Sunday, June 29, 2008

Obama the Flip Master

Charles Krauthammer says that St. Barack is unabashedly unprincipled, and in terms of willingness to flip-flop, cut loose old friends and generally do whatever is necessary to win: will make the Clintons "look scrupulous. "
Wow, now that will take some doing. But, why not ?As Mr. Krauthammer reminds us, flip-flopping when and as necessary, cutting loose the baggage and other unpleasantness is not going to have a downside for our soon-to-be Leader:
Normally, flip-flopping presidential candidates have to worry about the press. Not Obama. After all, this is a press corps that heard his grandiloquent Philadelphia speech — designed to rationalize why “I can no more disown (Jeremiah Wright) than I can disown my white grandmother” — then wiped away a tear and hailed him as the second coming of Abraham Lincoln. Three months later, with Wright disowned, grandma embraced and the great “race speech” now inoperative, not a word of reconsideration is heard from his media acolytes.
The media's love is going to be most useful: already has been. Obama has already been able to discard public financing of his campaign -- such blatant disregard of such a big chattering-class shibbolleth would normally draw a lot of unfavorable scrutiny and criticism, particularly since he had earlier pledged to use it. Not so with the Sainted One. Again, Krauthammer:
. . .the New York Times expressed a sympathetic understanding of Obama’s about-face by buying his preposterous claim that it was a pre-emptive attack on McCain’s 527 independent expenditure groups — notwithstanding the fact that (a) as Politico’s Jonathan Martin notes, “there are no serious anti-Obama 527s in existence nor are there any immediate plans to create such a group” and (b) the only independent ad of any consequence now running in the entire country is an co-production savaging McCain.
True, Obama’s U-turn on public financing was not done for ideological reasons, it was done for Willie Sutton reasons: That’s where the money is. It nonetheless betrayed a principle that so many in the press claimed to hold dear.
So what ? Nobody's going to call him on that, or on anything else.
Read the whole thing. (Hat tip: Vodkapundit).

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Justice Kennedy's Constitution

Small miracle.
The Second Amendment still lives, but only because the Supreme Court says that it does. This decision was five votes to four. Had Bill Clinton gotten another appointment to the Supreme Court, or if Justice Kennedy had decided to be liberal this morning, the District of Columbia could have quite legally banned ownership of handguns or any other type of weapon, whatever the Constitution says.
As it often is, yesterday at the Supreme Court was very different. Yesterday we learned that the Constitution says that the State of Louisiana could not put to death a 43 year old man who raped his 8 year old step-daughter. Too bad that the people of the State of Louisiana elected a legislature that decided that raping a child should be punishable by death. But the Supreme Court -- by five votes to four (Kennedy siding with the liberals)-- said that the Louisiana legislation violates the Constitution's ban (the Eighth Amendment) on "cruel and unusual punishment."
Now, it is a bit difficult for me to credit that the drafters of the 8th Amendment (in 1791) would have considered that hanging a 43 year old man who raped an 8 year old child by the neck until he was dead, dead, dead (or whatever they do in Louisiana) was "cruel and unusual punishment." But nobody cares what the Framers thought. The Constitution is what the Nine Kings say it is, today, and the Court's majority claims to have identified a "national consensus" that the death penalty is never acceptable for the rape of a child.
More particularly, the Constitution is what today's swing justice -- Justice Kennedy -- says it is. Sure, I liked today's decision on the right to keep and bear arms, and disapprove of yesterday's decision on cruel and unusual punishment. But is this law or politics? Today, Justice Kennedy says that the Second Amendment means we have the right to own firearms; and that the Eighth Amendment says it's cruel to kill child rapists. Recently, Justice Kennedy educated the generals and bureaucrats on their obligations while running a war. Whatever the law is today, don't hold your breath, because tomorrow, Justice Kennedy may well think differently -- and the law will thus think differently also.
This is not government by law. This is not a republic. It isn't even a monarchy. This is government by whim of a robed clerisy who rule over us not because of election, but because they went to elite law schools. Instead of a republic, we are ruled by a theocracy of judges primarily concerned with increasing their own collective power.
In any society with a written Constitution, or that conducts itself based on written laws, it is necessary to have a court, or an entity, that can tell us what the law means. This is the purpose of judicial review in our system, and the Supreme Court is the last stop. But the tail is now wagging the dog. The Supreme Court enjoys construing the Constitution too much, does it too often, and has become a clear and present danger to republican institutions.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Globalized Media and War

