Monthly Archives: July 2009

The monsters underneath my bed

Interventionists never cease coming up with threats or scenarios in which U.S. military forces have to be used.  In fact Texas Sen. John Cornyn came up with a number of them a week ago as relayed from this post on the Washington Monthly website:

CORNYN WANTS TO PREPARE FOR THE INDIAN THREAT…. Senators have had to get pretty creative lately to defend spending more money on a fighter jet that doesn’t work and that the Pentagon doesn’t want. Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-Texas) argument, however, might be my favorite.

“[The F-22 is] important to our national security because we’re not just fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Cornyn says. “We’re fighting — we have graver threats and greater threats than that: From a rising India, with increased exercise of their military power; Russia; Iran, that’s threatening to build a nuclear weapon; with North Korea, shooting intercontinental ballistic missiles, capable of hitting American soil.” [emphasis added]

Now Sen. Cornyn backed down and apologized for naming a U.S. ally as up-and-coming adversary so no one in New Dehli has to worry that U.S. will be reigning bombs down on them just because India has a million-plus army and a navy with an aircraft carrier. Still, it is interesting Cornyn as per typical  of interventionists, neocons and even some nationalists, still sees Russia as an enemy long after Cold War is over.

I can understand the neocons hatred of Russia by why Sen. Cornyn still feel threaten by a white, Christian nation is beyond me. Perhaps the senator should watch this You Tube video of a beautiful Russian Orthodox christening ceremony and tell us all where he finds the enemy he wish to shoot, kill or bomb.

Russian Orthodox Christening Ceremony

Some articles for your consideration

Kevin DeAnna wrote a very good article in today’s Takimag about how right has to shift its opposition against the state and system of itself instead of clamoring to run it.

Chuck Baldwin’s son Timothy filled in for his father’s weekly column.

Peggy Noonan’s anti-Congressional health care column is the best I’ve read agaionst the current reform proposals in Congress.

This is good piece from New York magazine entitled  “Government Sachs

Sarah Palin’s resignation is a good time to post this article by Rick Pearlstein.

Here’s an interesting post from Daily Kos on the antiwar right taking over the GOP.

More Hypocrisy From Bloomberg

Yesterday, the rights of gun owners were subject to defeat as the U.S. Senate defeated an amendment to a defense bill which would have granted reciprocity to concealed-handgun permit holders in all but two states. Frankly, I don’t see the need for such legislation anyway as the “full faith and credit” clause in Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution already grants nationwide reciprocity (unless of course Congress had previously acted on the next clause by legislating it otherwise, but I don’t believe they have). Be that as it may, it’s still encouraging that a Senate controlled by Democrats came within two votes of passing such legislation.

Yet I couldn’t help but notice the hypocrisy when I saw New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg arguing against the amendment. Apparently he doesn’t like the idea of gun owners from other states being able to carry concealed within his beloved city. Bloomberg even used “states’ rights” rhetoric to state his points. Continue reading

Civil Rights for pedophiles?

Does the Matthew Shepard Hate Crime bill provide protection to pedophiles?

I had no idea. So I read the bill:

VIOLENT ACTS- This Act applies to violent acts motivated by actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability of a victim.

Flip through any police blotter, and you’ll learn that people can be “oriented” toward just about anything in a sexual way: machinery, shrubbery, small farm animals. So if one is “oriented” toward children, why wouldn’t this bill protect them? Just asking questions here. Continue reading

Support Your Local County Fair

I attended the Pepin County Fair last night, which is just a stone’s throw away from my home in Arkansaw. Given our county’s small size in land area and population (just over 7,000), the fair is only a junior fair for the county’s 4-H clubs and FFA organizations.  And the decline of family farms has whittled it down over the years as well.

But its still means something to those who all their hard work and effort into making it run year after year for all of the youth of Pepin County, Wisconsin to display their talents  and to the fellow I met yesterday who was attending his 77th Pepin County Fair in a row. It’s something that I believe gives us a reason to exist as a county as a member of the county board I and others who are involved with the fair year after year hope to make improvements that will keep it going well into the future.

I urge all of you bloggers and readers out there to walk the walk and go to your county fair or even state fair if you can when the time rolls around. It’s one thing to reads words on a computer screen and other to see what all means up close and personal, even if you have to avoid cow pies to do so. You won’t regret it.

Here’s a picture I took from the Pierce County Fair in Ellsworth, Wisconsin which is a very good one and large one, for the newspaper I work for. It’s of the hub of the fairgrounds, the Exhibits Building a.k.a the Round Barn.

