Who is forgetting what?

Condi Rice channels Churchill:

“When you threaten Poland, you perhaps forget that it is not 1988,” Rice said. “It’s 2008 and the United States has a … firm treaty guarantee to defend Poland’s territory as if it was the territory of the United States. So it’s probably not wise to throw these threats around.”

As Pat Buchanan has chronicled, the last time a great Western power decided to offer Poland a firm treaty guarantee against foreign attack, it ended up bankrupting itself and losing its status as a great power. Russia has survived being on the losing end of wars more than once before, so I suspect Putin is correctly calculating that he can afford to lose this one more than the USA can afford to win it.

So, the reality is that the USA isn’t likely to do anything even if Russia invades Poland. We can’t afford to, not without giving up on the goal of attacking Iran and neither side has any interest in going nuclear over it.

The truth about cats

Rachel Lucas asserts that “cats are assholes“. That’s surely true, and yet it doesn’t even begin to tell the whole story:

The Tail of the Serpent and the Cat

The best beloved beast of Underearth was nothing other than the serpent. Down below in the bright shadows, he was admired for his grace and elegance, and for his cool blood and wicked self-command. Presently the demons, innocent then, or merely extremely cynical, brought the snake up to the earth, supposing thereby to make men also fall in love with him. But men took against the snake, scenting his demonical origins, mistrusting his lack of legs and ears, his smart teeth and implacable garment. Indeed, they turned on the snake, threw him out of doors when he came in, brained him with mallets when they were able and cursed him and spat on him when they were not.

The Eshva mourned for the serpent, for they loved him best of all. The Vazdru said to each other: “Let us trick mankind into adoration of the snake.” And this they did by various means, causing him here and there to be elected a god and worshipped, or venerated as useful in magic.

But one of the day-nights in Druhim Vanasta, certain Vazdru princes began to bet with each other that they could persuade men to like the snake himself. And this they tried, and this they failed at.

At last the vexatious problem came to the notice of Azhrarn. And accordingly Azharn went by night to the world to listen to men’s opinion of the snake. “How we abhor his cold scales,” they complained. “And his teeth, which are sometimes venomous, and his forked tongue, which might be. And how allergic we are to his leglessness. He is all tail, and the sound of his hiss causes our hair to rise up like bristles.”

Then Azhrarn smiled, and he went back to the Druhim Vanasta. There he took up a snake and he inquired, “Would it be worth while to you, in order to win the affection of mankind, to be a little changed?”

“Of what good is mankind’s affection?” asked the snake.

“Those they love,” said Azhrarn,” fare well. And those they hate they harm.”

The snake had heard reports from his cousins concerning mallets, and after some thought, he agreed.

Then Azhrarn conducted the snake to the Drin, and the Drin made for the snake particular extras, which had all to do with what men had said they disliked about him. First the Drin make him four muscular little legs with four round little paws on the ends of them. And then they make him two little pointed ears to stand up on top of his head. Then they bulked out his body with a cunning device, and straightened his tongue with another – but it remained in fact a thin tongue, and in fact a great deal of tail remained to him at the back. Next they made him an overcoat of long soft black grasses, and decorated his face – which was now very pretty – with ornaments of fine silver wire. His jewel-like eyes, which had always been quite wonderful, they had need to alter only a jot. Lastly, to compensate for removing his venom, (although they left the shape of his teeth alone), they presented him with some sharp slivers of steel to wear in his round feet for purposes of self-defense.

When Azhrarn beheld the result, he laughed, and ran his hand over the new animal’s spine. At which all was transmuted into flesh and muscle, and the coat of grass into luxuriant, velvety hair. And at the touch of Azhrarn also, the new animal made a strange sound, not a hiss, but –

“My dear, you are purring,” said Azhrarn, and again he laughed.

To this day, no cat can bear to be laughed at, even in love.

However, sure enough, the animal, legged, eared and furry, was an enormous success on earth. Men were pleased by his grace and elegance, admired his cool blood and wicked self-command. And when he grew sometimes peeved, forgot himself, and hissed – they did not remember the snake, but remarked: “There is the cat, hissing.” Nor did they notice how both the cat and the snake slew mice, or enjoyed milk, though both became the pets of sorcerers. And men never would credit that if they overlooked the fur and held flat the two pointed ears of the cat, then and now, you might see still the wedge-shaped demon head and the sharp teeth of the serpent, poised there, under your hand.

– Tanith Lee, Delusion’s Master

Where have you been and why?

Of course, it’s necessary to track and spy on Americans because the terrorists hate them for their freedoms:

The federal government has been using its system of border checkpoints to greatly expand a database on travelers entering the country by collecting information on all U.S. citizens crossing by land, compiling data that will be stored for 15 years and may be used in criminal and intelligence investigations.

