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One Hundred Days of Leftist Savagery

Apologies for the gap in blogging. Life gets in the way of living, or maybe the other way round. I don't know. Had to deal with a number...

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

No More Conversations About Race

I got sidetracked from my original intention with this blog which was to discuss foreign policy issues. The problem is that our problems and issues at home often set the parameters for our foreign policies and for how they are received overseas.

I will try to get back to foreign policy and developments overseas . . . unless the temptation becomes tooooooooo great to weigh in on other issues closer to home.

ONE of those temptations, of course, arises from the recent call for a "conversation on race." The people asking for this "conversation," e.g., The One, Pelosi, Sharpton, Jackson, Holder, do not really mean it. They just want to get on their electronic soap boxes and lecture us on the perfidy of the white race, the racist underpinnings of the United States, and to claim that we have not advanced on race since the Emancipation Proclamation, or at best, that America remains Alabama 1890. They never seem to acknowledge, for example, that we have a mixed race President. The race hustlers, such as the people mentioned above, cannot accept that America has made tremendous progress on race, and, in fact, has become the most tolerant, least xenophobic, and most diverse society on earth.

These liberals, of course, cannot leave the race issue alone, as we saw in the Zimmerman trial. They need strife and turmoil to justify more government intervention, and to create more opportunities for hustlers, academic mountebanks, and political demagogues to earn a living by running down the country that pays and protects them.

When we hear calls to discuss race, those inevitably are about two races, really skin colors, in other words, black and white. That is a grotesque simplification and distortion of American reality. Those who self-identify as black Americans comprise a bit over 13% of our total population (see the US Census chart below). Depending on what you consider race, and liberals prove notoriously flexible on what they consider race--think Elizabeth Warren and George Zimmerman--self-identified Hispanic/Latinos come in just under 17%, not counting a large percent who consider themselves white. Asians make up over 5%. Another 2.4% report two or more races in their ancestry; I suspect that number is much higher in reality.

USA Population, 2012 

   People QuickFactsUSA
Population definition and source info Population, 2012 estimate313,914,040
Population definition and source info Population, 2010 (April 1) estimates base308,747,508
Population, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1 definition and source info Population, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1, 20121.7%
Population definition and source info Population, 2010308,745,538
Persons under 5 years, percent definition and source info Persons under 5 years, percent, 20126.4%
Persons under 18 years, percent definition and source info Persons under 18 years, percent, 201223.5%
Persons 65 years and over, percent definition and source info Persons 65 years and over, percent, 201213.7%
Female persons, percent definition and source info Female persons, percent, 201250.8%
White alone, percent definition and source info White alone, percent, 2012 77.9%
Black or African American alone, percent definition and source info Black or African American alone, percent, 2012 13.1%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent definition and source info American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent, 2012 1.2%
Asian alone, percent definition and source info Asian alone, percent, 2012 5.1%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent definition and source info Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent, 2012 0.2%
Two or More Races, percent definition and source info Two or More Races, percent, 20122.4%
Hispanic or Latino, percent definition and source info Hispanic or Latino, percent, 2012 16.9%
White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent definition and source info White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent, 201263.0%


This corner of Southern California where I temporarily sit for family reasons has a very large Asian population, both East and South Asian--in fact, the mayor of the city is an East Asian immigrant. It is a very diverse city and everybody seems to get along quite well. The membership of the gym where I go to try to become 30 again seems evenly split, about 45% to 45%, between whites and Asians, with many of both groups being foreign born--reminds me of Singapore. There are also fair representations of blacks and Hispanics. I see no racial animosity, no racial tension, and serious crime is just about non-existent. After decades away from California, I am struck by how many inter-racial marriages I see, mostly white-Asian, but others as well. Shouldn't a conversation on race include these people? Hispanics, too, no?

Unlike liberals who see what they believe, conservatives tend to believe what we see. We do not see a country in the grip of racial tension, at least not until the charlatans begin to act. I always harken back to my years in Sri Lanka; now, my friends, there was a country ripped open by a genocidal ethnic hatred stirred up by politicians. I saw the same process in Guyana and throughout much of the Caribbean: ordinary people getting along until rabble rousers arrive and drive wedges between them.

In sum, we have had way too many conversations about race. Let's stop talking about race, stop giving opportunities to those who would divide us. The black community needs to evaluate honestly its many social pathologies and deal with them. There lies the secret to putting an end to lower black economic and academic performance. Part of that process will involve dumping the current generation of black "leaders" and finding brave new ones who will address black-on-black murder, the high illegitimate birth rate, poor schools, and many other ills that disproportionately afflict black Americans--afflictions made worse, infinitely worse, by a political culture of dependency on government, by the turning away from traditional pillars of the black community, such as the churches, and by the glorification of the gangster.  

Race is not the issue in America. The destruction of the black community by black leaders in conjunction with white liberals, now that is an issue.

WLA

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The One Who Wants America to Fail

Ah, my perplexed ones! Let us escape our current political miasma. Come with me, back, back in time, way back to when we were are all young and beautiful! Back when many still believed in "Hope" and "Change"! For as the Goddess of History has shown "Hope" is Always a Great Plan for a country and "Change" is Always Good, and NEVER should be resisted. We see, for example, the truth of this wisdom by looking at when Germany changed from the flawed Weimar Republic to . . . or when Russia changed from the flawed Kerensky to . . . or when Iran changed from the flawed Shah to . . . or when Egypt changed from the flawed Mubarak to . . . . well, ok, never mind, let's get back to our topic, uh, oh, Time Travel! Yes, back to the beginnings of our Dark Ages, a time lost in the mists, to a Land That Time Forgot, yes, to the USA of 2009-2010.

If you still have enough grey cells left after the buffeting of recent years to do that, please recall the phrase, "The Republicans want President Obama to fail!" Ah, the ultimate silence-inducing zinger, the end to any argument when a conservative was getting the better of a liberal, "You want the President to fail!" Strong words, accusatory words, words redolent of more than a whiff of KGB, Stasi, Gestapo, or Inmin Boanbu. Somehow, I never heard those words hurled at critics of Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush. Those words, of course, comprised the opening salvo in what has become a persistent campaign by Obamabots to delegitimize dissent, to label critics as unpatriotic, as saboteurs of The People's Will! To criticize The One, even in mild terms, quickly brings on a torrent of new words such as "phony," "racist," or "flat-earther." In more extreme cases, of course, your private life can be opened to investigation, ridicule, distortion--ask Sarah Palin or Herman Cain; the IRS or others in the vast collection of Federal agencies can begin to call or even raid you. Venezuela take notes: This is how you suppress dissent!

Events of the past five years have made it clear that Obama and his minions want America to fail. There can exist no doubt. This misadministration is destroying our economy and our standing in the world. Whether by malevolent design, stupidity of an astronomical order, or just unprecedented incompetence, we see it happening at an increasing pace. The disasters at home and abroad that sap our power, influence, effectiveness, and resolve as a great nation cannot be denied, or labelled "phony," except by the most devoted follower of The One. Who would follow such a "leader"? Remember that even as Russian rockets and artillery shells rained on Berlin, thousands of Germans remained faithful to the Führer and fought to the death; even as American tanks and troops closed in on Baghdad, Saddam's "dead enders" resisted. Reality for such believers is a plastic medium to be bent, stretched, reshaped at will: George Zimmerman is white, Elizabeth Warren is Native American, spend to reduce the deficit, George Bush is behind all trouble and evil in the world . . ..

In no single area of endeavor is the drive to fail more evident than in the field of energy.

