Monday, November 24, 2008

Blogging Lull, Reading

Blogging productivity has been down of late. So sorry, but what with disappointment over the admittedly not unexpected outcome of the election; the financial conniption; real life; and a generalized desire for 2008 to just be done with, I haven't wanted to write much. But I'm sure this will change.
Meanwhile, I am presently trying to finish reading Shelby Foote's The Civil War. These are beautifully written books -- so well done and worth the attention of anybody really interested in this subject. Probably the best general work out there. I am in the middle of the last of three volumes. Volume III has been slower than normal sledding for me, because the subject is the fall of the Confederacy, and my own sympathies are very Southern. Despite the somewhat dampening nature, for me, of Mr. Foote's subject matter in Volume III, I confess to paying closer attention, with maps and order of battle close by, when the story gets back to Sherman's campaigns in Georgia and the Carolinas, which was what won the war for the North.
Sherman figures a good deal in Volume III of Foote -- as well he should -- he won the war for the Union. Much as the thought makes my ancestors propeller in their graves someplace, I think William T. Sherman was an exceptionally good general, certainly the best that his side produced. Sherman properly used the superior resources his side gave him; did not shrink from making war on the Confederate home front -- the only strategy which would work; did not complain overmuch to his superiors about political and resource constraints above his pay-grade; paid close attention to the political implications of strategy; learned from his mistakes, and did not repeat them.
I'm also re-reading Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series of books, about the fall of the Roman Republic. I've worked through the earlier books and am presently finishing up The October Horse, which I previously reviewed, here. I love these books: they are among my favorite works of historical fiction, and unusual because, although fiction, they stick fairly closely to what we think happened, and fill in gaps in our knowledge with reasonable inferences. It probably helps that Ms. McCullough's perspectives as to heroes and villains are pretty close to my own.
In 2007, Ms. McCullough finally heeded the demands of fans and published Antony and Cleopatra, a badly needed sequel to October Horse. October Horse left off with the destruction of Caesar's assassins and their faction at the Battle of Philippi. A and C takes up the story after Philippi: when the winners of that war, Caesar's adoptive son Octavian (better known to us as Augustus) and Mark Antony, have their prolonged estrangement and falling-out. The ending is well known -- Augustus becomes undisputed master of the Roman world after Actium, and Queen Cleopatra gets the asp -- but it didn't have to necessarily be that way. The smart money might well have gone with Cleopatra's boyfriend Antony.
I haven't read this book yet, and (being curious what Ms. McCullough would do with the subject) I've have been very much looking forward to it. I thought I would re-read the others first, and that objective is almost accomplished, and perhaps I can start A and C this week.
Beyond that, El Jefe has a few other books on the reading list waiting for some attention: Adrian Goldsworthy's Caesar: Life of a Colossus; Adam Tooze's The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy; and either Philip Dwyer's Napoleon: The Path to Power, or General Sir David Fraser's Frederick the Great ; and, for something lighter, Jonathan Kellerman's Compulsion (the latest of his Alex Delaware mysteries in paperback).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Secretary of State Clinton?

I have been most underwhelmed by Obama's rumored choice of Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State.
There's no doubt Senator Clinton is in many ways qualified for the position, and has more backbone than the average Democrat. However, the selection betrays Obama's lack of serious interest in foreign policy (which is really a primary concern for a President) and makes sense only in narrowly domestic political calculations.
Putting Senator Clinton in the State Department would go far towards neutering her as a political threat in 2012, in the event Obama (as I think likely) proves as successful a President as Jimmy Carter. Offering the job also temporarily quiets upset supporters of the former First Lady who might still be wondering what the Hell happened from Iowa forward. The State Department also keeps her away from more interesting Democratic domestic priorities, such as health care. and the Democrat Holy of Holies -- the Justice Department. This is the only circumstance in which her selection makes sense.
Clinton as Secretary of State has too many downsides. A confident President wants a strong Secretary of State -- but does Obama want one THIS strong? Mrs. Clinton is already an independent power center in a Democratic Party that Obama is still in the process of taking over. It is difficult enough for the most determined of Presidents to acquire a measure of control over the formulation and administration of foreign policy -- how much more so is it going to be with Mrs. Clinton at Foggy Bottom? Meetings between the President and Secretary Clinton would (more even than is usual) look like mini-summits, and Secretary Clinton would no doubt demand, and get, a whole lot of autonomy. Obama is smart enough to understand this, which tells me that he is either not serious about really making this appointment (perhaps floating the trial balloon just to have it shot down) or not seriously interested in foreign policy.
More importantly, Senator Clinton comes with difficult and loud baggage. Besides Bill Clinton's blinding certainty that his navel is still the center of the universe, his post-Presidential activities, including a foundation with donors he's reluctant to disclose; fees from big investors; absurd fees for speeches (the New York Times noted yesterday, in a story on increased scrutiny being given to Mr. Clinton's dealings, that Mr. Clinton was paid $425,000 for a one hour speech) Mr. Clinton's lucrative and interesting activities will, at the least, have scandal-mongers sniffing around even more than they do already. Even without scandal (and this is Bill Clinton the walking scandal we're talking about) and with the best will in the world, it's hard to imagine that interested players will not try to use former-President Clinton as a good route by which to influence the new administration.
On the subject of Bill Clinton, one wonders if he is really trying to destroy his wife? The Times story reported that Mr. Clinton, in a speech to "an international economic symposium" in Kuwait City" opined that Hillary Clinton would be "great" as a secretary of state" if Obama "decided to ask her and they did it together." (emphasis supplied). Mrs. Clinton has no appointment in hand yet, but Bill assures us she'd be "great" and seems to think she should function as a co-President for foreign policy? President Clinton does want her to be offered the appointment, right?
In general, I think this is a poor appointment, and I bet it doesn't happen. I wonder if there are any alternatives beyond Madeleine Albright?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Still Sulking on the Estates

