When is a first strike not a first strike?
When it's Anticipatory Retaliation.

November 30, 2004


Bravo Romeo Delta

In an vain effort to hide from the fearful and impotent wrath that is Anticipatory Retaliation, Marc of Marcland has tried to skitter off to no avail - indeed he has been located in his new digs at Hubs and Spokes. In violation of normal bunker protocol, I'm saving a nuke strike for that bad boy for an upcoming post. Heh..

Elsewise in the Sphere del Blogoria we have the new arrival, American Dogfighter. A fresh face on the blogging scene, with a robust start and a very polite e-mail demeanor, it's worth checking out.

And never fear, actual posting will resume shortly!

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 05:12 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (1)

November 29, 2004

The Edumacation of the Left


I just watched a fascinating account on LinkTV's and Pacifica's leftist news program, Democracy NOW! concerning reports from sources in Central and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. One was from a London Guardian reporter in Kiev named Ian Traynor. (Here's a link to a story he wrote on the topic.) He has been close to the pro-democracy movement there, unlike many of his colleagues sitting at their desks in London, and maintains unequivocally that you can credit the US with launching and funding many of the citizen movements in that part of the world that were able to prevent autocrats from stealing elections. He also says that the movements are not oriented toward simply producing pro-American propaganda that favors a particular candidate, but rather their mission is to produce a level playing field. (For instance, the pro-authoritarian election in Belarus recently was allowed to stand without protest, largely because it was acknowledged that the anti-US candidate did, in fact, win.)

This apparently all began in Belgrade, with formation of a student movement called "Otpor" (means "resistance").

Funded and organised by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organisations, the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box.

Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Belgrade, played a key role. And by last year, as US ambassador in Tbilisi, he repeated the trick in Georgia, coaching Mikhail Saakashvili in how to bring down Eduard Shevardnadze.

Ten months after the success in Belgrade, the US ambassador in Minsk, Michael Kozak, a veteran of similar operations in central America, notably in Nicaragua, organised a near identical campaign to try to defeat the Belarus hardman, Alexander Lukashenko.

That one failed. "There will be no Kostunica in Belarus," the Belarus president declared, referring to the victory in Belgrade.

To their credit Democracy NOW didn't cut Traynor off, or attempt to censor his report. But clearly he was saying things that just didn't fit the propaganda orientation of that show. These US funded groups, with money funneled through organizations like Freedom House, use a variety of tools including satire and humor as well as exit polls, to undermine fear, intertia and disinformation. (Note, the final exit polls in the US agreed with the actual vote count. It was only the preliminaries that were skewed.)

After Ian Traynor's report they interviewed a former Newsweek reporter named Robert Parry, who made a number of startling points about US Democratic Party leadership. Parry wrote a scathing book about the Bush administration, so he's not exactly in their back pocket. But his observations are relevant to what has happened to the leadership of the Democratic Party, and (though he's unlikely to make the point himself) the overall effect of partisan operatives who have no experiential comprehension of the real opposition to liberal democracy. He observes that many of the people working for democracy in these countries of the former Evil Empire are members of the Democratic Party, and furthermore the rank and file of the Party have been mostly very concerned about the spread of democracy in former Eastern Block countries and Soviet Republics. But the leadership of the Party has been rather sanguine about the stolen election in the Ukraine, and were immediately prepared to accept the bogus results once they had been "certified" by the regime.

Now, this is all fascinating to me because I think the anti-Americanism we've been seeing, and what Bill Whittle and others have identified as an "auto-immune disorder" of western society, is founded on a pervasive lack of experience with the anti-democratic and "fear regime" forces in the world. It is based on what I call a "lust for peace" that is simply too impatient to formulate a program for peace that incorporates the notion of political and civil freedom. I know some of the people who have worked in the organizations funneling money to Otpor and similar groups, and though they are Democrats they voted for Bush.

Of course, after these reports were submitted the moderator of the show immediately launched into a long soliloquy about how the US involvement in this arena of fear was "all about the oil." One wonders if she was even listening. But I think there is a growing rift between the leadership of these western groups, and the dawning realization on the part of some of their members that possibly, just possibly, some of the people we're opposed to are, like... almost as bad as George Bush... sorta, kinda.

The US is, at least in the former Soviet Empire, "walking the walk." One could point out that they ought to be doing the same now in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and even Palestine... or the whole of the Middle East for that matter. One could point that out, if one cared... and weren't overly concerned that doing so wouldn't necessarily reflect all that badly on the Bush administration.

It's difficult to tell where this will go, but there's at least a chance that part of the left is "going to school," and might eventually start a sort of counter-movement similar to the anti-soviet left that once emerged as Neoconservatism in the alcoves of the City University of New York. God forbid, huh?

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at 06:15 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (2)
» hubs and spokes Retaliates with: They can be taught?

November 25, 2004

As God As My Witness...

Bravo Romeo Delta

I thought Turkeys could fly...

In the wayback machine we have the famous WKRP in Cinncinatti Thankgiving Turkey Drop, courtesy About.com.

Happy Thanksgiving, All!!

(Simultaneously launched from Anticipatory Retaliation, Demosophia, and The Jawa Special)

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 05:25 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (1)

November 24, 2004

Well, it's almost time for that neocon/fascist holiday again


Where we opress [the] Turkey and celebrate the escape from Europe. Meanwhile the French just aren't eating Mickey Dee's french fries the way they used to. Like that's gonna change our minds about Iraq, right? Or keep Lance from winning another TdF.

It's hell, being American.

Why is it that this year... of all years... the worst Hollywood studio fare that failed miserably and justifiably in the domestic market ("Troy," "King Arthur," "The Terminal") is doing gangbuster business abroad as never before, tripling, according to the WSJ, its US grosses in the very venues where our country is supposedly excoriated. In the immortal words of Sally Fields, they love us, they really love us. Or sort of. -- Roger L. Simon

So, apparently all Mickey Dee's needs to do is create some "special sauce" that makes the stuff repugnant to Americans, and the French will think it's truffles. Any creative sauce ideas?

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at 01:57 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)

November 23, 2004

Something Completely Different


I normally don't post humanitarian pleas, but a friend's bother-in-law recently contracted a catastrophic strain of hepatitis while on assignment in Lebanon and urgently needs some help. He's a journalist for Dow Jones, so is part of the exception to the journalistic profession that's not in service to the Chomsky/Moore paradigm. The fellow's name is David Bird. You may be familiar with his stories about the oil market. If not, you can view some of his articles here.

Now, I'm not actually much of an authority on Hepatitis, but I gather from his wife's letter (below), that he needs a volunteer willing to donate half a liver for a transplant. My understanding is that a partial liver will regenerate to become whole for the donor, but there's only a brief window during which a partial liver will regenerate for David. He needs a transplant ASAP. There's no reward, other than the satisfaction of saving someone's life, although all medical expenses will, of course, be covered.

Here is the letter from his wife providing background, donor specifications (a big fellah with type O blood), an email contact and further information on liver transplants:

The Gift of Life

He is the love of my life, the adoring father to our two young children and a man full of wisdom, laughter and now…tears.

My husband, David Bird, has been suffering from a severe form of Hepatitis since July 2004. He is a journalist who travels internationally. Weeks after a business trip to Beirut, David appeared jaundiced and extremely tired. We met with specialists and he underwent a battery of tests to determine the cause. It remains elusive.

