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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"Boots on the Ground" and Other Fantasies About "Radicalization"

Your forgiveness if I repeat prior writings too much.

For many among us whatever we do in response to the 1400-year war Islam has conducted against the West will "only serve to produce more radicals and more jihadis." I won't bother with lots of links to such arguments, you can find them just about anywhere online, on TV, in the dying print media, and, of course, emanating from the decrepit institutions known as centers of higher learning.

Even more troubling, we find people in leadership positions who reportedly say stupidities such as, "If you kill your enemies, they win." That quote alone, if accurate, just might make Canada's PM Justin Bieber Trudeau heir to the title of The Stupidest Western Leader--at last, somebody provides fierce competition for Merkel, Kerry, and Obama!

One of my favorite arguments is that if we put Western "boots on the ground" in the Muslim world, we only generate more Islamist terror and hatred. Hmmm . . . Another old time favorite, of course, is that Guantanamo serves as a "recruiting symbol" for jihadis. How about that? One of Obama's favorites is that all of this "extremist behavior" by the JV Team of ISIS and others comes as a reaction to the Crusades. OK, sure . . .

These idiocies, of course, are mere nuggets mined from a very rich lode of idiocy, to wit, the West must not only not insult or offend Islam in any manner, but must gracefully accept the insults, hatred, and death that Islam hurls our way. We must ignore what they say they're going to do to us, and believe instead that they will do with us as we do with them, despite the fact that they do with us exactly as they said they would--ask those Christians on that Libyan beach or the ones at the Easter fair in Lahore.

"Boots on the ground," huh? What a stupid phrase; one repeated ad nauseam by progressives who want to sound military savvy--kinda like "assault" rifle . . ..

Has anybody noticed that Islam has many more "boots on the ground" in the West than vice-versa? We find many, many more mosques, centers of "Islamic learning," halal butcheries, etc., in the West than we find churches, synagogues, etc., in the Muslim world. While the UN and the world go into paroxysms of rage when a few Jews build houses in the "Occupied Territories," because, of course, Jews have no right to live among Muslims, literally millions of Muslims have and continue to move into Europe and other Western countries. The Muslim world murders and drives into exile Jews and Christians from their ancient homes, but the West must accept millions of Muslim "refugees" and migrants.

Something is off here. What could it be?

It seems that the Muslim world does not fear inflaming us when ISIS, AQ, etc., declare "no go" zones or set off bombs in our cities or engage in other forms of mass murder. We all must show great care after each and every one of these atrocities so as not to engage in a "backlash" against the very Muslim communities clearly supporting these actions -- e.g., the Paris killers got critical support from the Muslim community in Brussels, including hiding them from police. We must march for peace, while the Muslim world celebrates acts of "war" against concert-goers, airline travelers, and train passengers. Our children must learn tolerance and of the beauties of Islam, while their kids practice donning suicide vests and eating sweets in celebration of some or another atrocity.

Yes, something is off, here. Again, we ask, what could it be?

Not rocket science to answer that. The cause of Islamic "radicalization" is not Guantanamo, Western troops, or women in short skirts. The radicalization, as the word "radical" makes clear, comes from the root of Islam, the Quran. This basic text of Islam is held to be, quite literally, the precise word of Allah as revealed to Mohammed. No deviation is allowed or accepted; it is the Final Word. Period. No further revelations follow. We see, therefore, the rage with which mainstream Islam treats the Ahmadiyya sect which holds to subsequent "revelations" that call for more compassion and understanding. When I served in Pakistan, a major center of the Ahmadiyya faith, attacks on and killings of Ahmadis were common. Jews and Christians, likewise, come in for Islamic hatred and rage, because they do not accept the Quran as the word of God or Mohammed as his Prophet. Forcible conversion, slavery, and death serve as the prescribed remedies for this blasphemy. It is right there in the Quran, aka, the book of instructions on "How to be a Muslim."

Once again: It is Islam from whence the threat comes.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Oh, the Stooooooooopidity!!!!

Quick note.

I have been hit by some nasty digital comments re a memo of mine that appeared in one of the Hillary "What Difference Does it Make?" Clinton bathroom closet server dumps. A few of my things have shown up, but this one in particular seems to have attracted the ire of some really very stupid people--people who prove that not all stupidity comes from left field. You can go here and read some of these comments.

