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Wednesday, July 28th, 2004

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Where Ya Been, AJ? :0
93, all!

Sorry to go so long without an update (which maybe three of the five of you who read this might be missing ;) ) -- finally finished chapter I:6, and am organizing for I:7, which means that Book One of ITNV is, thankfully, only two chapters from completion. One of the things I find toughest is writing "connective tissue": stuff that simply has to be done for the story to work, but is low on intrinsic interest and holds us back from the stuff we really wanna get to. One finds ways to make it interesting, natch, but that's hard and annoying work...and not much helped by lengthy efforts on lj. (Cue the copyrighted Entropy song, "Let's, dooo, the Tiiime-siiink a-gaaaaainnn!")

Fortunately, the massive time spent doing Book One has kept the page-count down: two chapters of the thing to go, and we're only on page 48. It really is harder (for me, anyway) to write "short" than "long" -- particularly while trying to preserve that Stephen King-ish ease of readability thang. It's a relief to reread it, though, and realize that it breezes by faster (and more engagingly) than the disproportionate effort of writing it made you fear. Then too, I suppose it should have been predictable that the book assigned to Hod (all of ITNV, alas, not just Book One) would involve a great deal more intellectual effort to compose than my usual stuff (more's the pity!...and me with practically no Air in my chart. :/ ).

I also resent not having time to reply on other people's ljs, not to mention plug Friends (e.g., two I've added: 1handle and agent777...the former a fascinating, intensely personal essayist who added me first (for which thanks!), the latter my buddy James(agent139)'s new essays-writings-and-digital-photo-collages page, both of which you should check out asap :) ).

Finally, I've been spending my afternoons and evenings following the Democratic Convention (on C-SPAN, where, bless them, they show the whole thing gavel-to-gavel -- the way the networks ought to, btw: a broadcast license is basically a permit to print money, and the least they should do to earn it is facilitate democratic debate, by covering both party conventions live, irrespective of ratings). I may have more to say on that later (or not); for now, I'll just post up some thoughts left over from a week or two back, and leave it at that.

Here it comes! Duck! :)

93 93/93 -- AJ
Tough Time for the Right, Part 2
93, all!

It's funny...the semantic environment in this country (on teevee, anyway) has been moved so far into lockstep with the Texas Taliban that you really do begin to wonder whether it's you who've changed, rather than the range of allowable discussion. I mean, am I just getting old and returning to some fantasy of my idealistic youth?...or did there in fact used to be a conservatism in this country that you could respect? As it happens, there did -- as confirmed for me during the California gubernatorial recall debates by Tom McClintock, and more recently a couple of weeks back thanks to PBS's "McLaughlin Group," where it's alive and well (though virtually ignored, of course). You may recall my suggesting that real conservatives (let alone libertarians) are getting a bad name thanks to our current bunch. Turns out they're well aware of it, and more than willing to say so, given the chance.

For those too young to recall, conservatism used to be about small government, individual liberty, states' rights, fiscal responsibility, intelligent management of the American empire, and the like. Libertarianism went even further, distrusting not only federal interventionism, but all attempts by government to meddle in social relations. Long time, no see, hunh?

So here we are watching "McLaughlin"...and there are the heavily conservative, pro-business commentators saying the very things I've been wishing somebody would bring up for the past three years and change. In a brief, well-managed half hour of television, they noted several crucial points. To cite just three:

1. The current administration has been systematically destroying the American empire: bankrupting the U.S., putting it into debt to foreign creditors for generations to come, overcommitting its military resources in the entirely wrong places, and (incidentally) losing the war against Islamic fanaticism (e.g., recruiting thousands of new anti-American terrorists by appearing to confirm the terrorists' most paranoid claims about our intentions: that we're out not only to control the world's resources (duh), but to impose the wackiest forms of Christianity on everyone (oops)...not to mention providing said terrorists both a brand-new free zone to operate in, and 140,000 American troops to use as their private shooting gallery, in that lovely project, the "New Iraq").

2. Beyond that, the current administration has been systematically destroying American business around the world, leading to the hugest boycotts of American goods and services that anyone can recall.

3. The most obvious result of the current foreign policy has been to hand the entire middle east to Iranian religious fanatics, placing both American interests and, incidentally, the state of Israel, in profound peril. Since this was completely predictable -- and widely predicted -- in advance, you have to wonder what the hell the administration's real motives were in the first place: to wonder whether the Wolfowitzian defense-of-Israel thing was ever a genuine part of their plan, whatever he and his allies thought they were doing. (Lefties tend, btw, to be predicting a war with Iran itself next, but I'll believe it when I see it: "axis-of-evil" rhetoric aside, near as I can tell the Shrubbistas have been best buds with Iran for a very long time. If they do invade Iran, Wolfowitz may get his way (though God help the rest of us)...but if, say, Syria is next, strengthening Iran even further, I suspect even the most gullible among would-be Israel supporters may begin to realize they've been had. For the record, you may notice that it's Syria, not Iran, looking at U.S. sanctions at the moment.)

Given, then, that this administration has failed (if that's the word) at virtually everything it purports to be doing for U.S. interests, why (McLaughlin asked) is anybody in the establishment giving them a dime? Two reasons (they suggested): (a) business has never seen such a naked giveaway of tax dollars and abandonment of consumer and environmental protections, and (b) these guys are in one-party control of the country, and very crazy...so you don't want to piss them off. Period.

Unless (as seems increasingly likely) they plan to move to outright martial law, I believe this bunch to be destroying both the Republican Party, and conservatism generally -- on the other end of this you could see pressure for a "populist" socialism that'll make your hair curl. Even if they do move to martial law, I believe they're rapidly ensuring the suicide of American power in the world. I hope and pray that isn't their intention...and that in any case, come next January 20th they won't be in a position to carry it out. (Well, any longer, that is. What they've already done will take a generation to correct, if we're lucky.)

Anyway, if you were wondering why Kerry's first choice for a veep was John McCain, that's why: the American establishment is (and most particularly its foreign policy, military, and intelligence professionals are) trying to use the Democratic Party to take the nation back from this bunch of wild-eyed social engineers. Given the choices, OMG I hope they succeed, come November.

"Are you better off than you were four years ago?" Unless you're a big fan of Osama and the boys, the EU and China, or Iranian mullahs, can I get a Hell, No? :/

93 93/93 -- AJ

P.S. to Second Amendment fans: I don't have any guns, or any other weapons, but I oppose nearly all forms of gun control. Despite what they're telling you at the moment -- and remember, these guys are always busy saying (and even appearing to do) one thing while planning another -- do you really think the current bunch are gonna take away all your other rights, but leave your guns alone?

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