02 — Financial Armageddon? I have a little portfolio left over from my days of doing productive work — from 401Ks and such. It's not much, but it's mine. I keep a careful eye on it, with the help of my financial advisor, a sensible fellow I've known for many years.So every month I add up the current market value of all the bits and pieces and graph how I'm doing. February 1st I did this, and found I was down four percent so far this year. That's a four percent loss in one month; a rate which, if it continues, will have me at zero in two years.I emailed my advisor. "Is there anything I can do?" I asked him, "other than PANIC?"He was soothing, which I guess financial advisors have to be — like doctors … I have a good mix of funds, he assured me. A diverse mix. (I wish they'd find a different word for it.) Some good waterproof stuff in there. Hold tight, you'll be OK.As I said, like doctors. I'm afraid there's nothing more we can do; but with any luck you have another two years, and it shouldn't hurt much when it happens …I turned to the financial websites for enlightenment.Everyone seems agreed that China is a big part of the problem, but there's no agreement on how big, mainly because no-one believes China's official economic statistics. They claim seven percent growth for last year. Gordon Chang, however, thinks the true figure may be one percent, or even less. Quote from him:
In the first 11 months of 2015, electricity consumption increased 0.7 percent. Rail freight volume fell 10.5 percent in 2015, according to Caixin, which cited the National Railway Administration.End quote. Caixin is a sort of Chinese Bloomberg.On the other hand, Gordon Chang has been predicting the collapse of China for 15 years to my certain knowledge, so he is, as it were, invested in pessimism.Even discounting for that, China's period of sensational growth rates is over, as it had to be sooner or later. They were starting from a really low base. I know: I was there when they were at the base. And communist technocrats, under constant pressure from the Party bosses to make things look good, are not the best people to manage an economy, as the collapse of the Chinese stock market last year showed.A weakening Chinese economy causes pain all over. To manufacture all that stuff they export, China uses a lot of raw materials. When they produce less, miners in Australia or Brazil are digging stuff out of the ground with no-one to sell it to.It doesn't help that the world is awash with oil, in part because of new technologies like fracking, and then in part because the Saudis are pumping like crazy in an effort to put the higher-cost frackers out of business.Did I mention that China also imports a lot of food?As things slow down and commodity producers lower prices and cut back on equipment purchases, the ripples spread. Companies can't service their debt, so banks take a hit. National and central banks, struggling to keep currencies stable, fall back on desperate measures. In Japan and some Scandinavian countries, bank interest rates are now negative; to park your savings in them, you have to pay for the privilege.If you save less because those negative interest rates make it pointless, then you'll spend more; so that should perk up the economy. Unfortunately it also, combined with companies not servicing their loans, leaves banks with nothing in their vaults, which is … not optimal.It's a mess all over. There's talk of financial Armageddon. People are buying gold, although I don't really understand why. If we fall into a world of shuttered banks, idle factories, and forty percent unemployment, what's gold going to do for you? What, you file some shavings off your gold bar and take them down to the supermarket to buy potatoes? Uh-huh.As you can see, I have no soothing words to offer. I'd make a lousy doctor, or financial advisor. If you have a job, hold on to it; if you don't have a job, get one — preferably a government job. That's all the advice I have. the numbers do seem to bear it out. From Iowa to New Hampshire, in share of the primary vote, to the nearest percent, Christie rose from two to seven; Rubio fell from 23 to eleven. These are two very different states, though, and I'm not totally convinced.It's academic so far as Christie's concerned, in any case. On Wednesday he gave up his Presidential run. His dropping out removes a certain abrasive entertainment value from the GOP race; but that aside, I'm not going to shed tears over the loss of an open borders, anti-gun candidate, which is what Christie was. Nice knowing ya, Governor.Carly Fiorina also dropped out this week. She had, as the cliché goes, "failed to gain traction," in spite of having gone from two percent in Iowa to four percent in New Hampshire. Ms Fiorina is smart, performed well in the debates, and had the female identity thing going for her. The chemistry was against her, though. She just didn't leave much of an impression.The betting now is of course on Ben Carson as the next dropout. Dr Carson swears he's in it for as long as he has any support, but things don't look good for him. He went from nine percent in Iowa to two and a half in New Hampshire. His election-night party in Nashua, New Hampshire was a frost. Only fifty people showed up, just one of them a news reporter. Quote from that reporter:
