Dammit, stop insulting our intelligence!
Amazingly, the CDC actually quarantined the TB patient, and even more amazingly announced his name to the public. Both of these steps are tremendous positive advances; for entirely too many years the mythical "privacy right" of patients, which does not exist, was placed above the risk of killing thousands of people, who do exist.
But they still haven't quite grasped the basic notion of telling the truth. They say there is "absolutely no way" Speaker could have acquired this unique pathogen from his father-in-law who worked in CDC.
Don't insult our intelligence. If we were talking about nasty but fairly widespread diseases like meningitis or HIV, such a denial wouldn't be absurd. The connection would then be interesting, maybe suspicious, but the patient could have acquired the virus in many other ways and places. In this case, as with smallpox, the CDC is just about the only place in America where the pathogen exists.
Could be that I'm just starting to notice it, but it does seem that a pattern is starting to emerge in the last few weeks.
The first thing I noticed was "former" CIA man Michael Scheuer, the guy who calls everyone Sir. He appeared on Glenn Beck a few weeks ago. Beck, who is certainly open to truth even if he's not quite ready to speak it fully, asked Scheuer a question that amounted to a cry of despair: If our leaders are not going to fight this war, how in the world are we going to win? And Scheuer answered approximately: Well sir, I think you'll find, sir, that the American People, sir, are considerably more bloody-minded than their leaders, sir.Bloody-minded
is a British term, not often heard here; the nearest American equivalent is froggy
. Both mean coldly and calmly prepared for a fight. Scheuer wasn't quite
saying that the people will have to take matters into their own hands, but the inference is clear enough.
On Monday night Thomas Sowell, who doesn't say Sir but usually sees reality more sharply than the rest of us, appeared on Fox "news" and declared that we probably need a military coup.
I've been thinking the same thing but didn't have the guts to say it until somebody else crossed the street first. (Well, actually I've been saying it for quite a while, using the weasely formula "A competent wartime president would do this and that......")
Frankly, we need a Pinochet. A benevolent dictator who will hit the reset button, rip out enemy subversion by the roots and leave us in survivable condition. Among other things, he would eliminate Federal appellate courts, eliminate Federal agencies that do more harm than good (which is about 80% of them); he would cut off trade with China, open all American territory to oil drilling and force oil companies to drill and refine; he would turn idle auto plants and workers to building dozens of nuclear generators on the French model.
He would unfortunately have to eliminate the Constitution, because its words have been so totally corrupted and inverted by the black-robed saboteurs that we all read it backwards and inside-out. Almost every action generally considered to be "required by the Constitution" is in fact prohibited or absent; almost every action generally described as "unconstitutional" is in fact allowed or required. Leaving it in place would unfortunately leave all the backward readings in our minds.
Perhaps he could take us back to the Articles of Confederation, which would work better today than in 1790 because of better communication and transportation. And it's not just that decentralizing can
work better; we desperately need decentralized decisions when fighting a loosely structured enemy.
= = = = =
Now, as promised by the title, Manweller's rule. Matthew Manweller is an unlikely source for dramatic statements of truth: he's a professor of Political Science at a state university. Granted, it's a small university in a rural town, but even there it takes some guts for a prof to come out solidly and loudly in favor of Western Civilization. He announced his rule as part of this speech
a few weeks ago.
In bumper-sticker form: Elections only happen when they don't count.
Summing up the whole speech: Bush has made an unspeakably stupid error by putting elections first in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is not how democracies develop. We have plenty of examples of the correct process: Taiwan, South Korea, occupied Japan and Germany after WWII, probably China in the near future. In each of these cases, private property, well-organized capitalism (banking, credit, stock markets) and fair courts came first. These gave business and invention the necessary backing and security. Elections and parliaments came later, and really don't make much difference. Elections are just one of the many goodies provided by a decent capitalist society, and they only hold up when they don't make a huge amount of difference. When you try to put elections first; when you let 51% of the votes decide which tribe gets the power and the oil; the election may take place, but its decision will be utterly irrelevant. The tribe that currently owns the power and the oil will bring out the AK-47s and settle matters more effectively.
Elections only hold up when all major groups feel that they are served "well enough" by the result, and this only happens after tribes have been replaced by a broad cultural agreement on the big questions, so that the political process only needs to handle the smaller questions. When a significant part of the population decides that elections are futile, the AKs come out of the woodwork again.
Polistra wishes she had written Manweller's Rule; it's her kind of observation. But credit where credit is due.
Still, she can add a corollary: Short of the AK point, the Manweller standard serves as a metric, to tell you which questions are truly important to the elites.
Regardless of all the pointless "debate" and partisan-sounding jabber, if a question is never allowed to be decided
by a vote of the people or the Parliament, you know it's vitally important. Emphasis on decided
because many questions are voted on for show, with both "sides" knowing perfectly well that the decision will not change.
Drilling for oil is a fairly subtle example. Both houses of Congress passed "bills" that appeared to allow drilling in the Gulf and in Alaska, knowing perfectly well that the other house would take care of turning it down.
Abortion is so important that the elites never even allow it to appear
as a bill in Congress. When "conservative" Supremes are appointed, they agree openly and publicly that they will always treat freedom to abort as settled law.
