Sunday, July 29, 2007

"To Punish and Enslave"

The Cult of Nationalism Punishes a Patriot: Mark Kuhn, the fellow on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back as his wife looks on in disbelief, offended the tender sensibilities of local jingoists by flying the American flag upside down. Note the arrogant, triumphalist posture of the enforcement officer -- one of at least five dispatched to corral this non-violent thought criminal -- who is straddling the helpless man.

"And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more—we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

Alexander Solzhenitsyn,
The Gulag Archipelago

Just as a person is defiled by what goes out of the mouth, rather than what goes into it (Matthew 15:11), the US flag is defiled by what is done in its name, rather than what is done to the physical symbol. This is splendidly illustrated in the photograph above, in which we see the arrest of a peaceful man who had committed no crime against persons or property, but whose patriotic display of the U.S. flag engendered a violent response from local adherents to the cult of nationalism.

Mark and Deborah Kuhn of Asheville, North Carolina are devoted activists who pursue political change using non-violent means. The message on their answering machine -- which I've heard twice, in unsuccessful attempts to contact them directly -- offers the greeting: "Peace and love."

Mortified over the violent, corrupt, and increasingly degenerate nature of the regime that rules us, the Kuhns displayed, on their own property, a U.S. flag -- an item they had legally purchased -- displayed upside-down. This is a universally recognized distress sign, and the Kuhns' intent was to underscore the plight of our country, which is being destroyed by the regime.

This was, in brief, a patriotic protest, which is why it attracted the malign attention of a servant of the regime.

On July 18, the Kuhns report, they received a visit from a police officer who asked them if everything was all right. He was reportedly polite and professional, and told them that there was no statute or ordinance forbidding them to display the flag upside-down. In the interests of clarifying their point, the Kuhns attached a small sign to the flag explaining the purpose of the display, and another handbill calling for the overdue removal of George W. Bush from the White House.

Shortly thereafter, an individual clad in fatigues and driving a car with US Government license plates -- the latter being the unmistakable token of a parasite -- paid a visit to harass the Kuhns about their display.

This vigilant fellow was Staff Sergeant Mark Radford of the 105th Military Police Battalion of the North Carolina National Guard. Acting as a dutiful spitzel, this self-appointed guardian of nationalist purity contacted a friend at the Buncombe County Sheriff's Department. Early on the morning of July 25, Debuty Brian Scarborough swaggered up to the door and demanded that the Kuhns take down the flag, which they did. Scarborough then demanded that the couple present ID and accept a citation for "flag desecration" -- which is forbidden by a pointless and facially unconstitutional ordinance that had fallen into desuetude.

"We refused," recalled Deborah. "We said, `Why should we show you our ID -- are you arresting us?' so we walked back into the house and closed the door."

Were Brian Scarborough a sentient being, rather than state enforcement agent, he would have let the matter drop. It's likely that even ten years ago, the typical Deputy Sheriff in this situation would have simply asked the couple to take down their flag, tipped his hat, and left it at that.

But this is the era of the "New Police Professionalism," and Scarborough is an agent of the Homeland Security State. He was clad in the majesty of the regime, and the Kuhns had refused to submit to his will. Accordingly, he kicked the door, punched out the glass (thereby cutting his hand, a consequence he was apparently too dim to foresee), and forced open the door.

Scarborough would later insist that Kuhn inflicted that injury by slamming the door on his hand. He lied, of course: Several eyewitnesses confirm that the Deputy cut himself breaking in to the Kuhns' home.

Having committed an act of criminal trespass, Scarborough then compounded that crime with assault by making threats of violence against the Kuhns, as Deborah reported in a frantic phone call to 911. Her gesture evinced a touchingly misplaced faith in the possibility of casting out Beelzebub by the power of Beelzebub: Once the police learned that one of their own was in trouble, five additional squad cars converged on the scene.

This was done to deal with an unarmed, non-violent couple who had displayed their flag in a way incompatible with the tenets of aggrieved nationalism.

Scarborough seized Mark, thereby committing aggravated battery; Mark escaped and fled outside, where he was pursued by several police as astonished neighbors gathered.

One of the officers produced a taser and threatened to shoot Mark with it -- an act that should be considered assault with a deadly weapon. The same hero made the same threat against Deborah.

Mark submitted and was handcuffed. As the arrest unfolded, Staff Sgt. Radford, a REMF with nothing better to do than harass local civilians, drove past the Kuhns' home and heckled them: "Go to jail, baby!"

Mark and Deborah were arrested on the flag "desecration" charge (which is not a crime against persons or property), two counts of "assaulting a government employee" (based on Scarborough's self-serving lies), and resisting arrest. They were bailed out of jail by their son, who posted $1,500 bond.

I cannot improve on Mark Kuhn's summary of his experience, which resonates with Alexander Solzhenitsyn's lament, as quoted above:

"If Americans don't wake up to the martial state we're in, the cops, the police, the sheriffs, the state police will all come to our door and take us away if we allow this to happen -- it's time for America to wake up."

How DARE he express his political opinions in public? Alan McConnell, a 74-year-old activist from Silver Spring, Maryland, is dragged off to jail by Jabba the Cop and two Stormtroopers for the supposed offense of selling political buttons at a farmer's market.

Kuhn is convinced his case is not an aberration. I wholeheartedly agree.

Witness the arrest of Alan McConnell of Silver Spring, Maryland, on ginned-up trespass charges after the 74-year-old activist continued to sell pro-impeachment buttons at a local farmer's market. Local town officials insisted that McConnell was "aggressive," that his buttons were divisive, and by selling them he was making people "uncomfortable." So they instructed the police to issue a no-trespass order which was in fact a bill of attainder intended to shut down McConnell's commerce.

The results can be seen in the photo above, as well as the fact that this elderly patriot faces six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for refusing to permit the local Politburo to deny him his right to express his opinions in a free marketplace.

Colorado resident Steve Howards likewise learned that peacefully expressing his political views was a crime. His antagonist wasn't the local Politburo: It was the Chief Commissar himself, Dick Cheney and the U.S. Secret Service (or SS).

During a chance encounter with Comrade Cheney outside a mall in Beaver Creek, Colorado last June, Howards approached the Vice President and in a voice of polite disapproval said: “Your policies in Iraq are reprehensible.” He then walked away.

Now, you just know this wasn't going to go unpunished.

After all, an SS spokesdrone told the Vail Daily News after the incident, Howards had drawn attention to himself by his "odd actions near Cheney"; he "wasn't acting like other folks in the area."