We need first of all to recognize this is a real war. Our enemies are peaceful when they're weak, are ruthless when they're strong, demand mercy when they're losing, show no mercy when they're winning. They understand exactly what this is, and anybody who reads Sun Tzu will understand exactly what we're living through. This is a total war. One side is going to win. One side is going to lose. You'll be able to tell who won and who lost by who's still standing. Most of Islam is not in this war, but most of Islam isn't going to stop this war. They're just going to sit to one side and tell you how sorry they are that this happened. We had better design grand strategies that are radically bigger and radically tougher and radically more honest than anything currently going on, and that includes winning the argument in Europe, and it includes winning the argument in the rest of the world. . . .
Newt Gingrich, Speech to the Jewish National Fund, 15 November 2007.

The blogger Westhawk, whose approach to strategic issues is usually quite sound, had an interesting post yesterday about a New York Times story reporting that mainstream television news has largely given up reporting the Iraq and Afghan wars. Expensive coverage in places where security is difficult; the issues are hard to quickly summarize; and dramatic incidents thankfully fewer has been drastically scaled-back. Westhawk correctly observes:

The Bush administration and the Defense Department have been fighting a war of attrition against both radical jihadist and a hostile global media. These wars are obviously tightly interrelated. It appears as if the Bush administration and the U.S. military have bankrupted the media “enemy.” Now what remains to be seen is whether this success will come too late to affect the outcome against the real jihadist enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Cynical observers of the mainstream media have always suspected that the MSM have been little better than war profiteers, guided by the editorial dictum “if it bleeds, it leads”. . .

Most of us agree with Westhawk that America needs “. . .an independent media to keep it informed and to provide a check on government power.” But what checks and balances the checkers ? The powerful and connected media of today (I am primarily thinking of television, the pundit class and the prestige journals) is easily the most important actor on the American political scene: staffed by a knowledge elite increasingly separated by education, inclination, income and interest from its audience. Who are these people accountable to ? What do they believe in ? Naturally, as Westhawk points out ".. .media reporters, producers, editors, and owners seek to influence public policy, not merely report on it."

Really big media and the knowledge class that feed it are among the prime beneficiaries of globalization. However, the existence of big wired media and the natural bias of this animal towards leading with the bleeding creates a serious military disadvantage for entities such as the United States, because adversaries can leverage freedom in their favor. As Westhawk puts it: ". . .modern 'fourth-generation warfare' adversaries see media and information operations as their principal weapon. Bombs, rockets, and rifles exist only to support the media weapon."

By contrast, the US and other westernized free countries with Big Media and open societies pay a disproportionate military price for the free gathering and dissemination of so much information. Sensitivity towards casualties and portrayals of devastation in the media create for large state entails an increasing inability to leverage their size and economic advantages, and make real military use of them. In the context of insurgency, then, as Westhawk puts it "U.S. military planners should anticipate that it will take longer to subdue modern insurgencies than it will take for the mainstream media to turn the U.S. public against a counterinsurgency effort."
To a degree this issue can be got round – remember, “if it bleeds, it leads.” So, the only practical way for wired states with big powerful media entities to conduct a conflict with an amorphous non-state actor is to deprive the visual media of compelling images (i.e. casualties) to cover in the news. As Westhawk says, "The conclusion is that U.S. military planners should figure out a way to fight this era’s low-intensity wars without much, if any, use of general purpose units."

Westhawk’s prescription (at least for low-intensity conflict) seems in general correct, but begs the question of what the US might do if, contrary to all expectations, it ever again has to fight a high-intensity war in the present political and cultural environment, that requires the use of general purpose units. Can a modern media-centric state fight a big war at all, no matter how badly it might need to ? How might the US compete militarily with a great power adversary with a powerful economy and military that is, however, not favored with ". . .an independent media to keep it informed and to provide a check on government power" ?

