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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Has A Command Economy Ever Worked?

  definition - An economy where supply and price are regulated by the government rather than market forces. Government planners decide which goods and services are produced and how they are distributed.

Jerry Pournelle says no
command economies distort realities and so badly misallocate resources that the economy dwindles. Recessions become permanent. Recession becomes depression. Economic miracles never happen with command economies. Some economists like to prove they can’t, using information theory; but prove it or not. we don’t see instances of economic miracles under command economies. Yes, there are economic miracles under authoritarian regimes. Franco’s Spain at one time had the highest economic growth in the world. Pinochet’s Chile came back from near economic death under socialism to become a roaring tiger. Both had economic freedom and stability of property. They were politically authoritarian governments, but they were not dedicated to ever-rising state budgets.
Command economies never work. That includes ideologies that transfer ever larger amounts from the productive to the needy. As Margaret Thatcher observed, eventually you run out of other people’s money to give away. And the gods of the copybook headings limp up to explain it again.
There’s a famous story about a time when, back in the days of the Soviet planned economy, someone got to Stalin at a social function, and when Stalin asked how things were going, he told the Great Father that all was well except that it was hard to get copper tubing. Stalin told an underling “Let there be copper tubing!” And Lo! There was copper tubing. There were shortages of other forms of copper, but there was copper tubing in plenty.
That’s a fairly extreme example, but it’s a common enough story with command economies. A planned economy misallocates resources. If your society is wealthy enough you may not notice because there’s enough surplus to cater to the whims of the powerful and influential, but when resources are scarce the choices are more difficult.

.... Politicians always cut the budgets for the roads and the police before touching entitlements or the bureaucracy. In good times or in bad, das Buros steht immer, (the bureaucrats always stay) as Metternich observed.

Command economies distort the allocation of resources. Sometimes the effects are dire. An example: Senators Dodd and Kennedy (they of waitress sandwich fame), and Barney Frank decided that it would be a very good thing for more people in the United States to own their homes. They saw to it that there would be plenty of money for sub-prime mortgages.
  Now largely this is also what I believe to be the case. However there is one instance where a command economy appears to have succeeded. I know he has studied Marxism,. I wrote this to Dr Pournelle and he published it with the highlighted reply.
The counter example to that is the USSR during the late 1920s & 30s. Stalin may have exaggerated his productivity figures but WW2 proved that the USSR’s economy really had grown from destitution to the world’s second. Much of the appeal of communism was based on this achievement (at one time it appealed to me on those grounds) while the rest of the world was in Depression and I believe it has to be explained It can partly be explained by the pure human cost paid but if the command economy was that moribund that would not have been sufficient.
My current explanation is that Trotsky became electricity commissar in 1925 and set in train a decade of 23% annual growth in electricity capacity and that, then, newish technology was the or a pivotal one and allowed the economy to grow at 10% at a time when introduction of command factors into the US economy had depressed it. However this may be an after the fact rationalisation (and projection onto Trotsky) and I would be interested in your thoughts.


Actually, Lenin was forced to resort to his New Economic Policy much to the dismay of many devoted Marxists. Russia went from being the breadbasket of Europe to famine. Command economies can always produce some spectacular results in their areas of concentration. Intelligent masters understand that it is best not to bind the mouths of the kine who tread the grain.
And another correspondent wrote
A command economy says government experts are better able to allocate resources. This does not appear to be true. To the point:

         If a Capitalist society is the economic equivalent of a Maxwellian gas, the command economy is the economic equivalent of a laser: it can achieve spectacular results — at the cost of wasting 95% of the total energy (productivity) of the system.



   I am more looking for an economic theory rather than the practical question of whether Obama or even any elected "socialist" politician should be trusted with economic decisions - clearly he shouldn't and it is difficult to name any who ought to be. Well ok Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore considered himself a socialist when first elected.

