of any size if you look at the US census). The good and righteous had triumphed for the poor to now have access to loans that they would easily pay back just as well as whites in their blank slatist minds.

Banks had a completely reasonable economic defense for not lending to poor risk: anti-usury laws by the states that dated back to a law from the Civil War. With states setting anti-usury limits for lending, they couldn't charge a rate higher than say 12%. Banks would have lent to blacks at the same payment schedules or down payments as whites if they could have charged 15-20%. The banks were legally capped at what they could charge and since interest rate implies the risk of the borrower, the banks were handcuffed. The banks would not take this sudden legal requirement to lend to blacks, who were poorer on average, without special rules to protect their lending. The banks worked this in two ways. First was the court case where the US Supreme Court unanimously sided with the banks that said nationally chartered banks were not subject to state anti-usury laws. Second came the push for deregulation which kicked off with the Depository Institutions Deregulation Act in 1980.

Banks were going to serve the gods of social justice only if they got their proper interest. The DID act of 1980 was pitched to the public as a way for banks to pay savers more money for savings accounts. Please see President Carter's words when signing it into law. All about savers. No words about the sudden repeal of usury laws. Talk about a whitewash of a law. This law repealed the usury statutes, made all banks suddenly subject to the FED and only allowed compliant banks to merge or perform acquisitions. States followed shortly by repealing individual usury laws or raising caps. This allowed for loans to 'discriminated' groups to flow at ridiculous rates previously considered loan shark levels. This also kicked off the credit card industry. By raising the interest rates allowed, credit card companies could not only lend to minorities, but they could target young people, college kids, the unemployed, whatever, it didn't matter because now you could charge the rate you felt was right for the risk. This also forced banks to merge as scale could create greater pools for deposits, which meant lending at more competitive rates. Bank consolidation has been raging for decades since to the point where the top 10 banks in the US control 77% of all financial assets.

The most remarkable thing about this change, is the power of antidiscrimination to radically change a concept that had existed for centuries. Anti-usury law and feelings are widespread around the globe. Most religions had codes against it, and even when money lending became widespread in the English speaking world, there were still caps to the rate of interest a lender could charge. A deep seated anti-usury feeling in our culture was overturned because the banks were forced to make bad loans on riskier clients. These clients were protected by antidiscrimination crusades that in other fields like education, crime, school discipline, cognitive tests, illegitimacy, deny the results of the observable world. In the financial world, there are two schools of thought: 1. there is a rate for every risk and 2. some risks are immeasurable. Because of usury limits, the banks couldn't charge the appropriate rate for a risk so they did not lend. Forced to lend, the banks would demand the freedom to charge the appropriate interest rate. The democratization of credit that started in the 1980s peaked 25 years later with vegetable pickers getting $700,000 mortgages. Must lend; we can't even be construed as discriminating against blacks! That doesn't make as much sense as the banks saying, "Thank God we can charge higher rates now and we'll use this new fangled FICO score to charge blacks more anyway!"

The entire deregulation avalanche can't be blamed on the CRA and the moral crusade for lending to blacks. The repeal of anti-usury laws cannot solely be blamed on the CRA as the 70s inflation monster had to be killed. The 70s inflation was simultaneously hurting consumers with raw material cost increases and crushing producers through input costs as well as labor cost increases. The federal government would not reduce expenditures as rates jumped as it might cause a recession, so Volcker had to raise rates to force a recession. Many experts have written on that, but no one has mentioned how banks were forced to lend more to risky clients than they could not charge the appropriate rate of interest, forcing the courts + governments in the US to repeal anti-usury laws. The liberals fighting for social justice had no clue how this would open the front door to banks running everyone up at interest rates long considered excessive and criminal. It is just another failure on their part to see their fight and intentions carried to their conclusions.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Election 2012, a Bond-Currency Crisis + Failing Leadership

When I review the 2012 Presidential picture, I get this weird feeling that the leadership groups of both parties don't want to win nearly as much as the bases of the parties was to win. Considering the actions of big players in the summer of 2011 to today, something feels amiss. There are also the comments by Romney at a fundraiser where he discussed quite bluntly the odd rigged game of government borrowing that is going on today. Looking at economic fundamentals and moves in big money, the party leaders might realize that the game is nearly up and a US currency or bond day of reckoning is at hand. Neither party wants the blame, but they can't just throw the election for fear of down ticket ramifications.

A currency or bond day of reckoning is far more sinister than the dot com equity plunge or the 2008 financial crisis hit to 401ks. A currency/bond harsh adjustment affects every single fixed income note or bond. Each bond or note must pay a premium over the US Treasuries as they carry more risk, therefore every single mortgage, credit card, student loan would see its rate jump by a corresponding amount. Even worse is that in a currency crisis, the method of measurement (the dollar) itself would be in flux. This would screw over many folks with pricing necessities and companies that deal in raw materials whether as product or input. The disruption to our economy would be intense, inflation would hit double digits for a couple years, and there would be intense resistance to change from the populace as living standards would quickly drop.

Would anyone want to be holding the executive power when this happens? I predicted that Romney would run as the economic Mr. Fix-it, and if things weren't turned around by 2011, Obama was toast. That is still a possibility. It was also my prediction before Obama turned out to be quite the Wall St. toadie and a very easy to manipulate negotiating partner for the GOP. Consider how Obama extended the Bush tax cuts before the GOP even took over congress. Consider that the GOP tied a spending limit increase to spending cuts while holding just one house of congress. Has that ever happened? Has the opposition party ever wrestled that win with just the house? Bill Clinton never would've let that happen. Obama is a weak negotiator, and let's face it, in every single respect with every type of opposition. Even with more flexibility in a 2nd term, how much do you think he's going to put it over a GOP held congress or even a GOP held congress and senate? I'm starting to think that the GOP is content with losing the executive election, holding congress and then blaming Obama for the currency/bond crisis in his 2nd term.

Hill-dawg did not primary Obama despite Bill saying she should. Hill-dawg isn't even out there campaigning for Obama (she's apologizing to Muslims for videos, not drones). Mitch Daniels did not run, Bobby Jindal did not run, and the darling of the GOP, Chris Christie, did not run. Even some liberal websites have noticed points that the GOP are avoiding, and that Obama's acceptance speech was pretty lame with no plan for his 2nd term. The GOP can get what it wants from Obama, but he takes the blame when things go bad in 2014-2015. I consider Obama and Romney products of the end of an era in US politics like how LBJ/Nixon were the end of one era of Washington Consensus.

Both sides know. They all know the hammer is going to drop. They don't want to be the one to have the blame pinned on them as it would crush their personal power opportunities. Romney said behind closed doors a truth about our deficit situation, but he's not offering any solutions or break up the too big to fail banks moves. None of them will step up and be frank with all Americans about what is coming. Better for it to be a “who couldda seen it” moment than a problem we address frankly and openly. We will all suffer for this failure in leadership.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review of "The Right Stuff" + Early Liberal Token Moves

There needs to be a section of the bookstore with a bookcase titled "Books for Young Boys who Want to Kick Ass at Life". Sure, the nerd culture has won with the rise of Silicon Valley, and yes, it seems most movies now have the protagonist be the nerdy, shy guy, but goddammit, guys young guys who succeed and kick ass still exist!!! "The Right Stuff" would be front and center on that bookcase. Tom Wolfe writes a fantastic review of the test pilot culture of the post-war era, and how it influenced the space program.

There are countless bits in this book that are small historical facts, which will entertain as well as educate. My personal favorite tidbit was Wolfe's explanation that the 'airline pilot voice' we are all familiar with is the pilots of America wanting to imitate the ace of aces, Chuck Yeager. Had I read this book in high school, I'd have gone to the Naval Academy or Air Force academy to become a pilot. Reading this book, I loved how Wolfe distilled the test pilot lifestyle down to that mix of machismo, intelligence and luck that gets a man through life. Being a test pilot does involve a set of intangibles, but in reality, all fields of play that men compete in involve their own mix of traits that could be called 'the right stuff'. This book will fire you up as passages about flame outs, saves, crashes and flying on the edge of space are littered throughout the book. I recommend it for anyone interested in the space race, flying and just being a man.

