Thursday, December 31, 2009

What Ever Happened to the US?

Turn On, Tune In, Veg Out - New York Times

Scientists and technologists have the same uneasy status in our society as the Jedi in the Galactic Republic. They are scorned by the cultural left and the cultural right, and young people avoid science and math classes in hordes. The tedious particulars of keeping ourselves alive, comfortable and free are being taken offline to countries where people are happy to sweat the details, as long as we have some foreign exchange left to send their way. Nothing is more seductive than to think that we, like the Jedi, could be masters of the most advanced technologies while living simple lives: to have a geek standard of living and spend our copious leisure time vegging out.

If the "Star Wars" movies are remembered a century from now, it'll be because they are such exact parables for this state of affairs. Young people in other countries will watch them in classrooms as an answer to the question: Whatever became of that big rich country that used to buy the stuff we make? The answer: It went the way of the old Republic.

Listened to MPR chortling over a judge deciding that the governor has no right to use his unallotment power to cut funding to some group or the other. We live in a "make it so" world where ever more of the teeming masses believe they have a "right" to everything from talks with a shrink to a flat screen TV -- oh, and while that is being gotten up for them, please be sure it has a negative carbon footprint. People know how less and less of how and why their lives operate, but they feel that they are totally justified to get more of whatever they want at someone else's expense, and complain that it wasn't acquired with a cheap enough rate from the folks that knew how to do it!!




Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Avatar: "Dances With Ewoks"

First of all, I went to see the movie with the family last night in 3D and it was great, a real trip -- immersive, enjoyable, beautiful, exciting and a lot of fun, go see it. I pretty much checked my brain at the door and just thought of it as an amusement park theme thrill ride, and it did extremely well at that level.

The blog title is a mostly tongue in cheek joke -- someone else on FB had mentioned the "Dances With Wolves" connection and when they were in the forest retreating, the Ewoks came to mind. There is some truth to the pangs of it being a really good ride, but it IS quite long for the volume of  insanely shallow plot while trotting out new effects. I think it leaves an "ontological hangover".

This isn't a movie that I'd worry about "spoilers" -- it is the all formula all the time, good vs evil, princess kisses frog, earth mother vs war god father, buddy bonding, technology vs nature, etc. with a blatant attempt at being a "Wizard of Oz" (color), Star Wars" (special effects), Toy Story (all computer generated imagery), etc  blockbuster that changes the industry for the digital / 3D technology. It may, but it seems a bit "tarted up" in trying.

My stream of consciousness:
  • Must we ALWAYS suspend tactical awareness in odd ways? Humans can't breath the air on the planet. Your forces have to break off close contact with the core human base because of strong difference of operational objectives/outlook. You are willing to "go native". You have a group of "natives" at your disposal. Take control of the air supply in some innovative way for gods sake! You only have to put up with pompous ass old marines for a max of 4 min if they won't negotiate on air issues!
  • I think "We're not in Kansas anymore" is a bit too much of a wishful reference to Wizard of Oz being the first film of the color eara -- 3D was interesting, but I think it is "always" going to be a high stakes tech two edged sword on the border of "immersive" vs "intrusive". It isn't color.
  • OK, so we quit paying attention to religion, philosophy and have ditched western culture for the "noble savage". How does a guy worth over $100 million spend $300+ million on popcorn munching entertainment that supposedly disses the war god Yahweh "man has dominion" material / technical model for the eco green nurturing earth mother mixed with Klingon warrior uses the force model with a straight face? Only in America circa early 21st century. Oh, and the main character makes this transition while inhabiting a bio-engineered amalgam of human and alien DNA linked up by some sort of MRI / wifi from the Star Trek school of technology. Maybe there is a meta humor statement here of this is what happens when any concept of "the good" or "the sacred" is forcefully removed from the Prometheus / Pandora / etc world of myth? I mean, he named the planet "Pandora" -- he must have SOME understanding of mythology. 
  • The witch goddess psuedo orgy pagan transfer of human to "golem" TWICE (attempted) was just a bit much. Yes, yes, we got it -- western civilization murdered mother earth. Father god = evil. Mother god = good. Mother god get angry, mother god kill just like daddy. Mother god better though -- use spears and arrows and have swaying tail and chanting at home rather than nasty polluting boy toys with smoke, fire, video games and enough comfort to drink your coffee while mass murdering. Those men are all alike -- and no doubt they would waste time watching football on Sunday rather than tending the flowers too!
I really don't need to be reminded "this is just entertainment", I did have fun DURING the film. Is there really any reason to go QUITE as far out on the "noble savage vs technology" theme?. MUST we have TOTAL boobs on the side of technology (the compound reminded me of Jurrasic Park)? Is it REALLY "all or nothing"? The Pandora planet is 100% nurturing for those that are adapted -- with luminescent plants for the night, giant leaves to enfold you in secure sleep, and lovely creatures for you to "plug in" in order to have all the high speed thrills and spills of your earthly atv, hang glider, mountain climb, etc.Come to mommy and you can have everything if you just "grow up" like mommy says is best. There there now, mommy can provide with just a few simple rituals of "joining". So much better than awful "separation".