A couple of days ago, I read of the death of Texas oilman George Mitchell. He must be one of the great unsung heroes of our time. He is the man who more so than any other single individual has offered us true "hope" and "change," a quick way out of many of our current troubles. He, in essence, defied the conventional wisdom that we were "running out" of fossil fuels and would either have to live depending on the goodwill of Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela, or pursue little lives in dark and cold hovels, not much different from how Shakespeare lived. If one man can be credited with inventing and promoting "fracking" it is the late George Mitchell. The son of Greek immigrants, he saw the potential in America and took great risks and got great results. He got very and deservedly wealthy; he also bequeathed us the possibility of breaking away from the Saudis, et al, and re-establishing our independence in this "interdependent" world.

I have written before on fracking, and noted that debate in our society would come down to a battle between two "f" words: "fracking," and the most hideous word in the English language, "fair." The Obamabots and leftists around the West have clearly thrown in with "fair," and its equally hideous sibling, "social justice." Wherever they can, they seek to halt "fracking," be it with junk science, with the standard crazed "activist," or with deliberate policies designed to prevent fracking and its benefits.

Fracking offers an opportunity to the United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico, the UK, and perhaps China to revolutionize, to upend the world energy market, to make oil and gas widely available commodities difficult for any bloc or cartel to corner and control. Despite the open hostility from our own government and the Obamatized media, the United States, thanks to private lands and private investment, is poised to become the world's top oil producer and already has become the world's largest gas producer. Canada will likely provide stiff competition for those titles. Australia, too, will have a good shot. This is great stuff. This is stuff of which we could only dream as we sat in long fuel queues in the 1970s; as for decades we had to hear lectures about how "the US has only 5% of the world's oil reserves but consumes 25% of global oil production" and how the "only" way to salvation was through solar, wind, or tidal power schemes funded and controlled, of course, by our benevolent betters in government rather than by those nasty energy CEOs.

It seems that even the Saudis are waking up to the revolutionary threat posed by fracking to the Kingdom's dominance of the oil market. They have begun to understand that if the US and Canada, and others, realize fracking's full potential, the game is up for the Arabs. Once again they will be consigned to the back alleys of the world. The reason Islam, for example, is able to "punch above its weight" is the Western money that flows to the Saudis, Kuwaitis, and Iranians for their oil. Cut off that flow then the AQ boys and their ilk will have a rather rough go of it. Likewise, the hideous Hugo Chavez played a role on the world stage thanks only to the billions of American dollars we shipped him for his oil.

The greatest friend these anti-Western regimes have is the world's greatest foe of fracking and other policies to free us of oil dependence: the American President.

Obama wants America to fail. We should make sure that he fails in that endeavor.

Fracking means freedom.

WLA

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Life in Obama's America

There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to — The Outer Limits.
Opening voice over from the original Outer Limits TV show (1963-64)

I think about that opening monologue by the "control voice" almost every day in Obama's America. 

We wait. The One has the word. The Greatest Leader Ever to Bless our Benighted Land will speak. His kindly face fills our TV screens daily. He will tell us what we need to know: when a scandal is worthy of outrage and when it is just phony; when we can be against gay marriage and when we can be for it; when a criminal is an innocent child and when an innocent man is a criminal; who is black, who is white and who is Native American; how to deal with the growing terror of white violence against black men; how Ho Chi Minh was a devotee of Jefferson; when we can support raising the debt limit and when it is unpatriotic to do so; when a coup is a coup and when it is not; when to blame Bush, well, in fact, we must always blame Bush for he is our Leon Trotsky, our Emmanuel Goldstein; the loss of jobs is really a gain of jobs; we must spend to reduce the deficit; a crazed Muslim terrorist with a gun is really just a sad example of workplace violence . . . The One will tell us, there is no need to worry, He knows The Way, He will not let His eye off the ball . . . He will protect us and feed us and care for us when we are sick; He will watch over our communications to make sure we do not fall into bad company. We are blessed by The One.

He will lead us to the Outer Limits.

WLA

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Back From Vegas

Rolled back into town Wednesday afternoon from the trek across the hot desert. The Ol' Ford Expedition turned in another stellar performance in its long life: about to hit 90,000 miles on the odometer; loaded to the gills with kids, luggage, blankets, pillows, water, various electronic entertainments; a/c and radio blasting; no road or engine noise; going most of the roughly 300 miles at a speed of between 80 and 90 mph; and getting 22 mpg--and with a lot more comfort than in a Prius. My hat is off to the workers in St. Louis who built this beast.

I always enjoy Vegas. I know, I know. It's tacky, vulgar, brash, and totally lacking in subtlety. Everything is about money, and how to get it out of your pocket, but it is done with a smile, and you're entertained while you're being robbed. You also get to meet some very nice German tourists. The place was filled with them. It seems they're dumping Euros while they're still worth something. All the Germans I ran into were exceptionally polite, seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely, and couldn't believe how "cheap" everything was. Some, however, were severely sunburned--I guess they haven't been much in the desert since Rommel came home.

Anyhow, I got home, flopped onto the sofa and flicked on the TV. Big mistake. The One, Hashem, The Man Behind the Curtain, himself, was on in HD on my flickering 60" screen giving a truly vintage speech about the economy. It was so vintage, in fact, that I thought I was watching a clip from the 2008 or 2012 election. He was still blaming Bush for the current state of the economy, at the same time, however, claiming that the economy was doing well! He also was mumbling some rambling nonsense about how it was time to focus on "growing the middle class" and not let ourselves get distracted by a bunch of Republican ginned-up phony scandals. The whole thing was pathetic, especially so with the fat bobbing heads his handlers placed behind him to nod sagely at every bit of froth spewing forth. Anybody who still has any faith in this man, or places any credence in what he says is a boob, an idiot, a liberal.

OK, time to rest. I will be back on the warpath tomorrow or so.

P.S. Don't ask how I did at poker. I ain't talking about it.

WLA

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Tweetable Thoughts, or Tweethos

Before I go dark:

Did Bill Clinton ever say Nicole Brown could have been his daughter?

RIP Helen Thomas. Anti-semites and America-haters around the world will wear even blacker shirts in your memory.

Dear Helen Thomas, I understand your support for the Arabs: You had a face made for a hijab.

Had guns been banned, George Zimmerman would be dead.

What law requires you to get your head bashed in by a teen thug?

If George Zimmerman had been white he would have been found "not guilty"! Oh . . . never mind.

George Zimmerman is white and Elizabeth Warren is Native American: Only on Planet Liberal.

When will there be justice for the black men murdered in Chicago?

Benghazi? Is that a muscle heat rub?

Obama's economic policies: Imported from Detroit

I hear Susan Rice will go on Sunday talk shows to blame the crisis in Detroit on the movie, Robocop. 

WLA

Couple of Days Off

My wife and my daughter are sick of seeing me at the computer, and my watching and reading hours of news.

We are off to Vegas for a few days, if the storms let us get there. I, of course, will have with me my trusty but temperamental IPAD which allows me to do some blogging but not much.

I must give my money to the casinos before the IRS comes calling . . .

See you in a couple of days.

Justice for George Zimmerman, the most oppressed black man in America!

WLA

Saturday, July 20, 2013

President Obama: Beyond Parody

The One's press conference today was so disgusting, so absurd, so outrageous that it proves almost impossible to discuss. He has shown himself, again, as an extreme leftist, hater of America, and a narcissist. He is beyond parody. Had a right-wing novelist or screenwriter created such a President, the novel would never have been published, nor the film made. In end, almost no matter what the topic of discussion, it all comes back to Obama. Trayvon Martin not only could have been his son, now Trayvon Martin could have been the young President Obama--except that George Zimmerman has a racial composition closer to President Obama's than did Trayvon Martin.

