Sunday, December 21, 2008
And therefore rather too late to give my annual 'How to Put the Merry Back into Christmas -- Recovering Advent' sermon, but the reader can still benefit from a few of the recommendations, especially about music. Check out the archives here.
Been crazy-town busy, and am nearly partied out (yeah, I know, that's not really the spirit of Advent, but we all get calendar crunch this time of year), so blogging has fallen off the map.
Will return soon, when time allows, and provide all my thoroughly unsentimental, totally geopolitical strategery-based reasons why the man who didn't even make it to Time Magazine's Top Five is, in fact, the Indisputable Man of the Year, General David Petraeus, lynchpin of EVERYTHING that's happened this election season. It's brilliant. Fasten your seatbelts.
Must go. Plane to catch tomorrow a.m.
In the meantime, watch out for wolves.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Apparently we both received the same piece of advert-spam from Amazon.com's music department, which offered a bevy of musical selections to celebrate THE TWELVE DAYS OF HOLIDAY. [screen cap here]
Now Amazon is almost a weekly visitor to our front door, so it's very difficult to think about boycotting its cornucopia of delights, but I have to admit that this craven crumple at the altar of Political Correctness got me seriously cheesed.
While I was contemplating what to do between now and Twelfth Night, Mark Steyn got on the case ["Don we now our vague apparel"], and I'm sure there were countless others who didn't need Steyn to lead them towards posting a complaint to Amazon's management.
The upshot is that it didn't take Amazon long to realize their mistake, and they are now advertising gifts for the TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS. Having drawn attention to the original travesty, Steyn began to regret the speedy return to sanity on Amazon's part, because the Bad Idea had been such fodder for parody, as follows:
Seven Customer Care Representatives A-leaping [Mark Steyn]
Following my post yesterday on Amazon.com's bizarre "Twelve Days Of Holiday" campaign, an unseasonably intemperate reader wrote:
Don't like Amazon? Don't shop at it then, you clot. Nobody really gives a damn if some online retailer is insufficiently Christian for your tastes. Nobody.
Oh, I don't know. The "Twelve Days Of Holiday" promotion has now been amended to "The Twelve Days Of [click here for offensive C-word]". So, if I'm a clot, I'm Rudolph the Red-Nosed Clot in whose wake you run-of-the-sleigh clots follow.
To be honest, I mildly regret this instant corporate capitulation as sometime Cornerite Michael Graham has started up a poll to find out your favorite "Twelve Days Of Holiday" song. As I write, the runaway winner is "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Thursday".
[UPDATE: Things are going from bad to Norse:
Some may find it offensive to officially promote the Norse gods, so I believe it would be best to quit using terminology such as "Tuesday", "Wednesday", "Thursday" and "Friday" for our weekdays. Clearly, "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Thursday" is highly offensive to those who do not worship Thor, and thus a more appropriate holiday song should be "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like The Fifth Day of the Week".
But only if you assume the week begins on Sunday, as so many C-word obsessives do. Another reader writes:
Surely we should avoid offending those who do not worship Thor, god of thunder. So it should be “It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like the 4th day of the week”.
How about "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Lunchtime"?
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
TISSUES AND ISSUES
If Obama stays the course, there’s a chance, slim but real, that a democratic Iraq will emerge from what now looks like a disaster.Is that right?
So said the crusty George Jonas in yesterday's National Post. Some people -- Iraqi people -- have other ideas, about words like "slim" and "disaster".
Here's the Thanksgiving circular from Families United For Our Troops and Their Mission. It's about the many faces of our victory in Iraq. Tissue alert: if this one doesn't get to you, you're made of stone.
A Thanksgiving BlessingAs Thanksgiving approaches, I am reminded of the many families who will be missing a loved one at the table. We will reflect on Thanksgivings past and the joy and laughter they brought to the gathering. On Derek’s last Thanksgiving at my home, there were 14 around our table. I remember breaking down as I said grace and asked everyone to remember our troops and keep them safe. Derek followed me into the kitchen to give me a hug. His eyes were warm and bright when he said, “Just remember, if I go anywhere, I’m going home.” In those words, I have found comfort.
Our blessings go out in particular this holiday to the brave Blue Star families, the PGR, our military, and our loyal troop supporters that have come to our side in mutual understanding and strength. I must confess that I never knew I was a Blue Star parent. Derek was a member of a Special Ops group that number less than 400 worldwide. I didn’t know where or when he was deployed. On our ride across country this summer for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, we found support and new friendships through both Families United and these groups.
Last week, I was offered a wonderful opportunity that has given all of our families’ reason to be thankful. Merrilee Carlson and myself had the joy of experiencing the rewards of our efforts in Iraq. On Wednesday, November 12th, I was invited to DC to take part in a joint wreath laying ceremony. My son is buried at Arlington Cemetery with three other Americans, and one Iraqi Captain. An Iraqi General stood with an American General and placed the wreath together on the common grave. “Together they fought, and together they died”, were the words expressed by the Iraqi General.
A delegation of about 15 Iraqis attended the ceremony to honor all of our sons and daughters that have given their lives for freedom. That evening we attended a dinner hosted by the Iraqis. I consider it a gift that I can now sit between an Iraqi General and the Iraqi Ambassador and share laughter and conversation.
Ambassador Sumaida’ie’s words in an article written on April 10th of this year, ring true to this date.
“Having intervened and committed itself so deeply, the U.S. is debating the level and cost of its engagement. I submit that it cannot afford to lose this fight to its enemies. The destinies of the U.S. and Iraq have become intertwined and their national interests very closely linked.”
We stand at a crossroads in our country this Thanksgiving. In honor of my son, and all of our military families, we will pray that our leadership finds the strength and courage they need to allow our troops to complete their mission.
Our Thanksgiving table was always filled with lively debate, and that is the beauty of our freedom. Derek alluded to this in part of an address he wrote to his team.
