Thursday, February 23, 2006

Dubai or Not Dubai. That's the Question.

Good arguments can be found on both sides of the controversy surrounding whether we should allow the United Arab Emirates to own any part of any of our seaports. For those interested in reading up on the arguments Rich Karlgaard has links to what he titles the best takes on both sides of the debate. Go here to check them out.

The True Heirs

Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost has done it yet again. This time he's posted an excellent piece in defense of the thesis that modern materialists are not the true heirs of the enlightenment and that it is actually the "neo-creationists" who should lay claim to that pedigree. He writes:

Whatever else might be said about the Enlightenment, it's rather obvious that the advocates of intelligent design are the philosophical heirs to the period's natural theology. For anyone to claim that materialism is the true progeny of that period is laughably misguided and a sad example of the decline in liberal education. Anyone with even a basic grasp of intellectual history should see where the truth lies. While they may not be direct descendents of that period's thinkers, these "neo-Creationists" could certainly be considered the illegitimate children of the philosopher and deist Voltaire.

The attempt to found science on atheistic materialism is not a new development. During the Enlightenment, atheists often championed the idea that the universe could have been created without a Creator. The French philosopher Voltaire, for one, was quite aware of that point of view - and rejected it thoroughly.

Read the rest of his fine essay at the link.

Potpourri Rant

Muhammad Cartoons. As a result of the now infamous printing of Muhammad cartoons, many people have been killed, property has been destroyed and million dollar bounties have been set by Muslim clerics for the death of those responsible for their printing. Interesting enough, the Koran says that no image of God shall be created as it would interfere with the spiritual relationship of the believer with God. Fair enough, the Bible suggests the same thing. But the Koran says nothing of images of Muhammad. So what we have is mindless maniacs killing and burning with no foundation for their actions.

The Dubai debacle. President Bush has refused to enforce the Constitutional mandate of the Federal government to protect our borders. One only has to look at the sad state of affairs regarding the border of Mexico to realize this. Now he insists on giving a company in Dubai authority to operate ports on the east coast. Hello? Interestingly enough, Bush has not vetoed a single spending bill while in office yet he threatens to veto any legislation to thwart this event. The bigger question is why the US isn't able to operate its own ports, but that might be an issue for another post.

If it is the case that we want to reward Dubai for allowing us to utilize their air strips for our interests in the Middle East it seems to me that typically, we offer financial aid to countries for being allowed to operate out of their air strips. I seem to recall offering Turkey billions to use theirs.

It's ironic that the Constitution mandates protection of our borders as the primary responsibility of the Federal government. Most if not all other responsibilities are/were delegated to the individual states, except for trade agreements with foreign countries, etc.

Given this lunacy, it's just a matter of time before Bush outsources airport security to Al Quada or Hamas.

Iran oil exchange in euros and discontinuance of M3. On March 20 Iran is scheduled to open an oil exchange that will accept euros for oil. Only days later, the Federal Reserve will discontinue publishing the M3, a measure of the growth of U.S. dollars. It's difficult to believe these events are unrelated and just a coincidence.

The latest Treasury offering:

"It was a terrible auction," summed up one trader at a U.S. primary dealer. "The bid-to-cover stank, the indirect bid was bad."

Looks like our foreign benefactors are starting to have second thoughts about investing in the U.S., and small wonder.

All of the above makes this link all the more prescient.

That this article is making mainstream news is an indicator that the first of three phases of the gold bull market has come to an end and the second phase is about to begin.

The first phase is what is known as the stealth phase where the smart money starts establishing a position in a market. This can last for years before the general population gets wind of the opportunity. Note that the bull market began in 1999 when gold hit a bottom of $252.

The second phase is when the investing public catches on and starts acquiring a position driving prices much, much higher and lasts the longest of the three phases. Articles in the mainstream press and Internet fuel this.

The blow-off phase is when the taxi drivers, shoe-shine guys, and trash collectors are telling you about their positions in the market. Prices go vertical. Personally, this is the time I would start easing out of my position.

Lastly, in case you had any doubts about what an American company would do for profits, visit this link.

In the United States, Cisco is known (among other things) for building corporate firewalls to block viruses and hackers. In China, the government had a unique problem: how to keep a billion people from accessing politically sensitive Web sites, now and forever.

The way to do it would be this: If a Chinese user tried to view a Web site outside China with political content, such as, the address would be recognized by a filter program that screens out forbidden sites. The request would then be thrown away, with the user receiving a banal message: "Operation timed out."

Great, but China's leaders had a problem: The financial excitement of a wired China quickly led to a proliferation of eight major Internet service providers (ISPs) and four pipelines to the outside world. To force compliance with government objectives, to ensure that all pipes lead back to Rome, they needed the networking superpower, Cisco, to standardize the Chinese Internet and equip it with firewalls on a national scale.

According to the Chinese engineer, Cisco came through, developing a router device, integrator and firewall box specially designed for the government's telecom monopoly. Cisco also appears to have offered a significant initial discount in the price of the firewall boxes.

As a result of this, many Chinese have been arrested and imprisoned simply for seeking the truth. They will either rot in jail or be executed and their organs harvested and sold. Yet we hold China as a favorite nation trade status.

People running companies like Cisco turn my stomach. They're no worse that those at IBM who sold technology to Germany to track the Jews prior to our involvement in World War II. Their only motive is profit, no matter what the consequences.

514 Heretics

Over 500 scientists with Ph.Ds have signed a statement expressing their dissent from Darwinian evolutionary theory:

The Scientific Dissent From Darwinism statement reads: "We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."

The list of 514 signatories includes member scientists from the prestigious US and Russian National Academy of Sciences. Signers include 154 biologists, the largest single scientific discipline represented on the list, as well as 76 chemists and 63 physicists. Signers hold doctorates in biological sciences, physics, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, computer science, and related disciplines. Many are professors or researchers at major universities and research institutions such as MIT, The Smithsonian, Cambridge University, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, the Ohio State University, the University of Georgia, and the University of Washington.

And these are just the scientists who are willing to go public with their doubts. It may be that they are but the tip of the scientific iceberg. So much for the silly claim that all scientists accept the Darwinian paradigm and that there's no debate about it in the scientific community.

Jonathan Witt at Intelligent Design the Future chastises the New York Times for their clumsy attempts to pooh pooh the significance of the dissenters. See also this critique of the Times' report. Does anybody actually trust these people any more to be fair, accurate, and objective?