THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 670 April 11 - 17, 2011
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April 11, 2011
0025 AM The day went well. TWIT went well. I will begin catching up tomorrow, and have an essay somewhere around noon. Roberta is back from the emergency room having been given rigorous tests. Her problem wasn't heart related, and she'll recover in a day or so from all the problems. I'm catching up on lost work. All is well. And we did a good TWIT.
I repeat this from last week:
http://www.aei.org/video/101414 Charles Murray AEI Lecture 1:28 (One hour, 28 minutes including Q&A) On the Founding Virtues and social trends. This is the most important lecture I have heard this year. It is one hour with a half hour of questions, and his comments to the questions are important and form an integral part of the lecture. He will bring this all out in a book, and I will recommend that book. I watched the entire lecture with fascination, and began to take notes almost as soon as it began. If you are concerned about the future of the nation, watch this and think about it.
Murray is one of the most important public intellectuals of our age. He is one of the few sociologists I consider to be a legitimate scientist and his carefully crafted studies and books are important, This lecture is well worth your time.
We also have mail on many subjects.
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It is important to understand that this is true. Famine threatens the Arab world as food prices rise. The Chinese are now wealthy enough to outbid most of the world for wheat, which is literally the staff of life for much of the Near East; and the Chinese people are getting used to having a variety of foods. You will note there are no riots in China. The Party system is pretty effective there, and the fires of freedom burn strongest among persecuted minorities who are pretty well doomed. I don't claim to be an expert on the Chinese Party System of government, but it appears to have become quite effective, even in this era of near-universal communications. Arthur Koestler told us that a sufficient condition for the end of totalitarian government was the free exchange of ideas, and he may well have been right: there are few totalitarian systems now. That does not mean the end of tyranny; it does mean the end of systems that insist you believe in what they want you to believe.
Even in the 1980's there were few true Communists in the USSR, even though everyone had to pretend to believe in it. It was the official doctrine, and Suslov, "the last Communist", had been able to use the official doctrine to bring about regime change. The USSR could not withstand the pressures put on the system, and the free exchange of ideas within the system undermined the basis of legitimacy of the regime. There is no such pretense of the truth of Communism in China.
The question in North Africa and the Middle East is just what is the basis of legitimacy for government? It is different in different places.
But the threat of famine menaces them all. Some are rich enough to outbid China for food. Some will be able to substitute corn -- maize, mealies, polenta -- provided that is available; but the more corn we turn into alcohol to burn as fuel the higher its price will go. I do not see that this is well understood by the policy wonks in Washington.
The great budget victory of the Republicans: we cut $39 billion from the government's funding. The government deficit went up by $200 billion in February. Victory?
This is not going to save the country from a Weimar style collapse. Meanwhile the Democrats seem determined to make street fighting the final arbiter of government, the highest court of appeal. That happened in Weimar. There was also enormous inflation. The result was the victory of Socialism in both Italy and Germany. Italy came first, with the Socialist Mussolini taking command. He also made the trains run on time. This was admired in many places including among some in New Deal Washington.
Rome survived the fall of the Republic and continued to gain power under the Caesars and their followers up to the last of the Good Emperors.
Meanwhile the United States has saved $38 billion in a brilliant victory, but saving the nation from any significant cuts in the entitlements. The deficits rise. All this will be paid for by rises in taxes, reluctantly given after more crises. There will be tears shed as the taxes rise. We continue to pour blood and treasure into the Near and Middle East, while regulations stifle development of US energy resources.
And gasoline will be $5/gallon by Memorial Day.
Roberta continues to recover. I still have to get the taxes done. There will be more mail today.
The Mamelukes reassert themselves. It was expected. We will now see just where the Revolution goes. And food prices soar in Egypt. No nation is more than a few meals away from revolution. But when the mod takes to the streets in search of food, it usually loots the bakeries and barricades the roads.
I got this message
Shortly after, the ANALOG site closed. A troll was posting kiddie porn on the site. This is one reason I do not allow anyone to post stuff here even though an open forum would attract a lot of readers and probably be very popular. It's just too easy to shut down the whole works by uploading illegal materials, then alerting the authorities that there is child pornography on that site and subjecting the site owner to all kinds of horrors. Heck, it could even be the authorities who post the porn in the first place. Paranoid thought. Surely couldn't happen here. No one like that in our security bureaus.
