Some days I feel as if ol' Rod Serling is going to pop out of nowhere, puff some smoke in my face, and glance at me through those narrow beady eyes and submit something for my approval. This week has been one of those days. Yep, I said it. "One of those days" stretched out over the span of an entire week. The news of the weird has been in full effect and the world has largely seemed to have lost it's collective marbles. I realize I am speaking of everyone in the world as one collective entity; I know that not everyone is on the same wavelength, but sometimes you look at the whole ball of wax and shake your head. Then I watch South Park and realize maybe I'm not alone in thinking that the world is a little cuckoo and takes itself way too seriously.
If you saw the episode this week you know what I'm talking about. In a week where Bird Flu scares were heating up just in time for Thanksgiving, people were worried about errant leaks spilling the goods like a washroom attendant clutching his mop, school principals acting like jerks, the United Nations acting with typical "above ethics and law" manner, weird stuff with laws, downright neglect and stupidity, and some very, shall we say, less than intelligent people making some stupid decisions- what does South Park do? They tackle the Church of Scientology- who just might sue me for mentioning their name. It wasn't the greatest episode- in fact the ending was rather weak and some puns and jokes were carried on too long- but it was great satire. It was cathartic and refreshing to see that someone else is looking at this stuff and saying to themselves, "No way! That is some messed-up stuff right there." Watching it reminds you that yes, there are some stupid and crazy people in this world and there always will be, but you have to sometimes just look at it all and laugh. Some people just take things way too seriously. This season has had quite its share of biting satire. Love it, love it. It makes being a pop culture gadfly rewarding when you can watch satire and know where its all coming from in its subtlest ways.
In the also ran section-If you have been paying attention you will remember our previous post that mentioned historian and commentator Victor Davis Hanson. Well, it seems that Mr. Hanson and Arianna Huffington were guest speakers at a lecture series sponsored by the Grand Valley State University's Ralph Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies. The question on which the guests were asked to speak was whether or not the United States should be considered an empire. While Mr. Hanson spoke to the characteristics and histories of empires and how we do not fit within that model, Ms. Huffington emoted about Iraq, big oil, and hurricanes. Way to use your brain there, Huffy. Ms. Huffington suggested that "the essence of an empire is the combination of hubris and incompetence." Ms. Huffington fails to understand that hubris and incompetence is the essence of failure in an empire. It is what brought down Rome and the world-wide British Empire and small empires of the east and orient. It is also rather the hallmark of a bureaucratic democracy on a smaller scale. Empires thrive on centralized power and the continued succession of that power- not spread out and transferred to different hands in varying cycles. History has taught us this much. But again, we suggest you read and think for yourself.
Here is something that should be on the front page of newspapers nationwide- but was hardly covered, regarding prewar information. Sometimes I am just so tired of so-called journalists, media hounds, and commentators who repeat less than honest slogans and throw about baseless accusations and inaccurate and selective evidence like Jesus Juice at a Michael Jackson sleepover. They must think if they say it enough that eventually everyone will just believe it. Wrong- remember what we have said about groups who want to change how history is viewed or interpreted: "Charlatans do not want history to be studied. It exposes them for who they are. And if they cannot keep it from being read, they will manipulate it, truncate it, and regurgitate their own version to you." (November 10th post). Case in point: Senator Jay Rockefeller. Rockefeller had been supportive of war efforts as well as Senators Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and former Senator Tom Daschle. In fact, former President Clinton and many democrats and administration officials such as Sec. of State Madeline Albright echoed that Saddam was dangerous, a threat, and a potential nuclear problem. In fact here is a statement from October of 2002: "Saddam's government has contact with many international terrorist organizations that likely have cells . . . in the United States. . . . I do believe that Iraq poses an imminent threat, but I also believe that after Sept. 11, that question is increasingly outdated. It is in the nature of these weapons, and the way they are targeted against civilian populations, that documented capability and demonstrated intent may be the only warning we get. To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk. Can we afford to take that chance? We cannot!" That was none other than Senator Rockefeller himself. (Quote from a David Reinhard article Prewar Intelligence in Nov.14th The Oregonian)
Now these same individuals are changing their tune and belting out a different one. They want you to believe that "they were lied to" and that they never really supported the efforts against Iraq, and Saddam was never really a threat. The ONLY reason they have change horses midstream is because of politics. They saw the same intel and relied on the same information that President Bush had, which included intel from the Clinton administration. Now Rockefeller has admitted that neither he nor most of his colleges (including Clinton and Reid) had even read the intel report before voting. What was that Ms. Huffington said about incompetence? How can you claim to have been lied to if you never heard the supposed lie?
Moreover Rockefeller is now saying "I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq, that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11."
(from November 13th Fox News Sunday program). Um, what? A U.S. Senator acting in a manner tantamount to giving away prewar intel? It seems to me that understanding what our Senators, especially those in intelligence committees, were doing before the war, is more endemical to understanding where mistakes were made and how to fix things, than worrying about a former CIA desk jockey and her husband.
A lot of this stems from political posturing and the desire to be liked by everyone else. There is some sort of inbred notion that if we can just get others to like us or understand us, everything will be OK. This leftover claptrap from the 60s is naive and ultimately futile. Its a notion that depends upon the other person or nation wanting to understand and like us. We can only control, defend, and take care of ourselves. It is true that we must do it with regard for other's interests, but it is moronic to believe that we have to do it with disregard of our own. In fact, it is self-defeating and dangerous. When we fall back on this hippie (sorry -that's the Cartman in me coming out) nonsense, we ultimately leave ourselves open to heartbreak. Just ask someone who was dumped by someone else who used and abused them with out quid pro quo consideration and love. They get it.
Why do we worry so much about why others like us? Didn't we all learn from after-school specials that we shouldn't worry about what others think, so long as we are doing what is right? Mr. Hanson - we'll let you take it from here.
Mr. Hanson also has a patient and important memory lesson to an angry reader, who is regurgitating the media and political mantras. It is worth a read.
Some other items:
Dennis Prager asks five important questions that will probably never be answered.
Looks like we really should be telling Reid, Clinton, Rockefeller and others to quiet down so we can examine what's happening in Iran.
We can't forget that terrorists are not only attacking American soldiers, they are attacking their fellow countrymen. The situation is more complex than them not liking us, and we just need to leave. It is vital for us to stay to assist a fledging democracy in establishing it's foundation of law and order and the enforcement thereof. We have stayed much longer in places like Germany and Japan to help ensure a safer future. Some may say what they will and believe what they want about money, oil, etc. and the war. Someday maybe they will understand that establishing democracy and protecting freedoms cost much in the short term and pay much more in dividends in future. Cutting and running costs us less in the short term and will cost us much more in the future. In fact, it may cost us our future.
Wow- even I was way too serious today. Gotta go laugh some more. Why don't you do the same? Go watch some entertaining T.V., read a book, read a Dr. Seuss book to your kid, or make cookies. Enjoy and make your life fulfilling. Always remember when you serve and help others you are enriching two lives- the person you serve and your own.
As for you Rod, you really need to quit smoking. It'll kill you. Oh, wait....
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity.