Monthly Archives: August 2008

It's Real……

OK, so I am pretty much convinced now that this is not some kind of weird vitamin pill induced vivid dream, and John McCain really did pick Sarah Fucking Palin to be his running mate, and did in fact stare at her ass while fiddling with his wedding ring during her cheerleaderish introduction speech.

Without beating a dead horse, what does this say about John McCain’s judgment?

And people were worried about Obama answering the phone at 3 a.m.?!

Let’s put it this way: Joe Biden called Slobodan Milosevic a war criminal to his face.  What’s Sarah Palin going to do? Hope Putin looks into her eyes and gets a boner?

I suppose if one of the constitutional duties of the the VP was to decide on Washington D.C.’s zoning issues, she’d be very prepared.

Palindrome Nilap

Bush Patsy McCain spills Palin; Nil Ap Sllips?

Okay, not quite, but this gamble could well be the latest example of Bush Patsy McCain’s lifetime of horrible judgment.

I spent a formative summer working in Alaska when I was nineteen. It is a special place. Alaska is a true frontier where anyone willing to work hard and withstand the winter can make it, regardless of education level or even criminal history. As such, Alaskan politics is all about allowing enough corporate — outside of the family fishing boat — natural resource development and federal swag to create great wealth while distributing this moolah widely through high wages for all manner of manual laborers and that sweet oil royalty check each Alaskan gets yearly.

Anchorage is like the Seattle, Washington or Portland, Oregon of 110 years ago: the place to have a professional complete the paperwork on the wealth you just made out in the “bush,” and then go get liquored up, peruse and pursue the reproductive organ of your choice, and ponder your next effort. Although about 40% of Alaskans reside in Anchorage, “Real Alaska” is the “bush” and the semi-isolated towns like Nilap’s Wasilla. I suspect that Nilap’s success in Alaska was a reaction to the corporate/federal largess side of Alaskan politics getting so out of whack that it appeared to defy the reverence-for-hard-work chunk of the Alaskan zietgiest. Nilap of Wasilla was then a perfect “Real” Alaskan to set the barometer the other way and increase the oil royalty checks while scooping out a side of ethics reform. Her story really ends there and if there is fire to accompany the smoke of her own Troopergate then she and Bush Patsy McCain are toast.

The problem with Nilap’s history is its relevance to the rest of America. Alaska is a unique state with no cities equivalent to a Columbus or Albuquerque (to say nothing of Los Angeles or New York), no towns like Scranton, no first ring suburbs, few office parks, and few factories. Even its isolated, semi-autonomous, small towns and rural areas are much more wild than Any Town, Missour-uh or even any exurb. Heck, even its indigenous people have a political situation unlike those of the Tribes in the contiguous American West. Obama has also had to link his exotic background to Americus familiarus, but he has proven a master of relevance from his 04 debut. His experience is much more thorough than Nilap’s and he has been squeezed, percolated, and consumed for 20 months against the toughest of competition and emerged more than viable.

The passion of the Clintonettes has always confounded me, but it is telling that HRC only earned it, after 16 years in the public spotlight, once the tear up moment in New Hampshire made her seem at one with a legion of quietly exasperated Boomer women. The most insane PUMAs were never going to vote for Obama, but it seems unlikely that the vast majority of rational Clintonettes would support Nilap just because; just as they wouldn’t have supported the infinitely more qualified Sibellius or McCaskill had Obama veeped them.

One of the great developments of the Democratic Convention is that it is now clear to anyone with a whit of political savvy that the more HRC does to get Obama elected the more she increases her own clout. If her efforts already haven’t made her Senate Majority Leader, she will certainly be the most prominent member of that chamber and she obviously has the acumen to use that prominence to wield tremendous influence.

I’d like to see Dems hammer Bush Patsy McCain/Nilap on the equal pay issue the Dems raised so artfully throughout their convention. If Nilap supports it then why doesn’t Bush Patsy McCain? If she doesn’t then it is clear that Nilap doesn’t care about woman’s economic equality any more than she cares about their reproductive freedom. What a Conservatron! I’d love to see HRC deliver a harsh verdict when Nilap accepts next Wednesday.

Apparently, Nilap does not even know what the Veep does, y’know, stuff like being President of the Senate and breaking fifty-fifty ties. If a month from now Nilap turns out to be Dan Quayle with a vagina then we are in for a landslide come November.

Update: I spent my formative summer working at a fish cannery in Bristol Bay. Every year millions of sockeye salmon return to Bristol Bay to spawn; evidently, horny Alaskan teenagers(?) do the same thing.

Barack Obama: The 21st Century Jacksonian

Andrew Jackson was the first president elected through universal white male suffrage. This seems hopelessly limiting today, but eliminating the property owning requirement opened the vote to the hardscrabble, not necessarily educated, self-made folks of the old old west of Tennessee and Kentucky and the like. There were folks who mostly immigrated from different parts of Europe and had austere upbringings compared to the founders. At the end of their lives the founding fathers viewed these new voters with Pandora-like horror; the great republic that was to have been run by disinterested gentleman would now be directed by the passions and heat of the unwashed masses.

Jackson was a bizarre and contradictory President, but he is on the twenty dollar bill because he encapsulates this larger democratic change.

Obama is not bringing voting power to any group that lacks it. Rather he is an ambassador from America’s polygot future, where multi-racial or multi-cultural upbringings are the the norm; where it is easy and obvious for someone to be both definitively Polish, Bengali, Jewish, or Peruvian and genuine USA All-American. The story of his candidacy — beyond the fact that his positions and reasoning are deep and impressive if you bother to do your homework — is the ability of increasing numbers of the mini-tribes that America has coalesced into to see their otherness in his otherness and accept both. This explains both the ability to draw 75,000 person crowds and the uneasy lack of definition many, mostly older, people feel about the Obamathon.

In that spirit the fourth night of the convention was a 21st century update to the “hard cider and log cabin” rallies of the Jacksonian Era. These were community affairs featuring ample drinking, dancing, speechifying and music making. Similarly, just like the huge Obama rally in my hometown last spring, Mile High Stadium was “the place to be” last night, especially when viewed on C-Span without the agonizing interference of the cable news bloviating filter feeders. Both the live and piped music was grand. There was dancing, merriment and yes drinking aplenty. The speeches by the “typical” Americans, a Jacksonian touchstone, were even better than usual because they were delivered with affect in front of a group of peers rather than delegates. Seeing Pelosi and other luminaries as just part of the gigantic crowd was in the best spirit of Jacksonian equality. Gore added wonderful praise to Obama’s younger voters, treating them as a force rather an oddity. Obama’s speech was magnificent. It had enough detail and fortitude to defy the foolishly low expectations that the Conservatrons had set for him, and enough of his trademark Persuasive relevancy and rhetoric to ignite the crowd.

The moment produced a glow with fireworks raining confetti. Even the network anchor types seemed to get it.

Bush Patsy McCain gets to step on this moment with his peculiar choice of Palin for veep, but I suspect that the future of American politics will look like that rally last night. A happening; a Be In with song, spectacle and speech that is more about your presence there –through your computer if not physically — than producing a seven second audio and visual for the old network news that no one watches anymore anyway.

Hillary Nails It.

You were just as stupid as a PUMA if you thought that the Clintons wouldn’t work to beat the Republicans. Do you remember what they were put through by the “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy?” If there is a mortal enemy of the Clintons, it’s that crew; not the Obamas.

Sure, it always sucks to lose. And if you’re Bill Clinton, to hear over and over that your legacy has been tarnished and that your playing racial politics when you were one of the best Presidents ever on African-American issues, when there are literally schools named after you in black neighborhoods—it’s gonna stick in your craw.

But the last thing the Clintons will allow, if they can control, is for the Republicans to beat them.

That was the speech of her life and everyone knows it. I think I’m glad Obama picked Biden, but as Mr. MacGregor says—is there any doubt that she’s the next majority leader.

Night Two

I. Damn it! How come more Democrats cannot pull off a speech like Kucinich’s?

II. Happy that the scabbard by and large came out today. Especially gratified that people began to point out Bush Patsy McCain’s rabidly anti-female stances.

III. If not for Obama’s need to shore up his foreign policy credentials Schweitzer should definitely have been the Veep if he wanted it.

IV. Hillary finally delivered a Persuasive speech! The choice not being about her, but about the American anecdotes she mentioned was the perfect antidote to the narcissistic nonsense of the Boomer Pumites. Bravo! How much longer do you think that Harry Reid will really be Majority Leader, either officially or practically?

