Tuesday, February 28, 2006
  Saying it without saying it

Colin Powell appeared on Leno's show last night, and gave a good explanation of the civil war in Iraq. Along the way he said:

"The Kurds are pretty much in a calmer part of the country, up north."

Hmm. Kurdistan must be an amazing place: a land that actually keeps its people calm. Sort of like the Big Rock Candy Mountain, where cigarettes grow on trees, fresh-cooked meals appear when you feel hungry, and willing women offer their services for free on every corner.

No, I doubt that the land itself is the source of calmness. High desert is rather unforgiving territory.

So it has to be some characteristic of the people.

Well, is it religion? Are the Kurds Quakers? Are they Amish? No, they're Mohammedan like the rest of Iraq. I think they're mostly Sunni, but might be wrong about that.

Is it chemical? Are the Kurds permanently popping Prozac? Or nicely mellowed out on Kirkuk Krank?

I doubt that too. They seem to be capable of getting things done.

Hmm. Well, the only remaining possibility, as Sherlock would say, is that Kurds are not Arabs.

Pinnnnngggg!

So Powell knows the difference; he just can't bring himself to say it.

------

A bit later, still thinking about Powell....

The eponymous Powell Doctrine is a good guide for fighting a war, and in fact for doing anything important.

The Powell Doctrine:

1. Determine what you want to accomplish.

2. Accomplish it, hard and fast.

3. Go home.


Powell had two chances to apply this doctrine. The results were unsatisfying because the goals were inadequate: Push Saddam back from Kuwait, push Milosevic back from Bosnia. But within the range of Powell's authority, he fulfilled his doctrine solidly.

The Bush Doctrine is rather more complicated:

1. Determine what you want to accomplish.

2. Accompl .... uuuuuhhhh, where was I?

3. Get confused. Decide the enemy isn't all that bad; maybe he had a traumatic childhood or something, and needs to be rewarded instead of punished. Increase his self-esteem.

4. When your own people criticize you for rewarding the enemy, call them racists.

 
Sunday, February 26, 2006
  Bye, Deputy......



The last of the decent non-Commie comedians is gone.
 
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
  To hell with twilight. To hell with process.
Rumsfeld's recent speech in Munich makes a powerful argument for learning from history:

In many ways, this war is different than any we have ever fought. But in other ways, our situation today resembles that of free nations in the early days of the Cold War. Over the course of what President Kennedy called "a long twilight struggle," our countries have disagreed on some things from time to time. But fortunately for us, and for our children, we did not lose our will - over many decades, and through many changes in political leadership in all of our countries. Our free nations did not waver when the Premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, promised to "bury" us. Nor when he predicted that our grandchildren would live under Communism. Quite the contrary.

...

I'm told that Chancellor Merkel has said, "I did not expect to live in a free society before I reached the age of retirement". As we consider those words, we note that the Cold War wasn't won through fate or luck. Freedom prevailed because our free nations showed resolve when retreat would have been easier, and showed courage when concession seemed simpler. Today, our countries have another choice to make. We could choose to pretend, as some suggest, that the enemy is not at our doorstep. We could choose to believe, as some contend, that the threat is exaggerated. But those who would follow such a course must ask: what if they are wrong? What if at this moment, the enemy is counting on being underestimated, counting on being dismissed, and counting on our preoccupation. Ultimately, history teaches that success depends on will.


-------

But is he learning enough from history? Did the Cold War really last 40 years because it took 40 years of solid fighting to defeat Communism? No; most of that time was not taken up with fighting, and most of the fighting was a success for Communism. We didn't really start to fight until Reagan turned Bill Casey loose on the Russians. Before that point, we were mainly reacting -- too late -- to Soviet advances, and seeking a balance of power, not an overwhelming advantage.

I'm afraid that Rummy is thinking like a bureaucrat, not a warrior, when he focuses so heavily on the length of the 'long twilight struggle'. When we tread carefully on Mohammedan sensitivities, trying to win 'hearts and minds', we are gaining nothing; we are only losing time and respect. In medical terms, we're using acupuncture and homeopathy against a cancer. We should be using radical surgery and chemo. Remove the bad cells as fast as possible, even if we also rip out parts that don't appear malignant. That's how we won WW2, and that's how we defeated Russia. Note that Germany and Japan were left in ruins after WW2, and Russia is still in economic ruins.

First, we need to kill Saddam immediately. We should have killed him in 1991, and we emphatically should have killed him two years ago when we captured him. As long as Saddam breathes, HE WILL RESUME POWER. Our interference with Ramsay Clark's "legal process" might stir up the natives, but they're already having a nice little civil war anyway. Removing the potential for restoration will calm down that conflict, not aggravate it.
 
  The scary part

Spokesjelly McClellan this afternoon: "There were no objections raised by any of the departments involved in vetting the Dubai purchase."

