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Ether Mind

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Sunday, July 24, 2005

I'll be back

on Tuesday eve, but until then I'll extol the virtues of American hegemony.

Hegemony means peace. Peace is good.

America represents freedom, to a large extent. While, legally, we have been trimming freedom back, we have been expanding personal freedom in a societal sense. Women's sufferage was... possibly a good thing. The civil rights act was nice. The Americans with Disabilities Act- not so nice. However, even rich white males are less constrained by social mores. At some point I think we'll start expanding our legal liberty again, and maybe even move away from the communist monstrosity of Kelo v. New London.

When I speak of American Hegemony, I don't mean direct political control of 13000 states. Admittedly, a red, white and navy blue flag with a golden galaxy of stars on the field would be k-rad, but it would be unwieldy and unstable.

I would far prefer 150 or so large confederate democracies, at peace and following the model of Western liberalism. No tariffs, free travel, and much laxer immigration restrictions would ensure sustained global economic growth until the natural resources run out and the Four Horsemen walk the earth, sowing destruction and heralding the end of days.

Excuse me, that was just the habanero coming up.

American Hegemony is the spread of our values, not political control. American values are about the lack of such control. No one forces me to wear grey and shave my head; I do it myself.

Moreover, economic, social, and political freedom reinforce each other. Although one or another democracy may fall, free markets seem to be a fairly stable end state. They literally seek the lowest energy solution.

Friday, July 22, 2005

I was as giddy as a schoolgirl.

I woke up this afternoon to find that my money was being devalued versus the Yuan. This was not an unexpected development, but it was not altogether pleasant. I have a nagging suspicion that the next pair of shoes I buy will cost an extra dollar, which will ultimately bankrupt me like the proverbial nail in the horseshoe.

I've written about the Chinese' insistence on buying up US treasury bonds in order to avoid repatriating their earnings, thus keeping the Yuan low and the dollar high. This imbalance is responsible for part of the record trade deficit, as well as the USGOV's ability to spend and borrow like drunken senators without incurring punitive interest rates. My concern has been that, when the inevitable revaluation occured, it would devalue the dollar enough to spark a selloff by smaller Asian countries that cannot afford the fluctuation. This could end in a full-scale selloff of dollar assets, which would be a bad thing.

So far, this has not happened. The Yuan is up 2%, give or take. My impression is that China will continue selling dollars, but at a conservative pace. Exactly what that pace is is a mystery. 0.1% per week? Will they wait until currency and bond markets stabilise before beginning each round of revaluation? Are they finished already? Is their medium-range goal to float their currency and become a superpower?

If I had currency, it would be backed by a basket of nonperishable commodities. But that's just me. That way, a crisis of confidence in the government couldn't destroy the currency, and inflation would be controllable. Also, I would be able to swim in the mountains of jewels in the reserve bank.

Like Scrooge McDuck.

Anyway, the long-term effects on US stocks should be good, although retailers will suffer and manufacturers will gain. In the short term, it may be wise for you day traders to shift out of dollars and into dinars or pounds.

The semi-political consequences are more serious. China has been making moves on oil supplies *coughVenezuela* and this revaluation marks a departure from the second-world producer strategy to the first-world buyer strategy. China will be able to buy foreign companies, mineral rights, and products more easily. This is a slight change. However, the fact that they made the revaluation signals that they intend to buy foreign companies and mineral rights.

China also needs to protect intellectual property in order to develop a cutting-edge technology sector. Now that imports may become affordable, the government may be willing to clamp down on domestic piracy of international patents and trademarks. Mass importation will not be possible, as it is in the US, until there is a more significant change or flotation of the Yuan. The sheer size of China's emerging middle class may produce large effects in the international market, even with a large per capita level of knockoff merchandise.

I suggest we start teaching Mandarin in schools.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Manuel Errata

The Roberts nomination seems as though it will go smoothly. There are mixed reactions from conservatives, but I am cautiously optimistic about his performance on the bench.

Speaking of Roe v. Wade: We all know that the legal decision was pulled from a warm, dark place, rather than the constitution. However, the 5th amendment right to due process and the 10th amendment blanket right could be construed to legalise abortion nationally. Even if Roe were overturned and no equivalent decision substituted, most state legislatures would allow abortion to some arbitrary extent.