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Michael Kinsley in today's LA Times has an article with an ironic title:
To make it worse, the Republicans are celebrating as victory a tiny -- mostly symbolic -- cut in spending in a "compromise" that avoided the showdown of shutting down the government. The deficit grows by the second. The President tomorrow will propose tax increases. The Fed will continue to print money. We have seen this before, in Weimar Germany, The result of that was a three pfennig postage stamp overprinted to be a value of 3 mird millionen marks. Or perhaps a more moderate inflation such as they had in Brazil: From 1980 until 2010, the average inflation rate in Brazil was 445.98 percent reaching an historical high of 6821.31 percent in April of 1990. It will seem weird, but you can get used to carrying $10,000 bills to pay for a gallon of gasoline.
Of course that can never happen here. And even if it did we'll just raise taxes, because entitlements can't be tampered with. Disability regulations can't be tampered with. Bureaucracy sizes can't be tampered with. Needless departments of government can't be eliminated. Even if they get through Congress it can't be allowed to happen: turn out, demonstrate, march on Washington. Take to the streets. The revolution is in danger if entitlements are cut; indeed they must be raised. We can make it all up with more taxes. And the government can "invest" in job creating shovel ready infrastructure programs. It's going to be wonderful: the President will tell us all about it tomorrow in his speech. Stand by for bliss.
The Japanese government has uprated the severity of Fukushima Daiichi to 7, and the news media are not slow in pointing out that this is the same rating as the Chernobyl event. There is really very little similarity between Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi. Rather than my trying to explain this, I refer you to the latest updates on http://mitnse.com/ the MIT nuclear engineering department site. See also the 4/11/2011 update as well as today's.
Japan continues to be rocked by "aftershocks" which are larger than most earthquakes. Life returns to normal in most of Japan, and so far as I can tell there have been no immediate nuclear injuries off the plant site. How much off site contamination, and how long that will last, is complicated: the MIT site will give more details. Here is the summary:
I continue to conclude: It's not Chernobyl. When all this began I said a worst case would be one or more Tsar Bomba equivalents. We now know it is far less than that. It does not appear that the entire mess will equal one Chernobyl.
There will probably be a greater and more fatal impact: the rejection, in the West, of nuclear power, which will either have dire economic consequences and lead to even more transfer of wealth into the sovereign investment funds of the Near East, or possibly to wars: I point out that our Middle East Wars have been deadly; nuclear power has no directly killed anyone in the United States. There are debates about "extra" cancer cases caused by nuclear power, but I know of no proof that there have been any.
Note that China is not going to halt nuclear power construction. The major effect of Fukushima Daiichi may well be a very great Chinese comparative advantage. Cheap easily available energy and freedom are the keys to economic prosperity: the Chinese are moving toward both. The United States is moving away from both. The results are predictable.
Meanwhile, there is no sign of any danger to anyone outside the evacuation zone in Japan, and indeed not much evidence of danger inside it. Japan will be deprived of some rice farming land for a few years -- perhaps -- and of the energy from the plant. Of course the plant was older and scheduled for retirement to begin with.
The 9.0 earthquake is now said to have been the largest ever recorded to have hit a civilized area.
The House Progressive Caucus (70+ members, all Democrats) will cure the budget crisis by raising marginal social security tax rates to 90% above some income level. This is what Barney Frank has in store for you. Rejoice. It will solve the budget crisis and eliminate the deficit in ten short years. We are saved. Find out more.
April 13, 2011
It makes it very clear: the President's view is that there is very little needless spending. We need all those programs, and we can't afford to cut them very much. The levels of federal spending that we endured for the first centuries of our Republic are far too small, and returning to those levels will be a disaster.
The only solution to the problem is to raise taxes, mostly on the rich. We have entitlements, and those entitled are entitled, and nothing should be cut out. It is the responsibility of the government to take care of those who need to be taken care of, and it is the obligation of those who can afford it to pay government employees to provide that care. This is the way the world works, this is what will be, and we refuse to make tax expenditures -- which is the new phrase for cutting taxes -- so long as there are unmet needs. Since the current taxes will not cover all our needs, we will raise taxes. And if there are more needs we will spend more. This is the world. Get used to it.
Perhaps that is an overly harsh reading of the speech, but I am in the midst of computing my taxes, and I am not in a charitable mood. Apologies.