Well, yes, that's the real problem. Nobody at any level in the Bush administration understands who our enemy is. Nobody at any level understands the need to have public support for the war. Nobody in any department knows the basics of teaching and selling.
 
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
  HUH?

So now Kindler Gentler Georgie is getting tough for the first time. He will veto any attempt to stop the Dubai port purchase.

I'm speechless.... well, not quite.

The most obvious explanations for this sudden backbone are:

1. Bush has gone totally clinically insane.

2. Bush is owned, or blackmailed, by UAE, and has no choice but to support the deal.

In either case he should not continue to be President.

The only other motive I can even imagine is a sort of adolescent stubbornness. I remember the feeling: "So you other kids think I'm wrong? Well, I'll show you wrong. You haven't seen wrong yet!" This is a human emotion but not a mature one, and certainly not a basis for making foreign policy in wartime.

Beyond that, nothing.

This would be an ideal opportunity to show respect for the conservative base, as follows: "Oops! I've been so busy planning our options for Iran that I didn't pay enough attention to this question. You're right, it's a terrible idea. We'll seek bids from a more friendly company." Instead, KGG decides this is an ideal opportunity to simultaneously prove his opponents right and lose his supporters!!

-----

Later: Rush and others on the free trade / economoid side have been vigorously defending the administration, using all sorts of false arguments.... If you don't want UAE to manage the ports, you shouldn't let them have any trade at all, etc. No, Rush, that's not the point, and you know it. Nobody is claiming that the risk is huge, nor that we shouldn't deal at all with the UAE. But it is a moderately important choice, and IN WARTIME all of our security choices, even the incremental and symbolic ones, must help our allies and hurt our enemies.
 
  Feeling Froggy




No, this isn't about France, not directly anyway!

A few minutes ago some diplomat-critter was interviewed on Fox, and he dismissed the notion of acting militarily against Persia. Said: Can you imagine the furor that would erupt on the Arab Street?

Wrong, wrong, wrong. And thanks for helping the enemy by showing weakness, buddy.

----

Way back in Oklahoma, my not-so-academic friends used to talk about feeling froggy. I never understood it fully, except that it meant ready for a fight. For whatever reason, I had never experienced this state of being.

Never, that is, until about 8 years ago. At that time downtown Spokane was overrun by skateboarding assholes, who enjoyed playing cat-and-mouse games with unsuspecting adults. One afternoon a skateboarding asshole was playing with me; he skidded in front and cut me off, then saw that I was crossing a street, and zoomed across to cut me off on the other side. Right then I had absolutely had it. I didn't feel angry or hot; just ready to do whatever was necessary. Ready to calmly smash his miserable head through the nearest window if that was necessary. In other words, froggy. I kicked his skateboard into the air; it landed in the middle of the street. I said simply "Get out of the way.", then walked on toward my destination, ready for whatever might happen. He squawked for a while, threatening to do innumerable and unspeakable things to my white ass, but he did nothing.

After that day, no skateboarding assholes bothered me. Not one, not ever.

Moral: Feeling froggy is a readable signal. Because savages are social creatures, they pass the word quickly. Presumably the word was something like "Don't bother that ugly honky; he crazy." Phrased, of course, in whatever idiot slang was common among that particular set of savages.

Same thing applies on a larger scale. Invading Iraq was consummately froggy, and the original idea was pure frog. Show Persia and Arabia that we have absolutely had it with Allah, and that we're ready to do anything, relevant or not, to smash their miserable heads.

But Kindler Gentler Georgie spoiled the signal by explaining it in all sorts of irrelevant and non-froggish ways, then moderating the force.

That's not how you get respect from savages.

You hit sharply and surprisingly.
 
Monday, February 20, 2006
  A bad dream



-----

Don't worry: Polistra is, of course, a cartoon character. So she'll bounce back to fight another day, in the time-honored style of cartoons.

Our country is not a cartoon character. War is emphatically not a comic strip. Nor should we use abstract economic theories to run a war. Economic theories assume that all players are essentially civilized and engaged in a competition for monetary goals. They do not apply to Arabs.
 
Saturday, February 18, 2006
  Madame Polisztra controls all...

Madame Polisztra notes with pleasure, but without surprise, that her Astral-Political Vibrational Force has compelled Fox News to interview Marsha Blackburn, and to ask Blackburn about Presidential aspirations.



Out of character and dead serious: Wouldn't it be just grand to have a President and Vice President who could communicate with the people? At the moment we have a President who cannot speak comprehensibly, and a shadowy VP who presumably can speak but rarely does. A nation at war deserves and needs better.

As in President Romney and VP Blackburn. Now, please.
 
Friday, February 17, 2006
  Madame Polisztra sees all, knows all.....