     A laser is a very effective device when used correctly. If the area of concentration is the industrial economy that is a pretty large area and arguably (I would argue it) worth almost anything to improve. Increase the rate of growth by 10% & in 10 years you have achieved a doubling of everybody's income. The cost to the people of the USSR was indeed starvation and about 10 million deaths which is a tough one to justify. However Hitler was intending to attack them and exterminate much/most of the population to provide "lebensraum" for German families so in that particular case even 10 million starving to death is clearly the lesser evil.

    I regard this as a major historic and philosophic question because the history of the 20th C clearly turns on the success, and ultimate failure of the USSR. Not only physically but morally.  The intellectual and political classes of Europe and America came to the subconscious and sometimes conscious conclusion that planned economies worked and were the wave of the future. In some few cases, as Kim Philby, they gave their loyalty to it. In many they decided that it must be stopped, or at least be held back for their time, by force.  In some, including most of these latter cases, they nonetheless decided they had to move towards economic planning to compete - hence FDR's New deal, Britain's post war government and Kennedy's decision that competing with the Soviets in going to the Moon could only be done by command rather than market processes. Indeed it was only with Friedman, Thatcher and reagan that the opposite view started to be seriously put.

    However for it to work I submit it is necessary for "government experts to be better able to allocate resources". This requires the government experts to be very expert indeed. It possibly requires the technology to be of the relatively unsophisticated (by 2011 standards) and already developed by other countries sort that the USSR went for. After all they are having to guess smarter in all the industries than commercial owners of each industry would. It also requires them to be genuinely motivated by the desire for wealth creation in a way that entrepreneurs are. Specifically the leader has to recognise the importance of a few small industries, like electricity, that are going to be pivatoal.

     Since, unlike entrepreneurs, democratic politicians do not benefit much from national wealth creation but do benefit from placating their own interest groups with pork barreling projects it may well be impossible for a democracy, where there are always some interest groups to be placated, to successfully work such a command economy. Another problem is that, over the long term, command control of what passes for the price system is bound to make sensible cost based economic decisions increasingly difficult.

    So my conclusion is that a successful command economy is not impossible - it merely requires to have an extremely intelligent, uncorrupt, person, driven by a desire for economic success; not micromanaging below the level at which the technology is unproven; with a degree of authority akin to dictatorship; in an economy that has not been command driven for long.

   Trotsky, in his role of electricity commissar (Stalin though disposing of him kept his industrial plans though, over time, they ran down) and Lee Kuan Yew in the early years of Singapore independence managed to achieve all these demanding conditions. It must be obvious how very unlikely it is that they will all be achieved by coincidence, which is why they are alone.

   As somebody who inherently distrusts big government I am not particularly happy to have found , as I believe, a condition, however difficult, under which it is optimum but that s the way I believe the evidence points.

   Nonetheless, in the world as it is libertarianism is still far better than the mess of parasitic governments we have. Even better than China's which, with a large state sector, has been a command economy for far to long for the necessary price signals tom be optimum.

   I intend to write more about this from the viewpoint of Trotsky. Perhaps I am idealising someone who is one of the 20th C's most romantic political figures. If so I hope someone will say so and why.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

How Government Currency Being Valueless Could Stimulate Real Wealth Production in Space

   EU Referendum has this about the increasing value of gold (today at $1,580 a gram).
"One of the big US banks texted me today to say that if QE3 actually happens, we could see gold at $5,000 and silver at $1,000. I feel terribly sorry for anybody on fixed incomes tied to a fiat currency because they are not going to be able to buy things with that paper money".
What the bubble dwellers do not realise is that, while they are entranced with their soap opera, in their tiny, claustrophobic domain, the world order is falling apart.
  Which led me to respond
There are metallic asteroids weighing millions of tons that run to around 1% gold. We have the technology to go there. Indeed we have had that technology for 40 years.

I wonder who will be the world's (well the solar system's) first trillionaire?
  Forty years may seem overstating, since we had only got 3 non-claustrophobic men as far as the |Moon then. Unless you know that there was another option - the Orion nuclear rocket - that could have got mankind to  "Mars by 1965, Saturn by 1970" If it could be done then it can be done now.

