It is the fringes and idealogs that are voting, the passionate 'base' of each party contributes 10 to 15% of the total population apiece, thus 20 to 30% of the overall vote. Last election saw a near 58% turnout... or 28-38% of those not closely aligned with one party or the other on an ideological basis. That leaves 42% not voting: these are the people that modern politics does not address. And if 2004 was a local high in the trend that has been going on since 1968, then this election will hover in the 52-54% overall turnout rate and possibly lower if the trend is a motivator in society.
These are not 'sheeple' nor people who are letting 'smarter people decide for them': they want nothing to do with modern politics in a very active way. The more shrill, the more 'pure' each side tries to get, the more people don't vote. We have had, at best, a plurality agreement government since 1960. And when politics gets down to party support without any other thing attached to it... and who has actually paid any attention to ANY party platform for the last 20 years or so? Anyone? Neither 'side' tries to enforce theirs, so their parties become full of inidividuals that are self-serving... then what is the choice done by? Personality? And the number of people you can actually convince to do this thing known as 'vote' based on that? Shrinking. We get a rare blip upwards, but the trend for decades has been down, and Congress has been pure minority for a far longer time because of this.
Barack Obama's appeal to the non-voter has been pitiful: he has nothing to offer them.
John McCain hasn't even *tried*, which shows something... I have no idea what, as it could range from mere pragmatism to outright cynicism.
Representative democracy must have a popular mandate to survive - that is what makes it such a good system. And it is a damned messy system by design, also, because decisions must seek popular mandate to not offend the majority of the population and cause domestic turmoil. The parties have decided to follow their self-serving interests to their own ends, and that will lead to change, yes indeed. For the worse. Then you hope to survive what comes after. Be careful when you ask for 'Hope & Change': you may get it.Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 1.11.2008 @ 14:40
Well, it is interesting that Brian Williams couldn't define terrorism, either.
It was an utter sand-bag question so that no matter how you answered, you could be sniped at: it was 'gotchya journalism' because Brian Williams had no idea what terrorism is, either. But then, most people can't. It is very strange that neither those on the Left nor the Right have ever bothered to determine just what terrorism is and what its actual definition is... so you can get the sand-bag question of trying to see if there is a difference between domestic and international terrorism. If you believe there *is* then *you* are trying to dilute the meaning of the word... there isn't, it is defined by the activity taken.
If Gov. Palin gets it wrong, then so does nearly everyone in CONGRESS and the MEDIA.
That is in case you haven't noticed, both sides are trying to water down its meaning so they can excuse barbaric activity on 'their side'. Unfortunately that puts that side against civilization, and I have deep problems with those looking to excuse it no matter *what* the motivations are. It is the act that is uncivilized, and NO motivation can justify it EVER. I apply that to Rudolph and Ayers and Mugniyah and al-Kassar and actually to a largish number of the Red Mafia... and all of those have had or still have operatives in the US.
So, if you can hit Gov. Palin on that, you had better be prepared to also tag anyone else who cannot give a clear and succinct answer to the question: what is terrorism?
And then notice the excuses that come up from various people you ask.
Am I worried about the few idiots acting in a savage manner at abortion clinics? Yup.
How about a ring of agents sending millions per year back to an organization that has killed hundreds of US soldiers that they got through activities in the US? Oh yes, very much so do I have worries and problems with that.
Which is a potent threat to our culture and civilization? I have priorities there, yessiree, bob! And if I had to make law enforcement funding decisions, I know exactly which sort of thing would go higher up the list, no two questions about it. Because the threats are unequal.
But we treat them equally and don't go after either well at all... shame that. That is 'moral equivalence' blinding you to a really nasty threat.Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 26.10.2008 @ 12:57
As I described in my writing, I was brought up in a family that was socialist. Not Democratic Socialist, Communist, Leninist, Stalinist, Trotskyist, National Socialist, Social Democrats, or any of those monikers. These were Scientific Socialists and had a hard falling out with their UK comrades in the 1930's which was never reconciled. These are the folks who apply reason to the works of Marx and absolutely, positively require that you have a good and firm basis of capitalism before you understand socialism. These folks were the ones who dissented from much if not all of the 'progressive' agenda in the early 20th century, who decried the USSR in 1917, who loathed Fascism and Nazism in the early 1930's, who denounced Stalin as a tyrant... these are the folks who also insisted that to get socialism, that capitalism must do its good works, for all its flaws, to pave the way to socialism.