One thing I did notice, which maybe Paul Kersey or someone else will want to read more about is a potential astronaut mentioned late in the book named Ed Dwight. Ed Dwight was a test pilot, and ranked well behind a crop of pilots lined up for the space program. Kennedy was pushing the test pilot + NASA training people to move Ed Dwight to the next group of astronauts for optics with the civil rights issue. Yeager fought this as he questioned why he would put Dwight ahead of a dozen or so pilots all testing better than him. Now Dwight and black groups can claim NASA couldn't handle a black astronaut in the '60s, which is why he didn't get to space, but in reality, Kennedy and the government wanted to push him as much as possible but he just wasn't good enough. Yeager had Justice Dept lawyers on him, and this was the dawning of the affirmative action era. Just this small section caused me to look into the space program after Apollo, and I'll have a post that ties in this Dwight issue to the modern space shuttle era. Because Kennedy was a gutless politician who wouldn't pass civil rights legislation as he fear his re-election chances, wanted to boost it by a propaganda type move with a black astronaut in the Gemini or Apollo programs. We see it today with the oddly high percentage of black MDs on Grey's Anatomy and handsome gay men just dying to get married and adopt kids. The liberal figures will always want optics to push the ideological narrative that reality cannot deliver.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Why "The Stepford Wives" Can't be Made as a Drama Today

Just looking up quotes from the movie "The Stepford Wives" reminded me how ridiculous the movie was. The film was a book adaptation that was right in the strike zone for liberal Hollywood to satirize the suburbs (always bad) and the evil patriarchy. The book was written in '72 and the movie was made in '75. This was when the women's lib movement had some diversity of thought, and women's lib might really be about making things equal and better rape protection laws. They remade it in 2004, and it was a bit of a comedy. You couldn’t make that as a drama now.

Now 40 years later, we know better. Feminism isn't about equality. Maybe for the normal woman in a home, but not the feminisim brand. Feminism is the female tentacle of the socialist octopus destined to mess with women. Its intent is subverting that which is natural (women love men and babies) in order to replace the familial relationships with a lifelong relationship of women to the state. You couldn't make "The Stepford Wives" today and have it be serious. The prior 40 years have reduced feminism to what it is, a power grab by the educated women of the socialist movement, bought off by the Democrats with positions and jobs at companies, government or nongovernment orgs and think tanks. Imagine just how different society would be if the feminists had asked society to hold men to the same standard women were held to rather than the race to the bottom we have experienced in the sexual marketplace. We know better.

There is another element. In the original movie, almost all, if not all, of the men in Stepford married women who were former feminist activists. In the film, they all are relatively young with children and established marriages. Today those women do not marry. They do not have multiple kids. You couldn't cast a 30 year old Katherine Ross type married with two kids. She might be newly married, but more realistically she'd be the skeptical, single gal who just stopped into Stepford for some photography project. We viewers have seen what time does to those women. A few may marry some horn rimmed glass losers, a few are lesbians, and a few have a child through modern medical advances. We know what happens to that cloud of feminist activists. They become chubby Samantha from Sex and the City wannabes or lonely cat ladies.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

People Talking About Cuckold Porn

I've noticed a running theme on the manosphere sites and tweets about cuckold porn. Even the sexperts on women's sites like to spotlight the draw to it is the excitement of discovery or the masochistic joy of being humiliated by the discovery. That is pretty true and a good summary of one point of view with cuckold porn. This is the problem with a lot of short posts or essays on porn. Often the writer just writes from one POV. Porn is a utopian presentation of human relations but who is it utopian for? Multiple POVs have different utopian interpretations of the scene. There's actually multiple interpretations and they reflect on the sad state of men's view of themselves and women in current American society.

Long in the making, I have a giant porn post coming discussing how porn really reflects the sad state of affairs for American men and society as a whole. It should probably just be an ebook. Cuckold porn was a section of it. I'll put my cuckold porn thoughts here.

Cuckold porn also is split between simple cheating sex scenes, and then explicitly set up as the husband or boyfriend wants to see his wife have sex with an interloper or bull. Cuckold porn should consider five types of viewers. It is not solely for the losers who get off on the idea of a stranger banging their wife. This also has an alpha-beta-omega hierarchy to it, but one has to consider the point of view of the viewer. In reality, how many men watch porn for the 'story' presented in the situation or pairing? Most are just searching for the female performer's name and clicking the screen. Let's review the five viewers...

Non-Utopian Viewer

1. Guys searching for the female performer - They don't pay attention to the short set up of the scene. They just want to see >fill in the blank porn star< have sex. They most likely don't even realize its cuckold porn. This is a decent chunk of viewers of all niches of porn.

Utopian Viewers

2. Female viewers - Straight female viewers of porn exist. Those who watch cuckold porn probably enjoy the power the female in the scene has of cheating on her husband, whether caught or not caught. There could be the allure of exoticism if it is interracial cuckold porn, as
well as the idea that a female can be so attractive to any man who is near that he must have her. There is also the idea that a husband might want her to cheat, admitting he is not virile enough to satisfy her.

3. Cuckold fetishists - These are the guys who love the idea of another man banging his woman. Oh wow, my woman is hot enough that other guys want her! It's that idea that appeals to them. Very omega and creepy.

4. Guys watching for the female performer + slight subconscious thought of what a whore she is - These guys mostly watch for the female performing. In the back of their minds though is the idea that this woman, no mater how secure + wealthy, is a dirty, easy slut who will cheat. It doesn't matter if she's a mom, a wife, about to host a party, she will bang anyone. There is a creepy anxiety into the approach to the scene as well. Women can't be trusted! What a hot looking whore!

5. Guys who think "I could sleep with these rich and successful guy's hot wives if only I had the chance because I'm so cool, women will just throw themselves at me" - These guys aren't as pathetic as the omega males who get off on cuckoldry, but these are the guys who watch cuckold porn because they envision themselves in the role of the interloper. They are the guy so awesome that the married, rich, bored, MILF, older female will not resist. These guys blame society or being poor for not having chicks. Pay attention to how the husband, if shown before or after the sex scene, is portrayed in contrast to the guy having the sex. It's quite comical. The bull or interloper is always the protagonist, cool regular Joe, while the woman's beau is a loser of some sort.

It's quite sad, too. These #5 guys aren't the disturbed fetish losers of #3, but they are a sad, significant set of viewers of cuckold porn. This is one of their utopian views of sex, life, and women. To project themselves into that interloper sex role, they have to identify with it. They have to consider themselves not able to get a hot wife or have a good life. They have to be on the fringe or worse off. They have to also view women as that slutty and easy, which reveals their view of women. Look at college enrollment stats and the mancession graphics, this is reality now for these men.

I'd also point out how cuckold porn is pretty popular as a subset of interracial porn. In just about every possible ethnic pairing. Socioeconomic status games are at play and reflected here. Besides white cuckold fetishists, maybe black men view themselves as so alpha they can get the chicks whenever they want, but gosh darn it in the real world, they don't have the means. They actually have low status, worth, or little material wealth and accomplishments. They cant get these hot chicks (black or white), and they are stuck fucking fatties!!!!! "Damn you society and my place on the status pole!!!!!!", common black male refrain. Just another duality of black men in America.

All porn videos get made because someone wants to see them. On the Net, porn videos get uploaded because there is enough of an audience to push for them to be uploaded. Many guys in America fall into category 1, where they are just looking for a specific female and care little for the set up. Porn has devolved so much and so quickly that I'd argue the 'hook' to the porn is more in the actual pairing, who or what initiates the sex, and how does it finish (that is for another post). The fact that there are enough men who fall into categories 4 and 5 is a pretty sad reflection of the state of gender relations and the status of men in the USA in general.

Friday, September 21, 2012

International Interest in a USA Break Up

We do live in interesting times. Whether you are a wave cycle theorist, a demographics watcher or an economic collapse believer, you know we're in the middle of a transition. This applies to nearly all regions of the world. Few places are going to resist the upheaval. Those that do not undergo significant change will still see a change like 3rd world countries getting even crappier or a country like Japan seeing their living standards decline. Think a breakup of the US is never going to happen. It can. One factor rarely discussed is outside interference from foreign powers. An important thing to note is that countries have interests not allies. How often interests align determines how often the country is considered an ally. A split would serve other major players to see the USA split into multiple states that would reflect different interests.

With the USA as the current hyperpower on the world stage, all other powers would enjoy seeing it dismantled. This would allow those powers to have more force projection and control in their regions. China cannot take over the world cop role that the US has handled for years. They have a giant schism between the coast and the mainland to balance, internal power struggles, and they are not quite ready for primetime. In the future, they will have dominance in their region, but this might only come with massive internal change. Different regional powers would see a huge gain if the USA would be knocked down from hyperpower to rump states so it would be in their interest to facilitate a breakup. What is also important to note is if a rump state or two would have more interests in common with different regional powers.