“Our team has not always seen eye to eye. It’s hard for people to agree on everything, actually it’s (darn) near impossible. I know for a fact if I was surrounded by 14 Argels, we definitely would have a hard time getting (stuff) done. I could argue with myself for days on end, but that’s why I’m glad we have such a diverse group of men…Remember your training, your accomplishments, and each other. You will see combat, you will see death, and you will deal it. Take ease in knowing that your country, your friends, your family, your team and myself believe in what you can do. Success!”
Our success and continued support depends on the friendships and relationships forged during this time. This week we will give thanks for those friendships with allies, love from our families, the sacrifice of our troops and the continued successes in their mission. I pray that each of your families find the strength and courage this Thanksgiving that our troops exemplify.Deb Argel-Bastian
In honor of my son, Capt. Derek Argel
Deployed to heaven, Memorial Day 2005
IRAQ LAURELS ARE NOT FOR SITTING ON
Just in case anybody [not least, the President-elect, who must now be painfully aware that he's playing in the big-leagues] thought that the terrorist crazies of the world are going to let the Iraq set-back discourage them for the long-term, a new tumor has erupted in Mumbai, India, where at least 100 were killed and hundreds more have been wounded or taken hostage in a well-coordinated series of attacks across the city. Al Qaeda has been dealt a massive blow by the loss in Iraq and the severe disruption of its funding and communication networks (no thanks to the American Congress update: and the New York Times, may I add...), but the spiritual and psychological poisoning of a whole generation of Muslims by their fanatical terrorist mentors is by no means purged.
The economy may be riding a roller-coaster, but one cost remains inelastic: the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.
Prayers for our friends in India this day.
Born of American Puritan values, seedbed of the great American Protestant Ethic.
Or was it?
Taylor Marsh at Credo [via the Anchoress] tells us that the FIRST first American Thanksgiving took place among the Spanish in St. Augustine, Florida in 1565 and the celebrations were kicked off with a Catholic Mass. Likewise the second recorded formal Thanksgiving celebration, declared by Don Juan de Oñate (explorer, conqueror, and scourge of the Acoma Indians) in Texas in 1598.
And if that don't beat all, it seems that Squanto -- English-speaking Patuxet Indian who became an ambassador from the Wampanoag tribe to the Pilgrims, and whose assistance with subsistence gave the struggling Pilgrims something to be thankful for -- had earlier embraced Catholicism while in Spain, having been freed from slavery by a community of Franciscan friars.
And, as Marsh reminds us, “Thanksgiving” in Greek is Eucharistia.
And now back to our regularly scheduled Pilgrim.
Monday, November 24, 2008
It always happens: when you start making a list, you leave something off. Better just to make generalizations.
My V.I. Day post gave a general thank-you to "Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen" without naming anybody in particular. Now, I'm sure that the General of the Hour would consider himself privileged to be counted as one of those soldiers -- but it nevertheless needs to be said that credit for Victory in Iraq requires us to list the following names:
Petraeus, Petraeus, Petraeus, Petraeus, Petraeus, Petraeus, Petraeus, Petraeus, Petraeus, Petraeus,........
And did I mention
I also gave a general thank-you to "steadfast, occasionally visionary, politicians" and to our "Coalition partners". There are a couple of names required in those categories too, though in March of 2003, and for a considerable time afterward, neither of these would have considered themselves either as politicians or members of any coalition that included Americans. How times have changed.
There is Nouri Al Maliki, the soft-spoken first Prime Minister of the New Iraq, who sometimes seems soft-headed too, but has managed, against great odds and mortal dangers, to keep his hand on the rudder of his country's future, with spectacular results (despite the herculean efforts of American congressional Democrats to thwart, undermine, and insult his achievements).
There is also Sheikh Abdl Sattar Abu Risha, first leader of the Anbar Awakening. He was assassinated for it in September 2007, but is honoured in the continuity of his leadership example carried through to this day by other Anbar sheikhs (again, despite partisan congressional efforts to downplay or deny the historic allegiance between these Iraqi tribes and their American occupiers, towards a lasting peace).
History shall remember their courage.
Also among our Coalition Partners can be included (but impossible to list) the people of Iraq who began their career as free agents more than five years ago with desperately infantile and self-destructive looting of their own infrastructure, because under Saddam nothing had ever really been "their own" -- and who now have pledged not just their blood and labour but their maturity and self-discipline as a culture to overcome the fears and hatreds of the past, and to make peace with the invaders who, we must openly admit, broke a lot of bones and hearts and pottery in order to break the Iraqis' chains.
The Iraqi people, as a group, have suffered every conceivable kind of insult at the hands of the haters of George W. Bush, especially those in elected office -- those who, in a relentless quest to saddle the president with a disaster, have denied the reality of every particle of cooperation, progress and normalization which has proceeded, first in fits and starts and finally in a tidal-wave, over the past five years.
And among all the politicians who slagged the Iraqi government and ignored its heroic track toward democracy, even as they slagged and slandered the American military (who are, in fact, the most expert diplomatic corps in the history of human society), no one has gone to greater lengths to flip the bird to the whole country of Iraq than our current Vice-President-elect, Jabbering Joe Biden.
The Senator from Delaware pretended he was the only adult in the room by proposing, from way out in left field, that Iraq be partitioned into three self-governing provinces based on ethnicity and religion.
Ignoring the fact that there are more ethnicities at work than just three; that they do not live in easily-defined separate regions; that they are intermarried in great numbers both among ethnicities and religious factions; that if there is any governmental tradition "natural" to this ancient region, after millennia of waves and waves of invasion, it is by tribe rather than geographical or other type of boundary line; and (most importantly) that no one had even bothered to consult the Iraqis themselves about Biden's scheme for their future, the Senator from Unaware touted his flagrantly imperialist agenda from mid-2006 right through the Democratic primary season, as if it had been delivered straight down from (as 'twere) Mt. Sinai.
[Footnote: when the Iraqis were permitted a response to the idea, they hated it. HUGE.]