Another settled law that I've been discussing a lot lately: America must not fight against the Arab enemy. Both "parties" agree nicely that our army must remain in Iraq where it's effectively held hostage by Persia, and that we must not do any real harm to the enemy's strongholds like Mecca and Medina. Any candidate who comes close to suggesting the correct path to victory (eg Tancredo) is immediately sent to the funny farm.
Finally and most immediately, we see the elites are in full agreement that Open Borders shall never be questioned. Anyone who dares to suggest that the purpose of a nation is to protect its citizens from invasion ... well, we know what happens. Teddy, George and Hillary, on behalf of their respective dynasties, all agree that such cretins are Klansmen.
Polistra's third Memorial Day. On the previous two
she did a walk-through and made a political comment. This time it's personal.
God save the Queen. Please. For a long time.
Polistra notes with alarm that Charles the Halfwit, heir apparent to the throne of England, has commissioned a performance
of some kind of avant-garde shit-sound based on THE 99 NAMES OF ALLAH, to be performed in Westminster Cathedral. It's apparently not an actual Mohammedan ritual, but it's still honoring and obeying the enemy in time of war.
Please, Lord, if you exist, preserve Elizabeth II long enough for either Harry or William to take over; or else make Charles the Halfwit so egregiously and blatantly insane that he must be removed from the succession.
Britain had a remarkably similar problem in 1936, when the Duke of Windsor briefly served as King Edward VIII, but abdicated ... supposedly because of his involvement with the American playgirl Wallis Simpson, who had been divorced several times. Recent historians have found that the real problem wasn't the scandal of divorce; the real problem was that Edward was pro-Hitler and Simpson was a German honey-trap.
Consider that Diana's boyfriend at the time of her death was an Egyptian, and the parallel is uncanny.
On Fox "news" just now, Comrade Herridge is interviewing a white teacher who filed an EEOC discrimination claim after black students were allowed to insult her in all the predictable ways. (Bitch, honky, etc.) Most of the facts are also predictable: the school had told the teacher that she wasn't entitled to control the black students because "cursing and bad behavior are part of their culture." This is, of course, the entire point of Celebrating Diversity: establishing a hereditary aristocracy of gangsters who have the absolute right to do absolutely anything without punishment.
One thing was unexpected, though. When Comrade Herridge asked "Do you think the school would have done the same thing if you were black and the students were white?" ... the teacher turned the answer in a different direction. She didn't say what the school would have done; she said that the reverse situation was unimaginable
, because white and Hispanic kids simply don't behave that way!
At that point Comrade Herridge cut things short by snarling "Thanks for your time." Comrade Herridge's actual thoughts, unspoken but unmistakable: "Get the fuck out of my sight, you miserable white honky bitch!"
The overly publicized spats involving The Rosie aren't the only current examples of pointless disputes. In the little world of 3D graphics, we've been having some royal dustups lately over copyright and patent questions. Luckily, I'm not directly involved in any of them (though one came uncomfortably close to my specialty) and I'm old enough now to avoid taking sides and doing the "team thing" when it's not objectively necessary. I tried that a couple times when younger, and ended up feeling used and abused. After the dust settled, it turned out that the 'right' and 'wrong' sides weren't nearly as crisp and clear as they had initially appeared.
In each of these current disputes, the aggressor apparently has a history of starting fights, and seems to enjoy the litigation game more than productive work.
We need to redistribute futility. We need to make life more difficult for lawyers and litigators, and easier for plain old producers.
= = = = =
I should add a positive note. A recent Supreme Court decision (KSR International vs Teleflex)
has in fact made life harder for patent predators. In the last decade or so, the Patent Office has been granting "killer" patents for software, patents that attempt to cover extremely basic techniques used in almost every program or chip. The Supremes have now ordered the Patent Office to enforce the actual law
instead of giving in to the big-money players. Actual patent law is quite rational; has always forbidden patents on general or universal methods, requiring a patented item to be unique and fresh by well-defined standards.
Actual copyright law is not
rational. The provision that all works are presumed to be copyrighted at creation, without any need for registration, places nearly everyone in an untenable position. There is no way to know whether you're safe from an attack, because anyone can claim to own anything. On the other side, such claims of previous ownership are hard to maintain even when valid. Net result: real creativity doesn't matter and isn't protected. Expensive lawyers win, regardless of any facts. The solution is perfectly simple. Copyright registration is well-established and is used by all "serious" artists and publishers. All we have to do is eliminate the inherent copyright and require everyone to use the registry. If you don't find it in the registry, you're free to use it. Unfortunately this won't happen, because the big players (chiefly Disney, which wrote the current law through the corrupt services of Mary Bono) won't allow it.
Feminists in stagecoaches.
I was perusing the 1938 WPA Guide to Kansas to see if there was anything interesting about the tragic town of Greensburg.
= = = = =
GREENSBURG, (2,244 alt, 1,338 pop.) with its tall water tank [nope, not any more!] and grain elevator [now the only thing in town!] serves residents of the wheat and cattle lands that surround it. The town was named for D.R."Cannonball" Green, stagecoach driver along the route now followed by US 54, which is still known locally as the Cannonball Highway. .....
Carry Nation rode with Cannonball many times during the first days of her temperance crusade. Once, when Mrs. Nation was a passenger, Cannonball lighted a huge cigar; the reformer reached through the coach window, snatched the cigar from his mouth, and threw it into the dust along the roadside. Immediately Cannonball stopped the coach, picked up Mrs. Nation, and without a word lifted her down to the dusty road. Then he drove off - leaving her surprised, indignant and miles from town.
