Featured Post

The Right of National Defense

Writing this post on Memorial Day, my thoughts, of course, turned to those who fought and died to preserve our country. My thoughts also tur...

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

To the Year 2016: Let's all hope that it's better than the past seven or eight, but . . . who knows?

I am going to try not to think about politics for a couple of days--although I am working on a much-too-long post on oil and terrorism: unless I can shorten it, it won't see the light of day. I bore even myself after a bit.

Bought a car yesterday to replace the one totaled December 6. The Diplowife is very happy with it, so I am happy, too. She did her usual "no prisoners" negotiations with the car dealers. It was masterful; she should have negotiated the Kerry "deal" with the Iranians. Nukes? They would have been lucky and grateful if she had left them candles to lighten their Mediaeval darkness.

The car, you ask?

A truck, really. It is a huge vehicle: a steely grey Ford Expedition EL Limited with all the bells and whistles one can imagine. Remember, I like my cars from 40-plus years ago, hence, I am truly frightened by the cockpit of this beast; it requires Bill Gates to fly co-pilot. Press the wrong button . . . and who knows what will happen? The whole space-time-continuum-Dr. Who-Isaac Asimov-PK Dick thing, you know, a story with an alternate implausible universe where Emperor Barack rules over us taking away our rights and wealth, couldn't happen . . . . This new machine even has drink holders; lots of drink holders. I guess people in the modern age are much more thirsty than when I was a young'un.

Drink holders?

Drink holders, yes, that's where I draw line. That's where I go toe-to-toe with modernity. Up to here and no more! Drink holders? Really? That's why God gave you two hands! One to shift and drive with, the other to drink with . . . You can have my drink when it you pry it from my cold dead fingers! {Note From Management: The Management of Diplomad 2.0 in no way condones drinking while driving. All drinking should be done PRIOR to driving to avoid possible damage to the upholstery from spilled drinks.}

Anyhow, I hope to pass a quiet evening as my cars depreciate. The Diplowife is talking about pizza and binge watching Broadchurch--we just got through binge-watching a wonderful and weird Romanian crime series, Umbre, kind of an offbeat Sopranos or Breaking Bad in a post-Ceausescu world. I certainly have spent New Years' Eves in worse ways . . . yes, I remember, there was that time in Pakistan, when . . . nah. . . I bore even me . . . 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Quiet Christmas

Not much doing.

Couple of the kids came in from out of town to hang out at one of our places in Southern California. And, of course, as I have noted before, since the climate cultists declared we are in a drought, it has been raining off and on, and we have had some nice crisp weather.

Today, however, the weather was dry, still a bit on the cool side, but sunny, and, mercifully, the freeway traffic light.

Perfect day for a cruise. I uncovered the 1973 Mach 1, and fired up the 351 Cleveland, shattering the serenity of the 'hood.

The scarlet beast is running and looking great, especially since I had installed a new but retro-looking instrument cluster with a functioning tach, functioning clock, and a fiery red glow. All worth the considerable money I poured in. Well, the Diplowife doesn't agree with that, but since her beloved Ford Expedition got totaled a couple of weeks ago by some woman who ran a red light while texting, she has soured on the topic of cars. Have a police report that backs up our story, but still am spending lots of time going back and forth with the insurance companies involved, and that's always a joy . . . a joy in which I did not partake today.

Anyhow, I took the Mach 1 Red Sled on a little Christmas Day jaunt through the Temecula wine country, and it was splendid. The new Hurst shifter worked flawlessly as did the rebuilt four-speed transmission. The new wheels and tires gripped the road superbly; the premium-fueled V-8 pounded out a wonderful American tattoo that echoed over the vineyards, valleys, canyons, and highways. I am sure the local wines will be much benefitted.

The only fly in the ointment was that the new retro radio had trouble hanging onto FM stations; I might have to take the beast in for a new antenna. We'll see.

Bottom line: Freedom is good. The nannies of this world don't understand freedom and joy, and have declared war on both. A V-8 is a great expression of freedom and joy--almost right up there with a .357.

