Thursday, July 01, 2010

Speaking of Canada on Canada Day

I went to check on Canada today, to see if we were doing anything at all interesting. But on the very eve of Canada day, during the Queen's Visit, and immediately subsequent to the 100th' birthday of the Canadian Navy.this is the top story.

Yes, there is the odd murder. Yes, we are still spilling blood in Afghanistan, our own and those of Afghanis. And yes, being Canadian, part of our contribution is a rather large contingent of medical professionals. Once someone HAS been shot and is unable to shoot back - if they were ever so inclined in the first place - we think that it is utterly unremarkable for us to be concerned about their well-being. This is quite aside from the fact that we are entirely sure that our soldiers are, man for man, twice as good as any Ahmurican, three times as good as any Frenchman, and five times as good as any person from Ireland, Wales or Scotland who is cognezant of his history and yet willing to take the Queen's schilling.

Oh, we will serve along side them, and gladly. It gives us an opportunity to prove which of the various Commonweath members can be smuggest under fire.

We are Canada. We are a people who are as ethical as we can afford to be. No more than that, Lord save us, but by the Lord Harry, not one whit less than that! We are a complacent, polite and rather dull people, who value being able to turn on the news and find out that certain things are as they should be, and whatever follies might have been committed, can be reasonably and properly blamed on having taken bad advice from Americans. 

Sadly, like all partners in power-imbalanced relationships, we do that rather a lot. But being Canadian, we do regret it in the morning, and promise to never, ever do it again.

One of my favourite things about Canada is that we actually do something about our regrets. Although, I do suspect that at least half of the reason that our Royal Commissions actually do come to conclusions and our politicians actually do make sincere public statements of regret that are backed up with money and actual change is that it proves to the world that we are Canadian.

Which is to say, NOT Ahumurikan.

Being Not American, by the way, is pretty much the whole Canadian thing. We are the continental Plan B. The Unelected Senate of the Northern Hemisphere. The living proof that if you take your time and do things right, you need not do to do it twice.

This does means that it takes us rather longer to do certain things.  I clearly remember a time, just prior to Trudeau, in which we were a nation that was a client state to both the UK and the US, and damn proud of it. A nation in which poverty and disease and grinding toil were taken for granted. A time when many areas of British Columbia,one of the richest provinces in Canada today, resembled a third world nation and the worst areas resembled rural Tennessee. When you crossed the border, a superhighway changed into a two lane road.

Yes, Surrey, British Columbia, I am speaking of you, ye of the white fringed boots and the spray-on jeans with optional thong. This is a cliché because this is what you were, once, and not one person inside or out of Surrey thought twice of it. Now, it's an ironic fashion statement, and you heark back to it, you who are born in bred in the the realm of seven digit street addresses, not because you are actually sluts, but because being *thought* of as being sluts is as much a part of the heritage and culture of Surrey as Newfie jokes are part and parcel of being from Newfoundland.

In Canada, our history is what it is, and we did what we did in order to make do. We are neither proud nor embarrassed, but in the words of the famous Canadian marching song:

"We're here because we're here/
were here becaue were're here/
We don't give a damn that we're here!
We are here because we're here!.

This changed. Not suddenly. Not as a result of some radical upheaval by the terms of any other nation than our own. We didn't have a civil war. Nope. We had an election. The socialists came to power, changed a few things and then once they had had a chance to implement their rather good, overdue, and entirely unwelcome ideas, the Conservatives returned. But our conservatives did not repeal the changes. They respected the will of the people and therefore, were required to make sense of it all, put it all on a proper footing, and make it Canadian - that is to say, an idea that would be have been a completely Tory idea, had they only been capable of thinking of it in the first place.

It is not at ALL an accident that the US tried to get Canada to repeal it's entire social safety net as being an "unfair business subsidy." Of course it is. Bless you, dears, what part of "trade" implied "fair" to you? Isn't "fair trade" one of those sloppy-minded "libtard" ideas? No, we are Canadians. Fiscally conservative. That means that we we do indeed focus on the bottom line. That is to say, our Gross Domestic Product and our balance of trade. So whatever we can do to tip that bottom line in our favor... and more to the point, whatever you can be encouraged to do to tip YOUR balance of trade in our favor.. well thank you very much. And come again.

