The fragility of civilization 2

Hugh Hewitt and Mark Steyn survey an eventful day – yesterday, May 6, 2010 – and cover a lot of ground in their discussion of it. Here’s an extract, ending on a hopeful note as they look forward to the November elections:

HH: What a day, Mark Steyn. The markets went crazy. The Dow dropped at one point a thousand points. It finished off, you know, it was a bad day, but it wasn’t a horrific day. In reaction to what I think is a glimpse of our future, I think that the Greek debacle is simply, you know, the Christmas Future, showing … what’s going to happen to this country if we do not change. Your thoughts?

MS: Yes, I think what it illustrates, as I understand it, it might just have been as simple as one trader typing a B instead of an M for million, typing a B for billion, and it wipes off a thousand points off the stock market, as opposed to being a reaction to what’s happening in Greece, where real people are being killed in what are essentially riots over keeping unsustainable, featherbedded, government jobs. And in a way, what happened in Greece and what happened in New York, I think, both illustrate the kind of fragility of the global economy, and in a broader sense, of civilization …

HH: I think there will be defaults, a rolling series of defaults, … and that people had better look at Greece right now to see what’s coming. But Mark Steyn, that may not be the most important act of violence by a long shot. We had another successful terrorist penetration in the United States. But for their incompetence, a second massacre within four months of Detroit, the fourth under President Obama, counting the Arkansas and Fort Hood terrorist attacks, and still, it does not seem that they can get past the idea of when do we give them their Miranda rights.

MS: Yes, and this idea that it’s a criminal matter involving a few isolated extremists, or whatever the president said in reaction to the panty bomber at Christmas time. The most absurd commentary, I thought, was from the Washington Post, which speculated it was because the guy hadn’t been able to keep up payments on his home in Connecticut, so that this was in fact something to do with actually the Greek story, it’s to do with the global economy, it’s to do with subprime mortgages, that this is somehow an act of subprime terrorism and not Islamic terrorism. This is ridiculous. The guy spent five months in Pakistan, so clearly when a guy is spending five months in Pakistan, we don’t know what he was doing there, that’s the pretty obvious reason for why he isn’t able to keep up payments on his home in Connecticut. It’s because his job in Connecticut, and his house in Connecticut, are not what’s important to him, and are not what he sees as his primary identity. And the stupidity, the persistent stupidity in trying to look for anything other than what is really driving this activity is becoming beyond parody now.

HH: Mark Steyn, today’s profile of him in the New York Times, I don’t know if you had a chance to read it yet, but it’s very much the same. It’s the lonely, Mr. Lonely Hearts. He’s sitting on couches not drinking…and it makes it sounds like he’s depressed, so he became a jihadist.

MS: Yes, and that was the same thing that was said about the panty bomber just before Christmas time. In fact, they’re very similar, they’ve very similar types in a way. They’re not poor people. This idea that we heard after September 11th, poverty breeds terrorism, these are middle class people leading middle class lives. This guy had an MBA and some other super duper degree. He could be holding down a big time six figure salary anywhere on the planet. And instead, he decides that’s not what he wants to do, and instead he wants to blow up Times Square. And at some point, we have to confront the reality of that. And our unwillingness to, you know, when the enemy, which is what they are, by the way, when the enemy read the New York Times and the Washington Post, they draw their conclusions from that kind of coverage.

HH: Mark Steyn, the incompetence displayed in the Gulf after the explosion, and now the gaps in our security system, add the hat trick for the president. We’ve got ideological extremism, plus a hyper-partisan approach to politics, and now incompetence thrown in. That’s a heavy burden for Democrats. I think it’s why David Obey quit yesterday. Do you think the president can escape this, and his party can escape this by November?

MS: No, I think in a way, he’s lucky, he’s as lucky as he’s going to be, because if this had been a Republican in the White House, we would be getting the full Katrina on what’s going on in the Gulf. Instead, he’s got friends at these dying publications like Newsweek that are willing to protect him almost to absurd degrees. But the hyper-partisanship, with the perceived softness on national security, and the willingness to abase himself before thugs and dictators, plus, plus the incompetence issue in the Gulf, I think is just a lethal combination for Democrats this November.

We hope he’s right about November. They say “a week is a long time in politics”, so six months is an age. A lot more harm can be done to civilization by the Democrats in that stretch of time. And if the Republicans return to power in Congress in November, will they, can they, save civilization?

Disaster and suspicion 6

One of the deplorable things about the vast and still spreading oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is that it gives the “green energy”  fanatics an argument against domestic drilling in the United States and off its shores. They are the only ones who have anything to gain by the disaster.

Jim O’Neill has “worked as a commercial diver in off-shore oilfields around the world (including the Gulf of Mexico)” and so, he says, “I have some idea of the difficulties involved with operations in 5,000 feet of water, (around 155 atmospheres of pressure).”

He has a suspicion that the explosion which sank Transocean’s deepwater semi-submersible rig “Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico on April 22, leaking 5,000 barrels of oil per day, may have been caused deliberately.

He does not make a strong case, but as we are suspicious on Socratean principle (though not easily convinced of conspiracies), we are interested in hearing what he has to say.

He writes:

“The Horizon” was a new floating exploratory rig, recently contracted by BP (British Petroleum) to drill its Macondo prospect in the Gulf. It had finished an exploratory drill hole to around 18,000 feet, and was in the process of capping off the well, prior to moving on, when the rig caught fire on April 20. The capping procedure was reputedly undertaken by oil industry giant Halliburton.

As you might imagine, such an occurrence is an oil company’s worst nightmare, and there are fail-safe measures like you would not believe, to ensure that such a thing as what happened, never happens. There are “deadman switches,” down-hole safety valves, “panic buttons.” and Blow Out Preventers (BOPs).

And yet obviously, something did happen. What—and was it sabotage? How could so many time-tested automatic back-ups fail, all at the same time? What are the odds?

Sabotage is not outside the realm of possibility when trillions of dollars are at stake. The question to ask is: With “climate-gate” throwing a wrench in the works of Cap and Trade, and the (potentially) extremely lucrative carbon-credit market about to go down the drain, were drastic measures taken?

Are there any “movers and shakers” connected with Chicago’s CCX scam, who also happen to be connected to Halliburton, BP, or…well you get the idea. Just asking.

The oil spill after one week covers approximately 130 by 70 miles. What is it going to cover after several months—with thousands of barrels of oil being added each day?

First coal, now oil—I suggest you folks at the nuclear power plants be on your toes.