Duly Noted: Whose Crisis, Whose Rescue?


George Handlery about the week that was. Bail outs, even for the cadaver class. Fleeing high taxes. Minimalizing taxes is a basic right. Respect criminals: get their consent for actions against them. Never say never unless it always pays. Crime, exposure and tolerance. The common denominator. Lip service rejecting past crimes frees from acting to fight their current version. Revelations, redeemers and repression.
1. The story is a widely circulating and, due to its relentless repetition, widely accepted. According to it, state intervention has saved capitalism from failure. Actually, even in the USA, capitalism did not exist in a pure form. Government-by-the-Clintons has interfered in the market system massively. With devastating ultimate consequences, government meddled in the process by which credits were granted and real estate prices evolved. Huge profits awaited those playing along. (Mortgages to those who could not afford them and the resulting house prices unrelated to value are meant.) Now the government is fixing wages for the employees of financial institutions. Will this interference be more beneficial than the one that originally regulated credits, mortgages and real estate prices?
2. Lest we manage to conveniently forget. Some recent bailouts with government money might have made sense. This was the case if a payback and an ultimate refund, expressing the risks taken, could be assumed to conclude the action. At the same time, the unpleasant truth for the free-lunch-crowd that all of us would like to join, must be brought up. Subventions sap the power of healthy undertakings. Being ordered to stand at the giving end milks their power – to the point at which they themselves might need to be rescued. Subventions do not only have a recipient. Besides the gainers, there is also a forgotten unwilling donor as the loser of the deal.
3. The Germans are not coming! They are already here. I have called an old school mate from the 7th grade. He complained that he couldn’t afford to move to a home with features that match the needs imposed by his age. He went on to explain that the Germans are bidding up prices in his area. The better off flee the high taxes of home for the low tax country where their language is understood. To get the entire picture, you need to know that the old boy lives just across the right side of the German border. His plight is caused by the fact that many Germans have given up on voting in a frugal government that consumes only what it has and not what it can confiscate. What blocks the switch to sanity? Organized groups have become dependent on free lunches. Everybody is against the free meal the others get. However, this is not so if stopping hand-outs implies that they will not be served for no charge either.
4. It is OK for an American to move from a high-tax state to a low-tax state. In that case, one wonders why it is “wrong” for a person to move from a high tax country to a low tax country. Furthermore, why is it proper to blacklist such states as crooked by those that overcharge their subjects for the services states perform. Several centuries ago, a principle was established. What the people judged to be a “bad state” could be dismissed. The right to leave a system that the individual considers not to act in his best interest, for one that is more efficient in serving his needs, is a personalized assertion of the right exercised in the former case
5. The worse the case, the more hilarious the reactions tend to be. Here is a good one. Peking made recommendations regarding the inspection of North Korean ships to implement the sanctions approved by the SecCouncil. The arms and trade embargo are to be executed cautiously and without the threat or the application of force. Just try to imagine this scene. A suspicious ship is sighted, A vessel instructed to determine whether the cargo is embargoed approaches it.
“We wish to check your cargo”.
“We do not want our cargo inspected”.
“Oh, sorry, in that case, you may proceed”.
Indeed, such draconic measures would scare the daylights out of any hardened criminal regime.
6. Pyongyang has announced that it will “never” give up her nuclear weapons’ policy. You might have heard that the word “never” is never to be used in any context. Why does North Korea practice the opposite without much damage? Because we make it pay. Perhaps, as far back as 1953, the Kims had reason to discover that in their case that “never” always works. It does so because they have to do with entities whose moral relativism and crisis management technique is that everything, and really everything, is negotiable at all times. Accordingly, they never say “no, never” to anyone. Given this softness, “never” is never a mistake but, as in the case of the tantrum of the kid at the checkout counter, a key to get the candy bar.
7. Observers were surprised by the results of the elections for the EU’s parliament. In numerous safe districts, the voters abandoned the Socialists they used to support. In doing so, they voted not for the right-of-center but for the radical right. Part of the explanation is simple. In some instances, a poor district is likely to be physically exposed to zones in which, as Marx put it, the “lumpen” element dominates. In case that the inhabitants can be identified by their characteristics, furthermore, if a large minority within the minority declares crime to be a part of its unalienable way of life, the victims respond by supporting radicals. Physical proximity exposes working class districts to areas where outsiders excuse crime by bringing up “culture”. In such cases, ethnic rights are twisted to imply immunity. The liberals are unaffected because they live in protected areas. Therefore, they like to tell the victims of transgressions that tolerance has a higher priority than their safety. Criminality being a cultural product, it is to be tolerantly understood as a manifestation of ethnic identity. Such mantras are quickly unmasked as a farce. After all, the preacher of generosity is not forced to live by the norms he advocates.
8. After the Cuban crisis, besides a direct telephone connection between the White House and Red Square, there were several “secret channels” connecting Washington and Moscow. This reduced the probability not of crises but of these getting out of hand in 1914 fashion. The links express a consciousness of communality between foes that was based on rational projections and on the calculable commitment to the national interest of the global rivals. Such channels, articulating the missing common denominator, do not exist between Washington and Tehran. The un-atoned attack on the US’ Embassy is a formal expression the lack common denominators.
9. Israel is becoming a test case. Here not the sincerity of retroactive outrage provoked by the past and the commitment to principles made at a time when the going was easy is meant. Standing up now for Israel’s existence is also a test of current Western resolve. To what? To defend itself regardless of the fashion devastating its political culture of the moment. A case in point is the quickly leveled charge of Israeli extremism once her government raises questions regarding the terms determining a Palestinian state. In discussing this issue, references to the radical record of Palestine’s advocates are declared to be politically incorrect.
10. Movements, whether secular or religious, tend to assume that they have access to the truth embedded in a revelation. That revelation is only accessible to their founding members. Once this happens, the limited echo from a yet un-coerced and uninterested majority convinces the redeemers that not the defects of their creed are to be blamed. The “incorrect” reaction is a sign that the dull-witted majority cannot fathom the truth. As soon as this interpretation becomes part of the movement’s spin and dogma, a new stage is reached. Now it will be alleged that the movement, especially the inner circle of the guiding enlightened, are acting to better mankind as they make their next move. It is to apply educating coercion to elevate the masses. These need tutelage until they accept what the wise consider to be their true interest. (The generalization fits numerous secular and theocratic tyrannies of the past, the present and, most regrettably, of the future.)