This performance is not that of a President but rather of a race-baiting, demagogic agitator. His description of race relations in the United States is a hallucinogenic version of reality, the product of his deeply ingrained leftist fanaticism. He cannot remember that he no longer works as a rabble-rousing community organizer out to blackmail a landlord or a small business in Chicago with the threat of demonstrations and street violence. He is supposed to be the President of all Americans, including, yes, horrors, white people, yes white people just like his mother and, especially, his grandparents who raised him when his black father bolted back to Kenya and to his other family.

We all can see through his act. Under the guise of calling for sober intellectual reflection he green-lights the thuggish activities of Al "Tawana Brawley" Sharpton and Jesse "Never Had a Job" Jackson, and signals his corrupt Attorney General to go after a private American citizen who has been found "not guilty" in a court of law. He clearly favored Trayvon Martin killing or severely injuring George Zimmerman. He, quite simply, has painted a target on Zimmerman, and put Zimmerman's life at risk.

For all his faults, I don't recall President Clinton saying that Nicole Brown could have been his daughter, and agonizing over the incidence of black male violence against white females.

In the Hindu religion a person forms part of the eternal essence, known as Brahman, and gets reborn, with each new life reflecting deeds committed in a past life. Liberation (moksha) from the cycle of rebirth is achieved only by an absence of desire of any sort, by a total nullification which leads to an end of suffering and to the cycle of birth and rebirth. Obama has reached the equivalent stage for a politician; he has achieved supreme absurdity, a total nullification of all serious pretension for the office of President. He is truly nothing. He has become one with Joe Biden.

Many years ago I was asked to address a class of new FSOs at the Foreign Service Institute in Northern Virginia. These new officers were about to go overseas on their first assignments. Since I had served in Pakistan, the instructor told me to expect to hear concerns from female officers heading to Muslim countries. I gave my little insipid pep talk. In the Q-and-A session, as the instructor had predicted, a woman officer asked how tough it would be for her in a Middle Eastern Muslim country. I still have the notes of what I said, "If you're a woman get out of the Foreign Service. If you're a man get out of the Foreign Service. If you're black, brown, or white get out. If you're Jewish, Christian, Hindu, or anything else, get out. When you're out there, you're an American. You represent only the United States, nothing else. You cannot let your interlocutors see you as anything other than as an American representing the USA."

This President would not have made it through that class.

WLA

Friday, July 19, 2013

Random Thought on Our President

If he and his white college girlfriend had had a son, he would have looked like George Zimmerman.

We Have Seen the Liberal Promised Land & Detroit is its Name

The President, CNN and MSNBC, among others of their ilk, continue plugging away on Zimmerman-Martin promoting their twisted Hollywood-esque vision of an America where black men are gunned down by white men, and seeking to provoke a race war. Meanwhile, the leftist utopia of Detroit has called it quits in its decades-long flight from reality with liberal/socialist Democrats as pilots. It proved, yet again, the wisdom of the late great Maggie Thatcher who said, "The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."

Detroit most certainly has done that, it has even run out people. The population over the past many years has gone into a serious nosedive. Those who can flee have. The rest exist in a liberal hell in which overpaid public servants do less and less; public services have all but disappeared; the private sector has largely vanished; and the criminal, the insane, and the drug addled rule the streets and generate 386 murders in 2012 for a staggering homicide rate of nearly 55 per 100,000 residents, much worse than most African countries. By contrast, I would note, ethnically diverse El Paso, in "gun crazy" Texas, and across the border from murder capital Ciudad Juarez, with a population about that of Detroit's had five, yes five--as in the fingers of one hand--murders last year for a homicide rate of about 0.6 --lower than Canada, lower than the UK, lower than nearly every European country.

The morally bankrupt Democratic Party corruptocrats who ran Detroit for the past half century or so finally killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. They stole, squandered, and mismanaged "other people's money" until there was no more. They played racial politics and drove the white working middle class out of town; they taxed and regulated and pushed industry and commerce out; and now they have left nothing but a shattered shell of what was once a great American city. Where is that famous Obama "outrage"? I guess the zombies now wandering the ruins of Detroit do not look like the son Obama might have had, or are there some talking points being developed which will blame it all on a movie? Robocop, perhaps? On gun owners? On George Bush? On Mitt Romney? On, on, on, well, on whomever walks into the Obama administration's crosshairs that day? Al "Tawana Brawley" Sharpton and Jesse "Never Had a Job in My Life" Jackson are too busy spouting nonsense about Florida and getting Eric "Fast and Furious" Holder to persecute George Zimmerman to care that Detroit has died.

Now the mess created by decades of liberal race baiting, corruption, and just idiocy falls in the lap of the Republicans who govern Michigan. This is also a typical socialist stunt we have seen throughout the world, not just in American politics. When, for example, the Spanish right won the recent elections they discovered upon taking office that their socialist predecessors had cleaned out the treasury. In Venezuela, the hideous Maduro who has taken over from the also hideous and now late Chavez is discovering that the money is gone; Venezuela, one of the world's biggest oil producers, can't afford toilet paper. I am sure that whomever takes over from Obama will "discover" that we, too, are broke, left with bills we cannot pay, and mandates we cannot honor.

So, is there hope for Detroit? I don't know. Can the city be "turned around"? I don't know. Will the bankruptcy provide a floor, as the optimists claim, on which to build a future? Perhaps. I hope so, but I don't know, and doubt that anybody else knows. Should the city be saved as a separate entity? Perhaps not. Perhaps it should be governed from somewhere else: Canada, are you interested? Think of it as our compensation for taking Justin Bieber off your hands. I am sure the taxpayers of Windsor would be delighted to annex Detroit; think of it as a West Berlin taking over East Berlin form of charity . . .

Detroit is liberalism's showcase. We should never let anybody forget that.

WLA

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Watch this Video!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc&feature=player_embedded

I tried to embed this video but it won't always play. If it doesn't, please copy the above link and watch it. It is a fascinating talk by a law professor on why you should NEVER talk to the police. I learned a lot.



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What Difference Does it Make? Another "Victory" in the "Drug War"

It seems that the creepy violent leader of the creepy violent Zetas drug gang has been captured. Good, I guess. Always good to see a mass murdering reptile get nailed.

And now, what?

Does this particular capture, anymore than did the elimination of the Cali cartel, stop the flow of drugs? Will we tomorrow see a dramatic drop in the availability of drugs on the streets of the USA, Canada, or Europe? What does this "victory" mean in the grand scheme of the apparently endless war on drugs? Not much, if anything.

I spent many years in the State Department fussing over, scheming, plotting, designing, and implementing tactics and strategies to be followed in the "war on drugs." I "fought" drugs in Pakistan, Guatemala, Bolivia, Colombia, Panama, Indonesia, and throughout the Caribbean. I supervised training and eradication programs, dispensed big bucks to our drug allies, and went on lots of drug operations with some truly neat, smart, brave and dedicated DEA types. To what avail? The drugs keep coming.

The "drug war," however, has successfully spawned a HUGE lobby dedicated to keeping billions of dollars flowing to police departments, federal agencies of all sorts, private contractors throughout the world, and to the holding of innumerable conferences and promoting endless numbers of domestic laws and international conventions to "suppress" drug trafficking, production, and use. To what avail? Not much except to provide a good living for that lobby and its clients. The drugs keep flowing.

