Sunday, July 11, 2010

Faithful after 49er's had fumbled the opening kickoff of opening game which opponents ran in for touchdown: Just wait 'til next year!

[What we are not seeing, even as we speak]

I have already looked at the November 13, 2012 eclipse on the NASA site. Totality passes directly over Cairns in Queensland. Cairns is a city of 150,000 people and is accessible by road, rail, and air. There will be none of this cartelization of access bullshit as in Easter Island. I WILL be able to get there.

November in Australia is the equivalent of May here. Cairns has the same latitude as Acapulco. It should be hot dry and clear. The sun will be easy to see and so will the eclipse.

I plan to leave shortly after the election, possibly directly from Florida where I will likely have gone as a campaign volunteer. The reason Florida has been such a big deal politically is that it is the largest of the states which is a swing state. California and New York are always blue, Texas always red.

I did a spreadsheet of the electoral vote changes between the 2004 and 2008 elections. Obama carried exactly the same states Kerry did, plus eight more. Fiddling with the spreadsheet showed that Obama could have lost seven of those eight and still have won the election so long as he carried Florida.

Which means that Florida has decided all three of the last three presidential elections. The difference between Gore in 2000, Kerry in 2004, and Obama in 2008 is fundamentally just Florida. Which means that that is the place to volunteer. So I have decided to go there in October 2012. The weather will be turning pleasant by then.

Curiously, I have not decided which party to campaign for. Actually, I have not decided which party to campaign against. I never support anybody -- they are all liars and assholes. The question is always which collection of them is more dangerous to the future of the Republic and the world than the other. Generally a close question.

After the Senate Republicans this week voted unanimously not to extend unemployment benefits and thus defeated the bill, even though unemployment is hovering around 10%, it is hard not to regard them as currently the more despicable of the two parties.

It remains to be seen how Democratic perfidy can top that, but given two years to work on it, I am confident that our boys in blue will find a way.

I feel now that I was naive in working for Obama in Colorado on the basis of his campaign pledges, the central ones of which he jettisoned immediately, some, like repealing the 2003 tax breaks for the rich, even before the inauguration.

Now that I think back on it, I learned everything I needed to know about American politics from Robert F. Kennedy. During his brother's administration he had been one of the architects of the Vietnam War. Five years later, seeing the electoral and polls success of Eugene McCarthy, he converted to running against his own policies. And got away with it. He had just won the California primary the day he was shot.

The peace campaign of Eugene Mcarthy and those of us who had been "clean for Gene" were brushed aside. Principle and commitment were as chaff in the wind compared to money, name recognition, and the party machines.

I was one of those horrified, but not especially sorry, when he was assassinated.

I cannot think why I thought for a moment that Obama would be less of a cynical prick than RFK.

I cannot think why I have gone on this endless political ramble either. Perhaps because the eclipse is happening at this very moment and I am frustrated not to be there to see it.


  1. Bobby Kennedy was right on both of his stands. It made sense to prop up the South Vietnam regime and send in troop. What his mistake was that modern warfare, where there is not a clear enemy, where there is not a clear battle field, is unwinable. When he realized that, he changed his view. Being anti-war was not popular between the coasts and it was not a sure thing to get elected on that stand. Robt. Kennedy was on of the last of the liberals. It is not a crime to change how you view a situation when you have new information.

  2. RFK is dead 42 years now, so our arguing about whether he was a schmuck or not just makes us ridiculous old crocks.

    BUT the proposition that not having a clear enemy nor a clear battlefield makes a conflict unwinnable strikes me both as the counsel of despair and as wrong.

    Our side has more resources at its disposal than just tanks, artillery, bombers, and warships. We have spies, bribery schemes, propaganda, assassins, drones, puppet regimes, disinformation, spy satellites, and on and on. There is likely no end of stuff we don't know about as well. Lots of strange things can be done when one has an unlimited budget.

    My guess is that since the end of World War 2 more insurgencies have been suppressed than have succeeded.

    Those that succeed gain our attention more than those that are beaten. The spectacular success of insurgencies in China, Vietnam, Algeria, and the US, make us forget the suppression of those in Malaya, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Peru, Congo, Yemen, Nepal, Assam, Northern Ireland, and many other places.

    Without the Soviet Union to send arms and money, insurgencies are less robust militarily than before. Iran is a large oil-rich country but it is nothing so formidable an adversary as the Soviet Union was.

    I am confident that no end of people we don't like have turned up face down in alleys in seedy parts of Damascus and other fun places. Their quiet disappearance is part of our successfully waging a war without defined battlefields or national enemies.

    I admit that my being in favor of that precludes my being a liberal. But I prefer small-scale dirty wars to large-scale clean ones every time. Morals, values, and the rule of law are important and valuable, but so are the lives of our soldiers.

    How much better would the history of this century have been had we been able to assassinate Saddam Hussein rather than invading Iraq?