Friday, September 30, 2005
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Once again, this is a subject near and dear to my heart.
People have no idea how big the atmosphere is. People have no idea what the scale of energy involved in a single summer afternoon with a light breeze in a city park would be. But people are afraid of what they don't know, and sometimes the thirst to "know" (so they can fear it less) is so great that they can be fed any logical sounding explanation. With no frame of reference to fit it into, the story stands alone and can't be rationally questioned by the listener. It "becomes" fact to that person.
The latest lunacy out is that --- Hurricane Katrina was "caused" by this technology. Some say it was the Russians. Some say it was some Japanese gang that leases "the device" from the Japanese Government for $1 billion a year (gangs come up with that kind of money annually all the time, right? Plus, as everyone knows it's always in a government's best interest to lease out extremely powerful and destructive equipment to unpredictible anti-social parties on its own soil). Some say that Bush caused it to help his oil buddies. Others say that "they used theirs, but then we used ours to try to steer it away from New Orleans".
These people are pur-a-dee nuts.
They have no clue. 1 single afternoon thunderstorm takes approximately the energy produced in a 1 megaton atom bomb. The energy released in a hurricane is about that much per second. Where in the hell do they think we can come up with enough energy to alter, let alone create something like that?
The device they point to is HAARP. Well, HAARP exists, for sure. People don't understand what it is or its purpose, so it becomes a perfect candidate for a conspiracy theorist detail. People don't know. They want to know. I will tell them. They will feel enlightened. And I will weave it into my story of international intrigue and deciet.
HAARP, since the department of the Navy is involved (fact), is a secret weapon (speculation). It emits energy and manipulates particles in the atmosphere (fact) and therefore it is meant to control the atmosphere (speculation) and since the weather is "what happens in the atmosphere" (fact), its purpose is to control the weather (speculation). Therefore, the US has or is developing a weapon to control the weather (wild-ass, off-the-charts speculation).
What is the scale of the energy we're talking about here? First, for those of you who didn't go read what HAARP is, it's basically a big radio transmitter antenna array made up of 180 antennas. This, in effect, makes one, big honkin' transmitter. When it's done, it will be able to transmit 3 microwatts (millionths of a watt) per cm2. Tens of thousands of times less than the average we get from the sun at any given moment, and hundreds of times less than the random fluctuations in what we get from the sun at any given moment. In atmospheric science classes, we call that "negligible". On top of that, the stuff that will be negligibly altered over a very small portion of the earth's ionosphere's surface, doesn't affect the weather anyway.
The antenna array covers 33 acres. Even if all the transmitted power from the IRI was absorbed by the ionosphere it would take more than 33,000 HAARP-scale IRIs, transmitting simultaneously to account for just 1 percent of the auroral ionosphere's energy budget. If anyone can build and power a mobile device 33,000 times the size of this device and manage to keep it hidden from the world -- they would have a really weak instrument that would still be incapable of intentionally altering the weather in any perceptible way.
Transmitted energy in the frequency ranges that will be used by HAARP is subject to negligible absorption in either the troposphere or the stratosphere - the two levels of the atmosphere that produce the earth's weather. Electromagnetic interactions only occur in the near-vacuum of the rarefied region above about 70 km known as the ionosphere.
The ionosphere is created and continuously replenished as the sun's radiation interacts with the highest levels of the Earth's atmosphere. The downward coupling from the ionosphere to the stratosphere/troposphere is extremely weak, and no association between natural ionospheric variability and surface weather and climate has been found, even at the extraordinarily high levels of ionospheric turbulence that the sun can produce during a geomagnetic storm. If the ionospheric storms caused by the sun itself don't affect the surface weather, there is no chance that HAARP can do so either.
--- HAARP Website
Katrina wasn't caused or altered by HAARP, folks. It was a big hurricane. They've happened for millions of years, and they will continue to happen for millions more.
Instead, he gets his information largely from shortwave broadcasts.
I love radio. I grew up on Radio. The whole idea is pretty fascinating for me. However, there's little that AM, FM, or Shortwave have to offer anymore. Lots of homogenized, pasteurized, compartmentalized "music" formats and some news. Sports and some news is about the only thing radio has to offer anymore.
I lost any meaningful interest in sports years ago, and I get most of my news from various places on the internet, including, but not limited to, the BBC and Washington Times.
At any rate, this relative buys into various conspiracy theories and then spends vast amounts of energy trying to get others to buy in to them, ultimately in the hope of "proving" he's right so we'll all see how smart he is and it will satisfy his hunger for self-worth.
The Lunatic Fringe (and I'd love to have that old Macintosh Screen Saver/Game written for Windows) consists of the hardest core of the various counter-culture groups on the Left and the Right -- neither side has a monopoly on this anymore.
The conspiracy theories they buy into are the big brothers of the urban legend. Much more elaborate and far more well developed, they have bankers running world politics, our own government purposely staging 9/11, even an elaborate scenario under which the United States of America dissolved itself in 1861 and was replaced by an Evil , money-making corporation for the benefit of the Evil Bankers (who, if you press most of the theorists hard enough will turn out to be the filthy Jooooooooos.)
The stories get really wild and even the best of them get pretty self-contradictory. This is because they are bourne out of wild speculation with little regard to anything like fact-checking and common sense. The construction of the basic Urban Legends is to point to a few relatively obscure but ultimately verifiable facts, mix in a bit of comfortable common knowledge, and then turn the "What If..." dial up as high as it will go -- and state it all as fact.
Throw in a source, like "a friend of a friend", or "someone my cousin knows" to personalize it -- some way to show that the idea didn't actually form in YOUR brain but it did come from a source that YOU, the TELLER of the tale, could hop in a car and go visit if you wanted. Tell a story of intrigue, and you'll have people at the edges of their seats, eating out of your hand.
These conspiracy theories use the same elements - they're just far more elaborate. If a person should choose to check the story out, they'll generally go look for the well-recited and placed facts that the story is peppered with, and find that those facts jive -- and assume that your story is true.
The cleverness is to throw the right frame around certain details of the big picture, and spend most of your time on constructing and detailing the frame, and present the whole package as a complete explanation for What's Really Going On™.
People love intrigue. It's easy to sell. Today's Conspiracy Theories are presenting people with completely alternate realities, though, and some choose to imerse themselves in them so completely that they pretty much spend their lives there.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
I didn't have a problem with the evacuations in Mississippi or Alabama. They were doing it. (Florida Governor) Jeb Bush had already ordered evacuations through the (Florida) Keys as Katrina was making its way through that area.
My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday (two days before the storm hit) that Louisiana was dysfunctional.
FEMA doesn't evacuate communities. FEMA does not do law enforcement. FEMA does not do communications...
Many may be surprised to learn that, guess what, FEMA doesn't own fire trucks. We don't own ambulances. We don't own search and rescue equipment
The people of FEMA are being tired of being beat up, and they don't deserve it.
But William Jefferson, (D) La, says:
"I find it absolutely stunning that this hearing would start out with you, Mr. Brown, laying the blame for FEMA's failings at the feet of the governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans"Then you're not paying attention. He's saying these things are not FEMA's failings. He's telling you what FEMA is for, and what it's not for. Now -- you point out where it was FEMA that failed and not the Governor or the Mayor, and maybe he'll talk about that. The idea that FEMA failed seems to be a foregone conclusion here -- I thought this was an investigation into what failed and why, not a search for apologies and plans to expand FEMA's role.
As he pointed out, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi didn't seem to have a problem with FEMA.
The answer to the "Katrina" problem? Federalize disaster response. I hate to agree with the American Communist Loonies Union, but on this one, I have no choice.
This is, of course, what came of the American Left screaming about slow response from FEMA to Katrina. "What? We didn't swoop in and take over immediately? Is that what you're complaining about? Well, we've got just the solution."
