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Commie Military Spending December 30, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
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Figured I’d follow up yesterday’s post with an update on military spending by our geopolitical foes.

I wrote a post back in 2006 worrying about China’s and Russia’s trends in military expenditures. Since then, Russia’s inflation-adjusted expenditures have increased by 60% and China’s have doubled. Ours have increased by 16%. So my worry hasn’t diminished.

China and Russia Military ExpendituresThrough2012

Back in the mid-90’s their combined spending was at a low point – their combined spending was only 15% of ours. Now it’s 38%. And if you consider the lower prices and salaries in those countries (i.e., the purchasing power parity), their effective military budget is about 57% of ours. That’s not taking into account the money they save by taking advantage of US R&D, nor the fact that both countries have a history of understating their actual military expenditures.

As predicted, China has already started throwing its weight around the South China Sea. Russia is playing footsie with the US in Eastern Europe over missile and missile defense systems. What will they be doing in 10 years?

*Military expenditure data from SIPRI.org. Purchasing Power Parity estimate from the World Bank.

China’s Gonna Take Our Lunch Money December 29, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
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I read Anne Applebaum’s article on China and Russia in the WaPo the other day. She titled it: China and Russie bring back Cold War tactics

Having written some 40-odd posts on our new Cold War back in 2006-2008, it was nice to see yet another person from the mainstream finally starting to notice the realignment of the geopolitical turf. Sadly, though, she stopped short of calling it a Cold War.

“Is this a new Cold War?”

Every time I say anything to anyone anywhere about Russia nowadays, that’s what I’m asked. And there is a clear answer: No. This is not a new Cold War. Neither the United States nor Europe is locked in a deadly, apocalyptic competition with Russia, China or anyone else. We are not fighting proxy wars. The world has not been divided into two Orwellian halves, democrats vs. communists.

I would note that our adversaries certainly are fighting proxy wars, and that while the world may not be quite halved (nor was Orwell’s), it’s quite apparent that the Russia-China alliance is focused on displacing the United States as the world’s only superpower. It’s also true that the economic battleground has intensified compared to the old days, when the commies didn’t have a competitive GDP.

That reminded me that I hadn’t compared the GDPs of China and the US for several years. So I hopped online and updated the numbers:

USandChinaGDP

That’s a little worrisome. China has huge problems in their GDP reporting, but so do we. And while we’ve been sitting on our thumbs, waiting idly for their demographic and/or economic collapse, they just keep coming.

When I last plotted that graph, economic pundits predicted that China would become the world’s largest economy by 2025. Looks like they’ll beat that by about 5 years.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day December 25, 2013

Posted by Retired Geezer in Heroes, Literature, Love.
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This song makes Mrs. Geezer cry.

Here’s the story of the song, based on a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

By Greg Laurie, Christian Post Contributor
December 21, 2013|9:45 am

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
– Luke 2:14

One of the most familiar carols we hear during the holidays is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” The story behind the song, based on a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, is very interesting.

In 1860, Longfellow was at the peak of his success as a poet. Abraham Lincoln had just been elected President, giving hope to many in the nation. But things soon turned dark for America and for Longfellow, personally. The Civil War began the following year, and Longfellow’s wife died of severe burns after her dress caught fire. Longfellow sustained severe burns on his hands and face from trying to save his wife. He was so badly burned that he could not even attend her funeral. In his diary for Christmas Day 1861, he wrote, “How inexpressibly sad are the holidays.”

In 1862, the Civil War escalated and the death toll from the war began to mount. In his diary for that year, Longfellow wrote of Christmas, “‘A merry Christmas,’ say the children, but that is no more for me.” In 1863, Longfellow’s son, who had run away to join the Union Army, was severely wounded and returned home in December. There is no entry in Longfellow’s diary for that Christmas.

For Christmas Day that year, Longfellow wanted to pull out of his despair, so he decided to try to capture the joy of Christmas. He began:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men.

As Longfellow came to the sixth stanza, he was stopped by the thought of the condition of his beloved country. The Battle of Gettysburg was not long past. Days looked dark, and he probably asked himself the question, “How can I write about peace on earth, goodwill to men in this war-torn country, where brother fights against brother and father against son?” But he kept writing and what did he write?

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
That could be said of our day as well.

But then, catching an eternal perspective and the real message of Christmas and Christ Himself, he wrote:

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep;
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

May you hear these bells in the coming year.

Anatomically Proportioned and Then Some December 24, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
3 comments

While you’re frantically finishing up your Xmas shopping, cursing toy manufacturers for their ridiculous offerings, console yourself with the bullet you dodged (so far): Porky Barbie.

