wombat_socho: Wombat (Boss Coffee)
Could there possibly be a more lethal combination in economics than Koreans and Judaism? It's the second coming of the Fugu Plan, and this time they're not going to screw it up.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Default)
American Thinker: The Story of the Egyptian Revolution:
One week ago, Egypt was a stable authoritarian regime, prospects of change were minimal and every expert in Washington would have betted on the endurance of its regime. Today, Egypt is in a state of chaos. The regime, even after using its mightiest sword is not able to control the country and the streets of Egypt are in a state of utter lawlessness. As the world stands in awe, confusion, and worry at the unfolding events, perhaps it is important to write the evolving story that is happening in Egypt before any reflections can be made on them.

RTWT. Interesting that in some ways Egypt resembles the PRC more than it does the United States or Israel, but I suppose that's a natural development of socialist government where the military and the secret police ARE the party instead of the three factions being in an unsteady equipoise as they usually are in Communist regimes.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Politics)
Naomi Klein can't tell the difference between unconstitutional government action and entirely legal action by a corporation. What a complete retard. And she presumes to lecture conservatives on...well, pretty much anything?

(Via Computerworld, an excellent article about how the Egyptian protesters are managing to find ways around the government shutdown of the Internet and mobile phone networks.)

Being the pessimist I am, I can't help seeing a rerun of 1979's revolution in Iran here, with Mubarak playing the role of Shah - except the Shah was more realistic about his chances once the Army turned on him. It's not entirely clear whether the Egyptian Army has done that yet, and I hope it's not the case, because then this really will be a repeat of the Iranian Revolution. Those of us who are old enough remember how well that went under Carter 1.0. I don't expect the sequel under Carter 2.0 to be handled any better; the military isn't the hollowed-out shell it was in the 1970s, but most of it is tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan at the moment.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Politics)
Mexico: The Flailed State:
The Mexico-is-a-failed-state meme is cropping up again in the U.S. media. It does get attention, which is why the media types go with it. Mexico could be a failed state, but it is a long, long way from being in that condition. It is, however, a stressed state finally confronting many destructive long-term social and economic problems, and corrupt political arrangements.

Well, the general media ignorance of things military and/or foreign is a given, but still...considering that this latest version of the Mexican Civil War is (as usual) spilling across our southern border, you'd think they'd do a better job of reporting the facts, even if they don't get the analysis right.

To me, this looks a lot like a rerun of the drug wars in Colombia, which are reaching their endgame as the cartels have left the country or been smashed, and the Communist insurgencies have turned into just another bunch of narcotraficantes. The only thing propping up FARC and the other drug gangs at this point is Hugo Chavez, who is not very cleverly using them to fight a proxy war against Colombia as a means of making the U.S. look bad. (He'd better be careful about that; two can play at that game, Colombia's economy is in a lot better shape than Venezuela's, and there are a LOT of Venezuelans who would like to get rid of Chavez and his followers by any means necessary.) Mexico is in the early stages of their Cartel Wars, but given how hard-working and courageous the average Mexican is, I wouldn't put odds on them losing the fight, especially if America has their back. And we really have no choice but to have their back on this, do we?

Hm. Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea...Colombia, Iraq, Afghanistan (soon, very soon) and sometime in the next decade or two, Mexico. Maybe we're not as shitty at this nation-building thing as some people think.
wombat_socho: Wombat (ASA)
Good summary of all the various wars, insurrections, revolts, and just downright murderous crap going on around the world, as well as various places which aren't actively at war yet but are pretty damn close. A lot of these places, you probably haven't heard of and wouldn't want to visit for a million bucks.
(Ace of Spades)
wombat_socho: Wombat (Politics)
Patriotic Hispanics Missed a Golden Opportunity During the Dream Act Debate | The Americano:
The whole reason the Dream Act is necessary is because over the last four or so decades American politicians have not earned their tax-payer funded salaries when it comes to border enforcement. Now, our nation is starting to deal with the sticky and often heart-wrenching consequences of their dereliction of duty. Does anyone believe for one moment that a nation of laws can ignore those laws for so long without consequence? So we’re now seeing the problems that we conservatives warned would come as a result. And here come the liberals with “Band-Aid” laws to treat the symptoms, all the while ignoring the disease. The Dream Act is one such law.

