Thursday, July 26, 2007

Quoth Matthew Yglesias, Washington's chattering classes now seem to think that the proper Iraq policy is determined by the need to contain Iranian influence. Which is consistent with the continual talk of bombing the Iranians, for never mind what reason. (Never mind what reason was good enough to get them into Iraq; why should that change now?)

Of course, if containing Iranian influence was the goal, then choosing an Iraqi head of government from the Dawa party, largely an Iranian catspaw for most of its existence, might not have been the best idea. But then again, if you think we're in there to fight the "war on terror", then choosing an Iraqi head of government from the Dawa party, which has a history of terrorist acts, might not have been the best idea.

This nation-building stuff is so confusing. Good thing this administration promised, going in, not to do much of it...

Max Blumenthal presents a travelog of a sojourn among Christians United For Israel, in which several of the united christians profess their desire to support the state of Israel so that it can play its proper role in the Apocalypse --- ending in, among other things, the immolation or conversion of all world Jewry.

Obviously nuts. But consider. Smart, highly educated, highly placed, intelligent people can and do fall into all sorts of weird cults.

Suppose that the United States government fell into the hands of people who actually thought like this. Ideologically driven people determined to do the lord's work, as they saw it, no matter what the consequences for unbelievers who would be damned regardless. Imagine. How might things be different?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Behold a capsule portrait of the modern American mentality towards our businesspeople, about 1:10 into the video here: "It's not fair!" our representative cries out, tears in his voice.

The anguish in his voice is real, and it's not just the complaint of someone who got cheated at a card game. The tone is the tone of a man who has suffered a real loss of faith. But in what?

To begin: the bare facts. The developers of his Florida housing development, who cheerfully let him overpay vastly for his new house in December, just dumped 20 remaining unsold houses from the same development at auction, for nearly half off list price, scant months later when they ran out of rubes. Another resident is heard to complain that "They promised they wouldn't go below market value", to which the developer sensibly responds that market value was determined by the auction, and they didn't go a dime under that. Cold comfort to the saps who paid list price, who stand little odds of getting back over the next year or three if they have to sell.

But is the genuine anguish in the voice of Greg Toher, as he says, "It's not fair!", just money? It's sounds to me as if his faith in something deeper has been lost.

As a third distressed buyer complains:

I don't think they have loyalty to the people who purchased early. They're just trying to dump the houses and get what they can.

These are folks who trusted in the integrity of American business. Some of them, perhaps, looked askance at those parasites in government, but good businessmen, they thought, were under an ethical obligation to deal properly with everyone. Not to take advantage. Time was, they perhaps think, that all American businessmen, yea even Florida Real Estate developers, adhered to an absolutely sterling code of ethics, and would never take advantage. What have we come to now, when they only seem to be in it for the money?