Madame Polisztra sees that VP Cheney won't be in office much longer. The signs are all around, and not entirely fresh. About three weeks ago Michael Medved, who is Mr. 100% Loyalist, slipped in a brief message at the end of his program, obviously speaking more to the administration than to the audience, strongly suggesting that Cheney's time was up. When a commentator like Medved -- who never finds even the tiniest micronanofault with Bush's actions -- calls for change, you know it's time for change.

Madame Polisztra would like to see one of the 'Republican Study Group' brought in to replace Cheney. Peter King, Steve King, Marsha Blackburn. Three different personalities, all are frugal, practical and hawkish, and all are excellent communicators. We desperately need those qualities in our administration.
Desperately.
 
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
  And the beat goes on....

Zacharias Moussaoui is no mean taunter. More importantly, he officially broke with France.

"I'm not French. ... I stand here as a Muslim only. I do not stand here with a nation of homosexual crusaders."

Polistra has been watching for visible signs that Democrats are abandoning France as their ideological Motherland, since Chirac took a firm stand against Mohammedans. Zach now becomes the first major Democrat to take the pledge. Watching for more....
 
  It's spreading!

The 'Kennel Club', a pep organization at Gonzaga University, has been taunting opposing teams by calling them Brokeback... and the response from the school administration is drearily predictable. As it happens, Gonzaga is not all that far from Rogers High, though I suspect there's no direct influence.

Wonderful comment on Gonzaga here.
 
Sunday, February 12, 2006
  Faster, Ann, faster!

I note the Establishmentarians at NRO have gone dhimmi over Ann Coulter's comments at CPAC. Granting there's a history of personal dispute between those folks and Coulter.... it's still dhimmi. They have lost the standing to criticize CNN or any other media.

Ann is simply doing what our entire media and government did in WW2: Taunting the enemy. Here's a little tiny hint: We won that war. We don't appear to be winning the current war.

My previous two posts hit a common theme, which is hardly new, but which seems to have been lost in recent years.

Taunting the enemy is an important part of war.

Americans still understand this point easily and fully in the realm of sports, which is why the Rogers High principal looks so silly. But we have erased this idea from the realm of warfare, where it's even more important.

Down to basics: Most humans, like most dogs, are trainable. And most humans, like most dogs, would rather bask in the sunlight of respect than wallow in the stink of contempt.

This doesn't apply to rabid dogs, or to humans who have already crossed the kamikaze threshold. But it does apply to the vast majority of both species.

We saw this in WW2 with the Japanese-Americans. Before the war, some 40,000 of them signed up to commit espionage or sabotage. FDR decided to keep these folks under control by fencing them off. Obviously we don't have the benefit of controlled experiments: we don't know what would have occurred without this expression of contempt. But we do know that we suffered very little sabotage, and we also know that many young Japs within the fence volunteered to serve our side.

Can you spell Skinner?

'Winning hearts and minds' requires both reward and punishment, and a united front is critically important in both directions. At the moment our establishment and government are giving a clear signal that we respect all beliefs of the Prophet. Should we be surprised when local Mohammedans go ahead and act on all of those beliefs?

If the weight of unified public opinion gave a different signal, a more precisely targeted signal, we'd get a different result. If we showed solid contempt toward Sharia, contempt toward the dream of the Caliphate, contempt toward conversion by force, contempt toward a religion that forbids charging interest, owning dogs, and showing pictures, it would definitely have an effect on our local Mohammedans. Some of them might riot, but others would get the idea and change their behavior.
 
Saturday, February 11, 2006
  No dhimmis in 1940

Way back in the long-lost mists of yore, when we had the guts to defy an enemy, we produced some fine caricatures of Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo. Not only that, we put together some animated cartoons and songs toward the same end. I was going through my old radio tapes, looking for an example of Spike Jones's work, either "In der Fuhrer's Face" or "Ve don't like it", to use as an analogy. Turns out I didn't need an analogy, because Spike Jones managed to take a few whacks at Mohammed! The satire isn't quite as sharp as Der Fuhrer's Face, because we weren't at war with Arabs at the time. Nevertheless, it shows a fine lack of respect -- or rather, lack of submission. I especially like the ending....

Listen to it! (2MB MP3)

Notes:

1. This version was played by the Billy Mills band on Fibber McGee's show in March 1940. Spike Jones was part of the Mills outfit at that time, while he built up his own group.

2. Turns out the song had quite a few bawdy variations, which Google will find for you, until its patented Dhimmitron technology picks up the pattern of disrespect for the Prophet and cuts the links. Look under Kafoozalem or Kafoozalum.
 
Friday, February 10, 2006
  Local notes

1. A refreshing protest against Sensitivity. Background: Hillyard is the northeast corner of Spokane. Originally a separate town, Hillyard was named after James Hill, the founder of the Great Northern Railroad. Naturally enough, Hill's Yard has always centered on rail yards and steel mills. No gentrification in that corner of River City: bikers set the tone.

