Wednesday, January 18, 2006

"I Can't Get Enough Of The Man!"

"The house we hope to build is not for my generation but for yours. It is your future that matters. And I hope that when you are my age, you will be able to say as I have been able to say: We lived in freedom. We lived lives that were a statement, not an apology."
--Ronald Reagan (from this source, which offers quotes by category)
During the days of Ronald Reagan’s funeral rites, a client of mine uttered the words providing the title to this blog article. This client, some ten years younger than I, was quite young when Ronald Reagan assumed the Presidency in 1981; and I was surprised that she so revered him. When Mike's America invited me to contribute to the tribute honoring the twenty-fifth anniversary of Reagan's first inauguration, I immediately recalled my client's words and decided to consider this question: What was it about our fortieth President which made him so special?

Reagan’s optimism about our nation, along with his sincere patriotism, made him a great leader. He had a clear vision as to American ideals and was not hesitant to express them. Furthermore, his optimism and patriotism were contagious. Never before Reagan's Presidency had I felt so blessed to be a citizen of the United States. And I know other people who felt the same way. In fact, back in 1980, one of my best friends left the Democratic Party because she felt the Reagan would represent the best of America to both this nation and to the world—and he did so.

Yes, Reagan was a Hollywood actor, the camera loved him, and he had that winning, crooked smile. But his appeal went beyond those qualities. The man was hard to dislike, in part because he could laugh at himself. Remember his appearances on The Dean Martin Roasts? He even got roasted himself! Americans love a leader with a self-deprecating sense of humor, a leader who is not full of himself. “Reagan was not a stuffed shirt,” as my husband says. And my husband should know because he met Reagan a few times in social situations between Reagan’s California governorship and his election to the White House. At the time of my husband’s contacts with Reagan, my husband was quite young, but he was impressed by how a very important man made everyone feel just as important as a celebrity. In sum, Reagan was “a nice guy.”

“Nice guys,” however, do not always make good leaders. It was Reagan’s ability to discern and to speak out boldly against evil which defined him as the greatest leader of the last half of the Twentieth Century. Read some of his speeches—The Wall, Bergen-Belsen, Farewell Address--as well as his final poignant letter as he entered the long night of Alzheimer's Disease—and you will find ideas which resonate across the ages. I believe that Reagan’s speeches and the ideals he held at the core of his soul will forever speak across the ages.

During his eight years in the White House, Reagan took whatever steps he felt necessary to combat evil and to make America a better nation. Though the man enjoyed being liked, he did not place a priority on popularity. Rather, he lived by the words “Be sure you’re right. Then go ahead.” Commitment to a considered path of action is the most important quality which any leader can have, and Reagan embodied that quality.

Perhaps we shall not see the likes of our fortieth President again. We need him now as we face the confrontation with the warriors of Islam. Even though we don’t have Ronald Reagan to face the enemy, we do have his words and his example to support our efforts. I, too, “can’t get enough of the man.”

God bless America. God bless Ronald Reagan.

[Note: Visit Mike's America to see a collection of tributes to Ronald Reagan.]


At 1/18/2006 7:22 AM, Anonymous Old Soldier said...

AOW, thanks for sharing your thoughts and contributing to the tribute.

At 1/18/2006 8:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I can't get enough of the man either. Wonderful post. God Bless America.


At 1/18/2006 10:58 AM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Can someone give me twenty five words or less on why this guy is so revered?

Cobat evil? He presided over the killing of a quarter million in Guatemala and more in Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras.

He swapped arms for hostages.

He cut and ran in Lebanon.

If Brehznev had not died when he did Able-Archer demonstrated that he might well have precipitated war with Russia.

Just what is your fascination? My take is that he reinforced a very dangerous, fallacious idea that America is the "chosen country" and we are "chosen people". As far as that goes I believe Joseph Campbell had it right when he said "It's time to admit that the idea of a chosen people is just something that primitive tribes used to give themselves a leg up in the days when the snake could talk."

Just what is Reagan's lasting legacy other than rhetoric?

At 1/18/2006 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well mr. ducky, it's more than 25 words, but I'll summarize it for you.

Tribute to Reagan

American President,
wiser than mere years,
schooled in experience
leadership, action,
Led this great nation,
opposing the treacherous,
Fighting a lifelong
battle 'gainst communist,
Destroyed with his firm resolve,
There by gates Brandenberg
walls of oppressive shame,
laid by impoverished souls,
topped with sharp razor wire,
wrought through oppression.

His was a greatness
Learned from great patriots--
Theirs that so often in
Strife with their enemies
Struck for their friends from their own hearths and homes.

Humbled the Soviet,
Bent the Cuban,
Felled the expansionist
dreams of oppressors.
Using advantages derived from good government,
Rebuilt defenses languished from lack of use,
Bringer of morningtide,
Lamp of the Lord God
Lord everlasting,
Glode over earth till all glorious creatures
Sank to his setting.
There many a foe
Marr'd by his fellow man,
Peered towards this shining land
Cursed his own lot.
Weary became pacifist
hater of war.

We the Americans,
Long as the daylight
Lasted, in luxury
Troubling the track of the hosts that we pitied;
Grimly with swords recently forged in the furnace hot
Patrolling the lands that with envy men longed to join.

Mighty the Kremlin,
Appeared to the average man,
governing through fear
and punishment undeserved,
Warriors over the
frozen and barren lands
conscripted when come of age,
guarded perogatives:
'gainst self-borne wills unmade.

Filling a star filled night with technology newly pensed,
Many new programs did Reagan envision
Dispersed to the heavens, numberless numbers,
frightful to foe.

Then the cursed leader,
Dire was his need of it,
Few were his following,
Fled to his dachas;
Tied up war vessels in ports not to use again,
Saving his country from strife unsupportable.

Slender reason had
He to be glad of
No clash of the war-glaive--
Traitor and trickster
And spurner of treaties--
He nor with Castro
With armies so impotent
A reason for bragging
That they had the better
or small chance for victory
On places of slaughter--
The struggle of standards,
The rush of the riflemen,
The crush of the tankman,
The launching of missiles--
The play that they play'd with
The children of Lenin.

Then with their heads bow'd
Parted the Soviets, a
guilt-redden'd relic of
recent past
spirit broken, body sluggish,
Shaped their ways toward Moscow,
Shamed in their souls.

Also our brethren,
Reagan and Bushmen,
Each in his glory,
Went to his own and his well watered pastureland,
Content in their wisdom.

Never had huger
Slaughter of heroes been avoided
on battlefields through proper governance--
Such as old writers
Have writ of their histories--
as told in this great land, for always
Up from the East hither
German and Austrian from
Over the broad billow
Broke into Europe with
Haughty war-workers who
Harried the Englishman, and
Fueher's fine generals lured by the
Hunger of glory tried gain
Hold of the land.

Apologies to Alfred Lord Tennyson


At 1/18/2006 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's Bubba?

At 1/18/2006 11:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wish I knew.


At 1/18/2006 11:54 AM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

So Farmer, you seem to put it entirely on this "he won the Cold War" dogma.

There are a lot of problems with that theory.

1. If Communism is a necessarily failed system (as I believe it is) then it was heading for collapse and while we might have given it a push the end was pretty much inevitable.

2. It dismisses all the resistence within Russia, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslavakia etc. and reduces these people to mere extras when they did the heavy lifting, not us.

3. The idea that he "humbled Cuba" is kind of ludicrous. If he did it was at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives who have seen no benefit from those civil wars. Why is it that Cuba has developed a world class bio-medical industry and Central America has developed nothing?

So your rhetoric and dogma is intact but you put forth no knowledge.

At 1/18/2006 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

His was a presidency that formed a "tipping point" which sent the Soviet system tumbling into complete collapse and wrote the epitaph for Marxist economics forever.

And please, save your praise for Cuba's biomedical industry for someone who's buying. The Soviets built very impressive ICBM's and MiG's. Too bad we typically dispached them in a ration of 15:1.

In a world of biomendical blind men (Central/South Americ), the one-eyed man is king.


At 1/18/2006 12:51 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Please don't backpedal, Farmer. The question remains. Why has Cuba developed a biomedical industry that is considered excellant and is supplying low cost drugs and the countries that we "freed" (laigh my ass off) have developed nothing?

Simple question.

Also since you present Reagan as just a functionary in the right place at the right time (accurate I would say) why is he worthy of such outlandish praise?

At 1/18/2006 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why did Cuba emerge as a "leader" in providing South America w/ biomed products? Primarily because your friends the socialist idealogues have fueled economic resentment in South and Central America to the point where they have politically hijacked 3/4ths of the viable emerging economies and turned the continent into a failed and corrupt socialist economic backwater, ripe for the emergence of an oil-funded Chavezian "Bolivarian" Republic.

And so the Cubans are scraping the mold off their stale crusts of bread before eating them and packaging it as medicine priced at $.01 on the dollar of what a legitimate "American" pure-McCoy pharaceuticals would cost while the Cuban Health Ministry prints medical certificates with random names out of a 1955 Havana telephone on them and hands them out to their non-martially capable citizens, and afterwards "lends" this so-called medical "expertise" to impoverished nations and writes prescriptions for gullible mothers in the Orinoco Basin whose only alternatives is to visit a witch doctor or do without.

Hey, if Cuban medicine were so great, perhaps Medicare ought to investigate bulk purchases from Mexico like the Canadian government purchases American drugs or offer Cuban Drug Discount cards to American seniors.

