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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Big Mistake 

Democrats that have been openly talking of retreat and defeat (hey, that phrase just sounds Jesse Jackson-esque and thus 'Democratic') have probably stumbled into a pitfall they should have seen coming. It's pretty obvious that the steamroller they had built up in the news cycle a month ago is losing momentum, to say the least. Bush is dictating what is being discussed (and he should have been doing so months ago--if he had been he and the rest of us who are responsible on foreign policy wouldn't have to keep explaining and defending in the same arguments and policies over and over again), and everyone knows that when you're on the defensive, especially in a political war, you're probably losing.

I suppose I should thank the Democrats for jumping the shark and finally just calling for a pull-out from Iraq. Glenn Reynolds has thoughts (and quotes to back it up) on how the Murtha debacle has actually solidified the coalition in favor of remaining in Iraq and winning.

I especially like his mentioning of this:
A colossal mistake -- and, in some cases, a political move by those who don't care if America is defeated, so long as Bush is. For others, it's a simple case of cowardice. As John F. Kennedy noted when he wrote his book, Profiles in Courage, physical courage of the battlefield variety is much more common than political courage, and we're seeing both Democrats and Republicans go wobbly in places.

Political courage is what makes statesmen. Even though his critics call him a moron (strangely enough these same critics claim to have been duped by this 'moron', but that's beside the point), Bush's solid stance is very statesmen-like. If his policies succeed, which I think they will based on what we've seen so far, he'll go down in history as a foresighted statesman. Oh, the amount of crow that'll be eaten will be unimaginable.

I say more statesmen, and less wobbling. Wobbling is often the biggest mistake.

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Harry Reid can feel the burning 

Is Pajamas Media going to be concentrating on satire? Because this post is less news-like and a bit more...corrosive.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I don't know much about the Denim Revolution... 

...so I'm glad that Andrew is covering it. However, I do know that the name "Denim Revolution" in the context of politics is a great name. Now, they just need to have something like a plaid revolution. It could be lead by people like this...

UPDATE: And now my goal of working in a shameless Monty Python reference is complete. I guess I should tell you what my favorite sketch of them all is. It's the one with the squished mice. Oh god, the first time I saw that I nearly passed out laughing. The horrified shout "Oh God, somebody stop him!" while the man is squishing the mice with his large mallet is priceless...

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The Denim Revolution is Complete! 

The Canadian AdScam Scandal, that some months ago prompted a near removal of the minority government, has finally resulted in the downfall and toppling of the Canadian Government. The vote of no confidence passed, as the three opposition parties in parliament voted as a block to remove the scandal ridden regime. Back in April I reported on the "Denim Revolution" in Canada, so called for the MPs who protested by wearing jeans to parliament, and predicted the government would fall to the budget vote.
Who knows, maybe this will be known as the denim revolution, and join the ranks of Ukraine, Lebanon, Georgia and others as the Canadians shake off their own brand of corruption, in favor of a rule reflecting the will of the people. Perhaps Canada would even return to its place as a stalwart supporter of the US and Anglosphere Allies Australia, and Britain. Here's hoping.

It managed to survive the vote, by despite sharp opposition, but the fate of the government was clear, and inevitable. Amusingly, the language of that post was eerily similar to that of the victorious, for now, conservative leader Stephen Harper:
"This is not just the end of a tired, directionless, scandal-plagued government," Harper said after Monday's vote. "It's the start of a bright new future for this country."

So the denim revolution has come to fruition at last. What now? CNN is reporting that the vote wasn't even all that close, with the vote of no confidence passing by a 171-133 count. The problem remains for hopeful conservatives, however, that the vote only passed because of a 3 party bloc. Liberals are polling at an all time low, and conservatives are almost even with them. If the Quebec separatists manage to pull enough seats, the conservatives are poised to claim the majority, and perhaps turn back from the dreaded precipice of Europeanization. Harper, the conservative heir apparent, has credentials that one could only dream of in a Canadian Prime Minister a decade ago: "He supports modest tax cuts, an end to corporate welfare, and the betterment of strained Canada-U.S. relations." Unfortunately, this one is far from in the bag, and it remains possible the vote of no confidence could ultimately result in a new, but still Liberal, ruling party. Still, I can't help the urge to add Canada to the growing list of countries on their way back to the light. Stay tuned.

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Monday, November 28, 2005

It's gift-buying time 

Since that's how most of us choose to celebrate Christmas. Ahem... Anyway, here's a list of books that should provide some nice gift ideas. I love book recommendations.

I'm ashamed to say I have neither read The Brothers Karamazov or Don Quixote, so I will be reading both as Christmas present to myself.

*Sigh* So many books to read, so little time...

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Reverse-Vietnam 

Glenn Reynolds has a lengthy post about how the current war is quite different from Vietnam--now the troops have a good grip on reality and the media is the one selling falsehoods. For more evidence of political bias in the media, whether intentional or not (it doesn't matter, if you're claiming to be objective and aren't, you have a responsibility to notice your tendancies to lean one way or another and surpress them--you know, professional responsibilty. Oh, what an antiquated notion.), you must check out Mr. Reynolds' post.

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End of the World TV 

Or at least End of American TV. I think it's funny that the networks are doing this when it's already been done by a show currently running--Battlestar Galactica of the SciFi network (no, not the old campy 70s show. This is new and so, so much better). This remake, which is one of the best pieces of TV I've ever seen, is about the struggle for survival by a small fleet of humans after their entire civilization is destroyed. It is end of the world TV. And that's part of what makes it so great, since great writing and acting, which the show has in abundance (the quality of the acting is so good is surprises me almost every episode), is being applied to such an interesting concept.

If you haven't seen it, you should buy the Season 1 DVD--it includes the miniseries, which is freaking amazing, best 3 hours of tv I've ever seen. The show comes back for the second half of season two in January.

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King Kong 

Apparently, Jackson has done it, and the film is actually good. I won't believe that sentiment completely until I see it, but since Jackson is at the helm I'll actually go see the movie, which is something I wouldn't do if anyone else was doing it. I mean, a remake of King Kong just sounds like a bad idea. But then again, making Lord of the Rings was a bad idea too. Only filmaking genius made that unfilmable beast into the great piece of cinema it is today. If Jackson actually pulls this one off with Kong, I mean, he's going to be one of the greatest filmakers ever (well, more so than he already is--he's already done the greatest 11 hour film ever made, one of the best films ever made). I can't wait to find out what he does next. Besides The Hobbit, since he said he wouldn't mind doing that.

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Horror, the horror 

I mean something more like: !!

Great works of literature reduced to 120 character cell-phone text messages. Hilarious, and at the same time very, very painful.

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Opinion Disconnect 

Daniel Drezner blogs on the disconnect between the opinions of elites on the probablility of success in Iraq, the general public, and the military. You must read his post.

I think it's pretty clear that the elites are thinking with their political hearts and not with their brains. If we stay, we win. If we leave, we lose. It's that simple.

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Yousefzadeh's Law 

Yousefzadeh's Law Regarding Realpolitik: An American administration practicing something akin to Wilsonian internationalism will be criticized and castigated by newfound devotees to realpolitik in the opposition party. When the opposition party takes power, the newfound devotees to realpolitik will be found in the party that has lost power.
That sounds about right to me. That's why it's great to have a practical system of IR that uses realism and liberalism.

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

On Income 

Read this by Jane Galt. Here's her hitting conclusion:
The government could shoot illegal immigrants on sight, force women out of the labour market, curtail trade, and slow the pace of technology growth so as to reduce the return on skilled labour. But these are not good things for the government to be doing. Making the country as a whole poorer in order to reduce income inequality doesn't sound to me like a good idea. I realise that many liberal commentators claim that they can do this without sacrificing growth. But I don't see how.

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A Mauling 

The Captian disects Senator Joe Biden's fundamentally-flawed editorial on Iraq and explains how we've been highly successful at meeting our goals in Iraq, in spite of what the Senator says.

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NYTs on Iraq 

Here's a tracking of its positions over the years. While the series isn't done yet (it's only up through Clinton), I somehow, you know, suspect that their hardline stance on Iraq will suddenly weaken during the Bush years, especially around time for his reelection. Not that there's any evidence for that sort of thing, or anything...

This should clear up many of the reasons, for those of you that may still be wondering, why I like to call the NYTs a rag.

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Friday was a slow news day... 

So slow, in fact, that the media was running stories about crazy canadian government officials spouting off conspiracy theories about how the US is trying to start an interstellar war. If you haven't checked out this hilarous news item yet, here's all the links you'll need.

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A Deadly Kiss 

Caused by an allergy to peanuts...

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Stolen Light Poles 

I have to salute the crooks that pulled this one off for the shear audacity of their caper.

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Friday, November 25, 2005

Satan's soft side 

Heh.

