Red Storm Rising II ?

Red_Storm_Rising_-_1990_-_MicroProse_Ltd.There is a lot of stuff going on isn’t there. Is it coordinated? I don’t know, but I don’t think it can be ruled out. Other than raising oil prices, it is kind of hard for me to see the commonality between Russia and Iran. But that I don’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It was not intuitive that Germany and Italy (or Russia, for that matter) had much in common. It’s also true that the bad kids tend to stick together. In any case, foreign relations are in an incredible muddle, since the west seems to have no idea of what is going on, let alone what we want.

Not to mention that all this is happening as the US is cutting forces and missions and has the weakest leadership since the seventies, and like then, both civilian and military. The bureaucrats are back in charge, and so career enhancing now means making Rangerettes, not winning wars. The UK, the number four military, seems to be in a similar situation. It’s a perilous situation. The Committee on the Present Danger has some details:

China militarized islands in the South China Sea, claiming sovereignty over ocean territory of Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, and Taiwan. Free navigation of international waters and billions of dollars of sea-borne trade is menaced.

Aircraft, tanks and troops battle in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen. Terror attacks increase in Asia, Europe and across the Middle East. North Korea builds more nuclear weapons, and some experts believe Iran’s weapons cache already includes nuclear warheads.The world teeters on the brink of Armageddon, and no nation is doing more to push it over the edge than Russia has already done by annexing Crimea, invading Ukraine, threatening Baltic and Eastern European nations, and by using major military assets to defend Syria’s dictator, Bashar al-Assad. Russia’s aggressive challenges to the established order in Europe and the Middle East, together with a demonstrated willingness to change borders with force, are direct threats to the United States and its allies. And, as it was during the Cold War, the backbone of those threats is Russia’s arsenal of strategic and battlefield missiles.To insure that global perception of Russia’s missile power is crystal clear, Moscow routinely flies Tu-95 bombers, armed with cruise missiles, to the edge of American, Canadian, British and Scandinavian borders. New missiles are deployed and tested, and treaties are ignored. The most recent transgression was just last month, when the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty was again violated by the Kremlin.

Source: GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: Red Storm Rising II

Then there is this, which pretty much got lost in the noise, of everything else going wrong:

The internet is a crucial piece of infrastructure, but most international connections rely on a surprisingly small number of submarine cables. And Russia, being the insecure frat bro of all nations, is making yet another bid for attention by threatening them without saying they’re threatening them.

According to the New York Times, Russia has spy ships and submarines dangerously close to crucial undersea cables, and may be working out a plan to cut those cables, slowing critical communication in the West.

Cutting a cable is the cyberwar equivalent of dropping a nuke. The last time cables were cut, by accident, it caused problems across the globe. Replacing a cable is not an easy task, as you may have guessed, so cable-cutting is basically the prelude to all-out war.

Thanks to economic problems at home, Russia’s government has been getting adventurous abroad to have successes to point to. The problem, of course, is those “successes” tend to be situations like what’s still unfolding in the Ukraine, blowing airliners out of the sky and then stonewalling criminal charges, buzzing the U.S. Navy trying to provoke a response, and somehowmaking the Syrian civil wareven worse, and considering the U.S. is bombing hospitals, that says something.

Source: Russia Is Threatening To Shut Down The Entire Internet

The source article suggests that it is war loser for Russia, they may be right, but so was going to war with Germany in 1914. Nobody I know of thinks the Russians are omniscient about much of anything. A bear in a china shop come to mind.

A note on those hospitals: They are run by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which supposedly has provided coordinates and such to coalition forces. but they refuse to identify their installations with the required (Geneva Convention) identifications: The Red Cross, The Red Crescent, and/or The Red Cristal. Seems to me it asking a lot to expect a pilot, likely doing evasive maneuvering, to remember that MSF logo is supposed to mean the same thing as the symbols he has known all his life, especially when reports say that MSF, has allowed organized and armed troops to congregate in their facilities, for whatever reason.

Germany: Migrants In, Germans Out – The Death of Property Rights

1263I haven’t confirmed this, but I also have little trouble in believing it. The rule of law run rather shallow lately, not least in Europe where the tradition is not deep anyway. But how many times have we seen it violated in its home(s) in the US and UK lately as well. So be aware, it looks like this is happening, at least to some observers. Can it here? Well I reckon they can (and likely will) try.

