Republicans to cave on the debt ceiling

Rep. Ron Paul expects the usual kabuki:

Al Hunt: Do you think Congress will pass an Extension.

Ron Paul: I do. This will go up until the last minute, then they will raise the debt ceiling.

Al Hunt: Your speaker John Boehner says he will absolutely insist on a dollar of spending reduction for every dollar the debt ceiling goes up. Do you take that seriously?

Ron Paul: I don’t take that seriously. President Reagan wanted two dollars of cuts. The deficit exploded. Do you think the American people will believe that we are going to cut in the future? The only budget that counts is this year. 10-year programs are pie-in-the-sky talking. This year our obligations are five trillion dollars.

Al Hunt: The idea of a spending cap that takes place in ten years does not appeal to you?

Ron Paul: A 10-year spending cap is too little, too late. No one is going to believe it. All governments when they get this far into debt, default. They don’t default by not paying the bills. We will always pay the bills. The default comes from the devaluation of the currency.

The outcome is predictable enough. Republicans will talk a brave game, come up with some ludicrous “mechanism” that will allow them to pretend that they actually accomplished something, then business will proceed as usual. There is simply no way that the political class in the USA is going to directly address, let alone actually attempt fixing, the severe financial and economic problems facing the nation.

Voting for Republicans or Tea Partiers isn’t going to accomplish anything. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it if it makes you feel better, just don’t expect anything substantive to come of it. At least the Romans got some music out of it. What do Americans get as their nation burns? Weiner tweets.

Corrupt like a senator

Public Enemy had it right. Congress is shamelessly crooked. This also explains why they behaved in such a shamelessly slavish manner towards Wall Street when their supposed masters, the American public, were vehemently against TARP and the bank bailouts:

An extensive study released Wednesday in the journal Business and Politics found that the investments of members of the House of Representatives outperformed those of the average investor by 55 basis points per month, or 6 percent annually, suggesting that lawmakers are taking advantage of inside information to fatten their stock portfolios.

“We find strong evidence that members of the House have some type of non-public information which they use for personal gain,” according to four academics who authored the study, “Abnormal Returns From the Common Stock Investments of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.”

To the frustration of open-government advocates, lawmakers and their staff members largely have immunity from laws barring trading on insider knowledge that have sent many a private corporate chieftain to prison.

It’s that last sentence that shows America is not only dead, but well into a state of rigor mortis. Congressman are not only breaking the law, they have openly declared themselves to be above the law as well. And they are getting away with it.

Send Congress home

Why, exactly, are we bothering to elect Senators and Representatives in the first place now that they have handed hand over control of the money supply to a private bank and war powers to an unholy combination of the executive branch, NATO, and the United Nations? Not only is this not democracy, it’s not even representative democracy, much less in accordance with the Constitution.

In an effort to satisfy those arguing he needs to seek congressional authorization to continue US military activity in accordance with the War Powers Resolution, President Obama wrote a letter to congressional leaders this afternoon suggesting that the role is now so “limited” he does not need to seek congressional approval.

“Since April 4,” the president wrote, “U.S. participation has consisted of: (1) non-kinetic support to the NATO-led operation, including intelligence, logistical support, and search and rescue assistance; (2) aircraft that have assisted in the suppression and destruction of air defenses in support of the no-fly zone; and (3) since April 23, precision strikes by unmanned aerial vehicles against a limited set of clearly defined targets in support of the NATO-led coalition’s efforts.”

A senior administration official told ABC News that the letter is intended to describe “a narrow US effort that is intermittent and principally an effort to support to support the ongoing NATO-led and UN-authorized civilian support mission and no fly zone.”

“The US role is one of support,” the official said, “and the kinetic pieces of that are intermittent.”

From the beginning of the U.S. military intervention in Libya, the Obama administration has cited the 1973 War Powers Act as the legal basis of its ability to conduct military activities for 60 days without first seeking a declaration of war from Congress. The military intervention started on March 19; Congress was notified on March 21. Those 60 days expire today.

One merely wonders how a military target being clearly defined or in support of a coalition effort makes bombing it any less an act of war.

