Monday, December 31, 2007

Huckabee's Self-Inflicted Foot Wound Matches Hagel's

Mike Huckabee is weirder than Bill Clinton---maybe it's in the prenatal Hope, AK expereience, or something, but his stunt in front of reporters matches Sen. Hagel's moronic move to announce that he's not announcing for president---just yet, that is.
Mike Huckabee is holding a press conference right now in which he was supposed to unveil a new negative ad against arch rival Mitt Romney.

But Mr. Huckabee came to the press conference and announced he’d had a change of heart and would not be broadcasting the ad after all.

But wait! It gets better.

He then broadcast it for a room crammed with reporters, photographers and television cameras.

The assembled media found the display hilarious and at several points laughed out loud.

Telling you what’s in the ad, of course, plays into Mr. Huckabee’s strategy of getting his message out — Mr. Romney is bad — while being able to say his hands are clean.

Is this vaudeville or slapstick?

Iowa Caucuses: Much ToDo About a Fix

John Fund lets out the dirty little secret about Iowa and its cockeyed Hawkeye cauci [h/t: Rush Limbaugh].

Mickey Kaus also has characteristically trenchant observations on Iowa, quoting Ohio's Gov. Strickland letting the cat out of the bag:
Strickland said the Iowa caucuses make "no sense." He called the GOP and Democratic caucuses "hugely undemocratic," because the process "excludes so many people." Anyone who happens to be working or is sick or too old to get out for a few hours Thursday night won't be able to participate, Strickland said.

"I'd like to see both parties say, 'We're going to bring this to an end,'" Strickland said, adding that he has no problem with the New Hampshire primary Jan. 8, because "at least it's an election."

Fund notes that the Democrats have as usual the most undemocratic, twisted, and anarchic methods in their selection process:
Then there are the problems of reporting the results on election night. At least the Republican caucus is a one-man, one-vote affair where people write their preferred candidate's name on a slip of paper, and whoever gets the most votes wins.

Democrats have a mind-numbingly complex system in which participants divide up into "candidate preference groups" by standing up. No paper ballots are used. Those candidates who don't get support from 15% or more of those attending a local caucus are deemed not to be "viable," and their supporters have to realign with some other candidate.

"That's when it gets kind of crazy," says Mark Daley, a former spokesman for the Iowa Democratic Party. "There will be people screaming back and forth . . . and senior citizens with calculators trying to do the math." Only after all this are county convention delegates allocated among the candidates and the results phoned in to the state Democratic Party. Delegates aren't actually allocated until the Democratic county conventions in March.

Not all local caucuses are equal. The "entrance" polls of voter preferences that you will see reported Thursday night are likely to be from urban areas, which may shortchange candidates like John Edwards, Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson, who have campaigned more heavily in rural areas. "It's entirely possible that John Edwards could come in a stunning second when all the votes are in, but the country will have gone to bed thinking he only took third place," says Howard Fineman of Newsweek.

Rural Iowa matters for another reason in the Democratic contest. In order to encourage candidates to campaign in farming areas, state Democrats have tilted the delegate allocation so that rural areas are disproportionately represented in the final results. This sometimes can lead to bizarre results. As Roger Simon of notes, "the turnout in some precincts is so small that a single family--let's say four people--can determine the winner. In other precincts, only one person will show up and win for his candidate by being the only person in the room." In small-turnout caucus meetings, ties are resolved by a coin toss or drawing lots. In 2004, four precincts saw literally no one show up to vote in the Democratic caucus.

Fund goes on to enumerate even more weirdness on the Democrat side, which is my experience when I worked for weeks to get votes in Michigan for a Democratic National Convention [Chicago, '68]. Democrats have a long tradition of saying that they will show up to vote at a meeting and then not doing so. It's why the more-disciplined Republicans tend to win elections---they're honest and hard-working.

But Mickey has the funniest, most appropriate, and really on-the-money approach, as I recall my short stint in SDS before the State Department invited me to join the Foreign Service [!?!]
Letting the presidential nominee be picked by the Iowa caucusers is like letting your antiwar tactics be picked by the last people left at the end of a 4-hour SDS meeting in 1970. The result: the leftist radicals win! [But you were all leftist radicals. It was an SDS meeting--ed Oh, right. I mean, the most committed partisans who have nothing better to do with their time win! In Iowa these people are proven fools, remember.]

Indeed they are, Mickey. Indeed, they are.

Disloyal Opposition Caught Lying in Public

The New York Post has a great collection of the hysterics that leftist maniacs display on a frequent basis.
"When I watched [former President Bill Clinton] at Mrs. King's funeral, I just have never seen anything like it . . . There are times when he sounds like Jesus in the temple. I mean, amazing ability to transcend ethnicity - race, we call it, it's really ethnicity - in this country and, and speak to us all in this amazingly primordial way." - Chris Matthews, MSNBC's "Hardball"

Autodidact Matthews never did go to college, but he does like that rhetorical blahblah. Treason is okay if it's a lefty moron like Bill Maher:
"I'm just saying, if he did die, other people, more people, would live. That's a fact." - Bill Maher, HBO's "Real Time," discussing complaints by left-wing bloggers that an attempt to kill Vice President Dick Cheney in Afghanistan had failed

If you want stupid mindless twaddle, The View gives a daily dose, none more vapid, stupid & idiotic than the mirthless "Joy" Behar, a blubbery motormouth without a brain:
"Is there such a thing as a man-made stroke? In other words, did someone do this to him? . . . I know what this [Republican] party is capable of."- Joy Behar, on ABC's "The View," discussing Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson's illness

Any list that does not contain the walking sandwich-board proof that lesbianism rots the mind irretrievably into a maggot-stuffed mush:
"I just want to say something: 655,000 Iraqi civilians are dead. Who are the terrorists? . . . If you were in Iraq and the other country, the United States, the richest in the world, invaded your country and killed 655,000 of your citizens, what would you call us?"- Rosie O'Donnell, on ABC's "The View"

And any list without the biggest phony in the entire US media complex, electronic or print, would be incomplete. Here's the DUI king of Vermont, where this specimen of lying hermaphroditic cowardice slithers about when he's not spewing on PBS:
"As we saw in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the plantation mentality that governs Washington turned the press corps into sitting ducks for the war party, for government, and for neoconservative propaganda and manipulation. . . . I can't tell you again how many reporters have told me that it just never occurred to them that high government officials would manipulate intelligence in order to go to war. Hello?" - PBS' Bill Moyers, in a speech to a conference on "media reform"

Check the Post link above for more garbage and lies from the folks who think they're smarter than you & in Moyers' case, use YOUR TAX MONEY to abuse the truth on public television!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Dick Morris on Billy Jeff's Sucking Oxygen From Hillarious

Dick Morris knows the Clintons better than any political analyst or adviser, or if he doesn't, at least tells the truth about this deceptive, manipulative, dishonest couple who want to extend their dynasty another eight years.
At first [this year], his appearances were novel and politically helpful. But then they came to underscore her weakness.

It was as if Dennis Thatcher had stood up for Maggie as she faced down the Argentine junta in the Falklands war. Now, Bill's oversized presence on the national stage raises an even more profound question: Is he using his wife's candidacy to seek a third term in office, prohibited him by the 22nd Amendment?

Increasingly, he seems like former Gov. George Wallace, who put his wife Lurleen into the Alabama State House after he was forced from office by term limits. (Or, in a more recent example, like Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, who stepped aside only to have his wife, Christina Fernandez Kirchner, take power.)

In '90, Hillary Clinton faced a similar problem when she flirted with the idea of running for governor of Arkansas. Bill, determined to seek the presidency in '92, was weighing whether to run for another term as governor or to step down and seek the presidency as a private citizen.

Key to his decision was whether Hillary could take his place, both to keep the seat warm for him should he lose the presidential race and to stop any unwanted revelations from surfacing while he was off campaigning.

But the polls I took at the Clintons' behest found that voters saw Hillary merely as an extension of Bill, not as an independent political figure. Arkansans saw her possible candidacy for governor as an attempt to be a placeholder for her husband.

When I likened the public reaction to Hillary's candidacy to that of Alabama voters to Lurleen's years before, Hillary and Bill exploded in shock and indignation (more his than hers) at the metaphor; they even asked me to do a second poll to confirm the results.

Hillary thereupon began a 20-year effort to differentiate herself from Bill and craft an independent identity.

Morris points out the big problem that Hillary faces as her megalomaniac hubby begins to loom over her campaign like a mad Cagliostro.
now the merger is working against her. Voters are wondering for which Clinton they will be voting when they pull the lever.

Could it be that "two for the price of one" still misrepresents reality? Does Bill so dominate the stage that he'd overshadow his wife were she elected? As Bill campaigns all over all the time, Americans are wondering, Whose presidency will it be, anyway?

Perhaps the voters in Iowa might be asking themselves the same question, as they make their 'second choice' after their first choice is eliminated in the elaborate caucus rituals?

Wired Mag's Top Ten Scientific Breakthroughs

Wired has two dinosaur discoveries among its top ten discoveries of 2007.

The most cognitive dissonance is caused by the genetic similarity between T-Rex and, yes, the common chicken.

That would be one drumstick that'd last a while.

Feral Cats Rid LAPD of Rat Problem

A bon rat, bon chat goes the French saying. Feral cats are now being employed by the LAPD to eliminate rats that have been chewing and burrowing into their equipment.

We have three cats running our household and I was unaware that the mere presence of cats & the smell of their urine drives rats out of town to another location, sort of like a gunslingin' Sheriff.

Now the rodent problem the LAPD have to deal with is merely the human one!

Charlie Wilson's Real War---From My Beltway Foxhole

Denis Neill was my entree into the skullduggery that caused Charlie Wilson to get his Obsessive/Compulsive manic energies mobilized. Denis was/is a man who helped Charlie persuade, cajole, and [yes] bribe his fellow Democrats into supporting Reagan's covert security assistance to the Afghan Mujahideen.

