Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ho Hum

Powerline has some pessimistic musings on November.

Yawn.

Powerline's electoral pessimism is legendary. They continue to look towards professional polling that deliberately weighs Democrats more than Republicans and seem shocked, shocked that the results are bad for Republicans.

Yet, I don't much care. As an ideologue more than a partisan, the quest for Majority has lost its luster, as the leadership has decided that Agenda is a dirty word.

How often have we heard the "experts" say that if the election is nationalized, Democrats will win, and if kept local, Republicans will win? This is astounding to me, that the majority party is desperate to keep the focus off the use of power for the next two years.

The current rumblings of despair are probably due to that deliberate abandonment of purpose. Sadly, our guys seem insistent to avoid learning their lesson.

Anybody can lose anything, but I predict the GOP wins a shrunken majority. Unfortunately, the Conventional Wisdom will be held to reflect a drift towards liberalism (aka The Center) and the GOP will try to face 2008 with even feebler planks in the platform. This will prep them for the final, total disaster: a pro-choice nominee.

I'd like to think it won't happen, but after the great Sell-Out of 2005, don't expect the grassroots to supply the enthusiasm, and where's the conservative icon to reverse the aenemia?

Yawn.

Monday, July 24, 2006

McLaughlin Brays Out

Powerlineblog.com has a good bit on recent policy statements by a former CIA bigwig, John McLaughlin. The crowning idiocy:
Lesson No. 4 is that even superpowers have to talk to bad guys. The absence of a diplomatic relationship with Iran and the deterioration of the one with Syria -- two countries that bear enormous responsibility for the current crisis -- leave the United States with fewer options and levers than might otherwise have been the case. Distasteful as it might have been to have or to maintain open and normal relations with such states, the absence of such relations ensures that we will have more blind spots than we can afford and that we will have to deal through surrogates on issues of vital importance to the United States. We will have to get over the notion that talking to bad guys somehow rewards them or is a sign of weakness. As a superpower, we ought to be able to communicate in a way that signals our strength and self-confidence.
A high school dropout should understand why we do not have "open and normal relations" with Iran--including an embassy in Teheran. Apparently it escapes twenty-year men in Washington.

This is circular gobbledegook. We do not have "open and normal relations" with the "two countries that bear enormous responsibility for the current crisis" precisely because we consider the current situation a "crisis" for which we assign "responsibility". We can normalize relations tomorrow, by declaring that financing, training, and arming terrorists that have killed Americans and are killing Americans in Iraq, is not an issue "of vital importance to the United States." I don't know what "options and levers" are made available to us by declaring that what Iran and Syria are up to is just dandy; it still seems to me that just gives "the bad guys" the option of playing the table-shape gambit which they don't currently have.

When the Federal government brought Lucky Luciano into WW2 as a labor consultant, it did nothing but strengthen the Mafia. They didn't concede labor racketeering was a bad thing to be deplored--apart from the loot, it was the only reason for the government to approach them atall. It was the Federal government that did the conceding. Having the US government acknowledge, accept, and accommodate your operations is a prize that can only be gifted. Teheran and Damascus can't make us turn a blind eye to anti-American violence.

And the fact that Mr. McLaughlin sees thirty years of such violence, and the lethal interference in Iraq, as mere quibbles blocking what really matters--Dialogue--should bar him from further employment on behalf of the United States.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Pacifism Kills

So much of the criticism of Israel comes from nations and organizations that will never use violence againstany evil, as a matter of principle.

That the Vatican is among these groups, is probably for the best. Keeps plenary indulgences off the battlefield.

That some of the voices raised in outcry of "disproportionate response" are our allies, is more worrisome.

I wonder if the "disproportionate response" crowd really wants a "proportionate response"--if Israel undertook the random kidnapping and random shelling of cities, would that have Europe smiling and nodding?

This war highlights the gaping flaw of pacifism--that violence can compel an enemy to abandon violence, but pacifism can only persuade through concession. And if the last concession doesn't melt hearts, that signals the need for further concession. And when all reasonable concessions have been exhausted, it's time to think outside the box and make some unreasonable concessions.

Which is why the global Left is talking about "correcting" Israel right off the map.

We can all pray for peace. We can invoke Almighty God to intervene in human affairs and make possible what we cannot achieve on our own: the nonviolent destruction of oppression and destruction. The moment when the murderer and torturer grows sick at heart and cannot strike the innocent anymore.

It happened in Poland, didn't it?

But short of that miracle, the duty of the community is to prepare in concert to protect the helpless individual. It's as morally necessary as a sandbag line in a flood, or a bucket brigade in a fire.

As I get older, I appreciate the utility of reducing problems to the lowest number of factors. Israel is aiming to take Hezbollah out of the equation. Here's hoping.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Lighter Side

Technical difficulties! My thoughts on Rove's sellout of the GOP to the secessionist Aztlanistas, the war in Lebanon, etc. will have to wait a few days.

Here's something fun!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

His Mysterious Ways

Over a month ago I decided to spend the 8th at Dodger stadium with four friends.
I bought the four tickets online with my own money.

From then on, things began to go wrong. I couldn't get the 8th off--I was going to have to drive to the Ravine after work, then come back to the hotel and work a full shift. Fine, I booked a room at the hotel. The two cars had to go into the shop. We got a rental. One of my four friends bailed on me at the very last minute. I couldn't get more than four hours sleep on Friday.

It became clear to me that instead of being a great opportunity for fun, this was going to be a real ordeal, a test of my ability to function without real sleep over a period of days. At this point, I felt like backing out of the whole thing--and would have, but I misunderstood the E-tickets to be a sort of claim check for the real tickets, requiring my presence at the stadium. (As it happened, because they were printed on an obsolete form of Adobe Acrobat, I did have to convert them personally.)