  Even if false radiation fears prevent a nuclear launch they cannot l sensibly (I know sense has a limited influence) be used to argue against nuclear rockets in orbit. With Space-X promising to put the equivalent of a 737 in orbit by 2913/14, it would be possible to very quickly build a nuclear rocket there and send it wherever the customer wants.

  So looking at a million ton asteroid running to 1% gold, platinum or equivalently heavy metals.

  That is, in this metal alone, $14,300 billion   [1 million X 907,165 grams per ton X $1580 X 1%}. There are 10s of thousands of such asteroids.

  Of course if gold goes up to $5,000 a gram (actually if the dollar falls) the figures improve.

  OK if the market got flooded by that much the price would fall. However it does suggest that shares in Space-X or any other sensible space development company are literally worth more than gold.

  The fall of the Potemkin village that the EU/US has become should not lead to a real loss in wealth but should act as a stimulus to real wealth production space and the other technologies that have been artificially held back. My personal bet is that gold will nit ultimately be the basis of money but a guarantee to supply a fixed quantity of electricity from orbit will. Since power satellites are beyond the jurisdiction of terrestrial governments that would put them in an interesting and deserved position of weakness. There are also many other things which money could be valued in , much more reliable than government's promise to pay the bearer on demand.

   This Wikipedia article on asteroid mining repays reading  I must admit I was not aware that
In fact, all the gold, cobalt, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, osmium, palladium, platinum, rhenium, rhodium and ruthenium that we now mine from the Earth's crust, and that are essential for economic and technological progress, came originally from the rain of asteroids that hit the Earth after the crust cooled

  Going and getting it seems a no-brainer. The sooner the better.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

How Others See Us in Britain

  The British political "elite" (like Palin I think inverted comas appropriate) is notoriously incestuous. Not merely literally though cabinet and shadow cabinet are full of married couples and relatives) but in background. One point on which so many link is that they did Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford. Here is a list and it looks like a Whose Who of the establishment.

According to the BBC, who know such things "PPE's introduction in the 1920 - initially under the title "modern greats" - was designed to offer an alternative to classics for scholars hoping to enter the civil service."

   Harry Erwin, an American living here gave a better outsider's view.
Many prominent UK politicians have an Oxford PPE,_Politics_and_Economics . This is considered to be a dilettante’s degree, consisting in American terms of three minors–a year of philosophy, a year of political science, and a year of economics, none studied in depth. In particular, no training in law or history or anything quantitative. They begin to be involved in politics during their three years at university, and move to the big leagues at graduation, where there is a real tendency for them to get in over their heads.
  So we are ruled by an incestuous arrangement of incompetent dilettante career civil servants. Yup.
    On the Hacking scandal Jerry pastes a comment from somebody very erudite
Why the Hacking Scandal has such drastic effects

This is purely my opinion but I believe the story, which has been quietly a well known secret for years with almost all papers, including the Guardian which broke this, hacking at some time or another., is now such a major storm. The BB’Cs virtual monopoly of British broadcasting is being threatened by Murdock’s expansion of his control of Sky the satellite broadcaster so they are pushing this story hard.
" Last night (Thurs) the BBC news was almost entirely devoted to the hacking story story; followed by Question Time where all the questions selected by the BBC except for 1 in the last 3 minutes were the same; followed by Andrew Neil on the same. 2 1/2 hours on this story and virtually none on the rest of the world’s news That would be justified if we were seeing a breaking news story like 9/11 but for nothing less.
Broadcasting in Britain is essentially a monopoly of the BBC and people they approve of and this monopoly. legally committed to “balance” is in fact the propaganda arm of the British state (along with the Guardian which survives on government advertising). Murdoch’s attempt to buy all of Sky would weaken that monopoly slightly.

I do not consider it a coincidence that this scandal, which journalists of all newspapers have been guilty of for years, has suddenly broken on Murdoch’s head alone."

