Sunday, October 31, 2004

Halloween 2004

Our friends the W's came over for Halloween, and their son and two twin daughters went trick-or-treating with the Heir to the vast El Jefe kingdom. Ate hotdogs, and such, and lolled around in the yard doing the candy thing. After a time, collected the kiddos, piled in the W's Suburban and went off to visit the B's (big time Thurston supporters, but they are still cool to hang with).
The B's had an adult beverage I'd not sampled before, something by Smirnoff called "Ice V-Twisted Cranberry" or some such thing. A malt beverage, like beer, that tasted like a cranberry drink. Very tasty and will definitely try the things again.
The B's had their DVD movie equipment deployed (Daddy B. is a big techie) and were showing movies on their garage door. They started with It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and ended up with Frankenstein (the original, not the re-make).
Last night, the wife and kiddo crashed early, and El Jefe, along with High Patronesses MILO and FLINKY, settled in to watch Godfather II.
El Jefe is a big devotee of the Godfather films (particularly the first one), applying the leadership and life philosophies of the Godfather to running his own vast nefarious empire. The Don definitely has no time for mushy-headed liberals. Godfather II, a favorite of the critics, is less preferred by El Jefe primarily because Don Michael (Al Pacino) is a much more, well Stalinist Don than was Don Vito.
Godfather II, often cited as the finest sequel ever made, also suffers somewhat from its incomplete meshing of two plot lines - the early life of Don Vito in 1900's Sicily and New York, and the activities of Don Michael in 1950's Nevada (with a very interesting interlude in Batista era Cuba). The film jumps back and forth between the two plots, but they are never firmly tied together. Still, these are minor complaints, because El Jefe definitely gives Godfather II four stars, or two thumbs up, or whatever your rating preference for a top-notch production may be.
Everything is sort of winding down early tonight, I suppose because of the wacko time change. El Jefe HATES standard time, where it is dark at six o'clock p.m., and wishes Daylight Savings Time was a year round thing.


Prediction (1)

Although I'm nervous about how close the polls say the race is, I still (as of Sunday night), don't think that Thurston can better Gore's performance from 2000.

So...

The official El Jefe Maximo prediction (subject to revision tomorrow evening), is that Bush will narrowly hold on, and win, garnering 279 electoral votes to Thurston's 259. (Bush taking both Ohio and Florida).

Meanwhile, say your prayers, put out those Bush/Cheney signs and encourage your friends to do likewise.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Osama Ad Blitz

Well, ol'Osama appears again at last. Hopefully, he's turned into compost soon, but meanwhile, I wonder if he realizes (as a foreigner endorsing Kerry on TV), that he's possibly in violation of the McCain-Feingold Act ?


Friday, October 29, 2004

Well, Maybe Not

Since my earlier, more optimistic post of this morning, things have begun to look bleaker. Ohio appears to be slipping away, which would be very bad news. In a big funk today, for that and other reasons, the overcast weather certainly matches my mood. The El Jefe stock market is down, down, down.

Fateful Error ?

In the final days of the campaign, El Jefe thinks that Kerry (aka Thurston) has made a potentially fatal error, by focusing so much on the "bombgate" non-story in Iraq.

Besides being factually inaccurate, and highly questionable, the "bombgate" business does nothing to fire up the minority and late deciding voters that Thurston MUST have to secure his election. To be sure, Thurston seems to be talking more about Halliburton and economic issues, but El Jefe thinks this may be too little, too late, and that Kerry's performance since the end of the debates has been the most inept part of a hopelessly incompetent campaign. El Jefe devoutly hopes Thurston has made a fatal error.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Dinner for former U.S. Representative Charlie Wilson

Yesterday evening, thanks to the good offices of his friends T and E, El Jefe had the privilege of attending a private dinner party for former Congressman Charlie Wilson, (once known as “Good Time Charlie”) -- twelve term veteran of the House of Representatives, liberal icon, hard drinker, skirt chaser, party boy and genuine patriotic HERO of the 20th Century.

Very few people are privileged to do as much damage to the enemies of the country as was Representative Wilson, who made it his personal business to make sure that plenty of bullets found their proper billets in the bodies of the Soviet soldiers who invaded Afghanistan. His struggle against assorted bureaucratic time-servers, idiots and abominable no-men on behalf of the Afghan guerrilla resistance, together with some tales of his most interesting life, has recently been documented in George Crile’s Charlie Wilson’s War, which you would be well-advised to run to your nearest book emporium and purchase.

More stories about Good Time Charlie can be found in an article in the June 2004 issue of Texas Monthly: “The Rehabilitation of Charlie Wilson” by John Spong.

El Jefe had of course heard of Representative Wilson before, but had never seen him personally. He is an excellent speaker who managed to neatly sum up the war in Afghanistan in about seven minutes, certainly a better performance than most current politicians or university professors. El Jefe is most grateful to T and E and their family for arranging his attendance.

Come on America: Ruin Their Whole Morning

There is a great article in the Times (of London, not Nuevo York), this morning by Gerard Baker explaining why, if he were an American and entitled to cast a vote: he would vote for Bush. Boiled down: Mr. Baker says, (and El Jefe surely agrees), that President Bush has the right enemies.
It's always nice to find somebody who disapproves of the same people you do. A Bush victory would ruin the whole morning of, among others:
"[t]he hordes of the bien-pensant [love that word] Left in the universities and the media, the sort of liberals who tolerate everything except those who disagree with them. Secularist elites who disdain religiosity except when it comes from Muslim fanatics. Europhile Brits who drip contempt for everything their country has ever done and long for its disapperance into a Greater Europe...Hollywood sybarites and narcissists, self appointed arbiters of a nation's morals."
Amen, brother, tell it again !
Astonishing that an Englishman could sum up so well, better than any American writer I've ever seen -- my own reasons for backing Bush whatever happens. The whole thing is splendid and absolutely worth reading, and may be found here:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,482-1332174_1,00.html

Vote for Bush and help ruin their whole day.


Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Giving Comfort to the Bad Guys

Before you vote, please read Ralph Peters' excellent piece in today's New York Post. Colonel Peters discusses a letter from an old comrade still in the Army, who is now in Iraq.

