Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Parable of Elephants

Wise Majority Leader Elephant: And now, the Senate will please rise, and clap its hands to demonstrate our belief in fairies. Clap!

Raving Ideologue Elephant: Excuse me?

Wise Majority Leader Elephant: Come on now! If you believe in fairies, clap! Clap I say! Come on!

Raving Ideologue Elephant: Don't we have something more important to be debating?

Wise Majority Leader Elephant: Not now, Ideologue! We're live on CSPAN! Clap!

Raving Ideologue Elephant: All the more reason to skip it.

Wise Majority Leader Elephant: Now let's be the team that plays together! Clap! Clap! Clap if you believe in fairies!

Raving Ideologue Elephant: But I don't believe in fairies!

Wise Majority Leader Elephant: Clap! That's it! (aside) Of course you don't! But I had to promise Fence-Straddling Iconoclast that we'd stage a vote this year to keep him on our side of the aisle!

Fence-Straddling Iconoclast Elephant: (crying) Oh thank you, thank you Wise Majority Leader! My dream is come true! You have my undying loyalty...for now!

Raving Ideologue Elephant: I don't believe in fairies, my constituents don't believe in fairies, and I'm damned if I'm gonna stand with a party that says it does believe in fairies!

Wise Majority Leader Elephant: Oh, so you'd rather have Iconoclast cross the aisle? You'd rather be the Minority Party? You'd rather have the Opposition come back? (skips from side to side) Oh surely comrades, surely you do not want the Opposition to come back?

Raving Ideologue Elephant: Time was, we could govern the United States without building a coalition of lunatics.

Wise Majority Leader Elephant: Well that might play in your right-wing echo chamber, but the bulk of this country is open to new ideas! I grant you a monopoly on American's past--I'm playing for it's future!

Pajama'd Apparatchnik Elephant: The first polls are in, Leader! 12,604 say you're a farkin moonbat, and 74 say they feel for you a farmer's fondness for a sick mule plowing its last furrow.

Wise Majority Leader Elephant: True leadership is staying your course in the face of contrary public opinion. Clap! Clap if you believe!

Raving Ideologue Elephant: Say, why are you clapping?

Lurking Opposition Jackal: (grinning) Who, me? I must have been misled by the President.

Raving Ideologue Elephant: (clicking heels furiously) There's no place like home! There's no place like home! There's no place like home! C'mon, wake up!!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Just Asking

From a San Bernardino Sun review of Syriana by Glenn Whipple:
Clooney's disaffected agent is but one of many characters populating the richly detailed "Syriana." In another plot thread, Damon plays an energy analyst who becomes friendly with the reform-minded Prince Nasir (Alexander Siddig), a leader-in-waiting of an oil-rich gulf country. Nasir wants to bypass a long-standing deal with U.S. business interests and sell his oil to the highest bidder, plowing the profits into a much-needed upgrade of his country's infrastructure. Needless to say, the American oil companies aren't happy with the possible switch.

Elsewhere, we see an ambitious attorney (Jeffrey Wright) trying to wedge the merger of two oil companies through a Justice Department investigation, while his boss (Christopher Plummer) labors to ensure that Nasir's reforms remain pipe dreams and that U.S. oil interests will continue to dominate...

"The job of the film is to show the process that leads to terrorism - and at least understand that there is a process involved," Clooney says. "If you are fighting a war against an idea, you have to understand what creates that idea. It's much more complicated than saying, 'These people hate a liberal society and that's why they want to kill us.' The danger in that is that we're not trying to glorify these characters," Clooney continues.

"But it's not just about labeling things as 'good' and 'bad.' I think people are coming to see that what's called 'the war on terror' is more complex than what was initially presented. And I think there's the opening of the ability to discuss these issues without being called a traitor. That's all this movie is doing. It's saying, 'Let's ask some questions.' "
Ok, let's ask some questions, Mr. Clooney:

When can we expect Hollywood to examine the process by which adult American whites joined the Ku Klux Klan and blew up black choirgirls in Birmingham, Alabama?

Would your participation in the project depend on the strength of the script?

Do you regret owing allegiance to a constitutional republic instead of the sort of benevolent despotism that
Syriana laments?

Do you see any such benevolent despotism out there?

Would you consider dual citizenship with that despotism?

Would it be fair to say that US oil companies direct OPEC?

Why do American firms permit the existence of European competitors?

Can you explain your understanding of a real difference between glorifying something, tolerating something, and refusing to label something as good and bad?