But I suspect that Cuban drugs imported to the USA would never pass muster with the FDA.

...and as for Reagan being in the right place at the right time... one must remember that he "made" it the right place and time... unlike his predecessor, "Doctor Malaise", Jimmy Carter.



At 1/18/2006 1:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and besides, Cuba never had much hope of getting their hands on a "nuke". Bioweapons can be nearly as effective, and much harder to stop.


At 1/18/2006 1:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got "bird flu"?

Castro already has used biochemical warfare against South African and UNITA troops.

As the Bush administration prepares for war with Iraq a growing threat to its rear flank is being ignored, according to senior officials who believe that Cuba's biological-weapons (BW) program is at more advanced stages than officially is acknowledged. There now are reports that P-4 containment systems used to store the deadliest toxins have been identified at suspected bioweapons labs inside Cuba.

A member of the intelligence community expresses concern, but says that an open hearing on this issue would provide "feedback" to Cuba on "how much we know about its BW effort." Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton, the source says, was scheduled to deliver details of the Cuban program to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in June, but the testimony was suppressed by the intelligence bureaucracy.

In his gagged statement, a copy of which was obtained by Insight, Bolton expresses "frustration" at the apparent unwillingness of U.S. intelligence agencies to disclose information about Cuba's biological weapons which could include anthrax, smallpox and variants of encephalitis such as West Nile virus. Recent outbreaks of West Nile virus that have killed more than 30 Americans and infected another 675 have been traced to birds that may have been infected at Cuban bioweapons labs, according to defecting scientists who report Fidel Castro's experiments using animals as carriers of weaponized germ agents.

Carlos Wotzkow, a leading Cuban ornithologist who defected in 1999, says that Castro's "Biological Front, which coordinates military and scientific research, was extended to the Institute of Zoology in 1991 to develop ways of spreading infectious diseases, including encephalitis and leptospirosis, through implantations in migratory birds."

Roberto Hernandez, another exiled Cuban scientist, says, "We were instructed to look into viruses such as encephalitis which are highly resistant to insecticides. Military-intelligence officers running the labs ordered us to trap birds with migratory routes to the United States with the idea of releasing contaminated flocks which would be bitten by mosquitoes which, in turn, infect humans."

A dead crow infected with West Nile virus recently was discovered on the White House lawn, according to the Washington Post. Sixty similarly infected birds fell around the U.S. Navy base in Boca Chica, Fla., during September 2001, causing an encephalitis epidemic that killed a civilian employee.

Scenarios worthy of Stephen King's sci-fi horrors are corroborated by Col. Alvaro Prendes, a former vice chief of the Cuban air force and exiled leader of Union de Soldados y Oficiales Libres (USOL), a clandestine pro-democracy movement within Cuba's armed forces. He tells Insight that Castro's biotech facilities operate under the close control of a colonel of the Directorate of General Intelligence (DGI), Librado Reina Benitan, a longtime protégé of Raul Castro, Cuba's defense minister and brother of Fidel Castro [see "Fidel Castro's Deadly Secret," July 20, 1998].

One fortified compound near a military hospital in east Havana is the size of two football fields and contains six giant bubbles to retain toxic gases. It is fronted as a cattle-feed producer, according to documents smuggled out of Cuba by military dissidents. The laboratory is equipped with a 10,000 Reid vapor-pressure centrifugal reactor and has its own water system and backup generators. It is in any case supported by high-priority circuits that feed a nearby artillery base storing Russian-made SS-22 medium-range missiles capable of reaching south Florida, according to Cuban documents obtained by Insight.

"Castro plans a Götterdämmerung if his regime becomes seriously threatened by an invasion or internal upheaval," warns Prendes, citing a doomsday plan that is code-named Lucero. "Known dissidents would be rounded up and herded into tunnels beneath Havana to be exterminated with poison gas," according to the former fighter pilot who was close to Castro and was decorated as a "hero of the revolution" for shooting down CIA-manned bombers during the aborted Bay of Pigs operation in 1961.

Cuba already has some experience using weaponized poison gas, having employed it against South African troops and forces from the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), according to Aubin Heyndrickx, a senior U.N. consultant on chemical warfare. Cuban-supported rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia also used poison gas in an attack on the Colombian town of San Adolfo last year, according to an analysis of bomb residues by the U.S. Army's chemical- and biological-warfare center at Fort Detrick in Maryland.

But despite the publicly available evidence presented by highly authoritative sources, U.S. officials are not cleared to make unambiguous statements about Cuba's bioweapons threat. And it has yet to be mentioned by the president or any member of his Cabinet. The CIA's national intelligence officer for Latin America, Fulton Armstrong, is "coordinating talking points" on the issue. But when contacted by Insight he declined comment.

While U.S. intelligence agencies understandably are reluctant to reveal classified material that might compromise methods and informants, a variety of sources in the State Department, the Pentagon, congressional staffs and among media professionals covering national security confirm that Clinton holdovers who retain key positions in the intelligence agencies are using their authority to mislead public opinion on Cuba. This is especially galling to members of the Bush national-security team, and they are known to be complaining loudly about it.

The pro-Castro clique under Bill Clinton was nothing if not brazen. When the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) was researching a segment on Cuba for its internationally acclaimed 1998 TV documentary on the proliferation of biochemical weapons to rogue states, Clinton's national-security shop defended Castro at every turn. "A member of the U.S. intelligence community discredited published reports about Cuba's biowarfare capabilities," a BBC executive producer tells Insight, "saying that no Russian scientists involved in the former Soviet Union's biological-weapons program had ever worked in Cuba."

That was disinformation. Ken Alibek, former deputy director of the Soviet Biopreparat, reveals in his 1999 book, Biohazard, that Castro obtained bioweapon technology directly from top-ranking Biopreparat generals and scientists who made repeated trips to Cuba to provide advice and training during the late 1980s and early 1990s. "We knew that Cuba was interested in biowarfare research. We knew that there were several centers, one of them very close to Havana, involved in military biotechnology," Alibek told a congressional hearing last year. He called the contradictory U.S. government statements on Cuban bioweapons a "confusing situation."

Why this fog has been allowed to persist into the Bush administration is even more confusing, if that is the euphemism, say critics. While Bolton was blowing the whistle on Cuba's biowarfare threat in a speech to the Heritage Foundation on May 6, a top CIA analyst identified as a former member of Clinton's National Security Council (NSC) team and a known advocate of rapprochement with Cuba, was telling Jimmy Carter that there was no evidence to support Bolton's accusations. Carter then embarrassed the administration by citing this U.S. intelligence briefing during a press conference in Havana following a tour of a suspected biochemical lab at the invitation of Fidel Castro.

"There is sufficient information to alert the American public, which deserves to know about the developing threat from Cuba," says Bolton. His view is supported by John Ford, head of the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research, who on June 5 told an open congressional hearing that "Cuba does indeed have an offensive biological-weapons research program."

Bolton's more sharply worded statement also criticized "a tendency to underplay Cuba." He drew attention to the case of Ana Belen Montes, a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analyst who has pleaded guilty to charges of spying for Castro after being caught red-handed communicating with her DGI handlers in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

"Montes used her position at the Pentagon to try to delete Cuba from the national-security list and influence her colleagues," says Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), who is trying to condition current legislation easing Cuban travel restrictions upon presidential certifications that biological weapons are not being developed on the island. Staffers of the House and Senate intelligence and foreign-relations committees tell Insight that there nonetheless is resistance within the intelligence bureaucracy to "reviewing assessments filed by Montes which underplay Cuban biowarfare capabilities and discredit defectors warning of the danger."

Constantine Menges, a former NSC officer and CIA analyst, says, "We are looking at the same type of intelligence failure which led to last year's Sept. 11 attacks. I don't think it's as much a case of ideological conspiracy as of our intelligence community not wanting to admit that they have been asleep at the switch."

Encouraging the inertia are pressures from an increasingly powerful business lobby of food producers, farming interests and pharmaceutical companies eager to trade with Cuba. Proof of Cuba's biowarfare activities likely would poison congressional support to lift the economic embargo. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), currently a supporter of easing trade restrictions, says, "If it is true that Cuba has biological weapons it would be very serious and we would have to act on this. It would be an entirely new ball game."

Aside from the direct threat that Cuba's bioweapon capabilities pose to U.S. security, senior administration officials, who include Special Negotiator for Chemical and Biological Weapons Donald Mahley, also worry about ongoing Cuban transfers of dual-use biotechnology to Islamic countries closely connected to Middle Eastern terrorist networks. Castro's vice president, Carlos Lage, inaugurated a new biotechnology-research plant in Iran in 2000, purportedly producing Hepatitis B vaccines. According to José de la Fuente, the former director of research at Cuba's Center for Biological Investigations and Genetics, the transferred technology involves biological agents, pathogens and germ-strengthening processes that also are applicable to weaponizing bacteria.

The deal with Iran was transacted through banks in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which was Castro's next stop following a state visit to Tehran last year during an Islamic tour that also included the terrorist states of Libya and Syria.

A seemingly neutral gulf kingdom with a low international profile, the UAE would seem an odd destination for Castro. But the small oil state is one of the main international money-laundering centers of the Arab world — one where a series of bank accounts and financial companies has been directly linked to al-Qaeda and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror network. Debit cards uncovered at al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan, inspected by Insight, invariably were issued by banks in the UAE.

