Thursday, December 31, 2009


Wheels within wheels, hell-hot ironies.

In Salinas, California they have a serious problem: they are overrun with Hispanic gangs and gang-bangers.

On top of that, these gangs – only some of them franchises of the major, organized gangs – are comprised of youths for whom such membership “serves as an alternative primary loyalty (alternative to the state)”. Worse, a solid half of the gangs are “unstructured”, meaning that “half our violence is kids who get into a car and go out to hunt … these kids don’t know their victims … how do you stop that?” – such is the plaint of an over worked local policeman.

So says forward-thinking, clear-eyed military analyst William S. Lind. The problem attracted his notice for two reasons.

First, because the military – in the form of officers detailed to study assignments at the Naval Postgraduate School – has ‘volunteered’ to assist the Salinas police force in dealing with the problem.

Certainly, from a Constitutional point of view, this is a little disturbing. Granted, the military officers – some fresh from official counterinsurgency (mis)adventures in the Greater Southwest Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere – have ‘volunteered’. But in the military, and especially when you are in a serious academic setting that is run by the military, you don’t just ‘go and volunteer’ to do stuff; not if you want your clearly advancing career to stay on track. If you ‘volunteer’, you clear it with the command (in this case the Dean) first; your time and your life are not quite your own when you’re heading for the higher ranks of the military system.

Sure enough, the provost of the Naval Postgraduate School, blurbs happily that he had “embraced the project from the start”. Now what is true for the students under the control of the provost looking to advance their careers is also true of the provost, who is himself under the control of military superiors and wants to keep his own successful career … well, successful. So this gambit has approval from way high up, as the kids might say. Way!

The School, the provost burbles, is “in transition from just a defense institution to a national homeland and even a human security institution”. Ach ja! Even though the military has enough problems trying to do its own job – or perhaps because of that unhappy fact – the military is now looking to branch out into ‘homeland’ stuff. And billing itself, with sadly typical Beltway over-reaching, as “a human security institution”, which in this context would actually be a police academy sorta thing.

So military = police, doncha see? Ach.

That sucking sound you hear is the sound of a Constitutional firewall being punctured and the flames being sucked in.

But Lind is concerned for an even more ominous – though more ‘abstract’ – reason: what is happening in Salinas is an example of “state breakdown” (you know, like you see in Third World or Second World ‘failed governments’). And it is precisely in those conditions that Fourth Generation Warfare – waged by unorganized resistance guerilla forces against organized invading militaries – flourishes.

No news there; We’ve been seeing it for almost a decade now in that Greater Southwest Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The kicker though is that it is now happening in California.

Perhaps the loss of an entire American city in 2005 (something the Commies had never managed to pull off) didn’t focus Our attention. Well, now there is counterinsurgency in the wake of state-breakdown in California. And the military is sending ‘volunteers’ to help an American police force that is on the way to enjoying the same efficacy as – with all respect to their efforts – Mexican police forces.

This cannot be good.

What broke down the state and the society, as it were?

Professional ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ comment would instantly blame it on the Republican economic debacle, the ‘war on the poor’ started under Reagan and continued under Bush (as if the treacherously ambivalent Clinton had never existed, or existed in an alternative universe – which can only be partly true).

But the economic debacle has only provided the kick to an already weakened door-structure. These kiddos aren’t looking for jobs, after all – they’re just gone kids gone wild. (I didn’t say ‘guys’ because I’m figuring that there are more than a few OTMs (other-than-males) in these gangs, gurls being such natural joiners and networkers, as the feministicals do assure Us).

Imagine: you impose deep ‘reform’ upon a vast culture and society by deconstructing Family, Marriage, and any such things as Tradition, Virtue, Maturity, and even Common Sense and Rationality.

Then, you allow hugely under-restricted immigration, allowing all sorts of folks to leave the structures and rhythms of their own culture in which they were raised, and bring them into a foreign land which has – as a matter of government policy – no culture at all and a society purposely fractured into official Races and Identities.

These folks start having kids, not within any sort of capable containment structure such as a family or even marriage, but simply as something that ‘happens’ to a child-bearer, who so often happens to be a female with no sufficient source of income and perhaps no sufficient skills to obtain and sustain one while also rearing children. Including man-children.

You can sort of see where, before too many years have passed, this sort of thing had to go.

Thus these kids – lacking any serious maturational formation or guidance – seek Meaning and Shape and Relationship in gangs, presided over by others like unto themselves, only with stronger personalities and maybe a couple-three more years of life in which they have more thoroughly deranged themselves.

This is a recipe for societal breakdown. And for those who read the treacherously inane puff-pieces about the latest feminist history demonstrating ‘rich creativity’ though ‘incomplete victories’ and just ‘a little bit of silliness now best forgotten’*it would be morally negligent to not-notice how this entire mess in Salinas was thoroughly predictable as a consequence of their many social-policy ‘victories’.

Now even foreign-focused military analysts are noticing that the ‘failed state’ problems the troops are running into ‘over there’ are now manifesting ‘over here’.

This problem will make swine-flu look like a momentary bad dream.

And the analysts who are not simply military-porn rah-rah, pom-pom swishers are noticing that this situation is almost inevitably going to suck the military in ‘over here’ as it has ‘over there’.

And historically, that has never worked well for a Citizenry. One recalls that the same French Army which performed so abysmally in the face of the Prussian Army at Sedan in 1870 was more than happy to vent itself upon the citizenry of Paris in 1872, deploying its new machine-guns with profound effect upon the various members of the public, the soldiers efficiently mowing down their erstwhile countrymen. And while the so-called Battle of Wounded Knee doesn’t quite apply here (the Indians herded into a killing-circle to be mowed down by soldiers with Gatling guns as well as repeating rifles were technically not American citizens), the National Guardsmen and newly-formed State Police** turned in a much better performance against American citizens than the Army did against the Filipino resistance or Pancho Villa.

It’s always easier for a military to fight, or rather to ‘conduct operations’ against, its own civilians – at least in civilized countries where civilians have learned to trust the government to use its monopoly of force and violence for the common weal. In ‘un-civilized’ countries, however, where the folks have never handed over such trust to ‘government’, it’s a whole different story: thus the Italians in World War 2 made indifferent soldiers but ruthless partisans, and thus the Afghanis … well, you already know that.

The provost continues: “The idea was not just Salinas but … is there a national model for this?” In other words, as a former Colonel of Special Forces ‘volunteer’ says of Salinas: “It’s a little laboratory”. In case you need help figuring that out, this smallish American city is a military lab to see how best to engage in “partnership” with a failed-state police force facing the chaos of social breakdown.

And again, let there be no mistake about it: these aren’t “your father’s gangs”, as Our current military feministicals might like to put it. These are disorganized, unguided packs – but far more used to gratuitous violence and far more efficient at it than the swaggery, camera-cocky baggy-pantsed inner-city kids of a couple of decades ago (though those cohorts were surely canaries in the cage, though ignored as such at the time … to recognize them seriously as representing a problem would have required acknowledging that certain ‘liberations’ and ‘empowerments’ and ‘reforms’ demanded by certain politically favored pressure groups were having awful consequences, and rather than open that can of worms Congress and the ‘elites’ and the media chose an easier path).

These are kids whose insufficient 'family' matrix resulted in a desperate lack of meaning, purpose, and self-structure. I'm not 'blaming the victim' here; I'm pointing out a rock-solid consequence that has to be dealt with. Because as it stands right now, social breakdown is starting to create a vortex that is sucking the military into 'going domestic' - as they were teaching fast-track young officers at the Command and General Staff College a dozen years ago.***

So it should be an interesting new year, and an interesting new decade – and you thought that the 00’s were baaaaad … not hardly.


*See for example my Posts on this sight here and here. Or in the December 17th ‘The New York Review of Books’, the giddy puff-piece review of Gail Collins’s new feminist history “When Everything Changed”, who – by the by – appears in a smarmy photograph clutching – wait for it – a glass of Chardonnay at a tableful of cooing and oohing feministicals. It’s a happy-fest, since she had just written a book telling them that they had ‘won’ and were ‘right and very clever’ – just what aging but tasteful cadres need to hear, especially when lubricated with enough of the blessed grape.

**The governors of the several States started to form these para-military State Police forces during the era of labor unrest, because local police were too often refusing to deploy lethal force against local laborers and their families in defense of the property rights of the Robber Barons and their corporations.

***Perhaps you are wondering if the kindler gentler military - now primarily a job opportunity and a 'right' rather than a purpose-driven combat force - will actually write a new chapter in military-civilian relations since it has been somewhat perfused with the sensible-shoed sensibility of the ladies with the buzz-cuts; I advise against such happy-thoughts. Janet Reno authorized Waco; Madeleine Albright thought that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi kids was something she could live with, thank you very much; and Hillary continues to imagine that the Israeli Realm is just an embattled settler-outpost under attack by evil Injuns, and will do whatever it takes to keep the cavalry coming.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009


I want to follow up on a point I made as an aside in an earlier Post.

The true tragedy – to the extent the word can apply to him – of Bush the Egregious was that he could not really tell the truth about why he invaded Iraq and did all the un-truthy stuff leading up to it.

The American people have never supported the type of Great Power land-grabbing that characterized the late 19th century world scene, as a robustly industrialized Europe-USA began to reach out for chunks of the rest of the planet, and they have never supported the use of their soldiery for that purpose.

Yes, it may seem strange that a citizenry that had just about completed a several-centuries long semi-obliteration of the continent’s native population would be squeamish about going overseas and doing the same thing ‘over there’ that they had been doing ‘over here’. But that just goes to show how Americans – like any human group – can deceive themselves and pull out the ‘moral warning’ wires when they reely reely want something bad enough.

They told themselves – and not without some justification – that they were bringing ‘progress’ and that it was God’s Will (the German soldiery had it inscribed on their uniform belt buckles).

By the 1890s their government had ‘matured’ to the point where it realized that a ‘good’ purpose had to be announced to the citizenry in order to get anything done in an overseas-military-expedition sort of way. Thus the Spanish-American War was publicly characterized as a righteous expedition to bring ‘freedom’ to the Cubans and ‘Christianity’ to the long-Catholic Philippines. And while the attention of the public was fixed on Teddy Roosevelt purportedly leading his small bunch of Rough Riders up San Juan Hill, President McKinley was quietly sending the largest overseas military expedition up to that time – 10,000 troops – to the Philippines, not to liberate them but to replace the Spanish Imperium with an American protectorate strategically placed to support military and commercial expansion into the great potential resource-fields and markets of the doddering Chinese Empire.

That the Filipinos, eager for freedom and liberation, responded to this monstrous chicanery by fighting a protracted jungle resistance that took several years, huge and nasty toil, and many deaths on both sides … was ‘spun’ as merely the result of ‘native intransigence’ in the face of true progress. The natives ‘just didn’t get it’, as might be said in today’s argot.