Who are the future multipolar regional powers? Let us look at the board and consider Russia, Germany, Brazil, and China as the majors with India, Japan and something in the middle east as minors. I say something in the ME now because the recent toppling of multiple dictators puts the idea of a pan-arab force out there or just a jumbled crapfest that diverts attention from major players as they try to control oil fields. All of the majors would love to see a sliced up USA just for greater influence and control of the international functions and mechanisms that govern international interaction. The world bank, the WTA, the IMF, the UN are the big prizes and pieces up for grabs. There is much to gain for those regional powers on the international stage. There is also the removal of the US obstacle when they want to exert power and control in their backyard. US interests and interference would disappear and be replaced by the varied rump state interests of the split pieces.

Specific interest realignments would occur. China's mining of Africa would face what international opposition or even attention if the USA became 4-5 states? Russia could have a new OPEC partner as the Rockies to the Southeast red state are became an oil + nat gas exporter overnight. Brazil could find new markets for its sugar based ethanol if the Bos-DC or West Coast area (Cascadia) didn't have to appease corn farmers of the Midwest with ethanol tariffs. Russia is an interesting case as they are anti-PC, homogenous, fierce in retribution towards Muslims, and an oligarchy controlled by their commodity producers (primarily oil and gas). Present day Russia sounds similar to how I envision the conservative nation state from Montana to the Southeast. Weird stat: four of top five producing US states (>50% of US producion) are 'red' + the gulf of mexico is a big chunk of the rest of domestic production. With current science, the shale oil in ND, Montana and the rest of the US as well as what is currently off limits in red states due to enviros would be a big bonanza. In a weird reversal of Cold War attitudes, I see those red staters buddying up to Russian international stances due to their similar interests.

The KGB looked at trends in the US decades ago and saw a split coming. I assume their intelligence community sees it even more ripe for division now with increased Mexican immigration and political
polarization. The Chinese must see this as well, even if they have a lot of internal problems to deal with in 2012. Other major players like Germany and Brazil will see the benefit of a broken US as well. A broken USA would be far better for them than a 'angry at its decline + armed to the teeth' USA. As split pieces, the rump states will be focused on each other and their borders first, allowing for a free hand for a while if not indefinitely. Pieces will fall into place. If they do not fall into place, do not be surprised to see the major players start to prod factions within the USA one way or the other to foster a climate of secession and breakup.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

National Disintegration Thoughts Inspired by Kissinger's "A World Restored"

Do you happen to know a PhD candidate? I'm sure you know one. Ever consider reading their dissertation? I bet it would be awful. Kissinger's dissertation was so spectacular that it was printed years later as "A World Restored". I have yet to meet a PhD that I would expect to write as eloquently and provide as good of analysis of a subject as Kissinger did with his. His style, his analysis and his critique of the players are excellent and still hold up today 50 years later. Kissinger mines primary documents to explain the situation, the world and the players so that a layman may understand. Reading this book kicked off a rush of reading books on 19th century Europe to get a better feel for a wild era that saw the rise of the nation state and liberalization of governments. This is not a book for everyone, so I do not recommend it unless you are a lover of history or foreign policy.

There is another group of people I would recommend this for study. If one expects the demographic shift and decline of the USA to continue, there are two possible outcomes:

1. The USA collapses but quickly resets with much lower living standards. The USA slides into a Brazilian or Indian styled ineffective, jumbled country of wide ethnic and religious diversity with massive income inequality. Odds: 7-5.

2. The existing order collapses followed by a breakup of the US along ideological and slight ethnic lines with emigration allowed over a 12-24 month period. Odds: 5-1.

Kissinger's work "A World Restored" would be highly useful for a politician attempting to work the second scenario for the (overwhelmingly white) conservative nation state (CNS). Reading this book, one sees how Metternich set the tone as his means and aims were legit as they were accepted by the prevailing customs and treaties, handled widely different peers, wrestled with a revolutionary figure in Napoleon, worked for legitimacy to position Austria as the swing state, and had to deal with the pressure of being a central power on a continent of multiple powers. The lessons are wide ranging, and the Metternich role is the role to focus on in Kissinger's review of the late Napoleonic/early Pax-Britannia era.

A Metternich figure would have to first be a statesman that is willing to be the power broker and shaper of the order without grabbing for personal power. Metternich was known as the prime minister of Europe, but he had little internal power in his government’s domestic affairs. The CNS statesman would be primarily focused on conserving the power structure of red state US into the CNS as the current era's complexity collapses, which it will. Just recently out of office, well respected, a true conservative of the Goldwater/Coolidge type (paleocon, not neocon), and not a drinker of the current PC kool aid narrative. It's setting up the order administratively to executive ideologically the existing worldview that the CNS would want (allowing for the short emigration period) before the other sides catch on that their worldview is not conducive to long term success. This fellow would have to talk the Bos-DC corridor types into this being a liberation for them to get the eruopean/socialist/PC crap stuff finally that the knuckledraggers of the south and midwest have been blocking. He would be playing to their arrogance and self deception with regards to PC crap. Using function, process and appeals to custom, talking the other side into your plan as if it were a big win for them was a Metternich strength.

A move for secession which truly separates any governmental link between regions would also need an appeal to true constitutional intent and the rule of law. This is against the liberal living constitution and feelings override logic approach. This appeal though is based on long standing customs and would have legitimacy attached to it through the custom and legal history of the US. If the Feds never charge Wall St with any crimes into the 2020s, this will carry even more credibility as the blue state 'other' is not enforcing the laws either for top financial criminals or the low level thugs they catch and release often. An oppressive regime (anarcho-tyranny to the max) would be fertile soil for secession seeds. The message would matter.

This figure being out of office and an elder statesman would be best equipped to manipulate that SWPL dream of the northeast corridor as a quasi-socialist playground. Having witnessed the transformation of the left from economic inequality/union driven interests into the coalition of victim groups with an uberrich financial cream on top, this man would understand how to handle whatever figure are their big guns at the time. This stable legitimacy driven figure would also be a good contrast to whatever La Raza styled Mexican leader would emerge for the "North Mexico" area I see wishing to break off. A self styled La Raza leader will emerge eventually, and this will splinter the Dems as the pie can only be sliced so much and blacks won't give in easily, so Mexican voters may just say "we're out". Speculative I know, but plausible. A statesman contrasting his aims for a CNS in middle america from the rockies to the old confederacy would be a distinct contrast and carried by the appeals to law and custom compared to the revolutionary La Raza figure who would most likely use their charisma and the media for a distinct ethnic or racial goal.

By making the CNS position a position based on law and custom, establishing legitimacy as the accepted notion of proper government, the CNS would become the pivot state for the break up. Metternich was good knowing that territorial concessions did not matter if an ally couldn't be counted on or order and power could not be enforced or exercised in that area. Conceding territory for the right to be fully sovereign within that territory is a fantastic trade to make. As the central power on the continent, Austria had weaknesses others did not. They had multiple borders to defend and control. This would pose the Rockies to the Southeast CNS in a similar fashion as they would have the "North Mexico" state to their southwest, and who knows what may happen to the Bos-DC corridor state 10-20 years after emigration (yes, I assume blacks would flee a CNS for the Northeast). Despite the USA making a mockery out of the Peace of Westphalia concept, this CNS statesman would have to consider the laws and rights of their new state as above petty territorial squabbles (splitting up some other federal assets as well).

Slight tangent, but a historian once said that a nation needed a founding myth. The moment the founding myth is lost the nation will cease to exist. The last 50 years have seen the smearing of the founding of America as the Pilgrim’s story and Jamestown are now associated with genocide of the Indians and slavery. Add in the fact that we’ve imported millions recently from the entire 3rd world who have no connection to that myth and national unity erodes. This breakup would allow the original ideals to be transplanted and incorporated into the new founding myths. For example, SWPL/libs of the Bos-DC corridor would use the the Puritan freedom seeking tradition to abolitionist New Englanders to Emerson + Thoreau to the SWPL state of enlightened thinking. The Rockies-old confederacy area would use the pioneer/freedom seeking religious settler myth to form the last bastion of freedom and religion in the West. Both places and peoples are heirs to origin ideals that secretly were once used just for our one nation. Propaganda and mythmaking are that easy and effective.