The absurdity of this "war" was driven home to me one day in Panama. I got visited by some very earnest and hard-working attorneys from the Department of Justice. They were investigating washing machine exports from the US to the Colon Free Trade Zone; the machines were being re-exported to Colombia and Peru. When I said that the American workers making those washing machines in Iowa probably appreciated the exports and the jobs created, these warriors let know me that I was not to be so flippant. This was serious, dammit! There was no way to justify such large numbers of washing machines being exported to South America through Panama and this had to be, it just had to be a drug money laundering scheme (no pun intended). Off they went--on the taxpayer dime--in pursuit of washing machines. I never heard if their efforts resulted in reducing the number of drug-addled zombies on the streets of our cities.

It is time to end this charade. Legalize drugs. If people want to put junk into their bodies, let them. They are doing it now regardless of how many conferences you hold, cops you hire, phones you tap, assets you seize, or how many young urban blacks and poor white hillbillies you lock up. Our "drug war" has failed to stop drugs but has succeeded in making international gangsters, including the Castro brothers and a slew of Venezuelan generals and politicians, richer than Croesus, and in turning many cities and even countries into no-go zones. The "drug war" has generated violence on a massive scale in places such as Colombia, Mexico, Afghanistan, Honduras, Bolivia, Panama, Peru, Guatemala, Jamaica, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Russia, and on the streets of every major city in the western world. It has promoted corruption in governments around the world, the development of a massive court-police-prison-industrial complex, and to circumscribing freedom at home and abroad. And, of course, the drugs are still available.

Drug use is a matter for the individual, doctors, and the private sector. If, as I have said before, an employer does not want drug users in his employ, he should have the right to test and fire the using employees. Airlines, trucking companies, the military, the police, for example, could all make clear that they do not want and will not employ drug users. With drugs legalized their use would continue, of course, and the drugs would continue to wreak havoc among users. The violence and the collateral damage that results from that violence, however, would largely disappear. The worst effects of the drug trade come about because of its illegality.

WLA

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Left Wants a Race War

Talk about "dog whistles."

The left, via the media and the government, continues to stir up racial animosity in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict. The left's narrative on that event failed in a decisive way, so the leftoids do what they always do: ignore facts and appeal to emotion, especially to that of hate. The left needs racial hatred and strife to justify endless programs and laws, and to promote its distorted vision of America--a vision of white violence against black citizens.

Yesterday we had the President making his "calm reflection" speech replete with all the leftist code words. Now we have his abysmal Attorney General Eric "Fast and Furious" Holder telling us that Trayvon Martin's death was "unnecessary." What an odd even stupid word. When is a death "necessary"? This is just typical leftist nonsense, and another not so veiled coded message to the race hustlers to keep the storm troopers marching, protesting, blocking highways, burning flags, threatening motorists, and throwing rocks and bottles at the police. Our "top cop" is urging the faithful to violate the law and ignore the verdict of the courts.

So much outrage and emotion over the death of Trayvon Martin. Touching isn't it?

Maybe not. Visit an extraordinary website titled RedEyeChicago and go to its homicides page. You will find that in the first ten days of July, the Great Democratic City of Chicago experienced the following homicides:

July 10 – Marlon Young, 39, black, male
July 8 – Ed Cooper, 15, black, male
July 8 – Georgina Randell, 30, black, female
July 8 – Marquise Chandler, 20, black, male
July 7 – Ramone Godfrey, 19,black, male
July 7 – Patricia Martin, 40, black, female 
July 6 – Terry Patterson, 48, black, male 
July 6 – Jerimiah Milsap, 24, black, male 
July 5 – Shavonte Howard, 20, black, male 
July 5 – Aurelia Wilborn, 64, unknown, female 
July 5 – Elliott Frazier, 26, black, male 
July 4 – Marlon Obanner, 31, black, male 
July 4 – Steve Mabins, 21, black, male 
July 4 – Theodis Young, 36, black, male 
July 3 – Ernest McMullen, 26, black, male 
July 3 – Rayford Brown, 24, black, male 
July 3 – William Jones, 26, black, male 
July 3 – Damani Henard, 14, black, male 
July 2 – Ashley Hardmon, 19, black, male 
July 2 – Terrence Graves, 23, black, male

From July 10 to July 14, Chicago has seen another nine homicides, eight of them black victims. If you want to get even more depressed see the complete 2013 homicide spreadsheet. Note also that of 3070 homicides, 2236 are confirmed black victims. In a city where black people make up less than one-third of the population, they comprise over two-thirds of the homicide victims. About three-fourths of the persons arrested for homicide in Chicago are black.

This is Chicago, home of Reverend Wright, Jesse Jackson, Rahm Emanuel, Bill Ayers, and, oh yes, Barrack Obama. How many demonstrators are protesting this ongoing assault on black people? How many "Justice for Shavonte Howard" signs do you see? Perhaps since nearly every one of these killings is black-on-black, this does not fit the leftist narrative and, therefore, can be ignored?

Faulkner once wrote re the Battle of Gettysburg,
“For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it's all in the balance, it hasn't happened yet, it hasn't even begun yet, it not only hasn't begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and Armistead and Wilcox look grave yet it's going to begin, we all know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn't need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think this time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose and all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the golden dome of Washington itself to crown with desperate and unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast made two years ago...."
Perhaps we can say something similar for our outraged lefties. For them it is always "Bloody Sunday," March 7, 1965. They are marching from Selma to Montgomery, and confronting the racist cops on the Edmund Pettus Bridge . . . either that, or they just hate people and want a race war. Facts be damned.

WLA

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The President Has to Make it Worse

"The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son. And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities. We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin."
Statement by President Obama, July 14

"Calm reflection." 

That phrase stands out. 

"Calm reflection." 

Yes.

He wants us to honor the Martins' request for "calm reflection." 

I see. 

So where was our Great Leader when the story first broke? Was he engaging in "calm reflection"? Not all. He was telling us that Trayvon Martin reminded him of the son he never had. His Department of Justice's Community Services Unit, in the best tradition of the President's own Chicago community organizer background, was whipping up the crowds, getting them to demand Zimmerman's head. There was political pressure brought to bear on Florida authorities who caved. His NBC and MSNBC echo chambers edited Zimmerman's 911 call to make him into another Sheriff "Bull" Connor. Other well-trained media robots, including CNN and the broadcast networks, along with the Congressional Black Caucus, busied themselves describing the Sanford, Florida shooting as a white on black targeted killing. They ran pictures of Martin when he was a sweet-looking 12-year-old, not the six-foot, 17-year-old street thug and wanna-be gangster he had become. His purchase of "Skittles" and "ice tea" became some sort of exoneration for a kid who had a history of violence, theft, expulsion from school, and who bragged about drug use and his ability to knock out somebody with one punch to the nose. The pudgy Zimmerman, at least one-quarter black himself, with a Latina mother, and no history of racial conflict in his ethnically quite diverse neighborhood, was made out to be a seething white racist who followed and gunned down Martin "like a dog." The same media morons who argued that Elizabeth Warren was a Native American, now insisted that George Zimmerman was "white."

Whenever I think my disgust limit has been reached with this misadministration, a new limit is established. The DOJ minions who could not bother to prosecute voter intimidation by Black Panther thugs, apparently now seek to put together a Federal case against Zimmerman alleging civil rights violations. If I were Zimmerman, I would grab my passport ASAP, and head to my Peruvian relatives for a good, long stay. Never mind Snowden, Zimmerman is the one in need of asylum.

Now this abomination of a President wants us to devote ourselves to gun control in honor of Martin. Yes, Martin would have been very happy if Zimmerman had not had a gun; Zimmerman, of course, would be dead or severely injured, but that doesn't seem to matter. 

