Men Shut Their Doors Against A Setting Sun

Every president has his issues and by that I mean the things he likes to work on as a matter of policy. Johnson was a natural at domestic policy wrangling. Nixon had a great mind for foreign affairs. Clinton loved interns. Bush the Younger became a war president and surrounded himself with people good at prosecuting wars. The defect in the American system is that we are stuck with our president until he dies, leaves office or is voted out in the next election, which rarely happens. So, if our guy is not very interested in foreign affairs, like is the case with Obama, you have to hope nothing big happens in the world while he is in office. Otherwise, it can get ugly.

The Europeans seem to have figured this out finally. I’m surprised it has taken so long, but old habits die hard. Most of our post-WW2 presidents have had experienced people to rely on for this stuff and all of them have been willing to work with the Europeans. Some of them too much, but that’s hardly a vice. You can disagree with the policy, but even our week presidents have not followed weird policy goals. Obama is the exception. He has a weak team and he seems to hold the Europeans in contempt.

I think Europe has finally thrown in the towel and is ready to walk away from the US, at least when it comes to Ukraine.

MUNICH (Reuters) – The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France agreed to meet in Belarus on Wednesday to try to broker a peace deal for Ukraine amid escalating violence there and signs of cracks in the transatlantic consensus on confronting Vladimir Putin.

The four leaders held a call on Sunday, two days after Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande traveled to Moscow for talks with Putin that produced no breakthrough in the nearly year-long conflict that has claimed over 5,000 lives.

After the call, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko said progress had been made and that he was hopeful the meeting in Minsk would lead to a “swift and unconditional ceasefire” in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have stepped up a military offensive in recent weeks, seizing new territory.

But Putin warned in a newspaper interview that Kiev must stop its military operation in east Ukraine and stop exerting economic pressure on rebel-held regions.

“Kiev’s attempts to exert economic pressure on Donbas (region of east Ukraine) and disrupt its daily life only aggravates the situation. This is a dead-end track, fraught with a big catastrophe,” Putin told Egyptian state newspaper Al-Ahram, according to an English transcript provided by the Kremlin.

A Ukraine military spokesman said on Sunday that intense fighting was continuing around the rail junction town of Debaltseve, with rebel fighters making repeated attempts to storm lines defended by government troops.

At a high-level security conference in Munich over the weekend, Merkel said it was uncertain whether further negotiations would lead to a deal with Putin but argued that all opportunities for a diplomatic solution should be pursued.

She came under sharp criticism from U.S. Senators Lyndsey Graham and John McCain, both Republican hawks, for opposing the sending of defensive weapons to the Ukraine army to help it fight the separatists.

“The Ukrainians are being slaughtered and we’re sending them blankets and meals,” McCain said in Munich. “Blankets don’t do well against Russian tanks.”

If you’re Merkel, Hollande and Putin, you have to be thinking you’re on your own at this point.Obama let the State Department run wild in Ukraine, helping create this mess. Victoria Nuland should have been publicly sacked so as to show the World Obama is not going to tolerate that sort of bungling. Instead this woman stays on, like a big”FU” to the Europeans. Further, Obama keeps sending John Kerry to Europe, despite the fact everyone thinks he is a ridiculous person.

The bellicose ramblings of the warmongers in the GOP must be very concerning. A weak president surrounded by boobs can be bulldozed by a John McCain channeling Cato the Elder. Americans are largely clueless about the politics in the provinces, the rest of the world watches American politics closely. They have to worry that weak, lame duck president could be bullied into doing something stupid. Eliminating that possibility means even a bad deal is a good deal.

The trouble with the Europeans turning their back on Obama is it means turning their back on America, if they can make a deal with Putin. Putin surely knows this so now he has a reason to make a deal over Ukraine. There’s the looming Greek problem that could also complicate things. When Cyprus is talking with Russia about military bases, it’s reasonable to assume the Greeks would jump at such a deal. The rest of Europe has to think they would be better off letting the Russian have Ukraine back so they can focus on their other issues to the south.