I worked for Denis Neill on the Pakistan front [as well as on Jordan & Sudan & Morocco] on a project mentioned in "Charlie Wilson's War" and actually worked with Wilson on a low-level, but important project that netted Pakistan $450,000,000 [$500million in the movie] in much-needed military aid [with the help of Dem. Senators Kerry & Dodd---I personally delivered the check!!!] I had raised #50,000 which Denis had put into a cashiers check that I delivered to freshman Senator John Kerry's rep at the DNC for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Denis Neill himself paid the Committee a couple thou and John Kerry another thou the same year [1988]. One of history's little ironies is that Kerry & Dodd voted with the minority Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as a result of that check, or so Denis told me three months later at the Office Christmas Party with Charlie Wilson beaming approvingly at me [and holding a Scotch on the rocks, appropriately]. Denis then poured me a generous single malt Scotch & lit me a Cuban cigar as we partied while the USSR retreated across the border....!

I had visited Peshawar's refugee camps and had spent an evening drinking with the Soviet Ambassador in Islamabad---he thought I was some sort of American agent, perhaps? One of my assistants on a TV production project told me he was part of Dan Rather's production team which famously went across the Afghan border with Dan wearing his funny cap. Actually, phony Dan had his team go out to film the "dangerous" scenes with a Pak movie crew & actors---TV News from CBS hasn't changed much!

In the movie, the camps resembled Darfur, but in reality, they were run by northern European missionaries and the Afghans were so handsome they appeared to be movie actors playing the role of refugees.

I had a couple of hairy escapes from death on the kill-or-be-killed Pak roads filled with drivers high on ganga or some illegal non-alcoholic substance. Once an Army truck I hitched a ride in the back of almost fell off the Karakoram Highway into the Indus River a thousand feet below. I looked down and saw the gigantic rapids below swollen with winter rains.

May not have been the greatest memories, but it sure beats Arthur Schlesinger's cocktail party patter...!

Edwards Throws Stones in his 40K sq ft Glass House

Obama is being called ugly by a frog, as pretty-boy John accuses Sen. Obama of living in Never-Never-Land.

Working-class hero John kept his secret hottie sequestered in a gated NC community as she entered her third trimester. His hard-earned ambulance-chasing monies garnered by tricking simple rural folk in juries is also tricking simple farmers and isolationists in Iowa, a state where farm animals outnumber people at least 50/1. Edwards tells ABC:
Edwards also detailed his conversation with Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf from Thursday in which he told that country's leader he needs to allow "independent international inspectors into Pakistan to determine the facts of what happened around the former prime minister's assassination.

Like Ramsey Clark? Or the numbnuts in the UN? Al Qaeda said they were going to kill Benazir Bhutto, has had a congratulatory message to the AQ perps from Zawahiri intercepted, and continues publicly to take credit for the murder. Perhaps John-boy, with his keen forensic skills, knows better? But this legal beagle & CSI wizard is also an economist:
the candidate argued that his aggressive populism is necessary for the country, a message that he summed up as: "We have to stop the corporate greed that's killing the middle class in America."

Mere facts like the stats demonstrating that the Middle Class this class-warfare agitpreppie weeps for is actually INCREASING its income and buying power don't faze the hair-and-makeup sub-prime mortgage hedge fund genius. Besides a half-million consulting fee, this financial guru invested $18 million in the Fortress Fund, which preys on poor "middle-class families" trying to keep their homes as ARMS permit Fortress to initiate foreclosure proceedings. About 50 Katrina victims in New Orleans are among Edwards' sub-prime victims---talk about a one-two hit topped by incredible hypocrisy. Of course, the socialistic MSM doesn't hammer Edwards as it would a Republican, using the "malefactor of great wealth" trope. John-boy with his sequestered wench [living down the block from the dude who claims to have knocked her up, with his wife & kids taking it all calmly]. No pressure from the MSM on that front either. But Rudy & other Repubs take the heat for multiple marriages.

Read on....
Edwards repeated his implicit criticism of Obama, saying any candidate who thinks he or she can invite corporate America to the table and achieve real results for Americans "is living in never-never land."

So he believes Barack Obama lives in never-never land?

"If he believes that, yes," Edwards said. "It's a little hard for me to tell sometimes based on the way he talks about this. I've heard him say he would give stakeholders a seat at the table. I assume he's talking about oil companies, drug companies and insurance companies."

Of course, Edwards himself has advocated the same thing, as Obama's people point out:
In response, the Obama campaign pointed to an interview Edwards gave to the liberal website in Feburary, where Edwards was asked if he'd bring into the healthcare debate "both corporations and labor and healthcare groups and doctors" and he responded "I think you try to bring everybody to the table. You want their participation, you want to make the system work for everybody."

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said, "Edwards is ramping up his attacks as the caucus draws near but his new rhetoric on 'not negotiating or compromising or working with the powerful interests' is a sharp u-turn from what was once a quite conciliatory view towards those same powerful interests."

Asked during the interview if he thought Obama or Clinton would be better at bringing about change were he not in the race, Edwards indicated his preference was Obama.

"One of them believes change is necessary and the system doesn't work, and the other defends the system," he said.

But Edwards actually demonstrates that he has a smidgeon of common sense and prudent wisdom---COMPARED TO HIS FELLOW DEMOCRATS, which is not really saying much:
Edwards also dismissed comments from another Democratic presidential hopeful, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who Friday called for Musharraf to step down from power. "Some of my Democratic opponents have misplaced faith in Musharraf," Richardson said. "Like the Bush administration, they cling to the misguided notion that Musharraf can be trusted as an ally to fight terrorism."

"I haven't misplaced faith in Musharraf," Edwards said. "Musharraf has lots of problems, as we all know. And we have to keep the pressure on him. But I also think that a serious presidential candidate in a moment of crisis like this needs to show calm … and not be thinking about the politics of this."

Richardson has busily been self-destructing as he abandons his foreign policy experience [I held a fund-raiser for him in DC at my home & he is/was level-headed and thoughtful in private---he seems to have veered sharply leftward for tactical reasons & now is perched with Kucinich in the other-worldly branch of Dem natsec & fonpol nutjobs].

Who's Your Daddy....?
His campaign bus, the Mainstreet Express, was met in Dubuque by a hometown favorite, the first lady of the state of Iowa, Mari Culver, who has endorsed Edwards.

Does that mean Gov. Chet Culver is secretly supporting Edwards? He wouldn't say.

"I'm not gonna touch that," he said laughing, as he walked off.

And Rielle sits untouched as her little boy/girl/twins gestate. Wonder who the baby will take after? Inquiring minds want to know...!

Schlesinger Journals: Autistic Solipsistic Narcissism

P.J. O'Rourke is the most accomplished graduate of National Lampoon, which he edited in its heyday in the early '70s. He reviewed Arthur S. JR or rather, claims he didn't.
Naturally we cannot expect a man with credentials such as Arthur's to be merely a jerk; he's an idiot, too. The quickest riffle through Journals is enough to prove it. Said Arthur, after a 10-day visit to the USSR in 1982: "I fear that those who think the Soviet Union is on the verge of economic and social collapse are kidding themselves." It just so happens that I was in the USSR myself for about 10 days in 1982. I was an ignorant, neophyte foreign correspondent on my first overseas assignment. But I did notice that the Soviet Union was on the verge of economic and social collapse.

Arthur wrote one book worthy of reading: The Age of Jackson. I read it back when I
still suffered from delusions of leftism---now I see it as merely mainstream liberal lucubrations that victims of academicide inflict on themselves in the "Publish or Perish" sweepstakes.

I saw him once on an East Side sidewalk---he was about five feet tall, if that. A hero worshipper and Nixon hater, JUNIOR exemplifies on how wrongheadedness combined with narcissistic self-regard times knee-jerk liberalism leads to suffocating silliness.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Max Boot on the REALLY REAL Pakistan

Pakistan is a place I have visited a dozen times over the last two decades and remains a source of endless fascination tempered by a bit of fear.

Max Boot points out some of the many paradoxes of this sprawling country of more than 150 million people. While 46% of Pakis polled say they like Osama bin Laden, 63% said they liked Bhutto. Only nine percent liked Bush. What gives?

Based on my experiences, the Paks like Osama as a paragon of Islam standing up against the West---they don't want Al Qaeda ruling the country with patriarchal backwardness.

The Paks like Bhutto because she represents some form of democratic representation & enlightenment compared to the clannish tribal feuds that constitute government in large swathes of the country.

They don't like Bush because he & America have supported military dictators like Musharraf while professing a desire for democracy. That hypocrisy in their eyes disqualifies Bush as a desired ally.

The cardinal basic fact of Pakistani politics is that the Army rules everything that isn't tied down. If a politician like Benazir's father gets in the way of the Army, he is executed on trumped-up charges.

Another cardinal fact is that corruption rules whatever the Army doesn't rule [although the Army itself is corrupt] and that peculation and venality are rampant, even among religious authorities.

The overarching fact is that only FOUR PERCENT of Pakis polled would consider voting for a religious party. Secularism still rules supreme in political life, though religious considerations affect voting for particular parties.

Finally, the ISI [who serve as a combination CIA/FBI according to a senior ISI official I talked to] has all sorts of spies and informers everywhere. When you read spurious blogs like Newshoggers who claim ISI is infected with religious agents, it is simply a misapprehension based on the fact that ISI infiltrates some religious organizations, and may perhaps have double-agent problems within its organization---sort of like Aldrich or other turncoats in the CIA or FBI.