Obama asks us to respect the verdict. Fair enough. He, however, needs to set the example. What the jurors effectively told us was that the "gun violence" was justified; it was an act of self-defense. Zimmerman defended himself. No law made on earth or in heaven required him to allow himself to get beaten to a pulp or to death by a thug.

Perhaps our President should devote himself to calling for a rejection of the "gangsta" culture that enthralls so much of our youth, especially our black youth. He should call on rappers, music moguls, video game makers, and his buddies in Hollywood to stop glorifying social pathologies, such as that admittedly lucrative "gangsta" culture. He should ask black community leaders to take a long hard look at the state of the black community and its rampant murder rates. 

Black men have almost no reason to fear being killed by whites; they, however, should keep looking over their shoulders when in a predominantly black part of town such as in Chicago or Detroit. Blacks, about 13% of the US population, are roughly 47% of the nation's homicide victims, and commit over 52% of those homicides. The way to "honor" Martin is for the black community to reject the race hustlers such as Al "Tawana Brawley" Sharpton, and go back to the deeply conservative roots of their culture. Until that happens, more Trayvon Martins will die on the streets of America, and not at the hands of whites.

WLA

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bravo for "Legal Insurrection"!

I nominate Legal Insurrection as the blog of the year.  In fact, I nominate LI as the media outlet of the year.

The LI coverage of the Zimmerman trial was nothing short of superb. Those of us who followed the trial closely via LI knew the case was a travesty. The careful, objective, and thorough coverage by LI proved a marked contrast to the highly selective and distorted coverage provided by MSM outlets, in particular CNN, MSNBC, and the broadcast networks. The MSM print media was hopeless beyond words. I can see how those who followed the case via the MSM are stunned by the "not guilty" verdict. If they had followed it via LI they would know that the jury reached the right (and brave) decision to find Zimmerman "not guilty."

This is a major victory for justice and for the internet pajama brigade over the "well-educated" morons of the MSM--the same morons who think Zimmerman is white and Elizabeth Warren is Native American.

Now we will have to see whether our disgraceful Department of Justice compounds the travesty with some sort of civil rights violation case.

In the meanwhile, we should not wait around. We need a public outcry to fire and bring up on professional malfeasance charges the prosecutor and her politicized team. Those of us who are Florida residents, in particular, need to contact our representatives, including the governor, to demand a thorough investigation of the prosecutor and the role politics played in bringing this case. This is a chance to strike back at the growing threat posed by prosecutorial arrogance and overreach. Any of us could become the next George Zimmerman.

Again thanks to Professor Jacobson, Andrew Branca and the rest of the team at Legal Insurrection. I, for one, stand in awe.

WLA

The Wolf at the Door . . . Sort of . . .

Was running around yesterday in a benign and crushingly boring Southern California suburb. Dropped off some stuff and headed out the door when . . . I saw this guy stalking my Vette . . .


I thought he was a dog, then realized he was a coyote.

When I first saw him, he rested comfortably on the grassy knoll . . . not the one in Dallas, the one in the foreground of the picture. As I approached, he languidly turned his head to look at me and yawned. Yes, yawned! He yawned in the presence of The Diplomad . . . nothing like a wild animal to keep you humble.

After a minute or so, he got up, in no particular hurry, stretched, then hung around my car. I don't know if he was waiting for a ride or what . . . on his own time he casually sauntered off.

He probably had had his fill of the neighbors' cats and poodles.

Come to think of it, I haven't seen the neighbor today . . . hmmm?

PS: I will write something a little less fluffy very soon; I promise.

WLA

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Friday Repost: Obama and the Damage Done


Going to be out and about most of Friday, and given that our readership might have risen to eight or nine I wanted to repost a little something I wrote last August 5, 2012, when I still harbored the naive hope that the current calamity in the White House would be ended in the November elections.

Obama and the Damage Done

As noted before, I began my career in the Foreign Service during the Carter presidency, and ended it during the Obama presidency: two horrific bookends.

Jimmy Carter should not have been president. He was incompetent beyond belief; angry about America's success in the world; wanted us to get our comeuppance; and was and is a mean, reptilian and graceless little man. Being out of office has made him even angrier, meaner, smaller, more anti-American, and more anti-semitic. He was and remains a repellent creature; if anyone ever could make me ashamed of my country, he could. I can't forgive him for that.

He caused the United States a considerable amount of damage. His economic policies were almost non-existent. He, in fact, never seemed to have an interest in the economy except to the extent that our dire economic performance during his term seemed to fit his view that we were being rightfully punished. He wanted Americans to live small, and see the future as a bleak struggle for atonement for past sins. His foreign policy was disastrous. The USSR and its vassals were on the march throughout the world, including in Latin America and the Caribbean, with virtually no resistance from the United States. His administration gutted our intelligence and covert capabilities; our military was a hollow shell; our international alliances were badly frayed; terrorist organizations and states, with Soviet-bloc support, operated openly in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America; and the insane Imams of Iran turned a major ally into a major enemy.

Along came Reagan. He laughingly rejected the Carter premise that America deserved its "punishment" and that we could do nothing about the economy, the decline of American power, and the rising might of the Soviet empire. Reagan waved off the honking flocks of "intellectuals" who called him out-of-touch and dangerous. He connected with the American people and the great traditions of our country. He slashed taxes and our economy turned around; he took seriously the Constitution's main role for the president: national defense. Our military might came roaring back; he outmaneuvered the Soviets and brought them and their vast evil empire to their knees. It was a masterful performance. Reagan managed to fix most of the damage done by Carter--the Iranian disaster, however, continues to haunt us over three decades later--and he restored faith in America as the indispensable nation in the world.

We now are saddled with another abomination as president: one worse than Carter. The damage Obama has done to our economy and global standing, while immense, can be relatively easily fixed. The real damage he has done is more pernicious and perhaps permanent. He has participated fully and deliberately in undermining the essence of what it means to be an American. Let me explain.

Anybody remotely interested could know Carter, what he had done with his life, and what he advocated. He had an easily accessible public record. Obama, of course, is the most secretive and closed off president we have ever had. Only after years of badgering did he even release his birth certificate. We are not allowed to know about his education except that, like the absurd Elena Ceausescu, he is "brilliant." How did this self-admittedly mediocre high school student, from a relatively modest background, growing up in remote Hawaii and Indonesia as part of an apparently very dysfunctional family, manage to get into three expensive and "elite" universities? How did he come to their attention? Who vouched for him? Who paid? Did he claim to be a foreign student? What were his courses and grades? Who were his friends and teachers? In a celebrity obsessed world where we know everything about Tom Cruise and Britney Spears, we know next to nothing about the man who encumbers our presidency.

His political rise is shrouded in mystery. After Harvard, he suddenly moves to Chicago. Why? He becomes a "community organizer" there, and rapidly rises in the corrupt and crony-filled Democratic machine. He becomes the darling of gangsters such as Rezko, close friends with known terrorists and hate-mongers, and presto he is taking down opponents right and left and soon is in the White House. We can't ask anything about it all. To do so risks charges of racism. His ascendency is a liberal Hollywood fable and it must remain unquestioned and unexamined. He is our anointed leader. He is our Athena.

