Archive for May, 2006

Harry Reid

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Now we know how Harry Reid, the Mormon, can behave in ways so obviously contrary to the principles articulated in the doctrines he professes to believe. He was a boxer in his younger life. Just as Gerald Ford had played football one too many times without a helmet, Harry climbed into the ring one too many times without head gear (but not without a mouthpiece). It is not ill-intent that causes the Senator from Searchlight to bob and weave when sparring with reality; it\’s muscle memory and brain damage. Please Senator Reid, no mas!

Idol Lands

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

So 63,000,000 million people voted; more than have ever voted for a single presidential candidate. This is an interesting fact that does not reflect well on the current state of the United States. I would be more concerned about the misplaced priorities of the citizens of Idol Land if I wasn\’t sure that most voters voted more than once. I suppose it\’s a little like Chicago politics. Still, it\’s a very good thing the dead don\’t dial or we might have seen more votes cast than for any two presidential candidates. But come to think of it, we did see a few dead people and heard some of them sing.

The California girl lost in the finale\’ because she\’s a California girl. She had the best voice, the best look and the best chance to make it big, but America voted. Taylor is an affable fellow with a pleasant voice who isn\’t from California. That\’s why he won. This is not about the recoginition of talent; this is about the the reflection of the culture.

And what a culture! Meatloaf, looked more like jello than the sterner stuff his name implies. There were long-legged women with no voices at all! The artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince was a real surprise! Puck and Pickle provided the cultural highlight of the evening, and in a moment reminiscent of \”Queen for a Day\” a Clay Aiken wannabe was granted his heart\’s greatest desire when he was permitted to share the stage and sing (with his mike cut) with his idol, who was looking a bit like one of the Beatles in a 1963 incarnation. The room was filled with famous faces who would not have been caught dead in the same hall in Season One, even with free tickets. I\’m sure they had to pay last night; but not as much as the advertizers.

Still, I enjoyed the show from the first program of the season. It is reality TV with a dash of talent, some entertainment value mixed in and the worldly wisdom of one dry Englishman, often stirred but never shaken. It is as refreshing an audio/visual cocktail as has been served up on TV for decades. What\’s not to like?

The Babe\’s Record

Sunday, May 21st, 2006

If Major League Baseball doesn\’t place an asterix next to Barry Bonds\’ name and accomplishments they should at least place one next to Babe Ruth\’s; \”if the Bambino had been taking steroids instead of getting juiced between innings at the pub next to the ballpark, and had he been hitting the obviously livelier baseballs dished up at the plate by today\’s big league pitchers, and had he been working with a fitness coach and feasting at a modern training table instead of growing corpulent on a diet of hotdogs, he would have hit 1428 homeruns in his career\”.

Gringo Lingo

Friday, May 19th, 2006

English is the exclusive language of the American Dream.

United Flight 93

Friday, May 12th, 2006

I waited two weeks to allow time to filter out the viewers most prone to making comments during the showing of the film. I was seated among an appropriately reverent group of middle-aged middle Americans.

I was gripped from the outset but not from suspense, the most common tool of the dramatic filmmaker. We already knew how the movie would end. I was consciously attempting to avoid the emotions I knew I would recall as I reflected on the events of that day, but was unsuccessful. I felt helpless and frustrated as the drama unfolded but my sense of observation was sharpened as the details were revealed. I scanned the faces of each person involved. They were real.

I figited uncomfortably in my seat as the highjackers communicated with anxious glances. I wrung my sweating hands as they brutally took command of the cabin. I silently cheered the native rebelliousness of the passengers and crew as they assessed the precariousness of their circumstances, recognized and confronted their unavoidable fate. As their resolved stiffened and their plan materialized, I wondered what role I would have played if I had been privilged to be among them on that day. As they charged the terrorists and the cockpit, reclaiming ownership of their shared destiny, I felt a surge of immense pride to be their countryman.