Pakistan is many countries bundled into one, with the four major provinces [NWFP, Punjab, Sindh, & Baluchistan] all subdivided into various areas. Azad Kashmir is independently administered due to hostilities with India. Lahore & Karachi & Quetta & Peshawar are as different as the capitals of various Latin American countries. The languages differ, though Urdu is the unifying tongue & English widely spoken.

Benazir Bhutto always had a foolish streak of grandiosity which probably led to her sad tragic death---she should have kept her head down as she left the tightly-secured campaign speech area & entered the streets of Rawalpindi----a security nightmare at the best of times [I actually witnessed a riot in 'Pindi in the late '80s]. She knew she was an AQ target and she should have kept her populist instincts in check---like her father, she always liked to push the edge of the envelope.

That is permissible in advanced democracies, but Pakistan still has a long way to go before the fissiparous tendencies in the country begin to subside enough for rational campaigns without the threat of violence.

French Scientist Calls Gore "Crook," Greens "Religious Zealots"

Cargo Cult Science by hysterical meteorologists & "climatologists" are beginning to see their frantic ravings contradicted by real scientists who reject the UN IRCC science-by-committee. Even in France, notoriously susceptible to fads and superficial trends:
The most conspicuous doubter in France is Claude Allegre, a former education minister and a physicist by profession. His new book, ``Ma Verite Sur la Planete'' (``My Truth About the Planet''), doesn't mince words. [``Ma Verite Sur la Planete'' is published by Plon/Fayard (240 pages, 18 euros).]

He calls Gore a ``crook'' presiding over an eco-business that pumps out cash. As for Gore's French followers, the author likens them to religious zealots who, far from saving humanity, are endangering it. Driven by a Judeo-Christian guilt complex, he says, French greens paint worst-case scenarios and attribute little-understood cycles to human misbehavior.

Allegre doesn't deny that the climate has changed or that extreme weather has become more common. He instead emphasizes the local character of these phenomena.

While the icecap of the North Pole is shrinking, the one covering Antarctica -- or 92 percent of the Earth's ice -- is not, he says. Nor have Scandinavian glaciers receded, he says. To play down these differences by basing forecasts on a global average makes no sense to Allegre.

He dismisses talk of renewable energies, such as wind or solar power, saying it would take a century for them to become a serious factor in meeting the world's energy demands.

France has taken another path: Almost 80 percent of its electricity comes from nuclear reactors. What's more, France has a talent for eating its cake and having it, too: Although it signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the country is nowhere near meeting the agreed targets. As with almost all others who signed.....
Jean de Kervasdoue, a health expert, also stresses the benefits of nuclear power, noting that it emits only a small fraction of the greenhouse gas that comes from burning coal, oil or gas. His pet peeve, though, is genetically modified food. In ``Les Precheurs de l'Apocalypse'' (``The Doomsday Preachers''), Kervasdoue decries how shrill and sometimes violent campaigners have prevented GM foods from gaining a foothold in Europe. They way they talk, he says, ``it sounds as if Martians are attacking the Earth.''

Kervasdoue goes on to note that many genetically modified products are in everyday use around the world.
In fact, genetically modified organisms have proved highly beneficial to mankind, he argues, pointing to insulin, an artificially created hormone that has saved the lives of countless diabetes sufferers. A much greater danger to health and life expectancy, he says, is obesity -- even though the food that European fatsoes ingest is ``natural.'' Kervasdoue also has politically incorrect things to say about asbestos and Chernobyl. The motto of his book comes from Marcel Proust: ``Facts don't enter a world dominated by our beliefs.''

Richard Feynman warned that "Cargo Cult Science" was a looming threat to the integrity of the scientific process of testing and verification before publishing. Nowadays, self-proclaimed "sciences" like "climatology" are used to make doomsday predictions in order to achieve unrelated political goals, like raising taxes to cover so-called carbon emissions [like breathing!] if you live in a rich country like the USA. Curiously, poorer countries are exempt.

The UN is already pushing for the abolition of the right of self-defense. The new religion of climatology wants to tax the air we breathe...!

Wonder Land and American Politics: Left versus Less Leftist

The WSJ's Dan Henninger has a thoughtful piece based on Freud's famous conundrum "What do women want?" And then extrapolates it to the American voter.

Of course, the real answer to Freud's original question is: "They don't know, or rather, they know and then change their minds about what they want."

The American voter is less fickle and changeable, but not by much [being comprised of 50% females]. Henninger's answer as to the US voter:
The nasty paradox of the modern, data-dumped media age is this: The more we know, the less we know. Weirdly, in a world of total data, people barely know what they want from politics--for themselves, for the country or the presidency.

Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair on his way out of office identified a truism for our times: With the rise of the Web, judgment has fallen because less time is available to think. So one was struck during Sen. John McCain's visit to the Journal editorial page a few weeks ago, when he remarked that campaigns aren't adjusted day to day now, but "hour to hour."

It may be that a Web-stoked media has demoted the office of the presidency itself as an animating idea and elevated the mechanics, the sport, of elections. The unpopularity of the Bush presidency aside, note how a presidential election, now entering its second year, has become a national obsession, which like most obsessions tends to induce disappointment.

The entire nominating process has turned into a two-year horse race, with handicapping on a daily basis depending on polls, many of which, like the CNN You Tube "Debates," heavily skewed by manipulative questioning to obtain the desired result. Since the mainstream media is almost entirely left-tilted, the polls invariably tilt left in their "answers," which are the GIGO product of a dishonest press/media. But Henninger makes another observation:
We are passing through a largely ideological age, exacerbated by the Web on the left and right. The left doesn't want to do politics with the other side but merely wants to eliminate it, and then run the country. The religious right, by and large, mainly wants someone to pay attention to them and acknowledge their legitimacy. None of this has much to do with finding a candidate who will make more right than wrong calls during four years in the Oval Office.

The ultra-left blogosphere and Dem politicians are starting to veer back to the Bolshevik template that socialist governing entities often adopt when their "policies" and "programs" are revealed to be the same as those which have not worked in the past in our country, any other country [except perhaps a couple of Scandanavian mini-states with miniscule populations], and have usually devolved into authoritarian templates: Kim Jung-Il, Mugabe, Saddam's & Assad's Ba'ath, Castro, and of course the failed totalitarian monster entities of Pol Pot, Chairman Mao, & Stalin [all of which caused the death of significant percentages of the country undergoing "the transition from socialism to communism. Pol Pot holds the % record with about 40% of his countrymen slaughtered in a few short years]. So remember well DHenninger's sentence:
"The left doesn't want to do politics with the other side but merely wants to eliminate it, and then run the country."

We're not talking about centrists like Hillary & Obama, we're talking about mindless hypocrites like Edwards and Kucinich & the Kossack/C&L/Olberman choir of spew machines infecting political discourse with dishonest deceitful lists of lies & pseudo-events like Plamegate. Henninger finishes with a sad conclusion:
It may well be that, as so often before, voters starting in Iowa next week will in the aggregate find the right reasons to choose the winner in November. Little wonder, though, that their mood is sour. More than ever, the electorate is being ill-served, and knows it.......terrorism's many addresses, the shameful images of Darfur, the dollar in decline, a Congress in which there is next-to-no confidence. Amid this comes a campaign running 24/7 unto eternity, even as people madden themselves trying to penetrate deeply enough to get a fix on the candidates and make the right call on the presidency. Freud also said, "Neurosis is the inability to tolerate ambiguity." In American politics, ambiguity is all you get. Our voters are not neurotic. They are just deeply annoyed.

The outright lies of the left, the dissembling of the centrists, and the timid fear of real conservatives to grasp the nettle of difficult issues like illegal immigration and defense of the country against terrorism all annoys and dismays the electorate, as dishonesty, doubletalk, and gutlessness all compete for the ennui trophy in 2008.

Go see Charlie Wilson's War. [Spoiler alert: Aaron Sorkin's screenplay is a bit "West-Wing Whackjob in its bias.] For all his numerous imperfections, Charlie was a guy who had the balls to stand for something and worked single-mindedly to achieve it.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto Dead

Bhutto was killed at the same spot as a previous Paki PM, Liaqat Ali Khan, in Rawalpindi.

The most likely culprit is Al Qaeda. Zawahiri has vowed to kill Bhutto whom AQ considers an American agent & a feminist dead set against AQ male patriarchies. The tragedy is that Musharaff might have been betrayed by ISI elements sympathetic to AQ extremists who want to keep Pakistan off balance—which keeps their hand in the game.

There is no way that Musharaff wanted Bhutto dead and gone—but his enemies [and Pak destabilizers] did.

This terrible crime will throw a spotlight on the American candidates for President and may reverse the domestic tilt that success in Iraq has enabled the candidates to stress over the last couple of months. Foreign policy expertise will once again come to the fore as a necessary qualification for a nominee of a major party. This may also temporarily derail a third party bid by Bloomberg or Ron Paul.

Sadly, Bill Richardson has already soiled his underwear in public by demanding Musharraf's immediate resignation, something even seasoned moonbats are too clever to call for. At a time of instability, this would be foolish at best and probably insane.

Is this fellow a serious candidate for POTUS? He is rapidly losing any credibility in foreign affairs by his intemperate announcements.

Nanny-State Nincompoops Commit New Nitwittery

Merrie Olde England has evidently gone soft in the head, at least if the Warwickshire Constabulary are an example of how a nanny state operates.
A woman who suffered a break-in robbery in which she lost some valuable antiques worth "thousands" has been told she could face a significant liability if she beefs up her home's security, and a returning robber would be injured.

"If I have got to live behind locked doors for the rest of my life, I hope the rest of my life isn't very long," the woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Rugby, England, Advertiser.

"But why would I want my house safe for these people? It's crazy," she said.

The robbery victim had been told that she might be subject to prosecution if future robbers were injured by barbed wire or other protection devices on her property.
The woman had antiques and personal items worth "thousands" stolen from her home during her absence to attend to the needs of her brother, suffering with cancer.