Perhaps more realistically, how will the US perform in a low-intensity conflict that it can't afford to back away from (probably over resources, or the security of some otherwise vital interest), in which the insurgents have the covert or more or less overt backing of such a major power ?

The US has enjoyed the great good fortune of not having great power involvement on the other side in its present conflict. There is no reason to assume such immunity will continue forever, and the circle that could not be squared in Vietnam will probably have to be confronted again, over strategic interests of much greater importance, under even more unfavorable cultural and political conditions.

The large nation state still seems to be the best vehicle by which to secure the liberty and prosperity of great numbers of people: protecting the law-abiding from harm, while still managing to reserve to these same people a reasonable degree of liberty and self-government. But we still have to answer the question as to whether such a polity can successfully protect itself, in a world with (1) states that have great economic and military power, but do not care so much for liberty; (2) well-financed criminals all over the world endowed with greater destructive power and mobility than ever before, who function well in the new globalized world; and (3) other entities created by the marriage of liberty and technology, that pursue their own interests without reference or care for the strategic interests of free peoples and states. The issue is in doubt.

New Seal Delayed. . .

The new seal is shelved, for the moment and Mount Rushmore plans temporarly on hold, as is the rebranding of the USA as "Obamanation." Fear not, though, the Leader's day is coming. With apologies to the ghost of Julia Ward Howe, St. Barack is marching on. . .
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of St. Barack:
He trampled vintage Clinton in the school of Hard Knocks;
He hath loosed the fearful lightning of Move-On's back-stabbing sword:
St. Barack is marching on !
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
St. Barack is marching on !
I have seen Him in the pot-smoke of the anti-war camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the Global Warming damps;
But I can't read His righteous sentence in the eco-friendly lamps:
St. Barack is marching on !
He has sounded forth the campaign to bring Iraq defeat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men in the pollsters judgment-seat:
Oh, be swift, left donors, to answer Him! be jubilant, libs bleat!
St, Barack is marching on !
In downtown Honolulu, He was born across the sea,
With Soros's backing in His pocket that transfigures you and me:
As He campaigns to Bring us Hope, let us Change to be PC!
St, Barack is marching on !

He is coming, the glory of the mainstream media to save,
He is funded by the mighty, Coming to undo the brave,
So the world shall be His footstool, and the middle class tax-slaves:
St. Barack is marching on !


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Meet the Wackos and See Your Future

For those still entertaining the delusion that St. Barack the Leader is a uniter, a run-of-the-mill moderate being victimized by the Republican attack machine -- take a tour, courtesy of Little Green Footballs of some interesting posts on the Obama Community Blogs website, where the Leader provides a place for his worshippers to show their love and devotion. Once you've seen the adulation, and to get you appropriately pumped-up for the approaching New Regime, embrace your revolutionary future here or here. ¡El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Leader's New Seal

Obama has his own little quasi-Presidential seal. This is only appropriate since St Barack of Obama is really going to be bigger than a President. . .
According to the AP's photo caption, the Seal is somewhat different than the President's:

Instead of the Latin 'E pluribus unum' (Out of many, one), Obama's says 'Vero possumus', rough Latin for 'Yes, we can.' Instead of 'Seal of the President of the United States', Obama's Web site address is listed. And instead of a shield, Obama's eagle wears his 'O' campaign logo with a rising sun representing hope ahead.

Only makes sense that the Diversity uber alles crowd would chuck the whole unim concept of one people. He's bigger than a Kennedy, damn it -- he's got his own Latin. For that matter, it's good to see he's giving all his intellectuals enough to do, turning phrases like "vero possumus" to wow the hoi polloi.
Maybe the soldiers will be privileged to bear the new Obama symbol on their uniform, like the Reichsadler of another regime? Their belt-buckles might well say "Obama is With Us." I wonder if the Obamacons will change the flag? Seems only appropriate for the post-national era the New Messiah is leading us to.
If you're not creeped-out yet, you're not paying attention.
(Hat tip: Drudge Report).