This is the first bit of damage he has done. It is now considered by the majority of the media and the other honking "intellectual" geese as off-limits to question Obama's life, his claimed achievements, or note the contradictions in what he has said and what he says now. Free speech is no longer so free. If you question the President, you are a racist, insane, a danger to democracy, hate the poor or all of the aforementioned. If you still hold the same views that he purported to hold up to a few weeks ago, e.g., the traditional definition of marriage, and failed to "evolve" when he did, then you are a hopeless homophobe; your business should be banned and ruined, and your employees bullied. This is not unlike Orwell's 1984, "We have never been at war with Eastasia . . . " You must keep up with the changes in Dear Leader's views. He will tell you when you can favor gay marriage; when you can raise closing Guantanamo; when the war will end; when the deficit must be cut with more spending. New Think is here.

Obama has become the incarnation of a troubling trend in our country that has accelerated over the past 40 or so years. He has become the head of what passes for modern progressivism: the alliance between tax-supported university faculties, lawyers, government bureaucrats, journalists, NGO "activists," and Hollywood. This alliance has promoted the politics of envy and resentment, and launched a sustained attack on traditional American values. Our country is now filled with the half-educated idiots who emerge from our universities with no real knowledge but with feelings of entitlement and resentment. We should stand in awe of people with PhDs regardless of whether what they say corresponds to the reality we see, because they know what's good for us. They are the "experts."

One should not underestimate the power of Hollywood in forming what passes for thinking by these impressionable morons. What many of our youth, and foreigners, think they know about America and American history, comes from movies and TV shows. Hollywood bombards us with the viewpoint that rich evil conservative white men (RECWM) are behind all of our troubles, and those of the world. Our heroes should be the brave lawyers who sue corporations; the brave journalists who expose the nefarious plots of the RECWM conspiracy; the brave activists who stand up to the "violent" gun nuts of the Tea Party; the gutsy abortion clinic workers who live in fear of their lives; the brave public servants, e.g., cops and perky assistant district attorneys, who protect us from the RECWM who, of course, are what all of us fear to encounter when we are in a dark parking lot.

Obama has captured this movement and its view, and represents and promotes it better than anybody else in living memory. Unlike Carter, Obama is not incompetent in promoting his hatred for America's traditional values and in embedding it into our institutions, e.g., the ruinous Obamacare, the rapid expansion of the federal dole, the insistence on apologizing for our successes, the disastrous "stimulus" spending, the glorification of the "victim" culture, promotion of envy and cynicism, and denigration of individual effort and success ("You didn't build that!") That is the real threat posed by what Obama represents. Overcoming that threat will take years of sustained effort. It begins, of course, with voting Obama out of the White House next November, but does not end there.

WLA

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Foreign Policy Mess, and Yes, Obama Built It

Thanks to the indispensable Instapundit I read an interesting article by David Francis in the "Fiscal Times," on "Why Obama’s Foreign Policy Process Is Broken." I recommend that the six or so readers of this humble blog read Francis's article. There certainly is nothing in it with which I disagree, not much, anyhow. He does an excellent job of succinctly laying out what has happened: The US, under Obama, is reduced to reacting to events; under Bush, the world had to react to the United States. That is a neat observation. It is almost always better to be the driver and not some helpless passenger.

As stated above I do not disagree with much in the Francis analysis of the Obamista foreign policy fiasco. I, however, would note Francis states that the Obama team's,
[L]ack of preparedness has been apparent in recent weeks. The White House took a hands-off approach to the Libyan conflict. It failed to act quickly after reports of the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It allowed Edward Snowden to escape from Hong Kong to Moscow, keeping the NSA leaker in the news for weeks. And it’s dithering on its long-term plans for Afghanistan.
I would argue that the "lack of preparedness" has been apparent since the start of this misadministration's coming to power. Those six readers might recall that on March 16 I wrote (emphasis added for dramatic effect),
[T]he disaster that is Obama's foreign policy, a policy of defeat. In its defense, let me say that to call it a policy designed for America's defeat gives it too much credit. My experience at State and the NSC, has shown me that most Obamaistas are not knowledgable enough to design anything. Foreign policy for the Obama crew is an afterthought. They really have little interest in it; many key jobs went vacant for months at State, DOD, CIA, and the NSC. The Obama foreign policy team is peopled by the "well-educated," i.e., they have college degrees, and as befits the "well educated" in today's America, they are stunningly ignorant and arrogant leftists, but mostly just idiots. They do not make plans; they tend to fly by the seat of their pants using a deeply ingrained anti-US default setting for navigation. They react to the Beltway crowd of NGOs, "activists" of various stripes, NPR, the Washington Post and the New York Times. Relying on what they "know," they ensure the US does not appear as a bully, or an interventionist when it comes to our enemies: after all, we did something to make them not like us. Long-term US allies, e.g., Canada, UK, Israel, Japan, Honduras, Colombia, on the other hand, they view as anti-poor, anti-Third World, and retrograde Cold Warriors. Why else would somebody befriend the US? Obama's NSC and State are staffed with people who do not know the history of the United States, and, simply, do not understand or appreciate the importance of the United States in and to the world. They are embarrassed by and, above all, do not like the United States.
The chaos we see throughout the world results from the Obama misadministration's lack of preparedness and manifest incompetence from the start. Or does it? Either that or we are left with a much darker possibility: This misadministration deliberately has sought to undermine the power and influence of the United States throughout the world. Increasingly I am of the view that there is a noxious mix of both tendencies, or that we have two-sides of the same coin. I might have been wrong when I stated in the March 16 excerpt above that, "to call it a policy designed for America's defeat gives it too much credit." I am reluctantly coming to conclude that the Obamistas do not prepare, and do name inept National Security Advisors and ignorant Secretaries of State and Ambassadors precisely because it fits in with their world view, to wit, that all would be better with a less active, less effective, less influential United States. They want a post-American world.

Make no mistake about it. The economic and political turmoil we see in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and increasingly in Latin America (I will post about that in more detail) provides a glimpse of how a post-American world would look. Bush and his foreign policy team were not perfect and made mistakes. When Bush spoke, however, leaders and people around the world knew he was serious. You ignored or defied the American President at your peril. Those leaders might not always have liked what Bush said or demanded, but they certainly did not laugh him off. From personal experience I know that when I would go see a senior foreign official on a sensitive topic and said, "The United States asks for your help on this and President Bush would be grateful" that meant something, in fact, it meant a lot. It was very heartening to see the sort of help we got on a range of issues.

Our stupid leftists at home and in Europe referred to Bush as a "cowboy." Nope. They had their Western character wrong. He was the sheriff, and when the sheriff asks you to join his posse to nail the bad guys, well you have a choice. Bush made clear what that choice was, "You are either with us or you are against us." The Bush administration put together some amazing coalitions. This misadministration has thrown that all away. 

It will take years to repair the damage, if it can be repaired.

WLA

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Media Assigns Race: The Martin-Zimmerman Case (UPDATE)

I usually avoid commenting on stories such as the Florida trial of George Zimmerman for shooting Trayvon Martin. I am not going to go into the details of the case; there is no sense trying to compete with the superb job being done by Legal Insurrection.

There, however, is one issue that increasingly has bothered me. That is how the media and the broader liberal establishment determine racial categories. We have become an odd sort of faded copy of the old South African apartheid system and its obsession with racial classifications. The South African system placed individuals in one of four groups: "Native", "Coloured", "Asian", or "White". Thanks to the liberal obsession with race we are getting into that mode, as well.

Let's do a little mental experiment. Let us say that the man walking around the Sanford housing complex had been George Zimmerman instead of Trayvon Martin. Let us say that Zimmerman had been shot by somebody who looked like, oh, I don't know, let's say, uh, he looked just like Governor Rick Perry of Texas. How much do you want to bet that Zimmerman, who has an Afro-Peruvian grandmother, would have been declared "black"?  Since, however, Rick Perry's doppelgänger was not available, and it was Zimmerman who shot Martin, and Martin is darker than Zimmerman, then Zimmerman is "white" and Martin is "black."  If Zimmerman had used his mother's maiden name or adopted a hispanic version of "George," what would the press have done with this story?

