Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Daily Snark 5/31

I have been out of contact with the civilized world since Friday as Internet and cable have been off line due to a storm. During that time, I half wondered if the world was coming to an end, in particular coming from Europe's debt ridden nations. Greece isn't there yet, but it is awfully close.

Derek Thompson at the Atlantic sums up the situation pretty well. The only thing that really needs to be pointed out is that while option "a" is most likely to happen, it is also the least likely to resolve the problem. Give it another six months, and Greece will be looking for a third bailout. As every good poker player knows, once money is in the pot, do not treat it like it is yours. Europe's past bailout money is in the pot; it can't let that fact make it irrational and continue pouring more money into a losing hand to get that first bailout cash back.

I don't see how the Euro survives this mess.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Daily Snark 5/25

So a Democrat won the NY-26 special election. In some circles, this is definitive proof that belief in small government has been vanquished forever.

This Medicare deal is such a galvanizing issue that turnout was less than 50% what it was in November, when Chris Lee won in a blowout (blowouts tend to have lower turnout than competitive races). So clearly this race, caused by a sex scandal against Republicans with extremely low turnout, where a turncoat third party candidate takes away a significant chunk of the vote for the Republican, proves that Paul Ryan's plan is hated nationwide and that Republicans are doomed next year!

Or, um, not. As for Medicare, that goes bankrupt in 2024. Its probably best if we just close our eyes and pretend it isn't happening; that way, it won't happen. This "deal with the problem" attitude Republicans have is wildly irresponsible! I mean, how do they expect to be on par with Greece if we tackle these unsustainable long term entitlement debts? LinkLink

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Daily Snark 5/24

So now the Rapture is October 21st? Somebody, please, check the old man's math this time. This was mildly amusing the first time, mostly because it somehow became a big cultural hit. Now, it's irritating. I kind of felt bad for him after it didn't happen, but to just keep randomly throwing numbers out there seems pretty pointless and an extremely pathetic bid to say he wasn't wrong.

I'm not sure why I find this so irritating, but I do. Link

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Daily Snark 5/23

Normally, I would frown upon commenting on a court ruling without having read it first, but today's decision from the Supreme Court concerning California's prison population is shocking. I'm puzzled as to how inmates have such Constitutional protections, but I'll refrain from final judgment until I've read the case. That said, California sucks. The state is borderline bankrupt and now has to release two military divisions worth of criminals into society due to a lack of funds.

Perhaps the state and cities could cut back on the $200K per year to pay lifeguards?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Can Communism Avoid Collapsing Into Tyranny?

Question: Can Communism work with a “Dictatorship of the Proletariat?” Will it always
devolve into tyranny of one?

Works Considered:

Karl Kautsky, Dictatorship of the Proletariat
Vladimir Lenin, The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky
The State and Revolution


Marx's political theory is a source of fascination for me. I'm not greatly shocked that communism would prove popular in areas that are truly destitute, where peasants' living conditions almost could not be worse and where communism at least offers a glimmer of hope for improvement. What really amazes me is that there are people in the Western world who could be suckered into this belief system. It has a great deal to do with the fact that many supporters of Marxism have never actually read Marx or considered the implications, but there are still many academics who have read his works and passionately support his platform.

The problem with Marxism does not lie in the tearing down of the state; that much is fairly easy. However, Marxism promises a better life after the Revolution and it is here the problem lies. Once society is overthrown, what follows? Marx and his disciples are short on details to describe this period. Such chaotic situations are beneficial for the strongest thugs, not the most just rulers, to gain power; to create such chaos with the intentional goal of destroying a class of people (the bourgeois) is a perfect recipe for creating a totalitarian state, not a stateless and classless society. History has vindicated this (Stalin, anyone?), but this should have been obvious to any literate member of society without historical examples to rely upon.

Mr. Kautsky, to his credit, foresaw this problem. Marx's vagueness on the famous concept of "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" is a big stumbling block for socialists, as some see this dictatorship in the common political sense of the word while others like Kautsky fear such a political leviathan. The traditional strongman at the head of the Dictatorship, as supported by Lenin, was needed in order to wipe away the hated "oppressing" class, but the power of such a man could just as easily be turned on socialists unwilling to dedicate themselves to the particular man in charge. Socialism is not a monolithic concept; dissent exists within its ranks. As Hayek pointed out later, those who achieve dictatorial powers are those ruthless enough to grasp for it. Such people will be loathe to relinquish such power and almost inevitably the revolution will began to devour itself as dissenting socialist elements become targeted.