Alibek explains how Soviet biotechnology simultaneously was transferred to Cuba, Iran, Iraq and other former Russian allies that share similar bioweapons programs: "The Soviet Union organized courses in genetic engineering and molecular biology for scientists from Eastern Europe, Cuba, Libya, Iran and Iraq. Some 40 foreign scientists were trained annually. Many of them now head biotechnology programs in their own countries."

According to Alibek, Iraq copied Cuban methods to cover up acquisitions of bioweapons technology, such as large industrial fermentation vessels and related equipment. "The model was one we had used to develop and manufacture bacterial biological weapons. Like Cuba, the Iraqis maintained the vessels were intended to grow single-cell protein for cattle feed. What made the deals particularly suspicious were additional requests for exhaust-filtration equipment capable of achieving 99.99 percent air purity — a level we only used in our bioweapons labs," says the world's top biowarfare expert.

On Nov. 4, 2001, Castro was delivering an informal two-hour chat on Havana television about the war on terrorism. He said that Afghanistan was going to be a new Vietnam, that it would take the United States 20 years to defeat the Taliban and that al-Qaeda never would be destroyed. In a brief sound bite that piqued the interest of some U.S. military-intelligence analysts, the Maximum Leader also said that 40 envelopes "containing strange powders" had been intercepted in Cuba, of which five were directed to the United States, Pakistan, Italy and Costa Rica.

Yet, despite the reports of Cuba's biowarfare activities and possible involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks [see "Fidel May Be Part of Terror Campaign," Dec. 3, 2001], Castro never has been named as a "person of interest" in the FBI's anthrax investigations, which instead have focused on Stephen Hatfill, a white, Rhodesian-born U.S. Army scientist who more closely fits the profile of a politically correct villain. A former FBI deputy director told CNN on Aug. 25 that he was perplexed as to why the bureau had failed seriously to investigate a "foreign source" for the anthrax mailings to leading politicians and the media.

U.S. investigators appear to be overlooking two Cuban DGI deep-cover agents indicted in Florida on Aug. 4, 2001, who told the FBI that they had obtained jobs in the U.S. Postal Service on instructions from Havana, which wanted studies of post-office security, through which the deadly anthrax letters moved to kill Americans

Martin Arostegui is a free-lance writer for Insight magazine.

At 1/18/2006 1:54 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Castro has waged bio warfare in South America? Some dipshit with no credentials writes for "Insight" magazine and this is fact?

How are things in Langlet, Farmer. really, that stuff is ridiculous.

Don't you and the rest of the right get tired of living like frightened little children?

At 1/18/2006 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unlike yourself, I still remember how badly Castro wanted the Soviets to "nuke" the USA during the Cuban missile crisis.

I also occassionally listen to what Castro actually says in his speeches. As I do Chavez. It's kinda like reading "Mein Kamph".


more on Cuba's Biomed Neccessity is the Mother of Invention

At 1/18/2006 2:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

..and just "who" are the reporters quoted sources?... one is Ken Alibek...

Before Dr. Alibek's departure for the US in 1992, he was the First Deputy Chief of Biopreparat, the civilian arm of the Soviet Union's biological weapons program.

Seems one of the "foxes on the fringes" switched sides after Reagan brought down the wall and started to blab....


At 1/18/2006 2:22 PM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

More on Ducky's favorite beard-farming terrorist's biological and chemical weapons programs.

At 1/18/2006 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...but please mr. ducky, for my sake, continue to assume the proper progressive 9/10 ostrich position. It helps us visualize what part of the anatomy libertarian Catholic Workers movement utopian's usually think with.


At 1/18/2006 2:37 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Beamish, you take John Bolton as a reliable source.

Don't learn well, do you? The paranoia on the right is stunning.

Farmer, i do remember missiles in Cuba. Kennedy backed them down...THE COLD WAR WAS EFFECTIVELY OVER AT THAT POINT.

Thank you for reminding me of another reason that worship of St. Raygun is an indication that he wasn't the only one in his dotage.

At 1/18/2006 2:40 PM, Blogger samwich said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1/18/2006 2:42 PM, Blogger beakerkin said...

Hey Ducky

Why don't you go and live under Groucho Marxism ? I am sure we can take a collection but only if you promise to stay in Cuba and never return.With your skills you could earn about five dollars a day.

At 1/18/2006 2:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today the paranoia of the right against foreign governments is "fueled" and more than offset by the paranoia of the left regarding the intentions of their own government.

So lets get together and downsize the feds accross the board, what do you say ducky? win-win.


...and Kennedy didn't "back ANYONE down". He folded under the pressure and made a tit-for-tat deal with Kruschev, Turkish missiles for Cuban.

...and of course, that "deal" would not have even been possible but for the pre-existance of Turkish missiles.

...and threat of tit-for-tat is the only thing that keeps people like Mr. Bolton in places like the UN in business. Otherwise they'd all be "takin", not "talkin".

At 1/18/2006 2:55 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Samwich, bite your tongue.

The railroads benefitted from government action rather than the free market? But railroads are a centerpiece of the great Ayn rand's fairy tale "Atlas Shrugged".
Surely you aren't suggesting that current economic thought in America lacks a foundation in fact.

At 1/18/2006 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and sammy,

Had the feds not offered the "land" as incentive, do you really think the intercontinental railroads could have ever been built, even had the feds offered the "track-bed" lands free of charge? Where were the railroad builders supposed to get the "capital" needed to finance the project? Besides, in exchange for the land, the feds and the people of America got something MUCH more valuable. The ability to populate and develop a here-to-fore "wasted" wilderness resource.


At 1/18/2006 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and please mr ducky, you would cut off your nose to spite your face. In order to prevent a few men from "profitting", you would impair and impede America's ability to exploit and settle a previously "un-used" resource, to THEIR profit. Millions prospered on farms and ranches accross America, thanks to the foresight of a few railroad men and the transportation system that made "getting the goods to market" possible.

But no, profit is "evil" in your eyes, even for the "small guy".


At 1/18/2006 3:12 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Farmer, I am not making many bones with the federal government's land grant policy. I'm only pointing out that the Randroids who buy into that Atlas Shrugged crap have their heads somewhere where it's hard to see.

Government is critical for economic development and laissez-faire is inefficient.

At 1/18/2006 3:14 PM, Blogger samwich said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1/18/2006 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...if anyone can now make the case for a better or more "efficient" means of settling the American West than appealing to people's laissez-faire greed, I'd like to hear it. Laissez-faire is VERY efficient. It only has difficulty when things like "land titles" and ownership of "property" are in doubt... like when governments "confiscate" lands from their rightful owners and then distribute new "titles" to gullible peasants. Especially if the previous tennants are still alive and kicking... and thereby place a "lien" against all such titles. You can't get a "second" to buy seed for planting when you hold "disputed" title.

And so yes, mr. ducky, laissez-faire alone is insufficient. Someone must be available to enFORCE "legitimate" property rights. And THAT is the "proper" role of government.


At 1/18/2006 3:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and believe me when I say, mr. ducky, that is what NOT in America's best interest to purchase Louisiana and turn it into one HUGE federally managed National Park.


At 1/18/2006 4:19 PM, Blogger samwich said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1/18/2006 4:37 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

“Nice guys,” however, do not always make good leaders. It was Reagan’s ability to discern and to speak out boldly against evil which defined him as the greatest leader of the last half of the Twentieth Century."

Very rare ability.
I think the fact that he was old enough not to care about other people accusing him of being dumb was a very strong factor.

His "ego" was very secure.

Have you noticed how intellectually insecure people tend to talk in riddle ridden language, which appears to be sophisticated but doesn't mean jack?

At 1/18/2006 5:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Stolen. LOL! You are grossly misinformed as to the means the USA acquired most "Indian" lands. In the vast majority of cases, the indiginous population received more than adequate compensation from the sale of a land which they neither owned, utilized, occupied, or even cared much about.

...and the only reason they occupied it at all was because they had managed to either eradicate or assimilate the "previous" tennants...and their "means" were generally much less "civilized" than ours.

The "myth" of indiginous peoples and their rights is a long and ancient one... I can't believe people still much stock in it.

The only people that "own" the land are those that invest their time in making it productive and will defend those interests, and not simply reap the harvest that nature provides and "move along" living as nomads. The Indians seldom "invested" their labor into the land. And when they did, it was seldom in the same place.

By the mid-eighteenth century the Iroquois had subdued and made subject most tribes east of the Mississippi. They then "sold" these "other" Indian lands to British government officials like Joseph Brandt's father, or high ranking colony founders like Penn and eventually, American federal government representatives. And believe me, the Iroquois "chiefs" doing the selling were mostly second and third generation inter-bred "Dutch" fur trappers. These are the "oppressed" casino operators that exploit their lost "heritage" today...the 99 and 94/100ths % pure white "Ward Connerly" Indians.

You want to see a "Native American" Sammy? Look in the mirror.

The "values" you quote and seem to believe we expouse represent a very recent modern "environmental" political movement's expressions, for a "nomadic lifestyle" for the American people would hardly support ten million inhabitants. Besides, do we lament for the lost property rights of the British since we chased them back into the Atlantic? Most of the Iroquois fought against us in the Revolutionary War. Why don't you cry for the Torries? Oh, thats right, the American government "compensated" most of them. Only they weren't bold enough to keep reclaiming that it wasn't "enough".

...and why would I EVER wish to pursue a career in government? Talk about your dead-ends.


At 1/18/2006 5:57 PM, Blogger samwich said...

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At 1/18/2006 6:36 PM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

Foreigners invest in America because they know they will see a return on their investments. It takes money to make money, and Americans know how to make money.

