Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Politics of the Feasible

 
Last night we had a minor surge of traffic as members of James Wolcott’s fan club, clicking on the link he so kindly provided, took a stroll through the Gates of Vienna.

Based on the small sample of comments left behind by these visitors, we must be alarming creatures indeed. It makes me realize once again what a gulf has opened between the left and the right since 9/11. Really, we might as well be from different galaxies. I get used to having reasonable discussions with what seem intelligent, literate, like-minded people, and I forget that we sound like gibbering blood-crazed theocrats to the cognoscenti at large.

I don’t think there’s much we can do to change this situation, except maybe to starve the left of oxygen by removing its sources of public funding. What would happen if they had to get real jobs and work amongst real people?

Unfortunately for them, they’d have to listen to someone like Redneck Texan, who said this yesterday:
     I think, like others here have suggested, that the political constraints you have imposed on our arguments are inevitably subject to change at some undetermined point in the future. I don’t see us remaining helpless Jihadi fodder for the remainder of the century, and I don’t foresee us preventing them from escalating the holy war before they are in a position to seriously threaten the continuance of our way of life. I am afraid its going to take the big one here, or maybe several of them, before the political dynamics allow a victory to be a feasible option on our part. It may just be wishful thinking to assume we can mount a conflict resolving response after they finally blow our arrogant high ground out from underneath us, but thats what I am basing my hopes on.
While your constraints accurately reflect the current limitations we have imposed on ourselves, there are of course other possible scenarios that don’t require an politically hamstrung American president to resolve.
The American people could take matters into their own hands (cough), and bypass the legislative limitations we have imposed on ourselves, and eliminate the domestic threats and obstacles to victory that can never be eliminated Constitutionally. Its happened before and it might be rather short-sighted to assume it cant happen again....just needs a sustained catalyst such as empty grocery store shelves which could be caused by any number of events. We may have become too lazy to demand good governance but we are all still seven meals from barbarism.
But a more likely path to conflict resolution might lie in the hands of the leaders of other nations that are not as hamstrung by a bitterly divided populace as any American president would be. The Israelis and Russians both have a button labeled “enough is enough”, and they are both more likely to be the initial recipients of the Islamists final provocation than we are. Stands to reason they might be more likely to discard political limitations than we are as well.
Well, Mr. Texan certainly joins the ranks of the Fierce Guard Dogs. It’s a good thing for Vanity Fair that he’s not in charge of the country, eh?

Like any number of other commenters, he’s looking ahead to the next big attack and thinking about vigilante justice and massively violent pre-emption. I’d like to avoid both those options if we can. At the same time, I recognize the political limits our leaders labor under, and that’s what the Carnival of the Armchair Generals was all about.

Mr. Texan is right that another huge attack changes the political calculus. But, aside from waiting for the Big One, what can be done?

I see two possibilities. The first is one that I referred to yesterday: changing our national immigration policy. This is politically feasible, since a vast majority of the American public supports curbing immigration. It runs up against the unlikely bedfellows of entrenched corporate interests (which benefit from the cheap illegal labor) and the PC Race Grievance Alliance (which has an attack of the vapors whenever a person of color might be made uncomfortable).

Even Jamaat ul-Fuqra would have its operational possibilities circumscribed if its foreign leaders and advisers were no longer allowed to come and go as they please across our borders.

The second possibility directly impacts the first: continue to enhance and expand the alternative sources of information. When the New York Times and CNN no longer put the fear of Allah into the hearts of politicians, the pols will be more likely to listen to the voice of the people.

As a practical contribution, I suggest turning off the networks and the cable channels, giving up your NYT subscription, and getting your news entirely off the blogs and related media. As Tom Paine said, “Little Green Footballs is my New York Times.” And he’s in Australia!

As the information flows into its new channels, the old media will exert less control over the politicians. Trent Lott didn’t learn his lesson, but eventually some of the younger ones will.

One last thought: the important battle is in the 2006 Republican primaries.

31 comments:

Andrew Scotia said...

I turned off my TV in 1987. Well, actually I emptied a clip of .45 ball into it. I hasten to add that it was not in the house when we did this and we were sober. The TV was executed sitting on a haybale in a hay barn, in the country, with about twenty feet of stacked hay for a backstop. Safety first.

