In a September interview with the Pentagon’s news agency last fall, Iris Ferguson, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Arctic and Global Resiliences said Chinese leaders have “been trying to insert themselves into the Arctic.”
“So, we’re being very mindful about their activity and in wanting to ensure that our interests are protected in the region,” Ferguson said.
China seems to be very interested in what goes on here in the Great Land, although they have nowhere near the sea-lift capacity to land troops here, and so won’t find out one thing that aren’t betting on, that being a few hundred thousand heavily armed Alaskan civilians – but they sure as hell seem to want to know what assets we have up here. That’s disconcerting as hell.
I was never big on the Carpenters, but they sure sold a lot of records back in the day. Karen Carpenter’s sad 1983 death from anorexia nervosa received a lot of publicity, and for a few years instances of anorexia, especially among teenage girls, spiked. Some call this a ‘social contagion,’ when a few highly-publicized events, usually among celebrities, lead to a spike in instances of an emotional/mental disorder.
Back to the music, though. Karen and Richard Carpenter did have a light, easy style that was relaxing and thoughtful. While I was more of a head-banger – back in these days I was much more into Led Zeppelin, Foghat, Van Halen and the like – I’ve developed more of an appreciation of gentler music as I’ve gotten older. I do kind of like their song Rainy Days and Mondays, from their 1971 album, Carpenters. Here’s the official video, which presents kind of a touching photographic tribute to Karen to go along with her rich, butter-smooth voice. Enjoy.
Before we move on to the cube, let’s begin with the CW2 Square. The cube is best tackled in another step. Draw the square and label one axis Poorer to Richer. Label the other axis Darker to Lighter. Darker, for brevity, includes African-Americans, Hispanics and so on. Lighter refers to those of European ancestry. The two opposed meta-groups are the poorer and darker versus the richer and lighter, or whiter if you wish to be blunt. The richer/whiter have the power of their wealth, but counterbalancing that advantage is the fact that the poorer/darker have succeeded in wresting control of much of government power. This is so, even if most of their elected leaders are anything but poor or dark.
Note that these are really, really broad categories. In 1980 I may have been more optimistic that the racial angle would be far less significant than the wealth angle, but after a few decades of ever-more-strident race-baiting by the Left, I’m no longer so sanguine. But let’s move on to the cube, which is the part I really find interesting:
Now, let’s add the third dimension and shoot another axis out from the square to form the CW2 Cube. Label the third axis Urban versus Rural, or City versus Country if you prefer. This axis gives a geographical dimension to the meta-terrain, but there will be no convenient dividing line between the opposed sides as there was during the first civil war. It has frequently been observed that today’s red-blue political map is better understood at the county than at the state level. Even blue states like Illinois, California and New York are rural-red outside of their blue urban cores. Obviously, these urban cores are heavily populated but geographically small, with all that means to the electoral process today and to a possible civil war later.
So the opposing corners of the CW2 Cube can be seen as the poorer, darker cities versus the richer, whiter rural areas. Again, don’t quibble about outliers. Yes, there are a few rich, conservative African-Americans living in Wyoming, many poor white liberal Democrats in rural West Virginia, some rich conservatives in San Francisco and every other exceptional case imaginable.
Here’s the cube (click to embiggen):
Now look at how that falls out. Wealth, sure, color, sure, but also – and I think that now, in 2023, the bigger divide – is urban/rural. Too many in the big cities have started viewing us crazy rednecks who own lots of guns and live out in the woods as a threat, and too many of us crazy rednecks are increasingly distrustful of the big cities and their denizens – not to mention resentful when they wag their fingers at us and try to tell us how to live. Mr. Bracken continues:
Most of us live in the mushy, mongrel middle, far from the tips of the two opposite corners. But the centers of gravity of Civil War Two shall be as I have described: the relatively richer, whiter and more rural against the poorer, darker and urban. One can also propose many more axes of conflict than can fit on a cube, such as the religious versus the non-believers, socialists versus capitalists, statists versus individualists and so on. However, after you reflect upon the CW2 Cube, I think you will find that most of these extra axes can be overlaid parallel to one of the three already posited.