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He must be a funny man 

The way Mr. Derbyshire has the same clueless, befuddled look in every picture I've seen of him, despite the fact that his writing is usually very good, must mean that he has a great sense of humour.

But of course I think that, since I love irony.

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Ready and Willing 

A former employee of Saddam's that was in charge of torture and executions says he's ready to return to his job in the event of a Baathist take-over. Yeah, so, we can't leave Iraq, unless we want stuff like is described in the above link to happen again.

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A prescription for sense 

Those that like to rattle off that we're the badguys in Iraq and the insurgency isn't so bad need to read stories like this one over and over again. Sadly, events like this happen almost every day.

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More thoughts on Iraq 

According to this commentary, eventually the youth of the country (those under 30) which hate the current regime, will overthrow it. However, Iran will probably acquire nuclear weaposn before such a revolution happens, in probably a decade. Thus, the US must offer Iran normalized relations, and the EU must threaten trade sanctions. If we cooperate with Europe in such a joint policy, we have the best chance of staving off the nuclear threat without having to resort to military actions that would push the youth to the current hard-line islamo-fascist regime.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving 

As we celebrate thanksgiving, I encourage all of you to remember the men and women who are fighting in Iraq. If you get a chance, check out these two videos of Charlie company, a reserve unit, in action. It's a powerful reminder of what we all have to be thankful for.

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On College-Endowment Redistribution. 

In the spirit of the blogfather: Heh.

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China Redux 

This take on the possibilities of the US-China rivalry are worrying, although I still think we could beat 'em in a war, at least for now.

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You probably need a break... 

...from all of the serious stuff I've been posting. So, here, read this.

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The Bell Curve 

When statistical facts disagree with peoples preconcieved social dogmas, things get messy.

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Iraq and Vietnam 

"history doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes"

If you read one piece on Iraq and Vietnam, this is it. Read the entire thing. It may be long, but it's well worth the effort. It lays out the history of vietnam, and the Iraq war until now, the similarities and differences between the two, and how the lessons of Vietnam should shape our policy in the future towards Iraq. I think its recommendations are excellent, and very much in line with what I've been recommending here at Maroonblog.

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Imagine a place without copyright 

No, I don't mean China...ahem. Imagine a western world without copyright. It might be a place where there is much greater flourishing of art than our reality today. That's what this piece speculates.

Imagine a Star Wars without George Lucas ruining it. What a paradise...

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Culture Shock in Indonesia 

Read and be, well, shocked.

This article is invaluable because it makes a very strong case for why US cultural diplomacy is very important, and thus should be strengthened through government funding and support, just as it was during the Cold War. You can't convert terrorists with this kind of thing, but you can help alleviate the stereotypes that create and direct hatred towards the US abroad.

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The Slow Death of Curiosity 

This is depressing, especially because if someone described me using one word, and that one word was 'curious', I'd consider such a description to be a rather apt assessment of me. Time to lament: where have all the thinkers gone...

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On Diplomacy and War 

You absolutely must read this piece:
Diplomacy is not the opposite of war, and war is not the failure of diplomacy. Both are tools required in various proportions in almost any serious foreign-policy situation. Yes, it is vitally important for the United States to “work with” and “support” international organizations, but their success in the foreseeable future will depend at least as much on the strength of the American military and on America’s willingness to put its power behind those organizations. On that strength and on that willingness rests nothing less than the peace of the world.
Superbly written. The historical analysis is great. This piece'll help you get foreign relations. Read the whole thing.

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The Fall of the British Empire 

A cautionary tale for the United States today? I think so (see these books).

I'm going to be bold, because sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe in. Let the criticism come--it'll just show how small-minded those that attack me are because they don't engage with (or even try to learn) my ideas and beliefs but instead only my sound-bites:

God Bless the American Empire
: the greatest hope for world stability and prosperity existing today.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Biggest mistake so far 

Of the war. I bet you thought I was going to discuss myself with a heading like that. Can't. It would take up too much space.
Administration spokesmen implied that the war in Iraq had purposes other than rescuing the oppressed and rolling back Islamic extremism. They emphasized the same short-run objectives that had rallied public support behind the brief Afghan campaign, namely revenge for 9/11 and self-defense against WMDs. That these were the "most widely publicized presentations to the general public," Berman remarks, indicated the Administration's deplorable lack of strategic vision.

I imagine that some in the administration were thinking in a grander way (along the lines of what I think our foreign policy should be), but the case was not made clear enough. And that's a shame. Because we could use the huminatarian argument to overcome our countries shying away of hegemonic (Imperial) responsibility to execute a foreign policy that would ensure greater world stability and national security for the US. As you've probably noticed, I've discussed this before.

Read this entire piece, which reviews two books on liberal thinking and thinking in general concerning and behind recent American foreign policy. However, I must warn you that the article is filled with a lot of dubious assumptions on which much reasoning is based. However, due to the fact that the article contends that we need to consider that there are many more threats to us than just islamo-fascism, and that military force is not the solution to all problems, I recommend it anyway.

The other thing that bothers me is that the author keeps refering to Iraq as a failure, as if the outcome is already determined. That is foolish, and greatly hurts his piece, as well as revealing a great tendancy to engage in slapshod thinking. Bungling a lot of moves in Iraq is not the same as losing it. We really screwed up a lot in past wars that we ultimately won. What makes things different now, when there have been historically low casualties for an effort such as that in Iraq, as well as great progress in helping to establish a stable, democratic government in Iraq, is unclear. Maybe it's just the author's underlying ideology.

The ending of the piece is especially fun:
Having advocated a military response to genocide in the 1990s, Rieff now confesses to a sore conscience about the Iraq War. That is what makes his book so absorbing. At the Point of a Gun documents better than any other printed source the inner torment of humanitarian interventionists who, without forgetting Rwanda and Bosnia, have gazed into the Iraqi abyss. Power and the Idealists is equally riveting, but for the opposite reason. As intelligent as he obviously is, Berman has yet to pry open his eyes. His stubborn unwillingness to acknowledge that high ideals have been hijacked for nonideal ends, although not especially admirable, is a perfectly human reaction to a disastrous war launched and conducted under deceitful pretenses. The two books, in the end, leave us with one and the same question, namely: How is the left to regain its moral bearings in a world where the right has brazenly stolen progressive ideals (human rights, liberation, democracy, relief of suffering) and marched the country into a bloody calamity under a false flag of liberty? That this vital question remains unanswered is shocking and sobering. To have focused our minds on the challenge ahead is the shared achievement of these tortured and illuminating works.

My eyes are wide open. And not just to the fact that this author is pretending to write a considered, topical, and timely review of these two books when he's really just trying to align them with his own ideologies. The author obviously has a problem with the US acting in its own best interests. He seems to think that using the excuse of humanitarian reasons to execute a foreign policy is somehow wrong because it violates the underlying 'progressive' principles. If only lip service is paid to humanitarian causes, than I agree with the author. But this is obvioulsy not the case. 75% of Iraq is stable and secure, with a constantly developing infrastructure and maturing political system. This didn't happen on its own, but with the help of the US government and its troops that genuinely care about the futures of the Iraqi people. Genuinely improving the humanitarian interests, whether by hard or soft power, of unstable countries is in the best interest of US power and security intersts in the world.

It's sad that the author of this piece cannot agree with me on this because US 'imperialism' is bad. I tend to agree with Niall Ferguson that US global hegemony, 'empire' if you will, is good (and realists that contend that a single hegemon in the system allows for world stability and decreased chances for war). It's certainly better than any other alternative, given US values of free societies and economies, so I say bring it on.

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A Like Mind 

I'm glad to find that there are others, in this case Michael Young, thinking like I am regarding what the guiding principles of US foreign policy should be:
That leaves a third option: that the U.S. declare the spread of democracy a strategic interest (not an open-ended desire), one that must be advanced where and when possible, even if it is temporarily delayed by intervening objectives. Arab regimes should be pushed to take specific measures within specific timeframes to open up their societies, and the U.S. can tie this to other forms of bilateral cooperation. Finally, no administration should ever hail as progress what is patently an effort by dictatorships to sell it a defective bill of democratic goods.

Is this certain to work? No, but any policymaker wanting to adapt to the new realities in the Middle East is better off working according to these guidelines, rather than by playing down democratic principles and helping buttress the illegitimate, failing states that make a new 9/11 possible.
I just think we should approach the whole world with similar aims.

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Why Hell is Good 

Think Hell is silly and just proves that God is vengeful and capricious? Think again:
Hell is simply the direct and necessary consequence of really free creatures refusing to choose God rather than themselves. They chose or preferred a world they thought they could make for themselves. Put in positive way, the doctrine of Hell is the guarantee of our individual and personal dignity. Without what it stands for–namely the basic seriousness and importance of our lives–we evaporate all concrete meaning from our existence.
Amen.

