Sunday, November 30, 2008

God-Director Of Kentucky State Department Of Homeland Security

I have to admit this story took me completely off-guard, even though it involves the state of Kentucky and actually took place two years ago. It just happens to be one of those things that was slid under the radar screen during a session of the Kentucky Legislature. Seems as though Kentucky has its own "Department of Homeland Security" which receives a considerable share of its funding from the federal government. Yet, according to this story on, the number one line of defense against a terrorist attack in the state is-God.

The story is covered extensively by Feral Child, who includes the following segment along with a quote from the Kentucky legislator, who happens to be a Baptist minister responsible for the inclusion of the language of the bill-along with a plaque on the walls of the Kentucky Homeland Security office which also credits God for our safety and security-

As amended, Homeland Security’s religious duties now come before all else, including its distribution of millions of dollars in federal grants and its analysis of possible threats.

The time and energy spent crediting God are appropriate, said [State Representative Tom] Riner, D-Louisville, in an interview this week.

“This is recognition that government alone cannot guarantee the perfect safety of the people of Kentucky,” Riner said. “Government itself, apart from God, cannot close the security gap. The job is too big for government.”

Of course I think I see what is going on here. This language was included at the insistence of State Representative Riner who was probably needed for passage of the bill, or perhaps it was a trade-off pertaining to some other matter. Whatever the case, the bill passed overwhelmingly in the Kentucky Legislature, enjoying widespread bi-partisan support.

And really, it doesn't bother me so much other than the fact that federal funds are involved. Even at that, it doesn't disturb me greatly, other than the implication that there exists the potential to divert blame for any future failure in security on a vengeful God, or on the sinful natures of the citizens of Kentucky.

Feral Child misses the mark however at one point, asserting that-

That must explain why Kentucky has fared so well in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. That and the utter absence of any strategic or even symbolic targets within the state. That and the fact that Al Qaeda terrorists couldn’t find Kentucky if they were handed a map of the midwest. They probably think that Kentucky is some of hat worn by infidels.

That of course is wholly inaccurate. There is Churchill Downs during the Kentucky Derby, or for that matter any part of Louisville during that period. There are also several tourist attractions of considerable note that might be a target for the simple fact that they might not be considered high priority. Yet, a devastating attack on them during the peak of tourist season would be devastating, and the impact would reverberate throughout the nation. It would draw attention to the numbers of such places nationwide, and cause a feeling to permeate throughout small town communities everywhere that, yes, "we could be next".

Nor do I think the Kentucky Legislature will be impressed by the following witticism-

If God loves Kentucky so much, why does the commonwealth need an emergency operations center at all? Why not just have a plaque?

Nor this-

Case in point: India. I’m sure Mr. Riner would agree that the troubles in India this week were caused by a lack of plaques, proselytizing, and graven images. What India needs is not a competent government security apparatus, but more religion.

Clever, yes, but I'm sure Representative Riner, for one, would quickly point out that India tends to worship "heathen idols", which might thereby explain why God so quickly unleashed his wrath on these pagan idolaters.

By and large, I have no problem with Kentucky being a predominantly Christian state, nor do I care that this is reflected to more or less a degree within some pieces of legislation.

At the same time, I would hope that, sometime in between prayer session at the Kentucky State Department of Homeland Security, the officials in charge actually find some time to do some real work. If there is no need for such work, then I guess maybe we can all thank whatever God or Goddess we feel most comfortable with, but in that case I'm not so sure that US federal and Kentucky tax dollars would not be better spent on other endeavors.

Hat Tip Secular Right

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Echidne Of The Snakes And Sarah Palin

Usually, when I deem it time to pay a visit to Echidne Of The Snakes, I prepare myself for a dose of ultra-feminist rhetoric on steroids, from a Wiccan perspective. I imagine the lady who owns the blog would just as soon keep the hair under her arms and on her legs. Sometimes, she gets so wound up on the subject of feminism I have to wonder if she is actually trying to be satirical.

On a whim, I just typed Sarah Palin into the search function of her blog, and lo and behold, I was in for a very pleasant surprise. No, she was not a McCain-Palin supporter, by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, she opposed them strongly. However, this page of essays I dug up, all of which contained references to Palin to some extent-some more so than others-struck me as very thoughtful, from a feminist perspective. If all feminists had treated Palin like this, and all leftists as well, I might not have developed such a raging mad-on at all of them.

If more feminists, leftists, and pagans had defended Palin against the uncalled for slurs, I might even have a small amount of grudging respect for them.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Patrick MacGoohan as Edward Longshanks

I finally watched Braveheart for the first time, and I was impressed. It was a great flick, despite its obvious historical flaws and inaccuracies, the most obvious of which I spotted right away, despite the fact that I know next to nothing (if that much) about that period of English and Scottish history. When King Edward Longshanks (Edward I) sends his daughter-in-law to meet with William Wallace, the thought that thundered through my skull was something along the lines of "now shit, there's just no way that really happened."

Come to find out, not only did it not happened, there was no way it could have happened, or even been considered, seeing as how Isabelle did not marry the future Edward II until AFTER Wallace was dead. She was nowhere in the picture, in fact. Obviously, Gibson wanted to create a sense of romantic intrigue, and Isabelle provided the one female romantic lead in the movie, Wallace's own bride having been raped and murdered by the English (which of course was the reason for his rebellion).

Everything else was pretty accurate, with the exception of some costuming inaccuracies I read about which were fairly insignificant in the great scheme of things. I also wondered about the scene where the Scots meet with the Irish conscripts to the English army on the field of battle and, instead of fighting, join forces. I'm sure it happened, I just doubt that it happened in quite the manner in which it was portrayed.

Of course, when the film was first released, Mel Gibson (star, producer, and director) took a lot of flack for his supposed homophobia due to his depiction of the homosexuality and weakness of Edward II. The facts are, of course, Edward was weak and ineffectual, and he happened to be a homosexual, so I'm not sure what the problem here is. Was Gibson expected to write Edward to be something other than what he was? (In Edwards defense, though he certainly was a lousy king in almost every conceivable way, he did have a liking and empathy for the common people over the nobility, and in fact was instrumental in the founding of the universities of Cambridge and Oxford).

One scene in particular that caused some controversy was where Edward Longshanks lured his son's male lover to an open window in a castle with the pretense of eagerly getting his advice on how to deal with the William Wallace threat. He then overpowered him quickly and sent him flying out his window to his death. I have found no independent historical verification for this scene, and I'm sure it was an artistic license probably meant to convey a sense of the lives, interactions and relationships of father and son. Gibson later stated that he intentionally portrayed Edward Longshanks as a psychopath, and was surprised that the scene in question generated laughter from audiences. Uhhm, well, it was funny. Perhaps it was unintentionally so, but this was due more to the genius portrayal of Edward Longshanks by Patrick MacGoohan than any inherent sadism on the part of the audience. Besides, this foolish character should have known that a man with the reputation of Edward Longshanks needed no military advice from such a young upstart. Edward had fought successfully in a crusade, during a period in which he almost lost his life at the hands of an Islamic would-be assassin. A psychopath I have no doubt he was, but he was a psychopath with an attitude, a history, and, last but not least, a throne.

As for his son, his history becomes more comprehensible when viewed through the lens of the attitudes of the time towards homosexuality which was fostered and encouraged by the Church (at this time in England still the Catholic Church). It explains his dislike of the nobility and his difficulties during his reign. He had a heavy cross to bear, and with a father like Longshanks, its little wonder he had a hard time coping. I think the problem is the implication that homosexuals are by their nature weak and ineffectual. Growing up with the pressure he was constantly under, its incumbent to ask how he could be anything but weak and ineffectual.

As for William Wallace, though Gibson portrays him magnificently, he is little more than a vengeful cartoon character. Yet, this too is understandable. This was a man who revolved the entirety of his life, his sole purpose, toward revenge against the English and ending their domination of his beloved homeland. That lives little room for character development, but then again, Wallace might have been, in his own way, as psychopathic as Longshanks.

Gibson brings an intensity to his portrayal of William Wallace that would be hard to match.

Gibson has a kind of edge about him when portraying psychopathic or otherwise disturbed characters, and his portrayal of William Wallace was no exception. When he rode up to discuss terms with the English diplomat, the wild, crazed look in his eyes and the sneer as he moved about on his horse hurling insults at the English, his oppressors, was classic Gibson.

