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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Stick to Destroying the Constitution. Kay? Thanks.

This hope [ending Afghan corruption] is delusional, as the remainder of the editorial makes clear (Karzai's most important political allies, as well as members of his family, are among the corrupt). No amount of jawboning is going to cure the systemic corruption that plagues the Afghan government. Building the rule of law, moreover, takes decades even under favorable circumstances.

But the greater error in this policy is that our military presence in Afghanistan is making the terrorism problem worse (see this essay), not better, because it inflames Islamic radicalism worldwide--including homegrown terrorism. (Meanwhile, Al Qaeda has other places to seek refuge and locate training camps.)
The author is correct about Afghan corruption, but he should stick to his legal wet dreams and not counter-terrorism.

The idea that we should stop fighting Islamist radicals because fighting them pisses of Islamic radicals is old, worn and comes from the festering bowels of far left ignorance. Islamist ideas aren't knee-jerk reactionary burps. It's a well thought out ideology born of the combination of anti-Americanism, anti-Western civilian and Islamic superiority. Sayyid Qutb, the father of modern Islamist terrorism, wrote volumes of theory and ideology. The goal? Islamic supremacy. Not the liberation of Palestine. Not the ending of American friendships with the Saudis. Not stopping Danish cartoons. Absolute and total supremacy of Islam. Some, like Hibz ut Tahir, try to do it politically. Others, like Al Qaeda, see themselves as the vanguard force of the new Islamic caliphate. Either way, being nice to the radicals won't stop them. They have goals, power structures, ideals; an entire state all planned out when they win. They hunger for power vacuums, they do not abhor them.

The greatest thing Al Qaeda could have is a base of operations as large as Afghanistan. Currently, Al Qaeda is trapped in the tribal areas of Pakistan with its leaders in hiding, not an ideal situation for the group. Before 9/11, they trained tens of thousands, financed themselves through drugs, had the protection of the Taliban and, by proxy, the protection of Pakistan. After 9/11, we captured major players in the group, forced them into a remote area of a new ally, tracked their calls, killed their leaders and constantly harassed them. Unless Al Qaeda gets a new country as a base (like Afghanistan for instance if we leave prematurely) they are stuck as moral support. The groups capable of attacks are stuck in their respective areas. Al Qaeda in Iraq was soundly defeated by the surge, but they are still a problem. Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb was formerly an Algerian Isalmist group that has plans of going global, but remain an Algerian problem for now. Al-Qaeda in Yemen has been the biggest problem of the last year. They armed and trained the infamous Christmas Day Pantybomber. All of these groups would just adore us if we left Afghanistan open to establishment of a central Al-Qaeda base.

Just like they adore the left-wing idiots that represent them in courts they had no right to be in.

ACLU Exposes CIA Agents, Left Silent

Remember when a Democratic hack exposed the identity of a CIA agent? Bush and Rove got blamed.

Where's the outcry now?
A team of CIA counterintelligence officials recently visited the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and concluded that CIA interrogators face the risk of exposure to al Qaeda through inmates' contacts with defense attorneys, according to U.S. officials.

The agency's "tiger team" of security specialists was dispatched as part of an ongoing investigation conducted jointly with the Justice Department into a program backed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The program, called the John Adams Project, has photographed covert CIA interrogators and shown the pictures to some of the five senior al Qaeda terrorists held there in an effort to identify them further.

Details of the review could not be learned. However, the CIA team came away from the review, conducted the week of March 14, "very concerned" that agency personnel have been put in danger by military rules allowing interaction between the five inmates and defense attorneys, according to an intelligence source close to the review.

The team also expressed concerns about the inmates' access to laptop computers in the past. Some of the inmates who are representing themselves in legal proceedings were granted laptop computers without Internet access. However, the officials fear that future unfavorable court rulings could provide the inmates with the capability of communicating outside the island prison.
Lawfare at its best.

Iranian Nuke Egghead Defects

An award-winning Iranian nuclear scientist, who disappeared last year under mysterious circumstances, has defected to the CIA and been resettled in the United States, according to people briefed on the operation by intelligence officials.

The officials were said to have termed the defection of the scientist, Shahram Amiri, "an intelligence coup" in the continuing CIA operation to spy on and undermine Iran's nuclear program.

A spokesperson for the CIA declined to comment. In its declassified annual report to Congress, the CIA said, "Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons though we do not know whether Tehran eventually will decide to produce nuclear weapons."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fear, Politics and the War on Terror, Part 1: The Truth of “Torture”

Fear and War will be a three-part series showing how fear and politics, not idealism and morality, are the driving force behind those who oppose the covert operations of the War on Terror. Part I will show that the CIA interrogation program was not torture and describe how it saved lives. Part II will delve into the opposition to covert action by the anti-war crowd, and how their opposition is based on falsities. Part III will explain how and why covert action is needed to fight terrorism and how it is within our ideals to do so.

“Because when America strays from our values, it not only undermines the rule of law, it alienates us from our allies, it energizes our adversaries and it endangers our national security and the lives of our troops. So as Americans, we reject the false choice between our security and our ideals. "
- President Obama

Americans are idealistic people. Our Founders believed in the rule of law, even when it comes to a monarchy, as well as the well-known mantra of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When it comes to war, we Americans want to believe they are on the good side of history. We hold our soldiers to higher standards than others. We reflect on wars past and try to change the mistakes that brought us to crimes like Mai Lai and Abu Ghraib. We do our best to make sure we don't turn into the monsters that we are fighting. Alas, in the realities of war, we can't always stop bad things from happening. The best we can hope for that when crimes do occur, they are not systemic and are punished accordingly when they happen.

The problem with President Obama's words is that he is speaking about the so-called systemic “torture” done by the CIA terrorist interrogation program, not about the fractional percentage soldiers and contractors that've been convicted of crimes during the War on Terror. This “torture” is an interrogation program that disrupted several plots against the United States and has left its “victims” intact both physically and mentally. Far from the horrors of the Imperial Japanese, Nazis or North Vietnamese, in which those few who survived interrogation had scars, neurosis and missing limbs for proof, the CIA program's detractors only have the words of the terrorist themselves and they are not the most reliable of people. In fact, our “victims” are so undamaged by their ordeals that they are able to fully mount court cases competently with the help of their lawyers. Or, most grievously, in the case of those previously called to be tried by civilian courts (now a defunct venture), they are so damaged that they can threaten to turn the trial into a circus with advanced polemics.

The fact is the CIA terrorist interrogation program has not tortured anyone. In 2009, the International Red Cross leaked a report to the press that accused the CIA of busting the heads of detainees against hard walls with the help of a leash. These accusations came from the detainees themselves, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who said, after being asked about future attacks, “Soon, you will know.” Along with the so-called “torture memos” released by the Obama administration, the media ran wild with the story, accusing the CIA of bringing back the Spanish Inquisition and other inane comparisons. With all this negative press, some conservative publications like National Review were shocked at what became known as “walling”[1], asking their counter-terrorism friends if it was really true, and if so, how could we have let it get so bad.