Hell is necessary because people, exercising their free will, choose to turn away from God's love. I mean, those people have to go somewhere away from God, because if they had to spend eternity with someone that they turned away from, wouldn't that be miserable for all involved?

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We are winning in Iraq 

If only more people would read and understand pieces like this one, more people might think the above, which seems to be correct.

But we can't let facts get in the way of our political ambitions. Of course not!

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Product Placement in Ancient Rome 

This is so awesome. It makes the classicist, historian, and free-marketeer in me all giggle at once like 8 year-old girls at a slumber party.

Hmmm...well, I need to go make an appointment with my shrink to analyze that last, amazingly disturbing metaphor...

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Chris Mathews is an idiot 

Michelle Malkin, with a very tragic picture from the non-so-distant past, shows why.

I hate people who say relativist crap like Mathews did. Do they THINK about what the implications of what they say are? If attacking the world trade center was okay, was the HOLOCAUST okay?

No, they both are not okay. There is a line beyond which certain views and beliefs are no longer okay. If we erase that line, we lose the basis for our civilization. Cripes. There is natural right, and thus natural wrong.

Idiot journalists (and other unthinking people in general) need some basic training in how to think. They need to go read a few of Plato's dialogues, and Aristotle's Ethics, as just a start. The font of such problems is people don't think about what they believe in, they just accept certain things that sound good as true and thus keep repeating them as dogma. Socrates pointed this problem out 2500 years ago. Haven't we learned anything since then?

Think, people. It's what separates you from every other animal. It's what makes a man, a woman. Think. It doesn't hurt, and often is quite fun.

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To Hell with Good Soundbites 

Why is the American economy the best in the world? Because here, simply, you can fire and lay off people. Creative destruction is at the heart of good, prosperity-creating capitalism.

Here's a great bit from this article
Democrats wants us to become more like Europe, economically. Wealth, for Democrats, is bad. Making it. Nurturing it. Praising it. Bad. Bad. Bad. Wealth is icky.

But health care, presumably socialist universal health care, for Democrats, is awesome.

Paying for it? P'schaw. Whatever.

It never dawns on the Democrats that creating wealth, expanding wealth, extending wealth, and otherwise treating wealth like the good thing it is, could help pay for that health care. Wealth care is the best health care policy. Wealth care creates jobs. Wealth care creates innovation. Wealth care produces advances in technology and medicine. Wealth care makes health care more effective, more miraculous, and more accessible than ever before.

Let me sum this all up; it's like fire...gooooood, but simpler: free market = prosperity = goooooooood

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Food Blogging 

Glenn Reynolds posts a couple of links to some delicious-looking recipes, as well as a creation of his own for some great-sounding lamb.

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Neocon-realism 

To many realists (like John Mearsheimer, who I saw at a public debate at UChicago that occured during the leadup to the Iraq War--he opposed intervention), even those of an American strain, say Bush's foreign policy is folly. I agree that there have been mistakes, but I think that is due to a lack of a clear plan and grander strategic thinking.

What I want to know is why don't I ever read an article by a political scientist on a realism that utilizes the theory of democratic peace to achieve results? To me that seems like a merging of a strain of realism, neoconservatism, and liberalism in a very American way--a foreign policy that uses the inherant morality of democracy and capitalism to help spread a system that ensures American power and security.

That's my way of thinking. Establish democracies, through using force to topple dictators that pose more immediate security threats to the US (or even a more distant threat, like China [thus working to keep China down]), or more passive means if thie nation is less threatening, to build a network of capitalist, democratic nations that tend to not be agressive (like Japan and Western Europe in the last fifty years). You build up a world of relatively happy capitalist democracies that won't try to compete for world hegemony with the US because they're placated by their rising standards of living and representative governments. Thus you prevent future world hegemonic wars by keeping the US as the world's only superpower, because its the only continental country with a large military in a system where other countries have no interest in building militaries because the US is taking care of police actions for them. It'd be an economic and cultural victory of world domination. Where everyone seems to win in that many more peoples of the world gain prosperity without the expense of war, and the current hegemon remains hegemon.

It doesn't seem ridiculous to me. And it seems to be in line with recent US foreign policy Am I just deluding myself, or am I on to something? Thoughts, please...

I've sent an e-mail to Daniel Drezner, one of the blogosphere's resident political scientists, for his thougths on the above blatherings. Hopefully he can shed some light on all of this.

UPDATE: Here's more, provoked by the comments below:

The crux if it all is that if people have money and economic prosperity, they tend to worry more about their own lives and spend less time agitating politically. They become passified by their luxury--you know, kind of like what happened to the Roman Empire according to Gibbon's interpretation.

And, since prosperity and freedom are attractive to most people, spreading this idea isn't that hard, because people want to be better of in most cases. You just need to give people the opportunity to chose prosperity, and they'll normally take it.

Once that happens, they want to join the WTO and to gain wealth by competing in the world capitalist system. Once they do that, they're under the USs thumb because the world system constructed after WWII in the free west was built with the US on top.

However, the countries won't care if the US is bigger and badder than them militarily because their own lives are doing pretty well. And thus the chance for war is less. Additionally, since the US has the lead currently economically and militarily, if it plays its cards right it can easily maintain that lead due to the fact that a more powerful economy produces more capital, reinvests more in itself, and thus keeps and perhaps gains more of a lead. But other peoples don't care because their prosperity is underpinned by being a trading partner to the US, and no one wants to lose their bread and circus.

Also, check out the comments I wrote below for replies to criticisms (which are mostly due to this being a blog-post and not an academic paper where I have the time and space to lay this out more thoroughly and to hit obvious objections before they can crop up.

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Why naked parties... 

...at elite schools are acceptable: because smart students tend to be ugly.
The Captain sums this up nicely:
So perhaps these parties serve only as extensions of Halloween parties, designed to scare people into celibacy.

As far as the attractiveness claim (or, more specifically, the lack of it), I can testify to the existance of strong evidence in favor of such a generalization. Well, except for the seeing lots of ugly people naked. I'm assuming there's a correlation between faces and the rest... Oh, the hideous, hideous thoughts. I need cleansing--I'd better go read Drezner's site.

Isn't this post kind of mean...and self-depricating-ed? Indeed.

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Iraq vs Bosnia 

The Captain asks why we can give Bosnia ten years, but not even three to Iraq.

The obvious answer, besides the fact that one operation was begun by a Democratic administration and the other by a Republican, is that there are many more soldiers dying in Iraq than the Balkans.

To some that would indicate that our presence is more greatly needed in the area of greater conflict and violence. However, common sense is lost on many of these same critics.

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War with China UPDATED 

Could we win? Some think not. A very interesting question, this one...

I think I'll ramble on it a bit.

Those that point to our inability to completely pacify Iraq do not look at the right wars. Iraq is a limited war, and one in which conventional military operations ended long ago. Look at World War II...at Gulf War I and the drive to Baghdad in 2003. The two latter ones were absolute routes. And in WWII we came from behind and helped to crush two industrial powers.

And it should be considered that we met with great success in unconventional warfare in Afghanistan, and to a lesser extent in Iraq. Would any other nation have been capable of doing what we have been doing militarily, half-way across the world. I think not.

And those that think we would not use nuclear weapons if China did are sorely mistaken. If our civilians were attacked, the gloves would definately come off, and the American people would joyously support retaliation against Chinese cities if necessary. And if our soldiers were hit with WMD, you can bet that we would use tactical nukes in retaliation.

The fact that we would achieve air superiority due to our great technological lead against enemy air, radar, and missile threats would mean that conventional ground forces would be slaughtered. And since that is the backbone of the Chinese military, quite a slaughter it would be. And the fact that if China wanted to threaten many of our Asian allies they would have to cross water, they would have to defeat our navy, which is the most powerful in the world. That would be a difficult task, especially if they don't have air superiority, which they wouldn't.

The only way I can think of that the Chinese could win militarily would be if they somehow launched a pre-emptive sneak attack against some target, such as Taiwan or Japan, and managed to seize it before we could move enough forces into the region to impede such an attack. And even then, they would have to threaten nuclear retaliation against our civilians if we attacked to take back such Chinese gains to 'pursuade' us to leave them alone.

Even then, I wonder if we would call their bluff and attack anyway to take away their gains. We have many more nuclear weapons that China, and the current defense assessments say that Chinas nuclear weapons are unfueled while they sit on the pad. China's using them would result in China's defeat, and not the destruction of the US, since China at this time does not hold enough nuclear weapons to annihilat the US.

I have a feeling in the event of a war we'd probably take out as many nuclear weapons as possible with conventional weapons to ensure that they couldn't be used, just in case.

So, in conclusion, unless we stop spending on defense, and unless China gains a tech lead on us, as well as gains many more nuclear weapons (enough for MAD, which they don't have), we'd win a war with China. Our air power is just too great right now for their conventional army to overcome it. You'd have hundreds of 'highways of death' (from Gulf War I) for months on end. That would pretty much end all offensive operations by the Chinese military. It's difficult to fight when your tanks and trucks get blown up before they get anywhere near where they're needed.