So let's not forget the immortal words of Idiot Joe in his Wapo op-ed of 2006:
Unfortunately, this administration does not have a coherent plan or any discernible strategy for success in Iraq. Its strategy is to prevent defeat and hand the problem off when it leaves office.
Here's your hand-off Joe: it's called VICTORY. Catch it if you can.
On this day for names, I reflect on one more leader of troops into battle, a man I've met and heard speak a couple of times, a man who, in times of trouble, I would follow without hesitation. Lt. Col. Bryan McCoy, author of The Passion of Command -- and boy does he have it.
Most often I think of him in a context which I did not personally witness. He was part of a CNN broadcast of April 9, 2003, the transcript of which is still available on the 'net here. Its subject was the fact -- the FACT -- that the invading American army was welcomed into Iraq as LIBERATORS, as witnessed by CNN reporters Ben Wedeman and Christiane Amanpour, plus Al Jazeera's Dima Khatib, Cox News' Craig Nelson, Abu Dhabi News' Jasim Al Azzawi, L.A. Times' Robin Wright, Lebanese Broadcasting's Tani Mehanna, and American Army Generals Wesley Clark and David Range, all interviewed by Larry King in the heady atmosphere of a "jubilant" Iraq.
Now, none of these voices was drunk with triumph -- all were temperate about what the future held -- but there was no question whatsoever that, at the moment of the taking of Baghdad, the Americans were being welcomed as Liberators throughout Iraq and parts of the wider region.
Then there was Col. McCoy's voice, that of a man who had fought his way into the country for 21 days, the latter half of them spent in full-blast battle rattle. He had already lost some of "his boys." It was Col. McCoy's boys who helped the locals bring down Saddam's statue in Baghdad's Firdos square (and no, they didn't "raise an American flag," they wiped Saddam's face with it -- nor did they try to claim that the square was packed with thousands when it wasn't, nor did they have to egg on the crowd to attack the statue -- they just helped complete the task the crowd was ill-equipped to do themselves).
But the idea that the military on the ground ever thought this job was going to be a "cakewalk" is belied by McCoy's answers to Larry King. Finally, in response to King's classic lazy-journalist question: "What about this venture has surprised you the most?" McCoy said,
What has surprised me the most is the closer we got to Baghdad, the more effusive the people were about welcoming us here. We thought it would be the opposite. It would be the closer we got to Baghdad, the less welcome we would be.
McCoy's realistic expectations echo the anti-rosy assessment of then two-star General David Petraeus a couple of weeks before , "Tell me how this ends? eight years and eight divisions?"
Well, Peaches, we're starting to know. Apparently, it ends well -- providing the folks in Washington don't screw it up again.
IT ENDS LIKE THIS:
TOUCHING THE FACE OF GRACE
Over at primo Milblog Mudville Gazette this story is passed along from CJ at A Soldier's Perspective (with the appropriate "tissue alert.") It's called Touching the Face of Grace and I present it here in full, because that's what it merits.
I found this essay, written by the father of a deployed Soldier, on the American Legion website. It was introduced into the Congressional Record by Frank R. Wolf, R-Va, on September 16th. It's a very touching and inspirational story should be required reading by the defeatists in Congress. Here it is:
“Whatever your political take on the war in Iraq, nothing can alter it more than having a loved one in the midst of it. Nor is anyone’s current perspective balanced until they hear at least some things from a soldier’s point of view.
“My wife and I learned these truths when our son, a 2004 Handley graduate, decided to join the Army in 2006. His reasoning was simple: he wasn’t comfortable knowing that thousands of others his age were sacrificing their own freedoms to protect his. When he signed up to join those thousands, it changed our perspective as well.
“Up to that point, it had always been other people’s sons and daughters doing the fighting. Now it would be our own child. Naturally, no one wants their child to volunteer to go in harm’s way for freedom’s sake. It was something of a conviction, though, when my wife and I had to ask ourselves why it shouldn’t be our own son in the Middle East, why we should be spared the rituals of anxiety, prayer, hope and waiting that tens of thousands of other families over here have already endured.
“In early June, we flew to Fort Hood, Texas, to see our son deploy for a 15-month tour in Iraq. Again, one’s perspective is limited until one attends a deploying ceremony for a unit of soldiers. Spouses, children, parents, siblings and friends, all crowding a gym, all clinging closely to their treasures in uniform, accompanied by flags, prayers, cheers and tears. Our son had joined a ‘band of brothers.’ My wife and I had joined the ‘band of others’ who would be waiting at home. Both those going, and those left behind, carry the war on terror in a personal way.
“Still, those of us left behind need to see something of what our soldiers see, and not only what is offered us in the news. To that end, here is one story our son, Luke, shared with us by phone that must be shared with anyone who claims an interest in what our soldiers are doing in the Middle East.
“Stationed outside a city on the Tigris River, Luke had accompanied his colonel into town as part of a security team, while the colonel spoke with a local sheik. While standing guard, Luke noticed a woman approaching from behind and cautiously turned in her direction, his rifle at the ready.
“An interpreter told our son it was OK – the woman just wanted to touch a soldier. Still uneasy, Luke stood still while the woman reached out her hand and touched his face, tears in her eyes.
“Looking to the interpreter for meaning, our son was told that the woman simply ‘wanted to touch the face of grace.’ It seems this trembling woman, like most of the people in her town, looked upon our soldiers as angels of grace, sent by God to protect her from the violence and oppression her people had come to know up to then. Learning this, our son squeezed and kissed the woman’s hand, and she left, weeping.
“The ‘face of grace.’ How many of us, safe at home debating the politics of the war on terror, have ever seen our soldiers in such a light? How many of us have even read such an uplifting newspaper account of our soldiers?
“To be sure, our soldiers are not virtuous simply by being soldiers. At home in their ‘civvies’ they are as un-angelic as the rest of us. Yet when they voluntarily get into ‘full battle rattle’ (as they call their battle gear) in a hot and hostile land, their job is both protective and sacrificial – as angelic a purpose as humans can take on.
