Here’s Some Old School Conservatism…

Here’s just a little tidbit my pop sent me recently:

I can just see the twinkle in his eye as he says this. The lead mathematician at Bletchley Park that broke the Enigma Codes was quite gay.

“It is impossible to obtain a conviction for sodomy from an English jury. Half of them don’t believe that it can physically be done, and the other half are doing it.”

Winston Churchill

So here’s something for my dad, a brilliant piece on Eisenhower’s Realism by Jonathan Rauch (as discovered by reading Andrew Sullivan again.) The man who knew a little something about war used the philosophy that peace cannot be forced, it is merely a product maintaining a proper balance of forces.

I wanna be like Ike~


I tell you, goodness is being able to play the theme to Beavis and Butt-Head while at work. I think that you have to be a man between the ages of 28 and 23 to really be able to notice at all. Either way, I like having days of working on a project without random, noisy kids coming in and souring my day.

Enjoy the weekend, Radioland. I plan to~

Go Twins…

Last night was the first game since opening day that I’ve been able to catch a ballgame. Watching Ramon Ortiz pitch, I could only stay awake for two-thirds of the game, was a beautiful thing. He almost completely silenced the Yankees, allowing only one run in eight innings. Baseball is just an amazing game, and is partly to blame why I don’t believe in probability. So much heart and individual spirit goes into each pitch and each swing, you just never know what will happen.

Granted, baseball is a game full of statistics of every kind encompassing almost a century and a half, and continuing to add to them. But still, in my little pieces of watching, I have seen the worst pitcher strike the greatest hitters out with garbage in the dirt, and seen guys who can’t get a hit pull a perfect triple to win the game, and have seen two outs, two runs up in the 9th turn into two runs down and a lost game. There’s a chance, a suspense, a debate, and an intensity in every action, and I love it. And if there’s a chance, it’s fifty-fifty in my book.

It was a nice end to a day full of ups and downs. Austin managed to wake up at five in the morning, just before Mommy and I wake to some classical music on MPR. Oh yes, and it’d been snowing all night and would for the remainder of the day. Luckily we managed to get out of the house on time, even with me dealing with Austin being up and about while I try to assemble myself along with him.

Next came an up. After Austin was at school, on my way to work Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” was on the radio. I got to let it rip and I belted out along with it (though Freddy Mercury’s range is well beyond my own). It felt good, and it got me groovin’ and ready for the rest of the day.

Of course, the rest of the day was quite against it. It got very long, with lots of little things breaking down, but nothing big to specifically work on. Then arose a situation where I had to deal with a discipline problem with a kid in jazz band. Nothing awful, just a boy liking a girl, and to show it the boy terrorize and annoy her ceaselessly. So a parent called, I talked to the boy, it’s all sorted. It was just something I don’t care to deal with. Luckily he knocked it off before I had to kick him out.

The day ended in great relief when Michelle decided we should get Chinese food for dinner. So she got the munchkin and I went to a new takeout place and ordered out. I walked in like I would have at my favorite takeaway in Reading, and ordered some goodness, then sat to wait. It was such a small pleasure, and it completely recharged me. I took a section of the Star Tribune and simply read for about fifteen minutes. Nothing but smelling the wonderful aromas of food cooking there and reading local news. Like I’ve said before, Heaven doesn’t happen after you die.

I suppose I should get back to editing another podcast for the school. I’m writing this on one of my breaks. I am teaching another session of my afternoon animation class again, which means my days will be regularly very long. At least the podcast is interesting, as most are. This one had a great storyteller, and she was describing being in West Africa where the kids wanted nothing more than pencil and paper. Makes my wheels turn and my fingers itch, I tell you…


War Powers…

The United States has formally declared war five times in its two and a quarter century lifetime. The last time was against the Axis powers in World War II. So since 1945, the United States has known a world utterly free of the pains of war.

How can this be so? Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution states that Congress is the only branch of government with the power to declare war. It was quite purposefully vested in the body of government that is the slowest in making decisions. The main reasoning being to not have a single person with the power to send its citizenry to die without provocation or reason. They had had enough of that with the royalty of Great Britain.

Again the question, how could we have been involved in so many conflicts without declaring war? The answer is right there: we were in conflicts, not wars. Well, at least, that was so often the designation. Or ‘police actions’. It is quite a trick in order to combat an abstraction, not another state. We fought communism, not the Viet Kong. We are fighting terrorism, not the Iraqis. Of course, we did not defeat communism; it just happened to fail in the Soviet Union. And it sure seems that we aren’t looking to defeat terrorism anytime soon, since it gets so constantly stoked and provoked. Besides, it is not something that is defeatable; it is simply a tactic. But I digress.