Last year I cancelled my subscription to the LAT and our local parakeet latrine. This year I gave up on NPR with the exception of the hourly news on the all classical music station. Hey, five minutes is no problem for a tolerant guy like me.

It took me a while to find replacements to get the kind of in depth actual news I want. But, gradually, I have found them at various sites. Occasionally, I will find myself puzzled by references to popular culture but can usually Google an answer without actually having to watch Survivor, for example.

Blogs, major league, minors and pro-am provide me with the analysis I need without steam coming out my ears every ten minutes or so. LA Observed provides me with all I want to know about our neighbor blob to the south.

If I want to read something in depth or save it for afters, I have a favorites file prefixed with a number that keeps it right at the top of the list for easy saving.

Has it worked? Well, I dropped forty pounds, hair starting growing back in my bald spot and I am a veritable stallion... Well no, strike that. Yes, I'm better informed, with more depth and a much improved debater at the local deli for lunch and some breakfasts with the other downtowners.

If you have a broadband, always on connection, it is the only way to fly. It is a little harder if you are dial up, but still do-able. Traveling? No prob. Save the list of destination local coffee houses with free wi-fi. Take in the laptop, get a bagel and a double short, non fat latte; and you are good to go.

Baron Bodissey said...

Andrew, you sound a lot like us. No TV for me for more than 30 years (though I watch it some when away from home). Sometimes, when you see us use pop culture references here, it's a self-consciously acquired habit, like putting a foreign phrase into one's prose.

I can say "J-Lo" with the best of them, but I don't really know who she is...

Jason_Pappas said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jason_Pappas said...

The intellectual war has to be a priority. Our practical solutions, in many cases, will seem unintelligible without others understanding that there is a threat. And speculating about the worse case scenario (which you and I both want to avoid) only scares people away before the even examine the evidence of the threat.

Still, people always want concrete steps. Immigration is one. Another, as I always stress, is stop the appeasement--no funds to our enemies (Mubarak, Palistinians, Musharref, etc.) Changing our stance sets the stage for further action.

Yes, I don’t think that will be enough but if we can’t rally our fellow Americans to do that, then they don’t understand the threat and won’t get them to consider doing more. And as we advocate specific action, we must use that opportunity to educate others about Islam.

(Corrected typo.)

Dymphna said...

Andrew S--

It was interesting raising a child in the country without TV. He did have movies -- mostly things others taped for him as the Baron was an artist then and we pinched all the pennies we could find.

As a result of minus TV, though, he didn't have the jargon of his cohorts -- he called his friends his "chums" (too many Hardy Boys
books)...he also failed to develop the veneer of "cool" a kid needs to survive out there. Fortunately for him, we home-schooled and he did just fine.

Given his ADD it's a good thing it wasn't further exacerbated by the toob.

Oh--and we've ordered the laptop this week. My dil is a tecchie and is taking care of all the details. Well...my older son is, too (they own a consulting biz) but he puts way too many bells and whistles on it for us humble country folk.

Can't wait -- now I can lie abed and poke the keys.

Papa Bear said...

The problem of the Left is that they are in the habit of dealing in slogans and sound bites rather than in reasoned argument.

This is fine when they are in complete control of the media. It is not so fine when they have to hold up their end of a debate, which is why they tend to avoid reasoned debate with the right, and get so upset with "traitors" of the left who try to set up such a debate forum

Goesh said...

You guys are on a roll! I never owned a TV until I was 37. I do enjoy some of the nature and historical presentations, and college basketball of course. Go Big Blue! Hey! Hey! Whataya' say?
I thought I would have a light moment instead of advocating the slaying of enemies and the wearing of their ears.

Yaakov Kirschen said...

Okay guys, I too have given up (cable) TV. Not out of righteous indignation, but because I'm a TV junkie and had to go cold turkey to get my life back. Living in Israel, however, means that I need to check in with the news when we're hit with a terrorist attack. Like the rest of you guys I'm faced on the news with (even here!) a leftist view of the world.

Dry Bones

Papa Ray said...