RTWT. This guy, as Mickey Kaus says, gets it. I'm in favor of fixing the immigration situation, but passing one amnesty after another isn't going to do it. What I really want to see is something like the Canadian system, which is biased toward high-skilled English-speakers, but until we purge some more of these race-baiting assholes from the body politic I don't see that happening.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Comfort Eagle)
Wikileaks cables reveal China 'ready to abandon North Korea' | World news | The Guardian:
China has signalled its readiness to accept Korean reunification and is privately distancing itself from the North Korean regime, according to leaked US embassy cables that reveal senior Beijing figures regard their official ally as a "spoiled child".

Seeing the Norks disappear as a nation would be the best thing that could happen this year in the foreign policy field. Well, having the Iranian nuke facilities go up in an enormous radioactive cloud of smoke, yeah, but getting the psychopathic Dear Leader and his equally batshit kid away from the controls in Pyongyang would be a Cool Thing.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Default)
An interesting collection of posts about what Afghanistan (and the world) might look like in forty years, Worth reading.
wombat_socho: Wombat (die now)
I probably should have posted this yesterday, the 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on Nagasaki, but better late than never.
The annual whining in the press about the use of atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki leaves me cold, but then, unlike most of the journalists and commentators, I actually know something about the war against Japan. I know that it didn't start with the attack on Pearl Harbor - by the time the Arizona went down on December 7, the The Rape Of Nanking was almost four years in the past. The truth of the matter is that for eight years before Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the soldiers and sailors of the Japanese Empire had cut a barbaric swath of rape and pillage across Asia from Manchuria to Imphal in India, butchering prisoners of war and civilians alike. They had fought suicidally from New Guinea to Okinawa, burned Manila to the ground with 100,000 civilians trapped in it, and given no indication that they would ever surrender.

Which meant that after the fall of Okinawa, the United States was looking at the very real possibility of having to invade Japan in the same way they had invaded Guadalcanal, Leyte, Okinawa, and a dozen other islands all across the Pacific. From the most recent invasions, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, we knew that the Japanese would be dug in deep, determined to resist to the last man, and anxious to kill or wound every American that they possibly could. American casualties would be horrific, estimated to be in the millions for the first phase, Operation Olympic, alone. From the experience of Okinawa, we could anticipate that the Japanese - military and civilians, although the Japanese plans drew no distinction between the two- would suffer over 90% casualties.

And people wonder why Truman dropped the bomb? What would history say of him had he not done so? As for me, I have no sympathy for the Japanese on this account. They had it coming. There has not, to this date, been a official, written apologies to the Chinese or Philippine nations for what happened at Nanking or Manila; even after those apologies are delivered (if they ever are), I hold that apologizing for the atomic bombing of Japan is unnecessary and stupid.

Unless, of course, you actually think we should have had millions of Americans killed or wounded in the process of exterminating 90% of the Japanese nation. I refuse to speculate whether this is the case with the current Administration.
wombat_socho: Wombat (selector)
Helmand: Anatomy of a Disaster - By Stephen Grey | The AfPak Channel:
The forgotten conclusion from their early defeats in the Afghan wars drawn by a few wise minds in the British Empire administration was that, in a complex cultural environment like Afghanistan, about which they had to admit they knew very little, sometimes "masterful inactivity" was a better option than gallantly intervening and making things worse.

Good article on the problems the UK forces faced at home and in Helmand province. RTWT.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Boss Coffee)
No, seriously. Dung gets used for fuel and fertilizer in a lot of places that we like to call the Third World, but there are more effective ways to use it than just drying it out and throwing it in the fire. It's pretty amazing how much processing all that dung into gas can change the lives of people for the better. RTWT.
wombat_socho: Wombat (the mark)

(Reason's Hit & Run)

Kind of related: Cheerios Reign of Terror Must Be Stopped! Seriously, wtf is wrong with these people?
wombat_socho: Wombat (Catholic)
Oh sure, he had some help from Venice, the Papal States, his father Charles V (King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor) and a bunch of English Catholics who risked the wrath of Queen Elizabeth to fight the Turks. There was also, as Victor Davis Hanson says, a scientific and cultural advantage working in favor of the numerically inferior Papal League. Michael Novak has a good article here at NRO with appropriate props to the Blessed Mother as Our Lady of Victory.