The invaders smashed through a security gate and broke windows in order to get inside, police reports said.

During their investigation, Rugby police provided her with a crime-fighting booklet that discusses home security.

But she told the Advertiser when she asked about putting in a new security fence and upgrading its capabilities, she was told the laws on liability meant she risked a police investigation herself if any trespassers hurt themselves climbing it.

She had wanted to add barbed wire to the fence in order to reduce the ease with which the robbers apparently gained access to her home.

But the Warwickshire Police "Operation Impact" booklet, which gives victims information on crime-fighting, suggested she could risk a prosecution herself if someone would be hurt.

"I respect that if the postman or the gas man calls, they don't expect to hurt himself. But I was speechless – you couldn't make it up. I think these laws show we have gone soft in the head," she told the newspaper.

This type of thinking goes along with recent UN decrees which declare that self-defense may be considered a violation of international law.

Stay tuned, as the Oprahfication of the planet's former centers of civilization turns them into petting zoos for criminals.

Why You Don't Want to Win a Writer's Prize Anymore

IDF Soldiers are guilty of NOT raping Palestinian girls because, and READ THIS CAREFULLY:
"the lack of organized military rape is an alternate way of realizing [particular] political goals."

The next sentence delineates the particular goals that are realized in this manner: "In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can be seen that the lack of military rape merely strengthens the ethnic boundaries and clarifies the inter-ethnic differences - just as organized military rape would have done."

Now do you think George Orwell was wrong when he announced the arrival of "doublethink."

Here's more:
The paper further theorizes that Arab women in Judea and Samaria are not raped by IDF soldiers because the women are de-humanized in the soldiers' eyes.
The paper was published by the Hebrew University's Shaine Center, based on the recommendation of a Hebrew University professors' committee headed by Dr. Zali Gurevitch.
"I do not have the entire text in front of me," Gurevitch said, when contacted by Arutz-7, "and I don't think we can jump to conclusions based on partial sentences, but I can say the following: This was a very serious paper that asked two important questions: Is the relative lack of IDF rapes a noteworthy phenomenon, and if so, why is it that there are so few IDF rapes when in similar situations around the world, rape is much more common?"

An interlocutor asked the distinguished Herr Perfesser Gurevitch
"Can't it just be that Israeli soldiers come from a culture that very much condemns rape? And why not mention the much-touted 'purity of arms,' i.e., the high moral conduct, of the Israeli Army?"

Then it gets, if this is possible, even more absurd:
Gurevitch said that observers do not have the right to demand a particular explanation to a given phenomenon. He said that the researcher had done a serious job, based on interviews with 25 soldiers and other accounts, and that the right-wing should not jump to the conclusion that this was simply another "secular, left-wing" generality.

Makor Rishon editor Amnon Lord, who first publicized the story, wrote that not only did researcher Nitzan not consider Jewish tradition as an explanation, but neither did she "raise the possibility that her initial assumption - namely, that the situation in Judea and Samaria is just like any other situation of conquest - may be wrong."....
"It is noteworthy," Lord concludes, "that Palestinian propaganda around the world frequently accuses Israelis of murder and rape. Such that this situation is unique: An army is found blameworthy of rape, and is also blameworthy of not raping."

I think this is the clearest example of "damned if you do and damned if you don't" that I've seen in the year 2007---even with Harry Reid and Nancy Pee-loosely making pronunciamentos from time to time.

Academicide will always produce the most flaming examples of sheer moronic stupidity anywhere, but this exertion actually WON A WRITERS' PRIZE!

I wonder what the other entries looked like....! [h/t Moe Lane at Redstate]

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

State Dept Leftists Halt Rice at Every Opportunity

John Bolton correctly notes that the professional Nomenklatura in the State Department are playing the same role today as the CIA "professionals" played in Charlie Wilson's War, where the Islamabad Station Chief fights tooth and nail to keep Gust & Charlie from helping Zia help the Mujahideen---because, you see, we were playing a game of bleeding the Sovs dry rather than fighting them more directly.
Bolton said that the CIA shared the State Department’s opposition to doing anything overtly or covertly to undermine the Iranian regime, and faulted Secretary of State Rice for getting “co-opted” by the bureaucracy.

“Secretary Rice has adopted the prevailing view within the bureaucracy, which have been reflected in our deference to the Europeans and the exclusively diplomatic approach for four years,” he said.

This approach is particularly dangerous because the U.S. intelligence community has almost always been wrong in its estimates of when Iran could acquire nuclear weapons capability, Bolton said.

One of reason for the inability to get Iran right is an unwillingness to talk to Iranian defectors. “Since World War II, the Intelligence community has disliked exiles and dissidents, claiming they are unreliable because they have a political agenda. This is just self-blindness,” he said.

As a result of such prejudices, “[o]ur lack of reliable intelligence inside Iran is substantial… Every day the military option is postponed makes it riskier that we will actually use force but fail to achieve our objectives.”

State & Langley are always going to want to play the loser-game wait-and-see that led the CIA to so vastly underestimate the weakness of the Soviet Union, or of the Shah of Iran, for that matter. A State friend of mine, Stan Escudero, was actually punished by the State Dept for reporting that the Shah was much weaker than the CIA & State Nomenklatura were saying he was---indeed, the Senior Apparatchiki were proclaiming the Shah's resilience and power at the same time he was planning a coward's exit!

Clowns like Arthur Schlesinger Jr. played the same game with the Soviets, reporting that the Soviet system was economically strong because he could tell from visiting the shops in Moscow within walking distance of the Kremlin!!

The willful blindness of the State perennials does NOT mirror the UK's permanent Whitehall staff, who are urged to think outside the box & develop alternative scenarios---or they were back when I was an FSO. While I disagree with Bolton on certain tactical bases, he is certainly better than the Clintonian appeasers like a weirdo named Vann Van Diepen:
Bolton has long been an advocate of muscular diplomacy. When he served as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and Nonproliferation during the early years of the Bush administration, he frequently crossed swords with arms control advocates who were viscerally opposed to imposing sanctions on proliferators.

In his recent book, “Surrender is Not an Option,” Bolton names one such official, Vann Van Diepen, who refused to act on direct orders to apply nonproliferation sanctions.

As Newsmax revealed on December 4, Van Diepen was one of three former State Department officials who authored the much-disputed recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iran.

The arms controllers are also trying to rewrite history on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, Bolton warned.

During negotiations in 2002, the North Korean government admitted that in addition to its plutonium production reactor at Yongbyon, it also had a clandestine uranium enrichment program.

For once, Bolton said, “all of the intelligence community agreed that North Korea had embarked on procurement for a uranium enrichment program.”

And yet today, the arms controllers are trying to walk back that conclusion and “rewrite history” in order to cover-up North Korea’s lies and dissembling, Bolton said.

Bolton also was critical of the Bush White House for not doing more to name and retain strong conservatives in the administration.

When his nomination to become the permanent U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was submitted to the Senate, for example, the administration ran a confirmation battle, whereas the Democrats engaged in a full-fledged political campaign. “Given that, the outcome was predictable,” Bolton said.

The consequences of allowing the shadow warriors run the government instead of Bush loyalists have been dramatic, since they have succeeded in “turning the President’s policy in effect in a 180-degree U-turn” in North Korea and other areas, Bolton said.

The Iranian NIE is probably as accurate as the CIA prediction that the Soviet economy was prospering and would continue to do so in the mid-'80s.

And George W. Bush's management of his administration's policies mitigates strongly against another president with a Harvard MBA!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Methane Hydrate Beds Cure for Energy Woes?

Japan is planning to mine frozen seabed methane on an industrial scale. The massive beds of frozen natural gas exist in many parts of the world, including offshore under the US East Coast. Indeed, undersea landslides might be one of the causes of Bermuda Triangle ship disappearances, as a sudden release of methyl hydrate underwater causes the sea to bubble and produces a complete loss of buoyancy.
Commercial exploitation of methane hydrate is economically viable when oil trades above $54 a barrel, Japan's government estimated two years ago. The trade ministry is targeting 2016 to start production, corresponding with the scheduled completion of the 16-year government-led test project.

While governments are attracted to an abundant clean fuel, drilling risks disturbing the seabed and triggering an uncontrolled release, says Matsumoto of the University of Tokyo.

``A mass release of methane into the sea and the atmosphere is a risk for global warming,'' he says. ``Massive landslides at the ocean floor must be avoided when drilling at the Nankai Trough.''

The econutjob lobby in the US will predictably oppose mining off the Carolinas & Georgia where giant seabed methane deposits could be profitably extracted. However, the same whackjobs who oppose ANWR in Alaska & offshore in the US will eventually destroy the American economy unless sane citizens elect sane representatives.

It's up to us. All we sane Americans.

US Realpolitik versus Euroweenie weasalhood

Robert Kagan is the author of an Xmas gift I'm going to enjoy Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order. Here's one review:
A book version of the essay that sparked a great debate on both sides of the Atlantic in 2002. In this tour de force, Kagan argues that today's conflict between the United States and Europe is not simply a result of passing policy disputes or the Bush administration's foreign policy style. Rather, it reflects a more profound estrangement rooted in American power and European weakness. The old Atlantic partners live today on different planets. America's preeminent global position has thrust it into a Hobbesian world of lurking threats and made it more willing to use force, whereas Europe seeks peace through law and diplomacy. Kagan is best in describing Europe's postwar project of taming the dangers and instabilities of power politics in a democratic, Kantian zone of peace. Thanks partly to the U.S. security guarantee, Europeans have devised a political order in which power is subdued and the use of force banished. Yet Europe has also made itself weak, Kagan charges, as its nations remain unable to confront the anarchical dangers of the wider world. Kagan argues that America's realpolitik view is not only a feature of Republican administrations but a deeper expression of American power (after all, Bill Clinton was willing to bomb Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan). The result is a growing divergence in strategic views and eroding solidarity.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Nutjob Ron Paul Says Stop Provoking Osama bin Laden

Terminal mental basketcase Ron Paul
has argued that the US must stop provoking Al-Qaida if Americans are not to be attacked and killed and that Washington's close ties with Israel and Pakistan are annoying the terrorist outfit.