In fact, in terms of victory, I think such a war would be easier to win, since it would allow us to exhaust the enemy's will to fight, which would greatly decrease the risk and amount of insurgency afterwards if we were forced to occupy parts of China. For similar reasons there wasn't much of an insurgency in either Japan or Germany after WWII, despite the fanaticism of our enemies during that war.

In any event, such a war would be clearly very damaging to China since they would sustain more damage to their industrial and commercial infrastructure than the US would due to the USs much longer arm of militry effect. Additionally, since China would be the aggressor in the likely scenarious, they would be ostracized from the rest of the world, which would hurt them economically. The US would not face such a problem since it would be the defender.

So, the real question that must be answered first is whether China is stupid enough to try to fight the US, since at this time and for the near to moderat future they would lose, and lose greatly. And I don't think they are that stupid. But just in case, we should pray that they aren't that stupid.

Now, what I think is even more interesting is the idea of the US using military power to keep China from making a challenge to US global hegemony--hitting China sooner while its weaker rather than later when it's closer to parity with the US. That's what John Mearsheimer argues in the last chapter of this book--he argues that the US needs to keep China down to avoid a world war some time in the future, because with world wars comes the threat of nuclear Armageddon.

I think Mearsheimer's right. Too bad we don't have the will in America to maintian world peace through hegemony like the Empires of the past (de facto or more openly declared, such as the Roman and British hegemonic empires, among many examples) did.

And no, what I'm contending isn't evil. Because there is nothing worse than nuclear war and the total destruction of mankind.

If such a pre-emtive war is what the governor of Tokyo is speaking of in the above article (which I don't think he is), than our success can be doubted due to the weak-willed nature of America when it doesn't feel itself threated.

However, if we are on the defensive, watch out. America is a different animal when it feels that it's cornered.

Now, we just need to make this case that we could win against China to our allies like Japan so that they won't fall under the heel of China due to fear. Technologically advanced Japan teaming with vast China on military arming would be fearsom indeed. We can't let that happen. And a rearmed Japan wouldn't be much better. The more militarily powerful contries in the world, the more unstable the system is...

Ahhhh...that was fun. Hope the brain dump was good for you too. I should write that out in a more considered way as an essay, but it's late. The article needed to be rebutted. Hope what I wrote above, despite its glaring flaws, is still somewhat readable and thought-provoking.

Thoughts and criticisms of my opinion of the situation are more than welcome, because this is a subject I, obviously, like thinking about.

UPDATE: Here's a good post by the Modern Conservative on why our inability to win a war with China is irrelevant. I still think we could win, though.

Another UPDATE: G at Middle America has this to say after reading the article:
This is stemmed from their interpretation of the Iraq war, and our success/failure rate there. I would like to note that Mr. Ishihara does seem to lack the capacity to separate the difference between an occupational mission versus an armed conflict. I can’t help but think this is yet more excuse making for Japan’s military build up contrary to their pacifist constitution.
As I said above, I agree that our ability to fight an occupational war (which is inevitably going to cost lives--although 2000 in 2.5 years is really nothing. I mean, if we fought a REAL war with China, I think 2000 dead would be a very, very good [and improbable] outcome) is very different than a conventional war. We have the most battle-hardened, veteran-filled military in the world, due to our recent adventures. We have more experience taking down another countries military than any other country in recent years. We also have the most experience occupying a country without slaughtering civilians wholesale to pacify the place. Why this doesn't help to make us even better warriors is beyond me.

If you take all that experience and combine it with our good tech (especially our air force which is without peers), I don't understand why there is much doubt that if we fought with China, we'd win. Again, I just point out that constant bombardment of conventional equipment from an air power with complete air superiority would mean wholesale slaughter on the Chinese side. They can throw human waves at us if they want. They can throw thousands of tanks. After the bombs fall, that's just so much junk and corpses. Again, I say that we could win.

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the story behind the “Obesity Epidemic” 

A UChicago scholar with some sense. An interesting read.

But I think I can explain why people are obsessed with weight loss, and it's not for just medical reasons. It's because they want to be hot. Svelte. Seeing pretty people on TV and in the movies makes us feel inadequate if we don't also look equally trim and fit.

And anyway, it helps to attract mates if you're hot. And lots of people want to do that.

So simply, the answer is, as one would expect: sex.

Now let me go off and reduce something else to sex, like perhaps chess, or bridge...

Oh, and if only more people thought classical music was sexy and thus got interested in it. My life would be sooooo much easier. The lengths you have to go to find a woman with the same interests...

I mean, I don't get it. There isn't anything much sexier than one of Bach's fugues. Right? Right?...

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WFB on Iraq 

Read this on Iraq. It fits well with this piece I posted yesterday. If you haven't yet, read all of both to get a nice dose of sense.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

National Journalist Shield Law: Bad 

A national shield law to protect journalists from having to reveal their sources of leaked classified information would just make journalism even more political than it already is:
it would enshrine into law a political culture in which leaking to the press is the preferred method to settle scores and undermine policies without being held accountable.
And, obviously, it would give reports special rights and immunities in the legal system. They'd be citizens plus. That's not what this country is founded on.

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My romantic side... 

...is warmed by this.

But I want to be a cold, hearless, Imperialistic, oil-stealing, child-starving Republican neocon.

I think, because of this failure of character, I'll go weep quietly now...

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'Good Night and Good Luck' 

This review by Martha Bayles is generally positive, in that the movie is worth watching, but it rips the film for ignoring the complexity of the era in which McCarthy carried out his hunt for communists. The conluding paragraph of the piece contains the spirit of the review:
Good Night, and Good Luck is insular. The only character whose mind ranges wider than a smoke ring is Paley, and his worries are mostly about the bottom line. And the decision not to have an actor play McCarthy--to reduce the dreaded witchhunter to a flickering shadow in a cathode ray tube--places the political reality of the time at an even greater remove than usual in such films. In the end, the movie is so swaddled in layers of artistic self-referentiality that it totally shuts out the concerns that made McCarthy's witch hunt possible. Maybe the Communists of the 1950s were not under every bed or in every State Department closet. But neither were they trick-or-treaters in black pointy hats. Some witches are real.
What's really fun is when a few people with a tendancy to support the political left get together to talk about this film (John Stewart and George Clooney on The Daily Show, for example). Then they like to say that McCarthy's witch hunt is a lot like the Bush Administration now. Har har.

Unlike the magical type, there are 'witches' in the world. Terrorists and Islamo-fascists are no fantasy. If more liberals would become more self-aware of how fragile our cushy way of life is and how many evil people wish to destroy it, they might not hold such naive and foolish opinions about what we need to do to protect our way of life.

Unfortunately, and especially lately, I think when I hope for such a turn around I'm doing nothing but indulging a fantasy.

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The Iraq Connection 

When you hear that there is no chance that Iraq was connected with either Al Qaeda or the 9/11 plot, roll your eyes. Because there is enough credible evidence to make such a bold claim that there is no connection very discredible.

The real reason some keep insisting that there is no connection, nor a good chance of one, is because if there was our invasion of Iraq would have another justification. And we can't have that, because there wouldn't be another way to harangh public opinion against Bush and Republicans.

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The Truth Laid Bear: Murtha 

He did indeed call for an immediate withdrawall, despite what others (mostly Democrats) might say.

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Hillary the Hawk 

If she really has this much sense (she said that withdrawing from Iraq would cause more problems for us in the America), maybe the 'prediction' that she'll be "the most uncompromising wartime President in the history of the United States" isn't so farfetched.

I might be able to deal with a bleading-heart in domestic policy if they had an iron-fisted foreigh policy. Pax Americana. Let's stick it to Iran, Syria, North Korea, and China. It's the best hope for peace in our time. I just wish we had the stomach for such an undertaking...

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Monday, November 21, 2005

How to lose a war 

The easiest way is to surrender. You absolutely must read this article by Ralph Peters in the New York Post. It hits all the right points, and shows exactly why I hate the cynical, exploitative, STUPID wings of the democratic party that want us to lose the war so they can get political points. Dems, one day you'll realize that being cowards like that--and if I can't describe those cynical democrats with that word, I can't use it at all--is not going to help you win elections, or help your memory in history.

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On the recent shenanigans... 

...in Washington surrounding Iraq, much has been said. This little bit by Jeff Goldstein is pretty interesting.

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Wow, Go Mongolia 

I didn't realize it was such an ally of ours. While its contributions may be small, the fact that it's probably doing more for us in Iraq than, say, the French, speaks volumes of good things about the fledgling democracy of Mongolia.

I think it's pretty cool that Mongolia considers Gengis Khan to be a national hero, heh.

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Ouch 

Glenn Reynolds on Kurt Vonnegut:
I remember an old Yale Daily News item on students' favorite authors that included the line "a few, apparently under the impression they were still in high school, named Kurt Vonnegut." That's pretty much always been my impression.
That's a keeper of a quote.

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Zarqawi migh be dead 

Mr. Goldberg has thoughts as to why this might actually be more than just rumors in the wind.

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James Bond is not an option... 

...for dealing with Iran's nuclear ambitions, or any other type of surgical operation for that matter. It looks like deterance might end up being the only answer...

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Sunday, November 20, 2005

And I'm supposed to sleep now? 

Andrew Stuttaford thinks that little will be able to be done concerning Iran's drive to acquire nuclear weapons, and that we will have to learn to live in a world with a nuclear-armed Iran. How depressing is that? It'd be like living in a nightmare, crazy fanatics with nuclear weapons. Isn't that what we vowed we'd never let happen after 9/11?

Daniel Drezner
analyzes the latest developments in the attempt to reach a compromise with Iran, writing that the US may be working to successfully convince the rest of the world that Iran can't be dealt with and thus Security Council measures with backbone may be issued.

I hope, either through diplomacy or the hard choice of taking military action, that we can stop Iran from getting nukes. Because it's obvious that as long as the Islamo-fascists are running Iran a nuclear-equiped Iran will be a supplier of nuclear weapons to the terrorists that would actually deploy them against us. And that's obviously just very, very bad.

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So where are my real countrymen? 

Here's Scott of Powerline's thoughts on the 'Murtha' spectacle Friday. Read the whole thing.

Check out this post of Scott's as well.

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A bit of naval gazing 

Ever come across something you wrote a while ago and find yourself surprised that you wrote what you did?

Well, I just lived such a moment. Last year I wrote this about the New York Times' opinion that the current war is not like WWII:
Bravery requires hardening ones heart against fear and doubt. The message of the NYTs is more like the water that seeps into cracks and slowly erodes foundations until they crumble into dust.
I have no recollection of writing that, yet it strikes me now as eloquent. I wish the muse was with me more often...

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Don't have a college degree? 

Well, neither do I (yet...). But, that might explain why, according to Ask Jeeves, Maroonblog is a source for info on 'the disadvantages for a job without a college degree.'

Well, I'm currently unemployed, so maybe this isn't the best site for such info...

But I had a job once without a degree, if that's any consolation out there for you, the uneducated masses that are coming here for advice at the behest of wise old Mr. Jeeves...

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So, about Murtha, the war, etc 

I'm working on something, so stay tuned. In the meantime, it'll be blogging as usual hear: long bouts of profound silence followed by shrill partisan rancor. You know, the American way...

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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Funny of the day 

You're welcome.

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"...a single double-stranded molecule..." 

Krauthammer on Intelligent Design.

His last 'graph is a killer:
How ridiculous to make evolution the enemy of God. What could be more elegant, more simple, more brilliant, more economical, more creative, indeed more divine than a planet with millions of life forms, distinct and yet interactive, all ultimately derived from accumulated variations in a single double-stranded molecule, pliable and fecund enough to give us mollusks and mice, Newton and Einstein? Even if it did give us the Kansas State Board of Education, too.

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I bid you good night, sir. 

After this epic (by my normal practices, at least) night of blogging, I'm retiring for the evening. Goodnight. I leave you with this bit of satire.

Sadly, actually, satire may be too generous of a description of that graphic after one considers what I heard tonight out of the mouths of some Democratic members of congress.

This
isn't bad either, if you're looking for funnies.

UPDATE: I lied. I couldn't wait posting this until tomorrow. John Hinderaker thinks that tonight was an exercise in folly by the GOP--that it did nothing to hurt the democrats. I think he might be going a bit far by saying that, especially since Murtha's resolution was so strongly against continued involvement in Iraq and advocated very quick withdrawl. However, the fact that it didn't use Murtha's exact phrase weakens the result a bit.

It all depends on if the GOP can stop the democrats from spinning this vote into meaninglessness. I think that such a task for the Dems will be difficult, and even if they succeed, doing so will put them on the defensive for a while, which will allow the President to talk about our successes abroad and to thus strengthen his position. I mean, this showing of even a little backbone is better than the beating republicans were allowing themselves to take over the last several unrebutted weeks (until last weekend.

Another UPDATE: Aaaaa... Must...find...bed.......must...sleeeep.....

The Captain
blogged a few opinions on tonights proceedings in the House, coming down generally against the democrats for not having enough moral courage to stand up for what many of them believe in (withdrawing).

John Cross's liveblog of tonight rivals my own for length, and exceeds my efforts in that he got to liveblog the entire debate.

Now, finis.

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Murtha/GOP Backbone continued 

See this post for the set-up for this liveblog of the current debate.

approx 8 PM EST

Currently Mr. Phil Gingrey (Republican of Georgia) is starting the debate (both sides get one hour). He said that he stands with the troops, and that he supports the removal of Saddam Hussein because he was and still is an enemy of the West-of our culture-and was a threat to us until he was removed.

Ms. Louise Slaughter (Democrate of New York) is saying that this is a polical attack on Mr Murtha, who is a war hero and thus doesn't deserve to be attacked. He knows combat.

Ooooo. I'm glad he knows combat, and that he served, but that doesn't make his idiotic idea any better. In fact, it makes it just seem strange. Why would he want to throw away the efforts and sacrifices that have occured so far in Iraq? Because if we leave, than the Baathists will come back into power, and everyone that died died for nothing.

Oh, it's our military occupation. We're drawing fire, not surpressing it, and causing insurgets to hate us. That's what she says.

She says we can no longer ask Iraqis and our soldiers to sacrifie for our goal. So, she'd rather have them die to Baathists acts of retribution when the reclaim the government? Our boys may come home, but the Iraqis will still be dying, but without the hope of having a democratic government in the future. That is most certainly not better.

UPDATE APPOX. 8:11

The next GOP speaker after Slaughter didn't say anything that hasn't already been said.

Now Mr. Ike Skelton (Democrat of Missouri) is speaking. He spent the beginning of his time outlining Mr. Murtha's past credentials. I still fail to see why those matter now. You can have been great in the past and fail now. And anyway, why does bodily courage, which Mr. Murtha showed in his distinguished service, qualify someone for policy debates? Why does it make his moonbat [I'm redacting that, too strong a word for a man who is wrong, but is not a moonbat] opinions more valid? No one has answered that. Mr. Skelton just waved ath the medals and assumed we'd understand. Well, I don't, and I don't think most people understand.

Now, he said a few words about mistakes like the looting of the Baghdad Museum. Than he said he loved the troops. No words on why Mr. Murtha's opinion was a good one, and no real reasons why we should withrdawl. And no words on what the consequences of such a mistake would be.

UPDATE: Approx 8:16

Mr. (Republican of ) [C-Span hasn't flashed his name yet]. He said that the soldiers now are heroes, 18-19-20 year old heros. He won't cut and run. He says we should debate about democracy and victory. I hope someone does that, because no one on either side has yet.

Mr. Mel Watt (Democrat of North Carolina) says he's speaking for the Black Caucus. He says their votes won't be misinterpreted. It annoys me that he's trying to sound special because he's in the Black Caucus. There's no White Caucus. Anyway, that's not the core here.

Oh yay, he just urged Bush to withdrawl and redeploy at the 'earliest practicable date.' I think that's what we've always planned. The problem is Democrats want to do it now when doing so would cause us to lose. If we wait a couple of years, when the picture has changed, it'll be a better idea.

Oh, he wants no permanent military bases in Iraq. Well, if the Iraqis want that. But if they don't, why should we not have bases. I mean, Germany and Japan? Geeze.

UPDATE APPROX. 8:25

Another GOP Speaker with no name flashed--didn't say much. Maybe they're saving their time until the end when they have a good speaker? I hope so.

Now Mr. Joseph Crowley (Democrat of New York). He just said Cindy Sheehan just wanted to meet Mr. Bush, but she was called unpatriotic. No she wasn't. But then he says that Now Mr. Murtha is being called unpatriotic. That might be true, but what the hell does it have to do with Cindy Sheehan? Geeze, I wish the Democrat speakers would actually address the point instead of just defending Murtha. By defending him, they're making themselves look stupid, because his idea is stupid.

Now Ms. Ginny Brown-Watte (Republican of Florida). She says that this is not about attacking a member. That's true. Now she says our exit strategy is to stay until Iraqis can take over. That's a good strategy to me.

Now Mr. Dennis Kucinich (Democrat of Ohio--but not my Ohio). He asks where WMD and Osama are. What the connection between 9/11 and Iraq is. Those may be questions that should be discussed, although I think the debate on that has been answered. But what does it have to do with us staying in Iraq right now? Staying now has to do with Iraq falling into civil war and destabilizing the middle east, or becoming more democratic thanks to our support. Why doesn't he talk about that?

