Monday, June 27, 2011

A Thousand Points of Blight

This Says It All

Recent headline on a very small item in the paper: “U.S. drone strike kills 12, mostly terrorists.” Well, good. “Mostly” is all we need to know, in order to declare “mission accomplished”. Of course, no one ever asks who it is that defines who is, or is not, a “terrorist”... and no one ever ask who the hapless souls were who were not terrorists. Innocent bystanders? Children of terrorists? Grandmothers of terrorists? We'll never know. But it's that “mostly” part that gets me – that makes it perfectly acceptable. And of course it's that “mostly” part that is the best recruiting tool for the other side. I imagine that a lot of people in Iraq and Afghanistan (and now also Libya) (and Yemen) (and... fill in latest folly here) aren't all that sympathetic when a terrorist (or whatever they are called locally) in their midst is killed – after all, they chose that life style and that vocation, right? But the local fruit vendor, or his kids? That's a different story, and that's precisely what is going to make the ordinary citizen over there take sides with the hard-core types, at least until we have vanished, or been vanquished, from the scene.

The Incredible Vanishing Country

And by the way, what ever happened to Iraq? Oh wait, I forgot -- we pulled out. Except that we didn't. We still have 50,000 troops over there, and... oh wait, I forgot, they aren't "combat" troops. Except that they're still engaged in combat, and some of them are getting killed. But through the miracle of word magic, the administration can claim that we are no longer engaged in combat operations in Iraq, and that those killed were... oh, I don't know, given poison bubble gum or something. And the amazing thing is not that the administration would say this, but that the American people believe it.

Smoke Across the Water

Canadians are living in PC hell right now – mostly of their own making, I might add. But the latest example does make one stop and think how really different things are north of the border. It seems that a couple in Nova Scotia (of all places!) is allowed to grow marijuana for medical purposes. But because of various medical factors, they are unable to cultivate the plants themselves. So – the local government has been ordered, by the courts, to “help (the) needy couple improve their marijuana garden” -- I guess through some sort of team volunteer effort. My only question is, what color ribbon will be used to signify this? In any case, the bottom line is that, at least in this case, the right thing is being done, albeit in a convoluted, roundabout, socialistic, PC way. Once in a while a great string of wrongs can make a right. And mainly, we in the U.S. are many years away – if ever -- from this level of humanitarianism. Down here, the Puritan mindset continues to rule. Gee, maybe the Tories who fled to Canada during the Revolution had a point...

Green Mansions

Just when you thought that everyone on Earth had been issued a government I.D. card and was wearing Nikes, now it turns out that there is a new “uncontacted” tribe in the Brazilian rain forest. They call themselves the... well, we don't know, because they're “uncontacted”, remember? But I love this – their presence has been discerned by means of satellite imagery and airplane expeditions... and “the government agency... uses airplanes to avoid disrupting isolated groups.” Um... well, don't you suppose that having airplanes buzz the treetops over your village on a regular basis could be somewhat disruptive? For all we know, they could already have started a new religion based on this – a kind of no-cargo cargo cult or something. What I really suspect is that if they ever are “contacted” they'll turn out to be just a bunch of hippies... or marijuana farmers... or regular Indians who are already using iPods, Twitter, and Facebook. But we'll still have to put T-shirts on all the women and teach them about birth control – that is, after all, the American way, even if we're talking about South America.

Party Animals

And speaking of chutzpah, here's Hillary Clinton criticizing the Russian government for harassing a new political party. According to an article, “In the last four years, nine liberal parties have been denied registration on various technicalities.” Right – has Ms. Clinton taken a look at the harassment and obstructions that third (and above) parties suffer in this country? They can't even get into the primaries in most places, not to mention the general election. How much does our vaunted “two-party system” differ from the old one-party system of the communist countries? It's a monopoly, and it exerts tight control over the media. The main difference is that there is a pretext of difference, dialog, and “healthy debate” -- whereas, in fact, all but the most trivial topics of discussion are off the table, and strictly forbidden.

Thirsty Sands

The latest idiocy on Libya is as follows: (1) "A 'defiant' U.S. House voted... to deny President Obama the authority to wage war against Libya.” And, (2) “Republicans fell short in an effort to actually cut off funds for the operation...” So... Congress is not allowing Obama to wage war on Libya, but they're giving him the money to wage war on Libya. Can anything more pathetic be imagined in all of American history? And as far as denying Obama the authority, he's already indicated that he intends to ignore any effort of that kind. As far as he's concerned, he already has the authority by definition, and he intends to use it. And with funding not an issue, who's to stop him?

