Friday, March 09, 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012



dear friend

Sat, 25 Feb 2012 11:13:32
"Clemens, where the indignant Scotchman boxed the boys ears and put him out also." (c) Jenaly wworked

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Hail to the Chief!

Congratulations, President Elect Barack Obama, on your historic victory in yesterday’s US Presidential election. That’s a singular accomplishment, given your path through life and a grueling 2 year campaign.

Congratulations, fellow citizens who voted for and placed so much hope, treasure, and dedicated effort to have your Man win the White House, and for the near-equal accomplishment of increasing majorities in Congress. The people have spoken, for whatever change they hope for, expect, or otherwise anticipate, and placed a special trust in your party. This, at a time of extreme economic uncertainty and grave threats and dangers to US National Security.

I was a reluctant supporter of John McCain, but regret that he and Governor Palin were unsuccessful in their uphill battle against a juggernaut of disenchantment, obvious political acumen, and even more obvious mainstream media complicity. I considered them preferable candidates over an inexperienced but charismatic Obama and an erratic Senator Biden.

The events of 9/11 have dictated most of my political positions since. Democratic Party reactions to the challenges of global terror, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, gross disrespect shown by antiwar Democrats towards US service men and women have further caused me to feel totally estranged from 50% of my fellow citizens, including the entirety of my family and many people I had respected and admired.

I remember being a reluctant supporter of one George Bush in 2000, and suffered through the five weeks of turmoil that events in Florida engendered. Reasonable people may disagree on what 2000 symbolized for America, but the protracted fight over the election poisoned political discourse in the US ever since.

I am greatly relieved that we will not be replaying such a political transition this year. I can appreciate how joyous, excited, gratified, and justified feel the supporters of the President Elect.

As an American, I am also very proud of my fellow citizens, who through a consensus of those who felt obliged to vote for the “minority” candidate, or out of racial solidarity, with complete color blindness, or with an imperfect collection of prejudices chose Obama as either the best of options or the lesser of evils. Motivations are varied, and often complex, but judged by results, America affirmed its promise and its better nature in electing President Barack Obama.

On January 20th, 2009, he will become my Commander in Chief. I won’t submit my retirement papers, and I will strive to show him the respect to which he is entitled. I will follow orders, however much I may disagree with them, just as I did with the two prior Commanders in Chief.

I offer the following recommendations to the new President before his new position might make that inappropriate.

The United States has been hated, resented, and opposed throughout the world for the past 50 years and more. President Bush became a lightning rod for enmity, scorn, insult, and opposition, but did not create anti-US animus, nor will it abate with you at the helm. You don’t have to take my word for it, you’ll find out. We have not caused all the problems in the world; rather, we are one of the few forces for good, and one of the only true Western Democracies that has lifted so much as a finger for oppressed Muslims the world over. Don’t believe the propaganda, because it will offer you precious little comfort when history resumes.

Ruthless opportunists will use any pretext to advance their own interests at the expense of ours. Everyone will have their hands out. Place US interests above the interests of others, and see how fast you become the new poster child for US imperialism, and your figure the model for effigy.

Your military is the finest, most professional military in the world. If you demonstrate that you value our achievements, preserve our victories, allow us to win, and reward us with true fidelity and respect, we will follow you anywhere you ask us to go. We will get the job done, without respect to party or person.

Before you and your compatriots launch the New New Deal, take some time to reconsider the Old New Deal, even if throughout your academic and political career you’ve never seen the need. Try to make it through Liberal Fascism or The Forgotten Man, or even review the latest study from UCLA, estimating the FDR prolonged the Depression an extra 7 years. (Quite a feat, making the Great Depression Great, when it might have been merely bad.)

Raising taxes, sharing the wealth, redistributing income, punishing economic activity, constraining business, all at a time of economic recession and retrenchment: these will all be recipes for financial chaos, diminished economic activity, falling standards of living for all, and political ruin.

Reward good behavior and allow consequences to punish bad. Doing the opposite will create incentives for more bad. It will also discourage and distress those who will most faithfully do the right thing, even if it’s not in their immediate interest.

You are a testimony to accomplishment, to opportunity offered, and taken, to great effect, with the highest of achievement. Don’t discount or diminish your own accomplishment by assuming that others need more of a helping hand than you did. If it was too easy, if others made all the effort for your reward, would you have accomplished what you have?


Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Columbia is the Key

Columbia is the key to the enigma who is Barack Obama, and you won’t find any mainstream media kicking over any stones within a hundred miles of the place.

Andy McCarthy, writing at National Review Online, reflects on the real significance of Obama’s abiding radical relationships. (These aren’t “associations,” which suggest that you may know a person’s name or occupation. When you form a mutual admiration and support cooperative, you have a relationship.)

Read the whole thing. Here’s McCarthy’s conclusion:

In short, Bill Ayers and Barack Obama moved in the same circles, were driven by the same cause, and admired the same radicals all the way from Morningside Heights to Hyde Park. They ended up publicly admiring each other, promoting each other’s work, sitting on the same boards, and funding the same Leftist agitators.
You could conclude, as I do, that it all goes back to a formative time in his life that Obama refuses to discuss. Or you could buy the fairy tale that Bill Ayers first encountered an unknown, inexperienced, third-year associate from a small Chicago law-firm over coffee in 1995 and suddenly decided Barack Obama was the perfect fit to oversee the $150 million pot of gold Ayers hoped would underwrite his revolution.