  • Hamburg city officials say that owners of vacant real estate have refused to make their property available to the city on a voluntary basis, and thus the city should be given the right to take it by force.
  • “The proposed confiscation of private land and buildings is a massive attack on the property rights of the citizens of Hamburg. It amounts to an expropriation by the state [and a] “law of intimidation.” — André Trepoll, Christian Democratic Union.
  • “If a property is confiscated… a lawsuit to determine the legality of the confiscation can only be resolved after the fact. But the accommodation would succeed in any event.” — Tübingen Mayor Boris Palmer.
  • Officials in North Rhine-Westphalia seized a private resort in the town of Olpe to provide housing for up to 400 migrants
  • “I find it impossible to understand how the city can treat me like this. I have struggled through life with grief and sorrow and now I get an eviction notice. It is a like a kick in the stomach.” — Bettina Halbey, 51-year-old nurse, after being notified that she must vacate her apartment so that migrants can move in.
  • The landlord is being paid 552 euros ($617) for each migrant he takes in. By cramming as many migrants into his property as possible, he stands to receive payments of more than 2 million euros a year from government.
  • “Considering that migrants cannot afford to rent new properties… moves must be initiated in which higher income households purchase or build more expensive accommodations for themselves in order to free up the less expensive housing for migrants.” — The Berlin Institute for Urban Development, the Housing Industry and Loan Associations
  • “I saw an unbelievable situation: the elderly volunteer lifted the table halfway, looked at the migrant and moved his head asking the migrant to lend a hand. The migrant paused for a moment and then just walked away.” — Firsthand account, refugee shelter.

German authorities are applying heavy-handed tactics to find housing for the hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees pouring into the country from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

With existing shelters filled to capacity, federal, state and local authorities are now using legally and morally dubious measures — including the expropriation of private property and the eviction of German citizens from their homes — to make room for the newcomers.

German taxpayers are also being obliged to make colossal economic sacrifices to accommodate the influx of migrants, many of whom have no prospect of ever finding a job in the country. Sustaining the 800,000 migrants and refugees who are expected to arrive in Germany in 2015 will cost taxpayers at least at least 11 billion euros ($12 billion) a year for years to come.

As the migration crisis intensifies, and Germans are waking up to the sheer scale of the economic, financial and social costs they will [be] expected to bear in the years ahead, anger is brewing.

In Hamburg, the second-largest city in Germany, municipal officials on September 23 introduced an audacious bill in the local parliament (Hamburgische Bürgerschaft) that would allow the city to seize vacant commercial real estate (office buildings and land) and use it to house migrants.

City officials argue the measure is necessary because more than 400 new migrants are arriving in Hamburg each day and all the existing refugee shelters are full. They say that owners of vacant real estate have refused to make their property available to the city on a voluntary basis, and thus the city should be given the right to take it by force.

The measure, which will be voted upon in the Hamburg parliament within the next two weeks, is being applauded by those on the left of the political spectrum. “We are doing everything we can to ensure that the refugees are not homeless during the coming winter,” Senator Till Steffen of the Green Party said. “For this reason, we need to use vacant commercial properties.”

Others argue that efforts by the state to seize private property is autocratic and reeks of Communism. “The proposed confiscation of private land and buildings is a massive attack on the property rights of the citizens of Hamburg,” said André Trepoll of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU). “It amounts to an expropriation by the state.” He said the proposed measure is a “law of intimidation” that amounts to a “political dam break with far-reaching implications.” He added: “The ends do not justify any and all means.”

Source: Germany: Migrants In, Germans Out – The Death of Property Rights |

The Swedish daycare experiment has been a social disaster

Robert MacLennan, then SDP leader, addressing ...

Robert MacLennan, then SDP leader, addressing the Liberal Assembly (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is fascinating. Sweden has imposed a system that nearly requires people to place their kids in daycare by age one, and it’s making for not very well educated kids, and horribly stressed out parents (especially mothers). I don’t find it overly surprising, that is the result I expect from leftist programs even, or maybe especially, the ones with good intentions. This is from The Conservative Woman, a very good British site, and is by Jonas Himmelstrand, it was first published by Mercatornet

Sweden is a pioneer in public, tax-subsidised, out-of-home daycare. In 1975, the Swedish government made public daycare available and affordable to all. Daycare expanded greatly during the 1980s and was made even cheaper in 2002 when a maximum fee (maxtaxa) was introduced. No matter how many children, no matter how many hours children spend in care, no matter how high your income – you never pay more than a fixed maximum amount, which is just below CAD $400. A low income family with one child would pay around CAD $150 per month.

Daycare in Sweden is tax-subsidised at a rate of between CAD $18,000 to CAD $23,000 per child annually. Parents who stay home, in most municipalities, receive no benefits of any kind. In high-tax Sweden this forces many homecare families into poverty.

The result, not surprisingly, is that daycare is the new norm in Sweden. Over 90 percent of all 18 month to 5-years-olds are in daycare.

How Swedish daycare got its start

In 1978, the women’s caucus of the ruling Social Democratic Party, a party that was in power for the better part of 40 years, published The Family of the Future: A Socialistic Family Policy.

The pamphlet strongly called for state-funded, affordable daycare. The goals were 1) better outcomes in child social development and academic achievement, 2) class equity, and 3) gender equity (or, as they put it, the liberation of women from their maternal instincts).