The more I read about this, the more of a travesty of justice I see.

UPDATE: Read the interesting interview by the Sanford police chief in, of all places, CNN. He says the investigation got highjacked for political reasons.

WLA

Testing Days

Just a silly reminisce. No great plot or moral. No daring do. No bulls, no guns, no terrorists.

I was recalling when I took the test for the Foreign Service. I was a grad student in Massachusetts at a small predominantly Jewish university in Waltham--Can you guess the name?--and doing what grad students do best, mooch off the system. I had a full-paid scholarship and a TA gig which left me with sufficient disposable income to live quite well. I could see, however, that the life of academia was not for me. Writing unreadable papers, and dealing with nineteen-year olds and Volvo-driving leftist Ivory Tower sorts forever and ever, well, that struck me as living like Prometheus, chained to a rock and having my liver eaten every day by a giant bird of prey.

I had just been notified that I had gotten a grant to study in Spain for a year or two to work on my never-finished PhD (note: I recently found a couple of chapters of it; it was horrible! The world of letters lost nothing when I abandoned the effort.) Walking by an office, I saw an advert with the very clever and attention-grabbing slogan, "Join the Foreign Service!" There was one mail-in card left and to qualify for the next test, December 4, 1976 (I think) it had to be postmarked that very day. I mailed it, and returned to my dissolute grad student ways.

Lo and Behold! A few weeks later I got my ticket for the exam. It would occur in downtown Boston at a prominent university. I put it aside and didn't think about it much. The date, however, rolled around, as dates are prone to do. The exam was at 8 am and all test takers had to be there early. The night before, as it is wont to do in Massachusetts, it had snowed a lot. The morning temperature was in the single digits. My 1970 Dodge Challenger was buried in the white stuff. I almost blew off the whole thing, but, in the end, dragged myself out of bed, grabbed a shovel, and dug away. The drive into Boston was slow and slick; I hate driving in snow! I eventually made it with thirty minutes to spare. I parked, and slipped and slid my way over to the auditorium to join several hundred nervous hopefuls, some babbling away about how this was their 900th time or so taking the test, and that it was impossible to pass, and was so unfair, etc. I was too groggy to be nervous, and only half-listened to the pompous exam monitor list all the things that would get us thrown out, e.g., talking, sharing, using a calculator, having hidden notes, etc. He added, for spite, I guess, that no more than ten percent of some 30,000 exam-takers nationwide would pass. The test got handed out: it was an SAT-type wherein you use your number 2 pencil to fill the little oval next to the letter of your answer.

The history section, I thought, was a breeze: a lot on the US which I knew well, and a good amount on post-WWII Europe and Asia, which I also knew well. The culture stuff was not hard; if you read Twain, Hawthorne, Melville, Faulkner, etc., it was pretty easy. The geography portion, which my fellow test-takers had said was the toughest part, proved the easiest for me. That year it focussed on the geography of the Pacific and Asia. As an avid reader on the Pacific and Korean wars, I knew where those places were! The math part was mostly charts and interpreting stats, and not hard. I had taken lots of math and science as an undergrad. I left the test with a blah feeling, not worried, not enthused, just blah. Put it all out of my mind as I prepared to go to Spain.

About three or four months later, a short letter arrived telling me I had passed the written exam and needed to report for the second portion, the much-feared oral exam in which, again, at most only ten percent of those examined would pass. If I recall correctly the exam was in May of 1977; it was at the Boston Customs Tower. I arrived early, and got my first lesson in how government works. The examiners were late, very late. After some three hours, I got called into a large room. I was the last person they examined. I took a chair and faced a table with five tired FSOs.

These inquisitors began firing a barrage of what I considered weird questions: If you were an RSO, how would you keep the Ambassador's route unknown? RSO? What the hell is that? As an admin officer facing a budget . . . Admin officer? What's that? How would you solve the Middle East crisis? I mumbled and rambled. I was choking. My ground proximity warning system had begun screeching, "Terrain! Terrain!" I had no parachute! The flames licked at my oh-so-stylish Frye boots! Then the econ specialist asked me, "Describe a non-tariff trade barrier." Hark! A glimmer of hope? The night before I had read a long article in "Business Week" on how France kept US wines out of its market with labeling restrictions. I have a near photographic memory for those kinds of nerdy articles. I spit back the BW piece almost word for word. I started to regain control. The stick was responding! I began to see blue sky! The flames were subsiding! My questioner's jaw dropped: he was taking notes on my answer! Victory barrel roll over the airfield!

The Chairman asked me to wait in the hallway while the panel discussed my fate.

I sat in a folding chair in the hall near the door, a door which I had left slightly ajar--my first incursion into espionage! I could hear them discussing me. The Chairman, more on him later, announced, "I don't like him. He's not very good." A couple of the others mumbled some indistinct mutterings, and then my champion, the econ expert, intervened with a stirring endorsement, "Hell, it's late. He's no worse than anybody else. Might as well take him." I got called in. The Chairman sourly told me, "Well, you got in. The vote was 3-2. I voted against you. I don't think you're very good. We'll let you know when there is an opening." It took until August 1978 to get a job offer.

One penultimate note: that Chairman later got drummed out of the service for, essentially, cowardice and dereliction of duty when he abandoned his post in the middle of a major crisis. So the great wheel does turn and, some times, some times, it grinds the bones of your enemies into dust.

One really last note, the test now, I understand, is completely different as the old test was held to favor white males.

WLA

Monday, July 8, 2013

You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger . . . Until Now

Tired of being an anonymous superhero of the internet, and having people question my bonafides as a former FSO. I, thereby, announce an end to my anonymous existence . . .

My name is W. Lewis Amselem. I joined the Foreign Service in 1978 and left it about two years ago fed up beyond all possible limits with the Obama disaster. I had an increasingly hard time going to work and pretending that morons spoke wisdom.

You can Google me and you will find stories about me, some true, some false, some just weird. BTW, there is a fake Facebook account with my name; pay no attention to that. I do not and will never have a Facebook account.

There, I have done it. The bandage mask has been ripped off.

Tonto, we ride . . . let your sister Elizabeth Warren know we are on our way . . .

WLA

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Running in Pamplona . . .

OK, Hemingway fans. You all know what today is. Yes, it is July 7, the first day of the running of the bulls in Pamplona, or Iruña if you're a Basque nationalist, in Navarra, or Nafarroa if you're a Basque nationalist, and which, again depending on whether you're a Basque nationalist, is in Spain or in Euskadi. The condemned bulls that run towards the bullring and death don't care about that stuff, nor do the thousands of drunk foreigners who descend on the place destroying its charm, and risking death at the hooves and horns of huge beasts with nothing to lose.

Despite my deep admiration for British history, philosophers, actors, scientists, writers, book stores and museums, much of my life has revolved around Spain, or Euskadi, depending on whether you're a . . . never mind, you know the drill. My mother was a Spaniard, as is my wife--well, Basque if . . . ---and two of my kids were born in Euskadi or Spain. I love Spanish food (best in the world), art, literature, and history, this although my father's ancestors got thrown out of Illescas (Toledo Province) in the fifteenth century for refusing to convert and ended up as dhimmis in Morocco. My late grandmother kept a box holding the supposed keys to "our" house in Illescas for when we "returned." I told her that the house probably now lay under a shopping mall; she died in Morocco refusing to believe that. Being a callow person, however, for a good paella or crab dish (I will kill for txangurro) I forgive past injustices--I, however, do not vote Democrat as I have some standards.  

