Saturday, September 29, 2007

I'm Back

Back in Cuidad El Jefe after a rapid visit to the northeast. Blogging will resume as soon as the Great One has finished interrogating the secret police chief, the bureaucrats, the postal officials, the journalists from the very free and carefully censored press, and the representatives of the State church concerning goings-on in his absence.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Larry Craig Again

Idaho Senator Larry Craig is attempting to withdraw his plea of guilty to misdemenanor "disorderly conduct" following his arrest in a sex sting in the Minneapolis airport restroom. The Senator has said he will give up his seat on the 30th: whether that actually happens remains to be seen.
I don't understand this way of thinking. What can it possibly matter whether Senator Craig successfully withdraws his plea of guilty ? What does it matter if, after doing so, he is found, legally speaking, "innocent ?" The damage, which is the same, has been done. The Senator is clearly clueless, but has the man no dignity whatever ?
You were caught, sir, and for whatever reason, you pled guilty. Maybe you were innocent and entrapped: I don't know, but you became entangled in a situation, and that bell cannot be un-rung. Go home, accept your time in purgatory; and, if you are so inclined, run for office again at some future time, and may the people of Idaho judge you fairly. But quit demeaning yourself, and your office, and embarrassing the rest of us by quibbling.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

She Was For It Before She Was Against It

Hillary Clinton has now condemned the ad that she refused, five days ago, to vote to condemn in the Senate.
So she was for it before she was against it ? Senator Kerry, call your office.

The Wolf at the Sheep Convention

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad assured the people at Columbia that Iran was a free country. Yeah, like Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. According to Reuters today:

Iran’s judiciary has sealed off the offices of a popular news Web site critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s policies after journalists continued to update it despite official filtering, the Web site said.

Rights groups and diplomats say there is a broad crackdown on dissenting voices in the Islamic state, which is under growing Western pressure over its disputed nuclear programme. The authorities deny such moves, saying they allow free speech.

Hat tip: Belmont Club.
The Mullahcracy that runs Iran obviously thinks that their enemies, including us, are all fools. I suppose if we let them build their bomb, they'll turn out to be right.
The more I think about it, the angrier I get about Mad Jad speaking at Columbia. What planet do these people live on ? Welcoming Ahmedinajad is like welcoming the wolf to the sheep convention. We are presented with the spectacle of an American university providing, gratis, a forum for a deadly enemy of America, of freedom -- of the whole concept of a University -- to grandstand for credulous fools and to make propaganda useful for his government's evil purposes.
It's a win-win for the Mullahs: Ahmedinajad can coffee-house with the eggheads who can go to the student union and talk about what a democrat Mad Jad is for even appearing, even as Mad Jad goes back to his hotel and calls home to tell the police to close a newspaper or three. What a joke ! "See" the Mullahs can say to their Iranian foes "the Americans welcome our leader at their universities. Small chance they will care that you are arrested, beaten and jailed."
Ahmedinajad won't be the first dictator to successfully play both ends against the middle. The aforementioned credulous fools -- the pro-wolf sheep, are who really drive me up the wall. These people, acting as what the Marxists called useful idiots, will be able to shout from the rooftops that the presence of the dictator means the Iranians want peace, and that we should forbear from pressing them on their nuclear program.
"Sheep" is possibly the wrong word for these people: we have this problem that so much of our intellectual and political leadership class has no conception that they could ever be less than top dogs. Like the leaders of 20's and 30's Britain, our own Great and Good cannot imagine a world in which they are not part of the anointed; not part of the class that runs the commerce, dictates the culture and gives the law to the whole world.
Unfortunately for all of us, the swells are about to get a rude awakening. The dollar's falling like a stone; the unipolar world of the 90's is vanishing as rich foreign competitors began arming to the teeth; and we're in debt up to our eyes. While our intellectual, economic and political leaders pretend 9/11 never happened, spout their pablum about peace, imbibe their global warming religion, enjoy their drinks, imported cars and their weird artwork, they should think on who might be throwing the parties in the future. The dishes served won't be to their liking.

Disco Jad Storms Manhattan !

As everyone no doubt knows, Mahmoud "Mad Jad" Ahmadinejad -- everyone's favorite Stop and Go clerk (and that's an insult to honest clerks everyplace, for which I beg pardon) -- visited Columbia University yesterday. Mad Jad, dressed up as a game-show host or as a man set to head to the disco, told us, among other things:

Oh yeah, and he invited his audience to visit Iran.

Naturally, if you believe Disco Mad Jad on all this, you'll certainly believe his assurances that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful.