Columbia explains it all. Forget drill, baby, drill. Dig, dig, dig, or we’re going to end up with The Manchurian President come 2009.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008


The Wrong Code

A CBS News outlet in Albany reports that NY Governor David Paterson in essence accused Republicans of making racist overtures in “code”:

"I think the Republican Party is too smart to call Barack Obama 'black' in a sense that it would be a negative. But you can take something about his life, which I noticed they did at the Republican Convention – a 'community organizer.' They kept saying it, they kept laughing," he said.

Wow, that’s the end for Sen. Obama’s campaign, when all the white trash out there starts listening to Republicans and wake up to discover Obama’s black.

Gov. Paterson went on to clarify:

"I think where there are overtones is when there are uses of language that are designed to inhibit other people's progress with a subtle reference to their race," he said.

"At this point, Americans wouldn't tolerate a racial appeal. What I'm saying is that there are sneaky ways to try to hurt someone," he said.

Geez, Governor. You sound just like the pathetically ingratiating person of pallor trying to talk jive, smack, or gangsta’.

Take it from a Conservative Republican. “Community Organizer” never has been, isn’t, and never will be “code for black.” But you’re right, it is code. Anyone with a fair to middling experience with Marxism or liberal Academia knows that Community Organizing is what Unionists, Communalists, Activists, and demagogic populists do.

I’ll give you another hint. Lenin and Mao were Community Organizers. Castro was a Community Organizer. Venezuela’s increasingly strong-armed dictator Chavez was a Community Organizer, as was Ho Chi Minh. So was Saul Alinsky, a source of some of Sen. Obama’s inspiration (and most of Sen. Clinton’s).

Community Organizers organize and (temporarily) empower communities -- that’s the source of their power. They accomplish what they seek when they have successfully motivated and energized their targeted mass audience. Their stated ends aren’t even important, for in harnessing the means, the collective will of the community, they achieve another end that consumes: their own power and influence. That personal end will always justify their means, and Obama is no different, as his long-abiding Presidential ambitions attest.

Community Organizers are by and large Demagogues. To be successful in their task, they need to enflame, anger, manipulate and motivate communities to action. They tend to exaggerate, and their rhetoric is heavy on hyperbole. They rouse rabbles. They generate mass hysteria, if they are successful. They’re all about the masses, washed or unwashed.

Here’s how Conservatives view the whole concept of the need to Organize. Community Organizers are the Conservative equivalent in all major respects to the Communists, Socialists, and Marxists whose reason for living is organizing communities.

Sure, Union Organizers organize working communities, and partisan political operatives like the infamous ACORN organize voter communities for electoral purposes. But these represent very temporary organizations. Once constructed, their architects are “out of a job,” and on to the next non-union shop or electoral project. Not so the professional Community Organizer.

Presidential Candidate Obama seemingly appeared out of nowhere after the briefest of Senate and state legislative careers, and touted his Community Organizing as a major component of his leadership experience. He served his Community, even if his accomplishments were transitory and their importance tangential to his political ambitions.

Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska appeared out of nowhere: a woman of real, personal accomplishment who didn’t need to mobilize a community to reach and wield power. And yet, from the moment of Sen. McCain’s announcement of Palin as his Vice Presidential nominee, Obama spokespeople and Obama himself ridiculed her “small town mayor-ship and ignored her Gubernatorial experience.

So Vice Presidential Candidate Palin had the pluck and combativeness to observe that, as the mayor of a small town in one of America’s last frontiers, yes, a mayor was kind of like a Community Organizer, except for having actual responsibilities.

That’s still a really funny line. Here’s why, Gov. Paterson, and it has nothing to do with racism.

Contrary to the idealistic but unfettered by gritty reality Community Organizer, a Mayor (or any other Executive) has specific, distinct responsibilities, which when not satisfied or fulfilled, can generate an awful lot of hell to pay. Community Organizers can keep finding communities (real or virtual, like classes of aggrieved persons) to organize, but a Mayor or Governor has to run one, with all that that entails.

Progressives (Marxist-inspired or otherwise) are really big on organizing communities, getting people to vote “in accordance with their economic interests.” Which itself is code word for “voting for their Class.” Yet, they do not officially or formally represent the communities they manipulate, and overwhelmingly take advantage of those they mobilize as stepping stones for their own personal enrichment or advancement. Sadly, much of what Community Organizers “accomplish” either turns out to be a whole lot less than advertised, evaporates after the Organizer moves on (or steps up), or engenders a whole new level of exploitation and corruption.

That’s why the small-d democratic model creates political constructs in which an individual is elected for a specific term, with a specific set of responsibilities, with a very real accounting at the end if he or she (or their party) seeks re-election. As opposed to Alinsky’s theories of Community Organizing, or similar Manifestos, which all too often in the real world create a tyranny imposed by the masses, but run by a chosen few.

Absolute power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, however much that power started out “of the people.”

That’s just some of why Republicans laughed so heartily with Gov. Palin, when she contrasted her executive experience with a boastful, self-proclaimed Community Organizer.

(Via Drudge Report)


For added insight into Obama’s time as a Community Organizer in Chicago, the ideas of Alinsky, and other nuances of progressive history in Chicago, see John Judis’s fascinating history in the The New Republic.

(Via Online Journal)

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Friday, August 29, 2008


Change You Can Believe In (Really)

Many among us are disappointed that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will stay home from the Republican National Convention, to attend to preparations and potential emergency response to Gustav.

