Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Degree Granting Institution Does Not a University Make

Today's column:

Welcome to trade school. Yes, I know, the legal name of this fine institution is Michigan Technological University. Yet much like football is a game which seldom requires that feet touch the ball, continuing to call Michigan Tech a University is a result of semiotic inertia--nothing more. This is not, in and of itself, problematic; but much like an exchange student from across the pond would need to gain familiarity with American football in order to avoid both embarrassment and confusion, so it behooves a new Tech student to understand what awaits him during the next several years.

A Tech student will receive extensive instruction within his field of discipline. By the time he graduates, a mechanical engineering student will have mechanical engineering coming out of his ears; a computer science student will be able to program in his sleep. Quality of instruction varies by department, and according to particular professors, but in general Tech produces students who are able to work in the fields for which they have assiduously prepared. Moreover, while Tech is not M.I.T or Cal Tech, or even in the same league thereof, it is not bereft of a certain, if largely regional, prestige. Thus a student should be able to become employed, doing something which he enjoys—or so one would hope—at a higher rate of pay than he would be able to command without his degree.

But there are things which a Tech education will not give. For instance, a Tech student will not receive a liberal arts education. For all of the depth that one will master in one's field of choice, there is not a corresponding breadth concerning all of the subjects which one might expect to be traditionally covered at a University. A student will probably not improve his ability to write substantially, unless he undertakes to go at it in his own free time. He will read few books concerning topics unrelated to engineering, though he will gain a fair amount of knowledge about math and physics, especially insofar as it allows for applications of engineering. But his heart will probably not be moved by Virgil or Dante, Homer or Shakespeare; his thoughts will not soar with Dostoevsky or Dickens, or even with Waugh or Joyce; knowledge of history will be as lacking as that of the arts—unless, of course, he earnestly seeks to educate himself on such matters. And his education will be the poorer for it.

Perhaps such an education would not be desired by such a student. As Fred Reed once remarked, “An engineer forced to read Blake is merely an annoyed engineer.” But Fred is a cantankerous contrarian, and given his knowledge of engineering, while ostensibly ephemeral, his example suggests that one may be able to learn about engineering and enjoy reading poetry.

The administration would suggest that it's best that Tech doesn't try too hard to be anything other than a fairly expensive trade school. But an education that deals only with circuits and concrete is, at best, half complete. You won't find the answers to life's probing questions in General Chemistry.

Anyway, good luck at trade school. It's really not that bad of a place. Make sure to stop by the library.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Free as a Jail Bird

One of the more laughable aspects of our War on Terror is how a country which lacks many freedoms is insistent on exporting it in its vague, American form, to the under-privileged countries of the world. Here's the latest example:

He built a fence, a retaining wall, a patio and a few concrete columns to decorate his driveway, and now Francisco Linares is going to jail for it.

Linares had been given six months to get final permits for the offending structures or remove them as part of a plea agreement reached in January, when he pleaded no contest to five misdemeanor counts of violating the Rolling Hills Estates building code.

I am not intent on discussing the merits of building codes, though I think they are mostly useless and invasive. Theoretically, a case could be made that such requirements do prevent do-it-yourself imbeciles from falling off of poorly built decks, and, as such, they are a public good. But no one can make a case that such a law in conducive to liberty.

We live in a nation where one can do little but scratch one's nose without the consent of the government. Not only do we tolerate the incessant nannying, some people go so far as to defend it. We ban smoking in bars so that people don't have to cough from the smoke. We're working on getting rid of trans-fat, something no one had heard of twenty years ago. We're still going to be the fattest country on the planet, even without trans-fat. We've become like Douglas Adam's Vogons:

[O]ne of the most unpleasant races in the Galaxy— not actually evil, but bad tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous. They wouldn't even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without orders signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat and recycled as firelighters.

Meanwhile, Bush looks like he's going to attack Iran.

"Iran is sending arms to the Taliban in Afghanistan to be used to attack American and NATO troops," Bush said. "Iran has arrested visiting American scholars who have committed no crimes and impose no threat to their regime. And Iran's active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust. Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere."

Heaven help us.

UPDATE: My present pleasure reading proves topical.