The TSA officer followed proper screening procedures in scanning a 6
year old girl. I don't think I ever touched a girl that way until I was in
In this land of the free, our children are part of procedure. The enhanced pat down for a 6 year old girl. The hands tuck into the belt. This is within policy. This is the New Safer America which we are bringing you. And it is officially proper procedure.
Watching the video raises the question: what did they think they would discover? Apparently, though, the Congress has no say in these matters. Nor does sanity and common sense. Don't we all feel safer already? The experts are in control.
One of the problems is that the kind of person who would take that job is probably not the kind of person you want to have that power. It is a maxim among science fiction fans that anyone who wants to work security should not be given the job. The TSA acts as if its chief purpose is to make certain that everyone knows Americans are subjects, not citizens. Can it do its job without that? Is this even discussable?
I spent the morning in the Kaiser waiting room, while a number of specialists looked Roberta over. There will be more of this. I also have taxes to do. I am dancing as fast as I can. I find that I can write using the Air, which is a good thing.
April 14, 2011
The radio, the Web, and the newspapers are all filled with tirades, discussions, cheers, denunciations, and comments on the President's budget speech. The general consensus is that it was a line in the sand, a defining moment: the Obama agenda is the Socialist Agenda, much of it drawn from classic theoretical socialism, not the American pragmatic socialist agenda of Norman Thomas (most of which has long been fulfilled and indeed accepted as part of "normal" American values) but the more extreme views of inevitable class warfare stemming from the European intellectual elite. It draws much of its theory from the intellectuals of the English Fabian Society; a great deal of that has been adopted by the organizations like ACORN, the community and neighborhood organizers whose agenda basically consists of agitating for more money, ostensibly for their neighborhood clients, but in practice for the organizers who will be their leaders.
Under the Obama Plan, the federal government will consider taking 24% of the GNP as "normal". Many of us do not accept the current 20% as something we can live with; we think it is too high, and was generated largely by Cold War and other wartime needs. In my judgment 10% for the federal government is too much. If we need more government taking more money and furnishing more services, that is the mission of the states, even the counties, not of Washington. Get the Feds out of our lives, don't give them even more power. That is, I think, the view of most conservatives, and the major differences we have with the libertarians is that they think even that 10% is too large. As to how I come up with 10%, I mostly rely on the data and reasoning of C. Northcote Parkinson, who was, in my judgment, one of the great thinkers of the 20th Century. He wrote well and humorously, and his humor and satire caused him not to be taken seriously by many intellectuals. In fact, his arguments are quite sound and based on historical research even though they are presented humorously. His conclusion is that in peace time 10% is about what you're going to pay to the government. Alas, he was speaking of the English system, which doesn't have all the layers we have in America; if we can hold the Feds to 10% there will still be welfare demands that the States will have to meet, and they'll be added to the tax demands.
I'm more than willing to debate the questions of just what we ought to do for ourselves and what we ought to leave to government; but I don't think there is a lot of justification for more than 10% of GDP going to the Federal Government in peace time. It just won't spend more than that wisely. And yes, I understand that there is a lot of room for debate on whether the Federal Government can spend even 10% of the GDP wisely; but leave that for another day. The fundamental question has now been raised: should the Feds have more than the 20% it now considers "normal" or should the goal be to reduce that number? That is what the next election will be about. Nothing else short of war is going to be that important.
For those interested in Parkinson's analysis, the book is The Law and the Profits, published in 1960, and it is as readable today as it was then -- except that when it was published things had not gone as far as they have. It is, despite his humorous presentations, quite serious. Incidentally, those who have not read Parkinson's Evolution of Political Thought, an intellectual history of civilization, are in for a treat. This is a serious work written seriously, but Parkinson's delightful style comes through.
The Law and the Profits presents Parkinson's second law: Expenditure rises to meet income. In Parkinson's time that was a reasonable statement, which itself should be a warning: in the 21st Century the formulation should be "Expenditure rises to exceed income." It also needs to be coupled with Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy, which states that bureaucracies will always be controlled by people devoted to the welfare of the bureaucracy rather than to its goals.
