August 27th, 2010

#2251: No, we don't "feel" that; we know it.

I get so tired of this kind of bullshit: "The government is about to confirm what many people have felt for some time: The economy barely has a pulse."

When you say someone "feels" something, you're minimizing his position. "Joe feels that he has been slighted by our offer of a 1% raise after all the 70-hour weeks he's been working for the past three years." It weakens the statement, making it more passive.

You don't say, "I feel unemployed"; you say "I am unemployed".

The article does its best to put a brave face on an almost universally shitty economy; I've highlighted the key phrases:
The Commerce Department on Friday will revise its estimate for economic growth in the April-to-June period and Wall Street economists forecast it will be cut almost in half, to a 1.4 percent annual rate from 2.4 percent.

That's a sharp slowdown from the first quarter, when the economy grew at a 3.7 percent annual rate, and economists say it's a taste of the weakness to come. The current quarter isn't expected to be much better, with many economists forecasting growth of only 1.7 percent.

Such slow growth won't feel much like an economic recovery and won't lead to much hiring. The unemployment rate, now at 9.5 percent, could even rise by the end of the year.
That latter is the icing on the cake: unemployment is already rising and I'd wager that 9.5% figure is going to be obsolete as soon as the labor department gets around to releasing new statistics.

Here's what the writer wants you to take from those paragraphs:
* The economy is growing, albeit very slowly
* This quarter will be better than last quarter
* There is some hiring taking place, though not much
* The unemployment rate will rise a little bit before the end of the year.
It's all crap, of course. One of the numbers used to determine GDP is government spending, and our government has spent $1.50 for each dollar of revenue it's taken in, generating a massive annual deficit two years running and saddling the next couple generations with an enormous debt. None of that is going to help the economy, not now and not in the near future.

Obamanomics has failed. As a lot of us on the right predicted it would.

The Ruling Class and Democrat Regime would like us to believe that things are better than they are, and as AP is part of the Ruling Class it's not hard to figure out why they're echoing Pollyanna: there's an election coming up in a few of months, and they're hemorrhaging approval ratings.

#2252: Everything's about the economy today. (Okay, not everything.)

The government released the latest statistics, and they're not good no matter how hard you spin 'em. You could spin them up near the speed of light and form a Kerr ringwarp with 'em and they'd still suck, even in the timelike space the ringwarp led into.

THERE IS NO RECOVERY. "Recovery is losing momentum"? There never was one. It was all smoke and mirrors.
St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard told CNBC Friday...the U.S. economy is set for a "soft patch," but added that he thinks a double-dip recession is unlikely. He added that U.S. economic growth is likely to be weaker than expected in the second half of the year but will remain positive, picking up again in 2011.
What's the basis for this unbridled optimism? None of the things which caused the recession have been dealt with. The only thing that happened is that the federal government spent a double shitton of money it didn't have; the conditions which led to the collapse of the housing market have not been fixed nor have the government's moves done anything but slap a band-aid on the problem. Taxes are going up, which is anti-growth, and the national debt is set to surpass GDP if it hasn't already done so. None of this is going to help matters, and in fact will probably make things worse.

Bernanke says the Fed will "do all it can" to continue the non-existent recovery. What the hell can the Fed do? The prime rate approaches zero.

A Harvard professor sez there's "significant risk of a second recession". Anyone who's read the Fungus longer than about 10 minutes knows in what regard the Ivy League is held, here. It's especially obvious when you consider that THERE IS NO RECOVERY AND THE RECESSION NEVER ENDED. But he's a Ruling Class elite dickhole, which is why he thinks there was a recovery: after all, didn't the Democrat Regime say so?

Why the hell should workers trust their employers?

There is too much sovereign debt. There isn't enough money in the world to pay back all the bills owed by all the governments. "...[G]overnments may choose a 'soft' default in which they pay back debts with devalued currencies." Yeah, monetizing the debt is probably the only way to avoid default, but it's going to make for a bad run of years regardless.

Small business creates most of the jobs in this country, and don't you forget it.

The stimulus did jack shit to help the economy. None of the things in this article are going to significantly change the economic landscape. "High speed rail"? "Renewable energy"? "Electric vehicles"? Come on.

OBAMANOMICS IS A FAILED RISKY SCHEME!

Dang I love taking Democrat talking points and turning them around! (That one's a two-fer!)