That anyone is impressed with Lenin's writing amazes me. Lenin's fanaticism in the infallibility of Marx rivals the most passionate fundamentalist of any religion; often, a quote from Marx is considered authority in and of itself. Obviously, we have the benefit of hindsight, so we know that Lenin's "scientific" political beliefs in the ripeness for revolution in Russia was anything but scientific. But again, even without this knowledge, one should have been wary of Lenin's books. He goes into detail about the destruction of the bourgeois state, but what follows the creation of a classless society is largely glossed over. Indeed, about the only real detail I could find in either book was that somehow mankind will come to love labor, which will keep the economy going and create riches for everyone. Now, never mind the problems of knowing what to produce, how much, and all of the other basics of economics: how on earth do we convert mankind from people who love leisure into people who love labor?

Lenin's books are not worth reading. It is easy to be a cheerleader for the destruction of society. Anyone can point out problems and generate anger about exist problems, but to demand we completely start society over is outrageous, especially if one lacks a realistic plan for the aftermath. Kautsky's book, however, is worth consideration. Kautsky calls for a revolution by the ballot rather than the bullet; without popular support, any violent revolution would either lose or devolve into tyranny anyway. He also realized that "the" revolution is unlikely to be global and instantaneous. Lenin's revolution in Russia was just that, limited to Russia; so long as the rest of the world was constituted of nation states, the Soviet Union would have to remain as a political entity to protect the revolution from outside forces. Rather than seeing a withering of the state, such a hostile international system would actually require a strengthening of the socialist state. With more power being concentrated in the government, controlling the government becomes a bigger and bigger prize that once obtained would be too valuable to give up. And while not mentioned by Kautsky, it should be pointed out that nationalism and religious intolerance could very easily be stronger forces pushing the international working class apart than the label of proletariat could be at pulling them together. Even if all nations overthrew their bourgeois governments, national antagonism might prevent the withering of the state and create future wars between purportedly socialist governments.

Perhaps Kautsky's most important point is that the failure of Capitalism that is the focus of Marx and his apostles does not in and of itself lead to Socialism. Marx's magnum opus, Das Kapital, is about just that, the flaws of capitalism. A socialist equivalent of von Mises' Human Action, describing how exactly the favored economic system will work, does not exist. To overthrow capitalism (on in Russia's case, pseudo-feudalism) in the name of Socialism without a solid economic and political plan risks creating chaos, again in the name of Socialism, which for obvious reasons would make Socialism look god awful in the eyes of the world. Kautsky is amazingly honest about the source of wealth to make people want to join socialism: the capitalists! Their wealth is needed in order to be redistributed; without it, Socialism has nothing to offer. Land reform is pointless, as you will be moving land from a productive bourgeois minority to an ignorant and less productive proletariat/peasant majority. Given the lack of excess food at the time to begin with, such a move could create devastating famines, à la Mao's Great Leap Forward and Mugabe's land reform efforts.

While Kautsky is more realistic, his theory presents problems of its own. Lenin's system leads to a pretty clear moment at which property stops being private, while Kautsky must worm his way through a parliamentarian system. Classical Liberalism, with its notions of property rights, would be a hindrance to creating a complete socialist system through democratic means. At some point in time, the majority would have to make radical redistribution of land and property, as having a unanimous decision is highly unlikely. How and to whom this wealth will be redistributed will undoubtedly lead to contentions within the majority faction. As Hayek noted, such wrangling may make reaching a decision impossible, with calls for an economic dictator to complete the redistributive aspects of the revolution. At this point, we are back to having the one strong man that so plagues Lenin's version. Further, just because the decision was made democratically does not mean socialism has solved the problems of calculating prices, distributing resources in an efficient manner, providing proper motivation to work, and all of the other economic criticisms of centralized economic planning.


Marxist thought finds its strength in the jealousy of the lower classes and in its ability to criticize current problems without offering a concrete set of alternatives. Once it is actually implemented, however, that lack of detail as to how socialism will really work proves itself to be fatal. The concentration of power and resources into the "dictatorship of the proletariat" makes such a position, whether it be one man or an administration of equals, a prize worthy of the cruelest means to obtain for those willing to stoop to such levels. Such societies will, rather than creating a classless society, create a most unequal pair of classes, those of the governing bloc and those of the oppressed subjects.