This statesman must think long term. Trading horses will not matter much beyond one generation. The core features to keep focused on would be emigration, rights and laws within own borders, and nukes. Emigration to ensure the types of people that make up the nation that are conducive to one’s way of life. Rights and laws that allow enforcing a nation’s codes without interference are critical to cement the start up.  Yes, nuclear weapons will matter because of international matters. Before making this incredibly long, I will save the foreign policy variables for another post. A break up or secession period might seem farfetched now, but pay attention to deep currents. The localtarian idea, technology, sustainable communities, 3D printing, problems of complexity in society along with the cultural split between regions as well as the polarization of politics as one side continues to deviate from long standing  traditional norms (causing reaction) will all contribute to this becoming a reality.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review of Stefan Zweig's "The World of Yesterday"

Having read a few autobiographies, I am usually let down by theauthor's reticence concerning famous figures that they knew well or interacted with on a consistent or even random basis. We commoners want to know what certain big figures were like behind closed doors, not just read about your life and times. We are a society of voyeurs. I am no different. I picked up Stefan Zweig's "The World of Yesterday" because of his connection to the art world of pre-war and interwar period Europe. Zweig's writing on the figures he came into contact with and the world he inhabited are a tremendous read.

Zweig's central theme is covering the turmoil of the 1914-1940 period while also contrasting it to the Age of Security. The Age of Security is his term for pre-war Europe, specifically the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Zweig really sets the table for what life was like in Vienna. Stability and respect with age or for the aged are core concepts. It is interesting how sharply that flips after the war. The cult of youth seems to have started right after WW1. Four years of trenches, death and destruction can erode the credibility of a regime and mindset. I can completely buy this from a European standpoint, but not so much from an American point of view. The elder statesmen that worked its way through the Great Depression and WW2 deserved respect, deference and unquestioned leadership. Sorry for that tangent, I loved the passage about the train ride out of the country for the last Emperor. It was beautiful.

A very interesting section was on the farce of what we call Victorian morality. Zweig discusses how prostitution was like an army. That passage was comical as he described some prostitutes as artillery vs. infantry ("siege guns" made me laugh). The entire subject of sex or displaying body parts was hysterical. Seriously, with how women dressed, a woman could go her life with maybe 4 people knowing what her body really looked like. What women were available was interesting as the art community was looked upon as women half in and half out of accepted society. I don't think dance history books mention ballerinas charging 200 crowns for an evening. Sadly, Zweig writes how the army of hookers would all end up in the infirmary. He does cite the destruction of prostitution after the war. Sex and gender relations are another facet of life loosened because of WW1. Sex does seem to have a golden age between Zweig's new dawning after WW1 to 1980 or so. The unraveling of that fraudulent morality is another outcome of the destruction of the old order due to WW1.

The truly wonderful passages in Zweig's book are the bits about writers and artists that he came into contact with or counted as friends. When Zweig visits Rodin, he is in for a treat. Not only does Rodin share a meal with him, but he displays the work and beauty that is art. It's a great section of the book. I enjoyed those moments where Zweig let you in on the art community, the figures, the fights, and the joy. Zweig has some great lines on the fostering of the arts in Vienna. I've always been against state intervention (both grants/censorship) because I view it as dangerous and crude. I've read too many books about Stalin or Hitler interfering with the arts and always screwing up. I do think supporting artistic endeavors is helpful for culture at large, but I believe in artists finding private patrons if they want funding. Find the donor that your art speaks to, don't just write a great grant letter and appeal to the politics of a civil servant.

Throughout the book, even the happy passages are tinged with sadness. Zweig committed suicide right after completing the book. You can almost feel his pain in the nostalgia and loss of that old world. While he constantly discusses the concept of being a citizen of Europe, you can feel that living in England and Brazil far from Austria was draining on him. Zweig's section on Gorky was marvelous and considering Zweig's escape to Brazil, a bit prophetic. It should act as a cautionary tale for anyone who wants to live as an exile. I loved this book. If you love history, art or pre-WW1 Europe, you will too.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Alpha Beta Thoughts + Review of "Thunderstruck" by Erik Larsen

When I was in college, there were some history professors fully immersed in the Marxist approach of discussing a period through the point of view of the common man. The Howard Zinn approach to history really gets boring once you realize how common and mundane most lives are. It is aggravating if done during a period of big moves by select leaders. The great men and events approach is a more traditional approach. A popular writer who seems to have found a niche for mass appeal is Erik Larsen. His narrative nonfiction book Thunderstruck is a nice exploration of the common man's world blended with events that changed the world by a select few. Thunderstruck focuses on the invention and development of wireless telegraphy by the Italian Marconi and the awful Crippen marriage that ended in murder.

Thunderstruck is in the same mold as "Devil in the White City" by Larsen with some sex, murder, and mystery. Instead of the wild, boom of Chicago World's Fair during America's Gilded Age, Thunderstruck's setting is the late Victorian-Edwardian British Empire. Larsen really dives into that peak power. He even mentions the feeling that things were slipping away from Brits. Larsen can spin a tale to suck you into that world. The atmosphere of the book felt just right while reading it at night. He uses details to his advantage to sound technical and properly read up on the subject but not over the top with dry data or analysis of events. The book is a nice examination of a period undergoing significant change almost weekly. It is also an exploration of that final era of the amateur scientist or inventor. Marconi and Crippen both represent amateurs who could try their hand in medicine or inventing and developing a highly technical system without the need for PhDs. Despite some fits + starts with sham or borderline sham patent medicines, Crippen still put things together to have a decent dental business for years at the end. Marconi was not a scientist and barely had an understanding of theory, but he tinkered and played with the ideas. The world seemed to be more wide open and hold more possibilities.

For readers of the manosphere or roissysphere, this books serves as a spectacular contrast of alpha vs. beta. Marconi is an alpha while Crippen is a beta. Reading between the lines, I would place Marconi somewhere on the Asperger's-autism scale. The author constantly refers to Marconi not reading someone well, being socially obtuse, misunderstanding people or doing weird stuff. Marconi becomes alpha with the riches from his invention as well as his status bump from the prestige of inventing the wireless. He also was social with the ladies, liked high class dining, and had that foreigner appeal that can work to one's advantage (mysterious or exotic). Despite being a newbie, he played it like he was high class and worthy of adoration. Marconi took his soft alpha skills and married them to his hard alpha skills to become quite the catch in England.

Crippen is a classic provider beta. He meets a vivacious woman who is pretty for the 19th century (I don't see her appeal) and full of energy. His physical attraction for her covered for some huge lies she told him and odd mysteries about her life. She also walked all over him, demanded material wealth and refinement while wasting money and rubbing attention and affection from other men in his face. Crippen just took it. His wife, Belle, threatens to leave him, and instead of calling her bluff and potentially turning the tables, he just bowed his head and rolled over. I will admit that he uses the older gentleman, nice guy game on a much younger assistant that he eventually romances. The two men have wildly different paths in life, and some of it just comes right back to what type of guy you are at your core. Marconi was a risk taker with some alpha traits. Crippen played things safe and Mr. Nice Guy.

As far as the murder, recent evidence has emerged that the body found in the basement was NOT Belle. Interesting theories as to what that body might be. My theory is that he did snap and he kill her. He disposed of the body elsewhere as well as burned portions. His panic and flight was caused by a fear that they'd charge him with murder, not knowing that in 1910 that was next to, if not, impossible without a body. Crippen could have played it cool. Instead of being cool, he created worse lies rather than just saying Belle left him, flaunted his girlfriend in public, broke at the wrong moment, and gave into fear. He was a beta balls to bones.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Revolution + National Navel Gazing Thoughts - Book Review - The Story of a Year 1848 by Raymond Postgate

History can be a fun read, and still educate. This is a bit of a fun book about the year in the 19th century that really rocked Europe, 1848. This year was full of revolutions, counterrevolutions, dumping of the old guard and the emergence of a Napolean. There is also the proto-communist or socialist set up in France. The book is laid out in an interesting month by month frame. The foundation is that bedrock of peace and stability, Victorian England. The book begins and ends in that Victorian calm, and woven throughout the book are bits here and there about the small disturbances in England that paled in comparison to the wild events on the Continent. The year 1848 was quite a year. I know we, folks under 65, have not lived through a similar wild period, but I question whether we may in the near future. This book is a quick and well written weekend read. I do recommend it.

