30 May 2009

listen to smart people arguing

the fastest way to learn the mostest

02 May 2009

imprecision's price

curious how often just quite what is said
is so different from just what is heard
a casual aside or an innocent jest
reverbs a discouraging word
even assertions calculated, precise
can become thus obscured and deferred
add intonation, prologue, context
and 'meaning' is resurrected absurd
perhaps it comes down to a matter of trust
of respect, an assumption concurred
built up over years, but once it's destroyed
'twill remain there forever interred
a tragedy to those so dependent upon text
what is left is but life unaverred
until it too is enveloped in the pages of time
'til it's though it had never occurred

stephenhsmith 1May2009

11 April 2009

more of the same but different

yesterday i saw the future
and today i saw it again
'twas not particulary comforting
but when has it ever really been ?

it'll be better and worse
in rough balance i expect
with consequences unintended
and the pathway indirect

the sum of trillions of daily decisions
makes the ocean we all have to swim in
sans enough intelligence, foresight, and thought
becoming the future we all have to live in

stephenhsmith 9april2009

05 March 2009

one word... finally

when everything they tell you is a lie
and you won't stop and take the time
to wonder why
silent as a picture in a frame
never let 'em tell you
that it's all the same
it's just a game
and all the blame is on you

never fear when the feelin's gone
'cause you know, it won't last long
save your heart for another day
when we'll sing a different song
in reticence there will be a sign
that everything'll work out in time

stephenhsmith 2005-2009 :)

it took me four years to come up with ONE WORD to fill out one line of one song... i sang it with a 'blank' or mumbling two hundred times until today.. whewhoo... though it is a bit out-of-sync with the times now.. it was conceived in the depths of the W years

14 February 2009

more obviously

take time to ponder the obvious
'n conjure it's deep implications
for often details are distracting
they multiply manifestations

take time to ponder the obvious
the calendar's true consecrations
the secrets of the divinity of time
are revealed in such meditations

roads ever vary some narrow some wide
in the mirrors are not aberrations
but signs from the past that serve to remind
when it's time for accelerations

always reconnoiter wherever you are
what's in front and behind and up yonder
the obvious can help one to take the next step
and often that's something to ponder

so make time to ponder the obvious
for no doubt it has consequences
though it seems momentarily irrelevant
it governs every one of the tenses

stephenhsmith 14Feb2009

31 January 2009


concentrate on the obvious
and patterns will emerge
ones you can depend on
through every flow and surge

the task is not so easy
for details will obscure
distorting and distracting
and hiding what is sure

so marvel at the facets
and dwell on what they mean
yet never let the obvious
descend until unseen

stephenhsmith 31Jan2009

26 January 2009

to Marian Mahaffey Ascencio

to be taught by your father
at my impressionable age
was a privilege and honour
as my thoughts still engage

for a man of my years
so ever fond and yearning
i'm still in debt for his gift
a lifelong love of learning

stephenhsmith 25Jan2009

25 January 2009

manimal clever too

man is an animal. a most clever one, but still an animal. one astutely capable of recognizing patterns and making use of that knowledge for good or ill (however they may be defined). but perhaps more importantly, capable of recognizing that he does not understand something, which makes him insecure. thus, he forms a conjecture for comfort. to fabricate a pattern, an explanation, that allows him to function more effectively, less afraid.
the most difficult hurdle for an adult human being to overcome is to learn to embrace the insecurity, to incorporate it into a method of living, and still function in proper balance between the interests of self and all others. - shs 25jan2009

man, the cleverest animal
but an animal nonetheless
able to recognize patterns
to form an "educated" guess

yet, when no pattern is certain
and no means by which to be sure
he forms a conjecture for comfort
lest he remain insecure

the conjecture allows him to function
the tool, compartmentalized denial
buying time for cross-examination
while all of humanity's on trial

thus persevering to endeavor
despite what the evidence is showing
to overcome the most difficult hurdle
to live well without ever really knowing

the individual is the world in microcosm
compelled to share what it is to be thee
i spend my life searching for patterns
that others do not or will not see

stephenhsmith 25Jan2009

24 January 2009


"Kudzu doesn't attain it's full power to kill until it's final stages" - shs 24Jan09

for what it's worth

"anything worth doing is worth doing... slowly" - shs 23Jan09

but otoh,

"failure to exploit an opportunity due to pragmatism, by a good heart, is worse than an opportunity exploited by an evil one" - shs24Jan09

then again such assessments are difficult as they contain valuations of "intentions", "expectations" (hopes), and "assumptions" (hypocrisies?)

18 January 2009

hard to figure

it begins with wishful thinking
and after a great deal of time
the image of self becomes clearer
but always refined and refined
a lifelong orienteering on
the path of the things you most feel
what works begets new applications
'til eventually the you becomes real
obstacles and ladders are many
and of course the occasional drop
the journey is more than the destination
the trick is to never stop

02 January 2009

new glasses nullification

a crystal ball or looking glass
sometimes it's hard to tell
just which one i'm looking at
for they both reveal a hell

they could be but one and the same
'tis possible it seems
or maybe down a hall of mirrors
sleepwalking in History's dreams

all i know is i cannot turn away
i stare at the time as it passes
my gaze affixed until i die
or until i get new glasses

stephenhsmith 2Jan2009

the ultimate purely ironic?
immortis but not ironclad
in wars of ideas
as with those between men
the good get killed with the bad

collateral damage'll not be escaped
any reading of History will show
thus more important than ever
on the subject of "change"
the old admonition, "go slow"

what someone hears ain't just what was said
the words go through some sort of filter
of the moment's expectations and built-up assumptions
knocks 'em all out of kilter
subsequent restatings 'oer the passage of time
are required to nail down where they lay
a question that's useful from time to time
is "what did you hear me say" ?

stephenhsmith 9jan09

01 January 2009

other calendars

for someone who never expected to see
nineteen hundred and eighty eight
to see two thousand, let alone plus nine
is a feeling that doth consecrate

'tis a most ironic turn of events
whilst i's otherwise directed
i've so enjoyed so much "free time"
and that was NOT expected

stephenhsmith 1Jan2009

27 October 2008

home is no sanctuary

as the random again returns to it's base
with electric proximity's compressed time and place
reminds more than ever what can happen to one
can happen to any
the most difficult lesson of life's hardest school
is to always apply the old golden rule
and accepting the hypocrisies are multiplied
from one to many

so take utmost care when making a choice
lest consequences unintended are given a voice
that compounds and condemns all
to damnation
for each of us is one yet a part of a whole
indisputably an animal, but perhaps with a soul
the only way we'll ever know is through

stephenhsmith 26Oct2008

26 October 2008

found in my notes from February 2008

"when laws are made by criminals, what would you call someone who obeys them ?"

and the cynic in me, on the cusp of another election day, compels me to add...

"methinks we need as many new criminals, with different priorities, making laws/policy as possible"

22 October 2008

sherffius of course

15 October 2008

Nixon & Me & Thee

every man is a fraud
but eventually he is caught
revealing his obsessions
and at what price he bought
whatever vague impression
he so dearly sought

the path is just the same
no matter where he's from
o'er mountains 'n through valleys
the distance overcome
leaves a rough and equal balance
of the brilliant and the dumb

stephenhsmith 13Oct2008

10 October 2008

the trick

'tis a given that Living is hard
the fact that we all make mistakes
a rough balance of many misfortunes
and some profoundly lucky breaks
the sum of experiences divided by Time
equals learning, the key to living smarter
for there is no escaping that "Life is hard"
the trick is not making it harder

stephenhsmith 8oct08

02 October 2008

the world gets smaller everyday

after more than a century of increasingly rapid advances in communications and transportation technologies, including traveling far enough into outer space to see the Earth as but a small blue dot in the cosmos, one cannot help but conclude that the planet/world/globe is but a miraculous island in a sea of gas, rocks, and ... nothingness.

from such a perspective, all humanity on the island can accurately be called a "community".

certainly a "community" in need of some "organizing", yes ?

01 October 2008

FU Hallmark : )

the most sarcastic and hilarious free e-card website i've ever seen.

why, oh why, didn't i think of it first ?

30 September 2008

Presidential Daily Briefing 6 August 2008


28 September 2008


a life's living moments
come out of the blue
the narrative gets lost
while intense bits accrue

so i write a record each
new year's to december
to help not forget
for all i remember

moments of blistering truth
and daily deluge of lying
uncontrolled laughter and
the death-wishing crying

as the mural gets painted
somehow it makes sense
though it's blurry, distorted
light, dark, and intense

stephenhsmith 28sept2008

25 September 2008

to be sarcastic and fair ...


it must be noted that many Republicans in 2006 did say that if the Democrats took over the House and Senate and passed an increase in the minimum-wage, that it would cause a recession.

