Friday, September 21, 2012

Beyond Conspiracy

OK campers, it's time to head out into the deep water – the “over-your-head” water, in fact. Get your oxygen tanks ready, for we are about to plumb the depths.

As you may already realize, this blog has been “trending” (oh, how I hate that word!), of late, in the direction of pointing out the utter absurdity of our foreign policy, and to a lesser extent our domestic policy, and by extension life in general in These United States. Sometimes, just for fun during an idle moment, I try to list all the things that are seriously wrong with this country and its government – I mean really, seriously wrong... intractable... maddening... as in, a threat to our liberties, our wealth, our very lives. (Not to mention our sanity, which is already well on the way to annihilation.) This turns out to be quite a long list, and it pretty much covers the waterfront of all that the government does and all that we do. We have problems that may actually wind up being fatal, and others that are quite serious... but none that are trivial.  (The “problems” that the media present us with are trivial compared to the real thing.) 

Turn the coin over, then, and consider what, if anything, is going right. Is anything part of the solution these days? Well, my first candidate would be the Internet, which has expanded our range of dialog on politics, and everything else you can imagine (and much that you can't), way beyond the wildest dreams of its inventors... and thus constitutes a continuous source of irritation to totalitarians. People think they're brainwashed now; what about back when there were only three TV networks? What about when there were few, if any, conservative newspapers? What about when the only forms of government that anyone considered viable and sustainable were competing forms of socialism? Yes, there were times like that, and I remember them. By contrast, in these times no matter what a government functionary says, there will be scores of rebuttals (of varying degrees of validity, I admit) on the Internet. The JFK assassination truth movement was underground for many decades, until the Internet came along... and the 9/11 truth movement popped up on the Internet on... 9/11, pretty much. We now have a nation of fact-checkers and bullshit detectors – something that did not, and could not, exist in pre-Internet times.

What else do we have in this country to ease the pain of our slouch towards Gomorrah? We have the American sense of humor, which has sustained us through many fat and lean years... and which provides a much-needed counterbalance to our Puritanical, uptight, judgmental heritage and tendencies. (An interesting side note is that the funniest people out there these days tend to be politically conservative. The liberals have all turned into a bunch of stuffed shirts, and they are particularly unfunny when there's a Democratic president in office. Rachel Maddow is at her best when she's talking like a libertarian.) (Or like me!)

We also have a visible, energetic movement opposing Agribusiness, which overlaps the ones opposing Big Medicine and Big Pharma. On a smaller scale, there are voices raised, and actions undertaken, in opposition to the public school racket. There are more alternatives than ever to the dominant pop culture and “entertainment” industries. Even the unions are starting to take some licks – and I can remember a time when the unions could do no wrong (still true here in Pittsburgh). 

What all of this adds up to, now that I think about it, is a sort of tolerance of true diversity – or benign neglect on the part of the Regime. Hey, I'll take it, if the alternative is complete totalitarianism. Now... there are some unhappy implications here. The Regime is smart enough to let people “get away with” a lot of things that the Soviet regime, or Mao's regime, or Hitler's, wouldn't have. And why is this? One of two major possibilities – either they know that a surfeit of “games and circuses” will distract people and keep them from taking to the streets... or that their power is so secure that no amount of rebellion, either open or behind-the-scenes, will make any difference. The first is a comment on the American people, and the second is a comment on the Regime itself – which, of course, was put in place with the tacit permission of the American people. In either case, though, it's bad news when it comes to our future. Ultimately, justice will be done – if not in this world, then in the next. This is my faith. But in the meantime, we may have a much harder road to trod than any previous American generation. But it will be a road of our making – so justice, at least in the collective sense, may be closer than we think or would like.

So yes, it would be simplistic to say that everything is going to hell, and nothing is any damn good, and there is no balm in Gilead. But to deny that there is something profoundly wrong with our society, and our system, and that nearly all of the “big pieces” are fatally flawed, would be simplistic in a worse way. (The goal of most of my discussions has been to point this out, as you know.)

But in moving beyond the headlines, we inevitably run up against hidden agendas, plots, schemes, and deceptions of myriad sorts. I have tried to deal with some of these as well, under the (mostly implicit) heading of “conspiracies”. But even conspiracies share, with overt actions, at least one quality – namely, that they are intended to benefit someone. In other words, they are not undertaken with no goal in mind. Someone always stands to gain (the “cui bono” question I am so fond of) – that is, if all goes according to plan.

The thing about conspiracies is that they are conspiracies for a reason. Number one, it's easier to implement the plan, and pursue the goal, if as few people as possible know what's going on – or alternatively, if as many people as possible can be deceived as to what is going on. A conspiracy can, in other words, be right out in the open as long as everyone who is not involved can be fooled into thinking that what they are witnessing represents one thing, whereas it actually represents something entirely different. The conspiracy part, then, becomes not what is happening, but why. In other cases, of course, it all has to be concealed, because to let it out would just cause too much trouble – too much opposition. (Even the hardest-core conspirator knows the value of good “P. R.”.)

Secondly, overt actions, because they shock and startle, and are found disorienting by people, and require so much energy to sustain, tend to cool off fairly rapidly and become compromised, co-opted, or otherwise absorbed into the general baseline. A revolution cannot go on indefinitely, by definition – although some have certainly tried. Revolutions – open rebellions – also tend to elicit counter-revolutions, which, if they succeed, may render things worse (or better, depending on your point of view) than they were originally. (The French killed a king, then wound up with an emperor.)

A good conspiracy, on the other hand, has a “half life” far longer, and of greater durability, than the garden-variety revolution, revolt, or insurrection. Conspiracies can last for years, decades, centuries... they can outlast regimes, countries, and empires (Freemasonry being the best example in world history, as far as I know). Part of this is because they have broader appeal. They are also better organized. They can also take over from a cooling, dispersing revolution, and pursue the same or similar goals in a more subtle, therefore more likely to succeed, way. There is what I call a “hand-off point” in which a sequence of historical events which began with a cataclysm is transitioned to “more level heads”, which may operate overtly, by-and-large... but in a conspiratorial manner when need be. (Do we fancy that our Founding Fathers did everything they did under public scrutiny? There is evidence that this was far from the case... but their track record is certainly better than that of the French revolutionaries, or the Russian ones.)

Who was it who said, “The soup is never eaten as hot as it's served”? Sometimes it's eaten hotter, as in the case of Nazi Germany. But most of the time the saying is on target. In this country, politicians deliver rash promises, and fail to deliver on nearly all of them. But by way of compensation, they provide other sources of amusement and consolation in order to help us forget about all the broken promises. Very few campaign on an explicitly pro-war platform (McCain and Romney being prominent exceptions), but they deliver war anyway because that's what they discover their job is once in office. But as to all the things, on the domestic side, that they promise to “save” -- well, very few wind up saved, and most limp along pretty much as usual.