There weren't any American oil companies in Libya from 1986-2004, and there haven't been any American oil companies in Iran since 1979. How would you rate the progress towards liberalization, development, and curtailment of terrorism in those countries in the absence of the insidious influence of American "Big Oil"?

How do you respond to the thesis that the American Left is essentially Americentric, that it focuses entirely on altering American policy and attitudes because it is impotent to reform anything foriegn?


Just asking some questions.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Got Libs? Try Prayer

A lot of pundits are coming out with advice on how to handle the "Bush Lied People Died" attack at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

They range from "patient questioning" (Hewitt) to open mocking laughter (Limbaugh).

I very much doubt it will come up at our dinner, since Nana passed away in September and Tata asked us to make the extra effort to be together all at once for the first Thanksgiving without her.

So I doubt, this year, any of the usual suspects will pursue a brawl between the FDR Democrats and Reagan Republicans.

If they do, there is refuge in prayer:

Pray when driving. Pray when fighting. Pray alone. Pray with others. Pray by night and pray by day. Pray for the cessation of immoderate rains, for good weather for Battle. Pray for the defeat of our wicked enemy whose banner is injustice and whose good is oppression. Pray for victory. Pray for our Army, and Pray for Peace.


Amen.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Where's the Code of Conduct for Congress?

Here's what Rep. Murtha swore to abide by as a Marine:
Article I:
I am an American, fighting in the armed forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

Article II:
I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

Article III:
If I am captured, I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

Article IV:
If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information nor take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.

Article V:
When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service, number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.

Article VI:
I will never forget that I am an American, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.

Why should I respect a Congressman, as a Marine, when he refuses to show the basic loyalty required of every Marine?

I shouldn't.

I won't.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Losing the Hearts and Minds

Our military isn't a Schutzstaffel or a Red Guard. It isn't trained that it was bred from birth for superiority in battle, or that it represents the vanguard of invincible revolution.

Our military is taught that the outcome of battle is always in doubt, but that personal excellence and total commitment is decisive.

This is not just stressed in training exercises and tests for promotion, but in the military culture. A reading of Medal of Honor citations shows a recurring large number of people honored with the nation's highest award for falling on a live grenade. The stories I've heard military personnel tell about previous wars are about servicemen who refused to quit, who carried on regardless of the cost to themselves personally, but whose seemingly unprofitable suffering enabled others to overcome.

When the political leadership refuses to recognize this truth about our military, and lets them know that their personal excellence is irrelevant to the predetermined outcome of the war, there is a marked drop in the performance of the US military. That's true of all armies, but in the US military the contrast is sharper and more widespread, and present both in the front lines and in "quiet" zones far from any war.

Seems like we've got too many people on Capitol Hill that forget this. There's no excuse for it, since the last demonstration is barely thirty years old. There's no excuse for it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Girding For Battle

Poor Democrats, trapped into supporting a war for victory instead of their cherished war for evacuation.

The reporting I've seen on this vote is pure, blatant editorialization. Any pretense of freedom from partisan bias is gone. It's all about how dastardly and partisan the Republicans were last night.

Funny how a 403-3 vote is proof of the absence of bipartisanship, isn't it?

This wasn't about the merits of one pullout strategy over another, six-months versus immediately. This was the pressure boiler of defeatism being pricked. The Democrats just witnessed months of anti-war mo' evaporating like steam out an escape valve, and they're swearing like a wheelboat skipper stranded on a sandbar.

We'll have to hit them again, just as hard, for months to come. I'm willing.

Friday, November 18, 2005

"Hawkish Democrat" Surrendered 18 Months Ago

Drudgereport has this howler:
Friday, May 7, 2004


WASHINGTON (AP) -- A statement from a pro-defense Democrat that the Pentagon's current military strategy in Iraq makes the war unwinnable drew a sharp rebuke Thursday from Republicans, who accused Democrats of using the war for political gain.
The furor over the position taken by Rep. John Murtha, of Johnstown, a decorated Vietnam War veteran and top Democrat on the House Appropriations defense panel, highlighted the increasingly partisan divide over the current course and future of the war in Iraq.

"We cannot prevail in this war as it is going today," Murtha said yesterday at a news conference with House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. Murtha said the incidents of prisoner abuse in Iraq were a symptom of a problem in which U.S. troops in Iraq are undermanned, inadequately equipped and poorly trained.

"We either have to mobilize or we have to get out," Murtha said, adding that he supported increasing U.S. troop strength rather than pulling out.

Republicans responded at their own news conference, with Majority Leader Tom DeLay, of Texas, saying that "this morning, in a calculated and craven political stunt, the national Democratic Party declared its surrender in the war on terror."

