Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Happy New Year's

Every new year comes a time for resolutions. My resolution this year is not to lose weight, go to the gym more, eat less holiday food, or score with some chicks. Some of those things will happen undoubtedly. This year I declare war. I find this necessary because apparently my nation is too chicken-shit to declare war anymore. The Founding Fathers gave this grave responsibility solely to the legislature with all its pomposity, its electoral bellicosity, and its fundamental lack of vision beyond the next fundraising cycle. They did this in their wisdom because of the victory of Hamilton's cynicism. It is not often stated that cynicism is one of the foundations of our national charter. It is true however and not emphasized enough.

Our nation was gifted at its inception with multiple men of the most profound contemplation and the most far-reaching foresight. It is through their wisdom that America has been outfitted in its character and laws with a most generous portion of majesty independent of the stature of lesser men. One man if great enough can found a nation. It takes true genius however to craft a nation so that it will preserve an essential light of greatness that can inspire people despite the follies of lesser men who follow in the footsteps of those greater than them.

One of the most deep-seated convictions of our Founders was that the responsibility for taking the nation to war to Congress. Here we need not bandy words about what constitutes war. Any extended large mobilization of soldiers that involves active combat with forces of another country is war. Certainly, war is not always a matter of choice. Every nation recognizes the right to wage defensive war in the face of militaristic provocation, threat, and invasion. Other than this however, no matter how grave the threat the Constitution firmly reserves and assigns the responsibility for deciding the initiation of hostilities to Congress and Congress alone. It does not give Congress the right to assign this responsibility to the President.

The reason why Congress has this responsibility goes back to cynicism. Lord Archon once wrote that power corrupts, and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Because of the particular nature of war, with its perilous and necessary confusions of truth and the need to subordinate individual liberties to common effort in order to secure victory the Founders knew that executives would be particularly tempted to deal with domestic political opposition by waging wars and therefore obtaining the unique suasion available to leaders during wartime. In America we have crossed an irrevocable Rubicon and our Republic stands in grave peril because of it. It was crossed with barely a whisper in protest, and indeed only one lone voice will be remembered having been raised in staunch defense of the Constitution in the trying times to come. That lone voice was that of Robert Byrd who alone merits the honor accorded to him of being called a Senator of the Republic of the Union of the States of America.

Their reasons for cowardice and equivocation will be dissected by historians in times to come, but their reasons however convuluted or poisoned by human weakness are not the issue on this day. It is enough to know that they were too much craven to do the duty of their high offices, and to through deliberation and recorded vote bring this nation decisively to armed conflict. In ceding this power to the executive, they have empowered a monstrousity that would have been bitter unto death to swallow if it had been brought by an idealistic and inspiring popular President. Instead, we have a President who does not know how to be Presidential. He swaggers with the trappings of power, but he does not weild it with the stern strength of one whose measure has been tested. Neither does he weild it with the cautious cleverness of a man who knows that he is beyond his depth, and treads lightly lest he awaken the wrath of the forefathers resting in their tombs. No this usurper walks with the arrogance of a man whose father has given him everything because of sentimental doting in the place of the rugged harshness that might have made him into a real man. In his false confidence, in his untested depths already the nation wallows its way into dangerous shoals while more prudent men desperately try to navigate a way out of these sheer reefs that her captain with his smirk has sent all the souls of the crew perilously into mortal danger.

I despised Clinton. I despised his intrepid weakness in the face of foreign threats. I hated his blundering PC revisions of the institutions of the military. I despised his bogus market liberalism and fatally tainted trade treaties. There was no conspiracy from Whitewater to Vince Foster that I did not in my secret heart of hearts consider him guilty before even being brought to trial. However, he was a far far better President of the United States of America than George W. Bush could ever dream of being. No matter how flawed his ideas, and they were often flawed, his native intelligence prevented President Clinton from making fatal errors. When he got over his head whether from gays in the military, the misadventure in Somalia, to health care he had the instinct of self-preservation that prevented him from going too far. In addition, despite his rather flawed policies on foreign trade and fiscal policy his intelligence prevented him from creating a posture too botched. It was simply impossible for anyone who paid any attention to reality in order to go too far wrong. At the end of the day, the Presidency was greater than the man and the nation more than survived his mistakes - they prospered because of the right choices that he made.