They respond to a little light-hearted unclassified note I wrote years ago when I served at the OAS (Organization of American States) and sent to the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA). You can read that ancient memo here in its full leaked glory. The original recipient sent it to Cheryl Mills and others in the Hilary inner circle, and, apparently, it went on to the then-Secretary of State where it lodged in her illicit server.

The memo concerned the state of play in long-forgotten talks on Honduras's political situation in the wake of the removal of their President by their courts and their military. The note was written after a very long day (18-20 hours) and had as a closing line, "With fingers crossed, the old rabbit's foot out of the box in the attic, I will be sacrificing a chicken in the backyard to Moloch . . ."

It seems some people, to judge from their comments, take that line literally, and as proof that I was somehow involved in a Satanic cult at State.

First, let me reassure one and all that no chicken or rabbit was actually harmed in the writing of the memo. I, in fact, do not have a rabbit's foot, and, furthermore, did not sacrifice a chicken in my backyard to Moloch. While I have eaten a lot of them, I have never sacrificed chickens, goats, lambs, or cattle to any idol or false god in my backyard, or anywhere else . . . way too wasteful of expensive protein.

Second, I was not involved in any Satanic cult at State--they wouldn't have me because I did not belong to AFSA (American Foreign Service Association), AKA, the "union."

Third, I did not then nor do I now worship at the altar of Moloch, Ba'al, Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness, Satan, or at that of his representatives on earth, the Democratic Party.

Now, please . . . move on!



Thursday, March 24, 2016

Dealing with the Islamic Threat

Please forgive if I repeat much of what I've stated before about the threat from Islam. I will try to avoid sprinkling this essay with too many links to prior posts; I would direct the curious to my March 22 post which provides several links to earlier writings on Islam and on the progressive delusions that protect it and allow it to foment hatred and violence in our societies. I think most of that writing holds up well, certainly at the risk of seeming immodest, it appears to hold up better than what we might call the Obama/Clinton/Kerry/Rice/Merkel/Trudeau/MSM approach.

How do we deal with the very real threat posed to Western civilization by Islam?

Foremost, we must recognize that the threat comes not from this or that "radicalized" individual, cell, or group in caves in Afghanistan or Syria, or in dingy flats in London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Sydney, or New York. The threat comes from Islam, itself. The "crazies," the jihadis, the radicals, the Islamists, whatever you want to call those dying to meet their quota of brown-eyed virgins, understand their creed well. Islam does not mean peace. Islam does not preach tolerance and love for one's fellow human beings. Islam does not portray non-Muslims as equals or even as fit to live unless they convert, or pay a special tax and do not propagate their non-Islamic faith. Even as practiced today, and remember these are not just words in old forgotten tomes, Islam advocates lying to nonbelievers, and for the enslavement and the killing of those nonbelievers. Apostates must, of course, die.

The faith of losers, Islam teaches grievance. The Muslim world echoes with complaints, lamentations really, about all that has been "taken" from Islam, and about all the injustices inflicted on the Islamic world. Spain. Vienna. Palestine. Crusades. Jerusalem. If only the Jews had accepted Mohammed! If only the Christians hadn't done this or that! Muslim countries would be rich but for the infidels! The nonbelievers stymie the plans of Allah! Revenge! Punish them for rejecting the True Faith!

The teachings and practices of Islam on sex and women help explain the behavior of millions of Muslim men, including those in Europe. Islam does not respect women, at all. The Quran essentially declares them less than human; Islamic doctrine provides detailed instructions on the "proper way" to beat a wife. Vicious gang rapes are common throughout the Muslim world, and not frowned upon by authorities. The victims invariably get blamed and often punished, including with death. In Muslim cities and towns, you find violence-prone young, bored, resentful, sex-starved men hanging out in coffee shops, or roaming the streets in groups, many having met no women in their lives other than their mothers and sisters. They see women as mysterious, evil creatures who need subjugation. Their views of women, especially Western women, come, as noted, from the Quran and from the vast amounts of pornography consumed in the Muslim world. I was always struck by the fact that when we nabbed some very religious terrorist jihadi, almost inevitably we found his laptop or bookcase crammed with pornography. Please also note that despite Islam's ostensible hatred for gays, homosexuality is widely practiced in the Islamic world, along with pedophilia and bestiality.