I tried to avoid seeing, hearing, or thinking about politics, but without complete success. My number three son, who works in DC, came home, and, of course, we started talking about the insanity that rules there. He was quite disturbed by the packs of feral youths he must confront on his commute on the DC subways; all, cops included, seem to turn a PC blind eye to these "youngsters" loudly shouting obscenities at each other, engaging in mock combats, and threatening, pushing and hurling insults at other passengers. A scene from Clockwork Orange. It was all rather infuriating, and made me glad not to be young anymore or living in DC. A great argument, however, for concealed carry. I wonder how much of that activity by these coyote youths would go on, if they knew that a good portion of the passengers was packing?

Well, back to watching a marathon of British detective films, including a very good one with the always terrific, although odd-looking, Martin Clunes, A is for Acid. The kids are off Ubering around Old Town Temecula, the dogs are napping, and the Diplowife is engaged in a hearty texting exchange with various friends and relatives. A perfect day. I will ruin the mood tomorrow when I start paying attention to the news again.

Merry Christmas.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Delusional Season

Christmas is here and before I go on a (Diplo)mad rant, let me wish one and all a Merry Christmas. For anybody following the news, and thinking about the state of our country and of Western civilization, having a Merry Christmas is a tall order, but try you should, and succeed you must!

Our delusional President gave another one of his little adolescent, narcissistic, arrogant, and illiterate--but at times devilishly clever--homilies just before he jetted off to Hawaii on his eighth millionaires' vacation to the Aloha State since he graced us with His Majestic presence in the White House. I would note that he seems to have given little thought to the "carbon footprint" reduction objectives of the Paris Climate Deal, to the Christmas plans of his staff and guards, or to government debt--check out those digs in Hawaii! It's way above first class all the way for the Champion of Progressivism! Forward! Put some caviar on that arugula!

As noted, before he departed on his sumptuous journey, he gave an interview to the toady progressive Stephen Inskeep at the toady progressive NPR (America's toady progressive response to the toady progressive BBC.) You can click HERE and read and hear the whole interview for yourself.

Let me characterize it: progressive delusions ALMOST all the way through. There is one tiny corner of the interview in which Obama gets something half-right--and we should give him credit for that. To wit,
INSKEEP: Let me follow up on a couple of things you mentioned. You mentioned slavery. Among the many protests this year are two small but symbolically interesting ones at Ivy League universities. At your alma mater, Harvard Law, there is a seal for the school that is based on the family crest of a slave owner. At Yale there is a school named after John C. Calhoun, who was a great defender of slavery. 
The call is to get rid of those symbols. What would you have the universities do? 
OBAMA: You know, as president of the United States I probably don't need to wade into every specific controversy at a ...
INSKEEP: But you can do it. We're here. 
OBAMA: But here's what I will say generally. I think it's a healthy thing for young people to be engaged and to question authority and to ask why this instead of that, to ask tough questions about social justice. So I don't want to discourage kids from doing that.

As I've said before, I do think that there have been times on college campuses where I get concerned "and that, you know ... 
INSKEEP: Meaning listen to people that you might initially think are bigoted or ... 
OBAMA: Yes, there have been times where you start seeing on college campuses students protesting somebody like the director of the IMF or Condi Rice speaking on a campus because they don't like what they stand for. Well, feel free to disagree with somebody, but don't try to just shut them up.
Notice how Inskeep seems to express shock-and-awe that kids on college campuses should listen to other points of view, even "listen to people that you might initially think are bigoted." Modern "journalism" in action! You mean listen to the other side? Oh, Dear Leader you provide such wise counsel! Please, a rousing rendition of Anna's song!

"Yes, Your Majesty;
No, Your Majesty.
Tell us how low to go, Your Majesty;
Make some more decrees, Your Majesty,
Don't let us up off our knees, Your Majesty.
Give us a kick, if you please, Your Majesty
Give us a kick, if you would, Your Majesty
Oh, That was good, Your Majesty!"

Now, before we praise The One too much, we must stress, of course, that he says "that the unwillingness to hear other points of view can be as unhealthy on the left as on the right." Oh yes, those nasty people on the right shutting down discussion and debate! I will bet you that Obama could go to Liberty University--as did Bernie Sanders--and speak in total safety and meet only politeness and respect. Let's have Donald Trump try to speak at Yale . . . plus, of course, Obama might want to talk to his own AG who seems determined to stifle criticism of Islam. By the way, as expected, he doesn't name Islam as the source of the "troubles," nor does he accept any blame for his own policies for the foreign policy disaster we are now experiencing. 