If you bought all that, surely you'll have no problem taking Mad Jad's invite seriously and visiting Free Iran. While there, (if you aren't taken hostage or thrown in prison or disappeared), try standing on the streets of Tehran and screaming at the top of your lungs "Down with the Islamic Republic !" Hopefully the wonderful people at Columbia University who set up this propaganda stunt will take the invite, and being educated, they can shout it in Farsi. This would solve all kinds of problems for everybody.

Monday, September 24, 2007

So Who Can Stop Hillary ?

Maybe. The Senator certainly has a sizable financial advantage, and she appears to have a good organization. But her negatives are high, and there's a long way to go yet. Also, she's been very lucky in terms of opponents: Obama's an amateur; and, as for Edwards, it's unclear whether he, or his wife, would be the better candidate.
Actually, there's one person out there who could stop Hillary stone-cold dead, win the nomination, and probably be elected President, if he could put an organization together fast enough. . .
God forbid, but . . .Earth to Planet Al Gore. . . Come in, ALGORE. . .

Crackdown in Pakistan

Maybe President Musharraf of Pakistan is made of sterner stuff than I supposed this past Friday. A crackdown on his political opposition has apparently been underway this past weekend. The Guardian reports that the police are detaining "hundreds of activists." The Prime Minister admits to forty or so detentions, calling these people a "threat to law and order."
It seems unlikely that this is in response to Mr. BinLaden's recent call for jihad. Probably, this has been in the works for awhile.
Some demonstrators tried to hold a rally in front of the Pakistani Supreme Court, complete with stone-throwing, and slogan shouting: (e.g. "the US government hired a dog in uniform."). Naturally, the police arrested some of them.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani Supreme Court, which, if it can't follow the election returns, can certainly follow the movements of the police -- has dismissed three legal challenges to the re-election bid of President Musharraf, because they were "filed too late." The Court is still weighing other challenges, including a challenge to the President's dual role as army chief and President. I wonder if the President is going to assist the Court in this process ?
The US embassy in Pakistan is shocked, absolutely shocked at all these developments, mind you: calling the crackdown "extremely disturbing" and saying that the detainees "should be released as soon as possible." Perhaps this release will be possible before the Presidential elections there, than again, perhaps not.
So how is the fix in ? Certainly there is one, the question is, which way does it break ? Have the President's fellow generals signed-off on a new term for President Musharraf ? The Army has pretty much run Pakistan for most of its existence, (and its senior leaders do quite well out of that, thank you) and it seems unlikely that the President could retain his seat without at least the acquiescence of the generals. Probably they could not settle on a successor among themselves anyway. In the short run, this is probably the least-bad outcome: but this stores-up serious problems for the future.
Less likely: President Musharraf has made a deal with some of his civilian opponents ? That's pure speculation, but one would think that this will be necessary at some point. The problem for Pakistan's military leaders is that the civilian politicans and bosses -- crowded out of all the good political jobs by the need to find positions and perks for army bigwigs -- in general have no use for the generals.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Out at the hacienda, and was planning to be productive this afternoon, and do a post. However, I took a nap instead. Sorry.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Pakistan Calls Bin Laden Ridiculous

The Pakistani government has derided as "ridiculous" Mr. Osama Bin Laden's call (in his latest video message), for the people of Pakistan to rise up and wage jihad against President Pervez Musharraf.
Well, I certainly hope it's ridiculous, but as I've said before, the President-General's seat looks none too stable at present. Power is never ridiculous: and the Question before the House in Islamabad is who really has it ? The President-General's claim to his office originates in a military coup, which means that his title is always a little dubious. . . .leading to other questions. Are the food-tasters, secretaries and door-watchers loyal ? Are the intelligence officers telling the truth ? Will the troops shoot ?
I wonder, Mr. President, if you're ruthless enough to ride this horse ? Do the right people fear you ? Anyway, keep that pistol under your pillow, and good luck to you, sir.

Post to Link a Picture

I sort of know who Kim Kardashian is, I think. I don't really have a reason at all for this post, other than to link to this picture. . .

Friday Quiz Time

We haven't done Friday Quizzes in awhile. In honor of the Heir, who has too many quizzes these days, here are a couple: First, we have the Evil Twin words quiz. Then we've got a movie quote quiz. I'm miffed at the latter one: I'm usually good on those, only 10/13 correct this time. Finally, there's the easy, easy WW II quiz.

Condemning the MoveOn Crowd

Good for Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), who stood up for his disgusted and angry constiuents when he introduced a "sense of the Senate" resolution (part of an amendment to next year's National Defense Authorization Act), with the purpose of allowing the Senate to state:

that General David H. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq, deserves the full support of the Senate and strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces.