There were some bits that made me pause and think outside of the book's main focus on 1848. The Continent was thrown into chaos by the French revolting again. The growth of the press allowed for the revolution in France to spread throughout the Continent, and the race was on for what groups could overthrow their oppressive kings, dukes or emperors. It is an interesting read to see how quickly some of the rebellions failed, what rulers bent and showed flexibility, and where things were going with European thought. I noticed how the French Revolution and similar themes in French's revolt of '48 seemed to lay the groundwork for the later coming of Communism. I'd argue that the failures of the '48 revolts weighed on Lenin's mind when the Bolsheviks grabbed at power in 1917. Peasants could no longer overthrow the government themselves. There had to be an intelligent leadership group, and the military had to be swung to your side. The success in Austria and failure in Prussia were important lessons for Lenin’s boys. Marx was a political refugee in England after being kicked off the Continent in 1849. While born after the French Revolution but during the rise of the 'machinery' of capitalism, his ideas seem like a fusion of workers' grievances and the French Revolution's focus on power, liberty and the self. The seeds of the Bolshevik Revolution and subsequent 'progressive' cultural marxist dogma in current American society were planted in the French Revolution.

England truly was a special case. It is quite weird how far right as well as far left figures found refuge and asylum there. As England assembled the Empire it would hold for a 100 years, the Continent was coming apart. England's isolation due to a narrow channel was not just physical but philosophical. There is enough material and commentary on that to fill books, but it is amazing how the only real disturbance in England was the small Chartist movement in 1848. England really wasn't a democracy, but it was not an iron fisted monarchy either. I'd argue this goes back to the emergence of the kings of England nearly 1000 years earlier and the relationship between landowners and their sovereign, but that is for another post. The comical thing to read about England in 1848 was how consumed they were with idiotic, small potatoes issues. Reading how England was wrapped up in smaller issues while the Continent burned and convulsed, I kept feeling as if I was reading about post-Cold War America. In their defense, they rose and held onto peak power for 70 more years. Drowning in inane matters, swimming in information and fighting over scoring points, we are blind to identify core problems, admit to their full list of causes, and try to tackle them.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Book Review: A Frozen Hell - William Trotter

Writing the perfect war movie script is difficult since no war movie has ever been made that inspires fighting as well as provide justification for the cause. Glory is a movie that came close, but did white people really get inspired? I didn't. The Soviet-Finnish Winter War has the perfect set up as well as actual narrative to be a great war movie framework. William Trotter's short (258 pages) book, A Frozen Hell, told with a sympathetic view of the Finns but balanced in review is a fantastic history of the 100 day war between the colossus and the small fry. A reader gets the run up as to how Finland separated from Russia after WW1, the diplomatic stupidity on both sides, and then the set up of how the sides were stacked as the war began in winter of 1939. Trotter spins stories that read like movie scenes, paints settings that really stick and form in the reader's mind and has great technical knowledge of the weapons, machinery, terrain and leaders. It is a quick read as he segments the book to relate to an area of fighting in Finland, and the sections feel like minibooks. I highly recommend this book as a fun read that is not dry at all. If someone is an aspiring screenplay writer, read this book and craft an awesome war movie somehow tied to this 100 day war.

In a spirit of not just reviewing the book but discussing a thought tangent that I had while reading it, what were the Nazis thinking? Were they ever thinking? As I read the book, I could not help but think how stupid the Nazis were once again in their approach to WW2. Sure, Hitler laid out his entire plan in Mein Kampf that no other leader besides Churchill read, but his Army staff should have KNOWN an attack on Russia would happen even if they signed the non-aggression treaty. Planning for an eventual attack on Russia, why would the Germans concede Finland to the Russian zone of influence, when they would later use it as a launch of attack for their invasion of Russia? What a dumb move!?!?!? Considering their approach for Barbarossa, even devoting men to that Army Group was a waste. I've blogged before about what the Germans could have done to take the Russian giant down.

Providing that the Germans allowed the Finns to be part of the Soviet sphere of influence, when hostilities started, the Germans cut off all shipments of material to the Finns. This was incredibly short sighted and displayed a few critical things which would blow up later.

1. By underestimating the Finn resistance, the Germans displayed little diplomatic feel, which would pop up with other countries as well.
2. No grand strategy beyond the basics that a corporal in his 1920s book wrote. Hitler rarely thought globally or even beyond land fighting. It showed up here as well as later on in the war.
3. Hitler honored a pact that he would break within 18 months. Inconsistency of action. This was a killer later on during the fight with Russia.

The Nazis had no feel for Finland, and this cost them a potential puppet guerilla ally. The Nazis were so dumb as to not understand the Mannerheim line defenses, and not see the potential battle from the Finns POV. They could not see the defensive position as their warfare had been offensive in nature for arguably decades. German brass always planned attacks, rarely ever defensive situations. They could not see the strength of Finnish defenses nor the home field advantage they would have as the Germans had not even been invaded in WW1 when they lost. The Nazis also failed to see that by prolonging the Winter War through aid to Finland, they could have inflicted huge losses beyond the 250,000 dead Russians. Just shipping artillery to the Finns would have lengthened the conflict and killed more Russians. A batch of 88s would have strengthened the Mannerheim line as well as provided crucial mental support for the part of warfare that bothered the Finns the most, fighting against tanks. Planes would have changed the game early on, and the Nazis could have claimed they were plane orders put through prior to the conflict starting. Planes may have been too much, but sending artillery, mortars and anti-tank mines would have helped.

The Nazis could not think big picture. Hitler failed to see how a prolonged conflict with 500K Russians dead and the world's media portraying the Russians as big bad guys would help him. Had the Brits and French ever made it to Finland in time, it might have allowed the Finns to negotiate with worldwide help to retain its territorial borders. This would have given Germany a headstart when Operation Barbarossa started. It also would have drained Russia of even more trained soldiers and officers. Considering the Nazi's western front plans, imagine how much faster France would have fallen after diverting forces to Finland for months. The Nazis instead stopped aid to Fin and remained out of the fray. That is poor strategic planning. It is no wonder they lost, and thank God they did.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

4 Men, 4 Ivy League Stereotypes

Every Ivy league and sister school graduate* in America must look at the last 20 years of presidential politicis and see familiar faces. It is not that they are friends with Clinton, Bush, Obama or Romney, but that these four men represent four spectacular stereotypes on campus. It feels like watching old friends, but more appropriately, four people you couldn't count on or loathed to see on campus.

The guy who is fun but screws you over constantly - Bill Clinton

You think a kid from the sticks with a rougher background might be a great, regular Joe on campus. Not quite. Clinton would be the guy who definitely smokes weed, definitely rocks it hard on the weekend, but the moment trouble arises, he'll turn on you. He will disavow all knowledge of what went on, and narc on you as long as he isn't in the room when you're busted. This guy hits on your girlfriend when you are back home for a funeral. You enjoy spending time with him but never fully trust him.

The wealthy, legacy admission with no right to be there but knows all the best parties - Dubya

He's loaded. He's got access to alcohol, drugs and good looking girls. He pulls pranks and is fun. He's also the last guy you want on your group project. When assigned to your group, you find a way to give him the least challenging portion and then hope the grading is done on only your part of the project. He's going to invite you out drinking on a Wednesday when you should be studying for midterms, and he'll rib you enough to make you go out. All his core drinking friends fail out except him. He's also going to get bad grades and break windows but never be asked to leave because his parents will make a donation to the school. You look at him and think about the good guy much smarter than him that you personally know was rejected by the same school. Yeah, this is Dubya to a T.

Affirmative action kid who professors love for being a minority but no one likes - President Obama

No one likes him. He sucks up to teachers. He is black but doesn't act in any stereotypical black manner. Because of that black but not 'black' cultural issue he's a loner who doesn't fit in with anyone and a downer. He milks that for pity sex from girls and the random romp with a white liberal who wants to dabble in the exotic but not all the way exotic.You think he is gay. If he's mixed, he switches what ethnicity he IDs with every month. He uses whatever side of his family to his advantage depending on the crowd. Professors love him. Professors give his essays better grades whether written on napkins. You have never seen him take a math, science or yes/no answer subject course. He is very beta. The school will invite him as a student rep for some student, administration, professors, donor dinner like some pet. You look at him and think about the white kids who got rejected from that school for his ass. President Obama has no friends from his undergrad days, right?

The rich kid, who is handsome, smart, gets chicks, and despite not needing money already has a start up out of his dorm room - Romney

This guy drives a Porsche Boxster or a BMW Z3 on campus. He's in the rich kid frat. He's handsome and gets the hot chicks. He has minions. He goes to Switzerland or Aspen for winter break, and always has a spring break tan in April. He's Mr. Perfect and aces classes studying less than you. You heard a rumor that his start up got venture capital funding already. You know his dad is a CFO or political big wig, and you're pissed he's taking up a spot on campus.... but the jerk does well in class. You can't stand the guy, and mostly, it's because you can't compete. You still want to punch him in the face, but you're almost certain, he'd beat the shit out of you... or his minions would.