This friend is evidently terrified Kerry will be elected President: "Kerry's rhetoric is giving the bad guys a thread to hang on," he wrote. "They're hoping we lose our nerve. They're more concerned with the U.S. elections than with the Iraqi ones."

Consequently, Colonel Peters' friend tells us, the terrorists in Iraq have gone all out to create as much chaos as possible before our election next week. However, American forces are winning, he says, and the terrorists cannot continue this pace of operations much longer.

Colonel Peters' piece further supports El Jefe's contention that Kerry's election would be a great psychological boost for our enemies, and a terrible blow to the morale of our own soldiers and allies.

The whole piece is worth reading, and may be found here:

http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/31117.htm

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Monday night

Having a glass of red wine (a very passable Chilean red). Got the baseball game over and the studying done, and house is quiet. Having one of my periodic attacks of temporary melancholia. (Election News ? Mondays ? I haven't a clue why.) For some reason, that old Don McLean song Vincent (Starry Starry Night) keeps playing in my head, and I keep wishing I had the album. (But this too, shall pass).

Suppose I should complete the mood by going to one of my art websites and looking at Van Gogh stuff for awhile. If that can't start a good downer jag NOTHING will.

Monday, October 25, 2004

So What's the Democrats' "October Surprise ?"

So what's going to happen on, say, Thursday ?

I'm talking "October Surprise." You've gotta know the Democrats and their allies have one. The chattering classes: that is to say the journalists, the lawyers (well, most of them anyway), intellectuals and other scribblers, and the cultural elite both here and abroad HATE this President, and it's not too much to say they'd do anything to unseat him.

In 1992, the Friday before the election, Iran-Contra Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh indicted former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, which probably fatally wounded President Bush Sr's electoral chances the following week.

In 2000, the 11th hour leaking (probably by Democratic partisans) and publication of information about the current President Bush's 30 year old DUI conviction came within a whisker of putting Gore in the White House.

Too many journalists, bureaucrats, lawyers, and prosecutors don't like this President. If they've got ANYTHING, or can manufacture something, they most assuredly will. Thursday afternoon could be interesting...

Return from Camping: Is it Over Yet ?

As El Jefe Maximo’s readers know, El Jefe, Maximum Leader of this Blog, was away this weekend on a camping trip with his son. Truly an experience ! We couldn’t have had more splendid weather -- such wonderfully hot, muggy weather that our tent was converted into a poor-man’s sauna, convincing me completely of the truth of the old saw that Santa Anna really gave up Texas because it didn’t have AC.

No camping experience would be complete without lots of mosquitoes, gnats, no-see-em’s and plenty of other creepy-crawlies – and we certainly saw our share. Another Cub Scout swears he saw a snake, but with Cub Scouts, snakes are usually more heard of than seen. We saw lots of well-fed looking raccoons and armadillos after dusk, hanging about the tree-lines waiting to dash down on unsecured food supplies. Gave my Republican heart a positively environmentalist feeling – the campers feeding the raccoons, the dillos, the bugs and God knows what else. One of those circle-of-life kind of deals. Come on, sing Kumbaya, somebody.

On the other hand, we saw lots of beauty as well. Among other things, whole forests of Live Oak, complete with Spanish Moss; many deer (who didn’t seem too afraid of all the humans in the area, even if they were mostly very LOUD kids). My friend John the deer hunter would have died of an itchy trigger finger, all those targets hiding out in that state park. As advertised, we even saw a gator or two, but after a time, El Jefe stopped worrying about them and decided that there was nothing wrong with them that a handle, Samsonite label and some wheels wouldn’t fix.

The Cub Scouts had lots of fun playing Frisbee golf (don’t even ask), and chasing each other through the woods, and occasionally even learning something. The dads were kept on the hop cooking, cleaning up etc., although El Jefe’s son is at last learning to be somewhat helpful in the camp maintenance department.

But the best part of the whole experience: NO POLITICAL NEWS. I was so hoping I’d come back and find the whole business somehow over and gone away like Brigadoon, leap year or something. No such luck – no escaping ol’ Thurston’s shrunken-head grin poppin out everyplace.

National Review Online today says Thurston’s latest plan appears to be to declare himself winner on election day and start naming a cabinet, irrespective of the election results. This ploy is intended to support the Democrats’ efforts to contest an unfavorable election result. So, no matter who wins, we wind up with a President 48 percent of the country will never accept.

We are being warned almost hourly now of the consequences of not doing what our own and the world’s opinion elites want us to do – elect Thurston. On Saturday, the UK newspaper, The Guardian, a popular left wing journal, published a story online by one Charlie Brooker which mourned Bush’s possible reelection, and stated, inter alia: “On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinkley Jr – where are you now that we need you ?”

No, I’m not making this up. The Guardian, to its credit, had the good sense to pull the piece from its website on Sunday, stating that the author apologized and said that the piece did not represent the views of the paper. Mr. Brooker tried to explain the closing comments away as an “ironic joke.”

Meanwhile, according to the Drudge Report, the wife of Democratic vice-presidential candidate Edwards, in response to a question from a worried supporter, opined that there would be no riots “if we win.”

Well, that’s nice. Gee thanks. Good to know there won’t be rioting if we peasants do what we’re supposed to.

Why bother anymore with any of this ? If we have to have a banana republic, lets just go whole hog and dispense with elections. The result is the same, but at least we get some peace and quiet.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Thursday

Lots going on in the world today. A slew of polls out today and yesterday, but most are so close that it is difficult to infer anything from them, although most give the President a small lead. If, like El Jefe, you are a poll junkie, have a look at realclearpolitics.com. I think their averages are more useful than the raw polls.

The commentary attached to the latest Harris Poll is also of interest -- you will be able to find it via Real Clear Politics. The commentary discusses the definition of "likely voters" and the implications for polling.

In Havana, Dictator Fidel Castro (78), fell leaving the stage after a speech. Unfortunately, the tyrant's neck appears to have survived intact, Castro suffering only a broken knee and injured arm. The Bearded One was quick to tell would-be celebrants that he was "in one piece." The murderous dictator also says that he will do "what is possible" to recover rapidly, but "as you can see I can still talk" and talk, and talk... Hopefully, the Big Sleep shuts him up soon enough.