There were two bars set up but neither was inundated. A woman working behind one of them spent much of her time knitting a blanket.End quote. Sounds like the voters already gave Dr Carson a blanket: a wet blanket. [Laughter.]There may be things unspoken going on here, mind. A lot of people, including me, suspect that the GOP chieftains are just as much in thrall to the Diversity ideology as the rest of our elites are; so that now it's well-nigh certain the party is going to end up with a pale male Presidential candidate, they'll want a Gyno-American or an Afro-American in the Vice-Presidential spot. So don't be waving goodbye to Fiorina or Carson just yet.On the Democrat side New Hampshire was a big win for Bernie Sanders. The old commie went from fifty percent of caucus-goers in Iowa to sixty percent of voters in New Hampshire. The sound of Hillary's teeth grinding could be heard all over the Eastern seaboard.Next up: South Carolina and Nevada caucuses. Next Saturday, February 20th, Republicans caucus in South Carolina, Democrats in Nevada. Tuesday the 23rd it's Republicans in Nevada; then the following Saturday, the 27th, it's Democrats in South Carolina. Got that?Nevada has its charms, I'm sure, but South Carolina is the more interesting of the two as a primary state. Why? Next segment. third horsegirl of the Libyan apocalypse Hillary Clinton?This should be no contest. You can't get any whiter than Bernie Sanders. Here at VDARE we've been joking for months that there should be a prize for the first person to spot a black face at a Bernie Sanders rally. Bernie's home state of Vermont is the whitest state in the Union: whiter than Hawaii, whiter than Alaska. Bernie is quintessentially the candidate of white gentry liberals.Mrs Clinton, on the other hand, is the wife of the guy who anti-white black novelist Toni Morrison called, quote: "our first black President … blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children's lifetime," end quote. That was in 1998, by the way.Mrs Clinton is, furthermore, female, and black women vote way more than black men. Ten point four million black women voted in 2012; only seven point four million black men did. That's three million extra votes from the ladies.There are some contrary indicators, though. Sanders was a civil rights activist in his youth, or so he tells us. It would certainly fit with his youthful-lefty persona. And Bill Clinton, as Governor of Arkansas, was strict on crime, which black activists nowadays perceive as racist. There's also the Simpson Jury Factor: black women's suspicion of white women as always plotting to steal their men.This week in fact saw a couple of big-name blacks declare for Bernie. White gentry liberal pet Ta-nehisi Coates told the New York Times on Wednesday that he was, quote, "concerned about Mrs Clinton's ties to Wall Street and her past stances on criminal justice," end quote.Also on Wednesday, Michelle Alexander published a piece in lefty magazine The Nation titled "Why Hillary Clinton Doesn't Deserve the Black Vote." Ms Alexander is famous in black grievance circles for her 2012 book The New Jim Crow, which blames the very high levels of black incarceration on, yes, you guessed it, white racism. It's a silly and dishonest book, much mocked by serious scholars: see for example the take-down by John Walters and David Murray at the Hudson Institute website. The book has, though, been embraced joyfully by Social Justice Warriors, and is now on the required-reading lists at colleges all over the country.Ms Alexander, by the way, is a law professor at Ohio State University. She lives in New Albany, Ohio, a town that is just three percent black, and whose police force seems to be entirely white, to judge from their group photograph. You wonder at her fecklessness in exposing herself and her young son to so much white racism.At Thursday night's Democrat debate in Milwaukee, both Sanders and Mrs Clinton went full Alexander. "Sentencing for blacks is higher than for whites," fumed Bernie, quoting some bogus statistics out of Michelle Alexander's bogus book. "African-Americans … face discrimination in … the criminal justice system," frothed Mrs Clinton.The reality, perfectly clear in all the statistics, including those out of Barack Obama's Justice Department, simply is that blacks commit crime at rates sensationally higher than whites. Reality, however, was not on the debate stage Thursday night.We shouldn't assume, either, that all this anti-white pandering is necessarily aimed at the black vote. For every black person that votes in a Presidential election, about six non-Hispanic whites vote. Of those six whites, probably a third are themselves anti-white — call it the ethnomasochist vote. So you have two white ethnomasochists voting for every black; and of course they're voting Democrat.Hillary and Bernie want those votes. If they've done the arithmetic as I just did it — it's not difficult — they want them twice as much as they want black votes. In other words the anti-white pandering is