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Recommended Reading – Election Edition

Friday, November 9th, 2012

The Election Aftermath…..

Outside the Beltway (Mataconis) –Republicans Need To Understand What Went Wrong If They Want To Win Again
Needing and wanting are two different things.

Juan Cole –Why Bill O’Reilly is Wrong about Minorities ‘Wanting Things” & the Election 

This is an amazing post. After (accurately) skewering Bill O’Reilly for getting basic facts and historical terminology horribly wrong,  Juan then draws an equally  fact-free conclusion that suits his political worldview out of thin air. If  Cole thinks the country has become less oligarchic and more egalitarian since 1996, he’s high.
Pundit Press –Fraud in PA: Obama Got Over 99% of Vote at Polls Where GOP Inspectors were Removed; Turnout Somehow “30%” Above Gov’t Numbers

Remember the Democratic/liberal pre-election meme on twitter that “voter fraud almost never happens”?  Turns out it does happen …..in heavily Democratic urban areas.

Kevin DrumWe Should Probably All Calm Down a Bit


How do our foreign friends and foes see the 2012 election for President?

The London Times– Governing the new America 


Der Spiegel – In US Election, He Who Lies Wins 

Left-wing Krauts at their most obnoxious.

The Economist – Which one? 

The Economist endorses “the changeling”.

XinhuaU.S. election day voting in full swing 

Surprising straightforward.

FARS News Agency –Obama Re-Elected as US President 

Even more surprisingly straightforward, but the senior Foreign ministry spokesman who looks like an Iranian Rod Blagojevich, makes up for it in an outburst of bloviation about which no American could possibly care.

Non-election items (probably more interesting):

SWJ Blog – Largo Man’s Labors of Love: Good Food and Warfare

A Florida media profile of long time friend of ZP and SWJ Editor-in-Chief Dave Dilegge 

Steven Pressfield –Narcissism and Resistance


I’m aware that there’s an official definition of narcissism in the Psychiatric Handbook. The following is my unofficial definition—and a theory of how narcissism comes about in the first place.

NarcissusIt’s not incurable

Narcissism is self-iconization. To control our internal terror, insecurity, etc., one mode of coping is to erect an icon in our minds. This icon might be a mentor, a role model, a guru. It might be a lover or a parent, a teacher, a coach. I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. Sometimes it’s healthy. It’s a stage in the progression toward independence and self-command.

When we set someone up as an icon, we say to ourselves, “Well, I might not be able to handle my life by myself, but X is really strong and smart and brave. X can guide me.” That’s the iconization of others.

Narcissism is when we iconize ourselves.

We decide (unconsciously) that we are the center of the universe. In our minds–and in our closets, our garages, and our bank accounts–we begin erecting an edifice of adoration for this new god, ourselves.

We convince ourselves that we are smarter, prettier, meaner, cooler, hipper, etc. than anyone else (or at least that we’re smart enough, pretty enough, and mean enough to handle any problem.)

In a way, this mechanism is healthy. In its benign form it’s simply self-confidence. And it’s often true that the narcissist’s beliefs about herself are valid, within reason. Often the narcissist is indeed brave, smart, strong, savvy, and so forth.

What is really happening inside the narcissist? [….]

Abu Muqawama (Trombly) –(Un)limiting War: “Perpetual War” in Historical Perspective 

Fighting the Forever Small War

Pundita –Britain seeks to pull USA more deeply into Syrian rebellion 

….As near as I can figure from the following report the plan is to go around the EU by pressuring the Obama administration to arm the Syrian ‘rebels’ — or, if the administration has been shipping arms in clandestine fashion to the ‘rebels’ via Libya, to ship weapons aboveboard. Oh and the rebels want money in addition to more weapons.  Lots of money.  

No worries; the British will supervise!  But after what they did to us in Basra, in Helmand and in post-Gaddafi Libya, one would think the closet monarchists in Washington had learned their lesson. Somehow I don’t think they did. 

Pundita. Come for the sarcasm….stay for the insights.

USNI Blog – Guest Post by CAPT David Tyler: On Warfighting: The Warrior Spirit 

Self-evident topic.

Wings Over Iraq –Thursday Defense Briefing 

Courtney Messerschmidt or one of the peeps who are “her” is maintaining the fort for the Iron Major with defense news links. When we all found out Courtney wasn’t real it was like that ugly Santa Claus incident all over again 😉


I would like to depart from my normal protocol and feature a comment on a post here, regarding the election and the GOP, by Dr. David Ronfeldt because it is spot on. For those unfamiliar with Ronfeldt, a co-author of Networks and Netwars, “TIMN” refers to his analytic model of ” Tribes, Institutions, Markets, Networks”.

I am Zen and I approve of this message:

From a TIMN perspective, the Republicans lost because they’ve become excessively tribal, and much less institutional and market-oriented.  More to the point, the Republicans lost because of the media:  not the mainstream media or the liberal media, but their very own right-wing conservative media — particularly Fox News, along with right-wing radio talk shows, and all their well-known opinionators.  These media have become so dominated by tribalists who aim to tribalize that they’ve become counter-productive, even destructive for the Republican party.

