No, not the ergonomic exercise system.
Rather, the approach Alexander the Great took to solving the conundrum of the Gordian Knot (see here for a proposed topology of how it was actually constructed).
In ancient Gordium there was a great knot, of which it was said by the oracles that anyone who could untie it would rule over all of Asia. The knot defied all attempts to unravel it for centuries until Alexander arrived in 333 B.C. as he was beginning his conquests.
And rather than tug and pry uselessly at the untieable knot like all his predecessors, Alexander solved the puzzle by taking out his sword and slicing it neatly in two, an early example of "thinking outside the box" as well as of taking direct, decisive action.
And he went on to rule all of Asia.
Looking at the Middle East, we see a similarly tangled knot that has defied all attempts to unravel, made up of various tightly interwoven strands: Radical Islam, Arab Imperialism, World Oil Supplies, Dictators, Mullahs, Al-Qaeda, Corrupt Monarchies, Israel/Palestine, European Economic Interests, Nuclear Proliferation...
Now, John Kerry claims to be able to cleverly untie this knot. He claims that if elected President, he's going to carefully ponder this knot's twists and turns, and deftly pry out the Al-Qaeda strand without disturbing the others too much.
Good luck with that!
The link above explains the historical Gordian Knot was probably a trick, a closed loop with no "free ends" to get a hold of, that was knotted around itself and then shrunken to be impossible to undo.
The Middle East problem is likely analagous. By design, the apparent self-interest of the West has been tied to the preservation of the failed states of the region. Otherwise it would have been solved by the world over the last 50 years, no?
And so George Bush, on the other hand, is using the one sure-fire way to succeed: the Alexander Method.
He has begun hacking away at this knotty mess and has severed several key strands, but the knot is thick, and is not yet completely undone. And those who want certain strands to remain are trying to restrain him.
But undoing this knot is all or nothing. And it will take at least another term to cut through it completely.
That is the fundamental question before us in the upcoming election: by what method will the Gordian Knot of the Middle East be approached?
By nuanced attempts to unravel a knot that has no free ends?
Or by the Alexander Method?
Talk about a one-two punch!
To kick off the Republican National Convention, first McCain warms them up, especially with a delicious evisceration of Michael Moore (who was present), and then Rudy just knocks it out of the park with plain talk on the evil we face, the craveness of Europe, the complicity of Arab governments, and the absurdity of Arafat's Nobel "Peace" Prize.
This is a Nuance-Free Zone! The differences between the parties couldn't be more clear.
"Alleged Iraqi 'Sleeper Agent' Arrested"
Latchin was "an Iraqi intelligence spy sent to this country to be a sleeper agent," with directions to "assimilate himself into our culture," Assistant U.S. Attorney James Conway said.Well imagine that.
The indictment concerns Latchin's 1998 application for citizenship. Asked to list any organizations to which he belonged, he failed to put down Saddam's Baath Party, according to the indictment.
He also did not list that he had been a member of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, the foreign intelligence arm of the Iraqi government, and said three overseas trips he made were vacations when in fact he met with his intelligence handler, according to the indictment.
An active Iraqi intelligence agent captured in the U.S.!
An agent who has been here for "about 11 years" which would mean since 1993 -- the year when it seems Hussein, who never stopped waging the first Gulf War until he was deposed, tried to have Bush the Elder assassinated during a visit to Kuwait.
Which was also, perhaps coincidentally, the year when the first WTC attack occurred. And also the same year when Nichols and McVeigh -- and perhaps a third "John Doe", according to initial witness accounts -- bombed the Federal Building in Oklahama City.
Investigative reporter Jayna Davis has matched a name and an identity with the police sketch of this mysterious "John Doe #3", who it seems just happened by a wild coincidence to also also have been an Iraqi ex-soldier who came here looking for odd jobs. And who, after denying her allegations and unsuccessfully suing, quit his post at Boston's Logan Airport(!) and disappeared.
She believes he was an Iraqi intelligence agent.
And now the "existence proof" of such beings has just been confirmed.
We can be sure these agents aren't here for the tourism.
Laurie Mylroie believes the first WTC attack in 1993 was also aided by Iraqi intelligence.
Crazy conspiracy theories? Perhaps. But having looked at the circumstantial evidence, the Wall Street Journal editorial board decided such charges could not be simply dismissed out of hand. We find it reported from NewsMax that in 2002,
Former CIA Director James Woolsey also expresses skepticism that Timothy McVeigh, executed for the Oklahoma City bombing, and his accomplice Terry Nichols, sentenced to life in prison and awaiting further trial on murder charges, could have planned and executed this monstrous crime all by themselves.At the very least, this deep-cover agent now in custody was surely up to no good, and Hussein's intent to damage us here is proven. It isn't stated how he was discovered; perhaps Hussein's voluminous files are finally yielding their dark secrets.
Woolsey believes the work of persistent investigators, reporter Jayna Davis and Middle East expert Laurie Mylroie, are onto something, as many clues in their separate probes point ominously toward Baghdad.
In a lengthy carefully worded Sept. 5 op-ed piece, Wall Street Journal senior editorial page writer Micah Morrison says while the information to date stops short of "conclusive evidence” the Iraqi dictator was implicated in the attacks on the Trade Center or the federal building in Oklahoma City, "there is quite a bit of smoke curling up from the various routes to Baghdad…”
That the Wall Street Journal is taking a serious look at the "Iraq connection” is significant if for no other reason than the fact that this Dow Jones icon of business journalism is not noted for an addiction to wild conspiracy theories.
"Our position is: Congress should hold hearings on evidence of previous Iraqi connections to terror,” editorialized the Indianapolis Star Sept. 7. "In the Oklahoma City case,” the paper added, "[Jayna] Davis painstakingly reviewed telephone records that indicate Terry Nichols contacted Iraqi intelligence in the Philippines to acquire bomb-making expertise.”
