A Generational Shift in Europe

by George Friedman, Stratfor

Change in the international system comes in large and small doses, but fundamental patterns generally stay consistent. From 1500 to 1991, for example, European global hegemony constituted the world’s operating principle. Within this overarching framework, however, the international system regularly reshuffles the deck in demoting and promoting powers, fragmenting some and empowering others, and so on. Sometimes this happens because of war, and sometimes because of economic and political forces. While the basic structure of the world stays intact, the precise way it works changes.

The fundamental patterns of European domination held for 500 years. That epoch of history ended in 1991, when the Soviet Union — the last of the great European empires — collapsed with global consequences. In China, Tiananmen Square defined China for a generation. China would continue its process of economic development, but the Chinese Communist Party would remain the dominant force. Japan experienced an economic crisis that ended its period of rapid growth and made the world’s second-largest economy far less dynamic than before. And in 1993, the Maastricht Treaty came into force, creating the contemporary European Union and holding open the possibility of a so-called United States of Europe that could counterbalance the United States of America. Read the rest of this entry »

Michele Bachmann on Israel’s Value to the United States

Israel, Egypt and a Strategic Reconsideration

By George Friedman – reprinted with express permission from Stratfor

The events in Egypt have sent shock waves through Israel. The 1978 Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel have been the bedrock of Israeli national security. In three of the four wars Israel fought before the accords, a catastrophic outcome for Israel was conceivable. In 1948, 1967 and 1973, credible scenarios existed in which the Israelis were defeated and the state of Israel ceased to exist. In 1973, it appeared for several days that one of those scenarios was unfolding.

The survival of Israel was no longer at stake after 1978. In the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the various Palestinian intifadas and the wars with Hezbollah in 2006 and Hamas in Gaza in 2008, Israeli interests were involved, but not survival. There is a huge difference between the two. Israel had achieved a geopolitical ideal after 1978 in which it had divided and effectively made peace with two of the four Arab states that bordered it, and neutralized one of those states. The treaty with Egypt removed the threat to the Negev and the southern coastal approaches to Tel Aviv. Read the rest of this entry »

Dennis Miller on Relations with the Muslim World

Pretty Soon, We’ll All Have One of These

USB electrical outletHere’s betting that within five years, power outlets with built in USB receptacles will be commonplace.   Fortunately USB connectivity has become ubiquitous (although it would be nice if the device connectors were a little more standardized).  How nice will it be to charge your USB enabled devices without having to boot up a computer.

This particular unit is manufactured and sold by the FastMac company and one of these babies can be yours for only $19.95.

This product also made it as one of the “best tech ideas of 2010” by the New York Times.  In my view this product is by far the most practical of the tech items discussed.

Mining Rescue was Compelling TV, but….

Television coverage of the rescue of the Chilean miners was certainly compelling TV.  In many ways this rescue was reminiscent of the first moon landing in 1969.   I was only 8 years old then but I remember watching the grainy footage of Neil Armstrong and thinking how amazing it was that we could see this event live.

The mining rescue was equally compelling.  Incredibly the Chilean government had lowered television cameras and lights into the mine some 2000 feet below the surface of the earth, and we could see the rescue taking place in real time.

Unfortunately the mine rescue footage could not be condensed in real time, meaning that the anchormen and women had a lot of dead space to fill.  Despite exhortations from Larry King of all people to just “sit and watch” the rescue, the anchors simply could not keep quiet.

Perhaps the silliest comment of the evening, and perhaps in the top 10 all time was uttered by Gary Tuchman, a CNN anchor.  While waiting for the emergence of the rescue capsule containing rescued miner Mario Sepulveda, Tuchman and Larry King noted that one of the busiest streets in Los Angeles is called Sepulveda Boulevard and that “it is named after another Sepulveda.”

Really.  I never would have assumed than a major thoroughfare in Los Angeles was not named after a heretofore unknown Chilean miner.

Gary Tuchman followed up this compelling non sequitur with the following comment, which I am quoting directly from the CNN transcript:

“October 13th may become a national holiday in Chile, and Sepulveda Boulevard in Los Angeles may also be named after Mario Sepulveda, the second miner who’s about to come up any minute.”

Okay.  Not much I can add to that.

Larry King then quickly turned to another guest, presumably with the hope that something worthwhile might be said.

Milton Friedman Explains Why Government Interference in the Free Market Through Social Engineering Hurts Those it Purports to Help

In this video, economist Milton Friedman explains how well meaning social programs inevitably trap the recipients of government largesse into cycles of poverty and dispair.

Representative Tom Price Speaks About Financial “Reform” Bill

My Congressman, Dr. Tom Price, speaks out against the Dodd-Frank “Permanent Bailout” bill:

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Revenge, Reconciliation and Responsibility

I just finished reading a beautiful article called Revenge, Reconciliation and Responsibility by Professor Kenneth Wald, a political science professor at the University of Florida.  Published in the Voices of Conservative Judaism magazine, Professor Wald describes his visit to Grosrohrsdorf in Germany – the town where his grandparents lived before being driven out during the Kristallnact pogrom.

Professor Wald had been invited to Grosrohrsdorf by three townspeople who decided to tell the story of the town under Nazi rule.  Wald, whose grandparents perished in the concentration camps, describes his meetings with the sons and daughters of the Nazis and sympathizers, and their reaction to him and his message.

A very insightful article – highly recommended.

Georgia Legislature Passes Landmark “Roadkill bill”

With Georgia tax receipts down by over $2 billion, the Georgia’s Hope Scholarship program dipping into its reserve fund, and public schools furloughing teachers to save money, I am happy to learn that the state legislature spent some time debating a truly monumental problem – the tough choices faced by drivers who run over a deer or a bear.

Senate Bill 474 was passed by the 2010 Georgia legislature.  It allows drivers to keep any bear or deer they might run over.  Previously, such roadkill had to be scraped off the roadway and given to the Department of Natural Resource, where the carcasses were stuff, mounted and installed in various state owned properties.

Apparently the DNR has run out of places to mount the roadkill.  Perhaps the state taxidermists were also furloughed.  I suppose all those pesky budget issues can wait until next year.  No word on whether restaurants using roadkill will have to disclose same on their menus.

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