This is clearly pointed at the unseemly,contemptable, digsusting and disgraceful newspaper ad by in the New York Times, calling General Petraeus (commander of US forces in Iraq) "General Betray-Us."
The astonishing thing is that the resolution did not pass unanimously, but by a vote of 72-25. Everyone should know how their Senator voted and in particular who the 25 are -- those who voted NO to condemning ". . .personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces." Here's a list:

Akaka (D-HI)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Clinton (D-NY) (yes, the would-be Commander-in-Chief)
Dodd (D-CT)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA) (oh, surprise, surprise)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Levin (D-MI)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Murray (D-WA)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)

These people should be remembered.

Senator Barak Obama was not present to vote; nor Maria Cantwell (D-WA); and neither was Joe Biden (D-DE), although as Beldar, at Beldar Blog points out, Senator Biden did condemn the Move-On ad.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Darth Dick

Wow, Dick Cheney is Luke's father ? Or is he the President's ? Cool !
I'm having visions of Darth Dick, heavy-breathing during his next conference call with the White House, Secretary Gates and the generals, saying "Use the Force, W."
So, when do they take off to wax Mad Jad and the Iranian Death Star ? They may need the help of Obama-wan Kenobi.
Who gets to be Princess Leia ? It sure isn't Hillary. Maybe we'd better ask Bill who he's got on his casting couch for that role.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mad Jad's Trap

So Mahmoud "Mad Jad" Ahmadinejad wants to lay a wreath at the site of the World Trade Center does he ? Mad Jad is coming to the US next week to address the General Assembly of the United Dictators (er, United Nations).
Although we have no diplomatic relations with Iran we have to let Mad Jad in anyway, because we stupidly agreed to host the UN, the worst idea Franklin Roosevelt or any other American President ever had, save possibly Woodrow Wilson's mad scheme for its predecessor, the League of Nations.
Take back what I said in my last post. War with Iran must practically be a certainty, and Iran hell-bent on getting a nuclear weapon -- and Mad Jad, whose every other utterance contains hatred of the US; hatred of the West; hatred of Europe -- is telling us as much. Mad Jad's declaration that he wants to lay a wreath at the site of the World Trade Center is an effort to put the US in the wrong, in the propaganda sense. This is about being able to say: when we demand that they give up their nuclear program,"or else" -- "we laid a wreath for your 9/11 dead, and you want to bomb us for our nuclear program ?" This is a set-up: to tie our diplomatic and military hands, and the Government was wise to deny permission.

Busy, War Talk

Very busy at work and still putting the new palace in order, which explains the relative paucity in posting. All kinds of interesting things going on though.

Lots of talk about war with Iran. This is possible I suppose, but I'm not in general inclined to believe that we will walk into it with our eyes open: primarily because it is unclear where it would end; and because I see no signs that the government is preparing the public for the possibility. Moreover, we are unprepared economically, politically and militarily for a wider war. However, war by blunder -- some clash in Iraq that escalates; some problem at sea; or Mad Jad or others putting their feet into it -- seems all too possible to me. Perhaps I will post on all of this later, but not yet.
Meanwhile, the Israeli strike into Syria back on 6 September is interesting ? North Korean "cement ?" Or did we find Saddam's bomb program ? Interesting doings in Lebanon too. Another anti-Syrian politician has been murdered.
All interesting, but back to work for the moment.

Friday, September 14, 2007

If He Did It, Part 2

Spy Coach

The New England Patriots have lost a first-round draft choice, and their coach Bill Belichick has been fined for (gasp) spying. Yes, naughty Coach Belichick has been using a video camera to spy on other teams. Simply shocking.
Maybe it's the cynic in me, but I thought this kind of spying was normal ? Maybe President Bush needs to offer Coach Belichick a new job . . .say, Director of Central Intelligence ? The CIA could use somebody who actually knows how to spy, as opposed to playing leak games with the politicians.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bin Laden's Caravan of Murderers

. . .When the devil’s riddle is mastered
And the galley-bench creaks with a Pope,
We shall see Buonaparte the bastard
Kick heels with his throat in a rope.
. . .
On this sixth anniversary of the murder of 3,000 unarmed American civilians by Bin Laden's bandits -- the thug-in-chief invites the gullible, murderous and stupid; and the enemies of religion generally, to join his "caravan of 'martyrs.'"
No doubt Bin Laden the Arabian seeks to evoke specific historic and cultural imagery in the minds of his fellow nihilists with the phrase "caravan of martyrs." Hmmm, I have some in mind too. The appropriate response to Mr. Bin Laden's "caravan of 'martyrs'" would be an armored column of American martyr-makers with heavy machine guns, helicopters and tanks.
Aren't you still angry today ? If not, what's the matter with you ?