Indeed: Where others were awed into paralyzed deference by Cheney's malignant majesty, Howards remembered that he is a citizen, and acted like one. Such things just aren't permissible, of course.

A few minutes after his encounter with Cheney (and doubtless following the mental and spiritual equivalent of a cleansing shower), Howards was tracked down by a Secret Service agent, handcuffed in front of his 8-year-old son, and accused of “assaulting the Vice President.” Jailed for three hours and released on a $500 bond, Howards was charged with the lesser offense of harassment, a charge that was eventually dropped. After all, the point was made: Criticizing our rulers to their faces will be treated as a criminal offense.

I was incredulous this could be happening in the United States of America,” recalls Howard. “This is what I read about happening in Tiananmen Square.”

Howards, to his considerable credit, has not let the matter drop. He has filed a lawsuit (.pdf) against Virgil D. "Gus" Reichle, Jr. (that's how the name is spelled in the complaint), the SS agent who assaulted and arrested him -- and who actually threatened to have his eight-year-old son turned over to the oh-so-nice people at Child Protective Services. (Howards' son, incidentally, escaped that fate by running away in terror and finding his mother; it's amazing he wasn't arrested for resisting arrest or some other spurious charge.)

Not a real police vehicle ... yet: An evil Decepticon disguises itself as a sleek Camaro bearing an eerily appropriate permutation of the familiar police slogan (below).

All of the foregoing accounts describe the local police (and the SS, collaborating with local police) as enforcers of political orthodoxy, rather than defending persons and property.

They were acting as the security "Organs" of the Regime, not as peace officers defending the rights of peaceful, law-abiding citizens.

It's not difficult to imagine how the incidents described above would be perceived had they occurred in Venezuela or Iran -- and in those benighted countries, incidents of this sort (and others much worse than these) are common.

The point, of course, is that things of this sort are becoming common here, where they should never happen at all. We've not yet reached the dismal situation described by Solzhenitsyn, but if he were living here today he'd have little difficult recognizing the familiar odor of incipient totalitarianism in our Homeland Security State.

A bonus illustration of the prevailing lunacy:

Monica Montoya, a 25-year-old mother from Roselle Park, New Jersey, cheerfully cooperated with the police when they asked her to interpret for an accident victim. For reasons nobody has explained, she ended up being handcuffed and dragged to a squad car, pleading with the officer to allow her to contact the babysitter tending her six-year-old daughter.

Montoya was charged with "obstructing justice" and "resisting arrest" -- which makes no sense at all, given that -- once again -- she was assisting the police, which apparently is enough to get innocent people arrested in our embryonic Reich.

A personal note --

Once again I must offer deep and heartfelt thanks for the astounding generosity you have displayed toward my family. I appreciate beyond expression your prayers, kind thoughts, and donations; God bless you.

Korrin is in her fourth week of hospitalization. This is the longest of the five stints she has had in the hospital since April 2006, and her prognosis is not promising. I hope she'll be well enough to come home -- we have five small children who miss her terribly, six if you count her childish husband -- but right now it's just as likely that her hospitalization may continue for quite a while longer. Please keep her in your prayers.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Talk Radio Bulimia and Fox News Reflux: A Case Study

Fox "News": Fair...

We wouldn't be where we presently find ourselves -- mired in a pointless foreign war, looking down the barrel of undisguised executive despotism, and teetering on the precipice of national insolvency -- were it not for the capacity of Americans to believe passionately in things that are patently untrue.

... and balanced.

I refer to a specific form of dogmatic credulity, the kind displayed by those who accept as truth -- or at least a suitable substitute -- practically anything that is said by a political official or apologist, as long as the figure in question is "on the same team," however that "team" is defined. In the Bush Era the most common manifestation of this mind-set takes the form of "Talk Radio Bulimia" or "Fox News Reflux"; those who suffer from such afflictions earnestly regurgitate the pre-chewed soundbites fed to them by the media organs of the Bush Regime, convinced that by doing so they are imparting genuine wisdom and insight.

Most who suffer from those afflictions -- and I say this in utter sincerity -- are good and decent people. They are not depraved or consciously dishonest. They simply don't understand the extent to which they have surrendered control over their opinions to paid professionals in the art of manipulation.

The people I'm describing have had their synapses scrambled through prolonged exposure to high-potency indoctrination of the sort depicted here:

An otherwise estimable fellow who suffers an acute form of the disorder I describe sent me a long and detailed letter in response to a recent essay. In the interest of promoting public understanding of this condition, I'll reproduce his salient points and briefly comment about them.

"[F]rom my perspective, we are where we should be in Iraq. It is unfortunate that we are in the first decade of a war that will most likely last, at varying rates of intensity[,] for the next 50 years or so. It is an ideological conflict that no one on the Left seems to grasp completely. Fortunately the conservative heart of the average American seems to grasp [it] as if by second-nature."

Conservatives understand, "as if by second-nature," that neither liberty nor civilization can survive wars that last for generations. Nobody has made this point more forcefully -- arguing from exactly opposing points of view -- than James Madison and Karl Marx.

Warned Madison in 1795: "Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. . . . [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and . . . degeneracy of manners and of morals. . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."

Writing in 1851 to his disciples, Marx made exactly the same point, celebrating what Madison had lamented and preaching the revolutionary virtue of generational war: "
You will have to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and international wars, not only in order to change existing conditions, but also in order to change yourselves and fit yourselves for the exercise of political power."

If this open-ended war against an undefined enemy lasts for fifty years, what remains at its end won't be recognizable to anyone -- conservative, liberal, libertarian or of whatever political conviction -- who understands and appreciates the principles of our Founding generation. This is a point frequently made by the only authentic conservative in the 2008 presidential race, Rep. Ron Paul. And if the intention is to fight a war to destroy all radical Muslims, or to convert them to the Civil Religion of modern democracy, simple demographics and economics demonstrate that we'll lose -- particularly if our rulers make the Iraq war and occupation the model for that campaign.

The Iraq war resulted in the removal of an admittedly hideous dictator who ran a relatively secular regime, and his replacement with a bloody, tyrannical, Shi'ite-dominated government defined by a constitution that enshrines Sharia law as Iraq's ruling ideology. That's "where we are in Iraq": We have tens of thousands of American troops fighting, killing, and dying on behalf of a Koranic despotism.

"The military strategy in Iraq is quite clear and clever.... First, use Iraq as a magnet for the most maniacally-minded terror lovers in the Middle East.... The second part of the Iraq strategy is to put this magnet exactly where the radical Muslims can get to it.... The third part is to protect America by putting the magnet as far from American soil as possible, i.e. Iraq."

