Tim Johnson Acting Like He Doesn’t Want to Run (Unlike Stephanie Herseth…)

What’s on Tim Johnson’s Mind,” by John Schaff, South Dakota Politics, 14 June 2005, http://southdakotapolitics.blogs.com/south_dakota_politics/2005/week24/index.html#a0005173860.

Herseth,” by Quentin Riggins, South Dakota Politics, 14 June 2005, http://southdakotapolitics.blogs.com/south_dakota_politics/2005/week24/index.html#a0005170580.

A great post on how , who was always the boring version of (but, unlike Daschle, actually bested in a Senatorial election), is acting like he doesn’t want to run for reelection in 2008 (emphasis mine)

Tim Johnson has voted against yet another Bush judicial nominee, Thomas Griffith of Utah, this time aligning himself with a distinct minority of the Democratic far left. Heck, even Dick Durbin voted for this guy, and there isn’t any more partisan Democrat than Dick Durbin. Maybe Sen. Johnson has some good reason for voting against these nominees, but we have yet to hear it. So let me invent a reason. Sen. Johnson is starting to vote like a man who has no intention of running for re-election in 2008. He almost lost last time, he does not have the Daschle patronage, and 2008 will be another presidential year in which this state will likely vote solidly for the Republican nominee. So Johnson is now free to vote his conscience, which is to the left of most South Dakotans. This scenario, naturally, would leave Johnson’s Democratic seat open for 2008. I wonder if there is a Democrat with strong South Dakota ties who might be interested in returning…ahem…I mean joining the U.S. Senate?

Update: NROs Bench Memos has some information as to the importance of the Griffith nomination to the DC circuit. It should be noted that this Brett Kavanaugh fellow that the Democrats will be opposing has been ranked by the ABA as “well qualified” (their highest ranking) by a majority of the rating committee, and the rest of the committee rated him “qualified”.

Yet Another Update: Evidence for my No Johnson in 2008 theory is that Johnson currently only has $15,839 on hand in his election account. I realize that the election is not until 2008, but that is a pretty small number. For example, Norm Coleman from Minnesota is also up for re-election in 2008 and he has over $500,000 in his account, raising $1.7 million last year to Johnson’s $295,000. An unscientific sample of Senators up for re-election in 2008 shows that no one has less money on hand than Tim Johnson.

Tim’s hesitance is understandable, with rumors that Stephanie Herseth wants to join John Thune as Republican Senator from South Dakota…

Dave Kranz says in today’s Argus Leader that Representative Stephanie Herseth’s pro-Republican votes are angering Democrats and raises the possibility of her switching parties:

Some South Dakota Democrats don’t find much humor in Rep. Stephanie Herseth’s increasing number of votes supporting President Bush on key issues. In fact, it is becoming common for doubting Democrats to wonder whether she eventually will switch parties.

That says a lot, coming from the Democratically-inclined Kranz. No votes or issues are mentioned, but they must surely include Herseth’s support for the Patriot Act, her vote in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment, her support for the war in Iraq, her A-rating from the NRA (Daschle had an F), etc… Maybe the state will send a real Republican to Washington to replace Herseth, who now has no power as a thirty-something, first-termer in the minority.

Quality 3, Seas

Note: This is a selection from Quality, a tdaxp series.

Photo Courtesy Despair.com

Continuing our epic discussion, which begun with my thoughts on neoconservatives and theoconservatives, continued with Mark’s initial and detailed reaction, and ebbed into my thoughts on friction, Mr. Safranski takes issue with my statement that “Friction is not an attribute of a single enemy. It is a quality or a relationship between two entities.” (My original version had a typo which, happily, didn’t change the meaning too much.)

This however is not really the case, not even in physics and still less in the domain of politics. While we may have to major, diametrically opposed adversaries – say the NRA and Handgun Control, inc. – they do not conflict with each other in isolation but within the context of all parties able to participate in the political sphere, most of whom have only partial or no real intrinsic interest in the conflict, yet can and will bring their influence to bear to affect the outcome.

I yield to Dan’s superior open source graphics capability in describing his model but the model itself is oversimplified to the point of error. Two variables in the political or geopolitical world is not enough. My crude powerpoint doesn’t even encompass all of the significant variables in Dan’s Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice example.

Frequently, the Darwinian effect of single-issue contests is the adversaries evolve over time into evenly matched ( at least enough of an equilibrium state to deny victory to one another) entities and third parties must be enlisted or opportunistically intervene to tip the scales, for reasons of their own.

And, except for the defaced diagram….


.. Mark and I agree completely.