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Entertainment Elite

No, I didn't watch the MTV Video Music Awards ("VMA") last night, but friend T, (who joined us for dinner with her family), sent me a link to the YouTube video of Britney Spears performance: which was apparently Da Bomb, and not in a good way.
Curiousity piqued, I read-up on the VMA awards this morning. I wonder if I'm the only one who thinks that what passes for popular culture in this company is intellectually and artistically exhausted and living on its capital. Am I wrong to perceive music, film and popular culture as currently dominated by a group of overpaid, underdressed no-account louts, who long since stopped giving value for money ?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

At El Jefe's Hacienda

El Jefe is at the Hacienda, in the country, away from Ciudad El Jefe. Personally, you can keep Ciudad El Jefe -- I get out here as often as I can.
Busy on various sorts of work around the property: mostly involving dirt, grass, brush and equipment, with all their associated smells. Have been looking for my Cottonmouth friends, and their cousins -- they like to come out and play on warm days like this, after so much rain, but it's been somebody's good luck (probably mine), they haven't put in an appearance so far.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Syrian Dust-Up

The Syrians claim that they have fired on some Israeli aircraft near the Syrian/Turkish frontier. The Jerusalem Post reports that Syrian radio says that some Israeli aircraft dropped attachable fuel tanks on Syrian territory and broke the sound barrier. Continuing the multiple hearsay-fest: J-Post says Israel Radio quotes unnamed "western diplomats" as saying the aircraft were "most likely" sneaking around taking photographs, and they scrammed when the Syrians ID'd them.
Official Israeli sources are not saying much of anything.
Haaretz quotes the Syrian Information Minister, Mr. Mohsen Bilal, as saying to Al Jazerra, (along with the usual pro forma vaporings about Israeli aggression and treachery), that "[t]he Syrian leadership is seriously considering its response." That is certainly wise, and no doubt fortunate for Minister Bilal and his master, because if Syria does anything intemperate, it will be the end of the Assad dynasty and Minister Bilal in short order.

Naval Maneuvers: Exercises Malabar, Bold Step, et al

US Navy photo of Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in formation with the British Royal Navy's Invincible-class aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (R 06) in the Atlantic Ocean (Photo by Mass Comm. Spl. 2nd Class Jay C. Pugh)
A giant international naval exercise is under way in the Bay of Bengal, involving the armed forces of the USA and its most important allies, Japan and Australia; along with Singapore – an important friend, with which along with India, we badly need closer military relations, including a formal alliance.

Meanwhile, in the Atlantic, in late July, US aircraft carriers Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), and their strike groups of accompanying cruisers and destroyers completed Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) 07-2, “Operation Bold Step”-- together with British carrier HMS Illustrious and her strike group. Interestingly, the British carrier, for the entire exercise, embarked two US Marine Air Groups. Illustrious was also grouped with US Navy destroyers and frigates.

The Bay of Bengal exercises (Malabar 07-02) are very interesting. This is probably the largest concentration of naval power in this region since Admiral Nagumo, of Pearl Harbor fame, raided the area with his Japanese carrier force in early 1942. At least 26 vessels are involved in Malabar, including US carriers Nimitz (CVN 68) and Kitty Hawk (CV 63), and their escorting strike groups; plus submarine USS Chicago (SSN 721); along with Indian carrier Viraat and her escorts, plus the aforementioned contingents from Japan, Singapore and Australia. This is a formidable assemblage of naval power: thousands of sailors, with larger support casts assisting ashore and aloft.
And as if all that weren't enough -- there is another exercise on off the coast of South Africa, involving that country's navy, a NATO contingent with ships from Portugal, Canada, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, and yet more US vessels. (Hat tip: Eagle Speak).
The operational tempo of the US Navy seems to be very high at present. Multi-carrier exercises across the breadth of the whole planet ? The fuel costs alone are staggering, to say nothing of upkeep and maintenance obligations and expenses; and assorted personnel issues. The command and control problems are not inconsiderable either: multiple sets of exercises with a veritable menagerie of foreign navies.

