Tuesday, November 27, 2007

For an Empire, We SUCK

Let's face it. To call America an empire can't happen without dumbing down the term "empire" into meaninglessness. Jonah Goldberg thinks so, too:

...But unlike the Romans or even the British, our garrisons can be ejected without firing a shot. We left the Philippines when asked. We may split from South Korea in the next few years under similar circumstances. Poland wants our military bases; Germany is grumpy about losing them. When Turkey, a U.S. ally and member of NATO, refused to let American troops invade Iraq from its territory, the U.S. government said "fine." We didn't invade Iraq for oil (all we needed to do to buy it was lift the embargo), and we've made it clear that we'll leave Iraq if the Iraqis ask.

What? Oh, come on, now! Gandhi was forced into organizing the Indian people because the Indian government under British rule was little more than errand-boys for the Brits, and America leaves when politely asked to by the Philippines?

South Korea is all huffy about our presence, and our biggest concern is not about a bunch of uppity Asians, but whether North Korea is behind the movement in South Korea? We destroyed the government of Japan and set up from scratch a new Japanese government.....and we just left once we were sure the Japanese were handling things OK?

And let's just look at our most recent awful hegemonic actions, now. After an unprovoked attack on our soil, we simply took out a pair of hostile governments in hopes of establishing a pair of less-hostile governments, and are working to knock out some trans-national movement that fueled the attacks in the first place. So where are the toadies? Where is the guy in the pith helmet who wants to be called "bwana?"

America sucks at the empire business.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back to the salt mines!

I hope anybody who reads my blog has had a wonderful Thanksgiving. But sadly, it's now balls-to-the-wall until Christmas (and about 90 days thereafter for me).

Anyway, I would like to draw your attention to this article. In fact, the author has a very interesting series on Ron Paul and his.....interesting supporters .

My big disagreement here is that the hanging of conspiracy theorists around the GOP's neck is really only supposed to last through the primary. Antiwar voters are the biggest threat to Hillary Clinton in the Democrat primary. If they had mobilized behind Dennis Kucinich or some other staunch antiwar Democrat against "I-Was-For-It-Before-I-Was-Against-It Part Two," Hillary would have to punk-slap a guy really popular with the base off the nomination, earning a lot of ill will in the general election (well, more than she already has).

With Ron Paul in play, and with no chance in Hades of winning the GOP nomination, people who would otherwise work within their natural constituencies within the Democrats to get them to drop Hillary and take a stronger antiwar stand can go waste their votes in the GOP primary on Ron Paul. Oh, and by the way, if these guys voted in the GOP primary, most states will exclude them from voting in the Democrat primary---oh darn!

When Ron Paul does not get the nomination (NOTE: I said WHEN, oh yes I did), it's not like these guys were planning to vote GOP anyway. They will, come the general election, either go polish their tinfoil hats some more, or hold their noses and vote for Hillary. Take it to the bank.

It might be interesting to see what would happen if Ron Paul ran independently, but I think that the Democrats have a contingency for that, too: Remember all that money from Stormfront, the KKK banners, etc? A friend of mine has a bet going, one that I am far too smart to take him up on: The moment Ron Paul actually becomes a threat to the Democrats, all of a sudden, the SPLC or some other "anti-racism" Democrat lapdog with good media connections will strike at Ron Paul for these connections to hate groups.

You really want to know what the pisser is? Domestically, I agree with much of what Ron Paul says. We do look to the state to solve our problems far too often. A lot of what the government does can be done by the private sector more effectively and efficiently, so long as the actual enforcement of laws is not involved. We do have far too many government agencies and way too much regulation. I'd love to get rid of it all. The important distinction is, I don't think Ron Paul can do it.

Monday, November 19, 2007


I am probably going to say something unpopular, but anybody who knows me knows I am used to being unpopular.

Our current situation is that millions of Mexican citizens sneak into our country in order to earn a better living than they could otherwise get in a corrupt Third-World quasi-republic. With the monies these illegal immigrants send home, the corrupt semi-republic is enabled to stay in power and not do a damn thing about its poor other than hand them swim fins and a map to the border. This is bad.

Believe it or not, it could be worse.

As corrupt, venal, and parasitic as the current Mexican government is, the alternative, which could come about with the USA cutting the umbilical cord to Mexico, is much worse.