Today quite literally sulking on my estates: have the day off work and am at the country hacienda. Just sort of . . .oh not quite in a funk, but with a case of the blahs. Trying to trap a mouse (non-lethally at the moment but escalation and cruelty a certainty if niceness doesn't work). The Feline High Patroness, FLINKY, who is with El Jefe, is definitely no mouser.
Also reading some books, and somewhat inefficiently doing yard-work. El Jefe will return to his capitol tomorrow.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Zzzzzz. . .

Plenty going on all around us, but El Jefe is sulking on his estates, and not feeling much like writing this week. So sorry, maybe next week.

Friday, November 7, 2008

He Is Known By Many Names, Praised in Many Tongues

This seems only fitting: the New Messiah really should have mountains named for him. But is it enough? If they name it, maybe He will come, but is a mere mountain (in what the small-minded might consider a molehill country) really enough to be assured of His beneficence and high regard always? Maybe not. Perhaps it would be better if Antigua and Barbuda were simply known as "Obamanation Too."
Come to think of it, when is Washington D.C. going to be renamed Obama City? I mean, just who was George Washington anyway? Founder of some reactionary country that no longer exists. This is the New Era of the New Messiah, so the New Progressive Jerusalem of Obamanation, er, the Obama States, needs an appropriate new name.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Obama Market, the Cabinet, Dinnertime for Sharks

Gee, as I did yesterday, I wonder if the Sawdust Messiah's new job might possibly have anything to do with the stock market's falling like a stone the past couple of days? The Instapundit (Glenn Reynolds) thinks so, and he has some really cool materials for your perusal.
President-Elect Obama (makes me retch to say that) is beginning to pick a cabinet. Not all fun for Obama, who will soon learn that every time he fills a post he makes 99 malcontents and one ingrate. Good news for the appointees of course, since upon confirmation (which won't be any problem) they've reached the serious big time. Cabinet members who avoid jail ride the gravy train forever: because about the greatest thing it's possible to be in America is an ex-member of the cabinet. The road ahead is lit with parties, interesting travel and appearances on political talking-heads shows; and paved with lucrative corporate directorships, slots as pundits and prestigious professorships.
While Obama's going to his own parties and having fun, he'd do well to keep an eye on the most practical statesman in the world today: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Mr. Putin, soon to be President again, or Tsar, or whatever he wants, fresh off humiliating Bush over Georgia, no-doubt views the Sawdust Messiah's promotion much in the manner of a shark spying swimmers with nosebleeds. Wonder if Vlad's going to eat Ukraine next year?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Reality, Dose 1

Yeah, clearly the Great One's coming means an era of Nirvana. . .