And of the other possible terror connections? Another important thread in this developing tapestry has just been added.
Keep an eye on this story.
This is the talking point of those sane enough to be forced to admit the war was necessary, but want to find a way to criticize Bush: for not having a plan.
Of course, what is meant by "a plan" is: "a magic wand that will make everyone be nice, with cuddly puppies and kittens in abundance."
Let's look at this realistically, shall we?
First, there was a plan. It was a reasonable plan. You can find it here. And for the direct aftermath, tons of humanitarian supplies and millions of dollars were set aside to thrust upon aid agencies to handle the true disasters that did not occur.
Comparisons are made to the aftermath of WW2, and to the Marshall Plan.
Well guess what, the Marshall Plan didn't start until 1948, and they had 3 whole years of war to think about it, whereas the Iraq campaign lasted only 3 weeks!
Are millions of people homeless, dying of preventable diseases, or starving to death? No? That's what was happening after WW2, the Good War where apparently everything was done right, unlike the bumbling of the Bush administration.
Think things look bad now? I refer you to the January 7, 1946 issue of Life Magazine (or try this and this if that link is slow). In it, well-known novelist John Dos Passos reports on the appalling post-war conditions, branding the peace a failure and the war a mistake. The headline is:
"Americans are losing the victory in Europe; destitute nations feel that the U.S. has failed them."
And consider this:
The troops returning home are worried. “We’ve lost the peace,” men tell you. “We can’t make it stick.”
Friend and foe alike, look you accusingly in the face and tell you how bitterly they are disappointed in you as an American. They cite the evolution of the word “liberation.” Before the Normandy landings it meant to be freed from the tyranny of the Nazis. Now it stands in the minds of the civilians for one thing, looting....
Never has American prestige in Europe been lower. People never tire of telling you of the ignorance and rowdy-ism of American troops, of our misunderstanding of European conditions. They say that the theft and sale of Army supplies by our troops is the basis of their black market. They blame us for the corruption and disorganization of UNRRA. They blame us for the fumbling timidity of our negotiations with the Soviet Union. They tell us that our mechanical de-nazification policy in Germany is producing results opposite to those we planned. “Have you no statesmen in America?” they ask.
All we have brought to Europe so far is confusion backed up by a drumhead regime of military courts. We have swept away Hitlerism, but a great many Europeans feel that the cure has been worse than the disease. [emphasis mine] The taste of victory had gone sour in the mouth of every thoughtful American I met.or this:
In the words of the London Sunday Observer: “Europe is threatened by a catastrophe this winter which has no precedent since the Black Death of 1348.” There are still more than 25,000,000 homeless people milling about Europe. In Warsaw nearly 1,000,000 live in holes in the ground....Infant mortality is already so high that a Berlin Quaker, quoted in the British press, predicted. “No child born in Germany in 1945 will survive. Only half the children aged less than 3 years will survive.”And no, these articles aren't a parody; they've beeen verified, were mentioned on Fox News last year, and references to them in other contexts pre-dating 9/11 can be found on the internet. Just ask at your local library for the microfilm.
And talk about a "quagmire", apparently we've just finally found our "exit strategy" from Germany after 60 years!
And yet, somehow we persevered.
But today, the standard seems to be that being unable to accurately predict the future is considered failure, even when it's a military maxim that "no plan survives first contact with the enemy." Instead, the measure of success is if one can adapt to circumstances faster, and prevent true chaos from breaking out, and in that the administration has been wildly successful.
Yes, wildly successful, by any historical measure!
But the Press would not have you believe that. The AP last Memorial Day wrote the following:
More than 800 U.S. servicemembers have died in Iraq, and because most of the casualties were after May 2003, this Memorial Day will be a more somber one. The deaths, combined with ongoing fighting and allegations of prisoner abuse, have taken their toll on support for the war.Ooo, you'd like that, wouldn't you, AP?
I would just like to point out that in WW2 we had 400 American soldiers killed per day, every day, for one-thousand days straight.
Let that sink in for a moment.
And worlwide, 25,000 people were being violently killed per day, every day, for six years!!!
With today's media, we would surely have lost back then. The media and the Left would have surrendered within a week. Can anyone doubt it? No wonder FDR had an Office of War Information to censor and control the news. Winning would have been impossible otherwise.
So 800 dead over 14 months after defeating 2 countries is quagmire and defeat.
What would they have said of D-Day, which recently had its 60th anniversary? D-Day: 1,500 men dead in minutes; most of the tanks and heavy equipment going straight into the sea; 10,000 French civilians killed in the bombing...
And that's what a victory looked like!
If things seem unsettled, it's because we're embroiled in a proxy war against Iran and Syria and elements of the Saudi Royal Family -- a religious war that was declared against us in 1979 in Teheran -- and thank God we're finally fighting it upon their very borders.
As PJ O'Rourke said in Give War a Chance,
"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child - miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless."
This erosion of civic understanding by the population at large is unfortunately abetted by organizations such as the ACLU, who should know better, that doggedly pursue fictitious, non-existent "rights", such as the supposed right of Atheists to be free from being offended by any hint of God in our culture and history, while ignoring or denying true rights such as "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" (more on which will follow later).
Public officials compound the confusion by bandying around the term willy-nilly, such as in "patient's bill of rights".
Well I've got news for them. There is no such thing as a "right" to a job, to housing, or to health care. Natural Rights, properly understood, are protections from government power -- they are things government can't do to you.
Yet somehow the concept gets mentally inverted, and "rights" become things government is supposed to provide!
