Outgoing Sec Def Gates suggests NATO risks military equivalent of UN's irrelevanc​e

Gates parting shot warns NATO risks irrelevance | Reuters

Dear Europe: 

You, the teet-sucking partners of the United States' international military might machine, have been warned. The U.S., by and large, has been trying its damnedest to help you protect yourselves and your less able neighbors for decades.

You apparently hate being regarded as the U.S.'s underlings in international scuffles that NATO tries to police, but you often are. Those with any decency do not spit upon you for your choices of governing style, or preference to not be the big, tough kid on the block, because they wish for the same convenience, while they manage to realize that it would create a dangerous reality. Those with any decency here in the U.S. also know that one cannot be both advantaged by another's strengths and resent its need to change when things get tough. Over there in Europe, you have developed quite a collection of what we irreverently call "nanny states". So much so, that over here in the States, some folks think yours are the best economic and governmental models to follow for the future of the U.S. 

Thanks. You've succeeded at using our prominence (since WW II, at least) and a belief in "peace through strength" to lay off of your own defense situation, in the opinion of some of us here in the US of A. While doing so, you have attracted many of those on the U.S.'s modern liberal (which is grouped in with progessives, statists) side to become convinced that your way works better than ours: more peace, more equality, more time off, more entitlements. 
That little dance number seems to be coming to an end, though. We're still leading, but we're stepping on your feet more than we did when it started. The outgoing Sec Def put it to you this way:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates delivered a sharp parting shot at European allies on Friday, saying NATO risks "collective military irrelevance" unless they bear more of the burden and boost military spending.
In a final policy address before retiring at the end of the month, Gates said NATO-led operations in Afghanistan and Libya had exposed significant shortcomings in military capabilities and political will among the allies.
Gates said the United States was facing a deep economic crisis and defense would have to be included in dramatic spending cuts.
"Choices are going to be made more on what's in the best interest of the United States going forward," he said.
"My hope is that the fact that the reality is changing in the United States will get the attention of European leaders to realize that the drift of the last 20 years can't continue, not if they want to have a strong transatlantic partnership."
Do they care? Would being rules by a caliphate based in Iran really matter to many French? Germans? Greeks?!!  I like to think so, and I suspect their far left groups are as marginal as ours. But their mode of governing isn't suggesting it. there are bright spots of more conservative, less utopianist tendancies, however.

 - jR (AirFarceOne on Twitter)

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Thomas Friedman writes for 'science is settled' crowd, but make a point, with another man's words

A stupid headline: The Earth Is Full - NYTimes.com
An important (and, useful, really) sentence to take from it:
We will realize, [veteran Australian environmentalist-entrepreneur, Paul Gilding,] predicts, that the consumer-driven growth model is broken and we have to move to a more happiness-driven growth model, based on people working less and owning less.
Gilding is, as Friedman notes, a realist. While "happiness-driven" isn't exactly the best terminology, to say the least. Sounds kinda... well, dippy. But, I think I get it. Buying things as a basis for culture and economic growth is total crap. Being able to buy things is one thing, but as big a distraction as wants are -- as opposed to, or subsuming, needs -- in the States and elsewhere, a "consumer-drvien economy" is utter crap. We think less with our heads than with both our nether regions and our wallets.
I think Gilding's comments translate so that he is not just another of the tree-hugging spastic estate babies and retail clerks, celebrities including the self-ingratiating Al Gore, and the like, who scream "WOLF!" about consumerism being the root of all evil.  
“We are heading for a crisis-driven choice,” he says. “We either allow collapse to overtake us or develop a new sustainable economic model. We will choose the latter. We may be slow, but we’re not stupid.”
Things can get better without behaving as if, or believing that, capitalism is a demon and Republicans its most eager apostles. But who's going to agree with that but Republicans and any given fiscal conservatives? No one, you suspect? That is one of our biggest divisions, politically. If we cannot even trust the motivations of the human political opposition (not the literal crony capitalists, but besides these greedy elites), how are we going to arrange a way to manage an ever-growing population and energy demands?
Gilding has a new book called “The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World.” I want to give this one a look. Not because of doting Thomas Friedman. Because I don't want to assume I know where things will go in a decade or two. Economics creates great change, when few hold the control wires. And that is where we are, and the stubbornness of officials the world over suggests it is getting worse, not better. Entitlements are crashing, and while there's slim few in the streets of places such as Greece trying to destroy their cities for the hell of it, others are using such angst to harm the future, to wreak havoc on market economies.
Is Gilding at utopianist, with his talk of happiness versus consumerism? Could be. I honestly don't know his reputation or work. I believe utopianists are fools, flat out, because they believe there is a possible end to suffering in an imperfect physical world, so I would reject him, in that case. But happiness doesn't come inside clear, formed plastic with cardboard backing, and objects and other material distractions do not bring happiness. They might delay misery, but they don't bring happiness. So, I am all for an economic approach that encourages happiness over closets of stuff we don't actually need.

- jR

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Are you intrigued by the latest work of David Mamet?

Are you intrigued by the latest work of renowned playwright, David Mamet? (image of his book's cover is from his site, davidmamet.com)

I was surprised and intrigued. I listened to Mamet speak with Laura Ingraham on her radio show several days ago. A few days later, I noticed a headline that suggested he was sucked in by the Tea Party movement. As if anyone who willingly abandoned the politics and vicious practices of the American liberal left must have been pretty nearly brainwashed. Don't buy the overreach of the left on this man's change of views or when Obama comes up against a contender in the fall of 2012. Hopefully, Obama's habitually weak leadership and narcissism, not his (typically glib) personal ease and ready grin, will determine the future of America.



More Hollywood types are welcome to wake up and see the left for their real agenda, not to pander to their limp center left that has stepped out of the way of lefty loons such as Pelosi, Frank, Weiner, Reid, and the type.
- jR

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APATHY BREAKER?: Congress Democrats and GOP give hefty bonuses to staff in Q1 of 2011


If there's one thing I learned while in journalism, it's that apathy and a lack of being informed runs rampant in the USA. We don't like to admit it, and I pray for it to be otherwise, but it is true. There are plenty of one-note horn tooters around, even, but not a lot of decent, informed, interested citizens. That is what I found. Not judging, just pointing it out. I find it saddening, especially in the last three years and so, but people are entitled to live as fools and do-nothings in the USA. It's never too late to start pushing back, though.

Strong proof of American political inactivity comes in the form of people being forever bilked by their government, and passing by such news like it were a dead rat on the street, with barely a notice. The Tea Party (despite what the race baiters and other leftist and elite drones want us to believe) was born out of a reaction to what common folks saw as our self-involved, deaf and irresponsible leadership. It was stewing for a very long time for some, me included. My Tea Party thinking goes back to at least 2000. Well, in my ever-present hope of waking others to the evolving loss of the America that should be, I present another of the blatant offenses of our fed gov't:
Congress gave more than $6 million in bonuses to staff during Jan-Mar 2011. When was your last, or when did you give the last, sizable raise or bonus? Four years ago? Two? TEN? Were you laid off, instead? Starting over?

Democrats lose this one by a stunning margin, too: roughly 4-to-1 more cash doled out by the Democrats. Congratulations, America. You elected them to spend your money. I hope you're happy. If things fail to change, come tell me how proud you are in a decade, on the bread line.
(Source: CNN, live at around 4pm on June 26, 2011.) - jR

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