Fortunately, Jindal gave us a taste of what he would have said at the Convention, writing at the Wall Street Journal.

The true fiscal conservatism embodied in Jindal’s remarkable administration in previously basket-case Louisiana represents the kind of change our Nation should really be seeking. In stark contrast to the corrupt and helpless Democratic administrations he displaced, Jindal has greatly enhanced Louisiana’s business climate and dramatically re-architected a moribund, political spoils-driven bureaucracy.

How did Jindal do it? Cutting government waste and fraud, imposing real ethics reform -- in contrast to the Chicago-style phony reforms that let party bosses line their pockets – and most of all, making Louisiana the place people want to do business and create jobs.

Jindal speaks to the results:

Thanks in large part to these reforms and our aggressive efforts to attract new business investment, our economy today is strong. Compared to the nation as a whole, Louisiana's economy is growing substantially faster, and our state has considerably lower unemployment levels.

The rest of the country is starting to take notice. Citing strong fiscal management, three major credit-rating agencies -- Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch -- recently upgraded Louisiana's bond ratings. The Center for Public Integrity noted that Louisiana's new governmental ethics laws regarding legislative disclosure will increase our ranking to first in the country, from 44th. For the first time, U.S. News & World Report ranked LSU in the top tier of its list of America's Best Colleges. And Forbes magazine increased its growth-prospects ranking for Louisiana to 17th from 45th.

What do the New Democrats offer? Based on Obama’s Convention Speech, much, much more of the same old, same old. So much for change.

New Republicans? Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal. Who’d have guessed?

(Via The Corner)




Sully thinks Sen. McCain should have picked a VP with more foreign policy experience than Sen. Obama.

Other Dem commentators are piling on, a terrible choice, rapid pro-abortion gun nut, all politics, do they think Hillary’s supporters will pick just any woman, lots of other sexist trash talking.

Think OODA Loop. She’s pro-life, the mother of a Downs Syndrome baby who refused to consider abortion, aggressively reformist and anti-pork spending, and grew up hunting moose. Lined up against the 40 year Washington Insider, blow-hard Biden. Outscores Obama on Executive and real-life managerial experience. Can attack Obama directly on his infanticide vote and 100+% NARAL rating (he out radicals the radicals and should get bonus points).

I want to see this dogfight play out, because the outcome’s already certain.

McCain nailed this one.

(Via Memeorandum)



VDH on Obama

Victor Davis Hanson critiques Obama’s Coronation Speech, writing in two pieces short pieces at The Corner.

On Obama as plucky Horatio Alger:

Obama, who gained his education and found opportunity in the awful Reagan and Bush I years, lives in a mansion, has prep school and Ivy League degrees, made several millions of dollars last year, and was the offspring of two PhD candidates — and is thus a firsthand witness to America's greed and unfairness?

If this is failure, can we have some more please?

If Obama were to win, no one would infer from the desolation he described in America, that he may well inherit an economy, in a downturn, that just grew at 3.3 in the last quarter, an unemployment rate of 5.7%, and record levels of exportation, one that did not go into recession with $140 a barrel oil, with more students in college than at any time in its history and more than any other nation in the world, with a war in Iraq nearly won, and both the Taliban and Saddam Hussein gone and replaced with constitutional governments — and Europe, whether in France, Germany, or Italy, with strong pro-American leadership.

We’re Here to Help You, we promise:

The convention's final workmanlike message: The country is wrecked. Our freedoms are lost. Our soldiers are victims, not triumphant heroes. We are all impoverished except for a parasitic few. All bad news is not due to globalized changes in a radically different world, but to the nefarious greed of Bush-Cheney-McCain nexus. The Obamas, Kerrys, Pelosis, Gores, et al. who make millions a year and live in mansions, are populists uniquely called upon to tax, expand government, and think of ever new programs, as if the United States doesn't have the largest government and the most ineffective programs in its history.

For those who would argue that this is a “glass half full, glass half empty” dichotomy, I say that’s a false one.

More apt, the perfect is the enemy of the good. For Obama and those of his liberal ilk –in complete control of today’s Democratic Party – the glass must be rejected because it’s not completely full to overflowing, its head is less puffy than we prefer, and it doesn’t have those attractive bubbles coming up from the bottom.


Thursday, August 28, 2008


McCain and the OODA Loop

Who would have guessed that Sen. John McCain would be beating the pants off of Sen. Barack Obama on the YouTube centric, political web-enabled battle space?

Anybody who knows anything about John Boyd’s conception of the OODA Loop, and knows that John McCain flew fighter jets.

Here’s the essential primer from the indispensable Bill Whittle:


Then Observe.Orient.Decide.Act.

Then Observe…

It’s a cycle. It’s a loop. It’s called by its inelegant acronym: The OODA loop.

Now here’s what blew my mind, as I am sure it blew John Boyd’s mind on a level I can not and will never fully comprehend:

The winner of these battles is not necessarily the fellow who makes the best decisions. More often than not, it’s the guy who makes the fastest decisions.

Agility. Speed. Precision. Lethality. Fingerspitzengefuhl: fingertip control.
Whittle is the finest of online essayists, and he’s worth your time, but for a shorter reference, see also the OODA Loop Wiki.

McCain has gotten inside Obama’s OODA Loop. Before the worshipful coverage has barely hit its crest, McCain launches the Obama as Shallow Celebrity campaign. Before the Unity Set Piece has played itself out, McCain’s campaign is blasting away at the pounds of flesh the Clinton’s are exacting from Obama.