Duly noted # 2

@ KA

5) The issue raised by Mr Handlery was China's "recommendations regarding the inspection of North Korean ships to implement the sanctions approved by the SecCouncil" as a prime example of hilarious reactions to the intransigence of a "hardened criminal regime".   The issue certainly was NOT that such a regime presents "complications" for everybody, including China.

6) I see, by "loose capital" you meant to say the willigness of communist states to "underwrite" bankrupt regimes and guerillas.  As long as the Kim dynasty remains in power, your assertion will have to be treated as pure conjecture, i.e. a conclusion deduced by surmise or guesswork, or wishful thinking, or both.  

8) There are always "common denominators" among rational and reasonable people, and there always will be.  The relevant issue here is whether there is an AWARENESS (or recognition) of such common denominators on BOTH  sides.  There is ample empirical evidence that such an awareness existed between the US and the Soviet Union, and past events have supported this claim.  There is no evidence of such an awareness as far as the islamist regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran is concerned, as the coming events will show.  

9-a) I agree that "a separate Palestinian state" would be an essential part of a potential "solution" to the Arab-Israeli conflict.  That is not to say that a rational solution would be possible today, given the current state of Arab societies and of 'geopolitics'. The contentious issue is certainly NOT "Palestinian self-determination and treatment". The Israeli body politic does not question the idea/ideal of Palestinian self-determination, nor does it want or intent to mistreat Palestinians. Rather, I repeat (and quote Handlery), the contentious/crucial issue is "the terms determining a Palestinian state".

9-b) Your assertion that "no Western country would accept Israel occupied etc..." is pure hogwash.  Au contraire, when push comes to shove almost all Western countries today would "accept" such an eventuality if (for whatever reason) Uncle Sam would stay on the sidelines.  In Europe today, very few are willing to risk dying for Europe, and virtually none would do so for...Israel.         

@ marcfrans RE: Duly Noted



5.  The issue is not of democrats vs. authoritarians. North Korea is as troubling to China as it is to the United States. Solving the irrational belligerence and intrasigence of the North Korean establishment is as complicated for both.


6.  Not only is the CCP more accountable to its electorate for its expenditures than in prior decades, but given that the Recession has caused it to adopt a suicidal "buy China" policy, it cannot afford to keep the Kim dynasty in power. The era of communist states underwriting bankrupt regimes and guerrillas is long over. Moreover, China's economic interests in Japan and South Korea dwarf those with North Korea.


8.  These were lacking between the United States and the Soviet Union also.


9.  No Western country would accept Israel occupied by foreign powers, or under Hamas/PLO rule oppressive to Jews and non-Muslims. The contentious issue is Palestinian self-determination and treatment. The construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza not only complicate territorial demarcation, but enrage the Palestinians such that undue burdens are shouldered by the IDF and Israelis in general for the sake of the settler minority. Again, the lessons learnt in Lebanon dictate that a separate Palestinian state is the only solution - one to which the Palestinian refugees in Jordan, etc. can return.