*Northwestern, MIT, Duke, U of Chicago, Stanford, CalTech

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ancillary Theory on the Rise of Higher Education

The higher education bubble is near its peak. We are now over 1.1 trillion in student debt in the US, with many of the loans of dubious means or use. While I love the theory that the Griggs vs. Duke Power case is why higher education exploded, let me put forth a helping hand theory. I am skeptical of a magic bullet, but Griggs is great as the start of using college as a measn to weed out the dumb while not being called racist. There is something to be said for the geographic diversity of BA requirements for jobs. The northeast has many jobs that require a BA, but in other regions of the country, those jobs don't require a BA. Without the need for a BA, many kids would never go to college. The college degree promotion was a means to save the state and regional economies for the first states hit by the gutting of American manufacturing.

Americans know the Rust Belt idea, where the Upper Midwest has decaying cities that were fantastic and full of manufacturing plants and jobs just 30+ years ago. This concept already happened in New England and NY a couple decades earlier. That same region is the region that requires BAs for the most mundane office jobs. State governments looked at the destruction of manufacturing in the northeast and looked for a way to offset the loss of jobs. By requiring BAs, businesses automatically created a demand for getting a degree. This would flood universities with far more applicants than the status quo. More demand for BAs, more demand for employees to staff these colleges. More spending on dorms and buildings to house and teach these students. The ripple effect would be huge. It would offset partially the loss of manufacturing jobs. Those New England unionized plants were the first to lose out to lower cost areas. They have been the most vocal on pushing the college degree at all costs mantra.

The higher education bubble is not a bubble as much as a spiders web. The spiders web was woven long ago, and has been expanded to the point where we are all caught in it. The hunt for good schools, the pressure to save enough money to go to a good enough college, and the debt burden all weigh on the mind of every middle class and upper middle class American parent. The Griggs case as well as my theory on the northeast saving their economies are but small pieces to that giant puzzle.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Whatever Happened to Howard Dean?

Whatever did happen to Gov. Howard Dean? Dean is an interesting case because he was one open mic from being the Democrat nominee in 2004. Karl Rove even wrote up 'the book' on how the beat him. Dean was far more eloquent and stronger than Kerry, and could've beaten Bush. Dean's '04 campaign was the official start of Internet politics as well as the beginning of the liberal '60s echo we're in now. Sadly, Ted Kennedy saved Kerry in Iowa, and Dems gave in to momentum voting. I firmly believe Dean in front of a laser focused OWS would have given it legitimacy and made waves this year on the left. The problem was that OWS quickly devolved (plus the other items I cited). Dean has rehabilitated his image from shouting flame out, but there has been one obstacle since 2008: he wasn't part of Obama's gang.

Consider every book about 'O' now, how insular Obama's world is and how self centered Obama is. Before the GOP started their Tea Party cycle, there was the '04-'08 post-68 echo cycle for Dems. Obama is the black Adlai Stevenson certain Dems have longed for years to have in charge. The civil war in the Democrat party that has gone on since the 2008 election has narrowed down to the Obama Chicago crowd vs. everyone else. Part of the DNC identity politics crap wasn't just because identity politics is the party (coalition of victim groups), but also because Obama hasn't unified the party around a party wide idea or concept. Debt relief for all would be a winner, but Goldman Sachs won't allow it. This development hurts them with statewide office candidates. Getting back to the Dem civil war, Clintonites have not forgiven the caucus behavior of the Chicago crowd (buses of Chi-town volunteers that called Clinton-Edwards voters racist). Caucuses are open and more vulnerable to public shaming. Look at Obama's record in caucuses in '08 compared to primaries or his primary season popular vote total if you pull out just Cook County (he falls behind Clinton). Dems also not implementing 'winner takes all delegates' after a set date killed Hillary. Plus, Clintonites were frozen out of many admin positions. Years later, Gov. Rendell (Clintonite) floated out primary challenger talk in 2011. Many Dems feel they have been sacrificed at the altar for St. Obama. Consider the lack of star power at the convention. Bill Clinton and a motley crew of smurfs spoke. Part of this is payback as Obama has not campaigned for candidates, and when he has, he is the kiss of death.

Obama's core crew hates Dean, but not for his ideology. Pushing Dean out was about power not ideology. Dean provided an alternative power, favors, fundraising and publicity source for Democrats. Dean's success in 2006 as well as his appeal to '60s echo liberalism would create an alternative power base vs. the Obama crowd. His beliefs were similar to Obama's supposed beliefs, which made him even more of a threat. That is why they pushed him out. They isolated Dean. A campaign manager like Axelrod has more visibility and comments on policy more than Dean. Instead of viewing DC politicians as part of a power pyramid, consider DC as a power archipelago. How big is one's island? Are you an island creator or seeker? The Obama crew destroyed a potential rival by isolating and shrinking his island.

People don't see the details, but this was a problem for Rahm as well. Rahm was a reason for the '06 sweep (as well as Howard Dean + Hurricane Katrina), and he is a Clinton guy who disparaged progressives and black politicians despite being 'from' liberal Illinois. Rahm and Val Jarrett did not get along, and in retrospect, we now know how much control she has over Obama. When he saw how insular Obama was already becoming with his Chicago crew, Rahm bugged out. He'll be back as a US Senator in '16 with his power base. Similar to Rahm + Dean, Sen. Schumer is a problem for Obama as Schumer's PAC has contributed significant dollars to many Senate campaigns, creating a pool of support + power. When Sen. Reid retires or is forced down, the fight for Dem Senate leadership will be Durbin (his PAC has been effective) vs. Schumer. If Obama is still in office + has juice left (juice seems unlikely), Obama will push for Durbin instead of Schumer. Dean is on the outside looking in as long as Obama is POTUS. He is yesterday's news. A old professor once stated that a politician gets one shot at the presidency, which is why Richard Nixon being nominated by the GOP and winning in '68 is so special. Howard Dean still is a great package, but he lost his chance. People may not see it now, but the same goes for Hillary Clinton.

Now that I think about it, Obama : Rahm/Clinton/Dean is very Stalin : Lenin/Trotsky/Zinoviev.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

The Jewish Tinted Meritocratic Elite that Replaced the WASPs

In the middle of my reading Stefan Zweig's classic "The World of Yesterday", Steve Sailer posted on his blog "The Prestige of Ignorance" (Jewish Liberation post-68 at elite schools) and another one about a David Brooks column criticizing the new elite for not being more long term with regards to their thinking (which he almost goes there as Sailer titled it about the Jewish elite). The entire concept of the rise of Jewish power or influence post-WW2 is pretty interesting, and has always made me scratch my head. Their drive within the immigrant tapestry in America is incredibly different from contemporary of the Jewish pre-1945 immigration, and definitely different from the Mexican immigration post-1965. His columns made me look back at the start of Zweig's book because there is something to this quest for influence and power that might be driven directly by the Jewish community's experience in Europe prior to WW2 and pre-Russian jewish immigration to the USA.

Early in the book, Zweig explains the Jewish community in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the late 19th century, how his family made their fortune, and how Jewish merchants were pretty forward thinking. Zweig has a passage (page 21) explaining how the Jewish community of Vienna was critical for the development of the arts. He writes,

"In public life, they exerted only a meager influence; the glory of the Imperial house overshadowed every private fortune, the leading positions in the administration of the State were held by inheritance, diplomacy was reserved for the aristocracy, the army and higher officialdom for the old families, and the Jews did no even attempt ambitiously to enter into these privileged circles".