We thought the worst was over when signs of his recovery appeared in late September. The jaundiced subsided, he wasn’t as tired anymore, he began to resume the Sunday afternoon hikes in the woods with our 6 year-old son, Alexander. He was feeling better.
As we prepared for our children’s most favorite holiday, Halloween, he delighted in the beautiful princess costume our 3 year-old daughter, Natasha would prance around in. I had begun to put him to work around the house again…he was looking forward to returning to work.

Suddenly, we were blindsided. One week before Halloween, David started having a relapse. He became jaundiced again and very tired. His liver functions started to worsen and he ended up in the hospital.
A liver biopsy and MRI have revealed that his liver is rapidly deteriorating. We have now been told that he needs a liver transplant to save his life. We are devastated.

You can help us. David needs a liver. He is currently a candidate to receive half of a liver from a compatible living donor. That means the donor gives up half of a healthy liver and David gets the other half. The liver is an incredible organ that can regenerate itself so that each person’s liver would grow to the optimum size. This is the quickest way to save David’s life. However, the window of opportunity is limited. As David gets sicker, and his liver deteriorates further, he will no longer be able to accept a liver from a living donor. He will then need a whole liver which can only come from a deceased donor. He will be placed on a list with thousands of other people waiting for a healthy donated liver.

David is 46 years young. Our children are 6 and 3. They need him.

If you or anyone you know meet the following criteria please consider the gift of life.

Blood Type O

Under 55 years old

Approximately 6”1 and 195 lbs.

Good Health

We realize this is a lot to ask of someone and please know it is illegal for us to compensate the donor but all donor medical expenses are covered by our insurance.
More information about the procedure and the NYU Transplant Center can be found at NYU Transplant Center

If you think you can help, please contact us at djdavidbird-at-yahoo-dot-com.
We thank you for all your prayers and best wishes.

Nancy Bird

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at 05:47 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (1)

November 20, 2004

Lust for Peace


I watch LinkTV via satellite every once in awhile, and it's just brimming with these authentic looking and rather exotic documentaries. I saw one today that stars a double amputee in Kampuchea, who invented some special wheelchair that he teaches people to use. Almost as an afterthought to this humanitarian presentation the filmmakers present the US bombing in the '70s and the land-mining of Cambodia that resulted in most of the amputees. And after mentioning that fact they more or less state flatly that the unconscionable bombing and mining left a disorder that "led to" the rise of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. So if I were watching this program and wasn't aware of the details, and perhaps had an innate revulsion for war, I'd just assume that this was all presented honestly. The unavoidable inference is that the US = Khmer Rouge = genocide.

But what has always amazed me is that otherwise intelligent people who swallow this perspective also believe that they're "independent" in spirit, when they do so. It never occurs to them that they're being spoon fed a point of view, and that there are flaws in the tapestry that really ought to be questioned by an intelligent and independent spirit. Like, yeah there are power vacuums created by lots of circmustances that are negative, indifferent, or even positive... but they aren't always filled by genocidal murderers. Like the fact that if the families of the amputees are economically devastated, left to prostitution and begging, might not the ideology and legacy of socialism be partly to blame for the dearth of opportunities? Like the fact that if the aftermath of the bombing left a power vacuum in Cambodia, what about the overnight exit of American forces from Indochina at the behest of the "peace movement?" And this raises the question that if we suddenly pulled out of Iraq at the urging of the current peace movement (the more war, but later movement) would the role of that pullout in the resulting internecine turmoil be forgotten, and the consequences simply ascribed to US aggression again? You bet it would. The 'peace movement" stands around with wide eyes and hands displayed, palms forward, saying "We din't do nuthin'," and we wonder, are they just stupid? Or is something else going on.

I really wouldn't mind supporting an exotic and humanitarian mission if it weren't infused with the sort of mind poison these folks are sewing like seeds of change.

Lloyd Cohen, a law professor at George Mason University, wrote a paper recently about the "Palestinian Problem" that has a novel thesis. He says that the problem is really the consequence of Israeli lust. He's basically building a case that for cultural and circumstantial reasons Israelis have been swept up by the dream that they could trade land for peace, without noticing that the Arab populations and leadership in the region aren't motivated by a desire for peace, but by a desire for revenge. The "lust for peace" has distorted Israeli thinking and policy and led to the development of a cancer. So, I'm thinking that if this thesis applies to Israel, perhaps it has broader implications?

A theme of a book I feel is one of the seminal works of the young 21st Century, Paul Berman's Terror and Liberalism, is that the peace movements of the last 150 years have been animated by "wishful thinking," which helps to explain their often self-destructive behavior. But my friend's thesis takes a step beyond that, to say that it's not merely a wish for, but a lust for peace that's the root of this evil. It makes sense because the tendency of lust to cloud the mind and induce a kind of tunnel vision, obscures causal chains that aren't part of the unnaturally narrowed focus of extreme desire. The concept explains not only the behavior of a few aging bell-bottom-wearing nostalgic ex-hippies or their modern deconstructionist emulators, but also the single-minded obsession of a Paul Krugman, or the lapse in professional judgment of a Dan Rather. And it's also something that could well have animated a Kerry administration had he won, in spite of what he claimed about his resolve to throttle the terrorists with his own bare hands.

I think it's time we begin to look beyond mere ideology, and to consider the role that lust may be playing at the heart of liberalism.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at 03:24 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (3)
» Neutiquam erro... Retaliates with: I find this rather amazing
» American Digest Retaliates with: The Legacy of the Long Peace

Kerry Susses His Problem


According to John Kerry his problem in the 2004 election was a combination of bad media coverage from conservative sources, and the Bin Laden tape that "scared Americans," before he had a chance to unscare them. So, I guess he missed the whole 9/11 "let's roll" message, huh? Here we are sitting calmly and passively in our seats waiting for the "authorities" to work their protective magic, and the terrorists got us flustered. Damn the luck!

He has a point about the media too. I mean, if liberal media had a total monopoly it would've been like a crew race where only one team gets a boat, and he could probably have managed to win a race like that. I wonder if his secret plan for Iraq and Al Qaeda employed a similar strategy? Come to think of it, isn't he essentially saying that Al Qaeda beat him?

Yes John, there may indeed be something right there under your finger.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at 05:45 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (1)

November 19, 2004



Well, I realize that the Democrats' recent reflections concerning secession are rather whimsical (as is Ryan Sager's contention that it's a step in the right direction). But lest anyone take this proposal remotely seriously I'd like to point out that had the Democrats won a previous election many consider directly analogous to 2004, the election of 1864, the country probably would have split (or rather remained split). The South would have indulged slavery for a few decades longer, and might even have entered WWI on the side of Germany. It's also the case that by 1896 the same sophisticate vs. rube geographic political divide existed in roughly the same pattern as the 2004 red/blue divide, except that it was the Republicans who were the sophisticates and the Democrats who appealed to populism and traditional "aw shucks" values. There have always been times when the sosphisticated observations of the blue people have restrained the excess naivete of the red people, just as there are times when the good sense of the red people have kept the blue people from servile liquifaction in their excessive esteem for things Continental. But realistically, although as a culture we owe a great deal to Bodine and Montesque, we owe hardly a thing to Rousseau.

I'd also like to note that the graphic of the red/blue map is deceptive. Not only are there a lot of red people in the blue areas, and visa versa, but there is a deep and growing consensus in the country that is obscured by this recent electoral split. My impression is that the 2004 election wouldn't have even been close but for two things: the blatantly partisan machinations of the mainstream media to steer public opinion, and the fact that no WMD stockpiles were found in Iraq (which, to many, is the only possible justification for war). No one seems to point out the red/blue breakdown during the Reagan/Mondale election, because there was only one blue state. And Minnesota would be hard pressed to come up with a foreign policy of its own.

