“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Ups and Downs of Life

Two interesting storylines are developing in regard to Iraq and Afghanistan.

First, everyone's splashing the news of al-Maliki's indignation over Bob Woodward's "big-mouth" reportage of US spying.

In Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai wants the US to stop using air support in his country. Understandably he feels that it's counterproductive. Recently, Sixty Minutes sent one of its intrepid reporters to Afghanistan to check out claims that a recent air strike had killed only civilians. Although not blatant, it was obvious that CBS was approaching the story with a bias against using air power. Karzai was featured and said that he had asked the administration to stop using airstrikes. He said that he was going public in order to get quicker action on his request.

Women and children killed by NATO bombs is very bad PR but is there doubt about the Taliban's ability to exploit and exaggerate or even fabricate these incidents.

The "other side" is trying to build up a "head of steam" on this issue and now, with Karzai's support, they may successfully take away a valuable tool in the NATO arsenal.

From the NYTimes:
September 3, 2008
American Inquiry Disputes Afghan Deaths

KABUL, Afghanistan — An American military investigation concluded Tuesday that only five to seven civilians and 30 to 35 Taliban were killed in an airstrike operation in western Afghanistan last week, far lower than the figure of 90 civilians that Afghanistan and the United Nations found in their preliminary investigations. Two civilians were also wounded, the American command said in a statement.

The American military investigation was a standard internal one, and comes ahead of a joint investigation the military has agreed to conduct with the United Nations and the Afghan government to try and reconcile the vastly differing accounts of what happened and how many people died.

President Hamid Karzai condemned the operation at the time and dismissed two Afghan commanders for what he called dereliction of duty and concealing the truth, after a government delegation to the area had concluded that large numbers of women and children died in the airstrike operation. The United Nations’ special representative in Afghanistan also expressed grave concern at the civilian casualties and said a human rights team had found convincing evidence that 90 people had been killed, 60 of them children. Since then the United Nations has refused further comment pending conclusion of investigations.

The American military command, which had originally reported a successful operation that killed 25 militants, then announced it was opening an investigation into the event.

Its conclusions Tuesday did not differ much from the first military reports, however. The operation was a planned offensive conducted in the early hours of Aug. 22 in the village of Azizabad, in Herat province, and Afghan and American forces came under fire as they approached their objective, the statement said. The intensity of the fire on them justified using small-arms and close air support, it said.

The military investigator conducted interviews with 30 Afghan and American participants in the operation and reviewed reports made by ground and air personnel during the engagement, the statement said. The investigator also used video taken during the engagement, photos taken at the scene, and weapons, explosives and intelligence materials collected at the site, some of which suggested militants were planning an attack on a nearby American base. “The engagement disrupted any planned attack,” the statement said.

The investigation found that 30 to 35 Taliban militants were killed, including evidence suggesting a known Taliban commander, Mullah Sadiq, was among them.
On top of all this is the ongoing turmoil in Pakistan, the Mullahs in Iran, Russian thugishness, the never to be trusted North Koreans and the continuing failure to defeat entrenched enemies in the Middle East.


  1. Also, it's reported the Pakistanis, who have just elected the unstable husband of Bhutto as leader, have closed the road through the pass through which most of NATO's supplies get to Afghanistan. All this in a county already insane, not just unsane.

    Can't see how we can operate without help from the air in Afghanistan. We should tell Karzai politely, no.

  2. AspergersGentleman said...

    It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Buddy Larsen, an American Internet Icon.

    In an age of crotch-shots and snuff films, Buddy Larsen needed no frontal nudity nor shaky-cam beheadings to spread his informational self, like a bat out of Aristides loquacious hell.

    He could pontificate with the pontiffs and jive with the jive turkeys; he was many things to many men. There was refinement and gravitas in his poetic waxing about the finer points of chaw and he would never begrudge a man who was too poor to afford an effete spittoon. He could speak of monetary policy and romance, of patriotism and showtunes. If he was a robot, he would pass the Turing Test in the most delightful colors!