Make no mistake, many of the flawed policies from humanitarian war to the neglect of the terrorists abroad were instituted under the Clinton Administration and much blame lies there in my eyes. It was beyond my wildest dreams however to consider that a Republican Administration could be worse. And it is far worse. This is true beyond a reasonable doubt. What we have is an Administration that lives up to the worst cariactures of those who would criticize the political right. It is beyond the imagination of even the worst cynics to conceive of a more poorly run Administration. Its follies are too much to recount in one evening's posting.

So in face of this abuse of everything that America holds sacred including justice for the mighty as well as the weak, of public policies built on the truth of universal human ideals and not wicked lies, of leadership advised by wise counsel and not the whispers of flattering cheats there is only one recourse. I declare war. I declare war on the viscious untruths and the blatant lies that have taken hold of the nation that I love most dearly. It is war and there will be no holding back. It is time that the truth was told and the polite fictions on which society builds its truces was shattered. What can one person do? We shall see. So far no one has bothered to try, so I will.

Who the hell cares about Michael Jackson?

First, the sky is not falling. This corrupt and venial world has limped through the birth and death of the incarnation of the divine. It has seen empires and civilizations fall, and if the legends are to believed even previous cycles of mankind. It is however boring. It is boring because human beings value titillation over excellence; it is boring because achievement is difficult and celebrity is easy. Who the hell cares if a middle-aged has-been former rockstar is charged with being a pedophile? Of course it is unfortunate that these young boys have families that have allowed them to be exploited. It must be tough to pimp out your son. But being a catamite is a long if dishonorable profession, and people with low enough self-regard will do just about anything in order to fawn in the face of money and status including pimp out their children.

What is wrong that we as a people find such an incident worth more than a moment of revulsion. It is our fascination that feeds on speculations about the sexual indulgences of the depraved rich. I am sorry that Michael Jackson didn't feel loved as a child. This is obviously the root of his perverse dysfunctions. It is also irrelevant. The difference between Michael Jackson and your run-of-the-mill pedophile is a decent singing voice and allot of money. How else to explain the celebrity of Paris Hilton fed by her rather raunchy infamous sex-tape? We as Americans are no longer a serious people. We do not take tragedy seriously. We are incapable of truly deep feeling and sensibility.

There is no other explanation for the placidity we display in the face of the injustice rendered the victims of 911. There is no other rationale why we tolerate a deluded fool in the highest office of the land. We as Americans have lost our way. So we distract ourselves with whispering about how the idle rich indulge their ennui, while our soldiers die on foriegn sands for the sake of a lie - a lie itself concocted in order to deny justice, Real Justice, to the victims of 911. We do this because we are no longer capable of deserving justice, because we would not know it if we were shown it. Otherwise we would not tolerate charltans and confidence men in the highest offices of our land, feeding us lies day afer day and we would not tolerate a figurehead simpleton parroting back answers which a nine year old child would find non-sensical.

People get the leaders they deserve, not need. We will get better leadership when we show we deserve it by being the kind of people worthy of great leadership.

We will get better leadership when we stop being boring. This is the future we face if we do not: being trapped in a cycle of Looney Toons as a replacement for government pronouncements. What is wrong with the path we are on is not that it is wicked, but that it is desperately without imagination. This lack of vision pervades every sphere of our culture, and inflicts itself upon us with the violent sores that we call leaders. Only a people of vision could perceive that the worst possible fate is not to suffer, it is to be too stupid to be capable of suffering.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Are we safer today than two years ago?