But given finite resources, it's absolutely impossible to supply such things at a level that will satisfy everyone. And this inevitable failure to provide just cheapens the concept of rights in people's minds, to the detriment of upholding what true rights we're supposed to have when the time inevitably comes.
Now things like jobs, housing, and health care are all nice to have, and it may be a societal moral imperative or priority to expend some effort to supply them. But being truly benefits or entitlements, they are rightly subjected then to the realm of the legislature, whose job it is to decide how the finite pie of society's resources gets sliced up. And as such, these entitlements flow from Man's Law -- not from Natural Law -- and can be changed according to popular whim.
True Rights, on the other hand, DO derive from outside the bounds of the legislature; it was no mere rhetorical flourish when Jefferson stated that inalienable rights are endowed by the Creator. And as such, they cannot ever be repealed by any majority, no matter how large. Even unanimous majorities cannot speak for future generations.
Because if they could be repealed, they wouldn't be inalienable, would they?!?
I find it disgusting how many modern, European-style "constitutions" have written into them these socialist fantasies as "Rights". It can only lead to destructive cynicism concerning the most important concept for furthering the cause of human dignity ever invented: God-given Natural Rights.
Look at the Bill of Rights. Every item there is a limit on government power in its dealings with the States or with the People. While later amendments giving government specific powers, such as Prohibition, can be repealed, none of the Bill of Rights can ever legitimately be repealed because those Rights don't depend on being listed there for them to exist, nor do they derive from Man.
And it's not just me asserting this, you can find Supreme Court decisions stating the the rights covered in the Bill of Rights do not depend on the Constitution for their existence.
Indeed, they did not spring into being when written into the Constitution, and there was even debate at the time that they shouldn't be written in, because people in the future (us!) might think they were the only rights we had; or that rather than having strictly enumerated powers, that government could do anything it wanted as long as it didn't bump into our rights.
And they were right to worry, it seems!
Now, one might object that in practice the machinery of government might go ahead and amend away some Right anyway. For example, the very few intellectually honest anti-gun people who admit there is an individual right to bear arms have proposed that perhaps the 2nd amendment should be repealed. Or, from the other side of the aisle, we get proposals that have come discouragingly close to passing to ban Flag burning, which is currently protected by the 1st Amendment.
But those measures would be morally without force and null and void; they would make the Constitution, the most important secular document written in the history of the world, into an internally inconsistent travesty of a mockery of a sham.
An amendment to restrict a right would be an obscenity far greater than any burned flag! A greater, more Orwellian, betrayal of all who fought and died to defend the Constitution could hardly be imagined!
Understanding the distinction between Rights and Benefits is thus vitally important, because it is not only morally justified but morally imperative to oppose attempts to restrict Rights with potentially deadly force:
That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish itBut this is not to be done lightly, especially for things that aren't Rights! Jefferson continues,
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causesIf it's just your entitlements getting the shaft, well tough luck buddy, that's politics!
This issue also bears upon the proper separation of powers among the branches of government. And thus, as entitlements are argued over in Congress, so the questions of Rights belong properly to the Courts.
The Left, being unable to enact its radical agenda through Congress, then attempts to smear the boundary between the benefits it covets and "Civil Rights", so that they can get before the Court, where their chances of getting a mere 5 sympathetic votes from like-minded Supreme Court Justices are much higher.
Which is exactly what they did in Massachusetts with same-sex marriage!
Witness this absurd movement, which attempts to re-brand marriage as a Civil Right! How is marriage a protection from government power?
What they're really talking about is the benefits that come along with legal marriage -- which as I've just stated, are Benefits, and thus not for the Court to decide! I mean, if marriage IS a right, then shouldn't government have to supply me with a Bride?
Sure, make your case that same-sex marriage makes good sense, and go get it voted on in the legislature. And if you can't do it, better luck next time, them's the breaks.
And this civil-right fiction is made all the easier for them to palm off due to the poor understanding in popular culture about the notion of what is and is not a Right, and what the branches of government are supposed to concern themselves with.
Because once we have unelected judges meddling in Benefits and Entitlements, they are then usurping the legislating power of Congress, which is instead meant to be subject to the popular will.
And thus we become effectively governed no longer as a Representative Republic, but rather by an Autocracy of aristocrats wearing robes.
Which is great and all when the aristocrats are handing down rulings that correspond with your worldview. But one day, guess what, they might decide something in a way that is very detrimental to you.
And then you'll be completely screwed.
Well, because there's these other 4 or so veterans, see, who endorse Kerry and belonged to his own particular crew.
And apparently, the Media made up a rule now, that a veteran is only qualified to speak about other members of his own 6-man crew.
Well now I just heard on C-Span a replay of John F. Kerry's 1971 testimony to the Senate in which he speaks of being motivated to testify due to:
war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.But, by the Media's own Rule, Kerry can't be speaking for all veterans, or even for all swiftboat veterans, but only about his own crew, right?
You know, the crew that's endorsing him -- who must be war criminals, by Kerry's own statement! Congratulations on that endorsement, Senator Kerry.
On the other hand, if they're not war criminals, then Kerry was lying to the Senate in 1971, giving aid to enemy morale for his own political goals.
So which is it, Senator?
Were you seditiously lying to the Senate for personal gain, or are you endorsed by war criminals?
Let's not even get into how disgusting it is that this very testimony was given by Kerry when hundreds of our soldiers were still imprisoned by the Communists and being tortured to admit to war crimes for propaganda purposes, and the torturers were able to -- and did -- play this very testimony in front of them to break their will to resist. (See "Sellout" video)
Or the fact that his own crew is not unanimous in its support.
Of course the real issue isn't really how many crewmembers endorse him or not.
The issue is Kerry's character.
The Media will try to obfuscate that fact. They hope to make questions about his character go away in a puff of smoke if they can show one or two of his critics have been inconsistent in the past. But that's irrelevant.