Damn -- daddy threw us out of Eden. If ONLY we were lucky enough to have a mommy god,  it would have been so much better! At least we got to play with all our nature destroying daddy tech computers and build us one hell of an amusement film making mommy look nice while we are destroying the planet!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Only a SLIGHT Double Standard!

Power Line - In which the Strib arrives late to the case

Golly Mark Dayton had some struggles in his life -- depression, alcoholism, a couple of dissolved marriages. He had plenty of erratic behavior, and to listen to him talk was painful -- he seemed to be unaware of a ton of things. For example he thought that a call about "depleted uranium" used in military projectiles was rather about "uranium being depleted -- as in short". He kept mumbling about how he was unaware, but would look into it even though Gary Eichten kept trying to bail him out.

So how long would we not know about such things from a Republican? I had never heard a word about any of it relative to Dayton, even though he apparently covered it in detail to everyone on his Christmas card list! One would think that media would at least report it in that case, but NADA! I guess we have no right to know -- as long as we are talking about a Democrat!


The "Spirit" of Ted Kennedy

Incredible! If this doesn't hit the MSM they are COMPLETELY out to lunch! The guy that authored BOcare drunk on the Senate floor!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Judaism: A Way of Being

Really enjoyed the subject book by Davide Gelernter. Gelernter is special to me because he is a leading computer scientist teaching at Yale. He survived an attack by the Uni-bomber, and he was the Doctoral adviser for a coworker from Haifa Israel.

He opens in the preface with the great questions of human existence:
  1. How do we understand our place in the unspeakable vastness of creation?
  2. Is physical creation all their is?
  3. How do I order my life as a human being?
  4. Does life have a goal (purpose) beyond comfort, power, prosperity, survival?
He breaks Judaism into four key theme images:
  1. Separation -- From the "waters" in creation, at the Red Sea, at the Jordan, at birth, and with the Sabbath. God creates a separation for life, for holiness, for transcendence. Man is not part of nature, he is held separate and must struggle with nature. Man is made in God's image, not God in man's. That is paganism, of which the end is simply man worshiping himself. "Jews defy nature by defying its most fundamental impulse -- the onrush of chaos, reducing all things to one level, abolishing all distinctions". How profound, and how at odds with the onrush of chaos of our current political climate.
  2. The veil -- God can not be seen, imagined, named. He is "on the other side", but paradoxically, deep within. He is not nature, he is behind nature. He is not man, he is behind man -- and what sets us apart from nature is his image. Maybe that is what it means to be conscious, maybe not that simple.
  3. Perfect asymmetry -- God is one but man is two, male and female. "The force field between maleness and femaleness creates marriage and colors the whole universe. But the modern attempt to make the two sexes interchangeable, shorting out the battery that operates civilization, wiring it's poles together is an act of aggression against both sanctity and humanity."
  4. The inward pilgrimmage -- "The still small voice".
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalms 14:1). Today the atheist publishes a book about it. Such an atheist is like an emotionally frigid philosopher who says in his heart "there is no love in the world." Should he wish to change this apparent state of affairs, he need only love someone and accept love in return. But if he chooses not to, he must understand that he has made an assertion not about the work, but about himself. If you see no God in the universe, striving to make yourself holy (or godly) will change your way of seeing.
Having read a couple atheist authors in the last couple of years (Dawkins, Harris), that particular paragraph struck me.

The book is relatively short, but also quite information dense. I recommend it highly, even if the Hebrew terms do tend to get in the way from time to time. It is infused with the core of the special nature of Israel -- that they are the only embodiment of God that exists on earth since he "withdrew his presence" after the loss of the Ark. For a Christian, one really sees the stark contrast between "God With Us" and "the veil", and it gives a whole new meaning to "the veil of the temple was rent".