Now Ms. Candice Miller (Republican of Michigain). Yay, she's talking about what will happen if we leave. Says Zarqawi will spread violence. Iraq will fall into anarchy. And she says the fighting should happen there and not in our streets. And she says that if the President is so smart to dupe democrats, why didn't he plant WMD in Iraq? Good question, because that's what the conspiracy theories imply=)

Another Democrat. He didn't say much, but I was distracted so I didn't hear it.

Now another Republican, who said vote against the resolution. Not much else.

Now. Another Republican. (hmmm...I may have missed someone in here, a bunch of people just spoke very briefly). Mr. Rick Renzi (Republican of Arizona). He says that the media may have taken what Mr. Murtha said and spun it into immediate withdrawl. That may be true. He's taking a step back. That's responsible.

Now he's mentioning Clinton people like Burger and Albright that said that Clinton had WMD and would use it. Now he mentions that the investigations into manipulation found no evidence of manipulation. He says those are facts. He's right. The dems need to stop trying to rewrite history. Put politics aside. As an historian, I know that's wrong. I wish democrats would find a way to do politics that didn't involve such obvious lies. It just makes them look stupid or very cynical, and it's not persuasive to even those that are informed a little bit.

Now Mr. Rahm Emanuel (Democrat of Illinois). He says that lots of congresspeople have opinions. But he says that what most of them have in common is that Iraq policy is failing. Hmmm.. how is it failing, Mr. Emanuel? Historically low causualties and the complete and quick defeat of the Iraqi army in the invasion doesn't look like failure to me. Is it failure to Mr. Emanuel? He hasn't said yet.

UPDATE APPROX 8:37

Mr. Joe Wilson (Republican of South Carolina). Says that he has three sons in the military. Great. It'd be nice if he didn't have to prove he had a dog in this fight with his blood to not be attacked as a 'chickenhawk'. One can have good ideas without that direct risk. I think the ones that have been questioning patriotism cynically have been the democrats. They wave the medals on Murtha, but they don't recognize that when Republicans do it. It's silly.

Now Mr. Steve King (Republican of Iowa). He asks why there have been no objections to the Afghan operation. He's got a point that we've had success there with voting. He says so why can't we have that success in Iraq, even if it takes longer. He says our mission is to iradicate the habitat of terrorism (and tacitly islamo-fascism, since terrorism is merely a tactic used to get certain evil ends). Good point. That's what was discussed before the war. It'd be nice if we didn't have to have this fight again just because the Democrats see political opportunity in it.

UPDATE APPROX 8:40 Now a message from the Senate honoring Rosa Parks? Wha?

Anyway, now MS. Judy Biggert (Republican of Illinois). She explains that this resolution is about the chamber indicating its stance towards standing behind efforts to help stabilize Iraq. Exactly. That is what the resolution means. It may also show democrats to be hypocritical cynics, but that's just a welcome side effect.

UPDATE APPROX 8:44

Mr. Tom Tancredo (Republican of Colorado). He's running off successes, like all the soldiers, police, air force, media, hospitals, television stations, Iraqi candidates for office and televised debate. He says we are on the road to success. He says he wants our troops to be safe. He says it's sad when an American is killed in Iraq However, he says that he wants them home as soon as the mission is complete, and not a minute longer. Hasn't said when that is yet. He asks democrats not to let their hatred for the President to get in the way for their love of our country. If only democrats would listen to that good advise, they might win more elections.

UPDATE APPROX 8:46

Mr. Walter Jones (Republican of North Carolina). He says it's sad that Murtha has been attacked personally. If people are attacking him as a man, okay. But saying Murtha's ideas are stupid is perfectly fair, because THEY ARE STUPID.

He says that in the end point cannot be clearly explained, than there is no clear end-point. He says the administration should tell us what the strategy is.

Well, uh, Mr. Jones, the strategy is to win. It's to stabilize Iraq like we've been doing. That's been said a million times. He keeps spitting out the words 'exit strategy'. God, what a horrible term has been introduced into our debate. You leave when you win. You don't bend under distress. It's that simple. Otherwise our enemies will always hold out since they know we'll crumble. Wild Democratic applause. Yay. Not.

Now Mr. Phil Gingrey (Republican of Georgia who is running the GOP side of the debate and allocating time--so far I think repubs have more time left) is saying that the resolution is about fighting Islamo-fascism (he actually said that, yay;) and not attacking Murtha. He got boos. God, the democrats that booed are cynical idiots.

Now Mr. Rodney Frelinghuysen (Republican of New Jersey). Didn't say much.

Now Mr. Gene Green (Democrat of Texas). Says that Civilian leadership is the problem, not enouhg troops or supplies to win. But he says that Mr. Murtha should be able to give his opinion without resolutions against his opinion being passed. Uhh, why does he have that right? If his idea is stupid, it is the responsibility of good people to rebut it and show the world that we do have the fortitude and stomach to support our troops and our policy decisions.

Now Mr. Jim Gibbons (Republican of Nevada). Asks do we want to send a message of surrender or a message of support. Nice phrase. Says he wants our troops to read this message of support. I support that sentiment.

Now. Mr. Ron Lewis (Republican of Kentucky). Not much new to say.

UPDATE 9:02

Now Mr. George Miller (Democrat of California). He says that he disagrees with Murtha, but that character attacks against Murtha are wrong. I wish Democrats would point out these character attacks. I haven’t seen any yet. He went well beyond his time, and was applauded while he was being called out of order.

Now a repub that didn't say much. But when he went over with his time he was applauded.

Now Mr. Steny Hover (Democrat of Maryland and Minority Whip). Says congress' most solemn decision is when to go to war. Says he respects Mr. Murtha's words. Says that the proposal of Murtha directs us to a change in policy that we should make.

Attacks the GOP alternate proposal because it is not Murtha's proposal and thus is not serious. Says all of this is below the dignity of the House.

His points are off the substance of this debate. He's just bloviating about how the resolution is irresponsible. No substance here. And he's a leader of the Democrats. Nice.

The democrats have consistantly dodged the issue at the heart of all of this--should be stay in Iraq, despite the costs, or leave and lose? They're dodging the point. I guess it's true. They want to rip on the President, GOP, and Iraq, but they don't want to actually have a debate if the other side engages with them. That is the hight of cynicism--seaking only the political gain and avoiding the tough discussions and decisions.

Now Mr. Louie Gohmert (Republican of Texas). Mentions Pelosi's district and San Franciso's throwing recruiters out of Iraq. Booed. But it's true. I liked the line "Mommas don't let your babies grow up to defend their country". Heh.

UPDATE 9:09 Now Mr. Tom Osborne (Republican of Nebraska). Mentions unity after 9/11. Says we can do better and be united. Weak speaker, sounded frail.

Now Mr. Jack Kingston (Republican of Georgia). Mentions that Al Jazeera reported that a leading member of congress called for immediate withdrawl. I'm glad this was mentioned. It's true. Murtha's call was irresponsible, because it provides fodder for enemy media and propoganda.

UPDATE: 9:13

Mr. Jeff Fortenberry (Republican of Nebraska). Talks about soldiers that have been killed. Not much else, besides soldiers fought well and bravely...

Now Ms Nancy Pelosi (Democrat of New York and Minority Leader). Says Republicans were deceptive and decietful. Says that this resolution is a continuation of that deciet. Says American people deserve better than Murtha being attacked. No endgagement with substance yet. Again, she repeats the meme that medals make ones ideas good. Again, I say NO THEY DON'T. Medals don't make stupid ideas less stupid, and Murtha's call for withdrawl is stupid.

She says that some have called Murtha's idea akin with cooperating with the enemy. Well, if one considers providing fodder for enemy propoganda acting for the enemy, than in that way he did support the enemy.

Says Murtha has delievered 'a might blow of truth' against Bush's policy? Wha? How is calling for us to leave that? It's not a legitimate alternative.

Now the last speaker Mr. Phil Gingrey (Republica of Georgia who ran the GOPs side of the debate). Says that cheap talk is not bounded by geography or the media. Says that the words of reps are heard by our troops and our enemies. He says that while talk is cheap, the vote is not, so he calls for the vote.

A good way to end, although not wordered in the soundbites that the media will actually put out, instead of just supporting the the democrats like the usually do.

While they may like to claim that the enemy won't seize on what they say, the democrats that is, when they try to play against the war for their own domestic gains, these claims aren't true. The enemy, as was said, does hear and seize on what is said.

Hope you liked this liveblog. I need a break. I'll post more later tonight or tomorrow=)

UPDATE: The resolution changing the rules to allow a vote on the resolution calling for troop withdrawl passed, so debate is now beginning on the actual resolution, although the debate on the rule change was really also about the resolution.

