atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#3609: Intemperate thoughts and stuff

On US foreign policy I said:
If Pakistan doesn't want us to have a consulate there, then we should accommodate them: pull out not only our consular staff but all of our military and foreign aid.

...but this is a small group of assholes, not the whole country. But I think if the US started a program of "we're not going to stay where we're not wanted" you would see a lot of countries suddenly and mysteriously cease to tolerate such public protests against the US.
The more I think about this, the more I like the idea. Sure, it makes the US look petulant, but it will cut down on the anti-Americanism we see abroad.

I can hear the protestations, so let me deal with them.

"What about freedom of expression?" These people have every right to express their opinions. This policy doesn't change that. But my freedom of expression does not imply any constraint on your behavior; if I say something you don't like, you are not obligated to patronize my business. So the US is well within its rights to tell countries with signitifant anti-American movements, "Well, we're obviously not wanted here, so we'll take all our stuff and our money with us when we leave."

"It will make us look weak!" There are plenty of assholes all over the world who do exactly the same kind of shit as I'm advocating here, and no one accuses them of being weak.

"It makes us look selfish!" And? The countries coming to us with their hands out for US foreign aid aren't?

"We're rich and powerful enough to afford it!" Rich? Our government is spending $1,300 billion per year that it doesn't have. Powerful? Sure...and maybe we ought to exercise that power instead of letting everyone slap us around. Consequences might make people more reluctant to screw with us.

"Everyone will hate us!" See above, "anti-American protestors". They already hate us.

"It would make a mess of our military policy if we had to keep shuffling troops around." Why is it our job to defend Europe? See above, "spending $1,300 billion per year we don't have"--huge US military budgets have let European countries have token military forces. This may have been sound doctrine during the Cold War, but the threat of communism has changed significantly since 1992 and we no longer have to fear the USSR sweeping over Europe.

"It's not just Europe; it's the middle east, too! You want gas for your car to be cheap, you'd better advocate a strong military presence in the middle east!" Nope; I don't need to. All the US has to do is enact a sensible energy policy that involves exploiting our own fucking resources and we could tell the rest of the world to piss up a rope.

I'm not advocating a weak military; I'm advocating our not spending money defending the ingrates of the world from chimerical threats from which they for damn sure ought to be able to defend themselves.

The end result of such a program--leaving and boycotting countries where we're criticized and protested against, or where our citizens and personnel were brutalized and killed--would be governments which were more willing to be nice to us.

(I mean political situations like Benghazi, or Tehran in 1979, or large anti-US protests--not run-of-the-mill violent crime.)

What do you think the reaction would be, in Libya, if the US had just picked up and left in the wake of the attacks on 9/11/12, saying, "Hey, we're taking off, but you can call us when you get the shitheads under control"? Do you think whatever passes for government in Libya would say, "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out?"

Maybe Libya straightens up, and maybe it falls to the Muslim Brotherhood. Either way, why is it our problem?

Of course, there's another component to this.

Fact is, the protests are magnified by the press in this country to make them seem bigger than they are, because the American press is composed of a bunch of anti-American morons. They like nothing more than to point to such protests and say, "Oh, look at how much they hate us, and rightly so, because we're all such assholes!"

...and almost never cover such protests when there's a Democrat in the White House.

* * *

I've requested an RMA and have sent the video card back as defective for a refund.

With the job (probably) starting on the 15th, I'm not going to have time to fuck with it anytime soon and I'd rather not risk ending up with a $90 video card I can't use.

Tires are supposed to be delivered today (probably in the next hour or so) and I'm going to be fiddling with the motorcycle to get that dealt with.

Though it would be fun to take El-Hazard and make it into a machine usable for WoW I just don't need that right now; and with the job, I'll be saving my pennies for a brand new Core i5 system with gobs of memory and a 64-bit OS anyway.

Get a mini-ITX board that can take an i5? It would probably cost me about $400 to build that machine even if I did mostly use parts I have on hand. Motherboard and processor alone would be $200; figure $80 for RAM, and neither of the mini-ITX cases I've got can handle a high-zoot video card, so I'd need to get a regular case with a power supply with enough plugs to do the job. And to take advantage of memory over 4 GB I'd need a 64-bit OS which would probably not cost less than $100 if I managed to find an OEM copy somewhere--and so with tax and shipping we're quite neatly right up against $450 without half trying even if I pull the video card out of Cephiro.

...when I can buy a Gateway with a Core i5 processor and a high-zoot video card already installed for perhaps $550 or $600 if I shop carefully, and get all-new components with a 1-year warranty to boot. Yeah.

Seems like every time I start considering upgrading my machinery, I run the same numbers and come to the same conclusion. There's simply no advantage to building my own PC when the configuration I want will cost almost exactly the same as a mass-produced machine.

* * *

The 7.8% unemployment figure is raising a lot of eyebrows because IT'S A FUCKING BULLSHIT NUMBER!
...[L]et me explain to you what a 1983 economy feels like: It feels like the movie Wall Street. As Adam Carolla says, "pre-AIDS, mid-coke." Poppy music on the Blaupunkt. People buy plastic watches to wear on their ankles and in their hair. The world is your Cinnabon's.

It's the kind of economy where you sort of have some leverage with your boss because the economy's so hot that labor is a seller's, not buyer's market.

Not just for good jobs. For crap jobs too. A sizzling economy makes a lot of crap jobs. So you can quit your job and have a pretty good idea you'll have a new one in a couple of weeks.

Is that the way the third quarter of 2012 feels to people?
In a word, no. In two words, fuck no.

The economy simply did not add 873,000 jobs last month. It simply did not. The payroll survey says it added a mere 114,000.

There is absolutely no confirmatory data suggesting that the 873,000 number is right and the 114,000 number is wrong. As one guy asked on Twitter -- did payroll taxes jump up past month?
Emphasis added, because that's how I would say it.

Vox Day has a great quote from the BLS and I'll quote it here:
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis was asked on CNBC about suspicions that the Obama administration might have skewed the jobs numbers to aid Obama's re-election prospects. "I'm insulted when I hear that because we have a very professional civil service," Solis said. "I have the highest regard for our professionals that do the calculations at the (Bureau of Labor Statistics). They are trained economists."
Are these the same "trained economists" who kept being astonished by "unexpected" rises in unemployment during "the summer of recovery"?

The civil service can be "very professional" and still skew the numbers the way the boss wants them skewed. You want to keep your job in the shittiest economy since 1930? You'll do what your boss tells you to do, and if you're smart and have any political savvy whatsoever, you'll do what your boss strongly hints you should do. Else you might just end up looking for a job yourself.

Hilda Solis is an Obama appointee, by the way.

* * *

It's cold and dreary outside today. Bleah.

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