I KNOW I didn't "get it all", but it is a marvelously well and lovingly written book by a highly intelligent and spiritual man.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

AGW Enemy Action?

Power Line - Three Times Is Enemy Action

Nice set of pictures. Both sides can be guilty of assigning "divine justice" to things -- the left often found Katrina to be "mother earth sent", and some conservatives thought it was "justice for New Orleans". The assignment of cosmic significance to earthbound affairs is nothing new at all, and I'd argue it is common for the human.

The Bard:
Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?


Tiger and The Bezzle

Op-Ed Columnist - Tiger Woods, Person of the Year - NYTimes.com

One of my favorite objects of study is "the liberal mind". We live in a sad world where the liberal feels no need to study the conservative, nor their thoughts, since they feel that would be beneath them -- conservatives are just plain wrong. Liberals on the other other hand, with their maddening (to conservatives) inconsistency, are certainly correct fairly often. The issue, like the difference between a stopped and a simply "off" clock, is that as the price for being somewhat frequently correct on some issues by never being consistent, they are extremely hard to pin down.

This column seems to provide a bit of a window into some liberal thinking.

As of Friday, the Tiger saga had appeared on 20 consecutive New York Post covers. For The Post, his calamity has become as big a story as 9/11. And the paper may well have it right. We’ve rarely questioned our assumption that 9/11, “the day that changed everything,” was the decade’s defining event. But in retrospect it may not have been. A con like Tiger’s may be more typical of our time than a one-off domestic terrorist attack, however devastating.

This is quite interesting. First of all, the NYT, Rich's own paper had Abu Ghraib on it's front cover 32 consecutive times in a short period in spring '04. He doesn't mention it in his list of laments of the decade, apparently because it didn't fit within his context as it was either "real", or it was "real in an NYT context", as opposed to the supposed "falseness" of this past decade as opposed to any other.

How does Rich come to the conclusion that 9-11 was "one off"? The WTC was bombed in '93 with direct connection to KSM and reasonable connection to Iraq, Khobar Towers in '96, embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in '98, and the USS Cole in '2000. There are of course other attacks -- Bali, Madrid, etc, just not directed against Americans. Clearly 9-11 "changed nothing" for Rich, nor for most liberals, and the idea that it was, is, and always will be, "one off" is an article of their current faith. Could not a liberal fall prey to "believing what they want to believe"?

People wanted to believe what they wanted to believe. Tiger’s off-the-links elusiveness was no more questioned than Enron’s impenetrable balance sheets, with their “special-purpose entities” named after “Star Wars” characters. Fortune magazine named Enron as America’s “most innovative company” six years in a row. In the January issue of Golf Digest, still on the stands, some of the best and most hardheaded writers in America offer “tips Obama can take from Tiger,” who is typically characterized as so without human frailties that he “never does anything that would make him look ridiculous.”

This gives us the sort of liberal insight that perplexes. "People wanted to believe what they wanted to believe". Is this not human nature in all times and places? Has there ever been a time when this was not true?

Enron was a "debacle" as were the S&Ls a decade before, the big crash of '87, the collapse of the "nifty 50" in the '70s, Lockheed, etc, etc. I really don't see any portion of human history that lacks the twin towers of hubris and wishful thinking. In fact, might one just give a moment's thought to the idea of BO running up trillions of debt while attempting to stop the "certainty" of human caused Global Warming and having the government take over health care as having some small percentage of that dynamic duo of self aggrandizement and wishful thought?

Rich meanders around through his view of "the Bush lies", Madoff, the housing bubble, interest rates, etc, but one thing he is completely silent on is "why". Why would the 2000's be somehow unique in these elements of people believing what they want to believe and people willing to let them believe it? He has nary a word to say.

I touched on something called "the Bezzle" in this blog. My view is that the US government makes all the Madoffs, Enrons and Tiger Woods out there completely honest by comparison. The US government has a couple $50 Trillion Ponzi schemes going called FICA and Medicare, and seeks to add and run others every day. National health care and the Fannie and Freddie sub-prime loan debacle as a couple other examples.