= = = = =
This reminded me of an anecdote about Susan B. Anthony that I've been keeping for a while, waiting for a proper opportunity to use it. Now's the opportunity! This happened in 1867 near Fort Scott. The writeup is from a newspaper article, apparently from the 1920's.
= = = = =
Ben Files, an old resident of Fort Scott, was manager of the eastern division of a stage line that ran between Humbolt and Fort Scott. One night just before the stage was to have left Humbolt, a woman and her female companion approached Mr. Files's driver and introduced herself. She was none other than Susan B. Anthony.
Miss Anthony wanted free transportation to Fort Scott. She had two heavy trunks which she also wanted carried for nothing. In her steady patronizing voice she undertook to impress upon the driver the importance of her position; also the fact that she never paid stage coach or rail fare. It was all donated to her for the good of the cause. In fact she seemed to think that she was showing the manager a personal favor by riding in his coach.
After much persuasion the driver finally consented to carry the two women without fare under the condition that they go before the manager immediately after arrival in Fort Scott. To this Miss Anthony readily agreed and away they went on the overland trip.
When Fort Scott was reached and all the passengers had alighted, the driver escorted Miss Anthony to Mr. Files's office and introduced her. Miss Anthony started on the same talk about "dead-heading it" wherever she went. She told him the same story, perhaps a little stronger for the manager's edification.
Mr. Files listened attentively until she had finished, then he squared off for action. "I'm sorry Miss Anthony," he said coolly yet politely. "The stage line carries no free passengers; it treats the rich and the poor, the prominent and the humble alike. Fare from Humbolt costs you and your companion twelve dollars. Your luggage will be carried free, as is our rule, unless it is in excess in weight. If so, the charges will be $2.00 per hundred."
Miss Anthony was understandably struck speechless. When she regained her voice she protested vehemently against paying such fare. Mr. Files stood firm, taking the protest silently. Time went on until only a few minutes remained before the hotel would close for the night.
Mr. Files informed her of this fact. She was baffled. There was no law on her side sufficient to warrant a refusal. Seeing not a straw to grasp at, she desperately plunked down the twelve shining silver dollars and started for the hotel.
"Hold a bit, madam", said Mr. Files. "Your trunk must be weighed." The baggage was loaded on the scales and found to be two hundred pounds in excess. "That will be four dollars, please." Open came Miss Anthony's pocketbook and down came four shiners, one at a time with words of protest between each one. Susan B. Anthony had paid her fare.
= = = = =
Yes indeed, these are the grand saints of feminism, like all their successors nothing more than nasty would-be aristocrats. Bravo to Cannonball Green, bravo to Mr. Files.
= = = = =
Math note: Twelve dollars may not sound like much, but it was about two weeks of an average nonfarm worker's income. So the fare from Humbolt to Fort Scott, 35 miles, was something like $1000 in today's money. Still think air fares and gas prices are high?
Yay roof! Yay roof!
Last night Spokane was whomped by a ferocious thunderstorm: a half hour of Niagara Falls, followed by two hours of steady moderate rain. A couple of downtown buildings lost their roofs ... presumably flat roofs with poor drainage.
It's a safe bet that my old roof would have suffered the same fate. The new roof (as of a month ago
) passed with drying colors! Thank heaven I had enough sense to overcome my frugality and get it done.
= = = = =
Technical and personal note: While trying to rig Polistra as a cheerleader, I realized that I have no idea how a cheerleader moves! I'd paid no attention at all to cheerleaders in high school. I mostly hung around with the Bohemian girls (who would be the hippies a few years later, and the Goths today) and with a few of the hoods and semi-tough types. I saw the Bohemians as desirable, and the semi-toughs as beneath my station. These preferences were fatally mistaken. The bohemian girls treated me as a sort of exotic collectible or intellectual toy; the semi-tough girls, who were thoroughly Christian, respected
me in the right ways, appreciated my clumsy efforts at chivalry, and certainly would have been better wives. I ended up marrying one of the Bohemian (hippie) types, which was a total disaster.
Here's the point: There was zero information available. Hormones and the classic high-school status hierarchy were the only guides. Parents and teachers gave no advice on the subject; magazines, radio and TV avoided the question; school gave the basics about sex and venereal disease but said nothing at all about selecting a mate. Serious textbooks and science mags were written from the false viewpoint of egalitarianism and Watsonian behaviorism.
A similar young nerd today will have tremendously better guidance, even if he doesn't listen to parents and teachers. He could listen to Rush and Dr. Laura, he could hang around various technical forums on the web and read the experiences of similar men who had been through the situation. [He could accidentally read this blog entry!] He could even find some textbooks that handle the subject correctly, because it's no longer illegal to acknowledge that males and females have certain permanent differences.
So the current era has problems, but it's distinctly better in this one way. Adolescents are barraged with a wider range of bad influences, but they also have access to useful and accurate info which simply wasn't around in 1966.
Oh, I see 2
Repeating from an earlier post,
enumerating some of Bush's idiotic and easily disproved fallacies:
= = = = =
"If we fail over there, the turrists will follow us home."
Think about this for a minute. Exactly how is this going to happen? Several thousand Sunni and Shiite warriors will not be able to infiltrate easily into American life. These guys are not the elite Westernized types that performed 9/11. If they do attack en masse by some method, it means we are not doing the basic job of controlling our ports and borders.