Unfortunately, psychopaths tend to be obsessive-compulsive, and this tendency brought about Wallace's doom. He was lured into a meeting with important Scottish lords, among them Robert the Bruce-who had already betrayed him once-against all sound advice, attending the meeting in the hopes of finally rallying the lords of Scotland against their harsh English masters and throwing off their oppressive yoke. Instead, he was lured into a trap designed by the elder Bruce, a horribly disfigured leper whose affliction denied him any legitimate claim to the throne of Scotland which was otherwise his by birthright. He made the deal in order to secure the place of his son, and in so doing earned his son's hatred and scorn. I'm really surprised Shakespeare didn't touch on all this. He did write a play about Edward Longshank's father-I think. As you can tell I am also no expert on Shakespeare.

At any rate, Wallace was delivered to London, during the dying days of Edward Longshanks, and when ordered to admit treason, replied that he had never accepted Edward as his king. As a consequence he was ordered executed following a period of "purification" by torture. If I understand this concept right, this was allegedly to save his soul and/or force him to change his mind, and at the same time make an impression among the people. It was probably more than anything for entertainment purposes aimed at the crowd of commoners who would flock to see such things. Wallace was racked, drawn, and disemboweled. During his last seconds, he summoned his last reserves of strength and screamed "Freedom". By this point the crowd, enthralled by his courage and strength, begged for mercy on his behalf.

It was a great film and would deserve four or maybe even five stars, but I would have to limit it to three due to the unnecessary use of Isabella as a romantic plot device, an unfortunate ploy doubtless meant to attract female audiences. There is enough actual drama and intrigue in this story, what is known of it, without having to burden it with unrealistic fictional occurences.

At the same time, if you have never seen this film, I do highly recommend it. You can almost feel these times come alive before your eyes. Gibson and MacGoohan are paricularly good.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How Fox Network Can Save And Revive Prison Break

Jody Lynne O'Keefe as Gretchen Morgan/Susan B. Anthony

Pretty solid rumor has it this will be the last season for Prison Break, which is a shame, but understandable, seeing as how it consistently loses viewers with each successive season. It is the fourth rated show now in its night and time slot, Monday at 9:00 p.m. on Fox. It is also easy for me to see why it is losing viewers. I also see how the show could be saved and revamped to become yet the ratings success it was in its first season. Since this show has since its inception remained by favorite network program, I offer this advice to Fox Network and the writers and other staff of Prison Break. It should be obvious, but-wait for it-


Alright now, seriously folks, think about this. The show was conceived as an action/suspense/mystery series about a genius architect who arranges his own incarceration within the same prison wherein his brother is about to be wrongfully executed for a murder he did not commit. His intentions are, simply, to break his brother out of prison and in the meantime, hopefully, prove his innocence.

The first season ended with the break-out of the two, accompanied by others who either were intentionally invited to be part of the plan through some necessity, or who in some way discovered the plot and demanded to be let in on it.

The second season revealed more of the truth about the mysterious "Company" who framed Lincoln Burrows, and why they did so.

There was a brief return to a prison-a Panamanian hellhole-in season three, where Michael was forced this time to actually do the Company's bidding.

Now, we are in season four, and Michael Scoffied, along with brother Linc, and a team of other series regulars, have banded together to bring down the Company, once and for all.

So do we see now the reason for the gradual and growing lack of interest? The Company has turned into one of those plot devices that exist solely for the purpose of churning out yet another episode, in the minds of many viewers. And, like it or not, they have had enough-more than enough-of the Company.

Look at it from this perspective. Suppose that, at the end of Season One, Scoffied, Burrows, and the rest of the "Fox River Eight" had not broken out of Fox River. What if they had remained stuck in that prison, season after season, many times almost but never quite getting there? Maybe Lincoln might succeed in having his sentence commuted to life imprisonment-a necessity after so long under such a scenario-but nothing else is ever accomplished.

Yeah, it would have gotten old real quick, wouldn't it? Well, so it goes with the Company. They need to finally get the justice they deserve. Then, there can be a new villain or foes, another organization, with different kind of plots involving using Scoffields expertise in understanding the criminal mind. Say for example he is tapped by some government agency to help track a sadistic group of prison escapees who happen to be some kind of domestic terrorist group.

Maybe at one point Scoffield might find himself incarcerated in a prison for the criminally insane. Perhaps he might be sent undercover in a prison to gather information and find himself for some reason drawn into an escape plot run by a vicious psychopath who is his equal or better in intelligence and cunning.

There are many possible scenarios that could keep the series fresh, original, innovative, and exciting. The Company has grown stale. Without a doubt, they will meet their end at the end of this season. It's just a shame that it took so long that the end result will probably be the death of the series.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Monster That Ate Detroit

When Toyota first burst onto the American auto market, they were a joke. Within twenty years, they were the source of great anxiety. They were going to destroy the American automobile industry. After so long, those fears were seen as unfounded and xenophobic by most Americans. Now, those old fears seem borne out, but whose fault is it-Toyota and the foreign auto industry in general, or the Detroit auto makers, the Big Three? Is it possible that it is they who are, in fact, the dinosaurs?

It would take a book, not a blog post, to trace the decline of the Big Three auto makers, but it's easy to delineate the decline in brief. You start with an overly grasping union, add overly restrictive governmental regulations and taxes, and finally, mismanagement at the highest levels.

When Detroit started turning out crap, right around the early seventies, to try and stay competitive, it was the beginning of the end. Then came the lay-offs, and reversals in labor gains.

In the meantime, Ford, Chrysler, and GM became American auto makers in name only. Ford and GM eventually got to the point where it outsourced much of its work to Mexico and other foreign nations, while Chrysler itself was brought by a German company. All three have tanked, as Toyota, who now seems to all but dominate the American auto market, is a major American employer. They are in fact possibly the largest single employer in the state of Kentucky.

Now the Big Three want a "bailout". Patrick Buchanan makes several good points. The Big Three should be given assistance. Restructuring by way of bankruptcy in their case is a band-aid solution which would not offer reassurance to American auto purchasers. However, if there is a bailout, it should come not with strings attached, but with steel cables. It should first and foremost come in the form of a loan-a low interest loan, granted, but nevertheless a loan, not a bailout. It should also come with the understanding that further manufacturing should be retooled to meet the current energy and efficiency concerns. No more gas guzzlers if you want a bail out. More-much more-fuel efficient engines.

I do not suggest that the Democrats in Congress force Detroit to start devoting all their resources to hybrids or electric cars, by the way, but they should certainly begin moving in that direction, and increase exponentially as the technology becomes more advanced. I have grave fears that the labor unions are going to demand their piece of the bailout pie as well, which would be self-defeating. Inordinate and inappropriate demands for higher pay and increased benefits, especially full scale medical coverage, would be inappropriate and unwarranted at this stage. These companies need first to survive and become profitable. When this is demonstrated, when and if the Big Three once more are successful, then any further deals should be worked out between the companies and the unions without government involvement, if at all possible, so long as the loans are paid back to the government. Repaying the taxpayers money must be the first priority. Repetitions of the same actions that got us into this mess is just more insanity. Yet, I strongly fear the Democrats will be inclined to push hard to affect the demands of Labor when it comes to apportioning any loan or grant to the auto industry, thereby rendering any such aid useless at best.

Yet, despite the very real contribution of the unions and the government itself for the current mess, the industry deserves the lions share of the blame. They had the opportunity to get in on the ground floor by creating fuel efficient vehicles, and refused to do so. They had to be dragged kicking and screaming toward CAFE standards they should have willingly and even eagerly pursued on their own initiative. They were more than capable of developing the technology to make such automobiles efficient, affordable, and profitable. Instead, they tried to compete with the monster from Tokyo by promoting an artificial demand for gas guzzling SUVs. All was well for a while, until the gas and oil crunch hit. When that happened, Detroit was swept away in a tsunami of its own making.

Now they are begging for help, but so far have demonstrated little if any willingness to rethink their marketing and business strategies. They went up into the Halls of Congress much like a bunch of homeless vagrants holding signs "Will Work For Food". Nine times out of ten, at least, such people expect you to drop a five or ten dollar bill in their box and move along. You should not actually seriously expect any work out of such a person unless there is an alley close by. So it is with the Big Three.

As for the monster that did in fact nothing other than sit back and watch while Detroit gorged on its own rotting carcass, get used to it. He just gets bigger and better every year. He is not going away.

Blowing In The WInd

I've been looking into the idea of wind power, originally with the intention of blowing it off, but I have to admit I'm more impressed than I thought I would be. Supposedly, wind produces five times more energy than that used by current human consumption worldwide. Even if this is true, of course, we will never be able to tap into all of that. We can conceivably, however, potentially produce enough to account for eighty percent. Of course that's on paper. Think roughly the equivalent of six wind turbines per ever two miles of land on average-or thirteen percent of the earth's surface.