Paul H. Nitze, diplomat, strategic arms negotiator, and ultra insider, loyal servant of Republicans and Democrats, holder of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, died Tuesday at 97.

El Jefe and son are off for a Cub Scout Campout manana. The weather is supposed to be simply lovely -- hot, humid, chance of thunderstorms. The state park where we are bound has some alligator residents, not to mention the more customary spiders and snakes. Yes, there El Jefe will be: living it up in the boondocks with a million screaming kiddos, no hot water and sleeping accomodations that ain't the Four Seasons. Far from good wine, decent restaurants, a comfy chair, music and all other evidence of civilization. (Sound of sad violins playing in background).

The pre-campout Cub Scout den meeting was last night. Usually those are fun for the kids, and this one was no exception, although El Jefe confesses he is somewhat less than fascinated by knot tying, which was the group project last night. Got home and everyone promptly went to bed, leaving El Jefe and High Patronesses MILO and FLINKY to weave their schemes undisturbed. Had a glass (possibly two, but I'm not telling) of a no more than passable Chilean Merlot, and tried not to be too depressed by the blatantly pro-Thurston slant of the New York Times.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Message to Democrat Pals

If you’re one of my many Democratic friends, PLEASE go read this thoughtful and insightful note by my fellow Texas attorney, the blogger Beldar, to his “non-moonbat Democratic friends.” The more I read of Beldar, the more I like him. He puts his finger on the fundamental problem with, at this point in time, electing a Democrat president: namely, the impossibility of straddling the chasm between what's necessary to prosecute the war against the terrorists and the desires of the ascendant McGovern wing of the Democratic Party. It’s well worth the time, here’s the link:

http://beldar.blogs.com/beldarblog/2004/10/beldar_asks_his.html

Jimmy Carter and the American Revolution

You gotta wonder sometimes just what planet Jimmy Carter lives on.

From “Hardball with Chris Matthews” for 18 October (in response to a question on parallels between the American Revolution and the war in Iraq):

“Had the British Parliament been a little more sensitive to the colonial‘s [sic] really legitimate complaints and requests the war could have been avoided completely, and of course now we would have been a free country now as is Canada and India and Australia, having gotten our independence in a nonviolent way.”

Well, yeah, hindsight is a wonderful thing ain't it ? If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride. Just makes ya weep. All those insensitive, needlessly violent, people. Maybe ol’ King George should have called for mediators from the Carter Center. Maybe instead of the Battle of Yorktown, George Washington could have conducted a sit-in demonstration.

More seriously, how typical of Mr. Carter to chide 18th Century politicans for not behaving like 21st Century pacifist members of the Democratic Party. The really loaded phrase in Mr. Carter's little homily is his reference to the colonials' "really legitimate complaints." Mr. Carter the peacemaker simultaneously calls the war a mistake, and then totally dismisses one side's point of view.

That kind of reasoning looks like a good way to START a war to me. Like most pacifists, Mr. Carter appears to assume that all people are really the same and all disputes are either negotiable, or products of mistakes or misunderstandings. To these people, money, ego, pride, power, nationalism, etc. are all trivial side issues. Earth to Jimmy: all right-thinking people don't think your way.

You can read the transcript here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6281085/

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Tuesday evening

Yesterday evening, El Jefe and family went to a local Mexican restaurant for dinner with T and her children, where El Jefe had a couple of very, very good "Blue Sunset Margaritas" with Blue Agave tequila and Cointreau Blue Curacao. A very nice buzz, even thought the margaritas were on the high end. Dinner consisted of some excellent Chipotle Chicken enchiladas.

Then I went off to T's for chit-chat and some white wine and had a very nice time. Went home and promptly drank a reservoir's worth of water, which saved me from feeling as awfully as I deserved. Thank God, because I had a very busy workday !

Spouse has to do some work for her company involving Kuwait. Hope she doesn't have to go there !

Time for some homework and to start getting ready for El Jefe's son's Cub Scout campout.

Maybe some Good News ?

Looks like panic in the liberal ranks. Kerry is now running around bellowing that Bush is bringing back the draft; that the flu is Bush’s fault; and that he’s going to privatize Social Security.

Given that all this is demonstrably false, seems pretty stupid to air these charges now. Better to save them for the weekend before the election, to allow Bush no time to respond.

The San Francisco Chronicle today online says New Jersey is up for grabs. El Jefe regrets to say that he doesn’t really believe that, but such a nice thought. If Thurston has problems in New Jersey, his prospects for having enough time to practice his French next year look really good. Every dime Mrs. Heinz-Kerry’s hubby has to spend in N.J. (supposedly a safe state for him) is one less for Thurston to spend in Florida while he’s running around down there with Jesse Jackson.

The Washington Post tracking poll today shows Bush 51 percent, Kerry 46 percent. That's up one for Bush, down one for Kerry. What do the internal poll numbers say ? Is Thurston maybe sweating a little ? He acts it. Avez-vous un panic attack, Jean ?



Monday, October 18, 2004

Early Voting

Participated in early voting this morning. Everything moved efficiently. Voting in El Jefe's purlieu is by computerised means: one operates a wheel and presses "enter" when appropriate. Very simple, El Jefe's nine year old son could do it, would probably enjoy it; and make more intelligent choices than much of the electorate, including the legions of idiots probably lining up already to file lawsuits complaining of electronic voting.

For all you Kerry voters, avoid the inconvenience of finding your early voting polling place. Wait till Wednesday, 3 November, when you will be assured of no crowds and short lines. Contact your nearest French Consulate for detailed voting instructions.

Friday, October 15, 2004

The Dream Palace

Yes, there I was, in my simple, homelike palace by the sea. El Jefe's tastes are basic: the words "simple" and "homelike" mean what they say, describing a sort of rustic, humble residence like, maybe, Versailles.

All was well with the world. El Jefe's millions of vassals were toiling diligently, happily and profitably, my liveried servants scurrying about their appointed tasks, my security detachment of heavily armed but well-dressed goombas hovering menacingly but protectively in the background. I, El Jefe, was sitting on my verandah, or scenic overlook or whatever, by the sea, being served my morning cocktail by a comely blonde half my age, as I took my conference call

W ,Vlad Putin and whoever runs Italy this week were on the phone, all enthralled with my luminous logic, and my dazzling repartee. W, Vlad and Don Whoever outdid themselves expressing their gratitude for my thoughts: "Yes of course, El Jefe." "Brilliant idea, oh marvelous El Jefe." "The world is in your debt El Jefe." Just normal observations from El Jefe's auditors and admirers, mind you.