At 1/18/2006 6:44 PM, Blogger samwich said...

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At 1/18/2006 7:10 PM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

The TSE has been stopped to correct for that Livedoor mess. I doubt the shakeout will effect US markets much. The elephant in the room is the Chinese energy sector and whether or not America can find a new outsource for plastic dog crap and other things made cheap in China if the Iranian oil supply gets interrupted.

At 1/18/2006 7:16 PM, Blogger samwich said...

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At 1/18/2006 7:29 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Apologies to Alfred Lord Tennyson

Quite a bit of verse you've got there!

At 1/18/2006 7:55 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

A few thoughts here...

I read today that the Tokyo exchange had to close for a while due to the massive sell-off. If true, this might be an indicator of huge problems waiting to take down markets around the world, IMO.

Yesterday, I called my broker and dumped some stock yesterday (Dividends were way down even when the market was strong), at the all time high for that particular stock. I hope that my sell-off got in under the wire and got top dollar.

When you buy stocks, the "house" is playing five card draw and you are playing five card stud. You only get to see what the "house" shows you, just like in Japan over the last few days.
Another form of gambling, huh?

And just who will buy large quantities of gold at the low before the price takes off again?

Custer picked a gun fight with 200 single shot rifles against 2000 injuns
The uniting of the tribes came as a big surprise to Custer; the uniting was an almost unprecedent event. And after Little Big Horn, the tribes scattered to the four winds.

Reader's Digest is very fond of orange covers of late. I don't recall seeing that color so often, except for possibly in Octobers and Novembers. Excerpt from the interview with Geena Davis: "The creator of the show, Rod Lurie, did have Susan Lyne [who runs Martha Stewart's company] when he thought of the character. There is really nothing drawn from anyone else, including Senator Clinton or Ms. Rice. This is a pretty unique individual. First and foremost, she is an Independent, which neither of them are."
Without that disclaimer about Party affiliation, Commander in Chief couldn't as easily be on the air during an election year in which one or more female candidates are running.

At 1/18/2006 8:06 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

From FPM:

...In a disquieting development, Castro visited Tehran in November where he given sacred Islamic texts in Spanish and was invited by Iran’s religious leadership to convert to Islam. “We spoke to Castro for several hours and I think we even almost managed to convince him to convert to Islam,” said one source close to the meeting. “Castro is certain that the Cuban people are suffering from a lack of spiritually, and seems interested in Islam, above all the writings of Iranian leader Khomeini,” the source said.

But Castro’s initial interest in Islam actually surfaced many years ago. Shortly after Ayatollah Khomeini’s followers drove the Shah into exile in 1979, Castro dispatched Cuban envoys to Tehran to rekindle bilateral relations, professing his admiration for the “revolutionary role of Islam.”

The thoughts of an Islamic terrorist state located 90 miles off of the Florida coast are enough to keep President George Bush up for weeks.

Before his most recent trip to Tehran, Castro met with Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenehi in 2001. At that time, both leaders agreed that together they could topple the U.S. “hand in hand.” Afterward, Castro said he left Tehran with “unforgettable memories,” while Iranian president Mohammad Khatami fondly noted, “The more one befriends Mr. Castro, the more one becomes interested in him.”

Bilateral cooperation in the area of biotechnology research and production and the transfer of Cuban biological and chemical know-how to Iranian institutions, continue to attract Washington’s attention. Of course, Castro has rejected allegations of involvement with Iran in the manufacture of biological and chemical weapons, saying that joint operations are instead devoted to eradicating hunger and disease on the impoverished island.

In addition to biotechnology cooperation, Iran has used Cuba’s electronic transmissions jamming expertise and the Chinese equipped electronic warfare base near Havana, to interfere with U.S. sponsored pro-democracy broadcasts into Tehran. Intelligence reports over the past year have also uncovered covert cooperation between the two countries in the development and testing of electromagnetic weapons that have the capacity to disrupt telecommunication networks, cut power supplies and damage sophisticated computers. During a time of international crisis, these “e-bombs” can be delivered by cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles or aerial bombs to the U.S. mainland. Russian, Chinese and Iranian scientists are currently working side-by-side with Cuban scientists to develop these weapons for eventual use against the U.S. communications and military infrastructure....

At 1/18/2006 8:12 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I recognize the name Ken Alibek. He testified before Congress about the threat of bioweapons and bio-engineered bacteria and viruses. See Richard Preston's The Demon in the Freezer.

BTW, Alibek was ignored until after 9/11.

At 1/18/2006 8:14 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I agree: Have you noticed how intellectually insecure people tend to talk in riddle ridden language, which appears to be sophisticated but doesn't mean jack?

Then, if a debate opponent calls the hand, name-calling ensues.

Reagan was a plain speaker. Listeners rarely had any doubt as to his stand.

At 1/18/2006 8:15 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Some study of the facts easily debunks the myth of the noble savage. It's a romantic notion, but untrue.

I'm glad you made that point about indigenous peoples.

At 1/18/2006 9:03 PM, Blogger David Schantz said...

I've said before that when Reagan was in office I didn't care for him. Looking back now at old footage of his speeches I can see a love for our country in his facial expressions, and I can hear it in his voice. This is missing in every president we have had since.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic

At 1/18/2006 9:04 PM, Blogger samwich said...

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At 1/18/2006 9:13 PM, Blogger samwich said...

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At 1/18/2006 9:45 PM, Blogger City Troll said...

Great Post

PS still loking forward to the Norquist post.

At 1/18/2006 9:50 PM, Blogger City Troll said...

To descrbe Reagan as a democrat big spender and a conservitive lipserver is ridiculous. I suppose his tax cuts were just a smoke screen also.

The diffrence between Clinton an Reagan was more than acting lessons Clinton was a Great orator but his innerself was still a scumbag Reagans wasn't.

At 1/18/2006 9:51 PM, Blogger samwich said...

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At 1/18/2006 10:15 PM, Blogger samwich said...

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At 1/18/2006 10:26 PM, Blogger LASunsett said...

As always AOW, you said it well.

At 1/19/2006 3:41 AM, Blogger samwich said...

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At 1/19/2006 6:32 AM, Blogger Kyle said...

Reagan provided leadership and restored pride in America after the Carter Malaise.
Reagan along with Thatcher, The Pope, Walesa, Haval, Sakharov and others was willing to stand up to the evil empire and that provided the impetus needed to topple them
Reagan showed that supply side marginal tax cuts could indeed stir the economy to a mighty rally
Reagan promoted freedom in South and central America, where it did ideed result in many more democracies in that part of the world. Although some of those democracies are now going backward.

Of course he had his faults and blunders like any other leader, but he was indeed a leader and a great man personally.

A-Hole lefties like Sammich and Ducky dont want to hear that because always defeated their ideas, and in their cynical, surreal world, there is no room for leaders, ideals, or a strong America.

At 1/19/2006 7:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I hate stealing. So I had to apologize. BoB


At 1/19/2006 8:12 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

You said, Looking back now at old footage of his speeches I can see a love for our country in his facial expressions, and I can hear it in his voice. This is missing in every president we have had since.

Some would say, "Whatta ya expect? The man was an actor." But from the little I know of Reagan's life (I've already explained that I'm no expert on political matters), RR's patriotism held true for both his liberal period and his conservative period.

At 1/19/2006 8:26 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I'll check that link when I get home from work.

I've heard from some friends about the CFR. The name of the last President who didn't serve under the sway of the CFR? If I understand the CFR theory correctly, no candidate not affiliated with the CFR has been electable.

Do I subscribe to the CFR theory? Honestly, I don't know. I've not researched it enough to comment on the viability of that theory. Is it frequently cited by the John Birch Society? That name just popped into my head.

I have a pretty cynical take on politics, though not as cynical as yours. When I go to the polls, I usually feel that I'm choosing the lesser of two evils. Call me naive, but I didn't feel that way when I voted for RR. And the reason I voted for RR in 1980 is that I thought the hostages in Iran had a better chance of returning home under RR. Well, they DID come home. Would they have come home under the Carter administration? Impossible to know with certainty, but Carter didn't make much progress in that regard during his administration, 1976-1980.

From my study of history, I've noted that once Presidents take office, their positions on governmental power change. Jefferson is an early example. Is the change because of deceptiveness, the reins of power, or access to information which the rest of us don't have?

While I would call myself a conservative, I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm a blind conservative. However, I know many conservatives who are. And during the course of my years as a voter, I've cast my ballot for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. If I take into consideration every election I've voted in (local and state races as well as national races), my candidate doesn't usually win.

The essay I wrote here is more one of impressions and personal observations--not a political treatise.

At 1/19/2006 8:29 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

The Norquist article is in the line-up for next week, probably mid-week.

Now that Christmas break is over, my time is more limited. In addition, I'm still dealing with the malfunction of my home-phone line. This foul-up with my telephone has been ongoing SINCE JANUARY 4! One doesn't realize how great is our dependence on the telephone until the thing goes on the fritz.

At 1/19/2006 8:33 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Old Soldier,
I think I've neglected to respond to you. Sorry!

This essay "wrote itself." As a teacher, I don't get to write very often. Usually I'm too busy grading papers and editing students' essays. LOL.

At 1/19/2006 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I fail to see where you have organized the info like puzzel pieces to see the reality behind the camoflage.

Your are letting mainstream camoflage get the wool pulled over your eyes.

My problem, sammy, is that I think I do see the reality behind the camouflage. And the reality is that it is right and proper that the worlds wealthiest and most powerful men should run the world for as long as they don't over-abuse the little guy.