24 September 2008

shs qotd

"if you gave a delusional schizophrenic on steroids massive quantities of meth, guns, and a credit card, what would you expect to happen?"

yep, the same applies to a "lone superpower".

stephenhsmith - 24sept2008

23 September 2008


from the net...

"you can fool some of the people all of the time, and often that's good enough"

22 September 2008

but what has he done, the Experience ? - (not hyperbole)

"by virtue of his heritage, temperament, judgments, and methods, Barack Obama's 19 months of effort to successfully secure the Democratic Party's nomination for President, has already done more good for the future of the United States than John McCain, Phil Gramm, Joe Lieberman, and Governor Palin have done in their lifetimes combined" - stephenhsmith 22Sept2008

who pays ?

there will always be right and wrong
and the subset of bad and worse
determining the difference is hard
at times it feels like a curse
the work is still hard in hindsight
and so once again it begins
the books opened, the fingers point
to those who must pay for others sins

stephenhsmith 22Sept2008
"the US Dollar is now the world's first currency backed by home mortgages" - max wolff

"If the bull market in gold were over, it would mean that inflation was under control, the dollar's long-term problems had been solved, the government had become restrained in printing new money, banks were healthy, house prices had stabilized, a surprising new source of energy had been discovered, unemployment was diminishing, and everyone was smiling." jeff clark 7sept08

"Saakashvili thought he was a player in the game, when really he was just the ball" - john cole

20 September 2008

George W. Bush ... Pilot/President/Legacy

"it makes a peculiar kind of sense that W's term launched like the Challenger and is landing like the Columbia" - stephenhsmith 19Sept2008


“If you don’t trust Silver & Gold, do you trust the logic of taking a pine tree, worth $4,000 - $5,000, cutting it up ..... turning it into pulp, putting some ink on it and then calling it one billion dollars?” - Kenneth J. Gerbino

"Paulson and The Fed Are Not Trying To Solve The Financial Crisis. They're Trying to Delay It" - yavin4

"The central thrust of all great religions is to get over yourself" - singleaxis

"If it's too big to be allowed to fail, it's too big to be allowed to exist in the first place." - net

"90% of reported government statistics are intended to get you to believe/feel something that isn't true" - shs

12 September 2008

Inherited Wind ... Galveston 2002

T.S. Fay in 2002 from the west end of Galveston Seawall.  (sustained winds of 45mph with gusts to 60mph) the gusts would damn near knock me down.  'twas a long day, but i was so glad to be there.  i wish i was today. 

09 September 2008

all mine, tyvm

"after reading the Wall Street Journal these past few days, perhaps John McCain should be POTUS (or at least Treasury Secretary), i understand he has a lot of experience with 'bail-outs' " 

which reminds me, if John McCain were to be elected POTUS, they wouldn't let him fly Air Force 1 would they? 

04 September 2008

from the net... worth repeating

Jesus was a community organizer; Pontius Pilate was a governor.

02 September 2008

fun with numbers ... two way split

dividing 100% by two yields under-reported truths...

in a 40/60 split......... 60 is 50% greater than 40

a 47.62/52.38 split ..... 52.38 is 10% greater than 47.62

a 45.45/54.54 split ..... 54.54 is 20% greater than 45.45

a 44.45/55.55 split ..... 55.55 is 25% greater than 44.45

see why, even in a 3 or 4 way split, how winning by a few % points in the total is amplified many fold ? imagine any auto race whereby the winner finished the race 5% faster than all the others? (in a two and a half hour race, finishing 5% faster than others would mean winning by seven and a half minutes)

22 August 2008

Breaker Lives

"please see that these get published"
the 'fictional' Breaker said
"we poets do crave immortality"
in the minutes before he was dead

the more unforgettable the better
with insight being preferable to clever
'tis something of a pharoah in a wordsmith
wanting their poetry to live on forever

so whether 'twas spontaneous or calculating
long crafted or a throwaway thought
the quest for respect and longevity
'tis a presumed validation that's sought

stephenhsmith 22aug2008

12 August 2008

Dorothy's Shoes

seems the gods have decided
to grant me my wish
and perhaps
i should've taken more care
for a wish fulfilled
with it's freedoms instilled
has consequences.

i've longed for a lifetime
for what i now have
yet it's worthless
if not put to use
i fear it will vanish
if it is revealed
so forgive me for being

i now have a power
and like dorothy's shoes
i may well have had it
all along
how long will it last
'til it too has passed?
who knows? but i suspect
not long

stephenhsmith 16aug2008

11 August 2008

Simple Rules

Simple, as in "yeah right", but still worth a minute's thought...

never allow yourself to feel sorry for yourself for more than a few days
always assume that in a few years you won't be here, for someday you will
surely be right.
from time to time, assume you won't be here in a few months and use that
to recalibrate how you spend your time and how you treat others

09 August 2008

me neither, but i'll be damned...

08 August 2008

Res Ipsa Loquitor

05 August 2008

The Stale Prince of Hot Air

YEP, the BIG (horn) DOG, Bill Clinton hath opened his YAP once again...

and the world holds it's breath.... (sure wish he would) FUBC !

03 August 2008

Happy (Early) Birthday to Dick Cheney's Black Cousin

and the next President of the United States
(if the world is lucky enough)

Barack Obama

4 Aug 1961
and his Mother,

02 August 2008


After numerous rounds of "We don't know if Osama Bin Ladin is still alive," Bin Ladin himself decided to send George W. Bush a note in his own handwriting to let Bush know that he was still in the game.

Bush opened the note which appeared to contain a single line of coded message: 370HSSV-0773H.

Bush was baffled, so he E-mailed it to John McCain. McCain and his aides had no clue either, so they sent it to the FBI. No one could solve it at the FBI, so it went to the CIA, then to the NSA.

With no clue as to its meaning, the FBI finally asked Barack Obama for help. Within a few seconds, Obama cabled back with this reply: "Tell Bush that he is holding the message upside down."

PM Farley 21st Century Farley Films = bloody genius

"Somehow the Rolling Stones seem to sound best when you're pissed off." - shs 2Aug2008

01 August 2008

Quite Bloody Right

"British actor Michael Caine has observed that Superman is how America sees itself, and Batman is how the rest of the world sees America."

to which i'd paraphrase "Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca is how America sees itself, and Al Pacino in The Godfather (1 & 2) is how the rest of the world sees America."

(or Jimmy Stewart/Charles Bronson or...)

31 July 2008

not mine but good anyway

"Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll sit in a boat and drink beer all day." by GrouchoKossak

25 June 2008

the Information SUPER highway

way back in the '90's (1890's), would a Telegraph office manager, say in New York or Washington D.C., been exposed to information from many sources, from which he could deduce, conclude, and then use, to write a column of observations and prognostications of the financial, political, and cultural scenes of the day?

perhaps a Telephone switchboard operator could've done the same, thirty years later?

and thirty years later, after the creation of the National Defense Highway System commonly known as "the Interstates", could not a traveling salesman in the 1960's have conversed with and listened to a few score or few hundred "regular" people in the course of his travels over a few weeks or months, and from those conversations have developed, almost like a poll, a more accurate idea/sense of what to expect, say, in an upcoming election?

in 2008, thanks to the Internet, one can easily "listen to" the conversations and assertions of a hundred or two hundred people, every day. and like the 'salesman', one can 'travel' via the Net, to anywhere on the planet in only a few seconds. range far enough, wide enough, and long enough, and one can deduce trends, waves, and spikes in the opinions and focuses of many particular demographic groups and thus perhaps glean a rough idea of direction of the whole.

don't you know that Tom Paine would love to be alive today?

12 May 2008

In a New York Minute...


"In a New York Minute" per Don Henley's singing, "everything can change".

I have wondered many times during the past 18 months, in the aftermath of the Democratic Party's re-taking control of the House and Senate and the persistent and overwhelming antipathy among the base of Democratic voters toward the continued prosecution of the Iraq War, why in the world would Hillary Clinton continue to defend her 2002 IWR vote?

Politically "tone-deaf"? Fear of "looking weak"? Worried of being perceived as not "manly" enough to be CiC ? Perhaps.

But I've long suspected that it was another fear that compelled her to not apologize for the vote, or intimate that it was a mistake, and that she had been wrong, but also for her to be so belligerent in her campaign rhetoric and subsequent votes with regard to Iran and the use of military force.

It was/is the fear of another terrorist attack on the United States.

It is a justifiable fear, especially in political calculations.

For such an attack could immediately/overnight re-calibrate the political math of a general election, reviving the "spirit of 2002", and no pragmatic politician could take the chance of being caught on the wrong side of public opinion if it indeed happened.

