Monday, February 08, 2010

Is China a paper tiger?

An email from the optimistic Ray Kraft [] below. Mao used to call America a paper tiger, meaning that it looked strong but was not

Even the Chicom government has calculated and published its estimate that circa 2015 the number of workers in China will enter a period of permanent decline in both absolute and proportionate numbers, while the number of retireds in China will enter an indefinite period of increase in both absolute and proportionate numbers. I.e., the Graying of China begins, in about five years.

At that point, the long-term economic decline of China begins, and because of 30 years of its one-child policy - it would take generations of 2+ children per family to reverse the trends - this in a society in which one-child per family is now the social / cultural norm, and which faces an imminent and indefinite era of economic decline.

My expectation is that within a few years after the decline begins - circa 2020-2030 - the Chinese empire will begin to unravel, if it hasn't begun before then. It was cobbled together after WWII from a vast array of provinces and cultures, and is as fragile as the old Soviet Union was, and could disappear as quickly. It is held together now by prosperity and force, but as prosperity declines, force will become inadequate to keep it together.

If America avoids suicide, America will emerge within a generation as an even more dominant geopolitical and economic power as:

1. China slowly self destructs.

2. Russia, with a population declining by 1/2% per year, also slowly unravels.

3. The EU, cobbled together from a couple of dozen different economies artificually slaved to a single currency, drifts more or less aimlessly in the Sargasso Sea of political incoherence.

4. The Middle East has peaked, and if America has sense enough to move toward energy independence with nuclear and other sources (note that Obama has proposed $56 billion in new loan guarantees for nuclear power plants in his new budget), the decline of Islamic Middle East will be as inexorable as that of China and Russia.

If America manages at least to Muddle Through, at best to Flourish and Prosper, America's destiny will be to become the next "Roman Empire." It's our's to lose. The biggest threat is that America will not understand and grasp this destiny, and will fail to understand and accept the responsibility ("noblesse oblige") that goes with it. i.e., the destiny and fate of Civilization now lies in America's hands, even if we don't know it. And we need to look to the Athenian Democracy and the Roman Empire for lessons learned.

Ray Kraft was responding to a Jack Wheeler article of 5th. which also said that China was in a weak position. Excerpt:

The myth that the Chicoms magically turned their economy around on an instant dime - one minute double-digit GDP growth via the US gorging on their exports, the next minute the exports fall off a cliff as we stop buying yet they still have double-digit GDP growth via a hocus-pocus stimulation of their domestic economy - is a myth few big-time investors believe in now.

And finally, folks are figuring out that of all China's bubbles - make-believe growth, stocks, real estate - the biggest of all is its gigantic pile of "dead money" - those $2.4 trillion of our alleged dollars.

How many countless times have you heard some pundit bemoan how much we "owe" China? Yep, sure was stupid of us. We got all this stuff - as in real physical products we actually use in our lives - and they got all this paper, all these imaginary things called "T-bills" and such, and please explain how they cash them in.

Finally, bankers are figuring it out. "There's nowhere for China's reserves to go," is the latest buzz in London's City. "How do they unload them without taking a trillion dollar haircut?" And with the whiff, the merest whiff of the US defaulting on its debt, the Chicoms are running scared and retrenching. Their attempted stimulus of their economy has run out of steam - any more would be like pushing on a string.

So they've pulled back on buying up the world's commodities, which is why everything from copper to oil to soybeans is down - which is why, e.g., Brazil's Bovespa index is down thousands of points as China isn't buying its beans and iron ore.



Sarah Palin is miles ahead of every other politician in America

Watching Sarah Palin's speech to the Tea Party National Convention last night in Nashville on PJTV, it was clear that she has a rapport and comfort with the Tea Partiers that is unmatched among politicians at the national level. While I suspect that mine is a minority view among the leadership of conservative activism and journalism (and I am often reminded in a jocular sort of way that my view of Palin is a minority among my colleagues at The Examiner and The Weekly Standard), I believe Palin is miles ahead of every other national figure in understanding where the country has been in the last year and what the Tea Party movement means about the future course of American politics.

That doesn't mean I think Palin is or even should be a candidate for president or any other elective office in 2012 or any other time. What it does mean is I believe Palin has a unique insight into the state of things and is moving systematically and intelligently in concert with that insight. Where that leads, nobody, including Palin, likely knows at this point.