The real answer is this:
Dear American People,
You are the most free people on the planet, thanks to a contract with the government that respects you enough to trust you with that freedom. With that trust, however, comes a responsibility on your part to be self-reliant and to live with the consequences of the choices you make. While many in the country are more than willing to help you out in time of need, you should not mandate that people in Minnesota subsidize the real costs of living on the Gulf Coast. If you can't afford to live there and take the necessary precautions to weather natural phenomenon common to the area -- don't live there.
What ever you do, do not allow the Federal Government to come and "take care of you". With Freedom comes self-reliance.
See previous post for details.
Monday, September 26, 2005
... there is more than the physical restriction of freedoms: There is the slow erosion of self-reliance, self-confidence and self-determination among a nation. The more your government restricts your options, the more you psychologically look to government to keep you safe, fed, clothed, housed and sustained.
There is a word for people who are fed, clothed, housed and sustained fully by others, and that word is SLAVES.
Now that we know that it wasn't "just a grieving mother asking why" wanting to meet President Bush, but in her own words her intent all along was to publicly embarrass him:
Well, we all know now that George Bush never came down the road to talk to me. Thank God! [...] If he had met with me that fateful day in August it would not have been good for him (because I knew he was going to lie and I would have advertised that fact) but it would have had less of an impact on the peace movement if he had.St. Cindy took the 100,000 number and used it to justify going an order of magnitude higher.
Last weekend, Karl Rove said that I was a clown and the antiwar movement was "non-existent." I wonder if the hundreds of thousands of people who showed up today to protest this war and George's failed policies know that they don't exist.
Well, Karl and Co., we are real, we do exist and we are not going away until this illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq is over and you are sent back to the depths of whatever slimy,dark, and loathsome place you came from. I may be a clown Karl, but you are about to be indicted. You also preside over one of the biggest three ring, malevolent circuses of all time: the Bush administration.Such hate. Such spew. So much for dialogue and discourse. Cindy, you are a clown as you freely admit, and the "non-existent" was a figure of speech meaning, "irrelevantly small." 100,000 people showed up? Ok, maybe not non-existent. Just remember that there are 290,000,000 of us, and those of us who support the war aren't the narcissistic "activists" that love activism for its own sake.
i am watching cnn and it is 100 percent rita...even though it is a little wind and a little rain...it is bad, but there are other things going on in this country today...and in the world!!!!
-- Sheehan on Sat Sep 24th, 2005
"Me!!! MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! Look at MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!"
Incidentally, I should point out that "indicted" basically means "officially accused". It does not mean "found guilty". It's relatively easy to get an indictment. Since most people don't really know the difference, it's a favorite method of political mud slinging.
Singer Joan Baez told the crowd we need to bring the troops home now because
“There is chaos. There’s bloodshed. There’s carnage.”
In other words, we need to bring the troops home because there's a war going on. Makes sense.
A poster on the DU thinks that Bush was trying to "stop the protestors"
I just got a call from a friend on the ground in DC, the police have closed down the metro lines. People are stranded. He thinks they are trying to prevent people from getting there....
From what I know of the "activist" type this is a combination of delusion and wishful thinking.
We also had people at the rally with lots of different points of view. Some were actually Bush supporters ("except for the war") -- others were against withdrawing quickly. Hey, Bush is against withdrawing quickly, too. Maybe he should have been there with a sign.
The sad thing about all of this is that it gives Al Queda and it's allies a huge propaganda tool. "Look, it's working!"
The reason these people kill civillians is because they can't win on the battlefield. They know it, and they don't intend to. Their battle plan is to create enough Cindy Sheehans and Michael Moores and Susan Sarandons and Natalie Maines and minions to follow them. Useful idiots.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
If it's not abundantly clear to you by now that most of the mainstream press is very sympathetic to the liberal end of the spectrum if not card-carrying members and that their reporting reflects it, then you have your head in the sand.
So I don't even buy that the Conservative Elite control the press. True to their conservative principles, they stay out of it so much that the liberal people who make up the press are pretty much allowed to run amok.
In the Left's eyes, anyone who makes a buck off of anything is exploiting someone. Making money is bad. Communism is their logical goal. The opposite end of the political-economic systems from Communism is Capitalism. Capitalists are conservative.
Therefore, those who run the press are conservative capitalist pigs. And the news spews their agenda (riiiight... I've seen and read the news.... I don't think so).
But even supposing this is true, what are the alternatives? State-run press? BAAAAAAAAAAD idea. If you think Capitalists are corrupt, take a look at politicians. How about press anarchy? Well, to tell you the truth, that's kind of what blogs are, but blogs wouldn't have much fuel if somebody weren't out there with cameras and microphones, and press members can't eat their words for sustainence. They gotta work for somebody.
Right, then, so we're back to companies that sell stories for profit so that the can pay their employees.
There are, of course, inherent problems with this. Controversy sells, and the press constantly tries to manufacture it where there is none. However, there are problems with internal combustion engines, too -- and I still own one.
Bloggers may, in the end, be a good balancing agent for the press. We ask questions they overlook, and scrutinize their stories -- and each others' stories. In the end, we may be on to something.
Little Green Men & Their SUV's
Carbon dioxide deposits, for the non-chemically or scientifically inclined, is basically "dry ice". No dry ice exists here on earth out in nature -- we have to freeze carbon dioxide to get it. Nonetheless, if dry ice is evaporating on Mars ... that suggests "Global" warming on Mars, without the benefit of SUV's.
Could it POSSIBLY be that the same mechanism causing Global Warming on Mars just MIGHT be the same mechanism that, coincidence of coincidences, has been happening on Earth simultaneously for the last several hundred years?
Is it so hard to believe that fluctuations in the sun's output might cause fluctuations on the planets that orbit it? Only if your religion teaches you to believe that humans are the root of all evil.
Michael Mann Lied. Billions complied. (that's a joke, by the way -- I don't think he liked. He was just mistaken.)
The BBC ran an article this morning from The Revealer (there's a smug, self-righteous name for you) -- a publication of New York University's Journalizum dept basically chastising America (The story ends with "God Bless America, indeed") for our dirty classist, racist ways.
They ramble over the familiar charges of racism -- stating that in Katrina's aftermath, blacks were called "looters" while whites "found things" -- will somebody point me to these widespread articles that are being cited showing a general American bias? I sure haven't seen any, and I read a lot.
Then they try, in typical Journo-rationalization fashion, to extend the race card to illegal Latino aliens.
Typical of the journalistic propensity to snatch oppression from the jaws of understanding and compassion, the article goes on to take the flexibility offered by the Department of Homeland Security's 45 day moritorium on fining employers who hire undocumented workers. The moritorium is clearly intended to allow for people who are here legally but lost their papers in the flood.
Then the article goes on to charge that it means we would be "sending" them into our cities (New Orleans, etc) to clean them up, then deport them when they are done -- a not-so-subtle charge, basically, of slavery.
These people aren't biased? Ha! Last time I checked, slavery meant that people were rounded up and forced to work for no compensation and were not free to leave. First of all, nobody's forcing anybody to do any labor. Illegal aliens were not forced to come here, they knew they were breaking the law to get here, and the ONLY reason Congress passed the moritorium on fining employees who hire undocumented workers was to protect people who are here legally but unfortunately can't prove it in a timely manner because their documents were destroyed by the storm and its aftermath.
God Bless America? Hell YES, God Bless America!!!
Monday, September 12, 2005
In My America, there are many generous and caring people who will go well above and beyond that responsibility.
In my My America, if you buy a hot beverage, you should assume it is hot.
My America is a land of Liberty where your rights come along with responsibilites.
We don't live in My America anymore. It's getting less and less like My America every year.
In Today's America, there are far too many who take no responsibility for their own lives let alone anyone else's. They believe rights come with no responsibility on their parts.
I understand -- there are some who would like to fall into the first category, or at least be covered by the first category of people -- but for some reason, they are not.
So let's just say that, in a compromise, My America will allow that some people can't get out of the way of a natural phenomenon known to plague the area in which they live and forcast several days in advance. Still, in My America, I'm going to insist that everyone have a plan, even if that plan is to rely on the government evacuating them.