Most of these undeclared wars came about due to one thing: fear. More specifically, paranoia. America after the Second World War followed a foreign policy of containment against communism. It was particularly strengthened by the fall of China to communism in 1949, playing into the idea of the ‘domino effect’. The fear of communism spreading aided in creating and maintaining the idea of containing communism to its current borders, effectively drawing us into every local nationalist conflict that decided to support itself with Soviet funds.

Also with the beginnings of the Cold War, the United States Congress started vesting increasing emergency powers to the President, so he may react more swiftly than they in the event of a direct attack by the opposing powers in the East. It means that the President could effectively send troops anywhere deemed insecure for democracy/capitalism/our interests, and from there escalate or surge (we’ve heard those words before, no?) as deemed necessary.

The War Powers Resolution of 1973 set into place a set of rules regarding how far a President could go with this new-found power. Apparently Congress realized that a certain cap should be in place after being in Vietnam for over eight wildly successful years. What it amounted to was that the President could act freely for 60 days before Congress would decide whether or not to continue or end US troop involvement, with an additional 30 days while Congress convenes and debates.

The President of the United States, a single person, has been given control of the most powerful military in the world for any three month period without question. What an American ideal! I am so glad that our country was not founded under the philosophies against arbitrary rule by one person. Otherwise we would be running counter to the very wisdom of the brilliant men who helped create a new, working model of free democracy that would inspire people the world over for centuries.

To bring my whole convoluted post to a close, let us return to the present. With the rubber stamps being pushed out of power in Congress, debate has returned to whether or not to continue the war in Iraq and how to end it. But the past half-decade’s rhetoric has punctured the powers of Congressional and even societal debate. The idea of cinching the military’s purse strings has been termed ‘not supporting our troops’. This is a damning phrase now, but hopefully one that will die. Of course troops are supported, we will always support them, because we won’t have them return home the way Vietnam veterans had to for just following orders. In fact, I hope they return home seen even more differently: as tragic heroes put through hell for other peoples’ cruel, cruel lies.

Here is my point, pure and simple. Congress is doing its job. The War Powers Resolution, and indeed any and all Presidential actions using American forces without a direct declaration of war, or invocation of Article V of NATO, is illegal and unconstitutional. I am willing to grant certain powers to extricate American and ally citizens from direct assaults. Once they are out and safe, our troop involvement ceases, because no war has been declared.

The title of Commander in Chief is meant to be only the unifying apex of all the military branches. The President commands the Army and the Navy in battle only. It is Congress, and Congress alone, that raises, organizes, arms, and keeps American military power. Congress creates treaties and declares war. It is within the powers of Congress to decide whether or not and where to send the American military, and when they are done operating. Commander in Chief only directs the forces when they are sent to engage the enemy, and even that power really gets delegated down (ie Supreme Allied Commander Eisenhower and the Generals and Admirals, and even filtered on down the way it is supposed to be structured.) Congress essentially owns the military; the President only gets to operate it when Congress allows.

We are a lawful people. It is all we have. There is no state religion, nor royal family. We govern ourselves, and our laws are our agreements among free people. To break our laws is to make an offense to our land and fellow citizens. We fine their riches and imprison the offenders, taking away part of that which is most precious to all people: their limited time on this earth. The President has broken the law, and it is the fault of Congress for allowing it to happen. Congress must reassert its true place as the most powerful branch of the government, because it controls the money, and it represents the people most directly.

And I do hope we the people of the United States realize this. Our troops need to be brought home. Ask any of them what the better way to support them is: keeping them as the primary targets in the middle of a civil war fueled by religions fervor, or bringing them home to their families?

New Format…

The reason for the new format is because I’ve started dealing a little in block quotes. The previous template did not look very clean with them, but I like how this is laid out. Maybe I’m picky, but I do actually care how I present myself to the world (despite my youthful convictions.)


The Future of the State…

I read a little chain of blogs having to do with the future of morality, and more specifically how societies of the future will look back at the practices we live by and how utterly barbaric they might become. This is really a fun topic to sit and ponder on. For me, however, I returned to a thought I touch on regularly: the future of the state.

