Friday, August 29, 2008
Change You Can Believe In (Really)
Many among us are disappointed that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will stay home from the Republican National Convention, to attend to preparations and potential emergency response to Gustav.
Fortunately, Jindal gave us a taste of what he would have said at the Convention, writing at the Wall Street Journal.
The true fiscal conservatism embodied in Jindal’s remarkable administration in previously basket-case
How did Jindal do it? Cutting government waste and fraud, imposing real ethics reform -- in contrast to the Chicago-style phony reforms that let party bosses line their pockets – and most of all, making
Jindal speaks to the results:
Thanks in large part to these reforms and our aggressive efforts to attract new business investment, our economy today is strong. Compared to the nation as a whole,
The rest of the country is starting to take notice. Citing strong fiscal management, three major credit-rating agencies -- Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch -- recently upgraded
What do the New Democrats offer? Based on Obama’s Convention Speech, much, much more of the same old, same old. So much for change.
New Republicans? Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal. Who’d have guessed?
(Via The Corner)
Sully thinks Sen. McCain should have picked a VP with more foreign policy experience than Sen. Obama.
I want to see this dogfight play out, because the outcome’s already certain.
McCain nailed this one.
VDH on Obama
On Obama as plucky Horatio Alger:
Obama, who gained his education and found opportunity in the awful Reagan and Bush I years, lives in a mansion, has prep school and Ivy League degrees, made several millions of dollars last year, and was the offspring of two PhD candidates — and is thus a firsthand witness to America's greed and unfairness?
If this is failure, can we have some more please?
If Obama were to win, no one would infer from the desolation he described in America, that he may well inherit an economy, in a downturn, that just grew at 3.3 in the last quarter, an unemployment rate of 5.7%, and record levels of exportation, one that did not go into recession with $140 a barrel oil, with more students in college than at any time in its history and more than any other nation in the world, with a war in Iraq nearly won, and both the Taliban and Saddam Hussein gone and replaced with constitutional governments — and Europe, whether in France, Germany, or Italy, with strong pro-American leadership.
We’re Here to Help You, we promise:
The convention's final workmanlike message: The country is wrecked. Our freedoms are lost. Our soldiers are victims, not triumphant heroes. We are all impoverished except for a parasitic few. All bad news is not due to globalized changes in a radically different world, but to the nefarious greed of Bush-Cheney-McCain nexus. The Obamas, Kerrys, Pelosis, Gores, et al. who make millions a year and live in mansions, are populists uniquely called upon to tax, expand government, and think of ever new programs, as if the United States doesn't have the largest government and the most ineffective programs in its history.
For those who would argue that this is a “glass half full, glass half empty” dichotomy, I say that’s a false one.
More apt, the perfect is the enemy of the good. For Obama and those of his liberal ilk –in complete control of today’s Democratic Party – the glass must be rejected because it’s not completely full to overflowing, its head is less puffy than we prefer, and it doesn’t have those attractive bubbles coming up from the bottom.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
McCain and the OODA Loop
Anybody who knows anything about John Boyd’s conception of the OODA Loop, and knows that John McCain flew fighter jets.
Here’s the essential primer from the indispensable Bill Whittle:
Observe.Orient.Decide.Act.Whittle is the finest of online essayists, and he’s worth your time, but for a shorter reference, see also the OODA Loop Wiki.
It’s a cycle. It’s a loop. It’s called by its inelegant acronym: The OODA loop.
Now here’s what blew my mind, as I am sure it blew John Boyd’s mind on a level I can not and will never fully comprehend:
The winner of these battles is not necessarily the fellow who makes the best decisions. More often than not, it’s the guy who makes the fastest decisions.
Agility. Speed. Precision. Lethality. Fingerspitzengefuhl: fingertip control.
McCain has gotten inside Obama’s OODA Loop. Before the worshipful coverage has barely hit its crest, McCain launches the Obama as Shallow Celebrity campaign. Before the Unity Set Piece has played itself out, McCain’s campaign is blasting away at the pounds of flesh the Clinton’s are exacting from Obama.
Biden picked as VP, and without a blink of a news cycle, Team McCain has clips available documenting all the disparaging things Biden said about Obama during his 3 second Presidential Campaign. Georgia, Rezko, Ayers, every news item that at all promises a hold on news attention, and McCain is out in front, Obama lagging and sagging behind.
