Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Beer!


HappyNewBeer
Originally uploaded by Denyska_13

And now you know where Miller Ice comes from!

Prorogues With Sour Grapes

Canada Above the Fray Rondel shirt
When returning to Canada, I had the hope that I would be returning to a nation governed by grownups, people promoted and selected for their competence, and those who viewed politics as being both a referendum and a sport, to be played upon the field of public opinion.

Instead, I came home to the Steven Harper government, who has made more prorogues than Hunky Bill.

I will certainly make a point of voting against Steven Harper at the earliest opportunity. I may even become sufficiently motivated to actually Write Letters and Make Phone Calls. I could even volunteer to stump for my various non-Conservative candidates. You see, that's how Parliamentary Democracy works.

Sweet Goddess On High, I'm glad I'm back in Canada. Two years now, and I'm STILL kissing the ground. For as bad as Steven Harper is - and he's approaching the levels of arrogance established by William Vander Zalm - his sort of opportunistic politics would not even raise an eyebrow in the Disunited States of Uhmurika. Which is why Steven Harper and his govenment may take this throat-clearing as being Constructive Criticism.

It's not that he's being Too Conservative. The man is barely corrupt and cynical enough to be elected as a Democrat in the US of A. We entrust our public servants with a great deal more latitude than our American Cousins because, by and large, we insist on far higher standards of competence. We expect our public servants to be aware of the letter of the law, but to adhere first to it's spirit - even when doing so leads to "Just Watch Me" moments.

That is the essence of conservatism - a profound appreciation for the quality and importance of the individual entrusted with any small portion of responsibility regarding our common weal.


But this is not "just watch me," It's "Pay No Attention to The Man Behind The Curtain."

My Fellow Canadians, it's our reflexively conservative approaches to Finance and Governance, our insistence on a Conservative appreciation of the dotting of the Ayes and the crossing of Tees in favor of the Citizenry and not the "First Citizens" that has spared us the embarrassment of our cousins to the south, who are largely governed by people who seem likely to fall for Nigerian email scams.

It's that he's starting to approach the degree of cynical abuse of process required of being an American Republican In Good Standing. Which is to say, a lying ignoramus with pretensions of godhood, and in no sense a Conservative.

And that, Sirrah, is something up with which I will not put. Not because I am Liberal, Sir, or a Green or a member of the NDP, whom I respect for their intentions if not their effects.

No, sir. I oppose you because your cynical abuse of process makes you unworthy of appearing before Parlement. A person deserving of the office would not be afraid of Question Period. I do not recall an instance where Mrs. Thatcher visibly flinched at her duty to defend contentious policies. Indeed, she often came away with the rhetorical testicles of those who had the effrontery to ask when she had stopped beating her husband. It seems your standards of Conservatism owe more to George Bush than the Iron Lady.

As a former and natural Progressive-Conservative, Mister Harper, I do not believe it unreasonable of me to ask you to be half the man Margret Thatcher was.

If you must collude with a tracticable appointee to evade the oversight of Parliament in order to achieve your goals - very well. But let it be observed that you had to collude and machinate and manipulate and contrive your way to your "success." It has been noted. And, as has happened before, there will be a price to pay. And if I really must vote Liberal to achieve that end - I shall do so unflinchingly.

I voted for John Chretien because I know who he was and for what he stood for - which was continuing to be the Prime Minister. In order to achieve that goal, he knew that he had to ensure that certain things were done well enough to please me and millions like me well enough. Fortunately, he had few "principles" that would get in the way of doing his job.

Peace. Order. Good Government. These are OUR essentials, Sir.

And should your "principles" interfere with your ability to deliver peace, order and good government, than I suggest your principles are likely incompatible with my own and many other Canadians of diverse views - all of which are protected eccentricities under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

You wish to be Large And In Charge and Be In Photographs With World Leaders; well, in order to do this well enough to not be snickered at by your peers, at home and abroad, should you not be held to the same standards as a police officer or a sanitation worker? Good Government, Sir, does NOT involved the abrogation of the rights of Persons of or Parlament when it might frustrate your personal ambitions.

In order to be Right, sir, first you must be Correct. When you are incorrect - as does happen from time to time to the best of us - an honorable leader corrects themselves long before the apparent lack of honor comes to the notice those such as myself.

Canada Above the Fray Rondel by EhCanada  design your own t-shirt at zazzle

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Lack Of Torture Betrays Everything America Stands For!

Progressive Nation » Blog Archive » Hoekstra Blames Obama For Fort Hood Massacre:

"Hoekstra and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) charged that terror-fighting tools used until recently by the intelligence community had lately been restricted or placed off limits by the administration. “We know that there are tools and methods that were in use just a few months ago are not in use today,” said Rogers. “That is a problem.”

The GOPers declined to say which tools they were referring to, or to produce any other evidence to back up their claim. Nonetheless, they blamed the Obama administration’s political philosophy. Rogers referred to the administration’s decisions to close Guantanamo and to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court as examples of the administration’s approach, before declaring: “There are certain tools and methods that are used by the intelligence community that can be impacted by that kind of political philosophy.”"
As far as I know, the only "tool" Obama has ruled out is torture. Not the other techniques, like the wiretapping, and the detentions and a bunch of other things most folks with consciences and an appreciation of constitutional law or the Separation of Powers would consider moderately troublesome.

So the "tools" must be torture. I confess, I'm as baffled as to how even Jack Baur could have prevented Ft. Hood, even with car batteries attached to testicle crushers, but I've come to realize that "thinking" isn't something that folks like Hoekstra rely on.

They rely on a lot of people that do not think.

And those people really like the idea of torturing other people. They like it a whole bunch. It puts a 450CC of turbocharged Dodge Ram in their pants, if you know what I mean...

Young Conservatives and Evangelicals: Can you live up to Al Frankin?

Saint Frankinus Tee shirt



I'm not quite sure how I came to this idea on Christmas day, other than perhaps this commonplace, common-sense observation.

  • It's the part of faith to give us a better understanding of God.
  • It's the part of religion to make it easier to do that, when things like community and knowledge help with that understanding, and putting that understanding into practice. And as a community of faith, it must needs be as inclusive as possible.
  • It's the part of politics to give us a better understanding of the principles of governance.
  • It's the part of government to make it easier to put those principles into practice, for the good of all, even for the benefit of those who passionately disagree.
At the top of each parallel stack are individuals with a vocation, a calling to a particular discipline, and the structures support those few for the benefit of the many. This necessitates a certain humility, a recognition that that position - no doubt quite an improbable accident of circumstance - is very much a privilege that one is expected to earn.