For example, take the Toyota Motors. It has friction (also called “a relationship” or “quality” or “a semantic internet”) with the American consumer


We see that Toyota and the American consumer are semantically related. Toyota has cheap cars and reliable cars, which the American consumer wants. Also, Toyota wants high prices and low service, which the American consumer dislikes. This is a typical business relationship in the free market. We clearly see the “friction” between Toyota and the American consumer.

In the interest of clarity, I will simply the friction relation to


We still have the two entities, Toyota and the American consumer, along with their Relation F(t,ac) (the friction between Toyota and the American consumer). The friction between Toyota and the American consumer, F(t,ac), contains all of the frictions we had listed above.

As Mark might say, two variables in the business world is not enough. So let’s add some other points of Friction for Toyota


so the Toyota’s total friction is the sum of its friction with the american consumer, big labor, consumer activsts, affirmative actionists, toyota workers, shareholders, american consumer families, and environmentalists. Mathematically:


Or more generally, assuming Toyota has k points of friction with other entities, T’s total friction would be the sum of all its points of friction, or mathematically


Now, even my the internet of Toyota’s friction is simplistic, because all the entities that Toyota relates to have their own relationship…


Networks are central to many fields of computer science. Some professors will call the above diagram a “network” or even “internet,” other call it a “web” or “world of discourse,” other just use the term “database”!

But really, it is a sea.

What are the qualities of a sea?

  • Seas are frictional. Swimmers and fish move by using the friction of their body on the water to generate movement.
  • Seas are vast. Even though a sea may appear clear, it is impossible to know everything that is in the great body of water.
  • Seas are part of the World Ocean. The Caribbean is part of the Atlantic, which flows by the Indian, Pacific, and Arctic.
  • Seas make “obvious” movement impossible. Crawling and walking, man’s mode of transport on land, is impractical in water. In the same way, an “obvious” solution in the world of complex business, politics, or war could backfire terrible.

With that in mind, take this except from the Clausewitz

Friction is the only conception which in a general way corresponds to that which distinguishes real war from war on paper [just as the complications of relationships make any model "oversimplified to the point of error." -- tdaxp]. The military machine, the army and all belonging to it, is in fact simple, and appears on this account easy to manage. But let us reflect that no part of it [a striving network] is in one piece, that it is composed entirely of individuals, each of which keeps up its own friction in all directions [Clausewitz is talking about the Sea of Friction -- tdaxp]. Theoretically all sounds very well: the commander of a battalion is responsible for the execution of the order given; and as the battalion by its discipline is glued together into one piece, and the chief must be a man of acknowledged zeal, the beam turns on an iron pin with little friction. But it is not so in reality, and all that is exaggerated and false in such a conception manifests itself at once in war. The battalion always remains composed of a number of men, of whom, if chance so wills, the most insignificant is able to occasion delay and even irregularity [inadvertently superempowered individuals -- tdaxp]. The danger which war brings with it, the bodily exertions which it requires, augment this evil so much that they may be regarded as the greatest causes of it.

Activity in war is movement in a resistant medium. Just as a man immersed in water is unable to perform with ease and regularity the most natural and simplest movement, that of walking, so in war, with ordinary powers, one cannot keep even the line of mediocrity. This is the reason that the correct theorist is like a swimming master, who teaches on dry land movements which are required in the water, which must appear grotesque and ludicrous to those who forget about the water. This is also why theorists, who have never plunged in themselves, or who cannot deduce any generalities from their experience, are unpractical and even absurd, because they only teach what everyone knows — how to walk.

Further, every war is rich in particular facts, while at the same time each is an unexplored sea, full of rocks which the general may have a suspicion of, but which he has never seen with his eye, and round which, moreover, he must steer in the night. If a contrary wind also springs up, that is, if any great accidental event declares itself adverse to him, then the most consummate skill, presence of mind, and energy are required, whilst to those who only look on from a distance all seems to proceed with the utmost ease. The knowledge of this friction is a chief part of that so often talked of, experience in war, [see parallelisms to the search for undefined Quality -- tdaxp] which is required in a good general…

To conclude,

  • Friction is the relation between two entities
  • An entity’s total friction is the sum of its friction with every entity it is related to
  • Any frictional network diagrammed is just a small Sea in the great Frictional Ocean of the World
The World Sea
Home to the all the Friction of Humanity


Friction in War,” by Carl von Clausewitz, On War, AD 1832, http://www.bibliomania.com/2/1/61/108/20840/1/frameset.html (from CKR at ZenPundit).

