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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Striving for that "Strange New Respect"

Some thirty years ago, the brilliant and iconoclastic British-born American conservative thinker, essayist, editor, and journalist, Tom Bethell, came up with "The Strange New Respect Award." This was an award to bestow upon,
once-reliable conservatives who won liberal praise by adopting liberal policies. Of a sudden, an erstwhile Neanderthal would be treated in the Washington Post as someone who was no longer “simplistic” and “shrill” but rather a figure who had “grown” and showed himself to be “nuanced.”
Let's face it: It is tough to be a conservative in the current political and social environment. It is even tougher today than when Bethell created his award. It is tiring and relentless work to remain faithful to conservative principles. A conservative must stay on top of the facts all the time--and know where to find them since the leftist media will play fast and loose with those facts, even the most recent events quickly get rewritten. A conservative must have not only well-tuned analytical skills, but know history, economics, and even basic science (e.g., for dealing with the "global warming" hoax, or the anti-frack loons.) A conservative must withstand ceaseless liberal attacks, many of them personal, based on emotion and catch phrases, e.g., "You want children to die?" A conservative politician has it even harder: he, or, especially, she must live in an atmosphere heavily polluted by media, bureaucratic, Hollywood, and academic liberal biases. A woman, Latino, or black conservative will quickly find that liberal opponents are free to use the most vile misogynistic and racist terminology. A conservative's most carefully chosen and thought out words will get misreported, distorted, ridiculed, and dismissed. The Mau-Mauing, in short, is often highly personal , including attacks on family--e.g., Governor Palin's experience--and almost always non-stop--starts with the morning talk show and continues with the late night comics.

It takes a VERY thick hide and supreme self-confidence to resist this attack. It, therefore, is not surprising when conservatives or "moderate" Republicans crack under the assault. They will seek relief from the assault by trying to demonstrate in some dramatic way that, hey, they are not so right wing, that they do have pure hearts, that they do love puppies and children. This will lead them, for example, to support some big new government program--Presidents Nixon and Bush, for example, were guilty of this--or to stab another conservative in the back--the reaction, for example, by some GOPers to Senator Cruz's valiant stand on Obamacare.

We have seen many Republicans crack like this: to name a few, McCain, Graham, Christie, Rubio, and even the usually hard-as-nails Gingrich (e.g., hanging with Sharpton). They all felt a need for Bethell's "Strange New Respect Award." An intelligent man such as Rubio, for example, got pounded into supporting a bizarre immigration reform plan that would serve to create millions of new Democratic voters. McCain has been constant a seeker of the award, his attempts are just too numerous to record them all, but we note: his sabotage of Governor Palin; his support for the whacky immigration reform mentioned before; his backing of Obama's bizarre Libya and Syria policies; and now, of course, his failure to back defunding Obamacare and his attacks on Senator Cruz.

In my view, a conservative's default position must be to oppose all new government programs, regardless of how high-sounding they are, and constantly seek to eliminate or reduce existing programs. Any government program in the "socio-economic-humanitarian" realm will get taken over by liberals. Liberals in America are the party of government; one of the Democrats greatest source of votes and funds is government employees. Even programs aimed at essential functions such as national defense must be monitored fiercely for "mission creep." I think the average American would be stunned by how  much of the Pentagon's budget goes to items with little or no relevance to national defense. First off there are way too many flag rank officers and senior civilians. Even worse, however, the Pentagon, for example, has programs and offices dedicated to environmental issues, a lavish and wasteful PX/Commissary system, diversity and EEO offices, and lawyers, lawyers, lawyers, my God, does the Pentagon have lawyers. The liberals, by the way, have targeted the military for a special and sustained assault. The armed forces, long just about the only conservative-dominated branch of the federal government, is under liberal attack to undermine that largely male conservatism. The heavy promotion of women; the insistence on the acceptance of gays; the insistence on political correctness in military education and programs that made the Ft. Hood shooting possible, etc.

I don't want to make this any longer. I just get more and more pessimistic about the future of our country as I see Republicans striving for that "Strange New Respect" from the liberals who are destroying the nation.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The "Collapse" of Obamacare? Don't Bet On It

I was reading "Legal Insurrection" (best blog around) and saw this interesting piece which referenced an also interesting piece by Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal. The crux of Henninger's argument, similar to Senator McConnell's, is that regardless of whether Obamacare gets funded in the next few days, Obamacare is doomed to fall apart as the public abandons it. Interesting idea; I strongly recommend you to read Henninger's article.

Although Henninger cites other disastrous Federal programs that go and on, he sees Obamacare in another category: a program so grotesque and so inept that powerful interest groups which once supported it will run away from it, and bring it down,
The public's dislike of ObamaCare isn't growing with every new poll for reasons of philosophical attachment to notions of liberty and choice. Fear of ObamaCare is growing because a cascade of news suggests that ObamaCare is an impending catastrophe. 
Big labor unions and smaller franchise restaurant owners want out. UPS dropped coverage for employed spouses. Corporations such as Walgreens and IBM are transferring employees or retirees into private insurance exchanges. Because of ObamaCare, the Cleveland Clinic has announced early retirements for staff and possible layoffs. The federal government this week made public its estimate of premium costs for the federal health-care exchanges. It is a morass, revealing the law's underappreciated operational complexity. 
But ObamaCare's Achilles' heel is technology. The software glitches are going to drive people insane. <...> 
If Republicans feel they must "do something" now, they could get behind Sen. David Vitter's measure to force Congress to enter the burning ObamaCare castle along with the rest of the American people. Come 2017, they can repeal the ruins. 
Certainly all true. I find, however, the conclusion much too hopeful. I genuinely, really and truly, cross-my-heart hope I am wrong, but I don't think Obamacare will die unless it is quite deliberately killed and killed very soon, like now, in the crib, before it grows horns and hooves and stalks the land sowing despair and wreaking havoc everywhere it goes. Once this beast is allowed to grow, I see little chance of stopping it. I think--and, again, pray, I am wrong--that by 2017, it will be too late to get rid of this thing.

In a rational universe, what Henninger says would hold. No corporation, for example, would pursue a policy guaranteed to generate ever escalating costs, public resentment, and deteriorating quality. The problem, of course, is that Obamacare will not exist in a rational universe. It will exist in one in which the government deliberately has set out to destroy alternatives to Obamacare, i.e., drive private companies out of the medical insurance business (already happening), and in which the government, for all practical purposes, has an endless amount of money to keep pumping into Obamacare to keep it alive. That money, of course, will be wasted and come from hard-pressed taxpayers, but it will create new vested interest groups that live off that money with employees who will lobby and vote to keep it going. More and more such groups will emerge as the weeks turn into months, the months into years. Obamacare will become implanted and almost impossible to uproot. 

I hope to be horribly, foolishly wrong, but don't think so.

Sorry for the Gap

I have been busy with mundane things, e.g., a Twitter mini-battle with the loons at PETA, caring for my sick dog (much better now from his colitis), and just being too depressed about all that is going on to comment on all that is going on.

I am working on a little piece which I should have up tomorrow. See you then.  Meanwhile if you want to get ready for the impending arrival of Obamacare, visit your local DMV, but imagine it with the screams of the sick and dying.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The BBC: Dhimmitude in Action

A quick note, almost an addendum to my post of yesterday re the activities of the Religion of Peace.

There seems still some confusion over whether the attack on Nairobi's Westgate Mall has been successfully smothered. Lots of accounts of "Yes, it's over, but we still hear gunfire."

Be that as it may, I listened to Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's dignified and very presidential address on the Westgate Mall. Our own Kenyan in the White House could learn a thing or two on how to give those sort of difficult addresses. Kenyatta was determined, modest, informative, consoling, patriotic, and did not declare himself the hero or even the main player in the events of these past few days. He hardly used the word "I," and gave credit where it was due. Great job, Mr. President.