Canadian Conservatives, trained in the most exclusive and unforgiving prep schools, equally blessed with regular canings and training in the critical thinking that no doubt makes them question the necessity of it even as they add it to their repetoire of private sexual deviations are qualified to  use spreadsheets, run the numbers and accept the results as being true, regardless of the answers their ideology says the answers should be.

If welfare and unemployment turn out to stimulate the economy, well, they do. A proper Conservative does not give an amputated rat's ass if that means that the money goes to an "unworthy person" as the first stop. Let us say that the "unworthy person spends all their money on drugs."

Being a Conservative, they know quite well that first, the drug operation was bankrolled by someone who votes Conservative, they know that regardless of who "deserves" the money, some of it was spent on toilet paper, which is made from Canadian trees owned by quite reliable Tories, unreliable people of COURSE buy McCain brand lunch meat, Hunky Bill's pyrogies and Top Ramen... and so it goes.

The less "reliable" and "worthy" the person it is, the less likely that money will be saved and the more likely it will immediate will pass into entrepreneurial, Conservative hands. For proper economic stimulus, it's not so much about the sheer amount of money, as the velocity - how many hands it passes though in what period of time on it's way back to the proper hands.

Like I say, we run the numbers and follow the money. And the numbers reflect reality as it is, not as some sorts would prefer it to be.

1.Via Skye News, who, due to their editorial slant, include two paragraphs of anti-monarchism, and being British, must relegate them to the last two paragraphs.) (See also here what a very precarious thing it was, in true Canadian form.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sales are up in Europe and the Middle East...

On Blowback and the Judgement of History.

Blowback: The unintended consequences of intervention in the affairs of others.

This is blowback. Given this modern era, it comes faster and harder than at any previous time.

I'm not saying I agree or disagree with the statements made in the above video. That's not the point I'm trying to make. The point is that these tensions exist and are inevitably created when you send young men and women to war. Those who come back are affected and changed.This will change your culture and indeed, the world as a whole these days - in ways that are unpredictable, but directly related to the material and obvious justice of the cause.

So here is the question - for those of you who are deeply and passionately in favour of the various wars out there - do you think the risk to your way of life is worth it? Because he's certainly going to be spending the rest of his days very eloquent and persuasively undermining everything you will surely tell me these wars were meant to protect.

Of course, one might reasonably more concerned about the risk of vets returning with the ability and inclination to do violence. Most often that is the worry expressed - but that won't actually affect change in anything close to the way this young man will change things.

The thing about warfare is that win, lose or draw, nobody involved is ever the same. Those who survive are transformed, usually not for the best, and certainly not toward the path they would have taken. And it is rare and remarkable when this turn is actually better for thee or me in the long run. That is, of course, what makes their story remarkable, and why they are touted as the hero of the age.

But for every one like that, there are a hundred who will spend the rest of their shortened lives unable to sleep through the night, who turn to drugs, who endure homelessness, who leave society behind them and take to the rails and roads in search of meaning or in rejection of what they once thought to have been meaningful.

And they too will tell their stories, not on stages or in press conferences, but to fellow bikers and hobos, on the loading docks and the factories, for decades. It will become part of the common wisdom, the experience of the world. But here's the kicker. They might be poor, they might be homeless, they might be utterly off their nut. But unlike any other time in history - any one of them can make it on to YouTube, and speak to millions about what happened.

So there will be no need for a Bonus Army, and you won't be able to direct Pershing to clear them away. Oh, and they took their phones and their video cameras to war and they brought the footage home. Whether to brag of their exploits or to document the horrors, or just to record the daily grind - it will come out; not via approved channels and not in the fullness of historical time, but in ways that will affect the fates of those who made the judgements.

George Bush famously suggested that only history could judge him. Indeed, this is true. But Bush failed to realize that there is more history happening faster than at any time in history. He made the choice to set a great deal of history in motion. But for George and those who thought it a good idea at the time - they may not be able to outrun the delay between the occasion and the judgement.

Maddow Mocks Republican Bohner

I found this clip in the strangest place (once) imaginable, Little Green Footballs.