The whole warren [Efrafa] is organized to conceal its existence. The holes are all hidden and the Owsla have every rabbit in the place under orders. You can't call you life your own: and in return you have safety--if it's worth having at the price you pay. - Holly, Watership Down, Richard Adams, p.238-9

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Nuclear Option

Worldnetdaily has gone neo-con crazy in the last couple of years, but they run a few of my favorite columnists, so I've yet to abandon them in total. I was thus pleased to read Maralyn Lois Polak's column today:

Sixty-two years ago this month of August – for bogus, trumped-up reasons – America dropped atomic bombs, decimating two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and annihilating perhaps 200,000 civilians, yes, mostly non-combatants in the first and hopefully only wartime use of nuclear weapons. Somehow it seems almost everyone still believes nuking Japan was imperative – therefore anyone who disagrees is naturally branded a traitor or a lunatic.

Not so!

"I hope [your phrase] 'for bogus reasons' means Japan's surrender was imminent and Washington knew it and dropped the bombs anyway as a means to demonstrate to the Soviet Union that the Red Army had gone quite far enough in Europe and Asia and that the U.S. had a weapon to counter it," says savvy Washington, D.C., political observer/magazine editor "Langley Forbes," not his real name.

Mr. Forbes and Mrs. Polak are entirely correct. While it is true that bombing Japan "saved" one million lives, this assumes that invasion of the main land was necessary, something blatantly untrue. By insisting on full surrender, despite later capitulating on those terms after letting lose the destructive bombs, the Allies provided the framework to allow for the first shot to be fired in the Cold War; just like we pushed through UN resolutions to provide the impetus for a war with Iraq.

My books are packed, so I can't produce Churchill's memoirs for a quote, but one of the most astounding parts of those wonderful writings was how he readily admits that no one even debated whether or not the bombs should be dropped. Discussions took place to determine which cities should be bombed, but once the Manhattan Project had reached fruition, with the current leadership in place, it was inevitable that the Japanese citizens should suffer so that our power could be demonstrated to the Communist Russians.

To this day, we are the only country in the world to use nuclear weapons against civilians as an act of war. And the reluctance which American pretenders to the throne exhibit in taking the nuclear option off of the table serves as a reminder that we have not even begun to learn from history. In the name of justice, we must prepare to strike against civilians whose only crime is to live with those whom no one can draw away from recklessness. It is not a wonder that so many hate us; it is a marvel that not everyone does.

UPDATE: I've successfully unpacked, so I thought I'd provide the Churchill quote.

British consent in principle to the use of the [nuclear] weapon had been given on July 4, before the test had taken place. The final decision now lay in the main with President Truman, who had the weapon; but I never doubted what it would be, nor have I ever doubted since that he was right. The historic fact remains, and must be judged in the aftertime, that the decision whether or not to use the atomic bomb to compel the Japanese to surrender was never even an issue. There was unanimous, automatic, unquestioned agreement around our table; nor did I ever hear the slightest suggestion that we should do otherwise. -Winston Churchill, Memoirs of the Second World War (Abridged) p. 981. Emphasis added.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Welcome to Post-Literate America

It turns out Americans aren't the reading types their ancestors were:

One in four adults say they read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday.

Why would you even admit to that? Going three-hundred sixty-five days without reading a single book is even more appalling than voting in a presidential election.

I don't think it's impossible to overstate how ridiculous this. One out of four Americans live in a universe which is so much smaller than anything we who read could possibly imagine. This is going to have serious repercussions; indeed it already has.

There are at least two things that are striking about this. First, as readers of de Tocqueville know, he was surprised and delighted at the general level of education which existed in the United States during the middle of the 19th century, even as he was confounded about the almost complete absence of an intellectual elite. He notes:

I do not know that there is a country in the world where, in proportion to the population, there are so few uninstructed and at the same time so few learned individuals. Primary instruction is within the reach of everybody; superior instruction is scarcely to be obtained by any.
- Democracy in America, p. 58

Largely lacking any aristocracy, more so than any country of Europe at the time, and probably of any country at any one time throughout the history of civilization, the republic nonetheless produced a land wherein the average American was reasonably well educated. Its people, democratic in spirit even before the Declaration had been signed, were uniquely positioned for the type of government they had been given. And, at least up until the war between the states, they continued to nourish this spirit. In other words, our ancestors, even the poor and the stupid, took the time to read books.

At the same time, information is more readily available than at any other time in human history. Some of it is false, some is pernicious, but even besides blogs of questionable worth, such as my own, the musings of great dead men have been posted on the internet, this last bastion of freedom, for anyone with the time and the diligence to read. For the intellectually curious, it is a good time to be alive.

All of which makes the lack of intellectual vigor among the citizens of the dying empire to be particularly depressing. Le pain et le cirque for this generation.