“People like this woman, having suffered years of oppression and fear, have eyes and a heart to see this, and the desire to “‘touch the face of grace.’ Do we have the ability to see our soldiers in the same way? And not merely our soldiers: Can we see the ‘face of grace’ in the police who protect us in every town, day and night? Or in the fire and rescue teams who are ‘soldiers’ in their own right?
“My wife and I obviously pray that our son and his ‘band of brothers’ will come safely home to their personal ‘band of others.’ After listening to our son’s experience, though, we have added the prayer that Americans in every community will be given the eyes and heart to see the ‘Face of Grace’ in all who protect our lives and freedoms – especially in soldiers like our son.”
Saturday, November 22, 2008
This is how VI Day looks at my house.
If they're still up by the time we get back late tonight, well, maybe free speech isn't completely dead in Canada.
without a terrorist attack on American soil.
Thank you to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen of our nation and its Coalition partners.
Thanks to a handful (small, perhaps) of steadfast, occasionally visionary politicians, not least among them
SENATOR JOHN S. MCCAIN, AND
GEORGE W. BUSH
Friday, November 21, 2008
Americans have this quaint little custom (Canadian readers take note) of watching the Commander-in-Chief give an official pardon to one privileged turkey every year just before Thanksgiving (even if his name is Marc Rich and he’s a convicted felon on the lam…….but I digress). We’ve probably all seen the photo-op.
But if we turn our gaze North To Alaska, we see that the state’s chief executive has a different idea, and helps her state to celebrate the harmonious dining experience of the Pilgrim Fathers with their Aboriginal Neighbors by sentencing all the local turkeys to the Chair.
Here’s the video, of the extraordinary Sarah Palin holding her cuppa joe and chatting with some newshound about the coming holiday while behind her another ordinary Joe, khaki work pants covered in blood’n’guts, is nonchalantly putting turkey-birds to death in the Cone of Terror – holding them until their jugulars are tapped out, and staring at the TV camera with the big placid “Hi Mom” smile.
The Huffington Post goes postal. [hat-tip Ann Althouse, via Instapundit]
“Gruesome” they said. God help me -- I love it.
NEWSFLASH to the gliberal blue-state upper crustaceans who don’t really want to know the details as to how their coq au vin wound up snuggling into its bed of arugula and truffles: You are the new Puritans.
Once upon a time the ruling elites of the Anglosphere claimed to be excessively fond of their darling children, but wouldn’t permit in polite company any syllable to be uttered referencing how those children came to be, er, found in the cabbage patch. Piano legs were draped in paisley scarves, and we spoke in hushed tones of women in “confinement”.
Today’s Puritans are the glittering cocktail set from Georgetown to Beacon Hill to Westwood and Malibu, and they tut at the coarseness of Alaska’s governor, and gasp at her indifference to the poultry holocaust behind her. Cheeeez.
Like I said – NEWSFLASH –
Behind every breast of duck that arrives next to your linen napkin, just southwest of your pinot noir and Evian water glasses, wafting its aroma of sherry and pomegranate confit up towards your surgically-enhanced nasal passages, there is some guy in blood-spattered coveralls who had to stop the quack with a hatchet whack.
He does it day in and day out, with a contented visage, and with more understanding of the individuality of that duck – its markings, its behaviour, its cycle of life – than any dues-paying PETA member within a hundred miles of your private bistro corner has for his/her pampered cockapoo.
Deal with it. Gobble gobble.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
THE CLINTON PRESIDENCY
[see if this proves prescient]
THAT WE MAY HAVE FAILED TO NOTICE:
UNDER THE BUSH PRESIDENCY
WE HAVE WON THE WAR IN IRAQ
Who says so?
MICHAEL YON, primo self-embedded reporter [contribute, buy books and prints here], who's also wise and bold enough to say that, at the moment, we're losing the war in Afghanistan.
J.D. JOHANNES, self-funded documentarian [contribute, buy DVD's here], who provides this little snapshot of present-day Baghdad, and has the authority to claim that it stands for a wider and more general peace and stability.
SO FEEL FREE TO CELEBRATE
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22
PUT OUT YOUR FLAGS!
Check out the details here -- thanks and a tip of the camo cover to Zombietime.
AND IF YOUR HEAD IS STILL SWIRLING
from that 2 x 4 between the eyes we called THE ELECTION...
Take a gander at this exit-poll sampling of informed voters, recorded by documentarian John Zeigler. Watch it and weep. [It takes 10 minutes, but you can't afford to miss any of it.] And then visit his site for the full Zogby workup.
Stay tuned to see whether by 2012 we will be totally
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Election Analysis: America Can Take Pride In This Historic, Inspirational Disaster
And if you feel like indulging in a little spate of bitterness, enjoy Iowahawk's skewering of a certain genetically-privileged journalistic gadfly sporting the latest in fashionably turned coats, whose initials are C-H-R-I-S-T-O B-U-C-K-L-E-Y.
As a Conservative, I Must Say I Do Quite Like the Cut of this Obama Fellow's Jib
Dr. Krauthammer presides over the Campaign Autopsy
I don't agree with certain segments of his analysis, but welcome what I would call the Money Quote:
...before our old soldier fades away, it is worth acknowledging that McCain ran a valiant race against impossible odds. He will be — he should be — remembered as the most worthy presidential nominee ever to be denied the prize.Amen.
And now we return to our regularly scheduled Glad Game.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
ON NOVEMBER 11
WITHOUT THESE WORDS
[hat-tip: Families United For Our Troops and Their Mission]
At the going down of the sun
and in the morning
We will remember them.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
I can't claim to have any -- so I went searching and found some other people who put some good words together, when so many of us are speechless.
[hat-tip: Gateway Pundit
Beldar (Bill Dyer) over at Hugh Hewitt's Place, is worth quoting at length:
Mr. President-elect, you have been, and will remain even more frequently, in my prayers.
I pray that you may acquire wisdom — wisdom beyond your tender years, your thin experience, and your inconsequential legislative achievements — wisdom as a public servant in office, rather, that is at least commensurate with the skill you've shown as a campaigner, which has been a genuine marvel.