All religions, of course, have odd and cruel features in their old texts. Islam, however, remains unique among major religions for never having had an enlightenment. It has undergone a reformation of sorts, but a retrograde one. In much of the world, Islam now lies closer to its 7th century origins than it did 100 or 200 years ago; it recedes into the past for inspiration and validation. Per its fundamental writings and its widespread practices, Islam is about conquest, not coexistence or tolerance. Where one finds a lighter Islam is in a place such as Indonesia where the rough edges have been knocked off by centuries of contact with Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, animism, and the worship of Britney Spears. Even Indonesia, however, has a large, growing cyst of violent "crazies," many having studied in the Middle East, furiously explaining that the majority do not do Islam right--and the "crazies" are correct.

In sum, misery, ignorance, resentment, desire for war, and the quest for world subjugation lie at the violent core of Islam. It has produced a very diseased civilization, one whose first victims comprise the 1.6 billion persons who live as Muslims. The disease is spreading and growing ever more lethal.

Too many of our "leaders" and opinion-makers refuse to confront the reality laid out above. They, therefore, design polices that prove ineffective, counterproductive, and will lead the West to the apocalypse. Exaggerated? Go to Europe and see what's happening there. No longer just a weird cult confined to forgettable parts of the world, thanks to oil money, Western technology, and criminally insane Western immigration policies, Islam now poses a real threat in our neighborhoods. The West's refusal to see reality protects the jihadis, and leads to a rising toll of dead and maimed in New York, Nairobi, Boston, London, Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino, Ft. Hood, Copenhagen, Toronto, Sydney, Mumbai, and on and on.

How to deal with Islam? Take it at its word. When Islam says it wants to conquer, enslave, and kill us, believe it. Islam claims to be a warrior creed, accept that. Peace marches, candlelight vigils, piles of teddy bears, bathing buildings in colorful lights, and word salad speeches about "not letting the terrorists win by changing our ways" just won't cut it. I would bet that many of those killed in New York, Boston, London, Paris, and Brussels were progressive liberal sorts who "welcomed" the arrival of Muslims, and would have proven horrified at the thought of our portraying Islam as a murderous dogma. Delusions can and will get you killed.

We are at war; better said, they are at war with us. We must reciprocate. Forget all the progressive nonsense about how if we fight back we only produce more jihadis in response. When the US and UK bombed Germany into rubble and invaded it, did we worry about that producing more Nazis? No. We worried only if we had killed enough of the bastards to have them call off their war. If there is any hope, however dim, for peaceful co-existence with Islam, then Islam must suffer large, stinging, unambiguous defeats wherever it seeks to do battle against the West. Islam must experience defeat in Kashmir, Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Kenya, and anywhere else it takes up arms. The idea and image of Islam as a warrior creed must be refuted, crushed, and shown as a hollow boast. Perhaps, perhaps, over a long, long time, forces will arise within Islam questioning the call for permanent war, and, perhaps, perhaps, those forces eventually will knock down the rotten house that is Islamic society, and build something new. We can hope . . . in the meantime, our war must continue.

Part of that long war, of course, must consist of support for Israel, the Middle East's only democracy, and include a relentless drive to develop our own energy resources. With energy independence comes freedom from Middle Eastern oil blackmail. Our money for oil imports helps fuel jihad--make no mistake about that. We must make clear to Muslim regimes all over the world that we will not sit by passively and watch jihadis slaughter and enslave Christians. If "moderate" Muslim peoples and regimes exist, they have to prove it to us. They have to help avoiding inflaming and provoking us.

We also need to make a total effort against Islam here at home. Our immigration policies must change dramatically. Just as we, at one time, excluded Nazis, Fascists, and Communists, we have the right to exclude practitioners of the totalitarian cult known as Islam. We have the right and the obligation to exclude those committed to the violent overthrow of our way of life. The West derives no benefit by importing millions of Muslims. The Syrian refugee crisis is a scam and we must recognize it as such. It is not a question of whether these persons belong to ISIS, AQ, Boko, or JI. Islam's core beliefs pose the threat as we have seen from the large number of native-born Muslims in the West who have gone jihadi--including, for example, Somalis here in the US. At a minimum, we do not need to import more Muslims.