Lay not thine hand upon the lad

Interesting article in this month’s Tikkun.

I’ve read Jewish Renewal, and consider it one of the most inspiring books I’ve read.  But this profound nugget just clicked with me: the victims often repeat the cycle and become the oppressors.  It’s why sometimes the downtrodden seem to lack empathy.  The pain inflicted on them deadens them to human empathy, it doesn’t engender it.  At least not usually.

This is the story and meaning of the Binding of Isaac.  Why Abraham did not go through with the child sacrifice, the kind of which had been going on all over that part of the world at that time, he broke the chain, as Rabbi Lerner points out.  Thus, the Jewish religion was born.

If that’s the core message of Judaism, it is more deep and insightful than most people think.  I think in our political context it’s why people “vote against their interest.”  What’s The Matter With Kansas? It’s not that people are turning to God because they’re bitter and have no other realm to pursue right and wrong, it’s because they crave healing and our government does zero about it.

I mean, just look at New Orleans.

And the Democrats aren’t doing anything to address this either.  At least they aren’t talking about it.

We need to start caring for our people again.  It won’t solve everything, but it will have broad effects.  Will someone start talking about this, please?

Night One

Family Night was a zesty curtain raiser. What may have been Teddy Kennedy’s valediction was superlative and poignant. Can you think of a Republican who could  offer a similar stirring moment in such circumstances?  Of course not. No Republican has actually tried to make a meaningful difference in Americans’ lives to anywhere near the extent that Teddy Kennedy has. This fact is the crux of what makes me a proud Democrat. The Conservatrons will never muster such a moment.

Michelle scored. The Barack jump in was a little too Twilight Zone and sativa-ish, but the Obama kidlets outshone the trippiness.

Meanwhile, Bush Patsy McCain is starting to overplay the POW card, saying on Leno that this experience okays his inability to account for his domiciles. Rudy 911iuina can turned that horrible event into a punchline. If the MSM ever stops worshipping him, Bush Patsy McCain will do the same for the bravery that he *ahem* doesn’t like to talk about….

So far so good, but I am still eager for someone at this confab to mention Bush Patsy McCain’s support for apartheid South Africa and all of the other legion of examples of his horrible judgment and being on the wrong side of history.

The Democratic Convention: A Good Action Movie

Action movies are all productions of stage craft  schemed to display optimal pyrotechnic eye candy. The good ones make the action about more than the explosions. In RoboCop, one of my all-time favorite flicks, each action scene was part of a treatise on the meaning of humanity and a step towards detangling the mystery of Murphy’s identity — in addition to being a cybergenetic gorefest.

Similarly, the Party Convention has long since moved from event to spectacle. Increasingly, the nothing-is-actually-decided MSM kvetch is no longer the story. In this day and age, packaging acumen is one of the most critical skills any organization can have. Watching this action can be dull and annoying, except for in cases, such as with Robocop, when the physical action is more than just putting on a show.

Obama is outperforming Kerry from 04 amongst Republicans and independents. Because Democrats now thoroughly out number Republicans the only reason the election is close is because Obama is underperforming amongst Democrats compared to Kerry in 2004. Once again, Team Clinton has demonstrated its uncanny ability to put itself in the spotlight; the election appears to be hinging on reticent Clintonites and especially Clintonettes.

So, there is abnormal pertinence to the stagecraft surrounding Team Clinton. If you take it as a given that Hillary is calculating than she faces some agonizing calculus. An endorsement perceived as tepid could torpedo Obama and presumably set the table for HRC in 2012. Conversely, is she were to receive the blame for a loss, then her chances at national office could be scotched. Much as we’ve heard about the lingering bitterness of the Clintonettes I’d be wary of four years of Obamites scorned.

Similarly, the filling-in-the-blanks of Senator Obama portion is critical simply because there are so many blanks to be filled for a multitude of voters. Fortuitously, the Bush Patsy McCain, the Conservatrons, and their e-mail sending viral spawn have set the bar so low through their attacks and hatred that it may be enough for Obama to show up not looking like the Shoe Bomber, and to then give a highly relevant speech. His ability to do so, after all, being the reason that he has gotten so far in the first place.

Throw in a few cameos by Teddy “Obi Wan” Ken-ennedy and The Goreacle and you have a riveting feature.