But now it is May 2008. The majority of Democratic party primary/caucus and superdelegate voters have expressed their preference for a candidate that did not have to apologize for that vote, or admit to that mistake, and who purposefully emphasizes diplomacy in his rhetoric. So much so, that now the Democratic Party's nomination for President of the United States is almost completely beyond Hillary Clinton's reach.

Yet, according to Mr. Henley, "everything can change... in a New York Minute".
And indeed it can.

President Bush's approval ratings continue to hover near record lows for a record amount of time, the majority of the American public is now suffering economically with many making the connection to the current Administration's policies in Iraq, as the last embers of Hillary Clinton's presidential aspirations begin to die out.

On September 9 2001, 2 individuals disguised as reporters exploded a bomb hidden in a camera that killed the Northern Alliance commander Ahmad Shah Masood.

On October 6, 1981, as jets flew overhead, distracting the crowd, a troop truck in the military parade halted before the presidential reviewing stand, and a lieutenant strode forward. Sadat stood to receive his salute, whereupon the assassins rose from the truck, throwing grenades and firing assault rifle rounds. The attack lasted about two minutes. The lead assassin Khalid Islambouli shouted "Death to Pharaoh!" as he ran towards the stand and shot Anwar Sadat.

Would such an attack by Al Quaeda upon the presumptive Democratic nominee reverse the fortunes of the Bush Administration, the Clinton campaign, and restore American public support for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and on "Terror" to their former levels?

Let us all hope, and pray, that question is never answered.


23 April 2008

gmta 10 weeks later...

from today's LA Times ...

Meet John 'Dubya' McCain
If you like George Bush's foreign policy, you'll love the GOP's current candidate.
By J. Peter Scoblic April 23, 2008

John McCain knows a lot less about foreign policy than he'd have us believe. This, anyway, is the impression that's been growing in recent weeks, not least because of a much-discussed New York Times story published recently that painted a growing divide in his campaign between "pragmatists" and "neoconservatives." The candidate reportedly lacks firm ideological convictions, so a battle for "McCain's soul" may be in the offing.And it's true: Despite his decades of supposed national security experience, it's difficult to stick an "-ism" on the tail of McCain's approach to world affairs. He's been one of the president's most fervent backers on Iraq, and yet he has also criticized the unilateralist tendencies that led the United States to war without key allies. During the 1990s, he opposed U.S. intervention in Somalia, Haiti and Bosnia, but he knocked President Clinton for his unwillingness to commit ground troops to Kosovo. Even on Vietnam -- the intervention about which one suspects he has thought the most -- McCain has both asserted that the war was winnable and also questioned whether we could have succeeded.

But in truth, McCain's foreign policy is far more consistent than it seems. Much like George W. Bush, McCain sees the world in oppositional terms -- us versus them, and good versus evil. McCain speaks often of taking the lead "in fighting this transcendent issue of our time: the battle and struggle against radical Islamic extremism." To him, it is a "transcendent struggle between good and evil." This alone tells us much of what we need to know.

A Manichaean or dualistic approach to foreign policy has a long pedigree in American history, stretching back to the 1600s, when early settlers proclaimed their adopted home a New Israel, a God-ordained refuge from the sins of the Old World. This distinction between the United States and everywhere else eventually became more secular, but it also became more tangible. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the U.S. saw itself in opposition to the rest of the world in no small part because it was. Enemies ranging from hostile native tribes to competing French, British and Spanish colonists surrounded the new country on all sides. Presidents Washington and Jefferson cemented this antagonistic attitude with their famous warnings against entangling alliances.

They believed neutrality was the only policy that would prevent the great powers from toying with a vulnerable America. This worldview persisted well after the United States became a great power itself -- particularly on the right. During the Cold War, a central tenet of conservatism was that the U.S. was locked in a battle with evil. That was not wrong exactly -- the Soviet Union was indeed evil -- but it was a hazardous way of framing the conflict. The advent of nuclear weapons in the 1940s had made a more cooperative foreign policy a matter of survival. For the first time, our continued existence depended on stabilizing relations with an enemy; national security was no longer a zero-sum game, no longer a matter merely of us versus them.

Which is why both Democratic and Republican presidents concluded that, whatever its sins, they had to reach a modus vivendi with Moscow. Conservatives like Barry Goldwater, who nevertheless insisted on defining the Cold War as a literal battle between good and evil, came to dangerous conclusions.They saw the bipartisan policy of containment as apostasy because it implied long-term coexistence with communism -- that is, with evil. They rejected negotiations with Moscow because one did not strike deals with the devil, and they derided international organizations because they required some degree of diplomatic deference to states that remained neutral in the face of communism. They even attacked the concept of mutual assured destruction, preferring a war-fighting strategy that would enable us to "win" a nuclear exchange.

President Bush's foreign policy -- his refusal to negotiate with evil, his dismissal of the United Nations, even his move toward a more aggressive nuclear posture -- is a function of this worldview. And so is John McCain's.Weaned by a military family on the lessons of that most classically Manichaean of modern conflicts, World War II, and psychologically defined by his own maverick streak, McCain's worldview may be more instinctual than intellectual. But it doesn't matter. Like Cold War conservatives, McCain has taken a moral observation that the United States is a force for good battling the forces of evil and turned it into a strategic guide. Thus, he rejects negotiation with our enemies in favor of "rogue state rollback," repeatedly deriding as "appeasement" the 1994 deal that froze North Korea's plutonium program and mocking calls for unconditional talks with Iran. He conflates our enemies -- perhaps one reason he has confused Sunni Al Qaeda in Iraq with Shiite extremists -- because evil is monolithic. Much like the right wing in the early 1990s, which first sought to prolong the notion of Russia as an enemy and then turned to China as the next great threat, McCain has turned on Moscow and Beijing as adversaries in a time of peace. Even his proposed new international body, the League of Democracies, can be seen less as a rejection of Bush's unilateralism than as an exalted "coalition of the willing," in which America can avoid the hard work of cajoling and coercing countries with different interests and values, as it must in the United Nations. McCain may nitpick Bush's foreign policy, but the foundation is the same.

The problem is that, in a world of transnational threats such as terrorism, nuclear proliferation and global warming, such a nationalistic approach is bound to fail. And so it has. Today, the nuclear nonproliferation regime is weaker than it was in 2001, the number of terrorist attacks has increased markedly and the threat of climate change remains unaddressed. McCain may know what he believes about the world, but the world bears little resemblance to his beliefs.J. Peter Scoblic, executive editor of the New Republic, is the author of the newly released "U.S. vs. Them: How a Half Century of Conservatism Has Undermined America's Security."

07 February 2008

John 'W' McCain ?

John "W" McCain ... more "W" than "Maverick" ?

Both men were fighter pilots during VietNam War (McCain got shot down, W did shots)

Both were imprisoned for years and tortured (McCain in the 'Hanoi Hilton', W growing up in Barbara's house)

Both are Neocons, support "amnesty" for illegals, 'staying the course' in Iraq, pressure Iran/no negotiations/more sanctions/sabre-rattling, worked with Ted Kennedy, campaign finance reform..McCain introduced it, W signed it, gay-marriage* (doma vote vs. recent votes), lip-service to religious-right

differences: McCain is...

against "torture" (waterboarding specifically, JM recognizes that the "moral authority" weapon in US Foreign policy public-relations is one that should not be relenquished publicly by codifying the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" into US law. same for Gitmo)

against tax-cuts vote (in the new reality of record debt, 'twould seem to make the case that JM is more 'fiscally responsible', hence more of a "classic conservative" than W. would it not? especially in light of a DEM controlled House & Senate?)

judicial nominations (JM, though he voted for them, is suspected of preferring less than Alito/Scalia/Thomas-type court nominees. In comparison to what, Harriett Myers?)

global warming (arguably the most substantial difference between the two re: legislation and recognition)

stem-cell research funding (technological progress soon to make the point moot)

2nd amendment (on record supporting more legislated forms of gun-control, *though W promised to sign assault-weapons ban if it reached his desk)

06 February 2008

'Tis a Simple Question

'Tis a simple question, though it took me over four hours to answer it.

I suspect that the DNC, RNC, every campaign, and FOX, CNN, NBC, etc. could have answered it within four minutes, but they don't. Wonder why that is ?

'Tis a simple question. OK, two questions.

How many Americans have voted so far and who did they give their votes to ?