Not only does the McCain campaign react instantly to every exploitable gaffe, emerging event, or unpleasantness that will damage Obama or enhance McCain, flooding the media space with generally high quality ads and videos, but now McCain plays Obama’s coronation day perfectly: McCain: Job Well Done, Barack.
McCain can afford to let it rest, while seemingly displaying the rarest of qualities: an appreciation of his opponent’s accomplishment. Because he knows he’s already won the OODA Loop.
John McCain is a fighter pilot who certainly knows Boyd’s OODA Loop. Nice to see he found how to apply OODA to running a Presidential Campaign.
(Via The Corner)
(Cross-posted at MILBLOGS)
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Boxing for Obama
AP triumphantly proclaims, Clintons throwing a one-two punch at McCain.
If that’s true, I think the Fix is in.
I also think the AP is trying to carry water for the DNC and the Presidential Candidacy of Sen. Obama, based on their straight-faced portrayal of the Clintons as gone all pugilistic against Sen. McCain. McCain’s not the guy staggering at the ropes with his eyes starting to swell.
Completely ignoring insider complaints, and supporter controversies swirling around the
The Democratic convention spotlight was turning to her husband, the former president, as he prepared to take the prime-time television stage Wednesday night. He is expected to launch attacks on McCain and on the Bush administration, particularly on the state of the
I guess you could say that
I suspect that AP Editors chose the headline, and framed the story, but the AP reporter Philip Elliott couldn’t help himself stray:
Hillary Clinton, who won 18 million votes but still failed to earn her party's nomination, planned to meet with delegates who still want to cast ballots for her during the nominating roll call Wednesday evening — a symbolic move before Obama is nominated, presumably by acclamation.
I have no doubt the
"Barack Obama is my candidate, and he must be our president," she said.
That’s what you say about decisions you make while holding your nose. Or taking a dive to the mat on the hint of a roundhouse punch.
AP’s Elliott couldn’t resist dropping in this comment from previous
"Nowhere in that speech did she answer the question about his character, his ability to lead, the things that are at issue here," Giuliani said on "The Early Show" on CBS.
You go, girl. Keep stabbing away at him, and I’m sure you can wear him down.
You can almost imagine Bill, putting his arm around Obama with that good ole boy smile, telling him to get on in there and finish the Old Man off.
“We did everything we could for you, short of giving him the KO ourselves. He’s only one good punch from lights out. A girl scout could get the job done. He’s all yours.”
From Victor Davis Hanson at The Corner:
Her speech in Kennedy-1980 convention-fashion fulfilled its tripartite intentions: 1) it was well delivered, albeit in ossified liberal tropes, to such a degree as to remind the dazed delegates what a catastrophe they have committed in having nominated a novice over a pro; 2) it got her off the hook by cursory praise of Obama without suggesting enthusiasm for him that might either help his election or turn-off her supporters whose potential for trouble is predicated on Hillary as the perpetually wounded fawn; 3) it was not overtly, but only pro-forma hostile to John McCain, and did not contradict ads airing that use her prior anger at Obama as proof of a sort of "she's right" solidarity with McCain.
Bottom line: she remains loyal Democrat, dissed victim, the should-have-been nominated candidate, senior healer ready to clean up the mess of 2008, and savior in 2012. Note well
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Media Malfeasance (Part 5,697)
With news of US and Iraq reaching preliminary agreement on a framework for limited, condition-based withdrawals of American forces from Iraq, the AP steps back in time to gratuitously label our efforts an “increasingly unpopular war:”
Iraq and the U.S. have reached preliminary agreement to withdraw American forces from Iraqi cities by next June, six years into the increasingly unpopular war, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Thursday after meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.Talk about stuck in the past! You have to wonder if the AP has had a template prepared, come the day when an official agreement for US forces coming out, and that the template hasn't been updated since the "unpleasant" reversal of fortunes in Iraq.
Increasingly unpopular? Maybe before th surge. Since the amazing (to critics) success of the surge, and the dramatic security turnaround in Iraq, even naysayers like the Editors at the NY Times have acknowledged our victory in Iraq. Naturally, the attendant change in public attitudes have been changing as well, with more and more Americans reporting that the effort was worth it, or that they're pleased with the results. (Not to mention, proud of our fantastic military forces!)