"Read what Osama bin Laden said. We had a base in Saudi Arabia that was an affront to their religion, that was blasphemy, as far as they were concerned," Texas Congressman Ron Paul said.

He also said the US was bombing Iraq for 10 years. "We've interfered in Iran since 1953. Our CIA has been involved in the overthrow of their governments. We're, right now, in the process of overthrowing that nation," Paul said.

"We side more with Israel and Pakistan, and they get annoyed with this."

Hmmm.... This joker makes Mike Huckabee, who asked "What NIE on Iran?" look like Henry Kissinger!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Blair Converts to Catholicism

Tony Blair's conversion to Roman Catholicism comes at a time when the Catholic Church is experiencing a boom in old Anglican/Protestant England.

NYT's John Burns has a longish article about Blair without mentioning that fact, as to be expected from the anti-religious former "newspaper of record." However, Burns' article mentions that
Mr. Blair has spent much of his time since resigning as prime minister on his work as the envoy of the so-called Middle East diplomatic quartet — comprising the United Nations, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United States — from a base at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem.

I stayed in the American Colony back in the day, and was shown the room where Churchill & "Lawrence of Arabia" divided up the Middle East into roughly its borders of today, all in a long afternoon.

Most British dailies are sardonic or openly scornful of Blair's personal move.
In an interview recorded for a three-part television documentary broadcast last month on the BBC, “The Blair Years,” Mr. Blair acknowledged the importance of his religious beliefs in guiding his years as prime minister and also the care he had taken not to talk about those beliefs in public.

“You know, if I am honest about it, yes of course it was hugely important,” he said.

But he added that while politicians could speak freely about their faith in the United States, it was hard to do so in Britain because “you talk about it in our system and, frankly, people do think you’re a nutter.”

Which says more about the British themselves, whose godless nanny-state mentality is projected onto the very few SANE people in the UK as though the sane were "nutters."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Boca Town Center Mall a Crime Magnet?

Boca Raton's giant Town Center Mall is now being abandoned by shoppers as the Simon Security & Boca Police have abandoned customer safety in the past.

Two years ago a "gentleman" Rolex bandit stalked the mall & robbed customers in a low-key style until he was arrested. Then last August, a youngish mom was jumped in her car in the parking lots---which are diminishing rapidly as new extensions of the mall appropriate more parking space---forced at gunpoint to drive to an ATM, then forced to hand over $600 to the bandit, who tied her & her two-year old child in a neck-wrist hog-tie mode. The media & police did not take the crime seriously, and my daughter happened to hear about it only because one of her friends worked at the mall.

This coverup of the August crime is inexcusable. The fact that Simon & the Boca police dept. did not take seriously the woman's testimony that she & her two-year old had been abducted demonstrates a callous disregard for public safety.

As it happened, my home in the Colonnade was robbed by five Jamaicans in May of last year. They were also traced to Overtown [I believe] by Det. Horowitz, who did a great job in apprehending the gang leader.

The roofers at the time working across from our pool were Jamaican & I told the police that our house & an adjacent one robbed a few days later were a result of the Jamaican roofers---I saw one pointing to the house that was subsequently robbed & talking excitedly while unnoticed doing pool exercises.

Result---no follow-up of the Boca police was done on that, even though we took the license number of the W.Palm Beach truck & phone # of the firm & offered it to the investigators.

The roofers were working for about a month and a rash of robberies broke out in the Colonnade.

I knew they were Jamaican [I heard their argot from the pool on several occasions] as were the robbers of my house, whom I caught flagrante delicto. Again, Det. Horowitz DID care about the robbery, unlike the Boca police.

As a result, I & my wife & daughter are out of $4000 in coins & jewelry & iPods & other tech stuff. They left my wedding ring on the floor.

The fellow was sentenced last month to a few months in jail. I was told there is no way to get our property back except to sue the delinquent Jamaican kid.

Boca Raton detectives were good, but the other police were lackadaisical and dismissed my complaints.

Our neighbor who was robbed a couple of days after us moved out to another more safe jurisdiction....!

Between the Boca cops & Palm Beach courts, we are regarded as a nuisance if we are a victim of a robbery or mugging.

South Florida is a bit of paradise, but the serpent lurks in every tree.

Friday, December 21, 2007

MSM Consigns Edwards Mystery to Memory Hole

Rielle Hunter again exits stage left as John Edwards continues his Teflon progress to the primaries. If this were a Republican candidate, dozens of reporters would vie for more details.

I'm reminded of Oscar Wilde's response to a fellow author who asked about what to do about a "conspiracy of silence" concerning his candidacy for a literary prize.

Oscar's pithy advice: "Join it."

However, if Edwards manages to survive the pre-Super Tuesday rush to judgment, this vignette should be examined more closely, as he already appears to be hypocritical far beyond the normal two-faced norm of major candidates!

UPDATE: Oops, Mickey Kaus has a characteristically brilliant sum-up of the overarching Weltanshauungs in conflict in the USA, as propounded in Room Eight by Jerry Skurnik. The gist in a few well-chosen words is that there are two electorates, the rabid liberal "intelligentsia" now whipped into daily frenzies by blogs, and the stay-at-home Joe Six-Packers who couldn't care less. The MSM used to provide fodder for the former, the latter were affected by union leaders & bread and butter issues. Now "Rielle Hunter" is the most "hit upon" google site at MSN, yet no MSM will mention her name---nada, rien, kein, etc. Check the two links for adjectival assurances.

Really Rielle will bubble to the surface again, as her tummy gets deep into the third trimester. And inquiring minds will continue to sleuth it out, no matter how hard the suits at NYT, Time Inc, Newsweak, & the alphabet networks & cables play the triple monkey denial routine.

Putin's Real Hero May be Stalin

Time 's Man of the Year issue has an interesting article by Simon Sebag Montefiore concerning Putin & the long-time Russian historical tradition of "autocracy tempered by assassination."
History lives in Russia. Stalin was obsessed with history and based part of his style on the brutal Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great. "The Russian people need tsardom," Stalin said. When he walked around the Kremlin, he reflected, "Ivan once walked here." Now Stalin has become the best barometer of Russian leadership style. New state textbooks hail Stalin as "the most successful Russian leader ever" and a state builder along the lines of Peter the Great and Bismarck.

Putin has one unexpected connection to the past: his grandfather was a chef who cooked for Rasputin, Lenin and Stalin. Half of Stalin's huge library, with marginal notes in his red crayon, remains in Putin's office, and when he is bored, it is said, he takes down a book and discusses the notes with his visitors. Ironically, Stalin the Marxist—born a Georgian cobbler's son—has become the icon and prototype of the strong Russian Tsar, the hero of a resurgent, capitalist Russia.

Reassuring, isn't it?

The Guardian has another reassuring article on Vlad the Empoisoner [another trick he picked up from Stalin & Beria, who inherited their poisoning traditions from when the Iranian Shahs ruled Georgia and imparted their own Borgia/Medici/SunKingatVersailles court poisoning tradition to that distant satrapy in the 18th century. Now lil Vlad has Polonium 210 to work with!] who has amassed a fortune making him Europe's wealthiest man:
According to Panfilova, the "randomised" corruption of the 1990s has given way to the "systemic and institutionalised corruption" of the Putin era. Members of Putin's cabinet personally control the most important sectors of the economy - oil, gas and defence. Medvedev is chairman of Gazprom; Sechin runs Rosneft; other ministers are chairmen of Russian railways, Aeroflot, a nuclear fuel giant and an energy transport enterprise.

Putin has created a new, more streamlined oligarchy, his critics say. "The crown jewels of the country's wealth have ended up in the hands of Putin's inner circle," Vladimir Rzyhkov - a former independent MP - wrote in Monday's Moscow Times.

Before his death, Tolstoy famously predicted that Soviet Communism would generate "Genghis Khan with a telephone." Stalin certainly lived up [or down] to that prediction, killing more than 40 million Russians through ideology and incompetence.

Vladimir Putin appears to be Peter the Great with a portfolio. Oh yes, and a pharmacopeia to deal with his enemies that glows in the dark!

US Women's Fecundity Increases

ABC News reports that America's moms are reproducing at a rate well above that of other advanced industrialized nations. Much higher than Italy and Russia. The US has a reproductive rate of 2.1 per family [or mother per lifetime] as opposed to 1 in Italy & .33 in Russia. Even without cash & tax incentives, which many EU countries supply, US moms are ensuring that by 2040, there will be 400 million Americans, as opposed to about 110 million Russians. Wonder who won the Cold War now?

AEI has more stats and an interesting paragraph on "American Exceptionalism:"
Given the almost gravitational pull of social aging and population decline on Western population profiles during the coming generations, one of the most surprising findings of the UNPD report is how very resistant the United States looks to these common trends. America’s demography looks very different from that of other developed countries—thus, in important respects, America may not share their demographic future.

For a developed country, America’s fertility levels today are remarkably high. Apart from tiny Iceland, the estimated total U.S. fertility rate in the late 1990s was actually the highest in the developed world: just over 2 births per woman per lifetime, versus an average of 1.4 births per lifetime for the rest of the grouping. America’s changing ethnic composition (according to the Census Bureau, Hispanic-Americans now equal African-Americans in total numbers) accounts for part of this difference—but only part. "Non-Hispanic white" American women are currently having 1.7 births per lifetime.