I think, parenthetically, that this is the only sense in which the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to President Obama can be taken. So it's rather better than being awarded  a Posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor as an inaugural gift, although it's a more difficult expectation to fulfill. I suspect at some point during this term, Obama might wishfully meditate on the relative ease of  falling on a grenade for his fellows.

In writing this, I was looking for a hook, an exemplar for how to do things right; the proper combination of situational awareness, humility and due diligence. And somewhat to my surprise, this brings me back to Al Frankin.



Now, I had expected a good deal of Al. But I was expecting a comedian, much as Michael Medved was.


“I appear to have sort of a Kryptonite effect on Al Franken—not that he’s Superman,” Medved says. “Going back a number of years, in virtually every interaction we’ve ever had, Al ends up blowing up at me.” One such meltdown occurred at the 2004 Republican Convention in Madison Square Garden, when Franken was a guest on Medved’s show and started shouting and slamming his hand on the table when the two disagreed over a convention speech attacking Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. “Al has always struck me as an angry guy,” Medved says.
Yet at the fair this summer, the senator seemed oddly content when he encountered Medved. “I couldn’t believe it was the same Al Franken,” Medved says. “What I saw this summer stunned me. He was meeting with all these ordinary folks and he really seemed to like people, just like most successful politicians do. And this was more than somebody who was just trolling for votes. It was apparent to me that he had real affection for his constituents and he was enjoying himself.”

 I was familiar with his Air America program, where he'd shown himself adept at doing his homework and using his information superiority to severely embarrass conservative guests who seemed unaccountably unable to process the idea that an alumni of Saturday Night Live might actually understand the substance of their unintentional comedy.

But I was expecting a Rachel Maddow or Kieth Olbermann, perhaps a Randi Rhodes - someone capable of creating headline-grabbing moments with well-crafted, perfectly timed moments of outrage. In that, I suspect my support was not a great deal different from the Right-Wing opposition - I was, indeed, expecting a particularly skillful clown. And that, indeed, would have been more than enough reason to vote for him - or oppose him, for that matter. Clown Societies are powerful things, and the song "Send in the Clowns" sums up every good reason why you would want to support such a candidate.

What I did not expect someone with an apparently instinctive grasp of the great parliamentary maneuver, where symbolism and genuine issues can be crafted to create an impetus toward good legislation while incidentally, crushing one's enemies into anchovy paste against the walls.

A clown would have been good, but statesmen are better. And they are rare enough and precious enough that we should hail them wherever and from whatever direction they appear. Because it goes back to the checklist above - people who realize that despite all appearances, their duties are not about them, much less beneath them.

Now, please undestand what I'm saying. I do like Al, and from as far as I can see so far, I like his politics, because his politics are founded in the people he represents. Or in other words, a conservative working off the same general set of principles as Al Frankin would get my praise.

You won't find him or Al being schmoozed and flattered at the C-Street Church, being told that they are leaders because Gawd wants them to be leaders, who's only job is to be a doorstop in the way of anything that might avert an impending Armageddon followed by a thousand years of Christian Riech.

And that brings me back to my essential point; a correct appreciation of one's vocation. Politicians make lousy spiritual leaders - and spiritual leaders should not even try to be good at politics. They are two different paths, and frankly speaking, those who confuse the two do neither job well - and often so poorly that they end up destroying both Church AND State.

Consider the last decade of history, if you have the stomach for it. We have two great exemplars of confusion - the Bush Administration, which exploited people of faith to achieve political goals, and the current Pope, who has committed many acts of politics (aside from the inside-baseball required to become the least objectionable candidate for the office) in order to further his faith.

I am picking on the Pope because I think the man to be sincerely wrong, as opposed to the crop of "evangelical leaders" in North America whom are best compared to P.T. Barnum and Marjoe Gortner. In other words, they are quite good examples of what they are, achieving exactly what they intend - which is to separate you from as much money and power with as little actual effort as possible.

And furthermore - I will say this, they serve a function. They keep the people capable of being so easily exploited away from things that might otherwise inconvenience smart people. The only problem with them as of late has been their arrogance in thinking that their expertiese in fleecing the willful marks qualifies them for a "higher calling," such as determining the fate of smarter and more ethical people, undeserving of their predations.

They must be chastened, so that they once again are restricted to those who honestly deserve and require their attentions.

The current Pope's faith and the former President's politics are both defined by who is kept away from the table.  That places them in tension with the mission itself - to be inspiration and leader to all, to the advantage of all, not merely those that they would prefer. And that is why all such people - who's morality places themselves above the ethical duty of the role they have assumed - must soon be swept away. We just can't afford to tolerate them any more.

Saint Frankinus Tee by webcarve  More Al frankin T-Shirts

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sara Palin's Perfect Plan




RICKY : And that's an Ultimatum!
LUCY : An ultimatum?!
ETHEL : Well, I'm not surprised.
LUCY : I am. I didn't think he knew how to pronounce it.
(Link)


You know, if Sarah Palin were as good as creating genuine inspirational excitement as she is at causing unintentional hilarity at her own expense... but in fact, this is Sarah Palin.

Smarting from criticism that holding events on military bases gave the impression that she was less than courageous in the face of the media Palin set out to hold a book signing where anyone, of whatever rank or station would feel welcome.

Or, so it would appear. Of course, as you may have come to realize over the past decade of experience with such people, the appearance and the reality are usually at odds. This event was an apparently "public" event that turns out to be legally "private" if certain people showed up.

It's like she wants to make enemies, because Important People With Power Have Significant Critics and That Means They Are Right. It makes my head hurt.

Via - all OVER hell's half acre.


The Mudflats

A couple fellow new media types, Gryphen from the Immoral Minority and videographer Dennis Zaki headed north to get some video of Sarah Palin’s “public” book signing at the Curtis Menard Memorial Sports Complex in Wasilla.  You will recall that her only scheduled book signings in Alaska were on military bases, and unlikely to tolerate any displays of dissent.

But, when she got all kinds of flack for not having an event open to the public, she decided to prove us all wrong and show how open, welcoming and eager she was to meet her fellow Alaskans in an open forum.  She had nothing to fear, after all.  And boy were we going to look like numbskulls for saying she was too chicken to have an open event in Alaska.

...

Then, the big announcement came.  The big open, accessible, welcoming, come-and-shake-my-hand event would be…. on Tuesday December 22nd in the middle of the day at the Sports Complex in Wasilla, guarded by police who would refer to it as a “private” event, paid for by Harper-Collins.  Why was this “public” event actually private?  Why was it held in Wasilla and no Anchorage event scheduled as promised?  Why was it held 3 days before Christmas in the middle of a work day?   (Jeopardy music)
So she could ban bloggers!  Yes, it’s true.