The real story is that the “walling” as described by KSM and his cohorts is only a quarter-truth. “Walling”, as practiced by the CIA, meant that “detainees were placed with their backs to a "flexible false wall," designed to avoid inflicting painful injury. Their shoulder blades -- not head -- were the point of contact, and the "collar" was used not to give additional force to a blow, but further to protect the neck” [2]. The point of walling, just like the point of waterboarding, was to break the resistance of the detainee to interrogation, not to punish him. Once resistance was broken, debriefers, agents totally separate from interrogators, took over. These agents knew their subjects inside and out, terrorist experts called in to ask, analyze and verify what the detainees had to say.

The success of the interrogation program cannot be understated. After being given enhanced interrogation techniques, KSM spilled the beans on more than just attacks he had planned, he and others in the interrogation program “provided our first window into the operations of the terrorist network that had just attacked our country. They explained who al Qaeda's top leaders were, how they interacted, how they made decisions, how they moved money, deployed cells, communicated with their operatives, and planned terrorist attacks” [3]. Critics like Timothy Noah of Salon, who harp on the usefulness of KSM's information with no critical thinking (something I will expand upon in Part II) [4] totally miss the point. Even if there were no plots planned, KSM and his fellow detainees still gave us mountains of information on al Qaeda's command and control, financial network and tactics. Information that has led to countless other captured terrorists as well as the deaths of hundreds of high level al Qaeda members, including Osama bin Laden's son.

These are just few of the plethora of facts available to the public on the CIA interrogation program. President Obama's release of the “torture memos” gave the public a deeper insight into how we humanely treated, interrogated and questioned terror suspects, despite the obvious intention of the release of such sensitive information, which was to demonize those who authorized it: the Bush administration. In the repeatedly claimed false choice between our security and our ideals, President Obama chose a third, highly self-interested and devious option: politics.




3. Thiessen , Marc. Courting Disaster. Hardcover. 2009. p.101


Monday, March 29, 2010

Far Right Terrorists Stopped

Good work, FBI. Terrorists on the left or right, Christian or Muslim, must be stopped.

But I have to comment on this:
According to the indictment, Hutaree members view local, state and federal law enforcement authorities as the enemy and have been preparing to engage them in armed conflict.
Five bucks David "Localism is Fascism" Neiwert calls these religious anarchists fascists in the near future.

For these who don't know, Posse Comitatus was a group that claimed anything above the local government was illegitimate. One of Mr. Neiwert's attacks on Jonah Goldberg's timely book Liberal Fascism involved the anarchist group:
Beyond the Klan, completely missing from the pages of Goldberg’s book is any mention of the Silver Shirts, the American Nazi Party, the Posse Comitatus, the Aryan Nations, or the National Alliance — all of them openly fascist organizations
I didn't know Il Duce was a localist. That explains his centralized government and imperialism!

For Queen, Country and Tim Hortons!

Apparently, left-wingers in Canada believe the sacrifice of elite soldiers like those of the Canadian infantry is for the cause of "Canadian imperialism".

I remember being taught in school that Canada's manifest destiny was to bring the heroin-injected coffee of Mr. Horton to the world. First, Western New York, THEN THE WORLD!!!!


A Quick Snark Attack Upon JB of Balkinization

I follow the blog Balkinization mostly for kicks, since its run by far-leftist who want to see the Constitution reformed to fit their majority rules, minority be crushed agenda. This night, I shall snark at them with vigor.
The victory of President Obama and the Democrats in passing historic health care legislation has changed the political climate in Washington.

What has not changed is the basic structural problem that American government faces. It is a problem for the Democrats today. It will be a problem for the Republicans in the future if nothing is done about it.

The problem is the Senate.
If he's talking about the popular election of Senators, something that was only changed 100 years ago and not part the original plan of the Founders, then it is a problem. Before the Progressive movement got the popular election of senators passed, the state governments were able to send their own representatives, the senators, to Congress to balanced out the populism from the House. But that's not what he's talking about.
No matter how great last weeks' victory, the Democrats still need 60 votes in the Senate to pass major new legislative initiatives. They will get little cooperation from the Republicans. We now have the equivalent of parliamentary style parties-- featuring strong party discipline by the party out of power-- in a system that is not a parliamentary democracy.

This combination is unsustainable.

The Senate got to 60 votes on health care in December. That is what made possible the use of House passage plus reconciliation in March.

But that 60 vote majority is now gone. Very soon Americans will figure out that the President and his party can achieve almost nothing. And at that point the President's recently gained aura as a winner who can do great things will dissipate.
Not being able to force an agenda on the entire country by pure 50 plus 1 majority is what he's talking about.
The country needs to do a great deal more to deal with the economic crisis. There must be new financial regulations. Legislation to promote economic growth and job creation. And there are also important energy and environmental initiatives.
Dear reader, I trust you can you guess which one of his worries cannot live if the other two are enacted. JB couldn't see it, probably out of ignorance.
For each of these measures, the President will need 60 votes in the Senate.

The opposition party has given notice that it will not cooperation with the President and his party on anything. The Republicans will resist not only legislative initiatives, but also basic appointments to the Executive branch, as well as judicial appointments. There may be a few exceptions like the recent jobs bill, and we might possibly see minor reforms on financial regulation, but in the months leading up to the 2010 and 2012 elections, it is likely that the Republicans will double down on their policy of virtually complete intransigence.

And things will only get worse after 2010. The Democrats will have even fewer seats in the Senate because of the off year election, when the President's party usually loses seats. Given the state of the economy, it will probably lose more seats than usual. The Democrats are very unlikely to get back to 60 seats in the near future. They are still likely to have majorities in both houses. But those majorities will prove next to useless without 60 votes in the Senate.

The President and his advisers are well aware of these facts. They recognize that the glow of victory on health care will soon give way to the harsh reality that the President and his party may not be able to get anything else done of significance if they cannot do something about the Senate.

That is why the next big task the Administration must take on for itself is the reform of the Senate rules.
i.e. Making it easier to pass horrible legislation and appoint radicals in spite of the forced collaboration that the Founders had in mind. Totally okay, since the ruling party is in his ideological pool.
The President must get the Democrats in the Senate to do what they were unwilling to do in 2004 and 2005 when the Republicans were in control: reform the filibuster rules and the rules on holds.

If the Republicans are correct that the logical strategy is noncooperation, the Democrats will adopt it the next time that the Republicans gain the White House. Neither party is likely to get to 60 votes in the Senate very often, which means that without reform of Senate rules, it will be very hard for Congress to pass any important legislation in the future. The minority party, whether Republican or Democratic, will use the Senate to prevent reform in any direction, whether liberal or conservative. Congress will continue to vote appropriations to keep the government running, and will be able to make very minor adjustments. But if the President cannot persuade the Senate to reform itself, health care may be the last big reform measure passed by either party for some time.

American government cannot operate like this, especially given the many problems we face.

The Senate must be reformed.
It's nice to see he mentions that Republicans will have problems, too. But guess what? JB... that's the damn point! Unless there is a landslide election of a party, the parties must be FORCED to work together as they did for national security after 9/11 and for the horrible, but bipartisan Medicare Part D. Just because you fear that each election won't give a hardy majority to either party don't mean you can just wave your No.2 pencil and declare that they VERY NATURE of the Senate is wrong.