    God, welcome Buddy Larsen into heaven, and let his energy recouple into the Internet through divine bandwidth, unbeholden to physical constants.

    Triton'sPolarTiger said...
    Please tell me you are kidding.

    Comment deleted
    This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

    desert rat said...
    Only buddy knows for sure

    and he's not tellin'

  3. Crap,
    Aspergers has no profile.
    Anybody remember the name of his blog?
    Google Time

  4. Carbon Fork:
    Apr 28, 2008 ... I managed to finish Born on a Blue Day, by Daniel Tammet, an autobiography by a high-functioning autistic/Aspergers gentleman of how he ...

  5. From AudioFile
    Although Daniel Tammet is only 27, as an autistic savant with Asperger's syndrome, he has already lived an unusual life. Strict routines are necessaryâ the same number of flakes of porridge for breakfast and cups of tea at exactly the same time each day.

    He can recite pi to 22,514 places from memory, and he learned Icelandic in a week. He experiences synesthesia, which makes him see numbers and letters as shapes and colors and emotions.
    (He was born on a Wednesday, which is a blue day.) Simon Vance enhances this memoir with a sensitive performance. He affects an almost imperceptible awkwardness of speech to capture the spirit of Tammet as an extraordinary and successful individual. A.B. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

  6. Wifey got something from her Chinaman Doc to relax her stomach a week ago.
    Took it, went to bed, and started having visual hallucinations every time she went to sleep.
    ...I've NEVER had those.
    Told her to save one for me.
    (after advising her to take them in daytime, which she did w/o a problem)
    Anybody here (besides al-Bob, cause weirdo Swedish farmers don't count) ever seen things that weren't there?

  7. Bobal: it's reported the Pakistanis, who have just elected the unstable husband of Bhutto as leader, have closed the road through the pass through which most of NATO's supplies get to Afghanistan.

    Obama: "I'll take care of it."

    Bobal: Can't see how we can operate without help from the air in Afghanistan.

    Obama: "Don't worry, I'll take care of it!"

    I'm nowhere near the Photoshop expert that Deuce is, and I have to use GIMP anyway, but here's the first such effort on my part.

  8. I went to the Chinaman's Bro, an oral surgeon.
    Asked him what his dad did.
    He said he was a computer guy in the early days.
    ...I said I was a Bio Major and Kid is a computer guy!
    (much more accomplished than dad @ 24)

  9. You need to lose some weight, T.
    Puttin on the pounds.
    Probly neurotic reaction to that personal jab about your arms.
    Seek help.
    (somebody told me that last nite, so I've got something knew to write)

  10. Tammet traces his life from a frustrating, withdrawn childhood and adolescence to his adult achievements, which include teaching in Lithuania, achieving financial independence with an educational Web site and sustaining a long-term romantic relationship. As one of only about 50 people living today with synesthesia and autism, Tammet's condition is intriguing to researchers; his ability to express himself clearly and with a surprisingly engaging tone (given his symptoms) makes for an account that will intrigue others as well.

  11. What the heck? Is this true, or are the rumors of Buddy's passing greatly exaggerated?

    If true, I'm greatly saddened.

  12. Not bad, T.

    I don't understand this about Buddy.

  13. That was years ago.
    Don't despair

  14. I just posted it @BC and got filtered, then noticed half my posts had been deleted.
    Say La Vie.

  15. Meanwhile benj posts book-length crap.

  16. "Linking Corsi to 9/11 truthers does not exclude his ability investigate
    B.O. any more than Rush Limbaugh's body weight excludes him from
    identifying Bill Clinton's flaws.
    (Miller's site)
    Yeah, we got Desert "Bat Shit Crazy" Rat on the WTC, but hay, he's sane as Hell on Horses and Brownie.

