What I Think Tank

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Geology and Climate Change – Should We Have Entered a New Ice Age?

leave a comment »

I was reading someone saying that they believe we are supposed to be moving into a new ice age, but that the Industrial Revolution and man made global warming has halted this progress. Now, this is by no means a new idea, but it’s still a very interesting concept. The answer to this is basically “up in the air” and demands a considerable amount of careful thought, in order to even try to conceive of an answer. Since climatology is a heated topic in today’s media climate, it’s a topic very much worth discussing. However, there’s a crap-ton of geological data and knowledge to get through on this topic of whether we’re moving into a new ice age or not, which is more than what most people can fathom. Still, I think it would serve people well to try and understand climate from a geological perspective. Here’s a not-so-quick run-through of what I think I’ve understood from it all, as the humble Sociologist that I am, using some helpful non-geological terminology, in order to make sense of the material:

Let’s just skip the concept of global eras in Earth’s history, that span upwards to billion year length time scales. It makes more sense to jump straight into the Quaternary period, which is the current period on Earth that we live in (which has been going on for the past 2.588 million years), within which the great diversification of mammals has been going on.

Let’s call the Quaternary period a “super-macro level timespan” of climate. These “super-macro” periods switch between either warm and cool trends. Our current period is a cool one, as it’s been characterized by the constant growth and decay of continental ice sheets. This is actually called an ice age, and goes by the name “the current ice age”, and we’re in the middle of it. This is not what most people would call an ice age, which I believe are actually called glacial ages in geology. So let’s call this current ice age a cool period instead, to keep things consistent.

Within this cool period on a gigantic scale, we have a “macro level timespan” of climate that are called epochs. These epochs are also either trends of warming and cooling. Cool epochs are defined by the Earth being covered by big glaciers and constant ice, and these are called glacial epochs. Warm epochs are defined by receding glaciers and ice on Earth, and these are called interglacial epochs.

On a “meso level timespan”, these epochs are then divided further into warm and cool ages. A cool age is called a glacial age, where you have vast and/or expanding ice sheets covering parts of the Earth’s surface, while warm ages are called interglacial ages, where you have receding ice sheets, but still with some ice sheets covering some land. On a “micro level timespan”, you can also find strictly regional variations of cooling and warming, and this is where things become extra interesting, not to mention confusing to “climate change” models. Heck, there are even “nano level timespans”, where you have warming or cooling trends lasting a few decades. This would, for instance, be the global cooling trend in the 60s and 70s, and the global warming trend of the 80s and early 90s. I’m not gonna bother talking about them here, so let’s ignore the nano level.

To sum it up, we are talking in terms of four different timespans of climate, from longest to shortest:

  • Super-macro level: Periods. Cool or warm.
  • Macro level: Epochs. Glacial or interglacial.
  • Meso level: Ages. Glacial or interglacial.
  • Micro level: Err… something. Let’s call them trends! Cool or warm.

At the moment, we’re in an interglacial age on the “meso level”, which started about 11 000 years ago. This age is actually also the first age of a new epoch, called the Holocene epoch. Yes, we may indeed have “just” entered an interglacial epoch, because the last epoch, the Pleistocene epoch, which ended about 11 000 years ago, was a glacial epoch. In other words, the last epoch was characterized by what we would call ice ages, or glacial ages, to be consistent. I think it’s still unknown where our epoch fits into the whole mess. We’re still in the greater “super-macro level” cool period in general, because there are big areas which are still constantly covered by glaciers, yet, we’re not in a glacial age, since glaciers have receded and aren’t covering vast lands on the northern and southern hemisphere. We won’t know what our epoch contains for thousands of years still, but it’s natural to think it could be an interglacial epoch, since the generally warm data during the current epoch suggests as much.

It is however worth asking: Maybe our interglacial epoch is just an interglacial age within the continued glacial epoch that we supposedly left of? Or put differently: Our new epoch is a glacial epoch, but we’ve started it off with an interglacial age? Maybe. I don’t know why we can call our age a part of a new epoch yet. Our epoch, the Holocene epoch, translates to the “the wholly new/entirely recent”. I’m guessing it might be linked with the recent spread and great explosion of human life and civilization on Earth during this current warm age, beginning after the last ice age. In other words, what the future holds is left to be seen.

In any case, there are temperature swings within both glacial and interglacial epochs, and also within cool periods. Since we’ve been in a “meso level” interglacial age for the past 11 000 years, this means that glaciers are expected to be receding, yet still existent. This is exactly what we see today. Just as expected.

Within this current interglacial age on the “meso level”, however, you also have smaller intervals of warming and cooling trends on the “micro level”. These are often quite regional and not global. The last warm trend, at least in the West, was during the Ancient times and through the Middle Ages, up until a cooling trend happened during the “Little Ice Age”, from the 1200s up to the mid 1800s. The “Little Ice Age” was quite cold by interglacial standards, but not compared to glacial standards, where half of Europe etc would probably be covered in tundra and ice. Since we’re in an interglacial age and an interglacial epoch, we should not expect to see ice covering most of the northern or southern hemisphere, and we shouldn’t see substantially increasing ice sheets. We should see receding ice sheets, yet some areas still covered in ice. Again, this is what we see.

Question is, have we naturally moved out of the quite cool “Little Ice Age” and just begun a “micro level” trend of warming, within the “meso level” warm interglacial age, within the “macro level” warm interglacial epoch, within the “super-macro level” cool period on Earth? Or did we prematurely halt the “Little Ice Age” by the dawn of industrialization and pollution, and kicked off a warming trend by man made means, before a natural warming trend were going to begin?

These are the actual questions to the assumption made in the introduction, and while some might believe we should be heading into a new ice age, we just don’t know the answer to this. It’s the big seven-hundred-and-eighty-ounces-of-gold question!

We do know, however, that we’ve earlier gone through much warmer trends than what we’re currently experiencing, without man made causes possibly affecting the climate, so it’s natural to think that what we’re experiencing are completely natural variations of the Earth’s climate, within this interglacial age and epoch that we’re in. Heck, we also know that the former glacial epoch, namely the Pleistocene epoch, lasting for over 2 million years and ending 11 000 years ago, and covering big parts of the northern hemisphere with constant ice for most of the time, had several quite warm interglacial ages within it. In fact, the last interglacial age, which was within the Pleistocene glacial epoch, reached temperatures that are much warmer than our current temperatures.

Indeed, many interglacial ages have existed before ours. We have only been in the current interglacial epoch, namely the Holocene epoch, for 11 000 years, where we’ve started off with an interglacial age. In other words, there’s no reason to believe that we should be moving back into a glacial trend as of now. If anything, we should probably see further warming! At this very moment in time, we’re also below the Holocene mean temperature. What we’re experiencing today is actually quite cold temperatures, relative to what we should expect from the geological age we’re in. If the last interglacial age, during the Pleistocene glacial epoch, is any benchmark for what we should expect, we’ve yet to reach out peak temperatures.

And the peak temperature is key. This defines the high point of temperatures during an age. Some suspect the peak temperature during our current age was a couple of thousand years BC. This is at least assumed to be the case, and it’s sits in the middle of the current timeline of our current age too. That could be true. But it’s equally conceivable that we’ve yet to see the peak temperatures, and that the “Little Ice Age” was more of a low point before a greater warming period. Not to mention, our interglacial age could go on for thousands of years still. Again, during this current global warming trend, since the last 1800s, we’ve yet to reach the mean temperatures of the Holocene epoch as a whole. We’re not experiencing hot temperatures by any means.