A Question of Friction,” by Mark Safranski, ZenPundit, 13 June 2005, http://zenpundit.blogspot.com/2005/06/question-of-friction-yesterday-dan-of.html.

Quality, a tdaxp series, has five parts:
The First Part, Beauty
The Second Part, Friction
The Third Part, Seas
The Fourth Part, Inlets, Lakes, and Streams
The Fifth Part, The Magic Cloud

Sumer (Kiengi): Future Confederation of Southern Iraq

Warring Visions of Iraqi Federalism: “Sumer” Rises in South,” by Juan Cole, Informed Comment, 2 June 2005, http://www.juancole.com/2005/06/warring-visions-of-iraqi-federalism.html.

Barzani President of Iraqi Kurdistan,” by Juan Cole, Informed Comment, 13 June 2005, http://www.juancole.com/2005/06/barzani-president-of-iraqi-kurdistan.html.

Sumer,” Wikipedia, 14 June 2005, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumer.

First, the past

Sumer (or Shumer, Sumeria, Shinar, native ki-en-gir) formed the southern part of Mesopotamia from the time of settlement by the Sumerians until the time of Babylonia. Sumerian cuneiform script may pre-date any other form of writing, and dates to no later than about 3500 BCE

The term “Sumerian” is actually an exonym (a name given by another group of people), first applied by the Akkadians. The Sumerians described themselves as “the black-headed people” (sag-gi-ga) and called their land Ki-en-gi, “place of the civilized lords”. The Akkadian word Shumer possibly represents this name in dialect. The Sumerians, with a language, culture, and, perhaps, appearance different from their Semitic neighbors and successors are widely believed to have been invaders or migrants, although it has proven difficult to determine exactly when this event occurred or the original geographic origins of the Sumerians. Some archaeologists have advanced the notion that the Sumerians were, in fact, local to the Mesopotamian plains…

And last, the future

Governing councils in the nine southern Shiite provinces have spoken of forming from themselves 3 larger provinces and a regional confederation to be called “Sumer”, to offset the weight of Kurdista

Cole’s reported the story earlier, where he sometimes calls provinces by their capital’s name

This information came in part from Abdul Karim Mahud al-Muhammadawi, the Marsh Arab leader and head of the Marsh Arab Hizbullah Party. Maysan, Dhi Qar and Basra provinces will form one subregion. Likewise, Wasit, Diwaniyah and Samawah will join into a region, as will Karbala, Najaf and Hillah. Apparently “Sumer” is the planned name for all three (i.e. for 9 provinces as Iraq is presently constituted). He maintained that the United Iraqi Alliance, the coalition of Shiite religious parties that dominates parliament, will work to implement this vision of general geographical federalism– as long as there are guarantees that it will not threaten the unity of Iraq

Tying this together with a list of Iraqi provinces and capitals, as well as the earlier Sunnistan news, we get this crazy funtime map of a future Iraqoslavia


Update: John Robb is may not optimistic

This is going to be pure chaos (our window of opportunity for a controlled chaos exit is quickly slamming shut). We are f***ed.

But Fighting Forth is

While breaking Iraq up into three separate countries will cause problems later down the line with Saudi Arabia and Iran, it will be a step in the right direction. Otherwise, somebody will have to continue Saddam’s ways of rule, it is the only way to hold Iraq together.

Global Guerrillas v. 4GW

Global Warriors,” by John Robb, Global Guerrillas, 14 June 2005, http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2005/06/global_warriors.html.

Without comment:

However, as tough as the the 4GW warrior is, it fails to account for the extreme resilience and innovation we see today in global terrorism and guerrilla warfare. We are fighting on many more levels that merely the moral one. This implies that something has been left out of this analysis. My conclusion is that it fails to account for the decentralized mechanism of improvement by which warriors improve their ability to apply violence. Warriors, in our modern context, are not merely lazy, monosyllabic, and violence prone as Peters implies. They are in the game to win and are wired, educated, and globally mobile. Their decentralized system of coordination/learning, something that I call open source warfare, has led to radical improvements that include:

Encircled Iranians Wanting to Breathe Free

Iranians Feel America’s Presence in the Region Helps Their Chances at Freedom,” PR Newswire, 9 June 2005, http://www.pressreleases.be/script_UK/newsdetail.asp?nDays=d&ID=27152 (from Publius Pundit through Seeker Blog).

The Spreading Democracy Debate — Fourth Rebuttal,” by Marc Schulman, American Future, 13 June 2005, http://americanfuture.typepad.com/american_future/2005/06/the_spreading_d_4.html (from ZenPundit).