Us Redneck Texans don't need no tv. We go to the sporting events we want to, get our "news" at the coffee shop or over the fence and the radio in the ol' pickup truck.

That said, when I got me one of these new fangled computer deals, a whole new world opened up for me. That is after I became a glutton and then a reformed glutton of porn.

I found out that there were actually people somewhere else other than West Texas. Some not so nice, others that I might get a visitors pass to visit Texas.

About the only time I have been out of this area is when I joined the Army back in late 67. Course, besides a couple of stateside Army bases, all I saw was the jungle and such in VietNam.

Not much to say about that.

I stay away from lefties, democrats and stupid people in real life. Cause, I have no patience with them and don't need to go to jail anymore. I'm too old.

On the computer, I can type away and say what ever the hell I want to about anything, regardles if I know what I'm talking about or not. I don't punch out anyone, don't cuss too much and any snide or condecending remarks thrown my way can be erased with a click of the ol' mouse.

I have been told by the owners of the coffee shops to behave or I can't come back, so all of our civil discourse and intercourse is...well, mostly civil.

But that's cus we don't allow any one who disagrees with us at our table.

Kinda makes it easier to stay out of trouble that way.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

Dymphna said...

Texas... Let's see... Isn't that in Baja Oklahoma?

Bill said...

Dymphna, ROTFLMAO! As a former Okie, to call Texas "Baja Oklahoma" is .....beyond words. I'm in hysterics. I really needed the laugh. This is a bad week for me.

I hope Pappa Ray can take a joke....

Dymphna said...

Oh, Bill -- everybody knows Dan Jenkins was just having a little fun. Everybody knows Texans like to laugh at themselves.

Right?

Redneck Texan said...

Since we already sound like gibbering blood-crazed theocrats, please indulge my dipping of the toe in the deep end once again.

On the immigration front, which is where I live, let me point out that there is no politically feasible solution to the problem. Our immigration laws are designed to be easily defeated, and our society has been successfully conditioned to immediately associate anyone who points that inherent flaw out as being an evil white racist, thereby allowing the masses to disregard with a clear conscious any facts he may bring to the argument.

Our immigration policy has been designed with a massive asinine loophole that rewards the offspring of any illegal immigrants that successfully breach our perimeter security with full citizenship rights, and those children can then turn around and sponsor their illegal parents.

The logic being I guess to make the current generation of politicians appear humane while once again passing the tough decisions off to the next generation. Well that generation has arrived in my beloved state and some others. The descendants of those illegal immigrant have become the majority voting block here now despite massive legal immigration from northern states. No statewide politician will ever survive here for very long if he shuts the gates on these descendent's relatives that have yet to make the trip, and portraying the volunteer border watchers as racist thugs is a much safer way to stay in power now, as there are drastically fewer of them.

Another serious flaw in our immigration policy is the common misconception that deportation is our ultimate weapon on the matter. Being deported is merely a cost saving way for illegals to spend a weekend back on the Mexican ranch. I have known some that voluntarily turned themselves in on a Friday just so they could get a quick trip back to the border to bring back the stuff they forgot on the first trip, and be back by the next Monday. Despite their deportation they never missed a day of work. On the rare occasion that the illegal's trip across our border is detected and stopped by our border patrol, they simply move their next attempt east or west a few miles until they are successful, and 100% of the people that want to infiltrate our borders are successful eventually, and rarely does it take more than two attempts.

The problem is we have made illegally crossing our borders a guaranteed safe journey. So safe that families, pregnant women, and children are not even scared to attempt it. Getting caught means nothing but a free meal and a slight delay waiting for the next coyote train to come by. Thats what needs to change if we want to see any success. Tales of beatings and extra-judicial killings need to get back to the source villages. Bullet ridden bodies need to be regularly shown on Mexican TV if we really want to stem the incentive to test our border security methods. A buffer zone on our side of the river needs to become militarized, with a shoot on sight policy, and thats a proposition that goes against everything we like to pretend we stand for as a nation of immigrants. But simply beefing up our current border patrol while still imposing self-defeating policies on them will do nothing but make for some tough sounding sound bites for our politicians while the problem continues to grow unabated.