I left the theater sober, not somber; vigilant not vengeful.

God bless these ordinary Americans who behaved extraordinarily in the face of villainy and evil, exhibiting the greatest of all American traditions.

Worlds in Collision

Friday, May 12th, 2006

If you are not the Great Communicator you had better get a great communicator. Bush made an excellent choice in selecting Tony Snow to serve as his Press Secretary. Now he has someone who will press back when confronted by the Helen Thomases of the world. (Speaking of Helen, what was it Phyllis Diller said? \”Beauty may be skin deep but when you\’re ugly, you\’re rotten to the corps.\”)

Davis, CA, liberal bastion in the heart of the land of milk and honey, has a problem. A protected species is killing another protected species right in the middle of town. Birds are pooping on the feeding grounds of Davis\’ 30 varieties of oak trees creating a hyper-nitrous environment that is poisoning the once-mighty trees. What a quandry! The solution they have reached is to cut down the trees. Doesn\’t this deprive our litte feathered friends a home? How, after the long debate over logging and the spotted owl, can the people of Davis be so thoughtless and cruel?

New CIA Director

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

To those who are critical of Bush\’s choice to run the CIA, confessing concerns that he is a military man, I have three words; Admiral Stansfield Turner. Where was the Left when Carter appointed him? Republican Representitve Hoechstra\’s unfathomable remarks are clearly illustrative of the need for a better understanding of history. The CIA was not a civilian organization any more than the Marine Corps or Army. It was born out of the OSS, a clandestine military organization whose task it was to defeat the Germans, Japanese, Italians and their allies during WWII. This was not just a spy ring. They used all manner of weapons in carrying out their assignments. They blew things up. They killed people. Anyone who fails to comprehend this fact is displaying a dangerous amount of ignorance.

It is also well to point out that the military and the CIA, even under General Hayden, are still under civilian control. It\’s unfortunate that so many government officials don\’t understand their government. Maybe we should have an entrance exam for public servants.

Comprende

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

Something clear and reasonable has actually emerged from the mostly murky workings of the Nation\’s Capitol, built on what was once a swamp; infested still by the pestilence known as political correctness. 50 Congressmen (sorry—-congresspersons) have signed a letter indicating their intent to eliminate foreign languages from voter pamphlets and ballots. HOORAY!!!

How we ever got so twisted as to allow citizens to get by in languages other than English has always lead me to the edge of the Comprende Gap, but there can be no legitimate dispute; English is the exclusive language of the American Dream.

Real Friends

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

Garlic lets you know who your real friends are.

Liberalism\’s Romantic Past

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

The birth and growth of Romanticism in the 19th Century was the fruit of the great misunderstanding of the real purpose and meaning of the American and French Revolutions of the late 18th Century. Rousseau, Byron, Shelley, Hugo, even Freud and Marx were the standard bearers of this new secular notion that man is fully capable of self-redemption, that man is his own master, and that man is perfectible given the appropriate political environment, an environment devoid of kings and religion. Byron believed that true freedom would come when the last king was strangled with the guts (his words) of the last priest. This attitude may even be appreciated in view of the fact that many, if not the majority of religious leaders of the age, were complicit in thwarting the legitimate aspirations of the people.

Luther’s rebellion against the Church of Rome only started the Reformation, it did not complete it. Protestant clerics were not above wielding political power. They poured into the vacuum created by the flight of the faithful who still believed in God but could no longer justify precepts propounded by the Papacy in light of their recently acquired literacy. (The discovery of the printing press was not merely a timely coincidence.) The conflicts that existed between the parishioner’s own understanding of Holy Writ and the centuries-long doctrinal “spin‿ employed by the keepers of the “truth‿ drove nearly half of Europe into a whole new misunderstanding. Many stayed wedded to Rome while others set out for the New World in search of freedom from all State endorsed religions.