IMG_1996

Unfashionable Nation Building

It has become fashionable among “conservative” interventionists who support some version or other of our current meddlesome foreign policy to reject efforts to “nation build.” They do this as if it is some big concession to their realist and non-interventionist critics. According to these anti-nation building interventionists, the invasion of Iraq was not unwarranted, but the subsequent effort to rebuild Iraq (which we tore down) and turn it into a functioning democracy was.

 But it is meaningless to disclaim “nation building” and act as if that is some sort of movement in a prudent foreign policy direction. Who is for “nation building” these days anyway? Nation building was never really embraced by most on the interventionist right to begin with. It was primarily Utopian neocon ideologues who fantasized about establishing a “beachhead” of democracy in the Middle East which would, domino like, spread throughout the Middle East until they were all good little Western style liberal democracies. Most on the saber rattling right simply wanted to squash any and all potential enemies and likely considered any subsequent nation building on our part as a magnanimous gesture. Much talk of “spreading democracy,” “toppling dictators,”  “liberating the Iraqis from a tyrant” and other such neoconish rhetoric made its way into the rationalizations of the pro-war drum beaters, but it is clear that their main concern was extracting a pound of flesh from some Muslims, any Muslims, in the wake of 9/11, and pre-emptively squashing the perceived menace of crusading Islamofascism.

It doesn’t take a lot of reading between the lines to understand that what many “conservativetive” interventionists mean when they say they are against nation building is that they just want to bomb Country X, whichever country is the latest boogieman, and leave it to them to pick up the pieces. The problem that weds most interventionists conservatives to their bellicose foreign policy is not an impulse to “nation build,” which is primarily the brainchild of grossly out of touch with reality neocon ideologues and muddle-headed liberals (think Darfur). The problem is the impulse to see preventative aggression first as a legitimate foreign policy tool. As well as the tendency to see every threat as a potential existential threat to our existence.

Moonshadow

I wrote this bit on Chronicles’  website about the anniversary of the moon landing. I write not to denegrate the landing itself but the insanity of manned space exploration:

“You know what’s on the moon? Rocks and dirt. You know what’s on Mars? More rocks and more dirt! Any so-called conservative who is complaining about the costs of health care reform, fighting global warming and the stimulus should have their heads blown off with a cannon if they also start whining about why the U.S. doesn’t have more manned space exploration (cue Newt Gingrich). Billions to look at rocks and dirt. Billions to stroke man’s ego.

While landing on the moon was an impressive accomplishment and those who were a part of the space program deserve praise for their bravery and sacrifice, we must admit the “Space Race” was as much about the Cold War as much was about science. Billions were spent to beat the Russians to the moon, not “one leap for mankind.” This is what drove everyone from the engineers to mission control to the astronauts themselves. Putting our flag on the moon looks nice for TV cameras and makes one feel good but to go beyond that, to try and seek some higher purpose for man will only leave you disappointed because nothing much changed after that or if did, only got worse.

Man has been able to explore the stars and the out edges of the galaxy and beyond with unmanned space probes. Our knowledge of the universe is much greater thanks to the Voyager and Mariner probes and the Viking craft and the Mars rover and the Hubble Telescope as much as been due to the Apollo and Gemini projects. And yet we wish to celebrate man physically setting foot on the moon. Why? What’s the point? Just because it’s there? Fine, pay for it yourself. The government doesn’t subsidizes mountain climbing on Everest just because it’s there, why should it subsidize moon landings or Mars exploration? Are their precious ores or minerals we can mine on the moon? Fine, pay for mining and transporting them yourselves if you can raise trillons in capital to do so. No one’s stopping you. Want to live in colonies on the Moon and Mars, fine by me. You won’t catch me recerating life on Earth in some artificial bubble millions of miles from home but hey, to each is own. But you will not pick my pocket for it. As the old song goes “Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids. In fact it’s cold as hell.”

I look forward to the day more and more private dollars go into space travel and exploration so that every anniversary of the moon landing we do not have idiots like Charles Krauthammer lamenting our lack of space exploration because of man’s noble need for discovery, which can be a violent and violating process as “progress”. As I said, man has made many leaps in knowledge and science in more cost effective ways out of the Jet Propulsion Labratory where Cape Canaveral has given us duct tape, Tang and a footprint after billions spent. I know where I’d put my money.”

Some other moon articles: John Derbyshire’s “Moon Folly”; Thomas Fleming’s “Lunacy: Our New State Religion” and Gary North’s “Bureacrats Step on the Moon, What a Thrill!” and of course, how can one forget the song…watch?v=_l81UXB84mk

Articles for your consideration

Here’s the latest from J.J. Jackson: “America’s Becoming like the Home Run Derby”

Here’s two from Chuck Baldwin: “Romans 13 Revisited” and “Let it Come!”

