A Trip To The Museum – Transterrestrial Musings

Finally, during the war, one of the hallmarks of the Nazi regime was to control the flow of information to the German citizenry. I hadn’t realized that they actually built specialized radios whose sensitivity was so weak that they could only pick up German government signals, but generally not overseas views (such as the BBC). They viewed clandestine listeners to foreign broadcasts as traitors to the state, undermining the war effort. I’m certainly glad we live in a nation where such attitudes would be odious, to both Congress and the President.

All in all, it was a relief to leave the museum, and walk back across the mall toward the White House, secure in the knowledge that such things could never occur here.

Reading about the propaganda and the treatment of illicit listeners always reminds me of Pauli.

Pauli was a German technician that I worked with in Germany back in the 1980s. His father had had a radio capable of picking up the BBC. About 2 weeks before the end of the war the Gestapo and SS showed up at their door and hanged his father from the lamppost outside. Pauli had to watch.

It must have troubled him far more than anyone knew. He had been a telephone technician for the American Army since the early 1950’s. We put in an electronic switch in the early 1980s. The next day he went around saying goodbye to all his neighbors. (A bad sign) Then he went home and hanged himself.

He was another casualty of the Nazi Socialists. He just didn’t die until almost 40 years after their fall.


Television: Dave Kopel & Glenn Reynolds on Uprising on NRO Weekend

The heroes of Uprising knew this instinctively. From the very beginning of the first episode, they are the ones who warn of the danger, and urge Jews to acquire weapons and fight, while the politicians and “wiser” heads preach prudence and collaboration. And throughout the series, guns, and the acquisition of guns, are portrayed in a positive light, as a means of self-defense and a sign of self-respect.

It reminds me of Winston Churchill’s famous exhortation.

Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.e>

But I Thought It Was Bush’s Fault?

Citizen Soldiers – TIME

Schwarzenegger and California are once again doing what the rest of the country shoulda coulda done but didn’t. After Hurricane Katrina, the secret was out that government alone would never be able to manage big disasters. First responders like firefighters and police make up less than 1% of the population. They cannot be everywhere–or even most places. So the vast majority of rescues are done by regular people.

If the response to Katrina was Bush’s fault, then how could having citizens respond help? Weren’t we told that it was FEMAs job to help us, the government’s job to send buses to carry us out, and the National Guard’s place to provide food and shelter for us?

But when the Big One shakes down California, people will be on their own–in the preindustrial sense–for three to five days: no electricity, gas, running water or phone service. Everyone will be a volunteer, which will be a euphemism for survivor.

Three to five days for help to arrive? Isn’t that what happened after Katrina? If that was due to incompetance then they’re telling us is that they plan to be just as inefficient as Bush?

All I Can Say Is…Wow! Just Wow!

Climate change, is democracy enough?

All this suggests that the savvy Chinese rulers may be first out of the blocks to assuage greenhouse emissions and they will succeed by delivering orders. They will recognise that the alternative is famine and social disorder

Let us contrast this with the indecisiveness of the democracies which together produce approximately the other half of the world’s greenhouse emissions. It is perhaps reasonable to ask the reader a question. Taking into account the performance of the democracies in the reduction of emissions over the past decade, do you feel that the democracies are able and willing to reduce their emissions by 60-80 per cent this century or perhaps more importantly by approximately 10 per cent each decade?

If you say “yes” then you fly in the face of a track record of persistent failure in a wide range of environmental management leading to depletion of natural resources and fresh water, biodiversity and ecological service loss, loss of productive land and depletion of essential food sources such as ocean fish. In Australia, a surfeit of democracy carries much responsibility for the demise of the Murray Darling River, where debate has replaced action.

Such an analysis of democracy is conducted in the book The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy, co authored by myself and Joseph Wayne Smith, in a series from the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy. The fundamental reasons why democracy is shackled in its present form relate to its fusion with the needs of corporate enterprise but also important is the human denial to recognise its limitations and the inhibition to criticise democracy and implement reform.

Liberal democracy is sweet and addictive and indeed in the most extreme case, the USA, unbridled individual liberty overwhelms many of the collective needs of the citizens. The subject is almost sacrosanct and those who indulge in criticism are labeled as Marxists, socialists, fundamentalists and worse. These labels are used because alternatives to democracy cannot be perceived! Support for Western democracy is messianic as proselytised by a President leading a flawed democracy

There must be open minds to look critically at liberal democracy. Reform must involve the adoption of structures to act quickly regardless of some perceived liberties. It is not that liberal democracy cannot react once it sees a threat, for example, the speedy response to a recent international financial emergency. If governments can recognise a financial emergency and in an instant move heaven and earth (and billions of dollars, pounds sterling and euros) to contain it, why are they unable to do the same in response to a global environmental emergency? Quite simply our system is seen to live and breathe by the present economic system; the problem is that living and breathing within the confines of the world ecological systems is contrary to the activity of progress and development as defined within liberal democracy.

The Chinese decision on shopping bags is authoritarian and contrasts with the voluntary non-effective solutions put forward in most Western democracies. We are going to have to look how authoritarian decisions based on consensus science can be implemented to contain greenhouse emissions. It is not that we do not tolerate such decisions in the very heart of our society, in wide range of enterprises from corporate empires to emergency and intensive care units. If we do not act urgently we may find we have chosen total liberty rather than life.