Bear in mind that this was written in 2010. Almost every aggravating factor that Mr. Bracken describes has gotten worse, not better, since then. The corners of the cubes have mostly drawn farther away from each other. The people in those segments are increasingly polarized against each other.
We always say “it can’t happen here.” I’m still thinking a hot civil war unlikely, although I’m thinking the odds of such a thing are increasing. But people in Bosnia in the Nineties thought the same thing:
After the fact, a common sentiment heard from urbane, secular Bosnians living in the Olympic City of Sarajevo expressed complete disbelief that a brutal, bloody civil war could have come to their modern European city and tear their lives apart.
But it did.
A parting suggestion to students of modern civil war is to read “Seasons in Hell: Understanding Bosnia’s War” by the British journalist Ed Vulliamy. It’s currently collecting dust at your local public library, waiting only to be read.
Forewarned is forearmed.
It is indeed.
Mrs. Animal and I are indeed fortunate to have our rural home in the great Alaskan Susitna Valley. We know all our neighbors well. Almost all of them are hunters. Almost all of them are armed. We’re far enough away from any major city – even Anchorage – that the “troubles” won’t impinge us directly. But they will hit us indirectly, as we are dependent on the Forty-Eight for so many things, from manufactured goods to fresh fruit. Not to mention that our children and grandchildren are all down there, although not in major cities.
A second civil war would be catastrophic. It would be fought not on distant fields, not by massive armies maneuvering against each other in open country. It will be fought in the streets, in the towns, amongst us in ways no other war has touched us since the Revolution, and if similar conflicts are any indication – see not only Bosnia but also the Spanish Civil War – it will result in hatreds that will last generations. A second civil war would be the end of the United States as we know it, and it’s unlikely anything that arises out of the ashes will have any respect for individual rights and liberties.
I’d like to say the more we know, the better able we are to avoid all this. Problem is, too many folks either don’t want to know – or don’t care. As Yeats said:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.
I’d rather not see that happen here. But I am aware of the possibility that my druthers may not be taken into account.
Over a series of tweets in late April, Ambassador Emanuel shared photos of himself and the American Embassy staff heading out—in full rainbow regalia, the new red, white, and blue—to join the Tokyo Rainbow Pride Parade. The usual celebration of civilizational collapse? All in a day’s work for our man in Tokyo.
But it was this tweet that started the firestorm: “Now is the time, now is the moment for Japan to be all that Japan can be. You could feel the energy in the air at @Tokyo_R_Pride. Today was a parade with purpose.”
Many in Japan were appalled. Not just at the sentiment, of course, or at the tone-deafness of a man who speaks zero Japanese inserting himself into a national debate he knows nothing about. After all, we know that liberal Americans consider themselves culturally superior to the Japanese. That was the entire premise behind dismantling the Japanese constitution and imposing a new one. Never mind that Japan has been a democratic country since the 19th century.
The linked article goes on from there in documenting the many ways Emanual is making a horse’s ass of himself. But then, that’s something Rahm Emanual has lots of experience doing.
Look, an ambassador is there to be his country’s representative, and to deal with issues between the two nations; in this case, the United States and Japan. Especially in this case, he is not there to engage in moral preening over that nation’s internal affairs. Japan is a fully modern nation, a functioning democracy and our best ally in the Pacific save perhaps Australia, and we have no business lecturing them on internal matters.
Should we expect Japan, an old culture with long-established traditions, to automatically hew to what we feel should be the right way to do things? No. Much as I love visiting Japan – I’ve done a lot of work there, spent months at a time in the Land of the Rising Sun, and I love the food, the people, the culture and how beautiful the country is in general – I could never live there. I’m culturally a red-state American, and I will live out my life in a place that reflects my values. And I would not presume to lecture my Japanese friends on their nation’s values, even though I disagree with some of them.
It’s well past time Rahm Emanual learned a new skill that would serve him well: Knowing when to keep his damn mouth shut.