Here’s an article from Front Porch Republic on rural ministry and a movie review of Notting Hill by Patrick Deenan.

Ben Bernanke testifed before the House today. Lew Rockwell.com has this good post about everything that Bernanke has gotten wrong over the past four years along with this article from AmCon: “Fire Ben Bernanke!” Check out LRC for Ron Paul’s questioning of Bernanke.

Here’s Ilana Mercer at Takimag on Obama’s “Court of the Red Czars”. Orthodoxy, Autocracy and Nationality I always say, although that’s hardly true of our current Czars these days.

Opposing the Democrats version of health care reform is nice but pointless if saying “No” is the only answer (The GOP said no a lot of times during the New Deal and the Great Society. Didn’t matter). Here are some actual policy solutions to actually reform health care to market principals we alls upposedly agree on, right? One from Arnold Kling and one from Ron Paul.

It wasn’t just banks and financial institutions that blew it. So did universities like Harvard as this very good Vanity Fair article shows.

NASA: Still Unconstitutional After all These Years

Today, 20 July 09, marks the fortieth anniversary of the first moon landing. Be prepared for a lot of American triumphalism. While I agree with our friend Tom Piatak that those were better times and American triumphalism sure beats PC American self flagellation, it is important to remember that NASA was and still is an unconstitutional expenditure. Federal funding of space exploration for space exploration’s sake, or for the advancement of science, or just to say we beat the Russians, or whatever, is not constitutionally authorized. You could make the case that a space program that is intended for defensive purposes, such as SDI, is authorized, but otherwise NASA should be scrapped.

Defense Hawk Peaceniks?

“Conservatives” who think we can get a handle on out of control spending and cut into our massive budget deficits without cutting defense, which contributes substantially to both, are deluding themselves. While interventionist “conservatives” will often concede that they do not want America “policing the world” and readily admit that they wish the many countries that free load off of America’s military expenditures would start carrying more of their own weight, they are loath to consider defense cuts. America must be armed to the teeth, they warn, in order to counter the many threats they perceive (“Islamofascists,” China, a resurgent Russia) and future threats that are bound to arise. As the story goes, if America shows any weakness and lack of resolve, meaning cutting defense spending, withdrawing troops, opting out of defense agreements, etc., then the international bad guys will quickly perceive this loss of will and move to exploit it.

One problem with countering this mindset is that it is not falsifiable. The fact of America’s continued existence is seen as proof the strategy is working. According to this narrative, while the war in Iraq may not be going as well as we hoped, we are much better off than we would have been had we not taken care of the incipient threat that was Saddam. You know, now Saddam would actually have and be ready to use all those WMDs he allegedly had before. An alternative strategy of non-intervention can’t be tried because “we know” what happens when America withdraws and “let’s her guard down.” Insert here sneering remarks about Chamberlain and appeasement and dire references to Hitler, Japan, Pearl Harbor, etc.

These defense hawks often invoke the much vaunted Reaganesq Cold War concept of “peace through strength” to justify ever increasing defense expenditures. By implication, spending means peace and defense cuts mean war. So who in their right mind could support defense cuts? As if these defenses spendthrifts were all a bunch of Quakers. The problem with this, however, is that what the defense hawk interventionists are advocating is not really “peace through strength.” What they really advocate would be more accurately formulated as “security through preventative aggression.”

A case can be made for peace through strength. An adequate defense may well deter aggression. But modern peace through strength advocates do not seek peace, certainly not in the short term. While some may foresee a long term benign pax Americana brought about by America stamping out bad guys around the globe, in the short term they counsel chest beating and preventative aggression against perceived threats. Military intervention must always be “on the table,” remember, and diplomacy is for sissies. Witness the hysteria among the interventionists over Obama and Iran. For them negotiating essentially means presenting ultimatums. Do what we say or we’ll bomb you. Again, all this has much to do with strength but nothing whatsoever to do with peace, so can we please drop the pretense.

“Crisis in Confidence” – 30th Anniversary

Today, Wednesday July 15 is the 30th anniversary of Jimmy Carter’s “Crisis of Confidence” speech a.k.a the “Malaise Speech.” Judged by its impact upon our nation’s politics and culture, it’s one of the most important Presidential speeches in recent history, although I’m nure nmot in the way President Carter intended. In fact could say it was one of the few speeches in history that so completly backfired upon the one who spoke its words.

Here are a couple of links for the occasion. First, my American Conservative piece entitled “Carter Conservatism“,  next is blog post from Patrick Deenan that inspired my piece, here’s some words from Andrew Bacevich on Carter’s speech and the context behind it  here’s the text of the speech itself and of course, the speech as it appeared that evening  30 years ago on television (and no at seven years old I do not remember where I was or what I was doing).