I pray for your health, because, with due respect, I regard the prospect of your Vice President-elect having to step into your shoes with genuine panic. Let's hope that he can continue to be Crazy Uncle Joe, less of a danger to the nation as Vice President than as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
You have said, at times, that you recognize that your greatest flaw is pride. I pray that your prayers for help in overcoming that flaw will be answered. You are surrounded, unfortunately, with an entourage who share that very flaw. Between now and January, I hope you will find time to read modern American history, and in particular, histories about John F. Kennedy, who you resemble in so many ways. Kennedy's youthful arrogance and ignorance nearly incinerated our planet — a fact of which you seem to be unaware, and that frightens me more than anything else about the prospect of your presidency. Mr. President-elect, you must learn history, so that you can avoid at least its most conspicuous mistakes — like those John Kennedy made in
1961 when he, as a young and presumably naive president, was tested and found completely wanting. Vienna
You will be my president too, and while I am filled with trepidation, I congratulate you as sincerely as I am able, and I wish the very best for you and our great country.
Memo to Secret Service:
Do not, under any circumstances, permit any harm to come to President Obama. For the sake of America -- for the love of God! -- keep Botox Boy Biden safely tucked away in a secure undisclosed Bucket of Warm Spit.
A TOO-LONG ABSENT VOICE --
A WHACKIN' DOSE OF REALITY
ARTHUR CHRENKOFF WEIGHS IN
Chrenkoff is the former blogger-voice crying in the wilderness during the early days of the war in Iraq, when things that were going well -- and there WERE some, lots in fact -- were deliberately buried by what were then the main conduits of information.
[hat-tips galore: The Anchoress]
The future of information, by the way, is one of the many serious concerns to be monitored under the coming Democratic jack-boot. Drool for the Fairness [sic] Doctrine is already glistening on the lips of New York Senator Chuck Schumer.
There will be blood.
Regarding my sentiments in the previous post about how "for the sake of people like [Juan Williams] I wish that this first black president could have been a better man -- a man who was worthy, and (more importantly) prepared for the job he is about to undertake. Barack Obama is neither, and I think it is safe to predict that history will amply demonstrate this": according to some black conservatives at Booker Rising, I nailed this one.
We'll never have this moment again [of having the first black president]. It will always be tainted by Obama. The first black person to be elected president of the United States has basically said whatever needed to be said to get elected...
My biggest thing towards my black brothers and sisters is this: I can respect you voting for Barack Obama simply because he is a black man and this was the first opportunity to get a black man in office. Just say that. But please don't insult my intelligence by saying this man is qualified. He's not. He's plastic.
[hat-tip: Kathy Shaidle, Five Feet of Fury]
LET THE CRONYISM BEGIN
Chicago's Daley Machine (version 2.0) lands on the South Lawn:
Obama picks Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Chicago-bred Democratic partisan with a capital "P" (and that rhymes with "T" and that stands for "Trouble") for Chief of Staff.
ARTS 'N' LETTERS
As the recipient of profound and profoundly irreverent private circulars of Canadian journo hack David Warren, I replied to him this morning, something on the order of the following -- no sense wasting a good diatribe on mere personal correspondence:
[Regarding today's report of last-minute Obama mercenary vote-trawlers not being paid by the Anointed One's church-like organization] Amazing that a campaign simply dripping with cash can't, or won't, pay its folks (most of them, no doubt, of ACORN caliber). I was still getting emails from Michelle on election day with a fully functional "Last Chance to Donate" button, then from Barack himself (under the subject line "How this happened") with a "please donate" button -- which I clicked and found my stored information all set up for me: [alias: Atticus Finch]. As the Duchess of Windsor might put it, metrosexual men can never be too thin, and their tall horsie wives can never be too rich. (Horsie is not about Michelle's face -- she's pretty enough in the fleeting instants where she's not fixing to bite someone on the neck -- but she is somewhat oversized and gangly, and could never navigate on 's high heels without looking like a rugby thug.)Further painful reflections on our "thumping" here, with which I am in wholehearted agreement.Excellent piece on the 'irrevocable act' [this is Warren's Ottawa Citizen piece for Sunday-- read it there or at his site in a few days]. I will pass it on after it goes to press.
We must think up some epic epithet for the Brooks/Noonan/Parker/Frum/Will etc. turncoat brigade. Shall put on my slagging cap.
Not that he has counted for ANYTHING in the past couple of years, nor will be included in our Turncoat Brigade Moniker, but do you think Andrew Sullivan will finally rest easy, on his first and only quest for gynecological specifics re: Sarah Palin's medical history, as released this week? Is that one of the sickest manifestations of Palin Syndrome or what?The insider Palin-bashing thing is very interesting. I don't disbelieve much of what is being said about her, I just find it so petty and unimportant -- even her alleged (probably exaggerated) ignorance of geography. She graduated from American public high school in the 1980's. What do people expect?Not to mention that, in the way that Alaska keeps reminding me of Newfoundland (though I suspect Alaska is somewhat more sophisticated), there are a lot of very smart people who can do amazing things, so mentally and physically demanding that they would have the most tofu-conscious health-clubbing Ivy-League Beltway suit gasping, fainting, and pissing himself inside of a quarter of an hour. And it's entirely possible that a lot of these hardy country-folk might not be able to identify Zimbabwe or find Mustique on a map -- life has more important things for them to know, like how to read the sea and get home alive when your engine is (literally) flooded.
I don't give a #%$@ if Sarah is geography-challenged. What is more revealing is the sense, so beautifully communicated by Fox's Carl Cameron, of the contempt with which Mrs. Palin was undoubtedly treated when these revelations were, er, revealed. (Words are failing me.) I only saw Cameron's bit on O'Reilly, and missed his earlier report with that smarmy sun-tanned puke, Shepard Smith (whom I loathed on sight the day that Fox went on the air in Canada).