As far as the alternative sources of information goes, keep in mind what a small slice of America utilizes them, or the mainstream variety either. You may live without a TV, but the other 99% of America relies strictly on sit-coms and reality shows for their window into how the rest of the world really works, and there is no geo-political quiz that must be passed before Americans can vote.

One last thought: the important battle is in the 2006 Republican primaries.

I think that is the precipice where holding the high ground gives one false confidence.

While I prefer a right leaning government as much as the next guy here, I also realize its virtually irrelevant in how successfully we respond to aggression in the holy war. We are always going to have to compromise with the roughly half of our electorate who's political rhetoric just happens to align exactly with our enemy's propaganda.

I truly cherish and bask the freedoms granted to me by our constitution. However its a dated document written by 18th century idealists that would be labeled as racist white men if they were alive today. They could not ever have conceived of the external dangers America faces today, nor did they comprehend how advances in transportation combined with a open door immigration policy has shifted the fabric of the society they established on the assumption of it being a mainly European blend of DNA and cultural baggage.

They brilliantly designed a document that incorporates all the necessary checks and balances to protect us from an internally generated tyranny, but is inherently weak by design at protecting us from an external one.

It, or it's bloated modern day version, actually encourages and celebrates divisive counter-productive internal dissent that makes no exception to the fact that we may be in a global war of survival. Undercutting our commander in chief during a war is worn like a badge of honor amongst a large percentage of our political opposition. It incorporated no checks and balances to address the fact that domestic compromising during a war severely handicaps our ability to wage or sustain an external conflict that spans several election cycles.

Now it also did not incorporate any language that allowed us to intern all our citizens of Japanese descent during WW2 either, but we had the unity to overlook that flaw back then, I don't think thats possible again under anything but the total chaos that will reign after a crippling attack.

My overall point being Baron....that our self-imposed rules that appear to give us the moral high ground actually assure we will not prevail on the war on terror or immigration fronts until we can agree to cast them aside for the sake of effectiveness. And thats not possible until we can see the spectre of defeat approaching from our elevated perch. I think that if the men who wrote our constitution were around today they would throw it in the trash and write a new one that incorporates the much more deadly time-line we now occupy.

Pastorius said...

Interesting comment from The Redneck Texan.

It seems as if many of us are thinking in the same direction at the same time. Yesterday, I wrote a post called, "The Jihad is Worldwide and Coordinated" wherein I voice my concern that we are not fighting a war sufficient to destroy the will of the enemy. For this reason, I believe that it is possible we may not "wake up" until we are hit very, very hard.

In the interest of avoiding the massive carnage which would go with such a hit, and our inevitable retaliation, I have come up with a proposal:

http://cuanas.blogspot.com/2005/10/jihad-is-worldwide-and-coordinated.html

Baron Bodissey said...

Redneck -- It is indeed a grim picture that you paint of our southern border. That is our most serious problem.

The 2006 Republican primaries are an opportunity to throw the soft-on-immigration rascals out. There is a large popular majority for such action, if only it will organize itself. Then, in the general election, a hard-on-immigration Republican stands a good chance against a Democrat opponent, especially as long as the DNC remains a bunch of kamikaze moonbats.

As for the moral high ground -- read peggy's comments more carefully. She and I stand for meeting our would-be violent enemies with overwhelming violence.

If I lived where you do, I might well feel the same way you do...

Baron Bodissey said...

Pastorius, you need to hot-link!

But I posted a snip & a link for you.

Pastorius said...

Thanks Baron, I am honored.

CapZap said...

I have turned off the cable news and no longer subscribe to any daily. Yours is great advice -- the blogs suit me and give me civilized and rational thought.

The pleasure of finding clear thinking and well informed people who are conservatives is such a delight.

News is better when it's slightly stale because it's less emotional and therefor is more thoughtfully discussed.

Papa Ray said...

Redneck Texan says it a lot better than I could. My writing and such is almost all self taught and I am getting too lazy in my ol' age to really give a damn anyway.

Over at CUANAS I made a comment about how I wanted to handle the present Islamic problem. I should have included the Border problem as well.

There is little difference to me between the two. Would I shoot women and children coming across. No , but any male would be in danger of being shot. I think that it wouldn't take very many days of that before there were no more border crossings or at least no illegal border crossings.