So while I’m waiting for my take n’ bake pizza to cook here are a few things I’d like to see:

1.) Ceaseless mentioning of Bush Patsy McCain’s regular anti-choice, anti-equal pay, anti-family planning and overall anti-woman stances. Obama vs. Bush Patsy McCain should be a no brainer for any left of center female.

2.) At least a few mentions of Bush Patsy McCain’s support for apartheid South Africa and vote against MLK day. Bush Patsy McCain has regularly apologized for being on the wrong side of history in these cases and he should be made to do so time and again.

Knoller's Murder Conviction Reinstated

I’ve been following the case of Margorie Knoller since it first broke in 2001, when I was still in law school.  It’s interesting to me because it’s such a great demonstration of the different degrees of homicide and how politics distorts law.

The pertinent facts are that Knoller and her “partner” Robert Noel—creepy right-win types exiled in San Francisco—owned two Canary dogs, Bane and Hera, and wimpy Knoller lost control of Bane after walking him on the roof of their building.  Bane killed Diane Whipple in a vicious attack that the other dog may have joined in.

The San Francisco DA was all over it.  You see, Diane Whipple was a lesbian “murdered” by right-wing militia types with a “lethal weapon” of a dog.  Even Noel got an involuntary manslaughter conviction for negligently leaving Knoller with two “lethal weapon” dogs she couldn’t control.

For those of you unfamiliar with San Francisco politics, just know that the gay community has significant political power, and it hasn’t always used it for liberal purposes.  Just ask the health official who tried to close the bathhouses in the early 80s when AIDS was first detected.

At least partly recognizing that fact, the trial was moved to LA, where the jury nonetheless found Whipple guilty of murder in the second degree.  This means that she “knew” her conduct endangered life, as opposed to engaging in behavior that was risky with life, or engaging in behavior that a reasonable person would have avoided—those are lesser degrees of homicide, often called manslaughter in the first and second degree or manslaughter and negligent homicide in some states.

The trial judge rejected the jury’s verdict and found that it was manslaughter.  The California Supreme Court reversed and a new trial judge picked by—you guessed it—a San Francisco chief judge reinstated the murder verdict, refusing to put the case back with the original trial judge.

In my opinion this is political lynching.  A manslaughter conviction is nothing to sneeze at.  But to get it to be murder just because vicious dogs are a hotbutton issue or because these people were fucking weird and Whipple was well loved—that’s not the law; that’s not justice—it’s the mob.

The analogy in a law book might be using a lethal weapon in a way that someone would “know” endangered life.  Perhaps shooting a gun in the air in a non-rural area.  You’re not actually intending to kill anyone, but you know you could be killing someone and you just don’t care.  But the difference here is that the gun is wholly governed by the laws of physics.  Dogs are not.  Even the best trained dogs don’t follow orders 100% of the time, and there is not a shred of evidence that Bane was commanded to attack Whipple; on the contrary, the evidence shows, and the conviction was based on, the fact that Knoller was UNABLE to control Bane and Hera.

Yes, anyone familiar with the breed would “know” that a Presa Canario/Canary Dog could kill a human under certain circumstances.  I suppose my Yellow Lab could too if he was pissed enough and the person was weak and/or small enough, and I “know” that.  And yes, Canarios are bred for security and viciousness, I know, I know, I know.

This is not a brief arguing that Knoller is innocent. She is not.

But she is not guilty of murder.  This makes a mockery of what murder is.  Murder is meant to punish intentional killings or killings that have an inevitable causal outcome of death.  An animal as sentient as a dog does not operate like a physical machine; it’s not like shooting pool with grenades.

Anyone stupid enough to have these dogs in an apartment deserves to go to jail for animal cruelty alone.  Anyone stupid enough to let them attack and then do nothing is a shitty person, and in this case a manslaughter. This person, Knoller, almost appears to not have a soul.  She is a defective seed, and does not play well with others.  And her “partner” was a real piece of shit too, Mr. Noel.  But when degrees of crime and years in jail are based on whether someone is a piece of shit, things aren’t good.  Being a bad person and having a bad character can make your testimony not credible, which can indeed get you locked up longer.  But here, we have the facts and judges are saying different things about what they mean, and they are disagreeing because some people are considering more than credibility, facts, and law.

She’s all kinds of things.  Just not a murderer.

Article, SF Chronicle.