Sowing and Reaping

I have never before doubted the fundamental good sense of the American people, but last nights results give me cause for pause.
The credulous middle, which decides elections in this country, has taken a chance on the Left. In choosing to trust Obama and his minions, those who supported him have gambled for hope and peace. They will reap ruin and war.
What now? Well, for the moment the Left is going to have everything it's own way. Those with money, but not enough money, will be looted to support those without. Tax and tax, spend and spend. The United States is half way to national bankruptcy already, but folks, you ain't seen nothing yet. Money which can escape, will, to more profitable havens in Asia. The rest of us are stuck.
Meanwhile, the international crisis forecast by our new Vice President is certainly coming. Where and what will it be? The Persians with nukes? North Korea with same? Taiwan? Perhaps Obama will bomb Pakistan like he said he would, or get us deeper in to Afghanistan, as promised. Whatever it is, the ex-state senator, community-organizer, "global president" beloved of foreigners, half-term senator-Messiah is now on the case.
It's Obama's show. That's what the voters have said. The voters will regret their choices soon enough. So who is Obama anyway? Who have his voters given the country to? Most of his supporters have no more clue than the rest of us, but we are all, like it or not, about to find out. For the moment, I'm going to sit in the stands, make popcorn and watch. From 20 January next, forward, everything is his fault.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hail Mighty Sawdust Messiah!

Congrats to the new Supreme Leader. He won. Whoopie. Here's a song for him, with lots of the Leftie unwashed singing a song he'd like.

I'm sure Hugo will come to visit his new Leftist pal soon. Why the Hell did McCain concede before the votes were all counted? It's bothered me he was too nice to really fight Obama.
This is so tragically sad. Like watching your father die of a disease you cannot cure. . . or watching him slit his own wrists. I dread the future, fear for my family, my state and the country.

The Supreme Leader Wins.

Ohio goes for the Sawdust Messiah, and after losing Pennsylvania that would appear to be all she wrote.

Hopefully we can keep enough of the Senate to obstruct him.


This just in. . .the whole household of El Jefe Maximo has unanimously re-elected El Jefe Maximo Supreme Grand Poobah of the Kingdom of Chaos, unconfirmed maybe, sorta exit polling reveals. High Patroness FLINKY did refuse to talk to our reporter, but tea-leaves dropped from the pockets of fleeing voters delivered sufficient evidence for our analysts to call this election before anybody even voted.
You heard it here first.

Greet the Friends and Neighbors

Turns out Supreme Leader Obama's south side of Chicago home voting precinct is the same precinct of. . .
YES, of course you guessed it! Just like in the movies. Bill Ayers and Louis Farrakhan.
No, I'm really not making this up. Nobody'd believe it anyway.
I'm really not believing it either. This guy's going to be President? Hello? What time's the next teleporter back to Earth from Bizarro World?

Ignore the Exit Polls and the Projections

It's important today that everyone ignore the media exit polls. They are virtually guaranteed to heavily favor Obama, and publicizing them is to depress and dispirit you. Good, bad, indifferent -- whatever they say, just ignore. Tune them out.
It gets worse. It's almost guaranteed that the networks (some of them anyway) and other media outlets are going to call the election for the Sawdust Messiah before some of you have even voted. Do not listen. Do not fail to do your duty. The major media outlets are not disinterested observers: they are not reporting, they are participating in producing the outcome. Do not let them take your vote.
Wherever you are, turn off the TV, shut down the computer, get to the polls and vote.

Obama Flips-Off McCain

Did the Sawdust Messiah really flip-off John McCain?

Wow, did I see that? I don't like the guy, but am I being too hard on him? I can't believe even Obama, who think's he's God, would do that. Trouble is, it looks to me like he did the same thing to Senator Clinton awhile back. . .

And people really want to vote for this? A President has to govern his temper, his feelings and and even the signals given by his voluntary and involuntary body language. And Obama goes and does this? Besides being classless and beyond bizarre it's just stupid. Hopefully he doesn't flip-off Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong Il and get us nuked.

(Hat tip: Daisy Cutter).

Predictions? No, Not Many Anyway

Predictions? I don't have one, really don't, not specific ones anyway. I haven't a clue as to why anyone would even think of voting for Obama to begin with, and I find the concept disgusting.
In general, my sense is that Obama wins, the popular vote at least, although I'm still holding out a little hope for a re-run of 2000 and McCain squeaking out an upset in the Electoral College.
In an utterly bleak humor today. I don't feel like writing. This is all too much like watching a family member slit his wrists.
POSTSCRIPT: I agree with Andrew Breitbart's excellent piece today. I still like President Bush.

Monday, November 3, 2008

"Twas the Night Before Elections

Here's some pre-election verse to concentrate the mind. (From Bookworm)

‘Twas the night before elections
And all through the town
Tempers were flaring
Emotions all up and down!

I, in my bathrobe
With a cat in my lap
Had cut off the TV
Tired of political crap.

When all of a sudden
There arose such a noise
I peered out of my window
Saw Obama and his boys!

They had come for my wallet
They wanted my pay
To give to the others
Who had not worked a day!

He snatched up my money
And quick as a wink
Jumped back on his bandwagon
As I gagged from the stink

He then rallied his henchmen
Who were pulling his cart
I could tell they were out
To tear my country apart!