The results

Forty years later, official statistics show that the anticipated outcomes have not been realised. Poor outcomes are acknowledged across the political spectrum, but these are not connected to the daycare system in any way. Furthermore, there is surprisingly little interest in finding out why they exist at all. The following list shows what the outcomes are.

Rapidly declining psychological health in youth

Physical health among Swedish youth is among the best in the world, but the same cannot be said for psychological wellbeing. An official Swedish government investigation in 2006 showed that mental health among Swedish 15-year-olds declined faster from 1986 to 2002 than in eleven comparable European countries.

For girls, rates of poor mental health tripled during this period, from nine to 30 per cent. According to the latest report in 2014 from the Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten) the numbers have remained at these high levels.

The study is based on self-reported symptoms such as anxiety, fright and alarm – a point to which we will return later. The increase happened in all groups of youth regardless of family situation, labour market situation or parental socioeconomic status. These self-reported studies are confirmed by a comparable increase in diagnosed psychiatric illness among youth during the same period.

Suicide attempts among Swedish youth are also increasing.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden is careful about how to interpret these findings. They say they do not know the reasons, but possible causes could be a tougher labour market or cultural changes, like increased individualisation.

Increased sick leave among women

Sick leave for Swedish women is among the highest in Europe with half of all the women leaving work before age 65, due to psycho-social stress.

Source: The Swedish daycare experiment has been a social disaster

In a continuation, the next day the author speaks more about how Swedish parents have lost trust in themselves under this regime. Here’s a taste:

The Swedish government will go far to refute any causal claims regarding daycare and negative social data. This is understandable. If causality could be established it would be a near political disaster.

Typically, loyal government experts say that the poor psychological wellbeing is due to too many choices for young people today, that school results and behaviour are due to lack of demands on the students, and that Swedish parents have never been more interested in their children (which may actually be an indicator that they have lost their parenting instincts).

They go on: Women on sick-leave is caused by men not helping enough at home. The gender-segregated labour market simply shows that child care and parental leave need to be even more regulated. A top political issue in Sweden today is different ways to force the sharing of parental leave between parents, forcing them to take a third to a half each or lose their leave.

Source: Swedish parents have lost trust in themselves under the daycare assault

Before other countries copy Sweden’s public daycare system, they should be careful to consider what the results have been. They haven’t been all that good it seems, or even really acceptable, either for the children™ or even for the parents. Pretty much what I would call a ‘lose-lose’, except for the government, of course, which gains more control over everybody.

The Euro Crisis and the Return of Culture

eff6f2c4300ff7e790414467490de6b3_viewHere comes John O. Mcginnis telling us that Greek culture is not compatible with the European Union (EU). Frankly, I find it difficult to disagree with him. Europe is many things, and not a few of them are so different as to be nearly beyond comparison. In many ways, it strikes me as teaming a thoroughbred horse with an ox, neither performs to its potential, in fact it is often less effective than either alone. Here’s a bit of the article.

At least so far, however, The End of History has collided with history. Much of the Islamic world has not gotten the message. To be sure,  the fall of the Soviet Union has led to many ex-communist states with an admirable commitment to law and the kind of economics that gains long-term prosperity.   But there remains Russia, where democracy seems incapable of sustaining a loyal opposition, the state looms as leviathan, and the economy has large elements of a kleptocracy. Readers of Russian history should not be surprised. Richard Pipes has long argued that since the 15th century, Russian culture has been marked by disdain for rights of property and an enthusiasm for a patrimonial regime with little separation between state and economic and civic society.

But nothing better represents the failure of Fukuyama’s thesis than plight of Euro and the Greek crisis. The Euro was the monetary representation of history’s end in the birthplace of the West. Created by no single state, it was thought to advance markets by reducing commercial frictions in  the most cosmopolitan part of the world.  It was also part of a larger political project of deepening the union of European states.

The Euro Crisis and the Return of Culture.

True enough, I think, the cultural divides are pretty high between say Norway, Spain, and Greece aren’t they? It’s more than the weather, we’ve all been shaped by our history.

Writing in National Review, John Fund also has some thoughts.

Today’s referendum doesn’t have winners and losers,” claimed Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipris. That’s absurd. I can name one clear loser.

It should now be obvious to the Eurocrats in Brussels that their grand project of an increasingly centralized and integrated European super-state will be rejected every time that ordinary people are somehow given a chance to vote on it. If they represented a normal national government, the Eurocrats would resign in shame and embarrassment.

The Dutch, French, and Irish all voted against European super-state treaties, although the Irish were bribed into voting a second time and eking out a yes. The Danes, Swiss, and Norwegians all voted to not join the European Union. Now the Greek people, although many of them profess that they still want to be part of the EU, have effectively blown up any chance they can continue using the euro, the linchpin of the EU’s monetary policy.

