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Archive for December, 2006

Thursday, December 28th, 2006


Warning! Lighthearted post to follow!

Physicists have speculated on the possibility of alternate or multiple universes for some time. That concept remains a staple of science fiction and has creeped in to the historical community, where “counterfactual history” has become popular reading material.

What would an ” alternate blogosphere” look like ? Here’s my idea…

The Coming Oligarchy:

A trio of monocultural, Ivy League MBA, WASPs discuss the challenges of balancing stock portfolios, employing hot nannies, prep school traditions and finding the ” right” gated community.

The Butt of The Spear:

A look at the national security and intelligence communities by a former Congressional Committe staffer who once got to play ” junior senator” at a hearing and asked James Woolsey a few smart-aleck questions on late night C-Span2.

The American Failure:

Marc Sulemain’s New York Times worshipping blog. Noted for his militant enthusiasm for Hezbollah and his savage personal attacks on ” that neoconservative bastard, Juan Cole”.

John Rebbe:

An advocate of ” open-source religion” and an expert on “4GH” or ” Fourth Generation Hasidism”, Rebbe dusts off arcane points of interfaith dialogue each week to demonstrate the increasing convergence of high church Episcopalianism with obscure faiths like Jainism.

Tommy Barnett:

Acclaimed NFL color commentator in Green Bay, ” Doc Barnett” pontificates daily on the need to redesign the gridiron into a dodecahedron in order to spread the values of American football to places like Botswana and Montenegro ( Barnett’s webmaster, Sean of Interdict, embarrasses his boss regularly with simple grammatical errors and odd uses of syntax).

The Glaucomous Eye:

Cat-fancier Dave, a longtime member of the Waiter’s Council, sporadically gives vent to incoherent rants and periodic posts extolling the virtues of women’s roller derby. Dave frequently clashes with Sulemain of American Failure over charges of Zionist imperialism and retro-Trotskyism.


Scandinavian-descended bore whose tedious blogging on the intricacies of corporate tax accounting has not impeded his building a massive readership through the liberal posting of pictures of nude Swedish women.

The Blackberry:

Eccentric Americanophile English immigrant, famous for his groveling politeness toward commenters and fondness for tractor pulls, Pentacostal Church socials and Tex-Mex cuisine. A strict teetotaler and socialist.

The West Side Boys:

A group blog of white suburbanites who have immersed themselves in the rawest aspects of gangsta rap and underground hip-hop culture. The West Side Boys are noted for a lively comment section where whole paragraphs seem to be profainity interspersed by conjunctions and slang words of unknown meaning.


Unhinged conspiracy theorist who decorates his blog with crudely rendered cartoons, no one ever has the least idea of what DAXTP getting at and we all find his frequent portfolios of scantily-clad male models disturbing, to say the least.

Emphatic Constable:

The laconic yet ferocious Curtis Weeks belches forth fire and brimstone posts in the best dry Baptist splinter group tradition, condemning most aspects of Western society that emerged after the early 17th century. Frequently flames DAXTP who responds with uncomplimentary internet graffitti; Emphatic Constable also disputes with John Rebbe on various aspects of religious mummery.

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006


Gerald R. Ford, former President of the United States, passed away Tuesday at the age of 93, having become the longest lived president in American history, surpassing John Adams and Ronald Reagan. Ford should be remembered not merely for his fundamental decency but also his sense of restraint and deference to the national interest above that of the political interests of himself or his party. No greater recognition of the ethical difference between Jerry Ford and most other politicians of the time exists than can be summed up in but two words: President Agnew.

While Mr. Ford was the subject of many jokes during his tenure, it must be pointed out that in Ford’s place, many of his ambitious peers would have cut corners where Gerald Ford walked the straight and narrow. Ford knew that issuing a pardon to Richard Nixon would immediately end his ” honeymoon”, poison his relations with the press and Congress and devastate his chances for election in 1976. He did it anyway and called up the Democratic Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill beforehand and explained why without spin or sleight of hand that it was, he believed, the right thing to do for the country.