But what was McKinley to do? As he saw it, it would be worse than imbecile for Washington to sit still and allow the old Great Powers to carve up the last great vulnerable resource-fields of the planet (Arabia’s oil was not yet discovered, nor was America in any need of it, pumping not only her own but everybody else’s out of her own domestic fields.)

So the American public – ‘The People’ as Lincoln had iconized them several decades before on the field at Gettysburg – was fed the pabulum of ‘good and great intentions’ while the government dug into the thick red meat of serious Great Power strategic moves. That the ‘red’ came from blood was not considered of any great consequence – that’s what Life and History required for the achievement of great purposes (the Soviets were late-comers with their dainty imagery about the necessity of breaking some eggs to make an omlette – although they proved fearfully bloody when it came to translating the image into reality).

Along came the Great War: it was stupefying that three of the most significant participants didn’t really need to be in it at all, in terms of formal treaty responsibilities. Great Britain had no obligations in the Russian-French alliance; but her government realized that if the Germans got in and won, her entire strategic scheme for keeping a balance of power in Europe would be shattered and her credibility as a Great Power, as well as her complex web of Imperial commerce itself, would be hugely reduced – and so she dealt herself in.

The United States was not threatened by a possible German victory – she could sell to anybody who had the cash for commerce; surely the Germans would not be invading the United States (although there was, later on, some brouhaha about the Germans supporting the Mexican government in a bid to re-take the Southwest). And the entire Upper Midwest was rather Germanic in its ancestral ties and its sentiment. But Wilson saw that Great Things were afoot and felt deeply that it would be unworthy of a Great Nation to stand aloof. When the Brits and French found themselves near the point of exhaustion on the Western Front, and were desperately calling upon the US for aid, Wilson raised up as a casus belli the deaths of 124 Americans who knowingly booked passage on a ship of a combatant nation – the British Lusitania – even though the German Consulate in New York had taken pains to advertise in the Times that British liners were ‘enemy vessels’ that might be sunk. The public’s deep unease over the novelty of submarines attacking passenger vessels upon which women and children were embarked helped lubricate the grinding rush to war.

The Germans were in an even more complicated position. Since their Austrian cousins were invading Serbia and were not attacked by the Serbs, then Germany technically had no responsibility to become militarily involved. But Berlin saw that Germany, the most robustly developing industrial power in Europe, though land-locked and without any resource-rich colonies to supply her industries, was going to have to square off against the other two great Continental Powers – France and Russia, but especially France – sooner or later, and Great Britain as well, since her Royal Navy (though not her Army) posed a formidable potential obstacle to German expansion into world-class markets.

So for the Germans, it was a matter of: They’re getting stronger while we are now at the height of our powers and can only get weaker or stagnate, so if we must have a fight then sooner is better than later. And Germany dealt herself in.

Fast forward to a much more recent era, though one that now seems – and probably is – as irretrievably gone as the era of the Great War and its world. I speak of the late 1990s in America.

The Beltway mandarins look around the world, and back at America’s position relative to it all. She had won World War 2 not on the ‘power’ of her ideology; ‘freedom’ is a fine and vital concept, but concepts don’t of themselves effect Great Events.

Rather, America had won because of her formidable industrial capacity, her unparalleled ability to grow food, her unique independence in the matter of necessary natural resources, a labor force largely willing to cooperate with management in the demanding project of harnessing all these potentials in order to produce war materiel, and a population sufficiently adult and sturdy to ground the entire massive effort of raising and supporting vast military forces.

By the late 1990s, very little of that capability remained. Her industrial capacity was largely gone – either lost to other now-capable productive nations or outsourced to them; her ability to grow food was still strong, though it was another thing to deliver the product overseas since her merchant marine was a shadow of its former self; she was hugely dependent on foreign sources for oil, long incapable of meeting even her own needs though domestic wells and fields, and hugely indebted to foreign investors for the cash necessary to sustain her economy and domestic government programs; and after decades of denigrating ‘maturity’, iconizing ‘youth’ and ‘victimhood’ and ‘entitlement’ as well as the immature human qualities most desirable in a consumer-oriented society, and with her society fragmented by identity politics and the very foundations of her cultural assumptions ‘deconstructed’ to the point of becoming invertebrate.

America, a serious but discreet assessment might well reveal, was losing power –especially industrial, economic, and cultural – and something was going to have to be done to remedy that. And sooner was better than later, because 1945 wasn’t going to be coming back and the country was slipping farther away from that era of strength.

I am suggesting that any sufficiently clear-eyed government honchos, unburdened by platitude or any sense of morality (which has been declared to be nothing but a ‘private’ matter anyway, according to the Supreme Court), might have started thinking in 1999 or 2000 along the same lines as their long-dead professional counterparts in Berlin had done in 1914.

To wit: it’s not going to be getting any better for us, so if we are going to reverse this slide, it has to be sooner rather than later.

After all, even as Cheney left the Clintonistas in the dust in deploying government pressure to enrich the already-rich, it had to be clear that helping Enron to engorge by rigging the game on the backs of the rate-payers and taxpayers couldn’t go on forever; you were only going to be able to call this ‘economic productivity’ for just so long before you’d incite some sort of ‘unrest’ among the herd of citizens and you’d certainly tap them out at some point in the finite future.

The most competent and ‘serious’ government ‘players’ never believe their own propaganda and don’t make the ‘Scarface’ mistake, getting high on their own ‘product’. The whole racket, the whole game, was already starting to feed on itself, and before long that would become obvious even to the masses too dumb to ‘get it’, and happy-face ‘spin’ would no longer be able to keep enough lipstick on the pig.

The Game had to be Changed, decisively, and sooner rather than later.

Then, suddenly and by stunning coincidence, the entire hugely-expensive and vaunted defense, intelligence, and security apparat of the nation failed in a perfect storm of failure, allowing a gaggle of ‘natives’ armed with box-cutters to successfully carry out their plan to destroy the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, and on national television, and with a live, world-wide hook-up.

A wave of public outrage was reinforced and amplified. The military – long weakened in its ground combat sinews by years of assorted political machinations and social experimentation – was still considered more than a match for the rickety government of Afghanistan, where it appeared the plotters’ main support was headquartered. That a rickety government did not of itself mean a rickety nation or a simple military challenge … that did not occur to the already-failure-besotted Beltway; perhaps one of them, among the many so fond of quoting World War Two-era Great Men, even uttered the famous prediction: “You have only to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down”.

But at that point, then, the ‘resource’ angle kicked into high gear. Afghanistan was surely a legitimate – if not easy – target for some sort of action. But as a colony, protectorate, or source of any useful and necessary resources, it was pretty much useless. Its very existence somewhere in the vicinity of the Eurasian resource fields might, in the last resort, be useful, but beyond that simple geographical given, the place was hardly worth the effort.

Iraq, on the other hand … When viewed through the hard clear prism of resources, that nation provided a much more appetizing picture: lots of oil, an interesting position on the regional chess board, an ‘Arab’ country whose discomfiture would greatly amuse the Israeli Realm – to whom the Beltway had irretrievably indentured itself. And the whole thing could be pulled off under the ready-made cover of liberating a country – as the Greatest Generation had liberated France in the gaudy MGM era of 1944 – from a world-class dictator.

So Sadaam became ‘Hitler’, his targetability further enhanced by the stunningly specious claim that he possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction (he didn’t, the Israeli Realm – like the North Korean Stalinists – did and do). And, just to nail the coffin lid down securely, a further enhancement was devised: the ruthlessly secularist and modernizing dictator was in full cahoots with the religious fanatics who had pulled off the Twin Towers gambit.

I think that the Beltway – standing perhaps on the shoulders of Lenin and Goebbels – has finally found a way around Abe Lincoln. The Railsplitter had once observed that you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

After 60 years of postwar hegemony and 40 years of ‘advocacy’ politics, the Beltway has finally figured how to change the rules of the game as Lincoln set them: you can’t fool all of the people all of the time with the same piece of frakkery.

BUT if you simply toss up a whole passel of frakkeries – lies, untruths, half-truths, quarter-truths, lunatic fantasies, diabolic perversions of reality, whaaaaaaaatevvvvvvverrrrrrrrrr – then each crapulous chunk will attract the allegiance – or at least the acquiescence – of a fraction of the public, and all those fractions attached to all those crapulous chunks will add up to ‘enough support to call it the will of the American people’.


And if the public – after 60 years of postwar hegemony and 40 years of ‘deconstruction’ and Identity Politics and advocacy spin – no longer has the capacity to examine what is proffered to it, and simply swallows what is shoved at its eager mouth like an infant (and the National Nanny State, even more than the National Security State, requires not ‘citizens’ but ‘children’) then there will be no organized and coherent and cohesive public opposition to stand in the way of the Great Game and its Great Gamers.

So back to Bush the Egregious: he couldn’t simply face the American Citizenry and tell it like is: Mah fellow and sistah Amerikums, we are running out of evahthing that makes our way of life possible, and if we don’t start using what power we got left to go and git more, then we are on the short road to becoming the next ex-superpower.

Had he done so, then he would have forced all of Us to confront the reality underlying Our recent military (mis)adventures: if We want to stay fat and happy, then We are going to have to go take other people’s stuff in order to do it. Or We can not-take other people’s stuff and start sobering up after this national binge of consumerist self-indulgence.

But he didn’t have the courage to face that. And, I think, neither did We.

Do We now?

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Thursday, December 17, 2009


As I like to do from time to time, I read books or court cases from a while ago in order to get a fresh take on what’s happened and is happening now.

I have just finished a 1994 book: Philip K. Howard’s “The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America”.*

Howard at the time was a practicing lawyer and family man, active in public affairs, teaching and lecturing and writing.

I’m not reviewing the book here, but rather selecting some of his points – made in 1994 – to look at where We are now, 15 eventful and event-stuffed years later.

If you are of sufficient years, you might want to take a moment to imagine what the country was like back then in what now seems a vanished age, yet one whose missteps – I think it will become clear – still bethump Us. And lethally so.

His main concern is the massive growth of federal regulations and regulatory law. I’d add that the government has also slid into attempting to widely and deeply extend its criminal law power as well, intervening into the lives of Citizens and the prerogatives reserved Constitutionally to the States; the most vivid example of this is an ongoing spate of sex-offender laws (built upon prior car-jacking and drug and domestic violence laws) where under the guise of unilaterally proclaiming itself a “partner” of the States the Congress has been attempting to expand its police power, under the various guises and pretexts of its Spending power, and its purported powers under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause in the Constitution.

His particular observation is that the huge growth in regulations and regulatory law clearly seek to preclude any use of judgment and any subjectivity in the application of the regulations: the bureaucrat (and, increasingly, the jurist) is expected merely to enforce the regulation “objectively”, with no intrusion of personal expertise and judgment whatsoever.

He rightly sees the beginning of this approach not simply in the expansion of government regulations that date back at least to the New Deal and World War 2 but also and more importantly in this ominous insistence upon “objectivity” and the obliteration of any judgment by any human actors in the process of hewing to and enforcing regulations.