The latest ploys of Chavez and Castro have been to fund leftist political candidates for Presidential elections throughout Latin America---which in some cases (such as Bolivia) became "one man, one vote, one time." Chavez's money in 2006 was on Andrés Manuel López Obrador. This was not a situation that breeds trust in his commitment to the rule of law at the Latin America desk at Langley (completely forgetting his behavior after the election). This is not to say that Andrés Manuel López Obrador would have ended up being some kind of dictator had he won in 2006, only that he may have ended up beholden to the forces that would have brought him to power. And those forces are far from kindly inclined towards American interests. If they couldn't have gotten AMLO to cancel elections, perhaps they would have gotten his cooperation on some other means of giving the USA a headache.

And what if he did cancel elections and close newspapers? Imagine if an avowed dictator took power in Mexico, and newspapers and television channels started being shut down, dissidents started getting arrested in the night, and protestors got shot. Moreover, in all likelihood, the Mexican dictatorship would have been a product of Cuban and Venezuelan meddling, and thus swear fealty to Castro and Chavez. All of a sudden, those illegals would suddenly become putative refugees. Short of a deal along the lines of "Wet Foot, Dry Foot" (which the US struck in order to be able to maintain a presence in the Straits of Florida), there is no way we are sending a single Mexican back under those circumstances. And we would pretty much have to welcome everyone who can smuggle themselves out.

In short, AMLO needed to lose in 2006. And if it weren't for illegal immigration, he might just have won. I've done the math.

What if The Wall were in place in October 2001, as some have suggested, and the illegals were in Mexico for the 2006 elections? I did some math and Wikipedia-ing, and dug up my memories of Statistics and Research Design for Psychology majors:

The statistics were as follows:
About 399,000 Mexican illegals/ year per Pew Legal (this may be a conservative estimate)

Only 32,000 of eligible legal residents of other nations voted in the Mexican elections of 2006

Turnout was 58.90%

The final vote tally of the top two candidates was Calderón 35.89% (15,000,284 votes), López Obrador 35.31% (14,756,350 votes), a difference of 243,934 (or 0.58%) votes.

And Obrador still contested the election, though not successfully. He might have had more success with a lower margin of loss.

Now for my assumptions, based on statistics:
399,000 a year from October 2001 to July 2006 comes to about 1,596,000 Mexicans who would have been kept in Mexico. 58.90% of that number (the turnout) would be about 940,044.
Given the heavy usage of the United States's social safety net by many illegals, I guessed they would kind of like to have some free money in Mexico, and thus would be more likely to vote for Obrador. Given the multi-candidate race, I assumed that Calderón would get 80 percent of the non-Obrador vote.

At this point, I forgot my statistics class, and did it longhand.

80-20 split (80 Calderón 20 others)---Obrador wins
O: 14,756,350 + 752035 = 15,508,385
C: 15,000,284 + 150407 = 15,150, 691

75-25 split---Obrador wins
O: 14,756,350 + 705033 = 15,461,383
C: 15,000,284 + 188009= 15,188,293

70-30 split-----Obrador wins
O: 14,756,350 +658030= 15,414,380
C: 15,000,284 +225610= 15,263,496

65-35 split-----Obrador wins
O: 14,756,350 +611029= 15,367,379
C: 15,000,284 +263212= 15,263,496

60-40 split----Obrador wins
O: 14,756,350 +564026= 15,320,376
C: 15,000,284 +300814= 15,301,098

55-45 split---Calderón wins by only 582066
O: 14,756,350 +517024= 15,273,374
C: 15,000,284 +338416= 15,338,700

50-50 split---Calderón wins by only 149,930
O: 14,756,350 +470022= 15,226,372
C: 15,000,284 +376018= 15,376,302

So as you can see, it would not take a very large majority of the illegals to have voted for Obrador had they stayed in Mexico to vote in order to either put him over the top or bring the margin of Calderón's victory close enough that his attempted challenge of the results might have had more success. Even were Tom Tancredo to win the White House somehow, he would have had to deal with this reality. Sanity in American immigration policy cannot come at the expense of vital foreign objectives, such as keeping Fidel Castro's rotting zombie paws off Mexico and her oil. Because as you see, he's come close. Damn close.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Very Interesting

"There are no secrets, there are only deferred disclosures."