Subjective editorializing, matched with very selective cherry-picking of what are otherwise undisclosed details. You’d think the AP would have been satisfied with merely drenching in triumphant tone its reporting, on what Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice called “aspirational timetables” for US withdrawals.
The AP also made sure to include this characterization, with a fuzzy, negative, but ultimately unverifiable reference to Iraqi “losses,” no doubt as helpful “background” for its readers:
U.S. military forces went into in Iraq in early 2003 and overthrew President Saddam Hussein and the war is now in its sixth year. There have been more than 4,100 U.S. deaths there and countless losses among Iraqis.There are counts of “losses” among Iraqis out there, if the AP actually had any sincere interest in honest reporting on Iraq. Some are wildly inflated and partisan, like the discredited Lancet numbers, others are no doubt incomplete.
Reports of civilian casualties notoriously cannot distinguish between non-uniformed combatants and civilians, and civilian counts too frequently involve selection bias, count manipulation, complete lack of documentation or verification, and anecdotal reporting from sources of questionable knowledge of the data reported. (If not outright dishonesty, as is likely the case with agenda-driven count teams, such as those used by Lancet “researchers.”)
Mainstream media refuses to attempt an honest or impartial accounting, making judgments on data from US military, Iraqi Government, or non-governmental organizations (NGO). Rather, they parrot obvious propaganda by enemies and opponents, data skewed by obvious conflicts of interest, or as the AP today, rely on a non-quantifiable but clearly ominous “countless losses.”
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
No Tears for Ivan
Thomas Friedman plays Olympic Judge on the
Based on Friedman’s assessment, he awards the Silver to a
Friedman wants credit for the prescience of arguing against NATO expansion after the liberation of the Eastern Europe, and the attendant collapse of the
Ordinarily, evidence of aggression, covert manipulations and provocations towards war, and stark renunciation of international agreements, as well as diplomatic norms, would suggest that a Belligerent Nation indeed posed a grave threat to its neighbors. So
Not for those who make excuse for killers, bullies and tyrants, always finding the germ of cause for the full grown fruits of evil. For Russian apologists,
Friedman declares, “The humiliation that NATO expansion bred in
My recollection may be a little dusty some twenty years later, but it seems to me that Soviet (and Russian) strongmen were a steady stream of KGB, with Yeltsin as a populist and very brief interlude, before power devolved back into the hands of the KGB and Mafia bosses. Even Yeltsin seemed packaged for Western consumption as a democracy-embracing street pol, versus the indisputable party boss earlier in life. No Lech Walesa he.
I’m likewise pretty sure that the
Wasn’t that why we fought the cold war — to give young Russians the same chance at freedom and integration with the West as young Czechs, Georgians and Poles? Wasn’t consolidating a democratic
As someone who spent a former career studying aspects of Soviet occupation and oppression of
This line of argument also ignores the very real fact that Strongmen have ruled
Shouldn’t recent moves to reassert Regional dominance, revive Russian espionage and instigate covert, proxy warfare represent the very kinds of demonstration that give lie to the pretense of Russian good intentions?
Friedman also insists, “
Friedman acknowledged Mandelbaum to make this argument over false premises in US Foreign Policy towards
“The Clinton and Bush foreign policy teams acted on the basis of two false premises,” said Mandelbaum. “One was that
This strikes me as both revisionist history, and after the fact excuse making for the Russians. By necessity of his argument, Mandelbaum must conclude that all known and unknown acts of Russian aggression since 1992 can be attributed to the egregious provocation from the
For sure, NATO expansion was predicated on the assumption that past aggressive behavior and imperial intent signaled the likelihood of such behavior and intent in the future. Certainly, many in the West hoped strong support and a muscular defense of now liberated states would help coax
Mandelbaum also suggests that NATO promoters considered
That sounds like a straw man, and the whole point of moves like membership in NATO and participation in missile defense is a well-considered response to a
Indeed. Within his Russian apologia masked as even handed criticism, Friedman also consents to a bottom line I can agree with:
If it persists, this behavior will push every Russian neighbor to seek protection from
Friedman ends where
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Georgia on My Mind
What to make of Evil that brooks no opposition, nor makes any effort to hide or disguise its true nature? How many times will the world need to relearn the same lesson in different guise?