The economics of the production, storage, and distribution of energy created by wind probably makes this impractical on several different levels. This is more complicated than simple supply and demand. The more people who use wind power, the more wind farms there must be constructed and the more land that will have to be purchased for their construction, and then there are the maintenance concerns. Moreover, a good deal of the energy created by wind will have to be used to power the systems that interconnect the various grids.

Bear in mind also, the more power plants that are built, the greater necessity for oil, or some kind of petroleum product. I don't care how much technology advances, the wind can only do so much. There are some things it can't do at all. Think in terms of your automobile. Some day in the future you might be able to pull into a service station and tell the attendant, "I need some new hydrogen fuel cells." You will never see the time when you will tell him, "oh yeah, by the way, I also need a tune-up and a wind change."

On the other hand, even those things that wind can be used for are rife with limitations that technology will never be able to completely overcome.

Even with off-shore sites added into the mix, I doubt you'll ever see wind power developed that will achieve more than seventeen percent of human energy needs, and that's a liberal assessment. Reaching into the upper atmosphere to tap into the energy would be cost prohibitive, assuming that would even be possible under some futuristic scenario we living now will never live to see. Also, assuming the world population continues to grow at its current rate, you see this as an added burden.

I do not say this as a way of discouraging wind energy. I am just saying that it its use potential is not so unlimited as the energy it produces. It is not a "renewable" resource, for one thing. You do not create wind, or replace it, you just take advantage of it where it exists. Abundance does not always equal availability, especially in this case.

The Great Plains states and the Upper Michigan peninsula and other areas around the Great Lakes supposedly produce enough energy to supply eighty percent of the current US energy needs. Of course, it would be impossible to achieve that level of energy without some considerable disruption of food production.

The only way you could produce enough energy from wind to account for appreciably more than half of the US energy needs you would be required to flatten every mountain in the country and remove every forest. That or cover the Plains and Great lakes States with wind turbines, and import what food we lose as a consequence.

Of course, none of this is an option. We would be at the mercy of foreign nations for our food sustenance, just like we are under the gun now regarding oil. Mountain and forest removal would be wholly impractical and cost prohibitive, to begin with, and in the second place, who wants to live in a world without forests and mountains? Finally, it would defeat the purpose of reducing the effects of Global Warming. Trees are needed to replenish the oxygen in the air to balance out the carbon dioxide we sentient beings produce by merely breathing, and the more of us there are, the more balance we need. As for the mountains, they provide a break from the wind, and while removing them would make for greater and more extensive wind availability, who wants to have to put up with constant tornadoes, or for that matter hurricanes extending far up into the interior of the country?

Science and technology can only advance so far in certain regards, and there is always some kind of trade-off we could all do without. Wind makes for a valuable and attractive supplementary energy option, but will never produce even close to half of our energy needs. If it could account for a fourth, I would be very surprised. Any more than that and the disruptions to other aspects of the economy, and the other problems that would arise from too great a dependency on wind, would not be worth it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton

Just an observation about Hillary. I wonder how Obama's supporters feel about him potentially tapping her (sorry for the mental image there) for Secretary of State. Bear in mind many of Obama's supporters flocked to him over her due to her centrist posture during the primaries, and especially for her support for the Iraq War and the War On Terror.

Now I'm sure they would be fine if Obama appointed her as Secretary of Education, or maybe even Health and Human Services-but Secretary of State, filled by someone they see as a war monger? That's got to bite, probably even more than if he appointed her Secretary of Defense or National Security Adviser.

I'm going to take a wait and see attitude. I always had this mental image of Hillary Clinton as an American liberal version of Margaret Thatcher. I always thought that if she became President, she would do with Iran what Nixon did with China. Maybe she will still do so in this capacity-as the Democratic Henry Kissinger.

Mainly, though, I wanted to point out the sheer grasp of this appointment, assuming it goes through. Back in the early days of the Republic, when a President appointed someone as Secretary of State, that was almost seen as an anointing of the next presidential successor. That kind of went by the wayside after Buchanan's horrible term in office. It was after him and Lincoln that people started to look toward the state Governors. If you were a successful Governor, you had a decent shot provided you could get the support of the party bosses. If you also happened to have a distinguished military career, so much the better.

Hillary has neither going for her, and her stint as a Senator is not likely to win her more support. Obama's rise to the Presidency by way of the US Senate is a rarity. Senators usually don't connect with the people sufficiently to win the office. There is probably nothing Hillary could possibly do in the Senate that would enable her to follow Obama's success.

However, if she were to have a stellar career as Secretary of State, in a fairly successful Obama Presidency-or even if she is one of the very few bright spots therein-it could add immeasurably to her influence and popularity.

People have wondered what the trade-off was for Hillary's support of Obama. I think we might be seeing it here. Don't be surprised also if Biden doesn't decline to run for re-election as VP in 2012, providing Obama's presidency is seen as fairly successful and popular. Hillary would then be the obvious choice to replace him on the Democratic ticket.

If Obama's presidency is a disaster, however, it will be a different story. Biden will stick around. After all, who else would want to replace him? Would Hillary remove herself from the failed Administration under this scenario? Hard to say. It would be difficult for her to attack the Administration and risk splitting the party and expect to win in 2016. It doesn't seem feasible that she would run for Governor of New York at that point with an eye toward running for President before her first term of office was up. She could think of other ways to stay at the forefront, as an activist chairwoman for some cause or another.

I said I would take a wait and see approach, but actually, I think Hillary will probably do the job well, even if the Obama Administration in general is a disaster. Let me restate that. She will do what most Americans these days consider a good job. I think she will try to pursue America's interests to the best of her ability, at least. She has every reason in the world to do so.

Hillary Clinton still wants to be President. She is one determined creature.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bailout Blues

I hate to say it, but all of this Bailout talk that has been going on over the last two or three months can probably, to a large extent, be summed up with one descriptive word-payoff. I know that's simplistic and doesn't begin to tell the whole story, and that might not have even been the original intent. However, it seems to me that as more and more people begin to line up at the trough to feed from the slop, its obvious that a lot of people want in on the game, and its hard to blame them.

It's almost like the people that are leaving power set this up as a way of rewarding jobs well done, and the incoming power elites are going along with it as a means of purchasing and in some cases keeping their loyalty.

There are some legitimate problems, without a doubt, and there would no doubt be real chaos if this were not done, but there probably will be anyway. This is just prolonging the agony, though you can make the case that it might cushion the initial shock somewhat.

I've been thinking for a long time now, the more intertwined the world economy becomes, the more people are going to be affected when-not if, but when-it crashes and burns.

It's time for the US to return to the days of bi-lateral trade and defense treaties. The recent chaos screams that to anybody with ears to hear. I am not-repeat not-promoting isolationism. I do not propose that we build a two hundred foot tall electric fence around the entirety of the United States borders and never let anybody in or out. I do not suggest we never trade with anyone, or that we never enter into mutual defense pacts. But the current situation is untenable, simply because it is unmanageable. Where is the accountability? Multinational bureaucracies are a necessity to oversee multilateral trade and defense treaties, yet they are a government and a law unto themselves. It's time to pull the plug.

It would be better if we could just phase out gradually the way we phased in, but I don't think that will work. I wonder if its really too late to do anything but just set back and watch as the world either enters into a period of repressive multinational bureaucratic tinkering with national sovereignty, or the world collapses and falls back into a period of Dark Ages tribalism. I don't think there's any easy answers.

Maybe we're already in the Dark Ages and have been for some time. Did the people that lived in Greece between the Mycenaean and Classical periods really have it that bad, from their perspective? It's a lot easier to judge things from the outside looking in?

Put another way, have we really had it all that good? You tend to adjust your outlook to meet the demands of any current situation. Is there's any kind of Renaissance in our future comparable to that which followed in the Europe of the Middle Ages, or with the Classical Greeks? I hate to say it, but by the time it gets here all of us here now will probably be dust.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Klan Justice

The above photo, obviously taken during the primaries, was probably meant to be ironic, or perhaps not, possibly even based on the prevailing assumption at the time that Obama would be less likely than Hillary to win the General Election. Now, in the wake of Obama's victory, there have been a string of Klan stories, most notably one that has been unfolding in Northern Kentucky, where Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center has just successfully concluded a lawsuit against Ron Edwards, the Imperial Wizard of the Imperial Klans of America. From the CNN post-

The jury found that the Imperial Klans of America and its founder wrongfully targeted 16-year-old Jordan Gruver, an American citizen of Panamanian and Native-American descent.