* * *

The Democrat Regime are punishing New Jersey for electing someone they don't like. Well, New Jersey has committed the unpardonable sin of balancing its budget without raising taxes, you know. It makes the Democrat Regime look bad.

* * *

Not that it needs any help.

* * *

DID I NOT SAY that Obamacare represented THE largest tax increase in American history? Did I not say that?

Look, this stuff isn't that hard to figure out. The Democrat playbook has one method in it:

1) Demagogue the problem.
2) Emplace a huge and expensive federal bureaucracy to alleviate (never solve) the problem.
3) Increase taxes to pay for it.
4) Oppose all attempts to modify or abolish the bureaucracy.
5) Repeat.

I could see this shit coming a parsec away, and I said this was how it would go.

* * *

By the way, if you like your health care plan, you don't get to keep it. I know this is really hard for you lefties out there to understand, but remember when Obama was saying "If you like your plan, you keep it"?

OBAMA WAS LYING TO YOU.

Obamacare was never about choice or cost control or "making health care affordable". Okay? ObamaCare is about nothing but GIVING GOVERNMENT CONTROL OVER YOUR HEALTH CARE. Full stop, end of sentence.

* * *

And yes, the bullets will be made of lead.

* * *

Look, I'm going to apologize in advance for what I must do next, typographically, in order to get my emotion across. I know it's bad writing, but I can't help myself:

WHAT IN THE EVERLASTING FUCK IS GOING ON IN ALASKA???

Put more succinctly:

WHAT IN THE EVERLASTING FUCK IS THE REPUBLICAN PARTY DOING IN ALASKA???

I'm with Ace: this is a deal-breaker. The GOP is supposed to be the party of "rule of law"; we leave the election tampering to Democrats. This is a case of incumbents trying to protect an incumbent regardless of the will of the people. If the GOP is trying to put Murkowski in after she lost the primary, then the GOP is no better than the Democrats, and there's no point to voting Republican.

Shit, we were already halfway there as it is.

I don't know who I can vote for if I can't vote Republican, because I sure as shit can't vote Democrat. (And don't even say "Green Party" because I'll hunt you down and hit you with a tire iron. The only difference between Democrats and Greens is that the Greens tell the truth about how leftist they are.)

*sigh*

* * *

Another blogger named Ed has a position similar to mine on Ken Mehlman's sexual orientation. My entire reaction to this story has been "meh". My reaction to these kinds of stories usually is.

Look: I don't care. What I care about is what they think, not what they do in the privacy of their bedrooms. I'm not anti-gay, and never have been; I'm anti-gay-agenda because I think the gay agenda is ultimately harmful to society at large.
All said, I'm glad that he got to come out on his own terms and didn't end up being forcibly outed by a vicious and vengeful left. Mehlman always appeared to me to be a very capable guy for a GOP leader, so you know the left would have loved nothing more than to find concrete proof of his gayness and drag him out of the closet in the most nasty, humiliating way possible.
That's because the left--despite its protestations to the contrary--thinks that "gay" is an insult.

* * *

Krauthammer knocks another one out of the park.

* * *

Last night--argh.

...it was so cool last night I--for the first time since June--was able to shut off all the fans. I kept the 10" fan running to blow cool air under the desk, but that fan doesn't make a lot of noise.

I started dubbing the last 5 eps of Kimi ni Todoku to DVD, and as the first ep started playing I realized I was only getting sound from one speaker. I checked the patch cable and found that it wasn't plugged all the way in; once it was reseated I had full sound from the TV. Perhaps the first 30 seconds were missing the right audio channel, but that wasn't such a big deal since it was just the OP anyway; but when did the cable...get...?

Oh, no, I thought.

I waited for ep 21 to finish dubbing, then pulled out the KnT disks and checked them--and as I had feared, eps 6-20 were all missing the right audio channel. Which I hadn't been able to detect before because I had the fans running.

*sigh*

...of course it means redubbing fifteen eps of anime, and the KnT-to-DVD project was therefore not finished as I had hoped. Argh.

So I finished disk 5, then went back and re-dubbed disk 2.

While the eps were dubbing, I finished reading H. Beam Piper's Space Viking. Holy crap.

I believe I've read this book before, though I have no idea when; there were a couple of scenes which were familiar. The story starts off pretty weak, I have to say, but once you get past the first 10-20 pages it turns awesome.