Then, the phone rang. . .but I was on the phone already. . .

No, it was the alarm clock ! "But wait for me !" I mournfully wailed, as the dream palace, the telephone, the servants, the good looking blonde, and the Cosmo on the silver tray roared away down the dream memory hole, and I awoke to contemplate yet another day as an average, somewhat corpulent regular guy in the legal profession.

Good morning !

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Another truly thrilling day.

Yes, the whole snoozeroo mood seems to carry over from last night right into this morning. Perhaps it's because I'm less than thrilled to be messing with changes to my latest brief, where the client has more suggested changes (mostly trivial) than the third grade teacher on El Jefe's son's homework. No real reason to complain, except that El Jefe was just thinking how nice it would be to be in Hawaii, Paris, or even Galveston, drinking something alcoholic at some beaucoup expensive restaurant and NOT thinking about the law racket. Woe is moi.

Speaking of the legal profession, have a look at the lawsuit Bill O'Reilly, the "O'Reilly" in "O'Reilly Factor," got slapped with (thanx to T for sharing). Definitely R rated, so naturally I read it immedately:

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/1013043mackris1.html

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Debate -- 30 minutes in.

This is, like, SO BORING. Okay, discussion of health care, tax policy, abortion, gay marriage and the No Child Left Behind Act is all about as interesting as a trip to the dentist anyway, but this is exceptionally DULL.

"A plan is not a list of complaints" -- good line by Bush, best by either so far, but that's not saying much. I'd give it to Bush on points so far, but that's not saying much either.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.....


On the Razor's Edge...

The presidential race is a statistical tie. But within the numbers, things have begun to look rather gloomy. The most important States, (Ohio, Iowa, Colorado), appear to be slipping away from Bush. The Democratic voter registration/get out the vote effort promises at least as large a turn out as 2000, and that is likely to tell against the President.

El Jefe tends to agree with Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia that Bush needed his whole six or seven point September lead to manage a narrow victory. Professor Sabato's excellent and insightful piece on the current state of play is here:

http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/article.php?id=LJS2004101201

In El Jefe's opinion, the reasons for the President's declining position are (in order):

1). Elite Opinion. The degree to which elite opinion (the overclass of journalists, pundits, bureaucrats, the cultural elite, lawyers, academia, the fashionable and the very wealthy) are absolutely united against this President is both astounding and frightening. The current affairs section of the average bookstore resembles nothing so much as a long, shrill cry of rage against the current administration and anybody who would even THINK of liking Bush.

This is true not only in America (particularly on the coasts), but abroad. The same groups in Europe, along with the UN and the associated international legal bureaucracy; and that of most of the incresingly influential sector known as "NGO's" (non-governmental organisations), desperately want to see this President defeated.

There are reasons for this, which could and do fill books, most of which has to do with what John Fonte dubs "Transnational Progressivism." The chattering classes instinctively grasp that Bush, and, more importantly, Bush's supporters, are not on board with the multi-cultural, multi-national, multi-lateral globalised utopia run by international bureaucrats that Kerry, the big banks, and most Right Thinking people see as the end product of globalisation. Nothing terrifies these people so much as anything smacking of American nationalism.

El Jefe thinks that this is the main issue of this whole election. This is why Bush was so bitterly opposed over Iraq -- because it represented Bush and the Americans escaping the strings that everybody wants to put on Gulliver -- that is, the USA, to ensure that it conforms with the transnational project. The same factions that support increased governmental power here at home support this version of the globalised world. Bush, to them, is a nationalist throwback who must be stopped.

Even though this is largely a disease of elite opinion, the drumbeat of carping, criticism, and the scare-mongering about isolation is having an effect on the voters, particularly in conjunction with the problems in Iraq.

2). The first debate: Kerry gets back the Female Voters. Kerry was on the ropes going into October, and the President could have knocked him out with a sound performance. Unfortunately, this left Kerry nowhere to go but up, and this was combined with a truly abysmal performance by Bush. Bush's flubs on Iraq: an issue he should have mastered, gave swing female voters back to Kerry, and this may be enough to turn the election.

3). Iraq. The President is now reaping the reward for failing to wipe out the Fallujah rebels during the Spring and Summer. The administration passed-up the opportunity to teach rebels the expensive and fatal consequences of tangling with the US military by leveling Fallujah and instead opted to call off the Marines and negotiate. Now the rebels have learned that resistance pays, and the rebellion has grown becuase the appearance of weakness makes it look as if the Americans will be leaving sooner rather than later, and everyone wants to be on the winning side. Despite the success of the occupation elsewhere in the country, the low-grade insurgency in Sunni Iraq has caused the public (wrongly) to conclude that the military is suffering a continuing dribble of casualties to no purpose. Unfortunately, the election of Kerry will serve as great encourgement to the rebels. But this issue is a loser for Bush.

4). War Weariness. September 11 is remote enough in memory to most people to make them tempted to buy into Kerry's idea that terrorism is a nuisance we have to live with. When Kerry talks about a more expansive domestic agenda, he is pushing at an open door in the present economic climate. Kerry is wrong: the "nuisance" is cancer. Unfortunately, large numbers of people will not grasp this in time to help Bush.

5). Oil Prices and the Economy . Kerry will blame this on #3. It has more to do with the fact that Europe, the US, China and India have skyrocketing demand at the same time, and with the effects of Hurricane Ivan. However, price shock at the pump, and the doubts this causes among investors about the economy, is hurting Bush.

Lots can still happen. Al Qaeda certainly has a vote. Probably, they are smart enough to lie low, and then claim credit for toppling Bush (a claim which will be believed in the Arab world). But perhaps not. The Republicans will (and should) carpet-bomb Kerry's Senate record.

Bush badly needs a win tonight. Expectations are low for him, so he has an opening. But momentum is presently the other way, and the hour is late...

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

WAHOO ! Kerry gets the Springsteen endorsement.