Neil Craig
  Though this is not a common view, since writing that, I found that Dellors had expressed a very similar view and how bad for British reformers it is that the BBC's campaign seems to have won and we will not see any real alternative to BBC "due balance" censorship.
Because the purpose of Murdoch’s BSkyB bid is essentially so that he can set up a UK version of America’s most popular news channel Fox News. Fox News acts as the conscience of the right in the US: it’s one of the things which made the Tea Party possible. A British version would achieve the same over here, destroying the crushing hegemony enjoyed by the BBC, restoring a balance to the political debate in Britain which for decades has been so sorely lacking – whatever the BBC’s supposed charter to commitment to fairness and balance might pretend.

  I am confident, if that is the word, that the BBC's campaign will come to be seen as the final emasculation of the MSM. Fortunately the MSM is no longer all.

   Why PBS is a public menace - applies in spades to the far more powerful BBC/Offgem monopoly

  And another comment reprinted by Jerry at the same time which applies equally to both countries
Any kind of real movement — whether it be military action, labor market reform, budget reduction or even cracking down on crime — in Western societies is now nearly impossible. Whole societies have been paralyzed by the need to service the status quo. Keeping things going, with only minor excursions, is now the prime directive of Western politics. Everyone spies on everyone else to enforce political correctness. Britain today is mesmerized by — News of the World! But it doesn’t give a hoot about Julian Assange. It has almost forgotten it is fighting Khadaffy and losing.
Instead it is obsessed with ludicrously small issues. The political system worries endlessly about soap opera problems, sexual politics, racial quotas, “climate change” etc. This littleness promotes people like Herman Von Rompuy or Julia Gillard or Barack Obama — complete ciphers — to positions of power for no other reason than that they check all the boxes. A terrible diminution of mind, an unbelievable poverty of thinking, has descended on the Western world."

Another discussion on Pournelle not for the squeamish
  Steve Sailer recalls a similar scandal to the UK's present one which caused no stir at all
Still, according to Steve Scottish golf fans are among the most discerning fans in all of sports. Which shows me,as somebody who treasures his ignorance of all sports, how much international, indeed intercontinental distances have disappeared.

Anglosphere flag

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lying, Censoring, Spinning to help the Lights Go Out - BBC, Huhne, Tories

   While the BBC is still devoting most of its news to the hacking by News International journalists minor things like the pressure on the Italian membership of the Euro goes essentially unreported, at least to the people of Britain. If bailing out Greece, a second time, would be too expensive to do, bailing out Italy, an economy 10 times the seize, is beyond impossible. I believe it was Tim Worstall who once said that the only certain bet in finance is that when a country's currency is under attack you will never lose money by betting on it falling - you may not gain if it doesn't fall but it certainly won't rise. Italy is a poor long term investment because it has a rapidly aging population with few kids to grow up and pay the pensions - but then there are few EU countries that are good long term investments that way.

   Another thing which, even without the distraction our media wouldn't report, though Reuters do, is that just as even Chris Huhne is saying ""we need to take decisive action now to increase low-carbon electricity generation, including nuclear and renewable energy as well as carbon capture and storage".(nuclear to produce the power and windmills to suck up the money from doubling electricity prices) the delay and prevarication of his office is making the people who would do the actual work, ready to go elsewhere:
German utility companies RWE and E.ON (EONGn.DE: Quote) have all but abandoned their plans to build two nuclear power plants in Britain, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on Tuesday, citing company sources.
Plans to build new plants were increasingly unlikely to be carried out because investments could be too expensive, the German daily quoted a manager familiar with the project as saying.
Asked to comment on the report RWE and E.ON said it was up to the British government.
"We are awaiting next steps by the British government. There will be no decisions before that," an RWE spokesman said.
"There has been no change in plans regarding these projects," an E.ON spokesman said, also adding that no further steps would be taken before the British government was due to set regulatory conditions later this year.