Back in July 1978, having not yet joined the Foreign Service--did that the following month--I was visiting my then-girlfriend and now wife in San Sebastian (Donostia, if you're . . . ) We decided to join her cousin and her soon-to-be husband on a road trip to Pamplona. We had to promise the girls' parents on pain of death that we would stay with relatives, and that men and women would sleep in separate rooms for the overnight in Pamplona. They piled themselves and their supplies into their SEAT 850, and we did likewise with my soon-to-be father-in-law's ten-year-old SEAT 600 (see below).

A good car when you're going to run from the bulls
The driving distance to Pamplona was not great, probably some 110 kms, about 65 or 70 miles. This, however, was before the freeway that now connects the two cities. It was a grueling mountain drive for our little and heavily laden cars. The 850 overheated several times and we had to stop--and had some great sandwiches and wine, yes, wine is recommended for mountain driving. I hardly got the 600 out of second gear and rarely exceeded 30-35 mph, and there was a minor CO vent into the car. That tiny, noisy SEAT, however, never quit. We arrived over three hours later, dizzy, deaf, tired, and cramped, but alive.

Those were tumultuous times in Spain. The Great Dictator had died some thirty months previous after nearly four decades of rule. The succession to power in Madrid was not at all clear. Long buried themes from Spain's amazingly complex history had come bursting to the surface. Among those, of course, was the issue of separatism, in particular Basque and Catalan claims to their own national identity apart from the five centuries of Castillian domination. Backed by the USSR, the GDR, Libya, Cuba, and Basques in Idaho, the ETA, a terrorist organization modeled on the much older IRA, was conducting violent urban warfare against the traditional symbols of Castillian power, e.g., Spanish banks, the telephone company, the national railroad, Madrid-named governors, pro-Spain Basque politicians, and, of course, the Guardia Civil and the Polícia Nacional. Pamplona and Navarra were caught in the middle. Both Pamplona and its province had long been claimed by Basque nationalists as part of the historical Basque homeland. Even if one accepted some dubious historical interpretations by these Basques, Navarra and Pamplona had undergone major demographic shifts over the decades and centuries. One could no longer consider the population of Navarra and Pamplona as predominantly Basque, either culturally or "racially." ETA and the Basque nationalists, however, could not accept that.

The mood in Pamplona had become ugly, especially in the wake of arrests in previous days of several Basque militants. We arrived in the midst of this darkening political scene in our smoky SEATS with our sandwiches, wine, and sausages. We had to park on the outskirts of town in a raw and only partially developed industrial area. We, however, were young, and away from parents, so a bit of a walk into the center of town didn't bother us. Although the drunk and partying foreigners seemed oblivious to their surroundings, as we got into town those of us a bit more tuned in noticed right away that things were not cheery. We saw fist fights between pro- and anti-ETA youths. The riot police presence was visibly growing with every passing hour. We saw lots of very nasty pro and anti Spain graffiti in Spanish and Euskera. Since we had arrived late, we decided not to check in with my wife's relatives, and headed straight to the bullring to try to get tickets for that day or the next. We walked down the streets where the wooden barricades had been erected for the running of the bulls. We found it impossible to get to the bullring's ticket booth. A large and increasingly boisterous crowd blocked the entrances and filled the plaza in front of the arena. The bullfight for that day was about to begin.

We heard a "Pop!" My wife, the "expert" on bulls, shouted, "Oh my God! They fired the warning rocket! That means the bulls will be charging down this street!" She then did a move that would have made Fosbury proud; she made it over the wooden barricades in record time. I move slower, and remember saying, "The bulls don't run in the afternoon." Another "Pop!" Then more in rapid succession. Lots of yelling and screaming, horns honking, a police siren, a panicked mob pushing down the street where I stood--that's much scarier than bulls. I climbed up the barricade. I saw some people with blood streaming down their faces. More "Pop!" "Pop!" coming from the bullring. I jumped down to where my wife stood and said, "Somebody is shooting!"

Somebody was indeed shooting. The unpopular governor of Navarra had arrived at the bullring to officiate the event. The crowd went wild, booing, stamping their feet, shouting in Spanish and Basque for him to get out, "¡Fuera! ¡Fuera!" They hurled comments about his mother's membership in the world's oldest profession, and her marital status at the time of his birth--nobody can beat Spaniards when it comes to colorful insults. The idiot governor, later assassinated by ETA, sent several members of the Guardia Civil into the center of the arena to announce with bullhorns (appropriate) that the bullfight would get canceled unless order and decorum returned. Mistake. First, never cede the physical high ground to an opponent; second, don't threaten him with a consequence he doesn't care about. The crowd launched a shower of seat cushions, bottles, shoes, chairs, anything throwable onto the cops. One Guardia got hit in the head by a full wine bottle. His colleagues did what panicky cops have done since time immemorial. They began firing. They fired pistols and automatic weapons into the stands and the crowd. A human stampede ensued, not to mention fatalities and many injuries.

To make a long story only slightly less long, the bulls got a reprieve that day. The city of Pamplona, however, exploded. Within a couple of hours or so the telephone company building was ablaze. Running battles between armed and shooting cops and groups of bottle and molotov cocktail throwing youths raged all over town. I told the future Diplowife, "We might want to leave right about now." For once she did not disagree, and with her cousins we walked back to our cars. We were starting them up, when some Guardias approached and asked what we were doing. "We want to leave," we whined. "Not allowed. The city is closed to all traffic, in and out." This made no sense, but they had the guns.

We had never checked in with my wife's relatives; her parents and those of her cousins were almost certainly learning about the mayhem on TV and radio and knew nothing of our fate; the phone company building was a pile of smoldering rubble; and all this, of course, was before cellphones: we were cut off from the outside world. In such a situation, what do you do? You party. My wife's cousin had heard of a fair or carny not too far from where we had parked. Away from the center of town, it offered the promise and hope of fun and safety. Off we went.

Her intel proved accurate. We found a fair with rides and other attractions, and food. We ate sandwiches, drank beer and coffee, and won stuffed animals, appropriately enough, at a shooting booth. By now, it had gotten dark; we could see the glow of the fires in Pamplona and hear police, fire, and ambulance sirens. We would have to sleep in our cars and hope the siege ended by morning. We decided to take a final ride on the merry-go-round. No sooner had we mounted our wooden steeds and begun our slow pointless orbit, a frantic crowd came charging through the fairground. They were fleeing cops who let fly rounds here and there. "Pop!" "Pop!" The herd surged around our merry-go-round, cops in pursuit, and then all vanished. We remained astride our bobbing ponies; the only sound being the jaunty music coming from that merry-go-round. I thought that this could prove a ridiculous way to die. We jumped off the moving carousel, its operator had disappeared, and made our way in the gloom back to the cars. We sat in those tiny SEATs until daybreak, and then slowly drove them past the Guardias who finally had decided to allow people out.

I let Hemingway down. I never saw a single bull, but if I had, I would have run from it. Promise.

WLA

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Imagine . . .

If this atrocity's victims had been, well, you know, members of the Religion of Peace . . . the outrage would have been something to see.

WLA

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Subdued Word on Spying

On going through my morning news I see that the French Minister of Interior took advantage of his invite to our 4th of July reception to attack the US for its alleged spying on Europe.

Uh, yeah. OK.

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, so . . . .

Let me conclude by noting that 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?

'Nuff said.

WLA