Thursday, February 24, 2005

HAFs, Sovereignty and the UN

A UN, a step toward a world collective or one world government, is a romantic notion particularly popular with egalitarians who, by some stretch of the imagination, transmogrify the greatest bastion of freedom in the world into a fascist dictatorship. Their faith in the synergy of collective action makes an independent American foreign policy anathema to them. For this Hate America First crowd, the collective, the UN is a totem, untouchable and beyond reproach.

Their ostensible complaint and incessant rant against America involves the issue of State sovereignty. According to their understanding the most hideous regime, no matter its record on individual rights, is entitled to immunity from outside interference based upon the concept of national sovereignty, but this is a misunderstanding of the issue. What Hate America Firsters must assiduously ignore is that a dictatorship has no claim to sovereignty, the case for sovereignty can only be made for those States that derive their power from the consent of the governed. Sovereignty is the prerogative of democratic nations. Claims of jurisdiction or sovereignty by totalitarian states are preposterous and should be dismissed out of hand.

HAFs generally point to American adventurism in foreign affairs as proof of their indictment. It is true that the US has backed some questionable regimes in the past, and engaged in a couple of specious military adventures against a Mexican dictatorship over the secession of Texas, and later against Spain in Cuba and Puerto Rico, but it has never abrogated the legitimate sovereignty of another nation. The US was certainly opportunistic in these adventures, but neither dictatorship in Spain or Mexico, had a legitimate claim to sovereignty. There are more recent complaints as well; US actions in Nicaragua and Iraq are usually mentioned. Magnifying the importance of these actions to indict the US as an imperialist power is mean spirited, tortured logic, and bogus history.

The HAF remedy for this supposed problem is to forbid independent foreign policy action by individual nations, especially the US, and to turn the world over to the United Nations. But why would this make sense? By any standard, the UN is bogged down in politics, graft, bureaucracy and corruption, and is even worse totally ineffective. Its committees and councils are staffed by the spoiled brats of the world’s wealthiest citizens as the career of last resort who engage in endless debates for partisan not humanitarian reasons. An international organization is not necessary a bad idea, but the UN as presently constituted is hardly the answer.

The problem starts and ends with its qualification for membership. Any despot anywhere in the world is eligible for membership and welcomed with the same dignity and respect due legitimate nations. This single, absurd prerequisite for eligibility, only demeans and renders ineffective what is supposed to be the most prestigious organization in the world. There is no rationale for a club that includes every nation irrespective of its politics, as if it were a collection of figurines one had to complete.

Does sound judgement require the opinion Ayatollahs? Should North Korea or Myanmar be members of an organization dedicated to freedom and human rights? Of course not. The only benefit derived goes to the illegitimate nations who profit from an undeserved veneer of respectability.

The hopes and aspirations of humanity are the province of free nations, and the UN should go the way of the dinosaur, or perhaps be replaced by a UFN (United Free Nations). Then and only then would the organization have real prestige. A Membership there would require the petitioner to accept the responsibility for protecting individual liberty. It would be an association to which nations would aspire and be proud to join. Dictatorships would need not apply.
Copyright 2005, Robert Davison Wolf.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Old Beads Restrung: The Progressives.

By Robert Wolf

If there is anything positive to be said for modern socialists, it is that they have cleaned up nicely.

For much of the twentieth century, they had a shabby look about them, throwing bombs and assassinating heads of state in the 1st third of the 20th century, and pointing with pride to the great successes of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China in the 40s, 50s, and even as late as the 60s. Now, reborn as Progressives, they tell us that Russia and China were failures, not of collectivism, but of big government. If this is true, one would think the remedy would be less government, not more.

Socialists no longer sport the scrufty look, aside from a few professional protestors, nor do they kidnap the descendants of William Randolph Hearst. Today’s so called “Progressives” work at appearing chic and ever so civilized. “Nothing to fear from us,” they say, “we’re for the poor and the down trodden. We support the little guy in his battle against greedy corporations,” chortling like the proper metrosexuals they are. “Evil Corporations corrupt legislators in exchange for corporate welfare”, they titter as they down their designer martinis. The point is valid, but the remedy obtuse. If politicians are corrupted by big business who is the villain, politicians and government or business?