Post-Debate UPDATE: First thanks to David Adesnik at Oxblog for the link. Hope those of you that followed it here will take a look around. Also, let me appologize to you the reader for the hasty thoughts that appear above. I'm not going to modify them, although I'll go over them tomorrow and change any obvious errors or opinions I wish to qualify now that I have time to consider what I wrote. I'll leave what I originally typed, messy and inarticulate though much of it may be. That's normally how thoughts are when they spill out and are recorded quickly. But examining what I thought as the debate actually took place has its own value. There is certainly time to write more well-thought opinions tomorrow.

Now, let me say I'm sorry for not getting the last part of the debate, when Murtha himself spoke, and the GOP rebutted. I didn't have access to the computer then, so all I can do is record a few thoughts I remember after watching the conclusion of the debate and the subsequent vote on the resolution.

The speakers in the second half were definately more articulate. While generally the same points were made in the second half by a few speakers that were made in the first half by the many, the extra polish and continuity of the remarks did help to lend a better air to what occured in this half. Even though much was repeated, I'll record a few thoughts here concerning what I remember.

Murtha, while wrong on the point he kept driving that the troops should quickly withdrawl from Iraq, was articulate and did not get overly excited for most of his remarks. After reading his own resolution into the record (not the one that was voted for tonight which was not his, but the one he announced yesterday), Murtha spent much of the remainder of his time reading letters from injured troops and their families that were critical of the war and which demanded quick troop withdrawl from Iraq.

That rhetorical tactic holds little weight with me. I want to hear debate on the substance of policy, and not the reading of sad letters attempting to make me feel guilty for making or supporting tough but necessary decisions and policies.

The GOP had articulate speakers, which I think did a reasonable job addressing more policy than the democrats did--probably an acceptable amount considering the time limitations imposed on debate in the House of Representatives. The GOP speakers addressed points concerning what the disasterous consequences of a premature pullout would be, what wobly messages from congress did in Vietnam and thus what they could do now, and why the war was and the continued efforts in Iraq are in the best interest of the United States.

From an objective viewpoint, despite my tendancy to side with the Republican party on many issues, I think the Republicans came off winning the debate over this resolution. They addressed substantive points about the topic, instead of whining about the unfairness of the resolution and the criticism of medal-winning Mr. Murtha and his resolution.

However, if one has a tendancy to view any loss of American life, no matter how necessary, as unacceptable, the democrats certainly won. I just hope the majority of the American people have enough wisdom and backbone to realize that freedom is neither free nor cheap--sacrifice and constant vigilance is required to ensure that our civilization of liberty is continued for many, many more years.

LAST UPDATE: Forgot to include that the resolution calling for the immediate withdrawl of US forces from Iraq failed miserably, with only 3 "Yea"s( all Democrats) and 6 "Present"s (all Democrats).

It'll be interesting to see what the next move is in this political chess game. I think right policy point is clear, but the ultimate outcome will rest less on the rightness or wrongness of a sides policies and more on their political acumen, talking-point delivery, and media manipulation. So, the scorecard right now is Republicans 1 because they've gone on the offensive against the weak-willed branch of the Democratic party, and Democrats 1 because they by default always have a handicap due to media bias.

I wonder if the Democrats voting against a resolution that a large segment of their fringe base supports will hurt them or not. For it not to, it seems to me that they'll have to go out and tell their base that they didn't mean what they voted for. And saying that will hurt them come time for the next general election when more reasonable people that are skeptical of blatant liars and hypocrits will vote.

Considering what the ultimate outcome of this will be leaves my head spinning with infinite loops of political strategy. I do not envy Karl Rove.

I suppose we'll know more next week about who'll win this match.

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On the "Murtha Resolution' and GOP Backbone 

Here's Glenn Reynolds' roundup of this issue, in case you don't know what I'm talking about.

I just want to provide a few thoughts on this:

I for one am very pleased to see this legislative battle. Congress used to have battles of words like this all the time (for example, the famous debates that took place for the decades before the Civil War). If Congress wanted to lead, it could. It is the branch of government with the power of the purse and the power of impeachment and removal; if it wants, it can run the country. I wish it would more often, because if Congress stands united on something, the rest of the government, including the President, really has to go along. If congress would show more leadership on the part of the US having a strong, agressive foreign policy for the sake of our defence, there would be no doubt what the US stands for.

Also, Mr. Jim McGovern's (of Mass.) statements today at the beginning of the debate today on this issue was ridiculous. He absurdly said the resolution was about more than it actually was, and then started spouting off with things like (not quotes but paraphrases) 'We sent in our army underequiped' and that 'money is being spent on we don't know what' and the great chickenhawk argument that 'no members of this body will be going off to fight, so how can they speak about staying the course' (I love that argument the way it was worded--representatives are already serving their country, how in the hell could they be in the army at the same time? They can't. It's not the army's job to dicate policy, it's the political branch. Which is what they're doing. I mean, who does Mr. McGovern want to dicate policy? The generals? If that was the case, he might not like what would happen. We might attack more countries that are killing our boys).

Mr. David Obey (of Wis.) did not say anything about the substance of the bill. He just said that the current GOP resolution is an attack on Murtha. Uhhh, no. It's an attack on Murtha's stupid idea that we should leave now instead of staying until we win. Than he started going off that the move was 'sneaky, tricky' etc. It'd be nice if the Democrats that were speaking earlier would have addressed policy more instead of whining that they have to make a choice to outrage their far-left base of the mainstream of America.

Michell Malkin liveblogged the whole thing earlier. I direct you to her post.

Yay, debate just started again. I think I'll liveblog it.

UPDATE: Before you read the liveblog in the next post, read David Adesnik's posts on Murtha and the current situation. He explains why Murtha's statement is wrong and idiotic. I couldn't have taken it appart any better myself in such a small space.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Plamegame update 

Mr. Fitzgerald, thanks to new testimony by Bob Woodward, is going to have a bit of 'splainin to do to fix what he alleged in his indictment and press conference so that it matches this new evidence. Or, he can drop some or all of the charges, which since there is obviously reasonable doubt now about Libby's guilt, he should do according to justice department regulations (which stipulate that if there is reasonable doubt, prosecution should not procede--thanks for that fact, Fox News).

Here's the entire situation by Mr. Maguire, who is the king of this story in the blogosphere.

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Jonah Goldberg and Klingon 

Related to this: my resident head of three years at Chicago had a klingon lexicon on his bookshelf...

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Homemade flamethrower 

Man, I just got the best idea for scavhunt...

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Monday, November 14, 2005

You have to be a fool... 

...to be able to claim that you were fooled into war. And an idiot. And a reasonless moron. Here's the reasons why.

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

EU and Brezhnev's Russia 

There seems to be some very keen similarities between the two. Apparently to remove some officials, they're having them declared mentally insane to fascilitate their firing. One official is being accused of "megalomania and paranoia" Andrew Stuttaford thinks that such an accusation isn't very fair, since most officials seem to be suffering from such problems. Amusing.

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Some Sense on Oil 

I just noticed a WaPo editorial from a few days ago that addressed the hearings congress had on recent oil profits. The WaPo is right on all the major points. Read this to get some sense injected in to the debate.

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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Bruce's Bounties 

Mr. Willis has offered a bounty on Osama, Zarqawi, and several other terrorists. One million dollars each. I hope someone claims the money. Soon.

I'll make sure to go see the next Bruce Willis flick.

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Riots and France 

Mr. Derbyshire describes the different 'seismic layers' that lead to domestic insurrection and riots (and writes that homogenous societies have had riots in the past too); this is an interesting read in light of recent events in France.

Speaking of which Mr. W.F. Buckley writes about the French tradition of the 'revelution' and how this is probably contributing to the 'Gallic Discruptions' (that sounds painful-ed).

Mr. Goldberg writes a more schaudenfreude-tinged piece about the troubles in 'Frarabia'.

I now absolve myself from writing about the riots that seem to be so over-deterimed no on can really figure out why they're happening. Well, I absolve myself at least for a little while. Understanding this one will take some time, I think.

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The Rights of My People 

The DOJ is suing Southern Illinois University for allegedly descriminating against whites and males, among others. Justice, sweet, sweet justice.

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On Dissent and Patriotism 

Tigerhawk writes a brilliant post on what types of dissent are acceptable and which types are not and therefore may fairly be branded unpatriotic. Read the entire post.

Here is an excerpt that will hopefully entice you enough to take my advice and read the whole thing:
The morality of anti-war dissent. This post has argued that in the case of limited wars, anti-war dissent -- or at least effective anti-war dissent -- almost inevitably hurts the war effort and undermines our soldiers. The very system that the soldiers defend, however, depends upon robust public debate to establish policy, including foreign policy. Dissenters whose primary objective is to change American policy concerning the war are, by and large, dissenting legitimately. They are appropriately balancing the costs of the dissent -- the promotion of the enemy's victory conditions -- with its function in our system.