It is a sad day, when one human being has to take the life of another. I know, because I had to do it for almost two years and its taken me over thirty years to learn how to live with it.

But, let me tell you in no uncertain terms, when it comes to me and mine, and there is no one else protecting us,

I can do it again.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

VDHanson said...

I am afraid to be countercultural in here, but must admit to having cable news lowly thrumming in the background most of the time.

What has been completely missing is network TV.

We watch some movies, enjoy Rome (except for my wife who insists on a world without blood), and a few other things, prefer entertainment of the Tracy Hepburn ilk, but in season it's the yanks and red sox in the eve.

What everything has distilled down to (for me) is this ..how can the american people be awakened to the fact that there is just ONE war going on? A war we cannot duck. Nomatter what we wish.

We already had Pearl Harbor (9/11) and it seems as if the admin preferred to go on as if it's all ok except for these pesky invasions, rather than engage americans on daily basis.

Will it take a devastating bio/chem/nuke attack?

Are we permanently hog tied by the moonbat dithering Hamlets? (Unacceptable)

As a nearly daily contibutor to an arab forum in the GCC area I can tell you that rank terrorism is always excused by virtue of anti americanism and racism (against guess who?). Besides we're not yet in Dar al Islam. Worse they refuse to even accept the mild idea that there is a KKK within Islam which has hold of the ideological and philosphical 'high' ground and is going to get A LOT of people killed if left on their course unopposed in the mosque and afterwards on fridays.

Wellington said Waterloo was a 'near run thing' and like the draft passing by 1 vote in 1940, and the german torpedoed american destroyers 'illegally' convoying british ships across the atlantic well before Pearl Harbor (which raised no warlike ire among the populace), it seems as if in a democracy it can be no other way

Mussolini said...

I gave up TV in the 90s. We still have cable, but only the basic so we can watch a special program.

We particularly like certain documentaries. The upcoming Crusades doc on the History Channel is on my list.

I don't think it is a matter of "might" have to suffer a larger attack to change the political climate. We WILL have to suffer massive loss of life in another terrorist attack.

Such an attack will open a brief political window, and I mean brief.

The attack is coming and it will hit. The window will be brief because within hours of naming the perpetrator, the media and the left will begin blaming Bush. Platitudes will be offered by Richard Gere. Moore will claim a Bush conspiracy. Daily-Kos will link it all to Bush's pick for SCOTUS. Streisand will claim in a $1500-per-ticket concert that the muslims are attacking our greed. Fonda will claim that the peace-loving muslims are reacting to our hate.

We will be deluged with an avalance of total propoganda crap that will dampen our resolve. It happened mere days after 9/11. The next will happen sooner.

Mussolini prediction: We won't change anything meaningful after the next big one. We'll be too busy blaming ourselves, no matter how many "guard-dogs" are foaming at the mouth.

*We didn't stop Britian with ideas.
*We didn't stop the north or the south with information.
*We didn't stop Barbars with democracy.
*We didn't stop Hitler with platitudes.

Only with a massive military response did we defeat those "unstoppable" enemies. Each instance required sacrifice, martial law and suspension of the rights we Americans will "cherish" in this war right down to our defeat.

With our own government against us, we're going to lose this war, even with a 2006 change. Too little, too late. I'm not a defeatist, but I call them as I see them.

Baron Bodissey said...

Since we're without TV, maybe Mr. Hanson or one of the others here can tell us -- are the Muslim riots in Denmark being covered on cable TV? I assume they're covering the French riots, since those have appeared on CNN's website (though you have to read 10 graphs in before you see the word "Muslim").

According to Fjordman and Viking Observer, similar things are occurring in Denmark, but the news of them isn't leaking into the English-language media.

Baron Bodissey said...

Bill --

This is a different kind of war.
*When we fought Britian we fought the armed forces of a sovereign state.
*When we fought Civil War we fought the armed forces of a well-defined political entity on the one side, and on the other a sovereign state.
*When we fought Hitler we fought the armed forces of a sovereign state.

This is different. That's why the rabid left has had such massive success with the propaganda against it. The average citizen wants a front with armies and dispatches and advances and retreats. The media gave it to them with Iraq, while peddling all the lies and slant.