In My America, that plan would be a last resort.
But, again, in the spirit of the above compromise, I will say that those who feel they cannot get out should be able to register with the local government as a person who will need evacuating in such an event. The government will spell out what it expects to do for the evacuee, and the evacuee will be told what is expected of him or her. Frankly, that's all the "responsibility" I am willing to put upon the government for your immediate safety in the event of a natural disaster.
Still, it is contingent on the potential evacuee to register for that program, and that will then be his/her plan.
But everybody has to have a plan.
If you have another plan, or your plan is to do nothing, that is your business. Me, I wouldn't have relied on the Government for my plan before Katrina, and I certainly wouldn't rely on it after Katrina. This is not because I think the Government is incompetent (although it often is) -- it is because I don't want a government that big.
Twentieth Century Killed or Dead (by cause)
Cause Total Average per 10,000
Government 119.4 Million 349
Non-free 115.4 Million 494
Communist 95.2 Million 477
Other 20.2 Million 495
Partially Free 3.1 Million 48
Free 0.8 Million 22
War 35.7 Million 22
International 29.7 Million 17
Civil 5.9 Million 26
All figures are rounded to the nearest 100,000
Stick that in your collective pipes and let it smoulder.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Mark: "Oh my God, an airplane just crashed into the World Trade Center."
Me: "Like a little airplane?"
Mark: "No, like a commercial jet. Oh my God, I'm watching it now."
Me: "Crap. That was no accident."
Moments later, he IM'ed me that a second plane just hit. He watched it live.
I wonder how many Americans actually who Osama Bin Laden was before that?
Here we are, 4 years later. We've ousted his umbrella government in Afghanistan. I believe Osama Bin Laden is dead. Al Queda is still around -- no surprise there.
And we're in Iraq. Due to bad communication by the Bush Administration (for whatever reason) and a highly successful campaign by the left to discredit Bush -- a large portion of the country feel we shouldn't be there, and that this has nothing to do with the War on People Who Are Using Terror Tactics Against Us.
I find this disturbing, since I've seen the connection from the beginning. It's a very, very strong connection. It has little to do with the Iraqi government's involvement -- directly in 9/11 -- but Iraq's government had a lot to do with the motivation behind 9/11.
Many of the people who think we shouldn't be in Iraq believe that Bush lied about Saddam having "Weapons of Mass Destruction" (a euphamism for Chem/Bio/Nuclear weapons). They believe that the Bush administration "cooked up" the WMD story, and that he knew that Hussein did not have such weapons anymore.
Let's take a look at what Washington thought just 3 years before 9/11 --
The United States is prepared to use substantial force against Iraq if diplomatic efforts fail to resolve the crisis over U.N. weapons inspections - We must stop Saddam from ever again jeopardizing the stability and security of his neighbors with weapons of mass destruction."- Madeline Albright (Secretary of State), Feb 1, 1998
"Iraq is a long way from [the USA], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."- Madeline Albright (Secretary of State), Feb 18, 1998
"If you remember in 1991, Saddam Hussein invaded another country, he plagued it, he set fire to it, and he decided that he could control the region. Before that, he had gassed his own people. Hussein has chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."- Madeline Albright (Secretary of State), Nov. 10, 1999
"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983. If we fail to respond, Saddam and all those who follow will believe that they can threaten the security of a vital region with impunity. But if we act now as one, we will send a clear message to would-be tyrants and terrorists that we will do what it takes to protect our security and our freedom."- Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998
"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."- Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998
"Look, we have exhausted virtually all our diplomatic effort to get the Iraqis to comply with their own agreements and with international law. Given that, what other option is there but to force them to do so?" - Sen. Tom Daschle (D, ND), Feb. 11, 1998
"The U.S. should strike, strike hard and strike decisively. In this instance, the administration needs to act sooner rather than later."- Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Nov 14, 1998
Did Bush cook all that up?
After he left office, on Larry King Live, Clinton says:
"When I left office, there was a substantial amount of biological and chemical material unaccounted for.."
"We might have gotten it all, we might have gotten half of it, we might have gotten none of it."
I read and heard several interviews with Clinton during last year's election process and I noted how reluctant he was to criticize Bush on Iraq.
I don't think his restraint is calculated to help Hillary get elected in '08. I think he knew what Bush knew and was unwilling to criticize the man for doing what himself had called for earlier.
Then there's this from Clinton as President on Feb 18, 1998:
[if Saddam Hussein] "fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop his program of weapons of mass destruction and continue to press for the release of the sanctions and continue to ignore the solemn commitments that he made? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction."
"If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow." ... "Some day, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use the arsenal."
This was after his buildup of US Military in the Gulf in Jan/Feb 1998.
That ambiguous third route is what Saddam counted on again and again, and the U.N. kept handing it to him. Less than a week later, Kofi Annan struck a deal with the Hussein -- which once more gave U.N. inspectors permission to inspect. The only thing he responded to was force, and even then it was always just enough response to get the threat backed off.
Ten months after Saddam accepted Annan's offer, he kicked U.N. weapons inspectors out of Iraq for good. The US complained. Then Clinton (Dec, 1998) dropped the bombs he talked about on Lary King Live. (without even consulting the UN Security Council) A year after the inspectors were banished, the U.N. created a new inspection regime which inspected only what Saddam Hussein would allow it to inspect. Saddam was a master at buying more time. Was he hiding the fact that he didn't have the weapons, or was he hiding the fact that he did? How the hell was anybody supposed to know? Given his well understood motives and history, does it really matter? Could we afford to wait? We thought we could afford to wait on Bin Laden. We were wrong.
The Bush administration didn't just make this up.
I didn't include the many quotes from the same Democrats now against Bush (I mean the war) that many of these same people (plus Kerry) made in 2002 which further bolstered the idea that everbody was sure Saddam was a menace and was trying to hide that menace. I didn't include them on purpose make the point that the Bush administration wasn't just cooking up a story and feeding it to them. This is all Clinton era.
Why should anyone expect different results each time we threatened, he appeased just enough... over and over.... to buy more time? The hard-left's opposition was quickly gaining traction in the middle left. There really wasn't much time.
Couple this with the fact that one of Bin Laden's biggest peeves was -- Western (mostly US and Brit) troops on sacred (Saudi) soil. Why were we there? Because we were the only ones willing to lift a finger to contain Saddam and try to enforce the myriad of otherwise toothless UN resolutions. (was it 14 or 17 by this time?) So how do we get off of Saudi soil (er... sand)? Pull out and leave Saddam unrestrained ? Not a good option. The best option would be to finish the war that brought us there 10 years earlier. Only then would it be the responsible thing for us to leave.
I had dismissed as "maybe's" many of the straws he was grasping at -- preferring to focus on the bigger picture, which was "let's finish this 10 year old war and get the hell out of there." It brought our planes being routinely shot at. It bought Saddam time and lots of oil money. It brought lots of dead and tortured Iraqis, and it bought us mounting resentment among many Muslims for keeping Saddam down, and just for being in Saudi Arabia. That brought us Osama Bin Laden and 3 airplanes smashed into buildings in America.
Friday, September 09, 2005
I thought it was over-simplified pablum for the masses. I knew there was probably a grain of truth to it... but I figured it was overblown. I figured they were really talking about the extremely loose moral image we project -- because frankly, it's disturbing to me as well.
Well, I guess it wasn't. That is, wasn't over-simplified pablum for the masses.
I read about a book which was the subject of an article in the New York Post back in September.
It starts out thus:
September 4, 2003 -- 'IT is not the American war machine that should be of the utmost concern to Muslims. What threatens the future of Islam, in fact its very survival, is American democracy." This is the message of a new book, just published by al Qaeda in several Arab countries.
The author of "The Future of Iraq and The Arabian Peninsula After The Fall of Baghdad" is Yussuf al-Ayyeri, one of Osama bin Laden's closest associates since the early '90s. A Saudi citizen also known by the nom de guerre Abu Muhammad, he was killed in a gun battle with security forces in Riyadh last June.