  17. There was a gay English guy who posted for awhile, I think on JihadWatch, anyway everybody liked him, including me, and then all of a sudden some friend wrote in saying he had been killed in a traffic accident.

    It's odd how you can get to like people you don't even know.

    In some cases probably because you don't know 'em. :)

  18. It's up now on BC.
    Maybe Buddy will see it.

  19. "In some cases probably because you don't know 'em. :)"
    Yeah, esp in your case!

  20. ...course I don't much take to you here, anyhow.

  21. Told her to save one for me.

    Pop about five, al Doug, when you're really tired, set up a webcam, we'll watch, too.

  22. The difference between you and me Doug, is, I'm discrete, you name names:)

  23. Aspergers probly thot you guys were Simpletons, and tired of it.
    Think what he must have thot of ME!!!

  24. Jack Okie:

    Yeah, I thought the red stars circling the Denver convention center added a nice touch.

  25. If you posted it at BC, then I'm not seeing things that are there.

    And, I'll anticipate Doug--Ain't that your usual mode of perception, Al-Bob?

  26. Bobal, think about it, most people who post to blogs do it without their loved ones having a clue what they're up to. What are the odds that somebody's significant other will have the wherewithal, right in the middle of the grieving process, to go online, login to the online community with the deceased's password, and announce the guy (or gal) has joined the Choir Invisible? Zero, in my case, because Fely is all about the television and doesn't give a crap about computers. I've been burned by false death announcements a number of times in IRC chat rooms. After 15 years online I have learned to hold judgment until I see some sort of obituary.

  27. We had a funny one today. We had an engineer living in a duplex who moved out. Supposed to be gone August 10th, but his house deal didn't close, so we let him stay until September, which makes it harder to rent, all the students already being back.

    He called today, and demanded his damage deposit back, in an angry tone told my wife he'd sue us. Said no wonder we can't get good tenants! He was the sloppiest asshole we've ever had.

    Wife said go ahead and sue us.

    So she checked the files--we keep immaculate records--he has around a thousand dollars in late fees, and one month's rent left unpaid. And, of course, the place had to be really worked on.

    I've gone to small claims court 4 times over the years, won every time. He'll get clobbered. I kind of liked the guy though, great biker, rode from Moscow to the Canadian border in one day(not making this up) and enthusiastic, so I'll write him an e-mail, warn him off.

    signed, resko:)

  28. "without their loved ones having a clue what they're up to"
    I've abandoned all my loved ones online, so If I disappear here, know that I'm back in touch with reality again.
    Nieces and Nephews
    AUNT Dorothy (my WORST sin)
    What an a-hole i am.
    ...and it's you guy's fault!

  29. I think you're right, T.

    Kind of a nasty joke, if that's what it is.

  30. "right in the middle of the grieving process, to go online"
    I still worry that Lab Rat might have lost his son in Iraq.

  31. After an eight year law suit with most of my relatives, I've finally found some sanity on line.

  32. If cousin Sally dies, I'll joyfully let ya all know.

  33. She'll have joined the Gnashing Ripping Tearing Screaming Invisible.

  34. I have a sad feeling it might be true. Can't explain why, really.

  35. A Gal once stole a forklift of mine.
    Found it parked in a storage yard, took a picture of it for small claims.

    The gal explained to the Judge that she had a legitimate grievance against the guy I bought it from.

    The judge was not impressed.

  36. On the other hand, Buddy, being all in order, and considerate, may have instructed his lawyer to make an announcement on line at his decease.

  37. I think so too, Rufus, cause the other day at BC, where he had been posting alot, someone said something about Buddy's abscence.

  38. Wish I hadn't said anything Rufus.

  39. ...I was talking about Lab Rat.
    Haven't thot about Buddy, that's scary.

  40. If we just stay in touch here long enough somebody will have the pleasure of being the last person standing.
    T, by all odds.