Duly Noted

@ KA

1) Agreed. But, the reference to the FDIC is cryptic.

2) What does your first sentence mean to say? Obviously, elites are always against losing power.  Does the use of the word "even" make sense here? Otherwise, agreed.   

5) Et alors?  You are good, again, at reading the mind of nondemocrats.  But what should one conclude from all this?  That one cannot rely on Beijing and that its proposals can not and should not be taken seriously?  At least, Mr Handlery makes that clear.  Also, it is questionable whether much of China's trade with the Third world is that "lucrative" in purely economic terms (as opposed to geopolitical terms). 

6) What is "loose capital"? 

8) Au contraire, a hotline between Teheran and DC would NOT be "revolutionary".  It would be another Obama sob to the mushy-brained and a smokescreen (for doing nothing). It would be totally useless.  At least Handlery is aware that the usefulness of a hotline (and of other channels) is determined by the (awareness of the) existence of "common denominators", and seems also to be aware that these are lacking in the relationship of the US (and of other freedom-loving nations) with the theocratic regime in Teheran.  The question is: is the Kapitein?

9)  Au contraire, "the West" as a civilisation with a common civilisational  purpose no longer exists.  In fact, very few in 'Western' countries are "committed to the existence of Israel", when "committed" is interpreted to mean actions as opposed to cheap words.  So, the (ex-) 'West' has already failed Handlery's "test of current Western resolve", as illustrated by countless UN resolutions of 198 votes versus 2 (Israel+ US). Israel's survival depends primarily on Israel itself, and perhaps secondarily over time on the US "commitment" surviving another Obama term. Handlery correctly identifies "the terms determining a Palestinian state" as the crucial question.  And, of course, it goes without saying that Israel has no chance of surviving as a free and democratic country, unless it remains a "Jewish state".     


RE: Duly Noted: Whose Crisis, Whose Rescue?



1.  Every industrialized state practices "state capitalism" to one degree or another. Pure capitalism does not account properly for market failures, economies of scale and irrationality. Washington wanted to save the American economy, not capitalism per se. If indeed, it was intent on the latter, it would have permitted the failure of Merril Lynch et al. Even then, market forces would have accounted for the FDIC, etc.


2.  Elites are decidedly against losing power, even if their power is predicated on principles that in certain cases demand it. While Madoff and Standford face justice for their thimble's worth of the toxic ocean, Geithner, Paulson, etc. escape and continue their empire-building at the expense of any and all values and of course the taxpayer and economy in general.


5.  Pyongyang has declared forcible inspection as a pretext for war. The civilian populations of South Korea and to a lesser extent Japan would bear the brunt of North Korean retaliation. China's cooperation is essential, however, China's foreign policy has for decades ignored states' belligerence and "internal" matters. If Beijing takes a hard line on Pyongyang or even takes military action against it in concert with the United States, it would be regarded as imperialist by the Third World or non-aligned states with which it has built a lucrative trade.


6.  The North Korean state has been declining for decades. Its nuclear programme is a last stand for the regime. China is not interested in keeping the regime in power, nor does it have the loose capital to do so; rather it is trying to avoid refugee flows and taking control of a failed state.

8.  Certainly, a "hotline" between D.C. and Pyongyang, and D.C. and Teheran, would be revolutionary if set up by the Obama administration. The Kremlin could be quite intransigent, but it posed an existential threat to the United States.


9.  The West is committed to the existence of Israel. The problematic areas are whether or not Israel is a Jewish State or not. If so, then the Palestinians require a state of their own. If not, then Israel must be inclusive of the Palestinian people and territories and extend full and equal citizenship to all regardless of religion. Of course, a non-Jewish Israeli state would become a second Lebanon.

ad7 #2

Monarchist has misread item 7.  The author did not comment on the official views of the EPP. His point was that there was a significant shift away from the Socialists to other parties, and he attributed that shift to the Socialist parties adherence to 'cultural leftism' (or misguided "tolerance" of criminality by "'outsiders"). 

The implications are:

- these other parties are not as culturally leftist as the Socialists are (and in the case of most so-called "far-right" parties that is obvious);

- and/or the traditional voters of EPP-affiliated parties are, on the whole, not as concerned about 'cultural leftism' as the traditional (but no longer) voters for the Socialist parties;  

- and/or the EPP is - rightly or wrongly - considered (or viewed) by the public as being less culturally-leftist than the Socialists.


Nationalist parties won just few seats. There is a lot of noise because they managed to qualify at all. I'm curious what parties author consider to be right of the centre? EPP have the biggest amount of seats but those people basically agree with socialist about everything. All of them will gladly support everything what European Commission say.