Monday, June 16, 2008

Che, and Change We Can Believe In

Every American judge needs a picture of a murderous commie who needs a shave on his office wall, don't you think ? As Comrade Fidel and his stooges would say, "we shall be like Che." Venceremos !

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert

The worlds of politics and journalism staggered today at the news of the untimely passing of Tim Russert, dead at the age of 58 of an apparent heart attack. The fall presidential campaign won't be at all the same without him: I shall never forget being so entertained by him during Election Night, 2000, watching him wave his white marker board about helpfully reminding us all that: "FLORIDA, FLORIDA, FLORIDA" was the decisive place. Four years later, Mr. Russert's board told us to watch "OHIO, OHIO, OHIO."
Mr. Russert already knows the winner this year, he is with God now and is thus the infinite gainer. Condolences to his family. R.I.P.

King Anthony's Supreme Court

I'm still incensed about yesterday's outrage by the Supreme Court's liberal faction, which disregarded both that court's own precedents and the will of the political branches, as expressed through legislation. If the conservative movement is looking for a cause, chopping the Supreme Court down to size, for good -- via an amendment to the Constitution, legislation or whatever it takes, so that this sort of thing can never happen again -- w9uld be a good item to put on the list.
But for the present we are stuck with these people -- Justice Kennedy and the other eight kings -- our rulers for life. Elected by nobody, accountable to nothing, makers and breakers of the law at whim.
The Wall Street Journal sums it up best: "Justice Jackson once famously observed that the Constitution is 'not a suicide pact.' About Anthony Kennedy's Constitution, we're not so sure."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

North vs. South

From some poll results found on Real Clear Politics:

IA (Rasmussen): Obama +7
NJ (Quinnipiac): Obama +6
WI (U of. Wisconsin): Obama +13
MA (Suffolk): Obama +23

AL (AEA): McCain +24
FL (Rasmussen): McCain + 10
TX (Rasmussen): McCain +13

I've always been proud to be from Alabama, and live in Texas. I like Florida too. . .

"No Prisoners" Says the Supreme Court

Today the Court warps our Constitution in a way that goes beyond the narrow issue of the reach of the Suspension Clause, invoking judicially brainstormed separation of-powers principles to establish a manipulable "functional" test for the extraterritorial reach of habeas corpus (and, no doubt, for the extraterritorial reach of other constitutional protections as well). It blatantly misdescribes important precedents, most conspicuously Justice Jackson’s opinion for the Court in Johnson v. Eisentrager. It breaks a chain of precedent as old as the common law that prohibits judicial inquiry into detentions of aliensabroad absent statutory authorization. And, most tragically, it sets our military commanders the impossible task of proving to a civilian court, under whatever standards this Court devises in the future, that evidence supports the confinement of each and every enemy prisoner.
The Nation will live to regret what the Court has done today. I dissent.
Boumediene v. Bush, No. 06-1195, slip op. at 25 (U.S. Jun. 12, 2008) (Scalia J., dissenting).
The Supreme Court has opted for a "no prisoners" policy.
Only in America could unlawful foreign combatants have rights under the US Constitution. No other country, nobody else's judges -- are that crazy. But the liberal majority of the Supreme Court assuredly is: holding this morning, in a 5-4 decision, that the rights of foreign terrorist suspects held indefinitely and without charges have been violated -- and that the detainees -- foreigners -- have rights under the US Constitution.
The usual suspects (the Court's liberal wing), also held that the detainees could challenge their detention in the US Courts. Among other things, the Court's decision invalidates a provision of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 denying these detainees the right to file petitions of habeus corpus.
As Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, the Court's decision ". . .will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed."
This outrageous, ludicrous decision will be overturned, eventually, either by the Court itself or by amendment after the next horrible terrorist incident, or by legislation out of a different and better Congress taking these matters out of the hands of the Courts. Until this happens, however, the Court's decision will have the unintended effect of making things go harder for prisoners (or those few who survive to obtain such status) ensuring that US forces simply arrange for terrorists not to surrender. If prisoners are taken, they will (usually) be quickly handed over to foreign powers and their intelligence services, which do not pay much attention to writs issued by wacko-liberal Harvard Law graduates from Planet Pluto.
In any case, the whole experiment of holding prisoners anyplace in reach of the lawyers or the Courts will clearly not be repeated. The Court is supposed to uphold the law, not make it absurd.
Where does this stop? Does everybody, anywhere, get to be an American citizen ? These people are not even lawful combatants. Under the traditional usages of war, the Guantanamo detainees were not soldiers, but naked pirates who could have lawfully been shot out of hand. Now the Supreme Court (or rather, a faction of it) created by our Constitution, supported by our taxes, which holds forth in a country built on the sacrifices of our soldiers, that is charged with protecting our law -- dares to say that these people, who would kill you and your family in their beds if they could -- are as good as you and I: that they have access to your Constitution and your civil rights.
Justice Scalia is right: the nation is going to live to regret what was done today. I wonder how many Americans are going to have to die so that an American court can see that precious Lakhadar Boumediene (an alien, not an American citizen) gets his US Constitutional rights ? The Supreme Court majority has engaged in lawfare against the law, against the war, and has connnived at the defeat of the nation.

