Better every day

Derb, the lone Republican pessimist at NRO, posts:

On O’Reilly last night, Bill discussed the current state of play in Iraq with Zell Miller and Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney (US Air Force, Ret.) The following exchange took place:

—Bill: Insurgent attacks on a daily basis have almost doubled from 2004 to 2005. What does that say?

—The General: It says that the terrorists, the insurgents, are fighting even harder because they know they are losing.

So I guess if the insurgents are killing twice as many people again this time next year, we’ll know we really have them on the ropes!

Ye gods.

The frightening thing about this administration is that it is actually beginning to make Bill Clinton’s look like a shining example of veracity. As pessimistic as I was about the Bush crew – I met a few of the Houston inner circle during his father’s 1988 campaign – I had no idea it would be this bad.

Or that so many Republicans would cheerfully swallow their nonsense.

No buyers left

Mogambo points out a potentially significant synchronicity:

Samex Capital has observed that mutual fund cash levels have again reached historic lows. According to the Investment Company Institute, mutual funds decreased the amount of cash on hand to very low levels. How low? Well, cash is 2% LESS than what they are required to hold! They have sunk more than every available dime into the market!

Now, I am sure that there are lots and lots of very good reasons why this could be so. After all, they are hotshot investment type guys pulling down the big money because they are so smart and handsome and bathe regularly, and I am just a guy sorting through the neighbor’s trash as my tentative entry into the lucrative “identity theft” racket. But the stock market has been flat, despite all of this buying, and so that means that somebody was taking money OUT of the market at the same time as all this money was flowing INTO the market. Hmmm I smell a big, fat, stinking conspiracy here! Only this time it does NOT involve brain-sucking lizards from outer space or the CIA.

Samex writes, “This is only the third time in history that mutual fund cash-to-assets ratios have been this low. December 1972 marked the high point for more than a decade, and was followed by a 50% loss. March 2000 has marked the high point for more than five years to date and was followed by a 50% loss.”

I suppose a few people will rightly point out that I completely jumped the gun on the likelihood of the stock market’s imminent decline two years ago. I’ve noticed that this is a continuing pattern among bears and wave theorists, which I suspect is due to overthinking things.

Mogambo, who is not a big-time waver, nevertheless outlined the basic Elliott principle rather nicely in this piece when he pointed out that the usual wave 2 correction to wave 1 move was a .618 percent retracement, so the corrective rally to the S&P 500’s 777-point bear move from 1552.87 on 03/24/00 to 775.80 on 10/09/02 would be expected to top out around 1256. It’s taken an amazingly long time to get there, but two weeks ago, on August 3rd, the SPX hit 1245.86.

Is it possible that the wave theory could be correct in spite of its advocates’ innacurate predictions? Have they simply been unable to apply it correctly? It’s impossible to say. But a number of signs do appear to be pointing in a distinctly negative direction.

Lies in London

Yes, Virginia, the police do kill people and then lie about it to cover their posteriors:

The crucial mistake that ultimately led to his death was made at 9.30am when Jean Charles left his flat in Scotia Road, South London. Surveillance officers wrongly believed he could have been Hussain Osman, one of the prime suspects, or another terrorist suspect.

By 10am that morning, elite firearms officers were provided with what they describe as “positive identification” and shot De Menezes eight times in the head and upper body.

The documents and photographs confirm that Jean Charles was not carrying any bags, and was wearing a denim jacket, not a bulky winter coat, as had previously been claimed.

He was behaving normally, and did not vault the barriers, even stopping to pick up a free newspaper.

It appears that the only true thing the police said was that the late Mr. De Menezes was running… only he wasn’t running from them, he was running because he was late for his train. No bulky coat, no jumping a turnstile, just another straight-up murder by police followed by a coverup.

When will you people learn? From the CPI to killings-by-cop, the official version put out by the government authorities is DEPENDABLY inaccurate. It is always far safer to assume they are lying and think about why, how and where than to assume that for once, just this time, they are honestly providing the full and complete truth to the public.

UPDATE: “But campaigners said there should now be a full public inquiry to clear up whether CCTV footage had captured his final moments on film, or why cameras were not working as media reports have suggested.”

Interesting, that last bit. If the various authorities are to be taken at their word, there would appear to be a veritable plague of equipment failure and disappearance surrounding these terrorism-related activities. For we’ve been told that in addition to every camera on both the De Menezes train and the 7/7 bus failing, none of the six black boxes from flights 11, 175 or 77 were ever found.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Apparently both of the flight 77 black boxes were found, but FBI director Robert Mueller declared that they contained “nothing useful” and no information was publicly released. Nothing to see here, move along….

Too close for chickenhawk comfort

Jonah Goldberg defends himself:

Anybody who’s been on the receiving end of the “chickenhawk” epithet knows what I’m getting at. Various definitions of chickenhawk are out there, but the gist – as if you didn’t know – is “coward” or “unpatriotic hypocrite.” The accusation is less an argument than an insult.

It’s also a form of bullying. The intent is to say, “You have no right to support the war since you haven’t served or signed up.” It’s a way to get supporters of the war in Iraq, the war on terror, or the president simply to shut up.

As does his fellow supporter of the struggle against violent extremism:

The “chickenhawk” argument is dishonest. It is dishonest because the principle of republicanism is based on freedom of choice about behavior (as long as that behavior is legal) as well as freedom of speech about political issues. We constantly vote on activities with which we may or may not be intimately involved. We vote on police policy, though few of us are policemen; we vote on welfare policy, though few of us either work in the welfare bureaucracy or have been on welfare; we vote on tax policy, even if some of us don’t pay taxes. The list goes on and on. Representative democracy necessarily means that millions of us vote on issues with which we have had little practical experience. The “chickenhawk” argument — which states that if you haven’t served in the military, you can’t have an opinion on foreign policy — explicitly rejects basic principles of representative democracy.

Neither Goldberg’s point nor Shapiro’s is particularly salient, and Shapiro’s borders on disingenuousness. Both men are attempting to steer clear of the appellation’s personal implications and dilute it by responding to its general nature.

The chickenhawk argument is unfair when it is applied ex post facto. One of an age to have fought in the Korean War might well have refused to volunteer for service because it was a UN war, not a US war, for example, and later come to the conclusion that the Iraqi invasion was worth supporting because of the threat posed by WMDs talked up by the administration.

However, the chickenhawk label applies perfectly to a young man who publicly asserts that war and empire is of supreme importance and the nation’s solumn duty, while assiduously avoiding any such service himself. Ben Shapiro may not like the label, but he is a chickenhawk of the very worst degree, one who sits on the sidelines and urges other men to go and risk their lives in his stead.

Calling someone like Shapiro a chickenhawk isn’t an insult, it is a simple and justifiable demand to see him walk the talk.