This familiar trope, that Iraq is the "flypaper" intended to trap and destroy the world's Jihadi population, is based on what I call the "fallacy of finitude" -- that the world's population of radical Muslims is a static quantity, and that when a Jihadi is killed in Iraq, that population contracts irreversibly.

My correspondent clearly is hostage to that fallacy, insisting that occupation forces in Iraq "are killing 250 Muslims in Iraq for every American or British soldier [who dies]" and that this is having an impact on "the minds of 10,000 or 100,000 more intelligent Muslims."

It is indisputable that the occupation is having a measurable impact on the minds of Muslim people: As the Bush administration has been forced to admit, the war is actually expanding the population of current and potential Jihadis, while giving those that make the journey to Iraq valuable on-the-job combat training.

The logic of occupation dictates that it is the occupiers, not the guerrillas, who are trapped like flies on flypaper, and that occupation degrades occupation forces while distilling a hardened and very efficient military force out of the armed opposition. It takes a peculiar type of military genius to ignore this amply demonstrated fact of history. Lamentably, our politicized general staff has just the right skill set for that challenge.

Furthermore, the Bush junta now informs us that after more than four years of bloodshed, frequently turned "corners" in Iraq, and the creation of an immense and invasive Homeland Security apparatus at home, the threat to the United States today is at least as acute as it was in the Summer of 2001. In fact, the general heading Northern Command (which covers the continental United States) has said that new al-Qeada cells are forming here right now. If this is true, we will soon be fighting "them" both here and "there." (See the salient points in the most recent National Intelligence Estimate here.)

Of course, my correspondent invokes the inscrutable historic insight of the Great Visionary in the White House, insisting that we won't fully understand the elegant wisdom of his strategy "until it is all over and we are explaining to our great grand-kids how the West defeated radical Islamic terrorists." If we simply have childlike faith in the Dear Leader, our victory is assured; the sacrifices will be vindicated, and the present perplexities and contradictions will all be reconciled.

"The fact that Bill Maher and Michael Moore among thousands of others can say what they say without censorship, punishment or worse is testimony to the fact that the Bush/Cheney regime, as you call it, [is] not about infringing the rights of the average American.... [D]o you know of anyone who has suffered materially or physically from the [so-called PATRIOT] Act other than the intended terrorists or terrorist wannabes[?]"

This is also a familiar thought-stopper: As long as we are free to complain, we have nothing to complain about. In fact, summary suppression of dissent is becoming quite common under the Bush Regime.

Matthew Rothschild, author of the documented study linked above, offers the following account of the consequences awaiting those who exercise the right to petition for redress of grievances in contemporary America:

"A man walked up to Dick Cheney, calmly told him he thought his Iraq policy was reprehensible, and walked away. A few minutes later he was arrested by the Secret Service, in front of his 8-year-old son, for `assault.' When he asked what would happen to his child, the Secret Service said, `He can be sent to Child Services.' Luckily, the boy found his mother and was safe. But the citizen who practiced his free speech spent a few hours in jail before he was released."

Even if such things weren't happening, genuine conservatives are inclined to reject that view in favor of Madison's admonition that we "take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties" -- whether it affects us personally or not.

After all, most of the onerous and obnoxious impositions that inspired the drive for American independence had been repealed by the time the war began in 1775. The problem was that the British Parliament explicitly reserved to itself the supposed right to impose such measures on the colonists whenever it seemed appropriate to do so. The American Patriots fought a war for independence not because they were living under unalloyed tyranny, but because their rulers displayed an undisguised intention to impose tyranny.

The same is true of the regime that rules us today. And the PATRIOT (sic) Act is merely part of the architecture of domestic tyranny.

As I've pointed out elsewhere, it wasn't until long after the War for Independence began that King George III suspended habeas corpus for those deemed "unlawful combatants"; Hitler likewise suspended the Great Writ (or the German version of the same) shortly after he came to power. In both cases, the clear intent was to deny due process to those targeted as enemies of the regime.

To the Bushling's abolition of habeas corpus we must add last week's executive decree permitting the expropriation of those designated enemies of the "stabilization" and "reconstruction" of Iraq. Mention must also be made of the adoption of Nazi/Soviet-style torture methods, clothed in exactly the same euphemism coined by the Gestapo ("enhanced interrogation techniques"), which include exactly the same practices condemned by Washington when used by Russian security forces against those deemed "terrorists" or seditionists.

And it's significant that my correspondent, like so many others suffering from Talk Radio Bulimia or Fox News Reflux, assume that anyone seized by the federal government on suspicion of terrorist activities is ipso facto a "terrorist" or "terrorist wannabe." The proper designation, of course, is "suspect."

But then, the whole point of the "war on terror" is that we're all "suspects," and thus subject to the unceasing scrutiny of the State -- through its electronic surveillance capabilities and its growing army of paid informants. And the Regime's official position is that it is not necessary to prove that an American citizen is connected to a specific plot in order to convict him of terrorism.

If one's privacy is violated by a voyeur, the victim need not demonstrate that he or she was "materially or physically" harmed in order for a criminal prosecution to ensue. The same principle obtains when we're discussing illegal scrutiny of our private affairs by government; in fact, the threshold of offense where government actions are concerned must be lower, given the State's unique capacity to inflict death and mayhem on innocent people.

"While my family and I are fully-involved in helping America survive this new cold war, you will be free to blog and do whatever perversions you deem necessary to express your freedoms that we've earned for our family and yours as well, as a by-product."

Given the fact that the U.S. and post-Soviet Russia are quickly mutating into largely interchangeable authoritarian kleptocracies, I'm not willing to stipulate that we actually survived the last Cold War, but let's set that issue aside for the nonce.

The point made in the self-exalting comment above was made in reference to the fact that my correspondent recently saw a daughter graduate from boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina. On the strength of this fact -- namely, that he has offered a child to kill and die on behalf of the State, the eternal enemy of freedom and decency-- this fellow asserts a proprietary claim on freedom, while condescending, at least for now, to grant that gift to those of us who are not similarly inclined to feed their children into the maw of the War Machine.

I recently set out some of the reasons why I think that our rulers will soon demand a blood-for-debt swap: Through universal conscription, our children would be used as living collateral for continued financing of Washington's imperial pretensions.

That earlier essay outlined why and how the ruling class would carry out that design. The comment above illustrates the attitudes on the part of at least a segment of the population that make such an abhorrent arrangement a vivid possibility.