I, personally LOVE the idea of a Bilderberg group or CFR running the world. And if they currently do, I've lead a very privledged life as an American citizen as a result and have NO desire to see that life mucked up by a bunch of corrupt government bureaucrats elected by the ignorant and gullible masses with no experience "experimenting" in the creation of an Aristophanes-like Cloud-Cuckoo-Town.

If you really want reform sammy, just remember, sometimes you need to be careful what you pray for, for you just might get it.


At 1/19/2006 12:00 PM, Blogger samwich said...

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At 1/19/2006 1:33 PM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

When is Joseph Smith's "God" going to strike dead the people of Missouri so Mormons can build a temple of New Jerusalem atop the ashes of the city of Independence before 1850 AD?

Samwich, your life is just so full of disappointments, ain't it?

At 1/19/2006 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I will. Meanwhile, you enjoy yours. Say hi to Spartacus for me. Life in the hills above Rome must be a free-wheelin' BLAST!


At 1/19/2006 2:03 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Kyle, a reminder,

1. Havel (who you clearly don't understand), Sakhorov, Valesa etc. were all operating long before Reagan. He did little to effect their movements one way or the other. Are you going to credit Reagan with formenting the Prague Spring or are you too young to remember it.

2. Reagan promoted an incredible body count in Central America. If you can tell me how those people are "free" today and not simply as poor as always, I would like to hear it. Reagan sided with very vulgar dictators such as d'Aubisson.

3. Paul Volcker (Carter appointee) tightened the money supply severely in order to kill inflation. Reagan did little to cut taxes. What he gave by cutting the marginal rate he took by upping SSI taxes.

4. JFK stood up to the Soviets over Cuba and broke their backs. Unlike "cut and run in Lebanon but we'll give you Grenada", JFK had a pair.

Reagan was a nothing. Just an old actor in his dotage.

At 1/19/2006 2:03 PM, Blogger Iran Watch said...

I've heard it said that geniuses like Einstein only come around once every 500 seems that great presidents only come around once every generation and for our generation it was Ronald Reagan. Reagan's unwavering view for America holds as true today as it did when he campaigned for Barry Goldwater. I find in a shame that people refer to American presidents as "pieces of shit" but that's why people like me served our country to protect our freedoms.

At 1/19/2006 2:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ps - Did I tell you I gave up a piece of my freedom to drive on the left side of the road shortly after I turned 16 and got my driver license? Doesn't seem to have hurt me much. Glad you're free to drive on whatever part of the road suits you best.

I also gave up my freedom to cavort with wild women as well. I was 22 at the time. I don't miss it. I received a lot of "side" benefits. Three kids, two cats, and a yard to mow on lazy Saturday afternoons.

Maybe "freedom" is not the sine qua non it's cracked up to be? Or maybe you're just angry because the world is unfair and you didn't get to decide how things ran.

Me, I didn't get to pick the color of the sky.... and I'm STILL steamed about THAT! ;-)


At 1/19/2006 2:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and mr ducky... have you ever read accounts of Sakkarov, et al, about how Reagan gave them the hope and courage to persevere in the face of near-global-wide indifference? No impact my _ss!


At 1/19/2006 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Natan Sharansky on Reagan's impact...

Were there any particular Reagan moments that you can recall being sources of strength or encouragement to you and your colleagues?

I have to laugh. People who take freedom for granted, Ronald Reagan for granted, always ask such questions. Of course! It was the great brilliant moment when we learned that Ronald Reagan had proclaimed the Soviet Union an Evil Empire before the entire world. There was a long list of all the Western leaders who had lined up to condemn the evil Reagan for daring to call the great Soviet Union an evil empire right next to the front-page story about this dangerous, terrible man who wanted to take the world back to the dark days of the Cold War. This was the moment. It was the brightest, most glorious day. Finally a spade had been called a spade. Finally, Orwell's Newspeak was dead. President Reagan had from that moment made it impossible for anyone in the West to continue closing their eyes to the real nature of the Soviet Union.

It was one of the most important, freedom-affirming declarations, and we all instantly knew it. For us, that was the moment that really marked the end for them, and the beginning for us. The lie had been exposed and could never, ever be untold now. This was the end of Lenin's "Great October Bolshevik Revolution" and the beginning of a new revolution, a freedom revolution--Reagan's Revolution.

We were all in and out of punishment cells so often--me more than most--that we developed our own tapping language to communicate with each other between the walls. A secret code. We had to develop new communication methods to pass on this great, impossible news. We even used the toilets to tap on.

In your memoir, Fear No Evil, you write that President Reagan was captivated by this story.

The first time I met President Reagan I told him this story. I felt free to tell him everything. I told him of the brilliant day when we learned about his Evil Empire speech from an article in Pravda or Izvestia that found its way into the prison. When I said that our whole block burst out into a kind of loud celebration and that the world was about to change, well, then the president, this great tall man, just lit up like a schoolboy. His face lit up and beamed. He jumped out of his seat like a shot and started waving his arms wildly and calling for everyone to come in to hear "this man's" story. It was really only then that I started to appreciate that it wasn't just in the Soviet Union that President Reagan must have suffered terrible abuse for this great speech, but that he must have been hurt at home too. It seemed as though our moment of joy was the moment of his own vindication. That the great punishment he had endured for this speech was worth it.

Can it really be said that Ronald Reagan was actually responsible for an event as great as the collapse of the Soviet Union?


One man in one office?

Yes. Absolutely. But not one man alone. If I would be permitted to widen the credit a little more, I would say the collapse of the Soviet Union is attributable to three men. Andrei Sakharov, Scoop Jackson, and Ronald Reagan. These were the people who brought moral clarity to the conflict and started the chain of events which led to the end of Soviet communism. Sakharov to the Russian people, Senator Jackson to the American government, and Ronald Reagan on behalf of the American people to the world and thus back to the Soviet Union. They created the policy of linkage: That international relations and human rights must be linked. That how a government treats its own people cannot be separated from how that government could be expected to treat other countries. That how governments honor commitments they make at home will show the world how they will honor their commitments abroad.


At 1/19/2006 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

more on the collapse of the USSR...

MOSCOW (AP) -- He stunned the Soviet Union with his tough rhetoric, calling it an "evil empire" whose leaders gave themselves the "right to commit any crime."

His famed "Star Wars" program drew the Soviets into a costly arms race it couldn't afford. His 1987 declaration to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at the Berlin Wall -- "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" -- was the ultimate challenge of the Cold War.

Ronald Reagan's determination to destroy communism and the Soviet Union was a hallmark of his eight-year presidency, carried out through a harsh nuclear policy toward Moscow that softened only slightly when Gorbachev came to office.

He is vividly remembered in Russia today as the force that precipitated the Soviet collapse.

"Reagan bolstered the U.S. military might to ruin the Soviet economy, and he achieved his goal," said Gennady Gerasimov, who served as top spokesman for the Soviet Foreign Ministry during the 1980s.

Reagan's agenda toward Moscow started shortly after the start of his first term -- and marked a major departure from the mild detente of the Jimmy Carter administration.

In 1981, Reagan backed his rhetoric with a trillion dollar defense buildup. U.S.-Soviet arms control talks collapsed, and the two nations targeted intermediate-range nuclear missiles at each other across the Iron Curtain in Europe.

The deployment of the U.S. missiles in Europe rattled the Kremlin's nerves, because of the shorter time they needed to reach targets in the Soviet Union compared to intercontinental missiles deployed in the United States.

In an even bigger shock to the Kremlin, Reagan in 1983 launched an effort to build a shield against intercontinental ballistic missiles involving space-based weapons.

The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), dubbed "Star Wars," dumped the previous doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction that assumed that neither side would start a nuclear war because it would not be able to avoid imminent destruction.

Even though Reagan's "Star Wars" never led to the deployment of an actual missile shield, it drew the Soviets into a costly effort to mount a response. Many analysts agree that the race drained Soviet coffers and triggered the economic difficulties that sped up the Soviet collapse in 1991.

"Reagan's SDI was a very successful blackmail," Gerasimov told The Associated Press. "The Soviet Union tried to keep up pace with the U.S. military buildup, but the Soviet economy couldn't endure such competition."

Yelena Bonner, the widow of Soviet dissident Nobel Prize winner Andrei Sakharov, praised Reagan for his tough course toward the Soviet Union.

"I consider Ronald Reagan one of the greatest U.S. presidents since the World War II because of his staunch resistance to Communism and his efforts to defend human rights," Bonner said in a telephone interview from her home in Boston. "Reagan's policy was consistent and precise, and he had a great talent of choosing the right people for his administration."

Former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, 61, remembered Reagan fondly for his humor and his toughness.

"His phrase, 'evil empire,' became a household word in Russia," said Bukovsky, who now lives in Cambridge, England. "Russians like a staightforward person, be he enemy or friend. They despise a wishy-washy person."

Retired Gen. Vladimir Dvorkin said that trying to field a response to Reagan's Star Wars had "certainly contributed" to Soviet economic demise but argued it didn't play the decisive role.

"The Soviet economy was extremely inefficient and nothing could save it," said Dvorkin, a senior Soviet arms control negotiator during the 1980s.

But Bonner said her husband -- who had played a key role in designing Soviet nuclear weapons -- believed that deploying U.S. missiles in Europe was necessary to bring the Soviet rulers back to the arms control talks.

In December 1987, Reagan and Gorbachev signed a treaty that for the first time eliminated the entire class of intermediate-range missiles.