In contrast, I would note that the once-great BBC is unable to call a murderer, a murderer. The BBC ran a piece, September 24, which shows, again, how dhimmitude has taken over the Western media. Please note, for example, the following from that article,
Several bodies - including those of "terrorists" - are thought to be trapped under rubble after three floors of the building collapsed following a blaze on Monday, officials said.
Notice the use of quotation marks? Is there some doubt that gunmen who burst into a "gun free" shopping mall, proceed to murder some 70 unarmed persons in the name of Islam, and are backed by a known terrorist group by the name of Al Shabab, are terrorists? Apparently there is for the editors at the BBC which insists on calling the members of Al Shabab fighters. Nowhere in that article does it mention that non-Muslims were the target of those "fighters."

I guess we will just have to use our own set of quotation marks when referring to BBC "journalists."

Monday, September 23, 2013

Religion of Peace Recap

The Religion of Peace has been busy helping prove that Islamophobia does not exist. Per the experts at the American Psychiatric Association "a phobia is an irrational and excessive fear of an object or situation. In most cases, the phobia involves a sense of endangerment or a fear of harm." I wonder if the men, women and children gunned down in the Nairobi Westgate Mall because they could not recite a Muslim prayer had "an irrational and excessive fear" of Islam? For them, a fear of Islam would seem very rational, not at all excessive, and, hence, certainly not a "phobia."

The "folks"--to use Susan Rice's endearing term for the murderers of our Benghazi personnel--at CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) put out the pro-forma press release "denunciation" of the horror in Nairobi, buried amidst denunciations of alleged mistreatment of Muslims in the USA,
“We strongly condemn this cowardly attack by al-Shabab and offer condolences to the loved ones of those killed or injured. Our nation should offer whatever assistance we can to Kenyan authorities as they seek to free the hostages and bring to justice all those responsible for this heinous crime.”
CAIR makes no mention of Islam, or of the religious motive of the attackers, or that they singled out non-Mulsims for murder. Imagine if an organization proclaiming Christian or Jewish identity had mistreated one Muslim in a mall in the USA, or in the UK, or--Horrors!--in Israel. CAIR would have put on a  non-stop blitz of the news shows and Capitol Hill. CAIR, frankly, doesn't really care if the victim is a non-Muslim and the killer is a Muslim.

The practitioners of the Religion of Peace have not limited their activities to Kenya. In Pakistan, Islamist terrorists killed over 75 Pakistani Christians coming out of church on Sunday. The reason given? In their impeccable logic, Pakistani Islamists got upset by US drone strikes so they killed Pakistani Christians. I haven't seen a statement by CAIR.

Elsewhere these past few days, the Religion of Peace made its presence known, again, in Nigeria. Islamists there have killed as many as 200 persons. No statement from CAIR, but then that is to be expected. As the Religion of Peace gets more and more enthusiastic about proving its adherence to peace, CAIR would spend all of its time condemning massacres by Muslims--kind of undermines the narrative.

The Mainstream Media (MSM) covers these horrors very carefully. There is a reluctance to identify the killers as followers of Islam, and when done it is buried deep in the story in words that make it seem as though the killers follow some aberrant interpretation of Islam. Media and governments in the West, including our own, engage in what I wrote about before, the "Al Qaeda did it" story line. Media and government spokesmen will tell you it's Al Qaeda; it's Al-Shabaab; it's Boko Haram; it's Islami Jamiat; it's Ansar al-Dine; it's the Taliban, and on and on. Wrong, all wrong. It's Islam.

At the risk of sounding like a One-Note Johnny I repeat what I stated in April 2011,
As practiced in every country of the world, Islam is a totalitarian ideology that openly advocates intolerance, death for non-believers, and relegates women to the status of cattle. As we have seen repeatedly over the past few decades, this isn't just talk. Islam, at least as now practiced, is a violent and intolerant totalitarian ideology, and an enemy of freedom.
< . . . >
How long should we pretend that the problem is NOT Islam, when, in fact, it is, or at least the Islam that has gained currency in the modern world? We are at war with a totalitarianism as much as we were with Communism and Fascism. It's going to be a long, long war, one in which we have to inflict repeated defeats on the Islamists, be it in Chechnya, Gaza, Kashmir, Kabul, Baghdad, or in the streets and suites of America. In the end, we'll all be better off, including the Muslim world. Don't forget that the greatest victims of Islam are Muslims. 
Among the mall attackers it appears there are Muslims recruited in the West, including in the US. We saw it in Boston, in London, in Paris, in Madrid, in Stockholm, and apparently now in Nairobi: Western kindness in taking in Muslim refugees fleeing the hell of their own countries gets repaid with those "refugees" participating in attacks on the West--and in the name of Islam.

The problem is Islam: the way it's preached and practiced. It is not a religion like the others. It has not undergone an enlightenment, and what reformation it has undergone, has reformed it to become even more deeply entrenched in the seventh century.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

"No Ugly or Fat People on the Rope Line!" Remembering a Visit by Hillary Clinton

The Place: Panama.
The Date: 1997.
The Event: Visit by First Lady Hillary Clinton to attend the Conference of Spouses of Heads of State and Government in the Americas (AKA, First Ladies of the Americas Summit).
Holding the Bag: The Diplomad

It's Saturday, and my dog is waiting for his driving lessons. I will make this short and mean spirited.


He needs some work on shifting from first to second; still a bit choppy, spills my coffee 


I was reminded of the above event in Panama by a news story out a couple of days ago reporting on a Hillary Clinton event in Miami. It seems that her security personnel seized the camera from a member of audience and deleted a picture taken of her. It reminded me of the sort of demands we got from Hillary's staff.

First Lady of the USA (FLOTUS) Hillary Rodham Clinton was coming to Panama to participate in the First Ladies of the Americas Summit. The Embassy, of course, got tasked with working with FLOTUS staff to prepare her visit. Yours truly, at the time, Minister Counselor for Political and Economic Affairs, got tagged with taking the point in dealing with that staff.

Her staff proved unbelievably arrogant and ignorant. They had zero interest in Panama, and only went along to see some sites because they had to do so. We had been told FLOTUS wanted activities after the "summit" that would strengthen US-Panama relations. The staff had no interest in the long US-Panamanian relationship, had no interest in the Canal, or in the very well run Panama Canal Museum.  In the end, they decided that FLOTUS should do "something with Indians, you know, Indians." They decided that she should have a photo-op at an Indian village reading to the kids and telling them about the importance of an education. The whole silly thing nearly came off the rails when the staff insisted that FLOTUS have secure telephone communication everywhere she went, including in the Indian village.  I remember asking one staffer, "Why does she need secure commo? Is she going to be calling in the B-52s?" That did not endear me to the staffers, but in the end they had to give up the demand because of cost.

We set up an absurd visit to a semi-fake Indian village just outside of the capital. Her people decided that the village, located in the jungle, did not look "jungly enough." They went and rented huge numbers of big plants and had them trucked into the village to make it look more "jungly" for the video of Hillary reading to Indian kids.

Now, what reminded me of all this when I read about her security grabbing a camera in Miami? FLOTUS staff made it clear to us, and the Secret Service agents confirmed, that Hillary did not want anybody getting closer than ten feet to her -- including her security--and that nobody should ask for autographs. I took offense at that, and noted to her staffer, "Our people are professionals. They see a lot of celebrities. Nobody is going to ask for an autograph."

Well the visit happened; Hillary decided to have a "rope line" at the airport so that as she was leaving she could shake hands with some of the people from the Embassy who had made her visit possible. A female staffer approached me the day before, and sheepishly began talking about the "sort of people" Hillary wanted in her pictures. She said that the pictures should have a "certain look." She kept beating about the bush re the rope line, and suddenly a light went on in my dim brain, "She doesn't want fat or ugly people in her pictures, right?" The staffer nodded. I said, "OK, I'll be sure to pass that on."

Of course, I didn't, but I did make sure one old ugly guy was not at the departure ceremony, me.