Socialism is defined as any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership/administration of the means of production and distribution of goods. Progressives favor among other things proactive government, universal health care, a foreign policy dictated by the UN, a living wage, free (sic) education Pre-K through College, and expanded Social Security benefits, yet they deny they are socialists. Not only do they not know they are socialists (or refuse to admit it), but they display an abysmal ignorance of history by adopting the appellation Progressive, which means the opposite of what they intend.

Contrary to popular opinion, the original Progressive movement did not favor more political power for the disenfranchised; Progressives preferred the status quo. The movement was a knee jerk aversion to the rising political power of newly arrived immigrants. Elections, for example, were moved from Saturday to Tuesday in an attempt to reduce the working-class immigrant vote. Progressives centralized the government, making it more professional and less personal. By the end of the 1920s, most cities had adopted some form of municipal civil service and members of school boards and city councils were elected citywide rather than on a district-by-district basis. This made it exceedingly difficult for ethnic groups to elect their own representatives and significantly increased the cost of campaigning, thus empowering wealthier special interest contributors. The modern ‘Progressives’ have nothing in common with their namesake, with the expectation of wanting more government. Their philosophical antecedents lie with the socialist movement.

Their public and private views are quite distinct, however, the unkind might even say hypocritical. It is interesting to observe how progressives, who never met a tax or redistribution scheme they didn’t like, or have the ability to distinquish between the deserving and undeserving poor, handle charity and other acts of kindness in their personal lives.

A cousin or brother-in-law in need is a worthless bum and told to go out and get a job (education, life, etc.). He is definitely not provided for in the household budget; nor, is the beleaguered relative lent money. “The ‘loser’ won’t pay it back,” these lovers of humanity cry. Yet with unctuous piety, they demand that funds be disbursed to this wretch from the public treasury post haste knowing full well the beneficiary of this purloined largess will be the very person they deemed unworthy of help in the first place. Frederic Bastiat could not have been more correct when he said, "Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."

It is also a fiction that the poor are their real concern. They have an romantic, idyllic “noble savage” image of the virtuous poor that defies reality. This should not be surprising because the real poor are kept far away from their gated communities, something to do with property values. The real poor are the butt of their jokes, usually dismissed as trailer trash, red necks, the great unwashed, etc., and they reject, out of hand, the opinion, even the humanity, of one who is poorly dressed or drives a pickup or beat up car.

If government largess were limited to the needy, the Republic could probably survive, however their favorite programs are mostly for the middle class in the name of the poor. Topping that list are living wage, college funding, mass feedings in government schools, after school programs, child care, home mortgage deductions, and employment for the army of bureaucrats required to run the programs.

What they want to do for the poor is what they have done for their children, grant every wish, make no demands, instill no responsibility, grant total license. Without making the connection, they fail to understand why their children are still students or living in the basement at age 35, and knowingly ignore the fact that there are as many poor now as when they signed up for the war on poverty. Their offspring and the poor alike, with everything provided by someone else, are entirely dependent upon others and totally disinterested in anything that requires effort.

Progressives preach peace, but fight over parking spaces, riot at sporting events and key a rival’s car. The weasels whine that life should not be competitive, demand scoreless sporting events for their children, while lying on their resumes and undermining co-workers whenever there is a job to be had. In reverent tones they lecture us about charity, while every penny of their personal income is leveraged to purchase stuff, fancier homes and cars designed to impress or embarrass their neighbors. They harness the muscle of government backed unions to get more pay and better benefits for themselves and their kin, not because they are skilled, but because they were first. The scab is beaten, his family threatened and his home vandalized for the crime of being his own agent. Yet, it is corporations that are violent and greedy.