When our two friends showed up at the event, they were photographed, told that they were on the “banned” list, and escorted off the premises by uniformed Wasilla police officers!  The police were sure it was them because they had not only names, but photographs of the banned for easy identification.  Wow.  The “banned list” contained four names:  Dennis Zaki, Gryphen, Shannyn Moore and an unidentified blogger.  The fourth person has so far remained nameless.

  
The Immoral Majority,

My first hint that something may be wrong down in Who-ville was when I was asked for my ID, not once, but twice. Then as Dennis and I were about to sign in, and the lady behind the desk took our picture with a little digital camera! WTF? I have never had anybody do that before at any other event that I attended as a media representative. I wondered why there was such tight security, unaware that my question was only seconds from being answered.

Almost as soon as I had my picture taken I felt a hand on my shoulder.

I turned around and came face to face with a local police officer who quickly apologized and then informed me that I was on the "banned list".

"I am on the WHAT list?" I asked.

"The banned list sir, I am going to have to escort you off of the property. This is a private event."

I looked over and saw Dennis talking to somebody else, and clearly receiving the same information.

On my way toward the door I stopped to wait for Dennis so that we could leave together, however the police officer again placed his hand on my shoulder and insisted that I continue on toward the exit. They clearly were under orders to get me off of the premises as quickly as possible.

Outside Dennis joined me and told me that he had learned that both he and I were on the banned list, along with Shannyn Moore, and that they even had pictures of us to reference for quick identification.

Another reporter headed toward the entrance overheard us and asked us if there were REALLY a "banned list". "Yes there is, and we are on it" was our reply. "I have never heard of that!" she said. Welcome to Sarah Palin's Wasilla.

So we loaded up our gear and back to Anchorage we drove. It did not take more than a few minutes before I started to laugh uncontrollably at the absurdity of being banned from Sarah Palin's last book signing. She had not been able to stop us from continuing to write about her, she had not been able to keep us off of Elmendorf, but by God she could damn well have us kicked out of the Curtis C. Menard Memorial Sports Center!

Yep that sure showed us.

Sarah Palin has done everything she could to keep the media as far away as possible during this book tour, however I do believe that this is the first time she actually had anybody listed by name. THAT honor she reserves for the Alaska bloggers. And do you know what? That is an honor that I will wear proudly!

So now we know that, just like Richard M. Nixon, Sarah Palin has her very own enemies list.
 And now The Gawker has picked it up, speculating as who the fourth name on the banned list might be.

The Anchorage Daily News confirms this account, and Gryphen later discovered Palin's banned blogger list contains only four names. So far we know:
  • 1. Gryphen, banned for Sarah-Todd divorce rumors and for resisting Palin's attempt to hold his kindergarten class hostage.
  • 2. Dennis Zaki, banned for being Gryphen's friend and for repeating his rumors on the Alaska Report.
  • 3. Shannyn Moore, Huff Post blogger and local radio host banned for speculating that Palin's gubernatorial resignation was tied to ethics investigations. Moore famously snubbed her nose at Palin's legal threats.
My guess is that the fourth is another local, mostly amateur blogger since (a.) the event was in Wasilla (b.) Palin has no knowledge of the world outside of her local bubble, anyway. So, two guesses at the identity of the mysterious fourth:
I wish I could say Andrew Sullivan, but (a.) it's almost definitely Devon (b.) even Palin knows Sullivan is too busy with his twelve-hour fuck fests to fly all the way to Alaska for her. Then again, this woman has no sense of proportion. In her mind, an armchair blogger with basic HTML skills is as great a threat as a federal ethics investigation or the Russian Army invading Wasilla. It's the same way she barely modulates her tone as she moves from Levi-bashing to Obama-bashing.
Banned! Making It On Sarah Palin's Enemies List [ImmoralMinority]
Palin's Wasilla Book Signing Feels Like a Homecoming [ADN]


I can only imagine that there are going to be hurt feelings - and concerted efforts to expand it.

And of course the more political sources are all over it. Think Progress, for example.

Not every attendee was welcome. Dennis Zaki, an Anchorage photographer and videographer who until recently ran the Web site Alaska Report, checked in at the media table and was told by Wasilla Recreation and Cultural Services Manager James Hastings that he wasn’t welcome.
“He said because this is a paid event, they can ban anybody they want,” Zaki said. He didn’t fight it, he said.
Zaki said he was told that he and a couple of Alaska bloggers were on the list, with photos to identify them.
Hastings justified the black list by saying, “If I take three minutes on Google I can see that, given the nature of the people who were here, it wasn’t in his (Zaki’s) best interest to be here. He and others could have found themselves in a negative situation.” At a Palin book-signing at the Mall of America earlier this month, officials initially said that “only English speaking press” would be let in.


I'm sure that was what Hastings thought to be a subtle indication that ejection was preferable to being beaten up by the police officers operating, apparently, as paid political thugs. (And what, exactly, is a public official doing issuing such threats to citizens? )

Andrew Sullivan sums it up succinctly:
Palin draws up a list of pesky bloggers, has their faces recognized by local cops and then ejects them from her last book tour stop. The press, one should recall, threatens her First Amendment right to say anything and never get called on it.

As you see, there's a lot of reaction out there - most of it derisive. But the invisible consequences are the ones that really change the landscape, and those consequences are what I blog about.

Let me nutshell this from my perspective: "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive." 


The problem with Sarah Palin and her followers is that while most people may be less informed about the stark economic, strategic, political, philosophical and foreign policy issues at stake, the people are very familiar with situation comedies.

And the thing about a situation comedy is that - to a person - we may find it fun to watch, but the thing that makes it fun to watch is exactly the reason we don't wish to be there for the punchline.

I'm not speaking of political choices or preferred economic philosophies. I mean people who have grown up watching television - or hell, anyone familiar with Shakespeare, or Opera, or the Canturbery Tales. We KNOW how this turns out. And it's fine if it's an actor, for when the curtain closes, we all realize that such absurdities are created for comic effect, and that the person playing the role of the Fool today will be the Mad Scientist or the the Protagonist tomorrow.

But that's Television. That's not real life, where there is more to life than pretending that you have one, more to leadership that "crafting an impression."

People are starting to realize, you see, that Sarah Palin really IS the final, ultimate and proper distillation of the Republican party, the ultimate expression of the Gingrich ideal, where there is no real truth and lies are simply a "matter of opinion." Gingrich, of course, can genuinely claim to be one of the founders of this political movement.

It's a "movement" where people like Palin are completely comfortable. People who cannot evaluate reality for themselves, and cannot understand that while idiology informs you what to DO about facts and coping with reality, it doesn't change what those facts are.