OK, more serious stuff a bit later on.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

About Syrian CW . . . Oh, Never Mind

It's hard to keep up with those eager beavers over at Legal Insurrection, in my view the best blog on the internet today--and not just on legal issues. I was sitting down to my bowl of Nissin noodles, when I saw that LI had beat me to the punch of linking to the LA Times story that, in essence, confirms what I wrote earlier in my "Peace in our Time" post about the US-Russia "deal" on Syrian CW,
The "deal" will be, I promise you, a multinational mess that will require seemingly endless discussions and travel and drafts of this and that protocol with this and that amendment.
The LAT  headline reads, "U.S. backs off deadline for Syria to submit chemical weapons list." Surprise! Another "red" line gets erased.

Let's get a bit more,
The U.S.-Russian plan for the removal or destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, hailed as a diplomatic breakthrough just days ago, appeared to run into trouble Wednesday as the Obama administration backed off a deadline for the Syrian government to submit a full inventory of its toxic stockpiles and facilities to international inspectors.

The State Department signaled that it does not expect Syrian President Bashar Assad to produce the list within seven days, as spelled out in the framework deal that Washington and Moscow announced last weekend in Geneva. 
Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, said Wednesday that “our goal is to see forward momentum” by Saturday, not the full list. “We’ve never said it was a hard and fast deadline.” 
U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry had described the deadline as the first of a series of “specific timelines” that would indicate whether Syria is committed to the pact, which demands that Assad's government give up its chemical weapons in exchange for the United States shelving the threat of airstrikes. 
“We agreed that Syria must submit within a week – not in 30 days, but in one week -- a comprehensive listing,” Kerry said Saturday. He said the U.S. would allow “no games, no room for avoidance or anything less than full compliance.”
Disconnects within disconnects within disconnects.  Does anybody at State bother to read or listen to whatever SecState John Kerry says? Kerry is out of touch not only with Obama but even with "his" own State Department Foggy Bottom crew. Can the clown car analogy get any stronger? So the LAT, and let's give some praise to the liberal LAT for the story, now tells us what any mildly intelligent observer already knew,
Although Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, sought last weekend to portray the two powers as united, the gap between them has become more apparent in the days since and is threatening to snarl efforts to craft a United Nations Security Council resolution that lays out how Syria is to meet its obligations. 
The resolution needs to be complete before the first steps can be taken to eliminate the arsenal. But diplomats said that Western nations split with Russia in a meeting Tuesday over Western demands for tough enforcement of the agreement. 
Diplomats hope to complete the resolution by Friday, but if they fall short, the work may be delayed further because of a meeting next week of the U.N. General Assembly.
Wow! Who didn't see that coming? As noted before, Lavrov completely outplayed Kerry. So, again, as noted before,
The game is in the hands of the UNSC which will decide what is a violation and what measures to take if there is a violation. Obama and Kerry would, therefore, have to go it alone, again, if they want to punish Assad. Think they have the stomach for another round of this game? After badmouthing the UNSC and the UN, the Obama people have turned the game over to the UNSC and the UN.  
Assad and his CW are safe. Wonder how the Iranians see this? If, that is, they can see anything through their tears of laughter.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

On Background Checks and Gun Purchases

As expected, in the wake of the Navy Yard shooting we see the media and the liberals begin a new drumbeat for more gun laws.  As expected, also, the media and many of the liberals have the details wrong on the shooting but continue to pound away. See this article for example in which California Senator Feinstein goes on and on about the AR-15 "assault rifle." The fact, of course, that the shooter, Aaron Alexis, did not use an AR-15 is irrelevant to Feinstein and others who seem to have pre-packaged statements and stories ready to go blasting "assault rifles" (whatever that is; the definition is rather flexible). Alexis used, it seems, a shotgun, the weapon Vice President Biden has suggested we all go out and buy.

Before we get to the issue of "background checks" one has to wonder about the security arrangements at the Navy Yard. It seems that Alexis had no difficulty getting a shotgun past security, and the "No Firearms Allowed" signs. Once in the Yard, apparently, he was only the non-security person with a gun, was able to use it rather freely, and managed to acquire other weapons from security personnel. That would seem to point to a major problem at the Navy Yard in the way it plans and executes security, and to call into question the "gun free zone" idea. But that's just me; I am just a blogger not even a real media person.

The calls for new restrictions on guns have focused this time on "background checks." That is the new buzz phrase, "background checks." There seem to be a number of proposals on "background checks" and the media provides little in the way of detail. It is just another of those phrases thrown out as a "panacea" for whatever troubles the liberal mind at the time. How these background checks would be done and by whom are matters that are not clear. How would you get around medical confidentiality, for example? The bottom line is that either the proposals are not serious or that they are part of a very serious plan to deny guns to ordinary Americans.

Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis underwent background check procedures that presumably are much more detailed and intrusive than any gun purchase background check. He had at least two security checks and came up clean: all set to go for a "secret" clearance, and employment at US military facilities. This, as reported by no less than NBC, despite Alexis's troubled background, including run-ins with the law over the misuse of firearms, a history of mental issues, and of generally bizarre behavior and statements. It seems a Major Hasan fiasco all over again: the background check mechanism used by the Feds is seriously overwhelmed and broken, probably by both sloppiness and the demands of political correctness.

The people advocating these background checks, such as Feinstein, presumably know all this. What is really at play is using "background checks" as a way to ensure that almost nobody can get a weapon. If Congress is going to act, I can guarantee you there will be either now, or very soon, increased calls for Federal involvement in background checks. There will be a call for a massive Federal bureaucracy to conduct them, and that bureaucracy will move, either deliberately or just because, at glacial speed in performing these background checks, and, if the IRS is an example, will be tempted to use political criteria in approving a gun sale. That, in effect, will bring gun sales to a halt.

Much as we have seen that Obamacare is really just a stepping stone to a "single payer," i.e., Federal level, medical system, the call for "background checks" is really a call for the Feds to decide who can and cannot own a firearm. If you trust the Feds with that sort of decision-making, then support those calls. Do not let yourself be troubled by what is happening with Obamacare, and with the political uses of the DOJ, IRS, and EPA.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Bozofication of the White House

When I was growing up in the early 1960s the TV show Bozo's Circus came to our black-and-white TV sets from far-away and exotic Chicago.

Bozo and His Cabinet Circus

I never understood Bozo--couldn't get into his Weltanschauung. I know it's a cliche but clowns, well, I always found them frightening, or just so bizarre that no empathy or connection on any level except fear and revulsion could occur with them. They were and are loud, vulgar, and doing nonsensical things. Bozo I held in a special level of opprobrium. My elementary schoolmates all loved him, and I felt left out because of my Bozophobia. I was obsessed with the Cold War, nuclear annihilation, mutant monsters, UFOs, and how as the only survivor in North America of a nuclear exchange I would make it to Australia. Bozo did not deal with those topics. Quite regardless of how close the earth was to the end, he would keep flapping about the stage in his oversize shoes and being too noisy for my tastes.

Well, I think the nine regular readers of this little blog must get a sense of where I am going with all this deep introspection. You know, loud, vulgar, bizarre, revulsion-inducing clown act from Chicago . . . Anyhow, I got to thinking about Bozo watching our President briefly today on TV. As I have said before, I keep the watching of such events to a minimum, and will do so only for short bursts of time, preferring to read the transcripts later.

As you all know, this was a bad day for America. About a dozen of our fellow citizens were murdered at their work in the DC Navy Yard by somebody with some sort of grievance which we have not yet learned. The DHS had to rush out a paper which stated that the event, still ongoing at the time, was not connected to terrorism. As if they would know that before an investigation. As we know, furthermore, from Benghazi and Ft. Hood, this misadministration has a VERY high bar before labeling an event terrorism, e.g., spontaneous demonstration, work-place violence.

And the President? This is a man with no dignity, and totally out of touch. He is so in love with himself, so determined to get his message out that the Republicans are to blame for the parlous state of the economy after five-plus years of Obama policies, that he could not do or say something dignified re the shooting. He couldn't have canceled his tired economic policy event in light of what was happening just a short distance from the White House? Couldn't he have come out and said something along the lines of, "Given what is happening at the Navy Yard, we will postpone this event." No. He had to go on with his 2007-2008 vintage economic campaign speech, replete with smiling, bobbing heads behind him.