The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year — half read more and half read fewer. Excluding those who hadn't read any, the usual number read was seven.

I need more work on humility, or I'd attempt to calculate the number of books I've read in the last year. Suffice it to say, I think it's more than seven. Somehow being above average is less than exhilarating.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hillary Hawk

I start writing columns for the paper again next week, at least one of which will focus on the lack of choice which confronts those who oppose interventionism marching triumphantly on in the White House. On that note, here's the next POTUS:

[Hillary] Clinton said new tactics have brought some success against insurgents, particularly in Iraq's Anbar province.

"It's working. We're just years too late in changing our tactics," she said. "We can't ever let that happen again. We can't be fighting the last war. We have to keep preparing to fight the new war."

God help us all. Here we have the leading democratic presidential candidate admitting that: Bush's "surge" is working; and that she will be ready for the next war--most likely against Iran. If liberals hadn't been so vindicative to those of who tepidly, or even enthusiastically supported Bush before becoming disenchanted with his governance, I would feel a tinge of remorse for those who will also realize betrayal at the hands of their Dear Leader.

And yet, while republicans could claim that Bush professed conservatism, liberals have fewer legs on which to stand. Yes, Hillary will continue to use big government to help the poor--who, as always, will be left behind. But here are words from her own, filthy, reptilian mouth that she will not falter in our war to end all evil. I'll let her reiterate, because were I not a cynical pessimist; were I instead a good-hearted, if wrong-header, democrat, these words would shake me to my core:

We have to keep preparing to fight the new war.

The rise of Hillary will bring no change in the way we go about thrusting our nose into the business of other countries. Neither will our relinquished civil liberties will not be handed back; though the precipitous assault thereon will continue, unabated. Oh wonderful, wonderful democracy!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Greater of Two Evils

I've never read Ann Rice, but Drudge linked to her statement, so I shall proceed to tear it apart. It's one of those things I do.

I have come to feel that my Christian conscience requires of me a particular political statement at this time.

This will be good. You know it's going to be good when you see this because, Ron Paul excepted, there isn't a single candidate who meets the basic criterion for a Christian vote. Paul is opposed to egregious violations of the just war doctrine, such as the first Persian Gulf War, the current war on Iraq, and any and all other future incursions such as that pending against Iran and other middle eastern nations. He is not alone in this, but he is also opposed to abortion, which no Christian can tolerate. The God who knew the prophet Jeremiah before He formed him in his mother's womb is not appeased by ending lives before they reach legal personhood.

To a Christian, the right to life must trump all. There can be no compromise on this issue. Other issues, such as whether we should give government largesse to help the poor, or whether that duty can be met by the private sector, can be debated. Indeed it is worth nothing that even as Jesus Christ told us to give to those less fortunate than us, "the poor you will always have with you".

This is not to say that a Christian must be a libertarian. But I find it interesting that none of the democrats dare break faith on the abortion issue, while even those republicans who are members of the religious right, and as such opposed to abortion, nonetheless support very obvious violations of just war doctrine.

Back to Anne, who I learn has recently returned to the Faith which I share after an almost lifelong hiatus:

Let me say first of all that I am devoutly committed to the separation of church and state in America.

I applaud Anne for her return to the Faith, but she still has some learning to do. Allow me to arrogantly pontificate. I keep interrupting here, but what Paul Johnson calls the Total Society, which was delineated by Augustine in The City of God and which Johnson traces from the crowning of Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne in 800 to the high Middle Ages, wearing substantially during the Great Western Schism, and becoming irrevocably broken during the Protestant Reformation and the fallout therefrom, is the Catholic ideal. It is worth mentioning because the separation of church and state provides a model, and one with which me may work, but one which presents certain problems to the Catholic conscience.

I believe that the separation of church and state has been good for all Christians in this country, and particularly good for Catholics who had a difficult time gaining acceptance as Americans before the presidential election of John F. Kennedy.

Ah yes, John F. Kennedy, that paragon of Catholic virtue. See Johnson's treatment of one of the most overrated presidents in U.S. history in his magnificent A History of the American People. While personal virtue is not required to be Catholic--correct belief is--Catholics would be wise to create serious separation from such a man.

I am also keenly aware that we have only two parties in this country. Only two. This point can not be emphasized enough. We do not have a slate of parties, including one which is purely Christian. We have two parties, and our system has worked with two parties for generations. This is what we have.