He’s on to something here. And it’s verrrry verrrry big.

He rightly locates the postwar explosion of this phenomenon in the federal approach to the South in the days of Civil Rights, now almost 50 years ago. I would say that the presumption at the time, in the later-1960s after the great achievements of the Voting Rights and Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965 respectively, was that Southerners, sunk and raised in the culture of segregation and Jim Crow, could reliably be presumed to fight the huge changes from the depths of their hearts.

They could be presumed to harbor the spirit of segregation and Jim Crow in their hearts and to resist the entire thrust and spirit of Negro civil rights. And if they were no longer going to fight through overt acts and clear acts of resistance (police and citizens and officials blocking entrance to schools, riot police and fire-hoses turned upon civil rights activists and Negroes), then they would resist subtly, subverting the laws and the spirit that the federal government sought to impose upon them.

They could, therefore, be presumed to harbor the old and bad motivations in the depths of their hearts, such that whatever they did could be presumed to be suspect; even their efforts to conform to the law and spirit of civil rights were always to be skeptically examined for any possible bad-motivation whereby they would merely seek to appear to be conforming, while really trying to subvert the laws and spirit of civil rights and preserving their segregationist and Jim Crow ways.

Thus, as early as 1966, federal regulations and laws began to reflect that assumption: they were to be made on the presumptions that a) they would be received in bad-faith and b) would be resisted and c) that such resistance would be slyly and secretly clothed in the appearance of good-faith, and d) that such resistance was grounded most fundamentally in bad motivation from the get-go.

And for a while back there in the South of that era, those presumptions were probably correct.

But the challenge posed by ‘the South’ in those days was far more complex than that. What happens when the government – especially the national government – starts making laws and regulations on the presumption that those affected will resist vigorously but also ‘secretly’, in the depths of their hearts, in their private selves and in the privacy of their local communal groups and deliberations? The dangers posed to the Constitutional ethos are profound.

Worse, what happens when the government – especially the national government – begins to take upon itself the task of making and sustaining a deep assault upon the presumed ‘bad motivations’ of a sizable chunk of the Citizenry? What happens when the government – especially the national government – starts to presume that the Citizenry will be hostile to its laws and regulations? And that the Citizenry harbor ‘bad motivations’ in the depths of their heart and their local communities? How does the government – especially the national government – go about rooting that out? Especially if it intends to use law and regulation? The dangers posed to the Constitutional ethos are, again, profound.

And especially if it all must be done quickly? And in the 1960s, a full century after the Civil War and Reconstruction-era national legislation were supposed to have fixed the problem for good?

It seemed, and hardly illogically, that the fixing was loooong overdue and had to be accomplished Right Now. And this impulse blended with the Boomer-era’s youthful impatience and callow (but so natural to ‘youth’) disregard of consequences and complications.

Oy. It should have been clear that there were going to be monstrous difficulties. But the Democrats had gone wayyyy out on a limb by supporting LBJ’s civil rights agenda, having to shatter their New Deal coalition of Northern industrial workers and Southerners who could not forgive or forget the Republicans who sent the Yankee armies against them in the period 1861-1865. The Democrats were in dire and urgent need of some fresh demographics to keep their electoral viability, and especially in light of the increasingly obvious failure of ‘their’ war in Vietnam, they needed it damned quick.

Politicians in that state of agitation are even less tolerant of deep and complex thought than under calmer circumstances.

Nor was this a problem that remained localized in ‘the South’. Almost immediately, the civil rights sensibility spread to the black populations of the North and Upper Midwest, where they had migrated for jobs during World War 2. And those populations contained large numbers of radicalized blacks who had picked up the old organized-labor sensibility that had been alive and kicking since the 1880s and – far worse – the old 1930s Communist as well as socialist revolutionary sensibility and theory.

So all of a sudden, the national government was no longer battling the ‘bad faith’ of the white Citizenry of the old South but also of the North and Upper Mid-west and – let’s face it – the entire country. So all the Constitutional dangers mentioned above spread in scope over the entire country and – of course – theoretically against the entire white population.

That itself constituted a huge and lethal problem for the nation and the Constitutional ethos, and indeed for the very unity of the Citizenry and the integrity of the polity. It was a second and far more extensive problem layered over the original ‘old South’ problem.

But then other groups almost immediately began to assert their own ‘revolutions’, hoping to cast themselves as sort of another group as deeply beset as the Negroes or blacks and as deeply in need of – and entitled to – ‘civil rights’ and – as had already now been developed for the blacks as early as 1966 and 1967, the affirmative action type of racial distinguishing.

And all of them also asserting that just as the whites of the old South harbored in their inmost hearts the most evil of motives and the baddest of faith, so too each groups particular ‘enemy’ do so: the gays named ‘straight people’ as that enemy, and the feminists – so hugely influential since ‘women’ offered in theory a 51% of the population voting demographic – named ‘men’.

So by the early 1970s, the entire dynamic of law and regulation based on the presumption of public ‘bad faith’, had metastasized to include all ‘straight’ folks and ‘men’ generally.

Just on paper this should have given clear warning of a truly awful synergy. The government, seeking under the aura of ‘liberation’ and ‘empowerment’ to satisfy its burgeoning new demographics (I call them Identities), was committed to doing to the entire straight or the entire male population what it had originally hoped to get away with only to the white citizens of that ‘old South’.

This was not only a hell-hot irony, but had the makings of a national catastrophe: the government was now committed to supporting the presumption-of-bad-faith against almost half of the Citizenry. (As Howard will get around to noting, by 1994 the sum of Americans entitled under assorted preferences as minorities equaled 70% of the population, and to treat each ground-of-preference as if it were possessed by an individual added up to 370% of the American population.)

And feminism ratcheted everything up a dozen notches: on the basis of assorted academic theories, it asserted that the source of ‘bad faith’ among ‘men’ was not simply a specific complex of attitudes such as obtained among the whites of the old South toward ‘desegregation’ and ‘integration’, which those whites willingly embraced. Rather, ‘men’ – and, neatly, many women and any women, really, who didn’t agree with the feminists – were so immersed in ‘patriarchy’ that they didn’t even know that they were thoroughly sunk in ‘bad faith’. Come to think of it, said the feminists, the whole of Western civilization was tainted to its very core with ‘patriarchy’. And therefore in its approach to ‘women’ Western civilization was – in my terms here – no better than the Jim Crow culture of the old South.

The government – now not only Democrats but Republicans – thoughtlessly or helplessly extended its ‘war’ in an effort to please. (And does that sound kinda familiar?)

Howard observes acutely that the regulatory urge was to reduce any ‘judgment’, any ‘subjective’ input, even by those officials and bureaucrats charged with enforcing the metastasizing welter of laws and regulations. After all, if one presumes that almost anybody could harbor ‘bad faith’ in their heart, and if so many newly-erected Identities suspected that most ‘others’ did not fully agree with their demands (that would be an interesting study in itself), then the only solution was to ensure that nobody would be able to change the desired working of the law or regulation by imposing his/her own expertise or view or considered opinion (which by presumption was nothing more than a prettied-up form of discrimination and prejudice anyway).

The regulations were hoped to be ‘self-executing’: they only needed ‘human agents’ to officially match and tally the demander and the ‘rights’, and officially sign the order or issue the check or add the name to this or that preference list. Those ‘human agents’ were not to try to match the spirit of the regulation to a specific situation; they were merely human machines for toting, tallying, and officially endorsing demands.

There was to be no ‘subjectivity’; the regulations and the process of granting entitlements and ‘rights’ was to be ‘objective’, the theory hoped. But subjectivity is what humans do; it’s what humans are, and to conduct a society, let alone a government, without the judgment and subjectivity of those who have trained themselves in the law and the regulations is pretty much a rum business from the get-go.

But since ‘subjective’ input could harbor such ‘bad faith’ as ‘favoritism’ or ‘discrimination’ or other such possible human weaknesses, then ‘subjectivity’ could not be permitted. The laws and regulations were to work like mathematical or physical laws, which ‘execute themselves’ without any help from humans, thank you very much.

Somewhere in here, officially endorsed by the mavens of academic theory and Identity Politics, the government left the path of Reason, went off the rails, and slid down the slippery slope, through the Looking Glass, and into the midst of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – and took the common weal and perhaps the viability of the polity with it.

Not enough national commentators and writers have given thought to using “Alice in Wonderland” as a measuring text against which Our present condition might be usefully examined.

Nor is it at all demonstrably wise for a government to a) seek to transform culture primarily by the workings of law and regulation, and b) seek to judge – and preemptively and preventively – such a deeply private and immaterial quantum as ‘motive’ through the workings of law; and c) to do it all Right Now; and d) across a wide and complex grid of Identities’ demands, each of which generates its own axis of potential discrimination’. This is not a recipe for wide-ranging reform but rather for self-consuming implosion.

I say this not to imply that ‘things were perfect in the old days’, but rather to assert that the ‘cure’, as it has evolved, is quite probably more lethal than the disease. And that the several ‘cures’ required, each for its own Identity’s problems and demands, work cumulatively to interfere with each other and altogether weaken the strength of the polity, the society, and the nation itself (can you say ‘national security’ and ‘national integrity’?)

And it didn’t stop there. As bureaucrats, those humans professionally committed to administering the vastly increasing corpus of laws and regulations, realized that they weren’t really expected – or permitted – to do more than rubber-stamp forms and function as machines, they became less committed to their tasks and more cynical. That can’t be good.

And they became more risk-averse. Does an individual have a reasonable ground for an exception to this or that regulation? Well, why risk job and benefits by going out on a limb and exercising any authority or initiative? Why risk compassion when you know you’re going to have to enforce ‘the process’ ‘objectively’ anyway? Impersonality is the way to go: you’re just a machine and they’re just sheep in a pen to be processed, for or against as the text of the regulation dictates.

This bodes ill not only for government service but also for the relationship of the government administrative apparatus to the Citizens it theoretically serves. As it bodes ill for the government regulatory authority that makes the rules that govern the apparatus. And – yooooo hooooo – as it does for the government legislators who authorize all this frakkery with assorted laws designed to root out ‘bad faith’, and presume bad-faith among the majority of the Citizenry.

Howard also sees the ‘rights revolution’ for the dangers that it poses. A ‘right’ means that you never have to explain your demands or your desires, or the assumptions underlying them. And in its addled effort to feed all of its new demographic Identities the particular menu they desired, the Congress led the way, like an addled and overburdened mother-bird, in passing out ‘rights’ that would squelch any time-consuming and unpredictable public deliberation; after all, genuine grass-roots democratic politics was too slow and unpredictable and the ‘chicks’ were demanding to be given their imagined due Right Now.