I don’t think Putin is the evil genius many on the Right think. It’s just that he is matched against a nitwit. In comparison to Obama, Putin looks like Goldfinger.

Ask a Mall Cop

I read National Review On-Line every day for the same reason I read the NYTimes or the WaPo. It’s not that I share the outlook, it’s that I like to know what they are planning to do to me. Plus, there’s some entertainment value. This is a good example. The piece itself is the same swill they slop the warmongering hogs with on every other foreign policy issue. The war party has worn out their welcome with me. That’s not the important bit. What I find hilarious is the author of the piece.

National Review works closely with Fox News and Sky News. You see the same people turning up on all three places. The Weekly Standard also shares resources with these three, but not as much as National Review. Tom Rogan is the new toy on Fox and NRO prattling on about foreign policy issues. Fox loves using guys with British accents to play the role of foreign policy expert. Roger Ailes must be a James Bond fan. Unfamiliar with Rogan, I looked him up and found his LinkedIn profile:

Contributor
The American Spectator
January 2014 – Present (1 year 2 months)

Contributor
Guardian News & Media
January 2012 – Present (3 years 2 months)http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/tom-roganhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/tom-rogan

Media Contributor
Various
January 2012 – Present (3 years 2 months)London, United KingdomProviding commentary to various media outlets – including Al Jazeera America, BBC News, BBC World News, Sky News, Radio. http://www.tomroganthinks.com/2013/11/selected-writings-on-middle-east-and.html

Contributor
The Week
December 2012 – December 2013 (1 year 1 month)http://theweek.com/editor/articles/tom-roganhttp://theweek.com/editor/articles/tom-rogan

Player Escort Deputy Manager – Wimbledon Championships
G4S Security Services
June 2005 – July 2012 (7 years 2 months)Part time-

In 2005, 2006 and 2007 I worked as a Player Escort attached to the primary escort team. In 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 I was the Deputy Manager of the Player Escort Division and Lead Escort Officer for Centre Court and Court 1.

Student Ambassador
Aspire South East London
October 2006 – December 2008 (2 years 3 months)Working part-time as a college student mentor to inner city students from years 11 – 13. Guidance on University, Career prospects, Assisting on Projects.

Intern/Advisor
Humfrey Malins MP CBE
February 2005 – May 2005 (4 months)UNPAID – Producing speech writing, campaign material, research, constituent demands, scheduling, press in the Office of Humfrey Malins MP*.

Intern
2004 US Presidential Campaign
July 2004 – October 2004 (4 months)UNPAID – Intern – US Presidential Campaign (July – October 2004)

The red part is what caught my attention. I was expecting, given his age, to see a bunch of college stuff. For paid work, I expected a stint at some ministry or possibly the UN. In other words I figured he was a hack in some foreign policy shop who decided to try his hand at TV. Maybe he married someone in the TV business or something, but he had something on his resume to qualify him to call foreign policy his specialty. Instead, he was essentially a mall cop.

This is why a guy like Brian Williams goes so long telling whoppers. In world where everyone is pretending to be something they are not, a world where low IQ blockheads with the right look are paraded on TV as experts, why not tell whoppers? It’s just a big show anyway. As long as a guy like Rogan does not start talking about how Blofeld is behind the Ukraine crisis, why not let the mall cop be the foreign policy guy?

 

The Race to Hell

The Swedes are not the only occidentals trying to erase themselves from the map. The Brits are doing a good job of it too.

At least 1,000 Muslim protesters gathered outside the gates of Downing Street to protest against the depictions of the Prophet Mohammed in Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine.

The protestors, many of whom were divided into groups of men and women, gathered just yards from the Cenotaph which remembers Britain’s war dead, and blocked half of Whitehall as they demonstated.

It comes weeks after two terrorists attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo, the Paris-based satirical magazine which had published images of the Prophet Muhammad, killing 12 staff and wounding 11 others.

The protest was organised by the Muslim Action Forum, which said that the Charlie Hebdo cartoons had helped “sow the seeds of hatred” and had damaged community relations.