I feel strongly that one should vote for one of these two parties in an election. I suspect that not voting is in fact a vote. I suspect that voting for a third party, when such parties develop, is in effect voting for one of the major parties whether one wants to believe this or not.

To summarize, I believe in voting, I believe in voting for one of the two major parties, and I believe my vote must reflect my Christian beliefs.

So if Rice was faced with Stalin and Hitler she would obvious vacillate toward Stalin. If both candidates are unacceptable to Christians, then Christians should vote for a third party--or avoid voting all together. Such idiocy is appalling.

She's right when she says that not voting is a vote. It's a vote for sanity and moral absolutes. It's a vote against this nonsense that we must plug our nose on the way to the ballot box and mark a check next to the least offensive candidate.

Bearing all this in mind, I want to say quietly that as of this date, I am a Democrat, and that I support Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.

Though I deeply respect those who disagree with me, I believe, for a variety of reasons, that the Democratic Party best reflects the values I hold based on the Gospels. Those values are most intensely expressed for me in the Gospel of Matthew, but they are expressed in all the gospels. Those values involve feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison, and above all, loving one’s neighbors and loving one’s enemies. A great deal more could be said on this subject, but I feel that this is enough.

I can't wait to see Anne's reaction after Hillary demonstrates her love for enemies by continuing the war in Iraq--and bombing Iran. And infanticide isn't behavior one would engage in with the progeny of one's worst enemy; it's deeply telling that democrats campaign in earnest to allow women to do such evil to their own children. But aside from these two small matters, the democrats fully encapsulate the message of the Gospel of Matthew.

I want to add here that I am Pro-Life... And much as I am horrified by abortion, I am not sure -- as a student of history – that Americans should give up the right to abortion.

In other words she's not Pro-Life at all. Being Pro-Life means working to end the evil of abortion and trying to prevent other impingements on the right to life which is sacred.

Words are worth little if not followed up by action. By endorsing a candidate who will only perpetuate evil, Anne Rice is doing a tremendous disservice to her readers, her Faith, and her soul. We may pray that her conversion continues to bear fruit; may that fruit be less rotten than this endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president.

Relentless Pessimism

I've been told that this blog is depressing. My apologies. Perhaps Will Durant can wax apologetically in my defense. Though a computer engineer--almost--by training, I consider myself an amateur historian, albeit one of little account.

Civilization is a stream with banks. The stream is sometimes filled with blood from people killing, stealing, shouting and doing the things historians usually record, while on the banks, unnoticed, people build homes, make love, raise children, sing songs, write poetry and even whittle statues. The story of civilization is the story of what happened on the banks. Historians are pessimists because they ignore the banks for the river.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Constant War For Constant Soldiers quote Against Me! I seriously can't imagine how we're going to avoid a stupid, immoral, senseless war with Iran as long as we keep pulling these shenanigans:

The United States has decided to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, the country's 125,000-strong elite military branch, as a "specially designated global terrorist," according to U.S. officials, a move that allows Washington to target the group's business operations and finances...

The designation of the Revolutionary Guard will be made under Executive Order 13224, which President Bush signed two weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to obstruct terrorist funding. It authorizes the United States to identify individuals, businesses, charities and extremist groups engaged in terrorist activities. The Revolutionary Guard would be the first national military branch included on the list, U.S. officials said -- a highly unusual move because it is part of a government, rather than a typical non-state terrorist organization.

The liberals in the media will be rightfully enraged about this, but the democrats, the party elected by the people to put an end to the madness in Iraq--and to prevent other similar crusades--won't do a thing. All praise the war machine to borrow from Zao.

I don't have proof per se, but it's a mite suspicious that none of the leading presidential candidates are even vaguely opposed to war. It's unfortunate; no, it's downright, disgusting; but our leaders are hellbent on waging war until their ability to do so has been destroyed in the process. We can only hope that it doesn't take long to bankrupt the empire--and that the backlash is none too fierce.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Death to Principles

The commentary that oozes forth from the "conservatives" continues to revolt:

The way I see it, whoever runs against Hillary Clinton deserves to win. So far as I'm concerned, those Republicans who threaten to stay home on Election Day in 2008 if their personal favorite isn't the nominee, just so they can self-righteously claim they didn't violate their principles, are beneath contempt. Cutting off your nose to spite America is not commendable. It's my conviction that anyone who permits this country to be saddled with a left-wing Medusa surrenders all claims of moral superiority.

In short, I am not one of those people who would care to have engraved on his tombstone: Here Lies Burt Prelutsky Who Never Voted for the Lesser of Two Evils.