Please be sure to visit The Right Source and the Liberty Minute archive.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Your Kids as Collateral: The Coming Blood-for-Debt Swap

Feeding Molech: How it was done in ancient Israel (above), and how it is done today (below).

To the surprise of no sentient being, our rulers have been deceiving us regarding their plans for the restive Mesopotamian province of their empire.

General Petraeus, the military messiah du jour, is to offer a critical review of the surge in September, we were told. On second thought that review won't come until November -- no, better make that sometime after the Hominid in the White House and his adult handlers hand off the war to their successors:

"[T]he American [military] command [in Baghdad] has prepared a detailed plan that foresees a significant American role for the next two years. The classified plan, which represents the coordinated strategy of the top American commander and the American ambassador.... The detailed document, known as the Joint Campaign Plan, is an elaboration of the new strategy President Bush signaled in January when he decided to send five additional American combat brigades and other units to Iraq. That signaled a shift from the previous strategy, which emphasized transferring to Iraqis the responsibility for safeguarding their security."

Such duplicity! Surely the sainted Gen. Petraeus was deceived!

Well, no: Actually, he helped develop the plan. It shouldn't surprise us that Petreaus has no plan to "stand up" an Iraqi army and security force, since he's the guy who presided over the failed attempt in 2004 to do precisely that.

Which is to say that the "surge" was a simple escalation, just as the Bush Regime's most cynical critics have always maintained.

(Here's a handy axiom: To determine the reality behind any Bush administration policy, always assume that the most cynical critics are exactly right. They could be wrong someday, but they haven't yet.)

The chief complication here is that the Regime's timeline is out of joint with the "Broken Army Clock," which (as Time points out) dictates that "troop levels will begin to wane in March 2008, no matter what Congress decides in September...."

To sustain the surge -- even the version that serves as the agreed-upon official lie -- the Regime will have to settle on one of three options next year: Calling up more reservists, expanding duty tours from 15 to 18 months, or some form of conscription. I believe we'll get the first two next year, and the third in 2009. Unless, of course, our rulers do the only moral and sensible thing and withdraws from Iraq right now. And no serious discussion of that option is to be permitted.

Once again, none of this should be considered surprising, particularly since the British are already out of troops.

To paraphrase Machiavelli, if a ruler has gold, he can always purchase iron. However, our rulers have been financing their empire on debt -- and the market for our official debt instruments is rapidly contracting. One key contributor to the dollar's accelerating decline is the collapse of the real estate/mortgage industry, which is why the Bush Regime dispatched its minister of housing to Beijing to beg the Chinese to buy mortgage securities.

But at some point, those who are financing the empire will gag on our worthless dollars. At that point, the prospect the Bu'ushists have used to intimidate war critics into silence -- that of leaving our troops stranded in Iraq without money or means to get out -- may become a reality.
Unless something else is found to collateralize the loans on which the Empire depends.

Washington and its internal provinces (once known as "free and independent states") are already pawning infrastructure to foreign creditors. And as noted above, initial steps have already been taken to sell off the housing sector to Beijing. So what's left?

Once the appliances have been pawned, the car and house has been repossessed, maybe the only thing left to sell would be the blood in the debtor's veins. I think that's where we're headed after the 2009 election -- assuming that we have one.

Our rulers expect to use our flesh and blood -- our children -- as collateral. Conscription and universal national service would be a blood tax imposed on behalf of the foreign creditors funding our empire.

This blood-for-debt swap becomes even likelier when one takes into account the coming collapse of domestic "entitlement" programs, as described by this questioner in last night's Democratic Presidential "Debate" -- predictably enough, none of the Democrat aspirants to the Imperial Purple was willing to address the question:

Here's how Anne Williamson, one of the most astute analysts of the Power Elite, summarizes the coming Grand Bargain:

"Thanks to the enterprising left, a palatable framework of `universal service' is evolving, in which all of America's young people will be registered for national service and, drawing on personal information gleaned from the giant government databases now being built, will be assigned to community service, combat service, or homeland defense. The kicker may be a requirement of completed service before access to higher education and government financing for it will be granted. It is not improbable to see a `deal' over Social Security reform on the horizon, i.e. in exchange for reduced benefits and an increase in the retirement age Boomer seniors will be guaranteed the services of enscripted `community brigades' for home care."

... what it means to you, if you're of draft age, is slavery.

This bargain, Williamson speculates, would include some form of international tax to fund the increasingly militarized multinational institutions that were so conspicuously scorned by the Bush Regime -- except for those situations in which Security Council resolutions can be invoked to justify aggressive war.

No American would relish paying such an international tax, of course, and American parents wouldn't readily embrace a return to conscription, "but -- having chosen security over liberty -- they will eventually resign themselves to their children's `universal service.'... And once the intentionally confused and clueless American electorate sees that much of the costs of the War on Terror are being fobbed off on other people through an international tax, that the need for domestic cannon fodder is reduced, and that in their dotage they will have the personal services of young people (to whom they are not related and therefore otherwise not obliged) enforced by the US military [via the Selective Service System], it's quite likely they will largely cheer on the new arrangements."

The Bu'ushists are not going to permit a withdrawal from Iraq; in fact, were a recall to begin right now, an orderly withdrawal would require at least two years. (Full-fledged cutting and running, on the other hand, would take a fraction of that time, which is why it's the only intelligent approach and thus a forbidden subject.)

What this means that some version of what is discussed above will most likely become a reality very soon. I hope I'm wrong. I'm quite confident that I'm not.

Please be sure to visit The Right Source and the Liberty Minute archive.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Reich Wing: Bush-Era Conservatism as Reductio Ad Absurdum

As the Iraq war ripens into the largest strategic catastrophe in our nation's history, dead-enders among the Bu'ushist faithful confront a sobering question. No, that question is not how to extricate our nation from the Mesopotamian morass, but rather how to deal with internal dissent.

It's really quite simple, sighed 35-year-old Hillary-Ann, a professional woman from California with sufficient disposable income to drop at least $1,200 to spend a week confined on a cruise ship with the editorial staff of National Review.

"Of course, we need to execute some of these people ... [a] few of these prominent people who are trying to demoralize the country," she commented with languid indifference as she waded waist-deep in the Pacific. "Just take a couple of these anti-war people off to the gas chamber for treason to show, if you try to bring down America at a time of war, that's what you'll get. Then things'll change."