One young child, who appeared to be under the age of 10, stood next to a placard displaying the message: “Charlie and the abuse factory”.

A series of Muslim leaders addressed the crowd from a platform outside the Ministry of Defence, with the message “Be careful with Muhammad”

The meeting was organised by the Muslim Action Forum, which was handing out leaflets about the demonstration on Whitehall.

The leaflet said: “The recent re-publishing of the cartoons, caricatures and depictions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by Charlie Hebdo magazine and other publishers is a stark reminder that freedom of speech if regularly utilised to insult personalities that others consider sacred.

“Such actions are deliberating insulting and provoking to Muslims worldwide as British citizens, we believe that these publications will continue to ‘sow the seeds of hatred’ and damage community relations.

“In an already fragile world we need to move from actions of incitement, hatred and provocation to civility, consideration and respect.”

After all, everyone knows that Muslims lack anything resembling self-restraint. The slightest provocation like a cartoon or discouraging word will send them into a violent, murderous rage. That’s why western countries should invite as many of them into their lands as possible!

Profiting From Poverty

I’m fond of pointing out that a lot of people make money off poor people in the ghetto. You know you’re in the ghetto as soon as you see a check cashing joint or liquor stores with malt liquor signs. In every city, there’s a grocery chain doing business in the hood. They have big signs about the various forms of food programs they accept. The lottery, of course, is about ripping off the poor, but its for the children so it’s OK.

Whenever I mention this the libertarians tell me that the poor need stuff too and besides, they don’t have to buy cheap beer and snacks with their EBT cards. They have choices. Maybe so, but it takes a soulless person to think this is a proper way to make money.

Middle-class white people simply cannot fathom the impact prison has in the black ghetto. For the typical white person, prison is something you see on TV. It’s where bad men are sent to be raped. In the ghetto, prison is like college. The boy hits a certain age and he goes off to prison. Everyone has a relative in the can. In some parts of the ghetto, 80% of males are either ex-cons or in the system. That means waiting for trial or on probation.

I don’t want you to think I’ve gone soft. The people in prison are there because they belong there. The nonsense about our jails being full of potheads is exactly that, nonsense. Almost all of the drug offenders are there because they pleaded down a more serious charge. There are a lot of very bad men in the ghetto,  but nothing like our prisons.

Still, the warping of civil society in this way is troubling. In California, the prison guard unions lobby for more and more laws and longer sentences. The reason is it is good for business. More laws means more criminals. That means more prisons and more prison jobs. You can be sure the people behind this new scheme will be all in favor of more jails and more people in them. Prison is their business now.

The Great Hoax

I am an empirically minded guy who thinks math is the only important and necessary field of study. In my free time I like to work math puzzles and learn machine languages. That’s not to say all the other stuff is unimportant or useless, but I put it into the leisure activity category. Western society took off with Calculus, not the Canterbury Tales.

That said, a healthy skepticism with science is warranted. Science, in the abstract is pure, but we don’t live in the abstract; we live in the real. In the real world science is financed by men and practiced by men. That means all the stupidity, vice and bias that is a part of the human animal will find its way into the lab. There’s no greater example of that phenomenon than the global warming hoax.

When future generations look back on the global-warming scare of the past 30 years, nothing will shock them more than the extent to which the official temperature records – on which the entire panic ultimately rested – were systematically “adjusted” to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified.

Two weeks ago, under the headline “How we are being tricked by flawed data on global warming”, I wrote about Paul Homewood, who, on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog, had checked the published temperature graphs for three weather stations in Paraguay against the temperatures that had originally been recorded. In each instance, the actual trend of 60 years of data had been dramatically reversed, so that a cooling trend was changed to one that showed a marked warming.

This was only the latest of many examples of a practice long recognised by expert observers around the world – one that raises an ever larger question mark over the entire official surface-temperature record.

Following my last article, Homewood checked a swathe of other South American weather stations around the original three. In each case he found the same suspicious one-way “adjustments”. First these were made by the US government’s Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN). They were then amplified by two of the main official surface records, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (Giss) and the National Climate Data Center (NCDC), which use the warming trends to estimate temperatures across the vast regions of the Earth where no measurements are taken. Yet these are the very records on which scientists and politicians rely for their belief in “global warming”.