Children can go to California to have their bodies irrevocably altered by surgery and be pumped full of drugs that could cause health issues in the immediate and distant future that could ruin their lives. Crime is rampant and the streets are full of homeless encampments, needles, and human waste. The term “Golden State” could soon refer to the fact that everyone there has contracted hepatitis. BUT the kids will be safe because they can’t get a bag of Skittles.
Read Lincoln Brown’s take on this stupidity here. ‘Nuff said.
Back in the day – and still today, in fact – one of the most powerful male singers was the Welsh master Tom Jones. He projected his voice like few today can, and he also combined style and class with talent.
One of his best-known tunes is actually a cover of Paul Anka’s 1970 tune She’s a Lady, but Jones, in 1971, recorded what would be far and away the most popular take on this song. Here, then, is that tune. Oh, and as a bonus, take a look at Tom Jones on the Ed Sullivan show in 1968, with his signature song It’s Not Unusual. Enjoy!
Not sure how this works when it’s technically the beginning of the work week, but I work as the need hits me and don’t always pay attention to weekends. Anyway: Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove, The Daley Gator, The Other McCain, Flappr and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links!
The deal, which was finalized Saturday night, would raise the debt limit through the end of 2024 in exchange for a cap on annual discretionary spending for two years and raising it by 1% in 2025. A series of cuts demanded by Republicans were also part of the deal. The White House had long opposed including spending cuts as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling, describing such cuts as “devastating.”
“We still have a lot of work to do,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said. “But I believe this is an agreement in principle that’s worthy of the American people. It has historic reductions in spending, consequential reforms that will lift people out of poverty into the workforce, and reins in government overreach. There are no new taxes, no new government programs.”
Sorry, Mr. Speaker, but you just can’t polish that turd enough to make us think it’s ice cream. Here are some things we don’t see in this “deal”:
Actual spending cuts, as opposed to reductions in the rate of increase.
Holding anyone accountable for this mess before the next election.
Eliminating the 87,000 new IRS agents.
And much more. It’s a fucking joke. The debt limit has long since been meaningless, as it just keeps getting raised and raised. We’re still mortgaging our grandchildren’s future. $31 trillion in debt will probably surpass $35 trillion by the next election.
These people are utterly out of control. Sadly, the founders of the Republic put in place a system intended for educated, thoughtful, well-informed people, and too many Americans today are none of those things.
And those people vote.
Granted this is just another boulder in the fiscal avalanche that is going to hit us, sooner or later. What can’t continue won’t continue, and this situation can’t continue. And the longer we wait to finally fix it – by which I mean, swing a big, broad axe at the Imperial government – the worse the crash will be.
I wish I could be more optimistic. I’m normally a pretty optimistic guy. But this crap, with Speaker McCarthy going on about how he pwned the libs when he basically just gave away the farm, is just too much.
Many Western experts say they take the threat of a Russian nuclear strike in Ukraine seriously but make the mistake of asserting that the odds are low. The result is that many officials view the problem of tactical nuclear weapons as serious but not urgent. Earlier this month, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told a Senate hearing that Putin’s weakened conventional force would make him more reliant on “asymmetric options,” including nuclear capabilities, for deterrence, but that it was “very unlikely” that Moscow would use nuclear weapons in its war against Ukraine. Speaking at the same hearing, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, also assessed the chances as “unlikely.”
In fact, the evidence is strong that the problem is urgent and I argue that Putin will use a tactical nuclear weapon in his war in Ukraine. Western leaders need not wonder about Putin’s nuclear-use red lines and how to avoid crossing them while supporting Ukraine, in my view. Putin is not waiting for a misstep by the West. He has been building the conditions for nuclear use in Ukraine since early in the war and is ready to use a nuclear weapon whenever he decides, most likely in response to his faltering military’s inability to escalate as much as he wishes by conventional means. This article will not consider exhaustively what may prompt Putin’s decision, but we should not fool ourselves by thinking we can prevent it. Instead, we should prepare responses for a new world in which the nuclear genie is out of the bottle.