So where does this leave us? Well, global warming calculations depend on data that begin right AFTER the Little Ace Age, which was a very cold trend within our current warm age and epoch. The global warming calculations also cannot control for variations spanning a few decades, which has lead them on to pre-mature conclusions, like “global cooling” and “global warming”, having now settled on the impenetrable “climate change” brand. The important question today is, is it “man made” or not?

Considering we should easily be experiencing a warmer climate than what we’re currently doing, seeing as we’re under mean temperature that we should expect, and seeing as climate change models depend on a false low as their starting point, which means they are measuring a completely expected and fairly rapid warming trend, with or without man made CO2 release, one can begin to wonder what the HELL “man made climate change” is all about.

So, finally! Should we have entered a new ice age by now? I think the answer is no, we’re not supposed to be heading into a new ice age. There’s no reason to believe so, at least. We are currently seeing stuff that we should expect to see, since we’re in an interglacial age, where we could expect warmer temperatures still. No surprises here. We might move into a new glacial age soon, but it will take a long time to see temperature move decidedly in that direction. We’re talking time spans of thousands of years here. As of now, we’re simply moving through a warmer trend after a cold trend. These are natural fluctuations. No worries.

But let’s not stop there. I’ll take you one further: The Industrial Revolution didn’t stall anything. It hasn’t affected the temperatures once single bit. How so? Well, let’s address more issues linked with this, like the theories of “man made climate change” and CO2 models. Cause last, but not least, all of the temperature data, both current measurements and historical ice core data, show that spikes in CO2 only follow rises in temperatures. While historical ice core data could show a lag in CO2 storage, meaning CO2 could have spiked long before it got stored in the ice core samples, current direct measurements cannot be analyzed in the same way, and current data show the same as historical ice core data, namely that temperature rose first. This means that CO2 does not drive temperature levels, but rather it’s entirely plausible to say that temperature drives CO2 levels! Yes, there’s a correlation here, but an opposite correlation of what the “man made climate change” models predict. THIS explains why they were lead down a mistaken road. THIS is why they predicted a rise in temperatures for the past 15-18 years, which didn’t happen, simply because they had their models backwards. THIS is why CO2 levels continue to rise now, after temperatures have leveled out, because they could be rising as a product of the last period of warming, which happened during the 80s and early 90s. This is a plausible, competing theory to the absurdity of man made climate change. Whatever we as humans contribute to it seem not to matter at all.

Gosh. Does this mean that geology contradicts the claims of current climatology? It most certainly could look that way. Does this mean that climatology is not consistent with geological data? Well, not quite. “Man made climate change” theories could indeed coexist with the geological theories that depict the info I’ve gone through here. I have not debunked “man made climate change” as such, but my point is, the current “man made climate change” theories are simply not convincing at all, and there’s no reason to think that geological data support what the “man made climate change” theories claim. You can equally say that geological data support theories that say the current warming trends are natural fluctuations to be expected. The “man made climate change” theories are simply riddled with mistakes and a lack of prediction power, even when we talk about decades! Yes, not years, but decades! How the hell can we then trust them to say ANYTHING worthwhile about what will happen in 2050, let alone about year 2500, if they can’t even explain the past 50 or 100 years? The real world applications of these models are extremely poor. They haven’t helped us one single bit.

Now, should we stop modelling the climate? No! Absolutely not. We should continue to try and improve on our ability to model the climate! But should we stick to the whole CO2 story? No, it’s time we threw it out and started to look for other variables and causalities, and maybe we should begin to consider that humanity does not drive climate change at all.

To be able to do so, we need to get governments and politics out of climate science, because it corrupts the scientific debate and destroys real science, turning it into bad science and garbage pseudo-science. Climate change has become a religion; a cause for socialist activism! These activists are suffering from so much cognitive dissonance, that it has become sickening, and at this current rate, they’ll destroy all of us and every ounce of prosperity that we have. Climate change fundamentalists are evil and need to be fought, tooth and nail.

Written by Morten Rolland

January 31, 2015 at 6:05 am

Ukraine: The Bomb That Pro-Putin Libertarians Want To See Detonate

with 9 comments

The Libertarian Republic ran a piece about a British-Lithuanian undressing weak Libertarians that seem to be okay with Russian intervention in Ukraine, while simultaneously hating on America for doing the same around the world. Whether one agrees with him or not, it looks like there’s a bunch of butthurt Libertarians in the comment section, and nothing gets his point across more than that. It’s a lovely article. And it reminds me why The Libertarian Republic and Austin Petersen is a breath of insanely fresh air.

There are historical reasons for why Ukraine in general was a domestic political bomb waiting to go off. Crimea sadly shouldn’t have been part of Ukraine to begin with. After all, it was gifted to Ukraine back in the 1950s, when everything was the Soviet Union anyway. Then again, Crimeans have nothing to gain by being part of Russia either. Crimea should always have been its own country. Then they could choose which evil to ally with. Sadly, it seems like they’ll just go from the ashes to the fire this time.

After the Soviet Union exploded, it left many time bombs undetonated in the satellite states. We all know Ukraine has been boiling for the past decade. The Orange Revolution only marked a beginning for what is now unfolding. Putin simply jumped to the occasion and has been making the most of it. Actually, Putin did have some political and military treaties on his side that he’s made use of to get the balls rolling, like the Russian-Ukrainian military agreement in Crimea, in order to let Russia keep its only ice free naval base. This is the “legitimacy” in question. Moral legitimacy? No. Political/legal legitimacy? Sadly, yes. It’s a very complex situation in today’s political environment. A situation the Russian puppet regime in Ukraine left behind for the new quazi-revolutionary government in Ukraine to handle. It might just be much more complex than what the good man being interviewed in the LR article would like to admit to. This is the problem of completely blacklisting Russia as a huge bad guy in this. They have some defense against such allegations, and Putin can use it for his political propaganda at home. They love his giant steel balls back in Russia. It’s the culture there. And we in the West constantly give him excuses to show them off.

Personally I’ve been fascinated by Putin. Not because I like Putin. He’s a maniac. But it’s fascinating to see how he always gets his way. He’s brilliant at the whole international politics thing. I mean, insanely brilliant. He’s incredibly sneaky and have been playing circles around Obama for years now. Like how I noted during the Syria crisis, he was basically able to avoid a possible third world war over Syria by playing the political game like a genius, while America was willing to ally with Al-Qaida against Russia and Syria, in order to punish Assad in what had been nothing but an internal and contained Civil War. Not to mention Putin has continuously been properly critical of US endeavors in the Middle East. He gets how things work. He wasn’t in the KGB for nothing. He knows. He actually knows much better than our fluffy leaders.

So what does all of this do to me as a lover of freedom? It doesn’t make me weak in the knees for Putin. And it surely doesn’t make me an anti-American drone. I love America. I love our Western Civilization. This is where my ideals as a Libertarian and hardcore Capitalist and Individualist were born. Ayn Rand didn’t flee from Soviet to America for nothing. That’s why it makes me furious that Western leaders are nothing but a bunch of incompetent pillocks that play straight into Putin’s political trap. It makes me furious when America sends a young, incompetent hipster intellectual as a UN ambassador, only to get her vegan-environmentalist-Harvard woven sweater laughed at by ballsy Russians that were breast fed with vodka from infancy. We hold no respect. We talk about principles, but we look like a bunch of hypocrites that show no thought to uphold those principles at home, while John Kerry opens his gigantic jaw just to make some empty and thoughtless threats and spouting deeply hypocritical slurs. Our political class is in shambles; a bunch of pretty boys and bimbo girls that think sweet thoughts and puppies will save the world, and that if we only talk stern enough, all the rowdy kids will eventually listen.

