We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Andy Williams on Barack Obama: “Don’t like him at all … following Marxist theory … He wants the country to fail …”

From an interview in the latest Radio Times. Interviewer: Jane Anderson. Interviewee: singer and entertainer Andy Williams.

Although Williams is a life-long Republican, he was happy to hit the campaign trail with this buddy, RFK, and was the the Los Angeles rally where Kennedy was gunned down in 1968. “I was very close to Bobby and he asked me to be a delegate for him when he ran for president. He knew about me being a Republican, but just laughted and said, ‘Sign in as a Democrat and then change back afterwards’. Sadly, I never got to do that.

“I stayed at the hospital that night. I just kept thinking of my buddy … a young man who was full of life. I was very close to Teddy Kennedy, too, and his death recently brought it all back. What a tragedy. Had he lived, I think Bobby would have been a great president.”

Does he think Obama will make a great president? “Don’t like him at all,” Williams says gravely. “I think he wants to create a socialist country. The people he associates with are very left-wing … one is registered as a Communist. Obama is following Marxist theory. He’s taken over the banks and the car industry. He wants the country to fail.”

Er, we’ll take that as a no, then.

I actually read this first in the Radio Times, which I purchased earlier this evening, and am now somewhat disappointed to discover that I am not the only one who thinks it worth paying attention to. Nothing like. The Andy Williams website has stopped working, although could just be me.

It was canny of Williams to preface his remarks with all that stuff about how he loved the Kennedys, and I’m glad the Radio Times included it. I think this could hurt Obama. It could really get this meme out there, where it belongs, beyond mere anti-lefty blogs like this one. It could get interesting watching all the lefties explaining how it ain’t so. The thing is, Obama was sold to America as Mr Nice. If his attack dogs go after Andy Williams for saying this, well, they risk looking like attack dogs. But if they don’t, well, you know, people might think that Williams is, as it were, right. People who hadn’t done so before are bound to start wondering.

Two questions. How are those Mainstream Media in the USA reporting this? And how long before someone calls Andy Williams a racist?

The obvious solutions often require a different world view

Sometimes when problems need to be worked out, the people trying to work it out keep trying to whack the problem over the head with the very thing that caused the problem in the first place.

Gay marriage… or even gay ‘marriage’ if you prefer… is one such issue. Some argue that if the state recognises heterosexual marriages, then it offends against natural justice for the state to discriminate against homosexual marriages (or ‘marriages’/unions whatever). And of course the people who say that are right.

This naturally does not appeal to people who oppose the ‘morality’ of homosexuality or just feel gay marriage, or gay anything really, is ‘yucky’ and thus dislike the idea of the state they support with their tax money adding its imprimatur, at their expense, to something they find repugnant. And of course the people who say that are right.

So the obvious solution lies in the root of the problem… the state actually has no compelling need being in the marriage business at all as marriage is just a contractually relationship between two people that requires no involvement of the state at all. Stop the state rubber-stamping any kind of marriage and the problem goes away.

And likewise an issue of separation of church and state in the USA…

It would be easy to miss among the yucca and Joshua trees of this vast place – a small plywood box, set back from a gentle curve in a lonesome desert road. It looks like nothing so much as a miniature billboard without a message.

But inside the box is a 6 1/2 -foot white cross, built to honor the war dead of World War I. And because its perch on a prominent outcropping of rock is on federal land, it has been judged to be an unconstitutional display of government favoritism of one religion over another.

OMG!…hmmm… bad choice of exclamation… a religious symbol on state land! The state has no business allowing displays for this or that religious faction showing their symbolic whatnots on state land! And that is indeed right.

But others say that if this is also a object of real historical significance commemorating the dead of the First World War, then it would be Taliban-style barbarism to simply destroy it or even rip it from its historical context! And that is indeed right.

So… stop it being state land. Make the land the private property of someone who will safeguard this object of historical interest. The problem is not the cross, it is that this land does not actually have any business being ‘state land’ at all.

There are some problems that simply getting the state out of the picture will not solve. However for the other 90% of things…

The utter derangement of British political culture

When two working women who look after each other’s children are told they are breaking the law by doing so because they are not registered with the state to do that, the only sane and moral thing to do is to break the law and to urge as many other people as possible to do the same.

Oh yes… not that it should matter, but the two women in question are policewomen.

