The Red Sox win the World Series! The Red Sox win the World Series! The Red Sox win the World Series!

The Red Sox sweep the Cardinals. After the despair of being down 3-0 to the Yankees in the American League pennant, the Sox racked up an unprecedented 8 straight postseason wins. Unbelievable. You can feel spacetime warping so that for one brief shining moment Boston truly lives up to its nickname: the Hub of the Universe. I’m sure spacetime will snap back to its cold impartial homogeneity soon… though hopefully not until Boston sweeps the White House and the Super Bowl!! (If the Almighty is listening and if He is itching for spacetime to snap back to normal as soon as possible and if the opinion of little ol’ me matters at all, then I humbly offer that I’ll happily settle for just the White House. I suppose the Patriots don’t have to win the Super Bowl this year.)

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[Or screw the reality-based community! We make reality! Keep the faith!]

I see that it’s become a fad for left-leaning bloggers with policy wonk proclivities like myself to declare themselves “proud members of the reality-based community” in the wake of Ron Suskind’s New York Times Sunday Magazine article, which relates the following delicious and now infamous diatribe by an (as yet) unnamed Bush Administration official:

The aide said that guys like me were ”in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who ”believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ”That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. ”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

But as fond as I am of the notion that “solutions emerge from the judicious study of discernible reality,” being a Red Sox fan and watching this American League pennant, I’ve been loathe to jump on this whole “reality-based” bandwagon.

And now that Boston is going to the World Series, I see my instincts have been vindicated.

Screw the reality-based community! We make reality! Keep the faith!

George Friedman, the founder of the private intelligence consulting firm Stratfor.com which regularly garners raves throughout the major financial press, claims in his new book America’s Secret War that in late December 2001 the US delivered the following ultimatum to General Musharraf, the leader of Pakistan (and I freely paraphrase from Dr. Friedman’s account, which occurs on pages 226-228 of the book):

You will either let the US [1] fully inspect all of Pakistan’s nuclear facilities (covertly, of course), [2] establish a permanent monitoring regime of them (also covertly, of course), as well as [3] personally purge all militant-Islamist-sympathasizers from the ranks of those parts of your scientific/military/intelligence establishment responsible for the nuclear program (we’ll leave the level of discreetness and brutality up to you on this one, Pervez) or you will find the US shall stand aside as India goes to war with Pakistan*, Pakistan inevitably loses the conventional war, and events then in all probability escalate into a nuclear exchange. By the way, if we stand aside and somehow peace and reason prevails and India doesn’t start a war with you, please note that the US has never renounced the option of conducting a first strike with nuclear weapons.

[ *A Note to Those Readers Forgetful in Foreign Affairs: Recall that on December 13, 2001, Pakistani-backed Kashimiri separatist militants attacked the Indian Parliament in New Delhi, killing 8, suffering 5 deaths themselves, and bringing India and Pakistan to the very brink of all-out war. See, for example, this CNN story from that time. Recall also that India’s military, owing to India’s much larger population, significantly outnumbers Pakistan’s. ]

Dr. Friedman claims that in March 2002 a contingent of US Special Forces, CIA, and nuclear scientists discreetly visited all of Pakistan’s nuclear reactors simultaneously.

My preliminary Lexis-Nexis search was unsuccessful in turning up any mention in the press of anything remotely of this magnitude. All I could find is multiple reports covering Musharraf’s declaration in late 2001 (before all these events Dr. Friedman describes, in fact) that he’d reorganized the Pakistani nuclear program, moved the devices themselves to new facilities, and in short secured them so the world no longer need worry. I’d be grateful if anyone has any insights corroborating, clarifying, or refuting Dr. Friedman’s claim as my only other immediate response is sitting awake here at 4 AM going “Holy F$@#ing S$#t! !!”

[I hope, of course, to have much more to say about this in future posts.]

Over the last few months, I’ve been writing less and less on this blog. While several bloggers I read and respect were kind enough to read my blog and occassionally grace it with their comments and while there were a few times that well-known blogs linked to me and thus temporarily bumped my daily readership into the high hundreds or low thousands, there didn’t seem to be much point.

And thus, over the last 6 weeks or so, I wrote nothing.

Fortunately, I then had one of those bolts of inspiration that come from the direction you least expect. Namely, I heard Johnny Cash’s rendition of the following song Kris Kristofferson wrote as a tribute to him.

It’s set me straight.


Beat the Devil (1970)
by Kris Kristofferson

It was winter time in Nashville, down on music row.
And I was lookin’ for a place to get myself out of the cold.
To warm the frozen feelin’ that was eatin’ at my soul.
And keep the chilly wind off me and my guitar.

Well, my thirsty wanted whiskey, and my hungry needed beans,
But it’d been of month of paydays since I’d heard that eagle scream.
So with a stomach full of empty and a pocket full of dreams,
I left my pride and stepped inside a bar.

Actually, I guess you’d could call it a tavern.
Cigarette smoke to the ceiling.
Sawdust on the floor. Friendly shadows.

I saw that there was just one old man sittin’ at the bar.
And in the mirror I could see him checkin’ me and my guitar.
And he turned and said: “Come up here boy, and show us what you are.”
I said: “I’m dry.”
He bought me a beer.

Then he nodded at my guitar and said: “It’s a tough life, ain’t it?”
I just looked at him, and he said: “You ain’t makin’ any money, are you?”
I said: “You’ve been readin’ my mail.”
He just smiled and said: “Let me see that guitar. I’ve got something you oughta hear.”
Then he laid it on my ear:

“If you waste your time a-talkin’ to the people who don’t listen,
To the things that you are sayin’, who do you think’s gonna hear?
And if you should die explainin’ how the things that they complain about,
Are things they could be changin’, who do you think’s gonna care?

There were other lonely singers in a world turned deaf and blind,
Who were crucified for what they tried to show.
And their voices have been scattered by the swirling winds of time.
For the truth remains that no one wants to know.”

Well, the old man was a stranger, but I’d heard his song before,
Back when failure had me locked out on the wrong side of the door.
When no one stood behind me but my shadow on the floor,
And lonesome was more than a state of mind.

You see, the devil haunts a hungry man,
And if you don’t wanna join him, well, you got to beat him.

I ain’t sayin’ I beat the devil,
but I drank his beer for nothing.
Then I stole his song:

“And you still can hear me singin’ to the people who don’t listen,
To the things that I am sayin’, prayin’ someone’s gonna hear.
And I guess I’ll die explaining how the things that they complain about,
Are things they could be changin’, hopin’ someone’s gonna care.

I was born a lonely singer, and I’m bound to die the same,
But I’ve got to feed the hunger in my soul.
And if I never have a nickel, I won’t ever die ashamed.
‘Cause I don’t believe that no one wants to know.”