Putin knows very well he can do what he does without the West daring to do anything about it. He knows he can be a bully and a brat. Why? Because Americans have become fed up and tired with continuous wars (not to mention bankrupt), just like Ron Paul said 6 years ago, the EU are a bunch of social democrat pansies and Putin and China can completely silence the UN. There is nothing left. I guess the only ones left that knows how to play hardball are Israel. But how would they be able to stand up against a Russian threat when they can’t even handle Hamas?

So if the goal of the West (and us freedom lovers alike, for that matter) is to lead by example and make Russians rebel against Putin and move towards freedom, we’re doing a terrible job at it. We’re just feeding his “whataboutism“, we set up these silly situations where we make it legitimate for him to annex land masses by sneaky tactics, and we’re incapable of doing anything about it when he starts to line up his military along our borders. That’s sad.

But indeed, there is potential for Ukraine to get something good out of this too. Hopefully, Ukraine can finally break free from the puppeteers in Russia. Ideally, they should just have forcibly excluded the areas of anti-Ukrainian sentiments, like Crimea, and offered complete assimilation to anyone in Ukraine who wish to live in a pro-Western, independent Ukrainian republic. Yes, they should have played ball before Putin did. Kick out all the pro-Russian puppets and oligarch jerks, get on the freedom train and ally with the US and EU if they so wish. That would have been brilliant for the people of Ukraine. The excluded areas would be turned into independent states that could choose which side they wanna be on: Become Russian satellites or friends and trading partners with the West. Then if Putin would get trigger happy, we could rightfully bomb his ass into oblivion – no ifs or buts.

That is actually a very Libertarian response. Give me Liberty or give me death! Don’t tread on me! Live free or die! Americans, do you remember these words from your proud past? We certainly wish the rest of the world to uphold those same ideals, don’t we?

What do these words mean? To be moral and peaceful as far as it goes, let people decide over their own land and their own destiny, and always seek the most freedom for individuals, always… but as soon as someone wishes to trample on the individual moral rights of someone, make the greatest use of your right to self defense and fight tyranny by shooting them up, blowing up bombs and kicking in their faces until they can’t trample on your rights any longer. Yes, it’s tough to say that, but it’s true: Always be loving and kind to the loving and kind, but show no mercy to evil.

I know this political situation is not the fault of Libertarians. On the contrary, I believe a Libertarian world would never have produced a mess like this. But when push comes to shove in this mess of a world, please fess up, Libertarians. There are both rights and wrongs in the situation, yes, but there’s never any reason to take it up our asses. Don’t become Pro-Putin Libertarians. You may think that America doesn’t have a say in this situation as of now, and yes, that is completely true. This is a stupid situation that Ukraine should settle on its own. But if Russia starts acting like a bully and comes knocking on our collective doors, like Hitler in the late 30s, we should all dare to take up arms against evil yet again. Not for Obama the socialist, not for the socialist EU, but for our liberty to live without fear of a tyrannical state. We should dare to say and think that. We’re not the same pansies like the hippie-socialist-environmentalist crazies that run our nations and wants to take our guns from us (or as in my country, not really allow me to have a gun for self defense to begin with). At least we should strive to not be like them, even if they make it hard for us. We should dare speak up for the rights of our brethren. That is what the heroes of the Age of Enlightenment would have done.

But then again, we can’t afford to take a hard line against tyranny, because our leaders have slowly been destroying the Western civilization from within. We’re old and tired. We’ve gotten lazy. And we’re bankrupt. And that just frustrates me even more. Our leaders have really fucked us over good. And again, Putin knows this. That is reason enough to be angry as hell.

Written by Morten Rolland

March 20, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Putin Speaks to the American People

with one comment

Because of Putin’s mastermind, all sides get what they want out of this situation – all except Al Qaeda, and that is a very good thing.

Russian president, Vladimir Putin, spoke directly to the American people in a recent op-ed in The New York Times. It is quite an interesting read, and a very rare spectacle to behold, as you do not see world leaders appeal to the people of another nation through media like this. With the long and cold history of Russian-American relations, it is indeed something new, and in some ways, it is also a fascinating moment of honesty and sincerity from the Russian president, even if it is covered in political rhetoric and diplomatic semantics.

The Washington Post did an analysis of Putin’s op-ed, where they added commentary and did some half-assed fact-checking. In the same way Putin’s article was interesting, the commentary is actually quite fascinating too, simply because of its “oppositional” interpretation over the same issues.

While the commentary certainly makes some good and critical points to Putin’s not-so-unbiased op-ed, I find myself disagreeing more with the one-sided interpretation of what Putin is saying, than Putin’s own take on the issues. Indeed, the commentary interpreted it from an American perspective that is being critical of the Russian perspective. What I find remarkable about the commentary is that it – just like the Obama administration’s policies over Syria – ignores the objective reality of the matters. Objectivity that actually seems more closely related to Putin’s view point. It simply seems a lot more natural to interpret Putin’s argument as clearly seeking to fight terrorism and making sure to keep terrorists at bay when they are getting too close for comfort, and that he offers a proposal for the American people to understand this, in opposition to Obama’s suggestion – to bomb Assad, which would actually be in support of the very terrorists that have been terrorizing both America and Russia for decades. Let me make that perfectly clear: Bombing Assad would be an act of aggression in support of the very people that America declared a war on terrorism against. Putin suggests that it would be in America’s best interest to leave the Syrian civil war alone. Sounds pretty damn reasonable to me.

The commentary goes on to criticize Putin for hypocrisy over saying that the U.S. should stay out of Syria, when Russia and Putin himself have been involved in it all along, dealing arms and resources to the Syrian Army. The predictable Russo-skeptic view of the WP commentary thus ignores the anti-terrorist motives for Putin to arm the Syrian Army. Assad’s regime, while certainly terrible, does at least not promote terrorism that targets America and Russia, unlike Al-Qaeda and Saudi Arabia. Could the irony possibly get any worse? Russia’s policy on this matter is for that reason an objectively more understandable and rational one, and it serves to protect the people of Russia. Is Obama’s policy doing the same for the people of America?

Herein lies is the naked truth of Putin and Russia’s side in this, that Obama has been remarkably ignoring all along. Obama has been caught in a corner, where his saber-rattling has in reality been all about saving face – and awkwardly at that; not about upholding international law or defending the American people. Indeed, bombing Syria may actually be against the international laws that Obama has been arguing to uphold. How ironic that Putin is the one who is actually upholding international law by having diplomatically ensured that Assad will offer up his chemical weapons. How ironic that Putin is the one saving face for Obama. Of course, he does not do so without saving his own face in case Assad is guilty, which could absolutely be the case, but Obama has been humiliated and schooled by Putin in international affairs, and Putin rubs it in by showing empathy and speaking directly to the American people through an op-ed in The New York Times. Imagine Obama doing something similar in Russia! Never. Indeed, what does this say about the Obama administration when the Russian president is the one offering to hammer down the wall and give the American government a way out of the corner they have backed themselves into? The irony tastes worse than American produced Smirnoff vodka.