DEM pre-super tuesday votes (MI omitted) 2,782,000 votes .....
1,236,000 HRC (44.4%) ..... 1,106,000 BHO (39.7%)

DEM super tuesday votes 15,138,000 votes .....
7,350,000 HRC (48.5%) ..... 7,219,000 BHO (47.7%)

DEM POTUS08 to date 17,920,000 total .....
8,586,000 HRC (47.9%) ..... 8,325,000 BHO (46.5%)

============= UPDATE =================

GOP pre-supertuesday (all candidates) - 3,604,000 votes
JM - 1,203,000 (33.4%) ... MR - 1,193,000 (33.1%) ... MH - 536,000 (14.9%)

GOP supertuesday (all candidates) - 8,733,000 votes
JM - 3,611,000 (41.4%) ... MR - 2,935,000 (33.6%) ... MH - 1,789,000 (20.5%)

GOP POTUS votes ytd (all candidates) 12,337,000 votes
JM - 4,814,000 (39.0%) ... MR - 4,128,000 (33.5%) ... MH - 2,325,000 (18.9%)

TOTAL VOTES (GOP & DEM) - 30,257,000 votes
GOP - 12,337,000 (40.8%) .... DEM - 17,920,000 (59.2%)

TOTAL VOTES (GOP & DEM) - 30,257,000 votes
GOP - 12.34million (40.8%) ..... DEM - 17.92million (59.2%)
which means roughly that of the 30.26million votes cast
in the GOP and DEM contests so far this year...

28.4% want Hillary to lead/change the U.S.
27.5% want Obama to lead/change the U.S.
15.9% want McCain to lead/change the U.S.
13.6% want Romney to lead/change the U.S.
7.7% want Huckabee to lead/change the U.S.

6.9% wanted somebody else, including me :(

21 December 2007

Piss On Them (Properly)

there is an old saying about "fighting fire with fire" which doesn't make sense to me anymore. it seems to me that fire would best be fought with water. with that in mind, i will now strive to piss on Mike Huckabee and his supporters as much as is divinely possible.

firstly, it should be noted for the record that every mass political movement contains a percentage of idiocy that positively dwarfs that of almost any individual's or the population as a whole, simply because any political movement that achieves mass popularity can be found to be but a reaction to the circumstances that preceded it and caused it. and as with the popular saying about fire, the masses seem always determined to "fight idiocy with idiocy".

secondly, if i but had the power it would not be so, because power so corrupts. but religious fundamentalists, under the U.S. Constitution, have every right that everyone else has, to organize and assert themselves in the public arena in furthering their proscriptions/beliefs into law. whether they should be able to do so from a foundation of tax-exempt institutions is a debate for the future, which in turn will be a reaction, if religious fundamentalists continue to succeed as they do today.

reason and logic in the civic arena should rule the debate. morals derived from experience and faith have a place in the debate, but once one religion becomes disproportionately influential, the other religions will be compelled to try to match it. then religions, rooted in the logic and reason of centuries ago, now meta-morphisized into only faith, will rapidly distort questions concerning the raising and spending of public money, demanding that it be directed to the ludicrous, while calling it sublime.this applies to 'progressives', 'neo-cons', and 'baptists' equally, whether in the form of the 'war on poverty', the 'war on terror', or the looming war over the role of a semi-standardized belief in God and the traditional values associated with it, in future public policy. for every solution has consequences, some unintended and unforeseeable, some perhaps not. and from every negative consequence will come some good.

over 200 years in practice of the history of the U.S. has shown repeatedly that action and reaction are primarily the result of a dedicated, activist minority. yet it is also true that in every case, the majority allowed change by foregoing the use of it's power to stop change. the old saying "evil triumphs when good men do nothing" comes quickly to those who have sought to maintain the status quo and failed.

ultimately Government, hence Politics, is about the raising and spending of money for publicly directed purposes. every policy, large or small, momentary or generational, should be subjected to as thorough a cost/benefit analysis as humans are able by as many as practicable. each citizen must be an accountant when assessing public policy in order to hold public officials accountable. it is proper for each individual to use their faith and beliefs in the accounting process. then they should assert themselves in public with "it is MY opinion", "it is MY belief", or even up to "it is my religious teaching/belief" on the questions of the day.

but when their assertions begin with "GOD says", "GOD requires" or "GODdemands", the injection of spiritual/existential faith and belief is intruding upon reasoned debate and will quickly succeed in destroying the use of reason and experience upon questions of public expenditures.

and of course, the same applies to "Science says", "Science shows", and "Science demands", especially when the Science is, as yet, undefinitive. most unfortunate it is that there is, as yet, as much disagreement over what constitutes "definitive" in Science as there is with Faith. such is the nature of humans when dealing with questions concerning how to force their neighbors to act. even more so when incomprehensible sums of money are involved.

yes, STATISM is also a religion, one that currently has even more consequences and almost as many differing versions of it's principles and applications as does Faith in God's Word (which is also just about as many different versions as there are people who subscribe to the tenets of it, for it is entirely arguable that no two people's belief systems are identical)while it is impossible to remove sentiment and emotion completely from any question, emotions are even more an enemy of reason and logic in the public sphere than they are in an individual. the struggle to sublimate emotion and muster as much reason as possible to public questions will be a never-ending one for humanity.

A Constitution proscribing limited and carefully delineated powers to various branches and subdivisions of Government, is the most powerful tool yet devised by man to assist in reason's perpetual struggle with emotions of the day.

stephen h. smith 21Dec2007

10 December 2007

Easier Done Than Said or Pie

How do you motivate an electorate desperately wanting change, to desperately want stability?

Short Answer: Unleash HELL!

Longer Answer: Engineer the two most vocal, opposing, activist political sects to 'go to war' with each other.
Add generous doses of inflammatory media coverage.
Let simmer and boil alternately for five to six months... and there you'll have it.

Fresh-cooked public desire for "stability"... (a.k.a. "continuity")

(always remember that those who have the most power and influence to "create" the future have a vested interest in "continuity" and are masters at selling the illusion of 'change')

To get some idea of what the 2008 version of this recipe will taste like, ask yourself:
"What was the major topic of concern routinely occupying the frontpages a few weeks/months ago that has been replaced by new concerns? And what are those "new" concerns?"

For extra spice, also ask the "Cui Bono" Questions:

"Who would benefit from the electorate's desire for "change"?
"Who would benefit from the electorate's desire for "stability"?

07 December 2007

Conditioned to Paralyze ?

For those who consume "news" and "opinion" reports the way teenagers eat potato chips (one after another, as fast as one can, until they're too full for more or the bag is empty), the Internet of the 21st Century is both a blessing and a curse.

Especially considering the modern dichotomy of so-called "left" ('blue') and "right" ('red') winged bias from particular media corporations. (though in fact, they are all but socialist-statists who argue only the particulars of what government programs to incur debts for and by how much, and where citizen's lives should be intruded upon and for what reason. slightly different shades of pink really).

This dichotomy of conflicting reports creates a neverending cacaphony of noise, arguing over "who lied/did not", who should be "crucified/excused", culminating in "what you should believe" from however many different voices you choose to patronize. At least until another story interrupts the combat/spinning, and the process begins anew. (yet thanks to the Internet the battle can and will, always be revisited and renewed)

Dizzying? To say the least.

But there is another unintended consequence to commercially competing and conflicting accounts of the "news" (or "what you should believe"). The process itself has a conditioning effect that paralyzes rapid analysis and nearly destroys "certainty".

Even more disturbing is the idea that perhaps this condition is NOT unintended ?

19 November 2007

Penny for your thoughts

If the DOW closes below it's August 2007 low of 12,850, many technical-chartists who assert the DOW THEORY will formally conclude and announce that the BULL market has 'officially' become a BEAR market.

Thus making another 10% drop in the DJIA more likely than not.

Which begs this question:

If the DOW continues to stairstep it's way back down to the levels of the Summer of 2006 (between 10,800 and 11,500) during the next 6-20 weeks, it will coincide with US voters selecting almost 70% of the delegates to the GOP & DEM conventions.

I would imagine that such a correlation in timing, especially if the headlines contain the words "foreclosures", "gas prices", "record highs", and "Enron-esque Accounting", would not be helpful to a candidate from either party whose names are closely identified with the words, NEW YORK.

Would it not?

All of which, suggests to me that the FED will do whatever it takes, %rate cuts, repos, 'emergency funds', etc. to bailout not only the banks/brokerages, but to support the current frontrunners.

Their futures (pardon the pun) depend on it, Inflation and the Dollar be damned.

13 November 2007

Reasoning ... Circular or Linear ?

Men and Women possessing ridiculously low levels of moral character, judgement, and intellect are repeatedly elected to public office, high and low, because the Media does not do it's job.

The Media does not do it's job because commercial viability takes precedence over an informed electorate.

