Well, all right. If it takes a political genius to defeat the politics of manipulation and cynicism in this country, isn’t it nice that America can still produce genius?
It truly was a pivotal moment in American politics. About half of my (minor) reservations about BHO were settled by this speech -- and by the way he handled the entire convention. For example, I counted six times that he referred to science and technology as pressing national needs. Once, my friends, is perfunctory. Twice is policy. Six times is a call to action. That wasn’t for political impact -- (what fraction of the TV audience cared?) -- but an expression of perceived importance.
My remaining quibbles are mere motes that I can wave aside for other times, after the republic is saved and conditions return for normal argument. What matters is that I know this fellow will do the basic things that I want and need, simply by ejecting knaves and traitors and thieves from their grip over our throats and wallets, and allowing civil servants and officers to do the jobs we hired them to do.
That, alone, would expose most of our wounds to cleansing air and light. Even just that would save us. (And why wouldn’t he unleash professionals from the oppression of political hacks? One aspect of Obama that no pundit has mentioned: he has probably the shortest list of political IOUs in the history of the nation. I mean, whom does he owe? However long a list you make, any other pol will have one many dozens of times as long.)
All the rest -- the policy corrections, the return to international sanity and resumed faith in negotiation (international and domestic), a soothing of division and a return to ambition for new endeavors -- all of that is just frosting to me.
Still, the prospect of a genius -- without JFK’s or Clinton’s flaws -- might be an alluring one. If I let myself believe...
By the way, if you missed Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic Convention, here it is. Brilliant, of course. He did at least mention the Republican war against science, something rare for politicians to note or notice. I wish he - or someone - would mention the devastation wrought upon the US Army and military readiness, in general. But it is clear that this fellow knows us, probably better than anybody.
--- OTHER POLITICAL / POLICY-RELATED MATTERS ---
Get your hands on AMERICA'S SECRET WAR, by my friend, international security expert George Friedman. I found much of his book fascinating, cogent and smart. Well, the first half or so. All the way from pre 9/11 to the defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan. You’ll learn a lot!
Unfortunately, George from that point forward weaves some astonishing just-so stories. First, continuing the party line that we are in a life-or-death “war” against Jihadist forces. (In fact, I was the first to predict such a “war” back in 1987 -- though I meant it in subtler ways, dealing with a clash of cultures, and not some 90% mythological Al Qaeda bogeyman)...
...only then George goes on to create a wholly original theory that I had not seen before -- that the Iraq War’s secret rationale -- excusing the deliberate lies about WMDs and such -- was to intimidate the Saudi government, cornering and forcing it to cooperate and provide intelligence to help corner Al Qaeda.
I’ll leave that remarkable theory for folks to pursue in “discussion” below. Just let me say that the book is very worthwhile on two levels. The first half is filled with fascinating facts, woven together well. And... well... the second half merits a Hugo Award.
As for my own explanation of this “war”... that it was perpetrated in order to achieve exactly what HAS been achieved -- the demolition of our alliances, our reputation, our status in the world, our finances, our military readiness and so on... exactly as Vietnam did to us... well...
------ Are we being commanded, from above, to lose this war? -----
The bounty offered by the U.S. government for the capture of Al Qaeda leader Abu Ayyub al Masri:
2006 - $5 million
2007 - $1 million
2008 - $100,000
Add to this the disbanding of entire intelligence units that had been assigned to trace the money flow to terror-related organizations and a seemingly endless list of other odoriferous (smelly) circumstances.
--- Meanwhile, as we sleep.... ---
Scary stuff from the Lifeboat Foundation site. See the 2008 report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States From Electromagnetic Pulese (EMP) Attack (April 2008.) The House Armed Services Committee held hearings July 10th, 2008. http://www.empcommission.org/reports.php
Nice buzzword/terminology : Graceful degradation
Facts and "realistic" assessments mixed in, shared:
1. Estimation of approximately 90% death toll is possible "within parameters"
2. Estimation of a year and a half to order replacement equipment to key systems, from abroad
3. Tested, estimation of 10% of cars to stop working, most (not all) to restart regularly
4. Launch over Caspian sea and tests of Shahab 3 to detonate in orbit show EMP intentions, no others come to mind
5. Explicit Iranian doctrine including EMP
6. It doesn't take advanced or large-yield nuclear weapons
7. China and Russia have been developing such EMP devices, as opposed to their Cold War strategies
8. With a Scud B you could cover one of the coasts
9. Estimated we'd have three days supply of food
"The impact of EMP is asymmetric in relation to potential adversaries who are not as dependent on modern electronics as we are." -- Dr. William R. Graham,
---- And finally ---
An interesting essay on the Chinese rationalization for having the rule of law without democracy.
Oh, the next president will have his hands full, all right. And that is just the beginning.
You heard it here first. Prepare for the rise of ten thousand Timothy McVeighs. Demographically, that’s not very many, actually. We are getting better. But those few... they’ve been dormant... but they will make Al Qaeda look like pissant amateurs....