They preach peace, love and brotherhood at their rallies, then trample their brothers to be first to the parking lot. They advocate for the elderly but won’t interact with them, certain they are better off in a nursing home. They urge their daughters to avoid pregnancy and marry well, yet encourage poor women to remain unwed and accept public support for their children; unless a husband shows up, then, it’s out in the cold.

They lavish their money on security systems for their private homes and their fancy cars as a necessity, while believing government spending for national security or the military is a waste of funds. They dismiss patriots in military service as cretins unfit for any other career. They argue against guns while secreting loaded revolvers in their dresser drawers. They are against war, desire peace, but, at the drop of a hat, will fight with a neighbor over the size of his lawn ornament. They will kiss the backside of the vile and the odious to get a good job, good grades or admission to a country club, but view as unforgivable the fact that the U.S. might once have supported Saddam.

Chop Suey.

©2005 by Robert Wolf. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 14, 2005


By Robert Wolf

Is it just me? Harry Wales a prince of England wears a Nazi costume to a masquerade and the world loses it. What is the rule about costumes? Are any others forbidden? If not, why not? What is are the rules? If one were to choose a scary costume for a party what choice would be scarier?

Your just a lad, Harry, and have not yet capitulated to the PC, to go along to get along. Sadly, you’ll probably learn.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Democratic Sore Losers

By Robert Wolf

Now that the Democrats have recovered from the shock of losing the election, we are hearing more whining about unfair elections. Their definition of a fair election appears to be one which Democrats win. It was amusing to hear Senator Chuck Schumer of New York say, in an interview with John Stewart, that “when Tom Daschel loses reelection there is something wrong with the system”. There is nothing wrong with the system, Senator Schumer; what is wrong is the Democratic agenda.

When you speculate about what society should provide for others, you are accepting the premise that our lives belong to society and that society has a right to dispose of our lives, set our goals and to plan the distribution of our income. This is antithetical to the principals upon which this nation was founded, principals that still run deep in the psyche of the American public. Voters are smart enough to know that jobs, food, clothing, homes, medical care, education, etc. do not grow on trees. Americans instinctively know that life does not guarantee us success or provide us with the automatic satisfaction of our desires, that hard work is the key to success. It is as simple as that.

Democrats hold that without Uncle Sam there will be no one looking out for the poor. They also believe that life on the government plantation is idyllic. Just a cursory look at Social Security should disenbue them of that notion, but that cursory look is never taken. The average Social Security recipient receives $800, hardly a “living wage”.

But, even if government charity was a desirable thing, the government is broke. It is able to live far beyond its means only because it prints its own money. This places the burden of inflation on all our citizens and goes far beyond the diversionary tactic of arguing about entitlements, taxes and class warfare. In other words, because inflation steals far more from us than government gives back, fighting over which segment of the population should get the kickback is irrelevant. Whatever the amount to whoever it is given pales when compared to the amount that is stolen in the first place. Among Democrats, the same people who recognize the futility of the war on drugs, obstenately refuse to see the failure that is the war on poverty.
Of course we should help those who can not help themselves, but it seems to have gone without notice that the class Democrats insist upon helping own automobiles, televisions, cell phones and often their own home. Democrats have gone far beyond feeding the poor and caring for the elderly; the bulk of government largess is aimed at entitlements for the middle class. When did it become the duty of government to provide us with heath care and an education? Wrong headed though it is, if we could restrict government’s tender mercies to the elderly and the truly poor, there might be some hope for the American taxpayer. Ayn Rand wryly observed that “ a liberal's compassion is limited only by the size of someone else's wallet.”

Anyone who believes that government can spare him the effort of being charitable is delusional. Virtue can not be delegated. Worst, the believer is also a thief, because the money is pried from the pockets of others. Our lives and efforts are not community property to be divvied up by the mob. Only individuals have the right to decide when or if they wish to help others, society, as an organized political system, has no say in the matter whatsoever.

©2004 by Robert Davison Wolf, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

National Geographic Warns of Global Warning

By Robert Wolf

National Geographic Magazine has decided to weigh in on the side of global warming. They conclude that the danger not only exists, but that man is a significant contributor.