The Electorate chooses to remain un-/under-/mis-informed by continuing to patronize the deliberately sub-par Media.

The cycle of divergent dichotomies to define deviancy downward produces winners and losers. Elected officials who prize power without accountability and the Media that enables them will continue to win. The overwhelming majority of the Electorate will continue to lose until they CHOOSE to break the cycle.

The needed information is out there, but it is like the proverbial "needle in a haystack" and it must be diligently searched for. No one is going to bring it to you, unless and until, there is a profit in it.

09 November 2007

Turkey War before Thanksgiving

Working under the assumption that what happens in GEO-Politics is what "they" want to happen, a powerful argument can be made that the Bush Administration's desire for the Middle East is "controlled chaos and instability".

Therefore, I believe that the Turkish Army will invade in force, portions of Northwest Iraq before the winter weather becomes prohibitive.

The markets will react, the US will holler, but it will be a unifying force for the Maliki government and after a week or so, having concluded their operations against Kurdish "terrorists", the Turks will yield to Maliki's call to cease and desist.

Such actions will bolster support for the secular military in an increasingly islamist electorate and also incur appreciation from European countries who are vital to Turkey's ambition to join the EU.

08 November 2007

Peak Oil Hell, Peak Dollar = WCBN

At some point soon, if not already, the Chinese economy will be developed enough to begin the process of shifting from being dependent on exporting their manufactured goods to profiting from their own domestic consumption.

Such a condition insulates the Chinese from the full effects of potential recession/inflation cycles in their western trading partner's economies.

Indeed, shifting economic policies toward promoting domestic consumption is arguably in China's national-security-self-interest. For an expected rise in inflation could be largely offset by a concurrent slowing in GDP growth, by say halving growth from 10%+ to 5%.

In other words, China can now easily afford to reduce it's GDP growth rate by 50%, whereas the US and Europe cannot.

Thus with it's US Dollar reserves (now reported be be 1.3 Trillion) the Chinese can with mere words, hints of monetary policy change not even actual policy changes, create shock waves in foreign markets that rebound to their benefit.

The Chinese now have the power to push up prices for the commodities they need for economic growth, using their US Dollars. (arguably a wise policy, using something going down in value to procure something going up in value, most notably copper and oil)

The US Government, Treasury Dept., and Federal Reserve obligingly continue to inflate their currency, creating in effect, a tariff on imports from China. (in addition to the flood of media reports on defective Chinese goods)

When the US Dollar drops far enough, the US economy will recede. Then when the cost of US properties is reduced sufficiently, the Chinese will begin to use some of the rest of their Dollar reserves to purchase large quantities of US businesses at bargain prices.

The United States now finds itself in much the same position that Britain was following World War One, "victorious" and destitute. Or World War Two, "victorious" again, but bankrupt and compounded by trying to maintain an Empire on credit from foreigners.

In the 1920's the newly empowered US inflated it's economy beyond rationale reason, resulting in an enormous crash and ten year depression. The question now becomes whether the Chinese learn from History?

I would bet they have, will, and do.


31 October 2007

According to US Govt statistics

According to the US Government...

GDP growth for the 3rd quarter was 3.9%
Inflation is still running at less than 2%
Unemployment still below 5%
Consumer spending increased 3%
DOW at or near record highs

In essence, "the PERFECT Economy"

so why has the US DOLLAR lost 10% of it's value this year?

and why do 2 out of 3 Americans say the US is "off-track" ?

does everybody know something the Government doesn't ?

25 October 2007


I'm sure there are photographs, and in this day and age, digital video of Republican candidate for President of the United States, Mike Huckabee raising his hand in response to the question "which of you does NOT believe in Evolution?"

The question, overly simplistic and general, is nevertheless revealing. Even after the many clarifications that followed the raising of his hand.

Politicians, especially when campaigning, take great care in calculating their words and actions, to inspire and compel some people to vote for them or contribute money to their campaign, while simultaneously seeking not to offend other people to the extent that they vote for someone else, or contribute money to someone else, or especially, to work hard to insure their defeat at the polls.

By their words and actions, they make choices that reveal their own calculations.

Huckabee could have chosen to not raise his hand and later clarified by saying "there is nothing in Darwin's Theory that negates, or is incompatible with, the Bible's Book of Genesis", and millions of voters, whether church-goers or not, would have nodded in agreement.

But Huckabee did not do so, instead he raised his hand.

Which means that in Huckabee's mind, the political benefit of raising his hand outweighed the political cost.

That says a lot more about the intellectual level of a large portion of the American electorate than it does about Huckabee himself. And it cannot be dismissed as a momentary lapse of judgement, for in arguing that the U.S. was a 'christian nation', Huckabee declared months later that "most of signers of the Declaration of Independence were clergymen".

If a plurality or majority of American voters wish to encode their spiritual beliefs and moral values into the laws and execution of the laws of the United States, to the exclusion of other's beliefs and moral standards, the system as it has developed will allow them to do so.

But every American should also be aware that such has been common practice in faith-based autocracies in the Middle East for centuries, and it's result is always repression, conflict, and bloodshed. Even in their modern democracies to some extent or another.

One would think, especially in the 21st Century, that Americans would wish to set an example for others to admire and aspire to, instead of emulating practices more than a millenia old.

04 October 2007

Hillary has a BFF

Hillary has a BFF, and it isn't Bill, it's George W. Bush.

Only HRC44 can and will provide a firewall of secrecy, continuation(with slight revisions) of policies, and the new cadre of officeholders that will enable enough time and events to obscure the criminality of George W. Bush's tenure as POTUS.

Thus securing the preservation of hard won (in their minds) Presidential prerogatives in relation to the Legislative and Judicial branches of government.

Therefore George W. (and Cheney too) will do everything in his power to insure that Hillary Rodham Clinton is sworn in on 20 January 2009.

Yesterday's VETO was but another in a long list of W's actions to further HRC's cause. (increased WAR funding, increased troop deployments, even future Library funding solicitations)

Contrary to first impressions, another GOP POTUS would not assist W's legacy forging, for hundreds of current officials would continue to hold office in such an administration, thereby subjecting them to investigation and revelations of criminality (past and present) by the increased and incensed Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.

26 September 2007

Just a Comma ... 1 year later

"I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, (the war) will look like just a comma because there is — my point is, there’s a strong will for democracy." - George W. Bush 24 Sept 2006

over 1000 US KIA and 150+ BILLION DOLLARS ago

that is some COMMA.

Barnett Rubin Quote/Summation

from Informed Comment

The Bush-Cheney administration has surrendered much of Afghanistan to the Taliban and much of Pakistan to al-Qaida. They've turned most of Iraq over to Iran, creating the very danger over which they now threaten another disastrous war; they have strained the U.S. Armed Forces to the point of exhaustion, turned the Defense Department over to private contractors, the Justice Department over to the Republican National Committee, and the national debt over to foreign creditors, while leading a party whose single most basic belief is supposed to be that individuals must take personal responsibility for their actions.

all of which makes it impossible to continue calling yourself a "Conservative" because there isn't anything left to conserve... shs

16 September 2007

Irrationality Explained

Economics professors have a standard game they use to demonstrate how apparently rational decisions can create a disastrous result. They call it a "dollar auction."

The rules are simple. The professor offers a dollar for sale to the highest bidder, with only one wrinkle: the second-highest bidder has to pay up on their losing bid as well. Several students almost always get sucked in. The first bids a penny, looking to make 99 cents. The second bids 2 cents, the third 3 cents, and so on, each feeling they have a chance at something good on the cheap. The early stages are fun, and the bidders wonder what possessed the professor to be willing to lose some money.

The problem surfaces when the bidders get up close to a dollar. After 99 cents the last vestige of profitability disappears, but the bidding continues between the two highest players. They now realize that they stand to lose no matter what, but that they can still buffer their losses by winning the dollar. They just have to outlast the other player.

Following this strategy, the two hapless students usually run the bid up several dollars, turning the apparent shot at easy money into a ghastly battle of spiraling disaster.

Theoretically, there is no stable outcome once the dynamic gets going. The only clear limit is the exhaustion of one of the player's total funds. In the classroom, the auction generally ends with the grudging decision of one player to "irrationally" accept the larger loss and get out of the terrible spiral.

Economists call the dollar auction pattern an irrational escalation of commitment.

We might also call it the war in Iraq.


Oliver R. Goodenough is a professor of law at Vermont Law School and a faculty fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School.

14 September 2007

W's "Return on Success" explained...

The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?"

Jesus replied... "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven hath been given to you, but not to them. Whoever hath will be given more, and he will hath an abundance. Whoever does not hath, even what he hath will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables:"Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand."

Matthew 13:12,13

Explains W's tax policies as well. But nothing covers the matter as well as...