The verdict included $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages against "Imperial Wizard" Ron Edwards.

The law center said before the verdict that a large damage award could break the Klan group, allowing the teen and the law center to seize the group's assets, including its headquarters, a 15-acre compound in Dawson Springs, Kentucky.

"We look forward to collecting every dime that we can for our client and to putting the Imperial Klans of America out of business," said SPLC founder and chief trial attorney Morris Dees, who tried the case.

Mr. Dees had earlier, as a means of explaining the grounds for the case and what he hoped to accomplish, released this video-

Interestingly enough, I got this video directly from the website of The Imperial Klans of America itself.

Ron Edwards then in response claimed that the lawsuit was without merit, and that Dees is just trying to rake in more millions using himself and his Klan as the fall guys. He goes on to say that he stays within the law in all his activities, and that all members of the Imperial Klans of America are likewise obliged to stay within the law, from which no deviations are tolerated. To this end, he made the following video, also available on the Klan's website.

He seems to think that Dees is just out to make money out of the lawsuit, both through the judgment and through donations, and points out that, even if he succeeded in putting the Imperial Klans of America out of business, he would not do away with the Klan, as the Klan is made up of many separate and independent organizations.

I guess Dees feels more than likely that it is one giant step toward his larger goal of eliminating the Klan by breaking them financially. He also, in the course of the case, produced a witness, a former Klansman who testified under oath that at one time Edwards tried to procure his services for the purposes of assassinating Mr. Dees, who claims that he and his organization have received many threats from numerous hate groups.

The following text copied from the Klan's website makes it easy to see where one could jump to the conclusion that not only is this a hate group, but that it could easily encourage violent activity.

We come in the name of THE LORD God JESUS CHRIST, Amen.

If you are not of the White race, this web site is not for the likes of YOU! We reserve the right of free speech to state our views whether our enemies like it or not. The IKA hates: Muds, spics, kikes and niggers. This is our God given right! In no way do we advocate violence. We believe in educating our people to the monopolistic Jewish control of the world's banks, governments, and media. White education is what ZOG hates and why it tries to imprison White Racialists.

This is a disclaimer, of course, meant to cover the group in the event of violence. You even have to agree to a disclaimer before entering the website. Of course, the kinds of people that Klan attracts to a large degree are the kinds of people that might make such disclaimers necessary.

Evidently, it wasn't enough for the jurors in the Brandenburg case. They seem to have sided with Mr. Dees in his assertion that Edwards and the Klan are responsible for the hatred and the violence they incite, however they try to pretty it up afterward.

I think this might be a test case, and that there will be more involving not only the Klan, but others as well. My only concern is how far it could be taken in the zeal to prosecute hate speech and incitement to violence. These things have a habit of taking on a life of their own.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Republican Party-Where Should It Go From Here?

What the Republican Party needs to do in the aftermath of the last election debacle is more than mere soul-searching and finger pointing. The finger pointing is inappropriate. The soul-searching is unnecessary.

The Republican Party has been described as a three-legged stool made up of three different types of conservatives. There are those who are economic conservatives. There are others who are more concerned with social conservative values. Finally, the third leg is those who are foreign policy conservatives.

I think the more apt description would be three-legged cauldron. The problem is, the witches brew they have cooked up over the last thirty years is not exactly most accurately described as conservative. Yet, each of the three seems content to point fingers of blame at the other without looking in more than cursory detail (if indeed that much) at their own failings.

The economic conservatives have merrily raped the treasury over the course of the last eight years or more and have engaged in the kind of pork-barrel politics and corporate welfare policies that would make a Great Society Democrat blush.

The social conservatives have never met a constitutional amendment they didn’t love, whether it be pro-life, defense of marriage, or even one to prevent flag burning. They seem to love federalism except when federalism doesn’t give them what they want in every state of the union.

Finally, we have the foreign policy conservatives, who have always been the most immoderate and by far the less conservative of the three. They are arguably the biggest threat to the GOP. They are not one wing, but two, and they have been at war with each other for some time now. Since they are the worse offenders, but by no means the only danger to the conservative ideology of the GOP, I will tackle them first.

Bluntly put, the Republicans need to kick the Neocons to the curb. They are the cause of the widespread dissatisfaction with the Republican Party stemming from their Iraq War policies. Had we followed their lead to this day, what happened the last election would look like a razor thin margin of victory. Obama’s victory would have been of Johnson-Goldwater proportions, and the Democrats would probably have a solid sixty-two seats or more in the Senate. In the House, they would look more like a third-party joke than a major party.

The Neocon philosophy of war is textbook Kennedy-Johnson and even Truman philosophy. We saw how well all that worked out. It ruined Truman’s presidency, despite the esteem he is held in today, and it ruined Johnson’s presidency as well. It seems predicated on the proposition that if you establish a presence and fight a defensive war of containment, all will work out in the end-an end that never comes. North Korea and South Korea are still technically at war. Vietnam ended with our humiliating defeat and withdrawal. This is quite simply because we were never permitted to fight a true offensive, but relegated instead to defensive posturing only.

Nixon attempted to reverse this horrendous and fallacious policy but was hampered every step of the way by left-wing protesters and by an unsympathetic (to say the least) media blitz that portrayed us as the bad guys. In truth, by the time Nixon took office the damage was probably already irreversible.

The resulting take-over of the Democratic Party by the far left saw the migration of this incredibly naive philosophy to the Republican Party, where it took root and, nourished by the flames and gasses of 9/11, it asserted it’s power over the Bush Administration. It was a failed policy, just as it was in the Korea and Vietnam conflicts, and was reversed only by the adoption of the Surge, led by David Petraeus.

Truthfully, however, there has never been a foreign policy conservative of any authority since the days of the Hoover Administration. The closest of any note is Patrick Buchanan, who had no foreign policy authority in the Nixon Administration. He was a mere speechwriter. Such true foreign policy conservatives are unlikely to acquire any influence under any major party, and this is simply because the fuel that powers the foreign policy engine of the United States is the money found in defense contracts. You can only make so much money by funding weapons systems to defend the United States, so you have to invent boogy-men where none exist in order to “spread the wealth around”. You have to keep NATO years after it has outlived its usefulness and expand it into the face of national entities who have every reason to not want it there, and then you take their reaction as “proof” of its necessity.

This is not conservative by any stretch of the imagination, and it needs to stop. For now, however, it would be beneficial just to rein in the Neocons. They are off the charts. Well, remember, they were originally Democrats. By the way, I don’t want to hear anybody say that my use of the word Neocon is anti-Semitic. No it is not, and if you say that, you are being politically correct, something I despise from Republicans as much as I do from Democrats, if not more so.

The next thing Republicans should focus on is the economic conservatives. Their philosophy of lower taxes and less intrusive regulations is fine, and their recent burglaries of the state treasury in the name of corporate welfare under another name, atrocious as it is, should be a severe lesson for the party leaders as to what can happen when you have the wrong kinds of people in the wrong positions of power. The biggest thing they can learn, however, is the fact that some things just don’t play well. One of those things is their love affair with the philosophy of de-regulation. Nobody wants to hear it. That is just the facts, ma’am.

They should retool their message to insist on lessening regulations and making them less intrusive, more efficient, less burdensome, and less oppressive. Nobody wants to hear how they should be eliminated, and the term de-regulation smacks of precisely that. Sorry, that ship just won’t sail out of the docks-not in this day and age.

In a perfect world, there would be no need for regulations, and companies and corporations would act appropriately out of the greater good, due to a perception that it is in their own best long-term interests to do so. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world, and never will. Even if they could be convinced it is in their long-term best interests, far too many of them are concerned more with their short-term gains. It’s a dog eat dog world out there, so anybody that doesn’t fight fire with fire will just get burned. That’s just one reason to have some kind of regulations. Another reason for the federal government specifically to impose them would be that pollution, for example, doesn’t seem to care about state borders. A poison that is dumped in the Mississippi River somewhere between Missouri and Tennessee isn’t going to go away or stay where it’s at. It will float on down to Louisiana whether we like it or not. That’s just one example of why nobody buys it when Republicans preach the supposed value of de-regulation. It comes across as self-serving.

Otherwise, hey, let’s do away with all laws that punish any kind of criminal activity. If eliminating regulations on business and corporations will eliminate the need for regulations, well, I don’t know about anybody else, but I could certainly look forward to a world without murder, rape, or theft. Why outlaw such things when a desire for self-esteem and community respect would obviously negate the need for such laws?