It is here that Carol Gilligan’s 1982 theory of ‘the female ethic of care’ came to justify a truly dangerous dynamic: as Gilligan’s image of a mother soothing and placating emotionally agitated kids around a breakfast table was taken to be a better approach to life than ‘the male ethic of justice’, so the government began to apply it to the conduct of large national affairs, simply passing out ‘rights’ to whomever was making the most noise and leaving the ‘abstractions’ of public deliberation and ‘justice’ literally for the birds. The Constitutional ramifications and the most ‘political’ consequences in the most profound and vital sense of that word … were ignored in the rush.

This theory also served to provide some benefit of philosophy – as it were – to a huge slab of ‘bad faith’ on the part of the government and the Identities: not only was it certain that public deliberation would take a long path to accepting the vast panoply of demands being put forth for immediate satisfaction and redress, but it was also highly uncertain that the public would even agree. The government – mother hen to its many new Identities – needed to circumvent the democratic process in order to get all these many demands met quickly.

But to circumvent the democratic process entails – unavoidably – subverting it. And so, on top of presuming that the majority of ‘traditional’ Americans were acting and could only act in ‘bad faith’, the government also saw itself - ‘logically’ it assured itself – justified in subverting the democratic process and willy-nilly the very Constitutional ethos that it was sworn to ‘protect, defend, preserve, and uphold’. (And so I say again, what Bush the Egregious did after 9-11 was not so much a change as it was simply a Rightist enlargement of what the Beltway had been doing for decades on the domestic scene. Treacherous it may have been, but ‘novel’ it most certainly was not.)

But this was built into the theories espoused and amplified by the feminists: ‘patriarchy’ itself was the original and quintessential ‘bad faith’ – source of all manner of ‘oppression’ and ‘discrimination’. And those drenched in it for so long that it now seemed ‘normal’ and ‘common sense’ and ‘tradition’ did not deserve the right to object; and the very Western civilization and even Constitution that were the fruits of such poisonous fruit did not enjoy legitimacy and deserved not to live. Oy.

Curiously – or maybe not so much – the feminists, leading the other Identities in theoretical justifications for this whole thing , were probably right that the panoply of demands would not gain public acceptance easily and perhaps could not even stand up to sustained scrutiny and analysis. One noted feminist writer in ‘The New Yorker’ magazine noted just last month how odd it was that while many ‘women’ were enjoying the ‘fruits of feminism’ yet very few wished to identify themselves as ‘feminists’ – and I think that speaks precisely to this.

As Lenin saw, in the beginning the revolution could harbor no dissent; perhaps after it was ‘accepted’ that would come (although Lenin was contradicting himself here: since the revolution was bringing ‘truth’ and ‘reality’ to the masses, then why tolerate dissent which could, in his theory, only serve un-truth and un-reality?). Stalin, far more ruthlessly practical, saw all that clearly and simply would not accept dissent. And I imagine that deep down he realized that the ‘masses’ could not ever be trusted to ‘get it’, to embrace the revolution; hell, he even had to purge the Party itself in the show trials of 1937-8 just to get rid of dissent within the ranks of the cadres themselves. And when Gorbachev finally decided that he had to ‘open the windows’ a bit and let in some fresh air, the whole revolution collapsed, quietly and quickly. We have just celebrated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution, and in 2011 will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the self-dissolution of the USSR itself.

The feminists embraced ‘Deconstruction’ as the handy philosophical pretext for disallowing and undermining ‘common sense’ and ‘tradition’ and even ‘reason’ (let alone ‘Reason’). And Political Correctness was the strategy for stifling and squelching any dissent and objection. And as a buttress to that Correctness, the cult of the ‘Victim’ tainted any objections to the Correct laws and regulations with the lethal accusation of ‘insensitivity’ and ‘blaming the victim’ and ‘re-victimizing’ ; like the telegenic and sympathy-grabbing baby fur-seals in the 1970s’ commercials, ‘victims’ were put forth as the ‘human face’ of all this frakkery, and the justification for it.

Howard notes that in the decades following the Sixties, this country began to rely on statute law and regulatory law, and moved away from Common Law. The Common Law tradition, that evolved over the course of a millennium in England, stemmed from the practical and gimlet-eyed efforts of jurists and legislators to provide ‘law’ without burdening the limited resources of the legal system – itself evolving slowly – with ‘cases’ inspired by those wishing to manipulate it with false or unnecessary complaints. Practical local jurisprudence and legislation was aimed at preserving a law that followed the contours of the human ‘geography’ on which it was built.

The ‘revolutionary’ tradition of law was hell and gone from that: the revolution possessed Truth, the people needed to be brought or dragged to that Truth, and Law served that purpose. The feministical ‘deconstruction’ did not really help matters, and offered no genuine ‘progress’ or ‘reform’, when it merely asserted that there was no such thing as Truth and everything was up for grabs, the spoils to go to the Party that wrested political control by whatever means necessary and could then impose its excited and agitated visions on everybody else.

The Congress, probably ‘in a fit of absence of mind’ (though that is a huge indictment in itself) lost the Constitutional ethos as Great Britain lost its empire. But I say that the loss of the Constitutional ethos (if it cannot be restored) will prove a far worse catastrophe for humanity than the loss of the British Empire.

The Bill of Rights, Howard notes, was precisely devised to keep government away from the Citizenry, to keep it out of their lives and certainly to keep it from claiming juridical sovereignty over their minds and hearts. The ‘regulatory’ state, the government that presumed the ‘bad faith’ of its Citizens and determined to ‘fix that’, that set itself up as the grantor and guarantor of whatever ‘rights’ it chose to bestow upon whomever it chose to bestow them, regardless of the consequences to other Citizens or to the integrity and even viability of the common weal and of the polity itself, is hell and gone from that.

Such a ‘regulatory’ state is a direct heir of the revolutionary state of Jacobin France and the revolutions of Lenin and Stalin and Mao.

And such a trajectory embraced by a government grounded in the Constitution cannot end up in a good place for the country nor – in consequence – for the government itself. As We have perhaps recently begun to notice.

Howard wrote this book in 1994. Things have not gotten better. Indeed they have gotten worse domestically.** Worse, the hugely weakened Constitutionality and ‘common sense’ within the government lured it after 9-11 into the most un-traditional and ill-considered (or outright un-considered) foreign wars, whose hugely predictable bad consequences have wrought and are wreaking havoc across a broad spectrum of possibility: fiscal, military, diplomatic, and even moral, while simultaneously weakening not only the nation’s position among the people and governments of the world but also the nation’s very ability to sustain itself in the manner to which it has become accustomed since 1945.

The country’s capabilities are coming down around the ears of a Citizenry who have allowed the government to mutate into an anti-Constitutional regulatory and preventive state.

How this lethal synergy of The People’s weakness, the individual citizen’s loss of civic competence, a failing economy whose frightening challenges serve only to distract and terrify the public, and a chain-reaction of international doubt as to the country’s military and economic and even moral capacity, all at a time when the nation’s lack of vital natural resources and essential productivity have declined precipitously … well, I’d say that New Year’s eve is no time to be popping any corks.

More serious amusements – not excluding prayer, fasting, and serious thinking, alone and with other Citizens – are called for. Urgently.

And don't worry. If you do so, you won't be missing all that much. The good times have stopped rolling.


*New York: Random House.

**Although, reflecting the tactical political considerations that drive the now-merged Republocrat Party of the Beltway, ‘regulation’ and the presumption of ‘bad faith’ was intensified when deployed against the ‘enemies’ of the newly-erected Identities, while it was abandoned at the behest of the PAC-paying corporate and financial interests, who were presumed to be ‘reliable’ and ‘able to regulate themselves’ because they had ‘good faith’. Oy gevalt and frak.


Given that the ‘regulatory -preventive’ state was initially introduced in order to ‘liberate’ and ‘empower’ not simply the black community from Jim Crow (the original premise almost 50 years ago) but also to deeply and widely change the warp and woof of American culture, society and tradition Right Now for the purported ‘empowerment’ of all sorts of other tag-along Identities, We have now reached the Orwellian point where many activists can claim that ‘more government means more liberty’.

That mantra may seem harmless and ‘liberal’ enough in its intentions, but once you a) put it in those few words as I just did, and b) remind yourself that this is a ‘regulatory-preventive’ government hell-and-gone from the Constitutionally envisioned American government, you can see how things have left the rails, if not also the path of Constitutional wisdom and – a good case could be made – the path of prudence and reason altogether.

Nor is this only a problem from the Left, as it were. The Rightist law-and-order crowd, fueled by the deep disorder or lack of ‘order’ created by – and intended by – the assorted ‘revolutions’ from the Left, have embraced a police-state ethos under the name of ‘conservative’ and ‘traditional’ American praxis.

Neither the regulatory-preventive state nor its equally deforming twin, the police state, are in any way hospitable to the Constitutional vision. Indeed, they are and must be by their very nature hostile to the Constitutional state.


I also point out the connection between all this and the dynamics underlying the Bill entitled the International Violence Against Women and Girls Act, about which I Posted earlier this month on both this and my other site.

If ‘more government means more liberation’, then naturally – in Lenin’s sense: we have the absolute Truth, so naturally we want to see the whole world accept it – the Identity advocacies want to see that other peoples and cultures ‘get it’ just the way they do and just the way they have (however imperfectly) gotten the government to impose it here.

As always, I point out one of the politically most lethal ramifications of Identity Politics, and especially of the subset called Gender Politics: one’s selected ‘identity’ – in this case ‘gender’ – overrides all other roles and identities that an individual might have. This includes being ‘human’ – which fractures the sense of common humanity, and being a Citizen of one’s country – which fractures the sense of the polity.

You can see how quickly lethal trouble would arise for any society whose government for whatever reasons embraced full-blown Identity and Gender Politics.

I also mentioned that the ‘progressive’ and Left desire to impose the ‘liberation’ of Gender Politics upon developing nations by piggy-backing the plan on the authority of the US government would dovetail with the intensifying US tendency to expand its control over as much of the under-developed world as possible in order to maintain a place at the Great Table and remain a player in the Great Game.

And that in this regard, the quite possibly destabilizing effects upon any under-developed government that tried to comply with the US vision (as the Bill would have it): a revolt by its own people who would see, far more clearly than Americans have, just how much of an assault on the warp and woof of their culture such a vision constitutes. You know, in a way we’re back to the late 1800s: this is Great Power politics and Great Power imperialism all over again. Except that where in the 19th century such imperialistic impositions were done under the auspices of a superior Truth as embodied in religion (Christianity, most often) now in the early 21st the superior Truth is purportedly embodied in the theories of Identity and Gender Politics and those adherents and cadres who ‘get it’.

But also as in the 19th century, there are more material and murkier objectives: back then it was ‘resources and markets’, and now it’s ‘resources’ more than markets. America is running out of resources and out of the productive capabilities and even the productive ethos that forms the work force that can sustain the massive efforts necessary to utilize those resources.