I then read this New Yorker article -- which re-enforced the idea that the people who say it is about Islamic/Arab pride have indeed done their research and aren't just blowing hot air.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? -- Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! -- All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.
Abraham Lincoln, Jan 27, 1838
Why does this passage call out to me for attention? Simply this: no outsider can turn us into a USSR, a China, a Saddam Hussein-led Iraq. But as we, as a society slowly give up our personal responsibilities to the government, so shall we sign away our liberty.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Make a logically plausible claim to explain something you see, and most people will bite the hook and swallow it.
Example, how many times since Katrina hit have you heard "We don't have enough National Guard to take care of us at home because they're all in Iraq".
- We know National Guard units are being used abroad
- They make up a significant number of total deployed troops
- A significant part of the country was just hit by a big disaster that
- Didn't seem to get adequate assistance, according to many -- fast enough
Makes sense. Why ask why? Especially when it seems to fit your political world view.
Most people won't ask questions. Questions like, "well, how many National Guard Troops does the country have?" and "How many of them are overseas?" and "How many does that leave at home?" and "How many is enough?"
So let's take a look at the answers to some of those questions.
How many National Guard Troops does the country have?
How many are deployed overseas?
About 78,000 -- that's about 18% by my calculation -- although the Pentagon says 21%
How many does that leave at home?
Well, 82% -- that's 361,000 -- or 80% 352,000 -- take your pick.
How many is enough?
Interesting question. But first we must disclose that Louisiana and Mississippi have a larger percent of their National Guard troops deployed overseas than the national average.... 37% of Mississippi's, and 35% of Louisiana's.
So how many National Guard Troops did the State of Louisiana have to send down to the coast for Hurricane Katrina?
About 6,500. Is that enough? If it were all you had, would you send them? Governor Blanco wouldn't. Because she didn't. Would the 3,500 more overseas have made it enough? Was 6,500 as opposed to 10,000 enough of a difference not to send the 6,500 she had? What if she had the support of more from the Federal Government as she was offered on Friday in person by Bush himself? ... support she turned down, saying she needed 24 hours to decide.
(Gee, isn't 24 hours about how late the Federal Government is accused of being? -- If one didn't know better, one might get the impression that Blanco had political motives.... see how easy that is to do, Lefties? And I'm not even thinkin' hard.)
I know facts are generally inconvenient to the Left who prefer to be led by emotions. And people who are led by emotions are easily led indeed.
When the talking heads say "Blah .... blah...", do you say, "Baa .... baa?".
Bush has left us weak at home because "all of our national guard troops are in Iraq"? Easy to suggest. Much harder to make a case for when presented with the facts.
Here is another -- I'd've left out the paragraph on the poor - as that area does have some room for grey. Still, there is an element of truth to even that.
Frankly, folks, I am stunned that the the City and State governments along with lots of help from the press are actually getting the flood mud to stick (in the public eye) on the Bush administration. Even the usually right-leaning Fox News is on the bandwagon. Did these people not pay attention in Civics classes? Do they not understand Federalism? Is personal responsibility really a thing of the past?
If so, we're worse off than I thought we were.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Now I'd like to skip right on by the frightening things in this article to make another point.
In the Leftist world view, big American corporations -- escpecially oil corporations, are responsible for our dependence on oil. By buying influence in Congress and perhaps paying off the auto industry, they keep us from using or developing alternative energy sources and force us to buy gas guzzling cars. The Big, Bad Profit Motive is clearly to blame for our lack of alternative energy sources, right?
What about China?
If there were ever a clear case of government control of everything, China would be one. If China needs more energy and there are better ways of obtaining it than oil, the Chinese government can simply mandate that those sources be developed and utilized.
But apparently, it has not. There are no Western oil companies lobbying the Chinese, ahem, "congress" or Chairman to stop or hinder the process. Chinese oil companies are state-controlled.
So why isn't China turning in to the Solar/Wind-Powered Green Utopia that would exist but for the Evil American Corporations™?
Maybe the folks who say the technology just isn't there yet on the scale we need are --- right?
Yup, this morning on NPR, a candid report from a fanboat with police and other rescue workers, motoring through the cesspool of sewage, gasoline, and dead bodies are finding people in that same cesspool who
refuse to leave. Refuse rescue.
Even now. Even when they are standing in foul, stinking flood waters that will kill them. Hundreds of them.
Now I'd like you to think about that for just a minute.
The Leftists in the media are all over how its all about class and color, in their favorite exercise of making sure personal responsibility always lies on the shoulders of those they despise rather than on the individual. Why did tens of thousands of people not leave the below-sea-level bowl of New Orleans with a category 5 hurricane bearing down on them?
Could it be because they didn't want to?
Look at all of the other hurricanes that have hit the coast over the years. Many get out, many stay -- most that stay stay for one or more of these three reasons.
I will buy the idea that some could not afford the gas or a bus ticket out. To those people, I have them turn directly to Mayor C. Ray Nagin and his fleets of city and school busses which were not used. But I suspect the number that did not get out due to economics is much smaller than the Left would like us to believe in their shameless politicising of a natural disaster.
As soon as I heard there was a category 5 hurricane headed for New Orleans about 3 days before it hit, my mind flashed back to several television programs I'd seen in the last 10 years about what would happen to New Orleans in the event of a direct hit by a major hurricane. If I, a citizen of Missouri, knew how bad it would likely be, surely the City and State governments were aware of the problems facing the area.If they (the local government) were not aware of the problem, why should they expect the Feds to be aware of it?
The truth of the matter is, they knew, and the Feds knew. But emergency planning for cities -- especially cities prone to natural disasters, lies on the city government, not the Federal government. The Federal government can not and should not step in unless it is requested or it becomes apparent that the local goverment is incapable of handling the situation.
A friend's dad is down there now working with FEMA. According to him, the National Guard offered to go down there two days BEFORE Katrina hit, but the Governor of Lousiana refused. Bush, according to law, couldn't send federal help until it was requested by the state (Governor).
So how, again, is it Bush's fault, or rich people's fault, or white people's fault that people in New Orleans didn't get out of the way of Mother Nature when they had ample warning? How is it Bush's fault, or rich people's fault, or white people's fault that the (Black, not white or "other") mayor of New Orleans did not have a disaster plan for this event, or did not implement it? How is it Bush's, or rich people's, or white people's fault that the Governor of Louisiana refused help when it would have been most effective -- BEFORE the hurricane hit, and then screamed bloody murder that the feds were "a day late"?
How is this "the Shame of America"?
It's all a question of framing, spinning is. If over-simplify a problem to fit your political aims and stick a flashy frame around the picture, people look at the frame and don't see the picture. When you actually go down and take a good look at the picture, you may just see something quite different that what was presented to you by talking heads on your TV screen.
Monday, September 05, 2005
Archived from Source:
September 05, 2005
TRIBES- Bill Whittle
(Folks, there's R-rated language throughout this thing. Normally I can edit it out; this time, not so much. I may do so later, but now I want to leave it as I wrote it.)
I’m generally an optimist, and it’s been my pleasure to be able to write mostly about the good and the noble things in our lives. But the events in the Gulf – of Mexico – have brought to a head a summer and a year that has been getting progressively uglier and more painful to watch.
Who can not see the way the country has changed, not since 9/11, but before that – since the 2000 election? Who cannot feel the split, the division, that rips like a shredding sail on a broken mast, canvas tearing like the sound of musketry, as the rigging falls to the deck?
This breaks my heart. It just breaks my heart into little pieces. I have said less and less as I see more and more, because deep in my core I still don’t want to believe that some Americans could willfully and consistently do such destructive things out of such petty and base motivations, things which in time will make the horrors of New Orleans look like a flea circus in a small tent, with the much larger carnival raging unseen in the background.
I’ve taken sides in these essays, obviously – that’s what I do. But I have never, until now, felt the need to take the gloves off and really let fly. I always feared I would regret it, later. I still do. Only now, I fear I will regret it worse if I do not.