So conspiracies are pretty much like any other form of activity, in that they are intended to benefit someone, or some group; the main difference is informational – conspiracies eschew a public image, whereas political movements relish it. But we're going to move beyond even the conspiracy level of analysis now. What do we make of actions – mostly on the part of the government – that seem to benefit no one... or, alternatively, to cancel each other out? To provide a few well-known examples:
  • We pass draconian regulations of tobacco marketing, distribution, and use, and at the same time subsidize tobacco farmers.
  • We fight “drug lords” in Mexico, and at the same time provide them with weapons.
  • We over-regulate the conventional medicine industry, and at the same time grant it a monopoly.
  • We grant a monopoly to the public schools, but at the same time allow them to thwart effective education.
  • We support “Arab spring” revolutions, then immediately find ourselves under attack by the former rebels.
  • We supply weapons to the Taliban in order to get the Russians out of Afghanistan, then turn around and attack the Taliban (who fight back using the weapons we gave them).
  • We destroy Iraq's infrastructure, then spend hundreds of billions building it up again.
  • One government agency does “drug enforcement” while another deals in drugs in order to make friends, influence people, and earn some extra cash on the side.
  • We subsidize corn, and then complain when everyone gets fat from consuming corn products.
  • The government buys weaponry that no one in the military wants.
  • We pay homage to “children's rights” while aborting half of them.
  • The government worries about global warming, and subsidizes heavy industry, oil, and natural gas (and suppresses public transportation in favor of automobiles).
  • The Republicans and Democrats regularly lock horns over trivial differences in budget, laws, regulations, and policies. But they are in total agreement on foreign policy.
  • We spend trillions on unwinnable wars, and don't even especially try to win winnable wars.
  • We give blacks their “freedom” but keep them in bondage to political parties and government programs. 
And so on. I'm sure you can come up with some other examples yourselves. Now – a lot of the above could be explained simply by referring to my Number One Rule of Government, namely that every government program is a jobs program. In other words, when you buy goods and services of any sort – whether wanted or not, effective or not – you create jobs. Regulations create jobs for regulators. Military and police actions create jobs for the military and the police. Regardless of success or failure! All true – but I suspect that something more is at work here. What I see in all of this is not just a plot to make wealth trickle upwards into the hands of the ruling elite and increase their power over the rest of us. I also see a strong hint of existential despair... of social/political/economic suicide. As I've said before, I believe the American Experiment has run its course. And what that means is not that it's “over”, the way a TV show would be taken off the air... but that the experimental part is over. We're out of ideas – at least of ideas that work. We have now become, in terms of the actual, on-going reality (vs. history, ideas, ideals, delusions, etc.), “just another place” -- just another empire, and a failing one at that. In other words, if you look at what we are, and what we do, it's frankly hard to distinguish us, qualitatively, from any of a number of other nations and empires. For that to happen, you have to start listening to campaign rhetoric and political propaganda, and get into our iconography – which gives one a strong impression that whatever greatness we might have once had is long past. When all that's left is ideas, in other words, that have nothing to do with current reality, then maybe it's time to just put those ideas to bed. And to put the very idea of “ideas” to bed as well. And yet, they seem to have sustaining power, the way so many ideas have in the waning days of a nation, empire, or political system. The Soviet Union was certainly “running on fumes” for many years before it broke up – as was the British Empire. (The Nazis didn't have time to go through all the stages of death and dying.) Even China, arguably the most “capitalist” country of them all these days, sustains itself with a steady but low-key and nostalgic diet of communist idealism.

The question then becomes, can we predict how a given nation, empire, or system will end, based on the way it started, or the way it is now? Russia and China were both totalitarian communist states, but their modes of evolution away from that differed dramatically. But could it have been predicted? I'm sure I don't know. The French colonial empire ended with a bang (Vietnam and Algeria), whereas England's ended with more of a whimper (India and Africa). Predictable? Who knows? We have frequently been compared to Rome in its declining days... but recall that that “decline” took longer than the U.S. has existed. Of course, Rome didn't have TV or the Internet either.

One thing is certain. The decline of any political system will have something to do with its foundational premises – with loyalties and ideas – and how they “morphed”, or failed to morph, over time. This country was founded by people who had much more of a sense of themselves as citizens of a given colony than of a nation; the nation-ness had to be placed on top of pre-existing loyalties, like a new ideological layer. (And we saw how thin a layer that turned out to be when the Confederacy broke away.) Even today, people are at least as likely to identify themselves as being from a given state or city than from “America”. “America” is just too big; it's too abstract. It's the stuff of ideologues – humanists, secularists – rather than of real, flesh-and-blood people. I suspect that when the average person says, or thinks, “America”, what they are really saying, or thinking, is “My America” -- the place they know, which might be limited to one farm, one small town, one county. I challenge anyone who grew up in Maine to think of New Mexico as part of “his” America – I mean, yeah, it kind of is... but really? No, not really – unless you're Woody Guthrie. And yet regionalism, and local loyalties, and particularly loyalty to the land, with all that implies, are frowned upon these days; they are almost forbidden thoughts. It's almost as if a “real American” shouldn't care about the real America – which gives the game away, since the thought control all comes from the Regime, which is, in fact, totally lacking in loyalty to land, home, tribe, ethnicity, creed... which totally lacks a sense of place. To the Regime, home is the blue-tinted towers of Wall Street, and the vast bureaucracies of Washington, Brussels, and Zurich.

So if that's a small sample of what America is all about, what will characterize its fall? First a decline, then the disappearance, of regional and local loyalties, which – for all of their bad reputation among the elite – are, nonetheless, sustaining. Pace Robert Frost, there is something that does love a wall – between “us” and “them”, between “here” and “there”. This is what sustains men in battle, at the workbench, or behind the plow. Oh, they may flirt with “ideas” from time to time, but for real living there is nothing like the feeling that one is really alive – that one belongs somewhere. But instead, we find ourselves ruled, and lorded over, by “rootless cosmopolitans”, and we are starting, more and more, to think and act like them (but without any of the compensations).

But then, paradoxically, I think we can expect to see nationalism (as opposed to patriotism) rise to an ever-more fever pitch, as our failures mount. There is nothing like loyalty to a lost cause. How many people laughed when George W. Bush pronounced “mission accomplished” or repeated, as a mantra, our need to “stay the course” and “not cut and run”? One would hope there is a planet somewhere where such nonsense would be greeted with hoots of derision – but all “W” encountered was polite applause. And the point is that, eventually, absurdity takes over from ideas. The Roman Republic coughs up Caligula. The first definition of “progress” is: That which does not really exist. Because any advance can be easily canceled out – especially when the advances are idea-based and the canceling-out is human nature-based. The Barbarians were more real than the decadent Romans; once ideas had died, genuine human-ness had a right to reclaim the territory it had lost.