So my views after having been exposed to that environment from an early child to voting age adult and somewhat beyond is different than what others see as more common 'socialism' of the Democratic Socialists. And I gave a quick run down on these two Senators for as much of the town hall as I could stand reading, knowing I couldn't stand watching the thing.
I do come to the conclusion that both candidates are political opportunists. I can't even grant the word 'populist' as a 'populist' would be seeking to bust the system up to please the population. That is pretty nasty and virulent on its own.
Looking at the two I can clearly state that neither candidate has the slightest understanding of socialism.
Worse, still, is that neither has the slightest understanding of capitalism.
Neither has the mental integrity to examine history, economics and politics and then see how past political moves in the economic realm have fared. Thus they operate in a self-serving vacuum of facts and hangers-on that support those views, even if they have no rational backing at all. When these two fine bozos speak about what they understand the basis of capitalism to be, as it works, they are dismal failures. When they apply socialist nostrums and claim that those nostrums are capitalism, I do take them at their words. Thus, to me, they are Clueless and Clueless 2 - The Sequel.
I've done both the good grace to examine their 'plans' and point out that managers have 'plans' and that executives have 'policy' which forms the basis for reasonable understanding of events and how they will be responded to. Neither of these men is an executive in any reasonable definition of the term. No, directing a squadron does not entail 5-year out forecasts, budgeting, capital use and expansion, depreciation, marginal cost expansion, inflation... things an executive must identify and apply their policy against to get a plan of any sort and most of that is then left up to the managers to define and carry out with executive approval.
Yes Sen. Obama isn't a socialist.
He isn't a capitalist, either.
If you are a 'reformer' you must have a good grasp of what it is you are trying to 'reform' how it works and do the heavy lifting of seeing how past 'reform' has impacted the system. Both candidates fail and miserably in that area. One may have joined the more popular form of Democratic Socialism, but that has degenerated down to simple 'activism' without understanding of economics, culture or society. The other has sat so removed from the population that trying to restrict fundamental freedoms, remove the rule of law as part of the Law of Nations, and then demean Americans time and again that he can't even figure out that he is part of the problem.
Self-serving? Yes for both.
Ignorant of history and economics? Yes for both.
So removed from the majority of America that they don't know what it looks like or how to address it? Yes for both.
That is not just 'bad': it is horrifying.Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 10.10.2008 @ 06:00
Japan had already started building the bunkers and moving some factories into mountains. They had also gotten jet technology from the Germans, along with a few other last, gasp goodies. An invasion by early 1946 would have faced swarms of suicide propeller driven aircraft, and then jet fighter/bombers.
The War Department fully expected to invade: they had Purple Hearts minted for the expected casualties.
We are still handing them out to this day and have not had to mint a new batch since 1945. Those were the days when you had to actually earn a Purple Heart, too, without modern medicine and wonder drugs.
That is real war with a million casualties expected on our side.
As it was the Japanese military nearly staged a coup before the surrender was given - it was a very near thing.Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 13.08.2008 @ 20:41
Perhaps we think too much on John Quincy Adams: "America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."
Yes we do give well-wishes to the freedom and independence of all... but ask us for help? Seek us as a friend?
Oh, no! That might require that we do a bit of work and worry about our lovely and vast ideals. When a Nation comes to commit 20% of its armed forces to a conflict to help us, and then is besieged at home by a tyrant, what do we do?
'Oh, it isn't in our strategic interest...'
Remember, it isn't in our strategic interest to defend those that seek to befriend us and keep their liberty by helping us and demonstrating they will sacrifice out of proportion with their size as a Nation.