So now we must look at Tribes.
Now please pay attention to this, because I’m not going to state it again, and if you don’t hear it now much mischief will follow:
I believe that the human animal – the raw material of our physical bodies – is essentially interchangeable. By this I mean that I could take the children of Fallujah and turn them all into Astronauts, convert Jewish babies into fanatical, mass-murdering SS guards, and shake a generation of the poorest Voodoo-worshippers in Haiti into a cadre of top-flight nuclear physicists, chemical engineers and computer scientists.
Race has nothing to do with this – precisely nothing. The mobs of murdering Hutus and swarms of slaughtering Serbs are as different racially as it is possible to be, and they are cut from precisely the same cloth.
I know this is so because there have been murdering scumbags of every stripe and color in the long history of the human race – which is depressing – and that these animals, at any given time, represent only a small percentage of the majority of people, also of every stripe and color – which is not. There is no corner on virtue, and no outpost of depravity. Human hearts are indistinguishable and interchangeable. Anyone who claims otherwise is, without further argument or statements necessary, a complete God-damned idiot.
Now, with that said – have we all heard that loud and clear? – there are light-years of difference in how various Tribes will behave.
Only a few minutes ago, I had the delightful opportunity to read the comment of a fellow who said he wished that white, middle-class, racist, conservative cocksuckers like myself could have been herded into the Superdome Concentration Camp to see how much we like it. Absent, of course, was the fundamental truth of what he plainly does not have the eyes or the imagination to see, namely, that if the Superdome had been filled with white, middle-class, racist, conservative cocksuckers like myself, it would not have been a refinery of horror, but rather a citadel of hope and order and restraint and compassion.
That has nothing to do with me being white. If the blacks and Hispanics and Jews and gays that I work with and associate with were there with me, it would have been that much better. That’s because the people I associate with – my Tribe – consists not of blacks and whites and gays and Hispanics and Asians, but of individuals who do not rape, murder, or steal. My Tribe consists of people who know that sometimes bad things happen, and that these are an opportunity to show ourselves what we are made of. My people go into burning buildings. My Tribe consists of organizers and self-starters, proud and self-reliant people who do not need to be told what to do in a crisis. My Tribe is not fearless; they are something better. They are courageous. My Tribe is honorable, and decent, and kind, and inventive. My Tribe knows how to give orders, and how to follow them. My Tribe knows enough about how the world works to figure out ways to boil water, ration food, repair structures, build and maintain makeshift latrines, and care for the wounded and the dead with respect and compassion.
There are some things my Tribe is not good at at all. My Tribe doesn’t make excuses. My Tribe will analyze failure and assign blame, but that is to make sure that we do better next time, and we never, ever waste valuable energy and time doing so while people are still in danger. My Tribe says, and in their heart completely believes that it’s the other guy that’s the hero. My Tribe does not believe that a single Man can cause, prevent or steer Hurricanes, and my Tribe does not and has never made someone else responsible for their own safety, and that of their loved ones.
My Tribe doesn’t fire on people risking their lives, coming to help us. My Tribe doesn’t curse such people because they arrived on Day Four, when we felt they should have been here before breakfast on Day One. We are grateful, not to say indebted, that they have come at all. My Tribe can’t eat Nike’s and we don’t know how to feed seven by boiling a wide-screen TV. My Tribe doesn’t give a sweet God Damn about what color the looters are, or what color the rescuers are, because we can plainly see before our very eyes that both those Tribes have colors enough to cover everyone in glory or in shame. My Tribe doesn’t see black and white skins. My Tribe only sees black and white hats, and the hat we choose to wear is the most personal decision we can make.
That’s the other thing, too – the most important thing. My Tribe thinks that while you are born into a Tribe, you do not have to stay there. Good people can join bad Tribes, and bad people can choose good ones. My Tribe thinks you choose your Tribe. That, more than anything, is what makes my Tribe unique.
I am so utterly and unabashedly proud of my Tribe, that my words haunt and mock me for their pale weakness and shameful inadequacy.
Membership in my Tribe is not free.
I have been the first person at four accident scenes. I have crawled into overturned cars on country roads, cars whose wheels were still spinning, and gone on hands and knees through broken glass to comfort strangers while uniformed policemen stood around outside and told jokes. I have put my triple-knit polyester chauffeur’s blazer over an elderly black woman hit by a bus and used my belt as a tourniquet to slow the dark spread of blood widening beneath her badly broken leg, and been amazed, every time, at how the sounds of approaching sirens seems to come almost before I have time to hold her hand and tell her she’s gonna be just fine.
I say this not to glorify myself – on the contrary. I am embarrassed to write such things. I am a pampered and lazy Hollywood TV editor who gets paid insane sums of money to do a cake job while much better people than me do this every day, for peanuts. There is nothing remotely heroic about me. I simply do what millions and millions and millions of my fellow Americans do every day, in ways large and small. They step up to the plate, not because they want to be heroes, but because someone has to do it. These simple people donate their time, their money, their food, their cars and their houses every single day, and ask and expect nothing in return, while a few miles away from me in Brentwood millionaire movie stars throw fabulous parties to remind each other how swell they are, then waltz out into their chauffeured limos with their tens or hundreds of millions of dollars firmly in place, feeling good that they had the chance to really make a difference by raising awareness of whichever cause they feel will most make up for their feelings of inadequacy and guilt by showing both themselves and us just how much better people they really are.
What kind of money could Barbra and Martin and Tim and Susan and Gwenneth and George and Steven and Viggo and Linda and Harvey and Brad and Angelina and Ben and all the rest – how much could they really put together, if they actually believed what they say – not to mention the cash available to the Malodorous Michigan Manatee of Mendacity? What kind of check could they write? $500 million would be less than 10% of every outspoken celebrities' combined wealth. That money could take every poor person in LA county and put them into much nicer apartments than the one I live in. They could, at a stroke, shame the President, the Congress, and the evil NeoCon warmongers by putting every displaced person in New Orleans in a Marriott for a year. They claim this is the kind of better human they have evolved into.
Why don’t they do it?
They don’t do it because that Tribe worships the golden statue of themselves, that’s why. A church-going pharmacist in Des Moines would be ashamed of herself for giving only 10% of her modest salary. But Sean Penn can take himself, an entourage and a personal photographer – that’s three or four people in a four-person boat – and show us all how incredibly big and down-home he is by sailing off a few feet to rescue people, before the boat sinks from the incompetence of failing to put in the drainage plug. He wore a very nice white flak vest, instead of the passé orange life preserver, because getting shot at is a lot more macho looking, if a million or so times less likely, than drowning because you went out into the water with a lead vest rather than a life vest. It’s a scene in the trailer that runs incessantly in their heads: In a world run by evil corporations, a rebel who plays by his own rules starts a deadly game of cat and mouse with an all-powerful conspiracy in this searing portrait of extraordinary courage in a life under siege, starring…me!
I was actually ready to publicly commend the guy, until I heard about the personal photographer. If he wanted to help people – and that’s all – he could have paid for that boat, and a few hundred others, manned them with reasonably competent recreational boaters, and sent out a flotilla. But no. It’s not about having people saved. It’s about something else entirely. It’s about having people saved by Sean Penn. That’s when I realized that whether it’s the Murderous Regime in Iraq, or the Murderous Regime in Iran, or the Murderous Storm in Louisiana…ultimately, it’s all about Sean Penn. Peace Be Upon Him.
But thank God we have people like him, and the rest of that vain, useless, smug, self-centered, incompetent, insecure and thoroughly broken Tribe to point out the error of our ways.
I hate those sons of bitches with all of my heart. And the fact that so much of our society has come to worship these shallow, egomaniacal dolts says a lot about where we are, and none of it is good.
Now this next point is so obvious, so simple and so self-evident that there is no way the deep thinkers of the far left will possibly be able to see it.