I say let America be spited. If Giuliani was a democrat, the conservatives would be stumbling all over themselves to support Romney so that we didn't have "to be saddled with a left-wing Medusa". Seriously, on what issues do Hillary and Giuliani disagree? Why should we be proud to support an evil which is indistinguishable from its opponent?

There is nothing in the creed of a conservative which purports to stand with those who will defeat Islamo-fascism, or whatever we are calling it these days. And, for the record, Hillary seems to take the threat of Islamo-whateverism very seriously, at least in the sense that she's not necessarily opposed to nuking Iran or waging other stupid and immoral wars in the middle east.

But the most appalling thing about all of the people who insist we support Giuliani is that they do so, not out of an even vague affinity for common principle--though they do insist that his stance on terror is enough, which demonstrates how bereft of principles they actually are--but out of pure Machiavellian pragmatism. We should support Giuiliani because he can win; and we should shun Ron Paul because he cannot. Even supposing that in an election between two identical candidates the public will vote for the candidate who rides the weaker coat-tails of the traitorous president Bush, a patent absurdity, such an appeal is still remarkably base. It benefits a man naught to gain the world at the cost of his soul; what on earth could come of gaining the presidency at the same cost?

The Snooze to the White House

It's good to see I'm not the only one bored near tears by the presidential candidates, Ron Paul as always excepted:

The AFL-CIO Democratic forum last night on MSNBC, was the lowest rated-yet of the eight primary debates/forums held this election season. Based on live +same day data, Nielsen found the debate had 960,000 total viewers and 340,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo.

Or, as Camille Paglia put it:

The 2008 presidential sweepstakes have hit the doldrums as the pack of eager candidates of both parties dutifully make their rounds and tread water like tar. Whoever survives this corrida-by-boredom will presumably have the brass cojones to run the government. By what national curse must we suffer another year of this?

As an aside, it's unfortunate that she has yet to stump for the only decent candidate in the race. Sometimes I wonder about her libertarian credentials. Still, we're more than a year away from the election, so she has time to hop on board the Ron Paul bandwagon.

Anyway, I'm encouraged by the ratings numbers. I don't particularly believe in democracy, but our form of government is especially repugnant as the candidates tend toward the mediocre.
One of the more startling revelations which I have experienced in recent years was that one may avoid voting, not of apathy, but out of sheer disgust. The apathetic are not necessarily to be praised, but they are beneficial nonetheless in aiding in the exposure of this republic as a sham. As such, they deserve our tepid applause.

Whether the abysmal viewership during the last democratic debate is due to apathy, scornful indifference, or simply fatigue at a campaign season that has already gone on too long, it is a very good sign. When faced with Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, one ought to do one's best to leave Wonderland firmly behind.

I cannot help but wonder how marvelous it would be if no one watched at all. Or, better yet, if no one voted.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Unfathomed Blessings

Despite the precipitous decline in births in the more civilized nations of the world, there are always those who swim against the cultural tide:

It's a girl - again - for the Duggars. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar welcomed their 17th child, and seventh daughter, into the world Thursday.

While unbelievable, or nearly so today, there was a time when large families such as the Duggars weren't the impetus for a national news story. St. Catherine of Siena, the twenty-third of twenty-five children, the brilliant mystic and Doctor of the Church, springs insensibly to my Catholic mind. And while it is true that the middle ages were not home to birth control, thank heaven, one scarcely suspects that the mother of one of the most remarkable saints of the Church would have used it, just as some Catholics and conservative Protestants, though not nearly enough, deign to stoop to that evil today.

All the children - whose names start with the letter J - are home-schooled.

I know I'm surprised. Here are seventeen children who will not lapse, without a fight, into decadent hedonism. No one knows what the future holds, and some may fall away, but the seed which the Duggers will plant will never be uprooted, and though some may leave the path, this now convinced Catholic knows that the path will never leave them.

"We are just so grateful to God for another gift from him," said Jim Bob Duggar, 42, a former state representative. "We are just so thankful to him that everything went just very well."

Another shock. Since atheists are more moral than we antediluvian Christians, there should be no shortage of atheist families who are bringing as many blessings into the world as the Duggers. I know of no such family, though should one arise, as if from the primordial soup, I shall laud their behavior.

I come from a fairly large family; I am the oldest of eight children. No one would ever pretend that having so many children is easy, but Christ never promised that our walk would be painless; He promised that He would be with us, and that the narrow path, which leads not to destruction, yields a comparatively lighter yolk. His Saints, who have suffered extensively, yet testify to the truth that their is both freedom and joy in sharing Our Savior's cross.