  41. My wife knows a 72 year old Filipino lady that had two jobs until recently, T.
    Now "just" one.
    Earlier, she had 3.

  42. Buddy's missing @ Maggies, Rufus?
    ...I'll go check @ YARG or whatever.

  43. I see your post over there now Doug.

    Won't be me, the last one standing, you can put money on that.

  44. Doug: If we just stay in touch here long enough somebody will have the pleasure of being the last person standing. T, by all odds.

    Dunno. In 2024 (cue Zager and Evans) when I'm 59, God willing, I'm packing up to move to the Old Country. If I retire here Stateside I'll be well-to-do with my equity and pension and 401-K and cash reserves. But if I retire in the Philippines I'll be rich enough to have a driver and a nurse. The EB will have over ten thousand posts at that time and the barflies with sufficient connections to have oak leaf clusters will be up to platinum. Or maybe even molybdenum ones.

  45. hehehe--you got to love this--

    Obama Begs Hillary To Help Him With The Palin Problem:)

    Hillary certainly will, but has lots of commitments this fall, not sure what she can do;)

  46. He lived(s) in Dripping Springs, Texas, I think he said. Didn't care if anyone knew it. I think his real name is Buddy Larsen.

  47. Buddy

    They want some bucks, if we don't hear, I might buy the report.

  48. I got the feeling that Buddy probably was Not living in a Nursing Home.

  49. Records are Available!
    Type Of Records:Obituary Records
    Example Search: Buddy Larsen
    Search Time: Sep / 06 / 2008 : 20:53:1

    Matches Available: Yes Proceed
    Address Report: Proceed
    Phone Number Report: Proceed
    Background Check: Proceed

    No, he wasn't Ruf, because when he gave us his home town, I looked it up, he had a house out a ways. Also, I remember(I think) he was working on it some way. On my trip out to Ohio, I thought I might ask him if he'd want to have lunch, like Rat did me, but we didn't even go that way.

  50. Yeah,
    He had acreage that once supported his Goats for his Cheese Factory, which he sold to a Brazilian, I think.

  51. rufus said...
    I have a sad feeling it might be true. Can't explain why, really.

    yeah, he was (ohmigod already posting in the past tense) a prolific poster. He's been quiet a few days now.

    I liked the guy though we had a few arguments. Loads of respect for his business knowledge. He didn't sound on the verge of death what with his moaning about being where he was in'05 with his portfolio. Death can creep up slowly or strike quick. I'll miss the guy if true.

  52. Is this true, or are the rumors of Buddy's passing greatly exaggerated?
    Greatly exaggerated. Buddy is competing with his daughter as to who will give birth sooner. Having seen the pics, Buddy has that competition all "sown up". :)

  53. Hey Doug,

    Where did you find that aspergers post? gotta link?

  54. He's not listed at the local funeral home Here so maybe he'll have a good Mark Twain laugh at us tomorrow. I'll wait a day, and buy that report, if we don't hear. I think I filled it in right.

  55. Ash,
    My f..... history doesn't have it, and the search hasn't found it.

  56. Whit,
    Buddy LIVES outside of Austin.

  57. Buddy's family would've posted notice on the family blog. They did not. Last entry is dated Thursday, August 28, 2008.

  58. we're all just one keystroke from eternity...

    Dripping Springs is a little place, he lived(s) outside it a ways I think.

  59. So weird:
    This site's search comes up empty on everything, no google, and even google desktop which I forgot about doesn't have it.

  60. Bob,

    I don't want to publicize it. Not without Buddy's permission.

  61. "All the following is my copy 'as is' from Lt Fallon's handwritten poem, the 'pilot' he refers to is my dad, Jack K Larsen from Eagle Lake, Texas, 23 yrs old at the time, RIP as of 1986:"

  62. This comment has been removed by the author.


  63. Sarah Palin IS Wonder Woman.

    Okay, so it's a little sloppy, I've never really gotten into the features of the Gimp before. 2164th has nothing to worry about.