Next time, he should consult Putin.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Barry Obama in "Peace in Our Time!" A Neville Chamberlain Production in Association with Cagey Bee Lubyanka Cheka Pictures--Produced, Written, and Directed by Tsar Vlad

Soon we will test the validity of Abraham Lincoln's optimistic, "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

I refer, of course, to the "deal" hashed out in the last couple of days between the US and Russia on Syrian chemical weapons. There is a bewildering blizzard of press accounts on it, most probably wrong, so I see no point in trying to look into the "details" of the text. We can, however, glean the general ideas that guide the "deal" and the "deal makers."

First, however, a general observation. This "deal," and the manner in which Russia maneuvered, is an object lesson in the importance of leadership. As in sports where a team of very talented individual players can get outplayed by a team of middling individual talents led by a strong coach, so it is in international relations. To use Nathan Bedford Forest's great word, it is not necessarily the side with the "mostest" that will win. Putin and Lavrov showed themselves strong, committed leaders who used their ostensibly weaker team to outplay in every way the lumbering, blubbering Obama and Kerry.

That said, what is the main purpose of the "deal"? The Obama misadministration wants of course, to have us all forget the horrible manner in which the misadministration handled the matter with its "red lines" that weren't "red lines" except when they were the world's "red lines" requiring an unbelievably small, limited duration American military effort, if the Congress approved, although it didn't need to, and, well, just never mind, don't approve it for now. The misadministration wants Syria out of the headlines and on the back-burner when the 2014 Congressional mid-terms roll around. Let me correct that, as with Benghazi, the misadministration wants whatever is said about the issue to be far from the truth, confusing, irrelevant, and not in any way the misadministration's fault. In fact, I can already see the misadministration gradually changing the narrative; it will soon appear--mark these words--that Obama-Kerry avoided a war that the Republicans wanted. Obama was JFK in the Missile Crisis--not at the Bay of Pigs.  McCain, so slavishly loyal to Obama's mishandling of the affair, will be left out to hang as a warmonger.

The Russians? The "deal," as I noted before (here and here, for example) makes Russia, a nation much weaker than the USA, the Big Man in the Middle East. Putin and Lavrov are the "go to" team for "resolving" intractable problems. The ease with which Russia outplayed the US is noticed in the Middle East and elsewhere. The deal has bought time for Russia's--and Iran's--man in Damascus, Assad, to appear reasonable and cooperative, without being either--you watch--while the opposition to him, already a very problematic bunch, gets more and more negative publicity and loses international support. The atrocities of the opposition, which appear considerable, will be pinned on the US and the West. The inept handling of Syria by the US side, makes it that much harder for the US to play hardball with the Iranians, and Russia is taking advantage of that. Russia is positioning itself to be the "solver" of the Iranian problem, while Team Obama busies itself with ever less credible rattling of its sabers.

The "deal" will be, I promise you, a multinational mess that will require seemingly endless discussions and travel and drafts of this and that protocol with this and that amendment. To get a hint of what's coming, let's see what my old friend Foreign Minister Lavrov has to say. He stated over the weekend,
"Any violations of procedures ... would be looked at by the Security Council and if they are approved, the Security Council would take the required measures, concrete measures . . .. Nothing is said about the use of force or about any automatic sanctions. All violations should be approved by the Security Council."
There you go. That's the whole thing in a nice tight bundle. The game is in the hands of the UNSC which will decide what is a violation and what measures to take if there is a violation. Obama and Kerry would, therefore, have to go it alone, again, if they want to punish Assad. Think they have the stomach for another round of this game? After badmouthing the UNSC and the UN, the Obama people have turned the game over to the UNSC and the UN. Think of Haile Selassie at the League of Nations, trying to get that body to act after Mussolini used chemical weapons in Ethiopia--worked well, eh?

Well, I''ll bet I know who's feeling a little sheepish right about now: How about two GOP Senators by the names of McCain and Graham? They went out of their way to identify not only with the dodgy opposition to the thug Assad, but with the Obama misadministration's mishandling of the Syria "crisis." It seems, nevertheless, that even these two can learn, and they declared in a joint statement,
"This agreement does nothing to resolve the real problem in Syria, which is the underlying conflict that has killed 110,000 people, driven millions from their homes, destabilized our friends and allies in the region, emboldened Iran and its terrorist proxies, and become a safe haven for thousands of Al-Qaeda affiliated extremists . . .

We cannot imagine a worse signal to send to Iran as it continues its push for a nuclear weapon," said Graham and McCain, who was the Republicans' nominee for president in 2008.

Assad will use the months and months afforded to him to delay and deceive the world using every trick in Saddam Hussein's playbook. It requires a willful suspension of disbelief to see this agreement as anything other than the start of a diplomatic blind alley, and the Obama Administration is being led into it by Bashar Assad and (Russian President) Vladimir Putin."
Thanks, guys, but a bit late, don't you think?

As I noted, watch as the narrative becomes that Obama saved us from a war that the GOP wanted.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Random Week-End Thoughts

In light of the success of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Drink more water"campaign, will the Obama Administration start a "Breathe More Air!" campaign? It could include a $75 billion outreach effort to minorities to ensure they get their fair share of air. Attorney General Holder could send Justice prosecutors to Southern states to ensure that they do not require IDs for those seeking to breathe more air.


At the White House ceremony in remembrance of the 9/11 attack, why did President Obama have Barney stand next to him?


Intruder from PBS Crashes White House Ceremoney


Question for the UN's IPCC: At the current rate of global warming, how long will it be before we freeze to death?

Another cruel reminder that time forgives nobody . . . to think, she brought down Ministers . . .

Why do liberals who favored the GM and Chrysler bail-outs almost always drive cars made by foreign companies?

I think that all proud Neanderthal-Americans need to protest Biden's insensitive remarks. One million Neanderthal march! Clubs are optional. We must make it known that we Neanderthals would never be associated with Congress. 

Did I call it?  I wrote
Have no doubt, Lavrov will seek to humble Kerry in ways big and small, much as his boss is humbling Obama in ways big and small. 
We see the following,
Secretary of State John Kerry's negotiations with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov got off to a rocky start Thursday, with the Russian mocking Kerry right at the outset.
Assad Speaks To Russian TV As Lavrov Keeps Kerry Waiting In Geneva
We are in the very best of hands . . . off to play with my dog




Thursday, September 12, 2013

And Now We Dither . . .

In a key scene in "Breaking Bad," the best TV show ever made, conscience-stricken ex-drug dealer Jesse Pinkman finds himself detained by two DEA agents who try to convince him to turn on his former partner, the infamous meth dealer Heisenberg, aka Walter White. Aware that Heisenberg/White is a ruthless, calculating sort out to win, Pinkman warns the two DEA men that Heisenberg/White is smarter than they: after all, they are just "two guys," Heisenberg/White "is the devil." In any plan the two agents make to bring down "the devil," well, Jesse warns, "The reverse opposite will happen!"

That wonderful scene came to mind on hearing that John "Botox" Kerry had flown to Geneva to meet Putin's Foreign Minister, Sergei "No Laugh" Lavrov. I know Lavrov--one day I will write how, it's funny--and Kerry is no match for him. Kerry, a supercilious dope, who wanted the SecState job as confirmation of his status as a celebrity deep thinker, will find Lavrov a humorless, extremely intelligent, worldly, intensely patriotic Russian nationalist with a deep envy of and resentment for the United States and the West. He holds the classic Russian view that the world, lead by the insufferably arrogant Americans, conspires against Russia to deny it the respect and status it deserves. Lavrov, a professional who speaks several languages, and works non-stop, sees his life's mission as restoring Russia's rightful place in the upper echelons of the world's hierarchy. And Kerry? As a callow youth he engaged in treason against the United States. Over time, he became a classic airhead liberal blow-hard, who used his "charms" to marry into money. He found in the Democratic party and Massachusetts an electorate that votes for rich airheads, and doesn't care if they have a treasonous past. Kerry has no discernible view on the world, and certainly has none of the drive to see his country come out ahead that we see in Lavrov. Foreign Minister Lavrov has laser-like concentration, does not speak carelessly--measuring his statements very carefully--and, therefore, is the "reverse opposite" of the goofy, gaffe-prone, lazy, unfocused, and shallow Kerry.