Did she really have tantrums when she saw how people were trying to lock her in the closet and only let her out to be humiliated by Really Important People like Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric? ["the professor -- and -- Marianne -- here on Gilligan's Isle....."] You betcha, she did -- what self-respecting, well-grounded woman/state governor wouldn't? Who did these handler creeps think they were?All my good stuff is from Gateway Pundit this morning. He has a good link to the whole Palin-trashing thing. This theory is especially good.I understand (from people like Sean Hannity, no less) that we are all called upon to be gracious and upbeat, fair and balanced, (audacious in our Hopey Changitude?) in the face of the new tomorrow. Crikey. Won't be getting on that bandwagon any too soon. Seem to be stuck in Bitter Clinger mode.Speaking of which, moronic American Archbishop of Atlanta, Wilton Gregory, comments stupidly on the idea that Obambi's election as Comrade-in-Chief is of any relevance whatsoever to the prospect of an African Pope. So glad most of the responding commenters are flinging the appropriate level of spittle.
Talked to my sister -- she a medieval scholar and administrator at a Catholic inst. of higher ed., and, on the whole, a more pious and rational and lady-like person than myself -- and I believe I heard her use the f-word twice, which may be twice more than I've ever heard her use it before. She is prepared to accept that we Amurrican Catlicks have been cheating on our prayer and penance regime, and that nothing less will save us. Crikey -- must we really cave in to this Superstitional Religulous Blackmail??????!!!!!!!
Shopping for black crepe -- yours, etc........
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
AND I'M PRETTY SURE
"THE RISE OF THE OCEANS
BEGAN TO SLOW
AND OUR PLANET BEGAN TO HEAL"
BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA IS THE PRESIDENT-ELECT
Karl Rove just said that "every American ought to celebrate tonight."
Sorry, having a little trouble there, and I don't think it's going to go away.
Would I celebrate if I had a terminal illness and I got some doctor to tell me I was really going to be okay? No. What's to celebrate if something that appears to be good is just an illusion?
Certainly, no one would deny that in terms of symbolism, the American nation has just undergone an historic seismic shift. And symbolism is not without value, in terms of bolstering the health and strength of a nation. But symbolism is not a substitute for wisdom, or character, or administrative talent. It cannot create virtue where it is lacking. And it is worthless if it is merely a veil to obscure the leadership vacuum, and the seamy stepping-stones, upon which this political victory has been cobbled together.
There are plenty of candidates whose election to the presidency would have grossed me out -- the thought of President Hillary shrieking and shriking at us for four years or more would be a serious bummer; the thought of nodding to the soporific drone of the haughty, French-looking John Fitzgerald Kerry for a term or two might induce coma or a drug habit. But neither of them would inspire in me the sheer cold-sweat fear with which I contemplate the coming Obama administration. Give me a tired old left-wing D.C. hack any day before you ask me to trust my country, its future, the life and well-being of my military sons to this wet-behind-the-ears, pompous empty suit who has cultivated a colossal indifference to every brand of moral and political corruption that he has deemed necessary to embrace in his quest for ever-higher position.
I continue to find the readiness of the black population to vote as a massive block (95% for almost any Democrat) to be an unhealthy sign of a prolonged cultural infancy (deeply underscored by the simmering threat of waves of rioting should Obama not have achieved his anointing). At the same time, it is hard to hold this hollow victory against the black Americans who have found the idea of President Obama irresistible. Enough of them are of an age to remember a time when they were barred from countless acts and places that formed the pattern of ordinary life for white America.
In an earlier post I remarked that, over the course of the campaign, it has been very moving to watch the response of thoughtful and fair-minded people like NPR's Juan Williams, who has been capable of recognizing Obama's most obvious flaws even as he has felt the powerful pull of his people's history surging forward. He was in his usual eloquent, yet clear-eyed, form tonight as the long-awaited corner was turned. I can't help feeling sorry for him, though, because for the sake of people like him I wish that this first black president could have been a better man -- a man who was worthy, and (more importantly) prepared for the job he is about to undertake. Barack Obama is neither, and I think it is safe to predict that history will amply demonstrate this.
Many voices among the conservative pundit class tonight are urging restraint, and sounding the alarm about the danger of falling into the reverse version of the "Bush Derangement Syndrome" which has driven so many on the left to the wildest extremes of hatred and sabotage over the past eight years. And these voices are to be heeded. But the sad truth is that, years down the road, when those of us who shudder at the prospect of an Obama presidency have long since recovered, re-grouped and resurged, it will be those celebrating his ascendancy on the basis of his being the "right" race who will have the hardest time forgiving him if he proves to have been the wrong man.
It goes without saying that Joe Biden will be an insufferable embarrassment as Vice President, on a scale that Sarah Palin's most savage critics could hardly imagine -- in the tumult of this evening's vote-count and all the high emotion, i had all but forgotten about Idiot Joe and what a foul and cynical joke that VP selection was. But the painful truth is that Barack Obama is poised to be almost as great an embarrassment, and the consequences could be shattering, perhaps fatal -- to Israel at the very least, if not to some substantial segment of Obama's fellow Americans. I have no doubt that many of the pundits and politicians who were gracious and complimentary to the winner secretly agree with me on this, and if we are proven right, NO ONE will take ANY satisfaction in being so.
I am sorry for John McCain's loss this evening, more for the sake of our country and especially our military, and for the world at large, than for the man himself, who ran a less-than-competent campaign, plagued by McCain's own stubborn refusal to recognize where his real enemies were and push back against them accordingly (and coherently). I am almost (but not quite) as sorry for the sea of dupes who are cheering in Grant Park this evening, and across the nation, and already chiming in from around the world. You have bought a pig in a poke, my friends -- a fistful of magic beans, a gaseous Chimera of Oz. [And I use the term "bought" advisedly, for this presidency begins under the shadow of donation fraud on a massive scale, which will always leave open the question of whether the office could have been earned had it not been bought.] The price of your folly may be high and widespread.
