The problem? It's a damned attractive idea to totalitarianists all over the world.
Governments are getting desperate because there is simply no other way to keep the gravy train going. It's mathematically impossible to give the people bread and circuses without paying for them ad infinitum; the people want everything to be provided by government but aren't willing to endure the requisite taxation, and will vote out anyone who tries to say "no".
But we're coming to the end of the socialist utopia, because there simply is not enough money in the world to pay for everything. The last gasp has to include confiscation of assets--theft, named anything else by the perpetrators--because they need massive amounts of money to continue to fund the asymptotic rise in spending.
The regimes will do anything possible to continue their reigns. That applies to the US as well, where the combined might of the Democrats and the GOP are conspiring to avoid facing the ugly truth and thus ending up out of power--and, possibly, hanging from lampposts.
Vox Day reminds us that it can happen here, too. Do not think that our government isn't watching what's happening in Cyprus with very, very keen attention. And quite possibly towels and tissues on hand to clean up after themselves.
When asset confiscation is proposed here, the Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) will pound the tables explaining why This Is The Only Way. The GOP will put up a token resistance to the idea, perhaps even standing firm for a few weeks. Then the entire measure will quietly pass both houses of Congress and be signed into law by Obama (or whoever is President by then) and everyone in the US will suffer an immediate loss of some of his money.
Let that precedent be set--let them get away with it--and there is nothing whatsoever keeping the government from taking every last cent you've saved.
But before they start grabbing our savings accounts, first they'll seize our retirement accounts. Those they will take in their entirety, handing us IOUs for the full amount. It's not a tax, oh no! It's for your benefit, don't you see? Instead of your 401k being invested in that nasty old stock market, which can crash, now your money is invested in US treasuries! Those are backed by the full faith and credit of the US government! And that IRA--you were only getting 0.35% interest on that IRA, but we can assure you that when it's time for you to start drawing funds from your new Federal Retirement Account, you'll get everything back with a much better rate of return...eh? What will that rate of return be? SHUT UP! YOU DON'T NEED TO KNOW THAT, PROLE! WE HAVE ASSURED YOU THAT IT WILL BE POSITIVE, SO GET OUT OF HERE BEFORE WE HAVE THE IRS TAKE A PERSONAL INTEREST IN YOUR FINANCES!
But "The government leaders in Cyprus are trying to back-pedal right now in order to save their lives." Emphasis added. "In order to save their lives" means that the Cypriot citizenry are (to put it charitably) "upset" that their elected officials are considering stealing not less than 6.75% of their savings. And Vox day continues to quote:
To take money from the leading economic entities in Russia, is to take money from the former KGB officers, and taking money from them is extremely dangerous.Recall please that several large US banks launder money for South American drug cartels. Imagine those South American drug lords taking a 10% haircut on their money. Now imagine how men who are used to solving such matters with violence will react to losing 10% of their ill-gotten gains.
Gangsters do not like competition.
* * *
So let's talk about anthropogenic global warming (AGW) again!
The predictions made by AGW have failed to materialize. Which makes sense, considering the comic book science that was used to generate the theory.
"Aw, that's rather harsh, isn't it? 'Comic book science'?" "Comic book science" is being generous. A real scientist doesn't take data from, say, 1940, and change the date so that it better fits the results he's looking to demonstrate.
Obviously if you shift core samples showing cooler temperatures back in time and samples showing higher temperatures forward in time you're going to get a graph that shows... temperatures rising from cooler to warmer.Emphasis in original.
That's not science. You cannot take data collected in 1940 and say, "Well, WTF, that wasn't collected in 1940! It was collected in 1939! How did those idiots back then manage to live when they didn't even know what year it was?" It's actually more complex than that, involving the calibration of carbon dating, but it's awfully suspicious when all the recalibrations end up with a monotonic result, ie AGW.
"If this is not flat-out fraud--which, sadly, has come to typify the climate alarmism movement--then what is the justification for Marcott’s wholesale re-dating of samples?"
Alan Caruba says the "mini-ice age" is here. I can believe that result more than I can believe anything from the AGW crowd. For one thing, it's based on actual observations rather than numbers that have been fiddlated and adjustered beyond all meaning.