To confirm that things must not be going well for John "Xmas in Cambodia" Kerry, we see a press account which reports that Kerry has had to emphasize that the negotiations over Syria are "no game." It is, indeed, a sad day when the US Secretary of State has to plead to be taken seriously. But, my friends, what else could this disaster of a SecState expect? What about the Obama/Clinton/Kerry "policy" re Syria should be taken seriously? Not much--except that Obama and his two hapless Secretaries of States haven't a clue about how the world works, how to project American power and defend American interests. Putin certainly has realized that.

All this negotiation, and back-and-forth should have happened months ago, maybe two years ago when the Syrian crisis was beginning to boil and the consequences of Obama's "Arab Spring" were becoming painfully obvious. Instead, of course, the "reverse opposite" has happened. Obama, after months of dithering, presents his muddled end game, a plan for an "unbelievably" small military action of limited scope and duration that has no intention of hurting seriously the Assad regime, a regime Obama labeled as posing a threat to core American interests. Makes no sense. None of it.

So now we have Obama and Kerry chasing after the Russians, who are masters at playing games, to help Obama and Kerry get out of the box they have built. Have no doubt, Lavrov will seek to humble Kerry in ways big and small, much as his boss is humbling Obama in ways big and small. We have, for example, Putin "writing"(I bet Lavrov is the author) an op-ed in the New York Times lecturing the United States on the need to show humility and to stop being so warlike. It appears that Vladimir Putin, as I stated in a Tweet earlier in the day, seeks to take the position once held by Walter Duranty at the NYT : that special slot reserved for overt members of the NKVD/KGB.

We dither as Russia, a country several orders of magnitude weaker than the United States, reestablishes its influence in the region; boldly announces it is helping Iran re-arm and strengthen its nuclear program; and kicks sand in the face of 98-pound weakling Obama on the Snowden affair. Obama, meanwhile, gives vacuous speeches and seeks desperately to have the Syria disaster go away. He doesn't even want Congress to vote on giving him the power to strike militarily--a power which he previously claimed he had by right of being President. The CIA, meanwhile, arms the "moderates" (oh, please) in the Syrian resistance in another half-baked program which gets us the opprobrium for intervening in somebody else's civil war, without any benefits for America, or even an end-plan.

Obama built it. We all are paying for it--and the final bill has not yet arrived.

WLA

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Sad Little Man in the World's Biggest Office

I did not watch President Obama's speech last night. I could not bear the thought of it. I watched the US-Mexico soccer game which was played before a Columbus, Ohio crowd that was much more pro-American than the sad little man in the White House. I rarely watch Obama's speeches any more; I can't stand his mannerisms, smirks, arrogant pose with nose in the air. I read the texts the day after. I have now read the Syria speech text. You can, too, if you want to say you have, but it's not worth the bother.

What to say about this speech? I can start by noting that the opening paragraphs come about two years too late. The first half of the speech is the sort of address that Presidents make when they are telling the American people about something that the President has decided to do, to wit, to respond to an imminent threat to American interests, with the punchline being, "Air, land, and naval forces of the United States have begun a campaign to . . . "

Hear we have Obama speaking,
When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other way until those horrifying pictures fade from memory. But these things happened. The facts cannot be denied. The question now is what the United States of America, and the international community, is prepared to do about it. Because what happened to those people -- to those children -- is not only a violation of international law, it’s also a danger to our security.
<...> 
If fighting spills beyond Syria’s borders, these weapons could threaten allies like Turkey, Jordan, and Israel. And a failure to stand against the use of chemical weapons would weaken prohibitions against other weapons of mass destruction, and embolden Assad’s ally, Iran -- which must decide whether to ignore international law by building a nuclear weapon, or to take a more peaceful path. 
This is not a world we should accept. This is what’s at stake. And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike. The purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime’s ability to use them, and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use. 
That’s my judgment as Commander-in-Chief.
Forget the logic employed and the lack of credible evidence so far presented. Let's take Obama at his word. Accept that Assad has used chemical weapons. Accept that this use presents a danger to US security. Accept, as he says later on, that as President he has the authority to strike Syria militarily.

OK, so what's he going to do? Will he man-up and act on his professed beliefs that the situation in Syria presents a danger to the US and that he has the authority to respond in a military manner to that threat? Will he act, then accept the consequences of his actions both in terms of domestic politics and international fall-out? Nope. Not at all. This is a man dedicated to avoiding consequences of principled actions. In essence, he will do nothing.

After all that war talk and macho chest beating, his "plan" is to . . . dither. He doesn't want Congress to vote right now: put it off; no hurry; I'll get back to you. The fact is he got completely outplayed by Putin, who seized on the stupidity of John "Gafemachine" Kerry, and managed simultaneously to put Obama in a box and offer him a way out of that box. Obama lies when he implies that he and Putin developed this proposal together some time back. The facts are quite different: Putin made the offer for some sort of international control or supervision of Syria's chemical weapons a couple of weeks ago, but it was flatly rejected by Obama. The proposal came back to life when Kerry, as the State Department has admitted, "misspoke" by giving Assad a week to give up his chemical weapons to avoid our "unbelievably small" attack. Putin pounced and made his offer anew, and got the Syrians to go along. The whole issue, in other words, the whole imminent threat and imperative to act charade has now been booted to some as yet undetermined international process, which will undoubtedly involve the UN Security Council--the same body essentially dismissed by Obama's Ambassador to the UN--and what could be virtually endless rounds of negotiating some text with no teeth. Obama is now sending Kerry to meet his Russian counterpart Lavrov; not a cheery thought. I know Lavrov, having clashed with him at the UN, and Kerry is no match for him.

Meanwhile, of course, Russia has enhanced its stature in the region and, as if to emphasize that it now considers itself at least the US's equal, has announced that it intends to sell Iran a new sophisticated SAM system and help it build a new nuclear reactor. There you go, President Obama. Another success for you right up there with Benghazi and "Fast and Furious."

Mr. Obama, you built this; the rest of us will pay the price for years to come.

WLA

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Remembering The 9/11 Massacre: The First One

I will be writing more about 9/11/2001, and 9/11/ 2012 in the coming days. I present, meanwhile, the speech I gave as Charge of the Embassy in Colombo at a memorial service for the dead of the first 9/11 attack. The service was held at a local church on September 14, 2001. The entire diplomatic corps attended, as did much of the Sri Lankan government, as well as  hundreds of ordinary people, many of whom had to stand outside the large church.

Begin Text (as delivered)

On behalf of the American Embassy, Government, and people, I want to thank Reverend Gardner and all of you for coming here on a Saturday afternoon to express your solidarity, condolences, and good wishes as we try to grapple with the enormity of the crime committed on September 11, 2001 - - a crime that cost the lives of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.
All of us in the Embassy are deeply touched by the enormous and genuine outpouring of sympathy and support from the international community, from the Government of Sri Lanka and from the people of this country, Sinhalese, Tamil, and Muslim.  Thank you, thank you all very much.
I also want to take this opportunity to express heartfelt condolences to the people of our closest friend and ally, the United Kingdom.  They have lost scores perhaps hundreds of their fellow citizens in the attack on the World Trade Center.  We should not forget the many British families are today suffering the anguish of not knowing what has happened to their loved ones, or that of knowing all too well what has happened.  This is not the first time American and British citizens die together at the hands of a common foe and in a common cause -- and it probably won’t be the last time.  
The people of dozens of other countries, including Sri Lanka, people of all races and religions, including at least 50 Muslims, fell to the terrorists, and our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families.
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the 21st century.  
As a colleague of mine noted yesterday, civilization now confronts a new version of the cult of Assassins who, just as did those of the 11th century, proclaim loud fealty to a religion and then violate its principal tenants.  And, Ladies and Gentlemen, I say the following well aware that we are in a church, in a place dedicated to the propagation of peace and brotherly love:  Civilization must and will strike back; civilization must and will win this war in which we confront evil men who have no regard for human life; men who turn ploughshares into swords and then use them against defenseless innocents.
I don’t know what message the terrorists sought to deliver September 11; I don’t know their grievance or their cause.