AC/DC Currency

Now this is interesting. “China PM likely to back EU's single currency.” Well... to begin with, doesn't the EU already have a single currency? It did the last time I looked. So why does it need “backing” from the Chinese PM, of all people? What interest does China have in whether the EU has a single currency, or ten, or a hundred? This is the point at which most “analysts” knock off for lunch. But I see in this hints of something I've been trying to get a grip on for a long time now – that China and the EU are slowly converging based on mutual interests, and the U.S. is becoming the outlier. I've been saying that our banking system, and therefore our economy, are ultimately under the control of European entities – and I suspect the same is true of our own currency. Because in this day and age, currency is power; it's not just a trivial matter of what we call our medium of exchange. A united Europe without a unified currency would be meaningless... but a unified currency amounts to de facto unity, no matter what else might or might not be brought under the same umbrella. So the EU unites by way of a single currency, which remains formidable despite the failings of the incompetent “PIGS”... and our currency continues to shiver and shake, with the worst yet to come. And then in steps China, which owns a lot of our currency, which gives them considerable leverage over things like foreign policy and trade, and joins forces with the EU to... what? Bring the U.S. under even greater, and tighter, control? I mean, what could be more devastating to our economic freedom than a pact of some sort between the bankers who control our banking system and our currency, and the people who own the lion's share of said currency? You think it's because the EU wants to make the Chinese rich? Heck no – it's all about power, and control. And I guarantee, the cozier things become between the EU and China, the hotter things are going to become for us – although the collaborators in the administration and in Congress will never admit that there's any connection.

When “Out” Does Not Mean “Out”

And, oh, I almost forgot – we're getting out of Afghanistan! Er, well, I mean 10% of the way out. And by the end of the year. And 20% more next year. If things continue to go, um, “well”. But of course they won't, so that will be all the excuse Obama the War President (cue for his lefty supporters to cringe) needs to keep us over there. But Pat Buchanan seems slightly more impressed than I am by this news. He contends that the “removal of 30,000 troops in 15 months means that Obama has given up all hope of victory over the Taliban.” My question is why? Isn't that 30,000 the number that went into the “surge”, and wasn't that successful... kind of? And didn't we finally catch up with Osama? Maybe what Buchanan is saying is that we can't win with only 70,000, but we can avoid defeat with 70,000 – in other words, it's a recipe for stalemate – which is, in fact, the unstated goal of our exertions in Afghanistan (and Iraq, Libya, Yemen, etc.) -- to stay there forever as an occupying force, with no one ever questioning why we don't “win” and come home... but also to not abjectly lose and get thrown out, a la Vietnam. It is, in fact, a kind of anemic version of empire that we seek – one where we're not really in charge, do not “own the night” (or the day either), but still manage to hang on like some crusaders in their castles in the Holy Land. (Fairly apt simile, now that I mention it.) Now, you could say, but what good does that do anyone? And my answer would be – all the usual suspects, which means most assuredly not the American people, the military, or the economy. But what do all those things have to do with the goals of the administration and their overlords? Absolutely nothing.

She Kept Her Promise...

Now here's a populist of the old school. “Police recovered jewelry said to have belonged to the late Argentine first lady Eva Peron” -- including a diamond tiara, diamond earrings, and rings adding up to $8.5 million. And this was “a woman of the people”. Sheesh... good thing she wasn't some kind of elitist.

Too Depressing For Words

Ben Bernanke is now describing the recent “financial shock... as possibly the worst in the nation's history.” Worse than the Great Depression, of which he is an acknowledged expert? Apparently so. So... why aren't we calling it the Second Great Depression? Or... maybe that comes along later, in retrospect. Assuming there will be anyone left to even talk about it.

NATO Waffles

And speaking of mouthing words, outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, addressing NATO recently, said, regarding our involvement: “Choices are going to be made more on what is in the best interests of the United States.” In other words, we're through doing all the heavy lifting for our European “allies” -- even when the whole thing is our idea, as is the case in Libya. Why, if they're not willing to help us out, we'll just take our planes and missiles and go home. This, of course, is pure fiction. When was the last time any president, or any administration, made choices based on the best interests of the United States? It certainly hasn't happened since we got into World War I. No, our foreign policy has been Euro-centric, and Israel-centric, for as long as anyone can remember, and that is not going to change, especially because we are no longer masters of our own fate. We don't control our currency, or our economy, or our foreign policy, so what makes Gates or anyone else think we're going to all of a sudden start acting in our own interests militarily? He says this while we're in the middle of (at least) three wars ranging across the Arab world, and gearing up for even more. Is he nuts? No – what he may be saying is that we are going to have to – to some extent at least – de-emphasize Europe in view of commitments elsewhere. Which is a way of saying congratulations, that – through the tender offices of the EU – Europe has finally stabilized itself to the point where we no longer need to send, or keep, troops over there to keep them from killing each other. But believe me, any withdrawal of troops from Europe, or downsizing of our commitment to NATO, will be symbolic at best, because he was still talking to the people who are in charge of our fate, and they won't let us wander too far off the reservation.

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