Today's Journal has a number of worthwhile articles. Begin with "Obama's Soak-the-Rich Tax Hikes Won't Work", (link) which has a lot of data to support his contention that
Obama's deficit plan is to continue the expenditures while raising taxes on the rich. His speech was most standard class warfare soak the rich rhetoric. The rich aren't doing their share, and look at those pathetic people over there that you are going to allow to die in misery so those rich bastards will have money to invest. Trust me. I'll spend it better than they will.
There is also a Wall Street Journal editorial on the President's speech, "The Presidential Divider" (link) which begins
There is more:
It's all bracing for those who agree with them. It does make one point about deficit reduction by raising taxes on the rich:
As Lady Thatcher once observed, the trouble with socialism is that you run out of other people's money. Socialism assumes that productivity will continue, and people will work because they want to work, and while there will be loafers and free loaders there will not be many. After all, it worked in Scandinavia, didn't it? People didn't game the system. And it certainly did, for generations. Whether it still works so well isn't as clear, and whether it will work in a society that didn't start with The Protestant Ethic as an iron rule among industrious people is definitely worth discussion and debate -- not that there is likely to be any serious discussion or debate. The Welfare State has not fared so well in Spain and Greece. In any event, in the Unites States one would think the proper level for such experiments would be the States, which can tailor programs to local needs and abilities, not to a Federal Bureaucracy. I note in passing that changing local Civil Defense which worked pretty darned well to a Federal Emergency Management Agency is a very good example of just what happens when you try to federalize a government service.
Obama has made it clear: the stakes are the meaning of America. Nothing more an nothing less. Are we a nation of states, or are we a Welfare Nation? The deficit debate is about that: nothing more and nothing less.
I have to say that I was amused by Donald Trump's bringing in the birther debate as a way to get noticed, but I fear he has carried the joke too far, and I'm not going to play along with it any more. If it has not been clear from the beginning, let me make it clear that my view is that it's all moot, and has been since the electors cast their votes for President; certainly since the inauguration. It is possible but not likely that had it become clear after the electoral college votes were opened in the House but before the inauguration that Obama was really born in Kenya, President Bush could have prevented the installation of the new President and ordered a new election. It would have been a disastrous decision, but it was at least possible.
Once Obama was sworn in he was President, and the Army had a new Commander in Chief, and no writ runs against a sitting President other than a formal impeachment. The courts have no place in such a constitutional crisis. Any marshal sent by the judiciary to arrest a sitting President had better find a way to get past the Washington garrison. The marshals will need anti-tank weapons. SWAT uniforms won't do. They will have to recruit one of the Legions.
Deposing a sitting President is an act of civil war. The United States does not need another civil war. Trying to prosecute a retiring President for political crimes is another step toward civil war: Gerry Ford acted properly and courageously in granting Nixon a full and complete pardon, sparing the nation that divisiveness. We ought to make that part of the Constitution: the Congress may impeach a former President, but absent that he remains in a state of political grace. But that's for another discussion.
Today's Wall Street Journal has an article "The GOP and the Birther Trap" by Peter Wehner (link) that is worth reading for anyone who still takes the birther debate seriously, or even finds it amusing. He's right: there is a big downside to playing that game. It was a fun game, but too many took it seriously. We need to find another joke.
Wehner goes on to refute Trump's arguments, and perhaps he does so: but in my judgment the very debate is unimportant. It no longer matters. If we found irrefutable evidence that Obama was born in Kenya, it would not matter. The House will not impeach him, nor the Senate convict him, for being born in Kenya. He is President and Commander in Chief until January 2013. Get used to it.
For those who are alarmed that the Daiichi catastrophe rating is now on a par with Chernobyl, be of good cheer. It's not really on a par with Chernobyl. I said it early on, and I continue to say: it ain't Chernobyl. It's a lot closer to TMI than Chernobyl. If you want to know more on that, see http://mitnse.com/ from the MIT Department of Nuclear Engineering.
I put it up last night at midnight: there is considerable interesting mail. I will have more mail later, but I have to eat lunch and get back to my taxes. Roberta is much recovered, and we had a short walk this morning, much to Sable's delight. Things are returning to the normal state of chaos in Chaos Manor. Thanks to all who have sent their good wishes and prayers, and thanks also to all the new subscribers. We can use more. If you've been thinking of subscribing but haven't just yet, this would be a great time to do it.
I'll have more mail later this afternoon. Keep writing. I do read just about all of it, and I try to keep what's interesting for another day.