However, there is a lot of anti-war dissent that is primarily motivated by other objectives, or which use methods that are designed not to persuade Americans that policy should be changed, but to interfere with the fighting of the war. Dissenters who are actually furthering some unrelated political objective or simply working out their personal rage may be acting lawfully -- the First Amendment is very powerful mojo -- but they are not acting legitimately. It is not legitimate to damage our war effort and undermine our soldiers because you hate George Bush, want to protect Roe v. Wade, are ideologically opposed to all war, believe that the United States needs to be cut down to size, want to bolster the fortunes of a particular Democratic candidate or Democrats in general, believe that the State Department has been disrespected, believe that the Pentagon is inept and corrupt, or want to discredit Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. If you do that, you are being frivolous with the lives of our soldiers and helping the enemy without the benefit of having advanced the important public discussion over whether we should change American foreign policy. In short, your objectives and therefore your dissent are illegitimate, and it is fair for your opponents to attack you as unpatriotic. You are.

Similarly, if you use tactics that interfere with American policy -- if you attempt to obstruct military recruitment, campaign against American policy outside of the United States or to primarily foreign audiences, demonstrate against weapons manufacturers simply because they are weapons manufacturers, and so forth -- you are deliberately undermining the American capacity to win the war. This is not legitimate anti-war dissent (again, even if it is lawful), and it is by no measure patriotic.

Finally, and obviously, hypocritically arguing in front of the world that the President of the United States lied to or misled the United States Senate is to give aid and comfort to the enemy and undermine our soldiers for no constructive purpose other than political advantage. Fatuous claims that we must argue this issue now -- during the war and in the midst of great uncertainty in Iraq -- so it "never happens again" are nothing but a fig leaf to cover up the awful truth -- that anybody who makes this argument is sacrificing America's best interests for their own.
Senate Democrats, Move-On.Org, Nancy Pelosi, and your ilk--due to your recent behavior, I very fairly and reasonably call you what you are: You are all unpatriotic.

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From Bush's Speech Yesterday 

This deserves to be posted. I lifted this quote from a commentary comparing this speech to the Gettysburg Address. I must admit, there are many similarities between then and now (unpopular war, mounting casualties, etc). Anyway, here's the quote:
We don't know the course of our own struggle will take, or the sacrifices that might lie ahead. We do know, however, that the defense of freedom is worth our sacrifice, we do know the love of freedom is the mightiest force of history, and we do know the cause of freedom will once again prevail.
Freedom is worth fighing and dying for. That's why I support the war, even when things don't look as rosy as they could be. We're winning, we just need to stick with it.

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Evidence that Iran is designing a Bomb 

Not good. Something is going to have to happen with Iran. Europe may like to stick its head in the sand over wacko countries near them, but a bunch of thugs with AKs and a country with the Bomb are problems of very different magnitudes. Europe will most likely team with the US to solve this problem, even if it eventually requires military action (they'll allow such action to be done by the US and Israel).

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The Democrats are losing the fundraising race? 

Wha? How can they manage that, when Bush's poll numbers are so low? Is Howard Dean that incompetent as leader of the DNC, or does this just show that the apparent unhappiness of large parts of the populace with Bush and Republicans is merely a passing unhappiness, since many, many more people are voting for the GOP with their pocketbooks than for democrats. Time will well, but these numbers most likely do mean there is much less Republican weakness than hopefull Democrats believe.

My prediction (Which means nothing -ed) for next year is that Republicans pick up a couple of house seats and at least lose nothing in the Senate, thus maintaining control of congress with their decent majorities. These numbers must mean there is some hidden strength in the GOP and a hidden weakness on the Dems that is being overlooked by rabid pundits right now.

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Friday, November 11, 2005

The face of Terror 

One of the most moving articles I have read in sometime appeared today in the National Review, and while I doubt many people read this blog before the read NRO, I hope you will all take the time to read it anyway. Rabbi Carlos Huerta tells of his first hand encounter with the hideous face of terror, and the life of a young muslim boy he tried to save. In the process, he reminds the reader of the nature of our cause:
There are many Americans who ask why we’re here. Why are we sacrificing so many American lives and placing so many in harm’s way? What is the purpose of it all? Well, I don’t really know the big picture. But from my small sector of the battlefield, the reason I am here is to give “the least of these,” my children over here, a shot at “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” — just like my other children living in America.

The President gave a speech today that forcefully defended the Iraq war, and our justification for being there, but somehow I think he fell short. Even though his defense of the WMD and terror threats is valid, and indeed a strong on for those willing to look at the evidence, I think he missed a chance to really effect the hearts and minds of the American people. A chance to remind them of the miracle of freedom and liberty we are bringing to the people of a world that once knew only oppression and fear. And, as Carlos Huerta reminds us so eloquently, of the cost of failure:
I held his hand and cried — cried for a boy whose name I didn’t know, for an innocent Muslim child who gave his life for his G-d, Allah, for his country. He was the true face of Muslim martyrdom. With tears streaming down my face, I looked down and noticed blood on my uniform. His blood, my blood, our blood had dripped from his open head wound onto my uniform...I thought to myself, isn’t this the kind of world we are fighting for — a world where an Imam teaches a Rabbi words from the Holy Koran to comfort a young Muslim boy, and that rabbi himself is comforted by a Christian, a Catholic priest.

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Prince Rupert's Drop 

Interesting science factoid...

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How to increase interest in current events 

Let me introduce you to Melissa Theuriau. (Via The Corner)

Here's some video too. Now let me go e-mail Daniel Drezner with this find...

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Dominique de Villepin: Comedy Genius 

Read this great anecdote about Dominique de Villepin that Jay Nordlinger relays:
In a new book about his time as foreign minister, called “Les Cent semaines,” [Dominique de Villepin] is portrayed through a series of negative anecdotes as “immeasurably pretentious.” In one account, the book tells how the foreign minister was informed at a meeting at the Quai d’Orsay that the American-led war against Saddam Hussein would likely be a short one. His response: “That is not desirable. France would appear ridiculous.” There is a long silence. Another diplomat says, “The Americans and British are our allies.” Villepin ends the meeting.
That is truly hilarious. So funny it seems unreal.

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The J. Patrick Buchanan Memorial Library for Failed Prophets of Doom 

A great, amusing commentary on the doomsayers of years past.

I rather liked this 'graph:
I was also reminded of all those great books about how “America is doomed” that became so popular right after Bush became President, Today, In the light of Frances rising problems with the Arab street, which is now quickly becoming Europe’s problem as well and in light of the rejection of the EU constitution and a continual european economic disaster that would get a US President removed from office in this country if he had anything close to the economics of the Europeans, these books seem rather silly to me.
I hope an American president would get removed if we had an economy and social situation like Western Europe. People here forget how good we have it compared to other 'western' countries.

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Worry While You Spend 

That's what Mr. Samuelson says Americans have been doing for a while. Read his interesting commentary on the economy and consumer confidence.

The economy is good, despite what people keep saying. The average persons' situation is good, so they spend appropriately, even if they feel that everyone else is doing poorly.

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Map Redistricting Issue fails by 40% 

Yeah, 70% to 30%. You don't see a whipping worse than that in our democracy. Yet the Dayton Daily News is saying the issue has some hope if more 'education' is done? I hardly think so. Unless the state Republican party comes out in favor of that provision, which it won't, it will never pass. Especially if it takes outside money to get it on the ballet again, like it did this time.

I mean, the Ohio Republican Party, due to hatred of Taft, is looking its worst in years, and the issue still lost by 40%. Barring a complete implosion by the entire party, the issue won't pass. And even then, I doubt it would. People would simply elect democrats instead of putting a bad amendment in the state constitution.

Such a clear, clear signal will hopefully send a message to those outside of Ohio that wasted their money to get this on the ballet. I don't think they'll try again, unless they're real fools. Which means they might try again, then, right?

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I hope these numbers are wrong 

The voter turnout in my home county of Montgomery, in Ohio, was pretty low today. Like 'I don't belive this' low. For a fire levy in a decent sized town nearby, there were 3 votes cast. For major in Clayton Ohio, where I live, there were 160 votes cast. And there are tens of thousands of people living in this city!

The results say 100% reporting, but I just don't believe it. If these results are the rough final numbers, I'm going to go drink tonight. A lot.

Bright side, though--the state constitutional amendments forced on the ballot by Soros money from out of state look like they're going to fail miserably. If that's the case, good. I don't want my voter district lines drawn by a formula. Somehow a district between here and Cleveland would not be good for upholding the principles of local representation.

UPDATE: Now the results say 0% for precincts instead of 100%. Maybe those numbers I saw were just a glitch, and now the final results. I hope so.

Another UPDATE: Yeah, numbers were wrong. More people voted. Yay. Go democracy. And the 4 worst con amendments failed miserably. Go Ohio solidarity. That'll show outsiders that they shouldn't try to influence how we govern ourselves.

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