Full Decks

Not much posting of late, because El Jefe has been preoccupied with the usual round of work and secret police reports (his agents in Korea have been most active -- seeing that US beef doesn't get shipped away from the tables of El Jefe). Besides the usual, some unusual happenings -- shipping the Heir off to camp, visiting the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas, and getting a new car. More on the trip to Fredricksburg later.
In any case, El Jefe got his new car, a dark, almost midnight blue Lexus ES-350 yesterday, and it is most spiffy. As usual, El Jefe appointed SWMBO the Imperial Plenipotentiary for Car Negotiations, took plenty of Pepto-Bismol and watched as she obtained the typical results (it's almost unfair to the car salesmen). Anyway, SWMBO the negotiator ensured that El Jefe's Lexus has every gizmo possible, and a few that really aren't. The car comes with instruction books that look like an encyclopedia. El Jefe has been much more interested in the car, and in catching up with work, than blogging, but he promises to rectify this soon.

Friday, June 6, 2008


El Jefe's presently looking at cars. The media's proclaiming the death of SUV's. I never have really wanted an SUV (save for the smaller Lexus), but all the vaporings from the Gaia worshipers about carbon footprints are making me want to give them another look. Yeah, they're expensive to maintain, and gas bugs me as much as the next guy, but they so offend all the right people.
Here's a fantasy. What I really, really want to do, just once, is get in a ginormous SUV -- maybe a big red Hummer, with NRA, pro-Bush and McCain stickers all over it; fill it up with six or seven kids all openly and notoriously smacking fast food; crank up a CD of Marine Corps band music; put on my Red State hat and drive slowly down the main drag in San Francisco or Berkeley (maybe right past Casa Pelosi) smoking a very smelly cigar.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Midway, 4-7 June 1942

HIJMS Hiryū dodges a stick of bombs dropped by a US Army Air Forces B-17 heavy bomber at about 8 a.m. on 4 June 1942, northwest of Midway Atoll. Note the large hinomaru (Rising Sun) painted on Hiryū's bow. Two aircraft, probably A6M2 Zero fighters, appear to be parked amidships, just forward of the ship's center elevator, near Hiryū's island. The Rising Sun would make a convenient aiming point for US Navy SBD Dauntless dive bomber pilots that same evening. (USAF Photo)