Beginning with a glorious map of a less-than-secure Iran…


Marc Schulman of American Future writes

By invading Iraq and toppling Saddam, we completed our encirclement of Iran. Viewed from this perspective, Iraq is a theatre in what remains to this day our cold war with Iran. Had it not been for 9/11 and Bush’s response to 9/11, this would not have happened: US flags would not now be planted in the soil of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Do I know whether surrounding Iran was Bush’s unspoken Grand Design? No. Am I happy that the mullahs see us everywhere? Yes.

And like the Cold War with Russia, we have our goal: regime change. The Iranian people stand with us.

A recent public opinion survey of Iranians, conducted by The Tarrance Group, surprisingly found that a vast majority (74%) of Iranians feel America’s presence in the Middle East will increase the probability of democracy in their own country. The survey, which was the first of its kind, found two-thirds of Iranians believe that regime change in Iraq has been a positive for both neighboring countries: with 66% believing that it served Iran’s national interests, while 65% believed the Iraqi people will, in the long-run, be better off.

Commissioned by the Iran Institute for Democracy, the survey discovered that a solid majority (65%) of Iranian adults consider fundamental change in Iran’s system of government, especially its Constitution, a must to bring freedom and more opportunities to their homeland.

We must stand with them.

Blogosphere and Recruiter Swarming

History of Non-Linear Warfare,” by Sean Edwards, Swarming and the Future of Warfare, 2005, pg 69, http://www.rand.org/publications/RGSD/RGSD189/.

Recruiter stories,” by kos, Daily Kos, 14 June 2005, http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/6/14/162247/899.

Comments,” by PoliPundit, PoliPundit, 14 June 2005, http://polipundit.com/wp-comments-popup.php?p=8279&c=1 (from MyDD).

I haven’t been blogging more on Sean J. A. Edwards Swarming and the Future of Warfare because I was afraid it didn’t apply too much to Fourth Generation Politics. As if to prove me wrong, Heaven sent down two political swarming stories in the same day

First, conservative blogger PoliPundit gives in to strategic despair, refusing a battlespace because of liberal swarming

So why don’t most other conservative blogs allow comments? Because liberals are jerks. If a conservative blog allows comments, it is immediately overrun by juvenile, illiterate, liberal hecklers who ruin the comments section. We here at polipundit.com have been fighting this ever since I turned on comments, and only ceaseless vigilance has allowed us to keep the comments section open. If a larger conservative/libertarian blog, like InstaPundit, were to start a Comments section, then the blogger would have to spend every waking moment policing liberal trolls.

That’s like saying “Why should America leave Iraq? Because the terrorists are jerks.” Terrible, terrible, terrible advise.

Meanwhile, liberal blogger Kos wonders about military recruiters swarming students, preparing for 4GPS1/Agitation-Propaganda

Those of you who are military age, or with kids graduating high school, are getting swarmed with aggressive recruitment tactics. I see the stories in various threads throughout the site.

How about a cataloguing in this thread of those efforts?

Just those with military recruiter stories, please.

Swarming is characterized by pulsing attacks from many units from many directions. It is separate from guerrilla attacks, which are closer to attacks-of-opportunity. Visually:


Beyond the Collapse of China

The Sky is Falling and other Assorted Prophecies of Doom,” by Jing, Those Who Dare, 14 June 2005, http://thosewhodare.blogspot.com/2005/06/sky-is-falling-and-other-assorted.html.

Nicely following up Beyond the Collapse of Russia, Jing starts a wonderful discussion on the (dis)unity of China

It would be folly to dismiss the impacts of CCTV in forming a common cultural framework for what are otherwise isolated villages. A Henan farmer can watch the same programming as a factory worker in Jilin and form a rapport and identity even amidst what is an otherwise frivolous past time. They would no longer today accept a divided China no more than American would seriously accept the dissolution of the Union.

I was less than impressed

To parallel:

It would be folly to dismiss the impact of Eurovision in forming a common cultural framework for what are otherwise isolated communities. A French farmer can swatch the same programming as a factory worker in Romania and form a rapport and identity even amidst what is an otherwise frivolous past time. They would no longer today accept a divided Europe no more than America

Curzon, who knows a thing or two about Chinese disunity


…takes the attack even farther

Don’t overestimate the value of ethnic majorities. Russians were the majority ethnicity in Kazakhstan and Belarus, and had near-pluralities in Ukraine, Lithuania, and Turkmenistan. That didn’t stop any of these states becoming independent when the Soviet state collapsed, and the Russian populations have gone back to the motherland in droves.

Read on!