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Belmont Club

Monthly Archives: July 2011

First Down or Air Ball?

July 31st, 2011 - 7:15 pm

President Obama announced a deal had been reached to raise the debt limit, but many of the details were still unclear and there were indications the proposal would meet opposition from both parties.

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“A small key opens big doors.”

July 29th, 2011 - 1:20 pm

The BBC says Turkish military chiefs have resigned en masse. “The reasons were not immediately clear but there has been a history of tension between the secularist military and the governing AK party in recent years.” The proximate cause appears to be over efforts by the government to prosecute certain ranking officers for subversion, which would lead to a reshaping of the armed forces according to their liking.

Gen Kosaner and his senior commanders quit hours after a court charged 22 suspects, including several generals and officers, with carrying out an internet campaign to undermine the government.

This case is the latest element of the so-called “Sledgehammer” conspiracy – a coup plan allegedly presented at an army seminar in 2003.

Seventeen generals and admirals currently in line for promotion were among those jailed in the Sledgehammer prosecutions. Altogether nearly 200 officers were charged with conspiracy.

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Boing-boing notices that “yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee voted 19-10 for H.R. 1981, a data-retention bill that will require your ISP to spy on everything you do online and save records of it for 12 months. California Rep Zoe Lofgren, one of the Democrats who opposed the bill, called it a ‘data bank of every digital act by every American’ that would ‘let us find out where every single American visited Web sites.’”

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Who Mourns For Gaia?

July 28th, 2011 - 6:10 pm

A new NASA dataset covering the years 2000-2011 suggests that important parameters of the “global warming model” are wrong. For one thing, far more heat is being released into space than  United Nations computer models have predicted.  Moreover, the data shows the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before the computer models predicted they would.

Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA’s Terra satellite says “the satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”

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Visions of Sugarplums

July 28th, 2011 - 11:03 am

Andrew Klavan observed that money is more embarrassing to discuss than sex.  But somebody’s got to do it, so the three short videos after the read more tackles that most mysterious of questions: where does material wealth come from? Is it created by some mysterious process of incentive? Is it legislated into existence? Can there be any real progress in the world that is not predicated on a cycle of domination and theft?

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Barack and the Boehner Stalk

July 27th, 2011 - 4:46 pm

In the early stages of the Eurozone crisis, conventional wisdom held that the solution to the currency crisis lay in a bailout package for Greece. That is if a bailout package could be crafted for Greece the bond markets would go quiet. But as events progressed, a curious but perfectly natural thing happened. The perceived financial health of the Eurozone became a function of the whole system.  The market looked past Greece to Italy, Spain and Portugal and saw that it was rotten. It was as if a film-maker had a shallow depth of field lens and moved the focus from the immediate foreground and brought the vast backdrop into view. Behind the small problem in the Greek foreground was a putrid backcloth in the distance. The term for this was “Contagion”. A synonym might be Context.

Bankrupting America suggests the same phenomenon might be taking place in America. For the longest time conventional wisdom held that the key to maintaining confidence in the dollar lay in increasing the debt limit agreement.  Now it turns out that whatever the outcome of the debt limit negotiations, America stands to lose its coveted triple-A rating.  It quotes a Brown and White article in Politico which says:

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Univeral Guilt is Universal Condemnation

July 26th, 2011 - 11:23 pm

CNN’s Tim Lister writes that Andres Breivik showed a compulsive interest in those who warned that mindless multiculturalism was making the world a more dangerous place. Lister notes that Breivik read writers like “Fjordman”, Jihad Watch, Brussels Journal, TheReligionofPeace and Atlas Shrugs.  He explores the issue of whether these writers somehow contributed to Breivik’s murderous act. Lister quotes Daniel Greenfield who says that “trying to apply rational standards to Breivik is futile”. He also cites Mark Steyn’s observation that:

“This man Breivik may think he’s making history and bestriding the geopolitical currents and the clash of civilizations, but in the end he went and shot up his neighbors. Why let his self-aggrandizing bury the reality?” Steyn wrote Monday.

But Lister notes that others disagree and references Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic who says Pamela Geller should understand that “free speech means free speech. But she should be aware now that violent people look to her for guidance, and she should write with that in mind.” In other words, the guilt is there and no denying it. But as the process of guilt by citation expands it turns out that for Goldberg’s words to be valid they should also apply to Cardinal Pell of Sydney and John Howard of Australia.

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Links From All Over

July 26th, 2011 - 3:32 pm

Entire British Army battalions and regiments are to be disbanded on their return from Afghanistan, a memo sent to officers discloses.

The Greek bailout has not stopped the Euro crisis. The WSJ writes “as the days have passed, investors have taken an increasingly jaundiced view of the agreement, so much so that the Spanish government is once again paying more than 6% to borrow for 10 years, or just below the level at which the governments of Greece, Ireland and Portugal were forced to seek help. … Europe’s leaders will have to interrupt their August vacations and come up with a proper plan.”

Plus, below the Read More: ‘we can’t show you the President’s debt plan so he can successfully compromise with Republicans on it’.

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The Lesson of Norway

July 26th, 2011 - 3:30 am

The Wall Street Journal writes that the recent terror attack in Norway is turning politics into a game of ‘who knew Breivik?’.

Media reports have suggested Mr. Breivik had links to the British far right and claimed to have been in touch with the English Defence League.

But the EDL denied in a statement late Sunday it had any “official contact” with the 32-year-old.

The prime minister’s spokesman said any possible links to the EDL was something that should be investigated by the Metropolitan Police and other authorities.

There are likely to be two consequences to Breivik’s attack. The first is legal. Some political associations are now going to become clearly derogatory. Dealing with the English Defence League (EDL) for example, is likely to be seen as damning as dealing with say, the Muslim Brotherhood and as likely to put you on a watch list, at least a secret one.

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In Transit

July 25th, 2011 - 2:54 pm

I’d like to apologize to the readers of the Belmont Club for being offline these last 72 hours as I’ve been traveling where the Internet  connectivity is unreliable.  My companion in those offline hours was John Garth’s “Tolkien and the Great War”.  Garth argues that among the reasons why JRR Tolkien, who was a combat veteran of the Somme rejected the Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon narrative of the Great War was because it could not despite its vast scope, encompass the true problem.

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