The imposition of Superior Truth works for the purposes of state whether it fails or succeeds. Even if it fails and is rejected by the target culture and population, and even if the target government is destabilized or even delegitimized, it works because then the US can step in with its increasingly imperial-gendarme military – which affords secure access to whatever resources (oil and natural gas especially, but also something as simple as geographic location on the Board of the Great Game) that ‘country’ controlled.


And all under the guise of bringing to those who ‘just don’t get it’ the light of Progress and Truth. Just as imperial gambits of earlier centuries were secure in their good-intention of bringing the benefits of ‘civilization’ to the ‘benighted natives’.

You can see how these Perfect Storms and monster wildfires form.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Something has been brewing up in Boston’s fire department that strikes me as connecting to a larger dot, the military.

In January 2009 a large ladder truck returning from a medical assist call lost its brakes on one of the steepest hills in the city (and the city has a few). Unable to use parked cars as crash-barriers to slow it down, the Lieutenant in charge sounded the airhorn as the truck hurtled into a T-shaped intersection at the foot of the hill (thankfully, there was no traffic, though it was the middle of a weekday). The truck rolled across the street and into the first floor of a building on the other side, into a section containing a children’s classroom where a class was in session.

There were mostly minor injuries among the tykes, but the firefighters aboard were all modestly injured and the Lieutenant, himself a father of a family with kids, died.

The investigation of such a highly publicized tragedy fell not to the Fire Department primarily, but to the District Attorney’s office, which has just released its final report. That report reveals a stunning ‘culture’ that pervaded the Department: a) the Maintenance Division was manned by firefighters not trained as or licensed as mechanics; b) these personnel were unfamiliar with manufacturer’s recommendations and service-schedules and frequently violated them; c) these personnel had improperly serviced the brakes of the ladder truck involved.

Worse, d) the firefighter driving the vehicle – classed as a ‘chauffeur’, which means that he was especially responsible for driving and inspecting the vehicle for mechanical integrity – was not trained to do so because the Department had no such requirements in its training program; e) he had well-intentionedly but improperly attempted to fix the problem of brakes when the truck returned from Maintenance and the brakes started to function erratically; f) when the brakes actually went out on the hill that day, he took precisely the wrong actions in an attempt to stop the vehicle.

The Department has taken some corrective measures. It had recently come under the command of a Commissioner hired from “outside” the Department, to replace a ‘local boy’ Commissioner who had come up through the ranks of the Department. This new Commissioner was a former Navy officer, familiar no doubt with the vital responsibility of maintaining the mechanical and operational integrity of the machinery aboard ship.

The Firefighter’s Union has been emphasizing its shock, shock at such a culture – although the very practice of hiring union firefighters unqualified for serious mechanical work had been going on since time immemorial and continuously placed the front-line firefighters (also union members) in the type of danger that finally revealed itself fatally that January day.

Conceivably, the Union’s hostile attitude to the long-serving Mayor’s re-election prompted the hiring of a Commissioner from the “outside” in the first place.

Wheels within wheels (and clearly no brakes, as it were).

Fire departments have been surrounded with a very special “heroic” aura since 9-11 and the stupefying loss of hundreds of New York firefighters (and police and EMS personnel) when the Twin Towers collapsed. That disaster itself is a story – not fully appreciated by the public – of organizational inertia that continued long-standing and dangerous policies that, for example, sent firefighters into danger with weak and intermittently-operating radios and did not allow the Police (advised by their helicopter crews) to inform the Fire command that from the air it was clear that the towers were starting to give serious indication of collapsing.

Incidentally, the Department lost dozens of pieces of apparatus that had been scattered right around the base of the two towers – the City lost more front-line apparatus that day than 98% of American cities own in toto, in addition to numerous ambulances and support vehicles, as well as a number of police vehicles. As with so much of the story, the repair and replacement of that apparatus was spun as another instance of “heroic” efforts: in this case by the FDNY’s extensive and qualified Maintenance and Repair Division to get salvageable apparatus repaired and the wrecked apparatus replaced with reserve and hastily purchased new pieces – and legitimately so.

More darkly, it was considered insensitive and inappropriate to note that at least one piece of early-arriving apparatus, wrecked and its crew among the dead, was filled with neatly folded piles of expensive clothes from a boutique store on the ground-level mall of one of the towers. Department and union publicists refused to discuss the clear possibility that some firefighter(s) had engaged in a bit of looting; the story put forth was that the merchandise had been blown into the cab of the truck, neatly and still piled as in the store, by the collapsing force of the tower’s implosion. Several years later, a Department in metro Boston threatened to boycott a book-signing by an author who discussed this incident in a book – and the national-chain bookstore (since gone out of business) caved to the threats.

This was only partly attributable to the then-Mayor’s (Rudolph Giuliani) political clout. The unions themselves – nationally connected – were active suppressors in their own right.

Why bring this up?

First let me say that the job of a firefighter is about as close to a war-fighting responsibility as civilian life offers. If Douglas MacArthur’s philosophy of soldiering – pronounced in his refusal to the commute the war-crimes death sentence of Japanese General Yamashita – is correct, then firefighters do indeed “defend the defenseless”. * Fire is indeed an ‘evil’ entity when it gets out of human control and burns where it shouldn’t burn. And firefighters who strive to discharge their responsibilities competently and with integrity are indeed heroic, whether at any given moment they are confronted with flames and trapped people or are simply waging the long struggle – perennial in and among humans – to do an important job to the best of their ability.

Fire gives no quarter and will voraciously destroy everything and everyone in its path. It cannot be ‘spun’ or ‘re-imagined’ – failure to stop it brings huge and often lethal consequences. In that sense, it is an ‘enemy’ against whom unending and unselfish exertions, competent as well as well-intentioned, must be deployed immediately.

Back to the Boston matter.

You can perhaps see how an ‘organizational culture’ that has pervaded an entire large fire department organization can undermine – and nullify – the best efforts of individual members of the force. That Lieutenant was probably no stranger to the deficits of the Maintenance Division: he had lived with it his entire professional life, and he knew that there was only so much one officer could do out there on the front-lines where – literally – the rubber meets the road. And in general, after a while, in the face of such interlocking and well-established and long-espoused deficits in higher-command integrity, such capable front-line officers must trade-off so many of their ideals that the very integrity of their duties and the ability to perform their tasks are undermined. Officers at the higher levels of Command must demonstrate the willingness to fix things that ‘the powers that be’ might prefer to remain un-fixed, and they have to risk their own promotion or even careers to do it.

Nor can unions escape responsibility. There is an immutable contradiction in ‘union’ work that takes an especially dangerous form in public civil service work and especially in Emergency Services: is such work an ‘employment opportunity’ or a ‘mission-driven’ privilege? The incompetent or physically incapable firefighter, once hired, perhaps with ‘political clout’ in either the old ‘patronage and connections’ form or in the newer but just as noxiously effective ‘affirmative action’ form (where the government becomes, in effect, the ‘ultimate political connection’ and the ultimate ‘City Hall’), poses a threat to all firefighters as well as to all of the public.

This is not an either-or, yes-or-no type of thing. I am not saying that municipal government or unions must – or can – eliminate any and all obstructions to the pure achievement of ‘the mission’. Government cannot ever govern like Solomon all the time (which is why the Founders fenced it in so carefully). Unions cannot allow members with families to lose their jobs for any but the most clear and urgent reasons.

But to walk a tight-rope like this requires constant care and self-vigilance; it’s a high-wire act from hell, as the circus people would put it. And it requires no ‘business as usual’ or ‘that’s the way things are around here’ or the ‘everything around here is like that’ approach by any level of the organization, from the highest to the lowest.

Otherwise, people are going to get killed. And people whose lives you as a command officer are responsible for.

Now, this may seem clear enough when you think of an entity as comprehensible or at least as observable as your local municipality.

But the same dynamics work for, say, the monster-sized and not-so-visible government organizations like, say, the military.

It’s not enough to surround the organization – even in your own mind – with the hazy golden glow of ‘patriotism’ and ‘heroism’ and leave it at that. The People are expected to control their government – like a Board of Directors or Board of Overseers should do.

It has always seemed to me that one failure of the Greatest Generation – as it is now popularly called – was that, having seen first-hand how FUBAR** things can get, it did not take a more skeptical look at Vietnam as it was developing into a major conflagration. Vietnam ignited as that Generation was in its middle-aged prime. But for far too many, it became an opportunity to live in a gauzy aura of their own past youthful salad days rather than turn an experienced and gimlet eye on what the military and Beltway at the highest levels were trying to pull off.

Long before Ronald Reagan worked his time-travelling magical illusions, far too much of that Greatest Generation simply figured that it was 1941 all over again and so Vietnam was just another chance to show your stuff against an evil enemy of titanic proportions and the young generation of the 1960s should be as proud and ready to answer the call as their predecessors did in their own now-gone youth.

And the band played on.

Now, in yet another generation, the country is at war(s). Nothing about the enemy is as clear-cut as it was in 1941, and even if ‘terrorism’ constitutes a massive threat, the ‘terrorists’ are not a nation or a national military against which the great military-machine of the USA can be usefully deployed in the time-honored way.

Bush, following Reagan, tried to re-live the era of 1941-45 – now deceptively swathed in the golden aura of selective memory – rather than do the monstrously hard work of developing a new national strategy to deal with so different a threat. But hey – when all you have is a hammer, then everything you see is a nail, and when all you have (or choose to have) is a modern military, then everything you see is going to be an opportunity for war.

This, I think, was the great existential failure of the US government in the period after 1960, when the world had recovered sufficiently from the concussion that stunned it from 1939-1945 and was beginning, once again, to present numerous, complex, highly active variables that were changing the international equation bigtime.

Instead, the Beltway let itself slide into the old script, more to shield itself from the hard and mature work of representative and responsible government than to shape and re-shape America’s comprehensive strategy for dealing with a planet that was recovering not only its vitality, but its fractious complexity as well.

And here We are.

I have read Obama’s West Point and Nobel speeches and they prompt some thoughts that I will Post on this week. But whether or not the Southwest Asia wars do or do not present the same type of challenge that Vietnam presented (they certainly don’t present the same type as presented by the Third Reich and Imperial Japan), I sense wayyyyy too many similarities between how the Beltway dealt with Vietnam and how the Beltway is trying to deal with the Southwest Asia challenges.

And that’s a type of reminiscence that anybody of mature years can do without.


*This is not at all meant to impugn or minimize the task of – say – police officers. But police officers cannot so easily – or should not so easily – imagine themselves to be in a “war”, since criminals are still Citizens and retain Constitutional protections; the militarization of police, including the “war” mindset, cannot but endanger the integrity of Constitutional safeguards and the very carefully drawn boundaries around government police powers deliberately inserted by the Framers into the Constitutional framework and ethos.