That I am not alone in seeing Palin in such terms is demonstrated by, of all places, The New York Times where reporter Mark Liebovich wrote:
"Her growing cast of advisers and support system could be working in the service of any number of goals: a presidential run, a de facto role as the leader of the Tea Party movement, a lucrative career as a roving media entity — or all of the above. Ms. Palin represents a new breed of unelected public figures operating in an environment in which politics, news media and celebrity are fused as never before.

"Whether she ever runs for anything else, Ms. Palin has already achieved a status that has become an end in itself: access to an electronic bully pulpit, a staff to guide her, an enormous income and none of the bother or accountability of having to govern or campaign for office.

“'Few public figures not in office have leveraged the nexus between media and political positioning as Sarah Palin has,' said the Washington lawyer Robert Barnett (who negotiated, among other things, Ms. Palin’s lucrative deal with Fox News, an arrangement with the Washington Speaker’s Bureau that pays her a reported $100,000 a pop, and a deal with Harper Collins to write her memoir, 'Going Rogue,' which has already earned her upward of eight figures)."

Liebovich thus demonstrated, as University of Wisconsin law professor and contrarian blogger Ann Althouse mused, how Palin has gone from "blithering idiot" to "devious genius" in barely more than a year:
"What I love about all this is the extreme contrast to the way Palin was mocked when she resigned as Governor of Alaska. I, myself, did not think it was stupid, because I pictured her doing something like what she is actually doing, but I certainly remember the derision. Her political career was over. She was 'toast.'

"A big difference between what I pictured and what she's doing is that she's staying in Alaska. I thought she needed to get out of Alaska (in order to run for President). It's innovative the way she's staying in Alaska. As a blogger, operating from my remote outpost in Madison, Wisconsin, I love that she's working through Facebook and staying rooted in Wasila, Alaska. Fox News is building a TV studio in her house in Wasila. That's so not toast."

During her 40-minute Nashville speech, Palin repeatedly struck rhetorical gold by assailing Washington politicians for talking down to the American people, as when she branded the exploding national debt a form of "generational theft" and proclaimed that "many of us have had enough."

Similarly, she zeroed in on President Obama's policy of treating terrorists like the Christmas Bomber who tried to blow up a Northwest Air plane carrying nearly 300 passengers and crew members with a bomb sewn into his underwear on the same legal basis as an accused liquor store robber, saying "treating this like a mere law enforcement matter places our country at great risk because that's not how radical Islamic extremists are looking at this. They know we're at war, and to win that war we need a commander-in-chief, not a professor of law standing at the lectern."

Palin understands the frustration felt by millions of Americans, including legions of independents and moderates, watching as Washington leaders careen down a path of expanding federal power and the skyrocketing spending, taxation, regulation and debt that inevitably accompanies that expansion, even as public opinion surveys document growing oppposition to such a course.

Washington is embarked on a fundamentally anti-democratic course that undermines public confidence and government credibility, the two most essential elements of a regime's legitimacy, and alienates voters across the political spectrum. Most people don't articulate it in such terms but, as political philosopher Willmoore Kendall (himself a product of Oklahoma populism)often said of Middle Americans, they "feel it in their bones," and they are repelled by it.

Palin also demonstrated an understanding that the Tea Party movement must be independent of both major political parties, which share the blame for the country's current morass, in order to be credible. She encouraged her Nashville audience "against allowing this movement to be defined by any one leader or any one politician. The tea party movement is not a top-down operation. It's a ground-up call to action ... it's bigger than any king or queen of the tea party, and it's a lot bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter." Thus she encouraged the Tea Partiers to remember that they "have both parties running scared" and that their movement is "fresh, young and agile."

While watching Palin last night, I was reminded of something I wrote in The Examiner the day after the 2008 election: "Palin connects with real people as one of them because she is. She has that rare gift of speaking with candor and grace in the common manner."

Palin is not the first conservative politician to display such a gift. With his eight extraordinary years in the White House behind us, it is sometimes difficult to remember that strident voices from the same quarters who today mock and deride Palin did much the same thing to Ronald Reagan. He was old, he was an actor, he was simple-minded. And, just as Reagan was consistently under-estimated by his opponents in the years before the White House, Palin appears to be blessed with opponents in both parties who accord her a similar lack of respect.

They say God looks after drunks and the United States of America. Maybe that's why Palin's speech last night opened with this tribute: "I am so proud to be American. Happy birthday Ronald Reagan."



Leftist "Salon" Article Accusing James O'Keefe of Racist Motives Challenged

Kevin Martin of the black leadership group Project 21 and Amy Ridenour of the National Center for Public Policy Research are questioning the accuracy of an article in the left-wing online magazine Salon which implies that independent filmmaker James O'Keefe is a racist.