One can of course question the Russian honesty in these matters. They have been strongly defending the Assad regime against accusations of chemical weapons use, and still do, even after in-directly admitting to Assad’s guilt by forcing him to give up his chemical weapons. I myself argued that it was far more likely for this to be an attack by the Al Nusra Front to frame the Assad regime, especially with Obama’s red line policy towards Assad, than some kinda fool hardy and idiotic attack by the Assad regime. In the beginning, it did not seem likely that Assad was behind the attacks, simply because of physical evidence and motives pointing towards the rebels (Al Nusra Front members were, after all, caught with sarin by Turkish authorities). Now, with more physical and circumstantial evidence pointing more in the direction of Assad, the tables have turned – maybe not completely, but at least enough to scowl at the Assad regime. But I would still argue that Russia’s policy has proven to be far more sensible and complete than the neurotic, hard line of the Obama administration.

The true irony of the whole situation, however, if there was not enough irony to go around already, which even further supports Putin’s overarching argument, is that no matter who launched the weapons, absolutely nothing changes. Nothing. That has been the “beauty” of Russia’s policy in this all along. America has diplomatically tied itself to attacking Assad and supporting the rebels – rebels, who are predominantly Al Nusra Front; Al-Qaeda allies. Now, however, because of Putin’s mastermind, all sides get what they want out of this situation – all except Al Qaeda, and that is a very good thing.

Can we now finally go back to discussing the insane American policy of arming Al-Qaeda allies in Syria?

Written by Morten Rolland

September 13, 2013 at 12:32 am

Chemical Hell Breaks Lose in the Syrian Civil War – Total War Ensues?

with one comment

Things are seriously packing up heat in Syria. After reports from MSF confirming that civilians have been treated and also died from symptoms of a chemical weapons attack, the theories and accusations of who were behind this attack started to flourish, with US Sec. of State John Kerry making pretty bold statements regarding what happened and who did it. The Obama administration is blaming Assad, only hours after UN investigators were on the ground. Russia and China are strongly urging the West to hold off any accusations and attacks until at least after the UN investigators will have been able to say something about the substance and origin behind what is likely to have been the use of chemical weapons.

Today, supposedly leaked secret documents reveal that the American government may have given a blank check in the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Those who are hypothesizing about a false flag operation seem confident that this new information means that America orchestrated the whole attack, in order to get the international and domestic support needed to enter the Syrian war. Certainly, the West has been eager to do so for a while, but with growing tiredness of entanglement into wars in the middle east, political leaders have been hesitant to get down and dirty in Syria. That has not stopped them from arming and training Syrian opposition forces in neighboring countries, of course.

We are seemingly offered two different theories behind the chemical weapons attacks: Either Assad went ahead with the attacks, or the Obama administration orchestrated it in order to take Assad down.

What do I think? Sure, it is technically not impossible that the Obama administration gave a blank check for the go ahead of a chemical weapons attack. Not impossible, but highly improbable. At the moment, we don’t know the plausibility of those leaks. It might deserve further investigation, sure, however, I can not see how that fits the motive of entering the war.

There is, of course, no reason to believe what the American government is saying is always true, like with any other government. There has been enough revelations about secrets and lies within the American government to indicate that things are not always what they seem to be. But still, their main motivation to get into the war has been to save civilian lives and bring democracy to the country, in order to bring peace and stability to the region (however extremely flawed that flimsy plan is). Even if there are secondary goals, the main motive seems to fit neatly with the overall goal of positive international relations, or “PR”, if you will. Positive international relations are what ensures America’s position as a trusted hegemon, at least within the western hemisphere. They need that trust. As far as foreign policy goes, they have no greater national interest than that. How would slaughtering civilians in a horrible way serve that purpose? It would not, and I find it hard to believe that they did. There is too much risk involved with that. With the amount of problems they have had in keeping secrets safe from the public. this would be a certain political suicide. PR is important to America. PR is important to Obama. PR is why they want to “bring democracy to Syria”. Chemical weapons are not good PR.

So did Assad do it then? As of now, before investigations have dug up any solid evidence to indicate that he did, it seems equally unlikely that Assad would be behind the chemical weapons attacks. The Assad regime was warned several months ago that if he stepped over the line and used chemical weapons, America could not sit idly by any longer. In other words: He knew that he would automatically forfeit the war and sign his own obituary if he used chemical weapons. For a man fighting to stay in power and keep his cushy, despotic, government job in Syria, this seems like a really stupid decision. Too stupid.

Assad, on the other hand, blames the rebels, and with that enters a new theory that has gone remarkably unmentioned by governments and the media alike. Who are these rebels?

First of all, the rebels are not a unified group of people sharing the same ideals and ideas for a new Syrian state. The West have been communicating and cooperating with the supposedly democratic and moderate faction of the rebel forces, also called the Free Syrian Army. While the West may have been rightfully sympathetic to this group in Syria, what is important to note is that a huge chunk of the rebel forces fighting in Syria are not the Free Syrian Army, but people connected with the Al Nusra Front.

Who, then, are the Al Nusra Front? Wikipedia will tell you that it is an ally of Al-Qaeda operating and fighting in Syria. They are likely the most powerful rebel faction fighting in Syria to date, and they are one of the groups being armed and trained by the West, in order to fight Assad. It would not be worth mentioning the Al Nusra Front in this context, unless there are reasons to believe they were involved in the chemical weapons attack. Were they?

This is where the whole story takes a huge turn for the worse. In May of this year, Turkish authorities caught members of the Al Nusra Front with 2 kilograms of “sarin”, a substance used in chemical weapons. The Al Nusra Front members were in the works of using the chemicals in a bomb. This is why it is key for UN investigators to at least be given the time to look into the matter, even though one should not necessarily trust them to be able to come up with any solid conclusions (not because of bias or accusation of incompetence, but because of the enormous difficulty of such a task). It has already been theorized that the chemical used in the attacks was in fact “sarin”, because it fits the bill. If that is the case, then there exists not only two theories for the cause and origin of the attack, but three:

1) The Assad regime launched the attack.
2) The Obama administration orchestrated the attack.
3) Rebel forces executed a terrorist attack with chemical weapons in order to trick America into joining the war and fighting Assad.

The most striking detail about the third one, if the Al Nusra Front indeed were capable of performing the attack, which – if reports are accurate – they certainly were, is that the Al Nusra Front would have everything to gain and nothing to lose in using chemical weapons against Syrian civilians. They are militant, barbaric and immoral enough to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals, and not to mention, it would be of great help to their cause to try to trick the West into joining them against Assad. Last, but not least, there are no down sides for them in using such a strategy. They are already armed to the teeth, by the help of America, and America is never going to jump into the war and help Assad after all the diplomatic hate jargon they have thrown at him over the last couple of years. Worst case scenario for Al Nusra Front is that nothing changes and they will simply continue the war as they have been. Their best case scenario, however, is that America hands them the chance to gain power and control in Syria and strengthen Al-Qaeda’s foothold in the Syrian-Iraqi region. That again serves their greater long-term purpose of fighting America and Israel. This does not serve America’s national interest at all.

Update [08/30/13]: While the media depicts the rebels in Syria and the Free Syrian Army as moderates and pro-democratic, it is fair to say – if Libya and Egypt are anything to go by – that this does not necessarily mean they are anywhere close to to being moderate and pro-democratic in the Western meaning of the words – only relative to the Islamic fascist alternatives. We also have no reason to trust the rebel leaders in Syria, no matter how promising they sound. But even if the leaders are honest, soldiers fighting for the Free Syrian Army may equally be members of the Al Nusra Front, or other factions. Indeed, if reports by Full Disclosure are accurate, this is exactly what has happened. This means that just as the Al Nusra Front could be the faction behind the attacks, it is equally possible for the Free Syrian Army and the rebels at large to be behind the attacks, since tricking America into joining the war against Assad means a rebel victory. In the same way, America’s dedication to a diplomatic offense against Assad means that the Obama administration can not lose face by supporting Assad in the war.