Victor Davis Hanson evaluates reaction from certain quarters of the American political landscape, writing at The Corner:
Once again for the Left, if it is a question of supporting Democratic states and those in them from tyrants—or finding new creative ways of blaming the United States first—well, the answer is a no-brainer.Complexities abound in the reality-based community. The real one, inhabited by people who thoughtfully consider the real world for what it is, not what they wish it to be. Not the kind of people waiting around for the world to realize they are the embodiment of everything the world has been waiting for.
And from paleos one expected a sort of 'Georgia's bigmouth stuck his neck in a noose, so let him hang,' but the near gleeful admiration for the way 'ole Putin 'took care of business' in his backyard was over the top even for them.
Obama initially sounded like the therapeutic high-school principal and his 'zero-tolerance' doctrine of moral equivalence as he expels both the victim and the bully; but his calls for UN solutions, talks with equally at fault parties, and apparent trust in the wisdom of the EU and the power of NATO may not just scare Eastern Europeans but even those 200,000 who deified him at Berlin. (But in fairness, they were warned when Obama lectured them that the "world" had saved Berlin during the airlift rather than the US Air Force.) Nothing is scarier for a Western European than to be praised for his sophisticated diplomacy as a prelude to being asked to lead on his own in times of crises.
Not the residence of the Hard Left, for whom appeasement and apologia for Slavic dictators and tyrants were their mother’s milk and strained peaches. Where every strain of American Exceptionalism is discounted, save the view that America must be uniquely condemned.
Not the home for the Stone Age Right, who view every international attachment through a racist prism, exaggerating threats to the Homeland and whatever genetic stock they enshrine. America First, America Only, America in splendid isolation from a barbaric world. The Big City might benefit from determined attention to the broken windows in the hood, but the wider world is better left to its own devices.
And as we face the most serious of choices this fall, do either of the major candidates live in the real gritty world with the rest of us?
Years in a Communist Prisoner of War Camp, years of solid but not uncritical support for fighting terrorism where it actually germinates or matures, make a pretty good prima facie case for real world residence.
A long but unpublished academic tenure, community activism, and a short but entirely unremarkable political career should give us pause.
Should we be more or less unsettled by a candidate’s long and collegial association with Marxist revolutionaries and Black Liberation hysterics? Or who can so frequently find common cause with known apologists for Communism and totalitarian regimes and dictators?
Just some worrisome concerns, from an old Cold War anticommunist.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
The Editors at the NY Times have long proved themselves overwhelmingly biased and nakedly partisan, throughout 8 years of relentless attacks against any move the Bush Administration has taken to fight terrorism or our terrorist enemies. They make no pretense of logic, consistency, or even sanity, as long as all slurs and insults point Bush-ward. They have no need of facts, let alone opposing viewpoints, especially not those heretical ones that refute the received wisdom of the Times.
They assume venality in every case, cause, and controversy, and have championed the alternate universe inhabited by most of the Left, whereby their political opponents are evil, every intention is ulterior and sinister, and every partisan (on the other side) is less than human. The NY Times doesn’t just drink the Kool-Aid, they concoct huge batches of it for public consumption.
But they’ve outdone themselves today, in offensiveness, insult, even slander, asserting that the US Military has aided and abetted in orchestrating a Kangaroo Court conviction of an admitted terrorist, under orders from the White House and Congress.
From the Editors of the Times comes this:
Now that was a real nail-biter. The court designed by the White House and its Congressional enablers to guarantee convictions of high-profile detainees in
The military commission of six senior officers (whose names have not been made public) found Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who worked as one of Osama bin Laden’s drivers until 2001, guilty of one count of providing material support for terrorism.
The rules of justice on Guantánamo are so stacked against defendants that the only surprise was that Mr. Hamdan was actually acquitted on the more serious count of conspiring (it was unclear with whom) to kill Americans during the invasion of Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001.