The rest of the interview is pure progressive delusional-speak. Lots of nonsense about "change," and a Hollywood-esque version of the American economy with "men going to factories." Objections to Obama, of course, are rooted in racial animosity, etc.

Obama's ramblings on ISIS/ISIL are too painful to repeat. I note, however, that he dodges Inskeep's opening attempt to compare his dealing with ISIS/ISIL with Eisenhower's dealing with the USSR. Inskeep thought he was serving up a softball to Obama, but Obama--not a fool--realized that the last thing he wanted was to have ISIS/ISIL compared to the USSR, since he has repeatedly called ISIS/ISIL the JV, and for political correctness reasons must continue to minimize the threat they pose to the West. He is at pains to attribute ISIS/ISIL's success to the media coverage they have gotten. He seems of a piece with Hillary Clinton in thinking that a video or some other social or mass media venue is responsible for the rise of ISIS/ISIL. He can't even grant our enemies the courtesy of recognizing that they believe in something quite independent of any movie we make, or statement by Donald Trump. They believe in Islam; it is from Islam that they derive their hatred of the West, and their dream to enslave the world.

Merry Christmas.

Oh, and follow me on Twitter at Lewis Amselem@TheDiplomad

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Democratic "Debate": Leaks, Lunacy, Lies, and Fake Videos

Very quick and broad reaction to the DNC debate of December 19.

Another snoozefest punctuated by lies and blather, and providing revealing insights into the delusions that crowd the progressive mind.

Sorry for that outburst.

I had a very hard time listening to the three Democratic Party candidates "debate" the issues.

The boring "inside baseball" data leak issue came up right away. Clinton got Sanders to apologize, and Sanders got in a few shots at the whacky DNC leadership. The whole thing can be summed as follows: Hillary is OK with the Russians, Chinese, and who knows whom else, reading her classified emails from her time as SecState--when she was illegally using a private server--but she wants off with Bernie's head if he sees her unclassified voter data! It all showed that Clinton is a disgrace, Sanders a wimp, and that the DNC is in the tank for Clinton.

For once, most of the questions were pretty good. The interrogators, at times, seemed to get exasperated with the candidates' evasive answers. I found surprising the relative toughness of the questions on "gun control." The questioners noted that most Americans did not seem to agree on a need for more gun control, and, in fact, had voted with their dollars by pushing gun sales to record highs. None of the three did a good job of explaining what he or she would do to reduce gun violence--none, of course, noted the steady decline in violence precisely as gun sales have increased. Clinton repeated her misleading statistics, claiming that gun violence takes some 33,000 persons/year in America--not noting, of course, that two-thirds of those are suicides and a good chunk of the remaining are accidents, acts of self-defense, and police shootings. Sanders, who represents gun-owning Vermont, was particularly obtuse in discussing the issue and fell back on vague bumper sticker phrases. O'Malley kept jumping in to brag about the great "success" he had as Governor of Maryland in imposing new restrictions on gun ownership--the fact that he can't show that these restrictions did anything to reduce violence in Maryland doesn't seem to dampen his enthusiasm.

All I can say is, I hope the Dems run on gun control as a major issue in the general election--oh, yes, that and Obamacare.

Bernie Sanders continued to work on his long-term objective: Destroying the stereotype that all Jews are smart. He is succeeding quite admirably as we see from his simply bizarre economic and foreign policy prescriptions.

All three were extremely weak on foreign affairs with Clinton giving only a desultory defense of her abysmal foreign policy record. None could come up with a strategy for defeating ISIS, and none could bring himself or herself to identifying, at the very least, radical Islam as the problem. Both Clinton and O'Malley went out of the way to court the Muslim vote with lachrymose tales--True? Who knows?--of looking into the eyes of patriotic Muslim Americans worried about the "backlash" against Islam in the USA. It was in this discussion that Clinton told the whopper of the night.

Let me quote Politifact. She said,
"We also need to make sure that the really discriminatory messages that Trump is sending around the world don't fall on receptive ears . . . He is becoming ISIS's best recruiter. They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists."
It seems our ex-SecState has an obsession with videos.