A basic rule of science is that data, data collection methods and data normalization methods are always exposed to scrutiny. Heck, it’s true in hedge funds and big data shops. No one takes anyone’s word for it. It has to be right so the data, collection methods and adjustments are checked, rechecked and monitored by multiple people. It’s simply prudent.

In climate science, the opposite is often true. Michael Mann, for example, refuses to expose his raw data to public scrutiny. The “adjustments” are rarely explained and often hidden. The models these guys rely upon are black boxes where even the inputs are not entirely clear.

One of the first examples of these “adjustments” was exposed in 2007 by the statistician Steve McIntyre, when he discovered a paper published in 1987 by James Hansen, the scientist (later turned fanatical climate activist) who for many years ran Giss. Hansen’s original graph showed temperatures in the Arctic as having been much higher around 1940 than at any time since. But as Homewood reveals in his blog post, “Temperature adjustments transform Arctic history”, Giss has turned this upside down. Arctic temperatures from that time have been lowered so much that that they are now dwarfed by those of the past 20 years.

Homewood’s interest in the Arctic is partly because the “vanishing” of its polar ice (and the polar bears) has become such a poster-child for those trying to persuade us that we are threatened by runaway warming. But he chose that particular stretch of the Arctic because it is where ice is affected by warmer water brought in by cyclical shifts in a major Atlantic current – this last peaked at just the time 75 years ago when Arctic ice retreated even further than it has done recently. The ice-melt is not caused by rising global temperatures at all.

The other old rule of science and of life, is that if you have nothing to hide you have no reason to hide. These guys keep trying to trick the public for a reason and the only plausible reasons are not good. Worse yet, they diminish the people’s trust in science, giving space for lunatics like the anti-vaccine nuts make their claims.

 

More Greek Trouble

Politics is about choosing between available options. In stable social democracies like America, the choices are not all that important most of time. The parties haggle over trivial issues in order pretend there are real differences, but it is all theater. When the choices have real consequences, there’s always one option that offers the least risk to the ruling class. Politicians always seek the path of least resistance so the choice is easy. That’s why I don’t write about politics often. It’s boring. Not Canadian boring, but pretty close.

There are times when it is not boring and that’s when the choices are hard and the consequences are not clear. The Greek showdown with the EU is one of those times. The options available to both sides are all unpleasant and the consequences are mostly unknown. The new Greek government has three choices. One is they follow through on their campaign promises and refuse to accept the terms of the bailout. That could lead to a breech with the rest of Europe and a disorganized exit from the EU. How that plays out is unknown.

Basically, they have to comply with EU demands in order to keep getting loans at artificially low interest rates, along with a certain amount of debt forgiveness. Additionally, their banks get support from the ECB as long as Greece is in compliance. Take that away and Greece faces the open market for borrowing and those conditions are much tougher than the ones from the EU. Most important, Greek banks run out of cash and close down. Greece, at least for a while, becomes a barter society. How long is unknown.

The other option is they buckle and accept the terms offered by Europe. That would eliminate their credibility as a party and probably lead to wide-scale riots in Athens, maybe even a revolution. The people, after all, voted them in on the promise they would end austerity. If they don’t deliver something, their support will evaporate and who knows how that unfolds. The same mobs celebrating a month ago could very well be rioting a month from now. Golden Dawn, whose polices are almost identical to Syriza, by the way, is standing their ready for their shot. That’s an important bit here.

Then there’s some sort of compromise that let’s the Greek government save face, but also let’s the EU pretend they held the line. The on-going negotiations are aimed at finding that magical solution, but so far no one has found one that works for all concerned. They have about two weeks to find one before events begin to get away from the politicians. Debt has to be rolled over, banks have to be re-capitalized and the bank run has to be stemmed.