Because they're not the ones running for President.
This isn't some Encyclopedia Brown story in which the guilty party is determined by whose story has the most flaws. If 200 people say "2+2=4", but you show that one of them has made mistakes in the past, that still doesn't detract from the truth of the statement!
The bottom line is, Kerry is Unfit.
The arrogance alone of this candidate is reprehensible; see this article in which according to a Kerry campaign (unconfirmed) source,
the book was not considered a "serious" problem for the campaign, because, "the media wouldn't have the nerve to come at us with this kind of stuff," says the source. "The senior staff believes the media is committed to seeing us win this thing, and that the convention inoculated us from these kinds of stories. The senior guys really think we don't have a problem here."
The Media is not reliable.
And it had as its central plot element, a classic dilemma.
The explorers are on a primitive planet, with tribespeople that seem, not coincidentally, to be practicing some harsh, repressive system of laws that seem pseudo-Islamic. And the daughter of the big, nasty chief is going to be stoned to death for dishonoring the tribe by not wanting to be in some arranged marriage or something.
Now, the Star Gate people could go in and take her away to her true love from another tribe, but (there's always a catch) it will mean War! And this chieftan has the allegiance of 22 Tribes! And he takes no prisoners!
So they wonder, "do we save one life, when it will mean War and many others lost? Do we even have the right to intervene?"
It's an important question, that we're facing today.
But the screenwriters had the characters agonize over it for all of 2 seconds before coming up with a magical deus-ex-machina solution revolving around a non-lethal single combat, and our nomadic Romeo and Juliet go off happily into the sunset.
And the real question isn't really dealt with.
From a purely utilitarian point of view, the one life should be ignored to preserve the others that would be lost in taking action.
Heinlein, in Starship Troopers (the book, not the silly subversive [but oh-so-stylish] movie) presents the argument this way: why, when only a fool would risk losing 100 potatoes to save 1 potato, do the Troopers adhere to a Code in which no man is ever left behind, regardless of cost?
And the answer is, because Men are not Potatoes!
(And neither are women. Ha ha. Don't jump on me, it's Standard English; "for in Language, as in Life, the Male embraces the Female." [Winston Churchill?])
So clearly, yes, the moral position is to do the "right thing", save the girl, accept the risks from there -- and "Damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead!"
Because Life is always Risk; the one Actual life saved is tangible, and the many Potential lives put at "risk" in the process are just part of the normal Deal of Living -- I mean, what, are you going to be able to live forever if you avoid this one risk?
Is your miserable, meaningless life so precious that extending it by some relatively short, finite time is worth any degradation? That point of view will lead you directly into bondage and subjugation by the Strong and Merciless. Bud the Repo Man, on the other hand, preferred to Die on his Feet than to Live on his Knees.
And are there not unanticipated risks that cut people down every day, like being unexpectedly run over by the proverbial bus? Anyone can die at any time for any reason (if late-night horror cinema has taught us anything), so just suddenly "knowing" about one particular risk hardly changes this equation!
The Needs of the One outweigh the Needs of the Many, if human life is considered extraordinarly precious and valuable, in a counter-intuitive result!
It's those who place some finite value on human life, that thus fall naturally into pure utilitarian calculations -- and this leads them to deeply anti-human results. Because if then something is Good for the Collective, then 49% percent of the people can be massacred with impunity by this philosophy!
And of course, that's exactly what happens.
But when a special sanctity is placed on human life, giving it essentially infinite value, then by the Cantorian arithmetic of infinities, losing a single life is an equally horrific tragedy as 100, both of infinite loss!
And that's why the Firefighters were heroes and not fools to charge into the Twin Towers.
And why cultural and moral relativism, that avoids intervening and judging by our standards, is nothing more than a dodge; the country that one is born into should have nothing to do with the value of that person's freedom and dignity and life!
The argument, "who are we to judge? What's then to stop them judging us?" is nothing but the ridiculous logic of the kindergarten, to the effect of "did you bring enough for everyone?"
Yeah, sure, let them judge. Let them do their worst. As if our forebearance was the only thing holding back the barbarian hordes.
It's been said there is a no less sentimental people than the Greek; the converse must be that there was no more sentimental a people than the Victorian British, and we would do well to recapture some of their self-confidence. The old anecdote is that when discovering the ancient traditional practice in India of suttee, in which widows were burned alive with their departed husbands, and told that that's just how things were done in India, the reply was "Well where we come from, we hang blokes like that!" And so the practice was abolished.
It has been noted elsewhere that today's "Political Correctness" is motivated by the desire to have a standard set of behaviors, necessary for all societies to function, but that is no longer tied to anything as backward as Religion. This leads however to today's new absurd "Cardinal Sin", and that is to Offend.
That seems to be the new "Right" people think they have: the Right to Not Be Offended -- or else they'll sue somebody, damnit!
But that's the topic of a future post...
Instead we have degenerated, in our striving to not offend, to the absurd point where, shortly before 9/11, I heard on some vapid CNN talk show in which they were discussing Gary Condit (remember him?) and the audience was weighing in, saying the mean old nasty Press should lay off him, because, you know, as one women so astonishingly put it,
"Jesus wasn't judgmental!"
Well Jesus H. Christ! I nearly fell over!
What a triumph of post-modernism, to deconstruct the Messiah into a non-judgmental being!
I refer briefly to Matthew 3:10-12, in which John the Baptist is speaking:
10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me [Jesus] is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
So, what was that about "wheat" and "chaff" again? Hmmm?
We must embrace basic standards of human dignity, and we must spread them; the alternative is to accept Evil by "holding up the mask".