Biden picked as VP, and without a blink of a news cycle, Team McCain has clips available documenting all the disparaging things Biden said about Obama during his 3 second Presidential Campaign. Georgia, Rezko, Ayers, every news item that at all promises a hold on news attention, and McCain is out in front, Obama lagging and sagging behind.

Not only does the McCain campaign react instantly to every exploitable gaffe, emerging event, or unpleasantness that will damage Obama or enhance McCain, flooding the media space with generally high quality ads and videos, but now McCain plays Obama’s coronation day perfectly: McCain: Job Well Done, Barack.

McCain can afford to let it rest, while seemingly displaying the rarest of qualities: an appreciation of his opponent’s accomplishment. Because he knows he’s already won the OODA Loop.

John McCain is a fighter pilot who certainly knows Boyd’s OODA Loop. Nice to see he found how to apply OODA to running a Presidential Campaign.

(Via The Corner)

(Cross-posted at MILBLOGS)


Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Boxing for Obama

AP triumphantly proclaims, Clintons throwing a one-two punch at McCain.

If that’s true, I think the Fix is in.

I also think the AP is trying to carry water for the DNC and the Presidential Candidacy of Sen. Obama, based on their straight-faced portrayal of the Clintons as gone all pugilistic against Sen. McCain. McCain’s not the guy staggering at the ropes with his eyes starting to swell.

Completely ignoring insider complaints, and supporter controversies swirling around the Clintons, tepid support for Obama, and numerous Clinton affronts and insults to the presumptive Democratic Party nominee, the AP sticks to the script:

Clinton closed the book on her 2008 presidential bid Tuesday night with an emphatic plea for the party to unite behind Barack Obama.

The Democratic convention spotlight was turning to her husband, the former president, as he prepared to take the prime-time television stage Wednesday night. He is expected to launch attacks on McCain and on the Bush administration, particularly on the state of the U.S. economy.

I guess you could say that Clinton is expected to launch those attacks, at least by some, but what’s really worrying Obama supporters and campaign staff is the obvious resentment Bill exudes over the rejection of Hillary by Democrats.

I suspect that AP Editors chose the headline, and framed the story, but the AP reporter Philip Elliott couldn’t help himself stray:

Hillary Clinton, who won 18 million votes but still failed to earn her party's nomination, planned to meet with delegates who still want to cast ballots for her during the nominating roll call Wednesday evening — a symbolic move before Obama is nominated, presumably by acclamation. Clinton has not indicated whether she would have her name placed in nomination or seek a formal roll call vote.

Clinton's aides said it remained unclear how exactly the meeting with the delegates would play out, or how her supporters will react.

I have no doubt the Clintons are playing to win, but I don’t see what that has to do with Obama winning the Presidency in 2008. You could drive a truck through the innuendo dripping from Hillary’s bottom line in her speech:

"Barack Obama is my candidate, and he must be our president," she said.

That’s what you say about decisions you make while holding your nose. Or taking a dive to the mat on the hint of a roundhouse punch.

AP’s Elliott couldn’t resist dropping in this comment from previous Clinton nemesis, Rudy Giuliani:

"Nowhere in that speech did she answer the question about his character, his ability to lead, the things that are at issue here," Giuliani said on "The Early Show" on CBS.

You go, girl. Keep stabbing away at him, and I’m sure you can wear him down.

You can almost imagine Bill, putting his arm around Obama with that good ole boy smile, telling him to get on in there and finish the Old Man off.

“We did everything we could for you, short of giving him the KO ourselves. He’s only one good punch from lights out. A girl scout could get the job done. He’s all yours.”


From Victor Davis Hanson at The Corner:

Her speech in Kennedy-1980 convention-fashion fulfilled its tripartite intentions: 1) it was well delivered, albeit in ossified liberal tropes, to such a degree as to remind the dazed delegates what a catastrophe they have committed in having nominated a novice over a pro; 2) it got her off the hook by cursory praise of Obama without suggesting enthusiasm for him that might either help his election or turn-off her supporters whose potential for trouble is predicated on Hillary as the perpetually wounded fawn; 3) it was not overtly, but only pro-forma hostile to John McCain, and did not contradict ads airing that use her prior anger at Obama as proof of a sort of "she's right" solidarity with McCain.

Bottom line: she remains loyal Democrat, dissed victim, the should-have-been nominated candidate, senior healer ready to clean up the mess of 2008, and savior in 2012. Note well Chelsea's ubiquity, the slick Hillary infomercial, Bill's wide grin, and the Clinton triad everywhere.


Thursday, August 21, 2008


Media Malfeasance (Part 5,697)

Reporters and editors of the Associated Press (AP) just can’t help themselves editorialize in “news” reports on events in Iraq.

With news of US and Iraq reaching preliminary agreement on a framework for limited, condition-based withdrawals of American forces from Iraq, the AP steps back in time to gratuitously label our efforts an “increasingly unpopular war:”
Iraq and the U.S. have reached preliminary agreement to withdraw American forces from Iraqi cities by next June, six years into the increasingly unpopular war, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Thursday after meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Talk about stuck in the past! You have to wonder if the AP has had a template prepared, come the day when an official agreement for US forces coming out, and that the template hasn't been updated since the "unpleasant" reversal of fortunes in Iraq.

