August 28, 2008

What Derb Said

The man pulls no punches:
Both parties’ choices of nominee are appalling to me. I contemplate the next four years with dread.

I don’t want either of these men in charge of the federal government, neither the crazy old fool nor the simpering sophomore. I don’t want either the moralistic imperialism of John McCain or the welfare-state-to-the world sentimentalism of Barack Obama. I don’t want my country represented by either a Compassionate Crusader or by Oprah Winfrey in drag. (Possibly in person, too, if the rumors we’re hearing about Obama’s plans for Ms. Winfrey are true.)

Even if I wanted either of them, I do not believe, as both candidates apparently do, that our country has the nigh-infinite fiscal resources required to fund their lunatic world-saving schemes. The effort to rid Iraq of evil has cost us working stiffs a trillion dollars so far; say $7,000 a head. Population-wise, the world has 260 Iraqs. So I’m in for two million bucks? John, hate to tell ya, but I don’t have that kind of money. And this is the “conservative” candidate!

What a disaster! What on earth has happened to us? Nothing yet as bad as what will surely happen if either of these two gibbering numbskulls gets his hands on the levers of supreme executive power.
HT: Rod Dreher

Dangerous Voyeurs?


A Bit of Wisdom From Victor Hanson

I admire Victor Hanson, who is a classicist and military historian. He's too enamored of the crusade to save democracy everywhere, but he's a smart guy.

He's figured out that NATO's obsolete, like an overgrown plum tree.

Don't take my word for it. Take his.

If it's obsolete and ineffective, why provoke Russia by expanding a useless alliance?

August 27, 2008

A Meteorological Alan Keyes?

Tropical Storm Gustav, soon to be a hurricane, no doubt, is headed straight for New Orleans.

Gustav could veer off, or stay relatively small, but it ain't lookin' good. Just in time for the GOP convention. More of that Obama luck?

While we're at it, where's Brownie?

Update: BHO ran into Hurricane Sarah. We don't know her category yet.

August 26, 2008

Tremble For the Republic

Pat Buchanan, love him or not, is hot today:

Mikheil Saakashvili started this war with his barrage attack and occupation of South Ossetia. Russia's war of retribution was far less violent or excessive than the U.S. bombing of Serbia for 78 days over Kosovo, or our unprovoked war on Saddam Hussein's Iraq, which has brought death to scores of thousands, or Israel's 35 days of bombing of Lebanon for a border skirmish with Hezbollah.

Yet, declared John McCain of Russia, "In the 21st century, nations don't invade other nations." Even Dick Cheney must have guffawed.

Russia must get out now, adds Bush, for South Ossetia and Abkhazia belong to a sovereign Georgia. But when did Bush demand that Israel get off the Golan Heights or withdraw from the birthplace of Jesus, which Israelis have occupied for 41 years, as he demands that Russia get out of the birthplace of Joseph Stalin, which Russia has occupied for two weeks?

As Israel was provoked in 1967, so, too, was Russia provoked.

Russians died in Saakashvili's attack, as American died in Pancho Villa's raid on New Mexico in 1916. We sent "Black Jack" Pershing, future Gen. George Patton and a U.S. army 300 miles into Mexico to kill Villa. Was this proportionate?
The neocons are barking mad, McCain is in their pocket, and Obama doesn't have the wit or courage to make a systematic challenge to their dangerous, Russophobic nonsense.

Would we send U.S. troops into the Baltic republics to signal that we will fight Russia to honor our NATO war guarantees? Which NATO allies would fight alongside us against a nuclear-armed Russia?

If we bring Ukraine into NATO, what do we do if Russified east Ukraine secedes and Russia sends troops to back the rebels? Do we send warships into Russia's bathtub, the Black Sea, and commit to fight as long as it takes to restore Ukraine's territorial integrity?
Our leaders have no answers, only bravado. Tremble for the Republic.