Bruce Springsteen, REM, Pearl Jam, Jackson Browne, Dave Matthews and the Dixie Chicks (you remember the Chicks, the ones who told foreigners in wartime they were "ashamed" that the President is from Texas ?). Anyway, they've all endorsed -- big surprise -- our very own Thurston Howell III, Kerry.

Yeah, I'm really taking these experts on taxes, foreign policy, finance, war, terrorism and drug policy mighty seriously. I'm gonna run right out and vote for somebody who controls the nuclear trigger because the Dixie Chicks tell me to. After all, these folks are true national leaders, and their opinions are definitely entitled to some weight, eh ? Their views probably even make sense after you smoke a joint or twelve.

Also, I'll be sure to read Bush's reviews of their new releases before I buy anything. Ought to really be able to find some great music that way.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Tejano Music

Wonder if I'm the only non-Spanish speaking Anglo around who likes listening to Tejano music from time to time ? Usually, I tune in to one of our local Tejano music stations when the chit-chat on my normal 80's/top 40 station or whatever station gets too insipid, or they play Rod Stewart. Wait, that's the same thing.

I don't understand a word they say, but I enjoy the music. Wish I had even a little Spanish. I must find the time to read up some on the genre. The accordions and drums sound very German-Czech. I have always loved German oompah-pah music. Has to be some kind of cross cultural influence there. Makes me want to drink mucho cerveza (Pacifico, Carta Blanca, Dos Equis anybody ?) and eat some tortilla chips. With some salsa.

My wife hates it when I crank the volume, roll down the windows and drive thru the neighborhood at six-o-clock playing the stuff. Oh well.

The Ketchup Queen and Greed for Oil

Teresa Heinz Kerry is visiting south Texas, and to a crowd in McAllen, she promised that dear old Thurston, when he's crowned President "will never send a boy or girl in a uniform anywhere in the world because of our need and greed for oil."

I thought the soldiers were men and women ?

No war for "need and greed for oil" huh ? Lets see....no war thirty years ago to protect South Vietnam from aggression abetted and funded by Russia and China (yeah, I know, he fought in, but he didn't support the war, he protested that one). No war thirteen years ago to oust Saddam from Kuwait ? (he voted against that one) Now he is the standard-bearer of the party that complains about the current war. Just what, if anything, WILL Thurston support fighting for ?

No war for oil ? Does the Ketchup Queen like driving, like flying down here to Texas ? Does she like the labels on her ketchup bottles, the lights in her home, the ink on her party's obnoxious yardsigns that promise (what a joke) "a stronger America ?" Beg pardon, but I can think of few things MORE worth fighting for than oil.

And these people want to run our country ?



Columbus Day

It's Columbus Day in the USA, which commerates the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, Admiral of the Ocean Sea (1451-1506). Americans are still allowed to remember Columbus, if they choose, but fear not, Columbus Day will disappear, or go the way of Washington's Birthday (folded into generic, anonymous, obnoxious "President's Day"), soon enough.

The great sailor's role in the American story was perhaps small, but certainly decisive. Legions of the politically correct despise the memory of Columbus, his voyages and his culture, never mind that many of them walk the streets spouting their nonsense only because the Admiral found San Salvador on 12 October 1492 (although it was clear he was near land on the 11th). The fact that so many of these people dislike him so much is enough reason to think he must have been quite a fellow.

Born in Calvi, Corsica, he was probably the most distinguished native of that island save NapolĂ©on I. Son of a weaver, and already a distinguished sailor when he began his American voyage, he hoped to find a practicable route to India, but found a new world instead – and his discovery changed everything.

The European discovery of America was the biggest event in western civilization since the fall of Rome, and changed the whole world. The future existence of the United States was only one consequence of his voyages. His voyages were made in barely seaworthy leaky vessels, with abominable food and mutinous crews.

After his initial voyage to America, he made three further trips to these shores, dying two years after the return from his fourth voyage. The authorities still argue whether he is buried in Seville (Spain), or in Santo Domingo. Thank you Admiral !

Why is Kerry TH ?

It has been asked why Kerry is TH ? Good question, so many possible names for him. A friend dubbed him Thurston Howell, III, in honour of the somewhat stuffy, always absurd millionaire on the old series Gillligan's Island.

Kerry does have a somewhat remote, Brahmin like quality about him, secure in the knowledge that he's a Senator; from Massachusetts; and MILES above all us commoners. Teresa Kerry does have a certain resemblence to Mrs. Howell, so it works on that level as well.

El Jefe could, and no doubt does, call him worse things, but this is, after all, a family blog.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Sunday afternoon

Jess was very well-behaved during the baptism, and seemed to tolerate strangers putting water all over his head right well. However, Jess's sister C. stole the show, waving to folks she knew in the congregation, including, El Jefe Maximo flatters himself believing, El Jefe.

Brunch at the Dports. beautiful condo in Tanglewood after the baptism. One of my favorite parts of Houston, the area has the most beautiful trees, and is very shady, even if there is a bit too much pine round there for El Jefe's taste. The menu included, among other things, egg casseroles of various types, with fruit, some super-good banana bread, and excellent coffee, which is saying something, becuase El Jefe is not, as the ads used to say, a coffee achiever.

The children are all growing up SO FAST. El Jefe's son H, (Heir to the Kingdom of Chaos), was fascinated with Mr. Dport's. military memorabilia (Mr D. is a Viet. vet). Finally, though, he settled down with the other kids and played with Mr. D's big collection of toy train equipment. Jess and C's brother, Weston, (2 yrs. old) thinks H. is the cat's meow.

Speaking of meowing cats, MILO still has to wear her Daisy Duck collar. Hopefully, her bad spot heels soon, because FLINKY is creeped out by it, and growls every time MILO walks by.

H. and She Who Must Be Obeyed are watching the Astros playoff game. Suppose I should go put in an appearance. Kiddo baseball this evening...so we're going to be baseballed out, it looks like.

Sunday a.m.

Off for church in a bit. Our friends the C's child Jess is to be baptised this morning, after which we are all invited to lunch at Jess's grandparents house.