No one who has had a large number of children would ever trade a single one of them for the world. And a world that does not understand the blessing which a new life brings has lost more than an innumerable number of children. It has lost more, even, than its way of life, which cannot be replicated without people to pass on its traditions. It has lost its soul.

Murtha: King of Pork

I don't pay enough attention, thank goodness, to liberals, but last I checked, they liked the man:

Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), chairman of the House Appropriations defense panel, has secured the most earmarked dollars in the 2008 military spending bill, followed closely by the panel’s ranking member Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.)

Even though Young secured 52 earmarks, worth $117.2 million — and co-sponsored at least $27 million worth of others — Murtha’s 48 earmarks amount to a total of $150.5 million, according to a database compiled by the watchdog organization Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS).

He's a scumbag of significant proportions. The same case could be made for most Congressmen, excepting, as always, Mr. Ron Paul, but the hypocrisy is layered pretty thick on this one. If he had any courage, which he doesn't, Murtha would instead work on defunding the military; that's one surefire way to bring the troops home. Instead, he's dipping his hand into the mess of blood. Pork, tantamount to bribing one's constituents, is appalling, but is especially so in this case.

Remember, they're all pretty much scumbags. They differ only in extent.

Glorious, Fake Democracy

Usually they give the demi-god of democracy lip-service; not so today:

Republicans walked out on a House vote late Thursday night to protest what they believed to be Democratic maneuvers to reverse an unfavorable outcome for them.

The flap represents a complete breakdown in parliamentary procedure and a distinct low for the sometimes bitterly divided chamber because members of one party have rarely, if ever, walked off the floor without casting a vote...

Details remain fuzzy, but numerous Republicans argued afterward that they had secured a 215-213 win on their motion to bar undocumented immigrants from receiving any federal funds apportioned in the agricultural spending bill for employment or rental assistance.

Whereupon the holier-than-thou, not-as-corrupt-as-Bush democrats reopened voting so as to get the result they desired.

Keep this in mind when Hillary comes to power. Yes Bush is corrupt and immoral, and undeserving of the office of the President. Yes the Republicans in Congress are corrupt and cowardly, also undeserving of the esteem which their office entails them. But the Democrats aren't one lick better; nor will they govern as such. The Machiavellian antics will be just as astounding, if not more so, when the democrats have a monopoly on federal power. The prospect is downright titillating.

This would be truly appalling if our system wasn't such a sham in the first place. I'm sure this is exactly what the founders had in mind.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Obama the Hawk

Lest you think he was too much of a peacenik:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Wednesday that he would possibly send troops into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists, an attempt to show strength when his chief rival has described his foreign policy skills as naive.

The Illinois senator warned Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf that he must do more to shut down terrorist operations in his country and evict foreign fighters under an Obama presidency, or Pakistan will risk a U.S. troop invasion and losing hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid.

You know what they say: if it walks like a hawk and it talks like a hawk, it's probably a hawk.

This is a really weird move for Obama. He's not going out-run Hillary to the war-mongerer side of things, and he's really much more of a socialist than she is. The republicans are never going to vote for either of them, but if I read the democratic base correctly, Obama is more liked. He comes across as the more liberal of the candidates, and rightfully so. I don't really understand this move to the center, though this testifies to the strength of the military industrial complex. Even when polls demonstrate that at least seventy percent of Americans are fed up with the war in Iraq Obama is not eliminating the possibility of going after... Pakistan.

Which is odd if one knows anything about Pakistan. And though I don't, Justin Raimondo does:

The Pakistanis seem honestly shocked that their imperial overlords in Washington are ready to turn on them so quickly. As Pakistan's foreign minister put it to CNN's Wolf Blitzer: "People in Pakistan get very upset when, despite all the sacrifices that Pakistan has been making, you know, you have the sort of questions that are sometimes asked by the American media." The question being asked is: what side are the Pakistanis on?

Here is a government that has captured more al-Qaeda leaders than all the Western intelligence agencies combined, a government that has stood by the U.S. since Day One of the post-9/11 era, a government that is now being swamped by growing anti-American sentiment and religious fervor. After all that, how can the Americans possibly doubt Musharraf's loyalty?

During one of the debates, Ron Paul, echoing Ronald Reagan, noted that we don't understand the irrationality of middle eastern politics. The Pakistanis can't understand the irrationality of American politics. Neither can I.