No. It's a crime of mendacity that this government can be directed by an Administration that has grossly failed the American people. To be fair, the government has managed to disrupt some elements of Al-queda's operational network. However, from stone-walling the 911 commission, to first-responder money, to inciting world opinion against the USA with rash statements and actions, to perpetuating an at best mixed neo-colonial venture it's all been smoke and mirrors. Oh yes, and Libya. We got Libya to knuckle under. Except that tensions continue to rise over the Taiwan straits, North Korea remains an ever more rogue nuclear state, and Iran is clearly harboring Al-queda while buying time to develop their verified nuclear programme. Call me crazy, but Ghadaffi and Hussein weren't at the top of my lump-of-coal list of bad men in the world.

Unfortunately, this is all too believable. In instance after instance, this Administration has chosen the quick and easy way of smoke and mirrors over the hard tasks of public policy making. Medicare drug benefit boondoogle anyone? Dropping the dollar like a lead balloon rather than reforming subsidies ring a bell? Hyrdrogen car hot-air as opposed to serious sustainable energy resource research? This is a problem with our democracy, and it's reached a fever pitch at this historical point. They continue to rearrange deck-chairs on the Titanic while the ship takes on water. Too bad we're all such dumb bastards that we can't even realize we're being snoockered.

What on earth is wrong with Democrats?

As an old-time Republican from a family of Republicans from a politically conservative area, I have to say that at this point I'd rather vote for a yellow dog than vote for GW Bush. I don't hate Bush. His father got my vote. In '96 Dole was looking good compared to Clinton. However in 2000, the oldman weighed the balance of outcomes and held his nose and voted Democrat for the first time in his entire life. Why? The past three years is a pretty good testimony to why. Yet despite the woeful track record of Republicans, Democrats are floundering. Why? They're weak, that's why. There is no other possible conclusion. Democrats are weak, wishy-washy, and are afraid to stand for something. That's something Bush doesn't have a problem for. He has no problem standing for things, usually not the things he rhetorically advocates, but he moves firmly and strongly in the direction of his desires. The only Democrat with a similar focus of will is Howard Dean. Clark is a smart guy, but too smart and cerebral. Will is the key factor. People won't believe in you, if you don't believe in yourself.

So to all the Democrats out there. Stop whining. Who cares if it's Dean that wins, so long as he wins. This is the brutal truth about this world, and if Democrats want to win they'll learn it. It is better to be strong than it is to be good. They won't teach you about that in classrooms, but it's everywhere in the hallways of schools. What Bush has to learn however is that it is not physical strength that counts. It is inner strength. That's where Bush is weak. He has all the money, all the advantages, and everything on his side except that he's an incompetent wuss. This is a porcelein man. To shatter him however, one will have to forge through all the people willing to jump in the way for him.

This is the truth of the world: what matters is power. This is a tough lesson to learn, and not an easy one for any person. The difference between this ethic and might makes right however, is the recognition that inner power trumps outer power. Inner power here means something very practical.

A person who believes a gun gives them power, is setting themselves up for defeat. A gun is made by someone's mind, and someone's effort. It is used by someone with a brain. To defeat a gun you only have to defeat the man who would use it. What is inside of us counts more than what is outside, because where there is a will a way can be found.

First Post

After sounding off for years, the suggestions of others had led me to consider the radical step of creating my own web-blog. This isn't out of some illusion that the truth will set us free. Faced with the prospect of freedom, most people will take a warm blankey and some buttered popcorn with an escapist movie instead. However, sometimes the nature of reality is so intrusive that it forces us to confront the fact that our flimsy ideas cannot encompass its brutal simplicity. My life has been dedicated to the pursuit of excellence and truth. After a lifetime of plumbing the mysteries of the universe, what I discovered is that most people don't really care about these things. They should. Because truth is more than an ethic, it is a credo of success. People can delude themselves as much as they want to. Only those who are willing to admit error can achieve the true power that belongs to only those who can excel because they have grasped the essence of the moment and can capitalize upon it. This blog is dedicated to those who believe that being competent makes a difference.