Matthew 10:36

06 September 2007

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

... and why Impeachment proceedings need to begin against George W. Bush as soon as possible.

1. It won't force an end to US troops occupation of Iraq, but it should preclude more escalations and/or deployment extensions.

2. It would be the most powerful tool Congress has to prevent a unilateral, pre-emptive attack on Iran, by order of the President.

3. It would put the American people on the record, for the benefit of future generations, of their disapproval of the President's conduct while in office.

4. And most importantly, it would help such proceedings to become a habit for Americans.

There has not been a President of the United States in my lifetime who has not committed 'High Crimes and Misdemeanors' against humanity, the American citizenry, and the Constitution of the United States. Each one deserving far more punishment than the humiliation of Impeachment and/or removal from office.

Impeachment proceedings now against President Bush, especially following that of President Clinton, will provide the foundation for a powerful check on the 'extra-legal' and unconstitutional inclinations and temptations that the next elected President of the United States will certainly have.

Whoever she may be.

04 September 2007

The Necessary Tools

As we are now well into the era of partisanship, polarization, and the politics of personal destruction, I have developed a method of discernment that may prove useful to others. (I'm probably not the first person to think of it, or write it, but I do believe it is worth repeating anyway) An antidote, per say, to the literally sickening public discourse dutifully transmitted, amplified, and distorted by the corporate media conglomerates.

1. When a partisan disparages a political opponent, the partisan is mostly correct. (one should allow for a small amount of hyperbole)

2. When a partisan advocates their own point-of-view or program, they are mostly incorrect and/or misleading. (one should allow for a large amount of hyperbole)

3. Beyond the large degree of truth spoken when a partisan addresses an opponent and the larger degree of untruth when a partisan speaks of their own side, are the most important issues of all:

4. the issues that are NOT addressed

5. the unintended (but most often, unpublicized) consequences of actions taken and/or advocated.

So how does one identify a partisan?

That is very easy to do nowadays, especially via Television. As the chances are 99 out of 100 that any talking head appearing on TV will be a former, future, or present, elected official, appointed-bureaucrat, or lobbyist.
Any (R) or (D) beside their name is a dead giveaway.

Partisans in print are a little more difficult to discern, requiring more time and reading. But the odds are still 9-1.

The definitive mark of a partisan is dichotomy. Their assertion that one side (theirs) is all "good" and their opponent's side is all "bad". Most often their preponderance of truth-telling about the evils of the other side (see 1. above) is accompanied by a sin of omission. Conveniently leaving out the valuable context of their own (side's) previous mistakes and failures.

And of course, a partisan derives financial benefit from advocating one side and denigrating the other.

This does not mean that a partisan is incapable of being accurate or 'telling the truth'. They can and do. It means that they can only do so when describing the other side.

And in today's age of "parallel realities", the ability to determine larger contexts and 'truths', is still, as always only even more so, all up to you.

Expect no one to do it for you.

(especially in finding the issues/questions that are NOT to be spoken of by corporate media)

27 August 2007

Dubya Troubles

If W wanted to establish a large enduring US military presence in the ME in order to "influence" the WOT, the OIL markets, and growing anti-Israeli demography for the next few decades, he could well have said so in 2002/3 and a majority of Americans would have supported him still.

On top of that, W could have easily used the "humanitarian" rationale to justify the attack (as Hitchens argued) to gather more support.

On top of that, W could have united the 'nations' (ala 1991) under the "defying the UN" ruse (which he did to an extent, though getting France, Russia, China in on the enterprise would've required sharing the spoils)

But those reasons weren't "sexy" enough.

W had to reach for the "mushroom cloud/WMD" lie.


Because humanitarian, economic, and world order/rule of law reasons would not have provided sufficient rationales and "fear factors" to cow the American people (and thier Congressional representatives) into acquiescing to the largest (and often illegal/unconstitutional) power grab since FDR and HST.

And now W is reaping what was sown, for when you oversell a product (policy) you can be certain that "buyer's remorse" is soon to follow (but it did help get W re-elected which was a large part of the political calculation)

So now, in political desperation, W has to run out the clock while simultaneously establishing the "stabbed-in-the-back" predicate. ("we would've won had it not been for"... the Democrats, the Media, etc. ala VietNam revisionists)

And W is well on his way to successfully dragging his feet, for he only has to get to January 2008 (when the primaries begin) and then the Iraq policy becomes "frozen" until Inauguration Day 2009.

I've seen this movie before and the ending (and sequels) suck. (doesn't anyone in the Government, or the Media, ever open a History book?)

All of which makes Peggy Drexler's quote from July 2007 even more disturbing...

"Let's be honest, if this war had been as tidy and bloodless as advertised, would anyone still be concerned about the fact that we attacked a failing country that was no threat to us on the pretext of WMD that our leaders knew full well didn't exist?"

Ulysses S. Grant wrote that he believed that nations have souls, and that the Civil War was penance for the US invasion of Mexico. If he was right, as I believe he was, can you imagine what 'divine retribution' the United States has coming to it now?


18 August 2007

The Empire-ical View

London in the summer of 1977 was one of those special places at a special time. The Queen's Silver Jubilee was being celebrated and contrasted by the Sex Pistols. The sight of English youth with pink spiked hair and safety pins through their noses was completely erased for a few hours one afternoon as I stood in line on Baker Street, humming Gerry Rafferty's hit song in my mind, while I waited in line to enter Madame Tussaud's.

For the following few hours the present ceased to exist. Only the past was on display. A past fraught with meaning, but presented from a thoroughly British point of view. From Nelson at Trafalgar to Christie and the Beatles. Beside Christie's ghoulish apartment, rendered in exact scale in the famous Chamber of Horrors was another room, also to scale, depicting the Death of Marat. Just as David had captured it, but in three dimensions and as perfectly lit as his painting.

I did not know who Marat was, but I read the placard on the wall. And there the lesson ended, and remained esconced in memory until a few weeks ago when I happened by chance upon Simon Schama's 'Power of Art' series on the work of Jacques Louis David.

At once a torrent of memories rushed to the fore. The sounds, the smells, and the sights of that dark and dim chamber were recalled in full. Schama called the painting "disturbing", with which I agree, but not for the same reasons as a British historian. For his view of the function, motivation, and place of Marat is the polar opposite of mine. (The British are very sensitive about the killing of kings after their own experience with the corruptive effects of replacing a king with a common dictator, though as always, it was the Irish who got the worst of both)

But his assessment of the power of David's work, and perhaps by extrapolation in context, Marie Tussaud's, was compelling even if his opinion of David's motivations missed the mark. Schama called David's work "a lie", but I disagree, for I believe that behind the mask of every killer is a saint, and behind the face of every saint lies a killer. And David captured that essence so well that society and it's political reactions debate it's consequences over the 200 years since.

Within the realm of the "power of art", I would argue that David's modern cinematic equivalence, if you consider 40 years ago 'modern', would be Arthur Penn's 'Bonnie & Clyde' in 1967, and George Roy Hill's 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' in 1969. For they too most certainly had the power to disturb and impress. And though not factually accurate, they proved once again that the 'real' truth can be conveyed more thoroughly through fictional 'art' than can be found in any history book.

That "TRUTH" is, everyone is a monster and a saint, at the same time. And any 'glamour shot' or 'damnation', whether on canvas, celluloid, or digital can only capture one essence at a time. Such are the limitations of any medium of 'recording' wherein the perceived 'truth' will always reside in the senses of the beholder. For the true "power of Art" is that it does not instruct, it reveals.


11 August 2007

Pulling a Gerson

'Pulling a Gerson' or 'When Writers Attack' ?
or perhaps taking a page from Ann Coulter's 'How to Sell More Books' trilogy?

Either way a PC has broken out...(Pissing Contest) but it is still too early to tell whether it is for real or just another staged 'play-fight' between two former Bush speechwriters. Matthew Scully and Michael Gerson.
"I think they look at my writing as the fine china, to be taken out on special occasions," Scully says Gerson once told him.

"I don't remember some of those instances," Gerson said yesterday. He said he went to the coffee shop at the request of NBC, which was filming a White House special. He said he did not remember ordering speeches not to be copied to Scully and McConnell but added that the White House generally tried to restrict the number of copies available. Moreover, Gerson said, Scully did not complain to him. "He never came to me and confronted me about it," he said. "Not that I remember. I think he may have had some asides after some of the profiles, but I had no idea the depth of the concern."

Something about working in the W Administration has the strangest effect on people's ability to remember things?

Hopefully the memory loss will spillover into the general population in the future. I for one do not want to remember anything from W's tenure. (except that it ENDED)

In the meantime (pardon the pun) get the popcorn out and watch the ink spill, and maybe, just maybe, the Matt & Mike spat will make it all the way to The Soup.