There's nothing novel about the kind of "change" desired by this fully indoctrinated member of the Reich Wing: For devotees of a certain variant of statist conservatism, seizing dissenters and shipping them off to gas chambers is old hat. What makes this off-hand expression of an authentically fascist sentiment so remarkable is the fact that it was typical conversational chatter among the 500 or so National Review groupies who took part in the cruise, according to British journalist Johann Hari, who tagged along incognito.

I would be inclined to dismiss Hari's account as a the dishonest fantasy of a Euro-Trash bien-pensant were it not for the fact that such sentiments are readily on display practically everywhere Bush-aligned conservatives feel comfortable to give expression to their deepest sentiments.

It is difficult to predict what will be the most significant "legacy" left by George W. Bush, assuming that word can be properly applied to the accumulated residue of lawless violence and official corruption that have typified his reign. Will it be metastasizing foreign hostility, and proliferating foreign conflicts? Will it be the collapse of the economy beneath the weight of profligate spending? Will it be the official adoption of such malapropisms as "terrists" and "nukular" as part of our long-suffering language?

My suspicion is that Bush's most important and lasting contribution has been the creation of a purely limbic form of conservatism, in which the amygdala (that portion of the brain focusing on fear and related base emotions) plays the defining role in interpreting reality.

The movement has succeeded in validating the worst caricatures concocted by the likes of Theodor Adorno and Daniel Bell by reducing itself into an authoritarian cult. Obsessive fear and reflexive, tribal loyalty to the Leader/Protector are the defining impulses of contemporary conservatism. And until -- perhaps I should say "unless" -- President Bush and Crypto-President Cheney leave office in 2009, things will grow progressively worse as the regime over which they preside makes increasingly extravagant claims of extra-constitutional power.

Yesterday (July 19), the Bush-Cheney regime informed Congress that "A U.S. attorney would not be permitted to bring contempt charges or convene a grand jury in an executive privilege case." What this means is that Bush will forbid the Justice Department to pursue criminal contempt of Congress charges against four current or former White House officials who defied congressional subpoenas, as Bush instructed them. Neither Richard Nixon nor Bill Clinton -- nor King George III, for that matter -- ever ventured such a claim to complete immunity from legislative oversight, although Saddam Hussein probably did.

More frightening still is an executive order issued three days ago (July 17) in which Bush claimed the power to confiscate the property of political dissidents. No, that is not how the order's provisions were described, but the powers adumbrated in that decree would permit such whole-scale expropriations.

Entitled "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq," the order asserts that the president can seize control of financial assets and other property belonging to "any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense ... to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose and effect of ... threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq; or ... undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq ... [or] to have materially assisted ... such an act or acts of violence...."

Let's leave aside, for now, the Soviet-style cant about "peace [and] stability" in occupied Iraq, a land where neither can be found.

"We can't send you to the gas chamber yet, but we'll soon be able to seize your home and bank account, you despicable DEFEATIST!"

What this executive order means, in principle, is that the property of anyone who materially "undermines" the war and occupation can be seized, without a trial or due process of any kind, on presidential order with the approval of three cabinet officials.

Yes, the order supposedly applies to those who would be providing direct material or financial aid to guerrilla fighters in Iraq, whether they are partisan patriots fighting to expel foreign invaders, sectarian fanatics, or opportunistic foreign terrorists.

But pay careful attention to the phrase applying those sanctions to those found guilty -- once again, by presidential decree -- of "undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq...." Wouldn't this apply to people who participate in organized efforts to end the occupation?

Yes, expropriating anti-war activists wouldn't provide the same visceral thrill that would result from the spectacle of a few of them led away in chains to the gas chamber. But the Reich Wing can console itself in the knowledge that those whom the State would annihilate, it first expropriates.

Incidentally --

Dick Cheney will briefly be president ex officio tomorrow while a team of crack physicians (as it were) conducts a desperate search for George W. Bush's head.

Video Extra:

The incomparable Keith Olbermann opens up a family-size can of Whoop-Cheney on Bush and Company for their brazen effort to vilify those of us who didn't clap for Tinkerbell. He's wrong to depict Madame Hillary as a principled opponent of the Iraq War, and his treatment of the War Between the States is a bit dodgy, but his commentary is pretty good otherwise:

Please be sure to check in at The Right Source -- and the Liberty Minute archive.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Your Next "Landlord" Will Speak Chinese

Meet your future landlord: Thanks to the Federal Reserve and our own profligacy, Washington is looking to China to bail out the distressed mortgage industry.

It takes a mind better attuned than mine to the arcane science of high finance to understand why the Dow briefly crested 14,000 today (July 17). The mystery deepens considerably when items such as this are taken into account:

"[Homebuilders] declined after the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo sentiment index fell this month to 24, the lowest since January 1991, from 28 in June. Readings less than 50 mean most respondents view conditions as poor."

For several years, the manic real estate/mortgage/refinancing industry has been the only engine keeping our consumer economy aloft. The Federal Reserve, the Power Elite's official counterfeiters since 1913, has done everything it can to keep the housing and re-fi bubble inflated, as the dollar's increasing decrepitude demonstrates.

The official rationale for the Federal Reserve -- whose officers don't have the cojones to be honest and brazen thieves -- is that they exist to regulate and rationalize the economy by exercising sober, adult authority over the banking system. R-i-i-i-i-i-ight. That's why they spent the last decade or so pumping out money and credit with the giddy enthusiasm of a prankster spiking the Prom punchbowl with Spanish Fly.

This led to years of promiscuous mortgage lending in which financial institutions would open their wallets on very short acquaintance to practically anybody, irrespective of his background or qualifications. As a result, countless people on both ends of such deals got screwed, and the economy is pregnant with awful possibilities. I'd elaborate on some of them, but I think I've overworked this metaphor already.

We can already see the expanding collapse of the "sub-prime" mortgage sector, which in some communities is undermining property values for conscientious homeowners and (odd as this might seem at first) abetting the growth of the police state. Not surprisingly, investors are bailing out of the sub-prime market.

Trying to stem that hemorrhage is a task assigned to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Alphonso Jackson (who is nowhere near as cool as virtuoso bassist Alphonso Johnson -- and no, that's not Basil Fawlty on lead guitar, but rather a very young John Scofield).

Where does a US government official go these days in search of investment capital?

That's right -- Beijing.

"Hey, honey -- our new neighbors are here to throw a house-warming party!"

His hat in his hand, Secretary Jackson took Mendicant Airlines to Beijing, seeking to persuade China's central bank "to buy more mortgage-backed securities after a surge in defaults by risky borrowers in the world's largest economy eroded demand for such instruments," reported Bloomberg News. Specifically, Jackson sought to sell the Chinese some securities issued by Ginnie Mae, a federally backed mortgage lender operating through HUD.