So what do we have in our time? A government that tries to “spread democracy” with drone missile attacks. A voting process that is not so much corrupt as it is non-existent. A propaganda ministry known as “the media”. Another propaganda ministry known as “public education”, and another one known as “higher education”. All of our “ideas” -- although they might have been perfectly valid at one time – have been washed up on the rocks of absurdity and futility. We see self-defeating behavior in every quarter. Is it because we have outgrown our ideas? Or because they were false to begin with? Or because no idea can indefinitely compete with perverse human nature?

Animals tend to choose an isolated, out-of-the-way place in which to die. Empires tend to die out in the open, under a blazing Sun, with millions of witnesses. So there is always an element of humiliation and mortification – and yet the lesson is always lost on future generations. But the real question is, do empires choose to die? Is there some mysterious process by which they willfully self-destruct, not just collapsing of their own weight, but for the good of the human race? It seems to me that the absurdity we witness may be a symptom of this. Or, perhaps it is just the collective will of the world that we die, and it's futile to resist. (Certainly the Regime has long since abandoned residency in the U.S., assuming it ever had it. Its home base is now somewhere in Western Europe.) 

But if we're going to indulge in meta-historical speculation, it would never do to leave out the idea of Thesis, Antithesis, and Synthesis. There are many views of this notion and its implications (historical, political, and otherwise). One train of thought is that it is a conscious process – that someone is running the show, the way a person would moderate a debate. The other idea is that it's more like an inevitable historical cycle, that is going to be played out whether or not the players are conscious of it. The second idea is, obviously, more fatalistic, and harmonizes with the notion of business and economic cycles that are beyond anyone's (or any government's) control. The extreme view would be that we're all puppets being controlled by an invisible hand, or wafted about on the winds of impersonal fate. In which case, the proper counsel would be despair, or – more optimistically -- “going with the flow”. Or becoming a Hindu, or something.

But what about the notion that Thesis, Antithesis, and Synthesis represents a process, or cycle, that must be controlled, or at least supervised, in order to work properly? (“Working properly” would mean that the goal, namely synthesis, is actually achieved.) Take a simple model – a cockfight. You have two cocks, one named Thesis and the other Antithesis. You put them in the ring. Synthesis occurs when one kills the other. But wait – that's not quite right, unless you're a Bolshevik talking about capitalism, or a French revolutionary talking about the Catholic Church, and then you're just being self-serving. Maybe one of the cocks is actually a hen, and the result of the match is that she lays a (fertile) egg. The chick's name would be Synthesis.

No, wait, that's not quite it either. There has to be some sort of merging, or transformation, or – let's say – a selection of the best of each. Like the “mixed economy” that our politicians use to talk about all the time (and when's the last time any of them used that term?) -- it took the best of capitalism and socialism, and tossed out the bad stuff of each. (In which case, why are we still fighting over the matter? Did they keep some of the bad stuff, or toss out some of the good stuff?) (The answer is, we're not really fighting over the matter, only at the margins and over trivial details.)

In any case, the result – the synthesis – cannot look like either of the preceding states. It has to be different, and – in theory – better. But you can't get to that point merely by contemplating the alternatives; there has to be contention... a struggle. Kind of like “class struggle”, actually – which is one of the areas where one finds these terms most often. In other words, it is the struggle itself which, like a refiner's fire, guarantees the quality of the outcome.

What I actually suspect, based on the history of the last couple centuries, is that people (1) believe in historical/political/economic cycles and trends, as something built into the “system” (whatever that is), but also that (2) it's their job to move the process along, and accelerate it, and direct it, whenever possible, in order to achieve their specific goals. In other words, no one wants to play the game if they have no idea of the outcome; there has to be a payoff. So they cause, and encourage, aid, and abet culture wars, class struggle, economic conflict, political strife, etc., hoping for a “good” (by their lights) outcome, but always with a thumb on the scale. No one is indifferent, in other words; that would take much too much detachment and aloofness, and if they were that way they wouldn't be playing the game at all.

But the real point is that it is a game, and it is being controlled by someone. And, that most of what we naively take as “conflict” or opposition (even including wars and revolutions), is just two sides in the game, and that conflict and opposition is not incidental or accidental, but is willed by the overseers, the way the people putting on the cock fight want the cocks to fight. If they just got into the ring and made peace, that would be no fun. (And no one would make any money.) So when we see, for example, this bogus struggle between liberals and conservatives, or between Republicans and Democrats, we have to realize that it's all part of a very big game. We can participate if we like, as long as we realize that it's a game no one can win, except the people running it – not unlike a gambling casino. There may be individual or temporary winners, but in the long run it's always the “house” that wins. But by the same token, there is no shame in dropping out. Since the conflict is, ultimately, meaningless, we're not obligated to invest any of our very limited resources on it – unless, again, you enjoy that sort of thing.

But does the “house”, so to speak, always win? Aren't there some scenarios by which neither side in the game wins, but the house doesn't either? In other words, does the Regime always come out on top, regardless of what happens to the Obamas and Romneys of this world? And I say that at any given point in history, the regime will, in fact, come out on top. Or they will only lose once, and that will be the end of that particular regime and of that historical era. But you have to remember, we're talking about centuries-long cycles here. How long, for example, have the Freemasons been running things in the Western world? Since the Middle Ages, at least – even if they went by different names back then. Some might say, ever since the first heretical or blasphemous word was uttered by some onlooker at Calvary. And yes, there is a “regime”, of sorts, of disbelief, heresy, materialism, and carnality – but the term is more useful if we think in terms of organizations... or conspiracies, if you will. But how easily they assume the role of puppet masters! Nearly all of our presidents have been Freemasons, and nearly all of their opponents in elections have also been Freemasons. Both George W. Bush and John Kerry were Skull and Bones. What does it all mean? What it means is that even though the “contenders” are taking the matter seriously, the people far above them in the firmament are not. They are dispensable, in other words – and I don't doubt but that the thought occurs to them frequently enough. It is so easy to wind up twisting slowly in the wind... and it might not even be your fault! You may have simply been assigned a role, and when that role is complete you're no longer useful. The Regime is as merciless, in this regard, as the Mob (assuming they aren't the same anyway).

But in that case – you might say – isn't even the whole Thesis/Antithesis/Synthesis game being played for laughs? Why even try and influence the outcome? Are we not, as the Greeks believed, merely playthings and victims of impulsive gods? Why not just sit back and enjoy the show? I think this is what does happen, to some extent. But even so, there are real goals, and real agendas. The Regime cares not a whit for the American middle class, for example, but feels compelled to keep Israel in business. It may be big enough to encompass Russia and China, but I tend to doubt it; they are left to play their own games their way. And it is certainly in opposition to the Arab/Islamic world, even though the game does extend into that world on a regular basis. So no, they are not neutral, like some interplanetary superpower in the old sci-fi pulps, toying with Earth the way some kid would toy with sea monkeys. The way they play the Thesis/Antithesis/Synthesis game is, I think in part, a genuine desire to find out what actually works – what fulfills their agenda most readily, most efficiently, and most completely. Another reason is to set up false dichotomies and distractions (like elections) to keep the populace occupied, so they can go about their business in peace. Another reason may be to, in a sense, aid and abet natural selection, by sorting out the people who are willing to play the game and who can handle it from those who are unwilling or cannot. But still, another reason might be that – dare I say it? -- it's just plain fun. My ant farm vs. your ant farm, and all that. Hey – are they not flesh and blood like the rest of us (even if they won't admit it)? Are they not subject to the same foibles, and tempted by the same amusements? I sure hope so. I'd hate to think we were ruled by a race of total aliens.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Oh, My Akin Back!

The Todd Akin “rape statement” was – predictably – touted by the MSM as a death blow to the Romney/Ryan campaign. Apparently there is a bright line connecting Akin's theorizing about rape to Romney and Ryan – a line that only liberals and their media facilitators can see. But hey, elections are all about feelings, and emotion, and impulse anyway – so why not give people something to feel emotional and impulsive about? And as it happens, the statement has not yet been “played” very much by the Democrats – probably because they have so much superior ammo (much of it supplied by the Republicans themselves, I might add). But you can be sure it's being held in reserve, to be whipped out if and when needed.

But what about the statement itself? Whenever you're making a statement – in a political or any other kind of forum – that has scientific and/or medical implications, it's good if you've done your homework... you know, consulted the experts, read a journal article or two, etc. Otherwise you wind up looking, and sounding, like a stage version of Weekly World News. Not to mention which, you get endless mocking and jeering from liberals, who always think of themselves as irreproachably “scientific” and “objective” about just about everything. After all, don't they call that thing they all majored in in college “political science”? So obviously, anything that contradicts liberal dogma is, in fact, “unscientific”, and ranks of “superstition”, “the Dark Ages”, “hate”, “religion”, and other dreadful things.

But the statement (its aftermath reminds me of nothing so much as that old line of poetry, “The moving finger writes...” etc.) is intriguing, because it gets right to some issues that liberals are supposedly fond of, since those issues have everything to do with reproduction (or the lack thereof) and survival, and, yes, evolution. I have always been fascinated, for example, by what I call the “cad, heel, and bounder paradox”. Simply stated, it's the phenomenon of men making women pregnant (by force or persuasion) and then vanishing. Now, regardless of the origins of this behavior – genetic or social – the amazing thing is that it persists, if it is truly maladaptive. Because what the model calls for is, basically, the guy leaves the woman in the lurch, either pregnant or with a newborn. Now, this doesn't seem like such a disaster these days, with our broad and deep social safety net – but it wasn't that long ago that such a situation could spell an early demise of both mother and child... especially if you go back to the primitive “hunting and gathering” times. In some eras it would have resulted in some form of shunning, as witness the old-fashioned iconography of the irate father sending his wayward daughter out into the snow carrying a newborn. (Yes, I'm old enough to remember those images – even if they were only presented to illustrate a stereotype of the “bad old days” of Puritanism.) (The New Puritanism, on the other hand, offers abortion as a ready-made solution for such things.)

So, if the offspring of the roving, predatory male has a lower chance of surviving to adulthood, and the caddish behavior has a genetic component, you'd expect that behavior to decrease over time, and eventually to disappear. We shouldn't see it at all! Ever! -- if you subscribe to strict evolutionary theory. And therein lies the paradox. Even if you subscribe to “collective genetics”, you'd expect a society that tolerated such behaviors to die out over time, since they would be in a competitively weak position compared to societies that didn't. And yet, all that I can gather from social history tells me that there are not only as many cads, heels, and bounders out there as ever, but probably more. So clearly there is something keeping this behavior alive -- “in the gene pool” -- that seems to contradict our conventional concepts of what it takes to survive.

Now, you might say, in any halfway-civilized society ways will be developed for abandoned women and children to at least stay alive, if not to live well. (Recall also that the term "orphan" used to refer to a fatherless, but not necessarily motherless, child.)  But to the extent that's true, it contradicts the hard-core social Darwinism model, which basically boils down to “every man (or woman, or child) for himself.” In other words, societies do things that evolutionary theory tells them they shouldn't do – or at least not to that extent. So that's no way out either. 

I'm going to leave this conundrum unsolved for the moment, while we get back to the more immediate issue of Akin's turd in the Republican punch bowl. Let's move on to a question that, as usual, no one in the media will ask – namely, is there any theoretical (i.e. evolutionary) validity to the notion that a woman ought to be able to decide, after the fact, whether to permit an act of insemination to result in pregnancy? All we have heard since Akin opened his trap is that there is no physiological basis for this, and no statistical evidence. And this may be the case – at least at this point in our study of such things. But leave us not forget that there are plenty of precedents in the animal (especially mammal) kingdom for such things – the female will tend to ovulate when a new, dominant male enters the picture (even, in some cases, when he has killed the offspring she had with the previous mate). And when it comes to the cad/heel/bounder, there is no doubt that he is the dominant male – at least for long enough to get the job done.  So the idea, whether true of humans or not, is not all that far-fetched. 

But again, isn't it a risky business to get pregnant by a man who, as the saying goes, “didn't take his hat off”? Can thinking in strict evolutionary terms – hallowed by liberals everywhere – shed light on any of this? To begin with, consider what the (temporarily) dominant male “means” to the female – something new, novel, and exciting... in biological terms, a chance to enhance the gene pool (with her help) and create an at least marginally superior line: her line, not just his. Is this prospect enough to outweigh the risks involved? Plenty of women down through history seem to have thought so – and the persistence of the complementary traits (roving male, risk-taking female) seems to support the notion.  Think, for example, of the number of women in an overrun country who willingly fall into the arms of the "enemy".  (This apparently even happened in Hitler's case, with the result that he wound up with a French son -- Google it if you don't believe me.)  What are these women responding to?  Good, old-fashioned lust and/or deprivation, or something more?  But of course, these are questions that polite people never ask.
Another way of saying this is that if a well-known – nay, notorious – male trait has survived down through countless generations, it must have either been adaptive or, at worst, neural in its impact on survival. (It doesn't have to have been markedly superior, however – as witness the debatable impact of intelligence on survivability. Intelligence persists as a – I fear – recessive trait, but neither increases or decreases in the aggregate.) But the male trait would have been much less effective without the corresponding female trait; even allowing for a certain incidence of “genuine” rape (to call out Akin again), most women were, I suspect, ready, willing, and able (for the reasons given previously).

So to get back to Akin's fictitious female – let's say she is “genuinely” raped. She should, by rights and if she is able (consciously or otherwise), “turn off” her system for long enough to keep that dastardly male's seed from finding fertile ground. But we're talking about evolution now, not feelings – survival, not sentiment. What if, on some deep biological level, the woman's system “welcomes” the intruder, “knowing” that, violated or not, she bears some potential for a superior hybrid strain? Note that when women were raped by invading armies, they didn't automatically run off to the nearest abortionist, or attempt to try it themselves. Call it fatalism or resignation, if you like – but who knows, this kid might turn out to be a high achiever... “advanced placement” material. Better than mating with that already-inbred shlub from the next peasant hut down the road, who was probably also her cousin three times over. Human instincts may be “smarter” than our conscious reasoning. 

By the same token, someone might ask – with indignation – well, if a woman becomes pregnant as the result of rape, are you saying that she wasn't really raped? That it wasn't “genuine”... that the woman wanted it, or was at least willing to tolerate it on some level? Again, I say we're not talking about conscious, rational, reasonable wants, likes, dislikes, feelings, etc. here – just raw biology, the effects of which can be way deeper than any conscious process... as deep, in fact, as nearly any other bodily process, and we don't have to be consciously aware of them, or “will” them, in order for them to work.

So I'm not talking about anything here but pure instinct. I'm not talking about conscious analysis. If reasoned argument were always at the tip of one's tongue in this matter, why is it so clearly lacking in all other matters? No, I say that when people act “unreasonably”, as they often do, there may be a perfectly good biological reason for it – one that acts in gross defiance of morals, sentiment, and higher feelings. This is, I guess, the “animal” part of us refusing to completely buckle under to the (allegedly) human side. But remember, as far as liberals – good Darwinists and evolutionists all – are concerned, there is no “human” side to man; we are all animal, all the time. So they could not possibly have any objection to arguments of this sort. Um... assuming they valued consistency (which they don't).

(I might add that it is this very unreasonableness that makes the population-control advocate's life so frustration-prone. The people who agree with him – ZPG members, academicians, artistes, etc. -- typically have no interest in reproducing anyway, whereas the people he is trying to “reach” with his enlightened propaganda – the “minorities” -- couldn't care less. They go on happily reproducing and outnumbering -- more every day -- the liberal elite. Even the abortion industry can't stop them, try as it might. It is a good trick of nature that the people who liberals fear and/or despise the most are the best at out-reproducing them. This might, in itself, be an illustration of natural selection at work on the macro level.)

But let's get back to our mystery woman, who we have already, undoubtedly, worn out with our theorizing. She might not “mind” (again, on some deep level) getting some new hues added to her biological palette... or, on the other hand, natural xenophobia combined with the risk factor might convince her (i.e. her body) to do what Akin suggests. After all, if a stranger is born in the midst of a closely-knit tribe, that can cause trouble as well. Being the only blond in a village of black-haired people, or vice versa, might be an evolutionary – i.e. reproductive – disadvantage. Or the novelty factor might... see what I'm getting act? As rock-solid and iron-cored as evolutionary theory is claimed to be, it doesn't have answers for everything; arguments can be made on both sides. Sometimes the best strategy is to just wait and see – but this is, admittedly, a tall order when one is talking about evolution.

I just found it amusing that the liberals' heads exploded when they heard about Akin's statement, when the reasonable thing to do – as a few people eventually did, to their credit – was to ask, is there any scientific evidence for this? And then, regardless of the answer to that question (even if politically incorrect), wouldn't it be interesting to ask, well, what if it were true? What would it represent from the evolutionary point of view (since, to liberals, there is no other)? Or if not true, what would that represent? If a woman's body doesn't “care” who inseminated it, that – it seems to me – is an interesting finding, since it's by no means obvious (again, going by evidence from elsewhere in nature). Maybe rape doesn't have the baleful effect on survivability that it “ought” to have (from a moralistic point of view) – which means, ta-da! - that maybe the child fathered by the cad/heel/bounder is not at a significant disadvantage after all (“Papa Was a Rolling Stone”, etc.). Maybe the “social safety net” was not invented as recently as the New Deal. Plus there is always the non-alpha male who comes along and forms a more permanent relationship with the seduced and abandoned woman; yes, I think this happens as well. (But then how are his genes passed on? The answer is that the competition from the cads/heels/bounders drops off sharply when the woman already has a child. Yes, it's harsh, but that's the way it is. I'll bet human history is full of first-born (to the woman) children who were “adopted” by the nice guy next door... who then proceeded to have a few additional kids by the same woman. So who “won” in that case? Maybe everyone did to some extent.)

(And BTW, when and if the roving, predatory male finally settles down – and yes, some of them do, eventually – do they necessarily settle down with one of their counterparts, i.e. an “adventurous” female? No. In fact, my guess is that they more typically settle down with a more domestic, “homebody” type, not because they are determined to mend their ways as much as they are just plain tired, and yearn for a secure home base at long last.)

Now, from the moral point of view, we're likely to say that, no, it shouldn't be this way – that something ought be done... that “there oughta be a law” (there used to be, actually, but it didn't help). And after all, isn't there such a thing as Natural Law, that provides a counterforce to concupiscence and bad behavior? And how about karma? Yes, but we are a fallen race living in a fallen condition – and it seems that this can even revert back to the “purely” biological at times. Our fallen-ness infects us as individuals, then radiates out into the family, the tribe, the society... and then even into nature itself. Or so it seems. So if we occasionally see, or imagine, a conflict between Nature and our better nature, there may be a reason for it. People see perverse or maladaptive behavior and identify it as “only doing what comes naturally”. And we laugh at such foolishness, but they may be on to something if they're talking about nature that has been distorted through the willful acts of man.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Big Brother Weighs In

I have to admit, I just about let out a whoop when I read this headline: “Netanyahu: U.S. voters must draw 'red line' on Iran”. My thought – well, finally they're admitting it. That is, Israel is finally admitting, after all these years, that not only do they have a vital (dare I say “existential”) interest in U.S. elections, but they don't mind one iota stepping in to, um, “help”, the American voter vote the right way – I.e. in Israel's interest as opposed to their own selfish, parochial interests.

My next thought was, well then, what does Bibi the Nat want us to do? We know that Obama is sleeping in the Israeli doghouse these days (having moved out there from the living room couch), but has Bibi really and truly come out and told Americans to vote for Romney? That would be quite extraordinary, especially given the American media's – shall we say – skepticism regarding Rockjaw Goodhair.

Well, no – a reading of the article in question reveals that while Bibi “took his case on Iran directly to U.S. voters”, all he said (on one of those Sunday morning gabfests) was that (quote from the article, not him) “the White House must be willing to draw a 'red line' on Tehran's nuclear program”. And yet the article (by AP) describes his remarks as “an impassioned election-season plea”... to do what? What does Bibi want Americans sympathetic with Israel's plight to do? Vote for Romney? Threaten to vote for Romney if Obama doesn't mend his ways? Does Bibi realize how little power the American electorate actually wields? Of all people on the planet, he should know the answer to this – namely zero, compared to the Israeli lobby and all sorts of other entities. Like the media, for instance. If Bibi wants to get rid of Obama, all he has to do is contact his friends in the American media (or the ones who operate the voting machines, as I mentioned in a previous post). So why bother the poor, hapless voter with his problems? Heaven knows, the voters have enough problems of their own – like being subject to a mass delusion regarding something called “voting”.