The American Revolution was the keystone of the Reformation, establishing a Constitutional foundation for religious freedom; a guarantee that there would never be an unholy alliance between church and state. Did this mean that God was no longer to play a roll in the public affairs of men? This is still the debate, isn’t it? According to Byron and Marx, the answer is yes. If you believe that God inspired the Founding Fathers, as many of them claimed, the answer must be no. Two divergent philosophies emerged from the victory of the subjugated over their Royal oppressors. Both acknowledge the ascendance of the individual, but one claims it was purely by mans’ own hand, a little luck combined with a little pluck. The other acknowledges the Hand of God raising men for His own purposes. We can witness the evolution of the two in the two very different experiences of the free Americans and the free French. We see one country whose citizens have freely and consistently answered to the God of their own consciences, and another land whose people have leaned unsuccessfully on the “arm of flesh‿. One nation that relied on appeals to the Divine, the other relied on the Maginot Line. One has prospered beyond imagining. The other has withered as an international power and has become a synonym for loser.

The truth is that 19th Century Romanticism was the adversary’s reaction to the concurrent birth of the information age (the day that the transfer of information was able to exceed the speed of a horse’s gallop), the concurrent beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, and the concurrent restoration of the Gospel. As we will later confirm, Romanticism was the predecessor of modern day liberalism.

The First Casualty

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

It has been said that the first casualty of war is truth. Perhaps the second casualty is perspective. Much has been made of the nearly 2000 service men and women (more about women later) killed in the War in Iraq and the war to liberate Afghanistan from the Taliban and their allies, Al Qaeda. While no one minimizes the value of the lives lost and the sacrifices made (the death of one soldier is a catastrophe for his or her family), we must remember that our freedoms were purchased with the blood of the brave.

Our nation was viciously attacked on September 11, 2001, by those who believe that the United States is the “Great Satan‿. Neither Hitler nor Tojo, neither the German or Japanese people, believed that America represented such an evil. As with our conflicts of the past, we have been drawn into battle by the malicious deeds of others, but unlike the wars in our history, this war is about inflexible ideology and extreme religious intolerance rather than the greed-induced land grabs we were forced to counter in the past. Religious conflicts and wars of ideology have been the source of much strife and grief in other parts of the world, but this has not been the case with us, until now. We went to war against Iraq in 1991, North Vietnam, North Korea, Japan, Germany, Italy, Spain, Mexico and Great Britain to liberate land and/or people from the aggression of those bent on conquest for territorial and economic gain. Though we were not directly attacked by Germany in either World Wars I or II, we had sufficient cause to engage them due to the actions of their allies, to protect our friends, and to protect ourselves from certain and inevitable harm. Had we failed to act when we did, we might all be speaking German today. We did endure a type of ideological struggle with the Soviet Union, known as the Cold War, but physical harm was only inflicted by and upon proxies. In every war we have fought, we have responded to the provocation of others. We have never been the aggressor nation. We are not now, in spite of what some would have us believe.

This new war, though caused by a direct attack on America, is different and potentially much more dangerous. It is not limited to any geographical area of the world (even though we have attracted many foreign “Jihadist‿ fighters to Iraq and Afghanistan). The battlefield is everywhere American interests intersect with radical Islam and its adherents; fanatics who are fully focused by their faith on our destruction. They have brought the war to us and will make every effort to do so again. They will not rest until they are destroyed or until they are victorious. These people are patient as they hearken back through one and half Millennia of struggle for their purpose, their passion and their inspiration. Mohammed, Suleiman, Ata Turk and —— live and breath in the soul of every graduate of every radical Madras in the world. Usama Bin Laden and his people are absolutely convinced that as they drove the dispirited Soviet Army out Kabul, that they had dealt the Soviets a mortal blow. They hailed the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union as their own victory. They now have but one “superpower‿ infidel to defeat.