Ginnie Mae is a better investment than its better-known cousins Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, Jackson insists, because HUD's mortgage association has the "full backing of the US government."

In other words: When Ginnie's mortgages go bad, Congress covers for them and gets the Fed to print up the "money" to cover the costs; other Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) such as Freddie and Fannie offer no such guarantees, even though they're widely believed to.

HUD is also seeking to sell mortgage securities to Chinese commercial banks, and Jackson intends to sign a "memorandum of understanding" on this matter with Chinese construction minister Wang Guangtao when he visits Washington in August.

Refinancing a mortgage with the First Bank of Mao is a little ... different. For some reason you have to agree to repaint your house in festive Proletarian red. The mortgage papers come bound in a little Red Book. And you have to sign with this huge ceremonial pen containing an embedded explosive charge.

Amazing as it may seem, as of June 2006, Beijing held over $107.5 billion in US mortgage securities. This is a trifling amount once it's understood that there is something on the order of $11.8 trillion in outstanding mortgages. But the bubble's collapse has just begun -- and Beijing is awash in cash. Although Washington is looking for Beijing's help to bail out its mortgage-granting GSEs, but given the extent to which the economy still depends on that sector, there's no reason to expect that our rulers would want the Chinese to stop there.

Until a "homeowner" pays off his mortgage, he's actually renting his home from the lending institution. I wouldn't be surprised if, several years hence, millions of American "homeowners" discovered that the "landlord" to whom they're making mortgage payments is the Chinese government.

A brief postscript....

Look, I'm aware that China has changed dramatically since the Cultural Revolution; in fact, according to friends and relatives who spend a considerable amount of time there, it has changed dramatically in just the last decade. While the Chinese government still describes itself as the vessel of "Marxism-Leninism-Maoism-Deng Xiaoping Thought," its commitment to global revolution is considerably weaker than that of the demented ideologues who surround the Dimwit-in-Chief. The Chinese themselves are astonishingly bright and admirably entrepreneurial. The regime, like governments everywhere, is run by some thoroughly nasty people. I would like to think that China is big enough and old enough that it can transcend Communism, but I'm not optimistic. I would love to be proven wrong.

And a personal request...

Please keep Korrin in your prayers. She is not doing well.

Please visit
The Right Source and the Liberty Minute archive.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Briefly Considered: A "Weimar Moment" Approaches

"We are in danger of having ... a Weimar moment in our politics. German politics was embittered disastrously by the belief that they were on the cusp of victory in 1918 and were stabbed in the back by the civilian leadership that didn't understand Germany's military prowess. There is a constituency in this town that believes we're winning in Iraq, that we have at last figured it out, that the indices of success are there. And if we pull out and have the kind of disastrous consequences, telegenic disastrous consequences, or could have, we're going to have people saying, `We had it won and threw it away.'" --

George F. Will to George Stephanopolous, "This Week," July 15

Shortly before the last election (if that term can be used to apply to a selection process involving two entirely interchangeable contenders), the witty and perceptive Charles Featherstone offered his own warnings about the Weimarization of American politics:

"It is common currency among many committed Republicans that Democrats know nothing about the military and are simply incapable of commanding it properly. America needs a strong Commander-in-Chief, and a wimpy, wussy Democrat more worried about day care, health care, hair care and [illicit assignations with interns] is simply incapable of issuing orders that generals and admirals will respect and obey. Bill Clinton tried to prove otherwise, but his handful of wars and his recreational activities have, I fear, simply reinforced this notion among the Red State Party Faithful.

So, if Kerry [or another Democratic successor to Bush] presides over a withdrawal from Iraq – even the same withdrawal that Bush would have undertaken in virtually the same way – be prepared for the big lie, a "stabbed-in-the-back" theory that will bitterly and angrily poison American politics and society, likely worse than post-Vietnam recriminations damaged our national politics.

Expect to be told – to be lectured and hectored – that were it not for likes of us, for dissent, America would have won, if we had just been as united as we were on September 12, 2001.

Never mind that there was no winning.

During the First World War, the German Imperial government imposed very strict censorship on battle reports. Many at home in Germany had no idea how badly things had gone for the army during the last three months of fighting in 1918. That, combined with the abdication of the government which had waged the war and thus was unable to take responsibility for losing it, allowed an exceptionally poisonous lie to take hold: the `November Criminals,' the socialists and Jews who supposedly sold the nation out, who stabbed in the back and defeated an army that was not beaten on the battlefield. That lie, and the hatred and mistrust it engendered within German society, made it virtually impossible for Germans to govern themselves effectively during the 1920s.

And we all know what that eventually led to."

Even more ominous still is the fact that in terms of the consolidation of power in the presidency, the real "Weimar Moment" happened last October.

A brief aside --

Please forgive the skimpiness of this offering, and expect a lengthier and more fully realized essay as soon as conditions permit.

I offer my deepest and most earnest thanks to the people who have made some incredibly generous donations to me and my family. Your kindness, I am not ashamed to admit, has literally left me in tears. I would ask for your continued prayers on behalf of Korrin, who remains hospitalized and is not making any improvement.

Thanks again. God bless all of you.

Please be sure to visit
The Right Source and the Liberty Minute archive.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Praetorian "Conservatism"

"I took an oath to the president, and I take that oath very seriously."

This declaration was offered as a pious summation civic duty by former White House Political Director Sara Taylor. She stated this without irony or self-awareness. Clearly, she was someone who had been immersed in a culture of fuhrerprinzip, in which there was no allegiance higher than loyalty to the Grand and Glorious Decider.

Senator Patrick Leahy quite correctly reminded Miss Taylor that even though
"the president refers to the government being his government -- it's not," and that her "paramount" duty was to the Constitution:

A day before Sara Taylor's Senate testimony provided an inadvertent illustration of the Bush Regime's Leader Cult in action, former Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona described another example in his testimony before a House committee.

"In [speeches delivered during] my first year, clearly I was told a number of times that the president's name wasn't mentioned in the speech and I was told it should be mentioned -- at one point, at least three times on every page," Carmona recalled. "And I said, 'I'm not going to do that.' . . ."

During his press conference today (July 12), The Grand and Glorious Decider himself expatiated at length on his apparently limitless unilateral powers, his comments planted with a thick forest of vertical singular pronouns:

"I will rely on General Petraeus to give me his recommendations for the appropriate troop levels in Iraq. I will discuss the recommendation with the secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I will continue consultations with members of the United States Congress from both sides of the aisle. And then I'll make a decision."