April 15, 2011
Actually, tax returns aren't due until April 18, but this is the traditional tax day. In my case taxes aren't very severe, and we're taking advantage of a tax credit for changing out the bay window in the Great Hall to double glass and the rest of the energy efficient stuff; and of course there is the roof, which we also did in energy efficient manner. Of course the costs were much larger than the tax credit limits, but every bit helps. I don't approve of tax credit craziness. It's a sort of tax on those who don't understand how to get the tax credit, or perhaps it's a subsidy to tax preparation experts. I'd have made my roof and windows as energy efficient as possible without the tax break. Anyway, I am nearly done with my tax returns.
When we went out for our walk, the nearby street was filled with studio trucks, and they were trying to film in a neighbor's back yard. Unless you're familiar with Hollywood and its ways you would be astonished at just how large a crew turns out for these location shoots. A dozen huge trucks of equipment including one big moving van sized truck of dressing rooms, and another of high class restrooms for those who don't have a private dressing room. This set wasn't too fancy, so I suppose there were no really big stars in the mix. I can be sure, because I didn't get a chance to talk to the crews.
Everyone was frustrated because there was a police helicopter circling the area. The police were beginning to shut down Laurel Canyon and divert traffic, much of it past the shoot. No filming was getting done. Police in TAC outfits were waving pedistrians -- like Roberta, Sable, and me -- away. Carpenter School is on lockdown, and it's time to let the Kindergarten kids out. The radio tells me they are looking for a murder suspect, but there are no more details, and the LAPD hasn't got a PR spokesperson out here yet. The police incidents must have just started as we began our walk because the only sign of police activity was the helicopter, then a black and white, and then, in a few minutes, a dozen black and whites, and I think a SWAT van. I suppose I ought to go out and take pictures, but I don't really do breaking news and I've seen it all before. Anyway, that sure cut our walk short. Sable, of course, wanted to go talk to the policemen and standing around neighbors, but then she began to sense the nervousness of the police and started looking to us to figure out if she should be a dog or a wolf. But then came a stroller with two small children, and she was all cute doggy again.
There's still precious little detail. Police are searching for a murder suspect. Carpenter School is locked down. Otherwise all is calm.
They caught him. He was wanted for a murder last November in North Hollywood, and a patrol officer recognized him on the street. When he ran they contained the region, not something all that easy to do, and brought in the dogs. He was always on the other side of Laurel Canyon from us and from Ed Begley's house although the reporters have said things like next door to Ed Begley's house. Ed was the only celebrity they could find, so the news people keep quoting him, although in fact Ed left the neighborhood before they caught the guy, and wasn't allowed to come back home until it was over. Which tells you a lot about the accuracy of the new reporting. It's awful. Ah, well.
Calm has returned to Studio City although we're still in the news. Our walk today was uneventful although we had to discuss the big incident with all the neighbors.
April 16, 2011
2130: I have finished the taxes and printed them out. We'll mail them in Monday.
Obama's political speech made the issues very clear. According to Obama, Americans are entitled to health care, pensions, unemployment compensation, negative income taxes, and permanent civil service jobs. It is up to us to provide the wherewithal to pay for this. We do not have spending problems, we have income problems, and the solution is to raise taxes on the rich until all the entitlements are paid for. This is a brutal summary of Obama's speech, but if you boil down what he said, that's pretty well it.
Apparently only about half of Americans now believe in capitalism. The other half presumably accept Socialism or some other collectivist system, all of which assume that national income belongs to the government, which will determine what to do with it: invest it, spend on entitlements, allocate for production of needed items, and the rest. Liberty takes a decidedly lower place in the order of priorities. Given the state of our institutions of higher learning, which are entrenched bastions of the liberal views in nearly every department, I suppose this ought not be astonishing.
In Europe, on the other hand, there is a new surge in popularity for capitalism and the notion of individual freedom, even as those notions lose favor in the United States. Germans and Finns are not pleased to work hard in order to finance the welfare states of Greece and Portugal and other places, but they don't have much choice given the European Union and the common currency.
It will be interesting to see how long the deficit nations including the United States and most of its states can continue. If something can't go on forever, it will stop. When it stops we will have a reckoning and things will be hard. Food prices are rising. Gasoline prices are rising. Neither of them have risen much compared to what's coming. We live in interesting times. Meanwhile we are borrowing money to continue our actions in Libya, and somewhere along the line we'll decide what it is we want to do.
The regulations preventing expansion of domestic energy production show no sign of abatement.
There is a bunch of mail posted. All interesting. Sorry for the delays.
April 17, 2011
Yesterday was by one degree the hottest April 16 in the history of Los Angeles, or at least in the history of accurate record keeping. I'm not sure what formula is used to determine the temperature of a day; I presume this is done by averaging a bunch of measurements every hour or so, and taking the highest one as the high temperature for the day. Of course if one of the measurement sites has changed significantly, presumably some other site's temperature will have to be substituted. I have never seen any discussion of how that is decided. I know for a fact that the area in Santa Monica where they used to take a land temperature has changed from a bean field to suburbia to an urban area, and another site on the Santa Monica airfield has experienced a major environment change. How this is adjusted is not clear to me.
That isn't to say I don't believe yesterday was the hottest April 16 on record (the record being since 1999). It's just that I think it would be well to have a discussion of just how we compute such measures to a single degree for a city -- or for a tenth of a degree for the whole Earth. Moreover, if all we are trying to do is get the hottest temperature reached that seems a simpler problem than trying to computer the average temperature for the day. The average temperature of the day presumably includes the night cycle. and that will vary a lot depending on cloud cover -- at least it can, depending on what you use for the temperature of a particular location. Do you take it in the shade (which is to say is there an insulated barrier between your instrument and the night sky) or do you take it out in the open? And when you take the temperature is that the air or the globe temperature?
At least we called that the "globe" temperature when I was in the human factors business. The globe temperature is operationally obtained by putting a thermocouple inside a four inch diameter copper ball (dimension is from memory). The ball is painted black. This obtains a measure based on both the ambient air (conductive) temperature, and the radiant environment, and it will be quite different in the shade from what you get if you take it out in the open. That will be true in daytime, of course, but also at night. The radiant temperature of the night sky can be pretty close to absolute zero, about -273 C or -459 F. Of course if there is cloud cover that radiant temperature is much higher. Now if we have a hot day but toward evening clouds blow in, the average temperature for the day will be a lot greater than if we have a cloudless day with hot sun followed by a cloudless night.
I have yet to see any kind of discussion of these factors when we talk about global warming, even though when we discuss global warming we are talking about something like one degree of warming since 1880 and about half a degree since 1950. I have taken these from Wikipedia; they seem fairly typical.
I would like to see a discussion of just how these averages are arrived at. In the case of the second chart one can have some confidence that the measures are comparable, but do note that the smooth line is an average of spikes and valleys. There was a spike in 1999 which may have something to do with LA's record hot April 16 or 15 or whenever it was, but the global temperature seems to be down this year.
None of which means a lot. I make no doubt that the Earth is warmer in 2011 than it was in 1811, and very likely warmer than it was in 1911. How much warmer is a bit harder to determine; and of that warmer, how much would have happened even if the CO2 levels had not changed isn't, in my judgment, knowable from the data we have. I'd be willing to be convinced otherwise, but so far I haven't been, because all the people who want to talk about it turn out to be theorists and few of them know much about how the temperatures are actually computed from the data, much less how the data are actually collected. But I ramble. I've said all this before, and I suspect I will get more baby talk lectures again. But I sure would like a decent discussion of just how you go about getting the temperature of the Earth to a tenth of a degree.
The situation in Libya continues pretty well unchanged. The rebels are finally beginning to believe that you have to dig in, and it's unwise to fire all your ammunition into the air. Qadafi's troops are pounding away. One supposes that eventually there will be cease fire offers from both sides, but whether NATO can accept that, given that the French and President Obama have said that nothing will be satisfactory so long at Ghaddaffi remains in power, is not so clear. The Germans, on the other hand, want the war to go away. And the US continues expensive operations on borrowed money, but seems to have no decisive operation in mind. The US Revolution was a long war of attrition; perhaps that's what we have in mind for Libya.
And the Flame of Islam sweeps across the Middle East with fighting in Yemen and Syria, more Iranian stirring of the pot, Mr. Justice Goldstone now reconsidering and even withdrawing his report condemning Israel, and not a lot of progress in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. And it sure is expensive.
Gasoline prices at $5/gallon by Memorial Day, and bread $5 a loaf by the end of the year. Or sooner.
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