"Reagan and Gorbachev helped end the Cold War," Gerasimov said.


At 1/19/2006 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...I like the fact that Sharansky also credits "The Senator from Boeing", Henry "Scoop" Jackson for helping bring down the USSR. Just look at the "list" of Jackson's aides from Wikipedia

Seems Bush's NeoCon Cabal all worked for a Democrat once.

Wonder if their are any "Scoop Jackson" Republicans left in the Democratic Party.


At 1/19/2006 3:43 PM, Blogger samwich said...

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At 1/19/2006 3:49 PM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

Wonder if their are any "Scoop Jackson" Republicans left in the Democratic Party.

Of course not. Any Democratic politician that breaks with the party line to suggest that perhaps the American people would be better off with the economic liberty of owning property and not relying on government largesse to maintain them as slave wards of the state will be marginalized or worse.

If you are not totally commited to seeing the destruction of the US Constitution and massive numbers of American citizens exterminated by violence or starvation, you really don't have a good reason to vote for a Democrat.

At 1/19/2006 3:57 PM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

The United States will be attacked by Russia from the east, China from the west and south of the US border by Mexican and central and south Americans.

The initial attack will occur on a holiday between the election and swearing in of a US President of Greek extraction. Russian forces will progress to the Mississipi River, China to the Sierra Nevada and the attacking forces will falter and retreat. The invaders from south of the border will mop up the reaminder.


What are you smoking?

At 1/19/2006 5:10 PM, Blogger samwich said...

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At 1/19/2006 6:28 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Consider this an acknowledgement of your compliment several comments back.

At 1/19/2006 6:47 PM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

I'm sorry Samwich, all insults must be phrased in the form of a question. And no, you get no Rice-A-Roni either.

Russia-China war games are the sequel to Laugh-In. We took out Russia and China's state of the art air defense GPS scramblers in Iraq, with GPS guided bombs.

Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine with nukes is still a deterrent, and even if they could catch us with our pants down, they don't even have a navy to protect their non-existent troop transport vessels against our naval power. Russia and China aren't invading anything they can't walk to, especially if their Iranian gas tank runs dry.

Now stay out of the liquor cabinet.

At 1/19/2006 9:49 PM, Blogger samwich said...

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At 1/20/2006 12:16 AM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...


Look real soon for the first wave of robot drone bombers and stand-off land attack cruise missiles to swarm Iran and stamp out their air defenses, followed by human pilots for the heavy bombing once Iran can only throw prayers at the attacking planes.

It will be quick and dirty, and it will probably be a joint Egyptian-Saudi-Turkish-German-French-Italian-British-American operation.

And it probably won't stop until regime change occurs. Russia and China will buy cheap Iraqi oil, just like they've wanted to all along.

Iran is fuct.

How 'bout them apples?

At 1/20/2006 2:56 AM, Blogger samwich said...

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At 1/20/2006 4:32 AM, Blogger samwich said...

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At 1/20/2006 4:52 AM, Blogger Pastorius said...

I heard Hugh Hewitt discussing (with whom, I do not recall) the question of whether George Bush may go down in history as an even greater President than Reagan.

The thought sounds absurd on the face of it.

Reagan had a very far-reaching, seemingly impossible vision, on how to beat the Soviet Union, which he pursued for over 25 years.

Really, the best we can say of George Bush is that, like Henry the IV, or Hal, in Shakespeares plays, George Bush woke up and did the right thing when he had to do so.

Yes, the vision behind his actions, is impeccable (as influenced by others as it may be), but he is not an individual visionary.

But, I think, what Hewitt was getting at was the reality that the changes which Bush is pursuing seem even more impossible, and present even more dangerous perils, than those of Reagan.

Certainly, at this point, they seem more perilous to us.

I think that Bush is not of Reagan's stature, but that, instead, he is a man like Roosevelt, who was a flawed President, whose vision, and willingness to take chances, in a time of great peril, make him a great President.

But, Reagan, Washington, and Lincoln, remain our greatest President, because they alone, were willing to sacrifice their entire lives, they alone applied all of their far-reaching vision to every decision they made as President.

Bush belongs, with Roosevelt, just a little lower than the Angels.

And, if his "experiment" in Iraq fails, then he will be remembered as one of history's greatest fools.

Which is, in itself, a recommedation for greatness.

At 1/20/2006 6:27 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Thank you for bringing us back around to the topic of this particular blog article! I have been so busy lately that I haven't had much time to participate at my own blog. Overload!

And while I do not mind tangents, I would prefer fewer ad hominem attacks. Seems a feud is going on.

Now back to your comment. In times of crisis, a visionary is needed, and I think that Reagan long believed in America as "a city upon a hill." In your words, Reagan had a very far-reaching, seemingly impossible vision. And a large part of his vision seems to have been keeping America safe.

Reagan seems to have been an idealist throughout his life. He was also an optimist. He'd grab onto an idea, try to figure out the best way to achieve a goal, and proceed with trying to do the impossible. Just the fact that he could ascend to the Presidency very late in his political career speaks to the man's tenacity. When he lost the nomination at the 1976 Democratic convention, people said, "That's that. Reagan's finished." But that wasn't that, and RR was elected to the Presidency in 1980, late in his life.

History will provide the perspective needed for proper evaluation, and IMO twenty-five years is not much time to evaluate any administration. Nevertheless, I remain convinced that what RR accomplished and his speeches can provide lessons for the situation today.

For many reasons, I believe that GWB is no Ronald Reagan. Part of how I feel has to do with the visionary aspect you mentioned: RR had his vision for decades before taking office, even longer than the 25 years you mentioned; when GWB took office, he had no idea as to what he would be facing, what would be forced onto him. But RR and GWB do have some common ground, as you pointed out--a vision which elicits ridicule and animosity from many different quarters. Though some would dispute it, I think that what you said is true: And, if his "experiment" in Iraq fails, then he [GWB] will be remembered as one of history's greatest fools.

Of course, many factors played into the fall of the USSR, and I believe that RR's vision was a major factor. In fact, I myself was incredulous when the Berlin Wall came down. I had never thought such a thing would happen in my lifetime, despite the many inherent problems in the Soviet system. I grew up in the era of bomb shelters and bomb drills. In 1950, we had pamphlets like this here in the D.C. area: "When the Bomb Goes Off." Just yesterday the Washington Post had a long article entitled "If Washington Is Attacked--in 1950." Scary stuff to be a part of any child's life.

As I've said before, I voted for RR in 1980, mainly because of the hostage situation in Iran. Did I really believe those hostages would be immediately released? No, but they were. I think that even RR was surprised at the immediacy of that reaction.

In my simplistic view of politics, I long for a simpler time, a time with less threat and less peril than what we see today. The nuclear missiles pointed at the United States before the fall of the USSR didn't seem as immediate to me as the threats we face right now. The fall of the Twin Towers was not a possibility--it was a reality which seemed to presage more mayhem. Simplistic though it may be, GWB's idea of fighting the terrorists in their land instead of here in the U.S. resonates with me.

At 1/20/2006 8:25 AM, Blogger LASunsett said...

I agree with Pastorius, Bush stepped up when he had to.

Honestly, I wouldn't have given a dime for him before 9-11. I thought he was just there because of who his father was and felt that there were much better choices from the GOP side. But I voted for him, for two reasons.

1. He had the smarter people surrounding him.

2. Gore was/is an M1A1 "Mighty Fine" Idiot.

I think Bush has made some mistakes along the way, but overall, he did something. He just didn't sit there and take it, like others believe we should have done.

Both Bush and Reagan are special in their own ways and for their own reasons. But, like AOW and Pastorius have both said, Reagan was a visionary. A visionary that not only had a vision, but saw that it was a vision that could become a reality.

In short, he acted (no pun intended) and Bush reacted. Reagan had his plan and began to work on it, from day one. Bush had to react to to a catastrophic event, then formulate and implement a plan, in a shorter amount of time.

At 1/20/2006 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


America is funding China's military with a $300B annual trade deficit... what's you source for a $2T coal-import deal?

And a Democratic Congress sold out Vietnam in '75 after the Nixon backlash had been felt at the polls. Scoop was challenged by the anti-war Left within the Demcratic party in his own Senate primary.

And I hope your CIB is tattooed on your behind. For that's the only thng that would be left after I've torpedoed your transport on approach to the combat zone.

Farmer John - Lt. jg, Unrestricted Line Officer, USNR


At 1/20/2006 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mr beamish,

I suspect that your Persian predictions will likely materialize in the very near future...

Iranian Preparations


At 1/20/2006 9:30 AM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...


Yup. Guess who's turn it is to preside over the UN Security Council next month?

At 1/20/2006 10:22 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

From FJ's link: Iran is moving its foreign currency reserves out of European banks as a pre-emptive measure against any possible U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program, the Central Bank Governor said Friday.

Ebrahim Sheibani told reporters that Iran has started transferring the foreign currency reserves from European banks to an undisclosed location...

So, the Mahdi is getting ready?

At 1/20/2006 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ours. Think there's any chance of getting another "green light" from the UN to "eliminate" their nuclear capability? I don't. I see a Chinese veto in the offing (Perhaps Divine payback for Sr's shenanigans in the Kissinger-Nixon "openning" to China debacle and back-stab to Taiwan).

The UN is a waste. The best they could hope to get is "limited" sanctions (to be subsequently administered in a manner similar to the old oil-for-food program). The UN will NEVER authorize a "use of force".