By both historical tradition and current practice, the United States is favorably disposed toward immigration: In the late 1990s, America took in almost half of all the newcomers absorbed by the developed countries. Thanks to these twin characteristics—relatively high fertility and relatively high levels of immigration—the United States is set to chart a different course from the rest of the Western world in the decades ahead.

For one thing, America’s population, while aging, is nonetheless likely to remain distinctly younger than the rest of the West’s. The UNPD’s "medium" scenario illustrates the point: In 2050, median age in America would be about forty-one years (it’s currently thirty-six)—but in the rest of the West, it would be over forty-nine years. No other now-developed country would have such a young populace: In fact, in these projections America’s age profile would be far closer to that of the future Mexico than that of the future Europe. If social aging is a worry, the United States will have to worry that much less.

Unlike the rest of the West, moreover, the United States is poised for continued population growth over the coming decades. Again, the "medium" scenario is illustrative: Where other developed countries as a group shrink by 15 percent between now and 2050, the United States grows by about 40 percent—more than any other now-developed nation.

Today America is the world’s third largest country; fifty years from now, in the UNPD’s "medium" scenario, it is still third (after only India and China). But the relative balance between the United States and other areas would also shift in some interesting directions. There are now two Americans for every Russian. In 2050, the ratio would be four to one—and there would also be almost four Americans for every Japanese. Even if the current membership of the European Union were to form a single state, its projected 2050 population would be significantly smaller than America’s. To the extent that population matters in international affairs, America’s demographic prospects would seem to support—or even enhance—U.S. global influence in the years ahead.

Of course, the ABC TV story had to have the obligatory bleat by a skeletor look-alike named Paul Ehrlich moaning than these children will buy cars and otherwise participate in a capitalist economy---contributing to global warming and God-knows what else. Ehrlich had that eunuch look of die-hard lefties & lifetime loo-zers.

Thankfully, Death-warmed-over urban degenerates like Ehrlich do not represent the mass of American people---whose collective wisdom Bill Clinton used to sing the praises of incessantly, until they voted in the Republicans.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Anthropogenic Global Warming Hoax/Scam Debunked by 400 prominent scientists

The elaborate Leftist Takeover Attempt of capitalist economies is shredded by a Senate Committee Research Paper presenting dissenting voices among many prominent scientists to the scam being promoted by socialist wannabe nanny-state economic tsars. Evidently the ultimate goal is to tax the very air we breathe, if we are in an economically successful [i.e. capitalist] economy.

Examples of “consensus” claims made by promoters of man-made climate fears:
Former Vice President Al Gore (November 5, 2007): “There are still people who believe that the Earth is flat.” (LINK) Gore also compared global warming skeptics to people who 'believe the moon landing was actually staged in a movie lot in Arizona' (June 20, 2006 - LINK)

CNN’s Miles O’Brien (July 23, 2007): The scientific debate is over.” “We're done." O’Brien also declared on CNN on February 9, 2006 that scientific skeptics of man-made catastrophic global warming “are bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry, usually.” (LINK)

On July 27, 2006, Associated Press reporter Seth Borenstein described a scientist as “one of the few remaining scientists skeptical of the global warming harm caused by industries that burn fossil fuels.” (LINK)

Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC view on the number of skeptical scientists as quoted on Feb. 20, 2003: “About 300 years ago, a Flat Earth Society was founded by those who did not believe the world was round. That society still exists; it probably has about a dozen members.” (LINK)

Agence France-Press (AFP Press) article (December 4, 2007): The article noted that a prominent skeptic “finds himself increasingly alone in his claim that climate change poses no imminent threat to the planet.”

Andrew Dessler in the eco-publication Grist Magazine (November 21, 2007): “While some people claim there are lots of skeptical climate scientists out there, if you actually try to find one, you keep turning up the same two dozen or so (e.g., Singer, Lindzen, Michaels, Christy, etc., etc.). These skeptics are endlessly recycled by the denial machine, so someone not paying close attention might think there are lots of them out there -- but that's not the case. (LINK)

The Washington Post asserted on May 23, 2006 that there were only “a handful of skeptics” of man-made climate fears. (LINK)

UN special climate envoy Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland on May 10, 2007 declared the climate debate "over" and added “it's completely immoral, even, to question” the UN’s scientific “consensus." (LINK)

ABC News Global Warming Reporter Bill Blakemore reported on August 30, 2006: “After extensive searches, ABC News has found no such [scientific] debate” on global warming. (LINK)

The Complete Senate Report is interesting and instructive to any sincere seeker after the truth of global climate change, its causes and real dimensions.

The grunts of religious maniacs like Al Gore and Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland [with whom I had lunch while I was working for Amoco Corporation] to the contrary notwithstanding, Dr. Richard Feynman was correct when he said that the scientific community was in grave danger of being corrupted by "Cargo Cult Science."

UPDATE: More dissenting opinions on the AGW "consensus" a former US Vice President drones on about here.

Wish I had a Photo on-line of this specimen of Marketing Genius

Volokh Conspiracy has the ultimate multi-cultural take on religious observace---ala New York City.

Click on the link for the delicious surprise!!

Canadian Muslim Whiners Want to Muzzle Free Speech

NRO has a great piece by Stephen Kurtz on the ridiculous lawsuit against Macleans by some Muslim victimhood-purveyors.
Today, the Muslim law students who have lodged a human rights complaint against Maclean’s, have published an article defending themselves in Canada’s National Post. They claim to be believers in the marketplace of ideas, merely seeking a chance to respond to Mark Steyn. What they don’t say is that they have demanded the right to a cover story in Maclean’s, with full editorial control over content and art.

Imagine NR, after publishing, say, a cover story critical of Al Gore’s movie, being forced by a government body to allow Gore to write a cover story in rebuttal, with full editorial control. Imagine Gore running his legal case against NR for free, while NR is forced to shoulder court costs. And don’t forget that Canada’s Human Rights Commissions have the ability to compel apologies. Imagine NR’s editors being forced by a government body to apologize to Al Gore for refusing to give him control over their own magazine, or even for the content of one of their critical articles. Of course, the complainants against Maclean’s have nothing to say about these issues, all of which have been sharply raised by their so-called human rights case. Actually, Maclean’s already has published a rebuttal to Steyn by Canadian Muslims. It’s called "Mark Steyn has a right to be wrong."

The Canadian Human Rights Commission is an Oprahfied nanny-state abomination that calls words the same as sticks='n=stones & is a farcical precursor of what left-wing Democrats want to infect the USA with---a bunch of "hate crime" legal entities whose real long-term target is the First Amendment, but the short-term goal is shutting off conservative talk radio whose provocative criticism of left-wing flimflammery so enrages the agitpreppie ultra-left. Here is the U.S. State Dept on the anti-democratic tendencies in the Great White North:

Canada Restricts Freedom of Speech.--

The U.S. Department of State reports on human rights activities in foreign countries, including Canada.

The March 6, 2007 report on Canada is quite matter-of-fact in disclosing limits on freedom of speech:

Freedom of Speech and Press . . .

The Supreme Court has ruled that the government may limit free speech in the name of goals such as ending discrimination, ensuring social harmony, or promoting gender equality. It also has ruled that the benefits of limiting hate speech and promoting equality are sufficient to outweigh the freedom of speech clause in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is the country's bill of rights incorporated in the country's constitution. . . .

Inciting hatred (in certain cases) or genocide is a criminal offense, but the Supreme Court has set a high threshold for such cases, specifying that these acts must be proven to be willful and public. The Broadcasting Act prohibits programming containing any abusive comment that would expose individuals or groups to hatred or contempt. Provincial-level film censorship, broadcast licensing procedures, broadcasters' voluntary codes curbing graphic violence, and laws against hate literature and pornography also impose some restrictions on the media.

A 2001 Report on Human Rights in Canada trumpeted how much easier it is to bring a human rights complaint to a Human Rights Commission than to a regular court:

Canada’s domestic human rights protections can be divided into two categories:

1) traditional civil liberties and due process rights, fundamental freedoms, and political rights, which consist essentially of constraints on governmental and legislative action; and

2) anti-discrimination laws, which prohibit discrimination on various grounds in society generally, and which apply to both public and private actors.

The application of the first category of domestic human rights protections is largely entrusted to the courts. The second category of rights, by contrast, is at least in the first instance enforced by specialized administrative bodies (i.e., the various human rights commissions).

Both the ordinary courts and the human rights commissions offer adjudication on individual complaints regarding human rights violations as well as various judicially enforceable remedies where violations are made out. However, in theory at least, the human rights commission model offers a number of advantages over the traditional courts. Typically, human rights commissions:

·are comprised of persons with expertise in human rights;

·have a broader institutional mandate, which includes promotion of and public education about human rights;

·are more accessible to complainants (they have less formal procedures and, more importantly, if they accept the complaint, the commissions will usually investigate and pursue it on behalf of the complainant);

·can initiate their own reviews of policies and practices, even where no complaint has been filed, and can issue public reports accordingly; and

·are obliged to report regularly to Parliament or to the provincial or territorial legislature, as the case may be, not only on their own operations, but also on the state of human rights in their respective jurisdictions.

I contend that the mushy US left pushing the soft "multicultural" agenda is actually concealing a real threat to American democracy, if the way it is enforced begins to resemble the Canadian model to the north.

Clinton Inc Attack on Obama Intensifies

The New York Times is one of the Clinton mafia's strongest support groups, and is combining with [C]linton [N]ews [N]etwork to shoot down the only viable opponent she has in Iowa.

Her loathesome hubby is out and about stepping on her positive messages, but the fellow who coined the phrase "politics of personal destruction" demonstrates now that he was projecting his own political methods when using that against his Repub opposition.

In fact, any opposition is anathema to this pair of entitlement barons as they careen down their career path towards what may be a bad end.