Clearly, Bibi is disappointed in Obama, who was as thoroughly vetted regarding sympathy for Israel as anyone in American history before being allowed onto the Democratic ticket in 2008. And Obama has not, as yet, actually defied Israel, and I'm sure has no intention of doing so... but he has exhibited a certain measure of wanderlust, which, compared to the war-lust of the Republicans, is enough to make a loyal Israeli shop around for alternatives. So while Bibi is not, after all, telling Americans who to vote for in so many words, he's still telling them... well, what? I mean, what precisely does he want us to do on that fateful day in November, when we are given a “choice” between two candidates with virtually identical foreign policies?

And leave us not forget that Bibi and Romney are old friends, and Romney is a Mormon, which carries with it all sorts of end-times and apocalyptic implications. I'm sure Romney wouldn't be the slightest bit hesitant about starting World War III over Israel – whereas Obama might turn out to be a bit more skittish.

And yet Obama's ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice – a formidable desk warrior in her own right – is quoted as saying “there is 'no daylight' between the United States and Israel.” (There's an original expression for you, ahem.) Doesn't Bibi believe her? Doesn't he believe the evidence? We have bankrupted ourselves and turned this country into a police state on Israel's behalf; isn't that enough? Apparently not. 

So maybe it's just all bluster. But it is intriguing that the mainstream media would interpret anything Netanyahu said as trying to influence a presidential election – even though precisely how remains a mystery.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

One Nation, One Vote

“In a related story” (reference my recent post entitled “Israel Cracks the Whip”), President Obama has allegedly “snubbed” Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu by declining to meet with him later this month when Benny the Nat makes one of his regular tours on horseback around the ol' plantation, whip in hand. Now, if it were any other national leader it would be no big deal, but when Israel is involved it's a “snub” -- but we're used to that, right? And of course the media are all in an uproar: It “threaten(s) to plunge U.S.-Israeli relations into crisis” and so on. In my opinion, the only “crisis” is the Constitutional crisis that occurs every time an American president or Congressman prefers Israel's interests to ours... but let that go for now. It is remarkable, however, that Obama is pulling this stunt right in the middle of election season – almost as if he suspects that Americans, and even some of his “base”, are starting to get fed up with our servitude to Israel. It's all about votes, in other words, and a move this drastic has to reflect a certain level of panic, or at least paranoia, on the part of the prez. He seems to agree with those who think it's going to be a close race, and therefore is casting about for every possible vote. 

On the other hand, doesn't Obama risk losing votes if Israel's fans and facilitators in the U.S. think he's wandering off the reservation – especially with Mitt Romney breathing fire and foaming at the mouth every time the subject of our “eternal ally” comes up? Ah, yes – it's great to watch those who sow the wind reaping a whirlwind, especially while still in office.

But there's another nuance to all this – one that our mainstream media will never breathe a word of, of course. Rumor has it that Israeli companies control U.S. voting machines – not that they manufacture them but that they have, mysteriously, obtained the contracts to produce and run the software (we're talking about electronic machines now, not the old mechanical kind) which records and tallies the votes. I haven't looked into this in a big way, but it's easy enough to find Google links on the subject. Now... what if -- just what if -- there's some truth to this, and what if Israel decided that Obama had become just too unreliable an asset? Granted, as I've said, any candidate will have been thoroughly vetted by the boys in Tel Aviv, but Obama was vetted four years ago, and a lot can happen in four years. He might be starting to answer to a different dog whistle... or none at all. Or, they might simply fear that he is, which is the same thing. And if they're really in charge of counting the votes in our elections (no more incredible than anything else in the political arena these days)... well, you see where this is going. Especially if it's already a close election, which it shows every indication of being. A thumb on the scale could very well throw the election Romney's way, the way Mayor Daley used a very fat thumb to grant JFK Illinois' electoral votes in 1960. Imagine the “BFF” of Israel that Romney would become if they did him this one tiny favor.  Why, you could expect him to slap an ICBM on Tehran before the first inaugural ball kicked off.   

Of course Jewish voters in the U.S. are facing the same dilemma they have faced in previous elections – do they vote for liberal social programs or for whoever seems more joined at the hip with Israel? Sometimes this turns out to be the same person, but sometimes not – and this time around “not” seems to be the case. The Israeli thumb on the scale would, among other things, keep their ambivalences from making a critical difference.

But really, folks – would anyone in charge of an election in the U.S. be crazy enough to give a foreign power all the tools it needed to change the outcome of an election without being detected? Wouldn't that be, at the very least, a severe conflict of interest? And after all, why would we deserve such treatment, since we've never interfered to the least degree in the elections of any other country (sound of choking on coffee).

Personally, I don't think Romney has a snowball's chance in Baghdad of winning the election – but if he should, and if it's extremely close (a la Bush-Gore), and if that result surprises and shocks everyone, especially the MSM and the pollsters... well, just remember this intriguing rumor.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Feel the Absurdity

OK, so let me get this straight. The revolutionaries we supported in Libya are now attacking our consulate in Benghazi, and the revolutionaries we supported in Egypt are attacking our embassy in Cairo. Not only that, but the Benghazi contingent has actually managed to kill four of our diplomatic personnel. And all, presumably, over some sort of movie or video on YouTube? A convenient excuse, I call it. They were just waiting to bite the hand that fed them. 

Well, I know, maybe things aren't quite that simple. But when is our government going to figure out that politics in the Arab/Islamic world are beyond the comprehension of us infidels, and simply refuse to take sides in any conflict over there, regardless of how compelling the “evidence” seems to be? We are more or less keeping our distance in the case of Syria, at least – but we went into Libya in a ham-handed way and now look at what's happened. And in the case of Egypt, we apparently decided that one of our favorite dictators had reached retirement age, so didn't object when he was toppled from the pinnacle of power. Whatever happened to our old “pragmatism”, where we would support any dictator or tyrant who seemed to prefer our friendship to that of the Soviets? Oh yeah, the Soviet Union broke up – and with it the crystal-clear, black-and-white sort of landscape that the simpletons in the State Department are so fond of. If there is any realism to be found in the area of foreign affairs, it probably resides in the CIA, which is, it seems to me, the least ideological entity in the government. Some would say they are all game-playing cynics... but in these times I would almost prefer a good dose of healthy cynicism to the nationalistic delusions that infect Congress and the State Department.