The tendency in recent decades to imagine the ‘criminals’ as an alien enemy force – like the ‘Indians’ against the ‘settlers’ in the era of frontier wars, with the police functioning as ‘the cavalry’ – and the ‘law-abiding’ public as ‘victims’ and ‘helpless innocents’ results, clearly, in the police waging ‘war’ on Citizens (although they are suspected of and perhaps actually engaged in criminal activity). If this sounds odd to you, then it’s an indicator of just how far things have deteriorated in this country when it comes to a genuine comprehension of the Constitutional vision and its inalterable dynamics.

And as I always point out, this ‘militarization’ has been supported not only by the law-and-order Right, but by the purportedly victim-avenging Left.

Police officers trying to conscientiously do their job within the parameters of the Constitution (State, if not also national) that they have sworn to uphold and defend, deserve the highest respect.

**World War 2 enlisted soldier term: Frakked Up Beyond All Recognition (you should substitute that F-word).


If I haven't made it clear enough, let me say it here: Upon all who have lost their lives in the line of duty - emergency service or military - be much peace.


On 12/26/09 the news paper reports that the firefighter’s Union has (finally) approved the City’s hiring of licensed mechanics instead of unlicensed firefighters to service the fire apparatus fleet. This represents, the article reports, the first successful agreement between the Union and the City in 8 years.

Which says a great deal about the Union’s role in causing this mess to begin with: clearly the Union not only knew but insisted upon the hiring of incompetent union members for so vital a job – which on its very face was a policy that endangered the public and other Union members (the firefighters who actually had to operate the vehicles in daily operations).

As if that weren’t bad enough, it is reported that the Union’s acceptance of the licensing requirement came at a price. Rather than simply acknowledge and accept the licensing requirement on the basis of its utter and vital importance for the safety of the public and its own membership, the Union insisted (and apparently has all of this past year, since the accident in January of 2009) that the City drop its disciplinary (and possible court action) against all firefighters who have been accused of abusing sick leave (and it appears that such a practice was rife in the Department for years).

In addition, in a bit of vague but tantalizing half-reporting, the article reports that as part of its price for withdrawing opposition to the hiring of licensed mechanics, the Union also required the City to “keep several dozen posts safe from budget cuts”. Call me what you will, but I’m going to imagine that at least some of those jobs are for firefighters who were ‘maintaining’ and ‘servicing’ the apparatus without either mechanical competence or license. In fact, for all anybody knows, those firefighters will still be on the roster as employed at the Maintenance Division – though what gainful services they will provide in return for their pay and benefits is anybody’s guess.

I’d also note that “8 years” takes everyone back to the era just after 9-11, when all firefighters were imbued with the heroic aura of the catastrophic losses incurred by FDNY when the Twin Towers collapsed. There is much to be said for respecting the efforts of individual and front-line personnel while also keeping an even more gimlet eye on the organizational honchos who form the bureaucracy that oversees them.

All of this offers some sage and serious lessons for Citizens: what you can see unfolding with at least some clarity on your local municipal stage, is a reasonably solid indicator of what goes in among the bureaucrats in the much larger organizations that administer the lives of the little-guy ‘heroes’ who make things work in the day-to-day, in the teeth of all the worst challenges that their profession presents.

Support the troops and honor the heroic, but don’t take your eyes off the bureaucracies. Not even for a minute.

And as if he imagines that the public has the memory of a clam, the Union boss - recently seen blaming the City for the accident and for the death of one of its heroic members in every public news venue he could show up on - was unavailable for comment today. Which day, by the by, is the day after Christmas and a Saturday; do these PR people and bureaucrats think that every Citizen is an imbecile?

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Thursday, December 10, 2009


This stuff never stops. But each time there’s an interesting new revelation or two.

An obscure pol (Delahunt: D, MA) recently brayed in an Op-Ed that he was going to re-introduce this Bill in the Congress. It had – mirabile dictu! – been rejected in two previous Sessions.

Just a few days ago Mr. Delahunt promises to reintroduce it. You can probably make some decent guesses as to why, ruling out that while in one of his frequent and habitual deep contemplations of the state of the nation and his sworn commitment to the common weal he suddenly conceived of the utter and genuine value of this Bill and the urgency of its passage, the aforesaid illumination accompanied by the faint tingle of trumpets and the rustle of angels’ wings.

Possible elements in his sudden announcement: the fact that there’s an election looming; or that he had been tapped by his party to carry the wood for this next attempt at a pander-picnic; or the calculation that such an announcement just before his State’s voters went to a special election to choose between a ‘woman’ and a not-woman to replace the late Teddy K might help mobilize the cadres of the assorted subsets of the feminist revolutions (if so, it seemed to have worked).

Anyhoo, even if the announcement is meant purely as a bit of electioneering bait-and-switch, it got me to look up the text of the Bill.

It really is a doozy – but I mean that constructively: it pulls aside all sorts of curtains and reveals the unifying vision motivating all the agitation. And I have to give credit where credit is due: it speaks well of the Congress that this thing was not allowed to see the light of day. However, the Beltway is pretty far gone, and We should not pop any champagne corks. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer observed ruefully of his beloved Germany in the 1930s: “Once you’ve gotten on the wrong train, walking back through the cars isn’t going to help”. Ach so.

The text of the last attempt at getting this thing passed (dated April 30, 2008) is here. I recommend giving it a read. It’s less than 20 pages long and not really unreadable. In fact, in its clarity, it serves purposes far greater than its constructors might wish.

Section 2 gives us Findings: these are the ‘facts’ selected to go on the record as the justification for the Bill itself – and in case you are wondering: No, there is no official requirement that they be ‘true’ or ‘accurate’; any such sentimental expectations on the part of the voters is, in this urgent and edgy age, “quaint” and not-deserving of serious consideration.

Finding (1) states that “violence against women and girls is rooted in multiple causes and takes many forms, including physical, sexual, and psychological”. Step back from that for a moment, and consider. In the first place, ‘physical, sexual and psychological violence’ covers a huge swath of ground, of human experience, and at varying levels of intensity and seriousness. That’s an awful big mouthful for even the US Congress to bite off, especially given that a) its record of solving large problems (the economy, war-fighting) is rather poor of late; b) for stamping out all of this in foreign countries, the Congress has at its disposal only US dollars and US soldiers – neither of which are doing well right now, the latter because there now aren’t enough of them and the former because there are now too many of them; c) those “multiple causes” promise – like Iraqi and Afghani society – to have all sorts of complicated dynamics, for which a lot of hard thought may be required, with no guarantee of finding any workable solution … and when it comes to such Problems From Hell, the Congress already has a couple-three and does it really need to be buying itself – and Us – another one?

The same Finding continues to the effect that this swirling vortex of violence “affects all countries, social groups, ethnicities, religions, and socioeconomic classes, and is a global health, economic development, and human rights problem of epidemic proportions”. Whew. And Delahunt in his Op-Ed mentioned that passing the Bill would also do a lot for national security, so add in something about that as well.

The US Congress has apparently ‘gone papal’ – since the Pope of Rome is also well known for wide-ranging assessments of the world condition. But then, the Pope is the Pope and you expect Encyclicals from him; and an Encyclical is simply an exhortatory letter by somebody who has been doing a lot of serious thinking. But when Congress gets into ‘pope mode’ there are billions and trillions of dollars (whatever they may soon be worth or not worth) and armies and fleets and bombs of all sizes and satellites and drones and every intention of using them if anybody snickers at the pronouncement. And while doing deep and prayerful thinking about the purification and salvation of the whole world is what a Pope is hired for, We didn’t elect the Beltway banditti to be fixing or purifying the world (about which more later) – indeed, one of the greatest services this generation of Americans might render to all the world’s peoples is to put Our government back on the leash and pull it back into the yard.

Note also the shrewd, and slightly queasy, misuse of terms: “epidemic” is a medical term with a rather clear meaning, and there’s no such thing as a permanent epidemic, which is what the Congress claims is the ‘emergency’ that requires it to act (and it seems they really plan to march into Czechoslovakia and Austria and Poland on the basis of this ‘emergency’ – ach!; about which more below). And when pols start telling you that such-and-such is an economic and a health and a national-security problem all at the same time, you can expect – like any good German or Soviet ‘news-consumer’ – that you will soon be on the starting end of some sort of ‘war’. Read again the chapter on the Wart and the ant-wars in T.H. White’s eternally relevant “The Once and Future King”.

Finding (2) starts throwing scare-stats at Us: “approximately 1 in 3 women in the world will experience violence in her lifetime” … the ‘approximately’ is a nice touch, meant to impress you with its scientific humility so that you don’t stop to ask yourself just who went and interviewed all those people.

And how many males, d’ye think, experience some sort of violence in their lifetime? But THAT, of course, is the question that can’t be asked. Because although the pious bleatfest of a text doesn’t come right out and say it in so many words, the elephant in the center of this feminist dampdream-nightmare is - wait for it – ‘men’. Anytime a ‘woman’ experiences violence, then you are meant to subconsciously remind yourself that there is and can be only ONE source of that violence … to wit, the aforesaid ‘men’.

That’s the huge civic and societal and civilizational problem with this whole feminist victim game, this “woundology” as one female therapist put it: it’s a zero-sum game of gotcha, and once ‘the woman’ is accepted as suffering violence, then ‘the man’ is ipso facto and automatically convicted as the perpetrator. Get beyond the melodramatic media frame for a moment and consider: this is a recipe for civil war, for profound civic division to the point of the fracturing of societies and of polities.

And this Bill would like to share that pain with the entire planet and all its people and nations. Or else (about which more below).

Ditto that “1 in 5 women in the world will be the victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime”. After what I’ve seen in definition-creep in the domestic American gender war, I’d like a clearer definition of ‘rape’ and ‘attempted rape’ – because a lot these terms no longer mean for legal and media purposes what the dictionary would lead a decent, innocent citizen to believe.

Finding (4) includes among “the many different types of gender-based violence”: forced or child marriage, so-called ‘honor-killings’, dowry-related murder, human trafficking, and female genital mutilation. These are all repugnant practices – although Multicultural Correctness would insist that ‘outsiders’ (which would include Americans and even American feminists) have no right or even ability to ‘judge’ – a rather spicy irony. But they are densely embedded in cultures often millennia-old.

The Bill clearly expects the US to march into these ancient polities and cultures and start ripping the stuff out like Shylock imagined he would exact his targeted pound of flesh: without any negative consequences. Or like the nanny-governess in ‘The King and I’ simply sailed in and began re-arranging the palace furniture: I honestly do think a lot of the now-regnant Boomers and their spawn, currently moving and shaking in the Beltway, have gotten their ideas of politics and world affairs from the movies they saw when they were kids; in fact, given that they skipped so many college classes for demonstrations, drugs, or sex on the lawn, then the movies of the 1940s and 1950s were probably the only education they really got, beyond the readin’ and writin’ and ‘rithmatic of grade school.

Finding (6) speaks about “recent studies in Africa”. I can’t help but think that the Pentagon is also rather interested in Africa these days, since it seems those folks have – not to put too fine a point on it – oil. I can see in this Bill, as has been seen in far too many feminist initiatives whose alliances were too clever by half, an alliance between the feminists and the Pentagon – and a synergy between such two dark forces, each demonstrably past its glory-days but all the more dangerous for the fact, cannot end well for anybody.