Lenin's books are not worth reading. Apart from the fact that his "scientific" predictions are nonsense in the light of history, his unflappable faith in Marx's infallibility should disturb any open minded person. Further, he offers little in the way of positive contributions for a future socialist society, focusing instead on how to create a revolution to overthrow the current order. Such short sightedness is particularly dangerous when the immediate plan is to overthrow all stability.

While I disagree with Kautsky on the values of socialism or its ability to work, I do believe his book is worth a gander for those on the Left, in particular the few hardcore Marxists remaining in this world. His views are similar to many European leftists and not a few in America. While his views on a ballot rather than bullet revolution are admirable, it would likely prove difficult to implement, as traditional rights concerning property and liberty would need to be undermined without the use of force. Whether those losing those rights would be so willing to part with them at the behest even of democracy is uncertain.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Daily Snark 5/19

I picked up Alistair Horne's A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962. This follows a couple of excellent books concerning the Indochina conflicts, Hal Moore and Joe Gallaway's We Were Soldiers...and Young and Bernard Fall's Street Without Joy. The Algerian conflict is one I knew vaguely about but am ignorant of the real details. I found it interesting that on the front of the book is a tag saying this book is on the reading list of President Bush (43). The newest preface clearly takes a negative outlook on the Iraq conflict; given that it was published in 2006, that is hardly surprising. While I pretty clearly disagree with Alistar, the author does know a thing or two about guerrilla conflicts (or, in Fall's perhaps better terminology, revolutionary warfare) in Arab nations. A full review will be posted later, probably much later as I finish getting my students ready for a global regents test, but for right now I want to be snarky about a particular sentence Alistar writes in the 2006 preface. He says:

Now, with the Internet and al-Jazeera, one set of photos from Abu Ghraib is enough to inflame hatred across the Islamic world against the West, providing excuse for all the beheadings and atrocities carried out by al-Qaeda. From the Inquisition to the Gestapo to the "Battle of Algiers," history teaches us that, in the production of reliable intelligence, regardless of the moral issue, torture is counter-productive.

[quoting an Algerian prefect on why "torture should never, never, never be resorted to by any Western society..."] "Because if you once get into the torture business, you're lost...All our so-called civilisation is covered in a varnish. Scratch it, and underneath you find fear."

I don't buy the argument that civilized people cannot resort to terrible violence, ever. When civilization itself is threatened, the only recourse that can work against uncivilized terrorists is violence. Just as police are not horrible people for tying people up and kidnapping them (better known as handcuffing and incarceration), so Western nations are not unjustified or uncivilized in dealing harshly with enemies. That quote about fear is accurate; we enter society and civilization for the sake of self preservation and enrichment. Government is created to preserve that peace and tranquility; government can only do so with the use of force to such extents that others dare not challenge it.

The effectiveness of torture I leave for another day. But if the West requires it for survival, so be it. I will shed no tears for enemies of peace. Civilization exists to make life better for those who will participate in its rules, not to completely undermine our security over a Utopian notion that civilization equals permanent and unequivocal non violence.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Daily Snark 5/18

The war in Libya becomes illegal on Friday. We'll certainly see millions of people protesting this illegal conflict in Washington, just like people came out against the Iraq War. After all, the protests against that were based on principle, not politics! Or something.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Daily Snark 5/17

I recommend everyone play around with this interactive concerning the national debt. Since we have hit the debt limit and are considering raising it, Republicans are using this opportunity to force a debate on the debt and cutting spending. During the previous spat, spending was reduced by $67 billion. Assume that this current debate will lead to a similar cut and reduce the "other spending" by that amount. That hardly impacts the chart at all.

Ok, so lets increase spending, as the average leftist demands. Increase taxes by 10% at all levels (including all income brackets) along with those $67 billion in cuts.

Hmm, that didn't do much, either. After 2019, we have a trillion dollar deficit minimum into perpetuity. You don't have to be a professional economist to know that isn't sustainable. So let us get out of our current conflicts (magically, I guess). Cut military spending by $100 billion. That should do it.

Oh, wait, it doesn't. That trillion dollar mark into perpetuity has been moved back all of three years. We are still looking at nearly $6 trillion in debt by the time I reach 65. Not sustainable. I hate to even think of it being necessary, but lets raise taxes by 25% across the board. Perhaps that will solve our insolvency.

Well, we balanced the budget for a few years, but after 2030 we're still one trillion in the hole every year forever. Not to mention, this doesn't nothing for our current debt. Also, that's a pretty stiff tax hike, and the result on businesses will not be pretty. Perhaps we should consider cutting Medicare or Social Security...

