Tuesday, February 22, 2005

When Uncle Wants Your Help, He'll Beat It Out of You

From CNN:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Intent on securing the vulnerable Arizona border from illegal immigrant crossings, U.S. officials are bracing for what they call a potential new threat this spring: the Minutemen.

Nearly 500 volunteers have already joined the Minuteman Project, anointing themselves civilian border patrol agents. They plan to patrol a 40-mile stretch of the southeast Arizona border throughout April when the tide of immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border peaks.

"I felt the only way to get something done was to do it yourself," said Jim Gilchrist, a retired accountant and decorated Vietnam War veteran who is helping recruit Minutemen across the country.

"We've been repeatedly accused of being people who are taking the law into our own hands," said Gilchrist, 56, of Aliso Viejo, California "That is an outright bogus statement. We are going down there to assist law enforcement."

Officials concede the 370-mile Arizona border is the most porous stretch on the U.S.-Mexico line. Moreover, recent intelligence indicates that al Qaeda terrorists are likely to enter the country through the Mexican border, James Loy, the deputy secretary of the Homeland Security Department, said last week.

"Several al Qaeda leaders believe operatives can pay their way into the country through Mexico, and also believe illegal entry is more advantageous than legal entry for operational security reasons," Loy said in written testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Of the 1.1 million illegal immigrants caught by the U.S. Border Patrol last year, 51 percent crossed into the country at the Arizona border. The agency increased the number of agents in the Tucson sector, which has its largest staff, from 1,700 to 2,100 over the last 18 months.

All righty, then. Our supervisors don't want vigilantism around the Mexican "border," because that would be very bad. Can't have the Americano peasantry getting all uppity, taking the law into their own hands and whatnot. What are they whining about now? They don't want an invading army of prospective Wal-mart associates to use "their" land as a thoroughfare? Well, they should ask our supervisors, very politely ... and our supervisors will provide protection. As much as our supervisors think is warranted, of course, and in due time, assuming the budgets allow for it, and assuming that Emperor El Presidente Grande Jorge Bush thinks it's a good idea, and won't annoy his amigo Vicente Fox too much.

Meanwhile, those "landowners" (who actually rent from Our Dread Sovereign) had better watch their butts, if they know what's good for them:

... But "if anything goes wrong, God forbid, someone does injure an agent, this government is going to be turning both barrels on them and come after them with a vengeance," he said.

Gilchrist said the Minutemen are under strict orders to merely identify and follow illegal border crossers and alert federal agents. They should not interact with the immigrants except to offer food, water or medical care. If there's a couple of "bad apples" who turn up in the group, Gilchrist said, they will face prosecution if they step outside the law.

Yes, there's always potential problems, when camo-wearing nutcases get a little power. Guns belong in the hands of trained professionals, of course ... like those FBI HRT guys at Ruby Ridge, or the ATF at Waco. That's always much better. But I do wonder why our supervisors don't have the resources required to actually secure the borders of actual U.S. territory. We always have vast resources when it comes time to make the Middle East safe for Israel, haven't we?

Monday, February 21, 2005

Are they Syrious?

In the news: the whole world seems to be demanding that Syrian military forces leave Lebanon. "The world," in this case, seems to include The Hated and Contemptible United Nations, The Old European Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys of France, and the U.S. Imperium.

The ironies here are abundant.

Does anyone else think that the Washington Imperium sounds a little ... uh ... hypocritical, perhaps, when admonishing the Syrians that they ought not to park armies in other nation-states? Even "failed" ones? Maybe it would be better to remove a few American divisions from Iraq before lecturing others on the subject.

And then there's the "U.N. resolution" business. The U.N. instructed Syria to depart back in September 2004. Is it time for another American invasion of a state that has failed to click its heels and obey the U.N.? If so, expect a massive redeployment of the Imperial legions from Iraq to Israel very soon. Nobody, but nobody, can be permitted to thumb the nose at the U.N., and Israel's done more of that than anybody.

Then, too, there's the French Factor. Here's Washington, joining France in telling some third party what to do ... isn't George the Younger afraid that some of that Continental effeminacy will rub off on him? What happened to rough 'n' ready Texas unilateralism?

I wonder of the D.C. Likudniks are really serious about seeking a synthetic provocation to serve as an excuse for opening a new front in the War On Swarthy Brown Folk? If so, how far behind can conscription be? And will it just be the boys ... or will it be a fully equal-opportunity draft?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Glorious Iraqi Election

I see in the news that the apparent big winners in the pseudo-Iraqi pseudo-election are, if they are actually put in power, going to impose that eee-vill "sharia law" on the all-new, bright'n'shiny Iraq.