 And, furthermore, I don’t care!  I don’t care!

Whatever it was, whatever their cause was, it has been hopelessly perverted by and lost in the evil of their deeds.
And evil must, and will be confronted and it will be defeated.  
During the just-concluded 20th century, civilization also fought great evil -- Fascism, Nazism, and Communism -- and triumphed, at great cost, but it triumphed.  And it will again.  In opposition to our democracy, freedom, and the rule of law, our opponents offer hate, desolation, destruction, and death, most especially death.

Let me quote from a poem written during the fierce battle for Guadalcanal by US Marine Corps Private First Class Vincent Cassidy:
“Does it grieve you, Death,
      that I defy you,
  that I refuse to be taken by you?
Be aforehand warned
   And plan it well,
If you intend my doom to spell,
   For I intend to fight . . .”
And fight we will.
  
In the words of the Scottish “Ballad of Andrew Barton,”
"I am hurt, but I am not slaine;
I'le lay mee downe and bleed a-while,
And then I'le rise and ffight againe.”
If anybody doubts that, turn to the words of one of the great heroes of the 20th century, one of the men who saved the civilized world, perhaps the greatest statesman who ever lived, and a man who knew America very well, Sir Winston Churchill.   

In his volume The Grand Alliance, he eloquently describes his reaction on hearing about the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and the entry of America into WWII on the side of Britain:
“No American will think it wrong of me if I proclaim that to have the United States at our side was to me the greatest joy.  {. . .} So we had won after all! {. . . }  Silly people, and there were many, not only in enemy countries, might discount the force of the United States.  Some said they were soft, others that they would never be united.  They would fool around at a distance.  They would never come to grips.  They would never stand blood-letting.  Their democracy and system of recurrent elections would paralyse their war effort.  They would be just a vague blur on the horizon to friend or foe.  Now we should see the weakness of this numerous but remote, wealthy, and talkative people.  But I had studied the American Civil War, fought out to the last desperate inch.  American blood flowed in my veins.  I thought of a remark which Edward Grey had made to me more than thirty years before – that the United States is like ‘a gigantic boiler.  Once the fire is lighted under it there is no limit to the power it can generate.’  Being saturated and satiated with emotion and sensation, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, the boiler is lit.
And those who lit it on September 11, 2001, will learn the lesson learned by those who lit it sixty years ago, on December 7, 1941.  Then we all, too, will be able to sleep “the sleep of the saved and thankful.” 
Welcome to the 21st century.    
Thank you.

End Text

WLA

Monday, September 9, 2013

Obama-Kerry Clown Car Drives into the Ditch; Putin Tow-truck to the "Rescue"

After weeks and weeks of driving in circles, honking its horn, and trying without success to pick up new passengers, the Official Obama-Kerry Foreign Policy Clown Mobile just rolled into a ditch, and Putin is slowly backing up his tow-truck to "help."

Kerry, the most unqualified Secretary of State since Hillary Clinton, has shown his mastery of ignorance and lack of knowledge of basic negotiating skills. In a garbled--what else from him?--statement to the press, John "Xmas in Cambodia" Kerry said,
President Bashar al-Assad has one week to hand over his entire stock of chemical weapons to avoid a military attack. But John Kerry added that he had no expectation that the Syrian leader would comply.
When I heard this statement, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I thought, he just sabotaged whatever he thought he was doing with Syria and opened the door to Russia. As I had stated on August 19,
In the Middle East, we have shown great weakness in the face of an Islamist totalitarian onslaught, and, in fact, many of our statements on Egypt appear to favor the murdering totalitarians of the Muslim Brotherhood. Thanks to Obama, regardless of what happens in Egypt--and I suspect the Egyptian military will hang on--the US will lose. Egypt's leaders, not wishing to repeat the Daladier experience, will drift away from us. Already we see the Saudis and others in the Gulf stepping in; don't rule out a move by Russia, as well, as our ineptness in Egypt and Syria provides Moscow wonderful opportunities to reestablish its influence in the region.
Kerry is an idiot; if we didn't have an idiot as President, as well, Kerry should have been fired immediately after this "gaffe." This is a violation of the most basic principle of negotiation. You do not make an offer that works against you, and tell the other side that it works against you. This moron threw out his "one week" proposal, and followed it with, "and we know they won't accept it."

What if they did accept it? Are you ready for that? Well, we see the answer in the State Department's frantic effort to put the evil back into Pandora's Jar,
The State Department was forced to clarify the remarks, calling them "rhetorical" and making clear its desire to strike could be tempered by a Syrian offer. Kerry's point, according to spokeswoman Jen Psaki, "was that this brutal dictator with a history of playing fast and loose with the facts cannot be trusted to turn over chemical weapons."
Rhetorical, huh? What kind of chief negotiator and foreign policy strategist do we have? Well, Putin has an answer to that question. The Russian President immediately saw an opening for Russia to re-establish its withered influence in the Middle East, to curry favor with Iran, play up to the anti-war crowd in Europe and even in the US. Putin urged Syria to accept the proposal, and, of course, offered to help broker it.  The Syrians, no slouches themselves when it comes to negotiating with idiots,  thought it a grand idea, and the ball began to roll,
[Syria's Foreign Minister said he] “welcomes Russia’s initiative, based on the Syrian government’s care about the lives of our people and security of our country.” 
Although Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denies having a stockpile of the widely banned weapons, the idea of international control also quickly gained traction among diplomats and at least some senior Democrats whose support Obama seeks for a show of force. 
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was the first senior lawmaker to voice support for the Russian proposal.
After "threatening" Assad with "unbelievably small" attack of limited scope and duration in exchange for giving up his most precious weapons, Kerry now undermines even that. As I wrote before, this misadministration was apparently trying to emulate JFK's handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis, but has ended up somewhere else. Now the Russians, and Syrians, and others, will begin calling for an international meeting or conference to discuss a proposal for Syria to give up the chemical weapons that it denies having in the first place. No matter how much the Dems try to spin it--I see Axelrod already shooting out the emails praising Obama's toughness and cleverness--this is a major defeat for the United States.  Russia will be the peace-maker; the "go to" country

Complete disaster.

WLA

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Hope from the Land of Tomorrow: Aussies Bring Back the Real Liberals

Growing up in Hawaii and California, I was vaguely tormented by the fact that it was almost always tomorrow in Australia. I sort of resented that the Aussies got to see the future before I did, and that by the time it became tomorrow where I lived, they already had used it up and were moving on to another tomorrow. I would lie in bed either listening on my transistor to Rolf Harris singing about his unfettered kangaroo, or watching on my tiny TV as Tasmanian Errol Flynn performed feats of derring-do--and, of course, Warner Brother cartoons had warned us about what comes from Tasmania! The Aussie threat to American culture was a very clear and present one! Needless to say, this type of awareness of the threat posed by foreign nations got me to go into the Foreign Service. Once in, to my horror, I discovered that the Aussies are pretty neat folks. I worked very closely with them in Sri Lanka and Indonesia, and found that they have superb military and diplomatic services. It was a joy to work with them. I forgave them for passing on tomorrow to us a bit used. I even got into blogging thanks to Aussie Blogger Extraordinaire Tim Blair, whose erudition, wit, and biting sarcasm let me know that there was a new digital way to fight the leftist insanity.