Ok, never mind, no politician would ever commit political suicide like that. Our current Democrats fought tooth and nail for cowboy poetry festivals being federally funded, so further cuts in the "other" category seem unlikely without a massive Republican majority. Of course, those tax increases are highly unlikely politically, but I put them in to show you one of the best case scenarios from the leftist perspective.

Our debt is structural. Unless you deal with entitlements, we are doomed. I'm playing around with wildly unrealistic numbers (10% military cuts, 15% cuts to all entitlements, 30% cuts to other spending, 10% tax increases across the board). Even then, we do not completely balance the budget in the short term and that trillion dollar mark is met again by 2033.

Now, some caveats need to be made. Most charts dealing with time frames beyond ten minutes from now have to be taken with many grains of salt. The fact is, we do not know exactly or even really generally how the economy will behave in the future. However, we do know that the United States will owe a great deal to pay for entitlement spending. We do know that government spending tends not to be cut, ever. And while we do not know how the economy will behave, it could be better or worse than the expected outcomes on this chart. The economy would have to be on fire to really bring down these deficit numbers without significant changes.

Government spending is extremely dangerous. Those advocating more spending (in particular for education and health care) either ignore the true threat of this structural debt or are ignorant of it. Either way, they ought not be listened to.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Daily Snark 5/16

Good news: Donald Trump is not running for President! Obama can still be beaten.

Bad news: it may not matter anymore. The nation's credit card is maxed out.

Perhaps if we just raise our own debt limit, the markets will reward us. Worked well for Europe, right?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Why I Am Voting No On The 2011 Candor School District Budget Vote

On Tuesday, May 17th, I intend to vote against the proposed Candor School budget. The proposed budget can be found here. I am not voting against the budget because it includes the highest tax increase in Tioga, Broome, and Chemung counties (though that is true). I am not voting against this budget because we spent money paying half time teachers, already collecting pensions, to read the newspaper on the taxpayer dime this year (though that is true, too). I am not voting against the budget because the performance of Candor has been lower than regional schools (though this, again, is true).

No, I am voting against the budget because on page four of the budget newsletter, you will find this:

However, with a reduction in State Aid, even a contingency budget was unattainable for the District. Therefore, with the 2011-2012 budget being over $325,000 below the 2010-2011 budget and over $625,000 below a contingency budget, if the budget is not approved by the voters, the Board of Education can adopt the proposed budget as presented.
This is not a vote. Voting implies that the decision of the majority of voters will determine the outcome. According to the newsletter, however, the outcome is already determined: this is the budget. Rather than being a vote, it is a fait accompli. While the school board would like public support, it is by no means necessary for their exercise of power.

If the people reject this budget, the reasonable thing to do would be to go back to the drawing board, address the concerns of the community as best they can, and propose another budget. Giving us an ultimatum of providing public support to this plan or have it imposed on us anyway with restrictions to use of facilities is hardly a choice.

I encourage everyone to vote "no" on this budget and to do so in the future should Candor Central School again offer such ultimatums to the public.

And as I've mentioned before, our educational system needs some serious reform. By reform, I mean less money pumped into forcing every student into the same curriculum, regardless of their abilities or goals for life. The educational system needs to exist for the sake of the students, not for the teachers, not for the administration, and not for the teacher unions.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Daily Snark 5/13

Yesterday, the Senate had a public dressing down of oil company executives. Senators argued that the $4 billion in tax breaks should be taken away from those companies.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government spends $6 billion in subsidies to ethanol producers, one of the alternative energy solutions loved by liberals. Granted, eliminating both of these breaks would only fund the federal government for about 24 hours, but if we are going to strike down one, we should definitely strike down the larger subsidy funding a worse product.

I also got a huge kick that Senator Rockefeller accused oil executives of being out of touch with the people. Apparently the Senator does not realize that in the free market, the people determine whether or not to buy a product. If people buy gas at $4 a gallon, it is because gas is worth at least $4 a gallon to people. If the oil companies were truly out of touch with the consumers, consumers would refuse to buy their product. Obviously, that's not the case.

Our tax code is a train wreck. We need to eliminate all subsidies to all companies and establish the same tax rate for all. That is the only way to prevent class warfare (in the political rather than military sense). Make all pay for the government and there will be significantly less demand for more government growth. Demonize a particular group (aka the successful) and promise other people free goods at the cost of the demonized group may be politically effective but it is both nasty and unjust.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Daily Snark 5/11

We are quickly approaching the 60th day of our attack on Libya. Surprising, huh? I'm attributing most of my surprise to the complete lack of coverage. Anyway, that 60 day mark is important, as is pointed out by RedState.com. Basically, either our part ends, or Congress has to approve of the conflict. Granted, the Obama administration completely ignored Section 2, so there is no real reason to believe he'll obey the law here, either. Granted, there is a fairly useless 30 day extension rule, but that just pushes the problem back another month; the conflict in Libya will not be over then, either.