People are starting to realize that lies, corruption, mismanagement, lies and fraud are not just a tolerable side-effect, a necessary evil to getting the job done. They are starting to realize that Palin and her supporters, hangers on and funding sources see that as the job, and that doing it this badly is as good as it could ever possibly be. They see power as an end in itself, keeping it justifies doing anything and all other considerations beside the point. Just listen to this nonsense!

"There are parts of government that are so bad you can't fix them," Gingrich said of the health care proposals currently on the table. "If Democrats pass a national health bill deeply opposed by the overwhelming majority of Americans, we ought to have a commitment to replace it. Why should the country tolerate a group of out of touch politicians abusing their power?"
Yeah. It's an "abuse of power" for representatives and senators to do what they were sent to do, by the people who sent them there with a majority - and I might add, significantly higher ambitions for their performance.

As for the "overwhelming majority" opposing health care? No. Not unless you combine the views of those who think the bill is not good enough with those who think ANY reform is a bad idea along with the "unsures and undecideds." Only then could you get an overwhelming majority. That's the sort of shit we have come to expect from the moron-wranglers of the Right.

That is to say, the facts are complex. The way forward is certainly arguable. There are certainly valid ways of approaching Health Care Reform from left, right, up and down. But no legitimate debate can occur when one side is led by people who cannot or will not distinguish between truth and that which they wish to be true. That is the essence of every cartoon villain, from Iago to Emperor Palpatine.

Quite aside from the precise ethical plot-points this story will serve to tell, we all know the formula that defines this particular farce. We all know what happens next.



In the public mind - the one the Palins,  Gingriches, and Roves are trying to manipulate -  that public knows they are at best extras in the drama.  So it's not about "right" and "left" to most folks, though they may attribute political terms to what they believe. Most people think in terms of archeotypes, of moral and illustrative exemplars. They think as our culture has instructed them to think, and for the most part, it does it's storytelling fairly well. It's our stories that teach us what we should do to make the situation turn out right in the end. And one of the most important teaching tales we have, one that founds our understanding of how these tales should turn out in the end, despite the appearance of overwhelming odds... well, that would be The Bible. From Shakespeare to Star Wars - it's themes have been pillaged and recycled so that even atheists understand and accept them as the general pattern for desired outcomes.

At the root of it all, people know their choice - as extras - is between being below decks on the Death Star or to be a witness at the final triumphal scene as the credits roll. For that is how such things must end, and in ten thousand little, tiny, imperceptible ways - they will ensure that it does. Even those who are cast as storm-troopers. Hell, even those who are the very villains of this tale, in some sense, are clearly following the script to the end.

I cannot explain to you in any satisfactory way why Sarah Palin would choose to play this part, but then I cannot explain to you why anyone would audition for The Biggest Loser, Survivor or even my favorite "Reality Show," Canada's Worst Driver.


Oh, by the way, this particular storyline does not warrant a sequel, much less five. I think that's another lesson we can take away from Star Wars.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

C.S. Lewis on Moralistic tyrranies

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monetizing The Base!



If Canter and Segal were Republican consultants ... well, they were almost certainly Republicans.

GOP.am is brought to you from the dim and shameless corner of the Republican tent, the one where all the grafters and fast buck artists congregate to discuss the profit-making opportunities of various Multi-Level Marketing schemes and the various "can't fail" make money fast schemes they are marketing for a new, low, low price.

The problem is that if you spend most of your day pandering to the magical thinking and  bases instincts of the lowest-information consumption units, you might find yourself slipping into the unintentional hilarity zone.

I can almost visualize the thought process - if I may cheapen the term for the sake of irony. It goes something like this:

  1. Target a group that wants a "seal of approval" before they read anything.
  2. Tell everyone in that group that they can use this logo-attaching service to make it easy to pass around The "RIGHT" sort of links in their tweets and chain emails.
  3. Take up 20 percent of the screen for ads and a "donation" button that probably skims a healthy "service fee"
  4. PROFIT!
 The magical thinking part comes in here. You see, for this - scheme - to work, it would have to somehow be entirely different from most other URL shorteners, ...it would have to have a massive overhead of People Who Make Sure That The Link Is Really Conservative.

No computer can do that reliably - it requires extremely sophisticated software and remarkable, Google-scale computational power to even make a reliable guess.

So that would get rid of the PROFIT part. But wait, we are magical thinkers. We don't need to really do that - we just need to make it look like we did! And that will work because only Real Conservatives would WANT to use a gop.am url!

Now, if there were any lights on over at the GOP - and by lights, I mean organic computational facilities capable of passing a Touring Test.

But if they were such facilities - someone like this would likely deactivate them before they could do anything.


 Yep. The stupid has gone viral - and the stupid won't take their shots.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Evangalists of Moloch



I'm addressing this blog post to my fellow Canadians and to any Ugandans who may encounter it by accident. I'm going to be forwarding it to the Ugandan High Commission in Ottawa and to the attention of my member of Parlement, for there are a number of issues that they should be considering. 


I don't give a flying fig about the sin of homosexuality. I'm not convinced of the argument and for me it's moot. And if it is a sin, it's mentioned as being fairly much on the level of mixing flax and wool in one garment.


It's not mentioned at all in the big ten - but the bearing of false witness, that's right up there. So, if you must throw stones, you might consider starting there. And I assure you, all the things stated about gay people by those responsible for agitating you all to commit what is a legal and moral abomination are liars and are bearing false witness in the precise biblical sense. 


It's not difficult to find out that there is a great deal of evidence that these people are lying, and very, very, very little evidence to suggest that anything they say is true. Even their use of the Bible is... dubious. 


But I'll leave that to you. Because of one, overriding issue: "Thou Shall Not Commit Murder." That's what this is about. You are being encouraged to murder your neighbors. 

Because a "priest" tells you that is a good idea - claiming to speak for God. 


Any child may be born gay, and we don't really understand how that happens. But the direct advice to you by these people as to what to do with such children is directly equivalent to sacrifice of children to satisfy an angry pagan god.



The Bible is very direct about what should happen to people who sacrifice children to their god.

A government, encouraged by supposedly religious people people are saying God is in favor of murder. You should probably have a pretty damn good idea as to where this leads, given Africa's history over the last hundred-odd years. I'm not even going to bother making a religious argument against this idea. If your religion says it's good - than your religion is evil. Walk away. 

There's More


Friday, December 11, 2009

H.L. Mencken - An Inspiration

Mencken's Creed Print print

Mencken's Creed


     I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind - that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking.
     I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.
     I believe that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty...
     I believe that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect.
     I believe in the complete freedom of thought and speech...
     I believe in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run.
     I believe in the reality of progress.
     I - But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant.
  