Obligatory VP Post

Biden would not have been my first choice.  I’m not sure what Obama thinks this means for his “change” message, or what he thinks of Biden’s vote on the bankruptcy bill or the AUMF.  I’m also not sure why someone who would highlight Obama’s weaknesses was such a good choice, but I guess they gamed it out and decided that this lessens the “risky” perception.

I don’t really care whether Biden is perfect. I just want them to win.

California: Broken By Tax Rebels

Grover Norquist famously said of the U.S. government that his goal was to make it so small it could be drained in a bathtub.  Norquistian logic hasn’t shrunk the Byzantine California government, but it has perhaps choked it.

When Proposition 13 became law 30 years ago, the inflationary environment was causing people to be taxed out of their homes.  People demanded relief.  So, what they got instead was a tax reform that took no account of inflation, and simply forced the state to depend on sales tax.

A few more reforms that arose from behind the Orange Curtain included term limits, ostensibly aimed at legislative barons like Willie Brown, and legislative districts gerrymandered to the point that they almost never change parties, even when the incumbent’s term limits are up, and you have a broken state government.

The legislators on both sides are ideological tools of the parties.  Just ask Assemblywoman Farra, who was kicked out of her Capitol offices by Speaker Karen Bass for not voting with the party on a vote that wasn’t going to win anyway, or the Republicans who won’t compromise on a budget even when it would help their district.

Even Governor Schwarzenegger, the only actual free agent in the state government—he can go left, go right without asking permission—has been powerless to force an on-time budget. Again. Even his threats of paying state employees minimum wage have created no action, just more of a circus.

In spite of this, and in spite of asinine direct democracy that has made our state’s laws and constitutions a bastard of Frankenstein, California is still leading in some areas on the progressive front.  California is doing more than the feds and most states on global warming.  California legalized gay marriage and will sustain that legalization in a popular vote.

But to me those are just tragic glimpses of a stifled potential.

Empirically Time To Act

The race is tightening.

Even if the poll showing McCain ahead is an outlier, all of the polls show that the race is tightening.  It’s because we are getting the nightmare pussy Democrat groundhog day effect.  Obama is not fighting back hard enough.  Sorry. I hate to say it. He’s just not.  He’s trying to stay above the fray.  That’s fine when you have a 20 point lead.  He doesn’t. I’d say realistically he has a 1-2 point lead.

It’s time to attack McCain for his philandering, for his image makeover—why isn’t Obama saying everytime that he misses the John McCain of 2000, the one that people THINK they are voting for.

People were freaking out before, but that was stupid pundits who had no empirical backup. Now there is.

Pick someone who kicks ass for VP, damnit.

LA Times: Poland Jittery Over Georgia

The LA Times had this piece on the Polish reaction to the Russian/Georgian conflict.

One thing I found striking was this:

Poland, a member of both NATO and the European Union, views the U.S. as its most reliable ally, far more trustworthy than Western European nations including France or Germany, which Polish President Lech Kaczynski accused over the weekend of being too timid on Russia.

Now, I don’t know about the Germans or the French and what they would do if Poland were invaded.  Last time, in World War II, it was the invasion of Poland that finally got the Allies off the dime.  I doubt Russia would invade Poland, due to its NATO membership.

Moldova—which has a similar internal conflict—and Ukraine, however, are probably not as secure at all.  And Belarus has practically anschlussed back into to Mother Russia already.

That ancient Chinese curse: may you live in interesting times…

Drudge: VP announcement tomorrow

Of course, he also says “developing…this week.”

Duh. The convention starts a week from today. One way or another, the announcement is coming.  I wonder if they’ve covered up the plane painting yet.

So, just in case here are my lists:

Preferred:  Gore, Clark, Dean, Clinton
Predicted: Selebius, Bayh, Nunn, Kaine, Biden.

For some reason, I have this feeling that I’m not going to like the pick.

Obama Goofs, Again.

Conservatives have Democrats of a certain age group convinced that the way for Democrats to win elections these days is to compromise on what their rabid liberal base believes.  For example, Democrats have attempted to dodge the “issue” of gay marriage through the half-assery of state-by-state solutions and civil unions instead of “marriage.”

The problem with this, and any other number of Democratic “compromises” is that they implicitly confess that their position is wrong. The political process could well work out a compromise just like this, but once you say it’s what you want, you’ve lowered your bottom line, and then the other side just says, “nope, I’m right.”