I still think the best description of the battle came from G.K. Chesteron, though, who wrote this epic poem about the battle.
Cut to spare my f-list )
To quote Baron Bodissey, "We are in a new phase of a very old war."


Oct. 3rd, 2009 10:31 am
wombat_socho: Wombat (hardcore)
Up way too late and had way too many Diet Cokes last night at the pre-reunion get-together in Greenbelt, but it was good times. Lots of folks I hadn't seen in 30+ years, lots of people from the class of '79 who remembered me for one reason or another, lots of good conversation and some interesting pix which will probably be posted o FB since LJ's picture galleries blow chunks.

All that Diet Coke made for painful burning leg wounds and not nearly enough sleep. I figure I got a little less than four hours before getting up, throwing on random clothes & damp socks, and rolling out to score a McBreakfast before doing the Foreign Service Officer Test, formerly known as the Foreign Service Exam. I signed an NDA so i can't really talk about it, but I'm fairly confident that I whipped that sucker and whipped it good. Here's hoping the folks in Foggy Bottom agree and hire my unemployed (but very very learned & experienced) ass for satisfying amounts of good old $$$,

Anyway, the test having been polished off in 90 minutes and a celebratory munch at Shilla consumed, I'm going back to bed and get a nap in before I do the laundry thing, after which I will do the picnic thing, and then I'll probably come home and collapse.
wombat_socho: Wombat (Default)
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

The Americans who risked everything.
"En la OEA ya no existe espacio para los estados que aman su libertad."
("There is no room in the OAS for freedom-loving countries.") (Fausta)
Viva Honduras! Arriba Honduras!
wombat_socho: Wombat (FGSFDS)
Amy Chua got a lot of attention for her controversial World on Fire, which posited that the push to impose liberal democracy on other nations (a favorite project of the Democrats until W got hold of it) would inevitably prove counterproductive, doubles down with Day of Empire, whose thesis is that historically, hyperpowers thrive and grow when they practice tolerance, only to wither when they don't.
Cut for possible spoilers )
wombat_socho: Wombat (Get the message)
ranting about Honduras )
wombat_socho: Wombat (Get the message)
Shit is getting real in Iran, as goons would say. People are clearly tired of the regime's bullshit, are demanding an explanation, and apparently things have gotten to the point where even the Revolutionary Guards can't be relied on. Which is why Khamenei and company are using street thugs and Palestinian rentboys.

I have the gut feeling that this isn't going to end well for a lot of people, because it's already gotten a lot of people killed who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Mob is standing up and getting ready to shake their chains off, and when they do a lot of people are going to get their asses whipped.
wombat_socho: Wombat (SSuiseiseki)
Megan McArdle agrees: lack of sleep makes you stupid.
This is in the context of an argument over whether it's smarter to let interns get more sleep, as opposed to the current training regimen which has them getting screwed out of sleep as badly as MASH surgeons during a big push. It's times like this that I wish I knew when Sue Page-Phillips disappeared to; as the only doctor I knew personally, she'd have some insights on this that nobody in my current tribe of friends has. Oh well.

Hermes is breeding its own crocodiles, because the natural supply can't keep up with demand. I wonder whether there is now a subsidiary market in Aussie croc meat. (Marginal Revolution)

Jules Crittenden reminds us that today is the Army's 234th birthday; also, a link roundup on the mess in Iran.
wombat_socho: Wombat (FGSFDS)
...The shit seems to be hitting the fan really hard. People are drawing comparisons to Tienanmen; personally, I'm hoping the Iranians find their Ataturk and chuck Ahmedinijad and his mullahs in the atomic dustbin of history instead.


wombat_socho: Wombat (Default)

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