Mind you, no one is paying attention to the Mexicans who came over our border to hold our border patrolmen at gunpoint.
Unable to help liberty abroad nor defend ours at home, we soon shall have none.
JQA would at least have stood up for the local vindication... those who mouth those words and seek the weak way out will no longer do even that and demonstrate their lack of supporting those ideals. Soon we shall remember the cost of purchasing liberty is not dollars, not economy, not materials, but blood. Afghanistan should have reminded us of that, and Iraq, too. Now we will let a Nation that sought us out to go down with not even a harsh diplomatic demarche.
Thanks for the lack of political willpower, Left and Right.
When we ask 'why didn't the French stop the Germans from taking the Ruhr over?' or the Czechs, now we know. They would have to *do something*. Far easier to sit at home and let tyrants do as they will until it comes to a large-scale unhappiness of millions slaughtered.Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 11.08.2008 @ 21:01
How easily The Enlightenment has been forgotten by those who tout their support of it. It was in the midst of that which saw The Enlightenment view of what we would later call 'patriotism'. The foremost of those works examining nation, state, country and duty were in de Vattel's Law of Nations, a work that helped The Enlightenment to finally put together the concepts within it and have a basis for common discussion and discourse. Taken from Book I:
"§ 119. Love for their country. (53)
The grand secret of giving to the virtues of individuals a turn so advantageous to the state, is to inspire the citizens with an ardent love for their country. It will then naturally follow, that each will endeavour to serve the state, and to apply all his powers and abilities to the advantage and glory of the nation. This love of their country is natural to all men. The good and wise Author of nature has taken care to bind them, by a kind of instinct, to the places where they received their first breath, and they love their own nation, as a thing with which they are intimately connected. But it often happens that some causes unhappily weaken or destroy this natural impression. The injustice or the severity of the government loo [sic] easily effaces it from the hearts of the subjects; can self-love attach an individual to the affairs of a country where every thing is done with a view to a single person? — far from it: — we see, on the contrary, that free nations are passionately interested in the glory and the happiness of their country. Let us call to mind the citizens of Rome in the happy days of the republic, and consider, in modern times, the English and the Swiss.
§ 120. In individuals.
The love and affection a man feels for the state of which he is a member, is a necessary consequence of the wise and rational love he owes to himself, since his own happiness is connected with that of his country. This sensation ought also to flow from the engagements he has entered into with society. He has promised to procure its safety and advantage as far as in his power: and how can he serve it with zeal, fidelity, or courage, if he has not a real love for it?"
That modern era being 1758, although the book took nearly a decade to compile. Although extolling the goodness of free countries, this view is across all countries and peoples, these were seen as part of that universal condition of being human. When you are part of a country and its society by intent and conscious reason, then you wish to be a part of it and love it and that requires love for oneself *first*. If all you can see are flaws in yourself, then how can you honestly commit to loving your country? That goodness must be reflected in you and a part of you so that you can acknowledge it and accept it: that is why you are a citizen of a country.
Going on from there:
"§ 122. Definition of the term country.
The term, country, seems to be pretty generally known: but as it is taken in different senses, it may not be unuseful to give it here an exact definition. It commonly signifies the State of which one is a member: in this sense we have used it in the preceding sections; and it is to be thus understood in the law of nations.
In a more confined sense, and more agreeably to its etymology, this term signifies the state, or even more particularly the town or place where our parents had their fixed residence at the moment of our birth. In this sense, it is justly said, that our country cannot be changed, and always remains the same, to whatsoever place we may afterwards remove. A man ought to preserve gratitude and affection for the state to which he is indebted for his education, and of which his parents were members when they gave him birth. But as various lawful reasons may oblige him to choose another country, — that is, to become a member of another society; so. when we speak in general of the duty to our country, the term is to be understood as meaning the state of which a man is an actual member; since it is the latter, in preference to every other state, that he is bound to serve with his utmost efforts."