Let’s not talk about Black and White tribes… I know too many pathetic, hateful, racists and more decent, capable and kind people of both colors for that to make any sense at all. Do you not? Do you not know corrupt, ignorant, violent people, both black and white, to cure you of this elementary idiocy? Have you not met and talked and laughed with people who were funny, decent, upright, honest and honorable of every shade so that the very idea of racial politics should just seem like a desperate and divisive and just plain evil tactic to hold power?
If such a thing is not self-evident to you, please get off my property. Right now. I should tell you I own a gun and I know how to use it. I assure you that the pleasure I would take in shooting you would be temporary, minimal, and deeply regretted later.
Now, for the rest of you, let’s get past Republican and Democrat, Red and Blue, too. Let’s talk about these two Tribes: Pink, the color of bunny ears, and Grey, the color of a mechanical pencil lead.
I live in both worlds. In entertainment, everything is Pink, the color of Angelyne’s Stingray – it’s exciting and dynamic and glamorous. I’m also a pilot, and I know honest-to-God rocket scientists, and combat flight crews and Special Ops guys -- stone-cold Grey, all of them -- and am proud and deeply honored to call them my friends.
The Pink Tribe is all about feeling good: feeling good about yourself!
Sexually, emotionally, artistically – nothing is off limits, nothing is forbidden, convention is fossilized insanity and everybody gets to do their own thing without regard to consequences, reality, or natural law. We all have our own reality – one small personal reality is called “science,” say – and we Make Our Own Luck and we Visualize Good Things and There Are No Coincidences and Everything Happens for a Reason and You Can Be Whatever You Want to Be and we all have Special Psychic Powers and if something Bad should happen it’s because Someone Bad Made It Happen. A Spell, perhaps.
The Pink Tribe motto, in fact, is the ultimate Zen Koan, the sound of one hand clapping: EVERYBODY IS SPECIAL.
Then, in the other corner, there is the Grey Tribe – the grey of reinforced concrete. This is a Tribe where emotion is repressed because Emotion Clouds Judgment. This is the world of Quadratic Equations and Stress Risers and Loads Torsional, Compressive and Tensile, a place where Reality Can Ruin Your Best Day, the place where Murphy mercilessly picks off the Weak and the Incompetent, where the Speed Limit is 186,282.36 miles per second, where every
bridge has a Failure Load and levees come in 50 year, 100 year and 1000 Year Flood Flavors.
The Grey Tribe motto is, near as I can tell, THINGS BREAK SOMETIMES AND PLEASE DON’T LET IT BE MY BRIDGE.
Now, let’s do a little free associating, just to take the model for a test spin:
I’m going to throw out some names, and you tell me whether you think they are Pink or Grey? Okay? Ready?
- Donald Rumsfield.
- Al Sharpton.
- Bill Clinton.
- Ted Kennedy.
- George W. Bush.
- Condoleeza Rice.
Okay, my score is Grey, Pink, Pink, Pink, Grey and Grey. Easy, right? Dems = Pink, Repubs = Grey. Now how about these?
- John Kennedy
- Abraham Lincoln
- Ronald Reagan
- Franklin Roosevelt
These are more interesting, because there is something very Pink, something warm and emotional and comforting about them. Put all four of them at a dinner table (which I would trade the rest of my life to serve ice water for) and I think you would see four warm, gentle, bright and genuinely funny men.
- Cuban Missile Crisis
- Pearl Harbor
I get solid Grey scores here. What about you? I get tough, hard-nosed, capable, competent, confident men facing evil straight in the eye and not backing down. (And anyone who even thinks about selling short Reykjavik as a symbol for those eight years of steadfast resolution
should see my gun warning, above).
Also, I see two Democrats and two Republicans. Opposing parties. Same Tribe.
Now, when things are going swimmingly, when the End of History has arrived, as it did in the 90’s, having a Pink president (careful!) is no big deal. In fact, it’s a downright advantage. He can be a goodwill ambassador, and charm the pants (you heard me!) off of foreign dignitaries and have everyone cooing and gushing about how swell Americans are once the fascists are out of power.
Now, unfortunately for Pink Power, there remain in the world a few people not impressed by this attitude.
Not long ago, National Geographic ran a really first-rate, 4-hour documentary called INSIDE 9/11, as perfect an example as you could possibly want of the power of a real documentary to enlighten and inform without taking sides.
Watching it was horrible, especially for people like me, because we feel like if we had only known what was going on we could have done something about it.
A few weeks ago, a reader was kind enough to send me a link about a theory and seminar called The Bulletproof Mind, written by Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman. Just the small blurb I read enlarged my mental horizon by an order of magnitude, because it clarified many of the confusing things I have been feeling as so much of the country plunges deeper into irresponsibility, fantasy, bitterness and delusion.
I excerpt a small portion of it here, without permission, in the hope that those of you who are serious about surviving things like Katrina will go here and buy it.
Lt. Colonel Grossman, a far better man than me, a man who does things I only talk about, writes in his introduction to The Bulletproof Mind:
One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: "Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident."
This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another.
Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million total Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.
Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.
I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin's egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful. For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.==============
"Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy." Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.
"Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf." Or, as a sign in one California law enforcement agency put it, "We intimidate those who intimidate others."
If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath--a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.
Let me expand on this old soldier's excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial; that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids' schools. But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children are dozens of times more likely to be killed, and thousands of times more likely to be seriously injured, by school violence than by school fires, but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their children is just too hard, so they choose the path of denial.
The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog that intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.
Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa." Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog. As Kipling said in his poem about "Tommy" the British soldier:
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that,
an' "Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir,"
when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys,
there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir,"
when there's trouble in the wind.
Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed right along with the young ones.
Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes." The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, "Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference." When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.
While there is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, he does have one real advantage -- only one. He is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population.
[Emphasis mine – BW]
And that is how I felt watching every minute of that 4 hour documentary.
I could have done something.
If I had known, if I had only known, I could have run over that evil, sick son of a bitch Mohammed Atta in the parking lot. I could have been on one of those airplanes. They only had box cutters, for the love of God! Those seat cushions have straps on the back for floatation; they’d make excellent shields against a goddam two inch blade. Ladies, listen carefully…when I say go, you throw your shoes and cell phones and these little liquor bottles and cushions and whatever you can, just throw them right in the face of these cocksuckers and guys, when we get up there we need to kill them, fast, just break their fucking necks, just stomp on their heads until they are dead, because I know how to land a goddam airplane and…and…
Now of course, right at this moment there are people without honor or courage who read that and think this is one big jerk-off chickenhawk fantasy and on some level I guess it is. All I can tell you is that watching that show, I wished to God I had been on one of those planes, asking only that we knew what only Flight 93 knew, and that was the fate that was waiting for us if we did nothing.
Because everybody dies. Even liberals. And all I can say is that I believe in my heart that I would rather die for something bigger than myself than lead a life where nothing is more important than me. I admit freely that were I actually there I might freeze up, and wet my pants, and hide behind a stewardess, because you can never really know until you are there. But my times on the highways late at night, and with the only engine silent at 9000 feet over the South Georgia pine forests and at 400 feet climbing out of Prescott Arizona on Christmas day reassure me, a little, that perhaps I might do okay. Just as well as a common person, a common American person in a crisis – that’s all I pray for.
Much has been said regarding how much more massive an event Katrina is relative to lower Manhattan. But the fact remains that firemen went up the stairs when people were coming down, and one ordinary group of people on an ordinary flight on an ordinary day defeated the very best that the global terror network could put together. Our ladies junior varsity squad whipped the living shit out of their Super Bowl A-team over Pennsylvania that day, and they did it because for one brief shining moment enough passengers on that airplane went Grey.
And in Louisiana last week the governor cried and the mayor blamed everyone but himself, and half the country bought every single stinking Pink lie about global warming and missing National Guard units and blamed the sheepdogs while the wolves raped and pillaged and looted everything in sight.