A big John Howard fan, I admired his blunt speaking, profound patriotism, and willingness to continue the long Aussie tradition of stepping up to defend the West. His rise to power gave me hope that we could avoid four years of Al Gore after eight years of Clinton. Australia, again, proved the land of tomorrow, and we got George W. Bush. I was appalled when Howard's long run as PM ended and we saw Labor's Kevin Rudd incumber the office of PM. I saw Rudd more as a European phony than as one of the down-to-earth and very clear-eyed Australians with whom I worked. His kow-towing to the warmist crowd by signing Kyoto, and his "apology" for Australia being a great country turned me off completely. I hoped and prayed that Rudd, and his even more bizarre intra-Labor rival, weird Welshwoman Julia Gillard, would not prove a glimpse of what was in store for the USA. This time, Alas! Australia, again, predicted what was to come. We got an inept anti-American Chicago mountebank by the name of Barrack Hussein Obama, who made the shambolic (Note: A great British word!) Rudd-Gilliard-Rudd administration seem like a Swiss railroad in comparison.

Well, let's hope and pray mightily that newly elected PM Tony Abbott is as tough and conservative as he appears. I am delighted that, unlike in the USA, conservatives in Australia have preserved the word "Liberal" for themselves and not allowed it to be stolen and warped by the left. I also love the typical lefty assessment of him run by CNN. Read it and take in the fair and objective evaluation given Abbott by CNN in its opening paragraphs,
He may have run a gaffe-prone campaign against the bookish Kevin Rudd, the incumbent Labor prime minister, but his knockabout style, which harkens back to older, safer times, proved popular with an electorate exhausted by years of Labor infighting. 
Having successfully deflected accusations of sexism -- dismissing a campaign gaffe in which he lauded a Liberal female candidate for her "sex appeal" as a "dad moment" -- Abbott has presented himself as an unreconstructed male who loves his sport and beer. 
In Australia's current social climate, which some have attacked for being increasingly insular, self-absorbed and xenophobic, Abbott's bruising confrontational style has hit a rich seam.
Ah, the lefties! In just a few short sentences we "find out" that: the new PM is "gaffe-prone," while Rudd was "bookish"; he is a throwback to older days; he had accusations of sexism thrown at him (by whom, we wonder?); and he has capitalized on "Australia's current social climate, which some (again we wonder, who?) have attacked for being increasingly insular, self-absorbed and xenophobic." Most of the CNN piece, it turns out, while ostensibly about the new PM, is not even about Abbott but about vulgar incidents in Aussie politics. Nice pairing up; I am sure it's just coincidence.

As CNN, and others go on about the new PM, we find that Abbott is a neanderthal who doubts the global warming nonsense, likes women, sports, beer, and wants lower taxes, and to defend Australia's culture against the massive influx of "asylum seekers." He must be a very, very bad man.

As I hinted above, let's hope he's as bad as advertised. Let's also hope that Australia will, again, prove the political Land of Tomorrow. I live with that hope for change.

WLA

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Envious of JFK, Obama Seeks His Own Bay of Pigs Fiasco

Talking to a vaguely Democratic neighbor the other day about Syria, he mentioned something which I have long expected to hear as a DNC talking point, especially on the War Channel, AKA MSNBC: Obama the reincarnation of steely-eyed JFK during the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. I have seen a few stories (here, for example) trying to call up the ghosts of that crisis. I am sure, especially as Putin gets increasingly bombastic about Russia's reaction to an attack on Syria, we will see efforts by the DNC talking point machine to show Obama as a worthy successor to JFK and his "stare down" of Nikita Khrushchev over fifty years ago.

I agree that Obama's foreign policy in Syria can be compared to JFK's Cuba policy, but to an episode earlier than the Missile Crisis. I refer, of course, to JFK's disastrous handling of the Bay of Pigs. As I wrote on the fiftieth anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, contrary to the hagiographic accounts of JFK's handling of the event, it proved,
the classic leftist screw up that risked global disaster, produced a fifty-year disaster for the Cuban people, and ended up being twisted into political gain for a not very competent President of the USA. There would have been no October 1962 "crisis" had it not been for JFK's betrayal of the Cuban freedom fighters in April 1961. Had JFK carried out the Eisenhower plan instead of allowing the freedom fighters to be killed and captured, Castro would have been gone, there would have been no Soviet presence in Cuba, no October Missile Crisis, and very likely no wars in Central America.
Obama is going for another Bay of Pigs, to wit, a half-baked operation lacking in the essential resources needed to produce a favorable outcome for the United States. JFK sabotaged Eisenhower's stright-forward plan for eliminating Castro in favor of a convoluted, ill-supplied invasion by exiles that would not require American boots on the ground until victory was nearly assured. The Democrats seem to love these sort of half-measures because they look sophisticated. Some years ago, it was fashionable to read David Halberstram's classic 1972 The Best and The Brightest. His book, of course, told how the "smartest guys in the room" led the United States into disaster in Southeast Asia. They were convinced that they were, in Tom Wolfe's subsequent phrase, Masters of the Universe; that thanks to their Harvard degrees, and fluency with tecno jargon, they could wage modern limited war as though military conflict were an orchestra responding to the subtleties and delicate nuances of a brilliant conductor. A little more bombing here; a pause there; talk a little; increase the pressure as needed, etc., and that the opposition would come to the rational conclusion that there was no point in trying to match the resources and sheer brilliance of The Best and The Brightest. Didn't work. The subtleties and nuances were lost on a foe who wanted to win regardless of cost, and who knew that eventually the Americans and their Wiz Kids leaders would have to go home. They simply forgot or ignored Von Moltke's observation, adapted from Von Clausewitz, to the effect that, "No plan survives first contact."

It would seem that Obama wants his own little Bay of Pigs--OK, OK, let's be culturally appropriate, Gulf of Camels. He has no particular plan on how to deal with Assad except to launch a few missiles at some facilities, which by now are either empty, greatly fortified, or both. Assad knows that the full might of American firepower, an awesome spectacle, indeed, will not be unleashed on him. The odds are Assad will survive whatever Obama does to him, and be a hero in the eyes of the Arab world. Don't forget that Saddam appeared as such a hero even after the beating he took in the first Gulf War--he took the punch and remained standing, that's all that matters in the Middle East. Quite frankly, we should probably hope that is the result. If by some chance, Assad falls, wait until you see the jihadi loons who will replace him!


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Drawing Inside the (Red) Lines

How did this happen? How did we allow The Onion to elect our president

President Obama has been regaling us about the importance, the imperative of action on Syria; he has proudly proclaimed his macho man credentials by establishing a "red line" on chemical weapon use in Syria; he has warned John "Xmas in Cambodia" Kerry's dining partner, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, that the US would act if chemical weapons were used in Syria's increasingly violent and "no quarter given" civil war.

Well, now it turns out, it's not really a red, red line, it's not even really Obama's red line. No, now the Alinskyite Chicago Community Organizer has decided that it's the world's red line. He first tried palming it off on Congress, but has gone for bigger game: THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT MADE ME DO IT!

Have we ever had a more absurd president? The world will decide whether the United States should use our blood and treasure? Where is the international treaty that obligates the United States to launch air strikes if a country uses chemical weapons? Is there one that requires Russia, China, the UK, France, Rwanda, and Belize to do the same? Or is it only for the United States?

Perhaps the only thing more absurd than our president is his band of followers and apologists. Like faithful brainless and gutless Orwellian caricatures they follow along with every bend, twist, deletion, and redaction of the record. It appears that liberals have both short-term and long-term memory loss, and do not realize that in today's digital age, stupid words are forever.

This Syrian mess was built by Obama; it is an annex to the mess he and Hillary made in North Africa and is compounded by how they threw away our gains in Iraq in exchange for nothing.

If Obama cannot handle this, do you think he can handle Iran?