How often has that tired refrain chastised me with its irrelevance? We may yet hear it again very soon, if for example Bush wins the Electoral vote but with less than 50% of the popular vote. This will be portrayed as some sort of illegitimacy, at best a stupid flaw in the "antiquated" and "outdated" electoral college system.
People misunderstand the purpose of the electoral college system because they aren't properly informed about the nature of the federal government. It amazes me how people tend to assume these things just fall out of the sky. It's reminiscent of the Pacific Island "cargo cults."
So what if Gore won the popular vote? He lost the State vote! Bush won 30 States to Gore's measly 20 + D.C.
You see, there's actually 2 completely different votes being taken at election day -- one by the People and one by the States -- that are then combined by a simple formula. If someone wins both, they will always win overall -- but sometimes there's a split (like in 2000) and then it's up to the formula.
Betcha didn't think of it this way, because it's never explained like that.
So why do we do this? Why 2 parallel votes? That's because the Federal government didn't spring into being fully formed like Athena from the head of Zeus as our Overlord; rather, prior to its founding, there were TWO power groups who decided it was time to institute a new government among men, that derived its powers from the consent of the governed.
And in this case, both the pre-existing States, that were like small countries unto themselves, as well as the People in general, were going to create a Constitution, giving up some of their sovereignty to the Federal government -- and providing it with only certain enumerated, limited powers.
Thus, in making Laws, both of these groups wanted to be represented in the new Congress. And so we created TWO houses: the House of Representatives, to represent you, the People, in a rather direct and finely-grained fashion, with a short 2-year term and a small district; and the Senate, designed to represent the interests of each sovereign State as a whole, on an equally-weighted basis (having 2 for every state regardless of size) with majestic 6-year terms. And originally, Senators were actually chosen by the State governments themselves, to be their direct reps at the Federal level!
It was only the 17th Amendment in 1913 that provided for direct popular election of Senators! And I'm not so sure that was a good idea, as it weakened the purpose of the Senate and made Senators more like uber-Representatives. This also weakened in peoples' minds the differentiation between State and Federal government; States aren't just little sub-entities to make adminstration easier for the Feds -- at least they weren't meant to be! That's unlike counties within State, for example, that are indeed little subordinates to the State.
Leftists and Progressives of course LOVE reducing State power, because it increases Federal power, and it's even worse than that zer-sum game because one of the "checks and balances" on power also gets reduced and marginalized. Then they can use that strong Fed to fascistically enact their Utopian policies -- for your own Good, of course.
Perhaps not coincidentally, 1913 was also the same year the 16th Amendment was passed, giving the Feds the ability to levy an income tax, which suddenly gave it huge power.
Now, as a side note, Alan Keyes recently has suggested it might be a good idea to rethink the 17th Amendment and make Senators selected by the States again, as originally intended. That may be worth studying.
But then again, Alan Keyes has also recently come out for Slavery Reparations, which brands him a loony in my book...
But I digress.
So, when electing the President, the same principle applies: who is to do the choosing? The People, or the States? And again, the genius compromise was to allow BOTH to have an influence, by providing a number of "points" for winning the vote in a State to be equal to the number of Representatives (which alone as a system would approximate the net result of a pure popular vote, just in a more "digitized" form) plus the 2 Senators (which alone as a system would replicate election purely by State votes)!
The standard explanation for the electoral college is thus not quite correct; normally it's said this extra layer of electors is created to avoid the popular mob from electing a demagogue, with the implication that the electors might, in their wisdom, choose for President whomever they wanted, in spite of any voting results. But that doesn't fly, because actually most States have "faithless elector" laws, that COMPEL the electors to vote according to that State's voting results. The elector position is essentially a formality -- it is the "point" system that's the key factor.
And that baseline of a minimum of 3 "points" per State, no matter how small, really DOES work to make the varied interests of those States relatively more important to the candidates than they otherwise would be, which is vital to helping to damp down centrifigul political forces in a continent-spanning country such as ours, that otherwise would have the political power centers much more geographically concentrated on the few megalopolises -- much to the detriment of the civic feeling of the less populous and more diverse regions.
This "federal" (and that's what it means, the States made a "federation") system is much better at representing geographically diverse regions that parliamentary systems which are more based on "popular" vote power. Witness Canada, in which the western provinces such as Alberta are totally shut out of power, and the government is essentially run for and by the Toronto/Montreal region due to its population. There are even grumbles of secession, though not yet at serious levels -- but it points out a festering problem. And that's because the "provinces" are more like subdivisions for the convenience of the National government, than like our more-sovereign States.
And that's why it drives me insane when I hear people like Hillary Clinton, shortly after the 2000 election, suggest it might be time to abolish the electoral college, because it thwarted the popular vote in an apparent anomaly -- which is totally ironic to come from a SENATOR, because by the same reasoning, Senator Clinton, the SENATE should also then be abolished because we only need the popular representation of the House, don't we? And you'd be out of a job, wouldn't you?
Well how about it, SENATOR?!?
What a fool and a tool -- a Senator who has absolutely NO CLUE what the purpose of the office is even supposed to be!!!
16-year-old girl is murdered by Islamist judge for displaying a "sharp tongue." More details:
On Sunday August 15, 2004, a 16 year old girl by the name of Atefe Rajabi, daughter of Ghassem Rajabi, was executed in the town of Neka, located in the province of Mazandaran, for “engaging in acts incompatible with chastity”.Note, this is not the quick neck-breaking of a sudden drop, but rather a slow, cruel, agonizing strangulation. This is Sharia law, as practised in the model Islamic State.
Three months ago, during her appearance before the local court, fiercely angry the young girl hurled insults at the local judge, Haji Reza, who is also the chief judicial administrator of the city, and it is said as another expression of protest took off some of her clothes in the courtroom. This act by the young girl made the administrator so furious that he evaluated her file personally and in less than three months received a go-ahead from the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Court for her execution. The animosity and anger of Haji Reza was so strong that he personally put the rope around the girl’s delicate neck and personally gave the signal to the crane operator, by raising his hand, to begin pulling the rope.