The usual frames for discussing what I’m trying to get at are “partisanship” and “polarization”.  But those frames have become too dryly analytical and easy to treat as isolatable criticisms.  At this point, when matters have become so excessive, tribalism is a more accurate, dynamic frame.

How do extreme tribalists think and act?  They demonize opponents.  They believe it’s okay to lie to outsiders. They require unity, even a kind of purity for their side.  They stress identity and loyalty.  They turn combative and uncompromising.  They shun moderates once on their side.  They engage in magical thinking about their prospects.  Et ceteraa.  And of course they accuse the other side of terrible tribalism.

There is nothing basically wrong — and much can still be righted — about key Republican principles: e.g., limited government, free enterprise, fiscal and social responsibility, and family.  But recovery from the current debacle calls for more than the kinds of detailed dissections, self-reassurances, and tinkering adjustments that are now being talked about in election post-mortems.  From a TIMN perspective, the party will have to de-tribalize and re-institutionalize, as well as become more market-oriented about ideas, in order to correct its approaches to those principles and restore itself to playing a nationally constructive, attractive role.  And if it’s leaders really do want to temper the roles of tribalism, they are going to have to rethink their relations with those associated media, which gain huge benefits and tout great success from being excessively tribal (while deny being too tribal?).

Tribalism warps your OODA Loop.

From Nicholae Carpathia to the Mahdi: a significant shift

Friday, November 9th, 2012

[ by Charles Cameron — a notable shift in the portrayal of Antichrist, from European politician to Islamic savior ]

I have written before about the clash of eschatologies, and today I want to note what appears to me to be a significant turning point in popular Christian end-times thinking. Joel Richardson today posted this endorsement:


IMO, that’s huge.

[ edited to add: BTW, LaHaye seems to be thinking in terms of the Shia Mahdi, the Twelfth Imam — the Sunni al-Mahdi would not be “the Imam of the Twelfth century”. Richardson’s view encompasses both. ]


Nicholae Carpathia is the Antichrist figure in the best-selling 1995-2007 Left Behind series of books, films and games, in which pastor Tim LaHaye presents his vision of the end times in fictional form, with the help of co-writer Jerry Jenkins.

Here’s how Wikipedia sums up Carpathia as he features in the series:

Former president of Romania, former Secretary General of the United Nations, self-appointed Global Community Potentate, assassinated in Jerusalem, resurrected at GC complex and possessed by Satan. Within the series, Carpathia is the Antichrist, and leader of the Global Community, a world government which he ultimately marshals against the followers of Jesus Christ.

LaHaye, in other terms, was working on the European Antichrist model that has been the staple of “soon coming” eschatology for decades. Indeed, in Revelation Unveiled (p 209) he wrote of the Antichrist:

Daniel 9:26 refers to him as the ruler of the people that will come, meaning that he will be of the royal lineage of the race that destroyed Jerusalem. Historically this was the Roman Empire; therefore he will be predominantly Roman.”

From Joel Richardson’s point of view, LaHaye’s endorsement is pretty strong evidence of the tide turning from the European to the Islamic model of the Antichrist. From my point of view, too, it’s a significant marker of that turning of the tide — but I also fear lest the rival messianisms of Christianity and Islam set up a howling feedback loop and polarize a situation where calmer minds…


Well, let me just point you — with a hat-tip to my friend Damian Thompson of the Telegraph — to this statement on the possibility of “reconciliation with Islam” by Justin Welby, the newly-announced next Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the world-wide Anglican Communion:

The confrontation between the different traditions of thought and forms of society that are represented by the Christian tradition and the Islamic world is one of the two most important issues of our age. It has the potential for endless conflict, vast loss of life, immeasurable cruelty, and even nuclear war. More than that, in the secularised North, all religious conflict is seen as justifying attacks on religion, including Christianity.

In addition, there is a growing tendency in political thought to see confrontation with Islam as inevitable, not as facing a religious system, but as facing a perceived mediaeval religious ideology. The Church can too easily be drawn into this, as a sort of partner, unwilling or even critical, but not providing an alternative to the tendency to say: “The great questions of the day will not be settled by resolutions or the votes of majorities in assemblies… but by Blood & Iron.” The costs of that error and sin are borne afresh every day by another soldier’s family in this country.

The formative influence in this pattern of thought in the last 20 years, and especially since 2001, has been Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilisations in which he argues that wars between civilisation groups rather than nation states are inevitable. This approach, which is followed by many other political scientists, has been taken up especially with regard to Islam, based on the long history of conflict between Christendom and Islam, going back to the 7th century.

Many Christian groups have almost welcomed this analysis, and seen in it the justification required to excuse many of the actions of “Christian” countries towards the world of Islam. Other have welcomed it as explaining the perceived and experienced threat. Within Protestant circles, revisionist theology has called for a syncretistic approach, in which the common values of the faiths are emphasised to the point where no distinctions can be recognised. This is also true amongst Anglo Saxon secular thinking, where it is not overtly atheist.

And yet, as I want to suggest, the Church has both the understanding and the means to face this great issue with tools and opportunities that can offer a genuine solution.

The understanding comes first. Christians understand the importance of the spiritual life, and thus should be able to relate to Islam in a way that the secular may find more difficult…

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