August 19, 2008

I Want the Novelization and Movie Rights

A former Senator and vice-presidential candidate misused campaign contributions and money pledged to fight poverty so he could bring his mistress on the campaign trail with him during the presidential campaign where he was constantly making appearances with his widely admired cancer stricken wife then fathered the mistress's child sometime around the time he was getting a Father Of The Year Award and then asked his loyal aid who already has a wife and kids to falsely claim paternity while the fake dad and the mistress were funneled money so they could move to be near the mistress's psychic healer friend while the former candidate continued to meet the mistress and baby until he was caught by tabloid reporters and hid in the bathroom and then confessed on national TV a couple of weeks later but both he and his wife continued to lie during that interview and in subsequent statements.

And the press is supposed to yawn that story off?

--Lee Stranahan

Christopher Buckley, where are you?

August 16, 2008

This Story Got To Me

This story is about a camp for siblings who have been separated by the foster care system, allowing them to be together for a week.

Stories about "lost" children make me tear up. I don't know why.

August 14, 2008

Two Smart Takes on Georgia

The British, at least outside their rather inbred and grotesque left, tend to be more realistic about international affairs than the Americans, who are too prone to ideologize. Here's a wise Brit, Michael Binyon, on Georgia:

The attack was short, sharp and deadly - enough to send the Georgians fleeing in humiliating panic, their rout captured by global television. The destruction was enough to hurt, but not so much that the world would be roused in fury. The timing of the ceasefire was precise: just hours before President Sarkozy could voice Western anger. Moscow made clear that it retained the initiative. And despite sporadic breaches - on both sides - Russia has blunted Georgian charges that this is a war of annihilation.

Moscow can also counter Georgian PR, the last weapon left to Tbilisi. Human rights? Look at what Georgia has done in South Ossetia (and also in Abkhazia). National sovereignty? Look at the detachment of Kosovo from Serbia. False pretexts? Look at Ronald Reagan's invasion of Grenada to “rescue” US medical students. Western outrage? Look at the confused cacophony.

There are lessons everywhere. To the former Soviet republics - remember your geography. To Nato - do you still want to incorporate Caucasian vendettas into your alliance? To Tbilisi - do you want to keep a President who brought this on you? To Washington - does Russia's voice still count for nothing? Like it or not, it counts for a lot.

I admire Putin in some ways, but he aint' warm ner fuzzy. Just smart.

But, as Steven Plocker points out (HT: David Hazony), he shouldn't be cocky. Militarily, Putin was shooting fish in a barrel, and the fact that he couldn't accomplish his ends by a quiet diplomatic dressing-down shows how far Russia has to go to regain something of her former influence, even in her "near abroad":
The Russian army entered those areas while facing little resistance, but this does not attest to its fighting abilities. This “war” did not see the utilization of complicated technological means, massive troops were not flown great distances, no headquarters were established, and there is no room for comparison between the “Georgia war” and the two American wars against Saddam Hussein.
Neither Putin nor we should push too hard. Neither side should want the Sixth Fleet stalking the Russian Navy in the Black Sea.

August 12, 2008

Keep This Man Away From the Nuclear Football

From FOX:

YORK, PA — John McCain maintained his focus on the war in the Caucasus for the second straight day, declaring, “we are all Georgians,” during a town hall meeting before more than 2,000 voters in central Pennsylvania.

“We learned a great cost of the price of allowing aggression against free nations to go unchecked. With our allies we must stand in united purpose to persuade Russian government to withdraw its troops from Georgia,” McCain told the crowd. “(President Mikheil Saakashvili) wanted me to say thanks to you, and give you his heartfelt thanks for the support of the American people for this tiny little democracy far away from the United States of America. And I told him that I know I speak for every American when I say to him, ‘Today we are all Georgians.’”

This is a truly dangerous man.

Just look at a map.


This woman started writing poetry when she was 73!

Strange Patterns

Carrie Allen McCray

When I was a young child
in Lynchburg, Virginia
I could not ride the
trolley car sitting next
to our white neighbor
But could sit, nestled
close to her
under her grape arbor
swinging my feet
eating her scuppernongs
and drinking tall, cold
glasses of lemonade
she offered us on
hot, dry summer days

When I was a young child
moving to Montclair, New Jersey
I could now ride the
trolley car sitting next
to our white neighbor
but did not dare
cross the bitter line
that separated our house
from hers
and she never offered us
tall, cold glasses of lemonade
on hot, dry summer days

August 9, 2008

War in the Caucasus

Daniel Larison has gone into the war pretty exhaustively. Even at my most prolific and my fastest keyboarding speed, I cannot keep up with the man, who is most wise for one so young. I would say this about very few people.