aimed mostly at whites. That is the peculiar mass psychology of our country in the present age. During their dance routine they gave Black Power salutes and lined up in an "X" formation, apparently to honor Malcolm X, a black activist murdered by black Muslims in 1965.The dancers also acted out a protest against the police shooting of Mario Woods in San Francisco last December. Woods, a career criminal with a recent jail sentence for armed robbery, had stabbed a random stranger. When police found and cornered him, he refused to drop his knife. Four beanbag rounds and a dose of pepper spray failed to persuade him; and when he still advanced toward bystanders, still brandishing the knife, police shot him dead. Beyoncé's dancers apparently regard this to have been a monstrous injustice.The mostly-white Superbowl crowd reacted to all this black grievance theater by applauding wildly, a thing that disturbed me far more than the show itself.My reaction to the routine itself was in fact to find it all rather endearingly quaint. I mean: the Panthers, Malcolm X, Black Power? That stuff was fifty years ago. It took me back to my college days.From there, I found myself imagining that I was a young person watching it. When I went to college in 1963, fifty years prior would have been 1913. So it's as if the young Derb were to be watching a propaganda dance for pre-WW1 anarchists or Suffragettes. Like I said: quaint.Fifty years on from now, shall white Americans still be watching and applauding the celebration of black thugs and troublemakers? Perhaps we shall. Perhaps this is, after all, the great American romance: evil leering white cops with billy clubs and mirrored sunglasses, beating up on helpless young blacks pleading for mercy. If we can't let go of it in fifty years, when can we?Perhaps never. Perhaps this is now just a permanent part of our culture, like Japanese Kabuki or the Ghost Dance of the Sioux.The quaintness aspect aside, anyway, it left me unstirred, not even indignant. If one of your loved ones is a cop, I'm sure you feel differently, and I don't blame you.I have to confess that what actually held my attention was cousin Beyoncé's curiously large, meaty thighs. I suppose she can't help them, any more than I can help my big nose; but if you're in the market for free advice, cousin, mine would be: Get a new costume designer.
06 — Afghanistan: the Forever War. It's been a while, a couple of years, since you last heard me moan: "Afghanistan? Is that still going on?"And yes, it's still going on. Our senior commander in Afghanistan, Army General John F. Campbell, testified before the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday last week, February 2nd.The Afghan security forces are becoming increasingly competent, General Campbell told the congresscritters. However, "significant hurdles remain and persistent training and advising is required to overcome them," he added.Just to remind you, in case your Dad didn't explain it to you, we went into Afghanistan in October 2001, that's fourteen years and four months ago. We went in because the Taliban government of the time had played host to Al Qaeda leaders, and wouldn't hand them over to us after 9/11.In very little time we took down that goverment, installed a puppet government, and staged elections. Fourteen years on, we're still there.Why? Beats my pair of jacks. The official rationale is something to do with training and advising the forces of the puppet government we installed. Why they still need our training and advice after fourteen blessed years, I cannot understand. In fourteen years I could train my Jack Russell terrier to solve quadratic equations, I'm pretty sure.Our choices in respect of Afghanistan seem to me straightforward. Either (A) we go Roman: Install a proconsul and a proper army of occupation, then kill all living things in areas that resist us, and make the survivors speak English, or (B) we leave, after stern warnings about really nasty things we'll do to the filthy place if they host any more people we don't like.Actual administration policy is apparently (C) stay in Afghanistan for ever, with enough troops to guard a few key assets and keep up the façade of "training and advising," but never enough to do the Roman thing.Current troop levels are given as just short of ten thousand. Obama's stated intent was to reduce numbers to one thousand by the end of this year. Last fall he reneged on that, saying we'd get down to 5,500 this year. General Campbell, before the House Committee, allowed that this wouldn't be enough to keep up the "training and advising" pretense — but hey, look at it from Obama's point of view: It might be enough to keep out of the headlines anything unpleasant that might impinge on Mrs Clinton's election chances.By election time in November we shall have been in Afghanistan more than fifteen years. Fifteen years! U.S. fatalities at that point will be over 2,500.Memo to the next President: If you can't decisively win a war and bend a small, poor, decrepit nation to your will in fifteen years, you should cease all overseas deployments and reduce your armed forces to a homeland militia backed up with ICBMs.