By the very nature of human nature, the government will always seek power. Each branch trying to overcome and rule the other. Obstructionism in the Senate prevents the House from doing some really stupid ass stuff. One of the reasons that Congress is so bad now because there isn't enough obstructionism in the Senate. The House and Senate work together way too often. If the states could elect their own senators, do you think any of them would of voted for a health care bill that tanks most of their budgets? Hell no.

If JB's changes went through, I bet you he'd be crying bloody murder when the Republicans start hammering through their agenda.

"No, no. It was never meant for that! It wasn't meant for real change!"

UPDATE: Ezra Klein makes the same case. End protections. Enforce majority rule.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Famous War Quotes As Said By the UN #1: Molon Labe-ish

SPARTANS! Throw down your weapons!


Give us five minutes!

The Enemy of My Enemy of My...

This article by Efraim Halevy in The New Republic has an interesting idea. Talk with Hamas.
For all their recent disagreements, Israel and the United States share a common view of the Palestinians. They have jointly affirmed their resolve to coax the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) to the negotiating table, while ignoring Hamas. This is a policy that has now lasted close to four years—with, by and large, the support of the international community. Hamas, it is commonly agreed, will only make an acceptable partner for negotiation if it undergoes an ideological transformation, a transformation that is very unlikely to ever occur.

But now might be the right time to reconsider this policy, especially in light of the recent behavior of the PA. To take one recent example: When the Israeli cabinet recently designated two sites in Hebron and Bethlehem to be preserved as national heritage landmarks, the PA joined Hamas in issuing inflammatory statements exhorting the populace to demonstrate against the Jewish appropriation of Muslim holy sites. Stone throwing and violence quickly ensued. Abu Mazen, the self-styled moderate president of the PA, provocatively warned of an impending religious war. Only a stern warning sent by Israeli security authorities brought the “moderate” Palestinian leadership to its senses. And even then, it was only the Israelis who were capable of becalming Jerusalem and the West Bank, with sustained and daily operations in Palestinian-controlled areas. In a time of crisis, the shortcomings of the ruling Palestinians were exposed.


Before President Obama and Premier Netanyahu proceed to negotiate with their dispirited Palestinian interlocutors, why not reconsider the options? Bringing Hamas to the table could relieve pressure on the Palestinians—who would no longer need to worry about the Islamists attacking their credibility. It might create space for a less ideological approach to peacemaking, and it might allow for the negotiation of a more achievable agreement with Israel. Why not hammer out a temporary arrangement between the three sides that would, say, extend for 25 years with a clause for renewal? Such an agreement would make for a practical second-best outcome--a durable interim understanding.

Current policy, after all, sends Hamas the signal that it is doomed to exclusion come what may and forever. But the more that Hamas is permitted inside the tent, the better the prospects of a modest (yet historic) success. Of course, there will be those who say this is impossible. They will say Hamas is inhuman, and why would the Iranians ever allow this? The answer is that Fatah hardly behaves much better than Hamas. Besides, Fatah has limited ability to deliver any sort of peace without the consent of Hamas. As far as the Iranians go, once you start talking with Hamas, you soon discover how much they hate the guts of those renegade Shiites in Tehran. I could be wrong about all of this. But given the unworkable alternatives, surely this is worth putting to the test.
Efraim Halevy is a former head of Mossad. As soon as I read that, I could see where his thinking is coming from. I don't dare think I'm more intelligent than a man who lead one of the most feared spy agencies on the planet. He'll have a tome full of reasons why this policy may/will work. I simply wish to make a point that bringing Hamas to the table legitimizes it. To legitimize a terror group, like Lebanon has with Hizbullah, only makes it hungrier for power, as Hizbullah has proven. I can see the advantages of bringing Hamas to the table, as Halevy says "this is worth putting to the test", but the risks are high as well.

My idea is to re-legitimize and prop up the PA as much as possible, grind on negotiations with them and have them declare a Palestinian state in the West Bank. This would totally undercut Hamas' legitimacy to the cause of a Palestinian state and, hopefully, create enough schism within Hamas between hardliners and tag-a-longs to allow for the PA to reoccupy Gaza. Risky, yes, but as much risk as I see in making Hamas a real partner for peace. Peace to Hamas has always been the destruction of Israel from top to bottom. Not a very good negotiating position, at least when the goal is to end a war going on for almost 70 years.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fairness is a Disease

So, a school wants to create a Male Studies program to look into the welfare and psyche of the modern human male. Not a bad idea, eh? Males have changed a lot in the past one hundred years. Suffrage, the women's rights movement, contraception and consumer trends have all created a male completely alien to the Victorian male that brought in the 20th century. Today, there are concerns of the loss of masculinity to an ever increasing feminization of Western culture. Shows like Everybody Likes Raymond, where the husband is always wrong, bumbling and submissive, promote the idea that the Western male is not longer the head of the household, but the laughing stock of it. Of course, this is just one of many theories about the modern male and these theories should be researched and reviewed and published, as is the right of any researcher.

That's if Male Studies get off the ground. When I passed this news along to political acquaintances on the left, the response was a resounding “why?”. Might as well have “white studies” too, one said, since men and whites have dominated the world since time immemorial. We can't be studying the male since the male has had his place of privilege for so long! It's the female's turn! That's the atmosphere I got from them.

When did education go from finding the truth to promoting fairness and alleviating the guilt of left-wing white males? When Plato thought and wrote, it wasn't to make sure the trans-gendered anarchist had a voice. It was to find the truth about humanity and its soul. When Voltaire thought and wrote, it was to explain the world and the mind, not find a new niche market for a women's studies book about anti-antidisestablishmentarianism in the male dominated Greek world.

The idea that we can't study the male, especially the white male, out of some anti-intellectual ideal of fairness spits in the face of every honest educator in the world. Not only that, it spits in the face of real equality between the races and sexes. Babying a broad, monolithic class, in this case “women”, because another broad, monolithic class, “men”, has had their day in the sun is beyond idiotic. It's an idea based on racism, sexism and class warfare. It's an idea that goes against the root ideals of this country and of its history of higher education, going all the way back to John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. It's as if the creator of this anti-intellectual ideology couldn't actually come up with an original idea and just flipped the worst views of the worst people of the Civil Rights Era and said, “Ta da! Open mindedness! And if you don't like it, you're a racist!”

SIRIUS/XM radio host Andrew Wilkow has a very apt analogy to explain this view. Imagine two people walking down a street. A white guy with a shirt that says, “White Power” and a black man that has shirt that says “Black Power”. For the last half century, we've been told (trained, in some cases) to look at the white man's shirt and deride him for his ethnic hatred. Yet, when we turn to the black man, we are told (trained) to congratulate him on his progressive ethnic pride in his culture (“black culture”, another broad, monolithic idea). How is THAT not racism? Hate whites for being proud of their race while encouraging blacks to be proud of theirs? That isn't equality, that's overcompensation. That's anti-intellectualism. That's anti-American. Period.