The article, "James O'Keefe's Race Problem," by Max Blumenthal, cites O'Keefe's attendance at a "Race and Conservatism" panel in 2006 as evidence that, as Blumenthal put it, O'Keefe's "short but storied career has been defined by a series of political stunts shot through with racial resentment."

Black conservative Kevin Martin, one of several panelists at the event, disagrees. In fact, Martin says, O'Keefe approached him after the event and expressed support for Martin's positions, which are certainly not racist:

"As a panelist at the Robert Taft Club 'Race and Conservatism' event in 2006, I had the chance to personally meet James O'Keefe after the event ended. He voiced personal support for me and my positions. He also repudiated the radical elements in the room that night.

"Marcus Epstein invited me - a black conservative - to a discussion on race issues, not O'Keefe. What transpired was a spirited debate against radical elements of which I and other conservatives were clearly opposed. At no time did I feel intimidated, nor was I ever treated poorly by my hosts. The Blumenthal story is long on accusation and short on facts.

"The left is attempting to label O'Keefe as a racist, but this probably has nothing to do with his ideas or associations now or then. I believe it is only because he recently exposed the radicalism of ACORN and the illegal advice its workers chose to give out. By labeling O'Keefe a racist, they likely seek to change the public view of O'Keefe's work from one of exposing corruption and law-breaking to one of a white conservative going after a group empowering the poor and minorities."

Blumenthal's article in Salon also says the following about Project 21: "A speaker from the right-wing black front group Project 21, founded by white conservative David Almasi to shill for corporate clients and provide cover for conservative politicians, was added at the last minute."

In response, Amy Ridenour, CEO of the National Center for Public Policy Research, which sponsors Project 21, said:

"I can't imagine where Max Blumenthal got his information, unless he made it up. Project 21 was founded in 1992 as a way to introduce black conservatives to the news media during policy discussions sparked by the Rodney King riots (as Project 21's website clearly states at, not to support any politicians. David Almasi did not found it -- in fact, he worked elsewhere until five years later -- and his role now is to book interviews for Project 21 members in response to media inquiries and to manage support staff in such tasks as sending op-eds and press statements by Project 21 members to the press, something he does in addition to his main professional duties as executive director of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Project 21 is actually chaired by Mychal Massie, and its sole full-time employee is Deneen Borelli, both of whom are black.

"Max Blumenthal's notion that Project 21 has 'corporate clients' is silly, as Project 21 is non-profit. It's expenses are met by the non-profit National Center for Public Policy Research, which has never had corporate clients and which receives less than one half of one percent of its overall revenue from corporate contributions, and from individual Project 21 members, who often undertake travel and activities at their own personal expense. I'm told neither Max Blumenthal nor anyone from Salon contacted the Project 21 office or Kevin Martin when researching or fact-checking this story, and it shows."




Bayh a tough sell in Indiana: "If you want more evidence of how deep Democratic losses may be in the fall midterm elections, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh's suddenly shaky bid for a third term is Exhibit A. A few months ago, Mr. Bayh was considered a shoo-in for re-election in the Hoosier state. Now election handicappers have moved him from "safe" to endangered. Within hours of former Sen. Dan Coats' announcement Wednesday that he is considering challenging Mr. Bayh, the dynamics of the race changed dramatically. The conservative Republican's "likely entry into the Indiana Senate race puts another seat into play," said election forecaster Stuart Rothenberg. "Move from Currently Safe to Narrow Advantage for the Incumbent Party," he wrote. However, the senator's "narrow advantage" may be precarious, according to recent polls that show growing disapproval of the two-term senator, who once had presidential ambitions. Despite Mr. Bayh's once carefully cultivated image as a party moderate, he has lurched left under the rhetorical spell of the Obama presidency and the pressures of the Senate's liberal Democratic caucus. He voted for the $2.5 trillion Obamacare bill despite strong opposition back home, where polls showed 60 percent opposition."

Tancredo ruffles feathers: "Former congressman Tom Tancredo took heat Friday for remarks at the national Tea Party convention that critics viewed as calling for a return to Jim Crow laws. But Tancredo said he wasn’t targeting a specific group when he suggested in Nashville there should be a ‘civics-literacy’ test before someone could vote. ‘People who could not even spell the word ‘vote’ or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House,’ Tancredo said in his opening-day speech Thursday. ‘His name is Barack Hussein Obama.’” [Universal suffrage is a relatively recent idea. Might it not need some fine tuning? Requiring literacy should not be too onerous]

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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