Moving on to the third need for change, we peer within the social conservatives mindsets. I can sum this problem up with something I read somewhere else, but I don’t remember exactly who it was that said it, or where I read it. It is quite simply this-

“Not everybody wants to live in an Ozzie and Harriet world.”

Breaking that down into its various parts, not everybody cares that much about gay rights, the flag, or protecting the theoretical rights of fetuses within the wombs of rape or incest victims. Social conservatives need to understand that they do their various causes far more good by adopting postures that are more reasonable. Right to life amendments to the constitution, or aimed at protecting the flag, or incorporating the Ten Commandments in public schools and courthouses, just are not going to fly with the majority of Americans.

Finally, all Republicans need to do a better job at outreach to the various sectors of American society. For far too long now they have framed their cause around issues many people either see as relatively minor issues, or do not care about at all. Then of course, you have those who take the absolute opposite stance.

I hope I am not misunderstood here. I am not advocating that Republicans or conservatives abandon or even compromise their principles. They have already done that, and frankly, that is the cause of most of the problem.

There is nothing conservative about a foreign policy posture that seeks to be the guardian protector of the world, and there is certainly nothing conservative about nation building or in spreading democracy through force of arms. There is nothing conservative about the vast amounts of money funneled by way of defense contracts to feed an international machinery that is self-perpetuating for its own purposes.

There is nothing conservative about a domestic policy posture that rewards corporate malfeasance and the importation of American jobs with tax breaks and de-regulation, while engaging in profligate spending on credit.

Finally, there is nothing conservative about trying to ramrod constitutional amendments based on punitive means to change people’s behavior or to grant privileged status to a special class at the expense of others.

Conservatives are at their best when they promote the values of self-sufficiency, of small government with lower taxes and minimal regulation, and of respect for state’s rights-that last of which they have for far too long allowed the Left to frame as racist and reactionary.

There is not one single issue facing the country today that cannot be better served by a small government, low tax and relaxing of regulations approach, nor is there any problem the states can’t handle as well or better than the federal government, if they are only allowed to do so. Nor is it any business of a person in California if a woman in Kentucky can’t get an abortion based on the proposition that if she does not she might suffer from headaches or depression for a couple of months. Nor is it any business of anybody in Kentucky if a woman from California can get one just because she might not look good in a bathing suit for a while if she does not.

It’s not any business of some Baptist preacher in South Carolina if Mr. Sulu from Star Trek gets married to his male companion. Social conservatives need to get off this kick. This is not something to devote resources necessary for a constitutional amendment. It becomes less of an issue with every election, and will play even less well the next time it is used. If a gay couple moves in the house next door to me, I am relieved that they are a couple and not a single gay man who might be drunk and lonely one night and put me on the spot. Otherwise, I figure there’s a good chance at least one of them will make a good chess opponent. What they do with each other in bed is none of my concern. I also understand that whatever that is, they will do it with or without a marriage license. I am deeply concerned about animal abuse when it comes to gerbils, but that’s a different issue.

Finally, if somebody wants to burn the flag, as regrettable as that is, it’s not something I am going to lose a lot of sleep over. I figure the people that engage in such activities, as I’ve said many times, are only hurting their own causes with their actions with the majority of Americans. Since I oppose most if not all of what they stand for, frankly I have no intention of hindering them from making complete asses out of themselves.

We have the most unique country on the face of the earth, and I hope we keep it as is. The only way we can come close to hoping to do that is if at least one of the major parties realizes that we are special and unique for a reason. The further away we get from our original values as outlined in the constitution and the Bill of Rights, the further away we get from what made us great.

It’s bigger than mere capitalism, which is practiced to some degree everywhere. It’s more even than just democracy, which is in its pure form little more than mob rule.

It’s the concept of respect for both the majority as well as minority rights, and the concept of freedom in concert with the rule of law, along with the guarantees that neither the federal government nor the states shall impose its will on or against the people in those areas guaranteed by the founders to be off-limits, yet at the same time protected. It’s the concept that government governs best which governs least, yet is held accountable for doing what it has to do. It’s the ideal that the people make up the United States of America. The government is a mere construct, one which serves their will. It’s the concept that each individual state is in fact a sovereign state, bound together by certain constitutionally mandated prerogatives, yet at the same time, uniquely independent and free, as compared to, say for example, a former Soviet Republic, or a French Department, or a state in Germany or Mexico. All of these other “states” or regions are recognized as such only for the sake of administrative purposes. They have very little if any actual autonomy to speak of.

Besides, the more power an individual state has over its own internal affairs, when appropriate, the more people become involved in their state political matters. That is as it should be.

Finally, we should never forget what we stand for-“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. Government can protect those ideals, though only to a degree. It can certainly never impose them. Think about it. How can you force somebody to live, to be free, or to be happy? All of the social engineering experiments in the world will never change that.

All government can do is protect people’s rights, and otherwise stay out of their way and allow them the freedom to do what they can do so long as they respect others and obey reasonable laws. That in a nutshell is what the Republican Party’s message should be. For the Republican Party to be successful from here on out in promoting the conservative cause is not that hard to do. Of course, they first have to actually be conservatives.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Who is going to get the lion's share of the blame for the Republican defeat? Will it be McCain himself, or Sarah Palin? Could it possibly be Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, pictured above? My opinion is, McConnell might well get the ax as a means of heading off the rivalry between the McCain and Palin factions of the GOP before it gets too out of hand.

There is already a tentative movement to oust him as the Republican Senate Minority Leader.

McConnell certainly deserves his share of the blame, from both ends. On the one hand, he is as responsible as anyone for the gridlock in Washington. He has also contributed to the pork-barrel political culture that has run rampant through the Republican caucus since they were the majority party.

At the same time, he seems to align himself with the RINO wing of the party at the worse possible times. He did so during the debate over the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill which he helped push in the Senate-before he ultimately voted against it. He also pushed with equal intensity the recently passed Banking-Wall Street Bailout package, an action that, for a brief and unsettling period of time, almost served to end his career.

Yet, he eventually overcame the brief rise in the polls of Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford. He did this by reminding Kentucky voters that his "clout" as Senate Minority Leader insured his ability to bring hundreds of millions of dollars worth of pork to the Bluegrass State.

This affinity for pork has caused him quite a few problems with GOP standard bearer McCain, but that's not all-not by a long shot. He became McCain's most outspoken critic in the face of McCain's sponsorship of the so-called McCain-Feingold Bill, otherwise known as "Campaign Finance Reform". McConnell opposed this voraciously on First Amendment grounds. McCain also earned McConnell's ire by his association with the so-called "Gang of Seven", which was a group of moderate Republicans and Democrats meant to insure an up-and-down vote on judicial appointments by forcing an end to filibusters.

It's hard to tag McConnell as either a RINO or as a hard core social conservative. He is one of those rare hybrids who could be either one, depending on the moment. One thing that is for sure, however, is his closeness to the Bush Administration, whom he has supported in the Senate come what may. He is also married to Elaine Chou, the former Bush Secretary of Labor. His ties to the Administration run very deep, you might say.

Due to his ties to Bush, and his very public association with his policies due to his position as Senate Majority, then Minority Leader, he is lucky he is from Kentucky, one of the few states where Bush's popularity is at times as high as in the low thirties percent range.

He and McCain both won Kentucky, but McCain won by a heftier margin. He never made an appearance to speak on behalf of McConnell, even though McConnell endorsed him for President. Of course, Mccain can make the excuse that he did not have the time to make an appearance in Kentucky, which would be a deceptive argument. An endorsement by McCain would have obviously helped McConnell in Louisville, for example, where the appearance would have fed into the Indiana media market, thus helping McCain there. Or McCain could have made an appearance in Covington. McConnell needed no help in Covington, of course, but an appearance there by McCain would have helped McCain in Cincinnati, and it would have helped McConnell in Lexington.

The two men obviously dislike each other with noticeable intensity, and I have a strong feeling that, when the Senate leadership positions come up to a vote, here in less than a month, McConnell, though expected now to win re-election to his position, might end up more under the gun than one might expect.

I don't think McCain will openly oppose him. I do, however, expect one or more of McCain's Senate allies to run against McConnell. It will be somebody with a record of long association with McCain, somebody like South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, although I doubt it will be Graham who will actually oppose McConnell. Whoever it is, I have no doubt that McCain will encourage him or her in the background, and try to build support amongst his other fellow GOP Senators behind the scenes.

Like I said, it could be a real bloodbath. McConnell won't go down without a fight, and whether he wins or loses, there will be hell to pay.

The real irony is, the man most likely to hold the fractured GOP together and to keep both of the main rival factions from splitting into two rival parties in all but name could well be the same man who is, more than almost anybody else-besides John McCain, specifically-responsible for the recent electoral disaster at the polls.