In addition, as done when fighting the old mafia, so we must do with Muslim organizations already in our countries. When the FBI went after the Italian mafia, a much more benign operation than the Muslim cells we see now, the FBI--Oh, horrors!--went after people with Italian names. The focus of investigation and intelligence operations was on and in Italian communities. Nobody questioned this any more than when the FBI went after Russian, Jewish, Albanian, Jamaican, or Irish mobsters; the FBI arrested Russians, Jews, Albanians, Jamaicans, and Irish. This is not rocket science. There is nothing wrong with putting mosques and their Imams under surveillance, infiltrating their gatherings, and making clear to Muslim communities that the price for acceptance by their fellow Americans consists of a clear and total rejection of jihadism and other violent supremacist behavior. The concerns and dictates of progressive PC must be rejected.

As I have said many, many times before, our belief in the Bill of Rights and all the other wonderful values of Western civilization should not constitute a suicide note.  We have overcome mad imperialists of all sorts, there is no reason we cannot defeat the Islamic imperialists abroad and at home.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Muslim Murder Machine Rolls Through Brussels

As I write this post, the death toll in the Brussels terror attack stands at 31 with additional scores injured. Those numbers probably will rise. The journalists and politicians dance around attributing the attack to those who carried it out. I see and hear lots of references to ISIS, "radicalized" persons, etc. Mayor de Blasio of New York came out with the typical liberal/progressive statement on "thoughts and prayers" and not giving up our way of life. I heard some military types come on and talk about the need to hit Raqqa, or some other ISIS center.  And, of course, our Commander-in-Chief, the "leader" of the Free World, took less than a minute from his tour of Castro's Fantasy Island to issue one of his trademark, bored, not again, word salad statements on the attack.

I will write more on this later, but for now, let's just go over the basics being ignored. I provide below a random sample of links I have made on this topic before, but let's do it again.

Yes, we have to hit ISIS in Syria and Iraq and Libya and . . . you pick. Yes, better intelligence. Yes, improved scanning at airports, train stations, etc. But, but, but . . . that will not stop terror attacks in Europe, America, Africa, Asia, or Australia. The issue is Islam. The issue is letting Islam set up shop in the West and propagate its cult of hatred and murder from within our societies. Belgium, for example, is now a failed state. Netherlands, France, Germany, and much of Scandinavia are not far behind. Britain faces a dire future, too. The United States? Headed down that path. Why? Islam. Better said, progressive delusions about Islam, progressive delusions about Islam's 1400-year-old war on the West.

How many times do we have to say it, or in the case of Obama, not say it?

One more time: It is the Islam.

We Are Not at War, Just Under Attack

Is Islam like the Others?

Islamophobia

Islam and the West 

The 99% Peaceful Muslims

Muslim Murder Machine

Paris, The Murderous Cost of Progressive Delusions

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Musings On Immigration

Is immigration the issue in this year's presidential election?

We see lots of media back-and-forth over whether immigration is a major issue. Some reports (here, for example) see it, indeed, as the great issue for Republican primary voters, and a major cause of the success enjoyed by Donald Trump, the candidate who most clearly has made confronting illegal immigration a major plank in his otherwise still incomplete platform. Other reports (here, for example) see immigration as the last issue voters worry about, far behind the economy, jobs, and government spending.

Lesson to be learned: Polls can tell you whatever you want to hear. I'll tell you want I to hear a bit later.