This is why blogging is important. If I had to rely on CBS News to tell me this, I would never have found out. As much as I do follow and study politics, I don't necessarily brush up on the War Powers Act every day, so this little nugget would have escaped my attention.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Daily Snark 5/10

Washington is getting geared up for the debt ceiling debate. The White House is referring to Speaker Boehner as a "hostage taker." I could be wrong, but wasn't such violent rhetoric only the province of the Right? Please, remember Gabby Giffords!

Also, our debt is $14.2 trillion. The statists in the White House have increased spending by over $700 billion per year over the last two years. Perhaps cutting some of that spending may be a good idea. What makes me think that? The Stimulus. I can't think of any better evidence to prove that those who believe government spending is the answer are off their rockers. Their predictions were so far off base that it appears, by their own predictions, we would have been better off unemployment wise not doing the stimulus. Not to mention the hundreds of billions of dollars in debt we picked up paying for this extra unemployment.

But of course, cutting spending is extremist! I don't understand why anyone would seriously believe the government spending money is, in and of itself, somehow a moral obligation we all assumed by living.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Daily Snark 5/9

Greece's credit rating (they still get one?) downgraded yet again. They were paying 26% interest on loans prior to this credit cut.

It amazes me that people still believe government spending is, has been, or ever could be the answer to economic problems. I think it has a lot to do with that verb, believe, rather than a different verb, think.

Time to start thinking or to prepare for collapse. I think Ken Anderson, guest blogging at Instapundit, has it right in that a crisis will not be a smooth transition from ok to getting worse to bad. It will, rather, be a rapid implosion. By the time we see things speeding up, it will be too late. Hence why we must act now rather than later to cut government spending.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Killing of Osama bin Laden and International Law

Creating a paradigm for a just domestic system of law, from picking a form of government to effectively implementing the laws it creates, is extremely difficult. Creating such laws for the international community is likely impossible. I am not a fan of the phrase "international law", largely because I do not believe such a thing really exists. That has not stopped many people from using the phrase to condemn actions they dislike. This phrase was often dragged out against former President George W. Bush's policies, in particular keeping captured combatants at Guantanamo Bay and the Iraq War. Rather than attempt to write a book on the subject of international law, I will apply the laws as put forward by proponents of international law during the Iraq War to the recent operation that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

For starters, this operation occurred in Pakistan, a nation the United States Congress and the United Nations have not sanctioned the United States military to attack. It was often pointed out that the Iraq War could not be legal without U.N. approval (former Secretary General Kofi Annan made this point, for instance). Simply put, if those who opposed the Iraq War did so on principle rather than politics, they should be just as adamant that this operation into Pakistan was equally illegal and that President Obama is also a war criminal. To their credit, a few hard core members of the American Left, such as Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore, are indeed saying this. This argument was ridiculous in 2003 and remains so today. The majority of nations composing the United Nations are not democratic or respect human rights; a great many of them have a vested interest in hurting the United States. It is beyond insane to believe this rabble of tyrants and corrupt oligarchies can create a just and consistent international law. The repeated condemnations of Israel and the deafening silence concerning Palestinian atrocities proves this point. Furthermore, we are a sovereign nation; our government has a responsibility to its people, not to the international community, to keep us safe from harm.

Opposition to the Iraq War may be legitimate on the grounds that it did not further the goal of keeping us safe (I will not weigh on that here). Opposition based on not having a U.N. resolution was, well, stupid. Those who used that as an excuse must now explain their hypocrisy concerning the Abbottabad operation or declare the United States illegal in violating Osama bin Laden's rights; I do not envy them that position. This should serve as a lesson against using empty phrases. If you cannot clearly tell me where international law comes from, what it is, how we can uniformly tell what international law says, it may be best not to base arguments on it. The same is true for terms like "fair prices" and "social justice." Perhaps some other source of international law could or was cited against the Iraq War, but I am willing to bet it is no stronger than a U.N. resolution. At the very least, we can tell when the latter exist or do not. Other sources of international law will likely not be clear and even if such clear laws do exist, it remains to be proven that they trump the goals of governments to secure their own citizens' rights.