Mencken's Creed Print by webcarve
Large format poster printing from zazzle

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dear Dick: STFU

Dear Dick: STFU! shirt




Via "Just Go Stand Over There Somewhere"
On MSNBC's "Hardball" Wednesday night, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) had a succinct response to Dick Cheney for the former vice president's recent comments on President Obama: STFU.
"On the Internet there's an acronym that's used to apply to situations like this: STFU. I don't think I can say that on the air, but I think you know what that means."
There are certain people and certain themes that do not deserve your respectful attention. Dick Cheney would be the poster child for that concept. And frankly, if at this point in history it needs to be explained why we should not listen to Cheny implying treasonous behavior on the part of the US President - well, clearly, it would be a pointless effort on behalf of people who deserve no such courtesy.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Chickenhawks Stay Home To Roost

Yellow Elephant, where were you? - Civilian shirt


BOB HERBERT writes in the New York Times:
"The air is filled with obsessive self-satisfied rhetoric about supporting the troops, giving them everything they need and not letting them down. But that rhetoric is as hollow as a jazzman’s drum because the overwhelming majority of Americans have no desire at all to share in the sacrifices that the service members and their families are making. Most Americans do not want to serve in the wars, do not want to give up their precious time to do volunteer work that would aid the nation’s warriors and their families, do not even want to fork over the taxes that are needed to pay for the wars.
To say that this is a national disgrace is to wallow in the shallowest understatement. The nation will always give lip-service to support for the troops, but for the most part Americans do not really care about the men and women we so blithely ship off to war, and the families they leave behind."

I seriously suggest you pass the link to the article around and join the conversation. My contribution is a simple observation - that when war becomes a cynical tool of partisan ambition, when it's an economic activity rather than an issue of common security, when the human costs here and now are justified in terms of supposed ideological threats in a future that is accessed by some mythical slippery slope greased with "tolerance" and "compassion," well. That's a problem. Because it means that in the process of trying to "win," you have lost far more than could ever have been taken from you.



Yellow Elephant, where were you? - Civilian by webcarve
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Monday, December 07, 2009

Unintentional confirmation of Dunning–Kruger effect

Some maroons have attempted a mathematical proof of God - which would be inherently interesting, if they had actually done it.

In fact, it doesn't even stand up to the sort of initial snark fest that an insight of that level of controversy would attract.

But they have proved something. These people have managed to underline the validity of the Dunning–Kruger effect

in reference to: The God Equation? : Pharyngula (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Burking* The Right - At Long Last!




Yesterday, the blog/twittersphere went nuts when Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs officially kicked the Right Wing in their collective teabags.

LGF, if you might remember, used to compete with Drudge and Free Republic for "righter than thou" laurels. Of late, though, it's been moving ... well, actually, in the direction of rational evaluation of issues. (Those who honor the memory of Burke do rather value the virtue of rationality.)


Now, I'd noticed a general exodus from the Echo Chamber around 2003/2004, Andrew Sullivan leaps to mind as an exemplar., but there were many others. For some it was the matter of a war fought incompetently, for others it was the fiscal shenanegans, for others yet, it was torture.

For others, it was regret, I think, for all that has been lost, and all the debts both moral and literal in the name of fraudulent and foolish ambitions substituted for a just and necessary - a price, whether ever paid or not, has put legitimate justice for 9/11 forever out of reach.

Now, - as I have regretfully snarked - there are so few real conservatives willing to be conservative in public that the quote liberals unquote are forced to reinvent themselves in order to fill an vital ecological niche.

Meanwhile, the right continues to consume itself, as anyone capable of prudent government is deemed "too liberal" and those who are idiologically pure enough - are found wanting in other ways. After all, it's come to the point where evident flaws of character - the ones that celebrate torture and enshrine homicidal fits of xenophobia as the sine qua non of manhood are the ones who are raised up.

 And lo, it manifests; a perfect storm fueled with hubris for Mike Huckabee - who was the darling of the theocratic right. It's not so much that he granted clemency to a cop-killer - though that's bad enough. No, when the prosecutor protests, --- well, read for yourself.

It's as close to a "go fuck yourself" you are ever likely to see on the stationary of a Governor, speaking of an arrogance that he manages to conceal rather well, ordinarily.


And frankly, his appearance on The View didn't seem likely to defuse the situation, because for thinking beings, it's not that giving a second chance to someone blew up in his face was so much a concern as was his contempt for those who were concerned about procedure to ensure that it did not blow up.

(Of course, this is NOT the lesson Right Wingers are drawing from the issue. It's not his arrogance, no sirree! It's his compassion!)

“Ironically, what makes Huckabee such an appealing Presidential candidate—his empathy for all people and genuine belief in the individual—is also the trait that will prevent him from ever reaching the White House,” Carter wrote. “His experiences and intuitions that served him well as a minister of the gospel were not always applicable in of governor of a state. The unfortunate reality is that for politicians, unlike pastors, there are limits to compassion.”

But for sensible people, it really is about the arrogance, what that says about his judgment, and whether you want that sort of arbitrary and unaccountable style of governance in a place where life and death decisions are presented to the executive in wholesale, rather than retail quantities.

Oh, don't mistake me, I have far more issues than this with Mike Huckabee. But that's quite beside the point. I think this is a problem for the people that would acclaim the problems as reasons why he should be put into power.

In addition to those who have a problem with all that unmanly compassion.

You see, it's rather problematic for a patriarch to be so dismissive of the proper chain of command. And people most attracted to the Patriarchal approach to ordering human life know that it simply cannot function without a proper respectful consideration of the dignity and good opinion of the likeminded to support the Alpha Patriarch. The appearance that a leader might be arbitrary and whimsical means that he cannot possibly be trusted to hold the High Justice - that is to say, to hold the Law in his Person.

This concept is of course, the essence of patriarchal systems, the Rule of Man, which is claimed by those that favor it to be superior to the Rule of Law. Theocrats further claim they rule by God's Law (It tends to minimize tremblingly abrupt transitions of power) but since the word of God always seems to vary as to the man speaking on his behalf, I've always considered it prudent to pointedly resist such self-appointed "authorities" for a more consistent standard, while relying on a sure and certain faith that should God wish to, She may certainly convey any personal charges to me personally.

The problem is that few men are, indeed, man enough to rule. That is why the Rule of Law was developed - it permits civilization to expand past the extraordinarily limited supply of men who are both exceptionally good with power, and exceptionally trustworthy.

And I think that history is a sufficient record of how very difficult it was for people to live up to such unreasonable expectations of themselves. And of course, it does mirror our own times, where our current leadership models are starting to waver under the strain of information overload.

Certainly a retreat to theocratic feudalism is ridiculous - for regardless of whether you are minded toward a faith based or a science based approach to social problems (or indeed, whether or not you are minded to think of those as dualistic poles at all) the situations we face and the realities we must adapt to are what they are. They are large, and they are not the sort that can be solved at the city-state and warlord level. And as for the competitive Corporate model favored by other factions of conservative - well, very likely the solutions needed are NOT ones that suit themselves to the distribution, decision-making and collaboration models that our current corporate structures are adapted for.

Frankly, I prefer to have as few barriers to adaptation and survival as possible.  It seems - well, it seems Progressive-Conservative of me. Because to me, that's the essence of the concept; an acceptance of change that must occur, with a determination that essentials are not lost in the process. For values that reduce our chances of survival are not survival values.



*burke

tr.v. burked, burk·ing, burkes

1. To suppress or extinguish quietly; stifle: burked the investigation by failing to reappoint the commission.

2. To avoid; disregard: "To make The Tempest a tragic and depressing play he was willing to burke all the elements that made it the exact opposite" (Robert M. Adams).

3. To execute (someone) by suffocation so as to leave the body intact and suitable for dissection.



[After William Burke (1792-1829), Irish-born grave robber and murderer.]

Friday, November 27, 2009

Who is this Winger Laird to Lightly Me?

I have difficulty keeping right-of-center sources in my sidebar. One large reason for this is that I will not send traffic where I expect that the people who represent that "traffic" will be disrespected.

I've had "the next right" in my sidebar for some weeks, and a couple-three days ago, I decided I wished to register an account for myself, so that I might contribute a comment.

The response was that my account had been deleted as a presumed spam account, based, perhaps based on my email (graphictruth at gmail dot com) and should this be in error,  I was to to respond to ... get this... thenextright@gmail.com.

I did. I said (in part):

The question arises; is The Next Right what it purports to be, or is it administered like, oh, say, Free Republic? From my perspective, this seems - capricious, and sadly, the sort of behavior I've come to expect of people wishing to isolate themselves from any viewpoint that might be "tainted" by unorthodox thought. I admit readily that one should not make such a judgment upon one data point, but I must, if given no more.

I think at this point, it's MY turn to defer consent to participate until I have a chance to properly consider the balance of probablities.  However, seeing as there is currently a story headlined in a rather prominent sidebar location on my blog (http://www.graphictruth.com)  that contains direct misinformation about "Review Panels" conflated with a medical advisory review of standards for regular mammography, I do believe there IS some question about the editorial standards. It's not the first thing I've seen that's troubled me; I've seen some good things too. The question is, was it the good story that "slipped through the cracks?"

Convince me, Sir, that The Next Right is worth my time. If it's yet another variation on WorldNetDaily, Free Republic or Michelle Malkin, it is at best a redundancy, and my contributions would neither be welcome nor would they likely provoke any useful dialogue.
Three days later, I got a response complaining of the number of words it took me to say that I wasn't a spammer. Well, that would be correct, had that been what I'd been saying. Clearly, I was saying something a little more pointed than that.

I of course responded - but I won't share it, save to say I would be taking the link down. Now, here's where I establish why I'm wasting your precious photons with what might appear to be a silly blogwar.

You see, it really doesn't matter that I'm feeling miffed by this, nor am I even trying to justify my reaction to this at all. I'm a rather stuffy fellow at times. It should not matter that I'm a fairly stuffy fellow, with a rather high opinion of himself.

You may have noted that it is a trait I share with MANY conservative minded people. People who are sensitive of their good name, what it's worth, and what happens to it if it's associated with the wrong people.

The standard procedures, the appropriate courtesies, the traditional expectations of the behavior of peer unto peer - these are not standards that were set by limp-wrists and weak minds. They were set by touchy conservative types, people conscious of their worth, their good name - and the gun or sword at their hip which betokened their position, the honor they ought by right to be accorded, which was absolutely linked to their willingness to uphold the right, even in the face of discomfort and danger.

So don't look at my miffedness as beeing the wounded feelings of some effete and unmanly liberal-minded fool. Graphictruth.com is about ethics, and that means it's never had a trace of Kumbyah to it at all.

It's very essence is that there is, ultimately, a way to be sure what is the right way and what is the wrong way - and that once you are sure, you have a choice - stand up for what you know to be true, or wear a white feather in your lapel.

Well, thanks to such folks as the Next Right, I know what side of the border my lands do lie, and my knowing of this is summed up in the Balled of The Kinmont Willie.

186A.10  ‘O is my basnet a widow’s curch?
  Or my lance a wand of the willow-tree?
  Or my arm a ladye’s lilye hand?
  That an English lord should lightly me.
186A.11  ‘And have they taen him Kinmont Willie,
  Against the truce of Border tide,
  And forgotten that the bauld Bacleuch
  Is keeper here on the Scottish side?
186A.12  ‘And have they een taen him Kinmont Willie,
  Withouten either dread or fear,
  And forgotten that the bauld Bacleuch
  Can back a steed, or shake a spear?

That, sirrah, is the sense of my discontent. It's not that you are Right or Left; it's that you are as presumptous as an English border lord while all bereft of the force such arrogance needs to survive.

Fortunately - in the absence of conservatives springing up in the direct line of Burke and Goldwater, the left has met the need for themselves.

Begone, sirrah! You have been replaced.

Psycochemotherapy for the masses.

The bitter fruits of our common human experience of the last rough decade are being distilled into an un-cordial essence of well-earned contempt. It's a distillation I savor at times like this; while I doubt it's good for me in the long run, and I do try to avoid overproduction from my own fruits - at the same time, perhaps it may do some good.

As does chemotherapy - a toxin designed to be somewhat more fatal to a disease than the organism it's trying to kill. Axel erupts with what might be a promising insight in a thread over at FiveThirtyEight.

Dwight, what you need to understand about today's rightwinger is that he wants all the ideological gratification with none of the work required.

Surely you won't deny him the pleasure of running around with the rest of the mob while chanting the same thing over and over in infantile bliss?

Basically, if y'all want to have your triumph outside of the circlejerks, you have to do some actual work (for *once* in your lives) and offer up some evidence. You can't point at a pile of text and say "it's all in there I'm telling you".

One of the main reasons I want climate legislation through is because I think the conspiracy of dunces against such legislation is a sign that it is good for society. You can tell a man's worth by measuring his opponents, and the haters of Gore and the climate scientists are some of the most pathetic and odious people on the internet - they make 4chan look like a British royal reception.

Do your homework or get out of our sights. I don't go up to my teacher and say "I understand it all - I don't have to do the exam" but you cretins can gurgle with happiness over what these e-mails supposedly show?

That's not how the world works, morons.
Personally, I generally try to say something more positive than that. I don't always succeed, but I do try. More often than not these days, I walk away from the keyboard rather than publishing the incoherent rant I've managed to inflict upon my computer.