One thing I am fairly certain of is, if the McCain faction takes over control of the caucus, that will be pretty much the end of the concept of the Republican Party as loyal opposition, other than to stand and make a few ineffectual speeches on tax reduction and spending cuts. The other faction is too down and out to gain much power aside from their individual single votes. They will probably not even be able to mount a successful filibuster without sacrificing their core principles to the McCain wing. The true Republican Party may be more of a minority party than most people are aware.

McConnell will probably keep his power, such as it is. He is, after all, the devil we know, and safely bound to the shackles of Washington hell. Yet, he does have the power to end the era of the McCain domination of the GOP, if he but will.

Oh No You Did-Ent

This is the new sticker is offering for free. Well, one is free. Three dollars will get you five of them, shipping free. Here's the whole reason in a nutshell as to why Obama's detractors are so afraid he's a Marxist-so many of his supporters are. Just look at the logo.

"United We Progress Toward A More Perfect Union"

What the hell does that even mean? Is this the left's version of the classic "You're either with us or against us?" Well, of course it is. I think at this point they would probably be too arrogant to deny it.

The image here is so much like giant posters of Lenin and Mao you used to see hanging up in city squares in Beijing and Moscow it's scary. What do you want to bet half the people that send off for these things have Che' Guevara t-shirts-which is probably one of the few items of clothing they regularly launder?

Never mind Obama. He's almost fucking irrelevant. Or he will be once his crowd of worshipers get through making everybody with a lick of sense sick to death of hearing his name or seeing his face. I've been trying hard to find reasons to like the man, at least on a personal if not a political level, and I'm honestly trying to find reasons to believe he has the best interests of the country in mind, but I'm telling you, these people are dangerous.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

One Good Thing

I want to say a few words more on the positive side of Obama's election. Yes, there is one thing good about it, and it would be wrong of me not to show some respect to that aspect of his victory.

No, it doesn't have anything to do with how the world sees us. I could care less about that. When I see a bunch of jerkwads jumping up and down in elation because America has elected the first black president, it strains my incredulity. When is Britain or France going to elect their first black President or Prime Minister? When is Germany going to elect it's first Jewish President? For that matter, while so many people in Africa are so elated at the election of Obama, I have to wonder when every third or fourth country there is going to stop engaging in the massacre of their minority citizens. These are people that for the most part look just like them. What would they do to an actual racial minority that stood out like a sore thumb? Yeah, dance to that tune, motherfuckers.

The point is, white America can now pat itself on the back. It has proven itself, again, better than the rest of the world. Obama defeated John McCane, a conservative elderly white war hero, not by just a respectable margin, but by an electoral vote landslide, and by a large popular vote margin as well. His popular vote margin is, unless I'm mistaken, the largest since 1988. In electoral votes, McCain didn't even reach the 200 mark. He was trounced.

However, even that is insignificant to me, because, again, I don't care what the world thinks. I do though have to say, I feel good for the millions of black children in this country. They have a right to feel proud. One of their own has made it to the highest office in the land. After decades of being told by the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton that they were hated and despised by many if not most white Americans, African-Americans have witnessed white Americans deliver a resounding victory to a black candidate, and a crushing defeat to his white opponent.

We've all probably by now seen the news footage of Jesse Jackson standing among the crowds of Chicago, with tears streaming down his eyes at the news of confirmation of Obama's victory. Don't be sentimental about this image. The old bastard was probably thinking "now how am I going to explain this?" After all, he just saw his life's work evaporate in front of his eyes-the work of racial identity politics and division. The man behind the curtain is being pushed to the side. Good riddance to him and all others like him.

I want to emphasize, its the black children I feel good for, not the black adults. They've for the most part swallowed the garbage spoon fed them by Jackson and Sharpton, but now they're adults. When you become adult, you become responsible for your actions. Whatever residual racial bitterness there is, they have certainly contributed to it by following along behind the likes of Jackson, Sharpton, Wright, etc.

This election, however, offers a clean break from the vicious cycle of hatred, guilt, self-loathing, and recrimination. Black children have reason to hope, to realize that no dream within reason is beyond their grasp, regardless of the garbage their adult relatives and neighbors have taught them.

For their sake, I hope Obama doesn't let them down. That to some might sound like an unfair standard to impose on a President just because he's black. Well, it's not. I just want Obama to do what any President of any race should and can do-act with honor and integrity. Is that really that hard? Is that really too much to ask from any elected leader? Obama has an opportunity here to set a whole new standard. For the sake of so many black children who now understandably view him with pride, as an example of hope for their own dreams and aspirations, I hope he has a succesful presidency.

Still, when all is said and done, I have to admit I hope the man is defeated four years from now, regardless of how good he does. There are many reasons for this, but there is one reason that is of overriding importance.

I just don't think America can take too many Ruth Bader Ginsburg's on the Supreme Court.

Glutton For Punishment

This picture says it all when it comes to the Democrats attitudes towards Joe Liebermann. Evidently, the form of lycanthropy from which Loebermann allegedly suffers is a relatively mild form that is easily cured. Just toss any piece of leftist liberal legislation his way and he's temporarily cured.

Still, Harry Reid might "punish" him, for his support of long-time friend John McCane for President, by removing him from his seat at the head of the Senate Committee charged with overseeing Homeland Security. That would of course be dependent on whether the Democrats end up with a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. If they do, then Liebermann might well pay for bucking the party's wishes.

Most of you will probably recall that Liebermann left the Democratic Party when he was unseated by challenger Ned Lamont in the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary in 2006. He ran against Lamont and a nominal Republican, as an Independent, and won.

Still, since Liebermann is, after all, a liberal Democrat, he chose to caucus with the Democrats.

Frankly, I don't like the guy for a variety of reasons. For one, he's too ideologically leftist, and for another, he always struck me as a mealy mouthed little opportunistic toad. Still, I can't help but feel for him here. If he ends up caucusing with the Republicans, that's fine, won't make a difference one way or another, and his vote will be the same regardless in most cases as it usually is.

Reid is mum on the subject for now, waiting to see how the recounts turn out. If the Democrats end up with just 59 seats, including Sanders from Vermont (the Senates only other Independent, who also caucuses with the Democrats) it will be fun to conjecture as to how far Reid will go to kiss Liebermann's ass, and how the left wing of the party,especially the rank-and-file left voters, will howl like rabid dogs about it.

Like I said, though, Liebermann is a little toad, so no, he doesn't need that much power, but on the other hand, I really do want to hurt some people right now. He has a golden opportunity to wreak some havoc. He should demand a hard-line stance towards Syria and Iran in exchange for voting with the Democrats on anything, and he should remind Reid that he, Joe Liebermann, can filibuster with the best of them.

That ought to be good for a few laughs.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Pagan Election Results

This poll from Witchvox courtesy of The Wild Hunt Blog is pretty much what I would have expected.

So let's see, if I attended a typical Pagan Pride Day event, then I'm going to have to wade through 1000 people to find just 106 I can stand to talk to for more than the time it takes to ask for directions. That's just great. Oh, I could do it. I like to think that like attracts like. I'll recognize them somehow. I won't say how. I'll just know. And they will know me. For one thing, we'll all be the ones with our eyes peeled for the nearest exits.

I won't change the name of this blog, but I think I will start referring to my path as something other than Pagan or Wiccan. The vast leftist majority will appreciate that, I'm sure. I just don't really have anything in common with these people and there's no use in pretending I do. I know it, and they know it.

But, it is what it is. I guess they feel they have a right to celebrate. So did Trotsky.

Will somebody kindly pass me the belladonna?

Don't Blame Me

I'll admit, I'm disappointed as hell, but I'm going to resist the urge to rant and whine about it. I'll leave that to the many people who are probably going to be sorry as hell they voted the way they did in this election, once they see the result of the lock on power of the Washington Democrats. They deserve everything they are going to get from their ill-advised actions. You think the Republicans were bad? Well, so did I, but believe me-you ain't seen nothing yet.

My prediction as of now, which is of course tentative and dependent on a lot of unknowable variables-

In 2012 the Republican nominee will be Mitt Romney. His VP nominee-current Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Will they win? That too depends on a lot of variables.

Romney's main rivals for the nomination will be Mike Huckabee, who will not do nearly as good as he did this last time around, and Charlie Crist of Florida, who just won't play well on the national stage. There are no others with the backing, influence, or with sufficient name recognition, at least not in a positive way, who will be able to stand up to Romney. Huckabee will win a few Southern states, but that's all. Romney will pick Jindal, who will bring the entirety of the South back to the Republican fold.