Secondly, it is now clear that Osama bin Laden was unarmed when Navy SEALS burst into his room. There are accounts (admittedly from bin Laden's wife and hence suspect) that the terrorist leader was executed. It is certain that the order to the SEALS was to kill rather than capture bin Laden. The most likely holding treaty here is the Third Geneva Convention, often used as an authority against the status of Illegal Combatant used by President Bush. Neoconservatives, President Bush's administration, and myself argued that as Al Qaeda terrorists are not signatories to the Geneva Conventions, do not meet the specifications required by Article 4, and do not follow the Conventions themselves (which, according to Article 2 would entitle them to protection), these combatants are ineligible to such legal protection.

Again, those making the case that holding prisoners at Gitmo and waterboarding a small number of them was illegal need to be in an uproar against what President Obama has ordered in Abbottabad. Osama bin Laden was unarmed and likely executed on the spot; if the Third Geneva Convention rules apply to Al Qaeda, this is a gross violation of Article 3, section 1, subsection a (banning "
violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture"), subsection d ( prohibiting "the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples"), and Article 13 in its entirety. Again, a small number of hard core Leftists are making this argument, but the vast majority of Americans who criticized waterboarding, Gitmo, and the status of Illegal Combatant celebrated the death of bin Laden. Once again, these people need to explain their hypocrisy or defend poor bin Laden; once again, I do not envy that position.

I cannot repeat this enough: using vague phrases like "international law" and "social justice" may be persuasive as a cheap sophistry trick on the unthinking, but they carry very little intellectual rigor. Furthermore, they tend to trap their users when the situation changes. A great deal of criticism against Bush's policies can now be used to criticize Obama's mission against Osama bin Laden; those scoring political points during the last decade are going to do their best to forget their past positions now, but those of us who prefer truth to partisanship have a duty to hold those people accountable.

The Daily Snark 5/7

25% of the job growth so praised by the President last month came from McDonalds. When Bush was President, the media came up with a term to describe such low paying job "recoveries": McJobs.

The Euro bailout of Greece has failed. Greece is now paying higher interest (26%) on its two year debt than I do on my credit card.

Oil speculators lost money hand over fist this last week
. Oddly, that didn't make the news; it only seems to be newsworthy if they are making money, which for some unknown reason is "evil." Link

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Daily Snark 5/6

United Nations attempt to help Haiti kills 5,000 people. These are supposedly the same people we need to help us in places like Iraq. With "help" like this, I think we're better off without it.

Also, some second hand snark: "The Greenies have it wrong. It is not resource abundance but poverty which is unsustainable."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Daily Snark 5/5

All of my Irish students had no idea who Bobby Sands was, but they knew it was Cinco de Mayo.

The Osama killing story seems to change every day. That doesn't build confidence in the trustworthiness of the White House's story. Get your story straight, then release it. May be a post this weekend on whether killing Osama was legal under the rubric set up by the American Left during the Bush Administration. That could be interesting.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Daily Snark 5/4

"To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and – more profoundly – our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action."

~President Obama's speech on why we needed to get involved with Libya.

Wrong. Not to mention the images out of Iran in 2009 disproved this idea, but what happened in Syria over the lat 48 hours takes the cake. That is most certainly an image of slaughter; I suppose that means Obama has betrayed who we are?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Daily Snark 5/3

Unsurprisingly, Obama's approval numbers went through the roof over the last 48 hours. Fact of the matter is, it will not last. I paid $4/gallon gas for the first time today since 2008; that was an election year and one in which the incumbent's party had absolutely no chance. Prices traditionally spike after Memorial Day due to a switch to a more expensive mixture of gas that is somehow more environmentally friendly for warm weather; we haven't hit that spike yet.

Osama is dead; the thrill of that will be gone by August 2011, certainly by June 2012, and that leaves many months of high gas prices, high grocery prices, and few jobs between then and election day '12. Both George Bushs had approval ratings above 80 at one point; the first lost his bid for reelection and the second won it by a few points. Obama's approval is in the mid to high 50's. It won't last.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Daily Snark 5/2

Osama bin Laden once referring to the United States as a "paper tiger." I assume that is Arabic for "most powerful killing force in the entire universe."

Many worrying signs concerning Pakistan, though. Also, I'm fairly amused that our use of enhanced interrogation techniques and Gitmo detainees apparently helped lead to this day. For those of you who claimed those actions were not in your name, I agree, you can claim no credit in wiping out bin Laden.

Rest in Pieces.