She blamed a video by a Christian Egyptian for the Benghazi disaster and now blames a "video" of Trump for the ability of ISIS to recruit to its evil cause.

Well, guess what? There ain't no such video.

As even the above-cited Politifact concluded,
Clinton said that ISIS is "going to people showing Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists." 
We were unable to find any evidence to support this. The Clinton campaign did not provide any evidence that this is already happening -- only that it could be happening, or that it may in the future. If ISIS was using Trump for recruitment videos, we would expect a frenzy of media coverage over it. We rate this claim False.
This obsession of Clinton's is a manifestation of the progressive mind-set; she and her co-religionists do not, can not acknowledge that ISIS and "radical" Islam do not recruit based on any particular event or person in the West. They recruit from the Koran, a book full of hatred for the non-believer and of instructions for Muslims on how to deal with infidels: conversion, enslavement, or death. This shows that these progressives cannot be trusted to defend the nation against the jihadis who now assail us all over the world, including in our own homes.

Another debate performance like this, and Trump will be our next President.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Latest GOP Debate

Very quick one on the December Republican Debate on national security and foreign policy.

In terms of substance, I think it was the best debate so far. The questions were good and generally fair, although, as will be mentioned below, there is a Trump obsession---i.e., trying to get the other candidates to say something negative about Trump. And that just goes to show how Trump is setting the parameters for discussion in this election.

In terms of pure debating, I think Rubio put in the best performance, followed by Cruz.

Kasich and Bush--both of whom I like--were hopeless and should call it quits. Fiorina was a bit tiresome and not as good as she has been other times. Carson did better than in prior debates, but still does not inspire a lot of confidence in me that he would know what to do in a crisis situation. I find Rand Paul confusing and am not at all clear how his policies overseas would differ much from Obama's. Christie? OK, but does he have to keep telling us he was a federal prosecutor?

And Trump? Well, I think he actually won. Not because he was a brilliant debater, but because nobody--not even master debaters such as Rubio and Cruz--could really land a punch on him. They certainly threw a lot of stuff at him, but he managed to deflect or dodge it all. For example, in responding to the question about whether he would be willing to kill women and children in his pursuit of the war against ISIS, and Rand Paul's nonsensical rambling about the Geneva Convention, Trump simply said, something along the lines of, "Let me get this straight. They can kill us, but we can't kill them?" Boom! For the public, end of issue. Lawyers and bien pensants can go on and on, but for the average American that's the issue. It was a bit of brilliant politicking by Trump.

So, Rubio won the debate, but Trump won the night.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Obama's "War" Speech

I held to my long-standing practice of not listening to Obama's speeches. As noted before, I can't stand his delivery composed of equal measures of condescension, ignorance, falsehoods, and just plain ol' way off the mark. I read the texts later and, thus, avoid getting distracted by the presentation.

OK, I read the text of his latest speech presenting his latest strategy for defeating ISIS or ISIL or IS or Daesh or whatever you want to call it.

My reaction: That's it? That's a strategy?

Let's start with this remarkable statement,
I just had a chance to meet with my National Security Council as part of our regular effort to review and constantly strengthen our efforts. . .
I see.

He "just had a chance" to get together with the NSC.

That sort of sums up the urgency with which our President takes the job of defending the nation from the violent thugs of ISIS, ISIL, whatever.  He just had a chance . . . last week, of course, he was all excited about his Great Climate Change Deal in Paris, and hoping against hope that this would make us all forget about the Muslim crazies out there .  .  . and forget about his other Great Deal, the one with the Muslim crazies in Iran . . .

From there the whole thing goes downhill.

There is nothing new, nothing tangible in his "strategy." The speech is just a stale recycling of all the other nonsense he's said about this topic since the start. There is no passion, no conviction; just a word salad. The address certainly contains no accepting of blame by the misadministration for the disaster we now face all over the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. It was the Obama/Clinton mishandling of the withdrawal from Iraq; it's disastrous policies in Egypt, Libya, and Syria; and its insistence on political correctness when dealing with threats that have put us into this position. He can blather on about destroying this cache, killing this guy or that one over there, and containing the "terrorist group ISIL." The fact remains the killers can strike us anywhere in the world. They can kill us not only all over the Middle East, Afghanistan, and throughout Africa, but in Paris, Boston, London, New York, Sydney, Ottawa, Brussels, Copenhagen, Mumbai, Ft. Hood, Merced, and even in obscure San Bernardino.