And I haven't even gotten to the best part. History. The leftist opposition to all things white and male are based on the idea of white male domination for God knows how long. But how long as white males actually ruled the planet? Not that long, actually. The domination of the “world” by whites was consolidated around 200 years ago when the British Empire spanned the length of the planet, “the empire on which the sun never sets”, as it was called. I'm including all European powers in this, by the way. But it wasn't actually the world, not even close. The Ottoman Empire spanned well into Africa and the Middle East. Russia's domination wasn't entirely a white man's crusade since much of Russia's ethnic make-up descends from the Mongol invaders four centuries earlier. The South American powers had both white and mixed leaders, as it does now. The only continent that there was near total domination of other races by whites was Africa, but like I said the Ottomans were in there too and I don't believe Turks are considered white.

That's only 200 years ago. But doesn't the Left say white dominated history pre-1800s is part of our guilt? So how far back to we go? Hopefully, for these “intelligent” folk, we don't go back to Renaissance Italy where women had the ability to speak and rule? Or how about certain African tribes where women played bigger roles? Oh wait, they aren't white. I don't think there's black male guilt, is there? Anyway, how about Sparta, where the women under the militaristic regime had the right to speak, to refuse marriage, property rights and were trained in combat to near equal levels as males were? But that's only if you consider ancient Greeks white, and they're only white in Hollywood, not in reality.

This obsession with extra-legal fairness in all things, especially education, is a disease. You cannot change history by buying off your guilt. You cannot change minds by denying education sectors for the crime of going against politically correct dogma. It strikes at liberty, intellectual discourse and our nation's self-esteem. A nation cannot remain free if its taking from one class and giving to another over events that happened pre-independence (or pre-history, for that matter). A nation cannot have honest intellectual debate if charges of racism, sexism and all other words of total insignificance now (thanks, Leftists) are used to put down legitimate criticisms of a anti-intellectual ideology. A nation especially cannot remain powerful and unified when its too busy making sure every nook and cranny of leftist created trans-class, cross-gendered, bottom-up race injustice is being sated by economy destroying programs promoted by people who aren't touched by them, but who somehow feel the tinge of racism from a crowd not saying a word.

John Adams said, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

And the facts are, dear leftist friends and contacts, that your objections to Male Studies tells a lot about you and your inability to think critically, let alone dictate what others should think. You cannot stop racism with money, sexism with government or bigotry with indoctrination. The best we can do, the best any free nation can do, is make sure that under the law no one is discriminated against. After that, its up to the individual to find the truth themselves, not by government fiat or ivory tower poo-poohing. The past 60 years have shown your idea of fairness has created one of the most anti-intellectual and bigoted mainstream ideologies in America. And that has led to a world where leaders call citizens racists, “teabaggers” and fascists for simply opposing policy the leaders themselves have tainted with the stain of racism, sexism and anti-religious bigotry.

Give yourself a hand.

Oh, wait, you already do.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Paul Revere's Congressional Hour Ride

What would Paul Revere's Ride look like today?


Paul Revere's Congressional Hour Ride
by Jordan

The conservatives, the libertarians, blood and bone.
The loud pounding of war drums drone.
In ought' ten they revolted and arose.
Bringing hate only God knows.
All based on the government leaving you alone!

A dreary idea, that's damn right.
The government not controlling everything in sight.
How can one live without the state
Putting all on your plate?
How dare they put up a fight!

Seeing this, Representative Revere, Democrat-Monterey,
Drove his Prius at top speed down the highway.
At the top of his lungs, he bellowed,
"These are small government fellows!"
And the State recoiled, unable to say.

"All is lost!" said the Speaker of the House,
Her face wrinkled like the tail of a mouse.
"These are dangerous ideas, there's no kidding!"
So she ordered the media to do her bidding.
And these patriots were compared to vermin and louse.

But never deterred, with liberty on their side,
With no reason to fret and no reason to hide.
They confronted the State and its minions
And asked them to hear their opinions.
And the patriots would not their leaders slide.

With all the shouting, hate and bluffing,
With the media and the Left asking for cuffing,
The patriots were asked how would they build their steeple.
By what manner they would control the people?
Smiling, they opened their empty hands and said, "By nothing."

"Freedom means finding your own way without coercion
Without the government telling you to read a certain version
Of the Bible, the Torah or any other book.
Ideas do not automatically make you a crook.
You cannot change people's convictions by forced immersion."

"We are not asking for no leaders, taxes or rules
We are simply asking that we keep what ours
Our property, our words, our thoughts, ourselves.
Because without those, we live in a liberty-less hell.
And even then, there's only so much fooling a fool."

"So, we the people, we say this, the honorable elected
Do not let your minds be rotted and infected
By the sins of power, greed, comfort and conformity
Because there is a power none of you can see.
And it cannot vote, it cannot speak, and you are not protected."

"It's the power of the people, the real force
Not the false views of the Communist dogs, of course.
The overwhelming push of true human freedom
Against this perverse republic, nay, now a kingdom
We give you, our honored leaders, a easy choice."

"Choose freedom, liberty and the American ideal's call
Uneven laws, high taxes, exemptions and tyranny, you must make them fall.
Or succumb to the true wave of history, the real populist change
As John Adams said, a man that history did not find strange,
'In politics,' our dearest citizens, 'the middle way is none at all.'

Choose liberty in all things, dearest citizen.
Because the opposite is against what's within.
To fear the unfairness of life isn't wrong
To try to change it is the siren's song
And they'll take away all you have, for others' sins.

It's simple, if you really think through the statist fit
You either are for freedom or against it
To support controlling humans is to support slaves
White, black, yellow or brown, using legislation or chains.
That's the long and short of it.

If you don't like what this says, if it offends,
Then you should think about your ideological mends.
How come you oppose speech for material? Accept money instead of rights?
Our forefathers did not debate, scream, rebel and fight
So our pockets would be full and our spirit bent.

As a country, we move forward, liberal and conservative, for our sake
One always looking forward, one looking back, that's the take
But when the train starts to outrun the tracks, as it will always be
The forward lookers are distracted by scenery
Those in the back will be yelling for the brake.

The End

Monday, March 22, 2010

What's Better Than Winning At Obamacare?

Apologies given in advance.

Calling your opponents mentally damaged:
I hate these folks but I also understand them. And, well, uh, I also empathize with them. They share the same psychology as the paranoid patients I treat every day. The only difference is that the paranoid beliefs of the tea-party movement are political while those in my consulting room are of a more personal nature.

The causes and dynamics, however, are the same. And so just as I have empathy for my patients, I have come to have empathy for the tea-party'ers, even as I despise their influence and work hard to defeat their ideology. It's crucial that progressives do likewise because if we don't understand the ways that decent, god-fearing, and victimized people can come to espouse such a dangerous ideology, we won't be able to fight them effectively.