Today is the anniversary (in 1942) of the Battle of Midway, fought between US forces (Army, Navy and Marine aviation) and the Imperial Japanese Navy near Midway Atoll in the Pacific. The battle gutted Japan's carrier striking force (Dai-Ichi Kido Butai), costing Japan's First Air Fleet the aircraft carriers Akagi, Kaga, Sōryū and Hiryū. Japan also lost heavy cruiser Mikuma.
The Americans lost aircraft carrier Yorktown (CV-5) and destroyer Hammann. Both sides lost hundreds of airplanes. The Americans lost at least 300 young men dead, the Japanese ten times that. From 7 December 1941 until Midway, the US was on the defensive in the Pacific. No longer. At Midway, the United States, in Gordon Prange's words, put aside the shield and picked up the sword.
This battle, involving hundreds of ships and thousands of men, was fought and won by barely 200 young men, mostly in their twenties; navigating aircraft between moving points by slide-rule, pencil and dead-reckoning over miles of empty ocean. Those with good navigation, who didn't crash at sea, arrived over their frantically maneuvering targets between 9 and 10:30 to drop their ordinance and possibly be killed by other terrified young men. Then they had to escape the enemy, and try to make it back to their own ships, again over miles of ocean; landing to perhaps do it again. Assuming that is, they could even find their moving ships, or they didn't run out of gas first. Many pilots (and their gunners, who depended on their pilots to get the navigation right) simply vanished.
I will possibly have more to say on Midway tomorrow. But remember the pilots of Midway today. In particular, remember in your prayers Wesley Osmus, Ensign USNR, (USS Yorktown), Frank W. O’Flaherty, Ensign USNR (USS Enterprise), and Bruno Gaido (Aviation Machinist's Mate -- O'Flaherty's gunner) -- aviators captured during the attacks on the Japanese fleet, and murdered by their captors.

Went the day well ?
We died and never knew.
But, well or ill, Freedom, we died for you.

John Maxwell Edmonds, London Times, 6 February 1918.

All Hail St. Barack the Leader !

It's more or less official: Barack is the King Undisputed, Champion of the Anointed, the designated Slayer of the forces of Reaction. Exclusive El Jefe footage of St. Barack's address to faithful Democrats last night, here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

200th Birthday of Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis, born 3 June 1808
President of the Confederate States of America

I rise. . .for the purpose of announcing to the Senate that I have satisfactory evidence that the State of Mississippi. . .has declared her separation from the United States. Under these circumstances, of course, my functions are terminated here. It has seemed to me proper, however, that I should appear in the Senate to announce that fact to my associates. . .

. . .It is by this confounding of nullification and secession that the name of a great man
[Andrew Jackson] . . .has been invoked to justify coercion against a seceded State. The phrase, “to execute the laws,” was an expression which General Jackson applied to the case of a State refusing to obey the laws while yet a member of the Union. That is not the case which is now presented. The laws are to be executed over the United States. . .They have no relation to any foreign country. It is a perversion of terms, at least it is a great misapprehension of the case, which cites that expression for application to a State which has withdrawn from the Union. . .there are no laws of the Untied States to be executed within the limits of a seceded State. . .

I am sure I feel no hostility to you, Senators from the North. I am sure there is not one of you, whatever sharp discussion there may have been between us, to whom I cannot now saw, in the presence of my God, I wish you well; and such, I am sure, is the feeling of the people whom I represent towards those whom you represent. I therefore feel that I but express their desire when I say I hope, and they hope, for peaceful relations with you, though we must part. They may be mutually beneficial to us in the future, as they have been in the past, if you so will it. The reverse may bring disaster on every portion of the country; and if you will have it thus, we will invoke the God of our fathers, who delivered us from the power of the lion, to protect us from the ravages of the bear; and thus, putting our trust in God and in our own firm hearts and strong arms, we will vindicate the right as best we may. . .

Jefferson Davis, Farewell Address to the U.S. Senate, delivered on occasion of the secession of Mississippi, 21 January 1861. The Papers of Jefferson Davis, Vol. 7, 1861, at pp. 18-22 (LSU Press, 1992).

Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Jefferson Davis, Senator, US Secretary of War, first and only President of the Confederate States of America (1861-1865).

A graduate of West Point, a hero of the Battle of Buena Vista (22 February 1847, where he was wounded, his regiment breaking a charge of Mexican lancers) briefly a son-in-law of Zachary Taylor, Davis was already nationally well known and widely considered a great orator when he arose in the Senate to give the speech, quoted above, saying good-bye to the Senate after secession, before heading south.

Davis was, in Southern terms, a moderate in the secession crisis of 1860-61. Unusually for a Southern politician, he denied the legality of nullification, disapproved of secession (though considering it a lawful remedy), and had tried to dissuade Southern fire-eaters from breaking up the Union. But when Mississippi left the United States, Davis, hewing to the law as he understood it – left also, never looking back -- and wholeheartedly and completely dedicated his life to the service and success of the new Confederacy.