It’s a Man Cold, Baby December 24, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
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Once again, science follows art:

According to a new report by scientists, men with high levels of testosterone have weak immune system. The research team has revealed this fact by measuring their tendency to resist against flu. This research also unveils the reason for why men are more vulnerable to infectious diseases in comparison to women.

The research has also stated the reason as why immune systems of men respond less actively to vaccinations. It has been reported that men easily get affected by bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infection in comparison to women.

Well duh. We’ve long known that all of us manly type men suffer disproportionately from these viral thingys, but do we get the sympathy we deserve? We do not.

So now I hope we get the pampering and attention that any significant other with a moral compass should cheerfully provide. After all, it’s science.

Here’s the art (which has previously appeared at IB):

Art December 19, 2013

Posted by Sobek in Art.
22 comments

Done.  Finally.

(more…)

Racist Electric Car Sales Lag Behind the President’s Prediction (Dec 2013) December 10, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
16 comments

Over the past few days we’ve seen how poorly employment, manufacturing jobs, and exports are doing. Might as well turn our attention to the green economy – another of the key areas of the President’s economic push.

The President famously promised to get 1 million electric vehicles on the road by the end of 2015. Let’s compare Presidential fancy with reality:*

ElectricCarSalesThroughNov2013

We’re seeing 1/3 of the predicted sales. That’s not too bad for an electric car pilot project. But it’s abysmal for a centerpiece of the President’s green technology initiative, and ineffectual in boosting the economy.

It’s not all the President’s fault – he got his numbers from the DOE, which has absolutely no expertise in predicting commercial sales of anything. But it’s certainly his fault for believing their optimistic swags. A competent or seasoned executive wouldn’t have made that mistake.

*Since we haven’t quite reached the end of the year, I multiplied the 2013 sales through November by 12/11. Next month we’ll have the real data, but I doubt you’ll see a difference.

Exports Continue to Defy Obama’s Will (Dec. 2013) December 9, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
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I know that you don’t need me to tell you how badly the President is doing economically, but I can’t help myself, so here’s an update on his exports promise.

You remember his exports promise from 2010, don’t you? That’s the one where he said that increasing exports was critical to economic recovery, so he was going to double them. Yep, he was going to take our monthly exports of $140 billion and increase them to $280 billion by the end of next year.

As with all of the President’s economic predictions, reality has turned out to be racist:

ExportsRealityvsObamaDec2013

Today’s Quote Without Context December 7, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
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Presented without comment:

I have seen the shrinkage. It’s amazing and frightening at the same time,” she said.

[If you bother to click through, I’d suggest reading the comments.]

Manufacturing Jobs Through Nov. 2013 – More ObamaFail December 6, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
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Every Employment Situation report brings with it a tally of manufacturing jobs, and that, of course, allows us to compare that tally with the President’s promise to add 1 million manufacturing jobs by September 2016. As usual, that comparison reflects poorly on the President’s command of facts economic:

ManufJobsDecember13

We’ve added 71K jobs since he made the promise (based on Aug. 2012 data). If he followed the trajectory so thoughtfully plotted by Organizing for America, we should have added 430K.

It’s almost like he makes promises blindly and then abandons them when things don’t work out.

Refreshing Foreign Policy Statement December 6, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
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My favorite foreign policy moment by this administration:

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Friday that Washington does not accept China’s new air defense zone over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

“I was absolutely clear on behalf of my president: We do not recognize the zone. It will have no effect on American operations. None. Zero,” Biden said in a speech in Seoul, referring to discussions he held in Beijing earlier in the week.

That was perfect, and a complete surprise to me. But, the way the administration fumbled Syria and Iran and Russia and Libya and …, I kind of doubt they’ll stick to that firm, clear, US-centric stance.

Unemployment Numbers for Nov 2013 December 6, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.
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Today’s BSL report on the Employment Situation seems to contain some good news: unemployment dropped to 7.0%, 203K jobs were created, participation went up, and part-time jobs dropped. All good, but I’m not really feeling it. Maybe that’s because by my metric of the employment situation, we still haven’t made it back to where we were in May:

FullTimeEmpvsCivPopDec2013

In fact, since last November we really haven’t made any headway. For a full year our full-time job growth has stagnated as compared with civilian population growth. So while this was a decent month, in the grand scheme it doesn’t amount to anything.

Another creepy factoid: since January 2009 we’ve added 1.1 million people to our labor force. But our civilian non-institutional population has grown by 11.8 million. Yeah, the mouths we have to feed have grown at ten times the rate of our work pool.