"All people desire to live in peace."
Observe what they do, not what they say. It's perfectly obvious from their behavior that Arabs do not desire to live in peace. Arabs love fighting. They are a warrior culture with no achievements other than death.
"9/11 happened because Afghanistan was a failed state."
Afghanistan was part of the story, but most of the training and planning for 9/11 happened in Germany, Oklahoma and Florida. There are always failed states around the world; Somalia and Sudan are both failed states that serve al-Qaeda well, and we haven't done anything to eliminate them. Eliminating failed states is neither necessary nor sufficient to protect OUR people from Mohammedans and Arabs.
And what does he propose for solutions? More wasted money, more use of our military in places where it won't make any difference. We can apparently protect the borders of Iraq, which means that we could
protect the borders of the United States.
= = = = =
Now let's add one more.
"Iraq needs to be a single nation."
I don't know why I didn't spot this one before; it's so bloody
Why was Iraq under Saddam such an aggressive problem for the rest of the world? Because it was a single nation. The only way it could be held together was by a brutal dictator like Saddam, who turned the people's anger outward toward scapegoats like the Jews and the Americans.
Therefore, by Bush logic, we need to force it back together again so it can become a problem again.
Overall, Bush logic is perfectly consistent. "When the correct answer is known, choose the wrong one. When we know that plan A will advance American interests, choose plan B."
This is exactly how an enemy agent would behave. Appear plausible and patriotic, while reliably picking the path of destruction every time.
Logic and immigration
Yesterday on Fox "news" (I think it was Malkin subbing for O'Reilly) a Leninist said "We need to remove race, class and culture from the issue of immigration."
I didn't hear any rational answer from Malkin, but there is one.
You can't remove biting, licking and tail-wagging from the "dog issue". You can't remove walls, ceilings and floors from the "house issue". You can't remove race, class and culture from the "immigration issue".
Race, class, and culture are BY DEFINITION the core of the immigration problem. Think about it: Do we get millions of immigrants from England nowadays? Millions from Australia? From Canada? No, we get handfuls, and I suspect those handfuls are balanced by equal emigration in the other direction.
There is no pull or incentive for masses of Canadians to move here, because they are already in a satisfactory place. Their race, culture and class are similar to ours, therefore their country is similar and equally pleasant.
immigrations, in other words the noticeable and troublesome immigrations, are always class-driven. The new arrivals in such mass moves are lower-class by definition; they are trying to escape a situation where they have little opportunity to make money. And they are generally from a different ethnic group and culture, because countries that are mainly settled by an English-speaking culture are generally satisfactory places to live, with sufficient opportunity.
What the Leninist meant, of course, is not
that we should remove those elements from the "issue". What she meant is that the government should impose censorship on the native-born, forbidding us to act and speak rationally.
This is THE BASIC LENINIST TRICK. Forced integration without natural adaptation. Define a victim group and an oppressor group; push the victim group into the midst of the oppressor group, in such a way that the victim group is guaranteed to fail and guaranteed to create trouble. Then tell the victims that their troubles are caused by the oppressors, and tell the oppressors that they need to celebrate diversity
: they need to sing hymns of praise to the failure-generating qualities of the victims instead of teaching or assimilating them into successful ways. Guaranteed result: mutual resentment, chaos, and then a brutal dictator to control the chaos.
Oh, I see.
Polistra has been taking it easy for a bit ... ants under control, roof under control, two pieces of work done, and three consecutive days
of half-decent weather for the first time since last summer. All adds up to a little relaxation.
While listening to C-Span's rerun of the Sarkozy inauguration, she noticed that Sarko emphasized something called the "Mediterranean Union",
which turns out to be a proposed ad-hoc organization of nations touching the Mediterranean. It would be an alternative to the EU, which has been increasingly turning into the Fourth Reich.
Sarko seems to understand the basic idea that ad-hoc treaties and partnerships work better than big free-standing organizations like EU, UN, and WTO.
Polistra has noticed this difference, and just now figured out why the big stuff doesn't work. It's painfully obvious but still important: Ad-hoc organizations, and separate treaties between two countries, don't have buildings
. A treaty doesn't have a General Secretary or a Plaza all to itself. As soon as you have a building and an executive, you become more concerned with Institutional Imperatives than with any of your original purposes. By contrast, a treaty or a temporary arrangement is managed by the tension between interests of opposing parties. Each country or side may specialize some bureaucrats to work on this treaty, but their job is not to maintain the grandeur of the treaty; their job is to watch the other side for violations.
= = = = =
Afterthought: This is similar but not identical to one of C. Northcote Parkinson's observations. CNP observed that an organization or company is likely to be lively and innovative as long as it's housed in temporary quarters: a garage or basement or an old rented loft. When you see a business proudly moving into sparkling new quarters, you know it's on the way down toward stagnation or death.
Hey, what a great idea! Let's make a law that halfway serves American interests and halfway serves Mexican interests!
Just like the oath of office says! "... to the best of my ability, to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and Mexico."
Maybe I'll try this on my next programming assignment. I'll offer to build a compromise application. Half of it will create graphics, and the other half will be a virus that tries to destroy your computer. Think the client will like that? Oh, I do hope so. It will make Teddy Kennedy happy, and as we all know, making Teddy happy is the sole purpose of every citizen of this country.