Yep, those ladies are gonna have to go out and buy new burquas. In ever-stylish basic black, I expect.

They had to do that under the arch-fiend Saddam Hussein, too, didn't they?

Errr ... well, no, wait, I guess they didn't.

Well, at least that other arch-devil, Osama bin Laden, will be miffed. I guess George really showed him who's boss, didn't he? A western-style secular strongman whom bin Laden cordially hated was trashed, and a fundamentalist Islamic regime of the sort that OBL can't stand is being installed. Hooray for America!

Oh, wait ... that's right, I don't suppose O bin L would have any problem at all with a Shi'ite theocracy in Iraq, would he?

Hmmmmm ... O Red-State Patriots, I think we'd have to say -- objectively speaking, of course -- that you got busy last fall and re-elected bin Laden's most useful ally (or most useful idiot, perhaps) to the U.S. presidency. And 1500 American soldiers haven't died for nothing ... oh no, not at all! They've died for radical Islam. Democratically imposed, of course.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Why Pretend It's the Same Country?

I've been looking at some data concerning total Federal spending in constant dollars, for this year and also a few others during the past 70.

In constant 2003 dollars, the per capita Federal spending (total, not just on-budget) this year is supposed to be $7932.

In 2003, it was $7600.

1986: $6900.

1943: $6900.

1935: $750.

1943 was the peak spending year for World War II. Per capita spending fell precipitously from that level, then crept slowly from the early 1950s to recover that same peak level in '86. We've never looked back, needless to say.

Using expenditure as a gauge of the size, power, and reach of the central government, surely it's clear that we have ten times as much government per person than we had as recently as 1935. That's an order of magnitude more.

That's not a matter of a little more or a little less. That's not ten percent more, or even twice as much. That's ten freakin' times more. That's a whole change of character. America is just not the same kind of nation-state that it was 70 years ago.

And yet, we say we're governed by a written constitution. Well, either it was greatly misunderstood then, or it's greatly misunderstood now. Take your choice.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Minor Cost Accounting Items

Check this out.

In many ways, the bipartisan accomplishments of Our Glorious Supervisors simply overwhelm one's ability to comment. It now seems that Congresscreatures from both wings of the War Party, along with His Excellency George I, have discovered that dead soldiers have been grossly undervalued. Maybe this is why the stop-loss orders have been necessary. There have been inadequate market incentives offered to our throwaway, red-state, flyover-type young people to get them to offer up their lives for the futherance of Iraqi Democracy and the end of every sort of (non-allied) evil in the world. Well, all of that may soon be corrected ... and at an astonishingly cheap price, too.

Let's do some math. The standard low-end estimate of the dollar cost of Operation Iraqi Torture Mission Accomplished is $4 billion per month. In the approximately 22 months since the festivities were officially kicked off in March 2003, 1436 soldiers have been killed. That gives an average rate of 65 deaths per month. At a quarter-million dollars each, the cost Our Compassionate Supervisors propose to shoulder (errrr, I mean, propose to put on the national VISA card) is about $16.3 million. Divide 16.3 million by 4 thousand million, and you will see that the War Party's generosity will add only 0.4% to the cost of doing business in Iraq. Mere chicken feed. Why, at that cost, I'm sure that we (or our descendants) can afford to flush entire small towns in West Virginia or Kentucky or Indiana down the maw of the Presidential Natural Male Enhancement Exercise.

If recruiting continues to lag behind goals, why, the Death Bounty could easily be quadrupled. Maybe a ten percent finder's fee could even be paid to high school guidance counselors, if they direct enough of their youthful charges into the hopper. The possibilities are endless.

Meanwhile, from the news story, a note for the "some animals are more equal than others" file:

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the current death payments for troops killed in battle has looked less generous compared with government settlements paid to Sept. 11 families. The government paid an average $2.1 million to the families of those killed in those attacks.

Let's see ... $2.1 M / $0.25 M = 8.4X, our factor by which a 9/11 victim is more valuable than a morsel of insurgent fodder. About 2700 were killed on that holiest of days ... I wonder. Does this mean that "we" (meaning those young people wearing uniforms) will need to stay the course until 8.4 X 2700 have been killed? That would be 22,680 soldiers. At the current rate of consumption, we'd need to be there for another 327 months, or a little over 27 years, in order to ... what? "Balance the scales" for 9/11?

"Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad." I wonder what we did to so thoroughly annoy the gods.