They are not contained, Mr. President, and you have no clue about what to do, or are just lying about wanting to defeat these murderers.

Why? Because there's one word that appears nowhere in the speech.That word is ISLAM.

The issue is not ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, IS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Jamyat Islamia, or the Taliban. There is nothing complex or difficult in identifying the problem: Islam and how it's taught and practiced in the modern world.

As I wrote (October 23, 2014) after the killings in Canada,
As this humble blog has noted re the horrid Lee Rigby beheading in England (here and here), the Kenya Westgate mall massacre (here and here), the Boston Marathon bombings (here and here) the shootings at Ft. Hood, the DC Beltway Sniper (What was his name? Oh, yes, John Allen Mohammed), the Oklahoma beheading and so many more incidents in the US and elsewhere, media, "experts," and officials prove so reluctant to place the blame where it belongs that it is almost comical, well, comical in a horrible sort of perverse manner. 
We have the inevitable statements about there not existing a "link" between the particular incident under discussion and international--code for Muslim--terrorists. We have the desperate search for a culprit who is not Muslim: e.g., in the Ottawa shooting we had initial press reports of a Native American gunman. The press gleefully jumps on the fact that many of these crimes were by people born in the countries where they carried out their crimes: e.g., lots of coverage of the Ottawa shooter being Canadian-born. 
When some gutsy Western country, such as Australia, pre-empts the killers and breaks up their plot--one strikingly similar to what happened in Canada--well, the "experts" immediately "raise questions" about the ability of ISIS, or Al Qaeda, or some other group to carry out such long-range activities. 
Increasingly I am coming to the conclusion that "expert" is just another word for "naive fool." <...>
Whether these killers were born in England, Canada, Australia, Russia, the USA, or elsewhere, they all had one thing in common. Guess. Can you? Try. Yes, they were all "radicalized" to use the oh-so delicate PC phrase in vogue among the progressive bien pensant. In other words these thugs were Muslim, many of them social losers and recent converts to that totalitarian creed. 
There is no need for an ISIS indoctrination, logistics line, training, or other support. The Quran and the local mosque provide all that is needed.
 Islam is the word missing from your "strategy," Mr. President.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Progressive "Lists" and Gun Ownership: Another Bit of Weirdness

This one will be quick.

Listening to the radio last night, I heard a very earnest progressive commentator talk about "sensible gun control." The number one item on his list was, of course, the mental health issue. Keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, but of course! I have dealt with that before, and you can go HERE to read my pearls of wisdom on the fallacy of that approach. This little excerpt from that piece sums it up pretty well, in my humble opinion,
If you think the science of global climate whatever is up in the air, wait until you delve into the looney world of mental health. The mental health profession is full of quack "therapists" and quack theories; few things there are settled science; and that profession is as subject to the vagaries of the winds and tides of fashion and politics as any other. Let us not forget the uses of psychiatry in the dead and unlamented Soviet bloc. Even, however, without going back to the USSR, I would point out that my father was a psychiatrist, and in his old Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals (DSM) homosexuality was listed as a disorder, "a sociopathic personality disturbance" to be precise. It was a disorder or mental disturbance until it just wasn't--you can read the account of how that change happened here
Would then those persons treated for homosexuality, and have that on their medical records, be denied their second amendment rights? This, in turn, leads to the raising of many other questions: What standards would be used to determine mental illness for the purpose of gun denial? Who would make those standards? How would authorities running a background check gain access to those medical records? How would we redefine the ancient notion of patient-doctor confidentiality? How would those mental health sessions be flagged in the Great Database? How would one prevent that information from leaking and from being used for political or blackmail purposes? How would this not dissuade people who need some help from getting it? I am sure you can think of dozens more questions.
The progs have added a couple of new twists to their "common sense" approach to gun control. One of my favorites, brought up by the commentator mentioned above, would ban what Obama has called "weapons of war" from ownership by civilians.