My view is that once the US Government signed up as the major player in the twin tower game of hubris and wishful thinking in the 20th century, with big increases in both hubris and wishful thinking in the '30s and the 60's, we were destined for collapse without SIGNIFICANT and ACTUAL change, which would have largely involved vast REDUCTION of the entitlements of FICA and Medicare that were ALWAYS unaffordable and dangerous to our entire national enterprise. What we see now is the acceleration into the abyss as BO and his 60 vote majority of the giants  of Bezzle drive a once great nation to a point from which recovery is in extreme doubt.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Left Knows No Irony

Eurostar Cancels Service Today, to Improve Snow Protection - Bloomberg.com

Friday AM on the way into work, the top three stories were:

  1. Eurostar trains stopped in chunnel due to freezing temps in N France
  2. Giant snowstorm on East Cost
  3. Global Warming conference
Nobody in the media sees any irony in this. In 2005 around the time of Katrina, the media was 100% on message that the strength of Katrina was due to Global Warming and we would see many more storms like that over the years to come. In this blog, I've pointed out that we have in fact seen FEWER strong hurricanes since Katrina. The MSM never admits when they are wrong.

The media still has a lot of the public convinced that the melting polar caps, lack of snow on top of Kilimanjaro and such is "proof" of "human caused global warming". First of all, if there was 100% air tight proof, it seems VERY questionable that a major scientific center would be suppressing competing research and deleting data. Anyone that wants to do a very short bit of research will find about the Medieval Warm Period from 800-1300, and the Little Ice Age -- 1650-1850. It seems very unlikely that these events were caused by man, so there must be significant natural climate fluctuation.

We also know that there have been a number of ice ages in earth history -- times when glaciers covered huge regions of the planet and sea level dropped by as much as 400 feet.

However, right now the media wants us to believe that vast amounts of personal freedom need to be given up to global climate authorities and that vast amounts of wealth need to be re-distributed at the behest of the UN and liberal governments like our own current BO administration. The giving up of freedom very much tends to be a one-way ratchet that is unfortunately only resettable with violence and the loss of life. As the elites get more and more powerful, they seek to remove liberty from the "masses" because clearly the elites strongly believe that they know best, and whatever they decide is "best" and most worthy of being enforced at the point of a gun.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Smalley Cilvility

The Associated Press: Franken shuts down Lieberman on Senate floor

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Elect Stuart Smalley to the Senate, and what does one expect? My guess would be that were his more conservative bomb throwing bookend Ann Coulter to have been elected as the 60th vote on the other side, she would be more civil and less partisan than this.

Democrats live with no rules at all (each one is their own god, thus they tend to squabble), so expect little coverage of this. This is NEVER done in the Senate, the two "extra" minutes is like leaving a 2 hour business meeting for a bathroom break. Humans allow it -- Stuart did not. No more case needs be made.


May As Well Dream Big

Gore 2000: Gore as President - An Alternate History - Newsweek 2010

Note, as part of the MSM, Newspeak has no biases. The "news" here is an alternate universe where Al Gore won in 2000. Here is how easy 9-11 was averted -- what a shame that Gore didn't clue Slick Willie in on just how easy this was prior to WTC1, Kohbar Towers, US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. No matter, liberal fantasy knows no bounds. Also really interesting how a guy that as Senator didn't even vote to support Iraq 1, was going to supposedly be cowboy enough to order probably the most effective strategic bombing in history that killed the whole leadership of Al Qaeda. As long as one is dreaming, they may as well dream big.

An August 2001 Daily Intelligence Briefing warns, "Bin Ladin [sic] Determined to Strike in the U.S.," which prompts the president to authorize the strategic bombing of targets in the Khost province of Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border. 

Frank Wall, White House counterterrorism adviser: "We had it on better-than-reasonable authority that Osama bin Laden, or at least his top guys, were hiding out under the protection of the Taliban who, if you remember, had just blown up the Bamiyan Buddhas that April, which was a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nasty guys. It didn't go over well. We were not greeted as liberators there, and here at home, the general consensus was that the president was trying to look manly. I still maintain it was the right thing to do. American interests haven't been attacked by Al Qaeda since the USS Cole in Yemen, but who can really judge if an endeavor is successful by something not happening?"