But sometimes such a rant will include a truly golden insight; an observation that we would be ordinarily too polite to point out, but which is nonetheless both true and inherently toxic to the dangerous stupidities of our day.

...what you need to understand about today's rightwinger is that he wants all the ideological gratification with none of the work required.
Actually, it's worse than that. Some of them actually seem to think they HAVE done the work, when all they have done is expended effort, evidenced by waste heat and fricative noises.

After the third or fourth time that a person of educated intelligence has been presented a crayon-scrawl as being a Grand Theory of This or The Next Great Novel or Inarguable Proof that The Truth Has Been Suppressed - well, it becomes tiresome in the extreme; particularly when it becomes apparent that they really cannot tell the difference between the nonsense they present and the minimum standard of the form.

Before you can do the work, you have to understand what the work is. Perhaps even more importantly, you really do need to understand the people doing it - because people who thrive in academia and who think that modeling chaotic systems is interesting are not at ALL like "Normal Folks." Actually, they are kinda out of the range of pretty damn smart folks - who are mostly useful for translating the banjo music into human speech.

When you have a broad consensus among people who are capable of looking at the data, People like Nate, for instance, evaluating it themselves and understanding the conclusions ,people who come at it from a wide variety of scientific disciplines, it's really rather remarkable for there to be such a broad, scientific consensus.

Bluntly, if there was room for genuine debate, there would be more "sides" to the issue than "Those who have done the work" and "those who think any opinion is as good as any other."



Do they understand the mechanisms and directions of Climate Change completely? Good lord, no. The fundamental science required to make the crudest models is barely a generation old. The computational power to model that science is scarce and inadequate. So we don't have a complete picture, and are still unable to make very specific predictions about what climate is likely to do in any place at any time. But the picture we do have is accurate enough to be a compelling argument against complacency. What we do know is that climate is changing - rapidly, possibly more rapidly than we can gracefully accommodate. It's far more likely than not that human actions are in large part responsible, which is the ONLY spot of good news. You see, that means there is something we can do about the situation. But there is a large social problem in North America with that insight. It means The Hippies were right all along.

That's what it translates to in the minds of Authoritarian right wingers. That the sky and the earth and the waters are not endless, that resources are measured and that the side-effects of private profit will always have some diffuse social impact, the earth being a closed system. In North America in general, and the US in particular, it's considered to be absolutely wrong to ask any "soverign individual" to do any thing - even such a small thing as checking their tire pressure - for any reason other than absolute self-interest.

Indeed, it's considered intrusive when it IS in one's own direct interest, because it will also benefit others.

Well, it turns out that if you dump mercury in the ocean, it ends up in your tuna salid. If you chemicals into the air - you breathe them - after they have unholy congress with ultraviolet light and their offspring ALSO ends up in your tuna salad.

Likewise, it may seem like an intrusion to be "taxed" by being required to paint your roof white. But does a 20% savings on air-conditioning costs sound like a "tax" to you? In some areas, that's a damn fine return on a day's work. So people who insist on acting against their own self interest in the name of opposing what they think to be the intrest of the group, because they have 'a gaw-damn right' to do as they gaw-damn please....

Well, that's only tolerable to a certain extent. Oddly, these are the very same people who use "toleration" as a dirty word toward people who's actions, such as gay marriage, have NO noticeable effect on the arctic ice pack, while thinking that making bonfires out of old tires and spotted owls saturated in PCB-laced waste oil  is a celebration of individual liberty.

If you take too much water from here (because you have the "right" to do so) - there is too little over there - and those who have too little, and therefore thirst and starve are likely to take action against your absolute interpretation of your right to force them to die of thirst or hunger.

The Earth is not a Pyramid - it is a globe. Crap does not flow downhill - it circulates.

You can never act with complete impunity and you can never absolutely know what the ultimate outcome of your actions will be.

When you act conservatively and within your best understandings of the ability of the various, interlocking complex systems to absorb change, you will maximize long term goals at a minimum cost. 

But that requires that the required response to the problem must have some substantial social-action component. It will require the understanding and application of words like "Synergy" and "Appropriate Technology" and "Social mediation."

But regardless of what faith or ideology states, The Ecology is not something separate from us, nor are we independent of it. The Hippies were right. We do have to live in harmony with the land. The reverse is not actually true, though.

So, we all do have to get along. If that offends your idiology - you need a new ideological framework, because yours will eat your children. 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Glenn Greenwald brings the Cranky.

First Amendment Militia shirt


Glenn Greenwald is suffering the effects of a very severe moral wedgie. Like many, and I include myself, he suffers from deep, impotent outrage toward the moral failure of the Obama Administration; it's abandonment of it's clear, legal duty to prosecute war crimes committed under the aegis of the Bushistas.

He waxes sarcastic and wroth, no doubt in part due to the fact that he is being studiously ignored by those who have the manifest duty to act.

"Criminals"?  "Prosecutions"?  "Obliged to open a case"?  "Violations of human rights"?  Just because they maintained a few secret prisons in violation of domestic and international law?  What kind of crazy, purist, Far Leftist utopians are running that place?  They need a heavy dose of pragmatism so they can understand all the reasons why so-called "crimes" like this can be overlooked -- just blissfully forgotten like a bad dream.  Even worse, with intemperate and shrill language of the type they're throwing around, it's seems clear that the Lithuanian press is sorely in need of some David Broders, Fred Hiatts, and David Ignatiuses to explain to them that subjecting law-breaking political officials to "investigations" and "prosecutions" is quite disruptive and unpleasant when those crimes involve matters other than consensual sex between adults.
Even more alarming, this "rule of law" and "human rights" fetish seems to be spreading: "In neighboring Poland, prosecutors in the capital of Warsaw have opened a criminal probe into reports that the CIA operated a prison for al-Qaeda suspects near a former military air base."  Last month, an Italian court convicted 22 CIA agents of the so-called "crime" of kidnapping someone off their street and sending him to Egypt to be tortured.  And the British High Court this week released its written Opinion -- over the objections of British and American officials -- ordering the release of details of Binyam Mohamed's torture at the hands of U.S. agents.

Thankfully, the U.S. remains a bastion of pragmatic sanity in this rising sea of accountability extremism.

Glenn, here's the thing. Things are worse than you suspect. You see, Lithuania is not acting idealistically, or in accordance with law through some triumph of principle over pragmatism. The rule of law is the most stunningly pragmatic concept ever developed by mankind. It precludes all sorts of problems. It's civilization's way of saying "RTFM" to the offensively and dangerously stupid. Those who will not read and abide by the manual are invited to explore the diversions provided by The Impartial Bug-Zapper of the Law.