Daniel Elazar created a regional characterization of political culture in the US that probably has a great deal more staying power than the electoral breakdown in any given year, and in that typology the upper Midwest has a great deal more in common with Oregon, Washington, Main and Vermont than with the individualistic culture of the lower Midwest, or the traditionalist South. But that, again, obscures what most recent polling identifies as a growing consensus in the country around three *basic* values: equality of opportunity, individual responsibility and anti-statism, and religious sectarianism (or the open competition between religious groups for converts). It is those three values that define both the red and the blue areas of the country, though they may be interpreted somewhat idiosyncratically. What's more, there has been little change in how Americans view these values since we first began modern polling in the 1930s. And though the values are warped and distorted by "anti-American American Left," like Michael Moore, even those folks have a great deal less in common with France than they realize. Moore travels to France, but he doesn't even consider living there. Over the broad course of history it is these three basic core values that keep the nation, and its people, together through political upheavals that tend to toss the political parties right across the whole spectrum of allegiances and issues the way houses are tossed around by cyclonic storms.

As for the Urban Archipelago thesis, any typology that equates Denver with San Francisco is suspect. In fact, I think the only other area of the country that's similar to San Francisco in terms of political culture are a few precincts in southern Oregon, within the Ashland city limits (where they hold the Shakespeare Festival)... which are surrounded by a sea of red that includes Medford and Grants Pass. There are a lot more Oaklands than San Franciscos in the US.

The Democratic Party is at a tipping point right now, and probably can't afford to take a single further step in the direction of San Francisco's idiosyncratic political culture if it wants to ever win another national election.

I tend to think Sully has gone a bit nuts. He needs to talk to a few of the gays I know living in southern Oregon, who haven't the slightest interest in what they refer to with some amusement as "gay marriage." For them, as for their straight neighbors, the issue is US security and foreign policy. And if you ask them why they left the insufferable intolerance and bigotry of the San Francisco "community" you'll get an earful.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at 06:13 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)

More on Fallujahgate and jus in bello


Ace has an excellent essay on the limits of moral action in war. Without even trying, Ace has put forth one of the deepest insights into why the MSM and left are so up in arms over one incident in a Fallujah mosque. Here's the money quote:

We have a huge disagreement in this country about what is and what is not acceptable in this war. Part of this is all just a proxy fight for the leftists' insistence that war itself is unacceptable under any circumstances; having lost that debate decisively, they attempt to engage in guerilla-rhetorical tactics, simply sniping at each and every event that unfolds, in hopes that the accumulation of the little wounds they inflict will ultimately win the war they really care about-- the war on war itself. [Go read the rest!! ]
Jus ad bellum is just war theory that explores when it is moral for to begin or engage in a war. For instance, juss ad bellum theorists generally agree that it's not ok to go to war with another country just because you want its oil. On the other hand it is generally agreed in classic just war theory that its ok to go to war with a neighboring country if the government there harbors outlaws (see Grotius).

Jus in bello explores what is acceptable behavior in a war. For instance, jus in bello theorists generally agree that shooting a woman in the back of the head is not moral action. On the other hand its generally agreed that killing a guy with an RPG pointed at your convoy is ok.

What the modern left has been arguing since the end of WWI is that no war is justified. Thus the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 renounced forever the use of war as an instrument of national policy and the League of Nations was dreamt up as a way for nations to settle their differences peacefully. The UN would later replace the failed League of Nations as a way to end war, but with the proviso that war would be just only when the collective will of the great powers agreed.

WWI and WWII affected the mindset of Europeans in a much different way than it affected Americans. To modern Europeans, Hitler was bad because he had started the war. The war was only just because jus ad bellum had been violated. WWII then was just like any other defensive war, the only type of war the Europeans would ever see as just.

Americans may have had the same initial reaction to why the war was justified, but in hindsight we view Hitler's unjustness very differently. Sure Hitler's aggression made the war just, but there was something different about WWII. It was more just. Why was it more just? It is to jus in bello that we, unconsciencly I admit, rationalize WWII's war. WWII was the good war because of what Nazism did in the war. WWII was the good war not because Hitler or Japan started it. WWII was the good war because of what the Nazis and the Japanese did in the war. It was just because of what the Japanese did in Nanking. It was just because of what the Nazis did in the holocaust.

The average American leftist has more in common with a German because he believes the same thing. War is never justified accept in literal self defense. WWII was just only because it ended war in Europe. With war now over as a fact of life in Europe, the leftists believe that the conditions under which war is justified are so rare that no war could ever really meet their standard for jus ad bellum. All war is now immoral.

The average American, on the other hand is much more willing to accept war's justice if it can end the abuses of a foreign regime. The average American sees the liberating power of war. The average American believes that WWII was good because it liberated Europe from Nazism. The average American believes that WWII was good because it liberated Japan from fascist Imperialism. As long as fascism and its fellowtravellers are alive and well in the world, war will be justified. The average American rejects the notion that all war is immoral. War is moral when it liberates.

This is the basic philosophical difference between America and Europe, and between left and right, over issues of war and peace. The left could care less about the incident in Fallujah. What they care about is ending the war. The incident was just another piece of propaganda for them to use. The war, by definition, was unjust.

Just a few thoughts spawned by Ace. That's all.

(Cross posted at My Pet Jawa and Demosophia)

Launched by Rusty at 03:29 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (1)
» The Jawa Report Retaliates with: More on Fallujahgate and jus in bello

November 16, 2004

Fallujah Film

Bravo Romeo Delta

Some footage from fighting in Fallujah.

(Simultaneously launched by BRD from Demosophia, Anticipatory Retaliation, and The Jawa Post)

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 12:15 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)
» Diggers Realm Retaliates with: Amazing Fallujah Combat Video

November 15, 2004

Not Dead, Just Not Blogging

Bravo Romeo Delta

Well, folks, it’s been a while since we’ve had strong posting at Anticipatory Retaliation. A goodly portion of this is because I’ve just about hit my saturation point for yammering about politics, with the election and whatnot. The other part is because I’ve just been swamped in a lot of my meatspace activities, to the extent that blogging started beginning to look like a thankless task, rather than a recreation or vocation.

So, I might be posting lightly for a tiny bit, but should return with a slightly less all-politics, all-the-time format, with a bit more coverage on things that go bang and stuff.

See you later, Space Cowboy...

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 07:27 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (1)

November 13, 2004

News Flash

Bravo Romeo Delta

Dick Cheney admitted to hospital (probably George Washington University Hospital), based on complaints about shortness of breath.

(Simuntaneously launched from Demosophia, Report du Jawa, & Anticipatory Retaliation)

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at 06:39 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)

November 10, 2004

Same As It Ever Was


Hostage Slaughterhouses, Death Camps, Gulags

Anyone recognize The Beast?

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at 08:57 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (1)
» American Digest Retaliates with: And all the news just repeats itself...

For Some, Not So Good


The following post by a friend from the UK helped me cope with the fact that there are people at the BBC who've apparently taken the liberty of producing a three part series promoting the idea that Totalitarianism 3.x is just (to use a phrase from Ebeneezer Scrooge): "a piece of over-ripe potato." My friend's post proves that some Englishmen haven't bothered to master the dexterity that must be required to poke their heads up their @$$es without wrinkling their ears:

What a terrible week it's been... if you're a Guardianista that is.