” On Fannie, on Freddie,
On Biden and Ayers!
On ACORN, On Pelosi”
He screamed at the pairs!

They took off for his cause
And as he flew out of sight
I heard him laugh at the nation
Who wouldn’t stand up and fight!

So I leave you to think
On this one final note-

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Iranian Nuclear Test?

Have the Iranians just tested a nuclear device? Maybe. Check out In From the Cold's post on Thursday. Spook is relying on some reports from the Israeli press that haven't been picked up on much here. There are probably half-a-dozen intelligence agencies who could make educated guesses as to whether the Iranians just had an earthquake, or whether something more sinister was going on.
The Iranians are going to test a device sooner rather than later, but I find the idea of a test just now to be rather unlikely, and without more, I'm not buying it. Still, the tale is interesting.
Of more immediate concern are Iranian naval activities along their Persian Gulf coast, in particular the constuction of new naval bases; and their sabre-rattling in the general direction of US aircraft carriers. It's hard to know what to make of the talk about the ships; the Iranians aren't stupid, and the ability to destroy an aircraft carrier would be positively counterproductive from their point of view. Surely the Iranians know that a good way for them to learn much too much about nuclear weapons would be by causing harm to a US aircraft carrier.

Some Inspiration

If you need a little inspiration. . .

Pass it on today. Trash the Socialists Tuesday.

Ignore the Press and Vote

As Bookworm reminds us. . .just ignore the press on Tuesday, and vote, if you haven't already:

To voters living west of the Mississippi (or, as Mark Steyn says, west of Florida):

Please, please, please remember that the media will try to depress voting west of the Mississippi by announcing at about mid-day that Obama is leading overwhelmingly — with the implication that people in the later time zones should just give up and not bother to go to the polls.

No matter what the media is saying, and no matter the time of day, if you live West of the Mississippi VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE.

Worst case scenario: Even if Obama is truly in the lead (as opposed to being placed there as part of the media’s psy-ops), there are always local elections that matter and, when it comes to Congress and the Senate, EVERY VOTE COUNTS.

Absolutely correct, and those of us against Socialism and a left-wing takeover of the nation must come out all over the country. Ignore the propaganda from the prestige press: it's been in Obama's camp right along and the Messiah-worshipers are hoping we'll all just roll over and give up. Wherever you are, east of Florida, west of the Mississippi, on the Moon -- just ignore the press. Don't take the poison. Throw the paper away, turn off the television, forget the computer and just go vote. We may well lose, but let it not be from defeatism, idleness and laziness.
McCain has not run the best of campaigns, and the conditions, to put it mildly, are lousy. This means the rest of us will have to do the work for the professionals, and win it, to the extent we can, ourselves. Everyone must turn out and vote. Work on your friends, acquaintances, family, frenemies, enemies, and everybody of the right opinions and just get them in that polling booth. Talk to those who have been misled. Pay attention to the electoral map. If you know people in battleground States, particularly Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania, reach out to them now and get them to the polls Tuesday. Anything you can do really matters. The Left is at the gates. Ignore their propaganda, reject Obama's Kool-Aid, tell him to keep his change and stick it to the socialists.

Obama Wants to Bankrupt Coal Users

Obama says his cap-and-trade environmental policies will be weighted against the coal industry and, under the New Regime, builders of coal fired plants will go bankrupt. The cap-and-trade scheme is ludicrous anyway, since it will adversely affect production costs in the United States as opposed to China or India (the labor cost differential is terrible as is), and it puts caps on and results in a net reduction in US industrial power in favor of foreign competition.
That's lunacy, inasmuch as America has tons of coal, and every erg used represents energy we don't have to find from oil or elsewhere. Personally, I'd be for mining all the US coal possible.

2008 Can't End Soon Enough

The political news looks pretty bad. Gallup seems to think we face a Messiah landslide of Reaganesque proportions. Some good news: I think the Democrats will just miss the filibuster-proof Senate they want, but we have two more days of this, so who knows.
Nothing but horrible political news since fall 2006, and 2008, in general, has been a disaster on virtually all fronts. I will be glad to at last see the end of this year.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Keep the Change

The Sawdust Messiah says he'll "change the world" once we obey and become his slaves next Tuesday.
At bottom, I guess that's the thing. I don't want the world changed, at least in any way he'd find congenial.

Obama Crash Revisited

John Tamny and Rob Arnott, in their piece "Obama Fear" in the Financial Times yesterday:

Mr Obama’s agenda is anathema to entrepreneurial capitalism. Protectionism and isolationism are central tenets of the Obama agenda. Neither is consonant with success in a global economy.