I remember the days when LGF and Free Republic seemed to have a considerable... philosophical congruence. But things do change. Or sanity at last prevails.

Nonetheless there's a difference between swearing off strong drink and deciding to become a Baptist. This feels rather like someone's "come to Jesus" moment. Or at least, testify to the fact that they actually watched Maddow's show. 

On the other hand, if there's one thing that is gonna be instantly popular at LGF...

A Glorious Nutsacking.

It's good to know that some things never change!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rape, Incest "All Part of God's Plan," Angle Says

Sharon Angle, the Cristo-Republican Senate candadate in Nevada, said this. Out loud.

Um... Sharon, dear. You just said out loud that child rape and incest are all parts of your god's plan.

Via the Huffington Post:
In an segment that has gone unnoticed since it first aired, the Tea Party-backed candidate told the Bill Manders show -- a favorable platform for Republican candidates -- that she opposed abortion even in cases of rape and incest. A pregnancy under those circumstances, she said, was "God's plan."

Manders: I, too, am pro life but I'm also pro choice, do you understand what I mean when I say that.

Angle: I'm pro responsible choice. There is choice to abstain choice to do contraception. There are all kind of good choices.

Manders: Is there any reason at all for an abortion?

Angle: Not in my book.
Manders: So, in other words, rape and incest would not be something?

Angle: You know, I'm a Christian and I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives and that he can intercede in all kinds of situations and we need to have a little faith in many things.

I'm not sure what god that would be, but in Christian tradition, degredation, the torment and exploition of the innocent, the screams and terrors of children, and being impregnated by some personification of loathomeness is the domain of the Red Guy with Horns.

You call yourself a "christian," but untold millions of Christians would disagree.

But let's set "God's Plan" aside for a moment, because clearly that god's morals aren't helping you do anything remotely ethical.

My plan is to help make YOUR words go viral, and tie you like the stinking albatross you are around the necks of the vicious, small minded evil people you so capably and honestly represent.

Petraeus throws Obama into the Briar Patch

I've never thought Barack Obama was an idealist. Nor did I ever think that his "lack of experience" as a legislator was a critical factor. It's the "community organizer" aspect that caught my attention. You see, in Chicago, that means you learn to deal with a lot of various sorts of people, and this very much includes fronting up to stone killers and squeezing a donation or some leverage out of them.

I think he's a man who is very much a realist, and very familiar with dealing with things as they are and the people on the ground that are there, and rather less affected by the various idealistic and doctrinal slants that people on the "left" and the "right" try to assign to him.

I consider him to be the very sort of person that you would want piloting an crippled airplane toward a distant airfield with one single chance of putting it down in one piece. I don't think for a moment that he's confused about the real "mission at hand."

So I'm amused to see this headline: "Petraeus Locked Obama In."

At this morning’s hearing, General Petraeus tamped down talk of an early withdrawal from Afghanistan—and warned of greater U.S. casualties to come.
With his four stars and battle ribbons speaking for themselves and his reputation soaring, Gen. David Petraeus Tuesday told the Senate Armed Service Committee just what President Obama wanted its members to hear: (1) fighting the Taliban and al  Qaeda in Afghanistan remains essential to U.S. security; (2) the president’s counterinsurgency strategy and U.S. troop reductions projected to begin on July 2011 were fine; and (3) this general and this president are in harmony unlike the departing U.S./NATO commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

But make no mistake, the thrust of the general’s remarks in these confirmation hearings was to further lock Mr. Obama into the Afghan war and to protect his right flank against Republicans and conservatives who have begun charging that the president is about to cut and run from the war. He offered very little to Democrats and liberals who have stepped up their demands for an exit strategy.

There are many stories written by the Terribly And Professionally Sincere from the left, the right and the clueless, who don't see that the "exit strategy" for a politically-driven war has to be, first and foremost, a political maneuver, one that places the price of failure on the heads of those who carry the banners for the satus quo ante.

President Obama absolutely must achieve a fundamental shift in the way Americans think about the projection of power, the use of military force and the expense in terms of guns, of butter and human life. Given the things he has expended political capital to achieve, he is either working in this direction or accepting it more readily than many others.