Ist off, that hick Texan warmaniac gets re-elected with an increased vote, but that was all the fault of redneck creationist gun oilers, who wouldn't listen to the voice of reason as set out in the letters to the voters of Clark County, endorsed by Lady Antonia Fraser & other world renowned politically correct philosophers.

Then the Great Light of Palestine is about to go out. We all wept in solidarity with the BBC correspondent, who also wept, when the hero's hearse lifted off into the skies. Too bad he didn't arrange for a succession; but we can't have him compared to the Fascist General Franco who did, & anyway we need continued chaos there in order to maintain our righteous indignation against the doings of the Zionist oppressors.

On the Home Front, the far-seeing deputy Prime Minister had his attempt to modernise the Constitutional Arrangements in line with EU directives, & balkanise England, rejected 4:1 at the ballot box by the sort of retard Little Englanders whose opinions one curls one's lip at, at smart media cocktail parties.

Don't even mention the 71% of the population who in a recent poll want an Oklahoma style 'Make my Day' law in the UK.

Looking on the bright side though, the fox hunting season has started again, so there should be some good opportunities for those amongst us of the direct action persuasion, to defend the right of nasty, smelly, vermin to eat the throats out of new born lambs.

Just be a bit more careful than you used to be; there are rumours that the toffs have manipulated the dregs of the rural proleteriat, into considering taking the sort of measures against the 'sabs', last seen when the Russian peasantry chopped up the remains of the Grand Armee in 1812.

-- Pat Dorrity

OK, so I don't actually know what a "toff" or a "sab" is. I could guess, but I'd probably be way off.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at 06:36 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)

Can't Win Fer Losin'


I'm just guessing, but I figure Ken Layne's Jesusland essay is where a lot of folks who've all but disappeared around the bend are getting their vitriolic edge concerning the sinister impending Christian theocracy. But if you're just tired of all this cr@p, and want a good chuckle, check out the Google ads on the lower left of the page. (Hat tip: Gerard)

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at 05:56 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (1)

November 09, 2004

Election Vindicates Jacksonian Views?

Bravo Romeo Delta

Now the election is over and the fallout is in the process of settling down, a retrospective.

First, I have made only one public post, and that was on September 16th. In this post, I made two predictions, one of which turned out to be true:

"I officially announce the upcoming Presidential Election to be over."

The other prediction was that it would be a 10 point Bush win was just plain stupid. A milder prediction I've been making in other circles is that the election wouldn't be that close - the polls would make fools of us all. As it turns out, it was closer than I expected, but at the end of the day, the (exit) polls did make fools of us all. Doc Jawa has a very interesting analysis of that whole fracas.

But all that said, let's dig into some of the more interesting bits of this car wreck we call democracy.

First off, you've probably all heard about the red/blue state impending cultural civil war. Well, this silly myth is put paid to effectively with the purple state map. However, for those of you who are a bit more of either a political junkie stripe, or have a large dose of morbid curiosity, here are a few highly recommend sites with some excellent maps.

First is by the owner of the Geomblog, who does, as it happens computational geometry. As it happens, long, long ago, when I was still on blogspot, Suresh linked me, and I promptly lost the e-mail and forgot to put him down as a reciprocal link. So, at any rate, I hope to have redressed that mistake by adding him to my roll. Among other things, I would recommend you check out the site, because it has some really cool election data links you may want to play with.

Another really good mapping page is this one: which tackles some of the same issues, but using a somewhat different approach.

As an aside, here's an animated GIF with 2004/2000 vote comparisons from Blog Junky. (Courtesy comments on Michael Totten's site)

The other Grand Prize of election-map-blogging goes to Obsidian Order for their analysis of vote shifts from 2000 and 2004 as well as another comparison-by-density map. The page also contains a great round up of other links worth noting. (Courtesy comments on Michael Totten's site)

One of the things that is quite interesting is that if you look at the vote shift between 2000 and 2004, you'll see a shift from the north and west to the south, which I think tracks with the Jacksonian tendencies of the Scotch-Irish. The other bit that's fascinating is comparing that map to this breakdown of the country into 10 political regions. According to this scheme (see also here and here, Bush picked up a lot in Appalachia, the Southern Lowlands, and Southern Comfort - although the maps both show a distinct split in the Sagebrush and Farmbelt regions between north and south. But at any rate, there seems to be more than a passing similarity between this map of people who claim Scotch-Irish heritage (compare with the maps of Irish -by percent; Scottish - by percent; Welsh - by percent; and English - by percent) and this map showing percentage shift towards or away from Bush from 2000 to 2004. At least at first glance, it would seem that one might be able to link the presence of Scotch-Irish and attendant Jacksonian (and to a lesser extent English) cultural values with predisposition towards aggressive prosecution of the War on Terror).

Ok, all that out of the way, let's take another look at some of the other interesting movements about. First off, we have Roger El Simon's preliminary data on voting among traditionally very pro-Democratic voters. However, to be fair, given recent exit polling problems, take this with a grain of salt.

Elsewhere around the blogosphere, Andrew Sullivan makes a truly fascinating observation (if you click on the link, go to the "Moral Values" item. Key bit:

"In 1996, [the portion of voters voting on moral values] was 49 percent. In 2000, it was 49 percent. So the domestic moral focus halved in 2004. Obviously, the war took precedence, especially if you combine the categories of the Iraq war and the war on terrorism more generally."

This is interesting in light of the lack of appreciable shift in voting amongst gay voters - Bush went from 25% of the gay vote in 2000 to 23%. Well, it's either that, or that the gay population assumes, axiomatically, that the Republicans are so hostile to their interests that he can't do any worse than he's already doing.

Well, that's about all the election stuff I can stomach right now, so enjoy folks!

(Simultaneously launched by Bravo Romeo Delta from Anticipatory Retaliation, Demosophia, and The Jawa Times)

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The Wand'ring Moon


You know, I was mentally and emotionally prepared to lose this election, because in spite of the fact that I don't like Kerry very much I don't actually believe he's the incarnation of evil. Most of the people in the pro-war camp discussed this quite a bit, and although not everyone went along most of us did. Jeff Jarvis, at BuzzMachine, is probably a crossover figure, who happened to have voted for Kerry. There were even a few in the pro-war camp who did so as well. There really is a stigma that attaches to sore losers and that works against them in subsequent elections, and at the extreme threatens the peaceful transition of power at the heart of democracy. Indulging outrageous conspiracy theories is part of being a sore loser, that seductively leads to worse. There's a name for it: Political Paranoia. (I highly recommend this scholarly book, though the persons who probably most need to read it, never will.)

I'm not sure what one does about it, but this article from the NYT and a similar one in the Guardian a short time ago, cross the line. They both obliquely suggest correcting the "error" of the voters by assassination. Political paranoia, it seems, has moved into the mainstream, probably through vectors like Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Ted Rall and Daily Kos. I don't recall anyone in the mainstream media in 1969 speculating that it might be a good idea to shoot LBJ, though there was probably a lot of alternative press that did so. This present phenomenon is new in the way it coaxes, cajoles, and commands the sentiments and hopes of otherwise well-meaning people the way the moon commands the tides. And though it obviously signals an internal threat (that doesn't seem to alarm the "powers that be" very much) that's not the half of it. Crossing this line is also probably a signal that a threat from outside has actually achieved, for the first time, the distinction of at least having the potential to actually inflict a mortal wound on western civilization. And the mere fact that such a thing is conceivable brings out the morbid potential that lives in the shadowy hearts and minds of the super-empowered home-neighborhood fringe. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think we ever saw anything like this in the 1960s.

Now I've expressed the possibility, to a few friends, that some veterans might have been sufficiently angry at John Kerry that they'd have contemplated assassination, but I didn't think the mainstream conservative media would solicit such a thing. And if it had I think it would be appropriate to use the word "sedition." Perhaps what we're seeing is simply the growing pains of a culture that is transforming from Liberalism 2.x to Liberalism 3.x, compelled to mature by the next generation of Totalitarianism. But something is happening, and I don't think we've seen its like before.

To behold the wand'ring moon, Riding near her highest noon, Like one that had been led astray Through heaven's wide pathless way - John Milton Il Prensroso

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

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The New York Slimes


Back in 1996 I got a phone solicitation from the New York Times and on the spur of the moment decided it'd be a good idea to subscribe.  After about three weeks I noticed that I hadn't seen a paper, and wandered down to the front desk to see if someone might be leaving it in my box.  At the time I lived in a high rise just inside the beltway.  Well, it turned out that rather than deliver the paper to me, or even leave it for me at the desk, the Times delivery service was just driving up to the front of the building and dumping papers intended for the residents unceremoniously onto the sidewalk.

So I called and cancelled the subscription.  Nonetheless, for the next six months I got nasty letters from the circulation department demanding that I pay my bill, until a threatened to take my complaint to a White House intern I happened to know.  (I don't know what the heck he could have done, but it sounded impressive.)

At that point I stopped getting bills.

So after that harrowing experience I wasn't shocked when the Howell Raines controversy broke.  And I'd almost forgotten about the way they pandered to the UN when they distorted the Al Qaqaa non-incident into... something.  But now they're  whining for an assassin's bullet to undo the election and I've about had enough.  It may be time someone started using the "s-word."

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

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American Exceptionalism


Victor Davis Hanson's latest:

The Democrats now lament that America would prefer to be "wrong" with George Bush than "right" with them. They will no doubt adduce a number of other paradoxes, excuses, and sorrows. But the fact is that the Left was united, well-funded, and ran the most vitriolic campaign in the Democratic party's history — and still lost, taking all branches of power with it. The New York Times and the major networks have undone their legacy of a half-century, and in the desire for cheap partisan advantage have ruined the reputations of anchormen, the very notion of fair front-page reporting, and, indeed, the useful concept itself of an exit poll. 60 Minutes, Nightline, ABC News — these are now seen by millions as mere highbrow versions of Fahrenheit 9/11.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

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November 07, 2004

This Is What Being A Patriot Means

Bravo Romeo Delta

You may have seen the movie Patton, in which George C. Scott gives a rousing speech. This movie moment is based off of a speech given to the Third Army just before the invasion of Normandy. It is a stirring speech – the likes of which may have disappeared, unfortunately, from the American political scene. Below is an excerpt from that speech which bears consideration in this post election period:

”Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win - all the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost, nor ever will lose, a war. The very thought of losing is hateful to an American.”

It’s not entirely surprising that Bush supporters are a bit giddy after the election, while those who supported Kerry are a bit beside themselves. That’s natural in any election, but as Patton knew, Americans fight and fight hard when something serious is on the line, and unquestionably, regardless of your political persuasion, this election has been serious business indeed.

But this first pass misses some important points – General Patton’s grandfather fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War – hardly a shining example of victory. But if Americans hate losing, and hate losing wars, why is General Robert E. Lee so widely respected? He lost. Moreover, he lost a war that ravaged the south. But he is still one of the most respected and renowned general in the annals of American history – despite the fact that he was a rebel and lost his war. Americans traditionally don’t have a romantic soft-spot for losers, so why is General Lee praised?

Well, I don’t have all the answers, but perhaps a few clues can be found not in how he fought, but how he lost. Look first to his General Order No. 9, in which he instructs his army that the jig is up, the war is over, and they have lost:

” After four years of arduous service, marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.

I need not tell the brave survivors of so many hard fought battles who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to this result from no distrust of them, But feeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that would have attended the continuance of the contest, I determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen.

By the terms of the agreement, Officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you His blessing and protection.

With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration of myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell.”

Add to this, that the South was in very real danger of erupting into guerilla warfare, following the collapse of the CSA – and yet they did not. Johnny Reb did not stay his hand out of a lack of passion or conviction – certainly one only need review a few of the battles of the Civil War to put paid to that nonsense. But in addition to surrendering with dignity and grace, General Lee instructed his soldiers to go home and “be good Americans.” Not Union or Confederate Americans – but just plain, old, regular Americans.

This brings us to the so-called looming cultural civil war in this country and its most recent manifestation, the 2004 Presidential election and its aftermath. To wit, let me quote a few excerpts from Senator Kerry’s concession speech:

“But in an American election, there are no losers, because whether or not our candidates are successful, the next morning we all wake up as Americans. And that -- that is the greatest privilege and the most remarkable good fortune that can come to us on earth.

With that gift also comes obligation. We are required now to work together for the good of our country. In the days ahead, we must find common cause. We must join in common effort without remorse or recrimination, without anger or rancor. America is in need of unity and longing for a larger measure of compassion.

I hope President Bush will advance those values in the coming years. I pledge to do my part to try to bridge the partisan divide. I know this is a difficult time for my supporters, but I ask them, all of you, to join me in doing that.”

Senator Kerry may have missed his chance at a Sistah Souljah moment with Fahrenheit 9/11, but he is a statesman and a gentleman and he didn’t pass up his Robert E. Lee moment. As General Lee noted, regardless of whether or not our campaign or candidate won, we still are Americans on November 3rd, and that this blessing comes with it, an obligation to work together. So with this, I have two messages, one to those whose candidate won, and those whose candidate lost.

To those whose candidate won, I say congratulations, but remember that we won World War II, but some of our finest moments came with the Marshall Plan. Now is the time to reach out. While yes, the Republican party controls the Hill and the White House, this is a purple country. 51% percent of the popular vote is an accomplishment to be proud of – but it ain’t anywhere near everybody. Just remember that if you are talking to a married couple, convincing one spouse is a long, long way from convincing the couple. But there is a way to make this whole shindig work. The Democratic Party can give the Republican Party one thing above all else – a real, true, larger-than-life mandate, in which we have the cooperation of 80% of the Republic – not just 51%. And in order to do this, we need to stifle any temptation towards triumphalism and work together as one people, united.

And to those whose candidate lost, I extend my hand in sympathy. It’s been a long and hard election, and losing always hurts. I understand the temptation towards bitterness. But that’s not going to help you, me, or anyone in the nation. The Republican Party has substantial margins on the Hill, as well as a President who isn’t constrained by the politics associated with re-election. They can do any damn thing they want, with or without you. Furthermore, democracy demands participation, not obstructionism. So you have a choice – pout and let the other guys rule the day, or reach out and draw the other guys to the middle.

So, along these lines, I must tip my hat to the gentlemen of The Rant blog. Rick DeMint and Dietz Smith have extended their hand in the best and noblest tradition of cooperation that has made this country the closest thing we have to a shining city on the hill. This initiative, which I think of as the Deitz/DeMint Dialog on Democracy (4D), is an excellent starting point. You are all probably familiar with the practice of fisking. Fisking, while emotionally satisfying, is short on actual nutritional value. What is proposed here is a more mature and productive version of the same. Take an article on their blog, my blog, or any participating blog and tear it apart and disassemble it down to the last bit of punctuation (and do so in a reasonable and mature manner) and then provide your counterproposal. Deitz probably puts it best here:

”Ok, so here’ an offer to kick this off, take any one of my posts you disagree with from over the last several years, lord knows there’s enough of them to choose from. Pick it apart, shred it to pieces, but don’t just leave it at that, offer an alternative view. Don’t just tell me why I’m wrong, show me why you’re right. Then we can take this back and forth in the hopes of eventually convincing each other. This is not about winner-take-all. I want to do this with the goal of finding the middle ground.”