  64. His last time here, said he had some house cleaning to do ...

    Loose ends to tie up,
    said I'd been more right than wrong.

    If that was really my comment, doug, with asper.... @ BC, that'd be years old.

  65. Getting better, T.

    I'll buy that report tomorrow, and let it rest till then.

  66. It's hilarious that Obama is asking Hillary to take on Palin for him.



    Which is ironic, since women make about 77 cents for every male buck.

  68. It was long ago but here, 'Rat.
    Now I cannot find it!

    Why they fight

  69. rufus said...
    Guy and his mutt walk into talent agent's office, guy sez he has a talking dog. Agent sez, go ahead, let's hear him talk.

    Guy asks dog, "what's on top a house?" dog barks "roof". Guy hollers "See, he said "Roof!"

    Then the guy asks dog, what's on bottom a tree, dog barks 'roof', guy hollers see, he said 'root'. Then guy asks, who's the greatest baseball player, dog barks 'roof', guy hollers, see, he said 'Ruth'.

    Agent gets up, kicks the two of 'em out the door.

    They're outside brushing off, dog says "Shit, I knew I shoulda said Dimaggio."

    Buddy Larsen on the "poodle thread," at Maggies farm

  70. 2164th said...
    AspergersGentleman said...

    I believe it was a younger sibling who was willed Buddy's digital estate. That is, you can probably still use that email to check in with the Larsen line, but as to Buddy, though oft imitated (as seems to be the example at Maggie's farm), the man has passed on. He seeded a heck of an idea. Looks like maybe one of the other Larsens shared some of his talents.

    I knew him growing up and he looked like Jack Elam, especially when he grew his Advent beard.

    Heard about his passing through his cousin, Anthony ( Holidays can put people at some profound ease I guess.

    Tony's been a bit overwhelmed these past few months. Turns out Buddy was something of a franchiser when it came to making families. Alot of offspring coming of age that want a chance at the Larsen treasure.

    Sat Dec 30, 06:20:41 PM EST

  71. AspergersGentleman said...
    Goodnight, Rufus.

    May God bless your morning with disorienting quantities of pretty ladies, writhing and feminine, clawing at your every step, inescapable even in the kitchen, for there they stand, frying pans in hand, preparing a 5 course breakfast.

  72. AspergersGentleman said...
    If Saddam has passed on into the great beyond, he probably knows everything now. He has become incorporated into the transcendental one, a glob of knowledge now blebbed into the mother blob of ordered information.

    Of course, so has Buddy Larsen, the Jedi to Saddam's Sith.

    And Gerald Ford has Buddy's back. Quite the dynamic duo.

    I suppose the epic fight will seem as if two massive galaxies are colliding, but it will just be Buddy Larsen the White, defender of matter, spacetime and goodness, taking out the trash.

  73. AspergersGentleman said...
    And a translucent Buddy Larsen will be there to box in Saddam's ears all through his ascent for judgement. Maybe he'll spladle him too, just for kicks.

    Godspeed, Archangel Larsen.

  74. AspergersGentleman said...
    Anyone heard any good knock knock hajj jokes?

    allen said...
    Knock. Knock.
    Who's there?
    Hajj, who?
    Hajj she doin?

  75. AspergersGentleman said...

    It should be noted, however, that Albinos are covered with Woman Catholic's favorite vellus hair.

  76. It was you're fault, al-Bob!
    bobalharb said...
    AspergersGentleman--You always say the same thing, the same thing, the same thing.

    Fri Dec 29, 11:48:00 PM EST

    AspergersGentleman said...
    I don't understand what you mean.

    Sat Dec 30, 12:05:00 AM EST

    AspergersGentleman said...
    Sorry everyone can't hemingway their way to a point, Bob

    maybe if i had a lucrative melon contract with Halliburton, i coulda road that wave to more concise speech. but god did not give me melons.