At any rate, we have preferred, of late, to support “democratic revolutions” against long-time dictators who were also, in most cases, our allies – or at least “tamed” a bit in Qaddafi's case. We have a knee-jerk response to the word “democratic”, as if it is the magic potion that cures all ills – so the minute a political or armed revolutionary movement labels itself “democratic”, we shower money and diplomatic support on the parties involved. The agenda behind it is, of course, that any country that is “truly democratic” will naturally gravitate in our direction, and become our ally – i.e. part of the American Empire. The problem is that we have yet to focus on that other variable, namely religion – and the reason for this is obvious. We take great pride in our hallowed “wall of separation between church and state”, and find it incomprehensible – not to mention upsetting – when not all other countries on the planet agree with us on this matter. Talk about “clinging” to religion! We, of course, know better – the ideal government being one in which congregation, sect, religion, and spiritual considerations in general have no part. We were designed to be a secular humanist nation, and have successfully held off any and all attempts to make it otherwise. Except, of course, for the unwritten rule that no Catholic can ever be president – violated only once – and the fact that our foreign policy is dominated by Evangelical Protestants. You know, minor stuff like that. But otherwise, we are blessedly free of “superstition” and all the other old-world handicaps to enlightened government that religion brings.

So when we encounter an enemy for whom faith/religion/creed is the primary motivator, we don't know what to do. We are metaphysically helpless, one might say. All we can do is fight back in an irrational way with brute force, since the realm of ideas has been closed off. They don't understand our ideals, and we don't understand their faith. Much better to be in conflict with a nation, or other entity, that agrees with us that religion is of no use or relevance in the modern age. Better, therefore, to be fighting the Nazis, or the Soviets, or the Chinese Communists than the Islamists. Warfare between believers (in anything) and non-believers has to be the ultimate in “asymmetrical warfare”.  For one thing, they truly believe in sacrifice at the individual level, whereas we're only willing to made collective sacrifices.  Problem is, there are no political or economic systems in foxholes -- only actual people. 

So what happens when we let our favorite dictators be toppled and Islamists take their place in the name of democracy? Simply that we trade the devil we know (and can make a deal with) for the devils we don't know, don't want to know, and generally despise – and the feeling is mutual. And yet there they are, large and in charge – and, predictably, attacking our embassies and consulates. See, they are nobody's fools. They know who supported their oppressors all these years, and they know that we're no more than hypocrites when it comes to supporting their cause. For all our lip service about democracy, it's seldom only about that – it's also about oil or other resources, international finance, and above all supporting Israel.

But again, it makes no sense. We allow leaders who have come to some sort of detente with Israel to be thrown out, and people who think Israel is the Little Satan (the Great Satan being ourselves) to attain power. Whose interests are served by all this? Let's go back to my favorite Fearsome Foursome – the cabal that, in my opinion, is running the show when it comes to our foreign policy. They are (1) the armaments makers; (2) the Evangelicals; (3) Israel and the Israeli lobby; and (4) the neocons. For the armaments makers, the answer is easy – the more wars the better, regardless of cause or justification. The Evangelicals have a motto, “Israel uber alles”, so when we help replace a pro-Israel or neutral government with one that is overtly anti-Israel, one has to wonder what their reaction is going to be. Did they lose Obama's phone number? Likewise, Israel and the Israeli lobby must be marveling at the rate with which we aid and abet the “Arab Spring”, only to find ourselves worse off than before. And as to the neocons, well – their top priority is the spread of the American Empire, so they have to be seeing events like these as a set-back. (And oh, by the way, any foolish notion that the Democratic victory in 2008 put the neocons out of power in D.C. is woefully in error.)

So with three of the four cabal members' interests not being served, one has to wonder at our consistently picking the wrong winner throughout the Arab/Islamic world. But perhaps I've been too quick to judge when it comes to the neocons. They are all about “democracy”, as long as it's done their way. So they would be ardent supporters of the Arab Spring and other spring-like movements. Perhaps they see events like those in Cairo and Benghazi as no more than growing pains – awkward, teenager-type stumblings on the road to true democracy. If so, they should go back and study the history of Iran since the Shah was exiled to Egypt. Might as well wait around for a country that has had a communist revolution to convert (peacefully) to capitalism. It can and does happen, but “bring a lunch”, as they say.

What I suspect is that we are seeing a genuine clash between American idealism and the various agendas of latter-day agents of influence. After all, the neocons have not always been with us, nor have the Israelis. War industries, on the other hand, are as old as the republic, and proto-Evangelicals have been part of our religious landscape since the first Pilgrims stubbed their toes on Plymouth Rock.

To all of which, some pragmatist might say, why can't we just make up our minds? What's more important? What are our priorities as a nation? And the answer is, we don't know, we never have known, and we never will know. Granted, there are long-term historical and political trends, economic vectors, social movements, and so on – but if you expect our foreign policy in the long run (or even in the short run) to be a seamless garment, think again. Living by ideas while at the same time “embracing diversity” is a plan that simply will not work; somebody – which means some group, some world view – has to be dominant at any given time. But even the ideas by the dominant political/social classes get compromised now and then.

And above all, we want to be friends. Yes, friends – buddies, comrades, “homies” -- to the rest of the world. We don't want to be that armored warrior in the Roman helmet and the unshaven face that the cartoonists favor. No, we want to be G.I. Joe tossing Hershey bars to the kiddies from the top of the tank as it rumbles through their humble village. But... at the same time we want to conquer the world.

No wonder we're neurotic.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Israel Cracks the Whip

By now, we should all be used to the idea that no one has a chance of being nominated for president by either of the major parties without first having been vetted by Israel, and, being found worthy, received the Zionist Seal of Approval. We have become so accustomed to this historically-unprecedented situation that we just take it for granted, and nary a voice of protest is raised when the proceedings are described in grotesque detail in the mainstream media.

I describe the situation as “historically unprecedented”, but that's not quite true. If we adopt a colonial model, it fits quite well, in fact. The old European colonial powers were fond of putting up puppets and empty suits as “leaders” of their colonies – ones who would have some credibility with the natives, since they were of that extraction. But in fact, these puppets were servants of the colonial powers, and cared little or not at all for the welfare of their fellow countrymen. Even in cases where there was the semblance of an election, you can be sure that all of the “viable” candidates came from the same source, i.e. the vetting process on the part of the colonialists. And the servitude of the selected figurehead was carried out in many forms – diplomatic, political, economic, social... even spiritual.

And so it is in this case – again, if we adopt the colonial model with Israel as the colonial power and us as the colony. And are they not, in fact, our diplomatic, political, and economic masters... and do they not have a lot to say about even our society and our religious practices? I used to think the best model was that of Israel being the 51st state, but I realized that was much too conservative – we would never devote this level of resources to any one state, to say nothing of relying on it as our main source of foreign policy.