I treat people who are paranoid all the time. Sometimes they're only mildly paranoid. For example, someone I treat can't tolerate blame of any kind, can't take any responsibility for failures, and can't really be optimistic about the potential goodness in others. It's always someone else's fault. Other times, they're more severely paranoid. A patient I saw spun tale after tale of slights, interpreted innocuous events as malignant, saw conspiracies everywhere, and always imputed malevolence to others' motives. The most extreme cases can be found in the delusions of schizophrenics.
It don't usually swear on here, but this really needs a great big


Honestly, are we back at this? 60 years ago a book came out called The Authoritarian Personality that attempted to put conservatives into a mental category that could be easy pointed to when they speak. End the Fed? They're special! Cut taxes? Awwwww. It's below reason that anyone would take such a hypothesis seriously.

Then again, these numskulls think Stalin wasn't a real leftist, but a right-winger, that the goal of classlessness in Nazi Germany was based on individualism, and Mao wasn't all that bad aside from the 60 million he killed simply through economics, let alone the number he killed on purpose.

You can't reason with elitists like the author above. They simply think you're too dumb to understand their political hate. Don't bother me, I'm hating you for your views, you intolerant right-winger!


Five Finger Death Punch

So the shit heap called “health care reform” passed the House of Representatives by only a few votes. If Rep. Stupak and his group of 6 hadn't caved to a promise of relevancy, it would have died the death it deserves. But never doubt the ability of politicians to sell principles for peanuts. The reform bill, warts and fixes and all, will become law and we will, for the time being, have to deal with it.

But, in my view, the bill itself is not the problem. It's a big ugly tumor, but there's a underlying cancer eating away at the body of the American people: entitlements. The entitlements craze began under less than ideal circumstances. During the Great Depression, FDR thought the best way to help the economy was to help the people, or so we're told. A massive welfare state was created to give the masses some buoyancy. In a time of mass poverty and unemployment, it's understandable that people would embrace such programs, even if they ended up hurting the economy and prolonging the Depression. After the Second World War and the recovery of the American economy (in no small part due to the destruction of the rest of the world), the entitlements stayed and grew. Social Security ballooned, Medicare was created soon after, welfare expanded; the new wealth American was swimming in was turned into gifts from the state to the people.

But these gifts aren't free, as supporters and receivers like to think. EVERYTHING comes with a cost. EVERYTHING has a price. Your welfare check is money from taxpayers. Grandma's social security is paid for by today's young workers. From the President's salary to your neighbor's new tax credit paid car, EVERYTHING the government gives you is paid for by someone else.

That said, I understand, grudgingly, that our modern society requires some kind of social safety net. There will be people who need some help: the very poor, the very old, the very feeble, etc. There is good cause for a basic social safety net, but there is no cause, no argument, no valid idea that can back the bloated, feces covered, child eating monster that the modern American welfare state is. You can justify giving a check to a widowed grandmother having to raise her dead daughter's kids in a trailer park in Jena, LA. But you can't justify, AT ALL, giving out government checks to well-off seniors dancing the salsa with Palo the Pool Boy on a Caribbean cruise.

Not 3 years ago, the late Ted Kennedy was screeching for the expansion of SCHIP, the child version of Medicare, to middle class families. The middle class is the middle class because it can afford things like coverage for kids. It can afford to pay a mortgage. It can afford many things, just not all things, as the rich can afford. Why in God's name would you expand something made to cover the poorest and weakest of children and expand it to people who don't need it?

Control. Power. Votes. Stone headed ideology. Probably all three mixed in with personal crap we don't really care about. The point is that the entitlements and the social safety net they're based on are unjustifiable and unsustainable. When they first appeared, there were tons of kids to pay for it. The Boomers, my “favorite” generation. Today, the Boomers are getting old and dying off, and America's birthrate is dropping like Nancy Pelosi's cheeks. The crash of entitlements and the social net is unstoppable as long as we keep borrowing, keep spending and keep expanding. Greece, the grandfather of the West, shows what happens when you don't stop the government gravy train from speeding towards oblivion.

Yes, the health care reform bill is a massive mistake, but the real problem, the systemic cancer destroying the fabric of this nation minute by minute, is the culture of entitlement. The culture of wants being turned into needs. The culture of a greedy, narcissistic, unbelievable STUPID generation (and its children) trying to squeeze every benefit it can from the modern world before they pass on. There is no way, no how, no fucking chance that the government, let alone the economy, can handle any more without completely collapsing. I don't want it to happen. I like the world as is, but there needs to be changes, sacrifices and hurt if we're going to stop it from being any worse.

But with a government that thinks like this...
“In doing so, we will honor the vows of our founders, who in the Declaration of Independence said that we are ‘endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’  This legislation will lead to healthier lives, more liberty to pursue hopes and dreams and happiness for the American people.  This is an American proposal that honors the traditions of our country.“
*facepalm* *headdesk* *panface*'s going to be a long fight. A very long, hard and ugly fight.

In the clichéd words of Matt Damon's Roy Miller, “Get your game face on.”

Saturday, March 20, 2010


This is a follow up to Egotastic Me. If you want to know the thought process behind this post, please read Egotastic Me.

καταδίκη is the Greek word for conviction. Conviction is “an unshakable belief in something without need for proof or evidence”[1].

The Greeks were a very special people in the history of the world. While many civilizations have risen and fallen in our history, the Greek civilization remain the core of the West. Their republics, democracies and even their tyrannies have influenced all major powers. The Greek myths draw us in with their drama, violence, heroism and villainy. Greek tragedies show us how fate and human nature pit us against ourselves, and so few times do we ever end up on the right side of the world.

I've been interested in the Greeks for many years, mostly on a very superficial level. It was not until the movie 300 was announced did I begin to read deeper into the Greek story than just the thin picture books I got from the library. I read everything I could on the Spartans, the warrior-citizens that could create unstoppable fear by simply marching towards their enemy. I read about their culture, their unique monarchical-oligarchical-democratic government and, of course, their military victories. It was from there I began a slow read of the Greek culture as a whole, not just the differences between Sparta and Athens or Argos and Thebes. The Greeks had a very human nature based view of their existence. Human flaws and human vices were the center of their works and plays. Even the Gods were subject to their emotions, vices and desires. And above it all was fate. You could not fight your destiny, no matter what.

In a land of plenty, we tend of make up plenty of things to fight against. Wars against cancer, smoking and obesity. Battles against poverty, mental health disorders and racism. The poor population of one of our cities has more wealth than all of Somalia or Bhutan. Our middle class spends more time resting than working, more time having fun than having to break one's back. Our technology is bounds ahead of our nearest adversary. Our kids are more tech savvy than any other generation in history. Children can navigate the chaos of the Internet better than their parents and grandparents. Our material utopia has brought us so much, but it has left one thing behind. The war each one of us has inside.

The terrain is the mind and victory is harmony. Our physical wars have been either fast, long or not fought to win. Not since 1941 has the United States went into a war balls out. We've spent the last half of the 20th century protecting the material gain we had from the deviation of World War II. What was the tragic luck of having most of the world in ruins has become the addiction of an entire civilization.

We have an easy life, but we aren't happy. We want more. More protection. More hugs. More happiness. We worry how the world sees us, even to the point of putting the lives of our own in danger. We worry more about the fictional “Other” and how it feels compared to us. How many times are we told its going to be okay? That the government will take care of you? That the pills will make it all better? That all you need to do is talk to a doctor to stop the cancer, the blues or anything else that may be bothering you? We are told we are always going to be okay... except how many times does that platitude collapse like a house of cards?