The Magazine noted for its fluffy, mostly vacuous articles on natural science and archeology and famous with young boys for its pictures of topless natives, has for over one hundred years assiduously avoided political causes--but like another grand old lady, The New York Times, it may now have abandoned that objectivity.

The story is told with the vanity typical of the scientific community which places too great an emphasis on man’s capacity for shaping the environment perpetuating the hubris that nature could not prevail against man’s determination to “save the planet”.

It is self-evident, even to the vast right wing conspiracy, that mankind should not trash the planet. What isn’t clear to any, except the irrational, is why we should accept the Kyoto approach asking industrial nations to forgo the benefits of civilization to emulate the lifestyles of the 3rd world. What is most annoying is the malice of forethought that ignores two very significant ‘natural’ climatic events in this millennium.

According to authors Hubert Lamb and Le Roy Ladurie, between the 10th and 14th centuries AD, Earth's average global temperature was much warmer than it is today. This Medieval Warm Period is deduced from historical weather records and proxy climate data from England and Northern Europe.

The warmer conditions associated with this interval of time are known to have had a largely beneficial impact on Earth's plant and animal life. In fact, the environmental conditions of this time period have been determined to have been so favorable that it is often referred to as the Little Climatic Optimum. This is the period that corresponds to the Norse colonies in Greenland and Vinland that have so confounded historians.

In Europe, temperatures reached some of the warmest levels of the last 4,000 years, allowing enough grapes to be successfully grown in England to sustain an indigenous wine industry. Contemporaneously, horticulturists in China extended their cultivation of citrus trees and perennial herbs further and further northward, resulting in an expansion of their ranges that reached its maximum extent in the 13th century. From examining the climatic conditions required to grow these species successfully, it has been estimated that annual mean temperatures in the region must have been about 1.0 °C higher than at present, with extreme January minimum temperatures fully 3.5 °C warmer than they are today.

In North America, tree-ring chronologies from the southern Canadian Rockies have provided evidence for higher tree lines and wider ring-widths between 950 and 1100 AD, suggesting warmer temperatures and more favorable growing conditions. Similar results have been derived from tree-ring analyses of bristlecone pines in the White Mountains of California, where much greater growth was recorded in the 11th and 12th centuries.

Simultaneous increases in precipitation were additionally found to have occurred in monsoonal locations of the United States desert southwest, where there are indications of increased lake levels from AD 700-1350. Other data document vast glacial retreats during the Medieval Warm Period in parts of South America, Scandinavia, New Zealand and Alaska; and ocean-bed cores suggest global sea surface temperatures were warmer then as well. The Arctic ice pack substantially retreated allowing the settlement of both Iceland and Greenland; while alpine passes normally blocked with snow and ice became traversable, opening trade routes between Italy and Germany.

Contemporaneously, on the northern Colorado Plateau in America, the Anasazi Indian civilization reached its climax, as warmer temperatures and better soil moisture conditions allowed them to farm a region twice as large as is presently possible.

To confuse the Climatic issue further, there was a second event in which Western Europe experienced a general cooling of the climate between the years 1150 and 1460 and a very cold climate between 1560 and 1850. The colder weather increased glaciation and storms had a devastating affect on those that lived near glaciers or the sea. For more, go to: http://www.co2science.org/subject/other/clim_hist_1thousand.htm

Scott A. Mandia, Assoc. Professor of Physical Sciences at SUNY Suffolk again relies heavily on Lamb and Ladurie in describing the opposite climatic events in the 14th through the 18th centuries.

Lamb (1966) points out that in the warmest times of the last 1000 years, southern England had the climate that Normandy, France has now. The difference between the two locations is about 350 miles. In other terms that means the growing season changed by 15 to 20 percent between the warmest and coldest times of the millennium. That is enough to affect almost any type of food production, especially crops highly adapted to use the full-season warm climatic periods. During the coldest times, England's growing season was shortened by one to two months compared to present day values. The availability of varieties of seed today that can withstand extreme cold or warmth, wetness or dryness, was not available in the past. Therefore, climate changes had a much greater impact in the past. The culmination in the year 1816 - "the year without a summer."