Wish Bolton would announce a US pull-out. The UK could cover our backs with their veto. PR would kill us though. Guess we're stuck at simply "pretending" that the UN has any real significance and tabling all their "resolutions" condemning us.


At 1/20/2006 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the US needs right now is for some Iranian "dissidents" to start a ruckus so that there's some legitimate reasons for the Greeks to perform an Anabasis. Let Alexander do his conquering "later".


At 1/20/2006 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps some Iranian "Kurd's" might wish their own territory adjacent to the Iraqi-Kurd provinces. Hmmmm. win-win.


At 1/20/2006 11:58 AM, Blogger samwich said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1/20/2006 12:04 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I clicked on that link and caught your meaning of "Anabasis." I admit it--my knowledge of ancient history is scant. You continue to educate me, Farmer!

BTW, on Tuesday the student to whom I assigned Gulliver's Travels gave an oral report to the class. The oral report was outstanding (I haven't yet looked at his written report). If not for our little chat last summer, FJ, I might not have thought to recommend the book. Kudos to you! And the student also wants me to thank you on the student's behalf. The student wants to read other such good books. Feel free to recommend. This student's grade level is early high-school, but until Gulliver,the reading experiences were limited pretty much to articles and books about ice-hockey. This student has always loved satire; next year, I think we'll be studying American literature.

As a teacher, I take some of what I learn in the blogosphere and pass it along to my students. I'm always looking for ideas.

PS: Hamlet will be our Shakespeare this term, in the spring. Right now, we're getting ready to start Ivanhoe. It's been ages since I've read the latter. The teacher will really have to study! Hehehe.

At 1/20/2006 12:46 PM, Blogger samwich said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1/20/2006 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for the kudos. I'm glad your student enjoyed the read. When he gets a little farther along you might recommend he read Allan Bloom's essay on Gullivers Travels in his collection of essays entitled Giants and Dwarfs.

JJ Rousseau had two book recommendations for young readers that I go along with... Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe (for boys) and Fenelon's Telemachus (for old-fashioned girls)... (new-fashioned ones shoud probably read "Swiss Family Robinson" instead if they intend to marry one day... Crusoe if they don't).

Rousseau would have you limit ALL book reading to those two books... I don't go quite that far.

One curiosity you might be interested in... many of America's early frontier settlers seemed to have copies of both books left to their "estates".

I don't think I ever read "Ivanhoe". Maybe I'll give it a quick read one day soon.

At 1/20/2006 12:56 PM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...


It's make or break time for the UN Security Council, that's for sure.

It's going to be interesting watching John Bolton run the show.

At 1/20/2006 12:59 PM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...


I have a lot of channels on my TV. Which one is the Republican-praising channel?

At 1/20/2006 1:07 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

We'll be reading an extensive except from Crusoe after we finish Ivanhoe. Then to the Shakespeare. I don't go in chronological order; most homeschool students read the chronologically ordered textbook on their own, anyway.

Ivanhoe offers a good read, I think. Most students like it, anyway.

Thanks for the heads-up on the other two books. I didn't know that many of America's early frontier settlers seemed to have copies of both books left to their "estates".

At 1/20/2006 1:31 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

This isn't my site so I'll limit what I have to say.. seem unable to express yourself without attacking someone who disagrees with you.
Why is that?
You're obviously intelligent and capable of making well thought out why do you resort to 'ad hominem' commentary?
I'll be back to see what name I'm called.

At 1/20/2006 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The Navy has its' own air force (ie - onboard USS Ronald Reagan's CVN 76)...and its' own army (USMC) as well. Why would I want to go off into battle with "one-third" of a loaf?

And the reason why the CFR has so many representatives in governmental administrations is that they sponsor brains big time. Wisdom is placed at Wealth's service at various stages of a man's career. The "prodigee's" are all bought off at the Ivy League level, their teachers mostly CFR "Fellows". The kids (like Clinton) typically end up with a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford.

But please, anybody who understands X and his impact on world affairs knows the CFR ain't all bad. For the Lord knows, Kennan's reasoning was sound. He articulated this reasoning in a 1951 letter to Sir Isaiah Berlin. Berlin's response sheds the light necessary for understanding the basis of America's Cold War philosophy. But to read that letter, I'm afraid one would have to purchase a copy of Berlin's "Four Essays on Liberty", for I no longer believe there are extant copies of it available gratis on the net.

A summary of X's logic from an old post of mine

In a 1951 "Letter to George Kennan," Oxford scholar Isaiah Berlin recalled a scene in Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. In the scene, Ivan Karamazov says that if he could buy the happiness of all of mankind with the torture to death of one innocent child, he would not do so. He would, as Berlin says, "return the ticket." Berlin goes on to say that no promise of eternal harmony in the future...will make us accept ...the use of human beings as mere means -- the doctoring of them until they are made to do what they do, not for the sake of the purposes which are their purposes, fufilment of hopes which however foolish or desperate are at least their own, but for reasons which only we, the manipulators, who freely twist them to our purposes, can understand. Berlin was referring to Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. I don't think he ever would have dreamed that neo-liberalism could ever gain a foothold in America or the West by violating some of these sacred laws of "truely" liberal thought.
George Kennan went on to predict the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union based upon their "moral predicament".

This moral predicament also points directly at the fundamental difference between a "classical" liberal like myself, and a "progressive" liberal.


At 1/20/2006 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...for Far, Far, Far too many liberals fell victim to the teachings of the Frankfurt School, believing men to be "incapable" of choosing their own ends, their having been psychologically "pre-programmed" by experiences like the Oedipus Complex starting at birth by their repressive fathers. To alter that programming became the "post-modern" project.


...and so sammy, the world hegemony of the CFR IS being challenged. Who's side are YOU on? I know where I stand. SPQR. Death to Spartacus!

At 1/20/2006 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The legacy of Henry "Scoop" Jackson is still alive and kickin'!


At 1/20/2006 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mr. beamish...

Personally, I'd just as soon see Bolton declare a "February Recess" for the Security Council as watch it fail to come to grips with Iran's nuclear program. They will be as "effective" in their dealings with Iran as they have been with the Sudanese over Darfur. For the UN is a species of Lernaean Hydra... and it will take a Herculean effort to lop off its' many heads to slay it.

We also need heed the words of Chiron "We rise by kneeling; we conquer by surrendering; we gain by giving up" if we are to succeed. One wonders if the philosohers at the Kremlin may also be attempting to test this thesis.


At 1/20/2006 3:01 PM, Blogger samwich said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1/20/2006 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I've come up with my reading project for the weekend. Titus Andronicus. Contemporary scholars claim it to be the "worst" play Shakespeare ever wrote. Of course, it's the play that "made" Shakespeare's reputation in his own day. Perhaps it only holds truths for those with "long" ears.


At 1/20/2006 3:55 PM, Blogger Iran Watch said...

Wow...what an asshole. Guess who I'm talking about?

At 1/20/2006 4:03 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I don't much care for Titus Andronicus. I'll be interested in your opinion.

I didn't like the recent movie version, either.

At 1/20/2006 4:05 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Iran Watch,
Certainly not me, I hope. Hehehe.

But I'm sure that I've been called that same name, among others. Oh, well...

At 1/20/2006 4:47 PM, Blogger samwich said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1/20/2006 5:06 PM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...


Joseph Smith has done absolutely no harm to me. To you, however...

At 1/20/2006 5:34 PM, Blogger Iran Watch said...

Of course I wasn't referring to you AOW...just the resident moron.
Samwich seems to know a lot about towel boys and whore houses. Personal research? I'm not into "alternative sex" so my knowledge of such practices is limited.
I think you're suffering from PTSD. Maybe you should talk to somebody.

At 1/23/2006 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I really enjoyed reading Titus Andronicus... but I think I missed out on some of the references, not having ever read Ovid's "Metamorphoses". If there was any lesson to the tale, perhaps it was that men of virtue should never allow themselves to be ruled by inferior men... for there are some men who are simply evil by nature (Aaron, the Moor, in this case). I suspect I need to ponder the tale a bit longer though. My mind is still ruminating.


At 1/23/2006 8:01 PM, Blogger Kyle said...

So Sammich, Reagan got good views from the mainstream media??!!!??!!!


Good one.

Damm, how can someone be so blind or stupid? I certainly rmemeber the Reagan years, and there was no one more vilified by the MSM except maybe Nixon.
Of course, back then there was nothing but the MSM.

At 1/24/2006 8:02 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

You're probably not interested in this source about Titus Andronicus, but here it is anyway.

At 1/25/2006 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I enjoy reading contempory analysis, so thanks for reference. It helps me to see how much "times have changed". I think what many modern readers of Titus fail to properly interpet is Lucius' role in this entire affair.

For it is Lucius who demands the sacrifice of Tamora's son to their dead brother at the beginning of the play. It was typical of Roman families of the time to sponsor gladiatorial "games" at funerals, for it made them feel "god-like" in their power. And so it is with Lucius, for although Titus has no political ambition, it is obvious that Lucius does. For it is he who delights in the feeling of power inherent in human sacrifice, and ultimately becomes emperor.

...and perhaps this lends some insight as to "why" gladiatorial contests were so popular in Rome. For the struggle of life and death only becomes meaningful in the presence of an observer... the gods watching down from heaven... the spectators watching down from the seats "high" on the coluseum walls.