Why has this made the third theory more plausible? New information from Russian intelligence and the Assad regime, with videos from the rebel forces in Syria, show evidence of the rebel forces storing and using chemical weapons, some of which are alleged to be of Saudi origin. The Saudis have supported the rebel forces in Syria since the beginning of the war. It now seems possible that they have been dealing chemical weapons to factions within the rebel forces. Whether or not the chemical weapons ingredients found by Turkish authorities in May share the same origin is so far undisclosed or unknown, however, it makes it very likely that U.S. allies have been producing, facilitating and using chemical weapons in Syria, be it the Al Nusra Front, the Free Syrian Army or any other faction. It also makes the most sense out the alternatives, and this puts the Obama administrating in a very dangerous and embarrassing position, having essentially enabled the situation to happen through their offensive diplomacy based on bad intelligence and political snobbery.

But it gets even worse yet: Even if Assad’s regime were behind the attack, and the West enters the war to fight Assad, it will still only serve the goals of the rebels and the Al Nusra Front, which not only further undermines the theory that Assad did it, but also means that no matter what America and the West does in this situation, they have already lost. If the rebels win, the civil war will enter phase two, when the rebel factions fight amongst each other. The most radical parts of the rebel forces, most notably the Al Nusra Front, are already positioned to win such a war, leaving Syria ripe for Islamic fascism, jihadists and harboring of Al-Qaeda terrorists. This not only means that America will have to wage even more war in Syria, but it seriously endangers the West and Israel. Ironically, the best case scenario for the West is that the Syrian war will turn out to be somewhat the same embarrassment as the Vietnam war was for America, with the exception that the West will hopefully not intervene in this one.

All in all: Syria has now become the potential ignition source for total war. This is what Russia and China are worried about, and this is what America and Europe are completely ignoring. No one wants a strong Al-Qaeda presence in the region, and no one wants a Muslim world that is being further radicalized, but it seems like Putin is the only leader who is able to see where the chips are falling. Will Russia and China put force behind their warnings before the West? Will they stop a Western intervention in the Syrian war, knowing that enabling a rebel victory means a stronger foothold for Islamic fascism in the region? This is not certain at this point. Beyond UN diplomacy, I doubt it, but I wouldn’t bet against it. What I believe to be certain, however, is that there exists no moral obligation nor authority for the West to enter the Syrian war – meaning there is absolutely no rational reason for the West to put military men and women in danger for a cause that doesn’t exist, and for a victory that cannot be achieved. Ask yourselves: What would our national interests and goals be in a Syrian war? Entering the war would be nothing but a self-sacrifice, on the off-chance of perhaps saving face and hopefully achieving some goodwill within the in-crowd of Western governments and radicalized groups in the middle east, and that is nothing but a perfect example of immoral political elitism.

Maybe, just maybe, the West should have listened when Putin warned them about supporting and arming rebel forces, whose soldiers eat the flesh of their fallen enemies. Seems like pretty sound advice to me.

Written by Morten Rolland

August 28, 2013 at 6:29 am

The Dangers of Exclusion and the Evils of Collectivism: Why Individualism Is the Remedy Against Terrorism

with 3 comments

On July 22nd, 2011, Norway was struck by an act of terrorism and witnessed an unfathomable slaughter of innocent children and young adults on an island in East Norway. We have all read the news and we have all heard the tales of the evil that was brought upon innocent people that day.

Most people in Norway are still mourning the loss of their dear ones, and the wounded are still fighting to make it through. All our thoughts are with them in these tough times, and the sorrow they endure is something we hope no one will have to endure ever again. That is why we need to learn from what has happened and become stronger because of it. We need to fathom the unfathomable. As we are able to get some sort of distance to it all, and been able to reflect over the tragedy, we do see a glimpse of what the truth is in all of this. A manifesto (basically a cut-and-paste collection of many intellectual and meaningful works and pieces of literature – some of them even very good, others very bad) has been released. The manifesto is a collection of many incoherent ideas and opposing schools of thought, put together in a collectivist and conspiratorial way by one man and his world view.

In this scrap book of thoughts and influences, among the many over-lining topics that he focuses on, there are some parts that show the biggest inconsistencies, and that I feel needs to be brought up. He sees himself as an anti-collectivist, and he also do make some references to very good libertarian, classical liberal and objectivist literature (although it should be noted that he also references a lot of neo-conservative and even some communist and socialist literature, but that’s not the topic now). Does this mean he was a terrorist actually working in the name of individualism, or is he mixing up his terminology, just as he’s mixing up his influences in his creation of his own world view?

I think it’s a distinct quality of collectivism and a collectivist world view that enables a man to fully identify himself with some greater force, and to then feel justified to wage a war between the one force and another. In Anders Behring Breivik’s case, he thinks of himself as part of a pan-European mono-ethnic force that is under attack by Islamic colonists and their Marxist collaborators. He theorizes about a possible civil war between these two forces, and he thinks of himself as a pioneer in this war, and is certain he will be remembered as a hero in the future. Knowing this, you’d have a hard time arguing for him being a true individualist. He is 100% a collectivist by any measure of the word. It makes a lot more sense to me that when he speaks of anti-collectivism, he puts that in context of anti-globalism and anti-multiculturalism – he does not want his own collective sharing anything with other “enemy” collectives under a broader regulatory welfare collective. As such, he does not seem to understand the true meaning of the word, and he most certainly is not an individualist.

An individualist could turn to self-defense and could in such a situation take the life of someone, sure, but an individualist would be completely unable to launch an attack against an imagined class or group of people, in the name of his own imagined class or group of people, because that’s not the way individualists see the world. You can probably find killers in any society (and some more so than in others), and I’m certain there can still be deadly crime in an individualist world. We’re all still human. But only collectivists can be mass-murderers and terrorists, because a collectivist world view is a very distinct quality of a mass-murderer and a terrorist.

Now we can make an attempt on a remedy (which I wasn’t able to see in the middle of this tragedy, but after reading an article by Norwegian blogger Onar “Onarki” Åm it all became very clear and obvious to me, and I was able to structure my own thoughts in this article because of it): Having an open society that is able to include all sorts of opposing, alternative and even extreme opinions. That does NOT mean agreeing with them all, but simply to let them be heard in the public sphere, bring them into the conversation and always meet them with rational and logical arguments. I know us libertarians and classical liberals have a really hard time being heard in the modern socialist power house that is the world today, and some of us have felt how it is to be squeezed out, vilified and stigmatized. This was the content for my Bachelor Thesis in Sociology, Spring 2011 (I focused on people identifying themselves as classical liberals and objectivists), and stigmatization of political minorities is very much a reality, especially in Social Democratic Norway. People who are not among the general majority of political opinions will always experience a stigma that is to some unbearable. If you push them far enough and hate them enough, there will come a time where they will “snap”. This have happened with Islamist terrorists, and this have now happened with a guy in Norway, who have long tried to speak about his distaste for Muslim immigration to Norway and Europe, but has never been heard – not even been talked to. A crusader-fixation was his desperate and twisted way of being heard. It’s like a stigmatized nation getting hold of Nuclear Weapons in order to be taken seriously.