The rule of law is preferable to the law of man because it insulates leaders from the need to make impossible political calculations between right action and personal survival. But certain sorts of men (it's almost always men) much prefer to be in personal charge and to be able to act with impunity.

People like George Bush, Don Rumsfeld and espectially Dark Lord Cheney are exemplars of this sort of man. They are sociopaths and worse, entirely indifferent to the consequences others suffer for their ambitions. And when they are permitted to flourish, they corrupt everything they touch, to the point that even the most honest and pure will be required to use corrupt and incompetent men to serve at his will.

Now Obama comes from Chicago. He may be a good man, but I doubt that "pure" or "idealistic" are words we should apply to him.

But he has a severe problem. If he prosecutes the Bushistas - as international law and Constitution alike agree is is his duty, to kick the matters raised into a Court in order to determine the outcome as matters of fact and law - there is a significant possibility that he will be faced with some sort of military/institutional revolt.

That is to say, Glenn - you are justly outraged. So am I. But since I wish to live in a society in which the Rule of Law has not been suborned, I returned to Canada. As a dual citizen, I had the right to choose - and strongly felt a substantial duty to make such a choice.

If you wish to live in such a society as a natural-born citizen, realize that it currently does not exist and has NOT existed for a substantial period of time. Not in MY lifetime, Sir.  Consider that advancements in civil rights during the last fifty years  have often come at the cost of cracked skulls inflicted by the supposed agents of the theoretical rule of law. Law that only protects some, in accordance to their utility to the State, is not law at all.


Glenn, here's the thing. It's a very depressing insight, but as near as I can tell, you can either choose to move to a country where the rule of law exists, or you can choose to fight for it's re-imposition upon at least some of territories of the former United States.  

I observe the current situation is increasingly intolerable, both for large numbers of US citizens and the world in general. Either the US behaves as befits a member of the community of civilized nations, or it will be chastised in increasingly firm and embarrassing ways until it reforms itself or collapses under the weight of it's cognitive dissonances.

President Obama may well be cast in the role of overseeing the dissolution of the United States as we have known it. But whether he is to be seen in hindsight as the caretaker of the process of dissolution in as peaceful a way as possible - the Gorbechev role - or as the exemplar of a renewed vision and a newly vital nation is still largely up to him and, of course, the strings he can haul upon and the people he can call on. People... well, people such as YOU, Glen. Do not ask what your country can do for you, Glenn. What the fuck are you gonna do for your country?

For myself, I could not continue to live within the boundaries of a nation that would not apply it's own laws to itself, one that will abandon it's fundamental principles when slightly startled. And in fact, is all  9/11 was, on the scale of events that happen within the US every single year. I came to the conclusion that the US didn't lose it's brains that day - it simply and collectively dropped the pretense of being a civilized nation of laws even unto itself.

So Al-Queda won without need to even try firing one more shot. After all, what need? Your own C-Street Taliban was more than happy to continue the fight on their behalf, seeking every single social outcome BinLadin would.

But Glenn, you are starting to become shrill - and it's a sure sign that you risk your health continuing in this vein. Granted, the path that those in power OUGHT to follow, under the terms of concience and law, is clear.

It's equally clear that there are those in power that will oppose that to the last ditch. That will commit acts of violence to prevent it happening. That will sabotage it in every way possible. And yet, you think law will prevail? 

Someone has to enforce the law. That implies the willingness to step up and do it. If those charged with that task refuse, they must not merely be nobly and peacefully protested. They must be replaced by those who will - and they must be made to understand that it is not a negotiable choice. By peaceful means, by political pressure, by force of public outrage if possible - but the continuing abuses of power must end and those who have abused it held to account, that this is not a matter of political will or calculation.

Unless it becomes quite clear that the danger to the administration from the left is just as grave as the danger from the right, and by "danger" I mean a very literal potential danger, there will be no progress. It's not about Left and right, it is about Lawful and Unlawful, a choice between the Rule of Law and the rule of unworthy, corrupt, unaccountable sociopaths. Such people will not simply admit defeat. The only "dirty bomb plot" EVER proven to be greatly advanced past the wishful thinking stage was by a Nazi-identified Maine Millionaire.

And it was apparently aimed at the Obama Inaguaral.

It's not cynical to say that might makes right - for no right has ever been established in the face of superior might. So progressives should start thinking as to whether their convictions carry with them the courage to fight, at need. For that need may well come, and weak Reids will not serve you well.

Look at the numbers. Given courage and determination, Glenn - which side has more Divisions? Assembled into serried and courageous ranks, with rotund tummies sucked in, by the numbers sir, by the logistics, sir, by the accounts of who has the ports, the people and the expertise, who wins, if they have the will?

Obama still seems to think this is a question that has a political resolution - but he is opposed by those who will not abide by the results of an honest political process - should it actually occur despite their best efforts.

Therefore, the left (and by "Left", I mean "not batshit crazy") needs to comprehend that this is not a debate.  It is a choice between competing powers and competing visions - and one side is stupid, crazy, dangerous, and a lot smaller. They are quite aware that if they are to gain power over you, it must be through confusion and terror, by threats and by the use of examples of extreme violence.

That is to say, Dick Cheney and his ilk, these people are terrorists, traitors and worse. They must be dealt with as such. Indeed, they will leave you no choice but to deal with them, now, tomorrow, next year. And that is not at all a matter of debate. The only question is, will they prevail over you before being dealt with by the rest of the world?  

Debates occur between peers. Persons deserving of equal respect. People of sound moral and mental character. People willing to admit fact, reason and a decent consideration of the feelings and ambitions of all parties in the public square. This is not the case, nor has it been the case for at least a decade. Nor has the situation been particularly changed by an apparent change in power. Power, sir, must be used and used well in order to have meaning.

Take compromise off the table. One does not compromise with those who's most fundamental belief is that you deserve death, or worse.

Stop pretending that they don't really mean that, or that they have a higher nature to appeal to. Their choice is as stark as that they would impose. They may submit to a reconstituted, civilized national culture, and live, or they may choose to dash themselves against the reality they reject. The process may be unpleasant - exactly how unpleasant depends in part on how long those who know what must happen resist an unpleasant chore. But the outcome is not even slightly in doubt.

The rest of the world would be perfectly happy to see the United States disintigrate into a collection of smaller, competing states. It would simplify matters enormously, since the US is certainly no longer seen as a stablizing power, much less a force for good or even an economic engine. Nobody is interested particularly in helping the US save face - and certainly not at the expense of their vital trade relations or their own ideals.

Glenn, what are you going to do about it? I think we both know how much reasonable speech has achieved. It's now time to apply pressure. Start thinking of yourself as the leader of a First Amendment Militia - for if the first is not applied hard, true and well, the exercise of the Second may well be required.

First Amendment Militia by webcarve
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