To add insult to injury, that slandering slob Congressman Jack Murtha has beaten his challenger, Lt. Col. Bill Russell in Pennsylvania. Shite.
* * * * * * * * * * *
It's easy to make predictions, especially in the flowering of fresh bruises. These will heal. There is much to be grateful for, not least that America could produce such an interesting and impressive character as John McCain and watch him rise from the bottom of his Academy class to the peak of his nation's esteem, even in defeat. Because America can, and has, and will continue to produce many thousands upon thousands more with his backbone and his love of country, at the end of the day we will be all right.
And, at the end of another day, not this one, but one on the near horizon, we will see Sarah Palin take her place on the national stage again -- she will still be unique and electrifying and determined, and Frum, Noonan, Brooks, Parker, Powell, et al., will still be wrong about her. [Memo to Sarah: keep the goddam clothes. You earned them.]
For the first time in long memory, I abandoned the election returns this evening, even before the fate was sealed, unwilling to wallow in the agony -- and switched over to the [only mildly] funny politics of Stewart and Colbert. I gave half an ear to part of the concession speech, and no hearing at all to the victory oration. I have watched only minutes of the late commentary.
I am now having a massive bowl of ice cream and watching Ozzie and Harriet. It's going to be a very long four years.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Two years, 16 candidates (at least),
a billion dollars (at least),
and it all comes down to tomorrow
I arrived in San Diego about a week ago, to spend a couple of weeks being Grandma and trying not to think too much about politics, or follow it like a bloodhound, as I had been doing for what seems like an eternity. I have succeeded better than expected, in the belief that it is all in God's hands now and there's nothing anybody can do more effective than straight-up prayers that the world's last super-power will save itself from the government many might say it deserves.
If at this moment there is anyone still undecided (I never believe in that old canard about the massive mooshy middle), then you, sir or madam, have not been listening or reading or engaging in the most basic thought processes for, lo, these many months. And you're too witless to deserve a vote. On the other hand, you could very well have been snuffling after truffles of information and still be monumentally ILL-informed, if not UN-informed, the state of mass communication being what it is.
It is almost impossible to believe that 24 hours from now it will (probably) all be over and we'll know whether it is possible for a vast, free nation to act entirely against its own self-interest on the basis of the grandest of Grand Illusions, by voting into the nation's highest office (as it is roundly believed they shall) a man who is little more than vapor or shadow-puppet, who has spent hundreds of millions of media dollars to make absolutely sure that as little as possible is revealed about him.
His name is Barack (Barry) Hussein Obama. He stands poised to be elected leader of what is left of the free world. According to Britain's Economist magazine, "IT'S TIME."
Is that right? Time for what, exactly?
Trying very hard to look more serious than they are, the editors wait until paragraph 11 of a 17-paragraph piece to put forward the simpleton argument which is the core of their endorsement: that "it's time" for America to put its first black man in the Oval Office. As the Economist sees it:
...it would be far harder for the spreaders of hate in the Islamic world to denounce the Great Satan if it were led by a black man whose middle name is Hussein; and far harder for autocrats around the world to claim that American democracy is a sham... At home he would salve, if not close, the ugly racial wound left by America’s history and lessen the tendency of American blacks to blame all their problems on racism.It defies comprehension that this hoitiest-of-the-toitiest prestigious international journal would actually put forward the middle-name argument, a claim so transparently foolish and jejune that the candidate himself used it but once, in early days, and then realized he's be better off to keep mum about it, and to intimidate everyone else into doing the same.
How the non-election of Obama would paint American democracy as a sham before anyone, least of all the world's autocrats, eludes me completely. As my old sailor-dad would say, "bilgewater."
But the heart of the matter is that Obama's election would supposedly heal America's "racial wound." Now, is that Obama's election, or, as the editorial clearly implies, merely the election of somebody who is a member of America's principal aggrieved race?
Are we to assume that in the absence of an Obama, any black man, or woman, will do, to address these concerns about wounds and to impress the Islamic world's hate-spreaders? Would Al Sharpton do? Jeremiah Wright? Bill Cosby? Wilt Chamberlain? Whitney Houston? Queen Latifah? Cynthia McKinney? The possibilities are endless, if all these ills can be salved by mere skin pigment. I don't think the Economist meant that -- but that's essentially what they have said, and they have a mob in their corner with that argument.
Nestled within these assertions is the claim that "Americas's allies would rally to him: the global electoral college on our website shows a landslide in his favour. " Well, isn't that special.
With breathtaking arrogance, the pundits of the Mother Country consider their approval, and that of their fellow FOREIGNERS as expressed in a repugnant "Global Test", to be a plus for Mr. Obama in the American electoral decision. Moving on.
To conclude, the Economist admits that Barack Obama represents a gamble. However,
Mr Obama has produced the more compelling and detailed portrait. He has campaigned with more style, intelligence and discipline than his opponent. Whether he can fulfil his immense potential remains to be seen. But Mr Obama deserves the presidency.Anyone who thinks that Barack Obama's "portrait" has been "detailed" is looking at a dreamscape canvas on which they have projected their favourite illusions, which look brilliant to them only because the canvas itself is blank. The Economist's endorsement of Obama speaks of the adolescent sexed-up fantasy and cult myopia which has characterized his election pageant since his debut at the 2004 Democratic convention. The notion that he "deserves the presidency" based on a stylish and disciplined campaign (meaning he wears his suits well, is photogentic and media savvy, and is less gaffe-prone than his opponent), turns the stomach -- all the more since he brings to the reins of power little more than a popular belief in his "potential."
As a cure to what ails America, racially, economically, and on the question of reputation and prestige, Barack Obama can be expected to prove as popular and as effective as leeching the humours or drinking Kickapoo Joy Juice with a side of mandrake. We'll be lucky if we all don't die.
There's an assumption in that remark: that he-- The Anointed One -- is going to win. I am not resigned to assuming that.
I am, however, looking at the prospect of McCain pulling tomorrow's election out of the fire kind of like a Dead Man Walking waits for the Governor's phone-call of commutation.