Jake Tapper at ABCNews has the latest invention in the Clinton arsenal of nastiness.
The first-ever website dedicated exclusively to attacking a single supposed to represent the superiority of a dynasty that claimed "I smoked marijuana, but I didn't inhale."

Watch how this plays out, as it could be the end of the J.R. Ewing of national politics and his spouse.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Colossal Phony Hypocrite Edwards to be Outed Again?

Mickey Kaus has an interesting take on the VERY pregnant Rielle Hunter:

What to expect when you're expecting: Drudge teases the National Enquirer ... Update: The Enquirer posts the gist..... One initial point: There's no reason to conclude this story was planted by one campaign or another. I'm familiar with how the initial Rielle Hunter/Edwards rumors, true or not, got to at least one news outlet--and no campaigns, Dem or GOP, were involved. It was a story going around--I'd been hearing it for months. Not all rumors are plants. And some are true. Even in the Enquirer. .. P.S.: Here's an earlier analysis of the potential effect of this scandal on Edwards--and Hillary. It doesn't seem all that complicated. Until recently, Edwards not very subtly put his wife's illness. and his loyalty to her, near the center of his campaign. In the process, he said:
Click Here!

In so many ways, you're the guardians of what kind of human being, we're going to have as president. ... And you get to judge us.

and, on 60 Minutes:

[E]very single candidate for president, Republican and Democratic have lives, personal lives, that indicate something about what kind of human being they are. And I think it is a fair evaluation for America to engage in to look at what kind of human beings each of us are, and what kind of president we'd make.

Backfill: Here's Jerome Armstrong's initial Rielle Hunter denial ("completely unfounded and ridiculous") ...

Update: Many readers report the story has disappeared from the Enquirer's web site. I don't know why, but you can't be too paranoid when Ron Burkle might be involved. (If it hurt Edwards, the story would potentially devastate Burkle's candidate Hillary, who needs Edwards to beat or dilute Obama in Iowa. That's why it's crazy to suggest that Hillary's camp planted it.)

Just in case, I've saved my cached copy. You can do it too!.

Yes, a last-minute Edwards debacle will redound to Obama and not Hillary.

Edwards appears to be finally demonstrating what a shallow ambulance chaser he is.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Anne Applebaum Spanks Saudis, then Spanks NOW

Gulag should be essential reading for all schools in the USA. Anne Applebaum's Pultizer Prize winning book on Stalin/Lenin's horrific system of slave labor camps demonstrates Socialism with a Kim Jung-Il twist.

But the Saudis' systematic downgrading of the status of women is hardly in line with Islamic traditions, though in backwaters like the Kingdom & Pakistan, this persecution prevails. Chalk it up to barbarism---honor killings in Canada show how irredeemably retarded elements of Islamic culture remain today.

But Anne goes on to castigate the self-absorbed morons at NOW:
Unlike American blacks, American women have not had to grapple with issues as basic as the right to study or vote for a long time. Instead, we have (fortunately) fought for less fundamental rights in recent decades, and our women's groups have of late (unfortunately) had the luxury of focusing on the marginal. The National Council of Women's Organizations' most famous recent campaign was against the Augusta National Golf Club. The Web site of the National Organization for Women (I hate to pick on that group, but it's so easy) has space for issues of "non-sexist car insurance" and "network neutrality," but not the Saudi rape victim or the girl murdered last week in Canada for refusing to wear a hijab.

The autism of the American womens' movements is well nigh narcissistic:
The reigning feminist ideology doesn't help: The philosopher Christina Hoff Sommers has written, among other things, that some American feminists, self-focused and reluctant to criticize non-Western cultures, have convinced themselves that "sexual terror" in America (a phrase from a real women's studies textbook) is more dangerous than actual terrorism. But the deeper problem is the gradual marginalization of "women's issues" in domestic politics, which has made them subordinate to security issues, or racial issues, in foreign policy as well.

Anne argues that NOW and other womens' organizations should expand their horizons:
American delegates to international and U.N. women's organizations are mostly identified with arguments about reproductive rights (for or against, depending on the administration), not arguments about the fundamental rights of women in Saudi Arabia or the Muslim world.

Let's move beyond the Andrea Dworkin screeching to some sort of balanced view of womens' rights around the world.

Time Magazine's top ten Top-10 lists

James Poniewozik has an amusing little thought about Top-10 Lists that reminded me why I have FARK on my blogroll:
If You Put Numbers on It, People Will Read Anything, However Trite, Trivial and Insipid, from Beginning to End.

Sarkosy Busts French Abstract Deconstructionism

Bill Clinton brought a little jesuitical French thinking into the American political vocabulary when he mused on how "it depends on what the meaning of 'is' is."

Here is The Economist:
OF ALL the novelties of France under President Nicolas Sarkozy, one of the more arresting is the decline of the abstract noun. In the past, no French leader would make a speech without liberal doses of destiny and history. In one speech Mr Sarkozy's predecessor, Jacques Chirac, squeezed 13 abstract nouns—unity, liberty, humanity and more—into a single sentence. He was almost outdone by his prime minister (and part-time poet), Dominique de Villepin, who came up with the declaration: “Globalisation is not an ideal, it cannot be our destiny.”

The contrast with the wordcraft of Mr Sarkozy is instructive. In his first big foreign-policy speech, he managed in 18 pages to utter neither the word glory nor the word grandeur. Unlike his British counterparts, who favour verbless sentences, Mr Sarkozy is a verbaholic. According to a linguistic analysis of his campaign speeches by Damon Mayaffre, of the University of Nice, one of Mr Sarkozy's most frequent words is I, usually followed by the verb want.

Anyone who has lived there and learned the language and the history of the country knows their love of mystification resembles getting high on their own farts.
Libération, a left-leaning newspaper, to ask, “Is jogging right-wing?” It even moved a philosopher, Alain Finkielkraut, to implore the president to take up the promenade—a “spiritual experience”—and to give up jogging, which is mere “body management”.

One doubts that Finkielkraut ever jogged, or got the endorphin high that rapid exercise gives an athlete. His dismissive tone reflects the other-worldly arrogance of an intellectual elite/class rapidly fading in France and hopefully about to do the same in the USA. More Economist musings on Sarkozy:
As for France's famously rigid school curriculum, he has little fondness for it. Too much time is spent, he has declared, “on doctrine, theory and abstraction”, and not enough on practical applications. How long will it be before he has a go at the national motto, a veritable wealth of abstraction: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity?

Wellington famously observed that "the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton." Let's hope France realizes that her true potential may be mens sana in corpore sano and that the Cafe class begins to roll up its sleeves and put its shoulder to the wheel.

Monday, December 17, 2007

UN Official Sobs as Bali-Hoo Encyclical Proclaimed

Son of Kyoto appears to be stillborn or at least a mutated offshoot with extra appendages and missing limbs. You can be sure the Pact is a hoax when certified whack-jobs say things like:
Environment Secretary Hilary Benn hailed the Bali deal as "an historic breakthrough" and a "huge step forward" in tackling climate change.

However, grown-ups sounded caution:
But Prime Minister Gordon Brown sounded a note of caution. "The Bali road map agreed today is just the first step," he said. "Now begins the hardest work."

Industrial Powerhouse Papua New Guinea rebuked the US delegate & said that he would lead the world in a save-the-planet crusade.

The moonbats were fluttering and squeaking noisily, but as the London Times link notes, most level-headed Greens [there are some] admitted that the entire exercise was probably just another farce, although the moronic US MSM got swept up in the hype & was proclaiming the dawn of the Age of Aquarius for a short while.

The most hilarious comment came from a nanny-stater as the nervous breakdown of Yvo de Boer was termed merely a soap-opera episode:
Political adviser Matthijs Spits said: "We Dutch can become quite emotional --surprisingly so for other nations who think we are cold."

Yeah, Matty boy. Other nations think you cheese-heads are a lot of things more ridiculous than "cold."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Princeton Student Beat Unconscious for Conservative Views

The Princeton Tory has a blog on a Junior at Princeton beaten for his conservative views.

These Ivy League thugs and hooligans remind one of the state of civil war after WWI in Germany when gangs of leftist and rightist toughs did battle in the streets. The violence actually may have convinced a young agitator named Adolph Hitler who was flirting with Socialist ideas to switch from Bolshevism to his own brand of "National Socialism," a brand of state-dirigisme not allied to the Trotskyite internationalism that toughs in Munich were advocating. Ben Hecht, an American journalist, actually rented a plane to fly some Bolshevik agitators from Berlin to Munich during a railroad strike---the leftists carried gold bullion, Hecht avers, to sponsor a series of violent uprisings subsequently put down by rightist gangs & a rightist government led by a German Field Marshal was installed instead.

The Princeton agitpreppies are obviously of the same stripe as their Bolshevik forebears. Of course, the Mainstream Media won't pick this up unless it is brought to court, or an intrepid radio talk-show host picks it up. Don't think O'Reilly or Hannity will touch this one.

As usual, any misdeeds on the Republican side or the right are trumpeted and exaggerated or, like Plamegate, made up of whole cloth and then turned into "process crimes."

Like Anthropogenic Global Warming, Leftist Hyperbole is peddled by using polls and spurious "science," without any apparent accountability.

One hopes that the transformation of our universities into propaganda factories will be halted before the academicide left completely destroys its credibility.
lHilariously, the NYT refutes a story it never ran in the first place. Now if it were the other way around, you can bet a LIBERAL getting cold-cocked would be on the front page and the refutation would be below the fold on page 20-something.

But maybe we can use the Evan Thomas rule vis-a-vis Durham: the narrative was correct in principle, let's just say the facts didn't measure up to the story!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Robo-Love Will Change our Evolutionary Tastes?