His critics haven't read their Sun-Tsu or their Von Clauswitz or their Rommel - or they would understand that victory comes from creating conditions in which your enemy will make some very critical mistake.

Jay Gould
American financier Jay Gould
After hiring strikebreakers, he said "I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half."[Wikipedia >Wage Slavery;#35]

In order to win a war, you need to know exactly what the war is about, which side you are on, and who your enemy is.  For President Barack Obama, the most direct threat to his policies, and indeed, to the people who gave him his mandate is the Military Industrial Complex and the National Security State types - the ones who are all in favor of the War on Drugs, the War on Crime, the War on Terrorism - that is to say, the war on you.

He's fighting the war that Eisenhower predicted, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq give him cover and opportunity to bleed his opponents dry, discredit or kill them and created conditions whereby a long-term socio-political shift might be achieved.

What Obama needs to do is allow his enemies the opportunity to make mistakes - and then use the mistakes they make against them. So when someone says this out loud, I giggle.

 Peter Galbraith writes in the Daily Beast:

The U.S. will have to be deeply engaged diplomatically to keep the erratic and ambitious Karzai from destroying his own country. Eikenberry and Holbrooke understand the man and the terrain. The last thing President Obama needs now is a group of new faces who believe the U.S. strategy is working, and who take his recent Karzai charm offensive seriously.

Clearly there have been strains in the relations between Eikenberry and Holbrooke, which is hardly surprising since both men sit atop large organizations devoted to making progress in Afghanistan. But both Eikenberry and Holbrooke are exceptionally competent and they know it is essential to work together.

With Afghanistan possibly headed for a full-scale civil war, this is not the time to replace an experienced and accomplished diplomatic team. The mission in Afghanistan is difficult enough without the Afghan leader believing he has the upper hand in his relations with the United States.
Yep. A terrible mistake. Assuming that Obama actually thinks the situation in Afghanistan is actually more critical to the national security of the United States than the threat to the United States presented by it's National Security establishment. But Iraq and Afghanistan are both wars of political choice, based on neoconservative assumptions about the role of the US in the world and what it should use it's military and economic power to achieve, at the expense of the entire demographic that President Obama grew up with, went to church with and was largely elected to represent.

I'd be looking to see what Obama has Eikenberry and Holebrooke do next. Because I think that giving Karzai what he thinks HE wants, and giving Petraeus what he thinks HE wants, Obama is achieving three important goals. Setting up Karzai to fail, sooner rather than later. Setting up Petraeus to personally fail to make make his Counter Insurgency plan work - sooner rather than later. And getting his people out of the way so they will not be damaged by the inevitable association with a huge military and foreign-policy failure.

The COIN doctrine is what much of the Pentagon and the civilian Neo-Conservative hangs it's hat upon, and the doctrine justifies and necessitates a commitment to indefinite, potentially global low-level counter-insurgent warfare - a prospect that is the life-blood of the military-industrial complex.

It is a strategy that absolutely depends on a very close diplomatic support and skilled intelligence. If Obama "acceeds to pressure" to replace "his people" with those who are philosophically inclined to support Karzai and COIN, it will be a strategic maneuver to generate victory in the very real cold civil war that is raging in the United States right now. Afganistan is a sideshow for Obama, but the "graveyard of empires" could indeed become the undoing of those who thought the United States had the right and the need to become one. But of course, that's not the sort of thing a President can say out loud.

Obama may be the titular commander in chief, but the tail has been wagging the dog for several Administrations. What he's doing is slipping the leash, and letting the puppy try and bite the tires off of the rolling semi.

Obama will be be handed a political exit, and he will take it like a statesman. In part, I think this perception will be genuine, but in order to achieve it, he must first get his enemies to eliminate each other - and ideally, it should occur all at once. What it will be - well, I can't say for sure. But it might look something like this...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Unspoken Third Party

“I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.” - Barry Goldwater

Bill Pendergast writes regarding Michelle Bachman and the emergence of the Religious Right as a de-facto political organization.