Romney's main appeal will be his business acumen and his economic conservative credentials. Jindal will bring aboard the social conservatives, just like Sarah Palin did this time around, only possibly even more so. After four years of Obama, social conservatives won't have a problem with Romney's Mormon religion, and what ones that do will be more than placated by the pick of Jindal. Together, they will also appeal to a broad spectrum of independent voters, and maybe a significant number of Democratic voters as well.

As for Palin, all the people who are now dreaming of a Palin candidacy are deluding themselves. She doesn't have the backing it takes to headline a national campaign. In fact, she has made too many enemies among the elites of the Republican Party. Men like George Will and others like him didn't dislike her because she was a typical country club Republican, after all.

You will of course see more of her. After she finishes her term as governor, and perhaps follows that up with a second term, you can expect to see her as Senator from Alaska, a position from which she will over time exercise considerable influence.

The way I look at it, the country's loss is Alaska's gain. Her popularity wasn't in the eighty-plus percent range because she was folksy. Had she left Alaska, the state might well have become mired once more in the petty and corrupt backroom politics that had established such a stranglehold over the state. Since it seems she will have more time there now, hopefully she can cultivate an established political culture of integrity that will be of lasting duration on the affairs of her state. That can only be to their benefit.

As for the country and the direction in which it is probably going-well, I've got more important things to think about. Just remember-I didn't do it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tarot Reading The Election

Thanks once again to Sasha Graeme at Tarot Girl for the images.

I started reading Tarot in 1994, and experimented quite frequently. One of the first spreads I did involved the potential future of the presidency of Bill Clinton. When I read it, I decided I messed up the reading, and was projecting the rumors of Clinton's alleged sexual infidelities onto the reading for his presidency. There was no way, I reasoned, that a President of the United States would ever get in so much trouble over a sexual indiscretion.

Now here we are fourteen years later, and I'm figuring, well, if I can do that good for an entire presidency, surely I can do all right for just the result of an election that takes place over the course of-hopefully-one day.

The first card is Obama, the second McCain, the third is the outcome of the election.
Unfortunately, Obama's card, the Six of Pentacles, is not showing up here, probably because it is a different format of image. Suffice it to say the Six of Pentacles foretells a man who is generously offering assistance to those in need. He has many takers, those who are in dire straights. This fits Obama's campaign promise to restore economic prosperity by a number of spending initiatives financed by increased taxes on the "wealthiest Americans", while promising tax cuts to the "Middle Class" and to businesses that create jobs in America while promising to end them to those who ship jobs overseas.

His rise in the polls in fact are predicated on the dire situation in the financial markets and its overall affect on the US and the global economy. It almost seems as if the situation came at just the right time to assure his ascension. His card was upright, which indicates that he presents himself, or tries to, in a positive manner.

As for McCain, his card, as stated earlier, is The Moon, which I drew in the reversed state.

This shows us McCain's one possible and probably lone path to success in this election. He has to successfully paint Obama's program as socialism, or at the very least, bordering on socialism. The tightening of the recent polls would suggest he has enjoyed some limited success at this tactic. His pointing out some of Obama's more unsavory associations has also helped him in this regard.

However, this holds its own dangers for McCain's campaign. For one, he has not managed to successfully remove himself from the shadow of George W. Bush, nor has he delineated enough of his own positive image. He has tried to do so, but unfortunately, a great many of the things he has said are themselves socialistic in the minds of some, which tends to negate his criticisms of Obama. He is hurt, in fact, by the very thing that once helped him with some voters. His tendency to "reach across the aisle to get things done for the American people" makes his own base somewhat suspicious of him. At the same time, independents are wary of his past support for some of the, to them, more objectionable aspects of the Bush presidency.

Therefore, McCain is between a rock and a hard place. He is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't, and there is little middle ground available to him. One might well say, in fact, that the "middle ground" is precisely why he is in the mess he is in. The fact that he so openly supported the bail-out has proven to be a major irritant to many of his supporters. In fact, in the mind of many, McCain is a perfect image of the problem with America, and they see him as part and parcel with the economic woes affecting our nation. The Moon describes a period of fear and uncertainty, and that certainly describes the current state of the economy. That I drew this card for McCain in the reversed state means his election is dependent on whether he can assure voters that he is the right hand to guide the ship of state through the current economic storms as well as those that might come, as much as it is on whether he can successfully paint Obama in a negative light.

How then will it turn out? The answer is in the final card, the Three of Pentacles, which I also drew in the reversed state.

This by no means identifies the winner of the election, it simply points out the overriding force that will decide the election one way or another. More than likely, the Three of Pentacles does seem to suggest an Obama win, though this is by no means definite. There are reasons this would come about, both negative and positive. Some people, and some organizations especially, would hope to gain by an Obama presidency as far as entitlements, while others simply hope he can repair the damage to the economy and thus protect their jobs, improve their health care options, protect their retirement, their children's education, etc. In other words, if Obama wins, it will be on the strength of his economic proposals, and he will definitely be expected to deliver.

On the other hand, a McCain victory, which is by no means ruled out of the question here, would indicate that McCain's charges of socialism and the threat of higher taxes and the resultant further deteriorating effect of this on the economy might bear fruit in the final analysis.

It all boils down to the economy.

Monday, November 03, 2008

One Bright Spot-Jack Murthafucker Might Be Gone

First he pronounced guilt on the Haditha Marines before they were ever tried, before in fact the investigation into the case was ever completed. Not just privately, mind you, he publicly, on nationwide television, pronounced them guilty.

The fact that he has consistently ladled the pork on his Western Pennsylvania House district might have been enough to get him a pass. Calling them-his own constituents-racists, well, that didn't go over too well with them.

He didn't just say there were some racists in Western Pennsylvania, mind you, he said that Western Pennsylvania "is racist".

See, if you wonder what would possess him to say something like that, you have to understand, it's not so much stupidity, as it is senility. Murtha is one of these dinosaurs who thinks a statement like that is a viable tactic. The schmuck actually thought white guilt would make them vote for Obama to prove him wrong. I guess you could call it nineteen seventies-era reverse identity politics.

I just hope the old son-of-a bitch is sent packing. Nobody likes him. The coolest thing Nancy Pelosi ever did was when she manipulated the old son-of-a bitch into supporting her for Speaker of the House in return for supporting him for House Majority Leader, and then going behind his back and supporting Steny Hoyer for the job instead. The disappointment on Murtha's face was palpable. It was like he could feel the knife twisting in his back.

Of course, he could still win, but I can always hope. He knows he's in a tough spot too. As related by Polipundit-, and also by Murtha Must Go-a blog by the father of an Iraqi War soldier who has devoted his blog to ridding the nation of this piece of raw human sewage-

Veteran Democratic Rep. John Murtha (Pa.) has sent out a last-minute plea for $1 million to save his hotly contested seat, endangered by his own remarks describing his district as racist.

In an e-mail sent to potential donors, Murtha’s campaign asked his supporters to maximize all campaign contributions.

“We need to raise another $1 million to compete,” his campaign fundraiser Susan O’Neill wrote in the e-mail obtained by The Hill. “We need money immediately.”

O’Neill blamed Republicans from outside Pennsylvania for Murtha’s problems. Polls show Murtha, running for his 18th term, ahead of his GOP opponent by just a few percentage points.

“Congressman Murtha is in a brutal reelection campaign,” O’Neill wrote. “The Swift Boaters have put up a candidate from Virginia and have raised millions of dollars against Congressman Murtha. In addition, other 527s and the [National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC)] have spent millions to smear Congressman Murtha on TV, radio and in newspapers.”

Listen to how the old Murthafucker whined when he was questioned about his off-the-wall statement.

“Now you see what you’re doing? You’re getting away from the real issues of this campaign. You are getting away from the economy and health care. You are getting away from education.”

Or maybe they're just getting away from you, Murthafucker.

Hat tip-Hillbilly White Trash

Kentucky Looks Poised To Vote McCain, Keep McConnell

Wow, I'm feeling like such crap here over the last couple of days I don't know if I'll be able to stand to go to the polls or not. Luckily, its not an issue. McCain is going to win Kentucky handily, though I suspect by a relatively small seven percentage points, about the same level that Senator Mitch McConnell is ahead in the polls of Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford.

In fact, I think you can probably forget the idea that the Democrats are going to enjoy a fillibuster-proof majority in the Senate. That would take a total of nine pick-ups, with Liebermann and Sanders caucusing with them. Liebermann might not, by the way, and though I think he is basically a little toad, I can't say I'd blame him if he caucused with the Republicans.