Increasingly unpopular? Maybe before th surge. Since the amazing (to critics) success of the surge, and the dramatic security turnaround in Iraq, even naysayers like the Editors at the NY Times have acknowledged our victory in Iraq. Naturally, the attendant change in public attitudes have been changing as well, with more and more Americans reporting that the effort was worth it, or that they're pleased with the results. (Not to mention, proud of our fantastic military forces!)

Subjective editorializing, matched with very selective cherry-picking of what are otherwise undisclosed details. You’d think the AP would have been satisfied with merely drenching in triumphant tone its reporting, on what Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice called “aspirational timetables” for US withdrawals.

The AP also made sure to include this characterization, with a fuzzy, negative, but ultimately unverifiable reference to Iraqi “losses,” no doubt as helpful “background” for its readers:
U.S. military forces went into in Iraq in early 2003 and overthrew President Saddam Hussein and the war is now in its sixth year. There have been more than 4,100 U.S. deaths there and countless losses among Iraqis.
There are counts of “losses” among Iraqis out there, if the AP actually had any sincere interest in honest reporting on Iraq. Some are wildly inflated and partisan, like the discredited Lancet numbers, others are no doubt incomplete.

Reports of civilian casualties notoriously cannot distinguish between non-uniformed combatants and civilians, and civilian counts too frequently involve selection bias, count manipulation, complete lack of documentation or verification, and anecdotal reporting from sources of questionable knowledge of the data reported. (If not outright dishonesty, as is likely the case with agenda-driven count teams, such as those used by Lancet “researchers.”)

Mainstream media refuses to attempt an honest or impartial accounting, making judgments on data from US military, Iraqi Government, or non-governmental organizations (NGO). Rather, they parrot obvious propaganda by enemies and opponents, data skewed by obvious conflicts of interest, or as the AP today, rely on a non-quantifiable but clearly ominous “countless losses.”

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008


No Tears for Ivan

Thomas Friedman plays Olympic Judge on the Georgia conflict, and rightly awards Gold to Russian “prime minister” Vladimir Putin in a US Foreign Policy towards Russia NY Times Op Ed. Unfortunately, Friedman also leavens his judiciousness with some errant (if predictable) cause and effect, thus ruining the whole loaf of his argument.

Based on Friedman’s assessment, he awards the Silver to a Georgia’s “bone-headed” President, Mikheil Saakashvili, and in a spirit of bipartisanship, Bronze to the “Clinton and Bush foreign policy teams.”

Friedman wants credit for the prescience of arguing against NATO expansion after the liberation of the Eastern Europe, and the attendant collapse of the Soviet Union. In this, Friedman shares some illustrious company, including foreign policy expert Michael Mandelbaum, Democrat Sen. Sam Nunn, and the State Department forbearer of Containment as America’s response to Russian Communism, George Kennan.

Ordinarily, evidence of aggression, covert manipulations and provocations towards war, and stark renunciation of international agreements, as well as diplomatic norms, would suggest that a Belligerent Nation indeed posed a grave threat to its neighbors. So Russia appeared to clear-eyed observers, following the collapse of their edifice of oppression, without any real demonstration that the underlying causes of Soviet aggression were renounced, nor meaningful amends made.

Not for those who make excuse for killers, bullies and tyrants, always finding the germ of cause for the full grown fruits of evil. For Russian apologists, Russia is the latter day equivalent to Germany after the humiliation of Versailles.

Friedman declares, “The humiliation that NATO expansion bred in Russia was critical in fueling Putin’s rise.” For Friedman, Putin was the aberration in a steady Russian march from darkness towards enlightenment, beginning with Gorbachev and continuing with Boris Yeltsin.

My recollection may be a little dusty some twenty years later, but it seems to me that Soviet (and Russian) strongmen were a steady stream of KGB, with Yeltsin as a populist and very brief interlude, before power devolved back into the hands of the KGB and Mafia bosses. Even Yeltsin seemed packaged for Western consumption as a democracy-embracing street pol, versus the indisputable party boss earlier in life. No Lech Walesa he.

I’m likewise pretty sure that the US was more concerned with Soviet aggression and the enslavement of captive populations and the peoples of Eastern Europe, rather than the democratization of Russia, as Friedman alleges. I don’t know any serious Kremlinologist, Soviet-watcher, or Russophile who thought Russia capable of that great a leap towards democracy. Yet Friedman questions:

Wasn’t that why we fought the cold war — to give young Russians the same chance at freedom and integration with the West as young Czechs, Georgians and Poles? Wasn’t consolidating a democratic Russia more important than bringing the Czech Navy into NATO?

As someone who spent a former career studying aspects of Soviet occupation and oppression of Eastern Europe, I can personally attest to the greater affinity, desire, motivation, and capacity for freedom and democracy among the Czechs, Georgians, and Poles than their Russian counterparts. And the fear of Russian aggression and repression in the absence of a NATO security guarantee.

This line of argument also ignores the very real fact that Strongmen have ruled Russia since its reemergence from the Soviet construct. Old party apparatchiks, Politburo, Military leaders, and of course, the KGB, retained the reins of power throughout. The exterior form changed, not the Oligarchy within.

Shouldn’t recent moves to reassert Regional dominance, revive Russian espionage and instigate covert, proxy warfare represent the very kinds of demonstration that give lie to the pretense of Russian good intentions?

Friedman also insists, “Russia wasn’t about to reinvade Europe.” On the basis of what evidence does he assert this? Because they didn’t? I certainly remember a lot of nervousness about Russian intentions following the end of the Cold War, and many of us who followed Europe and Russia were frankly surprised that Russia seemingly squelched their imperial aims in the years since the fall of the USSR. A strong argument can be made that Western assertiveness in supporting former Russian satellites threatened neighbors are precisely the factors that preempted Russian aggression.