The Horizon joint venture, launched in 2009 by German energy rivals RWE and EON, plans to build six gigawatts of new nuclear power capacity in Britain by 2025 and have a first nuclear reactor running by 2020
  Whether Huhne, whose opposition to nuclear before the coalition was formed was absolute, is deliberately delaying it and putting up regulatory barriers because he it would be a breach of the coalition agreement to officially prevent it, or whether he is simply totally incompetent may be questioned. Though the fact that he made himself a multimillionaire would tend to suggest deliberate dishonesty more likely. There is certainly a theoretical majority for nuclear in Parliament because almost all of the Tories and most of Labour recognise the necessity.

    So long as electricity prices are going up in real terms there is no possibility of getting out of recession I am sure every economically literate MP knows that (this includes Huhne). If the Tories, who have already wasted over a year doing nothing but put up taxes, don't get rid of Huhne, even if it means losing the Luddites and becoming a minority government, nobody is going to vote for them next time.

   But such things are too unimportant to report when the BBC is pushing a news story against their only competitor.

   When a German company is bemoaning a government's lack of commitment to nuclear you know it is serious.
  Also the BBC don't report that the government have given an extra £9 billion to the IMF (so that the IMF can bail out Greece since we are not committed to doing so through the EU), blowing apart their alleged deficit reduction strategy.
    After all real news is something that must be kept from the people. That is why I am on the Daily Mail side, when it turns out that they, not the NoTW, are far and away the most guilty of hacking - but they aren't a competitor to the BBC so that isn't "news" (except online where they cannot ignore their only real competition). I commented
I like the Mail which I regard as the only newspaper in Britain - the rest mostly just rewrite press releases from politicians, government departments, quangos and fakecharities. Doing so is obviously easier and safer but real journalism quite often involves finding out things those in charge don't want you to and may well involve some criminality. I fear that one effect of this will be to even more emasculate (I suppose that means cutting off both balls rather than one) the British media which is something we could do without. After them the blogphere?
However the targeting of this at NI and nobody else and the way the BBC have omitted almost all other news across the world to push this, proves, yet again, that it is really about preventing NI taking full control of Sky and giving the BBC some competition.

lights going out on media freedom

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Scienceblogs - "eco-fascist blogs which pretend to scientific standards"

  "Scienceblogs" is a linked site of several blogs operating together. A number of them are run by scientists. The interesting thing is that none of them dispute catastrophic global warming and most of them support it in terms that, at least for the followers, consist largely of ad hominem invective and a disregard of facts that is inconsistent with respect for scientific principles.

As might be expected I have been censored from several of the sites, in all cases for stating facts undisputed by the site author. I think they should be named and shamed.

DELTOID - I was barred from them when I, quoted a prominent government funded alarmist and "Jeff Harvey, a former Nature editor attacked me by saying that sir David King the government's science advisor was capable of only "kindergarten" science. Jeff hadn't properly read what I said & didn't realise who I was quoting but nonetheless his assessment of king was dead on.

RESPECTFUL INSOLENCE I had a long debate on here, which ended constructively purely because there was 1 person on it who agreed that debating science is not simply a matter of ignoring the science and engaging in personal attacks. Nonetheless "Orac", the host, repeatedly refused to discuss the scientific basis of his allegation that Ann Coulter, in disputing the Linear No Threshold theory had been "versus Physics", as if censoring reasoned investigation could ever be "against" the principles of science.

The good bits of the discussion are here & show that, at the very least the no threshold hypothesis has less evidential basis and is thus less scientific than the opposite theory, radiation hormesis.

PHARYNGULA Hosted by Prof P.Z. Myers an Associate Professor in Minnesota who has made something of a name for himself by saying that evolution happened and creationism didn't. I consider this shooting very slow moving fish in a barrel but it has gained him some fame. When he was in Glasgow my question from the floor wasn't taken. I made the comparison between creationism and warming alarmism saying "By any objective standards the warming alarmists are far more destructive, robbing human society of trillions of dollars, whereas the harm creationists do isn't within many magnitudes of that. The cultural effects of teaching children they will die if they question things may be even greater"

  This could only be countered by personal vituperation, which is where I was refered to as "fuckwit".. I several times suggested to Prof Myers that anybody who respects science should abjure such vituperation but either (A) he acknowledges he has no respect for science or (B) he has no understanding of it and thinks vituperation essential to and facts anathema to science.