Now, as I mentioned, there is a very good reason why true individualists (like libertarians, classical liberals and objectivists) cannot become terrorists in such a situation of stigmatization that we find ourselves in. Our own opinions and world view inhibit us from thinking in such directions. Individualism makes us morally unable to, and it’s also completely against our own self-interests. We will always continue the long and hard road ahead of us by trying to spread the word of liberty and freedom in peaceful terms, and hope to turn a few over to our side as we go along. We are wired that way, and we would not be individualists if we weren’t wired that way. A collectivist, however (and perhaps also altruistic as such), can see it as both justified and in his own self-interests to take a bunch of lives (and maybe also his own) for his own warped imagery of the greater good. To him, one life does not matter. To him, the unalienable rights of fellow men and women does not exist. All he see is the greater good and people as pawns in a game much greater than themselves. All individualists must reject any such notion, and as such becomes the greatest opposite to acts of terrorism.

It’s certainly a pity that Breivik brings a bad name to good literature on his way into the history books, and it’s just another way for the majority to put a stigma on more minorities through guilt by association, and let me just make it clear that it’s a completely natural answer to such atrocities, but it’s also the wrong answer. More openness, inclusion and debate is the real answer! If we were to believe our Prime Minister here in Norway, this is actually what we’re gonna work for, but if we were to believe all newspapers and many individuals in Norway, we will see a stigma put on the backs of many innocent people in the years to come. I can see that the work for libertarians and classical liberals in Norway will become much harder, as we’re far outside the political majority, but hopefully we will be able to show that we are right in the end. I know I will fight even harder for individualism, liberty and freedom, because I know it’s the real remedy against such atrocities that we have endured, and I do not ever want to see them happen again to anyone.

And So the Race Starts Picking Up Heat

leave a comment »

Republicans are slowly lining up trying take jabs at President Obama lately,  shaping themselves into probable candidates for the upcoming primary elections. A couple of weeks ago, the CPAC straw poll released their numbers on possible contenders, revealing Congressman Ron Paul as the definite winner a second year in a row. It’s quite evident that the Congressman is likely to be cheered on by supporters to take part of the race, regardless of his plans to do so or not.

But it is the person coming in second in the CPAC 2011 straw poll, Mitt Romney, who is the first to kick off the field of potential candidates before the upcoming primaries. From an awkward campaign in 2008, Mitt Romney seems to have revised his platform before a new election season starts, sharping his pencils on attacking what for the first time in decades will be an election almost exclusively based on the topic of the economy. It will surely be the only topic worth talking about for the next two years. The wars in the middle east will not matter, the immigration issue will not matter, American relationships with China, Russia and Europe will not matter. Domestic fiscal policy is where all the debate will all be at, and Mitt Romney has realized this as well. The former businessman and Governor of Massachusetts is already starting to front himself as the only viable candidate to take on President Obama, performing the rhetoric of ethos to a tee.

Governor Mitt Romney of MA

Former Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney (Image from Wikipedia).

But is ethos a good measurement for a trustworthy and strong candidate? Generally, voters tend to like a character that is able to talk himself/herself up as the right person to the task, while still being able to appeal to the emotions of voters. But that says nothing about how much you can trust a politician, or how certain you can be that he or she will do what they said during their campaign. A trustworthy politician is the one who appeal to the logic and reason in voters, and has the track record to back that up. Mitt Romney showed none of these traits in his 2008 bid, and neither has he done so while warming up this year. I’ve seen that many people on forums and Facebook groups seem to like his aggressive take on President Obama and the economy, and while it can be said to be promising, can we really trust his words? Is he truly the right man for the job?

Sure, Romney may sound good right now before he is confronted on the issues, but even if he were to answer satisfactory on everything the media would throw at him, I don’t think he will stay true to his words one single bit. There’s nothing in his character that puts him apart from any other ordinary politician, and that’s just the way it is with flip-flopping self-hyping politicians. G. W. Bush had a lot of great things to say back in ’99-’00 too, but he ended up screwing people over and changing his policies immediately after getting into office. President Obama, like all presidents before him (except Bush’s second bid for the presidency) promised to bring change to Washington, but he has arguably brought nothing but more of the same. With this in mind, how can you trust a person that for some reason has been working for the past 2 years with an intent to seem more electable? What has Romney to show for that makes him a trustworthy candidate that offers a real alternative to what is already there? Nothing. It’s a charade.

People everywhere need to start electing trustworthy politicians – those who walk the walk. And for Republicans, this does not mean Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, or most of the other would-be-candidates that people throw around at this point. They are all sheep in wolf clothing. You might think I have that backwards, but no, that’s exactly what I mean. America doesn’t need another pretend-wolf president that will simply follow the norms of the sheeple in Washington. America should seek a lonesome wolf – one who walks the walk, stands firm on his principles, has worked to spread the message of freedom to people for years, and has the track record to back up his will to do what is necessary, and not get consumed by the usual political games of Washington. You all know who I’m talking about.

The Future For Education

with 3 comments

Image curtisy of Wikipedia

Everybody usually agree that education is important to give our kids. This is why many countries fund public schools in order to give every kid, both rich and poor, the ability to educate themselves and increase the prosperity of their country. Private schooling is often seen as an elite business that only the rich can have. While this may have been the case 150 years ago, it’s not true any longer. Exactly because everybody agrees that education is important for our kids, there would exist a market for educating all of them at an affordable price. Education doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be done cheap, and still be of high quality and perfected to the individual.

The weakness of public schooling is that it’s one single model – one size fits them all. The gifted children are being dragged down by the less gifted children, and those with learning problems cannot keep up with the rest of the class and find education frustrating. This leads to lazy children without discipline who end up not learning very much. I still remember the days at school, and the single most notable thing I remember from those days were how crowded, rowdy and undisciplined it all was. I would try to sit and soak up whatever I could of what the teacher said, trying to make the hours at school worthwhile, while ignoring those who obviously wouldn’t care, but it’s not that easy for everyone, and it’s hardly a cost-effective system.

I grew up in Norway, and before going to University I went through 12 years (9 years primary and 3 years high school) of education in what is called “likhetsskolen” in Norwegian. “The equality school”, or perhaps even “the egalitarian school” – not necessarily equal in rights and value, but equal in skills and abilities. All who are of the same age are crammed into the same classroom of up to about 30 kids, regardless of abilities. You know the drill. The teachers do not wield with discipline or structure, and the result is thereafter. To be honest, it’s chaos – perhaps only beat by American urban public schools in low-income neighborhoods. So I believe I know a thing or two about how dreadful the experiences of a public school system can be.

It’s unsustainable. It’s a waste of time, money and effort. Teachers are taught bad methods and aren’t given authority or challenges. Needless to say, the same is the case for the kids. It simply cannot go on any longer.

What do I think? If we cannot get people to understand that we need to create a free market in education, we need to change the system from within to save what possible future there is for our kids in the public schooling system. We need to individualize and reorganize. I think the future for education lies in open source education material and individualized education with one child – one computer. While you may think buying a bunch of computers will be expensive and impossible, try to think about how far we’ve actually already come in the wasteful public school system with computer labs and even laptops for children? Taking that into consideration, think about how extremely much you could save if no schools would have to buy another text book. Imagine the savings. How would they get their material? Digital! With the great progress in computer technology as of late, and after I learned about Curikki, I immediately understood what the future is. Why do we for instance reproduce old textbooks in maths and reading that have been the same for a hundred years? Why do we print them up in endless amounts and buy new books each and every year? Why are there so many different books created that aim to do the exact same thing? It’s wasteful. How can it be different? Easy solution: Create open source material available on the Internet. Create software for computers that can limit all its functions to educational purposes and have each kid sit in their own “bubbles” in front of the computer and do math, science, history, social sciences etc at their own level. The whole class doesn’t have to do the same thing at the same time. They can progress through the curriculum on an individual basis, with teachers and assistants going around helping the kids. No longer do you have to divide the year into semesters. Kids can learn at their own pace. Why should we stop a kid from excelling two levels in one year if they are able to and want to? They can strive for success and to get high scores, without the teacher having to “tone down the competitiveness” in “respect” for the less gifted children. With this kids can theoretically compare their scores to test scores from all over the world, if they so wish, and teachers can keep track of them digitally and give feedback to the kids and their parents whenever they please.