Friedman acknowledged Mandelbaum to make this argument over false premises in US Foreign Policy towards Russia:

“The Clinton and Bush foreign policy teams acted on the basis of two false premises,” said Mandelbaum. “One was that Russia is innately aggressive and that the end of the cold war could not possibly change this, so we had to expand our military alliance up to its borders. Despite all the pious blather about using NATO to promote democracy, the belief in Russia’s eternal aggressiveness is the only basis on which NATO expansion ever made sense — especially when you consider that the Russians were told they could not join. The other premise was that Russia would always be too weak to endanger any new NATO members, so we would never have to commit troops to defend them. It would cost us nothing. They were wrong on both counts.”

This strikes me as both revisionist history, and after the fact excuse making for the Russians. By necessity of his argument, Mandelbaum must conclude that all known and unknown acts of Russian aggression since 1992 can be attributed to the egregious provocation from the US and NATO. Known acts of aggression would include the attempted murder leaders in Eastern Europe, funding and sponsorship of terrorism, political assassinations, and attempted manipulation of democratic elections in neighboring states.

For sure, NATO expansion was predicated on the assumption that past aggressive behavior and imperial intent signaled the likelihood of such behavior and intent in the future. Certainly, many in the West hoped strong support and a muscular defense of now liberated states would help coax Russia away from “aggressiveness,” and a belief that such aggressiveness need not be “eternal.”

Mandelbaum also suggests that NATO promoters considered Russia “too weak to endanger any new NATO members, so we would never have to commit troops to defend them.”

That sounds like a straw man, and the whole point of moves like membership in NATO and participation in missile defense is a well-considered response to a Russia far too strong and still quite capable of violence and aggression towards its neighbors.

Friedman concludes:

Georgia is a nascent free-market democracy, and we can’t just watch it get crushed.

Indeed. Within his Russian apologia masked as even handed criticism, Friedman also consents to a bottom line I can agree with:

If it persists, this behavior will push every Russian neighbor to seek protection from Moscow and will push the Europeans to redouble their efforts to find alternatives to Russian oil and gas. This won’t happen overnight, but in time it will stretch Russia’s defenses and lead it to become more isolated, more insecure and less wealthy.

Friedman ends where Russia’s neighbors have always lived – in nervous vigilance, next to an imperial-minded thug.

(Via Memeorandum)

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Saturday, August 16, 2008


Georgia on My Mind

What to make of events in Georgia, or the obviously preplanned depredations of Russia’s Putin in responding to Georgian “aggression”? Are we entering an era of a renewed Cold War? Has history resurrected itself?

What to make of Evil that brooks no opposition, nor makes any effort to hide or disguise its true nature? How many times will the world need to relearn the same lesson in different guise?

Victor Davis Hanson evaluates reaction from certain quarters of the American political landscape, writing at The Corner:
Once again for the Left, if it is a question of supporting Democratic states and those in them from tyrants—or finding new creative ways of blaming the United States first—well, the answer is a no-brainer.

And from paleos one expected a sort of 'Georgia's bigmouth stuck his neck in a noose, so let him hang,' but the near gleeful admiration for the way 'ole Putin 'took care of business' in his backyard was over the top even for them.

Obama initially sounded like the therapeutic high-school principal and his 'zero-tolerance' doctrine of moral equivalence as he expels both the victim and the bully; but his calls for UN solutions, talks with equally at fault parties, and apparent trust in the wisdom of the EU and the power of NATO may not just scare Eastern Europeans but even those 200,000 who deified him at Berlin. (But in fairness, they were warned when Obama lectured them that the "world" had saved Berlin during the airlift rather than the US Air Force.) Nothing is scarier for a Western European than to be praised for his sophisticated diplomacy as a prelude to being asked to lead on his own in times of crises.
Complexities abound in the reality-based community. The real one, inhabited by people who thoughtfully consider the real world for what it is, not what they wish it to be. Not the kind of people waiting around for the world to realize they are the embodiment of everything the world has been waiting for.

Not the residence of the Hard Left, for whom appeasement and apologia for Slavic dictators and tyrants were their mother’s milk and strained peaches. Where every strain of American Exceptionalism is discounted, save the view that America must be uniquely condemned.

Not the home for the Stone Age Right, who view every international attachment through a racist prism, exaggerating threats to the Homeland and whatever genetic stock they enshrine. America First, America Only, America in splendid isolation from a barbaric world. The Big City might benefit from determined attention to the broken windows in the hood, but the wider world is better left to its own devices.

And as we face the most serious of choices this fall, do either of the major candidates live in the real gritty world with the rest of us?

Years in a Communist Prisoner of War Camp, years of solid but not uncritical support for fighting terrorism where it actually germinates or matures, make a pretty good prima facie case for real world residence.

A long but unpublished academic tenure, community activism, and a short but entirely unremarkable political career should give us pause.

Should we be more or less unsettled by a candidate’s long and collegial association with Marxist revolutionaries and Black Liberation hysterics? Or who can so frequently find common cause with known apologists for Communism and totalitarian regimes and dictators?

Just some worrisome concerns, from an old Cold War anticommunist.