Same with Iraq, same with FISA, same with Supreme Court justices, etc.  The Republicans had a successful run because they used to have a coherent ideology that seemed to mean something, even when its true effect was the opposite.  But people who didn’t spend all day thinking about it thought it sounded like it made sense and the Democrats seemed to only want to take the edge off the same ideas a little, so why not go with the real McCoy?

So, Obama, who was supposed to represent change, who vowed never to be swiftboated, is doing none of this.  To an extent its brilliant: go after the available evangelical vote if you can get it.

But you get it by explaining why your way is actually better for evangelicals.  Something like, “Leviticus 18:22 [the commandment allegedly against male-male sex] is just one of the hundreds of things God calls on us to do, and it has taken too much of our time.  What about the commandment to love your neighbor? What about the commandment to do justice?” etc. etc.  and explain why the liberal view actually is closer to the Biblical view.

Or explain why withdrawing from Iraq is not a sign of weakness, but a strategic emergency to defend us against true threats, like Russia and China, instead of using our military as a special project force for oil companies, it should protect all of us.

Or ask us to have some balls and not be pussies.  We will give counter-intel and anti-terror forces the tools they need, but we won’t undo what America stands for in the process.  Fuck the terrorists, we can be martyrs for freedom—or are you a pussy? I thought liberals were pussies?  Well, we’re the ones willing to live free or die.  They’re the ones willing to live unfree and still probably die.

Look—I get it, you have to pivot to win in the general.  But you don’t pivot by deflating your base and capitulating over and over.

And, unlike pundits, my sentiments on Obama’s effectiveness seem to be showing up in swing-state polls (Ohio and Colorado) and in the national polls.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Is this the new Warsaw Pact?

The Asia Times says:

As far as Iran is concerned, the Georgia crisis is not confined to South Caucasus and has broader implications for region, including Central Asia and the Caspian area, that are both positive and negative. That is, it is a mixed blessing, one that is both an ominous development signaling a new level of Russian militarism as well as a crisis of opportunity, to forge closer ties with Russia and enhance its chance of membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the grouping dominated by Russia and China.

I’m somewhat skeptical that Islamic Iran and Russia and China can form a stable bloc.  I’m skeptical that Russia and China can even do so, even given their similar post-Communist neo-Fascist governments.  But like so many in the world, they are united in one thing: their opposition to the United States and its Empire.

It’s time to wake up, America.  Our little hunting of Arabs for sport must end, and we quit playing this 21st century version of cowboys and indians.  The world is turning.

As The Poet put it

if you knew how much we loved you
you’d cover up
you wouldn’t fuck around
with the passion 
that killed three hundred thousand people
at Hiroshima
or scooped up rocks from the moon 
and crushed them to dust
looking for you
looking for your lost encouragement

—Leonard Cohen

Russian Bear Now Growls At Poland

Just as the ink was drying on the Georgian cease-fire, a Russian general has now threatened possible nuclear attack against Poland, due to their recent agreement to install an anti-ballistic-missile system.

The US position has always been that our ABM systems would never be able of stopping a Russian attack, and, therefore, its use is not aimed at Russia.  That is probably true.  But the problem is this: if it is effective enough to eliminate a credible second strike, then the MAD doctrine fails. (I don’t know that one based in Poland could do this since submarines—not missiles—are the largest component of a second strike.  Those rail-based launchers, maybe?)

In other words, even if our ABM systems are incapable of destroying all inbound Russian missiles in a first strike, if they erode or eliminate the Russians’ ability to retaliate in a second strike, then the entire nuclear strategic balance is destroyed, and the most effective deterrent is gone.

Under MAD, a first-strike nuclear attack is deterred.  It would most likely only occur, if, say, a NATO country were invaded.  But without it, such an invasion would have to be coupled with a first strike, because the invader would know that it could not survive a first strike in retaliation. 

Without MAD, there is almost no way that a war involving major powers on opposing sides would stay conventional—that is the risk.  And given that the nuclear stockpiles have been drastically reduced since the end of Cold War I, it wouldn’t take a super-effective ABM system to unbalance MAD.

If our hunter-killer submarines have a beat on every Russian missile sub, and our air force can shoot down their bombers, and the ABM system can eliminate their second strike capability, we would likely survive a retaliatory strike.  I’m confident of all of these except the ABM system—it has not been shown to be effective at all.