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Will On the BO Charm

RealClearPolitics - When the Charm Rubs Off

I guess I was almost singularly unimpressed by the aura of BO -- but then I read his books. I've found that everyone that has actually read them both is at least taken aback by: 1). The level of navel gazing and strange views of the world that he was willing to include in "Dreams", and 2) The absolute glorification of "the fake straddle". "Let me tell you how I have looked at both sides completely, in some sort of abstract godlike fashion, and the "fact" is just that after it is all said and done, the far left position is always right -- that is just the way things are!

Will does a good job of cronicaling some of the stupidities of December. Sadly, I think we can be assured that 2010 will include many more, let us pray that the deaths of Americans due to the meanderings of this disorganized community organizer are minimal.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Biased to Report Gallup Poll?

FOXNews.com - Obama's 47 Percent Approval Lowest of Any President at This Point

So the Gallup poll, which has conducted presidential polls since 1938 is being ignored by the MSM. Gee, wonder why? Here are the previous 11 presidents at this point in their terms:

-- George W. Bush, 86 percent
-- John Kennedy, 77 percent
-- Lyndon Johnson, 74 percent
-- George H.W. Bush, 71 percent
-- Dwight Eisenhower, 69 percent
-- Richard Nixon, 59 percent
-- Jimmy Carter, 57 percent
-- Bill Clinton, 52 percent
-- Gerald Ford, 52 percent
-- Ronald Reagan, 49 percent
-- Harry Truman, 49 percent
-- Barack Obama, 47%

Hmm, BO is dead last. Do I put a lot of stock in that? No -- Note that Reagan is tied for 2nd from the bottom. My point is that WERE it a Republican as opposed to Democrat, the reporting of this factoid would be hard and heavy with a lot of analysis. "Can he recover"? "Is his presidency failed", etc, etc.

The other interesting fact is that BO hit these numbers with about as much positive media as one could ever hope to have -- apparently results really do make a difference!

If the economy turns around, BOs numbers will improve at least some. If we are attacked (something his policies make exceedingly likely), his numbers will improve for at least a bit -- then one would hope that the electorate realizes that Bush kept us safe for 8 years and the BO policies put us at grave risk.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Secret Non-Government Polls

Power Line - Don't Look Now, But...

Don't expect any of this to be "leaked" to the MSM -- no doubt this ought to be as secret as the Global Warming hoax. Anyone showing polls that look negative for BO ought to be jailed!!

There is just a slight difference here from the Bush years. Falling polls were one of the main bludgeons that were used to help drive him down. Most people hate to stand up against the majority, so constant messages of "sliding in the polls" tend to be a self fulfilling prophecy.

How different BO ... nobody in the history of polling at the Presidential level has fallen so far so early in his term, yet the media coverage is pretty much "natural slippage because he has taken on tough problems".

Man, it is REALLY nice to have them on your side -- dealing with 9-11, being handed a recession by his predecessor, Katrina, creating a monstrous drug benefit that almost rivals 1/10th of the gargantuan BO healthcare plan, and attempting FICA reform never even counted as "a tough job" when Bush was in office!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

38 BO "I's" OR ....

I Pledge Allegiance to Global Warming - WSJ.com

The BO Noble acceptance had 38 references to "I" ... but the highlight ...

"I . . . reserve the right to act unilaterally" is especially good, though it's hard to top the show of faux humility: "Compared to some of the giants of history who've received this prize--Schweitzer and King; Marshall and Mandela--my accomplishments are slight." This is not humility: It takes a bloated ego to compare oneself to great men, even if only to assert that there is no comparison.

Next to BO, I'm nothing ... but, the speech he ought to have given

When I heard about this prize, I didn't think I deserved it. I mean, what have I done? But then I looked at the list of past recipients. Yasser Arafat? A peace prize for a terrorist? What's the deal with that, guys? Al Gore? For what, making a movie with charts? And Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter! He endorsed me, and even I can't stand that sanctimonious little twit!

Well, I think Carter will look like a great man by the time BO is done.







Goodbye to Your Health Insurance

RealClearPolitics - You Will Lose Your Private Health Insurance

Do you believe it is an accident that suddenly no mammograms are required at less than 50 years of age? Expect many rulings of this sort in the months and years to come, but rest assured that the STATISTICS on health will continue to look better and better. The fox is in charge of the hen house, he has declared the hens are all fine and happy!
So there we have the real essence of this bill. It restricts our choice of which insurance to buy and pushes us into more expensive plans. At the same time, it destroys the economic incentive to purchase insurance in the first place and replaces insurance with a free-floating tax on one's very existence.