* * *
Two rapists who were "promising". Yep, you've got people wringing their hands over two young men who committed a violent crime and who now have to pay the price for it.
[The reporter] explained that it had been “incredibly difficult” to watch as these two young men -- who had such promising futures, star football players, very good students -- literally watched as they believed their life fell apart.Why am I supposed to feel sorry for convicted rapists?
Let's face the facts. The two young men committed rape, and there was enough evidence to convict them "beyond reasonable doubt". Yet:
“What’s the lasting effect though on two young men being found guilty juvenile court of rape essentially?” Crowley wondered.Well, yeah--I mean, someone who has committed rape is, by definition, a sex offender, isn't he?
“There’s always that moment of just — lives are destroyed,” Callan remarked. “But in terms of what happens now, the most severe thing with these young men is being labeled as registered sex offenders. That label is now placed on them by Ohio law.”
What is unfair about this? Can someone explain to me what, exactly, is unfair about any of this? The law is the law and it applies equally to everyone--or is supposed to, anyway. How do you get to age 16 without someone telling you that you don't force yourself on a woman, and since an unconscious woman cannot give consent for sex you are raping her if you have sex with her?
They committed rape and they're going to jail for it. Nothing unfair about it.
* * *
Another one from Advice Goddess: Clearly these people have far too much goddamned money. If you're spending $40,000 on the proposal, how much will you spend on the wedding? And why?
The example in the post is of some weenie who spent $45,000 on his proposal.
$45,000. That's more than most people make in a year. The engagement ring was $21,000 by itself. And:
The next day, the couple jetted off to Greece and France for two weeks, where they stayed in private villas and honeymoon suites.*barf*
* * *
The end of the free press has come to Britain. Journalists must now register with the British government.
* * *
Last night, Mrs. Fungus and I watched two movies: Cowboys and Aliens (my pick) and There Will Be Blood (her pick).
C&A was entertaining without being a great movie. The Hollywood premise of "aliens coming to Earth to get a resource that's probably a billion times more commonplace in the asteroid belt" got retreaded and they trotted out all the old cowboy movie cliches. Bonus points, though, for the way the CGI guys animated the alien flyers. They actually looked as if they were operating aerodynamically, and the multi-wing configuration was pretty nicely done.
Overall I liked the movie, but I'm also glad I didn't have to pay to see it.
TWBB was clearly meant to be similar to Citizen Kane--it was the same kind of story--but it was an inferior tale. I did not like the protagonist of the story and had no sympathy for him, but that's not surprising because he wasn't supposed to be a sympathetic figure anyway. There wasn't anyone in the story who was likable, either. Further compounding the problem was that no obvious story was being told, either, other than, "This is so-and-so, a rich oilman; he gets richer, and he sucks."
There's a genre of anime and manga called yaoi. Essentially these are stories featuring gay characters, and the word "yaoi" is an acronym of a Japanese phrase that says, "No peak (climax), no fall (punch line/denouement), no meaning." That's pretty much how TWBB went; there was no climax to the story, no denouement, and nothing happened, other than what's-his-name getting rich and being an asshole to everyone.
And of course anyone involved in the oil business is going to be portrayed as the worst sort of person imaginable. The guy started out being sort of human about worker deaths and such, but of course as time went on he became a murderer and a hypocrite because Big Rich Oilman.
I can forgive all that, though. This is how Hollywood makes films for the intelligentsia, after all, and the critics consider any movie with a beginning, a middle, a climax, and an end to be passe, trite, cliched, boring, hackneyed, and pedestrian. It's not ART!! if it's entertaining or accessible to the common man; and looked at from the hoity-toity viewpoint of the Serious Film Critic TWBB was pretty good.
So I do, in fact, have only one real quarrel with the movie:
WHAT THE HELL WAS THE DEAL WITH THE DAMNED MUSIC?
There was one scene--one--in the movie where the music fit what was happening on-screen. Otherwise it never made a lick of sense. There's a scene where who's-his-face and his alleged half-brother are surveying the route a pipeline will take; the music was all tense and fast-paced, completely at odds with the reality that surveying land is not exciting, and never will be.
Not even with that music playing.
* * *
Last year's warm weather about this time was just that--weather--and this year it's f-ing cold. That's global warming for you.