Understanding what's really going on is simply impossible if you use nothing but the MSM -- whether it's the solemn anchors on the network news, or the screaming heads on cable.

Mussolini said...

The two countries that are the primary suppliers of funds and religious hate-teachings are:

PAKISTAN
SAUDI ARABIA

We are purposely ignoring these enemies. This is not a win-scenario.

El Jefe Maximo said...

In the best traditions of the old SOE, and of the CIA's reputed Castro-beard eating substance, Am mulling (pun intended), a darker, more devious method of getting at our Iranian mullah friends and their tinpot nuke plan. Sort of war by other means. Watch the blog over the next couple of days...will try to get it finished.

Mussolini said...

I had to go drop off my daughter, so my last post was necessarily shortened.

When we fought Hitler, we fought an ideology. When we fought Britian, we fought a political idea. When we fought for either side in the Civil War (my ancestors fought for the South), we fought a political issue.

Just because those sides held political power did not matter one way or the other as to why we fought. The Barbary Wars is a direct correlation using your criteria, yet again, it does not, in specific, match exactly. The Barbary Wars were fought against Islamic pirates (terrorists of yesteryear) that held locales of operation. These weren't "respected" governments with "bad ideas." These muslims held sway over territory (to meet your criteria) but were not governments as we recognize them.

To claim that we can't strike Paki and Saudi is like saying we couldn't strike Hitler because only 15% of the Germans were actually nazis. Don't even begin to claim that nazis were in political power and that means Paki and Saudi are immune.

The highest levels of both governments support, fund, direct, share intelligence, and provide safe haven for those organized elements that are striking us. How in the hell is that different from the nazis?

We can defeat a religion if we know what and where to strike. The fact that we're not doing it is criminally negligent and suicidal. This is a strategy to lose.

Dymphna said...

Dry Bones--

I omitted that part -- the one where I saw how addictive TV can be for some of us. I know tthat up close and personal since I once watched a formerly close associate pace restlessly and get quite reactive when the TV broke suddenly and he had to go cold turkey. Not a pretty sight.

I have to watch it with the detective novels, too. I'm just coming out of a book binge due to my accident and subsequent forced lying abed...

Anyway, we couldn't get cable in the back of beyond, though I suppose one of those satellite thingies I see everywhere is about the same.

TV would be a must for me were I unable to have access to real people.

Oops...I'm going on too long. That's why I have my step-child blog. Time to go there...

And, btw, thanks for the cartoons. You have such a gift for turning horror into laughter. Does that mean you're...you're...Jewish???

Dymphna said...

Bill said--

The two countries that are the primary suppliers of funds and religious hate-teachings are:

PAKISTAN
SAUDI ARABIA


I agree. And "Always on Watch" said in the comments somewhere that the Judiciary Committee has cancelled the hearings that were have to begun on October 26th re Saudi Arabia's terrorist activities. I recommend the GAO report prepared at their request.

Pakistan is a dung hole -- their karmic price for separation. Somewhere between 80 and 90% of women are abused there...

VDHanson said...

Danish and French ..seulement FOX

CNN mentioned France..the day after the blogs started hammering on it..KUDOS to NO PASARAN

MSNBC is too busy self abusing with Libby

Shanah said...

Redneck is right- we'll have to ditch our poorly written laws at some point, because while I can appreciate the Patriot Act now, I most certainly will not approve of any liberal having that much power over my life or anyone else's, should they get into Congress or the White House.

Aim for academia first-- that's where they breed those crazy lefty ideas into kiddies' brains. Already, "The American Thinker" and the "Jewish Press" are reporting that Jewish American support of higher education is slowly starting to wane, given academia's virulently anti-Israel stance. Start supporting private institutions of higher education that teach students HOW to think, not WHAT to think; the intellectuals wield more power behind the scenes than most could fathom.

Most importantly-- let the blogosphere live on!

Papa Ray said...

A GAO report unabashedly names America's foe in the war on terrorism: Islamic extremism.

Of course, very few have seen the "classified" version and so far I have not seen any "leaks" concerning it. I am sure they will come.

Read the link also.

Papa Ray