Essentially, this bill forces the insurance companies to cover everyone at the same rate without regard to pre-existing conditions, demands that the coverage cover every little thing (thus making sure that health costs go up), and removes any prospects of profit for the insurance industry.

The part I think I "love" the most is the part that Al Franken was bragging about on MPR today -- insurance companies MUST put 90% of premiums paid into payments for medical care. ONLY 10% can be spent on administration, management, advertising, etc. Isn't that sweet? So what incentive do we have here? Let's see, if I have $1,000 premiums today, I can make only $100, but if I get to $10,000 in premiums, I can make $1,000. Do you think the medical community would like to get that extra $9,000, or do you think they would turn it down?

Oh, I know, there will be a "government regulator" -- guess what, there always have been PLENTY of "government regulators" at SEC, HEW, USDA, etc, etc, and billions of dollars are wasted, skimmed or just flat out missing all the time. Did you hear of anyone at SEC losing their job over the Sub-Prime meltdown? A couple real high level guys at FANNIE and FREDDIE got canned, but they got picked up in the BO campaign. One needs a crisis before one can be sure it doesn't "go to waste". We are set up for a "crisis" a minute now.

The real purpose of this bill is to run up the cost of insurance for everyone as a prelude to government takeover. There isn't a lot left between this level of mendacity and cynicism and the gulag. Merry Christmas, Comrade.



Sunday, December 06, 2009

Will On Climate Change

RealClearPolitics - The Climate-Change Travesty

A well written perspective on the fallacy of spending Trillions of dollars on something that is questionable enough that at least some scientists feel they must lie to defend.


Friday, December 04, 2009

Shoot Toto!

RealClearPolitics - We-Don't-Want-to-Talk-About-It-Gate

Remember in the Wizard of Oz when Toto was pulling the curtain back so you could see that "the great Oz" was nothing more than a machine being manipulated by an old guy behind the curtain? He spoke through the machine saying "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain", when it was obvious that there was no "Oz" -- only a big machine and a regular old guy manipulating it.

Thus, as some hackers have pulled the curtain back from the "The Great Global Warming Hoax", the MSM, the Democrats, and the Copenhagen grifters admonish us "pay no attention to it being a hoax".

Amazingly, most of the masses are gullible enough that even when they see the main perpetrators of this supposed "settled science" right in the act of silencing those with data that calls their hypothesis into question, and in some cases being forced to delete data and manufacture data to show what they could not show honestly, they are afraid to question the "Oz" of Global Warming.

Have we lost all ability to independent th0ught?


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Will: Will Not End Well

RealClearPolitics - This Will Not End Well

A good one from George.

But after 11 months of graceless disparagements of the 43rd president, the 44th acts as though he is the first president whose predecessor bequeathed a problematic world. And Obama's second new Afghanistan policy in less than nine months strikingly resembles his predecessor's plan for Iraq, which was: As Iraq's security forces stand up, U.S. forces will stand down.

Having vowed to "finish the job," Obama revealed Tuesday that he thinks the job in Afghanistan is to get out of Afghanistan. This is an unserious policy.




Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The BO View From Abroad

Opinion: Searching in Vain for the Obama Magic - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Whenever Bush would give a speech on matters of war, the MSM provided us with the obligatory "lack of respect from abroad" view. Gee, doesn't look like they would have any trouble finding that now if they looked a bit.

One wonders if cynicism has any limits. BO who was 100% against the Surge in Iraq, now takes credit for an "orderly exit" with no mention that it was the Surge that made that possible. He institutes his own "2nd Surge" (his first was in March) in Afghanistan, but rather than stand up and take the heat of "we are committed to objectives, not dates", he goes ahead and states a date where he will start withdrawal. It is hard to come up with the perfect analogy for committing troops for a specific duration. Men are being sent to fight and die when the enemy knows that if they just run and hide for 18 months, the US troops will be gone and they can mop up the Afghan forces at their leisure. Maybe getting married and promising to not have any other women for the next 18 months would be similar.

This quote is a good summary:

Never before has a speech by President Barack Obama felt as false as his Tuesday address announcing America's new strategy for Afghanistan. It seemed like a campaign speech combined with Bush rhetoric -- and left both dreamers and realists feeling distraught.