    Things happen for a reason.

  77. AspergersGentleman said...
    Buddy The Gray has passed.

    Buddy The White was last seen about the Horn of Africa, atop of horse made of light. He is riding south, blinding scepter aloft, to Kismayo!

    While Woman Catholic wanders about Rivendell in search of immortal T&A.

  78. Doug: It should be noted, however, that Albinos are covered with Woman Catholic's favorite vellus hair.

    Neat thing about fine, downy vellus hair is that gals of Asian descent have that on our legs instead of dark stubbly terminal hair. So there's no need to use Nair, no wax, no razors, no nothing.

  79. Don't say I never did nuthin for you, Ash!

    "How Ford saw Bush."

  80. I saw a Japanese gal @ Costco when I bot my moniter that had the MOST pearl white legs I've ever seen.

    Not that they did anything for me, of course.

  81. Looks like a video of the kid's first two years of driving.
    In the cars I grew up in, he'd be a dead man.

  82. It was you're fault, al-Bob!
    Is that why Buddy stopped posting here?

  83. Used to work @ the Coast in Summertime in highschool.
    Back when Cambria Pines still had lots of dirt roads.
    Had dad's 46 Pontiac 4 door with no shocks and a broken stabilizer bar.
    ...made it float in a smooth drift around a course in the pines.
    Two assholes lucky to be alive.

  84. Nah, Mat, Aspergers, and it twernt really Bob, I hope.

  85. We all shoulda taken better care of the temporary resident Genius.

  86. Some Asshole Band is Stopping Palin from playing a Barracuda Song of theirs.

  87. LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The rock group Heart, angry that its '70s hit "Barracuda" is being used as the unofficial theme song for Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, is taking aim at the Alaska governor.

    The song, a nod to the "Sarah Barracuda" nickname Palin earned on the basketball court in high school, was dusted off for her appearance at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul on Wednesday.

    Heart singers Ann and Nancy Wilson said a "cease-and-desist" letter has been sent to the Republicans asking them not to use the song.

    "The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song, nor would they have been granted that permission," according to a statement issued late on Thursday on behalf of the sisters.

    The McCain campaign said it had obtained the appropriate licenses to play the song.

    "The McCain campaign respects intellectual property rights," spokesman Brian Rogers said. "Accordingly, prior to using 'Barracuda' at any events, we paid for and obtained all necessary licenses."

  88. That's a local band but they just lost their spot on my playlist.

  89. Rat, that Jimmy Buffet song is great!

  90. buddy larsen:

    ha hah –thanks for the obits –naw, some of us have hurricanes to board relatives on the run from –AND some of us became a grandpappy for da foist time at 6:45 PM, when eldest daughter & hub finally dominoed. Cute little feller –looks kinda like Winston Churchill.

    Sep 6, 2008 - 10:36 pm

  91. Cannoneer No. 4

    Pakistan closes Torkham border crossing, shuts down NATO’s supply line

    An estimated 70 percent of NATO supplies move through Khyber to resupply troops fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan. The bulk of NATO's supplies arrive in the port city of Karachi, move north to Peshawar, and head west to the Torkham crossing into Afghanistan and the final destination in Kabul. The rest of the supplies pass through the Chaman border crossing point in Baluchistan or arrive via air.

  92. Dave said,

    I just gotta relay to you all how P> J> O’Rourke defined bond ratings.

    D-rated bond: Like money lent to a younger brother.

    AAA-rated bond: Money lent to a younger brother by the Gambino family.

  93. Dr. Bill is telling me--he's a straight shooter--that when they pump the oil on the North Slope, they bring up vast quantities of natural gas with it. But they pump it back down in the ground, thanks to the democrats and Sierran Club, who fought the pipeline that through Canada that Sarah Palin has been working on. There is as much gas pumped back in the ground as we use in the lower 48. All stopped by the democrats and environfreaks.

  94. Dr. Bill is also saying Obama's plans about wind and solar are idiotic, in themselves, and for Obama, for letting the deocratic party talk him into taking that position. You're not going to get more than 10% from those sources and that would be far in the future. Not in any 10 years. Obama is making a fool of himself, he says. Even a dramatic breakthrough of some kind, which doesn't seem on the horizon, would be decades out.

  95. The democratic party platform doesn't even mention nuclear, and can't, cause they are the ones that killed it, and they can't seem to admit the mistake.

    Renewables from all sources, including hydro, never more than 15-18%

    California is buying renewables from other states, as they can pass the whole bill on to the sucker consumer, all the costs, he says.

  96. hehehe


    An Anthropological Exploration

    The Tribe of Sarah: A Guide for the Perplexed Media

    By Thomas Lifson

    Our friends in the media just do not understand the popular following Sarah Palin has attracted. In an effort to help, I thought I should explain her popular appeal to them in terms even an Ivy League graduate could understand.

    If you consider yourself a member of the intelligentsia, think of Sarah's unexpectedly numerous admirers as a kind of tribe. We are going to examine a few of the the folkways of strange and foreign people. Think of them as exotic and it may help you stifle any revulsion you may feel at their differences from your own familiar accepted ways.

    Many of you probably read excerpts from Colin Trumbull's description of the Mbuti tribe of the Congo (The Forest People) in one college course or another. In a similar mindset you can begin to understand the values and the ways of the Tribe of Sarah, and maybe begin understand how the world looks to them, even though it is a very different way of understanding reality than your own.

    (Okay, I admit the respectful insistence that these are also a complex people, well adapted to their environment and possessed of a beautiful spirituality is probably going to be a stretch for many of you. But still, it is worth a try while you still have careers left.)

    We haven't got an entire semester, so I will just hit a few important concepts.

    The basic values

    Unlike your own refined and infinitely more complex moral understanding, these people believe in abstract concepts known among them as "right" and "wrong" (alternatively "good" and "evil.") They regard those among them whom see as championing the cause of right and defeating wrong as role models to emulate, and frequently accord them honors and deep respect.

    Perhaps misinterpreting media characterizations of big oil companies, they see Sarah Palin as someone who stood up to wrong, and thus revere her example. They harbor a belief that she will continue to support good and fight evil, and accordingly project a vision of her success when leaving their world for your own in Washington, DC.

    A side note for future reading: a widely believed legend among them has it that a great leader they call Jesus championed good, fought evil, and suffered horribly for it. This martyrdom and its aftermath are a subject of considerable elaboration in their folkways and ritual, and this cultural detail may conceivably amplify their anger when another honored champion is made to suffer.

    The role of "Mom"

    The person who is assigned the gender role of carrying unterminated fetal tissue mass is the central figure of the family structure among the tribe of Sarah. Known familiarly as "mom" (never "mother"), these moms organize the foundational structures of their civilization. The behavioral norms learned from a mom determine the entire life course of the children. Accordingly, moms are also deeply honored, indeed revered to the point of abject love and devotion among them. Those who threaten harm to a mom occasion deep disgust within the tribe.

    Sarah Palin, as the mother of five, including one child facing serious life challnges, is a person widely admired among them for her devotion, which they regard as exemplary. One of their folk celebrations, the "Special Olympics" celebrates the achievements of these children. Nearly all of you have heard of the Clan of the Kennedys in your own tribe; it has actually played a major role in this particular festival. Perhaps that will help you make the mental leap required to understand the feelings engendered by Baby Tag.

    Many of the tribe's moms, seeing Sarah's love for her baby with challenges and empathizing, regard aattacks on her as an attack on themselves. Jung's concept of the archetype may be helpful to you in understanding this admiration and empathy for Sarah and explain their hostile response to your recent work.