Weapons of War! As we gun nuts call them, WOW! What a great phrase: conjures up images of noisy smoky tanks, armored vehicles, Maxim guns, land mines, etc. But, no. Our progs are not talking about those. They, apparently, are talking about the sort of weapons used by the Muslim murderers in San Bernardino. Progs love coming up with catchy bumper sticker phrases. I hate to burst their little bubble, but what is the definition of a WOW? Which war, for example? As my son noted to me today, at one time a musket was a WOW. Am I denied the right to a musket? How about swords, knives, chains, rocks, sticks, fists, and feet? All of those have been used in wars. The weapons used by the Muslim murderers, in fact. were not WOWs. As far as I can tell, the military do not use AR-15s. No. The progs don't care about that; they, clearly, are going to define whatever they want as a WOW--much like they have with "assault rifle." In other words, if it's scary to a prog, then, by definition, it's a WOW. I have served in countries where 9mm and .45 are declared military weapons (parabellum, for war) and are denied to civilians. In one country, 9mm was forbidden for civilians, but not .38 or .357. I don't pretend to understand those sort of calls. To repeat, any weapon at any time can be declared a WOW, and, hence, banned under prog "common sense" gun control.

Yet another cry has gone up: Ban people on the "terror list" from buying weapons! Common sense, no? I am not exactly sure what "terror list" the progs are bandying about. I know of "no-fly" lists, and as a DCM in some rough places, I helped put together Visa Viper lists of people who should be denied visas to the US. The process of making up these lists is highly inexact and subjective. Just getting names right is a major ordeal. The process consists of coffee-drinking bureaucrats sitting around a table with incomplete and perhaps inaccurate information from a variety of open and covert sources of varying reliability making judgement calls. There is no due process; no elevated standards of evidence; and it is almost impossible to correct mistakes. At least our Visa Viper list was aimed only at pesky foreigners. The sort of list the progs are talking about is aimed at American citizens--and, by the way, the Muslim murderers in San Bernardino were on no list.

So should a list drawn up in secret by bureaucrats responding to who knows what political agendas and masters with no due process, no right of appeal, be used to deny Constitutional rights? I wonder about that, eh? Tough call . . .. Let's put it this way: Do you trust Obama, who has used the IRS and EPA, for example, to go after political opponents, to draw up a list to deny people their rights? We all know, of course, that the list-makers will be tasked with ensuring that the list is diverse and does not overly target any protected group . . .  If the government is so sure about this "list," why not arrest and try the people on it? What's next? Lists to deny freedom of speech and religion? Why stop with guns? So many questions.

Amazing, ain't it? The same crowd who get weepy over a handful of blacklisted Communist screenwriters, and outraged over Trump's call to halt Muslim immigration to the US, now want government drafting secret lists to deny people their rights. Progressives . . .


Monday, December 7, 2015

France and Venezuela: A Couple of Bright Lights in the Progressive Night

I could not listen to The One's speech on his "anti-terror strategy." I can't stand the cool, aloof, infuriating arrogance in his voice as he delivers vapid bromides, and speaks down to the little people. I, subsequently, read his speech, and I was right not to have listened to it, as well. Absurd. Our country, our way of life, our whole Western civilization is under assault from Islam, and this stupid little presentation is all he can come up with? Maybe some other time I will go through it, but I can't right now . . . it's just too easy to rip it apart for the progressive claptrap that it is.

Instead, let's quickly look at a couple of bright spots--and believe it or not, there are a couple, and both involve exercising the franchise and defying the progressive orthodoxy!

France.

I have written before about Marine Le Pen (here, for example) and the sort of terror she provokes in the comfortable elites that now rule and ruin the West. She has been labelled "far-right," fascist, xenophobic, etc., and threatened with legal action because she and her party, the FN (National Front), have dared question the progressive orthodoxy that dominates France's politics, elite media, universities, and entertainment industry.