So with this post, I wish to offer my readers a similar pledge to help take this country forward and expend our energies on making it the best country it can be – rather than spending our thoughts and time on tearing each other apart. I know a lot of feelings have been hurt and egos damaged, but it's time to suck it up and act like Americans.

UPDATE: Rick DeMint has added this in the comments of other posts, and it bears inclusion here, as well:

There is also a good deal of aftermath history missing here. The newly minted republicans wanted to exact revenge, they felt their victory on the battle field gave them the god given right to come down head on the South. Lincoln though otherwise and outlined a reconstruction plan that was several degrees less punitive to the South then congressional republicans wanted. Johnson followed Lincoln’s plan and was impeached for it by the congressional republicans and avoided being ousted by one vote. So in the end the benevolent plan was put into place and this may have contributed to the healing as much as anything done by Lee. At the end of the day it took both the leadership of Lee and the wisdom of Lincoln\Johnson to make the peace a truly lasting one.

Do the Republicans have a Lee and do the Democrats have a Lincoln? (yes I realize that the parties are turned around but things change and neither parties are what they were 145 years ago).

(Simultaneously launched from Demosophia and Anticipatory Retaliation)

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» the RANT: Retaliates with: Bravo Romeo Delta Reaches Out
» CaptainNormal.org Retaliates with: Gimme an "F!"
» Demosophia Retaliates with: This Is What Being A Patriot Means

November 06, 2004

Kenny Revealed


Kenny Revealed Kenny Floating

He'll be baaack.

Launched by Demosophist at 06:40 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)

November 05, 2004

Islamists Declared War on the US 25 Years Ago Today


Today is the 25th anniversary of the day the jihadis declared war on America. On Nov. 4, 1979 Islamist students in Tehran overan the U.S. embassy and took 66 Americans hostage. The hostages were held for 444 days. They were released on Jan. 20, 1981--the day Ronald Reagan was sworn into office.

But the hostages were not released simply because the Iranians feared Reagan's wrath. Jimmy Carter may be responsible for our present woes. You see, Carter negotiated a deal with the terrorists. The deal was that the US would unfreeze $8 billion dollars in Iranian assets in return for the hostages. The jihadis learned a vluable lesson: America will give in to their demands when American lives are on the line.

The Iranian revolution was an Islamist revolution. It took secular and forward looking Persia down the path to the Middle Ages of barbaric Islamic law. While the Shia Islam of Iran may seem more moderate than Wahhabism to many in the West, the Islamic law of the Islamic Republic is that which routinely sentences people to death for blasphemy, adultery, or other religious crimes.

The worst part of the Iranian revolution was that it exported the notion of the Islamic revolutionary state. From Marxism it imported the notion that society could be completely revamped--that a sort of utopia could be found in Islamic law. And like Marxism, it took on a missionary zeal to export the Islamist ideal to the rest of the Muslim world.

Through funding and sponsorship of Hamas, Iran has destabilized an already volitile region. Through funding and sponsorship of Hizballah, Iran brought down an entire nation and thrust Lebanon into a bloody civil war. Iran funded those that murdered hundreds of American troops in the 1983 suicide bombing in Beirut. Iran continues to fund organizations that murder Jews wherever they may be found, revolutionary movements in North Africa, and is bent on turning any future Palestinian state into an Islamic Republic modeled after their own barbaric country.

Iran was a peaceful, forward looking nation until the Revolutionary zeal of the Islamist ideology gripped it. Like the French Revolutionaries before them, the Iranian jihadis were not content to murder their own intellectuals, businessmen, and non-orthodox religionists--they had a higher calling to spread the utopian Islamic state abroad. Napolean found that the English would not tolerate his Imperialistic goal of spreading the French Revolution, and so Europe was plunged into a war that would cost the lives of millions. The English people, though, were saved the misery of the Napoleonic wars by virtue of the English Channel. Enlish soldiers would bring the fight to the French Revolutionary Army and not wait for Napolean to bring the war to Brittain.

Like the English before us, America found itself in the position of standing between the Iranian revolutionaries and their vision of the global caliphate. The US became the 'Great Satan', the obstacle, the one nation with the power to stall the inevitable coming of Sharia law to all Muslim nations (and eventually beyond). So, the jihadis declared war on that day. Their war aims were simply stated and straightforward--weaken American resolve so that jihad could spread unchecked throughout the Islamic world from Morocco to Indonesia. Unlike the English before us, America retreated, only fighting the jihadis through our proxies and never fully aware of the dangers of this cancerous ideology. We had bigger fish to fry. The Cold War seemed much more imminent and the stakes certainly were much higher. We slept.

September 11th may have awakened us to the fact that we were at war, but that war had been declared long ago. It was declared 25 years ago today by the extremists in Iran. Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is seeking nuclear technology--technology that could lead to the development of nuclear weapons--and the Europeans have taken the Carter route in dealing with the mullahs. For each concession given to them by the Europeans, the jihadis in Iran see Western weakness. They saw this weakness in the US as we gave them cash in exchange for the hostages. They saw this weakness as Reagan retreated from Lebanon. We can bear to show them weakness no more.

The time has come to realize when and who first began this Third World War of Islamists bent on taking one-third of the world back to the darkest days of the Middle Ages versus those that would see freedom and liberty become the inheritance of all mankind. That war was started 25 years ago today, and it was the Iranian revolutionaries that fired the first shot.

Earlier today, a friend of mine said: "I'm incensed that I can't find a single word in any newspaper about today being the 25 year anniversary of an unambiguous but unrecognized declaration of war against America." I'm doing my part. Please help spread the word.

(Cross-posted at Jawaland and Demosophia)

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» TechnoChitlins Retaliates with: When the Mullahs Declared War

November 04, 2004

The Real Losers


Kerry may have lost the election, but there was really a much bigger loser. Mainstream media, which is to say primarily CBS, NY Times and LA Times really staked their credibility on a Kerry win. They threw caution to the wind, and stoked a partisan fire under the cover of the "objective" media, and had their cover blown for all to see. People will forget about the damaging claims that Kerry made, but they won't forget about Rathergate and a host of other betrayals of trust. More importantly, mainstream media knows it's under attack now, and will fight back to keep its privileged position with all the ferocity of the ancien regime that it is.

And if you want an emblem of how low this media monstrosity has sunk you need look no further than the former "most trusted man in America," Walter Cronkite. He who presented the victory of the US in the Tet Offensive as a defeat, and is almost single-handedly responsible for the loss of the Vietnam War, said on CNN's Larry King Show that it was quite reasonble to conclude that the Bush administration had ordered up the Bin Laden tape in order to energize its base.

The perverse old fool.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

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» Neutiquam erro... Retaliates with: Media accountability, anyone?

November 03, 2004

The Concession


OK, I concede that my prediction of a Bush win was wrong. I'll need some good recipies for crow, but I'm delighted to eat it.