07 — White, small, and happy. Back in 2009, in one of my online diaries, I wrote about what I called "happy-in-obscurity" countries — nations, that is, that don't generate much news, where nothing much happens, but where life is peaceful and modestly prosperous, and citizens have a good shot at ordinary, unsensational happiness. I cited New Zealand, Taiwan, and Finland as examples.And then I said maybe Uruguay should be added to the list. Quote from me, after chatting with a lady from Uruguay back then, quote:
She said things are just fine: some poverty, a touch of Latin-Americanness still in politics (the place is on its umpteenth constitution), the usual left-intellectual nuisances in the universities trying to make trouble, localized crime problems (which she blamed on immigrants from Brazil). On the whole, though, she made Uruguay sound like a pretty nice place.End quote. Well, here's reinforcement for my Uruguayophilia, from the New York Times, no less. This was the February 9th issue, an Op-Ed by Argentinian lefty journalist Uki Goñi. Sample quotes:
What it lacks in numbers, Uruguay makes up for by ranking as the least corrupt and most democratic country in Latin America — as well as only one of two, along with Chile, rated as a "high income" country by the United Nations …In a region where democracy is increasingly tested by economic mismanagement, political corruption, drug cartels and environmental crises, Uruguay is the only Latin American country ranked among the world's 20 "full democracies," according to The Economist's 2015 democracy index — ahead even, by one place, of the United States.End quotes. To make the piece properly Times-compliant, Mr Goñi decorates it with some anti-white tut-tutting about slavery in the colonial period, but on the whole he makes the country sound very nice, in spite of its being full of white people.The fact of Uruguay's being full of white people is in fact the Great Unmentionable here. Just how white is Uruguay? Mr Goñi tells us that, quote: "Today, the country has a large Afro-Uruguayan community — about 10 percent of the population is descended from slaves." End quote. The CIA World Factbook, on the other hand, gives "white 88 percent, mestizo 8 percent, black 4 percent, Amerindian (practically nonexistent)."You have to suspect that Mr Goñi was gilding the lily there: darkening it up a bit, I mean.I doubt whiteness is the whole story. Argentina next door is even whiter than Uruguay — 97 percent. Chile, the other nation down in the "cone" of South America, is at 89 percent white. Both had issues with political stability in the last century — the names Juan Perón and Salvador Allende mean anything? Uruguay itself wasn't always precisely modelling itself on the Netherlands in years past.Under 21st-century conditions, though, they're doing well, suggesting that perhaps to be small and agriculturally fertile, with a white supermajority and out of the way of Great Power conflicts, is an enviable situation. Good luck to them.After I've put Radio Derb to bed I'm going to get online and look up property prices in Montevideo. When civilization collapses, Uruguay may be the place to be. the Republican Presidential debate on February 6th, candidates were asked whether women should be required to register for the draft. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush both said flatly that they should.Chris Christie waffled, first asking the world, quote, "can I be really clear on this?" and then emitting a cloud of squid ink about, quote, "if a young woman in this country wants to go and fight to defend their country, she should be permitted to do so." Which was not the question. Ben Carson went round the back of the question, quote: "If we start taking care of our veterans the right way, we won't have to ever worry about a draft again," end quote.I have to admit, it took my breath away to hear two candidates from the less crazy of our two parties come out clearly for making women register for the draft. It was too much even for my establishment-friendly old boss Rich Lowry, quote from him: "Hide your daughters — our deluded and cowardly political elites are a clear and present danger to common sense," end quote.On reflection, though, I'm going to file this under "cheap grace." Nobody thinks we're going to actually have a draft ever again, so declarations about registering for it are cost-free. A politician can say what he likes, secure in the belief he will never be called on it.But then, on re-reflection, it's still pretty astounding that Rubio and Bush, free to say what they like on the issue, should line up with radical feminists. One more reason (if one were needed) never, ever to vote for either of these fools.Item: Speaking of that GOP debate: John Kasich was asked about illegal aliens.Kasich replied with the usual flim-flam about closing the border, which of course no establishment politician of either party has any intention of doing. What he actually said was ever sillier than usual. Quote: "We need to finish the border. It has to be completed." End quote."Finish the border"? To the best of my understanding, our border with Mexico has been stable since the Gadsden Purchase a hundred and sixty-two years ago. Shouldn't the border be, like, finished already?Kasich went on to say, quote: "And we can have a guest worker program, where people can come in and out in an orderly way," end quote.This fires up a pet peeve of mine. When a politician talks about how we need a guest worker program, that is an infallible sign he knows bupkis about immigration. I once went through the Customs and Immigration Service website and counted 21 visa categories that could fairly be described as for guest workers, covering every labor category from seasonal agricultural laborers to concert pianists.If the debate moderators were doing their job, they would jump all over this lazy, ignorant appeal for guest worker programs. "Mr Candidate, we currently have 21 guest worker programs. Why do you think we need another one?"The moderator who asks that will restore my faith in the integrity of TV journalism.Item: Here's another piece of cant that has me throwing things at the TV screen: "We're all from Africa originally."This week's offender was movie actress Meryl Streep, commenting on the flap about there not being enough blacks in the Oscar nominations. What she actually said was, quote: "We're all Africans, really."To be sure, Homo sapiens, indeed I believe the entire Homo genus, arose in Africa. That was a very long time ago, though, and evolution has been working its magic for all of that long time.If you go back somewhat further, we are all descended from sea creatures. That doesn't make me kin to a lobster.I guess that expecting movie airheads to say intelligent things about biology is just inviting disappointment. Like expecting professional politicians to give informed replies to questions about immigration …Item: Here's a follow-up on last week's report about so-called "refugees" in Finland.Reuters reports, February 12th, that thousands of these people are now leaving Finland voluntarily to go back home. Eighty percent of these voluntary returnees are from Iraq, with much smaller numbers from Syria and Afghanistan.The fact that they want to go home kind of puts the lie to them being refugees; but Reuters persists in calling them refugees anyway.Why do they want to go home? Says the travel agent booking their tickets, quote: "Some say they don't like the food here, it's too cold or they don't feel welcome in Finland," end quote. The Reuters reporter adds that, quote: "Hostility to migrants has also increased in Finland, a country with little experience of mass immigration and which now has economic problems," end quote.Obviously the Finns are doing something right here. The Sons of Odin seem to be achieving their objective.Perhaps there's another factor, too. Talking about Uruguay back there, I rhapsodised about, quote, "happy-in-obscurity" countries, and actually cited Finland as an example. There's a flip side to that smiley-face coin, though. These quiet, un-newsworthy countries are great for the natives; but if you come in from outside they can look stodgy, insular, and dull.I'm thinking here of the English poet W.H. Auden, writing to a friend about his visit to Iceland in 1936. Quote:
If you have no particular intellectual interests or ambitions and are content with the company of your family and friends, then life on Iceland must be very pleasant, because the inhabitants are friendly, tolerant, and sane. They are genuinely proud of their country and its history, but without the least trace of hysterical nationalism … Though I am sure you would enjoy a visit as much as I did, I think that, in the long run, the Scandinavian sanity would be too much for you, as it is for me. The truth is, we are both only really happy living among lunatics.So perhaps there's something of that going on with these Iraqis. Perhaps they've gotten so used to living among lunatics, the Finns are too sane for them. personal cloud" — basically a big fat hard drive that plugs in, not to your computer but to your router. "Your very own server farm!" gushed the friend who introduced me to this thing. Well, so far I haven't figured out how to get fresh milk, eggs, or veggies from it, but it sure is pretty.And of course I don't want any unwanted trespassers snooping around on it. It's my cloud.More from Radio Derb next week.[Music clip: The Rolling Stones, "Get Off My Cloud."]