One reporter asked The Decider if he has "entertained the idea that at some point Congress may take some of that sole decision-making power away through legislation.... [C]an you tell us: Are you still committed to vetoing any troop withdrawal deadline?"

"I don't think Congress ought to be running the war," replied the Commander Guy. "I think they ought to be funding our troops.... I listen to Congress. Congress has got all the right to appropriate money. But the idea of telling our military how to conduct operations, for example, or how to, you know, deal with troops strength, is -- I don't think it makes sense."

On this construction, the sole duty of Congress is to appropriate money to keep the war going for as long as the Decider requires. It was dictatorial presumption of this sort that cost Charles I his head.

Under the U.S. Constitution, a document for which The Decider has expressed profane contempt, it is Congress -- not the president -- that decides when and against whom our nation goes to war. It has the power to de-fund the present war and to recall the troops.

But those delegated powers aren't in the Constitution as Bush understands it, which -- if reduced to print -- would read something like this: "Law consists of two lines above my signature." That was Saddam Hussein's description of his power, and there is something oddly appropriate in the fact that Saddam is the only individual or institution to whom Bush was supposedly willing to defer in deciding whether to invade Iraq.

During today's press conference, Bush pointedly refused to concede that he had made the decision to go to war. The one who decided on behalf of the United States, Bush insisted, was
"Saddam Hussein. He chose the course.... It was his decision to make. "

Actually, Saddam Hussein had agreed to abdicate power and flee into exile in order to prevent an attack on his country, which means that somewhere beneath the numerous layers of murderous corruption in his personality was an embattled spark of genuine patriotism.
Bush and the adults who script his lines weren't going to permit any arrangement that didn't involve an attack on, and occupation of, Iraq -- despite Bush's ongoing effort to assign the responsibility for the war to Saddam.

Unfortunately for Bush, in December 2005, before the occupation of Iraq had blossomed into the full-blown catastrophe it has become, Bush was eager to claim sole credit for making the decision for war. Bush told NBC correspondent Brian Williams:

"I remember the day we committed the troops, or I committed the troops, there's no `we' to it. I committed the troops to combat in Iraq. And I left here [the Oval Office], walked out that door, walked around that South Lawn there with my trusty dog Spot, just thinking about the consequences...."(Emphasis added.)

Imagining Bush in stoic contemplation of war's grim consequences summons up an amusingly implausible picture -- rather like one of those posed photographs of a Chimp dressed as a scientist contemplating some mysterious substance in a test tube.

Be that as it may, there is an interesting contrast between Saddam Hussein, and the American President whose doctrine of executive power is essentially identical to that of the Iraqi despot: Saddam was willing to surrender power, if it would spare his country a hugely destructive war. Bush is incapable of such a sacrifice.

Of course, that comparison is unfair -- to Saddam, who, repulsive as he was, killed fewer Iraqis and Americans than has George W. Bush.

Please visit The Right Source, and the Liberty Minute archives.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Too Short a Season: Derek Hale, Victim of the Homeland Security State, as Remembered by a Friend

Sgt. Derek J. Hale, USMC, who was murdered by police in Wilmington, Delaware last November, was a "great kid -- responsible; well mannered," recalls a man who knew him as a child in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. "It's a damned shame what they did to him out there."

The e-mail continued:

"I managed a baseball card shop that Derek and his friends frequented as teenagers. He was a responsible young man who had his own lawn care business at age 13 [or]14. He took care of our lawn until he graduated from high school. I can remember the day that he decided to join the Marines---he came into the shop and was excited. I watched him grow from a awkward teen who was very nervous and shy around young ladies to a young man who finally found his niche. Unfortunately I didn't get to see him much after he left for the Marines though I kept track of him through this father who lived in Cape as well. "

Derek served two tours in Iraq before being honorably discharged for medical reasons. He was married shortly before leaving the Marine Corps, and celebrated his first anniversary shortly before he was gunned down by the police wolf-pack (8-10 heavily armed officers clad in black, according to eyewitnesses) on the front porch of a friend's home in Wilmington.

"To Protect and Serve"?

Derek was unarmed (police claim to have found a switchblade in his clothing, although his step-brother says Derek never carried one, preferring a Swiss Army Knife instead) and not the subject of an arrest warrant or criminal investigation. Yet he was hit with seven Taser blasts in the space of 73 seconds while several witnesses -- including his friend and her two young children -- looked on in horror and pleaded with the police.

Practically the last thing Derek said before being shot at point-blank range by Lt. William Browne was: "Not in front of the kids -- get the kids out of here."

Derek, who joined the Pagans Motorcycle Club shortly after leaving the Marines, had traveled from Virginia to Delaware as part of a "Toys for Tots" promotion. Some Pagans were suspected of involvement in narcotics-related crimes, but there was never any evidence implicating Derek.
"The `Toys for Tots' thing was something Derek would have done wholeheartedly," comments his friend. "Doing a favor for a friend was something he would have done without question.... There was no way in hell Derek was involved in drugs of any kind."

"I spent many an afternoon talking with Derek when he would visit my store; his character and reputation were beyond reproach," he continues. "I can remember him spending time with an autistic classmate and including the young man in things that he and his friends did together. I have a three-year-old son and I would be most happy if I knew he would turn out to have the character and respect for people (particularly his elders) that Derek had."

Official inquiries depict Derek as a violent criminal whose "defiant" and "menacing" behavior left the heavily armed police -- who outnumbered him at least 8-to-1 -- afraid for their lives. His friend finds that claim to be ridiculous.

"Derek always had a sense of justice and fairness," his friend observes. "There is no way in hell he would have threatened a police posse. When I saw his obit in the local paper I thought he must have been killed in Iraq or something -- but alas our own home-grown terrorists took the life of an innocent man."

"At some point," he concludes, "I would like to call [Derek's] widow and tell her what a fine man her husband was. I've had her number and just didn't feel right about calling her out of the blue, yet I am compelled to offer moral support. I hope that his widow and his parents hang it in the ass of the ... police department and AG's office.... I wish there would be a groundswell of support against the killing of this soldier that murder charges are brought against those terrorists. It is a sad day in a country's history when a soldier can return from two tours of duty in Iraq and can be slain in the streets of his own country by people who get a nut by torturing and killing the people they were hired to protect."

"Our country is going to hell and these patriotic Kool-Aid drinkers are too damned stupid to realize they are being duped by a group of people who count on the American people not thinking for themselves."

