16 May 2008


Dear Right-Wingers, Republicans, and other assorted jingoists,

It would be nice if you actually knew something about history before bringing it up. It really makes you folks look like fools. I do realize that most of you think intellectuals are evil people who don't attend church on Sunday and refuse to wear flag lapel pins. But most of us honestly try to understand an issue before we engage in a debate.

Now let's talk about appeasement. Your President Bush mentioned the word during a speech in Israel this week--which immediately led all of you conservative screamers to label Barack Obama an appeaser since the Illinois senator has said he would talk to Iran and other so-called "enemy" nations.

Let's be honest, you folks have no idea what the word actually means, and you don't understand one thing about the historical context. It's just a word you throw around because you think it is supposed to frighten liberals.
Here is how Paul Kennedy defined it: "the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and compromise, thereby avoiding the resort to an armed conflict which would be, expensive, bloody and possibly dangerous."

Avoiding armed conflict--now there is a novel concept. But in reality we all know the word gained negative connotations when our friend Neville Chamberlain (pictured above) continually met Hitler's demands during the lead up to World War II. When Chamberlain basically gave away Czechoslovakia to get "peace in our time" the policy of appeasement was forever tarnished. How many times have we heard about this infamous 1938 Munich agreement?

The Bush administration has learned what from Munich?
1. Don't give up anything to evil dictators for they will always want more.
2. Build up your military to such tremendous might that the evil dictators won't even dare ask for anything.
3. If the evil dictator even thinks about making demands, blow the fuck out him.
4. Then spend more and more money on the military so appeasement will never be an option just in case some sissy liberal does get elected.
5. Take all money out of social programs and spend it on big, hard, stiff penis weapons.

My Republican friends, we all know these lessons are a crock of pure shit. This twisted logic has been served up in order to gut social programs and to scare the hell out of the public so they will vote for your side. Yet Munich has become part of American diplomatic terminology. I had a girlfriend once that basically demanded better and more expensive gifts every week. I didn't know what to do. Then I thought of Munich--I can't appease this bitch lovely young lady, if I do she'll keep asking for more and more. And she'll be in Poland before I know it. That's kind of how you guys think isn't it?

But let me tell you what appeasement isn't--and I don't expect you to understand.
-it's NOT appeasement if we talk to another nations
-it's NOT appeasement if we talk to nations which we consider enemies

-it's NOT appeasement if we diplomatically recognize nations which we might disagree with
-it's NOT appeasement to attempt to live peacefully in the world with other nations
-it's NOT appeasement to cut our military budget (a lot)
-it's NOT appeasement to be part of a community of nations
-it's NOT appeasement to recognize the importance of the United Nations
-it's NOT appeasement to acknowledge other religions in the world
-it's NOT appeasement to criticize Israel
-it's NOT appeasement to talk with Hamas--or any other group for that matter
-it's NOT appeasement to dream of making this world a better place
-it's NOT appeasement to turn the other cheek once in a while
-it's NOT appeasement to be opposed to war

Please try to understand your history before you level your swift-boat charges. President Obama will not be giving anything away when he talks to Iran and other enemies of the United States. Talking is simply the first step in making the world a better place. But you wouldn't understand that whole better place concept would you

13 May 2008

Hillary's Motivation and Pickett's Charge

Many have been asking why Hillary Clinton remains in the Democratic presidential race. It's fairly clear that she has little chance of securing the nomination without destroying the party in the process. She is behind in ALL relevant statistical categories: pledged delegates, superdelegates, states won, and popular vote. How about a graceful exit?

There are those who see Machiavellian political motives in all of Clinton's actions: she is maneuvering for the Vice-Presidency, she needs Obama's help to pay her bills, she secretly wants to wreck his chances so she can run in 2012. There might be other sinister conspiratorial theories--but I don't accept this sort of reasoning.

Generally speaking, I think political motives are often much simpler than the talking-heads imagine. Why is Senator Clinton still in this race, I think her reasoning is actually easy to figure out. Everything that Hillary and Bill have done since 1992 has worked (except that blow-job incident). Events have always broken their way, and they have rarely had to pay a large political price for mistakes. One could even say they have been invincible. And when you think you are invincible, that is what determines your strategy. Hillary Clinton still believes she is going to win this nomination. She cannot envision defeat--even though a defeat appears inevitable. And in fact, the Clinton history of the past 16 years serves to reinforce her current strategy: fight hard, spin, hang around, act as if events are going your way, smile.....and things will work out.

(now for the historians in the crowd) After Robert E. Lee sent George Pickett on his famous charge at Gettysburg, many later wondered how Lee could have made such a foolish decision (that's Pickett's dashing picture at top of post). Some historians have cited overconfidence on Lee's part--he thought he and his troops were invincible. And as Shelby Foote has pointed out, the first few years of the war actually did show that he and his army was nearly invincible. But invincibility doesn't last forever and it invites the obvious overstretch. For Lee, it was Pickett's Charge in July of 1863.

This is the Pickett's Charge of the Clinton years. This will be the race that didn't work out, no miracles, no last-minute breaks, nothing will save her this time. But the reasoning is understandable. When everything has gone your way time and time again--you develop a mindset that it will continue.

That's why she is still in the race. It's as simple as that.