The Coulter Method

pick a side and jerk it off
berate the others, scorn and scoff
get yer face on the tele
and buzz on the net
the process may be smelly
but it's a profit-making bet
say something to engender
a storm of dirty looks
you'll learn from your accountant
you sold a lot more books

stephenhsmith 11Aug2007

31 July 2007

With a whimper of the future?

British Army ending its operation in NI

The British army's operation in Northern Ireland will come to an end at midnight on Tuesday after 38 years. Operation Banner - the Army's support role for the police - has been its longest continuous campaign, with more than 300,000 personnel taking part. A garrison of 5,000 troops will remain but security will be entirely the responsibility of the police.

British troops were sent to Northern Ireland in 1969 after violent clashes between Catholics and Protestants.

When the first soldiers were deployed in August 1969, commanders believed they would be in Northern Ireland for just a few weeks.

perhaps a portent of the US withdrawal from Iraq in 2041 ? when so very few will even notice the failure ?

20 July 2007

The Dangers of Delusional Dichotomy

For the past few years I have often been perplexed and astonished after reading the words of two writers in particular, Sydney Blumenthal and Gene Lyons. The question returned over and over again, ' how could two people write so accurately about the malignancy of the Bush Administration after having been so wrong in their defense of the Clinton Administration'?

The answer it seems, lies, (pardon the pun) within the realm of the characteristics of the commercial opinion publishing business. Newspapers, Websites, and Television productions geared to the dissemination of opinion are not particularly interested in balanced presentations, as they do not provide enough 'action' (in the form of 'conflict') for their prospective audiences. Publishers are almost single-mindedly (pardon the pun) locked into a mindset of setting up a dichotomy. Often with the rationale of providing a 'balance' which is simultaneously misleading and limiting.

On any particular issue's specific question, one will argue 'for' it, and another 'against', with very little time/space alloted to any view that dissects the question into smaller parts that can be then argued, for and against, in context with past history and/or future ramifications.

I consider this practice a disservice to the public, and certainly enabling those who wish to keep the people uninformed or underinformed, so that they may have less influence upon their elected officials who cast the votes and sign the bills in a representative democracy.

This malady is perhaps a natural consequence of the commercial process, especially in regard to the writer in need of a check, but if so it is one that has been overdone by both writers and publishers. I cannot accept that there is not a market for writers who are capable, within the same time/space limitations, of dissecting and arguing the pro's and con's of any question, and that by doing so, the public is greater served.

In the specific cases of Sydney and Gene, it is as if both are incapable of understanding that the very nature of the American political process is inherently corrupt and corrupting and that any good resulting from a policy change, by any Administration, is but a consequence of the law of averages and almost entirely accidental?

Judging from their careers and their writings, it is impossible to conclude that they are so stupid as to believe that 'their' side is all 'good' and the 'other' side is all 'bad'. Yet, that is what the great bulk of their arguments consist of. And only those with a knowledge of the past can adequately balance their assertions against, and in continuity with, what has gone before and thus, what is likely to come. For neither will be caught addressing the failings of their own past in their contemporary works.

A false and 'delusional dichotomy' may fill the pages and airwaves with the semblance of content, like cotton candy, but it does not provide the fiber, minerals, and vitamins needed for a healthy society or government.

I would say that the present condition of both more than proves my argument.


06 July 2007

Cool Hand Dubya ?

"yeah well, sometimes nuthin' can be a pretty cool hand"

George W. Bush, like Richard Nixon before him, is reputed to be a top-notch Poker player. Let us hope W. is not familiar with the movie "Cool Hand Luke".

The spectacular demise of his pet domestic initiative, immigration reform, in which he had the support of a majority of Democrats and a substantial minority of Republicans, signaled to the chattering classes the absolute qualification of 'Lame Duck' had arrived.

But this is not so.

For there is still one issue on which he still has the stated support of large majorities of both parties, including most of the DEM Presidential candidates. Though mostly for a wide variety of crass, selfish reasons, a large majority of elected officials on Capitol Hill would not dare criticize, let alone call for Impeachment of W. for initiating an attack upon IRAN.

And he knows it.

Thus the lesson of last week's temporary commutation of Irving "Scooter" Libby's prison sentence will be viewed more ominously for world affairs than even for it's darkest impact upon the American justice system.

For with it, W. is sending a message to all who would challenge him, and his Iraq policies, not to go to far "down that road", because if necessary, he will order the attack, (or more likely continue to escalate his provocations) knowing full well that the political consequences can and will be spun to his, his party's, and his core-supporter's benefit.

At least that is how Beltway Democrats see it, because they know nothing of the larger world outside their own echo chamber. And coming from an Administration for whom political-math calculations are the first consideration when formulating policy, followed closely by opportunities to claim more unitary Presidential prerogatives, then graft (such things as the chances for success and consequences, intended and unintended, or contingencies in case of failure, are far down the list) it is easy to understand why Democrats are so skittish. They probably think the same way.

Intimidation is the only card Bush and Cheney (never forget Richard the Bruce) have left to play, but it is the one with which they hope could fill an inside straight. Whereas the opposition is banking on their card-counting skills and prematurely assuming that the next hand will be a winner before this round is concluded, because all they have now is a Red Queen and a Jack of Hearts. And inside the Beltway, Israel, Saudi Arabia, New York, and the M.I.C. are always FOUR ACES. And when their interests are aligned, as they were in 2003, lookout.

This is not to say W will order an attack upon Iran before his term is over, indeed quite the opposite is true. He cannot, and the rest of the world, outside the Beltway and especially the Middle East, knows it.

But akin to a crazed bank-robber who's been found out and surrounded, W knows that he has hostages (U.S. troops in Iraq) even though his pistol only has one bullet left in it. Therefore he must simultaneously convince his domestic political opponents (now in both parties) that:

1. He is sane enough to be negotiated with

2. He just might be crazy enough to start shooting

It is the only way he can buy enough time to run out the clock. After which he will spend the rest of his life carping upon every misstep (perceived and real) by every Democratic President. Especially when the day comes, and it will, that another large scale terrorist attack takes place upon US soil. W will bellow "I Told You So" at the top of his lungs, and an eighth, a quarter, or perhaps a third of the American public will shout along with him.

In the meantime, not to worry, W is not going to start a World War over Iran's nuclear ambitions. Why would he want to do even more of Al Quaeda's work for them, when there is far too much money to be made in future Patriot missile sales?

(updated 07.07.07)

04 July 2007

Scooter Lessons

What can be learned from the saga of Irving "Scooter" Libby?

The first and most powerful impression is that President Bush has made John Edward's "Two Americas" campaign argument far better than Edwards himself.

A cavalcade of liberal socialists, regardless of party affiliation, rallied to Irving's support, revealing the divide between those who rule and those ruled. Aided and abetted by traitors to their vocation and responsibilities, Woodward, Russert, Novak, and Miller, whose fealty to power trumped their duty to inform.

Also, that the stated principles by which Americans are said to 'govern themselves' are mere words to be 'twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools', and are now even more hollow.

So what will come of it? Probably very little. Americans are notorious for their impatience, baseness, and inscrutably short attention spans. Thus it is entirely predictable that another subject will soon grab their attentions and today's lessons will be almost entirely forgotten within weeks. And even more disturbing, if it is not forgotten, those with a vested interest in removing the subject from daily discussion will engineer it's supplanting with actions that cannot be ignored.

02 July 2007

Remember this Day

Remember this day.

Because it will produce a 'deja vu' moment in the next few years when members of the next Administration commit unethical, immoral, and illegal abuses of their power, in the name of serving the President (whoever she may be) then bald-faced lie about it in court, and get convicted.

Knowing all the while they will never have to serve a day in prison.

Remember this day.

19 June 2007

Mistakes? Bullshit !

Tonight on PBS (Pure Bull Shit?) ... your Tax Dollars at 'work'.

As the United States begins one final effort to secure victory through a "surge" of troops, FRONTLINE investigates how strategic and tactical mistakes brought Iraq to civil war. The film recounts how the early mandate to create the conditions for a quick exit of the American military led to chaos, failure, and sectarian strife.

BULLSHIT! They weren't "mistakes", they were intentional. In order to create conditions requiring US troop presence (and expenditures) for decades.

And it worked.

Call 'em Rotten Bastards for sure, but "stupid"? Not. (except in the moral sense)

14 June 2007

I's begin'n' ta wunder...

was he housed in a cryogenic palace somewhere or just going to live forever...