An essential freedom is to change your citizenship and allegiance to another country, no state may take that from you. While you do so on a conscious level, a debt of gratitude to being born and raised is also a part of one's makeup, even when their allegiance to that country is no longer working there is acknowledgement of its gift to you. Changing allegiance is a conscious decision that an individual takes up by their temperment and their actions: declaration of it is not enough, one must actually move and seek to join that country they wish to be a part of. That is why you took that action, and the benefit you gain is to be a citizen and considered as a citizen of that country that has accepted you as a part of it.
The right to want to change citizenship is one that is part of all mankind. It is also the right of the peoples in that destination to decide if they want you. That is why, as Jefferson put it, that governments are instituted among men to secure those rights... to have a society and country that are defined by those within it. That, too, is a right and may not be denigrated and is natural across all mankind. It is better, as de Vattel would go through, that Nations accept that right to change allegiance and accept individuals, but that Nation can put restrictions on such migration. And as part of Nations, the originating Nation may place exceptions on who may leave, though they should be limited as the basis of good government.
Then there are one's actions in that country you have sought to be a part of:
"§ 123. How shameful and criminal to injure our country.
If every man is obliged to entertain a sincere love for his country, and to promote its welfare as far as in his power, it is a shameful and detestable crime to injure that very country. He who becomes guilty of it, violates his most sacred engagements, and sinks into base ingratitude: he dishonours himself by the blackest perfidy, since he abuses the confidence of his fellow-citizens, and treats as enemies those who had a right to expect his assistance and services. We sec traitors to their country only among those men who are solely sensible to base interest, who only seek their own immediate advantage, and whose hearts are incapable of every sentiment of affection for others. They are, therefore, justly detested by mankind in general, as the most infamous of all villains.
§ 124. The glory of good citizens (51) Examples
On the contrary, those generous citizens are loaded with honour and praise, who, not content with barely avoiding a failure in duly to their country, make noble efforts in her favour, and are capable of making her the greatest sacrifices. The names of Brutus, Curtius, and the two Decii, will live as long as that of Rome. The Swiss will never forget Arnold de Winkelried, that hero, whose exploit would have deserved to be transmitted to posterity by the pen of a Livy. He truly devoted his life for his country's sake: but he devoted it as a general, as an undaunted warrior, not as a superstitious visionary. That nobleman, who was of the country of Underwald, seeing, at the battle of Sempach, that his countrymen could not break through the Austrians, because the latter, armed cap-a-pie, had dismounted and forming a close battalion, presented a front covered with steel, and bristling with pikes and lances, — formed the generous design of sacrificing himself for his country. "My friends," said he to the Swiss, who began to be dispirited, " I will this day give my life to procure you the victory: I only recommend to you my family: follow me, and act in consequence of what you see me do." At these words he ranged them in that form which the Romans called cuneus, and placing himself in the point of the triangle, marched to the centre of the enemy, when, embracing between his arms as many of the enemy's pikes as he could compass, he threw himself to the ground, thus opening for his followers a passage to penetrate into the midst of this thick battalion. The Austrians, once broken, were conquered, as the weight of their armour then became fatal to them, and the Swiss obtained a complete victory.5"
One cannot debase their country, attack its virtues and be said to do anything but injuring their country. If, on the Left we hear no good about America that is an attack upon it to do injury to the common basis of citizenship we have. Holding up good examples and extolling them are far, far better than attacking the evils and putting forth no good at all. That said that love of country must not blind us to our country's faults, as the Right is accused of doing, rather it must also bring attention to the perfection of our country, which is discussed by de Vattel elsewhere.
A 'critic' who offers no building, no definable goal, nothing that shows how a path to being more perfect can be found is offering nothing, save verbiage. Even worse, one who tears down with no attempt to understand activities taken nor to show the good and virtuous examples within the country does injury to it. Blindness of the ready ability to do evil for one's country is frought with danger and will allow the imperfections of the country to continue onwards unaddressed.
That is not just for America, but all countries and Nations.