Almost every single time.

The world will never be as easy as it was and we must come to terms with that. The party that's happened for the last 65 plus years is ending, or at least it should end. We've prolonged it for so long after many false deaths. But today, with debt, with basic moral degradation, with a national cynicism so prevalent that nobody trusts the government anymore, not even those who endorse government programs. The fluff of prosperity is blowing away, revealing an ugly and cracked monster underneath. We have problems and we're going to have to bite more than one bullet to save our way of life.

For years, I've struggled with confidence in almost everything in my life. Socially, mentally, politically, religiously; a snake pit of emotions. This isn't a unique thing. It's become a right of passage of the modern man. In the face of a world with everything, a material utopia, the last thing we think about is our souls. We forget that our psyche is real. It requires comfort, but it also requires discipline. Our spiritual selves need to be able to stand up to the world around us.

Slowly, over the past few years, I've learned that one must be confident not only in self, but in one's beliefs as well. You can think you can do things well, that you can get the girl, ace the test and down a stein like a pro, but doubt doesn't come only from your abilities, but from your ideals as well. I never held on to an anarchist belief I had for long because I couldn't never be certain in my convictions that a particular anarchist ideology was right. I kept switching until I abandoned the entire school of thought. You must be able to truly believe in what you preach, or it will collapse on you.

Conviction isn't just a word that explains a fanatic, it is a state of mind that we must attain if we are to be able to function above the ugly world we inhabit. Conviction, for my worthy political opponents or for myself, allows for doubt to vanish when it appears. Conviction is worthy of respect, most of all in this time when even the most stone headed of politicians ends up turning on his people for his own personal gain. If you believe in God, Marx or Dawkins, it doesn't matter, take the time and the effort to make sure that is what you truly believe. Don't half-ass it. It'll only be your downfall.

Faith is the key. Even the most science-based beliefs have a bit of faith backing them. One doesn't dedicate one's life to evolutionary biology because the evidence is conclusive and no more must be done. One doesn't research the climate because the time for debate is over. We do it because we believe. We are belief driven people. We want to show what we believe is true. It is one of the best aspects of human nature. The drive of belief.

The confidence of myself, and in general, of the nation, is based on the confidence of our beliefs. For me, my beliefs have become stronger due to the doubts that I've had and the mistakes I've made. But, unlike our nation, I have done my best to change my mistakes instead of covering them up with more spectacular and materially driven mistakes. I've come to my conclusions and I believe them from head to heart. The nation, well, that's still up in the air. We shall see if the nation will heed the convictions given to it by the Founders, or fall to the weakness of doubt and material addiction.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Egotastic Me

I've always enjoyed the irony of today's world. The human species is six point six billion strong spread across every landmass and sea. If it exists, there'll be signs that humans have been there, usually in the form of our trash. We are everywhere. The other side of that coin is our modern individualist society. The West is the most powerful and most comfortable of civilizations. In control of pretty much half the planet, Western-based nations influence everything. If not with our ideals, then with our inventions and products. We are everywhere. And yet, as individuals, if we are metaphysically separated from our civilization, we are nothing. We are simply human. We are specks in the sea of billions. And that puts the fear of Almighty God into so, so many. Including me.

The World Around Me

I have been, and probably still am, very self-centered. I know many others are like this, but I won't assume you, dear reader, are one of them, so I'll take the time to expand for the sake of argument. What I mean about self-centered is that much of what I do and think involves advancing my own interests (material, mental, emotional) over that of others. May it be simply walking faster so I can get around a slow walker at the supermarket or complexly maneuvering at work so I can get on the boss's good side. My politics had and still have a lot to do with my personal ambitions. From socialist revolution to anarchist nihilism to conservative free-market dogma, connected to my wants. My patience with people, especially those truck drivers at work who have the inability to understand directions, are mostly based on the mood I have when I walked in. If something went wrong that morning, I'd probably treat them with them a little contempt. I justify such behavior by blaming it on them and their actions. It's not my fault they can't see the stop sign or understand the other signs around the lot, so it's not my fault if I'm an asshole to them.

My daydreams are in the same realm. I've had the running theme of heroism and historical significance since I was little. The politics may have spun them to the left or the right, but overall, I'm the center of the story and I'm the awesome guy with the kung fu and the accurate shooting. I've written countless short stories and attempted first chapters of novels that usually involve my views with heroes that have my personality (or the one I wish I could have). Hell, I play video games and watch movies with the express intent of sating a fantasy land where its not the actor, but me kicking the ass of terrorists, Persians or backward CIA employees trying to knock me off. Whatever I thought or imagined, it was all about me. It's all for me. It's all fun, but it's also all fake and slightly unnerving.

I've talked a lot of talk about my future over the years to many people. I was going to be a war reporter, an author, a game designer, a movie director, and that was all in high school. In college, I was going to be an music video director, a action movie director, a TV producer, then I stopped wanting to do TV. I kept at the college courses though and moved to LA to work in the industry. There, I was going to be a Marine, but marriage and family cut that down quickly. I then decided on pursing a police career and after moving to Utah, I took a police standards test... and failed. A year later, and a year at my rent-a-cop job, I tried again. That time I passed. I was going finally be the hero.

Except that heroes aren't being hired right now. The current economy is killing every level of government in Utah. The cities and the state aren't hiring any officers. The world isn't playing my game. It's not playing fair.

The World That Is

Reality is a bitch. I'm no hero. I'm not even close. I've never been one. Probably closer to the opposite.

For as long as I can remember, I've been pretty introverted. Girls and friends were few, if any at the several schools I went to. Within the introverted personality was a selfish ass. A prime example was in grade 8. A little kid, probably a first grader, was wandering in the bus area one day. A group of girls from my class saw her, got worried about her safety among the cars and asked me if that was my sister. I shook my head and just walked on as they took her within the safety fence and started to look for her teacher. My only thought during that time was “Not my sister, not my problem.” I didn't want to get in the middle of anything. I wanted the world to stay away.

As newly minted teenagers, we were all selfish. We were all confused and emotionally immature. It's a right of passage to deal with that. But the key is to get passed that and mature to where you can deal with hiccups like a bad economy, a failed test or old dreams dying due to circumstances you yourself created. For the longest time, I couldn't. As recently as last week, I was brooding on the idea of being at my rent-a-cop job for any longer. It was supposed to be a hold over job until I could become a police officer. I've been at it for a year and a half now. It's mind numbing and, at times, so dead that a paraplegic could take my place without any dip in productivity. It put me in a mood that was less than friendly, giving me thoughts that were less than rational. My fantasy land of heroism and shit were directly conflicting with the real world where I was going to be stuck at a dead-end well past my 25th birthday. How could I be a SWAT member or an agile young super cop after 25?