Finding (13) asserts that “increased access to economic opportunities is crucial to the prevention of and response to domestic and sexual violence”. Don’t let these phrases simply flow by you unvexed to the sea. You may recall what police-state tactics have been the direct and intended result of ‘domestic violence’ and ‘sex offender’ regimens in this country – and the Bill seems intent on exporting this frakkery to foreign countries (and will they sit still for it or appreciate Us for the gift?).

Worse, let’s not forget that the only way to ‘increase access to economic opportunities’ for ‘women’ in this country was to take the jobs from – how not to say it? - men. And then when jobs ‘went away’ when outsourcing increased because Congress was pandering without thought of consequence not only to feminists but to corporate PACs, then the remaining jobs and dwindling salaries and benefits were cut in pieces: adults were working for salaries and on jobs that in the Golden Age (1940-1970) were reserved for teens to make pocket-money.* And is this what the Bill would like the US to export to foreign countries? Is the overall strategy, if the Bill has one, to reduce other countries to the level that the Beltway’s policies have reduced America? Is this Bill, then, the equivalent of the infamous ‘smallpox infected blankets’ that were sent to ‘the natives’ as gifts and tokens of goodwill?

And let’s not forget that such increased ‘access’ here has required the wholesale assault on the concepts of family, marriage, and the introduction of abortion-on-demand (or whatever they call it now; I don’t get all the Memos), as well as a host of lesser ‘reforms’. And all of the consequences, intended as well as unintended, but all predictable and predicted, though so many ignored.

Section 3 (“Statement of Policy”) lets another cat out of the bag: “It is the policy of the United States … to condemn AND COMBAT [caps mine] violence against women and girls, and to promote and assist other governments in preventing and responding to such violence”.

First, I don’t recall any such governments requesting any “assistance”. And domestically We have seen an increasing trend (strategy?) wherein the government informs the States that it has decided to be their “partner” and they will like it or they won’t get government funds – the old Al Capone scam erected into a national governmental policy. So now the Bill wants to take this racket into international affairs?

Second, ‘combat’ is a military metaphor. And it not only carries in its train the police-state tactics of domestic US policies such as Domestic Violence and Sex Offense (whose lethal consequences across a wide spectrum including Constitutionality and fundamental American and Western concepts of Justice are only now coming to light), but also promises to spread such ‘wars’ to other nations and polities and societies and cultures. Is this wise? Do We have any right to do this?

Third, and this must indeed be some strategic or tactical ploy, the introduction of the repetitive phrase “and girls” – perhaps to perform the same task as the phrase “the children” has performed here: to provide a telegenic and empathy-grabbing symbol, like the photos of the baby fur-seals provided in the 1980s to various environmental groups. And who can forget that according to the Memos in force at the time, you could and can lose your job for calling ‘women’ ‘girls’?

Further, “to systematically integrate and coordinate efforts to PREVENT and RESPOND TO [caps mine] violence against women and girls into United States foreign policy and foreign assistance programs”. This includes the entire hugely dubious police-state strategy of ‘preventive law’ – whereby the ‘potential’ for committing a crime is itself criminalized and made the basis for arrest and imprisonment or confinement. This is already in place here: it came in with the sex-offense matrix of laws and was then incorporated into the post-911 government policy of ‘detention’ – both of which are only now coming to light in all their awful reality. The Bill wants to erect this into foreign policy, when over here We are just now starting to see the courts try to unravel this awful skein.

Further, “to fully implement the comprehensive international strategy set forth in section 300G of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as added by this Act, which provides assistance to eligible countries to reduce and prevent gender-based violence with coordinated efforts in the criminal justice, health, education, and economic sectors”. This Bill essentially wants to re-create as a foreign policy initiative imposed on other countries the entire ‘feminist revolution’ whose consequences have wreaked such havoc here. **

Further, “to support and build capacity of indigenous nongovernmental organizations that are working to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls, particularly women’s nongovernmental organizations, and to support and encourage United States organizations working in partnership with such nongovernmental organizations”.

So this Bill wants to recreate ‘over there’ the entire panoply of feministical pressure groups and organized advocacies that bethump Us here. And use the full faith, credit, and power of the US (such as that may still be) to do it. What it took the feminist advocacies several decades of agitating and ‘strategizing’ to do here, they want to achieve overnight through US governmental clout. I can’t imagine that a lot of countries are going to appreciate the strong-arming. Or, worse, they may laugh at it as they perhaps have been snickering in their sleeves at America’s domestic ‘wars’ for decades now. ***

Further, “to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls through multisectoral methods, working at individual, family, community, local, national, and international levels and incorporating service, prevention, training, and advocacy activities and economic, education, health, legal and protective intervention services”.

This Bill is a warrant for the feminist revolutionaries to literally take over any government, and a warrant to interfere in the entire civic and societal and cultural life of any targeted nation. You begin to remember Frank Capra’s ‘Why We Fight’ series from the World War 2 era, where he reports that the Japanese Tanaka Memorandum is the written proof of that nation’s world-dominating imperialistic aims. The Bill seeks to erect these aims into formal American law, internationally (as has already, to some unhappy extent, been done in formal domestic American law and jurisprudence).

Further, “to enhance training by United States personnel of professional foreign military and police forces and judicial officials to include specific and thorough instruction on preventing and responding to violence against women and girls".

Notice that those ‘United States personnel’ might be civil police or they might be military. Which again carries the seeds of a dove-tail alliance between feminists and the Pentagon just as over here during the last few decades the feminists – reputedly ‘liberal’ – allied themselves with the American law-and-order Right through the Victim Rights Movement to criminalize their opponents and their targets and ‘gender enemies’. So if the Pentagon needs a ‘liberal’ pretext for further intruding in the sovereignty of other nations then this Bill will hand it a rather telegenic pretext indeed.

Section 300A yields a breathtakingly sweeping ‘definition’: “The term ‘violence against women and girls’ [means] any act of gender-based violence against women or girls committed because of their gender that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion, or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life … and includes physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation, and other traditional practices harmful to women, nonspousal violence, and violence related to exploitation”. It goes on to add the same menu “at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere”, as well as any such that is “condoned by the state”.

First, this is so sweeping a warrant that it will justify US ‘partnership’ in any country on the planet that has women in it. And that any government that “condones” such “violence” – which may simply mean any government of a country where such patterns are so ingrained in the culture that it would be suicidal or incite revolution for a government to try to uproot it – is liable to ‘partnership’ and being ‘declared a partner’ by the US (rather than declare war on nations, now, We will simply ‘declare them partners’ – O brave new world!).

Second, you see the same frakkery that has deranged the Constitutional ethos and framework here: there is no ‘private’ sector, no ‘privacy’ (except the Roe v. Wade kind), and thus no boundary between the government police authority and that larger, more vital and indispensable ‘civil society’ of individuals which in the American founding vision is the genuine heart of the entire nation. And does the Bill imagine that other countries will sit still for such a profound invasion?

BUT THEN this Bill demonstrates one of the most stunning and repulsive bits of cynical shrewdery that I have ever encountered in American legislation: “Eligible Countries” – thus countries who are liable to such ‘partnership invasions’ – are defined as “countries that are not classified as high-income countries”.

Which means that any country big enough to tell America to go fly a kite, or any country holding enough American debt that it can threaten to call in its Notes or sell off its dollars, or any country that can afford a half-decent military to turn back the feminist cadres (led, perhaps, by a moon-faced 4-star general in striped uniform pants and sensible shoes) back at the docks or landing fields … doesn’t have to worry because – apparently – the Bill recognizes that they aren’t doing such baaad things to women and girls.

Which means that it is only the countries and governments too poor to defend themselves who will be ‘eligible’ for the full feministical deconstruction of their entire societal warp and woof. And their governments, if they submit to it, will be undermined (and perhaps thus become a US protectorate, by the by).

This is truly repugnant. We have fallen this far. (But it is to the credit of previous Sessions of Congress that this almost diabolically megalomaniac legislation has not come to a vote.)

But it gets worse.

Section 300B establishes a Coordinator of the Office of Women’s Global Initiatives, who will preside over that Office, which Office will be established in the Office of the Secretary of State in the Department of State (just down the hall from Hillary’s office, you have to notice). This Coordinator will report directly to Hillary (the Secretary of State) and shall have the rank and status of Ambassador at Large.

Thus, the Bill will set up an American Ambassador of Women, totally free from the usual State Department operational mechanisms, who will swill Chardonnnay directly with Hillary in the inner office while going over maps and charts. Ach!

But this Ambassador won’t just be for show (like the General). This Coordinator (might We presume ‘she’?) “shall design, oversee, coordinate activities and programs of the United States Government relating to international women’s issues, and direct United States government resources to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls throughout the world”.

That’s an awful lot of power. Those US government ‘resources’, as herein defined, could include aircraft carriers, satellites and drones, mercenaries hired by the government, as well as just about any other ‘resource’ owned or employed by the US government. Which, by the by, also includes the CIA and all those other darker forces. And don’t tell yourself that such possibilities are ‘ridiculous’ – not many decades ago the very thought of a Bill like this would have seemed ridiculous (although, so would the thought that this country could so thoroughly wreck itself so quickly in so many ways).

And will she confer with the actual American Ambassador to any targeted or ‘eligible’ country? Or will she function pretty much as the Bush-era plenipotentiaries and consuls functioned in Iraq?

Or, as the Democrats declared themselves in 1972 ‘the party of women’, will this Bill establish the US as the ‘government of women’? I don’t mean that in any misogynist or macho sense. I mean that an entire government will be committed to enforcing the strategical dampdreams of the more outré cadres of feminism, with all the corrosive ‘deconstructing’ and gender-warring that those cadres espouse.

And she is authorized to represent the United States, and speak for it, in all matters relating to violence against women and girls. Of course, that will be “subject to the direction of the President and the Secretary of State”, butshe will be part of the Executive Branch, not the Congress. Whose members will no doubt be grateful to be left out so they can claim they had no responsibility.

And she will have an Advisory Commission to advise her. Section 300D stipulates that its membership will be “selected from among A) distinguished individuals noted for their knowledge and experience in fields relevant to the issue of international violence against women and girls … B) representatives of nongovernmental organizations and other institutions having knowledge and expertise related to violence against women and girls; and C) academics representative of the various scholarly approaches to the issue of international violence against women and girls.”

As you can see, this is an honorarium-employment scheme for just about anybody Who’s Somebody in feminist circles. And (C) might include just about anybody who has written a book about feminism, or teaches god-knows-what to college-students under the guise of higher education. (See my recent Post on Janet Halley here.)

I don’t want this Post to stretch too long. I’ll add that Section 300G lists the Program Objectives under various headings:

“Increasing legal and judicial protections” lists under 8 sub-headings just about every police-state stratagem enacted under the Domestic Violence and Sex-Offense mania laws (and I don’t imagine that Afghani males will take all that with as much passivity as American males).