Guy de Rothschild, 98, the dynamic patriarch of one of the world's dominant banking families and whose business savvy helped revive and expand the multibillion-dollar enterprise after World War II, died June 12 in Paris. No cause of death was disclosed. per Adam Bernstein WaPo


10 June 2007

Mrs. Miniverstein

Taking a page from the ultra-successful pre-WWII British propaganda series "Mrs. Miniver", next week's release of 'A Mighty Heart', starring Angelina Jolie as Mariane Pearl will have a large hill to climb.

How Dan Futterman, via script and acting, manages to portray Daniel Pearl as a regular "dedicated reporter" will be a neat trick. Like Evil Knievel jumping the Snake River.

Because there would be no reason for any radical Muslims to think that a Jewish-American working for the Wall Street Journal, covering the "War on Terror" in Pakistan, would be in any way connected to the CIA ?

update: do as i say (act) not as i do

05 June 2007

Irving Libby had a great fall

30 months (or 6, or none?) for lying to cover up a crime and buy time for his bosses' re-election.

Worked like a charm.

And considering that Irving deserves a firing squad for his War Crimes, anything less could accurately be labeled "a slap on the wrist".

26 May 2007

There's a Difference?

the difference between "knowing" and "believing"

i "know" i was alive in 1963, but i cannot "prove" it personally (having been born in late 1962). i would have to call upon others to verify it. (along with some documentation)

i "know" i was alive in 1977, and i can vouch for it personally (along with other's testimony and documentation)

i "know" that Abraham Lincoln was alive in the early 1860's, by accrediting the same tools of documentation, in addition to living with the after-effects of his existence.

but i do not have the first-hand evidence of having actually spoken to someone who met him. (as i have with Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, every US President from Truman to the present day... why always the rottenest bastards? thank the gods for Otto Kretschmer) therefore, what Lincoln said, did, and why, has been handed-down to me by others, filtered. and whether those interpretations are accurate, i cannot "know". i can only "believe" the interpretations that strike me as the most plausible (believable) based on my own experiences, and subject to re-interpretation when new 'data' is acquired.

beyond Lincoln lies 400 years of documentation (and some artifacts), courtesy of Gutenberg, verifying the existence of many others, but they diminish considerably with passing of centuries and are subject to ever greater degrees of skepticism and inaccuracy. to the point where, over a millennia, or two, ago, men were said to have lived and spoke words that were consumed by their contemporaries and posterity, as those of a "prophet" or the "son of God".

it is in the extrapolation from so far back "then" to "now" that my "know"-ing and "believe"-ing begins to converge and breakdown simultaneously. it is from such distant and multi-filtered times past that 'reasonable (rational) doubt' invades and consumes, thus eliminating "knowing" completely, leaving only "belief".

but it is when the template for judging the distant past is applied to the present, that truly disturbing questions arise.

i "know" that planes flew into buildings some years ago because i saw the film on television. i "know" some of the subsequent actions/reactions made in response to that event. what i do not "know" is the "why?".

for in a perverse irony of the modern day, having too much information has the same effect as having too little. it forces one to have to "choose" what to "believe" because "knowing" with a reasonable degree of certainty is rendered impossible. and each individual makes their own choices based upon their own experience and ability, or desire, to assess the information and distill it for themselves.

and thus, the development of a "belief system" that can be argued/defended is ultimately about all one can do for one's self and the community. to say "because i believe it so" carries little weight. even less weight when the assertion becomes "because a 'goodbook' told me so" or "that's what i was taught".

consequently, what people "believe" to "know" says more about them than what is the actual 'truth'.

how do i "know" that?

i don't. but it "works", for me.



from the white-hot fury of unbridled love
to the bitterest emotions impassioned
experience teaches a thousand times over
that most things are best left imagined


Will the GOP Destroy Itself...

Before it destroys America?

As everyone except for a dwindling band of Bush supporters now knows, the U.S. is in a terrible situation in Iraq from which it cannot extract itself. For Bush and Cheney, their own pride and delusion are more compelling than U.S. casualties, the destruction of Iraq and its people, and the inflaming of sectarian strife and anti-American violence throughout the Middle East.

Congress is complicit in the great strategic blunder. Republican flag-wavers led Americans like lemmings into the abyss. The Democrats have already abandoned the electorate that gave them control of Congress six months ago in the false hope that the Democrats would corral the White House moron and lead America out of the abyss.

25 May 2007

Why Congress Caved

Yet, today, there are more U.S. troops in Iraq than when the Democrats won. More are on the way. And with the surge and retention of troops in Iraq beyond normal tours, there should be a record number of U.S. troops in country by year's end.

Why did the Democrats capitulate?

Because they lack the courage of their convictions. Because they fear the consequences if they put their antiwar beliefs into practice. Because they are afraid if they defund the war and force President Bush to withdraw U.S. troops, the calamity he predicts will come to pass and they will be held accountable for losing Iraq and the strategic disaster that might well ensue.

when 1/3 equals 1/2

Gallup says that 1 out of 3 Americans believe the Bible is literally the word of God.

That's HALF the problem with the U.S.

The other half of the problem are the legions of even bigger idiots that mistakenly believe in a STATE, whose mission is to redress all grievances by the FORCE of LAW.

And now the newest version of both idiocies combined.

addendum1.. Angry atheist books sell, revealing new intensity to public angst over faith

24 May 2007

a million what?

amillionthanks.org is advertised on the evening news in fort worth

wouldn't it be more appropriate being amillionapologies.org ?

23 May 2007

One Simple Fact

One simple fact can inspire so many good questions.... like this one:

The United States burns up almost 21 MILLION barrels of OIL per day, the equivalent of the consumption of China, Japan, Germany, Russia, and India combined.

and/or this one:

The United States owes $10.040 trillion, nearly a quarter of the global debt total of $44 trillion.

and the figures for weapons sales worldwide reinforces the extent to which the U.S. economy is "militarized". without which, San Antonio would shrink to a few dozen buildings surrounding a famous old Spanish Mission.

22 May 2007

When will things change?

Short answer: when blood begins to flow in the streets (or Never?)

Long answer: when Americans begin placing a higher premium on "thoughtful, deliberate, and incremental" public figures over those currently in fashion, who appear "tough, forceful, and resolute".

21 May 2007

Jimmy Carter has a problem

Jimmy Carter has a problem telling the truth.... his problem is that he tells the truth.

Whether it be about Israel or Bush, the fact is that there are some things you shouldn't say because you are YOU. (no matter how true or accurate, the assertions are received as self-serving more than illuminating)

I suspect we'll see alot more of these kinds of statements in the future from another failed President named George. (and won't that be IRONIC ? he'll finally start telling the truth when it no longer matters what he says) but in the meantime GW43 is making a habit of using the word "sober" in public pronouncements every week or so. Not a good idea.

20 May 2007

Time Warp Again- What Year IS it?

the U.S. AttyGeneral overules scores of DoJ attorneys who conclude that such actions would be illegal and violate international treaties of which the U.S. was a signatory. the USAG says "the treaties are very old and do not reflect modern conditions" .... (i wonder if he used the word "quaint"?)

USAG Gonzales on the Geneva Accords, Wiretapping w/o warrant? ... NO.

USAG Robert F. Kennedy on U.S. covert assistance to Cuban "insurgents" in March 1961.

.... (five weeks before the "Bay of Pigs" invasion).... CORRECTION: the DoJ survey was conducted in the fall of 1961 in the aftermath of the disaster. RFK vetoed (overruled) the report's conclusions of illegality.

19 May 2007

If they were really smart

AND truly wanted the majority of U.S. forces to leave Iraq,

the "insurgents" would go on holiday for the next 18-20 months...

Hillary Rodham Gorbachev ?

I believe it is an absolute certainty the HRC will be the next President.

The real question is: Will she be the last President?

a Battle it is Losing

"Western" Civilization, including the "Enlightenment", has a few good ideas with which to fight a hundred millenia's worth of built-up and handed-down human failings. It is a battle worth waging.

It is a battle that it is losing.

Inherited Wind... muleboy303

because an idea is more holy than all the shouted hosannas and hallelujahs combined

... and the fact that after the Boomers, the "Greatest Generation", and all of their predecessors,
WIND may be all there is left.

Remember, not all consequences are un-intended.

so in the spirit of Kilpatrick/Alexander, Buckley/Vidal,
Buchanan/Kinsley, Hitchens/Anyone, Mencken/Everyone etc...

i hereby establish Inherited Wind with commentary enabled for those capable of and inclined toward dialectic argument. i've many questions, a few answers, and a lot of ideas. and i suspect y'all do as well.

let us see what we can learn from each other.

stephen hurley smith

muleboy blues ... rule.303 ... strangepup ... myspace ...