The French philosopher Jacques Derrida has died in Paris at 74. A member of the Academie Française, M. Derrida was the father of the school of thought known as “deconstruction” – one of the most false and pernicious philsophical doctrines ever devised. Deconstruction essentially suggests that communication (particularly written) is impractible because our knowledge consists of nothing but nuances and shades of meaning different from everyone else's and that these differences cannot be overcome by the speaker/writer's intent. Deconstruction is useful for justifying endless moral relativism. R.I.P.

Good news from Australia ! Prime Minister Howard, a strong ally of the United States, and of President Bush, has been re-elected. Time for a Foster's !

The A's are back from Austin today. Hope T likes her presents.

The War -- Jonah Goldberg's Piece on National Review Online

I don't always agree with Jonah Goldberg, sometimes he's just a bit too cute for me. But Mr Goldberg's piece in yesterday's National Review Online captures perfectly how I feel about the Democrats, the Left and the war, and why I could never even REMOTELY consider voting for Demos or for TH this year. You can talk about taxes, the environment, jobs or whatever till the cows come home, but the bottom line has to be the war. The guts of the piece:

I am saying that many of you don't care about the war. If Bill
Clinton or Al Gore had conducted this war, you would be weeping joyously about
Iraqi children going to school and women registering to vote. If this war had
been successful rather than hard, John Kerry would be boasting today about how
he supported it — much as he did every time it looked like the polls were moving
in that direction. You may have forgotten Kerry's anti-Dean gloating when Saddam
was captured, but many of us haven't. He would be saying the lack of WMDs are
irrelevant and that Bush's lies were mistakes. And that's the point. I don't
care if you hate George W. Bush; it's not like I love the guy. And I don't care
if you opposed the war from day one. What disgusts me are those people who say
toppling Saddam and fighting the terror war on their turf rather than ours is a
mistake, not because these are bad ideas, but merely because your vanity cannot
tolerate the notion that George W. Bush is right or that George W. Bush's
rightness might cost John Kerry the election.

I get e-mails from you people every day and I see your
candidate on TV every night. Shame on you all.

Amen, brother !

Read the whole thing, it's definitely worth it.

http://www.nationalreview.com/goldberg/goldberg.asp

Saturday Evening

Our friends the F's went to dinner with us this evening at the Club. Despite clouds, it turned out to be a nice evening, so we sat outside and tried to keep the kids from falling in the pool. The kiddos soon calmed down because the F's had the foresight to bring their son's Game Boy, which took care of the boys, while the F's exceptionally well behaved daughter was busy with one of those etch-a-sketch things.

Had a very good Red Snapper, but, on the whole, rather wish I'd ordered the Sea Bass that my wife (a/k/a She Who Must Be Obeyed) enjoyed. The food and the company were both excellent, but for some reason, the service was glacially slow. Have had better Cosmos, but mine wasn't bad. The place was virtually empty, with so many out of town this weekend -- about the only other folks in the place were my boss and his family.

Saturday, October 9, 2004

Wash. Post Tracking Poll, Astros, and Etc.

Today's Washington Post tracking poll shows Kerry down a point (50-46-1), so perhaps Bush at least stopped the bleeding. Lets hope so. Thing to watch now is who visits where, and where the money goes. Looks like Ohio is the key. Kerry must hold Pennsylvania, Bush must hold Florida. Neither has much of a chance without those states. Bush could be reelected without Ohio, conceivably, but I'm not sure Kerry would have a chance without it.

The Astros beat the Braves 8 to 5, according to the Heir to the Kingdom of Chaos, who went with his Mom and Grandpa. The Heir got a baseball, a jersey and all sorts of swag out of the deal, which is usual when accompanying Grandpa.

MILO is still wearing a collar around her neck, after some surgery. FLINKY thinks that it is all very strange.

Going to dinner in a little bit with some pals.


Michael Collins (Film Review, Ruminations on Guerrilla Warfare)

After the debate last night, with family asleep, MILO, FLINKY and your host, El Jefe Maximo settled in with a glass of Yellow Tail Shiraz and watched Michael Collins (1996) (Liam Neeson, Julia Roberts). If you want to understand how the banditti fighting us in Iraq, as well as Al Qaeda, see themselves, then watch Michael Collins.

Michael Collins covers the Irish War of Independence (1919-1922), particularly in Dublin. The title character, Michael Collins (Neeson), was the Irish hero of that war, and should be remembered as one of the more significant military/political figures of the 20th Century. Irish agitators and rebels of one type or another struggled sometimes bloodily and always unsuccessfully for separation from Great Britain for hundreds of years. It was Collins, a farmer’s son from hardscrabble, rural, County Cork, who, more than anybody else, converted the Irish independence movement from a mixture of eccentric political ideologues and bandits into a guerrilla movement that defeated the British Empire.

The film sticks reasonably close to historical events, probably too closely for most people to enjoy the film without a little background knowledge. Despite reasonable (well, stretches some points a bit) fidelity to the record, Michael Collins is an unabashed exercise in hero worship, totally from the Irish republican perspective. There were probably as many loyalists and neutrals in Ireland as there were rebels, if not more, but their story is ignored. The film also gives short shrift to Eamon de Valera, who had at least as much to do with Irish independence as Collins. Still, I enjoyed the film, although my own biases make me tend to sympathise more with the British than the Irish rebels.

The meat of the picture is its depiction of Collins's and the IRA’s struggle with G Division of the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP), and the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC). The film provides some excellent insight into the problems of police/intelligence/military organisations and guerrilla warfare.

G Division was tasked, among other things, with spying on and neutralising anti British rebel organisations such as the IRA. Collins recognised early on that Irish rebel movements in the past had always been defeated by informers and spies in their own ranks. Collins’s answer was to recruit and plant spies of his own within the DMP/RIC (including the famous Ned Broy, a member of G Division, depicted in the film), and use these persons to find, hunt down, and murder G Division’s detectives and informers. These people, of course, were usually as Irish as their IRA killers, the only difference being that they served the king, not the Irish rebel movement. Collins was even able to obtain access to the DMP’s secret files, and, more importantly, to use them as the basis to construct files of his own, to aid his assassination team ("the Twelve Apostles").