Ford was forced to clean-up after two great debacles, the Vietnam War and Watergate. It was a volatile time where respect for traditional American institutions, and in particular the presidency, was at low ebb. Ford understood that and his administration conducted political triage with policy and gesture. Having a “Watergate Baby” Democratic Congress that was filled with inexeperienced new members, very few of whom were Republicans and most of whom were more influenced by the antiwar and civil rights movements than their own party elders, Ford continued to pursue detente with the Soviets and avoided new military engagements. He eschewed trappings of the imperial presidency and where Nixon had isolated himself, Ford attempted to engage. Few presidents were ever less hated by their contemporaries than ” good old Jerry.”

As President, Ford helped boost the political careers of a number of men who went on to make a national impact, including Donald Rumsfeld, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, Dick Cheney, Alan Greenspan and David Gergen. His naming of Nelson Rockefeller to the Vice-Presidency effectively rewarded the latter man even as it represented the swan song of liberal “Rockefeller” Republicanism. After losing the race to Jimmy Carter in 1976, Ford enjoyed a low-key retirement, occasionally providing quiet advice to his successors and counseling the G.O.P. to exercise caution during the impeachment crisis of President Clinton.

Gerald Ford was dealt the weakest hand of any president in the history of the Republic, and for the most part, played his cards with realism and skill, being the right man for a troubled time.

Godspeed, Mr. President


Bruce Kesler

The Glittering Eye

Steve DeAngelis

American Future


Chicago Boyz



The Duck of Minerva


RealClear Politics

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006


Foreign Policy magazine online speculates on the tenure of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, with quotes from Andrew Krepinevich, Noah Schachtman, Reuel Marc Gerecht and Thomas P.M. Barnett. An excerpt:


Gates spent 26 years in the CIA—two as its director—but he has come under fire for allegedly politicizing intelligence into spin his bosses like to hear and not revealing all he knew about the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s. Regardless, his nomination has been greeted with enthusiasm by former intelligence officers, who point out that Gates will take a renewed interest in stalled intelligence reform. Under Rumsfeld, the Pentagon took expanded control of intelligence operations, often working in isolation from the civilian intel agencies. Stephen Cambone, the Pentagon’s top intelligence official and a close ally of Rumsfeld’s, has already announced that he’ll resign at the end of the year, a signal that Gates will likely assert more control of intelligence gathering at the Pentagon with an aim to speed its integration with the other agencies.


Former CIA Middle East specialist Reuel Marc Gerecht told FP that Gates’s views on Iran are “profoundly wrongheaded.” Gates has advocated “direct dialogue” with Tehran for more than a decade (longer, if you count Iran-Contra), and in 2004 he cochaired a major report that called for “a new approach” to U.S.-Iranian relations. His has become the “consensus position” in Washington now, says Iran expert Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations (though there’s still great debate about the “how” of negotiations). As for the U.S. airstrikes on Iranian nuclear facilities advocated by some neocons, including Joshua Muravchik in FP, Takeyh says the chances “went from 0.01 percent to 0” with Gates’s nomination. In his Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Gates said that though he was “not optimistic” about discussions with the Islamic Republic, he “would counsel against military action, except as a last resort.”

The War on Terror

Gates is a Cold Warrior, and his outlook on the war on terror mimics his experience in facing down the Soviet Union. He has said that “[t]errorism is a global challenge that will take many forms and many years to defeat or contain,” but he dismisses the idea that the threat can be eradicated completely. With that outlook, he’s not expected to rock the boat in Washington. Don’t look for any deviation from current national security priorities and strategies in the fight against terrorism. Ditto military commissions, the U.S. detainee policy, Guantánamo Bay, and the application of U.S. military power around the world. If anything, expect Gates to push for improved intelligence capabilities”

Monday, December 25th, 2006



Friday, December 22nd, 2006


Unlike radio hosts, bloggers generally don’t do ” best of ” posts but I figured newer readers might find a few old posts interesting and old readers who fired away in the comments section might get their dander up.

Moral Countermeasures Against Anti-Globalization Guerillas

The Borders of our Imagination

Creating a Culture of Mediciexity

The Resilience of Civilizations

Globalization and War Symposium Day I, Day II. and Day III.

Complexity and Connectivity: Bar-Yam Again

Cultivating Strategic Thinking -The U.S. Needs A Foreign Policy DARPA

Understanding Cognition Part I , Part II. and Part III.

On Music and War

The Superempowered Individual

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