Free Markets, Free People

Monthly Archives: October 2011


Libya: Muslim law and secular dreams

If your hope for the latest version of “Arab Spring” to be found in Libya was a secular democratic state, you can quickly forget the secular part of the dream.

The leader of the transitional government declared to thousands of revelers in a sunlit square here on Sunday that Libya’s revolution had ended, setting the country on the path to elections, and he vowed that the new government would be based on Islamic tenets.

Indeed, what has immediately happened is the roll back of many of Gadhafi’s decrees that those who’ve now taken over contend violate Sharia law and Islam’s tenets:

Mr Abdul-Jalil went further, specifically lifting immediately, by decree, one law from Col. Gaddafi’s era that he said was in conflict with Sharia – that banning polygamy.

In a blow to those who hoped to see Libya’s economy integrate further into the western world, he announced that in future bank regulations would ban the charging of interest, in line with Sharia. "Interest creates disease and hatred among people," he said.

I’d love to tell you this comes as a complete surprise, but then I’d be acting like some politicians I know. 

I’m certainly not going to contend that keeping Gadhafi was the best thing we could do, but let’s be clear, what has happened darn sure doesn’t seem to be an outcome that we’d have hoped to see either.  At least as it now seems to be shaking out.

In that area of the world, secular dreams seem to me to be the most foolish.  How that particular dream manages to stay alive among the elite of the West is beyond me.  It isn’t now nor has it ever been a probable outcome of any of these so-called “Arab Spring” revolutions.  The revolutions are steeped in Islam because the governments being replaced were relatively secular for the area and the Islamic groups now rising were the ones being repressed.

How someone could believe that out of that situation, secular democracy would emerge still remains beyond me.  No democratic history, no real established democratic institutions and no real democratic experience by the people there.  Yet somehow we’ve determined that this bunch is superior to the last bunch.

Based on what I’ve always wondered?

Yet, we continue to hear the hope proclaimed in each upheaval even as reality seems to dismiss the hope at every turn.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Observations: The QandO Podcast for 23 Oct 11

In this podcast, Bruce Michael, and Dale discuss el-Awlaki Herman Cain and OWS.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

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Obama finally creates jobs. In Finland. With your money.

This is just the theater of the absurd masquerading as government:

With the approval of the Obama administration, an electric car company that received a $529 million federal government loan guarantee is assembling its first line of cars in Finland, saying it could not find a facility in the United States capable of doing the work.

Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department’s $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs. But two years after the loan was announced, the job of assembling the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car has been outsourced to Finland.

"There was no contract manufacturer in the U.S. that could actually produce our vehicle," the car company’s founder and namesake told ABC News. "They don’t exist here."

That’s just absurd.   Half a billion dollars of taxpayer guaranteed money to a company in Finland with no guarantee that the coal powered cars they’re building would be built here and create jobs here.

Nope, according to the company’s founder, “no contract manufacturer in the US could actually produce the vehicle”.

We’re finding out about that now?  They didn’t know that before they approved the loan guarantees?

Yet another example of government picking winners and losers with your money.  And, as usual, doing a dismal job.  They’d like you to think they do due diligence on these sorts of deals, but example after example point to utter incompetence, not to mention the fact that government shouldn’t be doing this in the first place.

Dumb and dumber at work with your tax dollars.

Don’t you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

Oh … and it will be the “Volkswagon” of electric cars made for the little people:

Fisker is more than a year behind rolling out its $97,000 luxury vehicle bankrolled in part with DOE money.

Amazing.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Climate Alarmists claim victory with an old and discredited data set on temperature

Kevin Drum is all excited.  Writing at Mother Jones he tells us:

But Muller’s congressional testimony last March didn’t go according to plan. He told them a preliminary analysis suggested that the three main climate models in use today—each of which uses a different estimating technique, and each of which has potential flaws—are all pretty accurate: Global temperatures have gone up considerably over the past century, and the increase has accelerated over the past few decades. Yesterday, BEST confirmed these results and others in its first set of published papers about land temperatures.

Oh boy … confirmation.  “I told you so” time.  Finally got those deniers pinned to the wall.

Yeah, not really. Anthony Watts cites a paragraph from the Economist and then explains why this isn’t anything new:

Economist: “There are three compilations of mean global temperatures, each one based on readings from thousands of thermometers, kept in weather stations and aboard ships, going back over 150 years. Two are American, provided by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), one is a collaboration between Britain’s Met Office and the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (known as Hadley CRU). And all suggest a similar pattern of warming: amounting to about 0.9°C over land in the past half century.”

The nearly identical trends is no surprise as they draw from mostly the same raw data!

Same old data (that’s been questioned quite often given the location of many of the temperature stations in parking lots, fudging of numbers, cherry picking, etc), “new” trend analysis, same results. 

Watts concludes:

The new Muller et al study, therefore,   has a very major unanswered question. I have asked it on Judy’s [Curry] weblog since she is a co-author of these studies [and Muller never replied to my request to answer this question].

“Hi Judy – I encourage you to document how much overlap there is in Muller’s analysis with the locations used by GISS, NCDC and CRU. In our paper

Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229.http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-321.pdf

we reported that

“The raw surface temperature data from which all of the different global surface temperature trend analyses are derived are essentially the same. The best estimate that has been reported is that 90–95% of the raw data in each of the analyses is the same (P. Jones, personal communication, 2003).”

Unless, Muller pulls from a significantly different set of raw data, it is no surprise that his trends are the same.

More deception cloaked as “new” science from the alarmist crowd.

What a surprise indeed.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


OWS and NY neighborhood not getting along at all

Yes the rabble that calls itself Occupy Wall Street has those that live in the neighborhood of Zuccotti Park less than receptive to them or whatever their still undefined message is:

"They are defecating on our doorsteps," fumed Catherine Hughes, a member of Community Board 1 and a stay at home mom who has the misfortune of living one block from the chaos. "A lot of people are very frustrated. A lot of people are concerned about the safety of our kids."

See, the rabble demand “rights” but they apparently can’t find it in themselves to respect the rights of others, such as property.

Or the ability to walk down a street without being harassed:

Fed up homeowners said that they’ve been subjected to insults and harassment as they trek to their jobs each morning. "The protesters taunt people who are on their way to work," said James Fernandez, 51, whose apartment overlooks the park.

Or something as simple as keeping the noise in the neighborhood down:

"It’s mostly a noise issue," he said. If people can’t sleep and children can’t sleep because the protesters are banging drums then that’s a problem."

[…]

One elderly woman told a protester to stop screaming and was met with an even higher volume. "Get some earplugs!" retorted David Spano. "This is the street. I can say whatever I want! I can’t calm down, I’ve been struggling for 30 years!"

Nothing more ignorant than a man who claims his “rights” preclude any responsibility to anyone else.  Most understand that as both selfish and clueless.  Respect the rights of others?  Hey, this is a “revolution”, he’s been struggling for 30 years and that gives him better  “rights”.

At a standing room only Community Board meeting, members of the community voiced their anger, frustration and indignation to board members who essentially agreed.  They want something done.

Now comes the fun part for Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  These people complaining are voters.   They’re the people who put him in office.   They want action.

Stay tuned.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Economic statistics for 20 Oct 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

Initial jobless claims dropped 6k from last week to 403k, but that was still 3k higher than analysts expected.

The Bloomberg index of consumer comfort fell to -48.4 from last week’s -50.8.

Existing home sales fell -3.0% to a 4.91 million annual rate in September, mainly due to a 3.6% drop in the key single-family component.

The Philadelphia Fed reports that the Mid-Atlantic manufacturing sector is stabilizing and improving as the general business conditions index rose to 8.7 from -9.8.

Most of the leading economic indicators point to sluggish growth ahead, but loose monetary policy boosted the overall index by 0.2%.

~
Dale Franks
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Gaddafi dead

Well apparently the Libyan revolution has bagged its bad guy:

Al Jazeera has acquired exclusive footage of the body of Muammar Gaddafi after he was killed in his hometown, Sirte.

Abdul Hakim Belhaj, an NTC military chief, said Gaddafi had died of his wounds after being captured near Sirte on Thursday.

The body of the former Libyan leader was taken to a location which is being kept secret for security reasons, an NTC official said.

"Gaddafi’s body is with our unit in a car and we are taking the body to a secret place for security reasons," Mohamed Abdel Kafi, an NTC official in the city of Misrata, told Reuters.

Earlier, Abdel Majid, another NTC official, said the toppled leader had been wounded in both legs.

A photograph taken on a mobile phone appeared to show Gaddafi heavily bloodied, but it was not possible to confirm the authenticity of the picture.

The news came shortly after the NTC captured Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown, after weeks of fighting.

"Thank God they have caught this person. In one hour, Sirte was liberated," a fighter in the town said.

Now comes the hard part – keeping the “revolution” out of the “Islamic extremist” ditch.

Cue the Muslim Brotherhood …

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Joe Biden: Scaring the little people in flyover land

In another version of the “pushing granny over the cliff” scare which typified the resistance mounted by Democrats to Social Security reform, VP Joe Biden is out there trying to scare the people about crime in order to spend more on shoring up the Democratic base (more political cronyism) to be found in teacher’s and public servant’s unions:

“Murder will continue to rise, rape will continue to rise, all crimes will continue to rise,” if the Democrats agenda isn’t passed, he added.

Because, you know, there’s a direct correlation between murder, rape and the number of cops on the beat.

Except both murder and rape stats have been in a downward trend since 2006.  In 2006 the murder rate per 100,000 was 5.7, rape 30.9.