= = = = =
Every now and then a politician lets down his guard and says "Let them eat cake." In a bipartisan lovefest on C-Span after passing the bill, McCain made one of those beautiful revelations: "This issue has become the target of a lot of extracurricular
politics." Yes indeed, those pesky little extracurricular Gringos. Can't let them interfere with the proper business of Mexico.
Jerry Falwell passes
It seems obligatory for all proper conservatives to say something like this:
"Jerry Falwell did a lot for the movement, but his remarks about the cause of 9/11 were hateful and intolerant."
I'm not a proper conservative, so I beg to differ.
First of all, he was not talking about a direct human cause. He was speaking on a spiritual level. Those who criticize him are claiming to know the mind of God better than Falwell did.
I don't claim to know the mind of God; I'm at best a sort of "watchmaker deist", not sure if the creator is still interested in us. But if you're going to believe in a personal god -- which most of these conservatives do -- and if you're going to evaluate what this god wants, you have to use the documentation he left behind. And the documentation (especially the Reference Manual for Version 1.0) is jam-packed with tutorial examples
of fine civilizations destroyed when they fell into decadence.
Even if we treat Falwell's theory in a purely secular way, it makes good sense. We have in fact been weakened by multiculturalism, by our abandonment of the structures that once made us strong. Families with firm division of labor, kids feeling useful and lovingly limited, jobs with security, unconfused churches, men and women knowing what to expect from each other, teachers with authority and respect, civic organizations serving the poor .... on and on. Lenin and Mao have destroyed all of this, largely through the services of groups like the ACLU and Norman Lear's "People for the American Way". And that's what Falwell said.
Though I have no idea what a god may think, I can see the secular consequences of this chaos. It's brutally obvious. Sheikh Osama saw it as well, and knew we were ripe for an attack. He knew that our leaders were hopelessly crippled and confused by the ACLU, and wouldn't take the necessary steps to unite the country for its Christian God and against Allah. And Sheikh Osama's guess was correct.
Time Capsule: Isolationism
Listening to Bob Trout's
CBS newscast on the day when Hitler took over Austria in 1938. Most Americans were isolationists at that moment, and the attitude was expressed powerfully by Senator Lewis Schwellenbach,
Dem from Washington. As it happens, he grew up here in Spokane, and moved to Seattle when he chose to enter politics.Listen.
Here's a crude transcription of the main points, leaving out his poetic flourishes and emphasizing the parts I want to compare with modern thought.Hitler's seizure of Austria demonstrates 3 things:
1. The futility of contracts with dictators.
2. Treaties signed at the point of a sword are useless. This invasion climaxes a series of violations of Versailles by Hitler. The other signatories never made meaningful response.
3. Demonstrates the futility of war as instrument for settling controversy. Twenty years ago we gave our blood, our treasure, to spread democracy across the world. Twenty years later we see the torch of world leadership being seized by Hitler. We cannot deny that Hitler is the leader of Europe. We tremble at what he will do next. We know what will become of religious liberty, both for the Jews and for the Catholics. It just will not exist. We know what will happen ... to other freedoms as well ...
Note the parallel mention of Jews and Catholics as Hitler's victims. This appeared repeatedly in news of that era. In 1938 it was common (and correct) knowledge that Hitler hated Catholics as much as he hated Jews. To be sure, he later focused mostly on Jews, but he killed plenty of Catholics as well.
This parallel hatred is a fact that our Communist cultural masters have tossed down the Memory Hole. Stalin 'rectified' the story after the war, as a way of tearing America and Europe away from the Church. And Stalin succeeded in America. Most Americans believe that Hitler was a Catholic, acting on behalf of Rome, in concert with Pope Pius XII. But the Stalinist version didn't play so well in Poland, its main target. Thank God.
Back to Schwellenbach:Events are moving rapidly in Europe these days. ... England thought that by substituting the realistic actualities of Chamberlain for the idealism of Eden, it could stem the tide. Just two weeks later, England found it was too late. France thought it could rely on the "Steel Ring" it had placed about Germany. It now faces collapse of that ring. Even Mussolini looked with patronizing friendliness on his imitator; he now finds that the student has outgrown the master.
What does this mean for the average American? Certainly it leads to disillusionment with the instrument of war. We tried to preserve democracy in Europe once by going to war; we now know that war does not work.
Schwellenbach was exactly correct, given the information he had at the time. We had intervened in Europe only once, under Wilson. It failed mostly because Germany was not absolutely and utterly defeated, only worn down. But we didn't know all the reasons for the failure, and we had no experimental evidence for an alternate way to end a war with Germany.
Back to Schwellenbach:[Quoting Emerson] Things refuse to be mismanaged long. Though no checks to a new evil appear, the checks exist and will appear. Nothing arbitrary, nothing artificial, can endure. Of all forms of government yet conceived, democracy furnishes the most useful agencies for fighting arbitary mismanagement. What we must do is preserve democratic methods in America. No doubt we will be importuned again to spend our resources in a futile effort to correct the failings of Europe. The inevitable law of which Emerson speaks will take care of Europe. What we must do is care for our own. Futility has ever been the nemesis of democracies. Never in the world's history has it been more necessary for democracy to work than here and now.
I like the line: "Futility is the nemesis of democracies."