It appears that the FN has won big in the first round of France's regional elections. Per the BBC,
The triumphant leader of the far-right National Front (FN), Marine Le Pen, says French voters rejected the "old political class" in regional elections that put her party top.
Nearly one-third of voters backed the anti-immigration FN, which won in six out of France's 13 regions. <...>
The nationalist FN got about 28%, ahead of the centre-right Republicans party led by former President Nicolas Sarkozy, which polled just under 27%, and the governing Socialist Party (PS), trailing with 23.5%.
We'll see what happens in the second round as the traditional parties seek to form alliances and come up with strategies to block the surging FN. In the meanwhile, I agree with POLITICO that,
The far-right National Front’s victory in the first round of French regional elections on Sunday will have an impact far beyond the composition of local governments and the shock it will have sent through the French political establishment. 
In every single European capital, politicians will ponder the results and wonder how an anti-immigration, anti-European movement could become France’s first political party. They will also worry about what it means for Europe in a time of crisis — economic and existential.
From Europe, we turn to the Americas.

Venezuela.

The past many years have been a dark time for the people of Venezuela.

I have written a great deal about the plight of Venezuela (here, here, here, here, here, for example) under the Chavez/Maduro evil clown circus. In one of those posts, I referred to a "slow motion coup" underway in oil-rich Venezuela by which Chavez/Maduro take apart the institutions of democracy bit by bit in the name of fighting "imperialism" and giving a level playing field to the poor (Bernie Sanders, are you there?) Opposition leaders who were too pesky suddenly found themselves afoul of the tax authorities, or accused of participating in vague gringo-backed plots against The Revolution. The opposition had a hard time getting its act together: first, because of the oppression aimed against it; second, because of the lack of international support--especially from the US--for democracy in Venezuela; and third, of course, because of its own bad strategy and tactics. It seems this time the opposition got its act together just as the regime implodes along with oil prices. Maduro simply does not have the loyalty of the "revolutionary" elites--e.g., in the military, in Hollywood, in Cuba--in the same way as did the much more charismatic, smart, and devious Chavez. The Congressional elections held yesterday have produced a sweeping victory for the opposition which has taken at least 99 of the 167 seats in the legislature. Pre-election polls had shown some 85% of the population fed up with the direction of Venezuela and dissatisfied with Maduro.

The economic outlook for Venezuela is extremely dire. What the opposition-dominated Congress can do to reverse the Chavez/Maduro decline is an open question, and one I leave to those more versed in Venezuelan politics than I (check the excellent Fausta's Blog). The Venezuelan Congress has lost a great deal of power, and the Maduro regime remains a lawless one. That regime, however, I think, will be more constrained than in the past as the military and other power brokers, clearly, did not support any potential move to suspend the elections or to engage in wide-spread vote rigging to favor Maduro. I repeat, this is a spot of light in a very dark picture, but . . . you never know, freedom and liberty have a way of winning the day.

Just a little bit of hope . . .

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Join the NRA

I had for years belonged to the National Rifle Association (NRA). Some time while overseas, I let my membership lapse. In the wake of the nonsense being spouted  by Obama and the New York Times re gun ownership, I just renewed my membership.

I normally don't advocate for any organization but will now: If you are a member of the NRA, renew that membership; if you're not, and are concerned about the steady erosion of individual rights, then join America's oldest civil rights organization and a highly effective, well-run lobbying outfit, the NRA.

That is a great rebuke to the progressive anti-gun propaganda to which we are all being subjected.  

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Yes, Indeed, Let's Revise Our Gun Laws

I am sitting in a hotel room in northern California. On the nearly five hundred mile drive yesterday from my home in southern California, of course, the radio was almost non-stop dealing with the unfolding horror in San Bernardino. I was delighted that the cops in the field did an exemplary job in the wake of the mass murder and took out the two murdering Jihadis who killed 14 people and wounded many more. The world is better without these Jihadis.

The progressive media, as expected, couldn't wait for the facts, and launched a variety of rants about white men, gunshow "loopholes," need for better mental health care programs, and other familiar prog talking points. It was all quite nauseating. As the facts slowly, slowly, slowly--despite the efforts of the PC crowd--started to emerge, to wit, the killers were a couple of Muslims who shot up an office Christmas party, the progs and their Commander-in-Chief in the White House began beating the gun control drum. It was all the fault of the NRA and Republicans who have allowed terrorists to buy guns! We need more gun laws! Let's make our laws as tough as in France! Terrorists can't get guns in Fra--OK, OK bad example . . .