Officials say the Border Crossing Information system, disclosed last month by the Department of Homeland Security in a Federal Register notice, is part of a broader effort to guard against terrorist threats. It also reflects the growing number of government systems containing personal information on Americans that can be shared for a broad range of law enforcement and intelligence purposes, some of which are exempt from some Privacy Act protections.

As the irrelevant horse race continues apace, the bureaucrats methodically continue to expand their reach.

The imperative of the narrative

Ross Douthat and Rod Dreher would apparently rather see Sen. Barack Hussein Obama win the election than allow the puncturing of the mainstream Democratic-Republican narrative:

I’m not big on ritual denunciations: I’d rather argue with people than read them out of the conversation, as a general rule, and I hope my distaste for certain styles of political discourse is clear enough without my having to publicly denounce Ann Coulter every time she pulls an offensive, sales-goosing stunt on live TV. But along with Jon Henke and Pete Wehner, I think it’s worth making an exception in the case of Jerome Corsi’s anti-Obama book, whose Amazon page won’t be linked here. It isn’t just that Corsi himself is a conspiracy theorist and a crank, or that his best-selling farrago of innuendo and outright smears exemplifies everything that’s wrong with a certain sort of right-wing publishing, or that David Freddoso’s The Case Against Barack Obama demonstrates that it’s perfectly possible to write an anti-Obama book without descending into the fever swamps.

It’s amusing to see all the people who haven’t read Jerome Corsi’s book about the one-time Indonesian schoolboy attempt to minimize it as a “farrago of innuendo and outright smears” or some other ritual dismissal. This is a standard tactic of those who can’t manage to make their case; we’ve seen it time and time again by those attacking the imaginary “logical fallacies” and nonexistent “attacks on strawmen” that supposedly riddle TIA. Avoidance by belittling is S.O.P. for the mainstream media and those who wish to be mainstream media, so it’s disappointing to see it out of these two, who should know better. But Douthat’s uncharacteristic posturing isn’t merely an abdication of legitimate political discourse, it’s stupidly short-sighted. After all, it really doesn’t matter what Douthat thinks here, since he’s the one who is irrelevant to the subject, not the best-selling Corsi.

But why do Douthat and Dreher feel the need to ritually denounce Corsi without reading his work anyhow? Are they secretly hoping for an Obama victory? Douthat isn’t and I don’t think Dreher is either. Are they soldiers of the truth who possess information that Corsi is incorrect on any of the substantial charges he makes or questions he raises? That doesn’t seem likely, or they’d have addressed them directly rather than making their own unsubstantiated attacks on Corsi’s book. I find it very difficult to believe that the usually fair-minded Dreher would regard similar dismissals of his own book on crunchy conservatism to be either legitimate or fair.

I don’t have the answer, but I suspect that what Douthat and Dreher are attacking is Corsi himself, because if Corsi is credibly raising issues about Obama, as he previously did in the case of Kerry, then it’s also entirely possible, if not downright probable, that he’s credible with regards to the issues he’s raised about the plans for the North American Union and what happened on 9/11. And that simply cannot be born; better an Obama presidency than the puncturing of their conventional political worldview.

Now, I’d much prefer to see Obama beat McCain, assuming that he even makes it to November. Both men would be disasters for the nation, but there’s a slightly better chance that the Republicans might shake off the neocons and return to a genuine small government agenda with an Obama win than with a McCain victory. (I’m expecting the Democratic elders to figure out how to replace him with Hillary before then; if that substitution doesn’t take place, she’ll probably be president in 20122013.)

UPDATE – Rush Limbaugh also notes the obvious:

I’m just reading the tea leaves as they exist today, and the Obama campaign is in trouble, and this thing on Saturday night, this forum on Saturday night just focused everybody’s attention on why. You know, it doesn’t look like it’s going to improve any, because he’s who he is. He only can be nuanced because he doesn’t have the experience, and he doesn’t have the guts to be specific about what he wants to do.

Here’s what I think. If Obama falls behind by more than 5 points in the polls before Denver, Hillary will stage an insurrection and probably be successful. She may do it anyway even if he staves off a complete collapse, but she’d be crazy not to challenge him if he continues to plummet. Aside from the mindless Obamanations, Democrats are much closer than most observers realize to hitting the panic button, as they know perfectly well that McCain shouldn’t be anywhere near the Democratic candidate in this pro-Democrat electoral environment.

If Obama blows his VP choice, which would not surprise me given the strategic missteps he’s made since becoming the candidate apparent, the elders will have no option but to draft Clinton, who is all too willing to be drafted. At this point, he’d be best off choosing Clinton to forestall a revival of her candidacy, but don’t be too surprised if he does something totally insane like choosing a young black liberal as his running mate.

UPDATE II – well, that was certainly quick. Right after hitting Publish Post, I saw this: Poll shows McCain in 5-point lead over Obama. It’s just one poll, but if the others follow suit, it will be Hillary time again. Obama has lost 12 points in a month; if he manages to lose another 12 he can’t possibly be considered a viable candidate for the Cherry Blossom Throne.