I’m not sure I agree. Putin is a creature of the Cold War, and while apparatchik he has been and apparatchik he may be, but the use of nuclear weapons throughout the Cold War was a big, shiny red line that nobody wanted to cross. And I’m skeptical in the extreme that Putin has any notion that once that bottle is uncorked, there will be anything much left in the way of control – and the nuclear-armed world, I remind you readers, includes such wildly unstable regimes as North Korea and, in the near future and thanks largely to Barack Obama, Iran. Indeed, if Iran manages to build a working nuke, I think they will use it in short order, with Tel Aviv the likely target – and any reservations they may have about that will be off the table if Putin has given them a precedent.
Skeptical as I am, though, I’m reluctant to say that this is an impossible scenario. If Russian forces are being pushed back, and Putin sees the necessity of a win for his political (or maybe even physical) survival, well, desperate men are known to take desperate actions. And Putin isn’t the most stable guy on the table. As for the U.S. response, if any? Well, Putin isn’t the most dementia-raddled guy on the table, either. I suspect the response of the Biden(‘s handlers) Administration will be no more than a strongly worded letter.
Speaking of that, Mr. Ryan concludes:
As soon as Russia uses a nuclear weapon in Ukraine, the “fallout” will begin and spread. Tens of thousands of Ukrainians will be dead, suffering or dealing with the effects of the nuclear explosion. Hundreds of millions of Europeans will be bracing for war. But 7 billion others around the globe will go about their business, alarmed to be sure, but physically unaffected by a nuclear explosion in Ukraine. This last outcome of a Russian tactical nuclear strike may ultimately be the most dangerous to the international order. The image that many people have of nuclear arms as civilization-ending weapons will be erased. In its place, people will see these weapons as normal and, although tragic, acceptable in war. Just a “bigger bullet.” It is in this dramatically changed context that the United States will have to decide how to respond.
In this Mr. Ryan is correct. If Putin pops a nuke, even a low-yield tactical nuke over, say, a big assembly area or a major logistics base, then it may well be Katie-bar-the-door, and the world as we know if irrevocably changed. I would not care to be in Seoul or Tel Aviv were this to happen.
Beginning in the 1990s, the federal government made the disastrous mistake of promoting and increasing the amount of risky mortgage loans in the pursuit of increasing home ownership, notably requiring Fannie and Freddie to buy more and more such loans. The riskier loans were promoted as “innovative” mortgages by the Clinton administration. That push was a major contributor first to the housing bubble and then to the housing finance collapse of 2007–09.
And now they are proposing doing it again, only rather more so:
In this case, the FHFA wants to politically manipulate Fannie and Freddie’s Loan-Level Price Adjustments (LLPAs). The LLPAs are meant to be credit risk-based adjustments, which reflect fundamental factors in the credit risk of a mortgage loan, to the price of getting Fannie or Freddie to bear the credit risk of the loan. They are an adjustment to the cost of the loan to the borrower, supposed to be based on objective measures of risk.
Welcome to More Government Interference in Markets, Version 6,927,394. This kind of crap was the genesis of the 2008 housing market crash. Now we’re looking at economic illiterates in the Imperial City again doubling down on stupid. I swear, it’s idiots all the way down. Read the whole thing, and if it doesn’t piss you off, you probably aren’t really paying attention.
OK, that’s all the stupid I can take this week. I really do read these, you know.
This Week’s Cultural Edification:
Summertime is coming!
Those of us of a certain age remember acts like Mungo Jerry, who are probably best known for their 1970 hit In The Summertime. Lead singer and writer Ray Dorset later claimed he wrote the song in ten minutes, and if you give it a listen, it’s not really an implausible claim. Still, it’s a fun little tune, and still gets my toe tapping, even fifty-some years after I first heard it. Oh, and Dorset rocks those big Seventies ‘burns. Here it is – enjoy!
A report by the U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday estimated more than 468,200 residents left New York City between April 2020 and July 2022, accounting for a 5.3% decrease in the city’s population. The largest loss came between 2020 and 2021 when the population declined by just over 281,000.
Only three other U.S. cities saw worse percentages during the same time period, with San Francisco, California losing 7.5% of its residents, Louisiana’s Lake Charles losing 6.9% and Revere, Massachusetts losing 5.9%
Despite the loss of hundreds of thousands of residents, NYC remains America’s largest city by a long shot as more than 8.3 million people call it home.
And why is this happening? Well, look at where these folks are fleeing to:
The report also revealed that most of the people leaving the metropolitan areas are hunkering down in the Southern states. Nine of the country’s 15 fastest-growing cities are below the Mason-Dixon line, and six of them are in Texas.
Georgetown, Texas had the largest population boom in 2022, with an estimated 14.4% increase.
So, they are going from states where the government (especially in the recent COVID nonsense) is more restrictive and tax rates are higher, to states where the government is less restrictive and tax rates are lower.
This, honestly, should come as a surprise to no one. The concern, of course, is that these migrants will bring their voting habits with them, and in so doing plunge their new homes into the same kind of chaos they left in their former states. While there certainly will be some of that – my own former home of Colorado has gone completely off the rails in large part because of just this – there are also a fair number of people who left seeking political environments that are more friendly to what they already believe. It remains to be seen how much of each will land in these refuge states.
Back to New York: This is what high taxes, ineffective policing and constant racial pandering will bring to a major city. It’s no wonder people are fleeing. What I’m curious about is if the remaining people in the Big Apple will ever wise up.
Federal prosecutors last week announced the indictment of U.S. Representative George Santos (R-N.Y.) on a host of charges, including misuse of federal campaign funds and wire fraud, almost all of them resulting from his pathological lies.
Certainly, Santos deserved the attention of prosecutors for lying on federal documents and affidavits that may have helped him win a congressional seat as well as personal lucre.
But if that’s the case, why haven’t federal prosecutors also gone after Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)? She clearly lied her way into a Harvard Law School professorship and an erstwhile presidential candidacy by claiming, in part, quite falsely she was a Native American, supposedly Harvard’s first indigenous law professor.
Her Senate colleague, Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), flatly lied (he said “misspoke”) about being a Vietnam War veteran. He never confessed to “misspeaking” about his résumé until caught. Both senators, apparently like Santos, gained political traction in their various campaigns from such lies, but the two apparently never put them in writing, or at least not as blatantly as did Santos.
Believe you me, it gets worse from there. Unsurprising, in fact, that the Biden Syndicate comes in for a lot of discussion, vis-à-vis their deep and fundamental dishonesty.
Here’s the thing, though: very few people, including, I am sure, the esteemed Dr. Hanson, think any of this will change any time soon. As I have pointed out time and again, it is in the nature of government to grow ever larger and more intrusive; and as the power wielded by government grows ever larger, then so too does that power attract, increasingly, the worse sort of people. And make no mistake, the people described by Dr. Hanson in this work are, without exception, horrible people. Power breeds corruption as rats breed baby rats, and we are seeing that play out in the Imperial City right now.
This has happened before, of course. What we have now that polities dating back to ancient Greece did not have is the ever-pervasive and horrendously complicity legacy media, who will endlessly ignore and, if necessary, outright conceal or deny these lies.
In an honest and fair world, the aforementioned Fauxcohantas Warren and “Stolen Valor” Blumenthal would be roundly ridiculed and not allowed within a mile of any position with influence. Instead, they retain their political offices, and constantly seek to exert greater and greater control over our everyday lives.
I don’t see that Dr. Hanson sees a way back from this. I’m not sure I see one either. At least, other than the one Ayn Rand proposed.
You can tell it’s spring at last here in the Great Land when the sound of snow machine motors is replaced by ATV motors.
We don’t yet have a snow machine (in the 48 you call them snowmobiles) but we have two ATVs, a big six-seat Polaris Ranger for taking guests on tours, and a neat, agile little Polaris Sportsman that I mostly use for getting out in the woods after grouse or just indulging in one of my favorite activities – woods-bumming. If you like the outdoors and live up here, one or both of these machines is a hell of a handy thing to have.
This is Masayuki Suzuki, who does a lot of soundtracks for Japanese television and so forth, in addition to pure musical work. I’m not sure what genre he falls under, but these two songs are from the soundtrack of an anime called Kaguya-sama: Love is War, they’re kind of fun, and a little different than our usual servings. Enjoy.