The foolishness of half measures when dealing with power obsessed people

It is fascinating how so many government cannot abide the idea of constitutional limits on the power of the state. Clearly the US and Brazilian governments are beside themselves that many in Honduras seem unwilling to allow their country to go the way of Venezuela.

If I was the government of Honduras I would simply give the government of Brazil 48 hours to get their embassy the hell out of Honduras permanently, and when they do… solve the ‘issue’ of Hugo Chavez wannabe Jose Manuel Zelaya the way they should have initially… with a 9 mm wide object moving at 360 metres per second.

How dumb does Adam Nagorski think we are?

The following was sent to us by our occasional Samizdata correspondent and secret agent within the heart of the MSM, Taylor Dinerman.

Writing in the Washington Post Adam Nagorski the former Moscow corespondent (Reagan’s Missile Defense Triumph) wants us to believe that Obama’s September 17th decision to cancel the deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic of a missile defense system based on the one now deployed in Alaska and California, is somehow a triumph for Reagan’s SDI (Star Wars) concept.   Like they said to the tomcat when they brought out the snippers, “Its for your own good”.  

He writes, “The debate is no longer focused on whether to build such a system, but on what kind of system will do the job better against what sorts of threats. ” That debate was over long ago. The Democrats, in the 1990s under Clinton, came to the decision that publicly at least, they could no long promote the idea that the US population should   be totally defenseless against nuclear attack.  

Either Nagoski is ignorant or he is being disingenuous. In 1993 after canceling the first Bush administration’s space based Brilliant Pebbles with the words “I’m taking the stars out of Star Wars”., the Clinton administration could not simply abandon missile defense completely, instead, like the Obama administration they sought to proceed with the smallest and least offensive possible program.  They ordered the Defense Department to concentrate its efforts on defending against tactical and medium ranged missiles.   

After the GOP gained control of Congress in 1994 Clinton’s team faced unrelenting political pressure from Congress to build up America’s anti ballistic   missile defenses. They chose to support a few programs including the Navy one that Obama is now touting as if it were something new, and the Airborne Laser (ABL)   program that the administration has eviscerated.     

Most significantly Clinton and his team promoted something called National Missile Defense, a mid course interceptor system designed to handle ICBMs. It was this program that Bush, on taking office decided to proceed with especially after he withdrew from the much violated ABM treaty. This has long been the most controversial part of the US Missile Defense program since provides a direct, though weak protection to the US civilian population. For the Democrats and their allies who still believe in Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) this is intolerable.  

Bush and the GOP pushed ahead and now there are about 30 Ground Based Interceptors (GBIs) deployed in Alaska and California, along with a network of sensors. The Obama administration is choosing to cut the number of deployed GBIs to from the 44 ones planned by their predecessors to the ones now in the ground. The Bush plan was in itself inadequate, so this cut means that the US population is almost as completely vulnerable as it was under Clinton.  

Like Clinton, Obama knows little about missile defense or about nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. At least Bush had flown air defense missions in a nuclear capable aircraft, the F-102. To imagine the plan to deploy sea based SM-3 missiles as a substitute for the GBIs that were to be based in Poland is laughable, as is the idea that sometime around 2020 there will be a version of the SM-3 that can do the job the GBIs are now doing.  

The SM-3 is an excellent missile and Vice Admiral J.D.Williams (ret.), the father of sea based missile defense, is to be congratulated. It is however,   not a system that can defend the US population against an ICBM attack. That is the main question that Nagorski tries to avoid. The Democrats are still doing everything they can to prevent a real space based missile defense. The other question as to why Bush failed to revive his father’s Brilliant Pebbles program is a tough one for him and for the GOP. The little they did is now being cut to ribbons by President Pantywaist (as he was referred to in the London Telegraph.) Trying to put a Reaganesque happy face on this fact is typical of the way the MSM is willing to make a fool of itself for its man.

Taylor Dinerman


I suppose I should not be surprised that transhumanist ideas, mutilated in a fascist form, would start to reach breakthrough point. Slightly late in the day as this was noted in September, but drinking wine and trawling Stross is one way of dealing with Saturday’s ennui..