Thursday, August 07, 2008


Prepackaged Slander

The Editors at the NY Times have long proved themselves overwhelmingly biased and nakedly partisan, throughout 8 years of relentless attacks against any move the Bush Administration has taken to fight terrorism or our terrorist enemies. They make no pretense of logic, consistency, or even sanity, as long as all slurs and insults point Bush-ward. They have no need of facts, let alone opposing viewpoints, especially not those heretical ones that refute the received wisdom of the Times.

They assume venality in every case, cause, and controversy, and have championed the alternate universe inhabited by most of the Left, whereby their political opponents are evil, every intention is ulterior and sinister, and every partisan (on the other side) is less than human. The NY Times doesn’t just drink the Kool-Aid, they concoct huge batches of it for public consumption.

But they’ve outdone themselves today, in offensiveness, insult, even slander, asserting that the US Military has aided and abetted in orchestrating a Kangaroo Court conviction of an admitted terrorist, under orders from the White House and Congress.

From the Editors of the Times comes this:

Guilty as Ordered

Now that was a real nail-biter. The court designed by the White House and its Congressional enablers to guarantee convictions of high-profile detainees in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — using evidence obtained by torture and secret evidence as desired — has held its first trial. It produced ... a guilty verdict.

The military commission of six senior officers (whose names have not been made public) found Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who worked as one of Osama bin Laden’s drivers until 2001, guilty of one count of providing material support for terrorism.

The rules of justice on Guantánamo are so stacked against defendants that the only surprise was that Mr. Hamdan was actually acquitted on the more serious count of conspiring (it was unclear with whom) to kill Americans during the invasion of Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001.

The Times refuses to employ real legal scholars, or any modicum of fact checking to refute your average terrorist defense attorney’s talking points, apparently preferring to rely on columnists like “economist” Paul Krugman for legal commentary. Thus, they can allege that the trial outcome was ordered, or that the military tribunal process is “so stacked against defendants,” while in the very same editorial admit that Hamdan was found innocent of a questionable charge, and found guilty of one he admitted.

This despite the views of actual legal scholars, who note that the current military tribunal process as established by the “worst bits of lawmaking in American history,” the Military Commissions Act of 2006, insisted upon by the Supreme Court and enacted by Congress on a second attempt, is actually more protective of defendant rights as anything guaranteed by the Geneva Conventions, or even that afforded US soldiers under Military Justice.

If I were one of the 6 officers who sat in that jury, I’d file a defamation or libel suit against the Times. I’d also make it big, public, and embarrassing for the Times Editors.

The Times has played anything but the role of impartial observer, negligently perpetrating untruths and fallacies about military law, and repeated Bush Administration efforts to create a legal framework for individuals who are at war with us, but act as proxies for State sponsors of terror, or other organized terror and criminal gangs.

The Times misreports on the Geneva Conventions and the Laws of War, military justice, military affairs, and often, constitutional law and jurisprudence. They insist on remaining ignorant, and perpetuating the prolonged ignorance of their readers. They sabotage Government and Military counterterrorism programs, aid and abet the disclosure of classified intelligence and programs, and they self-righteously cloak themselves in a ludicrous mantel of public service, in doing as much harm as possible to any effort taken to combat terror.

If there existed any actual, impartial credentialing authority for Journalists, their bona fides would have been yanked some time ago.

I for one have concluded that we should have identified any terrorists, saboteurs, irregular militias, fighters (in or out of uniform) captured on foreign battlefields or outside the US as Prisoners of War, rather than unlawful combatants. With an oppositional and power-hungry Supreme Court, an obstructionist opposition Party who places partisan gain above National Security, there has been and will be no hope we will ever convince the naysayers that terrorists are a threat and terror organizations are real and must be combated aggressively.

Here’s the thing. With POWs, in wartime, military authorities get to identify those who engaged in terror, committing acts of violence in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions and Laws of War. Sure, go ahead and exempt American terrorists, and shuttle them off to the civilian legal system.

The US can then implement military proceedings on foreign combatants, and conduct summary executions of individuals deemed guilty of war crimes, terror, espionage or sabotage, on the spot. They can keep the rest confined until such time as a credible terror organization steps forward to surrender on their behalf. Which means, we can leave them to rot for the rest of their lives in prison camps.

An actual real world prosecutor, with real life experience in prosecuting terror cases, Andy McCarthy, reacts with similar if more composed outrage over at The Corner.

Naturally, I would never suggest that the New York Times stoops to a predetermined editorial narrative with which it proceeds, and toward which it slants news coverage, without a care in the world about what facts actually happen. But today's "Guilty as Ordered" rant about the Hamdan military commission trial has to take the cake. The first paragraph is so shamefully dishonest and misrepresentative of reality as to defy one's necessarily low expectations of the Gray Lady.


Of course, the trial also produced a not-guilty verdict. Was that "as ordered" too? If the system was "designed ... to guarantee convictions" how did that happen?

Bill West, writing at the Counterterrorism Blog, comments on the Times’ malicious slander of the military officers sitting on the Hamdan jury:

The results of this trial demonstrate that American military officers truly are the independent minded, moral self-thinkers we expect them to be. Sure, members of the military must "take and follow orders." But they must also be able to think for themselves and act in a moral way. This is especially true for the Officer Corps...the leadership of the US military. We expect military officers to act with honor and sound judgement. Contrary to what some on the far left (very many of whom never served in the military) may believe, when one becomes a US military officer, one does not morph into a mindless automaton.