Saturday morning I hit a snag when my relief just never showed up. I could not leave the front desk until after nine in the morning. I took a 90 minute nap and then showered and set forth from Fontana for Dodger Stadium, some 15 minutes before my friends were due to leave Riverside.

I was going to take things in stages. I was going to drive to the Stadium, and I was going to drive back. How much time I spent actually at the Stadium would depend on how I felt. I would measure myself constantly and bail before I became unable to drive back to Fontana.

Actually, my friends left Riverside an hour after I headed out. I got to Dodger stadium a hour before they did, and it was a good half-hour after that before we met and distributed the tickets.

In that ninety minutes, I nearly died.

I was wearing jeans and a knit dark-blue short-sleeve and the Dodger hat. I stood in front of Dodger Stadium in the noonday sun for a half-hour, and then I figured I'd get out of the sun and sit in the car with the windows down and the fan on. Ten minutes of that made me so hot that when I stood up outside the car I felt cool and refreshed in the triple-digit sunshine as if I'd walked through a shower.

I've been that hot before, quite often ten years ago as I biked from UCR to Jurupa, 100 miles a week, and six years ago tooling around Minneapolis by bike in August. I used to enjoy feeling the onset of heatstroke, knowing that the very air was going to kill me unless my own muscles and animal cunning got me to my destination. Part of that machismo meant carrying everything from tire patches to a quart canteen, so I always made it.

I had no canteen at the Ravine, only a $5.50 1-liter ice cube of a frozen waterbottle I sucked at as it slowly melted. I was melting with it.

Finally my friends arrived, took the tickets, declined the orange bedsheet with the 5-foot black asterisk we planned to fly for Barry Bonds (you wimps!) and I rolled out to Fontana. The a/c had failed in my room, but 84F was nothing to me then. I got a good six hours of sleep, rising only to quaff a liter of cold water and take a cold shower.

The point of my little homily: Had it all worked as planned, I'd have spent that ninety minutes in the same sunshine, clad in the same layers of denim and polyester, and I'd have taken it. I wouldn't have seriously considered leaving before the last at-bat. I probably wouldn't even have felt the need to buy the bottle-sicle. I'd have sat with my friends, watching the Dodgers get buried by the Giants, and I'd have slowly succumbed to the heat. My faltering speech and response time would have been ascribed to the fatigues of the graveyard shift, especially since Da Laird works the same hours and had as little sleep before the game as I had.

Somebody up there likes me.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Only Genghis Could Go to China

I was curious about Townhall.com's call for bloggers to make the switch from blogger.com.

The main reason I hestitated, is that my blog really isn't that good. It's not as good as it was two years ago, probably. There are several reasons for that, which form the subjects of most of my blog posts these days.

Then, perusing Hugh's site, I read this:
The point of Townhall.com is to help the center-right organize, persuade and grow.
Well that ain't me.

Those of you who've read my blog awhile, or note my comments on more prolific blogs, know that I am strictly conservative. I don't really understand where the center-right takes a fork in the road from The Way, but the gap's there and diligently maintained by center-right engineers on a daily basis.

I am somewhere to the Right of Genghis Khan. Genghis Khan, you may recall, believed in universal male conscription, and assessing taxes as a whole fraction of national production, and mass importation of foriegn specialist labor for government infrastructure projects. And sure, he crushed emerging threats, but he also used largesse as a key tool of foriegn relations. The man was a damn Nixonian. And don't even get me started on his successors, who went overboard with detente and international coalitions, and regional power-sharing schemes. Diabolical!

In the days when the Golden Horde trod the steppe in Byzantine cloth-of-gold and Baltic amber, there may have been a solitary horseman in simple iron and leathers, trotting behind the center-right column, sadly muttering into his forked beard. That would have been me, except an exact doppelganger would be sleeping all day to work all night.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Iran has a Deadline

until we all set a new deadline.

I'm reminded of the Robin Williams routine from 1986, about Ghadafi: "Here is the line of death! You cross the line, you die!....OK here is the line!"

I like to argue with foriegn students over at Imperialconflict.com, and one of the issues that keeps coming up is American arrogance over nonproliferation.

How dare America tell anybody they can't have the Bomb? What gives us the right?

The same right, I say, that keeps you free from staring at American orbital weapons platforms overhead.

They don't have a very good answer for that yet.

Part of the reason we felt safe in refusing to militarize space is the assurance that the global community could nonviolently prevent nuclear war without such extravagance. It would appear from the headlines that the global community gets a big red "F".

I was raised to sneer at Neville Chamberlain for refusing to batten down on Hitler at Munich. Chamberlain never lived to realize just how bad the Third Reich could get; our denunciation of his "calculus" is soaked with hindsight. From his desk in 1938, Hitler probably didn't look much worse than, say, the Islamic Republic of Iran. You can't show Iran parked on anybody else's real estate; sure it promotes foriegn terrorism, but is that really much of a big deal, all things considered? And sure, it loves apocalyptic rhetoric of Armageddon with the "Great Satan"...but who doesn't? We're all one big happy family, ain't we? They want what we want, only fanatics think otherwise...surely reasonable people can talk things through...a few concessions are surely nothing compared to a long brutal war...

It's long past time we started bombing their nuclear, military, and petroleum infrastructure. A broke Iran can shriek all it wants.

And anybody outraged over that American aggression, should step back and consider the big picture. America just wants what everybody wants...reasonable people can talk things through...what's a few concessions to Washington to avoid a long brutal war...