My guess is that the Democrats will pick up seven, which would give them fifty-six seats. Ironically, if McCain pulls off an upset victory, they would end up with an extra Senate seat, as the Democratic Governor of Arizona would appoint his replacement.

The Democrats should pick up about twenty-four House seats, so it will be interesting to see what parts of the country they come from. It might not be that bad if it adds to the Blue Dog wing of the party.

I feel bad for Lunsford. He was a decent Commerce Secretary under Governor Patton and brought quite a few jobs to Kentucky. He's also something of a moderate, but I can't in good conscience contribute to the Democrats this year, even though McConnell is another toad who should be approached with wart removal cream. If he loses, he deserves it.

First he pushed the abominable Immigration Reform Bill, though to his credit he listened to his constituents and ended up voting against it. Lately, he promoted the Bail-out package, which is the reason that he was down in the polls to where it looked like Lunsford might pull out a victory. Bill Clinton has campaigned for him here in the last few days.

McConnell will probably hold his seat, as will a few others now in danger. I only hope that is a good thing. I know the opposite would be a disaster.

Here over the last few weeks, it looked like Lunsford was making some headway in the face of some minor McConnell missteps involving Lunsfords connection with Valor, a group of health care facilities for veterans, but mainly because of the recent financial turmoil, which Lunsford has tried to hang around his neck. Lunsford pilfered an old ad, the Hound Dog ad which McConnell used to win his first term against Democratic incumbent Walter "Dee" Huddleston in 1984. In it, a hunter with a pack of Hound DOgs are chasing McConnell, using his Senate record to point out the scent, until the dogs finally have Mitch treed.

Of course, McConnell responded with a similar ad about hunting for Lunsford's many multi-state residences and Wall Street connections, his ties to Valor and it's problems, etc.

McConnell lately came out with the old tried-and-true gun rights and Pro-Life issue. Lunsford, he claimed, failed to answer a questionnaire from the NRA, and is a supporter of unlimited abortion rights. Wham, suddenly McConnell is back ahead in the polls by about eight points.

Seriously though, when you get right down to it, I think the main thing that will save McConnell is the thing that is probably going to save at least a few other Republican incumbent's House and Senate seats. Most people, at least Republicans and most Independents, don't want to see the Democratic Party maintain an iron grip on power in Washington.

For that matter, if McCain does end up winning this election, that might be the main reason for it. All in all, this is undoubtedly going to be a year of significant Democratic Party gains. They just probably won't be quite as hefty as they would like.


Sonia Belle has an interesting post about Barak Obama's book Dreams From My Father, where she theorizes that if Obama had known he would be a candidate for national office at the time he wrote this book, he might not have written it. She makes a compelling case, and adds some quotes to back up her contention. Admittedly, it does seem strange that Barak Obama would willingly make the following admissions-

To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets (...) At night, in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism, and patriarchy (...) we were resisting bourgeois society's stifling constraints. (p. 100-101)

And then there is this-

I had stumbled upon one of the best-kept secrets about black people: that most of us weren't interested in revolt, that most of us were tired of thinking about race all the time; that if we preferred to keep to ourselves it was mainly because that was the easiest way to stop thinking about it. (p. 98)

I had learned not to care (...) Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. (p. 93)

I disagree with her main contention. I think Obama had already by this time chosen a political career, and meant to go far, though I agree with Sonia he probably never imagined he'd get as far as he did.

He reveals himself to be the penultimate politician, but at the same time, one who might be seen as inventing a cover should some of his more radical associations come to light in the event he made strides towards gaining state-wide office, perhaps as governor or as Senator. He just had to go along to get along according to the constraints imposed on him by society, the immediate environment through which he circulated, and the culture which spawned him.

He wants to make a positive contribution, he seems to be telling us, but as a black man he has a harder burden to carry. At the same time, as an individual of mixed race, he is uniquely qualified to walk through both worlds with vision and understanding.

Obama's supporters seem to view him as someone who might do for black people in national politics what Jackie Robinson did for professional sports. If he wins, Obama might well be the Jackie Robinson of politics-but I doubt it. In fact, he might have the opposite effect.

Remember, Jackie Robinson met the standard imposed on him, a standard which was much higher than what is fair to impose on any individual. Barak Obama's presidency will probably be mixed at best. It could conceivably be a horrible term of office.

It would be a matter of obvious racism should anyone criticize or denigrate the contributions of Jackie Robinson to the game of professional baseball, or to professional sports in general.

It won't be as easy to make the case that criticisms of an Obama presidency amount to racism. There will be those who will make that case, of course, and chief among them will probably be certain media figures, not only in the entertainment world, but within the halls of journalism.

They will get their answer at the ballot box four years from now, if indeed an Obama presidency is in fact a dreary one. In the long run, however, it won't set back the prospects of all black candidates for national office-just those who wear the Democratic Party label.

Closer Than You Think

The latest IBD poll is interesting.

From the website-

John McCain is trailing presidential rival Barack Obama by just two points heading into Election Day, according to a new tracking poll released Sunday by Investors Business Daily.

Overall, McCain trails Obama by 2.1 percentage points 46.7 percent to 44.6 percent, with 8.7 percent not sure in the tracking poll released Sunday by IBD and its polling partner, the TechnoMetrica Institute of Policy and Politics (TIPP).

The latest numbers continue a tightening trend that shows McCain steadily gaining while Obama's support around 47 percent of respondents is holding firm.

Independents who'd been leaning to Obama shifted to McCain to leave that key group a tossup, according to the IBD pollsters. McCain also pulled even in the Midwest, and moved back strongly into the lead with men. He is padding his gains among Protestants and Catholics, and is favored for the first time by high school graduates.

The newest poll shows that McCain has made steady gains in the West, up from 37 percent of respondents to 44 percent. He still leads Obama in the South, 50 percent to 45 percent, and he is tied in the Midwest, 45 percent to 45 percent, with 12 percent still not sure.

In terms of age group, McCain still is virtually tied with Obama with respondents in the categories between 25 years of age and 64. Some 9 percent are still undecided. He leads among voters 65 and over by 2 points, 45 percent to 43 percent. Obama has a commanding lead only among the young respondents, those 18 to 24. But that group's reliability on Election Day varies tremendously.

Among party faithful, the poll shows that McCain is holding onto Republicans by an overwhelming margin � he has 89 percent locked up � and is winning now among self-described independents, 45 to 43 percent.

McCain also has a 15-point lead over Obama among voters who earn at least $75,000 a year, and now holds a 54 percent to 40 percent edge among male voters, up from a 4-point lead just several weeks ago.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent. IBD said its polling partner, TIPP, has been the most accurate pollster during the
2004 election season.

Note that the IBD poll has been the most accurate during the last two election cycles and you cans see there is definitely reason for hope among McCain supporters. Still, he has a huge task ahead of him. The following states are states McCain can't afford to lose-

Virginia, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, and Colorado. You might as well say that, in addition to all of these, he can not afford to lose BOTH Nevada and New Mexico, unless he picks up New Hampshire.

McCain could of course pull off an upset in Pennsylvania which would negate the loss of Virginia so long as he holds on to all the others, but that seems even more an unlikely proposition.

Based on the way things seem to be going so far, if I had to make my best prediction it would be something like

Obama- 50%
Others- 1%

Those "others" might well be the key, as it depends to a large extent on who those others are. If it does stay at one percent, the Libertarian Party led by Bob Barr will undoubtedly be the main beneficiary, and his votes will come from McCain. However, don't discount the possibility of Independent candidate Ralph Nader pulling a solid one percent as a national average. This could skew the election in McCain's favor in places like Colorado, Nevada, and even Ohio and Florida. He might also poll well in Minnesota and Michigan, but probably not enough to make a difference.

Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, as well as his polar opposite, Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party, will probably be doing good to poll .20 % between the two of them when all is said and done. Where they do best will probably likewise not make a difference.

The key of course is the undecided voters, which according to IBD is around the eight percent mark. Most pundits assume these will go eighty percent for McCain, but I wouldn't bet the farm on that. I wouldn't bet too much money on them voting at all, or not voting third party.

Pay close attention to Ohio and Virginia. These are the most likely Obama pick-ups, along with Florida. If any of these go for Obama, the election is over. I am fairly certain McCain will hold North Carolina and Missouri, and even more certain Obama will hold Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.

Don't be surprised if the election isn't decided in Colorado, or possibly Nevada. Once those states are in, we'll all know the outcome. I just can't believe Montana and North Dakota will go for Obama, and I would be almost as surprised if Indiana did.