    Moms closely communicate with one another, and these information flows work to determine where the children attend school and under what conditions, where the family will obtain its staple foods, and see to the enforcement of behavioral norms among all members of the comunity.Think of them as sensitivity trainers, if it helps, but remember that nobody gets to leave at the end of the work day.

    The moms have a number of distinctive organizations which channel their social ties and lines of communication. We have no time or space to cover major topics ranging from "church" to "kaffe klatsch." More material for future reading.

    The PTA

    Sarah's followers know she first attained a formal leadership role in society within an organization called the "PTA," and a little context is helpful. Moms regard the shepherding of their offspring as their primary duty in life, aside from supporting the person assigned the male gender role, known among them as the "hubby." From the moment of the first child's birth until a phase decades later known among the tribe as the "empty nest," the development of children is regarded as the sacred duty of a mom and her hubby, as well as life's greatest and most rewarding experience.

    PTA meetings are held at schools, with moms and a few hubbies gathering with teachers and discussing topics related to the education of the offspring. Because education is regarded as second only the mom's own influence on children, moms can have strong opinions on the content and processes of education. Frequently moms vie for honor among themselves, and seek to champion a change, or perhaps fight in opposition to one, resulting in very intense bursts of activity, communication and seeking of political support within the PTA community and beyond. Indeed, serious differences among moms can lead to feuds and vendettas, giving rise to colorful local legend that animate their communal folklore.

    Members of the tribe regard someone who began a political rise within a PTA as evidence of adherence to the welfare of her children, and also as evidence of great political favor among members of her community, which subsequently elected her village head man, or mayor. But that term may confuse you, so a brief explanation.


    Unlike the figures familiar to you such as Mayor Daley, those who carry the title of "mayor" in places like Wasilla must be available to their citizenry at all hours, and are expected to have met them face to face if they hope to gain their vote. Constituents feel little compunction about complaining personally to the mayor. A small town mayorality qualifies as a rite of passge for nascent tribal politicians, ensuring their responsiveness.


    This is going to be a tough one, because there is no comparable concept in your culture. But associated with the abstract concepts of good and evil is one known as sin, defined as the commission of acts which partake of the quality of evil. Now what is really tricky about this admittedly complex cultural construct is that tribe members believe everyone sins. Even good people. They believe that sin is inborn. Rather than categorize someone as evil merely on the basis of sin, they have developed methods of driving away the unwanted effects of the sinful behavior. When one has successfully made the best of the situation, repented, and corrected the disapproved behavior, they speak of "redemption."

    This has important consequences for the tribe's regard of your work on Sarah Palin. If you discover sin within her family, the tribe accepts that sin is inevitable. Instead, they judge how Sarah and the family deal with the consequences. And if they perceive that the "right" thing is being done, they admire her all the more.

    In short, understanding the Tribe of Sarah is going to require you to stretch your minds and learn some new and unfamiliar concepts. Further reading will pay big dividends. But this sort of mental exercise can be both useful and fun, for it can enhance your understanding of yourself, too. That's the great benefit of cross-cultural studies.

    Happy Learning!

    Thomas Lifson is editor and publisher of American Thinker.

    It's all well and good to preserve and study the cultural oddities of indigenous peoples. The problems arise, however, when these uneducated savages begin to apply their hopelessly misguided "principles" to those of us on a much higher plane of understanding.

    We don't like when they threaten our power, or expose our never-ending rationalizations for what they are. No, the savages should know their place, and we plan to keep them there.

    Posted by: schex | September 7, 2008 01:26 AM

    Sarah, you're quite the package. Our own conservative rock star. However, there's no way on God's green earth that I'll vote for McCain/Palin until you just say no to John McCain's "Comprehensive Immigration Reform". McCain will take you down with this amnesty madness. This is the Senator's last stand. You've got a future. Don't blow it on this important issue.

    Posted by: tommy john | September 7, 2008 01:45 AM

    Love it.

    Posted by: Chris Woodard | September 7, 2008 01:45 AM

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