Make no mistake; we are now locked in a life or death struggle with an enemy as intractable as any we have ever faced. While they are every bit as willing to die for their cause as was a Kamikaze pilot, as did the tenacious defenders of Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Anzio and Monte Casino, these fighters wear no uniform and are not geographically limited by siege. Yet, they possess all the grit and determination of any warrior we have ever encountered and they are potentially armed with weaponry that might have tipped the scales in any previous battle or war. We know they have sought nuclear and biological weapons. We know their allies have had and used chemical and biological weapons. We know they will not hesitate to use such weapons on us, given the opportunity. Faced with this certainty, the brave are once again called upon to defend us. Can we long remain the land of the free if it is not now the home of the brave?

In our first battle against the Germans in WWII, Kasserine Pass in Tunisia, 1800 Americans were killed. We lost this battle, but won the war. We and our Allies lost 10,000 men on D-Day. We lost 6180 KIA (Killed in Action) on Iwo Jima. In Okinawa, the American dead numbered 13,000. In the Battle of the Bulge, the bloodiest battle Americans have ever fought, 77,000 men sacrificed their lives for the victory. In fact, in the last 11 months of WWII, US casualties totaled 220,000 Killed in Action and 550,000 wounded. We lost 37,000 men in Korea in just over 2 years. 58,000 died in Vietnam in 10 years. In neither of the latter two wars did we win an outright victory. In both, military activity detrimental to our interests continued for decades. We presently mourn the loss of 1000 lives in nearly three years of war without boundaries, but have liberated two nations and 50 million people in that time frame. Are these brave Americans and their families deserving of any less respect and honor for their sacrifice than that accorded the patriots whose blood has watered the tree of liberty for over two centuries?

Brain Revealed

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

The computer, indeed the internet, has laid bare the human mind and exposed its greatest strengths and weaknesses; the ability to instantaneously ponder any subject at will, to
point and click to banish a wayward thought or delete an uninvited pop-up, along with the capacity for self-affliction by unwise tendencies to linger in personally unprofitable postures and cyber-places. The Chinese proverb frames it thusly, “It is okay that birds fly overhead, but one need not let them make a nest in one’s hair\”.

We encounter thoughts unbidden or find ourselves on a website containing questionable or objectionable content. None can say with certainty where thoughts are born. Some are surely called forth by conscious command; others clearly have an extra-personal origin. Unwanted banner advertisements, distasteful pop-ups, and invasive emails are very like the thoughts that intrude upon our minds to plague or beguile us. The problems and the solution for both are the same. We may choose to nurture the negative message contained in each, or exercising self-discipline we can reject the harmful thought or the cyber-junk. Our minds (and our computers) are ours to program and maintain. If we let just anything infect our consciousness or C-drives, we not only run the risk of ultimately crashing the system, we virtually guarantee it.

Failure to enforce one’s own personal bounds of acceptability is tantamount to allowing graffiti gangsters to redecorate your home at frequent and irregular intervals. You would never think to do this. You would also never intentionally allow a hacker to corrupt your hard drive. You should also never think to allow unwholesome thoughts to pollute the hallowed lobes of your brain.

This may be the greatest lesson of the computer age. The considerable efforts we put forth to combat spam and its spawn should at the very least be equaled by our efforts to resist dwelling on inappropriate and unproductive thoughts. Point and click. It’s really that simple. One must simply desire and decide to do it.

It\’s Only Natural

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

Animal rights activists (PETA and friends) are certainly a small minority of the population and it is not reasonable to assume that these people will ever be able to influence the majority to sacrifice their appetite for hamburgers, fried chicken, and fish and chips. They are not likely to convince the majority to turn their backs on leather jackets, to step away from leather shoes, or abandon their support for leather belts. They are not even likely to persuade an inferior minority (that might agree with them on most other political points) to give up certain other leather-oriented predilections. Ingrained (and full grained) behaviors are difficult to change. Fashion is the ultimate in intimate. Habits are not born of casual contact. Tradition continues to dictate particular customs. No, the animal rights crowd will not have a significant impact on personal behaviors relating to the consumption of animals and animal products. So why do we hear more about them in a more favorable light than we do about larger groups with more main stream orientations, such as the Boy Scouts (a vanishing breed of cubs, wolves, and eagles)?