The young girl was buried the same day after her execution but during that same night her corpse was disinterred by unknown individuals and robbed.
The 16 year old girl’s male companion, who had been arrested as well, received 100 lashes and, after the Islamic punishment was carried out, released.
Spreading Sharia -- Allah's perfect laws and method of governance -- worldwide, is the ultimate goal of the Islamists.
And it's well on its way.
Britain, for example, has introduced Sharia-compliant banks. The multiculturalists of Canada, have, in their infinite wisdom and tolerance, created "voluntary" Sharia courts for their Muslim immigrants, to be sensitive to their special needs. Imagine the social coercion to participate in the Sharia court, especially on poorly-educated and isolated women, even when it's not in their interest!
And in a stroke of Orwellian brilliance, this giant leap backwards into darkness is being done in the name of "tolerance" of "diversity" -- for their own good!
This only encourages Muslim immigrants to imagine the "regular" laws of Canada do not apply to them, and that they can live according to their own customs, which include things like honor killings of women -- a practice that is legally sanctioned and fairly common even in "moderate" countries like Jordan!
Where are the Feminists? You'd think stamping out Sharia would be task number one, but it's all too easy to fall for the "we can't judge other cultures" line.
Oh really? Was it ok then for Hitler to murder 6 million Jews, because it was in accordance with his belief system? Yes? No? Hmmm? There will be no moral relativism tolerated here.
Monsters and Demons do indeed roam the Earth.
They are simply disguised in human form.
So, you know, that excuses everything.
This argument fails on multiple counts.
First, according to Islamic mythology, Islam was not founded in 622 AD; rather, Mohammed was the last prophet, not the first! Islam believes itself to be the one true monotheistic faith that goes all the way back to Adam. You see, Adam was a Muslim, Abraham was a Muslim, Moses was a Muslim, Jesus was a Muslim...It's the Jews and the Christians who are the younger, heretical offshoots of Islam, led astray by corrupted, incomplete texts! On that basis, Islam should be the world's most mature religion, shouldn't it?
So maybe, perhaps one might retreat to the argument that well, be that as it may, the Arabs were surely only converted in the 7th century, so the basis of conversion time is the one on which they are to be judged. It is important to note however that most of Europe wasn't Monotheized until centuries after that -- the Baltic States, for example, didn't get Christianized until well into the 14th century, 700 years after the Arabs! So, we expect the Lithuanians to be behaving like Dark Age barbarians? Is that it?
Ultimately, this history may be interesting, but I happen to live in the present, and so am concerned with what's going on in 2004. The world must be dealt with as we find it today. I don't have the luxury of waiting around until 2504 to see how it all turns out, do you? Especially when Iran might have nuclear weapons in, oh, a year or so?
It is in fact generous to consider Islam to be a mere 500 years in the past; it has instead not changed one iota since the 7th century -- and that's its whole point!
An excerpt. And it gets much, much more damning as it goes on:
...he covered up voluminous evidence that a significant number of live American prisoners—perhaps hundreds—were never acknowledged or returned after the war-ending treaty was signed in January 1973.This miserable excuse for a human being should not receive a single vote for this criminal outrage. By the way, he was aided and abetted by another member of the committee, everyone's favorite moderate "Republican", John McCain.
The Massachusetts senator, now seeking the presidency, carried out this subterfuge a little over a decade ago— shredding documents, suppressing testimony, and sanitizing the committee's final report—when he was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on P.O.W./ M.I.A. Affairs.
Over the years, an abundance of evidence had come to light that the North Vietnamese, while returning 591 U.S. prisoners of war after the treaty signing, had held back many others as future bargaining chips for the $4 billion or more in war reparations that the Nixon administration had pledged. Hanoi didn't trust Washington to fulfill its pro-mise without pressure. Similarly, Washington didn't trust Hanoi to return all the prisoners and carry out all the treaty provisions. The mistrust on both sides was merited. Hanoi held back prisoners and the U.S. provided no reconstruction funds.
The stated purpose of the special Senate committee—which convened in mid 1991 and concluded in January 1993—was to investigate the evidence about prisoners who were never returned and find out what happened to the missing men. Committee chair Kerry's larger and different goal, though never stated publicly, emerged over time: He wanted to clear a path to normalization of relations with Hanoi.
A one-scene play:
[LIBERAL]: "I want to help people!"
[CONSERVATIVE]: "Great! Go ahead! If it looks like a good idea, maybe I'll join you."
[LIBERAL]: "Let me get this straight, you basically expect government should leave me alone?"
[CONSERVATIVE]: "Yes. And you expect government should coerce money out of me to give to other people -- in order to make you feel better about yourself for 'helping people'?"
I exaggerate of course. There are certainly services that make everything better for everyone, but can't be provided at sufficient profit for the free market to provide them.
Take Amtrak for instance.... Please! (ha ha).
(Actually I really like Amtrak, especially the new higher-speed trains. Their real problem is not owning all the tracks. One of the first indications I had that Sen. McCain wasn't the great hero of moderate Republicanism he first appeared to be was finding out his irrational vendetta against funding Amtrak improvements. Sadly as time went on, there were many more indications he was nothing more than a narcissistic prima donna.)
But I digress.
Let's just have no illusions about what's going on, and realize resources are finite. Be smart, prioritize, yada yada yada...
For example, sure, we should figure out a way for truly catastrophic health coverage to be available to everyone, and not tied to a job. But to believe we can magically invoke price controls on prescription drugs, as in Canada, without drying up the incentive for companies to discover the next new wonderdrug that might save your life, is a shortsighted and dangerous pandering to expediency.
And so far, said Rice, an African-American, Iraq's postwar leaders have not made a compromise comparable to the one by the framers of the U.S. Constitution, who "made my ancestors three-fifths of a man."Yes, this was a compromise, but in the opposite direction from what is usually supposed! We are to feel shamed, are we not, that the blacks were counted only fractionally, implying they were seen as only 60% human or something, whenever this is brought up.
She was referring to the provision in the Constitution that designated slaves as three fifths of a person in calculating the population of states for elections to Congress. The slaves also were denied the vote.
But that's totally wrong! The actual anti-slavery, pro-black position at the time was to count the slaves as ZERO for purposes of representation. Clearly, since slaves couldn't vote, to count them as full citizens would only reward the Slave States with greater power in Congress, and give greater weight to the interests of slaveholders. It would make slaveholding a political advantage!
The Slave States wanted the slaves to be counted fully! Should they have gotten their way?
But rather than laud the Founders for at least taking a partial anti-slavery stand by refusing to allow the fiction of full representation for people who couldn't vote, they are always, ALWAYS, instead slammed for this "3/5" business, because, frankly, people are woefully ignorant of the Constitutional foundations of this great nation.
It is also a gross mischaracterization because free blacks were counted fully, like everyone else -- except for "Indians not taxed" who weren't counted at all, because they weren't part of the system...and nobody is squawking about that!
Of course, better to not have had slavery at all, but it existed, and without such a compromise, we would have had no country at all. And furthermore, the additional "compromises" during the 1800s about new States being either Slave or Free, were also quite necessary, as triggering a Civil War anytime earlier, before the North had built up such an overwhelming industrial advantage, would have resulted in a smashing Confederate victory -- the consequences of which for subsequent world history, let alone for blacks, are too grim to contemplate.
African-Americans should be delighted the slaves were only counted as 3/5 a person -- indeed, the only legitimate complaint is that they were counted at all!
It is this same kind of fuzzy thinking that has led to calls for allowing non-citizens, and even illegal aliens, to be able to vote, which is an Abomination. They already can vote in some local elections. This is nothing but a blatant assault on the concept of citizenship; a deconstruction of the notion of a nation-state, to pave the way for domination by unaccountable transnational bureaucrats.
Think that's a bit off the reservation? A little too "black helicopter"?
I admit it's an outlandish thought.
But then again, I wouldn't have believed what's going on today with the European Union, either.
As a Physicist, I am attracted to unifying principles; concepts that join together under a single, elegant explanation seemingly varied and previously unconnected facts.
I came across 2 assertions recently at this blog, specifically this article on the motivations and psychology of Leftists, and this one arguing that National Socialists (Hitler's Nazis) were in fact a Leftist movement.
And the startling conclusion of the first article is that Leftist leaders and intellectuals (as opposed to the merely idealistic followers who may have many varied motivations) satisfy the diagnostic criteria of sub-clinical psychopaths -- moral imbeciles, in denial of reality, impervious to facts and logic, pathologically dishonest, motivated by raw emotion, interested only in power and ego self-gratification for being seen to "do Good".
You scoff at such an outrageous notion.
I would too.
Except there's that little matter of over 100 million corpses over the last century, innocents sacrificed on the altar of Social Progress by the various modern Leftist movements: Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, the Shining Path, etc.
They demand an explanation. Who killed them? Martians? Strange people with horns? Some unfortunate accident?
No, it was by ordinary people, led by Leftist totalitarian psychopaths, justifying their behavior in pursuit of some Utopian Vision.
It is said the road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions. It is also paved with 100 million souls.
I believe Nazi munitions minister and architect Albert Speer said something to the effect, by way of explanation, that "we were only trying to make things better."
And how to explain the weird lack of outrage over the crimes of Stalin by Marxist academics today? I submit they use Nazis as the scapegoat for all the Leftist sins, and then pretend Hitler was somehow a Rightist to disassociate themselves from it. Martin Amis investigates in this recent book the widespread admiration for Stalin that still exists today among intellectuals, many of whom admit his purges would have been "worth it" if he could indeed have ushered in the Marxist Utopia!
Imagine that, 20 million starved to death "worth it" for the mere satisfaction of seeing a raving anti-Semite's economic theories validated! Is that not immoral Vanity? Is that not Evil?
Or how about the fact that through their own dogma of postmodernism and nihilistic deconstructionism, by their own admission they have no standards for telling right from wrong? Is not that the mark of a sociopathic personality?
Before I get ahead of myself, a bit of definition: I will use Left/Right as purely political designations, signifying views on the relationship of the State to the People, and reserving Liberal/Conservative for views on social mores, which would roughly be synonomous with a Progressive/Traditional in outlook.
It is important to note that Left/Liberal and Right/Conservative are NOT equivalent terms. Today, however, the Left has appropriated many Liberal causes, and many Liberals are all too willing to accept the Leftist's effective fascistic methods out of expediency. And Leftists have recently taken control of the Democrat Party; but it was not always thus!
And I certainly don't want to imply there's anything intrinsically wrong with "Liberal" views; it's how they're applied that matters. For example, many old-school liberals who have rejected Leftist methods are now branded by them pejoratively as "neo-conservatives", as Leftists wish to retain control over the Liberal label.
The key Leftist political characteristic is they are Totalitarian Utopians, with the State and the collective surpassing the individual in importance. As we move Right, the ideal government becomes weaker, with power devolved down to lower, more local, levels. Further Right leads to pure democracy, mob rule, and ultimately anarchy.
To be fair, the far Right also seems in my view to have a characteristic psychological profile, namely the Paranoid. And they can be dangerous too, as the Unabomber and McVeigh/Nichols were. But by their very more individualistic nature, extreme Rightists never unify into mass social movements and so never produce the kind of mass-produced Death that Leftists require and revel in.
