Monday, November 14, 2016

November 14, 2016 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

YouTube has made it possible for advertisers to create commercials longer than the traditional 15 or 30 second television or radio spot. Of course, how do you get people to watch these ads? Make them fun (or funny) so people want to watch them. Such is the case with this 2 minute long "Catspiracy: The ScoopFree Poop Harvesting Machine" advertisement, which is worth watching just for the laughs, as it imagines how a cat might view humans' "obsession" with collecting cats' poo from litter boxes.

  • Nathaniel F. continues his series on TANSTAAFL and intermediate cartridges with a couple new articles this weekend:

Other Stuff:
The Anonymous Conservative has some words of caution for those that might decide to act where the police have not:
Be aware, that vigilante world you might want to enter is totally unknown to you, and you aren’t the only one attracted to it. It is highly likely that as this is written, highly trained covert surveillance is deploying in those areas now to gather intelligence. They will blend into the background, under covers you would never suspect. They will be old men with walkers who appear to not be fully there, fat ladies scarfing down ice cream cones like they haven’t eaten in weeks, and teenybopper girls transfixed by their cellphones. And they will be all set up to follow anything interesting they encounter like shadows.

      If you have any Charles Bronson fantasies, and you have no surveillance awareness, you might as well take out a full page ad in the paper, announce when you will be killing people, and call it performance art. Try and take care of the problem yourself, and you will be doing so on a stage to an audience you will probably never see, though they will see you – and record everything.

          Obviously the Muslim problem in Europe will require violent expulsion at some point. But to jump in too early, before it is time, with no understanding of the myriad of state security forces allied against you, and how those forces are, as we speak, gravitating to the very problem you want to head toward, is dangerous. That will cost the movement dedicated members later, and ruin the lives of good people who deserve better.
          • "Riyadh Is Reeling from Bargain Oil Prices"--American Interest reports that "the Saudis fiscal deficit is now equivalent to a whopping 20 percent of the country’s GDP," and that "if Riyadh wants to balance its budget this year, it would need oil prices to hit $92 per barrel." Something that will not happen with the fracking revolution in the United States (something sure to expand even further under the next Administration). Although energy independence is worth the shock to the region, this actually creates a potentially deadly situation in the Middle-East. The Islamic Resurgence (Islam's equivalent of the Reformation) started over 100 years ago, but it did not really gain much traction until the nationalism of foreign oil companies and the formation of OPEC. Both the humbling of the West and the flood of cash enabled the conservative elements of Islam and restored pride to Muslims--two of the factors that emboldened Muslims to take their jihad to the West. To lose this now will set in a dangerous period of cognitive dissonance among Muslims, and spur efforts to restore the status quo where the West is dependent upon Muslim oil.
          • News from this past weekend: "'Kill the police!' Anti-Trump protesters chant death threats at cops in Indianapolis, and demonstrators are tear-gassed in Portland as tens of thousands take to the street nationwide for fourth night of violence"--Daily Mail. I saw some video--I believe from Phoenix--showing a protest there. There were two views being shown side-by-side on the screen: one from the street level which gave the impression of a large number of protesters; and one from a helicopter showing that it was actually a rather small crowd, completely surrounded by the flashes from the cameras of the photo-journalists. What we are seeing is an attempt to create a movement that will be used to intimidate governments and people within the United States.
          • A reminder that while we often see the same words used to describe European politics and American politics, the terms have very different meanings and connotations: "Another American Revolution" by Michael Ledeen at Forbes. The part that is relevant to my comment:
          Many pundits are now talking about a surge of American “nationalism,”  what they take to be the implication of  the Trumpist slogan “let’s make America great again.”

              They are as mistaken about American identity as they were about the support for Trump.  There is no American nationalism—a 19th century European ideology that developed in countries with overwhelming majorities of a single religion and/or ethnicity.  The classic examples are France, England and Germany, all of which had largely homogeneous populations.  There is an American counterpart, but it’s very different.  We have patriotism, pride of nation, and that nation is defined by a distinctly anti-nationalist idea, since Americans belong to myriad religions and come in many colors, accents, and traditions.  American patriotism—aka American exceptionalism—rests on the Declaration and the Constitution, not a national church or ethnic group.

                  We embrace individual rights rather than collective entitlements, leaving Americans free to organize themselves to solve their problems.  Alexis de Tocqueville identified this as one of the prime elements of American democracy, and a dramatic difference between us and the Europeans.
                  Unfortunately, identity politics has mostly destroyed the American "nationalism" that Ledeen describes above. While there is no real "white nationalism" as that term is used in Europe, there are clear and distinct "black nationalism," "Hispanic nationalism," and other similar special interest groups active within the United States that fall within the European definition of nationalism. To a large extent, these nationalistic groups reflect particular civilizations or peoples that are non-Western. While Ledeen is correct that America was defined by "a distinctly anti-nationalist idea," it was formed around a core ideal of what Western civilization should be. That is what is now under attack by anti-Western groups such as Black Lives Matter, La Raza, and so forth.
                  This is part of a greater conflict that has been forming--that of the conflict between civilizations. Back when international conflicts were between, well, nations, the United States could pick sides or even no side at all. But as we enter a period of intercivilizational conflict, sitting out the battle is not an option--particularly when the battle is happening inside the borders of the Western nations. 

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