That said, a few bullet points:
  • This war is an absolute tragedy and a potential disaster. Three Orthodox Christian peoples are going at it; this war, like many, was avoidable. Patriarch Alexey has said all the right things. It's time for the bishops to be prophetic.

  • The meme of poor "democratic" Georgia slammed by the Russian bear is false. Russia was encouraging the Ossetians and the Abkhaz in their separatism, much as Europe and the U.S. nurtured Kosovo. But Georgia is no more or less democratic than Putin's Russia, and for all his U.S. education, Georgia's Saakashvili is an admirer of Stalin, Beria, and Gamsakhurdia.

  • The Russians were ready to respond, but Georgia started the thing by trying to take and isolate South Ossetia's capital. She failed. Stupid move. When you shoot at a king, you must kill him.

  • These events are partly payback for the foolish Euro-american Kosovo adventure. What goes around, comes around. Always.

  • The big question is whether Russia will invade Georgia proper, as opposed to just bombing it, which is bad enough. This would be foolish. Georgia is a good place for partisan warfare, and the world, which will tolerate the Ossetian and Abkhaz adventures, especially after Kosovo, will be both frightened and angered by a full-scale attack on Georgia. A limited foray makes more sense.

  • The "expansionist Russia" meme is unproven and probably false. The Russian Federation is in some ways a rump state of the old Soviet Union, and has an understandable and strong interest in its "near abroad," much as the U.S. does in the Caribbean and Central America. As Russia recovers from Yeltsin and profits from costly oil, she was bound to reassert herself.

  • The U.S. policy of dishonoring these Russian interests, expanding NATO, supporting "color revolutions" and the like was reckless and foolish. It antagonized Russia and is proving unsustainable. Cozying up to Georgia militarily, holding out the carrot of NATO membership, but then blinking when the Russians call our bluff, was typical of the folly of this administration.

  • Obama's cautious response, calling for diplomacy and a cease-fire, was a lot more sensible than McCain's fire-breathing. McCain (aka Col. Kong) is at his worst on the Russian question. Russia has thousands of nukes. A confrontational approach to a conflict in Russia's backyard is nuts. It almost makes me want to support the inexperienced, left-liberal metrosexual for the Presidency.

  • The most dangerous political tendency in this country is the neocons. They are foaming at the mouth to defend every "democracy," screaming about 1938, and invoking the evil Russian bear. Suspicion of Russia is an old story in the U.S., and one must add to the mix the anti-Orthodox and anti-Slavic prejudices of many Jews (see "Borat"). They are prolific, they are organized, they are articulate, and the other tendencies--liberal internationalism, conservative "realism," and my personal view, patriotic anti-interventionism--are much less well-organized. This crisis has made me realize again, just how dangerous these people are.
OK, coffee break's almost over. Discuss amongst yourselves, then back on your heads.

August 5, 2008

Her Energy Policy Actually Makes More Sense Than Those Other Guys'

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

From Courage to Demagogy In One Easy Lesson

I admired Barack Obama for not giving into the demagogic gimmick of a summer gas tax holiday, pandered by both Hillary and McCain.

Now he wants to tap the strategic oil reserve, when we don't have a strategic emergency, but might have soon. This proposal is stupid and demagogic, just as the speculative part of the oil price bubble is bursting.

Can you turn a tin ear into a pennywhistle, and then play it?

Touch Me

I'm Facebook "friends" with some wonderful people--Paul Jabara, a fine Canadian choral director; John Darnton, the NY times reporter and more recently, novelist (whom I went to school with half a century ago).

It's an interesting phenomenon.

Of course, my children hate the idea that I'm on Facebook and will have nothing to do with me there.

August 3, 2008

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, RIP

The Russian writer has died at 89.

Memory eternal. вечная память.