For the Greeks, those are all bad options with unknowable consequences. The Europeans have similar problems. The ECB holds about 85% of Greek debt. The one option available to all debtors is default. Having that much debt suddenly go bad would not sink the ECB, but it would create serious problems for the bank. It would trigger all sorts of political problems as the EU taxpayers are ultimately on the hook for that bad debt. Private banks hold the rest of the debt so that offers up the possibility of further  impairment to the EU financial system.

That means there’s a limit to how far the EU can push the Greeks. Assuming they choose not to go that route, the other option is to accept some amount of debt forgiveness. This would be fairly easy, but they have to maintain the austerity rules and the Greeks refuse to accept those conditions. For the EU to back off opens the flood gates for the rest of the periphery to make the same demands. You can be sure that the Clown Party in Italy is watching this closely, for example.

Of course, there’s the unknown unknowns. I pointed out on NRO the other day that the belligerents in the Civil War could not imagine the consequences of war. The First World War is another example. In both case, the belligerents could not accept the available options so they kept moving forward, waiting for the other side to blink. Brussels is not going to send tanks into Athens, but that does not mean there’s not something similarly awful lurking around the corner.

Andrew Stuttaford points out another wrinkle that could lead all of them over the cliff. The Greek voters getting froggy could very well lead the rest of Europe to follow the same route. The German and French voters my look at the Greeks and wonder why they should not be making similar demands. The whole point of the European project was to obliterate nationalism. If all of a sudden Germans start thinking about Germany, instead of Europe, keeping the project going loses its rationale. A union of countries that puts their own interests first is not much of a union.

My sense here is that the way to bet is on Syriza. The reason is the way radicals view crisis. It is the one thing they are good at, going back to the French Revolution. In a crisis, they look to pair their preferred option with one that is monstrous for the other side. They want the other side to think they have  choice between going along with the radicals or facing a bloody mess. It’s how Hitler rose to power and it is how Syriza is trying to bully the Germans.

They keep bringing up the Nazis, not to shame or embarrass the Germans. That’s not the point. They are letting the Germans know that the choice here before them is to deal with Syriza or eventually deal with Golden Dawn. Tsipras is betting that the German elites are tormented by the idea of a photo-op with Golden Dawn leaders sporting black outfits. Given the political culture of modern Germany, Tsipras is probably right. Merkel would rather face her angry voters than be seen on the cover of Der Spiegel next to a Greek Nazi.

 

Självmord

Biologists have been puzzling over extinction events since the dawn of science. Trying to figure out why some species went away is a natural curiosity for those who enjoy solving puzzles. It’s why old western towns remain tourist attractions or why people visit ancient ruins. Stand in the Valley of the Kings and you can’t help but wonder how it all happened. Why were these people here? Why did they do what they did? Why did it all fall apart?

The social sciences gloss over this by asserting that the people in the age of decline did not really think they were in decline. I’ve never accepted that argument. I think they knew, just as we know now. We can look at this story and see it for what it is – cultural suicide.

One of Swedens financial newspapers recently uncovered a secret group of bureaucrats who go under the name “Mottagande” (Reception). They are preparing Sweden for 400,000 asylum seekers of which 130,000 children over the next 5 years. The new Swedes will stem mainly from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. The government hopes they will bolster the economy.

There are at least 4 non-elected bureaucrats who are running the group and preparing Sweden for its new population.

1. Max Elger, works for Minister of Finance, Magdalena Andersson

2. Lars Westbratt, works for Minister of Justice, Morgan “only 1%” Johansson

3. Erik Nilsson, works for former communist and current Minister of Employment, Ylva Johansson

4. Annelie Roswall Ljungren, works for former illegal immigrant and current Minister of Public Administration, Ardalan Shekarabi

Reactions to the news were primarily negative and notorious anti-establishment tweeter @SinglaSlant was quick to act and criticized the individuals for choosing to live far away from the multicultural Sweden they are working full time to create.

Sweden is a country with roughly 9.5 million people. According to their government, 1.5 million are foreign born. Adding another half million breeding age foreigners not only raises the foreign population to 20% of the whole, it puts the nation on track to be majority non-Swedish in a couple of generations. The people in charge of Sweden are trying to wipe out the Swedes.