Speaking of Abortion: There are fine ethical fracture lines dividing the abortion issue. All of the fractures meet at critical points such as "When does the fetus have natural rights?" and "What natural rights?" To a socialist, these are irrelevant questions. The socialist fracture line veers off to the left somewhere.

Assuming natural rights start at birth, abortion is fine and dandy.

Assuming natural rights start at conception (or some other point), then killing the fetus is a bad thing to do. The fetus has a right to life, but not to food and care at the expense of the mother. Therefore, if the fetus is removed intact and allowed to starve, that's also fine. What's good enough for Terri Schiavo is good enough for a fetus.

Morally, this would not be a wise thing to attempt. Explaining it on judgement day would be a major faux pass.

I may be having lunch with Dino Rossi in the next couple of weeks, so I'll let yall know what he says. I know not him personally, but my mom's boss is a friend of his, and as the punchline of an involved story he's going to come by the business for lunch. There are about 10 - 15 employees, and as this is WA state, they're all incompetent. [edit: except my mother, of course.] Rossi's dog is named Dubya.

It's cold here. Can't wait to return to AZ.

You all know that The Chronicles of Narnia were already made as movies once, right?

While I was driving through San Fancisco, I listened to some mentally challenged individuals on the radio, broadcasting from an immigration forum put together by Sheila Jackson Lee. That was truly frightening. Apparently the terrorists that have been documented crossing our southern border are a ruse by big business to keep labor prices low.

Somebody shot my car while I was in East LA. It looks like a 9mm. That's what happens when you don't repair broken turn signals promptly.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

GOP Talking Points Memo

On Rove:

1) Plame was not a covert agent. Her identity was not actively protected by the CIA. She had not bee on an overseas secret mission in the previous five years. These are legal points, not my own vacillations.

2) Bush is nuanced. He never said anything that would force him to fire Rove, although

3) Rove is disposable now. He has no campaign to run. He's instrumental in keeping the senate in line, but really, anyone can do that.

I remembered something last weekend that I'll try to post about. It's an insight into the nature of the universe, but it has slipped my mind again. You know how those things are.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Yeehaw, now we're having fun.

I constantly hear phrases such as "outing a CIA operative at a time of war," "supporting the troops during wartime," and "blah blah torture blah, blah blah nation at war."

Let's be clear about this; we are waging a small-scale, elective war using paid professionals and a large supplemental budget. The line between violence and diplomacy is a construct of polite society, as diplomacy is largely founded on threats of violence. Don't take my word for it; read the complete works of Henry Kissinger. After you do, fill me in.

... That went way off topic. The thrust is that this war is being fought to preserve and improve our way of life, and allowing it to degrade our quality of life is an odd trade-off.

Anyway, while this war does have effects external to its theater, it does not alter the laws of physics or morality, or the philosophy of natural rights. Moreover, war never ends. We will be at war forever. Using war as an excuse or mitigating factor for anything is a weakness of willpower on par with splurging on a diet because it's a special occasion. If you can afford the calories, or the spending on stingers, or the loss of civil liberties, knock yourself out. If you cannot, then using war as an excuse is laughable.

There's also that whole thing about democracy, wartime leaders, Bush= Hitler or somesuch. Go ask a moonbat. It's really a valid concern. The funny thing about the moonbats is that, because they can comprehend the slippery slope of nationalist demagoguery, they believe it exists in reality. It's a classic GT Kid syndrome- a theory is plausible, therefore it must be true.

Over and out.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A Princess of Mars

Some of you my have noticed a slight fixation with Lebanon on my part. Well, I've developed a plan to overthrow the country. If anyone has a few ten thousand dollars and is interested, I'll provide the business plan. While it is tempting to enact said plan myself, as I am uniquely qualified with

*Persuasive Spin Powers
*Tactical and Strategic Virtuosity

it is not cost effective in terms of time. The end result of the operation is the installation of the investor as Warlord of Lebanon. Queries should be addressed to myself, at maniacprovostATgmailDOTcom.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Roving Eyes

The Plame incident has been slightly less important to me than the quality of peanut oil, and I suspect that the general public will not care either. To recap:

Joe Wilson, a minor functionary, was authorized by his wife to investigate the Iraq-Uranium-Insignificant Backwater connection. He found no connection. He wrote an editorial about the lack of a connection, in an effort to debunk the administration's use of this connection to further one of its eleven main arguments for invading Iraq. Karl Rove, speaking to a reporter, said not to trust Wilson because his wife authorized the trip, and was a WMD expert at the CIA. The CIA was widely believed to oppose the Iraq invasion.