We come together in this land to seek more perfect Union together - we are imperfect as that realm of perfection is left for the Angels and Deities. The perfect will elude as we are imperfect people... but we can ever strive to be more perfect for ourselves and seek that for our country. That is why there is never work left to be done, and why it is passed on to those that follow perhaps made just a bit better by our having been here, warts and all.
If you see nothing to safeguard from the past, you have none.
If you see nothing to work for in the future, you have none.
"Americans are not a perfect people, but we are called to a perfect mission."Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 28.06.2008 @ 12:04
Well, if you like GWB looking at Putin and seeing his soul, then you will love Obama's friend Raila Odinga in Kenya.Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 7.01.2008 @ 13:57
The Founders were *also* from very different religious backgrounds and had harsh disagreements with each other on what, exactly, others thought and if it was *right*. They, instead, looked at what the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 had garnered, read on Blackstone, Vattel and Grotius and decided to uphold Westphalia to keep its peace. That peace had been expanded to cover more than just christianity, from where it started, and it would take Ben Franklin to remove all sorts of passages Jefferson had put into the Declaration, trying to justify rights via religion and put in the concept: if it is self-evident that we have these rights, then *say so*. By removing specific interpretations Franklin got the general rule out there - that we have to deal with these things because we have them.
I was particularly worried that the Editors at NRO went on jag about non-Protestants and had absolutely forgotten not only American history but the history of the Republican party that had supported a non-Protestant and, indeed, non-Orthodox for the office of President and he *won*. I thought that conservatives actually cared about and understood these things...Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 14.12.2007 @ 13:06
Andy - Re-read the section about the final agency to get say on what is and is not 'reliable' or 'valid' sources... the 'clandestine services'. That is HUMINT analysis done by CIA and a few parts of DIA for Military Intelligence.
No matter how verifiable intel is by another agency, the CIA gets final say. This is *not* a community process but features a 'super gatekeeper' at the end which is *not* ODNI. The ODNI was put in to make sure that the community acted as such... this document and its process as it reports it, is contrary to those directives. Regular Agency level validation and withholding is still in-place... but the next part is no longer IC but singular Agency specific.
How much do *you* trust the CIA as editors? Because that IS new.
What gets left out is just as important as what remains, and that process can skew outlook by removing other IC work because one Agency doesn't like the source material from another.
Because that is exactly what is happening. I don't need to see the final 150 pages if one Agency is getting final validation as a gatekeeper and editor.
And I have no need to contact an SSO or ISSO, as I am reading only the U portion publicly released, but using my background in how the document drafting process works as I knew it vice how it is described in the NIE release. And the one part of that U release describes to me the HUMINT failure that is continuing to go on with regards to Iran and you don't have to be read-on to know that, just an observer of the IC for the last 20 years or so. It was being talked about on newscasts back in the 1980's. That takes no real special knowledge beyond paying attention.
Perhaps they found mind readers to figure out intentions... always a possibility!!
Great advancement in science and all that, complete with 'Jedi mind tricks'.
The problem of 'dot connecting' was already difficult before ODNI was instantiated, and started to go downhill as I left the IC. This NIE tells me what the aftermath of that is. And the last two pages are pretty predictable given the lead-in.Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 6.12.2007 @ 18:43
My take on the NIE is a bit different. I didn't skip the intro pages as I came from the IC and know a bit about what typically goes into making similar documents (although not the NIE itself, the format is unmistakeable). There are a few parts in there that are, to me, extremely worrisome and unexpected from the IC, especially the organizational gatekeeper on source validity.
That told me much about what the conclusions would be even before getting to the conclusions and then the startling one is not the ones that are highly touted... apparently everyone loves the obvious and are missing the part about what the IC has no handle on at all.
I have serious problems with the outlook of the document, its construction, how it was created, vetted, the institutional gatekeeper involved and the final resulting analysis because of those things. But then I see that beauracracy influences analysis... that is how the IC works, as does the rest of the government. Still pretty amazing that they let such a large problem slip out into the unclassified portion.Comment Posted By ajacksonian On 4.12.2007 @ 17:07