Why would anyone do that? What possible reason could they have? Self-loathing is the only thing that is plausible. How can a people collectively decide to eradicate their kind?

One day in the future people will stand on Swedish ruins and wonder what happened to the people who build those things. They will wonder why they went away. The answer is they simply gave up.

Comments

I’m looking around for a new comment system. I’ve never liked the default WordPress comment system. The box is small and you can’t do much with the formatting. The worst part is you cannot edit mistakes. I thought about integrating a forum system like PHPBB, but that’s a lot of work and I’m old and lazy. A lazy man option is to use Disqus, but people seem to hate it for some reason. I’m not entirely sure why, but it is seems to stem from the lack of anonymity. I don’t get that entirely, but maybe there are other things at play there.

Continue reading

Reconsidering the Death Tax

I took some grief for my position on death taxes. I am not surprised. The tax debate in America has been so cluttered with group-think there’s simply no way to stake out a position on taxes that does not get someone fired up. Liberals are supposed to be for high rates, progressivity, social engineering and fairness, whatever the hell that means. Conservatives are supposed to be for lower taxes, business incentives and different types of social engineering. Libertarians are supposed to be for no taxes and free weed.

The trouble here is none of those positions make any sense. The point of taxation is to fund government. The point of government is to address “common burdens”. In the Anglo-Saxon tradition, that meant military service, fortress work, and bridge repair. As human societies have become more complex and interdependent, the number of things considered “common burdens” has increased. Roads, schools, hospitals, parks and other things have all be put in that basket, requiring greater government and greater taxation.

The point here is there can be but one position on this aspect of taxation. That is, the tax rates must be sufficient to pay for the cost of government. Once you uncouple taxes from government services, taxes become theft. They may be lawful and commonly accepted theft, but they are theft nonetheless. That means the amount of tax is irrelevant. All that matters is what to tax in order to fund government.

How I come at it this is to ask which taxes have the least impact on the natural functioning of society? Road taxes, for example, are an attempt to peg taxes to usage. The more you use, the more you pay. That links the value of the road to the cost of the road. Ideally, taxes will have zero impact on the economic decisions of the people. That’s not always possible, but it should be the goal of tax policy. Otherwise, the impact of the tax could very well exceed the value of the tax.

An example of the latter is George Bush’s luxury tax on expensive toys. Rich people are not infinitely rich. The guy that could swing a yacht before the tax was priced out of it after the tax so he bought something else that was not subject to the tax, like stocks or real estate. Thus the tax was never paid, all the yacht workers lost their jobs and stopped paying income taxes.

That brings me back to the death tax. No matter how high the tax, there will never be a change in the mortality rate. It has been stubbornly fixed at 100% for years now. Experts predict it will remain 100% long into the future. That means confiscating all of the goods from the dead will not do much to change human behavior, at least in regard to dying.

Now, Joseph K makes what I think is the best argument against death taxes:

The estate tax is the single biggest cause of the rise and dominance of Progressivism in the 20th century. The formation by business magnates of massive charitable foundations in order to save their fortunes from government depredation created a massive slush fund for the financial support and promulgation of every lunatic Progressive idea in existence. Without the Ford, Rockefeller, MacArthur and other foundations, Progressive lunacy as we know it would not exist. Heck, PBS and Sesame Street, which poisoned the minds of innocent children with liberal dreck for generations, would not exist.

Taxation, particularly the estate tax, wrecked the landed aristocracy that ruled England for centuries, and which ruled half the earth for the better at its height, leaving a battered welfare state carcass currently being picked clean by the feral children of former colonial lands. One cannot call this progress.

There are a few things here. The first being that the rich will do crazy things with their money in order to avoid the tax. I’ll concede that point, even though I doubt that’s really what’s going on with these foundations. These are monuments to their own lives, in the same vein as monuments or great public buildings in antiquity. The royalty returning with booty from France in The 100 Years War built castles in honor of themselves, not to avoid taxes.