Considering this statement, considering the ebb and flow of anti-semitism in German states and Prussia that finished with the Holocaust, and considering the Dreyfuss affair, might not the Jewish community, as they entered American society and saw a power coming on strong, try to use their natural IQ gifts as well as skills with generating wealth to position themselves into State power? The lesson of having wealth in the German/Austrian region but eventually no state power to prevent or deflect the Holocaust might burn deep, and created a drive for power in a central authority. I would even place this drive within the minds of Louis Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter, both of whom would serve on the Supreme Court as well as send quite a few young men Pres. Wilson and Pres. Roosevelt's way for jobs in the government. The Jewish community might possibly be saying "never again will we rely solely on our wealth to keep us secure". America's peculiar civilian control over the military (peculiar for turn of the century) may have imprinted on Jewish leaders the desire for government influence. I'd bring up Trotsky here, but I might be reaching with him. This continues on to this day, and with no one really paying attention to how widespread the influence in policy making between academia and the media.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Gay Marriage: Acceptance, Legitimacy + the Institution

What issue is discussed the most and has no resemblance to the true significance of it in our current declining society? Gay Marriage. I wish my Facebook Zombie friends cared even 1/10th as much about some important things like national bankruptcy, endless war, drone killings of US citizens, and Wall St crimes gone unpunished as they do about gay marriage (SSM). Many young folks are too young to remember when AIDS was running rampant through the gay male community. AIDS slipping into the straight blood stream through the problem of gay blood donors infecting products used by hemophiliacs or blood transfusions for new mothers scared everyone and angered many. I recall the half serious joke, 'let's create gay island, let them live peacefully there, and we won't get AIDS'. It has been just 20 years after those conversations and fears, and now the battle is for gay marriage. "It's time" is the chant, as if gays have been waiting so long for marriage. Remember 40 years ago gays went to bars with blacked out windows, and now "it's time" to let them have the right to get divorced. Make no mistake about it, any fool can get married in a ceremony. It just won't be recognized by the government and you don't have the right to legal splitting up of assets through divorce. That is not the point. Civil unions have had success ni states that don't want gay marriage. Civil unions weren't enough. Advocates want that word marriage. A problem no one seems to pay attention to with regards to gay marriage is the problem of legitimacy. Years ago, the brilliant William Safire wrote an interesting column on same sex marriage. What he wrote nearly a decade ago is true today. There is the issue of acceptance, there is the issue of legitimacy and there is what the word marriage means to us all.

The rest of the nation, all 96% of straight America, had to learn to tolerate gays (despite gay men spreading AIDS and molesting boys at far higher rates than non-gay men molest kids). No more hitting them for being gay, no more hating them for being gay and stop with the gay jokes unless you cloak it in a Hollywood sitcom or movie. That is not enough. To have a standing in polite society, you must obey and not mock them. Gays are pretty protected now to the point where no matter the celebrity, they better not use any negative gay word or face shaming, a 2 minute hate and in some cases fines (NBA fined Kobe Bryant). The SSM supporters in the last year have tried to strip a 2nd tier fast food joint of their right to free speech and freedom to do business as well as constantly tell Christians (never Muslims) to disregard religious beliefs (secretly, because SSM suporters laugh at religion) and support SSM you stupid bigots. The entire move for marriage boils down to what marriage conjures up in the mind. It's about acceptance. For all of those stable gays who had long term relationships, but mom and dad never marked the anniversary, marriage gives a big seal of approval "See mom + dad, I'm MARRIED, it's real! You need to recognize my relationship that I know you secretly don't value as much as my sibling's marriage". Gays know that under the surface of 'we treat you just the same' is that natural 'it's different' feeling. A ring and a government certificate saying it is legal might help, but it isn't going to change a thing. Actually, it might create new problems.

Think about a wedding ceremony. There are big pageants, religious ceremonies, secular settings and quasi-pagan ceremonies. People make it their thing. It's literally just a ceremony for a contract (and a bad one at that). A pretty big chunk of weddings are in churches. Even if gay marriage is imposed on us from legal court filings, the courts will still recognize the right for religions to say no. This should be the end of it. Secular non-church ceremonies for gays, and straights will get the same secular and religious options as before. Freedom of religion still holds. Wait, I just pointed out that gays won't get religious settings (unless that religion approves it, which are few with dwindling parishioners). That is not the same, and it's not like SSM supproters respect the Christians in our country or their beliefs, so what do you think they'll push for next? They'll trot out lifetime Catholics, Christians and Jews (no Muslims) and say "I want my marriage to be just like the others, I want the right to get married in my church". The push will then be on to order churches to perform ceremonies that are against their beliefs (watch for Dems who say freedom of worship instead of freed of religion). That is why Christians are fighting SSM so ferociously. It's not just about the basic same gender sin connection; they see what the next step is. Civil unions weren't enough, and who knows if govt sanctioned secular ceremonies will be. It's the final push for acceptance. Let's make those backwards and bigoted Christians accept my lifestyle. This isn't all gay activists, and I'd even argue this is more straight behavior. After a few years of watching this unfold, straights seem to be more thrilled by SSM than gays. It's so straights can say "see I accept them, now you will too you evil Christian rednecks" (I'm generalizing but it's close to all all of the Facebook posts I see). What none of these straights see is the huge problem of legitimacy.

Legitimacy comes with acceptance not from imposition. People have learned to tolerate gays, and this is still a learning process (especially with loyal Democrat voting blacks). Tolerance does not equal acceptance. Very religious people, whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim, will probably never accept gays. This is where the government imposing gay marriage on the nation will run into roadblocks. Gays do want their relationships to be considered legitimate just like anyone else. This matters to them because roughly 40 years ago they had bars with blacked out windows. Besides the very religious folks out there, there will always be a segment of people who would view civil unions as 'play marriage'. Even if the government imposes SSM, many straights will look at the low numbers of SSM (seriously, NY has had no rush of marriages) as well as the future high lesbian divorce rate (Scandanavian countries show this) and the lack of children in these marriages, and consider them not quite the real thing. There will always be something off. They won't be considered legit. Honestly, something feels off for straight marriages without kids. It might not be voiced in front of gays, but it will be discussed by the straight couple on their drive home with a joke or two (How many times can Kate get married and divorced in one decade?). Legitimacy is also why the very vocal anti-SSM crowd doesn't want the term marriage used. Marriage has positive connotations and associations. Letting SSM be marriage rather than civil unions implies we think it's normal or standard. They do not want to have a nation endorse what they consider horrible. I've had a similar discussion before with a lesbian. Being gay happens in the natural world, therefore it is natural, but since it happens 3.5% of the time, it is not normal.

The fight over legitimacy, positive connotations, and normal is at the heart of it all. It is what marriage means to us. We all know the divorce rate is 40%. That is atrocious and worthy of several essays on its own. What is left out of that discussion though is what the marriage starts out as. Sure, some are shotgun or maybe flushed romances, but all marriages start out with that utopian dream that these two people love each other enough to want to be together until death do they part. When straights get married, you even envision what the kids will look like. You look at the oldest couple there who have been together 50 years, and see their progeny. That is part of the gays problem. They are same gender, so kids only enter the picture through adoption or through the marvels of modern science. I'm all for loving, planned families. I support them. I just question how many gays really want SSM. I question how many will want kids. I question why so many straights want other straights to sacrifice freedom of speech (the chik-fil-a fiasco) or their religious beliefs all so maybe 10% of 3.5% can have their marriages recognized by the government. That is most disturbing to me.

As a tangent about the minds of the straights who loudly push SSM, I think much of it comes from their wish to re-enact anything resembling the '60s civil rights era (last time liberalism had a real fight), a wish to see a social issue that they support win and not cause damage, a f*ck you to Christians, and a nice way to signify that they are a good person as many white Dems no longer believe in God or follow a religion. The crusade of winning a right for someone is ingrained in modern Dems; this hits the nostalgia buttons hard. This is also a social issue that doesnt have a lot of negative externalities unlike all the black AA programs, LBJ great society programs or even the ab0rtion stuff. We're 50 years into the Great Society programs and AA stuff and blacks really are no better and in many socioeconomic measures, worse off. Abortion still deals with dead babies, and it's a bit creepy how 1.4 mil abortions happen ever single year, but no Dem ever highlights it. We have cheap birth control yet still 1.4 mil people kill heir babies (95% of time, it's simply mom's choice, no rape, no health issue)? These next two bits factor more on white Dems as black and hispanic Dems don't support SSM (dirty secret why SSM may never happen is the Latino vote might become big enough to block it) and are still very religious in comparison to white Dems. Christians will never truly accept gays, so this is a big FU to them by libs. It also acts as a marker to say I am morally superior because I wish to give these gays the same rights as us. Liberals have no religious moral grounding anymore. They use things like environmentalism, eating habits, SSM support and 'inclusion' to signify their moral superiority; not simply following some 'silly code' in an old book. Bah, how lame. They just try to one up each other with the flavor of the month. I'm specifically thinking about the libs who protested nuclear energy as it was bad for the environment 25 years ago, but now it's good because it doesn't release CO2. Their thoughts: "Come on, what's the harm with letting gays get married, and I get to rub it in white religious folks' faces and claim to be enlightened. Pay no attention to my gay jokes when gays aren't around!!!!"