The story contains an interesting examination of how civilization falls, and it includes one of Piper's "history repeats itself" storylines; and in fact if you read it while bearing current events in mind, it's even a bit chilling.

I have to infer from Piper's work (and the fact that he was an avid gun collector) that the man was probably somewhere on the right side of the political spectrum. At the time he was writing this stuff, most SF was full of promethean societies which--strangely enough--strongly resembled the socialist utopias imagined by the left. (Okay, example: the Star Trek universe.) Anything which didn't have that kind of society in it instead had some kind of totalitarian dystopia, the origins of which (naturally) were never fully explored unless the writer had started from a military junta or something similar.

Okay, in Joe Haldeman's Forever War, we see a totalitarian government arise on Earth, which dictates that everyone has to be gay whether they like it or not, in order to control the growth of population. We don't see that, and we don't see the inevitable civil unrest such a decree would engender; no, we see the result of a few hundred years' worth of totalitarianist oppression.

The society in Haldeman's book proceeded from a few incorrect assumptions, one of them being that human population growth will continue exponentially unless artificial measures are taken. (Another being that sex is a social construct, which it's not. But Haldeman's a hard leftist, so of course he thinks it is; and the liberal elites love him.)

What we don't see in most SF from the '60s and '70s is a realistic portrayal of how history works. When government is given control of everything, tyranny inevitably follows; and it's never pretty. The fact that there has never been a socialist system which operated to specification is completely ignored, too; there are never any unintended consequences and everyone is perfectly happy to live under a system which takes their entire economic output and dispenses with it in whatever fashion it chooses.

The dystopian stories, of course, are about people trying to escape and the system's attempts to prevent it. It's never about how the system evolved nor why, because that might put some uncomfortable truths about socialism on display. (Even the seminal dystopian work 1984 doesn't really look too closely at how or why, but Orwells book is about what it does to people, anyway. Besides, at the time the book was written, the world had just finished defeating a fresh example of "how" and "why": Nazi Germany.)

Of course the environment Piper was writing in was--at its latest--the early 1960s, back before our society entirely lost its shit and made a hard left turn. In all probability, if he hadn't committed suicide, he would have been ranked with Heinlein as "a nut! A nut!!" when his political views didn't follow the establishment down the idiot hole.

* * *

Why do I think Piper was more right than left? After all, writers have a special word for the reader who thinks that a writer's characters necessarily echo his own opinions: "Idiot".

I have three reasons for thinking this.

First, Piper knew history well enough to understand that all the platitudes and good intentions in the world don't amount to a hill of beans; words are empty. He used historical events in his stories, with the names and places changed (and serial numbers filed off) because he understood that history repeats itself over and over again. People are people, and they often resort to the same solutions particularly if they've never studied history. Piper had history to show him how tyrants rise and fall, how civilizations rise and fall, how people act in a variety of situations; furthermore he had imagination to recast the stories of history in settings where there were things like hyperdrive and antigravity and nuclear power. He understood the basic fact that some people are bad and never tried to equivocate or excuse evil behavior.

Second, Piper's protagonists were almost universally "self-reliant men". They knew how to use firearms; they took on challenges, many of which were life-threatening. They weren't bloodthirsty; they preferred to avoid bloodshed where they could but wouldn't run from a necessary fight, either. They wouldn't disarm themselves because a particular weapon was somehow morally reprehensible: if a situation called for a nuke, they'd use it. (But they wouldn't use a nuke just to see it go off.) They could survive in the bush without a vast collection of equipment and emergency rations; a knife and a gun were all they really needed. They smoked and drank. They believed in law and order, and ethical behavior, and treating people as well as they deserved.

Third, it's fashionable to sneer at conservative/rightist positions in fiction. The best example I can think of off the top of my head is the televangelist in Sagan's Contact. How many protagonists in modern SF can you think of who are easily identifiable as conservatives? Compare that to the number which are easily identifiable as liberals.

If Piper ever did any sneering, it was at characters like Leonard Kellogg and Hugo Ingermann from his Fuzzy stories--people who were out for themselves, who didn't care about pesky things like "rule of law" and "professional ethics" and "scientific evidence" when there was money and status to be had. (Kellogg in particular was trying to use junk science to "prove" that fuzzies weren't sapient. Sound like something going on now? Something about the climate...?)

* * *

...you know, almost all of my posts are long like this. I can't help it; I write a lot. Sorry about that.