Davis believed that his talents were of more use to his country in the military, but, as he probably understood from the beginning, it was virtually inevitable that Davis -- precisely because he was widely known as a moderate, and not to have been in the forefront of the secession movement -- would be chosen as the Confederacy’s President. As President, Davis discharged his office to the best of his considerable ability, but he was too innately conservative to make a good revolutionary; too proud to compromise and negotiate with politicians ignorant of what war demanded (e.g. Alexander Stephens and Joseph Brown); too quarrelsome with some prickly personalities (e.g. Joseph E. Johnston) yet too deferential towards some of his generals (e.g. Braxton Bragg), and more apt to be impressed by a West Point credential than by results in the field.

In general, President Davis was a good war leader, and enjoyed the trust of and a good working relationship with the Confederacy’s best general, Robert E. Lee. But as to Tennessee and the campaigns along the Mississippi in 1862-63, and in Georgia in 1864, President Davis’s strategic vision and decision-making faltered and was found wanting.

Still, President Davis did all for Confederate victory that he could, and the South chose its President wisely. Davis oversaw the construction of a Confederate Army, Navy and military industry virtually from scratch. By miles and miles the most nationalist leader of a deeply individualist and rabidly states-rights nation: at the end, President Davis probably would have kept fighting even after Appomattox had he not been captured by US cavalry near Irwindale, Georgia on 10 May 1865.

Held prisoner for two years at Fort Monroe, Virginia, under sometimes degrading conditions that did no credit to the US government; the President was ultimately freed when the US government decided not to prosecute him for treason. The Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, among others, doubted the ability of the government to secure and defend a conviction.

Davis lived until 1889, traveling to Europe and other places, and writing, among other works, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, a defense of the Confederacy and his administration, which proved, among other things, that Davis would have made a great lawyer.

The former Confederate President died without having his civil rights restored – primarily because he refused to apply for a pardon. To the end of his life: Davis maintained that all he had done, and that the Confederacy had done, had been within the law. Disdaining the title of rebel -- “sovereigns never rebel” he said – Davis felt that nothing he had done required a pardon, and he would have indignantly refused the posthumous pardon Trent Lott put through Congress for Jimmy Carter to sign in 1978. Still, before he died, the former President had put the past behind him: although proud of the past, he believed that it was past – that the Confederacy was part of history. And so is he, ever part of our heritage, and not forgotten by some of us. RIP.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Hillary Wins, Hillaites Angry

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton beat St. Barack of Obama in Puerto Rico by over 140,000 votes of almost 385,000 cast (68.4 percent to 31.6 percent). Clobbering or no, this doesn't help Hillary, the media decrees: because St. Obama is the designated champion of the Elect against the Satanic.
Hillary's supporters are a little upset: mostly at the Democratic Party machine's disposition of the Florida/Michigan conundrum. Apparently, the baby-splitting of delegates by the party poobahs and panjandrums, now under the control of St. Obama's would-be prelates ("when you see Obama, tell the Great One I was always for Him ") -- has the inhabitants of der Hillabunker incandescent with anger. Kirsten Powers says in the New York Post: "that passion is teetering on the brink of morphing into a raging anti-Obama force."
Oh, I like that. Say it again, El Jefe. Hmmm, okay, here goes: "that passion is teetering on the brink of morphing into a raging anti-Obama force."
(Cut to vision of the passion, fully morphed now into a raging anti-Obama force, marching down some big avenue someplace. In their ranks marches Xena the Warrior Princess, maybe Mel Gibson's Braveheart character, some people from WWF, the Lion King, King Kong, Harold Ickes and the Swamp Thing, all the Pokemons and maybe even Janet Reno, headed for the convention for the Ultimate Showdown. James Carville is there, assuring everyone that "we're going to waarh," plus Superman, Batman and Robin too -- and they're all led by Hilla in leather on a white horse with a giant whip). Oh, never mind.
Anyway, I hope the passion does some serious morphing, and stays seriously angry through, say, 4 November or so ? Just a thought.