The Speck and the Fear

Then, one recent night, unable to sleep even though I was dead tired, it came to me. I'm not special. Not in the slightest. No matter how many dreams I have, no matter the stories I write, the movies I watch or the games I play, I am not the character that I see. I am not the assassin, the scholar, the agent or the famous fighter. I am one of six billion people trying to carve out a section of this world for myself as best I can. And I have six billion people all wanting to do the same thing as well. In the Salt Lake Valley alone, there are over one point five million people, all jamming to have some sort of space. That's still a lot of people in an area shedding jobs.

I've never been a man with confidence in myself. It took over twenty years for me to break past the embarrassment of working out alone in public. I spent more time talking to girls on the internet than I did in real life. I faked confidence, even to to the point of making myself believe I had it. A house of cards. A cover for the insecurities I developed between birth and now. We all have insecurities, of course. Some deal with it better than me, some don't. One will never fully overcome them. They'll crop up sometime, even if for just a moment. It's the way we deal with them that shows us our real confidence and our real maturity.

I handled the realization that my dreams of grandeur would not come true quite badly. I basically whined and kicked and made a fuss that I couldn't reach heights I probably had no good reason to expect I could reach. My house of cards fell and I spent a week trying to justify it without blaming myself in anyway. The economy was the fault of bankers and government. The lack of hiring money in the Valley was because of entitlements. They're all corrupt. It's not my fault.

And in some way, it's not. I don't control the economy, but neither does Salt Lake City or the Great State of Utah. The economy of the United States is based on everyone. The economy is the collective result of millions of actions being preformed every day by Americans and others around the world. Our lives today were build by the world of yesterday, the world that consisted of billions of individual actions crashing and colluding with each other. The beautiful chaos.

For most of the past 100 years, we've based our economic lives, and our lives in general, on the fear of everything coming crashing down and stopping us from finding our dreams. Every recession is met with outlandish claims and overreactions. Every dip in employment is considered the end all of capitalism and markets. When things go bad, our confidence sinks and we panic. We fear the dream will die.

Like my house of cards, based on the fantasy of heroism, greatness and historical significance, our past century has been based on that as well. Militarily, for good or bad, ending in victory or defeat, America has done much based on high hopes and ideals. While there have been true moments of greatness, there have been plenty of disasters. Economics has been a different story. Since the Great Depression, we've been living on the idea we can stop disaster like we thought we could stop war. The Great Depression was the Great War, so we created the League of Nations called the welfare state. The post-WWII boom was the World War. Things were hell everywhere but where we were, so we prospered. The 80s and its crash was Vietnam, a dream turn to rot. And today, our decade or two of vast prosperity has been, for better or worse of an example, Iraq. We went in thinking we had it all. We had the perfect reason. We had the best idea. We had the moral high ground. And in the face of it all, after all we said and did, the confidence is collapsing. It's civil war. It's the real world vs. the fake one. It's 2006 and the country is at a crossroads.

Back to the Beginning

What does the current economic crisis have to do with my personal story of a shitty personality, egotastic fantasies and horrible self-confidence?

It's the rubble.

When the house fell all was left was the foundation.

What was the foundation?

Me. Just me. Who I really am. The man that was hiding beneath layers of neurosis, emotional cloaks and mental walls. All that I learned, all that I saw and experienced became the reason, the lessons and the rational. It may have been an accident or an act of God, but its there now.

My adult foundation.

America needs to find its foundation. It needs to find its true confidence, not build up another house of cards upon the collapsing deck that came before it. This has happened for nearly 100 years and it cannot continue.

As I could not rely on the displacement of blame onto others for my misfortunes and for just plain ol' bad luck, the world as it is today cannot just levy punishment on the crooks and liars that put us here, because it wasn't just them. It was us as well. Our fantasy dreams of easy wealth and no-risk happiness brought us to the point where we have to choose the world we made up or the world as it is.

The world we made up says we can keep trying to make everyone happy, rich, beautiful and comfortable. We can waste ourselves for utopia. We can spend the world and gain only an illusion of progress.

The world that is says we have to go back to basics. We have to start trusting ourselves to improve ourselves. We have to use our own two hands to brings ourselves beyond the primordial ooze. We have to make our dreams come true the hard way: years, probably decades, of unrelenting hard work without even the glimpse of finish line.

What I feel now and what I know now doesn't mean I won't become the immature kid again. Just because I've become grounded now doesn't mean I won't stick my head up my ass again. It's up to me, not you, not the state, not the feds and not God, to make sure I'm on the right path. It's up to me to make sure I'm not going to revert back to that new teen, watching a little kid put herself in danger and ignore it because its not my problem. Pretending it wasn't only added to the fantasy that I was going to be someone amazing. It was my problem then, it's my problem now.

Our lives are our choices. What we are is what we choose to be. The responsibility rests with no one else.

It's a hard lesson, but its a necessary one. Because basing a life on egotistical fantasies doesn't do shit for you or anyone else. You can't get out of bed purely on the will of you dreams.

What gets you out of bed is moving your body to the edge, swinging your legs to the floor and standing up.

All by yourself.

Friday, March 5, 2010


From CNN
Today, in California and other states across the nation, students, teachers, faculty and workers have been protesting, striking, walking out of classes and staging sit-ins and teach-ins. They are protesting budget cuts, tuition hikes, compensation reductions, layoffs and privatizations affecting public K-12 schools and universities.

This afternoon, I'll be heading to Gov. David Paterson's office in Manhattan, where our local protest will be held. We're expecting at least 500 people and are hoping for more.

Why? We believe that actions like these -- across the country -- are necessary to communicate to the politicians overseeing these cuts that we will not stand by while our public education system is being gutted.
Gutted implies that the vital organs are being ripped out. It's hard to gut the Manuel Uribe of American institutions. (Link NSFW)
The students and faculty protesting are not some group of ivory-tower intellectuals out of touch with the "real world." On the contrary, as the real world presses in on their ability to afford an education in an increasingly competitive global environment, they are extremely aware of the relationship between leaders' decisions and their fates. And they are angry.
The author is getting a PHD in art history. The only people he has to compete with is other art history majors for the save or created job of "next window please".
The largest attacks on public higher education are taking place in California. Last year, the budgets of the University of California and California State University were cut by $813 million and $564 million respectively, resulting in the elimination of thousands of jobs, furloughs, pay cuts and larger class sizes. Both UC and CSU raised tuition, including a massive 32 percent hike at the University of California.

To protest, students, teachers and workers organized a statewide day of action for today. This, in turn, inspired groups in California and across the country to make March 4 a national "day of action" to defend public education.

While California is facing the largest cuts to education, similar cuts are happening all over the country, making it harder for students to afford college and lowering the quality of the education they receive.
"While I profile the cuts to California's unhealthy, inefficient, activist money cow, pedophile invested school system, I'll just mention that other places are just as bad... without evidence, because you don't need to actually know anything. Remember, I'm an art major!"

