Headline: “Home With Foot-deep Piles Of Rats Coming Down” -- I thought they were talking about the Democrats in the House of Representatives, but no such luck...
So Obama's backing down on his “timetable” for getting out of Afghanistan. Whoa – didn't see that coming. Anyone with a grain of sense could have told you that this “timetable” was a hoax from Day One. The “plan”, as always, is that we're going to stay until doomsday... or until we're unceremoniously thrown out, the way we were from Vietnam. No other scenario is being seriously entertained by the White House, Congress, or the military.
Please notice that the “tea partiers” are already being marginalized by the establishment Republicans in Congress – and the next session won't even start until January. So... we can say, with confidence, that the “tea party” has crested, and is already past its high water mark. The few declared tea party candidates who were elected are doomed to huddle in a small cluster in some cold, dark corner of the Capitol until they are mercifully voted out of office, or leave of their own accord. Thus endeth another noble but futile episode of populism...
But at least we'll have Rand Paul in the Senate, and if he's anything like his old man, it should make for some interesting debates.
And what is it with these cruise ships? The problem is, they are one of the few places where the First World meets the Third World, and the results aren't pretty. The passengers, of course, are from the First World, and the crew, except for those at the very top, are from the Third World... which means that most of the people doing most of the work on the ship are from cultures with values, habits, and priorities drastically different from those of the passengers... and the results keep showing up in all the various “incidents” and mishaps that occur aboard, and to, cruise ships. For example, let's say you're on a cruise where most of the crew are from Country Z. What it means is you have to put up with Country Z's habits of sanitation and cleanliness – which is as if you were actually in Country Z (but without the required regimen of shots). At least that's my take on the matter...
So Obama escaped the wrath of the electorate and betook himself to Indonesia, where all he had to worry about was an erupting volcano. I'm sure he prefers the volcano...
And here's another shocker. According to Philip Giraldi, writing in The American Conservative, the Stuxnet computer worm “was created by the Israeli government... to target the Iranian nuclear program.” Well, this was the first thing that came to my mind when the story broke – but the American MSM have yet to connect the dots, at least in print. But here's something else of interest – Stuxnet is specifically designed to attack the Siemens operating system. Now Siemens, as you may know, is a German firm that, according to Wikipedia, “was involved in funding the rise of the Nazi Party and the secret rearmament of Germany. During the second World War, Siemens supported the Hitler regime, contributed to the war effort and participated in the 'Nazification' of the economy. Siemens had many factories in and around notorious concentration camps to build electric switches for military uses. In one example, almost 100,000 men and women from Auschwitz worked in a Siemens factory inside the camp, supplying the electricity to the camp.” So... Israel manages to not only thwart a current enemy, but exact a bit of “payback” on one of their old enemies. Damn, life can be good when you're that smart.
Now it turns out that the cholera epidemic in Haiti may have been started by United Nations “peacekeepers” from Nepal. But “no one is investigating the cause” because “the case is politically sensitive”. Oh yeah -- can't afford to offend those Nepalese, they might kick our butts. Or at least throw a few aging hippies in jail. (Let's also not forget that Nepal is one of the few countries left on Earth where leprosy is alive and well... not to mention Maoism.) But at least it forces me to modify my assessment of the U.N. I used to think it was a totally worthless organization, but now I see that it's involved in population control – the hard way.
It looks like Nancy Pelosi will be going the way of King Lear... or maybe Nero, or Caligula. She will not – or so she says – go gentle into that good political night, but will fight like the harpy she is to maintain even the most pathetic level of power. But such is the makeup of the liberals of our time – they are all about power, and very little if anything about actual ideas – meaning, ones that are valid and that might work.
So... a missile of unknown origin heads heavenward off the coast of California and no one, including the Defense Department, knows where it came from or why it was launched. Of course, they're putting out the usual lame “explanations” -- sort of an updated version of the ubiquitous “swamp gas” of the 1950s UFO sightings. But not to worry! “There is no threat to our nation”, say the wise men of NORAD. But how do they know? I mean, garsh, it coulda been launched by North Korea... or Iran... or Mexican drug lords. I don't feel at all comfortable with their bland reassurances.
Is a Happy Meal without a toy an Unhappy Meal? This seems to be the intent of the nannies and scolds of San Francisco... except... wait! Do you mean to tell me that there are actually children in San Francisco? And that they eat Happy Meals? And for that matter, that there are McDonalds in San Francisco? Now I'm all confused. What's SF going to do about these implications, now that their dirty little secret is out? How are they going to regain respect? I can't imagine their surviving this blotch of ordinariness.
Pat Buchanan points out, once again, that the biggest sufferers in the Iraq war are Christians. To which I reply, once again, that this doesn't faze American Evangelicals – ever-faithful supporters of the war – in the least, since the Christians in question are Catholics.
China is on our case again – this time about the upcoming purchase of Treasury bonds by the Fed – which is a slightly sneakier way of simply printing more money, i.e. intentionally causing inflation. See, China is still holding just too darn much paper denominated in American dollars – and silly them! Too bad, so sad. It's not that that they care about our economy per se – or our future. As far as that's concerned, they'd be just as happy seeing us sink into the ocean. But all that U.S. Treasury paper – ack! I'm amazed the guy who dreamed up the idea of buying it all hasn't already been executed (maybe he has -- does anybody know?). I mean, it seemed like a good idea at the time... until some real collectivists started infiltrating the American financial establishment – and thus the irony. We're acting like the communist countries used to act when it comes to money... and the nominal communists don't like it one little bit. So it's their karma we're talking about here... but the price we pay to teach them a damn good lesson might be a bit high.