The Times refuses to employ real legal scholars, or any modicum of fact checking to refute your average terrorist defense attorney’s talking points, apparently preferring to rely on columnists like “economist” Paul Krugman for legal commentary. Thus, they can allege that the trial outcome was ordered, or that the military tribunal process is “so stacked against defendants,” while in the very same editorial admit that Hamdan was found innocent of a questionable charge, and found guilty of one he admitted.
This despite the views of actual legal scholars, who note that the current military tribunal process as established by the “worst bits of lawmaking in American history,” the Military Commissions Act of 2006, insisted upon by the Supreme Court and enacted by Congress on a second attempt, is actually more protective of defendant rights as anything guaranteed by the Geneva Conventions, or even that afforded US soldiers under Military Justice.
If I were one of the 6 officers who sat in that jury, I’d file a defamation or libel suit against the Times. I’d also make it big, public, and embarrassing for the Times Editors.
The Times has played anything but the role of impartial observer, negligently perpetrating untruths and fallacies about military law, and repeated Bush Administration efforts to create a legal framework for individuals who are at war with us, but act as proxies for State sponsors of terror, or other organized terror and criminal gangs.
The Times misreports on the Geneva Conventions and the Laws of War, military justice, military affairs, and often, constitutional law and jurisprudence. They insist on remaining ignorant, and perpetuating the prolonged ignorance of their readers. They sabotage Government and Military counterterrorism programs, aid and abet the disclosure of classified intelligence and programs, and they self-righteously cloak themselves in a ludicrous mantel of public service, in doing as much harm as possible to any effort taken to combat terror.
If there existed any actual, impartial credentialing authority for Journalists, their bona fides would have been yanked some time ago.
I for one have concluded that we should have identified any terrorists, saboteurs, irregular militias, fighters (in or out of uniform) captured on foreign battlefields or outside the
Here’s the thing. With POWs, in wartime, military authorities get to identify those who engaged in terror, committing acts of violence in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions and Laws of War. Sure, go ahead and exempt American terrorists, and shuttle them off to the civilian legal system.
An actual real world prosecutor, with real life experience in prosecuting terror cases, Andy McCarthy, reacts with similar if more composed outrage over at The Corner.
Naturally, I would never suggest that the New York Times stoops to a predetermined editorial narrative with which it proceeds, and toward which it slants news coverage, without a care in the world about what facts actually happen. But today's "Guilty as Ordered" rant about the Hamdan military commission trial has to take the cake. The first paragraph is so shamefully dishonest and misrepresentative of reality as to defy one's necessarily low expectations of the Gray Lady.
Of course, the trial also produced a not-guilty verdict. Was that "as ordered" too? If the system was "designed ... to guarantee convictions" how did that happen?
Bill West, writing at the Counterterrorism Blog, comments on the Times’ malicious slander of the military officers sitting on the Hamdan jury:
The results of this trial demonstrate that American military officers truly are the independent minded, moral self-thinkers we expect them to be. Sure, members of the military must "take and follow orders." But they must also be able to think for themselves and act in a moral way. This is especially true for the Officer Corps...the leadership of the
The officers who served on this jury had a duty to independently weigh the evidence presented to them within the rules of the Commission and to render a decision based on their own judgment of that evidence...not based on any external orders. The conduct of the proceedings and the verdict demonstrate those officers did just that. They not only vindicated the Commission...the "system"...but they brought great credit upon themselves and the Officer Corps. They upheld that code of honor We the People expect of them.
The NY Times, in its derogatory editorial, not only ignores that fact but does a backhanded insult to those officers who served on the jury.
(Links via Memeorandum)
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
The People's Call
A concerned group of alarmed Leftists, noting Sen. Obama’s many flip flops on issues of critical interest to them, wrote an open letter to the presumed Democratic nominee for President.
In addition to obligatory foreign policy positions on Iraq and terrorism, as well as a completely unrestricted right to abortion, they identify a panoply of aged socialist ambitions, from which Obama dare not dissent, for risk of straying from Marxist orthodoxy:
A response to the current economic crisis that reduces the gap between the rich and the rest of us through a more progressive financial and welfare system; public investment to create jobs and repair the country's collapsing infrastructure; fair trade policies; restoration of the freedom to organize unions; and meaningful government enforcement of labor laws and regulation of industry.