That says it all, doesn't it? But a feckless majority seems determined to take a chance on this loon.

Obama's Illegal Alien Aunt

In any case, this aunt, a Zeituni Onyango, is living in public housing too. No wonder those of us against raising taxes are "selfish."
I guess with Obama there's no hope for border control or anything short of a mass amnesty.

Socialism or Else!

Even with the Supreme Leader's persistent lead in the polls, the elite are afraid that we sheep are going to wriggle out of slavery. Erica Jong (a has-been who wrote a book about 100 years ago) has told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that she, Jane Fonda and a mob of other Lefty glitterati are terrified, and that if Americans don't obediently line up and worship Obama next Tuesday that there will be a "second civil war" and blood will run in the streets.
Meanwhile, pour encourager les autres: that is, any waverers who may, in the privacy of the polling booth be thinking that they can dodge their fate, Susan Estrich deploys the ultimate rhetorical weapon: telling us that only racism could explain a loss next Tuesday by the Supreme Leader:
There is only one reason the polls could be this wrong. There is only one reason a contest that is not even close, that is somewhere between clobbered and landslide, could wind up with the other guy on top. Every pollster in America is not incompetent. Every pollster in America is not failing in precisely the same way when it comes to pulling a sample, screening for voters and assigning weights to the various groups.
The only way all these polls could be that far off is if people are lying in numbers never before seen in American politics.
Why would they do that?
You tell me it has nothing to do with race. I'll laugh.
What else could it possibly be?
Uh, maybe not wanting Socialism, maybe getting tired of being threatened with war by has-beens, or being called closet racists, or being ruled by Supreme Leaders who consort with Lefties?
Lie to the pollsters, lie to Erica Jong and to Susan Estrich if you want to. What fun! Absolutely the best part about next Tuesday producing something unexpected would be listening to all these loons cry about it. Still, if things work out as predicted, I'm sure Ms. Jong and Ms. Estrich and all the other Lefties, once given power, will remind us all why the Left is a pestilence, soon enough.

Obama Says: Socialism or Selfishness

The reason that we want to do this, change our tax code, is not because I have anything against the rich," Obama said in Sarasota, Fla., yesterday. "I love rich people! I want all of you to be rich. Go for it. That’s the American dream, that’s the American way, that’s terrific.
"The point is, though, that -- and it’s not just charity, it’s not just that I want to help the middle class and working people who are trying to get in the middle class -- it’s that when we actually make sure that everybody’s got a shot – when young people can all go to college, when everybody’s got decent health care, when everybody’s got a little more money at the end of the month – then guess what? Everybody starts spending that money, they decide maybe I can afford a new car, maybe I can afford a computer for my child. They can buy the products and services that businesses are selling and everybody is better off. All boats rise. That’s what happened in the 1990s, that’s what we need to restore. And that’s what I’m gonna do as President of the United States of America.
"John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this socialistic," Obama continued. "You know I don’t know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness."
I guess the Supreme Leader thinks he's far enough ahead to at last be honest with the sheep and stand up for Socialism. He wants to steal your money and give it to other people. He thinks he and his rich friends know better than commoners what to do with their money. It's not the business of the government to make sure "everybody's got a shot" and that everybody has health care and can go to college. That's socialism or at the least social democracy: the privileging of equality over liberty. That's European, and un-American.
Higher taxes are one thing, but the issue is what money for? No taxes for creating clients for the welfare state. No redistribution. No increase in the size of government. Government is the power to steal -- and redistribution is robbery. Millions if we must for national defense and security, or to restore the credit of the state. But not a penny for socialism or redistribution.

And This is a Good Thing?

From Thomas L. Friedman's excellent piece "Sleepless in Tehran" in Thursday's New York Times:

Barack Hussein Obama would present another challenge for Iran’s mullahs. Their whole rationale for being is that they are resisting a hegemonic American power that wants to keep everyone down. Suddenly, next week, Iranians may look up and see that the country their leaders call “The Great Satan” has just elected “a guy whose middle name is the central figure in Shiite Islam — Hussein — and whose last name — Obama — when transliterated into Farsi, means ‘He is with us,’ ” . . .
Wow. Too "international" and too post-nationalist a worldview for me. I suppose one of the chief differences between Mr. Friedman and myself is how we view the logical implications of the world we both perceive. Mr. Friedman can view a set of facts and think their implications are something wonderful to be embraced; I see identical facts and want to throw up.

So This is Bill Ayers. . .

The satirist Iowahawk tells us who Bill Ayers really is. . .heh, heh.