Turns out Wilson's wife was a secret agent, which a completely different reporter gratuitously mentioned on TV. The NYT immediately began demanding that someone go to prison for this breach of nationl security, while the WSJ opined that no crime had actually taken place. Two NYT reporters were then charged with contempt of court, and the NYT changed its position.

A year passed, while the literati looked around in confusion. One reporter went to jail for contempt, or obstructing justice or somesuch. The other struck a deal with his source. Some company agreed, under legal pressure, to release memos that revealed the next-to-last sentence of the second paragraph of this post.

The investigator, who is not Kenneth Starr, has made no good soundbites. The literati are looking at each other in confusion again. Karl Rove, they agree, is behind this somehow.

My prediction is that nothing will come of this.

[Update: For the record, I would've done the same thing as Rove, under most circumstances.]

Sunday, July 10, 2005

On Civil Disobediance

Since Judith Miller was sent up the river for honoring her agreement with a source, many pundits have been spouting off about civil disobediance, its history, and how they think it should be used.

I've heard the opinion that Civil Disobediance is acceptable only if the protester accepts the legal consequences of his actions. Thoreau spent a night in jail. Many civil rights protesters did as well, following sit-ins.

If a law is unjust, then the consequences for breaking it are unjust as well. If they can be avoided, then so much the better. The system is more likely to be eroded by the unchecked defiance of its rules than by one violation.

The reason that so many believe a protester must accept the consequences is that they do not want to undermine the entire system. They believe that the government is fine. They believe it can do whatever it wants, to whom it wants, when it wants, and everything is great. They only have a problem when the government comes after them.

I have news for you. Everyone is a minority. When we allow the neighbor's house to be demolished for a sports arena, we pave the way for a parking lot in our own yard.

That being said, overthrowing the government is not a good idea either, but I see no reason to accept one type of oppression in exchange for protesting another. Both are unjust. Protest, contrary to popular opinion, is not about the protestor's ego. It is about improving society.

Friday, July 08, 2005

The Adventures of ManiaC Provost - Yesterday

Me: i know that most people don't bother to figure out my titles. also most people are incapable
Dude: yeah. i dont get the title
Me: well, i updated the post to explain it. a couple weeks ago, somebody on Atrios referenced my log. they called it dung, which is a compliment from them
Dude: i would agree with dung
Me: me too, but don't tell them. i figured i was wasting my brilliant insight the first couple months. So i said screw it and started writing right-wing propaganda the way a left-wing artist would.
Dude: i still don't think you should be allowed to give a fetus a voice
Me: yeah, they'll start demanding equal rights, holding sit-ins and refusing to leave the womb. then we'll have a whole class of lobbyists arguing for the rights of the fetus
Dude: we already do. they are called women
Me: but some women don't believe the fetus has rights. I remember one time, I told this feminist that if one believed abortion was murder, then bombing clinics was a perfectly logical thing to do. I think she was going to cry, but [name withheld] changed the subject
Dude: lol! murder excuses murder? sounds like a democratic argument if ive ever heard one
Me: well, it's not murder. Obviously the doctors and women deserve the death penalty, as they are themselves murderers. and the fetuses were going to die anyway
Dude: how is that?
Me: it's all premised on the belief that abortion is murder. If someone commits murder, they break the social contract and are no longer proteced by it. that's how we can justify executing people. if the state refuses to stop systematic murder of fetuses, then it is state sponsored murder. the state is no longer the legitimate monopolist of the use of force. the only thing is, it's counterproductive. It harms the pro-life movement, which will ultimately lead to more abortions.
Dude: why would the fetus die anyway?
Me: it's a fetus in an abortion clinic. it's kinda like a chicken nugget on a fat farm
Dude: i see your point
Me: but yeah, it would be immoral to kill a pregnant woman
Dude: i just read Clinton's biography
Me: My Lie? Life*
Dude: precisely
Me: was it any good
Dude: some informative whitewater bits. he admitted lewinsky, and attacked newt gingrich for 450 pages
Me: heh heh, good ol newt. he managed to shut down the government for one day. That's the wet dream of every libertarian. what about Paula Jones?
Dude: she is mentioned. as a liar
Me: it seems like there were several more women...
Dude: tripp, etc.
Me: we could set up a conveyor belt like in a pizza oven. But to be honest, I kinda like the jews
Dude: why???????????????????
Me: cuz black people are racist towards them, which is ironic and sad
Dude: it's going to scare the hell out of me if you ever get married
Me: if i do, at least i won't create genetically superior children in a lab. well, unless everyone else is gone for the day, and she comes by the lab in miniskirt
Dude: nice
Me: but why?
Dude: cause the woman evil enough to satisfy you must be a modern day medusa
Me: everyone says i'm evil. you can all burn in hell for that