Now, regarding that other concession:

By my calculations if there are as many as 300,000 provisional and absentee ballots outstanding in Ohio Kerry would have to get at least 73% to win. If there are fewer, the necessary percentage goes up. Absentees tend to break Republican, if anything, and the provisionals are probably last minute registrants whose names didn't make it onto the rolls. Ohio has had provisional balloting for over a decade, so there's a history. But typically they're not counted, so we don't really know how they'd break. Except that the late registrants who did make it onto the rolls were about 50% Republican. (Lots of the new registrants signed up in order to vote for the Marriage initiative, and for Bush, apparently.)

With that, and the fact that Bush won the national popular vote by 4 million, I think Kerry will issue some sort of provisional concession later today. If he doesn't, he'll be seen as a sore loser. He may, however, after acknowledging how unlikely it is that the uncounted ballots would make a difference, insist that they be counted. Doing that would keep him true to his campaign promise.

As an interesting side note yesterday around the dinner hour Canadian (CBC) News stuck their neck out and projected that the marriage initiative in all but one of the states where it was on the ballot would be defeated. The exception, they contended, was Oregon. At this point the Marriage initiative passed in all states by wide margins. CBC biased?

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

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November 02, 2004

My Prediction


Alas, I think George W. Bush is going to lose. My primary reasoning is that his campaigning abilities sort of mirror his statesmanship. He had (by my count) two late golden opportunities to break this election wide open (al Qaqaa, and the Bin Laden threat to US States) and wasn't sufficiently nimble to take advantage of either. So this prediction really has nothing to do with the polls. I'll say later why I think this mirrors his statecraft, and how that plays into his implementation of the "peace through democracy and prosperity" paradigm, but I think he failed the test.

I hope I'm wrong, and you can flail me with a wet noodle if he pulls it out. I have things to learn in this area. But my assessment is that Bush lacks a political instinct, and though I think it's not terribly impressive, I believe Kerry does have that ability. I endorse Bush, mainly because I have no real reason to vote for Kerry. He has not been sufficiently honest to tell me whether he grasps or understands the "peace through democracy and prosperity" paradigm, and if he can't do that I can't give him my vote. But if he wins, as I predict he will, I'll adopt a "wait and see" attitude.

His first test will be to seek reconciliation with the Vietnam vets. If he can manage that, I think the omens are pretty good... because maintenance of that reconciliation will mean that at some point he'll have to repudiate the peace crowd. This will be his naked lunch. If he comes through it, he'll be a good and important President. If he does not (which is probably more likely) the Presidency will destroy him. If he does not, I don't think 2008 will see Kerry running again. His political career will be dead.

Well, there it is. If I'm wrong, and I sincerely hope I am, then I'll take W Ketchup with that crow, please.

Update: Bill Whittle agrees with me, but there's madness in his method.

Update 2: Via Roger L. Simon: "In the short run, it feels as if we are all giving each other psychotherapy. Some people prefer to believe the worst inorder not to be disappointed."

Well, he may have my number.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and Anticipatory Retaliation)

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Poll Watching: Voter Intimidation?


Well, I've voted. It's now up to history. But the circumstances of my experience led me to pontificate a bit on the accusations of voter intimidation that have been eminating from the mainstream Democratic activists. (I posted a comment about this on my home blog, but decided to turn the comment into a longer post because the topic seems to have acquired gravitas that I would not have expected a week ago.)

I don't know where the idea came from that poll watching was invented by Republicans to intimidate Democrats, but the accusation manifests a lot more heat than light. I worked for a number of years as a Democratic Party campaign organizer, and it was always pretty standard practice to do a stint as a poll watcher on election day. As soon as you finished a few tedious hours at the polling place, you went to the "after" party and waited with your fellow activists for the returns to come in. The idea was simply to challenge voters whose bonafides looked suspicious (wrong address, name change, etc.) and the government poll worker would then check the name, or ask for further identification. Normally a check was done on the spot, but nowadays the person who is challenged just fills out a provisional ballot and, if necessary, the check is done later. A very good idea.

Poll watching has been practiced by both Democrats and Republicans for about as long as there have been elections in the US. When I was poll watching for Democratic candidates in Oregon I always had a Republican counterpart. Poll watching is, by definition, a partisan activity, and you are taking an advocacy position that guards against voter fraud by the other party. I might add that fraud potentially cuts both ways. It can just as easily dilute a liberal as a conservative vote. In light of this, one of the possible interpretations of the Democrats' sudden emphasis on poll watching as an intimidation strategy by the other party might be that they intend to perpetrate voter fraud, and simply don't want anyone around to blow the whistle. Another, more benign, interpretation is that they simply intend to use the accusation as a GOTU (get out the vote) strategy, primarily to motivate minorities. But either way the notion that poll watching is something new or that it is practiced exclusively by Republicans is nonsense, as anyone would know who has ever actually worked on a campaign. It may be the case that poll watching is now more frequent, but that's clearly because there's a valid concern about fraud. There have been stories today that vehicles intended to transport Republican poll watchers have been vandalized and sabotaged.

Regarding the concept of voter intimidation itself, I'd like to recount my own experience of voting this morning. I live near a large military base, and the voting place for residents of my neighborhood is on the base. Because my car battery had gone kaput, I had to bicycle 15 miles round trip to get to my polling place, and had to pass through a concrete barricaded checkpoint manned by marines armed with M-16s, who verified my identification and my voter card to make certain that I had reason to be on the base. If I were inclined to be intimidated, that would have done the trick. But these are the times.

The notion that someone would be intimidated by a mere "poll watcher" of one or the other party strikes me as just a tad whiney, especially considering that ten million Afghan voters recently braved death threats and possible kidnap and brutal execution in order to cast their vote in a brand new third world democracy. In fact, some election workers have been kidnapped.

Using Team America's brilliant typology of the War on Terror, one has to wonder whether we've become a nation of pussies. Nothing personal, but I'm just slightly outraged at the suggestions and thought processes of Democrat activists and spinmeisters who bloviate unknowingly on this issue. If people are too timid to vote because a poll watcher is in the room... they probably don't have sufficient judgment or integrity to make an informed decision.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

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My Electoral Vote Prediction: it's the weather, stupid! (Rusty Shackleford)


Reaching into the depths of my vast well of political science factoids I pulled out this little semi-factoid: weather can change the outcome of a Presidential election. Who said it? I dunno, but it seems like something some political scientist must have theorized at some time and then found enough information about to get his findings published in the APSR (that's the American Political Science Review the flagship journal of the profession--mostly used for paperweight). Anyway it's sounds good and I'm too lazy to look it up!!

So, let's pretend for a moment that this very poli-sci-ish sounding theory is correct and try to game the Electoral College. Assume a couple of things. First, that a large voter turnout would mean a Kerry victory in close states. Second, assume that the poorer the weather the better it will be for Bush. This is based on a third assumption which is that Kerry voters are more likely than Bush supporters to have to hoof it, use public transportation, or drive cars which risk floating away in sudden rainstorms.

Ok, so using the above let's look at the states where the pundits have it too close to call. Too close to call is defined by Slate's 'iffy' states.

Florida=Sunny and 86 in Daytona, partly cloudy and 86 in Miami. The AARP goes out in droves, public transportation running smoothely, and convicted felons have no problem making it to the polls.

Jawa call Fla=Kerry.

Ohio=Rain all day in Cleveland, but a balmy 61--unseasonally warm. The same pretty much all over the state. Farmers and SUV loving Bushies will have no problem getting out the vote.

Jawa call Oh=Bush.

