Archive for July, 2010

Palin still in charge

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

So far, when the Republican establishment has endorsed a republican in a primary, and Palin has endorsed a different candidate, Palin’s candidate wins.  Looks like Republican party activists listen to Palin, and rank and file republicans listen to party activists.  The next test of Palin’s power is Lisa Murkowski against Joe Miller. The party establishment are not only way to the left of the party base, they are also incompetent, corrupt, politically clumsy, and astonishingly stupid, the kind of stupid that only years of teaching in an elite university can induce.

Green Jobs

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Abengoa SA was offered a $1.45 billion loan guarantee by the U.S. Department of Energy to build a 250-megawatt solar plant in Arizona, and Abound Solar Manufacturing was offered a $400 million loan guarantee toward two plants where thin-solar panels will be manufactured.

The guarantees through the Recovery Act and other measures are expected by the awardees to create more than 5,000 jobs, according to a statement from the White House.

Government guaranteed loans usually wind up being repaid by the government. It is just a way of keeping expenditures off today’s books. So this works out as $370 000 per job.

But in fact the impact on jobs, and green energy, will probably be negative, as the firms that actually create jobs are less well connected, and will know better than to attempt to compete with a business that has such government favor.

The weak horse

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

Mark Steyn brilliantly skewers our Afghanistan policy.  He primarily blames Obama, though the rot set in under Bush.

Why would Putin, Ahmadinejad or the ChiComs take Barack Obama seriously when even a footling client such as Hamid Karzai can flip him the finger?

The toppling of the Taliban was an operation conducted with extraordinary improvised ingenuity and a very light U.S. footprint. Special forces on horseback rode with the Northern Alliance and used GPS to call in air strikes: they’ll be teaching it in staff colleges for decades to come. But then the Taliban scuttled out of town, and a daring victory settled into a thankless semi-colonial policing operation, and then corroded further under the pressure of the usual transnational poseurs. After 2003, Afghanistan became the good war, the one everyone claimed to have supported all along, if mostly retrospectively and for the purposes of justifying their “principled moral opposition” to Bush’s illegal adventuring against Saddam. Afghanistan was everything Iraq wasn’t: UN-approved, NATO-backed, EU-compliant. It’d be tough for even the easiest nickel ’n’ dime military incursion to survive that big an overdose of multilateral hogwash, and the Afghan campaign didn’t. Instead of being an operation to kill one of the planet’s most concentrated populations of jihadist terrorists, it decayed into half-hearted nation-building in which a handful of real allies took the casualties while the rest showed up for the group photo. The 2004 NATO summit was hailed as a landmark success after the alliance’s 26 members agreed to put up an extra 600 troops and three helicopters for Afghanistan. That averages out at 23.08 troops per country, plus almost a ninth of a helicopter apiece. As it transpired, the three Black Hawks all came from one country—Turkey—and within a year they’d all gone back. Those 600 troops and three helicopters made no practical difference, but the effort expended on that transnational fig leaf certainly contributed to America’s disastrous reframing of its interests in Afghanistan.

And so here we are, nine years, billions of dollars and many dead soldiers later, watching the guy we’ve propped up with Western blood and treasure make peace overtures to the Taliban’s most virulently anti-American and pro-al-Qaeda faction