In 2010 the rate for murder was 4.8 and rape 27.5.  In the two intervening years, those numbers continued to fall.  And we all know we’ve been in the recession for at least 3 years and there have been cutbacks in police during that time.

So, unsurprisingly Biden is wrong and is pushing a myth (they’ll “continue rising”) when in fact, the stats show a steady drop for the past 4 years.

But he’s shameless in his fact free attack:

Then in the same speech he wished Republicans were themselves rape victims.  “I wish they had some notion of what it was like to be on the other side of a gun, or [to have] a 200-pound man standing over you, telling you to submit.”

Amazing.  Vice President of the US and trying to pull this political hackery complete with the usual scare tactics off.  Of course, look at his boss.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Harry Reid: Crony jobs bill to shore up the political base

If you’ve ever wanted a good argument against seniority as a good way to pick leaders, Harry Reid is your poster boy.  The Nevada Democratic Senator and House Majority leader manages to make himself look stupid on any number of occasions during a legislative year.  His latest:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday indicated Congress needs to worry about government jobs more than private-sector jobs, and that this is why Senate Democrats are pushing a bill aimed at shoring up teachers and first-responders.

“It’s very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine; it’s the public-sector jobs where we’ve lost huge numbers, and that’s what this legislation is all about,” Reid said on the Senate floor.

Really?  That’s the sector “government” needs to worry about more because “private-sector jobs have been doing just fine?”   Where in the world, other than the Senate cloak room, has this man been?

What this is, and anyone who can’t figure this out doesn’t deserve to be in a political discussion, is just another version of cronyism.   Teachers unions and government unions are where you find the Democrat base. This is throwing taxpayer money to that base in order to shore it up for the upcoming election.  Nothing more.

He has access to your tax dollars and spending them in this way benefits his party.  Screw the country, he has an election to win.  Of course he’s also the Senate leader who hasn’t offered a budget in over 900 days.  That’s dereliction of duty.

Reid reiterated his emphasis on creating government jobs by saying Democrats are looking to “put hundreds of thousands of people back to work teaching children, have more police patrolling our streets, firefighters fighting our fires, doing the rescue work that they do so well … that’s our priority.” He said Republicans are calling the bill a “failure” because they are “using a different benchmark for success than we are.”

Yeah, they’re using the private sector where jobs generate revenue for taxes to pay for all the nonsense Reid spouts. 

Government workers are not producers in the sense of the production we need to get the economy going.   But they are voters.   This is an attempt to keep them in the Democratic corral long enough to get Democrats re-elected.  Then Harry probably won’t care very much again.

Remember, when Obama was calling for his jobs bill to be given priority, Harry Reid was on the Senate floor expounding on the virtue of  … bike paths (and, naturally, calling for government to pay for them).

Ever get the idea that we’re all now serfs on a huge plantation paying for the whims of our “leaders”.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


The Stupid! It hurts!

Earlier today, New York Times columnist Nick Kristoff opined on Twitter about cuts in government services. It’s not every day that you see such stupidity displayed so confidently…except from the Left:

Imagine John Boehner home in OH, seeing an escaped tiger–and getting a msg that help is unavailable due to govt cutbacks.

Well, I don’t know about John Boehner. But I do know that if I received such a message, it’d be because I was trying to call up a government flunky to haul a tiger carcass away. And if I did get such a message, my very next call would be to a good taxidermist.

It’s an interesting glimpse into the worldview though. The unspoken assumption is that, without government tiger hunters, we’re all doomed to be mauled by wild beasts. Presumably, this is because we are all tiny, little children, utterly incapable of solving our problems without the intervention of our benevolent government overlords. It’s a worldview that operates on the assumption that the government is the only adult in the room.

Note especially the all-or-nothing mindset: Either we pay for massive government services, or we’re completely unprotected. There are no other conceivable options in Mr. Kristoff’s worldview. It’s as if the very concepts of self-help or mutual aid are inconceivable to him.

And I don’t get the feeling that Mr. Kristoff regards this as a bad thing. It’s just the way it is. We have to keep ponying up money to the government to provide services, or society will collapse. Apparently, we’re just too stupid to be trusted to take care of ourselves.

It’s always interesting how the same people who are so keen on "democracy" tend to believe that the electorate is too stupid to care for themselves, but wise enough to vote on policies that directly affect their lives. 

One of those things cannot be true.

Of course, spending much of his time in Manhattan, perhaps Mr. Kristoff is merely speaking from personal experience. After, they have created a city in which it is practically impossible for a law-abiding citizen to defend himself, so calling NYPD is about the only option when trouble arises. And I’m sure NYPD responds as quickly as they can, though, sadly, it probably won’t be before your wife gets a good raping. I’m certain they’ll investigate the hell out of it, though. After the fact.

You see, once you cede the power to defend yourself to others, you’re always a potential victim. This, however, is something about which Mr. Kristoff seems blissfully unaware.

What a sad, artificially constrained view of life.

~
Dale Franks
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