If you're interested in helping Derek's family, you can send help to:

The Derek Hale Defense Fund
c/o Dr. David Crowe

1736 Broadway

Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

Or --

Derek Hale Memorial

c/o Beverly at Alliance Bank

P.O. Box 1458
Cape Girardeau, Mo., 63702.

Please be sure to visit The Right Source, and the Liberty Minute archive.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Praying for a Terrorist Strike: The GOP's Newest Political Strategy

Nuclear terrorism: If it happens, it will be an answer to Republican prayers.

Former Republican Senator Rick Santorum made the grand crusade against “Islamic fascism” the central focus of his unsuccessful 2006 re-election effort.

On numerous occasions the preening Keystone State solon – who couldn't glance at a mirror without seeing Churchill's bulldog demeanor glowering back at him – insisted that it was the “destiny” of “this generation” to fight an apocalyptic war against radical Islam. Unlike his more equivocal comrades in the Republican branch of the War Party, Santorum made it clear that his preferred “exit strategy” for Iraq would be to invade (or at least bomb) Iran.

After long acquaintance with, and scrutiny of, Mr. Santorum, Pennsylvania's voters decided he was more Church Lady than Churchill,* and gave him a chance to pursue new opportunities in the private sector. So Santorum delivered a suitably melodramatic farewell address and retreated into a comfortable sinecure as a Washington lobbyist.

Despair not for Rick Santorum during that bleak season when he, like Churchill before him, toils in the exile into which he was cast by an ungrateful electorate. He has never abandoned the hope that the American public will come to embrace the wisdom of a generational war. It's just that Santorum has now invested that hope in the murderous intentions of the Islamic fanatics he has warned about. To put the matter bluntly, Santorum is obviously hoping, and perhaps even praying, for Americans to die at the hands of Jihadists.

How else are rational people supposed to understand the following remarks offered by Santorum during a July 7 interview on Hugh Hewitt's syndicated radio program:

[C]onfronting Iran in the Middle East as an absolute linchpin for our success in that region.... And while it may not be a popular thing to talk about right now, and I know public sentiment is against it [namely, the war in Iraq and expanding the conflict to Iran] ... between now and November, a lot of things are going to happen, and I believe that by this time next year, the American public’s going to have a very different view of this war, and it will be because, I think, of some unfortunate events, that like we’re seeing unfold in the UK. But I think the American public’s going to have a very different view....”

As others have pointed out, Santorum is not the only prominent Republican figure to predict that wayward Americans, having allowed themselves to doubt the divine insight of the Dear Leader, will soon be smitten by the chastening hand of history.

Just weeks ago, Arkansas Republican chairman Dennis Milligan, who describes himself as “150 percent” behind Bush and his Iraq war, said in an on-the-record interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
“At the end of the day, I believe fully the president is doing the right thing, and I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [Sept. 11, 2001 ], and the naysayers will come around very quickly to appreciate not only the commitment for President Bush, but the sacrifice that has been made by men and women to protect this country.”

Both of those abhorrent comments are riffs on a familiar Rovian theme: Vote Republican and support the Dear Leader, or die. Speaking of Rove: In the current issue of American Spectator conservative actor and economist Ben Stein, a long-time war supporter who now considers the Iraq venture to be “an unmitigated disaster,” describes a recent dinner at Rove's house with GOP adviser Aram Bakshian. Both Rove and Bakshian were “very upbeat about the GOP and the war,” which to minds as cynical as my own suggests that something Santorum would consider usefully “unfortunate” may soon transpire.

People like Santorum and Milligan (and Dana Rohrabacher, the stupidest consequential public figure not named Bush or Hannity) ache for disaster. They pant after it with vulgar, undisguised lust. They are tremulous with unconsummated desire for validation in the form of dead Americans and ruined cities.

Revolting and vile as this is, it is not unique. In fact, these repellent people are firmly and squarely in the interventionist tradition of American politics, in which cheerfully anticipating the death of Americans has a long and venerable history.

Writing in Foreign Affairs a dozen years ago (excerpt), the late Establishment historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. wrote that “it is to Joseph Stalin that Americans owe the 40-year suppression of the isolationist impulse.”

Stalin's regime slaughtered scores of millions, helped precipitate the Second World War, and (thanks to the connivance of Washington) acquired thermonuclear weapons capable of incinerating much of the world – but at least he wasn't an isolationist. Stalin and his successors were immeasurably useful allies for the American Power Elite against their common enemy – Americans and others who wanted to cultivate their own gardens and live in freedom and peace.

In 1947, Senator Arthur Vandenberg described Washington's foreign policy at the beginning of the Cold War as that of “scaring hell out of the American people.” In the same year, Senator Robert Taft, who yielded to nobody in his detestation for Communism and other forms of collectivism, described himself as being “more than a bit tired of having the Russian menace invoked as a reason for doing any- and everything that might or might not be desirable or necessary on its own merits.”

By 1950, American public sentiment was fiercely anti-Communist and just as passionately opposed to the interventionist foreign policy “consensus.” It was at that moment of crisis, recalled former Secretary of State Dean Acheson in 1954, that the Korean war “came along and saved us.”

Some scenes from the Korean War, also known as "Saving Secretary Acheson (and his Interventionist Buddies)."

Saving the plans of Acheson and his comrades cost the lives of more than 50,000 Americans in a war that has never formally been brought to an end.

Interventionists have always known that Americans aren't naturally inclined to go abroad in search of monsters to destroy, unless the monsters in question kill a suitably large number of Americans. That's why FDR, Dean Acheson, and people of that ilk offered a prayer of gratitude for Josef Stalin six decades ago, and why the likes of Rick Santorum are praying for Jihadists to strike today.

*I do not want to leave the impression that Churchill himself was an entirely commendable figure.

A personal note --

I want to express my earnest gratitude for the prayers, kind wishes, and generous help provided to my family in recent days. You have blessed us beyond measure. Thank you so much, and I will keep you apprised of Korrin's progress.

A quick clarification:

Deferring to the good folks over at Freedom's Phoenix, I happily point out that the wise and distinguished Dr. Ron Paul is emphatically not among those Bush-bot Republicans eagerly hoping for a politically exploitable terrorist attack. Dr. Paul's party affiliation is Republican, but as he points out he is a Republican of the Robert Taft persuasion, rather than a curdled, petty militarist of the sort so commonplace in today's GOP. My deepest and most sincere apologies for leaving the impression that I consider Dr. Paul to be in any way similar to the likes of Rick Santorum and Dennis Milligan.

Please be sure to visit The Right Source and the Liberty Minute archive.