John "Accelerating Evolution" Hawks has a great piece on how robots will succeed actual humans in the next half-century, as Honda and other Japanese firms speed up the technology.
I've been telling people this week that there is some sense to which the evolutionary future will be determined by the cultural impact of technological changes -- genetic engineering being the most prominent example.

Now comes this:

[T]here will soon come a day when people fall in love with robots and want them for companions, friends, love objects and possibly even partners for sex and marriage.

That day is imminent, [writer David] Levy writes, especially the sex part. By the middle of this century, he predicts, "love with robots will be as normal as love with other humans, while the number of sexual acts and lovemaking positions commonly practiced between humans will be extended, as robots teach more than is in all of the world’s published sex manuals combined."

Well, that's one more thing, isn't it? If you're more likely to fall in love with a robot, will you be less likely to have children? And if so, will that mean that over many generations, robot-revulsion genes will be selected?

I'll tell you what, if they make Haley Joel Osment-looking robot children, I'm already revulsed!

Or the Ashley Olson duo! You can have anorexic, bulemic, or even buff chiseled robots, but I'm sticking with flesh-and-blood Jessica Simpson clones!

Putin's Grandpa: Chef to Rasputin, Lenin, Stalin & Lil Vlad

Simon Sebag Montefiore wrote a book: Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar which is a treasure trove of amazing factoids. Among the juicy footnotes is the taciturn Grandpa Putin, who was houseboy/chef to Rasputin in the Czar's regime, Lenin & Stalin in the Communist era, and perhaps fed his grandson, Tiny Vlad, tidbits before the young poisoner became president.

Again and again, Montefiore's book details the depravity and bloodlust just beneath the cozy Gemutlichkeit of the Kremlin's inner circle, as the wolves circle to get closer to Alpha-Predator Stalin, who becomes an avatar of his heroes Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great, and surprisingly, the two Poison Shahs, Nadir Shah and Shah Abbas, who ruled Georgia in the 18th c. and taught the natives the black arts of venomous court intrigues.

In the words of The New Yorker:
Any biography of a tyrant runs the risk of humanizing its subject to the point of appearing to mitigate his crimes. But Montefiore's intimate portrait actually throws the coldhearted murderousness with which Stalin pursued and defended power into sharper relief. The book—much of it based on fresh archival material—moves smoothly between detailed sketches of everyday life at the Kremlin and accounts of the paranoid and sanguinary scheming that determined Soviet politics. This juxtaposition captures the vertiginous quality of life in Stalin's court, where no allegiance was permanent. Just as strikingly, Montefiore shows how Stalin, a "master of friendships," used charm to win the support of members of the Party's inner circle (many of whom ended up regretting it). This haunting book gets us as close as we are likely to come to the man who believed that "the solution to every human problem was death."

Like I, Claudius or histories of the Borgias and Medicis, Stalin's era will persist as an emblematic icon of how human nature and great illegitimate power & secrecy invariably result in hidden murders and human suffering.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fred Thompson "Apologizes" to Huckabee

Karen Hanretty has a nice little smackdown of Mike H's bizarre resolutions, including his request for a lifting of the embargo on Cuba. In particular I like:
"We apologize for pointing out that as Governor of Arkansas, Huckabee offered in-state tuition to illegal immigrants"

Mitt Romney's excellent riposte: "Mike, that's not your money," is the key to this tax and spend Republican who is levitating like Jimmy Carter and Ross Perot into the pantheon of Southern Goofball candidates, one that Al Gore has recently raised to Nobel commanding heights of lunacy.

Reid an Osama fan? USA Today Rebukes Dingy Harry

Harry Reid is such a liability that a prominent liberal-but-sane female blogger confided in me in a private e-mail last month that she thinks the Dem Sen Majority Leader is a liability to his party. So does USA Today:
Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, seem lost in a time warp. They could try to impose new benchmarks that acknowledge the military progress. Instead, too many seem unable or unwilling to admit that President Bush's surge of 30,000 more troops has succeeded beyond their initial predictions. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who in the spring declared the war lost, said last week that "the surge hasn't accomplished its goals." Anti-war Democrats remain fixated on tying war funding to a rapid troop withdrawal. Yet pulling the troops out precipitously threatens to squander the progress of recent months toward salvaging a decent outcome to the Iraq debacle.

No one in Iraq is covered with glory, except our wonderful fighting men who persist while traitorous cowards like Reid try to undercut them on the home front. Republicans keep lowering the bar, and Iraqi politicians like Maliki continue their second-rate performance in nation-building. USA Today has the following summary:
What's needed is acknowledgment that the surge is achieving what was intended: not complete military victory but enough stability to make political compromise possible. What's missing is Iraqi will to take advantage of the success.

So far, the Iraqis have missed just about every benchmark that Congress set early this year and Bush promised to enforce. Too often, they just don't seem to be making an effort. Those benchmarks included passing laws on sharing oil revenue, allowing more former Baath Party members into official jobs and holding provincial elections.

To some degree, the positive "bottom up" developments mitigate that failure. The Sunnis, for instance, have abandoned their political isolation and now want to participate in the government. But the Shiites' persistent resistance to letting them in makes a case for new, meaningful benchmarks, not trivial certainties such as simply passing a budget, one of the requirements the White House has set.

Beyond benchmarks, the military progress has been paralleled by a less aggressive stance by Iran, creating another opening. Iran has enormous influence in Iraq, particularly in Shiite regions. More aggressive diplomacy of the kind advocated by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group would help — even a regional conference such as the one the United States recently hosted in Annapolis, Md., to restart Middle East peace talks.

Despite Harry Reid's encouragement, Al Qaeda is marginalized. In addition, Iran is lessening its covert involvement and the Sunni tribal chiefs have switched sides. But old feuds persist, and settling scores inside Iraq's political thickets still has priority over a final settlement.

A regional conference sounds far-fetched, but perhaps it would shut up the loo-zers like Reid & some Dem candidates whose statements on Iraq & withdrawal seem to advocate precipitous surrender at the very moment when our blood & treasure have procured an opportunity to "seize the moment," as USA Today recommends.

USA Today's editorial writers have far more foreign policy wisdom than political hacks inside the Beltway.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New President Medvedev Putin-Lite?

The Economist has a good piece which basically demonstrates that Putin-2 under Medvedev may not be as peaceful as the business-oriented apparatchiki's bland resume indicates. It turns out that Putin may run for parliament, get elected, get appointed Prime Minister, and continue to run Russia from the Front Office.
The Kremlin line is that the teamwork between Mr Putin as prime minister and Mr Medvedev as president will guarantee stability, creating a good base for more liberal reforms. Mr Putin has hinted that more state companies will, sooner or later, be privatised. So far, this has sounded more like a redistribution of property, rather than liberal reform.

As for Mr Putin, he seems still to be keeping his options open. If he becomes prime minister it is hard to imagine him answering to Mr Medvedev. Whatever the form, Mr Putin will be more popular and more powerful than his protégé. Under the constitution, the president has control over the army and the security services, but this could easily be changed by a parliamentary vote. In any event Mr Putin is unlikely to part with power. More surprises could be in store, even the revival of a once-touted plan for a union with Belarus that might let Mr Putin stay president.

The Kremlin's machinations have revealed a simple truth: that the authoritarian system created by Mr Putin in the past eight years does not allow an orderly transition of power from one elite to another. Kirill Rogov, a political analyst, points out that elections, which in a democratic society act as a mechanism for rotating power, have in Russia become a mechanism for preserving it.

This reverses the biggest achievement of Boris Yeltsin's short-lived, imperfect democracy: a peaceful transfer of power. The manner in which Mr Yeltsin handed power to Mr Putin in December 1999 was not ideal, but he did step down and let somebody else take charge. Mr Putin seems unable to repeat that. Indeed, so as to hang on to power, he may be prepared to undermine the institution of a strong presidency that he helped to create.

For all the talk of stability, Russia is in some ways less stable than it was. Mr Putin has been lucky to enjoy an oil boom that filled up state coffers and fanned economic growth. But the underlying economy has not been diversified or restructured. Inflation is running in double digits, domestic gas and electricity prices need to be raised and the outlook for the world economy is suddenly gloomier. Yet the biggest danger for Russia remains political.

Parenthetically, I'm currently reading Montefiore's Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, which is a goldmine of information on how a one-party state rapidly became a secret-police state---pushed by Stalin's purges, the NKVD was Murder Incorporated on a Hitlerian scale as the Party Elite attacked the Party itself. The problem lies in means and methods, and the KGB inherited the mentality of the NKVD, which in turn was an "Organ" created by Stalin & Beria, two Georgians strongly influenced by the "poison-poison" culture derived from the 18th century rule of Georgia by Iran, and its poison-Shahs Nadir Shah and Shah Abbas, whose Borgia-clone courts fascinated Stalin no end as he wrote the curriculum for Georgian primary & secondary education.

Beria was an experienced poisoner, a real expert, and Section 13 of the KGB inherited his expertise in murder by deniable means. Putin has evidently been seeped in this culture and Polonium 210 has succeeded Beria's potions in the political pharmaceutical arsenal wielded by Vlad, the Empoisoner. The Economist sums it up:
Russia has traditionally had only one centre of power: the Kremlin. There is but one precedent for a strong prime minister and a weak head of state. This was 100 years ago when Pyotr Stolypin was prime minister under Tsar Nicholas II. Stolypin dealt ruthlessly with political protesters to push through reforms to make Russia a leading European power. His catch-phrase was: give Russia 20 years of peace, and you will not recognise it. But it all ended badly. Stolypin was assassinated, Nicholas II murdered by the Bolsheviks—and Russia plunged into 73 years of communism.

We can only hope that Russian autocracy succeeded by oligarchy then by dictatorship and finally democracy does not revert back to its atavistic autocracy by another Tsar, this time a scion of the Secret Police culture which still afflicts Russia.