Now, for those not fluent in political theory-speak, when I use the term ‘state’ I mean a country or nation with its own people, land, and government. Iowa is deemed a state, but it is merely an assigned territory of the state that is the United States. Often used in historical or political texts is the term ‘nation-state’, usually in the context of, ‘coming from the scattered rule of many kingdoms rose the powerful, modern nation-state.’ The kingdoms of France eventually gave way to the unified French nation-state, or simply state for short. Country is usually synonymous, but I prefer not to use it. Nation can also be considered synonymous, but generally among academics, nations are only composed of people, not tied to a land or independent government of their own (though that is what they strive for).

Enough semantics. What will become of the state in the future? Right now, the state is the authoritative body in the world. It defines borders, rights, land use, etc. It was not always so, though. Using the example I am most familiar with, Europe, there were shifts in what really ruled and people were willing to accept as true. Rome ruled throughout for centuries, and following its collapse, the Christian Church was the body that determined what power would exist where (or at least, verified a person or group’s right to rule.) That authority declined and collapsed as well, leaving a void which states would fill, and a few, in their time, would attempt to conquer the rest.

The collapse of the Church’s authority came due to the hands of Johannes Gutenberg and his movable-type printing press. People no longer had to rely on the interpretations of the Church in order to understand God; they could come to their own decisions on how the world worked. An ever-increasing state then stepped in to secularly, and relatively democratically (if only to say the people could remove the heads of poor rulers), decide order among people.

Our current era of digitization is creating a similar world of discontinuity that occurred following previous periods. Homogeneity is diminishing as people are able to find others with their more specific interests and beliefs in common. Entertainment is incredibly customized, to the point now of being increasingly self-made (rather like the ancient days, no?) It does not seem too far a stretch to see that allegiances to people and governments with which one disagrees may crumble in time as well.

I do not see this as immediate, or even remotely perceivable for some generations. It is difficult to even conceive of such a notion as not having a state one pays taxes to or even associates with. Instead, loose associations connected wirelessly to people occupying land not considered theirs all around the globe may be where people rest their identities. Maybe it will look similar to the religions of the world, with no specific countries under their feet anymore. Or perhaps there will be gradual migrations to be among those of similar minds to the point of disassembling and reassembling the borders of the world.

These are all odd scenarios associated with my pondering on the idea of a world without states. I wish this post had been more congruent, but sadly its writing was broken up beyond a week’s time. I’m sure one can easily read where one session’s writing ended and the other began. Hopefully I can have better luck writing in the future, when I may complete a thought in the same sitting as I started~

Nukular Power, Revisited…

Leave it to my pop to bring home bring home a point on technical issues so well:

Nice discussion on the blog. I wish the mainstream enviros would look at this the same way. … Another point to add. Transportation (autos) consume 35% of the oil. Raising prices (taxes) to fund all forms of transportation infrastructure and high speed rail corridors would encourage smaller cars as would increasing the producers fleet mileage. By the way coal to liquid fuel means diesel which gets better mileage. South Africa and Brazil are the current world leaders in the technology.

Again, it seems to me that America would do well to simply pay attention to what others do and are capable of, not just look inward. Our Founding Fathers were champions of the former.

My Argument…

Now, this is my argument against an open-air ballpark being built out here:

Silva, Twins’ outing vs. White Sox put on hold
Right-hander Carlos Silva will have to postpone his season debut as tonight’s Twins-White Sox game has been suspended due to the extremely cold temperatures and winds forecast for the evening. The game will be rescheduled for a future date.

C’mon now, folks. We’re paying so much for a new ballpark, which I will admit we desperately need, but put in the extra bucks and have a retractable roof put on! Our opening day would have been snowed out if it wasn’t in the toilet bowl Metrodome.

Oh well. At least a train will be built to the ballpark. I’m very game for that.

My Argument…

Now, this is my argument against an open-air ballpark being built out here:

Silva, Twins’ outing vs. White Sox put on hold
Right-hander Carlos Silva will have to postpone his season debut as tonight’s Twins-White Sox game has been suspended due to the extremely cold temperatures and winds forecast for the evening. The game will be rescheduled for a future date.

C’mon now, folks. We’re paying so much for a new ballpark, which I will admit we desperately need, but put in the extra bucks and have a retractable roof put on! Our opening day would have been snowed out if it wasn’t in the toilet bowl Metrodome.

Oh well. At least a train will be built to the ballpark. I’m very game for that.