It goes on and on and on from there, but you get the idea. An art major who excitedly claims about his membership in the ISO wants you to know that instead of finishing up his education... instead of doing what he and you are paying him to learn... he's going to organize a protest to protect his job future. 'Cause take a wild guess what art majors usually end up doing?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dealing with Iran, Part 2: Paths to Resolution

In part 1, I spelled out the situation with Iran and the positions the major players are in. This final part of Dealing with Iran will detail several potential outcomes of this crisis. They are in no particular order.
Iran Gets Nukes – This is one of the most likely outcome due to the weak action by the Obama administration and the international community. With Russian and Chinese backing, along with suspected North Korean technological advice, Iran will be able to create its first nuclear weapon before this new decade is out, most likely by 2015. Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons will be one of the most drastic geopolitical changes in the Near and Middle East since the Iranian Revolution 30 years ago. No longer just a regional superpower, Iran will be able to start dictating terms and spread its influence farther with a deserved credibility of a world power. Israel would be under a new, constant threat of attack by Iran's anti-Semitic leadership, probably driving it to push the US and Europe for extending its missile shield into the Middle East. If European leadership doesn't chance, it will most likely attempt to increase its standing with the new player with trade deals and other political gifts. The United States would try to increase the sanctions on Iran, at minimum. If hawks have the ear of the White House, a blockade or some type of physical show of power may be considered. But with Iran's oil industry, its ability to strike at almost any Western target in the Middle East and its increased conventional military, the world will probably have to learn to live with a new, radical and imperial-driven nuclear power.

Israeli Strike – It is my opinion that this is the most likely of outcomes if the current path is kept. Israel had shown over its history that its willing to do whatever it takes to defend itself from threats physical and potential. It came out around President Obama's inauguration that President Bush had repeatedly denied the Israelis any material or moral support for a strike on Iran. There are stories from as far back as 2005 that the Israeli Air Force is practicing flying the 1200 miles it would take to strike the main Iranian nuclear sites. It's almost guaranteed that the Israelis are ready to bomb the Iranian nuclear sites into oblivion on the first sign of a successful completion of a nuclear warhead. The aftermath of a strike are uncertain, but it can be reasonably guessed that Iran will, at minimum, order Hezbullah and Hamas to strike at Israeli targets en mass. It's less likely that Syria, Iran's military and political ally, will get involved, but it does not mean that it won't. The weaker the retaliatory position of the United States at the time of an Israel strike, the more likely Iran will take the opportunity to cripple Israel as much as it can. The success of any Israeli strike will be based on its human intelligence within Iran, which I believe, based on Israel's much more ruthless intelligence service, to be much better than that of the CIA's.

Iran Backs Down – On a scale of 1 to 10, from most likely to least likely, I'd give this resolution a 3.5. While it's not impossible for the Iranian leadership to recognize that their pursuit of nuclear arms is harming their ability to interact with the rest of the political world, its not in the best interest of the radical Islamist and the Iranian military to give up on the prestige of having nuclear weapons. Iranian designs for the Middle East are based on Iran's ability to escape any catastrophic retaliation for their actions. For example, the Iranians have backed numerous terror groups and native Iraqi militias to harass and kill American soldiers in Iraq. The military has present tons of evidence to prove this, but even with the proof, Iranian assets were barely touched. There were sanctions, diplomatic punishments and the loss of some influence in Iraq, but overall, Iran has gotten much stronger and bolder in their moves. Unless there is a major change in Iranian leadership, like the purging of the Revolutionary Guard's interference in civilian matters, the Iranians will not back down from their goal of attaining nuclear arms.

Israel-American Strikes – While the Israeli strike is the most certain of all actions, America joining in on the strikes is not as likely. Depending on the political situation, America may abstain from participating military, but its almost certain (unless the President is a extreme leftist or a isolationist libertarian) that the US would provide some kind of logistical support. The ability of American participation in the strikes will be based on Israel's trust of the American government as well as the position of American forces. If the US has come to terms with Iranian nuclear ambitions, it will most likely have moved forces out of the immediate area (save support troops in Iraq) and be less able to participate without having to use long-distance bombing. If the US has kept with its current policy of isolation and military preparedness at the time of an Israeli strike, it will have at least once carrier in the area and be able to coordinate. Like most modern American military choices, it will come down to the resolve of the president and the political situation at home.

American Invasion – The least likely of all outcomes. America is currently in no position to mount an invasion of Iran. The American public is tired of occupations and would quickly resent an occupation of Iran, even if it is based on years and years of evidence of Iranian nuclear wrongdoing. Iran is twice the size of Iraq with more difficult terrain and a much larger and stronger army. Even with the backing of its Iraqi invasion allies (including all 49 members of the Coalition of the Willing), the ability of American troops to successfully occupy Iran is pretty low. America does not have enough troops, the political backing nor the reinforcement ability to hold Iran longer than a year or more without having significant problems with its allies. Such a short time span would not lead to a successful nation-building mission unless a miracle shadow government is already planned by the Iranian dissents, waiting for the US to topple the mullahs.

Green Revolution – While there is much hope for revolution in Iran by the democratic dissents of the Green Revolution movement, a lack of true international support has left them with little ability to take hold of any Iranian institutions without being beaten back and executed. This outcome is above the likeliness of an American invasion, but well below Iran backing off its nuclear ambitions. There simply isn't enough political momentum at the moment for a successful overthrow of the theocracy or a chance for reformists to take power, although that is more likely than a political overthrow. In fact, the more likely internal political scenario would be a total transition from the semi-democratic structure of the Islamic republic to a straight out military dictatorship run and enforced by the Revolutionary Guard and blessed by hardline mullahs.

Total Regional War
– Around a 4.5 to a 5 on the likely scale, this worst-case scenario comes in the aftermath of an Israeli strike. If American influence and power is waning to the point of out-and-out weakness, Iran will take the opportunity to strike hard at its mortal enemy with all it has. Its Syrian ally, along with its connected terror groups in Lebanon and Palestine, would expand its retaliation to cripple Israel's ability to project its power in the region. Air and ground-to-ground missile strikes, terror attacks and a possible invasion attempt would sent a strong message to other Western powers as to the willingness of Iran to take on its enemies. Like other scenarios involving America, the political atmosphere will be a major factor in dictating its actions. Unlike the invasion scenario, America is better equipped to fight a defensive war than an offense one. Forces in the Mediterranean area could strike fast and hard at Syrian and Hezbullah targets while Iraqi and American forces would be able to resist any Syrian attempt to invade. While Iran could try to invade Iraq, that would put its position as big brother to the Shia in jeopardy as not every Shia is keen on seeing Iranian overlords rule its new, hard fought liberal democracy. The possibility of American air strikes and naval strikes on Iranian forces both on the sea and in Iranian territory would depend on the strength and military advantage of the Iranians and the actions of the Iranain proxies near Israel. The war would be devastating to Israel with military losses reaching at least 1000 if Syria attempts an invasion. Civilian losses would be almost as large, if not larger, due to the choice of Iranian proxies to target civilian areas. If Iran-Syria achieve an upper hand and America is unable or unwilling to bring a large amount of force to its defense, Israel may be forced to unleash its hidden nuclear arsenal and the world would witness its first nuclear attack since Nagasaki. We can only hope that this scenario, no matter how likely it may be, never comes to pass because the use of nuclear weapons on Arabs and Muslims, no matter how legitimate the use, would put back the ability for peace between Western civilian and Muslim-led nations back to the starting point.