Collins’s methods have been copied and played themselves out again and again since the 1920’s, in Vietnam, Algeria, the West Bank, the Philippines, Malaysia… and so on. Something similar is going on in Iraq, right now, particularly in the Sunni parts of the country. Since the arrival of American troops, the Americans have tried to build an intelligence organisation, using informers, spies, and bribes, to destroy the Sunni rebel organizations.

After a slow start, they began to have some success, culminating in the capture of Saddam Hussein late last year. The rebels have responded, trying to plant and recruit spies (like Ned Broy) in the new Iraqi army and police, murdering police and soldiers who cooperate too much with Americans, and saving their worst punishments (as did, and does, the IRA), for informers in their own ranks cooperating with the occupation. In the Sunni areas, the rebels, like the IRA in Dublin, seem to have for the moment gained the upper hand, because the new Iraqi police and army lack intelligence sources, and because they cannot protect informers.

The film cloaks this dirty business in an aura of freedom-fighter romance, leaving you rooting for the rebels in their succession of risks and hair-breadth escapes. The most honest portion of the film is a weird sequence where the perspective moves back and forth between Michael Collins and his eventual love interest Kitty Kiernan (Julia Roberts) hiding out in a hotel room, and Michael’s boys all over Dublin murdering fourteen members of a special British intelligence unit (the “Cairo Gang”).

Lots to think on in this film. The most interesting personality in the film, at least for me, was Broy (played by Stephen Rea), the traitor on the inside; a detective in the G Division, going to work and associating every day with people he has set up to be killed. An indispensable person for a successful guerrilla movement, but Broy's double dealing and betrayal of his erstwhile comrades typifies one reason guerrilla warfare becomes (more even than conventional war) a parade of dirty atrocities. To fight the guerrillas successfully, the police and army must become like them.

Unfortunately, this sort of warfare is the way of the future. Fighting as irregulars allows weaker parties such as the IRA or the Sunni guerrillas to negate their opponent’s technological and industrial advantages. Guerrilla warfare takes maximum advantage of the unwillingness of democratic societies to tolerate long, grinding attritional struggles that always proceed slowly; that threaten civil liberties; and require a degree of ruthlessness on the part of the authorities that is not received well in modern western social democracies.

The film also shows the messy endings of most guerrilla wars – when the foreigners are gone, the victors fall out among themselves. Collins and his friend Harry Boland (Aidan Quinn) wind up on opposite sides of the Irish Civil War, with fateful results for both. Haunting rendition of a song called "She Moved Through the Fair" by Sinead O'Connor. Definitely worth a look.

If you’re interested in the IRA and this period, any of the books by Tim Pat Coogan are worth reading. Michael Hopkinson’s The Irish War of Independence is also very good. For guerrillas, and the future of warfare, have a look at Martin Van Creveld's The Transformation of War, a scary, scary book.







Friday, October 8, 2004

Bush/TH Debate II

Too wired and nervous to watch the whole debate, but shamed into tuning back in for the ending by a phone call from T. Thought it was better from the Bush point of view than the tapes I saw from the other night, but not sure that's enough. TH didn't look bad though.

Left Wing Media Bias In Action

Anybody who is sentient knows that the major television media organisations are very pro-Democrat. Had Dan Rather tried his recent 60 Minutes shenanagans on Kerry or anybody else who has the smell of a left-winger, the era of the free press would be over. The skeptics among us should have a look at this letter, reproduced on the Drudge Report. This is an internal ABC document, apparently authored by ABC Political Director Mark Halperin.

http://www.drudgereport.com/mh.htm

The memo states that the "stakes are getting very high for the country", but, fear not, because Halperin and his minions recognise that "our responsibilities [have]become quite grave." Huzzah ! The press to the rescue !

In essence, Halperin says that Bush distorts worse than TH (your Host, El Jefe Maximo's name for Kerry) -- so we need to go harder on Bush than TH. The heart of the memo says:

"We have a responsibility to hold both sides accountable to the public interest, but that doesn't mean we reflexively and artificially hold both sides "equally" accountable when the facts don't warrant that."

We all know who ABC and all the other TV types are going to hold less "'equally' accountable'" now, don't we ? For the dummies who don't get it, Halperin adds:

"It's up to Kerry to defend himself, of course. But as one of the few news organizations with the skill and strength to help voters evaluate what the candidates are saying to serve the public interest. Now is the time for all of us to step up and do that right. "

I don't know about the rest of you, but I thank God I live in a country where we have guys like Halperin watching out for us, stepping up to the plate and ensuring that all us who are part of the Great Unwashed aren't mislead by those Evil Republicans, and that we get Right Teaching from Mark Halperin (Harvard, Class of 1987) and all his friends. Freedom of the Press exists so that Mark Halperin can make six or seven figures a year and tell us commoners what to think. Ave Halperin !


Honour The High Patronesses !

I have been totally remiss in not honouring the High Patronesses of the Kingdom of Chaos, your host El Jefe's Jefes. Their Majesties, my cats FLINKY and MILO (blessings and peace be upon them). In any event, FLINKY and MILO (may God shower blessings on them) have graciously consented to permit El Jefe to share his wisdom with you. My failure to recognise their benevolence will no doubt not go unpunished by Their Majesties, nor uncommented on by She Who Must Be Obeyed (a/k/a Spousal Unit). Sooo sorry F and M.

Morning (yawneroos)

Yes, another morning in the legal racket, with all its splendour and glory. A sexual harassment brief awaits my attention. It's almost done, so not half as interesting now as when I got started on it, but I suppose I should get to it and finish.

All kinds of things to comment on, which I hope I'll have time to get back to. Most interesting news out there (besides the assassination attempt on your host, El Jefe Maximo, by an unknown Lexus in my kiddo's car pool line), is the bombing of the Hilton hotel at the Egyptian resort at Taba (on the Red Sea, near the Israeli border at Eilat). Taba, with its hotels and casinos, is a favorite Israeli tourist destination, and important to the Egyptians as a source of foreign exchange. Possibly Hamas, but I doubt it. Hamas is too beat up, and the Egyptian police have them penetrated. Some previously unknown group is taking responsibility. Smells like Al Qaeda to me (recall that they have lots of Egyptian connections). Lots of dead Israelis, but it really hurts the Egyptian government too, because of the lost income from tourism.