One of the worst famines in the seventeenth century occurred in France due to the failed harvest of 1693. Millions of people in France and surrounding countries were killed. The effect of this little ice age on Swiss farms was also severe. Due to the cooler climate, snow covered the ground deep into spring, and a parasite, known as Fusarium nivale, which thrives under snow cover, devastated crops. Additionally, due to the increased number of days of snow cover, the stocks of hay for the animals ran out so livestock were fed on straw and pine branches. Many cows had to be slaughtered.

In Norway, many farms located at higher latitudes were abandoned for better land in the valleys. By 1387, production and tax yields were between 12 percent and 70 percent of what they had been around 1300. In the 1460's it was being recognized that this change was permanent. As late as the year 1665, the total Norwegian grain harvest is reported to have been only 67 - 70 percent of what it had been about the year 1300 (Lamb, 1995.)

Ladurie (1971) notes that there were many "bad years" for wine during this period in France and surrounding countries due to very late harvests and very wet summers. The cultivation of grapes was extensive throughout the southern portion of England from about 1100-1300. This area is about 300 miles farther north than the areas in France and Germany that grow grapes today. Grapes were also grown in northern France and Germany at that time, areas that even today do not sustain commercial vineyards.

In fact, Lamb (1995) suggests that during that period the amount of wine produced in England was substantial enough to provide significant economic competition with the producers in France. With the coming cooler climate in the 1400's, temperatures became too cold for grape production and the vineyards in southern England ceased to exist and do not exist even today.

The study of the tree populations in forests of Southern Ontario by Campbell and McAndrews (1993) shows that after the year 1400, beech trees, the formerly dominant warmth-loving species, were replaced first by oak and subsequently by pine. Further, the forest under study appears to have remained in disequilbrium with the prevailing climate of today--suggesting that tree population distribution takes hundreds of years to recover from major climate changes.

The cooler climate during this time had a huge impact on the health of Europeans. As mentioned earlier, dearth and famine killed millions and poor nutrition decimated colonies of Vikings in Greenland, Vinland and Iceland.

In 1595, glacial advances at Gietroz (Switzerland) dammed the Dranse River and flooded Bagne resulting in 70 deaths. Between 1600-10: Advances by the Chamonix (France) glaciers caused massive floods which destroyed three villages and severely damaged a fourth. One village had stood since the 1200's. 1670-80 recorded the maximum historical advances by glaciers in eastern Alps. There was a noticeable decline of human population in the areas close to these glaciers, whereas population elsewhere in Europe had risen. Between 1695-1709 Icelandic glaciers advanced dramatically destroying farms. A glacier in Norway advanced at a rate of 100 meters per year from1710 to 1735—and from 1748 to 1750 Norwegian glaciers achieved their historical maximum positions. For more go to: http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/lia/little_ice_age.html

In light of these events, it is hard to mourn the retreat of today’s glaciers. Until science can explain these dramatic anomalies, who could reasonably put stock in the current, petty statistics involving fractions of degrees tormented into significance by flawed computer models--especially when just a short 30 years ago, these same sources were warning of an impending ice age.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Amber Frey: A willing victim

Some of you may be as tired as I am over the constant buzz attending the trial of Scott Peterson. Whether or not he is guilty will be determined in due course. I am at a lost to explain the interest in every detail of the trial.

The most annoying aspect of the whole thing is the supposed victimization of Amber Frey. She and her feminist handlers, notably Gloria Allred, are playing the victim card for all it is worth.

What are the facts of the case? We have a woman who sleeps with a strange man on their first date and gives him a key to her house 3 days later. Do these actions seem prudent? If Scott Peterson was an evil predator taking advantage of a poor defenseless woman, it appears he did not have to work very hard at it.

One wonders if the fault doesn’t lie with Ms Frey. A question I would like answered, would be who is the father of her 3 year old, another victimizer?

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