[Later: I like it so much that I mounted it on top of the blog!]
In our present situation, we have more data. We cannot say that war serves no purpose, nor can we say that dictators will inevitably collapse of their own weight. Roosevelt proved that a well-managed
war, plus a well-managed
followup, can totally defeat an evil ideology, and the Soviet Union proved that a dictatorship can keep going for a very long time if nobody seriously tries to defeat it. Reagan then showed how a very different type of war, equally well-done, could destroy the Soviet style of dictatorship.
Modern isolationists may sound just like Schwellenbach, but they come from several different angles.
Some of them simply and straightforwardly agree that war never works: they are either uninformed or deliberately lying.
But futility is still our nemesis. A bizarrely mismanaged war still generates a fully understandable sense of futility in Americans. We see a mismanaged war that accomplishes nothing, and all of our politicians and enemy-controlled journalists tell us this is what a "hard-fought war" looks like. Our politicians give us only two alternatives: continue to "fight hard", or surrender now.
And the sense of futility is so powerful that it overwhelms even those of us who know better.
We know now that three choices are available: Fight fiercely and competently, fight softly and weakly, or surrender. Roosevelt, Wilson, Chamberlain.
Bush and the 'R' brand politicians are doing Wilson, while trying to fool us into thinking that they are doing Roosevelt. The 'D' brand politicians still haven't sorted out their position; a few are honestly talking surrender for the wrong reasons, but most are just plain befuddled.
Schwellenbach's sense of futility was perfectly simple and perfectly logical in 1938, given what he knew. Our futility comes from a different source. We have data that he didn't have and couldn't foresee, but we also know that our leaders refuse to act on the data. The path to success is known and available, but our leaders refuse to follow it. So our fatalism is deeper and more frustrating.
= = = = =
Later update: Since I've linked this entry from the Profile, I really should provide a concise summary
of what Polistra stands for.
Basically, Polistra agrees with FDR. Not the caricature of FDR as the first modern liberal. That's another one of those agreed-on lies
, used by both modern "sides" to serve their own evil purposes. Polistra agrees with the real
More explicitly: Why do we have a national government? To protect the ordinary family
from the economic and physical depredations of various threats that are
too large for individuals to handle. What are those threats? Other nations that attack us physically or economically; transnational religious or political movements that attack us physically or culturally; and Mafia types such as financiers and speculators. When government has failed to stop the Mafiosi in time, government is obliged to provide the basic necessities and jobs that were stolen by the Mafia. Government is not
supposed to protect the "rights" of criminals or foreigners, nor should it encourage ordinary people to be foolish or lazy.
Polistra's cri de coeur:
Our government is responsible for our
people. Our government should serve the cultural and economic interests of our
people. If we ever reach the point when we've done absolutely EVERY FUCKING THING
necessary to advance the culture and prosperity of our
people, then we might be able to think about the internal affairs of other
goddamn countries. Until that time, leave other goddamn countries alone.
Buzz, buzz, buzz part II
about aggressive bees a couple of weeks ago, turns out to be both valid and general. In other words, it ain't just me they're buzzing. Today the warrior bees made the Spokane City Hall nearly uninhabitable, and the city had to call in a professional beekeeper to gather them up and take them out of town. Here
is KHQ's coverage of the situation. The story mentions that Spokane doesn't allow commercial beekeeping inside the city limits, so it's highly unlikely that any of these bees are 'farm animals'. It also mentions that bees tend to swarm aggressively when existing hives are overcrowded.
(Hint: Overcrowded is the opposite of empty.)
So the cause of the worldwide "hive collapse" simply cannot be any phenomenon that affects both wild and kept bees. All notions about cell phones or global warming are out. The problem has to arise from food placed in the hives by the keepers. Which in turn points straight to China and melamine, as I said in the previous article.
Meanwhile, back at the....
The same storm that destroyed Greensburg later caused flooding across a wide swath of Kansas. Manhattan was affected, though not disastrously. Some apartments and trailers in the south part of town received two or three feet of water from Wildcat Creek and the Kaw. No permanent destruction, but quite a bit of cleanup for those apts.
I checked for videos to see if anyone I knew was involved. Appears not, but this video
from a Topeka station shows some of the damage, and shows Wildcat Creek out of its banks.
What's more, toward the end of the video, I was surprised to see this shot:
Just under the bridge, there it is! The actual Mill, still standing. (It was never a mill, of course; it was always an abutment for an abandoned railroad bridge. But that doesn't affect the Mill where Polistra lives, since this
Mill was always a place in the imagination.)
One for our side
Rush is discussing the Dix Six, and as usual his team loyalty is missing a couple of points.
1. It's not just the Democrats who take the side of terrorists and ridicule citizens who attempt to report terrorists. Back in '02, I think, a lady overheard three Arab terrorists discussing a plot in a Florida restaurant. It was the Feds who ridiculed her, released her name to the public, and carefully apologized to the terrorists, using a transparently stupid cover story. (i.e., when she heard them talking about bombs, shooting, and other definitely violent actions, they were just using figures of speech or some such shit.) And in the more recent case of the Flying Imams, the Feds are ALLOWING their lawsuit against the passengers to proceed. The usual old "let the courts decide" attitude. Sorry, Feds, this isn't enough in wartime. You need to make the facts perfectly clear, and you need to firmly and publicly forbid such lawsuits.