An environmental policy that transforms the economy by shifting billions of dollars from the consumption of fossil fuels to alternative energy sources, creating millions of green jobs.
A commitment to improving conditions in urban communities and ending racial inequality, including disparities in education through reform of the No Child Left Behind Act and other measures.
An immigration system that treats humanely those attempting to enter the country and provides a path to citizenship for those already here.
One can only imagine what a “more progressive financial and welfare system” would look like. As it stands now, less than 50% of Americans pay more in taxes than they receive as direct payout from the Government. The top 5% of earners pay more than 80% of all taxes. Anyone earning more than $100,000 a year – nowhere near rich by modern standards – pays 50% or more of their income towards taxes at the Federal, State and Local levels. The “poor” in
It reminds me of the bumper sticker you see, “Vote Democrat, it’s easier than working.”
Public education and emergency medical care are easily available, on demand, for these same “poor,” despite the deplorable absence of Universal Healthcare.
And when did the
What kind of environmental policy can possibly shift billions of dollars from the consumption of fossil fuels to alternative energy sources?
Does that mean a policy “shift” mean that money is taken from us, so that we can’t spend on gas? Or, that gas is allowed to become so prohibitively expensive or completely unavailable, that we can’t spend on gas? That would certainly explain Speaker Pelosi’s refusal (and Obama’s until just the other day) to allow any increase in oil drilling in the
Right now, the people who spend on fossil fuels are us, the consumers, not Government. Heck, Government makes more and more money, the higher the gas prices go, in confiscatory taxes tied as a percentage to gas prices. Like cigarettes, the Government makes more money, the higher the prices go. The Government doesn’t spend on gas, it takes a cut!
How many more years are we going to refight the War on Poverty, before we wake up and realize that Government subsidy and Central Planning fosters blight in urban communities? Or that the social and economic choices of individuals and communities, in response to Government assistance, fosters continuing racial “inequality?”
Less Government, not more, is the lesson the 20th century should have taught these aging hippies.
And how much more humane could our immigration policy get, with Amnesty for those already here thrown in to boot? They get to break our laws, exploit our services, get for nothing that which they do not earn or pay, we forbid law enforcement from enforcing immigration law, contrary to their charter, and we resist at every turn any meaningful limit or constraint on the free and illegal flow of immigrants?
The only way we could make immigration more humane is to stop it altogether. That would end the exploitation of illegal immigrants, eliminate the economic incentives to exploit disadvantaged semi-skilled or illiterate workers in other countries, and severely constrain the flow of illegal drugs.
So who signed this plea to Obama? Some real notables, to be sure, including:
Jodie Evans, co-founder CODEPINK: Women for Peace
Norman Solomon, Author and Obama delegate to Democratic National Convention
Katrina vanden Heuvel
As humorous postscript, a visit to the online petition supporting this letter includes several historical figures, no doubt entirely sympathetic to the Socialist aims expressed:
August 05, 2008
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Osama Bin Laden
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Mao Tse Tung
August 05, 2008
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Monday, August 04, 2008
The Corner’s Kathryn Jean Lopez (years earlier, Jay Nordlinger) both paid tribute to Solzhenitsyn and a speech he gave at Harvard.
Here’s a remarkable passage, so prescient it’s almost beyond belief that he gave the speech in 1978:
In today's Western society, the inequality has been revealed of freedom for good deeds and freedom for evil deeds. A statesman who wants to achieve something important and highly constructive for his country has to move cautiously and even timidly; there are thousands of hasty and irresponsible critics around him, parliament and the press keep rebuffing him. As he moves ahead, he has to prove that every single step of his is well-founded and absolutely flawless. Actually an outstanding and particularly gifted person who has unusual and unexpected initiatives in mind hardly gets a chance to assert himself; from the very beginning, dozens of traps will be set out for him. Thus mediocrity triumphs with the excuse of restrictions imposed by democracy.The world has lost not only a literary treasure, but a true champion for freedom and liberty.
It is feasible and easy everywhere to undermine administrative power and, in fact, it has been drastically weakened in all Western countries. The defense of individual rights has reached such extremes as to make society as a whole defenseless against certain individuals. It is time, in the West, to defend not so much human rights as human obligations.
Destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space. Society appears to have little defense against the abyss of human decadence, such as, for example, misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, motion pictures full of pornography, crime and horror. It is considered to be part of freedom and theoretically counter-balanced by the young people's right not to look or not to accept. Life organized legalistically has thus shown its inability to defend itself against the corrosion of evil.
And what shall we say about the dark realm of criminality as such? Legal frames (especially in the United States) are broad enough to encourage not only individual freedom but also certain individual crimes. The culprit can go unpunished or obtain undeserved leniency with the support of thousands of public defenders. When a government starts an earnest fight against terrorism, public opinion immediately accuses it of violating the terrorists' civil rights. There are many such cases.
Such a tilt of freedom in the direction of evil has come about gradually but it was evidently born primarily out of a humanistic and benevolent concept according to which there is no evil inherent to human nature; the world belongs to mankind and all the defects of life are caused by wrong social systems which must be corrected. Strangely enough, though the best social conditions have been achieved in the West, there still is criminality and there even is considerably more of it than in the pauper and lawless Soviet society. (There is a huge number of prisoners in our camps which are termed criminals, but most of them never committed any crime; they merely tried to defend themselves against a lawless state resorting to means outside of a legal framework).
Slow Motion Grandeur
Driving south out of the agricultural town of Ainsworth, you can’t miss its newest crop: wind turbines, three dozen of them, with steel stalks 230 feet high and petal-like blades 131 feet long, sprouting improbably from the sand hills of north-central Nebraska, beside ruminating cattle. Though painted gray, the turbines stand out against the evening backdrop of battleship-colored thunderclouds and bear an almost celestial whiteness when day’s light is right. Airplane pilots can spot them from far away, and rarely does a bird make their unfortunate acquaintance.However naturally obeisant is the Times to politically correct environmentalism, reporter Dan Barry paints a barely ambivalent portrait of wind power in his moody piece.
True to Grey Lady form, he does manage to slip in a negative reference to Iraq, in dwelling on the previous occupation of a wind turbine mechanic, in the close of his reflection:
But someone has to mind the turbines: someone like Jered Saar; someone like Devin Painter.Barry’s veiled and entirely gratuitous swipe at the war in Iraq notwithstanding, I very much appreciated reading this piece. I can also imagine SSG Saar may not have meant his comment in quite the manner Barry surmised.
The two men drive the sand hills, tending to their crop. They know the 36 turbines by name and idiosyncrasy; the tendencies of T-9, of T-24, of T-35. They know how the blades will seek the wind like flowers seeking the sun; how come winter, the blades will turn north to receive strong winds carrying the whiff of a feedlot in town. They know that winds blowing 9 miles an hour begin to create energy, and winds blowing more than 45 miles an hour mean the turbines will shut down in self-protection.
This time a year ago, Staff Sergeant Saar was providing security to convoys snaking through dangerous, nerve-raw terrain; two soldiers from his company, the 755th Chemical, were killed. Now he snakes through hills of calm, his only neighbors some American burying beetles, the occasional deer or grouse, and herds of cows.
If he sees connections between these two lives of his, if he sees the ceaseless need for energy as the common thread, he does not say. The Nebraska winds blow, the turning blades create a new kind of power, whuh ... whuh ... whuh, and the man says it again: “I definitely would much rather be here than there.”
Having spent time around a large wind farm only this past weekend, I’d suggest that I’d rather be under the giant aliens than just about anywhere. They are absolutely awesome in a magnitude of scale like Niagara Falls, or like some energy equivalent of the Washington Monument: beyond belief when you stand at their base. Beyond their size, the majesty of their fluid motion approaches the slow motion grandeur of glaciers, or lava flows.
Mrs. Dadmanly, Little Manly, and I spent the weekend at Lake Ontario, and drove past a very large wind farm outside of Watertown, NY, near Lowville.
There has to be over 50 turbines set up on a rather high plateau, standing between the Great Lakes and the Adirondacks. They sit on the highest point for hundreds of miles North, and the jet stream and weather patterns no doubt conspire to route massive amounts of wind past ands through the waiting turbines.
Mrs. Dadmanly admits to being unusually and inexplicably afraid of the monstrous towers. I pushed my good standing to the limit be detouring to the base of one of the turbines. We didn’t linger long, for her sake.
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