I wonder if something is brewing ? No end of things to speculate about. Supposedly the Indian Ocean exercises are a giant anti-piracy/anti-terrorism drill, but that seems a bit dubious: swatting flies with sledgehammers.
Meanwhile, among other interested parties, the Chinese won't like being reminded that others can deploy powerful naval forces across their oil lifeline anytime they like; and they (and the Russians) cannot be happy about closer cooperation among the powers participating in Malabar. Also, Pakistan’s government is looking rather wobbly – another reason for the Americans to cozy up to India, as if one was needed. Then, of course, there’s Iran.

Interesting times. Hopefully not too much more interesting.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

What Happened to Those Nukes ?

The US Air Force apparently had a blooper last week, mistakenly flying a B-52 loaded out with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles over the United States. Oops. A career ending boo-boo for a bunch of somebodies.
There was never any danger of a problem, but I wonder how long it will take the Bushhitler set to foam at the mouth and find a deep, dark conspiracy here ? Yep, no doubt about it: prima facie evidence that the Bush crowd is gearing up to steal the election, tap Mad Jad's phone and invade Mars. They may even (gasp) have been deliberately trying to cause global warming. The Bush fascists were going to signal that B-52 with the new, secret tinfoil hat radars, hidden in the dimpled chads. . .

Please Go Already

Judging by statements from his lawyers and spokesmen, Idaho's Senator Larry Craig seems to want to renege on his announced plans to resign from the Senate on 30 September. Second-thoughts appear to be in Senator Craig's DNA -- first he pleads guilty, then he regrets it; he announces he will resign, then he says he doesn't want to. Does he behave like this with Senate business ? How long do the rules give you to switch votes ?
I don't understand this sort of thinking. Guilty or not guilty; fair or unfair: Senator Craig has become political damaged goods. Senator Craig is presently a burden to his already suffering party, and an embarassment to the Senate. Maybe someplace down the road, he gets another chance: American politics is full of good second acts, but more is at stake than Senator Craig's fight for political and personal survival. I'd think a whole lot more of an innocent man in his position who drew the appropriate conclusions, and left quietly, without all this fuss. Better oblivion than being the staple of jokes on late night television, YouTube and blogs. Just go, please.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Fall of Thrones

Victor and Vanquished: Emperor Napoléon III talks with Count Bismarck after the Emperor's surrender at Sedan, September, 1870.

This date in history has been a poisonous one for monarchs and thrones. Today, in 476, the Germanic barbarian chief Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus (age 13), last Emperor of Rome in the west.
Jumping forward to 1870, on this date the Paris mob deposed Emperor Napoléon III, France’s last monarch. Actually, the poor Emperor wasn’t at home to be deposed – he was a prisoner of state in Prussian captivity, (his army had been trapped and forced to surrender at the French town of Sedan on the 2nd). The Emperor: an inept commander-in-chief, had to swallow the humiliation of giving up his sword to the Germans after trying and failing to get himself killed.
Alas for Napoléon III, his cup of bitterness was not yet full: his country invaded; his army beaten; his health breaking; his 14 year old son in flight without his parents; his wife alone at Paris. The captive Emperor heard of his own no-doubt anticipated dethronement second-hand. In Paris, the Emperor’s wife, Empress Eugénie, (regent in her husband’s absence), was assisted in escaping the mob by her American dentist.
It all seems long ago now: and of little importance to us. No doubt the trials, wars and problems of our own time will be equally boring and inconsequential to our own heirs and successors – hundreds of years hence. Nothing is left to us of these men but dusty books and a few paintings. But to the two Emperors, and to those who loved, followed and supported them; or the opposite – all this was once real. RIP, Your Majesties.

President Visits Iraq

President Bush stopped off in Iraq, en route to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Australia. This time the President did not stop in Baghdad, but at Al Asad Air Base, (second largest airfield in Iraq) about 112 miles west of Baghdad.
This is fine, but if it were me, I would have stopped off in Australia for the summit and then spent a much longer time in Iraq, visiting as many posts as possible. The security people would have kittens about such an extended visit, but risks go with the Presidential chair. The President needs to see the troops -- if only as an antidote to the negative spin and doom-mongering produced by the media, but also because a first-hand look is always more useful than reports, statistics and second hand accounts. More importantly, the troops have a right to see their leaders, and they need to know that the leadership has not forgotten them.
Lieut. Col. Ralph Peters' New York Post column today usefully summarizes what is possible, and not possible, in Iraq, and reminds of the stakes:
Whether or not it was worth it in 2003 (and I still believe it was), it's certainly worth the fight now. By our enemies' choice, Iraq became the central battleground between civilization and terror, between good and evil - despite the left's denial that the latter exists.
Colonel Peters -- in Baghdad for his own first hand look -- is absolutely correct, as is his warning against buying into the "constant negativity in the media." Read the whole thing.