So it’s probably not surprising that Italy is the source of a new political meme that I [Charlie Stross] hadn’t heard of before this week: overhumanism:

The new tech is going to foster discrimination and differentiation. This will be enthusiastically taken up by those in power to maintain control. It will probably have a short shelf life as all such attempts to limit the (trans)human spirit do; measured in decades rather than centuries now. No doubt the kleptocratic elites of many countries will jump on this bandwagon to paint their already black rule a darker shade. Tempted enough by shiny power to create closed systems, too stupid to realise that they just shortened the life of their political schemes, by curbing their ability to adapt and change. In the long run, they will either die out or be bought out.

My only prediction: by the end of this century, we are going to be sick and tired of the suffix, -humanism.

The sound of an afterburner

I have just got back from an air show, and one of the stars of the show was this beauty, the F-16. My ears are still ringing with the sound of its engine. Awesome. This video conveys some sense of what these aircraft can do. I suppose these kind of things bring out my inner schoolkid.

The F-16 I saw was in the Dutch airforce and painted a bright orange. I’d love one of these fellas to fly the thing fast and low, repeatedly, over Polly Toynbee’s Tuscan villa while the witch is in residence with her broomstick.

Samizdata quote of the day

There you were, in a world of pedants, clergymen and golfers…and here was this wonderful man who could tell you about the inhabitants of the sea, and who knew that the future was not going to be what respectable people imagined

– George Orwell on his discovery of the writing of H.G. Wells, as quoted by Cynthia Crossen of the Wall Street Journal, in a context that is quite worth reading, as is the follow up discussion at io9. Come to think of it, these sorts of “respectable people” (along with those who believe that housing is not a high risk investment and therefore expect to be bailed out with my savings when this turns out not to be so, those who are in favour of the television licence fee, and…) may be what I have in mind when I proclaim how much I despise the middle class, as I am prone to do.

Samizdata quote of the day

To look at this from a UK perspective, I have given this a lot of thought as we have a general election next year (Civil Contingencies Act permitting). Abstention or a vote for a party other than Cameron’s “Conservatives” runs a real risk of preventing the eviction of the Labour party that has done so much damage in the past 13 years. Given another 5 years they could add incalculable damage to an already impressive list.

On the other hand, a vote for the “Conservatives” would vindicate Cameron’s position, kowtowing to the supposed BBC/Guardian left of centre (quite a long way left of centre actually) “consensus”. In the short term Cameron would do less harm than another Labour government, but his success would result in future “Conservative” governments following the same policies so we would be stuck with them for the long term.

The question I asked myself was: do I think Labour can do more damage in 5 years than Cameron’s “Conservatives” can in 10, 15 or more? My answer was no, another five years of Labour is less threatening than an indefinite period of Cameron “Conservatism”. Once defeated Cameron would be dropped like the proverbial hot brick and then it will time to start working for a new leader with Conservative beliefs.

– Commenter MarkE

Another reason why Ryanair sucks as an airline

I guess this is a good reason as any not to fly on Ryanair.

Asking the wrong question about the Republicans

Michael Barone in the Washington Examiner asks: Can the Republicans win the House in 2010?.

Might I suggest this is actually not the right question or at least not a very interesting one to ask.

How about “Would it actually make much difference if the Republicans win the House in 2010?”

Until the Big State Tax and Regulate schmucks like McCain, Romney and their entire ilk are explicitly repudiated and figuratively (and in a perfect world, literally) thrown into Boston Harbour, I will tell you what difference re-electing the party that gave the world George Bush (either) will make… No meaningful difference at all.

Obama is the bastard child of the both parties, make no mistake about it. Nothing he is doing now would have been even within the realm of political possibility if the state had not already been vastly expanded with Republicans in the Whitehouse.

No child left behind indeed… they will be paying for this legacy for a very long time.

No one who gives a damn about liberty should even consider supporting the Republicans until they have had a profound and merciless internal blood-letting and made themselves worth voting for by throwing the Big Staters out. They are not even close to that point yet.

Now is very much the time to call for as much Republican disunity as possible because so much hangs on what happens now. If the mega-statists keep control of both parties as completely as they have over the last twenty years, there will be no way out of the deepening hole.

The cost of the operations in Afghanistan

I have my doubts – which grow by the day, to be honest – about what exactly we are achieving by the operations in Afghanistan. This story is picked up by me at random, but of course there are hundreds of deaths that hit home the mesage about what a grim struggle that conflict is proving to be. May this gallant soldier rest in peace, and my condolences to his friends, comrades and family.