Either way he censored.

STOAT produced a thread devoted to the claim that Richard Lindzen had engaged in "the kind of full blown Black-helicopters-of-peer-review we expect from an incipient fellow of the Breakness Institute". As normal no form of factual support for such silliness could be produced so

I put up the 7 questions that can be answered if alarmism is true and naturally they couldn't,

 so instead I was told my "claims" (actually they were questions) were "toe jam". I disagreed  and since no seriously better response could be constructed I got censored.

GREG LADEN'S BLOG produced a thread astonishingly favourable to Michelle Bachmann, who is sceptical about global warming so I congratulated him for his fair mindedness and put up the questions.

Apparently questioning anything scientific on his blog results in "COMMENTS DELETED FOR VIOLATION OF BLOG COMMENTING POLICY" though the reply "

Neil- Do you accept George Monbiot as your personal anti-Christ?" remained and thus clearly represents  the standard of blog commenting policy he aspires to.

EVOLUTIONBLOG I said "The problem with the anti-creationist argument is that most of those doing it are not trying to promote science but merely trying to make themselves look smarter than the rednecks. No wonder they antagonise these people.

The damage, financial, cultural & scientific done by creationism is tiny and can be easily avoided. The damage done by the catastrophic global warming scam runs into trillions and cannot be avoided by anybody. The cultural and scientific damage can be shown by the fact that most blogs on "scienceblogs" feel the need to censor any discussion to promote, what the very act of censorship proves they know to be, this pseudoscientific fraud. "

Which got me censored. A fine example of the scientific attitude that differentiates "creation scientists" & most "sciencebloggers"
 from real scientists.

A FEW THINGS ILL CONSIDERED Attacked "non-Lord" Lord Monckton for doubting that catastrophic global warming is visibly bearing down on us like a steam train. I asked for some evidence that such a claim of visible catastrophe there was and the reply was censorship, which, in its way, does answer the question.

Call this a survey of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming true believers. Not all the "scienceblogs" authors have engaged in censorship but most of the others do not blog to any great extent on the subject. What is quite clear is that

1 - If all the 7 questions cannot be answered in a way that supports the warming scare it is clearly false and if 3,4,6 & 7 cannot be answered it is deliberately fraudulent. Nobody can give an answer to any of the 7 which is both supportive and truthful.

2 - The basic principles of science involve discussion and verification of facts and measurements. Thtey are wholly incompatible with ad hominen cries of  "fuckwit", let alone censorship to defend the official faith.

3 - If "scienceblogs" was genuinely motivated by scientific values neither authors nor commenters would feel, it necessary to so betray scientific principles. Obviously every author who engages in censorship rather than debate is not, under any circumstances, concerned about science. They are simply frauds taking the government money.

Pretty much the same applies to commenters who use obscenity and insult in place of reason. Perhaps more important, for the general health of science, at least in America where this site is based, is that there were very few people there willing to put their heads above the parapet to say that reasonable questions deserve reasonable answers and indeed that if such answers are not available there must, by definition, be something wrong with the theory.

  I must admit to having reacted robustly but have never done so except in response to the most outrageously insulting behaviour which no person who was not a wholly corrupt charlatan could have engaged in and no site author, of whom the same was true, could have supported.

  This links to the latest "scienceblogs" threads. I will post on those that don't censor again. There is informative stuff there as well but, having proven the impermeability of some to anything but religious faith, it is unlikely that I will engage in prolonged debate again.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Sarah Palin for President

There was a considerable amount of publicity given in Britain & perhaps America to the story, led by the Guardian but pushed elsewhere, that Margaret Thatcher had snubbed Sarah Palin, having a "friend" call her "nuts" and similar stuff.