The King of Cambodia has abdicated. What a guy. Ol' Norodom Sihanouk has been a player since the 50's and has fingers in all the pies in southeast Asia. The king's been on good terms at one time or another with the North Vietnamese, the South Vietnamese, the Cambodian royalists, the Cambodian anti-royalists, the Khmer Rouge. Tool of the French, the Russians, the Chinese...you name em, he was on their side, and always knew when to jump ship. Supposedly it's for reasons of health (well, he is 81). His Majesty is staying in China...which seems like a good way to keep the royal fundament in (relatively) good health, given that the present Prime Minister, Hun Sen, formerly a Vietnamese stooge, doesn't like him much.

Big debate tonight. Spartan mommas used to tell their sons, when they'd head off to war, to return "with your shield or on it." Meaning, win, or have your friends bring your body back using your shield as a stretcher. It's that time for Bush's re-election hopes...he cannot afford to lose.

Oh well, time to work.

Burfdays

Had to miss my pal T's burfday celebration today. Hope she had a good one. Happy b-day T.

What I'm Reading Lately

I tend to read several things at once -- work at them for a couple of days, put them aside, read something else and come back to them, and the present is no exception. I have just started George Friedman's new book America's Secret War: Inside the Hidden Worldwide Struggle Between America and its Enemies. Friedman is the founder and chairman of Stratfor.com, a private intelligence service on the internet.

Secret War is Friedman's account of the origins of the present struggle with militant Islam in general, and Al Qaeda in particular. Among other things, the book explains the reasoning behind the Bush administration's decision to go into Iraq, and this alone is worth the price of the book. Friedman's explanation of the administration's strategy is the most coherent one going, and makes perfect sense. More on that another time.

Also about to start Philip Gold's Take Back the Right, a gift from my friend yoyo. TBTR is about where Dr. Gold thinks the right wing in this country went wrong. (Hint: it's the "neocons"). Dr. Gold, an ex-marine, and author of Evasions: The American Way of Military Service, because of his background and connections, has a degree of credibility with me that other critics might not have, although I'm unlikely to agree with him on much.

I am also reading (or re-reading) Colleen McCullough's Fortune's Favorites, which is the third book in her "Masters of Rome" series centered around the life of Gaius Julius Caesar. McCullough's books are novels, but she generally keeps her characters within historically permissible bounds. Fortune's Favorites deals with the early career of Caesar: his narrow escapes from murder at the hands of dictator Sulla's minions; the career of his friend, son-in-law and, ultimately, enemy, Pompey; and the beginnings of his problems with his dimwit adversaries, the boni.

Been into books lately because I can barely stand reading the newspaper -- used to read it beginning to end. I've actually started to read the business section and the sports section ! Gonna be on pins and needles till the election is over.

What I'm Drinking Lately (first of occasional series)

Yellow Tail Shiraz (Australian). Very nice, fruity red that is giving my other favorite, Santa Rita Merlot (Chile) a run for its money as my house red. Not partaking tonight though, because my head is still protesting last night's abuse at the hands of Hess Select, a friend's very good Calif. Chardonnay.

Elections: State of Play

With just under four weeks to go until election day, it looks as if President Bush is in a spot of trouble. This is of course a result of the President's admittedly miserable performance in the first debate, back on 30 September.

To some extent, this problem should have been anticipated. Thurston Howell's (a/k/a John Kerry or TH) problem going into the first debate was essentially that nobody outside of total political junkies had a clue who he was. Rather than using his convention to introduce himself to the public, TH managed to waste all of August talking about Vietnam -- and the one thing that most folks knew about TH was that he had been to Vietnam. Who cares ? This seems to have been a deliberate strategy to avoid substantive discussion of TH's extremely liberal voting record in the Senate -- which is truly his Achilles heel.

TH's dodging scrutiny of his record by wrapping himself in Vietnam gave the Swift Boat Veterans their opening to attack TH's war record (which El Jefe isn't persuaded was totally cricket) -- as well as his participation in the anti-war protests when he got home, which WAS cricket. Disgusting that a man who, inter alia, disrespectfully threw away military medals would even be considered as a commander in chief.

By the time TH reached the first debate, he had no place to go but up.

Although I only saw tapes later, the President appeared poorly prepped and rehearsed, which Bush is reportedly furious about. Also, Bush is a notorious early to bed-early to rise type (unlike El Jefe, who plots and schemes into the wee small hours), and perhaps he simply wilted as the evening wore on.

The fall in the polls is cause for serious concern, but not -- yet -- a reason to panic. Remember that this is not one election -- but 50. The State polls are the ones to watch, and no matter what happens, it will be extraordinarily difficult for TH to obtain 270 electoral votes, particularly since the post-2000 redistricting is so much more favorable to Republicans.

Bush's glaring weakness is, of course, Iraq. Although the military news is somewhat better than is being reported in the press -- the new Iraqi military is showing signs of life -- the Iraqi terrorist network can be expected to pull out all the stops to cause maximum embarassment for the Bush adminstration in the time remaining before the election. Casualties are going to continue. Bush has to convince the public that the election of Kerry would encourage these people, and be an important psychological victory for the bandit murderers in Iraq, and Al Qaeda and its friends.

What next, strategically for Bush ? I think that the flip-flop angle is about played out. He must attack, in detail, TH's Senate record -- and demonstrate that TH is a liberal extremist. TH's voting record makes this easy. Bush will have to demonize TH as extreme, in the same way that LBJ demonized Barry Goldwater as extreme in 1964. Bush should be able to accomplish this -- he has both a funding advantage, and a greater ability than TH to shape the news cycle.

For TH's part, he must hope Bush continues to be ineffective in debate, and that events in Iraq and elsewhere continue to worsen.


Thursday, October 7, 2004

Welcome

My friend T created her own blog (which is really very spiffy). Naturally, I had to be a copy cat and do the same thing, although I'm positive mine won't be nearly as much fun.

Welcome to the Kingdom of Chaos, where your Host, El Jefe Maximo, (sound the trumpets, beat the drums), known to the less reverent as Daddy H (and other things) shall from time to time give you his thoughts on everything from the weather; what I had for lunch; the news of the day; what wines I think are decent; and people and things that I either like, adore, or find greatly irritating, in no particular order.