    Over the past thirty years, the evangelical Christianity of the right has been organized into a discrete/particular political machine--and this fact has eluded the overwhelming majority of our professional political commentators. And the fact is that this machine (and its umbrella organization that directs it, the Council for National Policy) has successfully evaded regular media coverage of its operations. That has made this political machine incredibly powerful.

I think he's right in pointing out that it's been long, long overlooked as an effective third party. I think it's become much more dangerous since conservatism was left bereft of the wisdom of Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley Jr. But I note at the same time that this all does sound a little familiar.

H.L. Mencken writes (The Baltimore Evening Sun, July 13, 1925)

 The Book of Revelation has all the authority, in these theological uplands, of military orders in time of war. The people turn to it for light upon all their problems, spiritual and secular. If a text were found in it denouncing the Anti-Evolution law, then the Anti-Evolution law would become infamous overnight. But so far the exegetes who roar and snuffle in the town have found no such text. Instead they have found only blazing ratifications and reinforcements of Genesis. Darwin is the devil with seven tails and nine horns. Scopes, though he is disguised by flannel pantaloons and a Beta Theta Pi haircut, is the harlot of Babylon. Darrow is Beelzebub in person and Malone is the Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm.

I have hitherto hinted an Episcopalian down here in the coca-cola belt is regarded as an atheist. It sounds like one of the lies that journalists tell, but it is really an understatement of the facts. Even a Methodist, by Rhea county standards, is one a bit debauched by pride of intellect. It is the four Methodists on the jury who are expected to hold out for giving Scopes Christian burial after he is hanged. They all made it plain, when they were examined, that they were free-thinking and independent men, and not to be run amuck by the superstitions of the lowly. One actually confessed that he seldom read the Bible, though he hastened to add that he was familiar with its principles. The fellow had on a boiled shirt and a polka dot necktie. He sits somewhat apart. When Darrow withers to a cinder under the celestial blowpipe, this dubious Wesleyan, too, will lose a few hairs.
But others have been following these trends too. I've been a long time reader of Katherine Yurica,
 who has been warning about dominionist theology for years and years. I've written about Dominion (the idea that Christians should rule the nation, in order to conquer the world and bring forth a kingdom so that Jesus may return, the theology that is taught at the C-Street church
Heck, I've written about it a bit, most memorably and relevantly in The Spiders Behind Sara's Eyes. Now, that's not really a critique of their political goals as it is of their "will to power" from a viewpoint some would dismiss as "woo." Me, I think the word "evil" is a perfectly respectable word, and I take the utterly illliberal view that you will know it when you smell it.

Meanwhile, if there are people who's religious viewpoint makes it perfectly defensible to do anything whatsoever to gain power - lie, cheat, steal, foment war, manufacture consent, slander, steal elections - whatever it takes - then it's never a good idea to think of them as anything less dangerous than your own personal, direct, mortal enemy. Because... they are.


I'm in the midst of a "thing" right now. I'm being forced to move from my home because my landlord is seven kinds of idiot. It's a fight I could take to court, but he's seven kinds of idiot, and he lives upstairs. So to win - would be to lose.

Anyway, for the last while the internal gibbering has been drowning out all else. Autistics ... we don't move well.

But that's not your problem. It's an explanation of why I'm making t-shirt sites and mucking about with my blog template. I'm moderately freaked.

Anyhoo, I'm trying to squeeze out a post anyhow. Found this at Skippy:

It appears that when a Republican is laid off and needs that UI other Republicans start thinking of them as a "lousy, free-loading, welfare sucking Democrat. Oddly, this seems to breed a bit of resentment.

Echidne of the Snakes, her very own self, called someone an "Asshole". Of course, it was Camille Paglia. Nonetheless, we are unspeakably proud.

Over at LGF - which has become one of the lone voices of sanity to the upper-right, observes in sadness the harmonic convergence of Pajamas Media and Alex Jones.
So there you have it. Pajamas Media, the company I helped start, is now sharing contributors with the most batshit insane conspiracy theorist in America. Hope you’re proud, Roger.
In all sincerity: "Hugs if Acceptable."

Oh, and then there was that Palin thing. What was it? Ah, yes...

"Now I know, the dumbness doesn't come just from soundbites," 


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