It wouldn’t be pretty, but it wouldn’t be as bad as it would have been 30 years ago.

In any event, if it is true that our ABM system was never designed to stop a Russian first or second strike, Russian provocation has effectively made it necessary to design it that way.

Let’s not forget: even though “Star Wars” was imaginary, and Ronald Reagan was delusional about it, it did in fact play a role in the downfall of the Soviet Union, who cracked under the pressure of believing their conventional and nuclear forces would need to be built up in order to restore the balance lost through a potential “Star Wars” system. It destroyed their economy.

So, what would I, the liberal, say we should do?

  • Immediately pull out of Iraq.
  • Immediately begin production of ten new aircraft carriers, ten new attack submarines, and increase the army based in Europe by several divisions.
  • Station some B-2s in Afghanistan, and some in northern Norway.

If this is Cold War II then its time we get our shit together and quit playing Arab killer.  The nuclear game is one that matters—it’s real; it’s not just an excuse to go to war for oil.

Liberals Under Attack

First the church shooting in Tennessee, now the Democratic Party Chairman in Arkansas is murdered. All while Bush is trying to start a nuclear war with Russia.

WTF?
I just wonder—will there be retaliation? and will people blame retaliating liberals more than these murderers? We all know the answer.

The Republicans Can't Fun a Foreign Policy Without Hate

From the one semi-non asshole at Slate, Fred Kaplan:

In the long term, the best way to take Russia down a notch (along with Iran, Venezuela, and other hostile powers overflowing with oil money) is to pursue policies and fund technologies that slash the demand for oil. The Georgia crisis should make clear, if it isn’t already, that this is a matter of hard-headed national security. 

That’s practical. It doesn’t involve us dehumanizing the Russians (isn’t it easy to just slip back into hating them?) or calling everything they do terrorism. It’s coordinated with energy policy, and has many moving parts. The GOP can’t handle that.
I don’t think Russia should be allowed to snuff out fledgling democracies just because they happen to be next to them any less than the United States should snuff them out, as we have, in Latin America. But this brings us to our next point:
Not only is the US incapable of running a practical foreign policy based on achieving something practical and meaningful, but we are now incapable of using moral suasion to do so. For whatever reason, we were able to keep our moral leadership through Iran, Guatemala, El Salvador, Cuba, Viet Nam, Grenada, and Chile. But not this time. This time, the world lost its trust in us—with Iraq.
So, what to do? As I suggested below, we might want to fast track other eastern European states entry in NATO. Contrary to what Kaplan suggests, the Russians will not invade a NATO country. Georgia wasn’t in yet. If it had been, this would have been a negotiation.
But other than that, and defanging the oil nations, I would recommend that it’s finally time for the European Union to take some leadership on its own regional security. Sarkozy apparently did negotiate the cease fire here. Good. But instead of being mediators, they need to quit relying on the US and Israel to cover their asses.
Israel has its own problem and eventually will stop being such a focus and work something out. The US is overextended. We protect Europe, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Israel again, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Japan.
South Korea has taken some steps toward self-security. But could Europe alone repel a Russian invasion? Just barely. And “just barely” in wars between nuclear states is extremely dangerous, because the urge to go there and tip the balance is greatest.
It’s time for America to stand down, and start taking care of itself. But if there is such a think as “Europe” it needs to stand up.

"Where Are The Americans?"

“Where are the Americans?” fleeing Georgian soldiers reportedly asked.

The answer is America is neutered and invisible.

What honest response does America have for Russia’s military action? Our army is bogged down in Iraq. Our ability to punish Russia with sanctions or other economic means is checked by our need for their oil. Any diplomatic or moral authority is obviated by our own venal Iraq attack. Even any official statement of disapproval is made ridiculous by the sight of Generalissimo Bush yukking it up at the Olympics with his soul mate Putin in between creepy flirt sessions with our female beach volleyball pin up nubility.

Russia has called the bluff of America’s supposed unipolar military, moral, diplomatic, and economic strength. Our ineffectual response is the sum of the Bush junta’s failures in military and energy strategy.

Pathetic. Embarrassing.

Georgia

No, we shouldn’t get involved in a war with Russia, and we shouldn’t send troops to Georgia. The cat is more or less out of the bag on this one.