 \”Crisis of Confidence\”

10 lessons on empire

Stephen Walt points out some embarrassing truths about empires (especially the British one) that should make us think twice about the path we’re on.

Not only does “empire” inevitably mean subjugation and brutality, it also means “multicultural.” After all, the whole point of empire is to force different cultures to conform to one political system. Tamping down self-determination becomes the imperialist’s full-time job. To pretty up the brutality, empires resort to Lesson 2:

2. All Empires depend on self-justifying ideology and rhetoric that is often at odds with reality.

You’ve heard them before: “White man’s burden,” “world democratic revolution,” “liberty, equality, fraternity,” blah-blah. All nothing but window dressing to dress up imperial rule. But sooner or later, the window dressing fails, and all empires run smack dab into Lesson 9:

9. Nationalism and other forms of local identity remain a potent obstacle to long-term imperial control.

Britain’s supposedly “liberal” empire contained a deep contradiction: a society that emphasized individual liberties could not hold in bondage whole societies and deny the inhabitants independence. Once nationalism took root in the colonies (intermingled with other tribal and/or religious identities), resistance to imperial rule increased apace. As the United States is now discovering in Iraq and Central Asia, most peoples don’t like taking orders from well-armed foreigners, even when the foreigners keep telling them that their aims are benevolent.

What the globalists of various flavors denounce as “racism” is actually the most human of impulses, to self-organize into compatible governing units. Nationalism, which is the loyalty people naturally feel for their own people, destroyed the Soviet Union, and it is today ungluing the Communist Chinese empire.

By the way, it’s happening here, too. The Confederate Battleflag that roused the peoples of Eastern Europe against Communism still stands for the same things it always has: resistance to foreign control, liberty, cultural preservation. And just as in the final days of Communism, as resistance grows, the impulse toward freedom will be denounced by those who feed off imperial rule.

Distributism in Britain – Rise of the Red Tories

I haven’t really thought much of British Tory leader David Cameron largely because of what I had heard of him he sounded like nothing more than cheap copy of Tony Blair.

However after reading these particular articles “Cameron and American Conservatism” from the website The Other Right
and “A Distributish View of the Economic Crisis” by Allan Carlson at Front Porch Republic makes one believe that perhaps Cameron could provide a path for the right to follow that he may take himself in Great Britian. Elections are scheduled for next year. We’ll see.

States – There should be more of them

I love my home state of Wisconsin but it’s tough living where I do so close to the Twin Cities metroplex.  We get Twin Cities media and know more about what’s going on Minnesota while own state capital in Madison along with Milwaukee and Green Bay are far away, not just in distance, but in culture as well. Heck, I probably could recognize more public officials in Minnesota than Wisconsin. And it’s a lot easier attending the Minnesota State Fair, which is about an hour from my home than traveling five hours to go to the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis.

I imagine I’m not the only one who feels the same way about there own home states. I sure South Georgians feel the same way about Atlanta, or San Diegans about Sacramento, or Chicagoans about Springfield (or Springpatch as its known in the Windy City). Of course we haven’t even gotten to the tensions between Upstate and Downstate New Yorkers yet.

The way the states were put together in the past of course don’t always match the cultural and economic realities of today. People in Southern Illinois (or Little Egypt as its known) have nothing in common with Chicagoans and vise-versa. Hell its closer to Mississippi from Cairo, Ill. than it is to Chicago.  I am still wondering how in the hell the UP is part of Michigan instead of Wisconsin.

I am not opposed taking a good look over each state  and seeing where borders could not be redrawn. Some can obviously can stay intact, a New Hampshire, a Vermont or a Hawaii. An Iowa too, there really are no obvious divisions in such places. But in others well, you can start envisioning new states forming that were once cities and suburban areas.

Russell Arben Fox goes into more detail with article from Front Porch Republic entitled “In Praise of the States. Let’s Have More of Them”. Bill Kauffman also writes about this in “Nowhere USA” on  AmCon’s website.

Some articles for your consideration

Here’s the lastest from Chuck Baldwin: “Good-For-Nothing Christians”

Some good stuff on Sarah Palin from Peggy Noonan and James Matthew Wilson at Front Porch Republic and Cathy Young at Reason. Remember, Palin, I belive, is popular because of what she is perceived to represent. She’s the head of forces out there bigger than herself or what she realizes.

Speaking of which, Pat Buchanan writes a very good column on the power of ethno-nationalism.

Also on Takimag, Jack Hunter writes about the “Tyranny of Mark Levin’ s Liberty”.