And so we see, we can have "Liberal Rightists", who in an extreme form are libertarians. Extreme "Conservative Rightists" would correspond perhaps to survivalists and isolationist religious cults like the Branch Davidians.
Liberal Leftists are obviously Socialists and Communists. Conservative Leftists would be Islamists! We've come full circle. The West has in fact been fighting Leftism non-stop: first Nazis in WWII, then Communists in WWIII, and now Islamists in WWIV!
All 3 adversaries are Totalitarian Utopians, attempting to radically re-order society to satisfy their fantasies -- and willing to kill us all to do so. Their only important differences are Nazis divided people by race, Commies by class, and Islamists by religion.
The Left/Right divide is more powerful than Liberal/Conservative; witness the strange bedfellows of various Western Liberal groups aligning with (or at least apologizing for) the Islamists, such as "Gays for Palestine", who would be stoned to death by them! But only after the REAL enemy -- the Big and Little Satans -- were destroyed!
With all that out of the way, I can get to the nugget that really sparked in me the rightness of this unification, and it was the observation that Leftists are totally dishonest and emotion-driven. And it all clicked.
I recalled, for example, when I was first getting interested in political questions in college, and I was emotionally jumping to the side of banning guns because of some outrage in the news. I imagined I could easily demolish the arguments of the redneck gun-nuts about their so-called "right" to a gun.
But when I went to the primary sources, I found everything the anti-gun crowd was saying was a complete lie! Every statistic was deliberately misused; every court case was misconstrued; every quote was shockingly out of context. And everything the pro-gun side claimed was TRUE.
But what was important to the antis was to be seen as being "anti violence", and the "bigger truth" was more important than the actual truth, even if the implementation of their cause caused MORE crime and MORE innocent deaths, as law-abiding citizens could no longer defend themselves -- we see this right now in Australia and Britain! But the Cause is not the real goal, it's merely a vehicle for power and fame.
And the environmental groups lie (see book by former Greenpeace member). And the animal "rights" organizations are deeply anti-human, immoral, and advocating lunacy. And on and on.
They're all just led by Leftist psychopaths.
Luckily, our system of checks and balances prevents Leftists from directly gaining power. And so they must circumvent the system through the anointing of a new aristocracy of "activist" judges, who legislate their agenda by decree without accountability. But that's a matter for another post -- and another huge reason why Bush MUST win the next election, so more activist judges don't turn our narrowly divided Supreme Court into our new unelected Overlords!
The 100 million dead cannot be ignored.
This is a War.
Gird for battle.
Conservatives don't feel the need to jump through complex, intellectual hoops in order to understand or justify some of their positionsWhich is in some sense true, because by contrast, Leftists (which I will describe, and differentiate from Liberals, in subsequent posts) have to resort to "complex" reasoning to deal with the cognitive dissonance of their contradictory, incoherent fantasies.
Another howler was this casual observation:
Hitler, Mussolini, and former President Ronald Reagan were individuals, but all were right-wing conservatives because they preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality in some form.It just rolls off the tongue doesn't it; you know, Hitler, Mussolini, Reagan...birds of a feather. I'm reminded of the old Sesame Street song, "One of these things is not like the others; one of these things just isn't the same!"
These researchers make a huge mistake in asserting Hitler and Mussolini were right-wing anyway! I'll leave going into the details later, but all you ever wanted to know is right here. Suffice to say, any authoritarian striving for some "idealized" utopia is by definition a Leftist; whether that place once lay in the past or is only dimly seen in the future is immaterial. It is a mental confusion to assume Leftist = Liberal or Rightist = Conservative. More on that later.
Another famous work on the psychology of the Left versus the Right is by yet another lefty Berkeley professor, George Lakoff. In it, he describes the "family model", in which Liberals are the "Nurturing Parent", but Conservatives are the "Strict Father".
This laughable bit of simplification is actually very revealing about the Left, in that they use a "Parent" cognitive model for government at all! In Psychological Transactional Analysis Theory (popularized in the famous "I'm OK, You're OK" and "Games People Play"), everyone has inside them a Child, a Parent, and an Adult -- and in interacting with others, we choose to adopt one of those roles while casting others in (possibly) another; and the most "healthy" relationships among adults are carried out psychologically as Adult-Adult.
Thus, in Lakoff's view of politics, Transactional Analysis shows he's placing "the People" in the role of "Child", and government in the role of "Parent". This is clearly Authoritarian! It is in fact a hallmark of Leftism to be authoritarian, as it seeks to impose a totalitarian Utopia. Whether that parent is "nurturing" or "strict"; "maternal" or "paternal"; isn't really the issue with Rightists. The Liberal-Left Socialist "Nanny State", as they call it in Britain, is just as stifling an anathema to a Rightist as a Conservative-Left theocracy or autocratic military dictatorship.
The Rightist view of government in Transactional Analysis would be Adult-Adult, in which We The People, acting as mature beings, delegate authority to a co-equal -- the government -- according to Constitutionally limited powers, to serve only the necessary functions that individuals cannot accomplish alone.
I once was interested in taking a course in the History of Revolutions as an undergrad at Princeton, but was amazed and dismayed when I discovered the syllabus didn't cover the American Revolution, which I considered the most important, most lasting, most truly revolutionary Revolution of all! How to explain this?
It turns out, the American Revolution is the only one that doesn't fit into the Marxist/Leftist model of revolutions! That's because it was neither initiated nor hijacked by leftist totalitarian utopians -- for whom any amount of atrocity or mass murder is justified to radically transform society to usher in their Heaven on Earth. Instead, it was a uniquely Liberal-Rightist revolution, for which we must be eternally grateful.