Is it possible that PETA’s influence exceeds its relative size for reasons beyond burgers and bio-ethics? Consider this as an interesting likelihood. Perhaps their true underlying object is not to keep people from eating and/or wearing animals. Maybe the purpose in promoting animal’s rights is to elevate the status of animals (not a new concept) while lowering man’s (by, among other means, making us feel guilty about harming the small furry things), having the ultimate effect of placing all creatures on the same level from an ethical, if not moral standpoint. The reason: to give some people the ability to say the following.

“Look at the other animals. They don’t have all these constraints, culturally or morally, to keep them from behaving naturally. They don’t have all these commandments to adhere to. They operate from instinct, doing what comes natural to them. Sure, some are monogamous but mostare not. When they are hungry they eat (sometimes each other), if they are tired they lie down, and if they feel frisky they enjoy each other’s company for a few moments before moving on. It’s nature! Why should we, being animals ourselves, be held to a different standard?

Might this not be the real reason the agenda of the animal rights crowd is accorded a much broader audience than their public agenda and appeal would merit? This small group with a narrow purpose might just be useful to a larger group with an overarching determination to change the moral landscape of the culture. What could be more natural?

It is Not Meet

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

In a recent forum discussion on the Threat to Judicial Independence, sponsored by the American Bar Association, Justice Stephen Breyer made a remarkably cogent observation regarding the limitations of our Constitution. He pointed out that the Supreme Law of the Land does not address, define or decide every issue; that in a democracy it is the job of the people and their elected representatives to deal with the specifics and all the varying nuances; that many things change in the course of evolving history; that not all things were anticipated by the Founders. While I find it difficult to agree with most of his opinions (his ruling on eminent domain, his reliance on foreign law, etc) I do agree with him on this point. It brought to mind the following passages from the 58th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants.

25. Wherefore, let them bring their families to this land, as they shall counsel between themselves and me. 


26. For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.


27. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;


28. For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.


To me this is simply further evidence of the Hand of Providence in the founding of this nation and the formulation of its foundational documents.

\”If you teach people correct principles, they will govern themselves.\” — Joseph Smith

How Many?

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

How many laws does a nation need? With nearly 220 years of legislative activity behind us, one would imagine that almost every necessary issue has already been adequately addressed. It is clear that the Legislative Branch has obligations other than further polluting the body politic with more and more laws; ratifying treaties, confirming judges and spending money to list but three, but how many more laws do lawmakers need to pass? Isn\’t there a \”full\” indicator somewhere?

Eric Severeid, the only seemingly unbiased anchor that CBS ever had, once accurately noted that \”problems are the result of solutions\”. In other words, if we didn\’t have so many laws, we wouldn\’t need so many laws. What if Congress was charged with eliminating one or more old laws before they were permitted to craft a new one? Would this cause members to be more circumspect? (We can dream, can\’t we?!) Would it slow the growth of the government? What if we had a commission to review all laws on the books of relevance and superfluity?

Thomas Jefferson expressed the view that \”the government that governs least, governs best.\” Who is not inclined to agree? Let us contemplate making this simple request of our public servants; to govern less and serve more.

Dark as a Dungeon

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

I was playing in the front yard at the home of a friend, just outside of our small town, when the mine ambulance pulled off the road and came to a stop in front of us. At this same moment another vehicle, arriving from the direction of town, pulled up in front of the ambulance. Both drivers emerged simultaneously and approached one another. The man from the ambulance shook his head slowly and the blond women fell screaming into his arms. “Louie! Louie! No, no, my God, no!”