Of course, all they are saying is what every other Glowball Warming crusader has been saying, without the fluff and pretty feathers.

At the heart, this is what environmentalism is all about.

This author is part of an environmental organization in Austrailia called Doctors for the Environment, which means we should believe them, because they’re Doctors, you know. They have white coats like scientists on TV but can be trusted.


G.I. Tells of Ordering Execution of Unarmed Iraqi – New York Times

Sergeant Vela is accused of murder, impeding a military investigation and planting evidence to cover up an unjust shooting. An earlier charge of premeditated murder was dropped.

Sergeant Vela is the third soldier to be charged in the death of the Iraqi, Genei Nesir Khudair al-Janabi, last May. Sergeant Hensley and another soldier, Specialist Jorge G. Sandoval Jr., were acquitted of murder charges last year, but were convicted of planting evidence. As part of his sentence, Sergeant Hensley wad demoted from staff sergeant.

All three soldiers were elite snipers with the 501st Infantry Regiment, Fourth Brigade (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska.

There is still no word regarding the capture and trial by insurgents of members who have used women, children and mentally defective people as suicide bombs against civiliams.

Evidently America and the West are the only ones that are civilized enough to put their own people on trial for illegal acts in wartime.

But we’re the barbarians?

Generals To NATO; Get Your Head Out Of Your Ass.

Rather blunt.

To prevail, the generals call for an overhaul of Nato decision-taking methods, a new “directorate” of US, European and Nato leaders to respond rapidly to crises, and an end to EU “obstruction” of and rivalry with Nato. Among the most radical changes demanded are:· A shift from consensus decision-taking in Nato bodies to majority voting, meaning faster action through an end to national vetoes.

· The abolition of national caveats in Nato operations of the kind that plague the Afghan campaign.

· No role in decision-taking on Nato operations for alliance members who are not taking part in the operations.

· The use of force without UN security council authorisation when “immediate action is needed to protect large numbers of human beings”.

In the wake of the latest row over military performance in Afghanistan, touched off when the US defence secretary, Robert Gates, said some allies could not conduct counter-insurgency, the five senior figures at the heart of the western military establishment also declare that Nato’s future is on the line in Helmand province.

“Nato’s credibility is at stake in Afghanistan,” said Van den Breemen.

“Nato is at a juncture and runs the risk of failure,” according to the blueprint.

Dear Third World Farmer… |

Dear Third World Farmer… |

Thank you for trying to offer us high quality, low cost agricultural products. However I am sorry but we would prefer it if you remain dependent on tax funded handouts from First World governments and their anointed NGOs. And speaking of NGOs, if you People of Colour start getting involved in horrid global trade, what will happen to the people who work for NGOs? We need NGOs so that our children can go work for them in that pesky gap year, helping you poor ignorant dark people with your Third Worldie Problems, and thereby allowing our kiddies to develop self-esteem and feel good about themselves.Also we prefer to see you living in photogenic eco-friendly low carbon footprint mud huts, so please stop trying to pull yourself out of poverty via icky capitalist global trade in the one area you should have a comparative advantage. I say ‘should’ because actually we prefer to buy our food from tax subsidised local farmers, for the good of the planet, you understand.

Peace and love,

Janet Guardianista

Because it’s better to feel good about yourself than to actually help people.

Well Said, Flash Harry. We’ll Miss You

The last testament of Flashman’s creator: How Britain has destroyed itself

It’s the present generation with their permissive society, their anything-goes philosophy, and their generally laid-back, inyerface attitude I feel sorry for.

They regard themselves as a completely liberated society when in fact they are less free than any generation since the Middle Ages.

Indeed, there may never have been such an enslaved generation, in thrall to hang-ups, taboos, restrictions and oppressions unknown to their ancestors (to say nothing of being neck-deep in debt, thanks to a moneylender’s economy).

We were freer by far 50 years ago – yes, even with conscription, censorship, direction of labour, rationing, and shortages of everything that nowadays is regarded as essential to enjoyment.

We still had liberty beyond modern understanding because we had other freedoms, the really important ones, that are denied to the youth of today.

We could say what we liked; they can’t. We were not subject to the aggressive pressure of specialinterest minority groups; they are. We had no worries about race or sexual orientation; they have. We could, and did, differ from fashionable opinion with impunity, and would have laughed PC to scorn, had our society been weak and stupid enough to let it exist.

We had available to us an education system, public and private, that was the envy of the world. We had little reason to fear being mugged or raped (killed in war, maybe, but that was an acceptable hazard).

Our children could play in street and country in safety. We had few problems with bullies because society knew how to deal with bullying and was not afraid to punish it in ways that would send today’s progressives into hysterics.

We did not know the stifling tyranny of a liberal establishment, determined to impose its views, and beginning to resemble George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth.

Above all, we knew who we were and we lived in the knowledge that certain values and standards held true, and that our country, with all its faults and need for reforms, was sound at heart.

Not any more. I find it difficult to identify a time when the country was as badly governed as it has been in the past 50 years.