Hundreds of New York firemen and policemen never came home, never came home, but New Orleans Police Chief P. Edwin Compass III said, of his men, “If I put you out on the street and made you get into gun battles all day with no place to urinate and no place to defecate, I don’t think you’d be too happy either… Our vehicles can’t get any gas. The water in the street is contaminated. My officers are walking around in wet shoes.”
Well, Chief, I’m sorry your men’s feet are wet, but getting their feet wet is part of their fucking job. New York’s Finest aren’t complaining about wet feet or places to pee because they died doing their jobs. They were sheepdogs.
Here is a video of New Orleans finest helping themselves at WalMart.
So, on one hand, we have a very blue city – New York – confronted, out of the clear morning of a perfect fall day, with no warning – with a terror attack, and they march toward the sounds of screams and falling bodies and die by the hundreds. One the other hand, we have New Orleans law enforcement – also blue – whining about wet shoes and helping themselves to the happy period of lawlessness that followed an event that had been expected for no less than seventy-two hours.
In New York, we had a governor who got every available resource on the ground as fast as it could get there, and in Louisiana we have a governor who...cried. Governor, your job is to not cry. Your job is to be strong. We have plenty of civilians crying. You want to cry, cry in the car on the way home like everybody else did four years ago. Crying Governors, race-baiting mayors and looting police do not a Finest Hour make.
In New Orleans we have a mayor who left some 400-500 buses sitting fueled and underwater in the Ray Nagin Memorial Motor Pool saying that evil white conservative America was selling out his people within 24 hours of the catastrophe, from a safe and dry and adequately toileted location, while four years ago we had a Mayor who ran to the site of the disaster so quickly it is a full-blown miracle he was not killed when a building collapsed literally on top of his magnificent, combed-over head.
Now, much has been made of the fact that Ray Nagin is an incompetent, race-baiting black man, and Rudy Giuliani, who was neither, is white. Also, feminists are upset that people dare attack Governor Blanco because she is incompetent, weak, indecisive, and also a woman. And no doubt there are salivating long-haired, short-cortexed idiots just waiting for this to be over so they can sail into the comments section and tell me what a racist and misogynist I am.
Well, here’s the news flash: Nagin isn’t incompetent because he’s black. He’s incompetent because he’s incompetent. Condoleeza Rice is black. Colin Powell is black. Ted Kennedy, a man well-acquainted with rising water crises is as white as they come. Kennedy is incompetent; Rice and Powell are two of the most competent people on the planet.
This is about tribes, all right: not black and white tribes, but rather a battle between the capable and the culpable.
Same holds for Governor Blanco. She’s not weak because she’s a woman, or because she’s a Democrat. Truman was a democrat. The Buck stopped there. She’s weak and indecisive because that is the individual she is. I wish history could work with variables: I’d love to see what Margaret Thatcher would have done in such a case. It would not only have been better, it would have been good. That woman was tough. She could be Grey as granite. And, for this, the Pink Tribe despises her.
Now it may come as a shock to those foreign luminaries who come to lecture us on how an American city leveled by forces roughly equivelent to a nuclear explosion reduce it to something "like a third world country."
This difference being lost on them seems to be this: in an American city there is garbage on the streets and people wander around looking for food and water, AFTER BEING LEVELED BY A CAT 5 HURRICANE, which is the storm swell of the Dec. 2004 tsunami, plus winds, extending inland not for two or three miles but for two or three HUNDRED MILES. In a third world country, people living in stacks of garbage, searching for food and water happens EVERY STINKING DAY. That is the NORM.
It may come as a bit of a shock to these worldly sophisticates, who are so quick to point out how parochial and ignorant we simple folk are, that the United States of America has local, state and federal governments! And that this is the order in which crises are dealt with!
A person of some modest education might have remembered that the worship and adulation fostered after 9/11 was for the NYPD and the FDNY. No one was buying FEMA hats after 9/11, because FEMA is essentially a mop-up agency. It's the first responders, the local governments, that will determine if a city will live or die. The State -- that means, the "governor"-- has the
sole authority to mobilize the National Guard, and the governor of the state of Louisana was not only slow to do that, she turned down NG assistance from several OTHER states as well. The President does not have the authority to drop precious egg salad sandwiches from Michael Moore's missing helicopters. We do this ON PURPOSE. We limit the power of the federal
government, as those of us fortunate enough to have spent time in Civics, rather than Self Esteem classes, are aware. This is so that we do not develop a central power so strong that eventually we end up with idiot inbred royals, or Presidentes for life, on the face of OUR money.
Now, if the critics on the far left are saying that George W Bush needs more power, then by all means let's amend the Constitution before Hurricane season ends. Me, I'm agin' it. I think the man has enough to do, really, besides worry about how many water bottles need to be kept in the basement of the courthouse in Alachua county, Florida and take down the names of every
potential bus driver in Torrance California, not to mention the name of every first responder in every town and county in every state of the Union. I've noticed they are not shy about criticizing his performance as President. That's legitimate, because that's his job. His job is not to tell the Mayor of New Orleans which buses need to be at which corners at what times and with what drivers to pick up which people and take them to which destinations. That's the mayor's job.
It's always such a pleasure to have Germans enlighten us on the best way to move large groups of sick, downtrodden people by rail. The only motivation I can ascribe to such behavior is that same one that propels young dim boys to tear the wings off flies.
Here is the Grey philosophy I try to live by:
Sometimes, Bad Things Happen. Some things are beyond my control, beyond the control of the smartest and best people we have, even beyond the awesome, subtle and unlimited control of the simpering, sub-human village idiot from Texas.
Hurricanes come. They have come for all of human history, and more are coming. Barbarians also come to steal or destroy what they cannot make themselves, and they, like human tempests, have swept a path of destruction through civilization since before history was written on clay tablets on the banks of the Euphrates.
I am not a wolf. I have never harmed a person in my life. But I am not a sheep, either. I know these forces are out there, and wishing it were not so will not only not make them go away – it will rob me of my chance to kick their ass when they show up.
I am a sheepdog - an amateur, stand-by sheepdog. Police officers and elected officials get paid to be sheepdogs. Sheepdogs don’t cry, and they don’t complain about wet feet, and they don’t wail about conspiracies while waiting for the help that they themselves are sworn to provide.
Also, unlike so many in the ‘reality-based’ community, I do not believe in a deity. For instance, I don’t believe that a single god-king can summon storms, hypnotize entire populations and be the focus for evil in the world. Many people refer to Iraq as George Bush’s war, a charge I find shockingly unfair -- to me. I voted for him in 2004, and I support that war in earnest. In future billboards, I would like to be mentioned as having Kids Die in George Bush and Bill Whittle’s War for Oil, and I expect the new crop of MoveOn bumper stickers to say DEFEND AMERICA: STOP BUSH AND WHITTLE. I’m tired of being left out of this. George Bush did not take over the White House with a six-shooter; people voted him into office with the biggest number of votes in American history. I’m one of those people, and damn you liberal cheapskate sons of bitches, I demand my equal time.
On the subject of disasters man-made and natural, one more thing from INSIDE 9/11 rings a powerful bell with me. At the very end, as Osama makes his way out of Afghanistan and into hiding, he tells an Al Jazeera reporter his motivations for the 9/11 attack. In his own words, to the friendly folks back home, he explains that his goal was to hurt America so badly that we would have no choice but to go after him and start the world-wide jihad that would result in him becoming the new Caliph, ruling from his recently completed palace outside Kandahar. He had seen much of the Pink tribe in his formative years, seen weakness and retreat in places like Somalia. He thought he had our number but he made the mistake of having perhaps the least Pink individual in modern history in the White House. He made a worse mistake in flying his murdering deathbots into a town that looked Pink, that was painted Pink from head to toe, but whose foundation was rock-solid granite Grey.
If I had gotten my 2000 voting wish and Al Gore had been president that day, would he have been Grey enough to knock that entire regime over and carry the fight to the rest of the region? Or would he have issued Stern Warnings and Worked With Our Allies and gotten the UN to Issue a Major Ultimatum? I don’t know.