Social activity and friendships are still made in between classes, and you could have special team projects to teach social skills and team work, where the teacher could mix and match kids of different abilities and levels, by seeing how they do on the computers. Different kids have different skills, so different projects would have different teams, avoiding the problem of creating “cliques”. All they know is that they can excel in their own work at their own pace. You avoid the complete “class distinction” that the left is so overly afraid of, and you still get the skill level matching that the right is so obsessed with. In the end, kids are taught at an individual level with efficient and cost-effective methods, and teachers can be given authority and get back in control of their classes. Education can be made fun for each kid. If some kids need special programs, there are endless possibilities of letting them get this, since those who manage and enjoy the individual digital program will still get what they need – fun challenges in an orderly context.

What might have been a problem before is now very easy, especially when it comes to primary education. Of course, the best solutions will always come from the free market marketplace of ideas, and nothing can substitute the great value and success a private school system would bring, not to mention it’s the only choice that is right, since the nature of a public school system is intrinsically immoral and unjust. We deserve and have the right to a free market school system. … But what we deserve and what we have are often two different things. So we need to deal with what we’re being limited to, and there are a lot that can be done in terms of reforming current systems, and liberalizing the children, freeing up wasteful spending and getting rid of ineffective methods. An individual based digital school is something people should fight for. Coupled with a voucher system, the road from this and to achieving a completely private school system would be remarkably small. Of course, what I’ve talked about here may actually not succeed. I cannot know before I’ve tried, and in a public sphere everyone must try. That is the downside. I would be very glad to see if people have specific examples of private schools that run just like this. I’m sure it probably exists in America, and I’m also sure they have had great success with it. I just don’t know about it, so please let me know in the comment section.

I also understand that what I imagine would be harder to realize the higher level you get. In advanced math it’s harder to standardize grading methods, and long individual study papers still need a lot of manpower to get through. But in academia I’m sure the digital world of books will take completely over in just a matter of a few years. No longer will students have to waste money on a whole bunch of books every year. All books will be released digitally, and endless amounts of resources can be spared. Finally I can see the digital age in education creeping in on us, and it’s not a day too soon!

Written by Morten Rolland

February 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm

The Peculiar Practice of Taxing Public Worker Income

with one comment

Income tax. Image by alancleaver_2000 via Flickr

With the demonstrations by public sector trade union workers going on across America, there are several thoughts on the topic that have popped into my mind as of late. While the topic of Wisconsin’s public trade union workers is tempting, it’s not my concern right now.  What caught my attention today is the connection between public sector jobs and income taxation. There are many things you can say about income taxes, and there are many things you can say about public sector jobs. The first is immoral, unjust and disruptive to the productive sector of the economy. The latter is where the taxes are inevitably spent. While a discussion on whether or not taxes should exist or whether or not we need public sector jobs is a fair discussion, we’ll leave that for later.

For now, please think about the following question: Why do people in the public sector pay income taxes?

A silly question, you might think. You may also say it’s obviously easier and also fair not to distinguish between private and public sector jobs when taxing people. That is, however, besides the point. What is the economic benefit of having all people employed in the public sector paying taxes? The endless amounts of administration that goes into keeping the system up is already profound, but the waste of collecting taxes from people payed 100% from previously collected taxes is at best a big drain of resources. If those employed in the public sector payed no taxes, there would be less administration going into collecting taxes from these people. Much less paper work and less public sector jobs needed to be filled.

I think all taxation on income should be abolished for everyone, especially for those working in the private sector, but as it stands, the paradox of taxing public sector income baffles me. Why not just pay people in the public sector what they get after tax and not tax them at all? And should these people have tax deductible expenses they today could get back, why not just give these expenses as a bonuses on their salaries if necessary? I don’t like the concept of tax credits – it only creates extra layers of bureaucracy that dabbles in social engineering, but since it already exists, giving bonuses would virtually have the same effect as today’s system. There is to me two very good reasons to why this would make sense to do. First, the administrative costs you’d save by not having to pay attention to taxing public sector employees. Second, if people were given a tax relief, this would only apply to private sector jobs, giving only private sector employees more money in their own pockets. Public sector jobs would never be affected by tax reliefs and this would result in them having received a permanent pay cut. It would also lessen the apparent numbers that make up the excuse by government for receiving smaller tax revenues to use in their spending. Perhaps this would also add another inhibition to increase spending (obviously not the case, since deficit spending rules supreme, but still…). The actual revenues of government would also not be affected, since the only resources they have at hand are what they take from the productive sector of the economy. As mentioned, whatever public sector employees earn is what has already been taxed. There are no real “losses to revenue”, only savings in administrative costs, which should result in more tax cuts for the private sector.

Downsides? Harder to rally public sector employees to the cause of electing politicians that wishes to cut taxes. You would likely also create an even more polarized population dividing the private vs the public sector into more distinct political factions than they are today. Those working in the public sector wouldn’t think twice about raising taxes for their political goals, as higher taxes wouldn’t concern them. The possible good things about these downsides? The enemy is easier to spot and the private sector would be willing to stand more united against government oppression. If supporters of the public sector wished to increase taxes, they would not be able to hide behind the mask of “altruistically suffering from the same taxation”. They would more directly become enemies of the private sector, and unable to portray themselves as servicemen for it. There would be a deadlock between political factions, and raising taxes could become far more unpopular than it is today…

… Or it wouldn’t worry people too much after all. Who knows? It will never become a reality, but I find it a peculiar phenomenon, and the “what if” fascinates me.

Written by Morten Rolland

February 23, 2011 at 2:54 pm

The Future of the New Republicans

with 2 comments

So the Republicans just won a landslide in the midterm election. Can’t say it was very unexpected, but it’s important to note that it’s apparently the biggest chunk taken into Congress since 1948. But what will the future bring these newly elected Republicans in the House and Senate?

First of all, they need to understand that the people means no bullshit. Many new candidates got elected only because of all the individuals across America who wanted to see changes in the ways of government, by strongly cutting government spending and by making notable tax cuts for all Americans.  Second of all, they will have to make a lot of effort in repealing Obamacare as quick as possible. If not completely, at least remove the most important negative portions of the bill that will hurt low and middle income Americans the most. The mandate instantly comes to mind.

But what if this new generation of Republicans won’t stand true to their word? What if they get sucked into the political establishment machine? Then things will not look good in 2012. It’s difficult to understand how voter frustration can possibly show itself in the face of being disappointed and screwed over by both parties at the same time, but it surely is the setup for a certain win for Obama. He will be able to point to the Republicans for failing to stand up and do what they were told to do by the country, and since Republicans are sure to mess up any attempts from Obama, he will also blame them for being too partisan and for failing to take part in leading the country. He will try to divide and conquer Republicans if there is any weakness among them.