But that doesn’t mean we must accept Russia’s hegemony in the region. If there are other states seeking NATO membership, the process should be accelerated dramatically, including Ukraine. I also wonder whether it isn’t time to reevaluate Finland’s post-WWII neutrality treaty.
These discussions always break down in to Hawks (“Nuke ‘em”) and Doves (“Give peace a chance”). Neither solution sounds good to me at all. Russia needs to, obviously, stop invading sovereign states, but neither can the world afford a World War at this point.
Russia would not invade a NATO member country. If we need to “contain” them again, better start.

Shame on the Olympics

One of the academic postulates that Gen-Xers like me grew up with was that in a post-Cold War world, we needed to engage the world, largely with trade, in order to secure the peace. This was the underlying rationale sold for globalization. Free trade supposedly creates free societies, and free societies don’t go to war with each other.

And no country is more of a symbol for globalization and its ills than China. China’s economic boom has come through the debauched exploitations of its workers and its natural environment. Over half of its population, the peasants—the ones you won’t see on NBC—live as sustenance farmers who live on the whim of their government.
For example, the rowing competitions in the Olympics were made possible by the exportation of water from farmers’ rice patties, and deposited in another stream, leaving the peasants with a virtual desert, and likely starvation in the wake.
In a world where billions of people live on less than $2 per day, China thought it fit to spend hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars simply on the opening ceremony of the Olympics, which, despite the slow-motion genocide in Tibet, was well attended by foreign dignitaries, our own sloucher-in-chief included.
The Olympics were supposed to be sign of world-wide brotherhood. Instead, they have become a symbol of the world-wide chains of consumerism that link us and strain us under their yoke. The athletes are monomaniacal, bred, engineered, and manipulated since toddlerhood to excel at some event that merely pays homage to some ancient tradition. At least the basketball team has some element of “team” and some element of modern relevancy.
The same “engaging” that globalization in trade has wrought has produced the same kind of result: a scary caste of ubermensch striving to squash the mediocre. International competition and its mildly disgusting jingoism has been replaced with an even worse socially Darwinist ethic.
For what?
More cars? More possessions? More cookie cutter suburbia created by the word “Let there be Subprime mortgages”? All on the backs on the Chinese peasant, the American worker, the hopeless miserable distended African children, the victims of the proxy-genocide China funds in Darfur that gets even less attention than that in Tibet?
This is the world Gen X inherited. We traded in the nuclear nightmares of the bipolar political struggle between democracy and communism for the unipolar stranglehold of consumerism.
And the Beijing Olympics are a giant ostentatious and arrogant symbol of all of this. Not since the 1936 Winter and Summer games in Germany has a country with a more brutal human rights policy hosted the games; not even the Soviet Union with its evil police state was more repressive and demeaning to life than is today’s China; even the US’s murderous forays in Iraq pale in comparison.
So, I won’t watch. I won’t care, I won’t have anything to do with it. Not this time.

L'Affaire Edwards: Meaningless Matters

Predictably, the MSM bloviators and sundry gasbags are salivating over a chance to offer the All American past time of tut tuting non-wife sex while simultaneously celebrating it through continuous discussion. Just as predictably, some will counter that Edwards’ personal imperfections do not mater in the face of the generally good works of his political and advocacy career.

Practically, the dismissers are correct. Evolutionarily, they are wrong. Per “An Evolutionary Psychology of Leader and Follower Relations” part of the equation of both Persuasive and Dominant leaders is personal history. Edwards’ cheating is relevant because it diminishes his ability to lead.

Oh, and sexual infidelity is worthy of destroying a career because by being outraged by it we the people show our superiority to the bad behavior. Lying to start a war for devious purposes is not grounds for destroying a career because in banishing such a leader we would have to admit our complicity in allowing his horrible deeds to happen.

We outcast the leaders we deserve.

Gergen

All the Sunday bobbleheads can call McCain’s ads whatever they want, but the polls show Obama taking a nosedive in the last week. He said he wasn’t going to get swiftboated, but he is.

It’s still his election to lose, but he needs to get back on the horse.

Both Ways McCain

Obama goes to see troops=using troops as props

Obama doesn’t go to see troops=disrespect
Surge=won’t work without more troops
Surge=was with it all the time
Could this be a theme for Obama? McCain wants it both ways?