He said Democrats "want to win the White House more than they want to win the war, and our enemies know it."

Democrats, said GOP Rep. Michael Burgess, of Texas, "basically are giving aid and comfort to the enemy."

Murtha, a strong supporter of robust defense spending, denied that he was criticizing the troops: "I know what affects them. They want to be taken care of and they're not being taken care of."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
This was how the AP headlined Murtha's latest jeremiad:
Hawkish Democrat Calls for Iraq Pullout
I presume the AP can research its own files without the expense of a Lexis/Nexis search. They didn't do that much--or, their definition of "hawkish" is pretty dovish.

Dafydd ap Hugh noted that Nancy Pelosi distanced herself from Blubberin' Martha this time around. Perhaps she has a better memory than the AP wire editors.

I guess we can count on Murtha to erupt again in May 2007...

As an aside, treason is the only crime defined specifically in the Constitution, in order that charges of treason be rare and specific--as they were not in Merry Old England. Treason is giving aid or comfort to the enemies of the United States, and has been held to such strict definition that Aaron Burr's conspiracy with Spain to rule as King over Arkansas could not be prosecuted as treason, nor was John Walker's sale of Navy codes to the KGB during the Vietnam War.

But calling for all US forces to break off combat with an enemy, and withdraw, leaving him in unmolested possession of the territory in dispute--if that be not treason, what is?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

What's with the Psuedonym?

As I return to regularly available internet access, it might be a good time to explain why a 31-year-old man hides behind The Yell.

About ten years ago when I first got email, I took great joy in finding an AOL screenname that did not require any ordinal number tacked on behind it (e.g. "Stan1232"). For the next decade, TheYell has been my online identity.

When I first opened this blog I did have my legal name on the screen; but after moving back into the same town as The Yell Sr., he requested that I post anonymously as he did not want hordes of angry liberals descending on his homestead searching for me.

I'm still in Riverside, and once he or I move beyond its limits I'll go back to posting under my real name. Until then, like the Lone Ranger, I wear the mask.

Calling On Calvert

The Yell Sr. made a phone call to our Congressman, Ken Calvert (R. CA, 44th District) to clear up some issues with email to the Congressman. The reason for the email, my father said, was to ask the Honorable Calvert to work against the Senate's defeatist language attached to the latest defense bill.

The staffer taking the call said that nothing had been presented to the House, but the Congressman intended to stand by the President.

I've not had a lot of experience talking with Congressional staffers, but I take that as encouraging.

Let's keep up the pressure.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Black Tuesday

My joy at the end of my hiatus is smothered in bile.

The United States Senate has trampled the honor of the United States into the mud, by suggesting it will not support our troops in Iraq longer than any 90-day period.

If this treachery is not crushed in the House or by veto, the word of this or any future President that terrorism will be pursued and destroyed will elicit the unspoken query "Yeah? You and what Congress?"

Let's be clear. John Kerry, Senator, has the same contempt for the doctrine of universal liberty that he had as a perjurer before that body in 1970. Some peoples and places just don't require it in his view, and aren't worth the boost to stable democracy. He's rushing out today crowing that this despicable vote supports his view.

It's hard to see it in any other light. If the Senate truly gave this war the same committment as the men and women risking their lives to achieve it, there would be no question of regular reviews. Once American lives are committed to secure victory, every branch of government owes them its full support, not a quibbling sniveling half-assed allotment of chest-pounding jingoism as it scrambles for cover in Pentagon reports.

Americans, those of us at home owe our troops abroad a call or email to the White House and our Congressmen to reject utterly this craven disgrace to our flag and fighting forces.

Hugh Hewitt has the number for the Congressional switchboard.

Hurry.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Quick Thoughts

Tomorrow the landlord will order an upgrade in our cable-Internet package that will include a home network and all equipment, hopefully ensuring I have constant Internet access by week's end.

Until then, just some brief thoughts:

The Miers nomination ended in failure, and was seen by most Americans as failing because of Republican infighting and insubordination. According to the center-right, that was the worst-case scenario that would destroy the Administration and the Party.
Apocalypse Not, hmm?

The center-right imagines that its numbers are equal to, or greater than, the margin of victory in national elections; and therefore, this self-admitted minority must determine the agenda for the whole party.
Can anybody name one scenario where that's been tried to the benefit of either our Party or the country?

Why are the same people who scream "Bush lied" about Saddam Hussein being any danger, in any way, as to require any action, now demanding Bush do more to save America from the international influenza conspiracy to sap and impurify all our precious bodily fluids?
And how much will Bush spend to demonstrate he's not soft on mutant bird phlegm?