What do I think? The new generation of Republican Tea Party candidates need to stick together and prove to their voters that they are going to Washington to do what they promised. In my view they should begin already now to form ties, to plan on cooperation and form a faction within the Republican Party that will stay strong on their issues in an effort to change the hearts and minds of the party as a whole, so that they can prove to America that they mean business. If old Republicans will tremble in fear over the new Republican take-over of their establishment stability and if old Republicans will move towards moderation and cooperation with Democrats, then voters will know for sure who to kick out in 2012, and that’s when the small government movement has the best chance of rising to power. Along with a true small government candidate for Presidency that has always stayed true to his ideals since the day he came into politics, and you will have the recipe for the biggest spending cuts the world has ever since.

And to end on an untraditional low note, there were some sad news from the elections: Barney Frank, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi will still be with us for another term. I guess not everyone in Massachusetts’ 4th district, Nevada and California’s 8th district came to their senses.

Written by Morten Rolland

November 4, 2010 at 12:53 am

Will President Obama Serve A Second Term?

leave a comment »

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...

Two term President Barack Obama?

Political debates and forecasts are as heated and “in the air” as never before, and one question surfacing is whether or not President Obama will be elected for a second term in 2012. It’s an interesting question both in terms of political strategy and economic policy, regarding the troubles and toils America is faced with, not to mention the distress among people animating itself in Tea Party rallies and anti-establishment candidates rising up before this 2010 election.

At the first glance, many would probably think President Obama wouldn’t be elected for another term, simply because so many people are worried about the economy and future, and also because we’ve yet to see things turn around for the better. Then again, President Obama is still quite popular, although his popularity in America has surely withered some since he came to power. Gallup recently reported that for the first time in his presidency there are more people who regard him unfavorably than favorably, but he is still on par with many presidents before him, like Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, who were both quite popular two term presidents. Obama as a person is also likable, tolerant and well spoken – much like the two others mentioned, and such charisma can go a long way.

But unlike all other elections for the past three decades, there is one issue that may trumph everything else put together the next time around: the economy. Unlike how this issue has been debated during the recent years, the coming debate will not only revolve around creating jobs or trying to get us out of a recession; the debate this time will be about the causes of economic downturns, the role of government in said economic downturns, how government and the Federal Reserve destroy more than they create, and how government burdens coming generations with a devalued dollar, huge and misguided government programs and gross deficit spending. On this issue there is one future uncertainty that can wreck all of President Obama’s chances for reelection, or may very well save his political tooshie: Will he and the Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, be able push the coming depression enough ahead of them to avoid having to face judgement before the next election?

The reason everything depends on this fact is that despite what the White House and many Ivy League economists would have you believe, the economy simply isn’t recovering and hasn’t seen any true growth for possibly the past 10 years. The actions of the federal government echoes those in the 1930s; actions that exacerbated the problems and created a depression lasting for much longer than necessary. The view that government cause economic turmoil and exacerbate the problems is supported by those who warned about and forecasted the Great Depression of the 1930s and those who warned about and forecasted the Recession of 2008 by explaining exactly what would happen if government would act in the way it indeed ended up doing. Now as then, we have seen a federal government help inflating an economic bubble and help fueling the fire by increasing the money supply and intervening in markets, and we have seen a federal government attempting to keep the bubble from bursting as it must, or re-inflate it if it does, expanding the reach of government power and burdening the citizens and the private sector with more taxes and weakened purchasing power. One key difference, however, is that America in 2010 has the biggest deficit of any nation on the planet throughout history. This was not a worry people had to take into consideration after the second world war when America emerged to become the greatest creditor nation in the world. To put it differently: The private sector is sucked completely dry this time around, unlike in the 40s and 50s when they had plenty of juice to serve.

If the answer is ‘yes, they will be able to push the depression enough ahead of them to let President Obama campaign on being the savior, rather than a clown’, then you can expect the following words to be the core of President Obama’s strategy in the coming campaign:

We just went through the worst economic downturn since the 1930s, but we were able to avoid another depression. We’re still recovering, but I tell you this: had it not been for the quick, decisive and necessary actions by government, it would have been much worse. That is why it’s important for us to not disrupt the recovery at this point. We must stay our course and do what is necessary, because we will face disasters much worse if we lose our focus now.

Author’s comment: I have a feeling I will be able to quote myself on this in 2 years time, and if I’m not already worrying enough, this makes me truly worry about how life will be in 6 years. It took only 6 years to lay Europe completely to waste 70 years ago, after all. Humanity may not have learned from history when it comes to economic issues, but you better well hope that humanity have learned enough from history to not start another world war over it.

It’s not hard to imagine that he will be able to win in 2012 based on this. Of course, President Obama, with the help of Chairman Bernanke’s printing press, is only delaying the inevitable. But if President Obama serves another term and continues his current policies, we will be faced with troubles much worse than what we see now, something not he nor his possible successor will ever be able to explain away, which may by 2016 unfortunately result in the possibility of civil unrest and a large portion of the population with complete distrust in the political system. It’s important to note, though, that the possible civil unrest may not necessarily be aimed at the President in particular. Echoing the tendencies of the Tea Party rallies, you are more likely to see it aimed at Washington in general, but fueled by economic distress rather than any political disagreement. It will not matter who they are and what party they belong to; if they have been in Washington for some time they will be blamed for all the horrors. They can only hope, for their twisted political sake, that people will forget instead.

However, if the answer is ‘no, we will clearly see the storm coming over us before the next election, the depression has become a fact rather than a possibility, and economic distress will sweep the country into fiscal responsibility’, we will likely not see President Obama serving a second term, depending on the Republicans being able to nominate a true fiscal conservative that will stay true to his words. Throughout history Americans have always tended to change their leaders when faced with economic turmoil. Americans have also always elected the candidate campaigning peace and diplomacy when exhausted by continuous wars. This time we are faced with both extremes at the same time, much more so than any other time since the second world war. The sad part is that we this time around do not have a party that advocates peace and thus cannot advocate real fiscal responsibility.

Democrats have never truly advocated that America should stop their military interventions around the globe. Bill Clinton frequently deployed the military on glorified missions to police the world, and President Obama never kept his promise of leaving Iraq, even advocating for an expansion of the war in Afghanistan throughout his whole campaign and to this date. Republicans on the other hand have constantly been advocating military expenditures since the days of the Cold War (Reagan’s Peace Through Strength), and have long been advocating military intervention, especially since 9/11 (Bush’s War On Terror). Not willing to build down the military imperialistic character of the United States, Republicans face a hard task in promoting the necessary fiscal responsibility to tackle the deficit and let the country climb out of an economic depression. Some are calling for the possibility of a third party candidate rising to the occasion, but taking into consideration the numerous laws biased in the support of the current two-party-system, we are not likely to see a third party candidate do anything more significant than stealing just enough votes from one candidate that the other will get ahead, if we were to face a close election.

What do I think? For non-interventionist small government advocates there has never been a better chance in recent history to spread their message of peace and economic freedom, but gathering the people around one candidate that can sway the minds of Americans will be the true task at hand, and it will be crucial for their goal of economic recovery to elect a president with the integrity to stay clear of political corruption and avoid falling for the temptation of turning on the voters when in office, like so many presidents have done in the past; a president that has the courage to clean out the administration and bureaucracies of established “big government values” that will disrupt any attempts of restraining the federal government by building down Washington and pull back the interventionist powers of the executive branch.

At present time there is still only a single politician in America that fits this description, and by 2012 his name is sure to be on everyone’s tongue, but only time will tell if politicians, voters and the political system in general will have the courage to bite the dust and wholeheartedly support him, and if his vitality and mind will stay as young and vibrant through a possible campaign and presidency as it is today, considering his age. I will let time be the judge of this.

Written by Morten Rolland

October 24, 2010 at 7:33 am