Mrs Thatcher's Office have confirmed that it was a lie.
Of course neither the Guardian nor any of the others have apologised for this

Sarah Palin has regularly stated her admiration for Thatcher including in her most recent article so such fabricated stories will do real damage and it is a sign of the media hatred of her that such blatant lies get told. The British media attitude is roughly what one would expect if PBS dominated your media and the public knew very little of what she actually represents so the media can lie with impunity.

I am impressed with that article of hers which deliberately quotes Mrs Thatcher's “The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”  whi8ch seems particularly apt regarding Obama's various trillion dollar stimuli to the American economy which have so signally failed.  The entire article is worth reading. I cannot imagine any politician in office or among opposition leaders in Britain who would write such a perceptive and honest piece. Even, when in power, I suspect Mrs Thatcher would have been slightly more circumspect. It is is not only to her credit that she is willing to speak so honestly but to the American people's credit that she remains popular even after speaking such truths.

And she has just said
"I believe that I can win a national election," Palin told Newsweek, as she explained how she believes Americans are "desperate" and "deserving" of "positive change."
"I'm not so egotistical as to believe that it has to be me, or it can only be me, to turn things around," the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee told the magazine. "But I do believe that I can win."
all of which is true. I have previously said that my dream ticket would be Gingrich and Palin. Last time I said that I suggested he be at the top of the ticket. Since then I have changed my mind.

Firstly Gingrich's campaign has crashed and burned - he is nowhere in the polls and many of his staff have resigned.These suggest he doesn't have the fire running for the office would require.

Secondly his longtime friend Jerry Pournelle has listed the qualities a President needs, including previous executive experience (ie a Governor) which Gingrich lacks and said that he would prefer him as chief advisor to a President rather than holding the office himself. That probably, though not certainly, means Vice President.

Thirdly Steve Sailer has said something similar and explains why.

So she should run.

She has activists willing to work for her without money, indeed to their great personal cost and  such people are a political asset literally beyond price.

She knows what she stands for and it is something America, indeed all of western civilisation  needs.

Her disadvantage is that the media hate her and as demonstrated above, will tell absolutely any lie to traduce her. However that is not the disadvantage it used to be because the media have been doing it for years now, everybody knows it and increasingly their attacks have rebounded on themselves. Moreover if there had been any hint of genuine scandal against her, or even factual argument against her competence, it would have surfaced by now. Even when the media got together to devour her emails they not only found nothing damaging in them but that she showed a writing ability and precision of mind in her day to day writings that most CEOs don't have and not far short of that in the Gettysburg Address. The same cannot be said about anybody else, though it may be said to a more limited extent of Gingrich who also had to endure a long succession of clearly false "ethics" complaints from Democrats working the system.

In any case whoever the Republican candidate is the media are going to be 100% behind Obama, as they were last time. If the media are going to be fought she is obviously the one to do it and since the boss of CNN is on record as saying the USA should adopt China's one child policy , without even his competitors bringing it up I think the media Moguls might not find such a fight any easy one.

Sarah Palin is neck and neck leader in the Republican polls without having announced her candidacy. When she does she is likely to be leader. If, when she does, she has a credible running mate, the Republican nomination will be in the bag and she will be ready for the main event. I suggest Gingrich who has been House leader and is acknowledged as brilliant and represents continuity would have such credibility. The sooner the fight for the Republican nomination is over and even more importantly the less words the candidates have said in anger against each other, the greater the odds on them winning.

Not only is this picture cool it has been magnificently thought out. That a bike is a symbol of America and freedom and the worki8ng class rather than the Washington "elite" she has been posed driven by a smaller woman in a lower position while she is power dressed in dark clothes. Todd is a champion snowmobiler and can  thus easily control a bike but for him to have done it would either have shown her controlling him or vice versa, neither of which would have been a good message. Such subliminal effects do not happen by accident but require a consummate campaigner.

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