The downfall accelerates

It’s really impossible to pretend that Americans don’t deserve to have their country overrun with barbarians. France has banned the burqah, Switzerland has banned minarets… and 11 U.S. states are providing affirmative action to illegal immigrants:

This week, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed a bill to require the state’s public universities to give undocumented aliens — generally illegal — in-state tuition privileges. The bill, known as the Dream Act, is already the law in ten other states, including California, New York, Texas and Illinois. But critics argue that the bill will give illegal aliens better treatment than Americans and legal immigrants — thanks to existing diversity policies at universities.

When one reads history, one often finds oneself astonished at the apparent inability of various political and military leaders to foresee the obvious consequences of their actions. When I was reading Mahan’s reasonably detailed summary of the long struggle for naval supremacy between Britain and France, it was remarkable to read about France’s stubborn unwillingness to change its naval doctrine despite its consistent ineffectiveness in wars spanning hundreds of years and at least three different forms of government. So, I have no doubt that the historians of the future will marvel in disbelief at the epic, self-destructive short-sightedness of the American political class and the bovine placidity of an American public that meekly accepts their inept governance.

What is worse than federal "help"?

“Help” from the United Nations:

Five thousand dead, 300,000 ill, and a medical emergency that has already lasted six months; now the people of Haiti have someone to blame for the cholera outbreak which has swept through their earthquake-ravaged country: the blue-helmeted peacekeepers of the United Nations.

An official report into the ongoing epidemic, which began last October, has concluded that it was almost certainly caused by a poorly constructed sanitation system installed at a rural camp used by several hundred UN troops from Nepal.

The virulent strain of cholera bacteria began infecting locals after faecal matter from their base seeped from badly designed septic pits into the Meye River, a tributary of the Artibonite River in the country’s central region.

The United Nations is far worse than the joke many people believe it to be. If it ever obtains the genuine global power it seeks, the 5,000 Haitians it killed in the last six months will look like the smallest of rounding errors.

The inevitable return of racism

It is becoming increasingly obvious that there was a legitimate reason underlying the imperialist European’s concept of the White Man’s Burden. Those who harbor a distaste for observable reality can shriek “racism” all they like, but no amount of moral self-preening or politically correct histrionics is going to change the fact that certain groups have repeatedly and reliably demonstrated a complete inability to maintain the societal infrastructure that is required to sustain Western-style civilization. There is no need to delve into potential biological or cultural explanations to simply observe what is not only historically and empirically obvious, but increasingly undeniable.

According to a new report, 47 percent of Detroiters are ”functionally illiterate.” The alarming new statistics were released by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund on Wednesday. WWJ Newsradio 950 spoke with the Fund’s Director, Karen Tyler-Ruiz, who explained exactly what this means.

“Not able to fill out basic forms, for getting a job — those types of basic everyday (things). Reading a prescription; what’s on the bottle, how many you should take… just your basic everyday tasks,” she said. “I don’t really know how they get by, but they do. Are they getting by well? Well, that’s another question,” Tyler-Ruiz said.

Now, perhaps those who believe in racial, cultural, national, and ethnic equality will find this piece of evidence unconvincing too. Perhaps 47 percent isn’t high enough to concern them, or perhaps they’ll put it down to some mysterious cultural change that happens to coincide with the transformation of the racial demographics of Detroit. Or perhaps they will suspect semantic games behind ill-defined terms such as “functionally illiterate”. Such excuses may smack of willful obtuseness, but are not entirely unreasonable.

So, here’s the question. Precisely how bad will things have to get before you abandon your belief in racial, cultural, national, religious, and ethnic equality? 100 percent illiteracy? 80 percent illegitimacy? Cannibalism and necrophilia in the streets? Or will it take the complete abandonment of a once-thriving metropolis before you are willing to admit that there actually might be some real science behind the idea that all human beings are not, in fact, equal in any material manner and that civilization depends upon recognizing those material inequalities and taking them into account?