I can still see this vividly in my mind’s eye. I can still hear her scream and sob the name of her husband. It was the first time I had personally brushed up against death. I felt cold that summer afternoon, cold and deeply saddened by the sudden and all-permeating pain that afflicted this stricken woman. I was six years old, fifty years ago.

In the twenty years that followed, the coal mines in and around my home town claimed the lives of scores of men, sometimes singly, as was the case with Louie who was crushed by a boulder that had torn loose from the ceiling; sometimes by the dozen as odorless, colorless methane would invade the narrow passages and then violently explode at the striking of a spark. Sometimes, as was the case in West Virginia, the men awaited rescue or death as their lungs filtered the remaining oxygen from the dark chamber that would entomb them.

Why do men go into the mines? Why do men do anything that is dangerous? Is it just to make money? Is it because they know no better way? Is it because they are trapped by circumstances? Or is it because they like the feel of the earth around them? Is it because they appreciate the association of others who dare the earth to swallow them whole, who live not on the edge, but in the edge? Is it the dry land version of the \”down to the sea in ships\” syndrome? Is it because it is traditionally a society of men in a world increasingly uncomfortable with testosterone? Is it because one’s output is measured daily allowing a man to feel the measure of his input? Is it the Copenhagen? It is probably a little bit of all these things.

Coal mining has changed dramatically over the years with the introduction of continuous mining machines and the “Long Wall”. Fewer men can be far more productive today than in the days of the shovels and carts. Still, the work is dangerous. The jet-black coal, the hard, low sulfur anthracite lies deep beneath the surface in seams and drifts that defy men who must work in the light of the sun or take their breath fresh off the breeze.

As long as we need the coal, as long as we fear nuclear power and thwart reasonable attempts to drill for oil domestically, we need the men who are willing to go “where it’s dark as a dungeon, damp as the dew, where the danger is double and pleasures are few, where the rain never falls and the sun never shines, where it’s dark as a dungeon way down in the mine” (appropriate attribution to follow). As long as mines exist, miners will die in them. May God bless them and their families.

Nutniks Launch

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

The Nutniks are out in force this week.

Mayor Nagin’s comments might have made sense if he had limited his remarks to “God is angry!”

Nancy Pelosi’s public admission that the Democrats don’t need to offer alternatives to the Republican agenda in order to win elections echoes deeply within the vacuousness of their organization and its jumbled and diverse ideosphere. She might as well have coughed-up the truth; that the Democrat Party just wants power, the power to whatever occurs to them at the moment. There are no bedrock principles that govern this bunch, just hedonistic instinct.

Hillary’s racist attack on the Republican controlled US House of Representatives is beyond reprehensible but clearly illustrates her willingness to do and say anything to keep the black people of this nation on the Democrat Plantation.

Al Gore’s attack on the Bush Administrations “law breaking” is more than the apex of hypocrisy and the pinnacle of partisanship; it is a blatant distortion of the facts in the current battle against the terrorists and their allies-in-residence, and jaw-dropping in light of the obvious criminality of the administration in which he served as VP, Bagman and Obfuscator in Chief. “No controlling legal authority”, indeed!

And finally the denizens of Arcata, California are once again thrust into the light of national scrutiny, compliments of their city council. For the second time they have voted to impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney. Perhaps if they were in possession of the “Q Bomb” we might be able to take them seriously. During WWII, the US Military used the Arcata airport to train pilots who would be taking off and landing in foggy old England. They chose this spot because it was the foggiest spot in the nation. It still is. This also explains why there are so many “Greens” in the neighborhood. If far-left politics is your thing, Arcata is your Eureka.

Lobbyists Are Not the Problem

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

It is highly amusing to watch the US Senate in a debate over Lobbying Reform. There are a few Senators who appear to understand the real problem but the majority of Senators are casting themselves in the role of victims as they cast aspersions at the lobbyists they court.

The problem is not that lobbyists offer goodies. The problem is that legislators take them. No one forces elected officials to accept gifts or gratuities. If the elected official kept his or her hands in his or her pockets, the problem would be solved instantly.