WLA

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Brazil and Spying: A Quiet Word, Part Two

A while ago I wrote  in response to French "outrage" that the NSA spied on them that,
For obvious reasons, I must and will be very cautious in what I say re spying. I note, however, that the French might want to hold their tongues on this matter. France has well-funded, active, and effective national intelligence organizations that operate around the world. The French services collect on many targets, private sector as well as government. Those targets are domestic and foreign, and when I say foreign, I mean, uh, well, foreign, you know, as in not French but maybe European and American, and, uh, those are allies of France . . . . whenever I was in France on official business or had contact with French officials, including dealing on Airbus vs. Boeing sales, I had to be very careful about where I put my laptop, and what I said or sent via any electronic device, n'est-ce pas?
I see now that the Brazilians and the Mexicans are "outraged" over Snowden's revelations that--Horrors!-- the NSA collected on them, and allegedly read their presidents' email traffic. This, again, shows a couple of things:

1) Snowden and his pals are not some sort of naive, good-natured crusaders for civil liberties and privacy rights. Snowden is a traitor, as I have noted before, and works with people out to harm the United States. He is giving away information on overseas operations that have nothing to do with the rights of Americans, but have everything to do with established practices by every government, to wit, conduct intelligence collection on foreign powers and citizens. Are you shocked that spy organizations spy?

2) As I noted about the French, the Brazilians, especially, should keep quiet about espionage. They have an active intel organization which collects on foreigners and Brazilians in touch with foreigners. Whenever I was in Brazil, we always assumed our phones were tapped and, on occasion, we were being followed.

Chill, my Latin brothers, chill.

WLA

One-and-a-Half Party System: Republicans Want to Lose

I first voted in a national election in 1972. I was one of about five on the UCLA campus who cast a ballot for Richard Nixon. I never regretted that vote. As a budding conservative, I had inchoate doubts about some Nixon policies, e.g., creating the EPA, price controls, but those never really overcame my fear of a Democrat, e.g., McGovern, running our foreign policy which was what I cared about deeply. In every election, local, state or national since, I voted straight Republican. I found the Democrats increasingly at odds with what I believed America should be and what I saw that it was. The liberal ideology became evermore repellent and destructive.

Since about 2008, when Bush caved in to demagogic demands for the Feds "to do something" about the economy, i.e., bail-outs for losers, I began to question my unswerving loyalty to the GOP. I had a hard time with McCain as the standard bearer in 2008, but look whom he ran against--a Chicago Marxist fraud. I applauded his choice of Governor Palin as a running mate, seeing it as a brilliant tactical and strategic move, but then as I feared, and later wrote on June 19, 2011,
The good Senator from Arizona, a bonafide American war hero, ran a disastrous campaign. He could not bring himself to go for the jugular of a very vulnerable and inept Democratic candidate. He made a brilliant move by picking Palin as his running mate, a move that generated enthusiasm and activated the base he needed to win, and then he sabotaged her. Her sent off to gain the respect and kudos of the mainstream media, and wasted her. He seemed to think that because the NY Times had endorsed him for the GOP nomination, they were on his side, so he sent Palin to get the same endorsement. That, of course, never came. 
McCain has not learned.
I think I am safe in doubling down on that ending statement: McCain has not learned. He continues to seek "respect and approval" from the liberal establishment, including Hollywood and the crumbling New York Times.

I liked and supported Governor Romney in 2012. Of all the candidates, he was the one, in my view, with the clearest vision on the economy and foreign policy, and again in my view, with the best chance of beating Obama. His choice of Paul Ryan was a gusty one. Ryan bought a Tea Party intensity and excitement to the GOP ticket. Ryan, of course, is the foremost Congressional expert on how the government budget process works and does not. He knows the impact of taxes on the productive sectors of the economy. He understands deficits and the tricks government accountants use to hide them. As with the choice of Palin, I was very pleased with the Ryan choice. Romney, however, proved somewhat of a prisoner to his staff, made up of good but very "moderate" and cautious Republicans.

The Romney campaign made three big mistakes (there are others , of course):

1) The surprising and unforgivable failure to understand that the Mainstream Media would give him no break, no slack;

2) Holding fire on Obama's grotesque mishandling of foreign policy, especially on Fast and Furious and Benghazi, in the belief that to corral Obama on those issues somehow would detract from Romney's economic emphasis;

3) Failing to appreciate fully how in the last few decades politics in the Western world increasingly comprise a battle between voters and taxpayers. As I wrote May 31, 2011,
In the United States, for example, we have the top one percent of earners paying 38-41% of all Federal income tax. We have nearly half of Americans who pay no income tax, and another large percentage 15-20% who pay minimal income tax (and lets not even get into "Earned Income Tax Credits".) We essentially have a society where some 25% of the income earners pay close to 90% of all Federal income taxes. That 25% does not consume anywhere near 90% of the services provided by the Feds. 
You can argue until you're blue in the face that this imbalance is "fair" because those who make more SHOULD pay more. Whether, however, you are "right" or "wrong," in socio-political terms this imbalance has set up a clash between those who pay and those who do not.
Point #3 means that it is very tough for a candidate advocating for individual responsibility and initiative to win national elections. The Democrat proposals on welfare reform, and the hideous Obamacare are nothing but further efforts to bring in more people dependent on the government, and who will vote Democrat.

We now have another situation wherein the GOP again allows the liberal media Mau-Mau machine, with the energetic assistance of the still hazy McCain, to determine its positions. I refer, of course, to the ongoing phony crisis over Syria--the real issue is Iran, and Obama ain't touching that one. I have written a lot about Syria (here, here, and here for example) and don't want to tire your patience by repeating all my arguments against intervention there. What, however, we see is a President waking up to the fact, as seen in polling, that he and "his" foreign policy team have mishandled the issue. In typical Chicagoland politics style, he seeks somebody to blame, or at least to share the blame with him, and, added benefit, sidetrack discussion of the amazing array of major scandals that swirl around his misadministration. After weeks of telling us that military intervention in Syria of some undefined sort is imperative and in the national interest; that we don't "need no stinkin' allies" or the UN; and that he, as President, has the authority to order it, he takes a break and passes the hot potato to Congress. Our "Constitutional Professor" suddenly decides that Congress should vote on the intervention, even if he reserves the right to ignore it.

As I wrote before (emphasis added),
Obama has said that, well, after all, he wants Congressional approval to engage in a limited warning strike of brief duration that will involve no major US military presence with the objective of . . . we don't know. He also undermined John "Xmas in Cambodia" Kerry by saying that, well, there is no hurry, and that we can strike whenever we want, now, tomorrow, in a week, in a couple of months, it's all good, dude . . . time for some golf with the ever-grinning Joe "The Plugs Don't Hurt Anymore" Biden. 
My recommendation, for what little value it has, is for Congress to vote "NO," unless the misadministration comes up with a real, solid thought-through proposal with goals and an exit plan. President Obama built this bizarre structure, he should get full credit for it. He should be told, you didn't want us in on the take-off, don't call us in on the crash landing.
Incredible, absolutely incredible, but the GOP leadership has announced that it intends to give Obama the authorization. Again, the GOP has demonstrated that it does not want to win, that it does not have the guts to stand up to the Obama Mau-Maus in the press and Hollywood. It will not stand up for the average American Joe, including real-life GI Joes who will be asked to put their lives on the line to save jihadi's in Syria whom elsewhere we drone to death on an almost daily basis. The GOP should say, "NO" in unmistakable terms, and, if Obama really believes in his own policy and that he has the authority to go ahead and attack Syria, then he should do that, and live with the results. The GOP leadership instead has decided to be "responsible" as defined in the Washington bubble and by the liberal media, and surrender to this mountebank of a President. Could you see a Senator Obama supporting a President McCain on a Syrian intervention?

I hope there is still some sense of honor and courage in the ranks of the Congressional GOP, and maybe even within some forgotten pocket of Democrat legislators, and that we will see a substantial "NO" vote. The GOP, as it did with its refusal to press on F&F and Benghazi, for example, is holstering a major 2014 campaign weapon; it will be forced to share in the disaster that will become our policy in Syria. If the GOP yields on this, when it has widespread public support for a "NO" vote, does anybody really believe the GOP will carry out a much tougher political fight on Obamacare and on all those scandals?

I am just about fed up with the GOP. If I wanted Democrats in charge, I would vote for them.

WLA