That said, the death tax could cause all sorts of behavior in an attempt to keep the fortune alive after the death of the plutocrat. That’s why I specifically avoided any discussion of exemptions. If you’re going to have a death tax, it must be 100% and universal – no exceptions. The use of insurance to mitigate the tax for businesses and family farms is not an exemption; it is private mitigation. Setting up foundations and trusts would not be exempt either. The money would have to be given away in life.

The other piece of his argument is that destroying the wealth of the rich has unintended downstream consequences. Toppling over the landed aristocracy, for example, opened the door for socialist lunatics to seize power. I’m not entirely sure about that timeline, but I’ll concede the greater point. Wiping out the rich through taxes is not consequence free and those consequences are not always known.

That’s why I specifically said the rich can give away their wealth before death. To quote myself,

“There’s nothing to prevent Bill Gates from giving his fortune away. He would just have to do it while he is alive. If he wants to set his kid up with a billion dollar gift, that’s his choice. That option exists now. Whatever is left upon his death will go to the government.”

The trouble with everything I’m saying here is summed up by juice.qr.

“what gets me is you make several points about how ‘if it such and such was implemented’ , ‘if it was done this way’ … problem is none of your brilliant fixes have been implemented, or are likely to be.”

That, I think, bookends Joseph K’s argument very well. Even if the defects of the death tax can be addressed, the people doing the addressing have insurmountable defects, primarily the fact that they are crooks, liars and lunatics. The death tax gives them the tools to inflict much wickedness on the people.

To sum up, I’m convinced that the death tax can never be done well and I’m open to the argument that a not done well death tax is way worse than other taxes not done well.

 

Lying Is Not A “Mistake”

In modern times, famous people get a free pass on their crimes by pretending it was a “mistake” or possible an “error in judgement.” A mistake is when you put the wrong gas in your car because you were not paying attention. An error in judgement is when you hire the woman because she is hot over the more qualified fat guy. Telling people you had a near death experience in Iraq, when nothing of the sort happened, is none of those things.

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted Wednesday he was not aboard a helicopter hit and forced down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a false claim that has been repeated by the network for years.

Williams repeated the claim Friday during NBC’s coverage of a public tribute at a New York Rangers hockey game for a retired soldier that had provided ground security for the grounded helicopters, a game to which Williams accompanied him. In an interview with Stars and Stripes, he said he had misremembered the events and was sorry.

The admission came after crew members on the 159th Aviation Regiment’s Chinook that was hit by two rockets and small arms fire told Stars and Stripes that the NBC anchor was nowhere near that aircraft or two other Chinooks flying in the formation that took fire. Williams arrived in the area about an hour later on another helicopter after the other three had made an emergency landing, the crew members said.

“I would not have chosen to make this mistake,” Williams said. “I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another.”

What the bleep does that mean? Are we to believe he was forced to lie about what happened? Is there some new medical malady that compels people to spin tales of daring that never happened?

Williams told his Nightly News audience that the erroneous claim was part of a “bungled attempt” to thank soldiers who helped protect him in Iraq in 2003. “I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago,” Williams said. “I want to apologize.”

Williams made the claim about the incident while presenting NBC coverage of the tribute to the retired command sergeant major at the Rangers game Friday. Fans gave the soldier a standing ovation.

“The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG,” Williams said on the broadcast. “Our traveling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armor mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry.”

Williams and his camera crew were actually aboard a Chinook in a formation that was about an hour behind the three helicopters that came under fire, according to crew member interviews.

This is not about getting a fact wrong or misremembering a name or place. He made up this whopper so he could get adulation he did not earn for deeds he did not do. In other words, like every other coward, he wants glories for courage he has never been able to muster. That’s a sin in itself, but to then profit from it by dragging others into the lie (his support crew, co-workers, etc) is disqualifying.

A lot of what’s gone wrong traces back to the near total lack of shame by our elites. They simply refuse to uphold their end of the bargain. Williams should have admitted the lie, apologized to all concerned and then resigned. In a better age, his superiors would have left him alone in his office with a bottle of whiskey and a revolver. Instead, he offers a fake apology and carries on as if nothing happened.