Beware of Greeks Casting Blame

It strikes me that Europe just contains too many different ethos, ethics, and desires for one overall government to contain them, unless of course, it is so powerless to be meaningless. That is not what the EU looks like to me. It looks like an unelected élite that wants to institutionalize the worst of everyone into a government that will not satisfy anyone at all.

The Greek situation has no real solution, that will be acceptable to both the Greeks and the anybody else. That’s because Margaret Thatcher, diagnosed the problem long ago. Yes, it applies to all of Europe (and the United States as well).

The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money

EU Preps for War Against the Internet: Decides to Lose Again

AAEAAQAAAAAAAANYAAAAJGU4MmZmYjg2LTg5NjQtNDFiNS04MWRkLTcwZmMyNmY0M2RkMAWell, this is interesting, although not very surprising, really. Does anybody really think that Europe (especially Germany and France) can compete with the US on a level playing field? No, me neither. The UK, maybe, but nobody else has a chance, and if good sense ever breaks out in the ruling clique in Britain (or they lose the election) they’ll likely get with the program and with their friends and run away from Europe, again.

I say that because I’ve noticed something. If you look at European technical prowess, especially innovation, in anything from civil engineering to the internet, you’ll find the British leading, and everybody else following, while they whine about ‘the Anglo-Saxons’.

They’re right, as well. The American Interest noted today that the EU wants to regulate Google et. al., much more than they do.


EU Preps for War Against the Internet

EU Preps for War Against the Internet – The American Interest.

As an aside, I’m no huge fan of Google, I think they’re more than a bit intrusive, and I’m not overfond of their data mining and selling my information to all and sundry. But you know what, I use Google products because they work, I don’t have to. There are other providers, just as I no longer use Microsoft products. But it’s remarkable that a company that started in an American garage a few years ago has all Europe scared of them :)

Maybe I’m just old-fashioned but I hope they do. Why? because if they do, the US will simply increase our lead over the hidebound, over-regulated Europeans, while the best Europeans will again come to America where they can innovate much more freely than they can at home. (And make us still richer, and more innovative!)

Funny thing, isn’t it? We’ve built this powerhouse of a country (not that we don’t have plenty of problems, ourselves) on the freedom to try new things and see if you can make a living with them. We’ve done this since about 1650,nd we have built the most powerful economy in the world, and protect it with the most dominant military the world has ever seen with our pocket change. We’ve done this by letting people try and fail, and try and fail, and finally try and succeed.

It’s a hard model. It’s follows from that old saying about the Oregon Trail, “The weak never started and the sick died along the way,” But, you know, there was nearly always someone around to feed the hungry and nurse the sick, and the dead got a decent burial. And the ones that made it, built a world that their grandfathers couldn’t have imagined, where one of the consequences of being poor is being too fat, because you eat too much while playing video games.

I don’t condone such a lifestyle but I’m in awe at a system that can take a world that nearly starved for billions of years and in a few generations make that happen.

And that is what America has done, with some British help (and gold) and with the people who were stifled by Europe. It’s a logarithmic curve, if you haven’t noticed, constantly accelerating, if we keep going there is no way to know where we’ll be in twenty-five years, let alone a hundred.

Carroll Bryant once said:

Some people make things happen.

Some people watch things happen.

And then there are those who wonder, ‘What the hell just happened?”

I know where I want to be. How about you?

Why is localism important? | AECR

For us as Americans there is nothing new or novel about what is stated here. We are inclined to refer to it by its third name: Federalism. And as such it is one of the principles our founders used to help us maintain our freedom.

It’s interesting, I think, that one of the things the statist have done is to centralize power in Washington where they can mandate things and we (the people) have much less influence than their buddies in business, big labor, and yes, big law. That undoubtedly leads to corruption on a vast scale, here as it does in Europe.

So, while there is nothing new here, it does a very good job of stating the elementary reasons why local control of almost everything is such a good safeguard for the average citizen.

How subsidiarity inspires civic engagement – and thereby good democracy

Where Conservative governance is, in a word, subsidiarity; Socialist governance is centralisation. The AECR’s Reykjavik Declaration explains how subsidiarity “favours the exercise of power at the lowest practicable level – by the individual where possible, by local or national authorities in preference to supranational bodies.” […]

One only has to participate in a European election campaign to hear the number of pleas about “the pot holes down the lane”…

… and a true Conservative never patronises this! Here we find the Burkean heart of subsidiarity: the love and reverence of the local. It does not presume to impose principles from a centralised high tower. Socialism is so determined on redistribution between localities that it reductively quantifies them, not caring to truly look at them. When fairness is measured numerically, communities are soon reduced to numbers, before an alien hand from the centre reaches in and unintentionally desecrates.

Why is localism important? | AECR.

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