Well, Keith Olbermann spent his obligatory few days in the doghouse for having made campaign contributions – a truly shocking act, compared to his mild-mannered and measured tones when speaking of Republican and/or conservative candidates and politicians. This is a guy who wants Bush, Cheney, McCain, Palin, and the tea partiers roasted on a spit – but that's perfectly OK with MSNBC; that's only “opinion”. But to actually give money – why, shame shame! And BTW, I'm looking for a new “hypocrisy meter” since my old one recently burned out from overload...
Another milestone in what I call the “pathologization” of America was reached the other day when Tourette's Syndrome was presented as a defense in a murder case. The individual in question became famous the first time around for having an uncontrollable case of the hiccups as a teen... but that problem has now been parlayed into a murder defense. I look forward to the day when all Americans have been declared “ill” and thus not responsible for their actions. At that point, there will no longer be any need for murder trials because there will no longer be any such thing as murder – only “uncontrollable impulses” brought on by an “illness” -- and the jails will be emptied, and replaced with neuropsychiatric wards. Kind of like in the Soviet Union, now that I think of it...
The Army continues to grope around for an answer to the suicide problem among troops. The latest study aims to develop an “evidence-based plan” for suicide prevention. I guess that term is meant to distinguish it from a speculation-based plan, or – more likely – a political correctness-based plan. I'll say it again – the best insurance against suicide is having a feeling of meaning to one's life. And there is nothing like experiencing the utter absurdity of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to severely compromise that feeling of meaning. Our troops are not philosophers, or political scientists – but they are very human, and as such are burdened with the normal psychological needs of humans everywhere... but this is a fact that our military seems determined to ignore, as it sends them into impossible, degrading, brutalizing, and demoralizing situations. Joe Snuffy may think he's going off to war to defend the folks back home – but once he gets over there, he realizes that our exertions amount to anything but. And this is where the crisis of meaning comes in, and where the suicide issue appears. But will the military's “study” come within a mile of identifying this as a factor? You can count on it avoiding this issue at all costs – because, after all, the military is supposed to “stay out of politics”, which means they will continue to serve as unthinking, passive victims, and never understand what is happening to them or why -- but come up with endless "studies" in order to feel like they're doing something about the problem.
And BTW, to the Loser Hall of Fame – recently graced by the arrival of World Bank/IMF protesters -- must now be added this grotesque band of idiots who call themselves Furries. One article describes them as “people who dress or act like animals” -- well, the dressing part is fairly novel (except for football team mascots), but the acting part has been around forever – especially if you're talking about fraternities at large state universities. Frankly, I prefer the “Animal House” version to this new mutation. At least -- to paraphrase W.C. Fields -- a frat boy wakes up sober... but a Furry remains an idiot for life.
Mohammed would be the most popular name for boy babies in England if it weren't for the 12 different spellings of the name. Kinda reminds me of what happened when the Appalachian Scots-Irish enlisted in the army during World War I – many were illiterate or only semi-literate, and they had come up with all sorts of local, idiosyncratic spellings for family names, many of which survive in phone books to this day... including in Pittsburgh.
“Gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo [of Colorado] says President Obama is a bigger threat to the United States than al-Qaida (speaking of many different spellings!) or terrorism." What he allegedly meant was that Obama was a bigger threat to the Constitution than al-Qaida or terrorists – and this is hardly a controversial statement. It isn't terrorists who threaten the Constitution -- it's how our government reacts to terrorist acts or threats. But even if he had been speaking more generically, it would still be true – if you're talking about the traditional American way of life and core values. The “terrorists” don't have designs on our way of life or our values – despite what the government propaganda apparatus claims. All they want is to get us out of the Middle East... and our little dog too (i.e., Israel). Obama, on the other hand, most definitely has designs on our way of life and our core values – and the attacks are likely to continue even in the light of recent election setbacks. True believers are like that – and we have one in the White House again, after way too many years' worth of cynics. But, to give cynics their due, at least they don't have an ideological agenda – and in these times, that's more often a good thing than a bad thing.
Israel recently announced that it was going to require all non-Jewish immigrants to declare their loyalty to Israel. And this caused all sorts of consternation among Palestinians and others. But frankly, I don't understand why they're so upset. After all, the very same loyalty oath to Israel is required of anyone running for national office in the U.S. -- and no one seems too troubled by that. These Palestinians are just way too thin-skinned, it seems to me.
Ah, Philadelphia! How lovely is thy name... and how unlivable is thy city. Recently, a vigil being held for a teenager struck and killed by a garbage truck was marred by gunfire which wounded four more teenagers. Now, it's always possible, I suppose, that the Pittsburgh media cherry-pick news from the other side of the state, just to make Philadelphia look as bad as possible, and Pittsburgh look good by comparison. And it's not as if things like that don't happen here – au contraire. But this constant drumbeat of blight, mindless brutality, corruption, anarchy, and absurdity that comes out of Philadelphia causes one to think. After all, it's a Quaker town – or used to be. And the Quakers have always been at the forefront when it comes to progressivism, social change, and especially that marvelous political-social mutation called “urban renewal”. So in that sense, not only is Philadelphia the city that the Quakers built, but it's the city the Quakers – or those who think like them – continue to "build". If the Washington, DC inner city is the apotheosis of liberal New Deal politics and policies, then Philadelphia is the same thing for the Quakers. It is a laboratory -- Exhibit A when it comes to the ultimate consequences of their world view. At least, this is my position until proven otherwise.
George Will recently commented that Jimmy Carter “seemed miniaturized by the presidency”. Well... not exactly. Carter was already a miniature on the day of his inauguration. What he did was to miniaturize the office of president – a feat which was, fortunately, reversed by Reagan.