2. The media's stupidity about home-grown or non-affiliated terrorists is indeed unforgivable. Various experts and embedded generals have been trying to get the message across, with plenty of good teaching and explanation, for at least three years now. Yet the same idiotic conversation is repeated every time: "So you're trying to tell me that these alleged extremists are not
part of al-Qaeda???" "Yes, that's right, they are not under Osama's direct command." Even granting that Paris Hilton is vastly more important to these "newscasters" than national survival, you'd think a point repeated 10,000 times would eventually penetrate and become internal knowledge.
But the media can't be solely responsible for getting an accurate message across. Maybe we don't need to go as far as FDR did, with an Office of War Information that sets obligatory themes for each week's entertainment, but it is necessary to put out accurate info and propaganda for our side, and to insure that it reaches the people without distortion. It's definitely not
enough to have a terminally ill press secretary who pals around with David Gregory and Helen Thomas. Gregory and Thomas should be in jail for sedition, not joshing with Tony the Cancer Spokesman.
This year, because of various distractions, I was late in ordering the annual supply of ant poison. Hoped I'd get by, but no such luck.
An hour ago, absorbed in work, I heard an odd sound ... a mixture of rushing and crackling. My first thought was Fire, so I snapped to attention and looked around.
THOUSANDS OF FUCKING ANTS, a satanic blanket of ants, were crawling and flying across the living room rug, toward the door.
Luckily I was able to spot the source of the invasion: a slot in the floor near the water heater; and luckily they were already marching toward the sunlight. So I blocked the front screen door open, which allowed the vast majority of the fuckers to march and fly directly out of the house; and I was able to vacuum up the stragglers that moved off in other directions. The hatchout stopped as abruptly as it had started, after 20 minutes of hell.
After I insured the invasion was finished, I took the vacuum bag out to the trash.
At that moment the UPS man brought the box containing the poison. I HATE ANTSI HATE ANTSI HATE ANTSI HATE ANTS
= = = = =
Silver lining, if it's possible to use such a term: After handling several thousand of the fuckers with competence and success, I don't have such a strong phobic response to one fucker.
Silver lining #2: My frantic take-no-prisoners Roosevelt-style vacuuming cleaned some nooks and crannies that I rarely reach with my usual Bush/Wilson vacuuming!
Paranoid thought on China, bees, dogs, birds.
Note the title. This is a paranoid thought, not a perfectly logical conclusion!
I'm not confident enough of this to place it in Madame Polisztra's crystal ball, but I think it's worth putting on the record.
Consider: For the last two years, our public health facilities and researchers have been pouring tremendous amounts of energy and resources into preparing for Bird Flu, an epidemic that began
in Southeast Asia. It seemed mighty dubious to me
from the start, and now it's starting to look dubious to the public health people.
Meanwhile, China sneaks contaminants like melamine into our pet food, poultry food, perhaps bee food, and perhaps human food. Our public health facilities (FDA, CDC, etc) don't quite know what to do about this, and seem to be lost.
"All war is deception." --- Sun Tzu,
Sarko! Sarko! Sarko!
Sarkozy wins! Valvoline loses!
I don't especially care if he favors America or befriends our useless leadership.
What matters is that Sarkozy recognizes both
of the threats posed by Mohammedans: outright war, and subversion by immigration and birthrate.
(The 'demographic dawa'.)
Our useless leaders (except for Newt, who will probably remain outside the government) still believe that Mohammedans are just like any other religion.
Sarko is right, our leaders are wrong. I keep hoping we will learn something before it's too late.Here's a column
from David Warren, a Canadian writer, that says it all.
= = = = =
Watching C-span's retransmission of the (English-language) network France 24. Noticeable difference from our media: the announcers don't show favoritism. If a genuine Nationalist like Sarko had won over a genuine Marxist like Valvoline in our country, we'd see on-screen suicides by newscasters.
A remark by one of their commentators struck a Bingo in my brain. "Well, you can stick a fork in the Socialist Party now; it's dead."
A party can die!!!!!!!
This is (of course) how it's meant to happen. Species, parties, institutions, start up, try to succeed, and die when they can no longer function.
This is NOT how the American system works. We have all these vast structures: Congress, parties, bureaucracies, CIA, FBI, State Dept, etc, etc .... and none of them ever die when their purpose is gone. They keep on moving, either wasting money to no end at all, or serving evil ends.
What we have is an UNDEAD government. A ZOMBIE government. Our two zombie parties lumber around, trailing corrupt goo, led by candidates with empty cranial cavities, whose mouths emit random scraps of meaningless verbal salad.
[Technical note: I've temporarily installed the French version of the top icon, as a sort of celebration.]
Polistra is heartbroken over the loss of an entire city in her homeland.
I'm slightly familiar with Greensburg. It was within the coverage of a grain elevator service company where I worked in the '70s, and I once did a day's work on the electrical system of the Greensburg Coop ... which is now the only big thing standing.
Nine deaths is not a huge toll, even for a city of that size; if 9 people died of old age in one day, it would be noticeable but not really newsworthy. The relative smallness of that number speaks to the value of preparation and organization. Lesser tornados in unprepared places (i.e. New York) kill far more.
But losing the entire city is special. It's a Biblical plague, and requires a Biblical level of attention. A city is the basic 'container' for families, and when it's gone, the families and people feel completely shipwrecked.