“Carrying out health care initiatives” includes ‘women’s health and family planning’, so you know that abortion is in the penumbras there somewhere.

“Conducting public awareness programs to change social norms and attitudes” includes “providing funding and programmatic support for mass media social change campaigns” and that will shade into subverting ‘objective’ reporting, to what little extent in can exist in ‘eligible’ countries; as well as “supporting community efforts to change attitudes about harmful traditional practices” and that, given feminism’s proven trajectory, will include anything male – which should make for some interesting outcomes in the focus groups.

“Improving economic opportunities for women and girls” includes getting women to start their own businesses and starting up the workplace harassment culture that has done so much to drive corporations to quietly but quickly outsource their operations and get the hell out of town.

Section 300K calls for foreign militaries and police to be trained in gender sensitivity. Again, I am not sure that such forces will respond with the same subservient mock-enthusiasm that has compromised American forces.

Section 300L shrewdly requires that funding for all this “may not be provided at the expense of other humanitarian programs”. This is cynical boilerplate, since nobody knows or can know or is supposed to be able to find out where the money comes from for any program. And since ‘money’ – to wit ‘dollars’ – is already a candidate for the Endangered Species List, then this may all become moot at about the same time that America finds itself having to ‘re-valorize’ the Frontier Spirit and Industrial Age grit in order to survive the decline of the nation’s status in the world.

The Section also requires that any and all contracting firms hired by the US become suitably gender-special or gender-friendly or whatever the Memo calls it. It also calls for the deployment of all this authority to assist not only females in ‘eligible’ country militaries but also in the US forces, where they meet with violence against women and girls, workplace harassment, and so forth. So the moon-faced general with the striped pants and sensible shoes will now be able to call upon an Ambassador who swills and chills with Hillary in her battles with the Pentagon mastodons and mastodonlings.

Oh, and the Coordinator-Ambassador will see to it that there are more women officers in the military. And see that UN forces do likewise. But of course.

Well, that’s the gist of the Bill as I see it.

It seems to be pretty much a shopping list in Bill form of just about everything that ‘governance feminism’ wants to see happen in a country. And a pretty comprehensive summary of all the stuff that governance feminists have pulled off ‘here’. For that alone, the text of the Bill is worth the read.

But it also comprises a strategy: what the governance feminists have done ‘over here’ they now want to do ‘over there’, or at least in those countries that can’t fight back and are too cash-starved to laugh at the lunacy of it all (America has yet to see any public voice courageous enough to observe that The Empress Has No Clothes – as in the famous fairy-tale scenario.)

I don’t know what to think. It seems strange that just as the some of the dire consequences of so many feminist initiatives are becoming clear over here, there is this Bill that wants to erect it all into the foreign policy law of the land and spread it around the world. It seems a massive irony that this is happening just as the stature and role of the Unites States is visibly and vividly declining from its post-World War 2 zenith.

It’s almost lunacy when this Delahunt asserts that the Bill will also – by the by – enhance US national security. I can see this Bill getting a lot of governments and peoples mad at Us for trying to deconstruct them – which is an inevitable corrosive consequence of feminism as Theory and as national policy.

Nor can I see it enhancing Our national security if the actual governments are destabilized either because they resist this stuff and are deprived of foreign aid or accept it and lose legitimacy in the eyes of their peoples (male and female). Which brings up the never-spoken feministical assumption that gender Identity will trump cultural and social Identity; certainly We are seeing an awful lot of people around the world who don’t consider their potential Identity as members of a democracy to trump their lifelong Identity as members of a culture, religion, civilization.

Nor do I imagine that American feminists will be any less ham-handed and thoughtlessly impetuous (no matter how shrewdly ‘strategic’) than any other types of American government missionary undertakings, especially the most modern form of American missionary zeal that invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, the excesses of their domestic gender-wars have even noted American feminists and ‘progressive’ publications starting to gingerly propose dialing it all back and that, possibly, mistakes were made.But the past 40 years’ worth of revolutionary agitation cannot but remain vivid in any mature person’s mind. And how can you get a career feminist cadre, life centered upon the ‘high’ of revolutionary righteousness, to dial back? Stalin’s solution, when he had to dial back every Communist interpretation of Marx and Lenin except his own, shot them all or sent the ‘venial’ offenders to the Gulag.

Perhaps, seeing the magic aura of protection afforded by Political Correctness now beginning to fade as the frakkery becomes more obvious, the feministicals are trying to sink so many roots that they will become part of the Beltway jungle, impenetrable and irremovable.

Or maybe this is an instance of the gods driving mad with hubris those whom they will destroy.

Perhaps believing their own klatschy propaganda that they have ‘vanquished’ their ‘enemies’ (i.e. the gender-enemy of the revolution, men) domestically, they are now ready to go forth and subdue the rest of the world. In which case they might recall that even Stalin in his prime realized that the best he could do was to enforce ‘socialism in one country’ and leave world-revolution to other godlings and demons beyond his ken. But that brings it all back to Hitler and Barbarossa: he thought it would be a sure thing.

I don’t mean to be tendentious with these historical references. The femisticals themselves have always brayed about ‘revolution’ and have read all the relevant playbooks, left in History’s ashcan among the wrack and ruin and blood.

I very much do think that there will be blood if this thing succeeds. It is a testimony to the deeply and uniquely ingrained civility of American culture that the feministicals – even with the witless support of the government – could do what they have done here for so long and have not engendered a ‘backlash’ that would make a few negative comments look like child’s play. Other peoples are not so profoundly civil in their habits.

Nor do I think that their efforts to recreate the classic PC campus ethos of the current American university will succeed in the dark and bloody ground that is the wider world, not only beyond the campus but beyond the American borders. As Stalin, at a state dinner, replied coolly to Churchill’s indignant query What do you do with dissenters, Marshal Stalin?: We shoot them. Stalin represents a dark world beyond the small circle of Western democracy’s campfire, and in their hyperexcited deconstructing and demonization of Western culture the feministicals have lost sight of just how fragile but unique and marvelously valuable the Western tradition is in this darkling world.

And I think We are also back to John Adams’s comment that America will be a model of democracy, but not an agent around the world. And that the country will not dissipate itself – fiscally, diplomatically, or morally – by “going abroad in search of monsters to destroy”. It is in this sense that the feministical revolution and its necessary gender-enemy excitements have always been profoundly antithetical not only to the Constitutional ethos but to the genuinely American vision of the Founders.

As I said, it is to Congress’s credit that this Bill has failed to come to the floor twice.

But as We saw in the legislative chicanery that enabled the now infamous Megan’s Law in 1995 in New Jersey, there might come a point when advocates figure that there are enough ‘friendly’ variables in play to give it a go: a vivid and outrageous instance of violence, a Speaker of the Assembly eager to garner votes for a run for higher office who is willing to circumvent all known legislative procedures to force a rapid passage, and a Chief Justice known to be ready to provide cover of Law when the law inevitably and quickly came to be challenged, and a media more interested in settling quickly on a simple, good-and-evil script that would govern its coverage to the exclusion of more serious and acute analysis.

Obama will be facing his profoundly baffling array of challenges, Congressional elections will be coming up, Hillary is Secretary of State … who knows?

Of course, the economy has yet to take its most dangerous plunge – the cessation of the dollar as the world’s ‘reserve currency’. And if that happens, then US ‘influence’ will decline rapidly. And there will be worse consequences across the board.

Interesting times indeed.

But this Bill is a baaaad thing. Only cash or bullets can sustain it.


*Not immediately relevant to the topic of this Post is not only the effect of the jobs and then the salaries being halved as the workforce was doubled (‘women’ into the workforce) but then the effect of the pool of available workers (American males and females) being further increased as virtually unrestricted immigration brought many dozens of millions more into the country. After Tip O’Neil’s shrewd invention of PACs to funnel cash to Congress in exchange for whatever its corporate contributors wanted, and the 1972 Democratic determination to forsake ‘white working males’ to become ‘the party of women’, the Reagan contribution to the mess in the 1980s was to keep up appearances by borrowing money on the strength of America’s World War Two general world hegemony (which the old showman got everyone to believe had come back, just as ‘the battleships’ had risen, resurrection-like, to sail the seas again in all their stern and unconquerable glory).

And after a while, pandering to the Identities was the only way to keep any ‘politics’ going, and pandering to the corporations was the only way to keep ‘the economy’ going. And then after 911 Bush the Egregious tried to combine the feminists’ ‘emergency-victim-stampede’ strategy with Reagan’s it’s-1941-in-America strategy in order to desperately come up with an excuse for America to cut itself a place at the Eurasian resource-heartland table; American industry had been frittered away, its citizenry had been reduced to fragile ‘victims’ and sassy ‘survivors’ with no jobs and lots of debt and a lot of old folks watching wayyyy too many buy-this-drug commercials and We neither produced much anymore nor could pump the oil We had become addicted to.

Bush’s tragedy – to the extent that the word might apply to him – is that he could not fully justify his war(s) without telling the awful truth about just how far down the hole the Beltway had taken the country in the previous decades. To tell that much truth would have risked - ummmmm – civil unrest on a vast scale, as well as risked undermining whatever authority and legitimacy (‘the Mandate of Heaven’, as the Imperial Chinese called it) that the Beltway and the national politicians still possessed. We made nothing anymore, We had no more oil, and We needed to use whatever cards We still had (i.e. military technology) to get Ourselves a place at the Great Table and the Great Game, because the Table and the Game were evolving away from Us and We were on the way to becoming a second-rate power and a third-rate economy, and THAT frakking fact was the fruit of the era 1970-2006 in America. And there is NO putting lipstick on that pig.

I think (and this Note is clearly evolving into an entirely separate Post) that the Beltway in 2001 saw the US in the same position as the Germans saw themsleves in July, 1914: this crazy thing from the Balkans was something nobody had expected, but come to think of it our position is only going to get worse on the world stage over time, so if we are going to have a showdown battle with our present and future rivals, then better sooner than later, and this thing from the Balkans may be just the pretext we need. That didn’t work out so well.

**That 1961 Act provides that “no assistance will be provided to a government which ‘engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations” – so We see here in this Bill an attempt to foist upon the rest of the world the Al Capone scam: you want any help, you do things our way … or else. And I don’t think other countries are going to appreciate such a ‘protection’ racket, even when it is presented to them as a matter of ‘rights’ and of ‘progressive liberation’. Especially so profoundly divisive and damaging a racket.

***And if the dollar ceases to remain the world’s reserve currency – which is the ‘other shoe’ in the fiscal crisis that has yet to drop – then We are going to become a 3rd-world nation almost overnight (or at least resemble Germany in the late 1920s and very early 1930s) and ‘the dollar’ is going to go overnight from its Golden Age status to something resembling the Italian lira of 1955. Then what?