The following is a rather breathtaking assessment. "The least truthful address" for BO gives one huge pause -- the mind reels to try to think of any that had even a mild sprinkling of truthful content, but indeed, this one is certainly in the running for most disingenuous.
One didn't have to be a cadet on Tuesday to feel a bit of nausea upon hearing Obama's speech. It was the least truthful address that he has ever held. He spoke of responsibility, but almost every sentence smelled of party tactics. He demanded sacrifice, but he was unable to say what it was for exactly.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Crushing Legacy of Bush

A Crushing Legacy of Bush | The New York Observer

One reads through something like this and wonders at the thought process of the writer beyond "I hate  Bush".

Those events began with the inexplicable decision by officials of the previous administration to allow Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and other ranking leaders of Al Qaeda to escape from Afghanistan to Pakistan in December 2001. At the time, as a new Senate report on the battle of Tora Bora recalls, Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense, and Gen. Tommy Franks, the commander of American forces in Afghanistan, decided not to augment the tiny force of special operations troops on the ground with sufficient force to capture or kill Mr. bin Laden and his deputies. They later claimed to be worried that “too many American troops in Afghanistan would create an anti-American backlash and fuel a widespread insurgency,” a rationale that can only evoke bitter laughter now.

No further recrimination is necessary; history will render sterner judgments than any that can be written now. But after eight years of incompetence and arrogance, how can the United States salvage what has become of the “good war”?

So the ONLY purpose of US troops being in Afghanistan was and is to capture Osama Bin Ladin and Mullah Omar? Even the rest of the article would seem to give the lie to that, is BO putting in 30K more troops for that reason? No. So if more troops is bad now, why was it not bad in '01? Only because then it would have been the evil Bush putting them in and now it is the savior of the world BO?

We live in a post 9-11 world where the threat of "asymmetric warfare" is almost guaranteed to be with us always and always increasing. How many guys does it take to comandeer an oil tanker and crash it into Manhattan and set it afire? How about a LNG tanker? Supposedly their explosive impact could equal a small nuke. We have seen planes. We know that the next use could be nukes, nerve gas or biological weapons. How secure are some of the control centers for our power grid? How about a small nuke on a SCUD producing an EMP explosion off the Eastern Seaboard? The list is endless, and the "unknown unknowns" are impossible to calculate.

So, we are faced with "Nation Building or Defeat". A very difficult problem. I'm not sure that Afghanistan and Iraq are close enough to the same to use the same strategies -- I think that is what got us in trouble in Iraq. What at least SEEMED to be working in Afghanistan in '01 and '02 was a "small footprint". That strategy was not right for Iraq, but I'm not sure that just because the strategy of a larger footprint worked in Iraq is any reason to assume THAT strategy is portable to Afghanistan.



Sowell Nuggets

RealClearPolitics - Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene

I liked a bunch of these, here are my favorites:
In response to news of President Obama receiving the Nobel Prize for peace, an e-mail from a reader recalled a black classmate's comments upon graduating from high school many years ago. When asked to list the advantages and disadvantages of being black, the black student facetiously listed as an advantage "being praised for infinitesimal accomplishments."

I'd say the following is sort of the core value of the left -- show off with something clever as often as possible, but never even have a clue what wisdom is.

Some people are so busy being clever that they don't have time enough to be wise.

The next one is very sad, but very true -- maybe a lot of prayer will prevent it:

No one likes to admit having been played for a fool. So it will probably take a mushroom cloud over some American city before some Obama supporters wake up. Even so, the true believers among the survivors will probably say that this was all George Bush's fault.

I think everyone that has worked for their positions in life knows the next one from experience -- they stepped beyond their competence and learned about both their limits, the strength of others, and thus at least a little humility. Think about how hard this learning would be (is it possible) when you are used for "praise for infinitesimal accomplishments".

Stepping beyond your competence can be like stepping off a cliff. Too many people with brilliance and talent within some field do not realize how ignorant-- or, worse yet, misinformed-- they are when talking like philosopher-kings about other things.

Much as the media liked to say about Bush: "He started on 2nd and thought he had hit a double", when you follow the liberal mantra, you get home-runs for just showing up.

There has probably never before been as drastic a decline in the quality of vice presidents as there has been when Dick Cheney was replaced by Joe Biden. Yet the New York Times is lionizing Biden as a wise counselor to President Obama. When you support the liberal agenda, that makes you brilliant ex-officio in the media, whether or not you are vice president-- and whether or not you have even common sense.