Wisconsin=Cloudy and in the mid to upper 40's in Milwaukee. Just chilly enough to suppress the Medicaid/welfare vote, but not so much that it stops the UW-Madison vote. That's a wash.

Jawa call WI=Kerry.

Minnessotta=Sunny and in the mid-40's in Minneapolis/St. Paul, low 40's in Duluth. Average temps all around.

Jawa call MN=Kerry.

Pennsylvania=Rain/heavy rains and in the mid-50's in Western and Northwestern Pennsylvania. Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia is partly cloudy with a high of 62. Fired lawyer-HIV-Springstein vote en masse on the liberal coast.

Jawa call PA=Kerry.

New Hampshire=Chance of rain increases throughout the day and a temperature in the mid-40's. But this is New Hampshire, which means that the richer you are the more likely you are to vote for John Kerry--because, naturally, how could you hold your head up high in your Boston office having voted for that dolt Bush?!? The quick-run-to-get-some-duty-free-Moulson's vote suppressed by old snow-tires and high price of gas.

Jawa call NH=Kerry.

Iowa=Partly cloudy and afternoon temps in the upper-40s. Practically summer in Iowa. Hawkeye kegger party weather-- togas, bonfire, and lots of College Republicans terrorizing the Women's Studies department.

Jawa call Iowa=Bush.

New Mexico=Albuquerque is unseasonally cold with temps in the mid-40's and some snow in the hours before the polls open. The Taos liberals are all still comfortably in the Bahamas--not enough snow to make the migration to the slopes yet--so no advantage there. But the Santa Fe art crowd will wake up to temps in the upper 20s and icy roads. The weather will be just cold enough to suppress the recently trimmed pony-tail laden.

Jawa call NM=Bush.

And as the song goes, and the rest........


The moral of the story is this: pray for bad weather!!!

Can't one of you, like, do a dance or something and rummage up a storm? How about another hurricane in Florida? Some nice hailstorms in Wisconsin?

*I actually think Bush will win, but hey, this was much funner than grading some stupid midterms!!!

*Double PS-As another good poli-scientist, Dr. Choas, noted to me, under this scenario Bush would only need to pull WI or MN to get the tie. Tie goes to the House. The House is Republican. Bush wins.

(Cross-posted at The Jawa Report and Demosophia)

Launched by Rusty at 02:10 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)
» the RANT: Retaliates with: Random Notes

Who Will Vote?


A great deal has been made of the Democrats' GOTV (get out the vote) program. I was a Democratic organizer and activist for years, and I'm pretty familiar with some of the rigmarole. My thesis is that Kerry's ambiguity is pretty much a wash with Democrats, so their motivation to vote for the candidate is no stronger than in any other year, and probably weaker. In fact, the more hawkish he's compelled to be, in order to match Bush, the less attractive he appears to the Deaniacs. Their motivation comes almost exclusively from their aversion to George Bush.

And, as you get closer to the middle of the partisan spectrum this aversion becomes weaker, and thus the resolve of the marginal voter to brave sturm und drang to vote for Kerry, or to vote at all, grows weak. This is the bane of pure oppositional politics, and it's not even touched upon in the media. It's just hard to inspire people for whom the advantage is diminishing. I haven't heard a single pundit mention this concept. Not one.

Thus, when I came across the following post on the left-leaning group blog Liberty & Power I felt somewhat vindicated:

As I've said before here, I'm "rooting" for Kerry, but I cannot force down my bile long enough to vote for him, as douche-y [as opposed to shit-sandwichy] as he is. Were I to vote, and I still might, it would be for Badnarik, and for largely the reasons David, Rod and Keith put forward. However, although he's neither a douche nor a turd sandwich, he is a wingnut (even by LP standards). I so agree with David's point about the LP (Libertarian Party) putting forward a candidate with name recognition who I could really get behind (Penn Jillette is perfect), but I do see the argument for voting LP to keep the "remnant" moving forward. It's just so hard to pull the lever for a wingnut, even with the lackluster alternatives.

So, I'll probably sit this one out.

Note that if he votes at all, it'll be for a third party, and I suggest that a lot of marginal and undecided voters on the left will either sit it out or adopt this approach and vote for Nader. The more anarchically rebellious will vote for Badnarik.

This feeds into Rusty's "Bad Weather Theme" because I suspect that there will be a lot more people on the left tempted to stay home in inclement weather than on the right. In fact, the closer the vote appears to be the more likely the right-leaning voters will take the trouble to vote for Bush. So all the hoopla about a close election actually helps the President.

Well, that's the theory anyway.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and Anticipatory Retaliation)

Launched by Demosophist at 01:56 AM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (2)

November 01, 2004

Something I Just Don't Understand


Why the deuce isn't George W. Bush using this TO CAMPAIGN AGAINST BIN LADEN? Is he, like, politically tone deaf?

Update: Brit Hume just annonced the details of the MEMRI translation on FOX Special Report (6:15 PM). Every vote is important now.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at 08:17 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)

Osama Speech Mistranslated (Urgent!)


According to MEMRI the Osam speech delivered on Saturday threatens each individual state in thet US that votes in favor of Bush. So, I guess that means that New York is OK but Virginia is "in trouble" unless we can float the excuse that his message was garbled by the press. Boy, if Hawaii goes for Bush they're sure gonna kick themselves, huh? From MEMRI:

The tape of Osama bin Laden that was aired on Al-Jazeera(1) on Friday, October 29th included a specific threat to "each U.S. state," designed to influence the outcome of the upcoming election against George W. Bush. The U.S. media in general mistranslated the words "ay wilaya" (which means "each U.S. state")(2) to mean a "country" or "nation" other than the U.S., while in fact the threat was directed specifically at each individual U.S. state. This suggests some knowledge by bin Laden of the U.S. electoral college system. In a section of his speech in which he harshly criticized George W. Bush, bin Laden stated: "Any U.S. state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security."

I wonder how they'll spin this to Kerry's advantage?

Waiter, there's a large elm tree in my beer... and I thought Dutch Elm Disease got them all?

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at 04:53 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)

The Terrorist Factory Fallacy


It's a pretty gloomy Monday. The Redskins lost yesterday, the polls are ambiguous at best, a speech by Osama against Bush gets spun so that it helps Kerry, and logical fallacies repeated with mind-numbing frequency at a setting of 11 on the volume knob seem to count for valid argument. Beldar holds the theory that we're "creating terrorists" in about as much esteem as the theory that leaving the meat at room temperature will spontaneously generate maggots:

If what we were doing in Iraq was the forcible conversion of Muslims to Christianity and the extinguishment of their own culture, then yes, we could be "breeding more terrorists," just as if we deliberately salted rotting meat with fly eggs we'd be breeding maggots and flies. But I categorically reject — as racist and bigoted and shortsighted and wrong — the necessary presumption of the "we're making more terrorists" arguers that establishing democracy and freedom equate to that....

And by far the most effective way of minimizing and, ultimately, eliminating (in one way or the other) the sincere-but-confused terrorist converts will be to finish the jobs that we started in those countries when we toppled their governing regimes. Cutting and running will do the opposite — it will not only betray the less gullible and freedom- and liberty-loving Muslims (and others) in those countries, but encourage our enemies into believing that we are weak and easily defeated, and worse, lend credence to the deliberately misleading arguments of our enemies that our real motivations were to promote Christianity or serve the Jews of Israel or steal their oil wealth (or whatever).

Waiter, there's a hippo in this beer...

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at 01:56 PM | Retaliatory Launches Detected (0)
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