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The French Sure Are Sore Losers

I suppose the British anti-warriors will sieze on these terror attacks. They will say that the attacks were provoked by British involvement in Iraq. Sadly, this may be true. Not that the anti-warriors particularly care about truth, but I suppose knowledge is power. Thus I seek truth.

The goal of Al-Qaeda is to perpetuate itself. Bin Laden's goal was approaching the Caliphate, but he may have scaled back that ambition now. Among the leaders who may have planned the subway attacks, goals include hatred of the West and petty accolades from their fellow degenerates. If it were a more senior operative, money would be the goal. Al-Qaeda is run like any non-profit.

Britain may have earned the wrath of the Islamic imperialists by being allied with the US, the Great Satan. However, given the high concentration of Islamic immigrants in Europe and their relative economic disadvantages, the attacks were probably carried out in Britain because it is near the terrorists' HQ. I would suggest terrorists living in the ghettos of France, though of course the possibilities include everyone from wealthy Swiss Muslims to the IRA or Scottish nationalists.

Poor Scots. Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that an Islamic imperialist group was behind the attacks.

If Britain had gotten enough kickbacks from the exploitation of the Iraqi people, they never would've supported Enduring Freedom, and the terrorists might've struck in Germany. I know I would have. Of course, targeted assassinations are more effective. When I shot J.R., the bounty was secondary to the fear we struck into the hearts of the Cowboys.

Ok, I didn't shoot J.R. The point is, terrorists suck, and the treasonous fear-mongering we will surely see in the Guardian in the coming months will be largely justified, though not for any reason the cheese-eating surrender monkies can comprehend.

[Update: The French lose the Olympics to London, and the next day London is bombed. I didn't want to spell it out, but...]

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Words to preface lies with

because there is no such thing. Many people see dark, shadowy alliances in the opposition. Dark, shadowy people do not form alliances.

Machiavellian. Anyone using this term is ingenuously implying that they themselves are not Machiavellian, which is itself... suggested in The Prince. A Prince must give the appearance of every virtue.

, as in "There is a rich history and tradition of consultation between the President and the Senate on Supreme Court nominees."

While. While it is a perfectly good conjunction, the second clause always blatantly contradicts the first.

Troubled. I am troubled that many politicians use this word to appear moderate.

Moderate. There is no gray area, except in the human mind. Any appearance of moderation is merely a very subtle pattern of black and white.

Liberal. I like liberal portions of beef. I'm not quite sure what this has to do with politics. Oh, food stamps. I see.

Patriotism. I like this country as long as it shares my values and no longer. I suspect most people feel the same, although sentiment is worth a song or two.

Restraint. There is no restraint, so long as we exist in the realm of classical physics. We either do or do not.

Environment. The environment will always exist in some form. We should be improving it, not conserving it. Besides, time is an illusion.

Hillary. As in, "Hillary, I swear..."

more later. have business now.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Think of me as a depressed James Taranto

I'm just returning from a trip where I indulged my schizoaffective fixation. Fun. Sunday morning I'm leaving for Phoenix, so if I never post again, that means I went out with a bang- but I probably had a great Sunday morning.

Seriously, I've totaled 3 cars in the last 18 months. This one I fixed, because it's soooo cute. Also, the stereo system was a pain to install and I didn't want to have to take it out. New tires.

I've saved a lot of money on gas. Still, engines are expensive, so I have to work a couple weeks this year to make up the difference. Very sad. I could be indulging my fixation next week, but nooooo, I have to make some money for car parts to impress-

wait a second, there's a flaw in my logic.

The engine sounds great though. Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr clack growl clack purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

To make a long story short, I eat pineapples a lot. Oh, and the Chechyn rebels are going to try to get some third party involved. Georgia? UN? Your guess is almost as good as mine.