This is not to say that Lobbyists have no place in the halls of power. They have every right to plead for their causes. This is the American way. The problem arises when questions of corruption and undue influence are raised. If nothing of value, apart from ideas, changed hands, there would be no problem to solve.

The current problem would not have provoked this knee-jerk reaction from the US Senate (akin to getting caught with hands in the till when the light switch was thrown) if this wasn’t a common problem, universally understood by those who, today, tug nervously at their collars.

This is the way business has been conducted in this country for far too long. All this is an open secret, one that simply didn’t get much airplay until the Abramoff story broke (and by the way, this would never have hit the front page unless the major media thought it would hurt the Republican Party). Now everyone is scurrying like cockroaches to avoid scrutiny\’s bright glare.

For a successful resolution the solution must include realistic campaign finance reform. Massaging and tweaking existing legislation will never do. Limiting an individual’s right to contribute to a candidate that supports the donor’s goals is inherently un-American. The only real and honest solution is to require all elected officials to publicly post all donations they receive, and from whom. In this way, we may all get a clearer picture of the candidate\’s actions and attitudes by assaying the interests of those with whom they associate and from whom they accept contributions.

The Germans have an applicable old axiom; “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are.”

Ivins the Terrible

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

During a C-Span interview this morning, Molly Ivins, the literate but irritating matron of malaise, was pillaring Hillary and the “gutless” Democrats for whimpering about having their patriotism called into question. (They should be made of sterner stuff.) In her never-so-humble opinion they should be more strident in their criticism of everything Bush does; war on terror be damned.

She then equated patriotism with “supporting the troops”. Is it truly possible to support the troops but not their mission? Can one support the troops but not their commanders, or their Commander in Chief? If, as Clauswitz stated, “War is politics by other means\” , can the purveyors of the policy be insulated from that policy?

The Nuremburg Trials fairly set the rules for this kind of thing. “I was only following orders” was found to be insufficient grounds for the dismissal of charges against those who, during the course and conduct of the war, committed crimes against humanity. Was it okay for Germans to “support the troops” in this case? Not while remaining intellectually honest.

Certainly no reasonable person would compare American troops to the delivers of Nazi terror (except Senator\’s John Kerry, Dick Durbin and nutnik Harry Belefonte—but it’s a safe bet that these are not reasonable people). Still, most other Left-Leaners are quick to say they support the troops even as they rail against the policies the troops are engaged in furthering. This is a wholly unsupportable ideological position, especially in view of the fact that our Military is “All Volunteer”.

There are no Conscientious Objectors in today’s Armed Forces. Our Military personnel are there because they want to be there; because they support the mission and because they support the Commander in Chief. They are there to destroy our sworn enemies, wherever they are to be found, and to destroy their abilities to inflict further harm on us. The actions they are required to take in furtherance of this goal cannot be viewed in a vacuum. We cannot separate these brave men and women from the mission they have personally pledged to fulfill.

It is impossible to support the troops while criticizing their purpose. No matter how cleverly you turn a phrase, Ms Ivins, you cannot Texas Side Step this truth.

He\’ll Be Back

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

Arnold will be re-elected as Governor of California with between 62% and 65% of the vote. His job approval poll numbers may be under 50% at this moment but this will have no impact on Election Day. He will win in a landslide.

Apart from the Jim Wright Syndrome (when he was the Speaker of the House and under investigation for ethics violations, one of his constituents commented that “he might be an SOB, but he’s our SOB) that naturally exists in relationships between the elected and their constituents, Schwarzenegger has advantages that no other politician has ever had; that he is not a career politician may be the most glaring (and positive) deficiency on his colorful resume’.

He was born with an iron will; iron that he pumped and forged into the future he had envisioned long before his dreams underwent the formality of actually occurring. The Sword of Conan that resides behind his desk is more than a metaphor for his successes.