Notes on the MSNBC debate
Before hearing the commentary, a few notes from the MSNBC parallel press conference. Though it wasn't as good as the French method, it did provide a few salient points of reference.
What I noticed:
1. No questions or answers on education at all. Even Thompson, who deserves to blow his own horn on school choice, didn't see fit to mention it.
2. No questions on nuclear power, and I didn't hear anyone bring it up within the other energy-related questions. Newt wouldn't have let this subject slide!
3. Gilmore, who I must confess I've never seen before, didn't make a good debut. All his answers were weak.
4. Hunter made several big scores. He essentially declared war on Iran, saying the threshold had already been crossed. On "What did Bush do right / wrong" he said "Using precision munitions to kill Zarqawi is right, failing to secure our border is wrong." On the final question ("How would you differ from Bush") he pushed for strengthening our industrial base, paying attention to trade policy, and punishing China. Excellent.
5. Huckabee gave a surprisingly strong answer on corporate corruption: a CEO who gets huge bonuses for outsourcing jobs should be punished .... though it's not clear how that would happen. [This was the only thing in the debate that made me involuntarily clap. Not quite sure why, but it definitely struck a positive nerve.]
6. Tancredo on taxes: the standard "gold-bug" line, which sounds paranoid but in fact is inadequately paranoid. Says we can't enact a consumption tax unless we also repeal the 16th amendment. This is red meat for the Birchers, but they underestimate the all-consuming evil of the black-robed saboteurs. Nothing in or out of the Constitution has ever stopped a judge from making or revoking laws, and the absence of the 16th amendment wouldn't stop Phyllis Hamilton from reimposing the income tax on the nation if she felt like it.
7. Nothing really new from Brownback: still strong on life, still a bit slow on the draw in situations like this. Solid as a rock but disappointing.
8. Lots of meaningless talk about line-item vetos, again relying on changing the Constitution. A gutsy President could enact a line-item veto quite easily: he can simply veto all 'compound' or 'omnibus' bills, and tell Congress to send him single-purpose laws. It wouldn't take long for Congress to figure out how to do this, since they already write plenty of short, compact, single-purpose bills for trivial crap like renaming post offices.
9. Mitt and Rudy spent entirely too much time on clever, cute, cagey, calculated answers. Undoubtedly this fits the Rove/Morris playbook, but I think they're underestimating the national weariness with weasel words. Just tell us what you're doing and why. Give up the electoral engineering.
= = = = =
Listening to the rerun, I find Brownback's answers to be salient and interesting, though certainly undramatic; could be I'm just so familiar with him that his well-known answers were 'swamped' by the newer and more surprising stuff on the first run. Also, the local cable TV interrupted the first run with an Emergency Alert, which turned out to be a custody dispute (aka "Amber Alert") on the other side of the state. This annoyed me so much that I probably wasn't concentrating afterward.
Weird foreign customs
A screen-cap from C-Span's coverage of the debate between Nicolas Sarkozy and Valvoline Royal, candidates for the presidency of France. This was an actual discussion between two people who actually knew what they were discussing. The candidates faced each other and talked to each other, paying little attention to the moderators in back. The moderators were there to insure a relatively equal talking time (I think 15 minutes) for each major question, and presumably to control for irrelevance.
Each candidate had a well-formed and consistent set of ideas; both were able to run a question through the prism of their own ideas to form a set of consequences; both were listening and appropriately responding to the other candidate.
None of this should
be surprising; a major country should expect its leaders to have ideas, and should expect those leaders to use their specialized ideas to form solutions, on the fly if necessary. In the runup to an election, we should be able to examine the worthiness of those solutions and the discussion and learning abilities of the candidates. We should be able to see how they work with or against each other, since a parliamentary government should be fueled by the tension between contrary sets of ideas.
All of these concepts are totally foreign to American politics, at least since 1968. We now expect each candidate to be a well-organized audio CD of pre-planned stock phrases; we don't expect the stock phrases to be true responses to the questions, and we certainly don't expect any solutions to be mentioned. The only purpose of running several CD players in parallel (which we call a "debate" for some reason) is to watch for glitches. If one player is slow on the Play button, or chooses a track that is obviously meant for a different question, or worst of all, actually speaks to
another CD player!!!!! ... we can say Gotcha!
= = = = =
* Yes, I know her name is Segolene, but I like the sound of Valvoline Royal.
Rush and "we can't win"
This morning Rush is running a masterful and vicious piece of false reasoning, in defense of the R brand. I call it vicious because at other times and in other circumstances, Rush has shown that he understands the falseness of the reasoning.
He is distinguishing between two sides: 1. The Bush approach, which is "valorous" and "visionary", and will inevitably lead to victory, vs 2. The "we can't win" approach.
He says that our military can certainly defeat the Arabs in Iraq.
This is true, but Rush leaves out the most important factor.
Our military, when allowed to run at full speed, could in fact defeat anyone.
But our military, hobbled by Bush's "hearts and minds" rules of engagement, will not defeat anyone. And our current
goal in Iraq is unachievable.
And the Bush "vision", as well as the Bush way of fighting delicately, has already been tried by Wilson. It didn't work.
At one time (rather briefly) Rush actually led the argument toward fighting harder.
Now, for tactical reasons I don't understand, or just out of plain old R-brand team loyalty, he is playing a clever game.
Sorry, Rush, it doesn't work.