So what is remarkable in all this is not, after all, the fact of a colonizer and a colony; these pairings have been around throughout most of recorded history. What is remarkable is the means by which the situation came about. Israel did not take us by force of arms, or even economically in the direct sense. The deed was accomplished almost entirely through diplomacy – but not without plenty of, let's say, economic and political “incentives” (including, I imagine, a good deal of bribery and blackmail). And of course there had to be plenty of what is called “softening up the battlefield” -- the primary weapon in that case being the Holocaust narrative (which I have, in previous posts, characterized as a “true myth”). Falling all over ourselves in the late 1940s to accommodate the Jews, who had been through so much, did not seem unreasonable – and the diplomatic folly that accompanied it was not recognized as folly at the time, nor is it recognized as such to this day, except by a very few. And yet when you look at the “War on Terror”, and our uneasy (at best) relations with the Islamic world, that's where it all started. So the costs of our “eternal alliance” with Israel are incalculable, and increasing with every passing day... and yet the reaction of our leaders, politicians, and major parties is to simply direct more of our national wealth toward this cause (and “cause” is the right word, since it makes absolutely no sense from a pragmatic/realistic point of view).

This is the baseline which must form the basis for any realistic discussion of Israel, the Near East, the Middle East, and terrorism – and, for that reason, is universally ignored by politicians and the media. Any “intractable” diplomatic, economic, or social problem can be traced to some form of dogmatism or rigid thinking on the part of the people involved – a failure of imagination, or of “thinking outside the box”. There are countless Gordian Knots scattered across the American landscape waiting for some Alexander to come along and cut them, ignoring the niceties of politics – but I see no such person anywhere in the political landscape outside of the paleoconservative ranks... and they aren't allowed to get anywhere near any of our real problems on the off chance that they might solve them.

So with that as background, let us consider the latest gambit on the part of our friendly enemy – the accusation that we are, somehow, secretly negotiating with Iran and promising to not get involved if Iran is attacked by Israel. Now granted, this report came out in an Israeli newspaper – but what are the chances that the Israeli press is any more independent, and any less a servant of the regime, than the American press is? Slim to none, I'd say. In other words, if it wound up in an Israeli paper it wound up there for a reason – just as any pro-government article in the New York Times or the Washington Post would. It would, at the very least, constitute a “feeler” or “trial balloon”, designed to get a reaction or to accomplish something diplomatically or in terms of public relations.

So what, then, would be the point of an accusation like this? First we have to consider alternative cases, such as: (1) It's not true, and the accusers know this; (2) It's true, and the accusers know that; or (3) The accusers aren't certain. In the first case, the point would be to, by accusing them of something that is not (yet) the case, warn Obama and his State Department, AKA Hillary's Playhouse, to not even think about negotiating, or making any sort of deal, with Iran. Which is another way of telling Obama & Co. not to wander off the reservation at this critical time (as if there was ever a non-critical time for Israel) – which reflects the chronic paranoia of the Israelis, since when has any American president or his administration ever wandered off the reservation? Never, as far as I know – but it never hurts to yank on the choke chain now and then just to remind everyone who's boss.

I think we can dismiss the second case (It's true, and the accusers know that) simply because we have not spoken a word to Iran since the hostage crisis... and, as far as I know, don't intend to. The hostage-taking was an act even more inexcusable than Cuba going communist – and we know how that served to rigidify our relations with Cuba for all these many years. Besides, what possible utility would secret negotiations with Iran have? They've been trying to provoke a war with us and Israel for years now... they have their reasons, I suppose (or, alternatively, are totally insane)... and what could we possibly tell, or promise, them that would serve to modify their behavior? Furthermore, doing anything behind Israel's back (1) is impossible, owing to the skills of their intelligence service and the fact that they have agents scattered throughout our government; and (2) would violate our repeated “BFF” pledges of eternal alliance, etc. Unconditional commitment to Israel is, possibly, the most profound and deeply-rooted element of our international and diplomatic identity and self-image, and we're simply not going to allow it to be threatened by any sort of momentary expediency, even should one be perceived to exist.

As to the third case (The accusers aren't certain) – once again, there are ample reasons for bringing us back into line now and then, even when we haven't stepped out of line. See, ultimately, the Israelis don't trust us. We may be a good and loyal servant, who never openly rebels, but... who knows what evil lurks in our goyish hearts? Even “trusties” in a prison get locked up at night. And besides, America is full of all sorts of suspicious characters, all of whom are likely to be “anti-Semitic” just below the surface, if not on it. Think about “white supremacists”, Klansmen, American Moslems, Catholics... even some black people (“After all I done for you”... etc.)! And how about those “haters”, the paleocons? And the libertarians, who might be neutral when it comes to race and religion, but who tend to be isolationist when it comes to foreign affairs? Surely we can't have that. So no, the United States can't be trusted – especially when it has a president who might be half Moslem... or something.

But let's not overlook the extent to which the story might make sense. Supposedly, we offered Iran our non-involvement in an attack by Israel in order to keep Iran from attacking our “interests” in the Gulf. Well... what are our interests in the Gulf? Oil, certainly – but mainly strategic interests centered on our alliance with Israel. So we're telling Iran that we won't join Israel in attacking them as long as they don't attack our resources that only exist in order to support Israel? I hope some wise mufti in Iran can make sense of this, 'cause I sure can't. If Iran sees – correctly – our foreign policy and Israel's as one and the same, then it can – also correctly – see Israel's military resources and ours as one and the same. So what sense would it make for them to hold off on retaliating against our “interests” when those interests are also the interests of Israel?  Presumably someone in the Obama administration – yes, even there! -- is realistic enough to realize this.

It is amusing, however, to see Israel cracking the whip at this very delicate time in our political life – i.e. that quadrennial season when we go through the motions of a “democratic process” and pretend that the American citizen actually has a voice in who our next figurehead will be. This is a drama that, for all its absurdity, is held sacred, and any threatened disturbance is greeted with great apprehension. There is always talk of an “October surprise”, for example – a dirty trick of some sort that one party plays on the other in order to insure victory. But what if the October surprise comes from outside our borders – from overseas? And from an “ally” to boot? Now surely that would be a most indelicate and etiquette-defying thing. So the very threat of something like that is enough to get our politicians' attention, regardless of content, truth value, or ultimate consequences.

There is another nuance to this business, however, that it would be wrong to overlook. An Israeli official, in response to the allegations, opined that “There would be no need to make such a promise to the Iranians because they realize the last thing they need is to attack U.S. targets and draw massive U.S. bombing raids.” But do the Iranians realize this? Seems doubtful, otherwise why would they have been provoking us for years, defying us, and practically inviting an attack? We have to remember that Islamists are not afraid of death; they glory in it, in fact. And they are not concerned with civilian casualties except as propaganda and recruiting tools (which means, the more the better). They have already seen the effect of our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan – only a strengthening of resistance and of radical Islam. So why not join the fun? Why not provoke an attack, then once attacked use that to further energize Islamic resistance to Western invasion, occupation, meddling, and economic imperialism? We gave Iraq and Afghanistan all we had in the way of conventional weaponry, and they still fought back; what are we going to do, nuke Tehran? Even that might not work. So no, the reasoning of the Israeli official makes sense if one possesses a “Western” mind set about these things... but to the inscrutable Arab/Islamist mind it's just crazy talk. And it's this lack of comprehension, in fact, that has proven such a barrier to our success (by any normal standard) in that region – not that we were necessarily looking for success, but still...