It’s easy to avoid having a serious discussion on such matters by simply throwing rhetorical bombs. “Do you seriously believe blacks shouldn’t be permitted to vote, you horrible racist?” “Do you seriously believe the citizen children of hard-working, law-abiding undocumented Mexicans should be forcibly deported to a country they have never even seen, you cruel and hateful person?” Gasps and feigned horror all round. But such rhetorical devices are nothing more than cheap appeals to emotion and won’t delay the collapse of Western civilization by so much as a single day. So, here is my question in return. “Do you believe [population] should be permitted [action] if that permission demonstrably bears a high probability of leading to societal collapse?” That is the pertinent question that must precede any rational discussion of the subject.

We don’t permit children to vote. Are they not people? We don’t permit foreigners to vote. Are they, too, not people? We don’t even permit ex-criminals to vote even though they are both adults and citizens. And they’re also people, however much we might like to pretend otherwise. So, it’s clearly not a question of democratic limits being intrinsically illegitimate, but rather what is deemed to be in the interest of the nation.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I would much rather live in a safe, prosperous, and free society where I am not permitted to vote and am not even a fully equal member of society than in a third-world hellhole where I can vote every single day on whether clay or dirt will be distributed for dinner by the elected government. There is far more to human liberty than voting.

The end of the equalitarian era is rapidly approaching due to the same sort of intrinsic contradictions that sank Soviet economic communism. And like it or not, this almost surely means a return to the historical norm of open racism on all sides. As the Christian influence on the law subsides, there simply is no more basis for the idea that all men are created equal.

Decline is a choice

VDH skillfully elucidates the historically obvious:

Does “decline” mean inevitable collapse, like an aging person whose mind and body have become enfeebled? That was certainly the view of the ancients, who felt civilizations had finite life-spans (see Jacqueline de Romilly’s The Rise and Fall of States According to Greek Authors.) Do environmental catastrophes, resource depletion, or foreign armies end societies? They can, as the complex pyramidal societies from the Minoans and Mycenaeans to the Mayans and Aztecs learned.

All that said, decline is far more often a choice, not a preordained destiny. There was no reason that Athens at 338 B.C. needed to lose to Philip at Chaironeia or even that the loss there meant the end of Greek freedom. Macedonian forces were a fraction of the size of a far larger Persian force that had swept from the north into a far weaker Athens in 480 B.C. No law said that drama of the quality of the Orestia, Oedipus, Ajax, Bacchae, and Medea had to give way to the sitcoms of Middle and New comedy of the fourth century B.C. By September 1945, England had far more of its industrial base intact than had Germany or Japan, and had suffered far fewer losses, both material and human, since 1939 than either of the defeated Axis powers whose entire national ideologies had been rendered bankrupt and their people reduced to global pariahs. Why, then, did a country that produced the sort of four-engine bombers en masse that its wartime adversaries could not, or a Spitfire fighter better than any produced by Japan or Germany until the advent of the jet, end up decades later with unsold Jaguars while Mercedes and Lexus swept world markets? And why did a bombed out Frankfurt and Tokyo (200,000 incinerated in March 1945 alone) rather quickly out-produce a less damaged Liverpool (e.g., 4,000 killed in the blitz) or Manchester? Clearly the UKchose a path in 1945-9 that a once flattened Germany and Japan did not.

If Rome was supposedly “doomed” by the 5th century A.D., why did the Eastern Empire last another 1,000 years? Why was 1978 America a very different place than either 1955 or 1985 or 1996?

What the deeply knowledgeable VDH fails to acknowledge is that America does not face a choice because America has already collectively made it. Decline is no longer merely an option, it is a strong probability.

VDH notes two of the most significant factors, but fails to note that they are done deals. The explosion of wealth he cites was largely fraudulent, being based on a massive expansion of debt on the part of the Greatest Generation, the Baby Boomers, and to a lesser extent Generation X that robbed from the following generations. The inevitable debt-deleveraging, combined with the tens of millions of largely useless immigrants, now all but guarantees decline. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee fall, however, only a retreat from a historically exceptional nation to an unexceptional one where the citizenry is helplessly subject to the whimsical rule of an aristocratic class. That this aristocracy is one of credentials and connections rather than blood and birth does not change its intrinsic lack of regard for the will of its subjects.