Arnold is a movie star, as was the only California Governor to ever occupy the White House. In the cross-pollination of politics and Hollywood (can we say \”Poliwood\”?), only Reagan has thus far been more prolific. Naturally, no ground has been more receptive to the grafting of celebrities into the executive branch than California. (Chauncey Gardner would be proud.) And nowhere is star power more luminescent than in the California Constellation. But Arnold is more than a star. The nebulae of his significant accomplishments more than outshine the brightest side of his arguably nebulous political posture. The title “Mr. Universe” was never more deserved. It may be impossible to be all things to all people, but Arnold certainly represents significant things to most.

The limited acclaim he has drawn from his Hollywood peers never approached the reverence showered on such luminaries as Sean Penn, Dustin Hoffman and the short guy who played opposite Bill Murray in “What about Bob?” The characters he has chosen to portray speak volumes about his ability to poke fun at himself and his craft, but he was nevertheless able to parlay his picture paychecks into a business empire as sturdy and solid as oak, all the while garnering a following from among the red-blooded who felt a kinship with this no-nonsense guy in black leather and shades, astride a Harley, saving the future of mankind from the tyranny of the machine (are bureaucracies machines?) with a shotgun.

His marriage to Maria Shriver, Princess of Camelot and heiress to the political clout of the Kennedy clan, was more that a little illustrative of his appeal. His fashionably questionable late arrival at his own wedding, decked-out in top hat and tails, cigar firmly clenched, was a clear display of confidence and control that was not lost on anyone; especially his new in-laws. It was as memorable a moment as the scene in which John Wayne drug Maureen O’Hara back to the home of the family patriarch, her headstrong Irish brother, as a result of a dispute over her dowry; and just as telling. Arnold loved (and still loves) her enough to have helped her make that break. While she remains a Kennedy princess, she is much more herself as Mrs. Schwarzenegger.

In an age where foreign accents are employed to impart an air of authority, Arnold’s is second to none. Consider for a moment how the major media have trooped out a cadre of foreign-born journalists to deliver the news. Don’t we have enough Americans to cover the goings-on in the world? There is a psychological dynamic related to the authoritative value of a “third party” that is massaged when the message is delivered by someone who is not an American. Americans are apparently particularly fond of hearing the news in the Queen’s English (especially on CNN), but no accent ascends authority\’s apex quite like the Terminator\’s Teutonic intonations. There can be little dispute; “Girlie Men!” doesn’t carry the same weight when someone like Mark Leno says it.

While infuriating the inflexible ideologues who occupy the outer and opposite strata of the political spectrum (about 10% on each end), the vast majority appreciate, in varying degrees, his willingness to access the opinions of the Left and the Right. His own
leanings and his marriage to Maria permit dialogue uniquely suited to the needs of California and its disparate citizenry. No matter how we come down on the issues we still have to live together, and to a significant degree our dissimilarities may be more a
strength than a weakness. If we are to be successful in inventing the 21st Century, we Californians must learn to tolerate a host of creative differences.

Even those who heartily disagree with him on certain issues are forced, by the fact of his successes in life, to hold him in well-deserved regard. We are, after all, Californians and we are proud of our state and its native (state of) weirdness and assimilability. In a very real sense, Arnold is the quintessential Californian, partly because of his \”foreign-ness\”. People love him for it, albeit sometimes begrudgingly.

While Arnold the actor exists for most people in two dimensions, the sad reality is that most people live their lives in 2-D; doubt and despair. Schwarzenegger the human being, on the other hand, has fully flourished in 4-D; successfully converting desire, discipline, determination and diligence into the life he leads and the larger-than-life image we behold.

In the final analysis, there is something infinitely likeable about Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is very much as we would all like to be if we would have had the discipline, the fortitude, the vision and the courage to pursue our wildest dreams. He is the corporeal manifestation of the declaration \”Only in America!\”

He\’ll be backed!