Yawn. For a moment, let's  pay back the progs with their own coin. I blame the Democrats and their media enablers for this massacre. Their immigration laws have allowed Islam to establish a foothold in our country. They have prevented us from rational profiling. Thanks to progressive rules, the facility where the massacre took place was a "gun-free zone." The victims, most of whom I am willing to bet were of progressive mind sets, were not able to defend themselves. In addition, of course, California has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the U.S. The killers in San Bernardino not only violated the "gun-free zone" they also had illegal high capacity magazines in their weapons, and of course, they violated the law against pipe bombs and IEDs.

Now, we have the cry going up about people on the "terror list" being able to buy guns. Progs such as Sen. Feinstein are pushing for laws to ban people on that list from buying guns. Ah, yes, let's have some administrative procedure substitute for legal due process. Do people know how people get put on that list? I can tell you from my experience working on visa "watch lists" that it is a highly subjective and hugely inexact process. I can also tell you that once you get put on one of these lists, it is almost impossible to get off. Let's just cut to the chase: let's have it so that the government can execute anybody on any terror or visa watch or no-fly list. That would be better all around in terms of paperwork and pesky due process . . . Now, of course, the San Bernardino murderers were not on any government list, but that's a minor set back.

So, yes, I agree, let's revise our gun laws. I, for example, live in a county in California where it is virtually impossible to get a concealed carry permit. Any killer knows that in that county the odds are overwhelmingly that his intended victim is unarmed. Time to allow open and concealed carry, I think, on a national basis. If we're not going to deal with Islam as we should, i.e., label it a violent totalitarian creed, then let's at least give our citizens a fighting chance.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Paris Plays Host to King Canute Society

The science is settled: We are ruled by those who think us idiots.

Without doubt you are all aware of the huge international meeting underway in Paris at which some 150 heads-of-state and government and their staffs have gathered to declare war on, nay, to defeat the "greatest threat" to man's existence since the Flood. No, not nuclear war. No, not Islamic terrorism. No, not hunger or poverty. Yes, I refer to man-made, oops, human-made global climate warming, er, uh, change, er, disruption. You know that stuff on which there is a broad scientific consensus, well, except for all the scientists who don't buy it, or better said, haven't got bought by it and its well-heeled money backers.These thousands of delegates, by the way, have not walked to the conference or ridden their bicycles or their electric cars to get there. No they have come in large fossil fuel gulping aircraft and limousines, belching out huge quantities of "green house gases," you know, that evil CO2. They are also heavily protected by lots of gun-toting men and women; yes, guns, the things they want to take away from us but which they rely upon to protect them.

Yes, it is in Paris. The same Paris that just suffered a grotesque event in which 130 persons were killed, not by melting ice, or hungry polar bears, but by suicidal assassins of the death cult known as Islam. But then those dead, well, they were a "setback" but, of course, progressivism must march on in its ceaseless quest to save the planet from real threats, e.g., Rebel flags, "offensive" speech, and my four SUVs. It must seek to protect children not from the mosquitos that give them malaria and dengue but from the DDT that will kill those mosquitos. It must protect children not by ensuring they don't go hungry, but by protecting them from the horrid industrialized agriculture that could feed them. It protects us from terrorism not by killing the terrorists and waging war on their bankrupt ideology of Islam, but by claiming that global climate whatever has caused terrorism and that holding this massive gab-fest is the strongest rebuke imaginable to the terrorists . . . right.  ISIS is just shaking in their sandals, fearful of having their HUMVEES taken away.

So progressivism has seized on one of the greatest scientific-social-economic-political scams to come down the pike since, oh, I don't know, since Karl Marx took pen to paper, perhaps. It has all the hallmarks of a progressive cause: demands for an end to prosperity; an end to free markets and individual choices; a demand for ever greater resources and power going to governments and the bureaucrats who run them; a demand to shut down opponents as kooks or "deniers." And as we see the "science" behind the whole mishmash of stuff that is supposedly The Theory of Global Warming Climate Change Disruption fall apart almost daily, the advocates of "doing something" about Global Whatever get more and more desperate and turn away from science and turn to the brute power of government. Their "theory" can predict nothing and explain nothing except for how to increase their power over all of us.

The science is settled: We are ruled by those who hate us.