If true, this means everybody was wrong and everybody was right about WMDs in Iraq. In any case, keep in mind that the release of translated documentation is often done to illustrate what intelligence had actually known at the time.

In my opinion, actual stockpiles or no, Saddam had to be stopped from doing whatever he was actually doing.

One of the more interesting parts is where the bribery through the Oil-For-Food program was being discussed. I am sure we were more than aware of who was on the take at the time. Do you often believe the word of someone you know to be on the take, or is this just "cherry-picking" intelligence again?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sorry about the infrequency

You can blame a certain spotted cat for that. Ah, well, the money is good, and will make my children happy.

Anyway, the thought that has been bubbling through my mind is this: People often think we are choosing between war and peace. When that truly is your choice, peace is the better option. However, in most cases we choose between the war now or the war later. Given the unknowable things that are future events, you know under what conditions you fight the war now. The war later, who knows?

Monday, November 5, 2007

What's the Frequency, Kenneth? Part 2

Well, Blogger won't let me fix that little font snafu, so howabout I cease trying to be clever with font sizes in the future?

Anyway, back to my point: How can otherwise rational people, who would know better than to believe the CIA has any interest in some guy living in a box in an alleyway, unquestioningly enable blood libel and hatred?

The answer, I am afraid, is postmodernism, and specifically its focus on alterity. The more Other someone is, the more one seems to be obligated to take their perspective. This seems to have removed the critical faculty needed to judge between the stories of those who tell the truth and fabulators. I use the term "fabulators" instead of "liars" because lying implies an intent to deceive. A fabulator may honestly believe Jews created the AIDS virus---but they are still wrong.

Pair alterity with the intellectual vanity so encouraged by liberal arts faculty that a liberal education gives students the tools to become experts in anything to which they put their minds, and you have people poised to take any fool at his or her word, as long as they are exotic and different. Now to the mix of alterity and intellectual vanity, let's add the typical wealth of First World intellectuals, specifically their disposable income.

Now, if you are a member of some exotic group wanting to raise money for a cause, you have a gold mine in a bunch of people who don't understand you and your situation, but think they do, who will open their wallets for you. All they need is a story that conforms to their expectations. Just point out how you are oppressed, how those guys you hate are oppressing you, throw in some Rousseau/socialist nonsense about the way your people lived before Those Other Guys came along, wear some exotic native costume while doing so, and turn up your accent a bit. Bingo, your cause is rolling in the dough, and you can now go shopping for weapons.


Sunday, November 4, 2007

What's the Frequency, Kenneth? Part 1

"What's the frequency, Kenneth?" is your Benzedrine, uh-huh
I was brain-dead, locked out, numb, not up to speed
I thought I'd pegged you an idiot's dream
Tunnel vision from the outsider's screen
I never understood the frequency, uh-huh
You wore our expectations like an armored suit, uh-huh...."

---From the REM song

For those of you unfamiliar with the song, or the incident that inspired it, Read up!

No, this is not really about Dan Rather, though he's an interesting case in and of himself. This is about the man who attacked him, William Tager. According to the Wikipedia article referenced above,

Tager later claimed that he had come from a parallel universe some 200 years in the future. He also claimed that because everyone in the future had a double in the past, he had mistaken Rather for his future double, Vice President Kenneth Burroughs, and that he attacked Rather in an attempt to recover the information needed to stop the television signals being sent to his brain and return to his own time


Imagine if psychology were still in the days of Sigmund Freud, and some shrink had to sit there and untangle that mess. What, exactly, led him to believe that he came from the future? Who is Kenneth Burroughs, and why does he think Dan Rather of all people would be this Kenneth Burroughs? How would television signals in your brain prevent time travel? Why would he choose the "signals beamed into my brain" delusion over other such popular delusions as being Napoleon? How did potty training go?

Screw that. What likely happened to Tager was that he showed all the signs of one or more psychiatric disorders, was locked up and put on medication, and any talk about Tager's mother, potty training, or Tager's mother's potty training was done on the back end. Well, yeah---isn't that the way stuff like this gets handled?

Sure it is, so why do people try to minutely dissect the delusions of the "Arab Street" and the motivations of terrorists?

More to come when I've had some sleep.