It could happen!
Final Thoughts at Vespers,
24 hours from our fate:
As this past summer progressed, with all the political ups and downs, and the endless ENDLESS polls, telling different stories hourly, I have often wondered where we would be and what I could say when this hour of November 3rd finally arrived. As usual, it is better left to better writers than myself. A clutch of the best have summed up how the future might look this time tomorrow:
MARK STEYN unveils the reality of the two-dimensional man who is Candidate Obama.
FOUAD AJAMI analyzes the mindless Politics of Crowds and the grim history of the will of the mob.
ALEXANDER LeBREQUE recognizes the workings of a run-of-the-mill Marxist Cult.
[update]The heroically persevering STANLEY KURTZ contributes a summary of his detective work on the Obama we should have gotten to know.
TONY BLANKLEY gives a peak at what our November 5 hangover might feel like, while JEFF JACOBY mulls over what dictatorship might really look like.
FR. GEORGE RUTLER goes all Apolcalyptic on us, about The One We Have Been Waiting For.
And ME, I've had my say about the man with the staggering SANGFROID.
WANT TO KNOW A MAN? ASK HIS WIFE [December, 2004]
WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE, OBAMA SHRUGS
The website Obama Shrugged just came on line in the past couple of weeks [to track the Obama donation scandal], but to my mind its name captures what is probably the most dangerous and, in its way, degenerate blot on the Obama escutcheon: his coooool insouciance at the axis-point of a swirling toxic mass composed of every kind of extremism, with which he has been content to surround himself in order to progress to ever higher levels of power and influence.
"Bloom where you're planted," goes the pop proverb, and so Obama has -- having, by his own admission, deliberately planted himself within the most radical political and religious circles, first to hone a personal identity based on racial grievance and Marxist revolution, and then to seek out a launch-pad for a career in race- and class-based activism. A seething racist preacher here, a seething Marxist terrorist there, an easy money-fixer here, a Daley's Chicago steamroller there -- then stir into the pot enough lawyers and academics and philanthropic sugar-daddies to out-"radical-chic" Leonard Bernstein.
As he has fast-tracked his political apprenticeship these past two years, Barack Obama has been sufficiently conscious of the negative aspects of his past associations to have been very, very quiet about them (even suppressing the scheduled appearance of the Irreverent Jeremiad Wright at the announcement of his candidacy), and then, as each successive skeleton wriggled out of his closet, to have blatantly lied about his degree of involvement with each, and finally tossed them all under the wheels of his campaign bus as he drove on to glory.
This is the pattern he has maintained right up to these last days and hours of the contest, all of it with an air of coolness that is the most frightening thing about him. The outrageous words, beliefs, and acts of his thick but rather narrow range of close associates, all of them instrumental in his rise to prominence, leave him unmoved and unrattled -- undeterred and unashamed.
He exposed his children, on hundreds of occasions, to Rev. Wright's perversion of Christianity that preached racism, hatred, and anti-Americanism laced with profanity and sexual innuendo -- and Obama shrugs it off as the excesses of an eccentric "old uncle".
He shares office space and long-term program administration with self-styled Marxist revolutionary William Ayers, who may have grown too old for violence, but who had a hand in terrorist destruction and murder, for which he feels no remorse whatever. Again, Mr. Obama shrugs it off, as if none of this man's crimes leave any taint on one who, like Obama, aggrandized himself by working within the terrorist's orbit.
I tried to make up a list of Obama's most egregious stances, claims, gaffes, lies, cheats, and general outrages, but basically they've all been said and there's not point in re-iterating what the clued-in already know. The campaign has been so long, and revealed so much-- despite the best efforts of the mainstream press to systematically bury it, and of the Republican party to slip-on-the-banana-peel slapstick bumble it -- it's almost impossible as we come down to the wire to re-cap the lot. Here is what haunts me most at the final hour:
The Obamessiah has been RIGHTLY dubbed "The Infanticide Candidate" by Rolling Stone's Nat Hentoff, because he is probably the most extremist promoter of all-out unfettered at-will abortion to have ever come to prominence on the American political scene. His voting record to this point has outstripped his peers in dedicated advocacy of death to the helpless, and we can be confident that, as President, he would fulfill his promise to sign into law the Freedom of Choice Act, thereby stripping the entire nation of its freedom to choose, within the several states, whether and how to regulate the availability of abortion.
John McCain is a man with as many flaws as he has virtues, but at his core there is one thing which is the engine of everything else, and that is that he loves America, and he has lived that love, and been given life by that love, to a greater degree than any human being on the modern political scene. He will not be the most brilliant president in history, not even close -- but he will be a man in full, and as worthy as few others for the office he aspires to.
The "man in full" reminds me of an earlier observation of mine, about Colin Powell's characterization of Obama as a "transformational figure." A man is not the same thing as a figure. And it is worth remembering:
Americans do not elect a "figure" to the office of President -- they elect a politician, a policy-maker, an executive, a military Commander-in-Chief. The Queen of England is a "figure" -- she has no direct executive or policy-making authority. She does not "rule" or even "govern" in any real sense of the word (despite the fact that the majority party in Parliament is referred to as "Her Majesty's Government" -- that's an epithet of loyalty, not one of obedience or even "consultation" in any real sense of the word).For those who pray, tonight's Vespers, (and for those who can't sleep, tonight's Compline and Matins) should include the Litany of St. Thomas More, Patron Saint of Politicians and Statesmen, the King's good servant but God's first.
Are we clear? If Secretary Powell wants a "figure" he is free to emigrate to someplace where such is considered necessary to the state. On the plus side, monarchies have a built-in "generational change" -- after the aged Elizabeth's reign is over, her place will be taken by her outstanding son (gack). Or, if God is indeed an Englishman, the crown will pass right on to her far more appealing (and probably more intelligent and slightly more calcium-enriched) grandson Wills.
Pray for the man who put country first. And who had the chutzpah to put the first woman on the Republican ticket.
America, America, God shed his grace on thee. By the bucketload.