Recently the cheerleaders at Rogers High School, which serves Hillyard, have been taunting the more hoity-toity teams with a set of cheers emphasizing Hillyard Pride, and pointing out the shame of being beaten by those low-rent Hillyard hoodlums. The principal of Rogers decided this was a form of bullying, and prohibited the cheers. In response, a couple hundred Rogers students walked out of school and spent the day picketing her! Bravo, Rogers kids! They understand that learning to give and take a tease is part of education.

2. Meanwhile, in the hoity-toity parts of town, hundreds of adults are protesting against a proposed WalMart store, which threatens to bring jobs, convenience, and affordable prices. Too horrible to contemplate!!!

Hmm. Put those two together and you've got a South Park episode.

3. Full-strength Sensitivity in Canada. Earlier today, police chased a criminal from the Seattle area up to the border crossing at Blaine. When the unarmed Canadian border guards got word that an armed chase was approaching, they walked off the job, leaving the crossing unguarded. This is apparently part of their labor agreement. The same thing happened two weeks ago.

Hmm again. South Park again.

-----

UPDATE 2/12: The Canadian border guards have gone public to state that they want to be armed, and dislike the rules that keep them unarmed. So the problem isn't the guards, but the Canadian gov't.

 
  These are a few....


Polistra decided to put together a picnic with some of her favorite Danish things, as a symbolic tribute to those gutsy Danes.

After assembling the stuff, she realized that these comfortable things have something else in common. Ham, beer, and dogs. All are anathema to Mohammedans. No wonder they hate the Danes so much!

Seriously: the dog is the most important factor. Dogs civilize humans. We learn patience, altruism, and loyalty from them. A culture that fiercely prohibits the presence of dogs is a culture that stubbornly refuses to learn anything about civilization.

Not-so-seriously: the model atom didn't just drift down from the reactor to land on the beer. It's there for a reason: Carlsberg Brewing has subsidized Danish science for many decades, including such luminaries as Niels Bohr. So the next time you sip a Carlsberg, appreciate the fact that Carlsberg has done more for science than most governments!
 
Sunday, February 05, 2006
  Inkifada and Moral Equivalence




A little editorial in the latest New Scientist contains a reagent-quality sample of moral equivalence at its worst, along with an interesting piece of under-reported good news.

Even as it campaigns against Iran's nuclear programme, the Bush admin seems ready to overturn a 30-year domestic ban on reprocessing spent nuclear fuel. It also wants to reprocess spent fuel from other countries.

That's the good news. A solid indication that we're finally getting serious about nuclear electricity. A sane pacifist would applaud our effort to beat radioactive swords into plowshares, but of course today's pacifists are not sane:

Many fear that this would send the wrong message to countries like Iran and North Korea, and encourage reprocessing in Russia. "This is the worst possible thing to do," says Damon Moglen of the [Soviet front] Union of Concerned Scientists. "It is a classic example of the US telling the world to do as we say, not as we do."

YAAAARRRGGHH!

Unfortunately, Kindler Gentler Georgie abets the Equivalentist mindset by focusing on weapons, not on people.

For the thousandth time: Weapons are just tools. When you remove a tool from an evil person or culture, you are only fooling yourself.

An evil person or culture will always find a way to harm others, because that's his reason for living.

The cure for an evil person is either to separate him from society permanently, or to kill him. Since we can't imprison a nation (culture, religion) effectively, the only cure is to eradicate it.

It's really not hard to determine which entities are evil.

The current Inkifada makes a perfect little litmus test: If a nation or religion treats its own people badly, we can try to reform its behavior but we're not entitled to destroy it. If a nation or religion reaches out and kills foreigners or infidels for drawing pictures or writing books, we need to destroy it. Or at least destroy enough of it to dissuade the few survivors from resuming their evil ways.

Putting it more directly, if you answer a pen with a pen, you're civilized. If you answer a pen with a sword, you're a savage.

Churchill and Roosevelt understood this point, repeated it constantly and coherently, and implemented it fully against the Fascists of that era. I see no evidence that Kindler Gentler Georgie understands this point, and our State Department emphatically takes the equivalentist side.
 
Saturday, February 04, 2006
  Ding, dong

The entity described as 'Betty Friedan' stopped breathing today.



Comrade Friedan's legacy is impressive. Millions of divorces, millions of bitter and lonely men and women, many millions of dead babies.

Comrade Stalin would envy his greatest admirer's achievements. For all his brutality and murder, he never managed to destroy Russia's family structure, or to break the essential bond between man and woman.

Unfortunately, Comrade Friedan's minions now infest our government and culture at all levels, so the death of the original entity gives no cause for celebration.

My prayers go out to the innocent worms and bacteria who will unwittingly attempt to consume this unspeakable mass of evil.
 

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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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