The officers who served on this jury had a duty to independently weigh the evidence presented to them within the rules of the Commission and to render a decision based on their own judgment of that evidence...not based on any external orders. The conduct of the proceedings and the verdict demonstrate those officers did just that. They not only vindicated the Commission...the "system"...but they brought great credit upon themselves and the Officer Corps. They upheld that code of honor We the People expect of them.

The NY Times, in its derogatory editorial, not only ignores that fact but does a backhanded insult to those officers who served on the jury.

(Links via Memeorandum)

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008


The People's Call

A concerned group of alarmed Leftists, noting Sen. Obama’s many flip flops on issues of critical interest to them, wrote an open letter to the presumed Democratic nominee for President.

In addition to obligatory foreign policy positions on Iraq and terrorism, as well as a completely unrestricted right to abortion, they identify a panoply of aged socialist ambitions, from which Obama dare not dissent, for risk of straying from Marxist orthodoxy:

A response to the current economic crisis that reduces the gap between the rich and the rest of us through a more progressive financial and welfare system; public investment to create jobs and repair the country's collapsing infrastructure; fair trade policies; restoration of the freedom to organize unions; and meaningful government enforcement of labor laws and regulation of industry.

Universal healthcare.

An environmental policy that transforms the economy by shifting billions of dollars from the consumption of fossil fuels to alternative energy sources, creating millions of green jobs.

A commitment to improving conditions in urban communities and ending racial inequality, including disparities in education through reform of the No Child Left Behind Act and other measures.

An immigration system that treats humanely those attempting to enter the country and provides a path to citizenship for those already here.

One can only imagine what a “more progressive financial and welfare system” would look like. As it stands now, less than 50% of Americans pay more in taxes than they receive as direct payout from the Government. The top 5% of earners pay more than 80% of all taxes. Anyone earning more than $100,000 a year – nowhere near rich by modern standards – pays 50% or more of their income towards taxes at the Federal, State and Local levels. The “poor” in America subsist at a higher standard of living than 95% of all of humanity, and more than 80% of all other “citizens of the world.”

It reminds me of the bumper sticker you see, “Vote Democrat, it’s easier than working.”

Public education and emergency medical care are easily available, on demand, for these same “poor,” despite the deplorable absence of Universal Healthcare.

And when did the US outlaw unions? Workers remain free to organize unions, but fewer and fewer non-unionized workers chose to sacrifice even a modest amount of their income to union bureaucracies (and kleptocracies) that have enriched their leadership, without improving working conditions, which already exceed those of almost every country on earth. What’s really intended here, is Government enforced union participation, the better to control a key Democratic Party constituency.

What kind of environmental policy can possibly shift billions of dollars from the consumption of fossil fuels to alternative energy sources?

Does that mean a policy “shift” mean that money is taken from us, so that we can’t spend on gas? Or, that gas is allowed to become so prohibitively expensive or completely unavailable, that we can’t spend on gas? That would certainly explain Speaker Pelosi’s refusal (and Obama’s until just the other day) to allow any increase in oil drilling in the US. Or Obama’s earlier observation that rising gas prices were a good thing, as long as they don’t rise too quickly, but get good and high eventually!

Right now, the people who spend on fossil fuels are us, the consumers, not Government. Heck, Government makes more and more money, the higher the gas prices go, in confiscatory taxes tied as a percentage to gas prices. Like cigarettes, the Government makes more money, the higher the prices go. The Government doesn’t spend on gas, it takes a cut!

How many more years are we going to refight the War on Poverty, before we wake up and realize that Government subsidy and Central Planning fosters blight in urban communities? Or that the social and economic choices of individuals and communities, in response to Government assistance, fosters continuing racial “inequality?”

Less Government, not more, is the lesson the 20th century should have taught these aging hippies.

And how much more humane could our immigration policy get, with Amnesty for those already here thrown in to boot? They get to break our laws, exploit our services, get for nothing that which they do not earn or pay, we forbid law enforcement from enforcing immigration law, contrary to their charter, and we resist at every turn any meaningful limit or constraint on the free and illegal flow of immigrants?

The only way we could make immigration more humane is to stop it altogether. That would end the exploitation of illegal immigrants, eliminate the economic incentives to exploit disadvantaged semi-skilled or illiterate workers in other countries, and severely constrain the flow of illegal drugs.

So who signed this plea to Obama? Some real notables, to be sure, including:

Juan Cole

Phil Donahue

Jodie Evans, co-founder CODEPINK: Women for Peace

Jane Hamsher

Tom Hayden

Norman Solomon, Author and Obama delegate to Democratic National Convention

Matt Stoller

Studs Terkel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Gore Vidal

Howard Zinn

As humorous postscript, a visit to the online petition supporting this letter includes several historical figures, no doubt entirely sympathetic to the Socialist aims expressed:





August 05, 2008

William Donahoe


August 05, 2008

John Ross


August 05, 2008

Osama Bin Laden


August 05, 2008

Lowell Smith


August 05, 2008

Nikita Kruschev


August 05, 2008

Jesse McCann


August 05, 2008

Mao Tse Tung


August 05, 2008

Vladimir Lenin


August 05, 2008

Lynn Perry


August 05, 2008

Rick Lewandowski


August 05, 2008

Karl Marx


August 05, 2008

Che Guevara


August 05, 2008

Robinson Kuntz


August 05, 2008

Josef Stalin


August 05, 2008

Toni Garmon


August 05, 2008

Vladimir Putin


August 05, 2008

woobishet tebicke

(Via Instapundit)


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