But I do know, that there, in his own words, the wolf said why he did what he did: he wanted to provoke War with the US, and would do whatever was necessary to accomplish it. And if we had not given him this war, he would have kept striking until he got what he was looking for. Nothing about US foreign policy, no word about injustice for the Palestinians or Evil Corporations or any of that. No, he said he wanted to start a war with the US. And so he has it. And he would have done whatever he had to do to get it.
And they will strike again, and those silent, dogged sheepdogs who have succeeded so many times in the dark silent hours will miss a scent somewhere, and more people will die and that's what we can expect. Not dying of Influenza or Black Death, not being steamrollered under Nazi jackboots or watching Mongol hordes swarming towards us over the horizon as we run for the city walls. None of that. Only this.
And when they come, storms man-made and natural, what will the sheepdog/sheep ratio be? Enough?
Now, when Pink Tribesmen say that these people can be reasoned with, they are doing what sheep do: living in denial.
Because to say we are responsible for the terrorists in the world is a way to say we can control this wolf. If we believe we made him, then that means we control him. We can unmake him. Such a worldview appeals to the left, because it gives them Godlike Mental Powers. All we have to do is act differently and he will go away. It’s complete moral cowardice, of course – but it’s understandable cowardice. It’s denial, because if all the sins are ours then all we must do is repent and the wolf will go away.But that’s not what the wolf says. The wolf is not interested in what we do. He does not spare little lambs because they rub up against his leg and make cooing sounds. The wolf wants to swallow us whole. He wants the fight. He wants the war and the conflict. And he will keep on huffing and puffing until one of three things happen: We show him our throat, for him to rip out; or we convert to Islam and become part of his Caliphate; or we head out into the forest with a shotgun and blow his fucking head off.
I made my decision by about 9:30 eastern on September 11th, 2001. I have never regretted it.
It takes courage to fight oncoming storms. Courage.
Courage isn’t free. It is taught, taught by certain tribes who have been around enough and seen enough incoming storms to know what one looks like. And I think the people of this nation, and those of New Orleans, specifically, desire and deserve some fundamental lessons in courage.
Because we are going to need it.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
I have this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that things are going to start changing our way of life as we know it in the U.S. :-(
Unfortunately for her, I replied with my musings, which follow:
It's been changing for a long time. It's just that now the stage is set for all of the "foundational" changes that have been made since the New Deal in the 1930's for practically anyone to build anything they want on top of it and call it America. Moral relativity and subjective reality have wormed their way throughout our "culture", or what is left of it.
There has been an all-out assault on American Culture, and I'm not sure exactly when it started. Sometime right after WWII is when it seemed to start taking a foothold. There is a strong disdain for American Culture as it was before and probably during WWII, and it is widely held by the people who teach our children and by the people who bring us the nightly news. Each generation it gets amplified that much more. I have really come to sympathize with those who home-school.
Multicultural, anti-Christian-ism (which is kind of weird because... wouldn't "multi-culture" include Christian culture? -- well, you'd think) has, in effect, destroyed any cohesive culture America had, and it has pitted America against itself. This will be the downfall of America. I used to think I wouldn't see it in my lifetime, but if we don't wake up and try to reverse some of the damage, I almost certainly will.
We spotlight what Hollywood and Music celebrities "think" about politics (aren't we paying them to act and sing?). Any conservative thought is dismissed as "extremist", or "hard line".
Liberals like soft lines. They can smudge them and MoveOn.Org them around to suit their liking.
Don't get me wrong. We do need liberals in society. But they shouldn't be in positions of authority. Authority requires structure. But we do need to have that structure tested and questioned to continue to make sure that it makes sense. Still, unbridled liberalism as a life philosophy leads nowhere.
Your children will be taught that humans are basically a "cancer" on the earth, that all we do is cause "damage". That somehow all of the worlds' problems boil down to something America did, driven by greedy capitalists. That whenever an environmental anomaly crops up, we must first assume it was human-caused.
Outside of a Christian school, they will be taught that Christianity is bad, and everything else is good. That Whites of European descent are a bunch of overprivileged, racist meanies, and that anything they don't like in their lives can be blamed on someone else.
This has got to stop.
Right now, in the voting public we have reached the 50-50 point. 50% want to go the way of Green Socialism, and 50% believe in a Jeffersonian Democracy, with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights at its core. Something is going to give soon. The conservatives are starting to put up a fight, but it may be to little, too late.
People don't seem to remember. Stalin was a socialist. Hitler was a socialist. Mussolini was a socialist. Castro is a socialist. Milosevic was a socialist. Socialists prey on political unrest. (So do Islamists, for that matter). More innocent civilians have been killed in the name of socialism in this century alone than any other cause.
Physically, New Orleans is an example of what happens when people don't take charge of their own destinies. We have know for decades that a direct hit by a major hurricane on New Orleans would be disastrous. 80% of the city is below sea level, and it's surrounded by a very large lake (which is a little above sea level), the Mississippi River (which is a little above sea level) and 80 miles of basically sea-level plain between it and the sea itself. In short, if you live there, you'd better have a plan to get out when there's a hurricane coming. You'd better be talking about how you're going to build bigger, stronger levies, and how you're going to protect your pump system from the elements -- and what's the feasibility of putting your house on stilts.
But people kept expecting the government to do something for them. Everyone living in New Orleans is taking a tremendous risk, and anybody who doesn't know that has their head in the slowly sinking Mississippi River silt.
What you're seeing socially in New Orleans right now -- the bad stuff anyway -- is what happens when a society loses its moral foundations and people are allowed to rationalize why its ok to steal, burn, break, even kill -- because after all, they're all VICTIMS so it's ok! It's understandable.
Our whole "Separation of Church and State" thing is a good thing that has been turned in on itself. Our founding fathers never meant for us to have a Godless state, and certainly not an Anti-God state (which we're becoming). They wouldn't have used the phrase "... endowed by our creator" in the Declaration of Independence, or "In God We Trust" as a motto on our money.
They did a fabulous job with the Constitution. However, they did it in the non-vaccuum of a philosophy which was heavily Christian influenced. I don't think they ever foresaw a day when Christian values themselves would be questioned merely for being Christian ones.
They wrote (this is the actual text of the First Amendment to the US Constitution):
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances..
That "prohibiting" part is seldom quoted, and the establishment clause is paraphrased and re-interpreted. An Establishment is an Institution. Christianity isn't an institution. The Catholic Church is. The Methodist Church is. Religion is not an Establisment. A restaurant is an Establishment of Food and Drink. There are Establishments of Religion -- but religion in and of itself was not what they were getting at. What they were trying to avoid with these two phrases was 1) an ESTABLISHMENT of Religion calling the shots for the State, or 2) the State telling us which Establishments of Religion were ok to follow. In other words, no Taliban. No Ayatollas. No emperor Dieties (Japan). No Bishops of Canterbury.
People wig when Bush says he believes in God, and that he believes he is doing God's will. I'm not a religious person, but I understand religion and I take that as a GOOD thing. If you believe in God, you sure as hell OUGHT to be doing his will. People who criticize him for this are blatantly anti-Christian.
I like the following line from a Gordon Lightfoot song:
"I've seen the high rollers come and go, ItÂ?s the holy rollers I trust "
There's some truth to that (and of course there are exceptions as well).
Bottom line is that Western Culture, which has been heavily influenced by Christianity over the last 1,500 years or so, has a split personality, and half of that personality wants to vanquish the religion inherent in it, and unfortunately for Christians that religion is pretty much Christian. They're not so worried about the pagans or the Muslims or Indian religions or Eastern religions.
The problem is, you really can't separate the two without destroying the whole thing. The West laments the Taliban blowing up religious artifacts of Hindus and Buddhists, but the West's liberal intellectuals would probably quietly applaud the same thing happening to Christian monuments in this country.
I'm for a return to a sane interpretation of the Constitution rather than scrapping that great document and replacing it with yet another attempt at a Marxist Utopia.