Where does this go? How does this wrap up? The SSM supporters better hurry because by the time Latinos make up enough fo the vote, they will probably block state initiatives for SSM in soem BIG states. There is no discourse from the SSM amateur activist side besides 'it's time' or 'you should support it, what are you a homophobe'. Homophobe is one of the dumbest terms ever created. People arent homophobic; they don't like gays. Men might be autohomophobic (fearful of being gay themselves). As a straight man, I'd say many straight women love gay men; lesbians no fricking way. Straight men, like myself, generally don't care about gays, and if they show some emotion it is usually laughing at them, being annoyed by them when they are in drama prissy mode, or pitying them (the lesbians who try hard to be boys). SSM activists, and their amateur foot soldiers on social media, would be a lot smarter to try to talk to their opponents instead of just calling them names. No one ever changes to your side if you call them a bigot or Nazi. Use reason. I view SSM as maybe priority #127 on our current priority list in the USA. I view marriage as a contract, a sacred one at that not to be taken lightly, and consenting adults regardless of gender should be able to form that contract (yeah, I support polygamy on similar grounds). I do believe churches under the freedom of religion have a right to say 'not under our roof'. That is just how gays are going to have to deal with it. The government may accept and legitimize it, but your church, your community or your friends and family might not. Truthfully, gay couples make their community (which skews heavily gay) and their community would accept it. If you look at the circle of many gays, like all other groups, they seek each other out. Let's use reason and rational discourse to settle this. Let's also respect the wish of the people in a community to say "the law may give you this 'right', but I still won't consider it legit". This might be a state by state issue, and gays may just have to seek states that allow SSM kind of like gun owners seek states that have a pro-gun legal system. A government may impose this, but they cannot regulate the mind or the heart. A better approach for advocates of SSM is to start with reason and logic, not emotional pleas and name calling.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Christianity: An Exit from a Voiceless Rome

Even now in our time of decadent decline with a rise in atheism and cults, there is a material of religious belief that forms the stonework on which our civilization rests. Western Civilization is based on a Greco-Roman-Celtic-Christian system, but it would be foolish to not consider the basic laws, customs and norms of Christianity that permeate our world 2000 years after the time of Christ. Even the hippie ideals of the '60s are just basic Christian messages of peace, love, kindness tied up with the pill and free love. If one considers the world that Christianity entered in the 1st century AD, it is startling how successful it was and how quickly it took over a completely different Roman belief system. Monotheism conquered a polytheistic world in roughly 300 years, with very little in the way of writing or apostles doing work for the first 100 years after Christ's death and resurrection. How did it pull off such a feat? Christianity was helped not as much by its system of beliefs, but more so it's reaction to Roman society and rule, and the lack of voice for common citizens in the Roman Empire.

Before discussing how this worked for Christianity, I'll spend a bit of time discussing voice and exit. Stripped down to basics, in a declining system whether it is a corporation, a market, a government, etc. participants can either express a voice in the hopes that change or a correction is made or they can exit, leaving the system entirely. Exit can cause change as well if the system responds, which would then cause re-entry by participants. One could argue that during colonial times, citizens who had no voice in Europe and felt the system was corrupt or declining could exit for the colonies. As one looks around modern America, a great argument is that we are allowed a significant liberty of voice that is absolutely ineffective while we have no means of exit. Voting, participating, and posting countless things on the internet can all express displeasure, but the system does not respond. This isn't all that far from Imperial Rome.

Augustus had retained many of the forms of the Roman Republic, but had concentrated all of the power in his hands. He had done this by retaining his army, rewarding it, and ceremonially proclaiming to defend that which Rome stood for while gutting any counterweights to his execution of power. This had continued for decades after his reign as more foreign conquests happened, which pumped gold into the Roman economy and new slaves. Rome really was a war, slavery + conquest economy. Emperors after August rarely had his skill level as the emperors from 37AD-81 AD were not at his level nor at the level of the "Five Good Emperors" known as the Antonines. That 37-81 AD period was also the early period of the Church. Even under the Antonines, the citizens did not have a voice as rule was by Imperial decree and administration. With all of the repulican forms of checks and balances useless, voting by the citizens had no impact. Courts had already become corrupted with a loss of faith in the Roman rule of law. There were no large scale charitable societies or organizations as Roman society was at its peak, enjoying the moment of being the ruler of the known world. Rome's coffers were emptied to pay for luxury items from the East, which they had newly come into contact with after the conquests of the 1st century AD. Rome had mvoed far from the farmer-citizen-soldier foundations, and was moving into the decadent Empire that only had one way to go: down.

Christianity in its early stages was a bit of a protest movement of the Jewish faith, a reformation if you will. An entirely separate post would be a monologue (or personal theory) on what the early Church was in relation to the Jewish faith as a sect or splinter cell as well as the historicity of Jesus. Christianity had a great message that had an apocalyptic foundation. Before the world ends, let us be nice, forgive, love your neighbor, and go back to the roots of Jewish beliefs as time is short, we have one life and judgment is coming. That is a great message, but it was also much more restrictive compared to the polytheistic god system, ancestor worship, and libertine festivals of ancient Rome. Roman festivals turned into week long orgies, and Christianity was far from that. Would that really appeal to people caught on the down slope of the Empire? I do not believe so for one moment. People are people, and the same vices that plagued the Romans plagued other societies that followed, including today. While they were similar to Jews, they were different. They also would not allow statues of Roman gods in their temples, which the Jews did to appease Romans. Keep in mind that the Jews had just fought a horrible war vs. the Romans and lost, creating the diaspora as well as inner reflection on their faith after the fall of Jerusalem (2nd half of 1st century AD). It couldn't just be the belief system, especially when the belief system was a splinter of a religion that just fought and lost to the Romans.

Early Christianity had its own laws and rules, forbid Christians from serving in the Empire, provided food + simple goods to the poor, disabled and neglected, and basically attempted to form a separate society from Roman rule. The bishoprics of early Christianity settled disputes as well as gave legitimacy to unions and acts. The loyalty was to the Christian community, and the bishop returned this loyalty with behavior + beliefs that were condoned by the community. These were communities within the Empire. With the low hurdle for sustainability being food and shelter, to brign the recruits in the Church had to offer an alternative to Roman society. The Romans captured, tortured and forced Christians to renounce their faith, which happened often, but the renouncers were welcomed back with open arms by the Christian community. The leaders of early Christianity realized that numbers mattered. Voice mattered as well.

What also mattered was the ability of the common folks to have a voice in the Christian community. Early Christianity welcomed in all walks of life upon public confession, and it reached out to provide compassion and care for the very folks that the Empire did not pay any attention to for decades if not centuries. Freed slaves were allowed equal standing in Rome in direct contrast to Roman laws. People were denied a voice in Roman society and government, and the early Church communities provided an exit from Roman society. The early Church also provided a souce for voicing how the community should operate. it even gave people the chance to become martyrs for the faith, elevating their sacrifice and worth to that of the man they prayed to: Jesus. That is a level of expression that no Roman cultural system or event would allow. All socieites should provide the basic of food and security, and when outcast Romans saw that the early Christians could do so and allow them influence and a voice, they exited Roman society to enter the early Christian enclaves.

If one looks at the map for early Christian hot spots in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, there are many in what we call Turkey, Israel, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. Egypt was nearly 50% Christian by 300 AD. These pieces of the Empire were later conquests. Their attachment to Rome was not as strong as the Italy focused elements. There was a decent community in that period in Rome where finding outcasts and disaffected citizens would have been easy pickings. Focusing on those eastern communities, they had Roman rule imposed on them. Besides anger towards their conquerors, there was probably a problem of legitimacy of Roman rule in those areas. Greece, which included the coast of Asia Minor, had been highly developed prior to Roman conquest, and chafed at the enslavement of its people. Christianity offered an exit and challenge to Roman rule. This had to have been extremely appealing to eastern Roman ctiziens angry at the Roman governors appointed by Roman emperors who ruled strictly. These governors were like American appointed consuls in defeated enemy lands. Consider the varied success of American consuls the last 150 years, and then think back to Roman times. I doubt the Romans were much more successful.

Those conquered peoples would be itching for an out. The subjects in the east would be looking for an out of a power who was overextended and declining. The values of ancient Rome were a more martial or warrior centric belief system with little pity on the downtrodden. This would extend to conquered peoples in the east. Those values can be trumpeted successfully in times of expansion, victory and growth. In times of decay and decline, they lose their power. Christianity was a polar opposite with their beliefs, and could prey upon that decline. Christianity could offer a different belief system combined with a community that was outside the Roman system as a fresh new approach in amidst the decline of the Empire. It was not a triumph of peace, love and forgiveness. It was a triumph of creating a community that provided opportunities denied ordinary people in the Roman system that carried a friendly message and belief system contradictory to that of the declining Roman power.