And so, one begins to wonder who the "devil" is in this play, Aron the Moor OR Lucius the dutiful son. For the Moor will betray and inflict harm on all outsiders, but will not suffer harm befalling his own blood, and the "good" Roman places State above kinship/blood bonds. And in this respect, Lucius proves himself "superior" to Titus... at least in terms of his usefullness to the Roman State. For he will NOT suffer to let his "inferior" (Saturnius) rule over him. In this respect, he "redeems" Titus' poor judgement in selecting Saturnius over Bassinius over himself as Emperor of Rome.


At 1/25/2006 9:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skakespeare on ambition from Jiulius Caesar

" An. Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears:
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him: The evill that men do, lives after them, The good is oft enterred with their bones, So let it be with Caesar. The Noble Brutus, Hath told you Caesar was Ambitious: If it were so, it was a greevous Fault, And greevously hath Caesar answer'd it. Heere, under leave of Brutus, and the rest (For Brutus is an Honourable man, So are they all; all Honourable men) Come I to speake in Caesars Funerall.He was my Friend, faithfull, and just to me; But Brutus sayes, he was Ambitious, And Brutus is an Honourable man. He hath brought many Captives home to Rome, Whose Ransomes, did the generall Coffers fill: Did this in Caesar seeme Ambitious? When that the poore have cry'de, Caesar hath wept: Ambition should be made of sterner stuffe, Yet Brutus sayes, he was Ambitious: And Brutus is an Honourable man. You all did see, that on the Lupercall, I thrice presented him a Kingly Crowne, Which he did thrice refuse. Was this Ambition? Yet Brutus sayes, he was Ambitious: And sure he is an Honourable man. I speake not to disproove what Brutus spoke, But heere I am, to speake what I do know; You all did love him once, not without cause, What cause with-holds you then, to mourne for him? O Judgement! thou are fled to brutish Beasts, And Men have lost their Reason. Beare with me, My heart is in the Coffin there with Caesar, And I must pawse, till it come backe to me

...and in ambition and perceptions thereof does one find what oft distinguishes between virtue and vice.


At 1/25/2006 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...another "quadrophonic" personality... Lucius has his 1/4...

The Who Quadrophenia, "I've had enough"...

You were under the impression
That when you were walking forward
You'd end up further onward
But things ain't quite that simple.

You got altered information
You were told to not take chances
You missed out on new dances
Now you're losing all your dimples.

My jacket's gonna be cut and slim and checked,
Maybe a touch of seersucker, with an open neck.
I ride a G.S. scooter with my hair cut neat,
Wear my wartime coat in the wind and sleet.

Love Reign O'er Me.
Love Reign O'er Me.

I've had enough of living
I've had enough of dying
I've had enough of smiling
I've had enough of crying
I've taken all the high roads
I've squandered and I've saved
I've had enough of childhood
I've had enough of graves...

Get a job and fight to keep it,
Strike out to reach a mountain.
Be so nice on the outside
But inside keep ambition

Don't cry because you hunt them
Hurt them first they'll love you
There's a millionaire above you
And you're under his suspicion.

I've had enough of dancehalls
I've had enough of pills
I've had enough of streetfights
I've seen my share of kills
I'm finished with the fashions
And acting like I'm tough
I'm bored with hate and passion
I've had enough of trying to love.

At 1/25/2006 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Titus Andronicus' tragic flaw?...
the courage to rule.

Shakespeare "Pericles"...

Pericles - Courage enough. I do not fear the flaw; It hath done to me the worst. Yet for the love Of this poor infant, this fresh-new sea-farer, I would it would be quiet.

At 1/25/2006 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The following song is dedicated to Pericles...(from The Who, Quadrophenia)

Only love
Can make it rain
The way the beach
is kissed by the sea

Only love
Can make it rain
Like the sweat of lovers
Laying in the fields.

Love, Reign o'er me
Love, Reign o'er me,
Rain on me, rain on me

On the dry and dusty road
The nights we spend apart alone
I need to get back home
to cool cool rain

I can't sleep and I lay and I think
The night is hot and black as ink
Oh God, I need a drink
of cool cool rain

Only love
Can bring the rain
That makes you yearn to the sky

Only love
Can bring the rain
That falls like tears from on high

Love Reign O'er me
Rain on me
Over me, over me

Love Reign O'er me
On me


At 1/25/2006 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect Ronald W Reagan would have liked Titus (the man) better than Pericles (the man). They would have been drinkng buddies. George HW Bush was more of a Periclean kinda guy. He woulda been found in Ronnie's kitchen chatting with Nancy, Aspasia, and Barbara.

Reagan certainly knew the Pericle's personae. I suspect it was his greatest and most successful "role". Politician and Rainmaker.

...but his was a rain borne of true love and friendship. Love of virtue, not simply lust for power.


At 1/25/2006 8:29 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Maybe I've asked you this before...Have you seen the film version of Titus? I think it stars Anthony Hopkins.

According to Shakespeare, what should come first? Family or country? What are the dangers in placing one above the other in importance?

Shakespeare plainly condemns, in many of his plays, personal ambition and, at the same time, emphasizes good and virtuous governance as an important ideal. A little bit of pr work for QEI? While she was ambitious, she was ambitious for England ("I am England") and sacrificed her personal life, i.e. love, for the betterment of her nation.

Titus is one of Shakespeare's darkest plays. Are certain characters evil, or are they made evil?

RR was, in many ways, a failure as a father. I've been listening to Edmund Morris's Dutch on audiotape, and I highly recommend it for insight into RR. Yes, RR knew all about how to be the rainmaker, and he was also the consummate politician. But his goodness--I'm more impressed by it the more I read about him.

Can a good ruler also be a good family man, or do the burdens of leadership inevitably take away from what many feel should be a man's first responsibility--his family?

Titus Andronicus' tragic flaw?...
the courage to rule.

I agree. But he couldn't pass that courage on to his son, could he?

Nice to be able to chat here, without distractions and without interruptions. It's been an age since I've tthought about Titus. One doesn't find much material about that play in the usual places for modern analysis of Shakespeare's works.

At 1/26/2006 8:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


No, I haven't seen any movies on Titus... I've only just read the play. I do need to rent it. There are still a few pieces I don't quite "get" yet... the notes on the arrows and swords. I'd probably profit from a second reading of the play as well.

As far as which should come first, family or nation, that's a good question. I'm sure many would place family first... but that wouldn't necdessarily be the mark of a "good" national leader. I know that some of the Roman Emperors during the later "principate" used to "adopt" the most virtuous citizen in the empire to ensure a line of succession that was more "merit" than blood based. A kind of non-hereditary monarchy. But again, that was Rome on the "declining" side of empire. During the growth phase, they were a Republic with a "dual" consulate, similar to the two-hereditary kings of Sparta. Consuls were elected annually by the legions with a weighted electoral system (by class of citizen/legionaire if you can believe Rousseau's description of it). And so, you defintely want a "meritocracy" for the "sons" of great leaders usually get "corrupted" by their father's success. This was one of Xenophon's clear messages in his "Cyropedia"... every "other" generation of Cyrus was a failure. Rousseau truly believed this. All of his children were given up for adoption at birth.

And of course, if one studies Greek history, we all know how Pericle's nephew and ward, Alcibiades turned out. If Hollywood ever wanted to make a great movie, THAT would be the one to do. His was an unbridled ambition... greater than "Alexander", son of Phillip of Macedon.

And the reason why one cannot pass "courage" on to one's son is that it requires both experience and practice. It cannot simply be taught. It must also be learned. Many have tried and failed. Example is, of course, the best teacher. But a leader in his "palace" hardly ever presents a good example. A tent near the field of battle is much more appropriate... although even that is not sufficient by itself (ie - Caligula [Germanicus' son?], which means soldier's boots(?)) Success in the face of adversities is the best teacher, and without adversity there can be few lessons taught.

I suspect that a family man does NOT make a "great" leader. Great leadership requires an ascetic personality that can stand alone without external dependence or support... and such men are inherently "un-likable" and largely "un-electable" in a democratic society. For they must remain "aloof" and thereby avoid the "contempt" that familiarity often breeds. Patton. MacArthur. A personal "ambition" that coincides with national aspirations, a quest for immortality through deeds, not blood. Washington. Napoleon.

Just ruminating. Reagan was a great president because he was also a great actor. He could make himself appear likable and be self-deprecating, but underneath he was a man of unvarying convictions and priciple. To be a great leader today, one either needs to be a great actor, or a true schizophrenic personality.


At 1/26/2006 10:08 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I'm too tired tonight to give just consideration to your most recent comment.

I'll check back in tomorrow--after I've gotten some rest.

At 1/27/2006 6:50 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

some of the Roman Emperors during the later "principate" used to "adopt" the most virtuous citizen in the empire to ensure a line of succession that was more "merit" than blood based.... [Referring to the earlier stages of the Roman empire] And so, you defintely want a "meritocracy" for the "sons" of great leaders usually get "corrupted" by their father's success.

Dynasties seem to fail in later generations, with regard to leadership.

Reagan was a great president because he was also a great actor.

Personally, I never saw him as a great actor during his Hollywood days. But as an elected official, he very much believed in his vision to bring down the evil empire. He used his acting skills to bring about his goal. In other words, he did better "without a script."

RR's surviving progeny are a disgrace to his memory. Michael is, of course, not RR's direct descendant by blood but is much like RR as far as convictions are concerned.

We could use a RR now. The world is in a terrible mess. The recent Hamas victory at the polls really has me down, as well as Ahmadinejad's threats.

Just a thought here...The Founding Fathers came close to advocating a kind of meritocracy.


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