Let's, for now, put aside polls, and have a common sense discussion about immigration. I point to a prior effort by this humble blog to discuss immigration. That almost three-year-old post (June 14, 2013) noted that much of the immigration debate in the US missed the point, which is,
[W]hether we need none, little, some, or a lot of immigration, and if we do, what type of immigration we should seek. Do we need millions more of semi and unskilled people from Mexico and other poor countries? Absent widespread elimination or reduction in minimum wage, taxation, public assistance, and zoning laws, how will these people contribute to the economic growth of our country? This is not nineteenth century America with small factories and workshops on every street corner, and belching smokestack industries eager for cheap workers. This is the America of EPA regulations, OSHA bureaucrats, job killing minimum wage and health insurance laws, outsourcing, and of a growing ethos that sees single parents living on the public dole as an honorable existence. It is also the America of multiculturalism whereby immigrants are encouraged never to become Americans.
Official US figures show that we receive about one million legal immigrants/year; about 20% of all the world's legal immigrants head here, despite the US comprising only five percent of the world's population. The US legal immigrant population in 2013 stood at about 41.3 million persons in 2013, roughly 13 percent of the total population of the nation. The top three source countries in 2013 for legal immigration were Mexico, India, and China--I have seen preliminary numbers indicating that China has now become the top supplier of immigrants. How many illegal immigrants? Nobody knows. The generally accepted number of illegals residing in the US is roughly 12 million. Very interesting--and we'll get back to this--is that almost half of those 12 million initially arrived legally with valid non-immigration visas, e.g., tourists, students, business people, and simply overstayed--some, uh, like forever .  . ..

Indisputable is that the USA remains far, very far, from being a xenophobic, anti-immigrant horror house. Why do they keep coming? So let's drop that silly argument right off the bat, and understand that America is very plugged into the world, and hope that Canada's lightweight PM Justin Bieber Trudeau gets the memo.

Some very basic basics. The USA is a sovereign country--stated in case people forget. As such, the USA has the right to determine who can and cannot enter. Period. That is not something we have to vet with Mexico, China, India, Bangladesh, Jorge Ramos, the OAS, or the UN. International law, for what it's worth, recognizes as a basic human right the ability to leave one's country, no such right, however, exists to enter another country. Entry control remains with the receiving country. We, in fact, have no obligation to take anybody, and can discriminate as to whom we take or don't; we can say no communists, no fascists, no Muslims, etc.

Before anybody brings it up, I know about the laws on refoulement of refugees; that's different, and does not pertain to this discussion.

As noted above, no recognized right exists for foreigners to cross our borders or violate our immigration laws and procedures. In sum, we can make our immigration laws as we  please. Period. We, furthermore, have the same right as any other sovereign nation to deport foreigners who violate our laws, including our immigration laws, or whom we otherwise find "undesirable." Current US law allows the deportation of foreigners even those with US citizen minor children. Those so deported have the option--Choice! Horrors!--to take their children on the journey back to the old country. So Hillary and the progressives can stuff their lachrymose blather about Trump and Republicans wanting to split families--that's been the law for a long, long time. It was the law under Carter, Clinton, and remains so under Obama, for example.

Trump wants to build a wall along the southern border. Do we have the right to do so? Yes, absolutely. Do we need to clear that with Mexico and Central America? Nope, not at all. If it's built, maintained, and backed up properly will it have an impact on reducing illegal immigration and drug flow? Probably, yes. Can we get Mexico and others to pay for the wall? Yes, at least in part. Put, for example, a tax on remittances and a "special border security fee" on non-citizen consular services (e.g., immigration visa processing and a legal border crossing processing fee), and you will get a lot of money. Will it end all illegal immigration? No. As noted, apparently over 40% of illegal immigrants fly into our airports or come across the border initially legally. To deal with that, you need to do things inside the USA: deny illegals access to public benefits, including schools, hospitals, and voting (just like they do in Mexico); do away with the anchor baby laws (as is the case in most of Latin America); have an employment verification scheme; and, yes, a serious deportation program, to wit, we catch you, we send you home. As the environment for illegal aliens becomes less and less welcoming, huge numbers of illegals will leave or never come, at all. We will not have to deport 12 million people. So progs relax, lay off the Third Reich metaphors for a bit: We will see no drafty cattle cars full of wretched humanity chugging south on icy railroads.

Do voters consider the immigration issue a high priority? I think, yes, absolutely, regardless of what some exit polls suggest. I think voters meld the immigration issue into national defense, national pride, and the national economy. They do so, correctly. It is part of all of these, all part of the return of the Carteresque "national malaise." I don't think voters separate out the immigration issue as some of the pollsters seek to do. Part of the political genius of Trump is that he realizes this. If he can continue to hammer home this message, I think he could pick up considerable support from African-Americans and from the large, legal, Hispanic and Asian communities, as well. Illegal immigration affects the lower ends of the economic scale much more than it does the upper ends. Huge chunks of the populace labelled as poor, are, in fact, illegal immigrants. They also have a huge and disproportionate impact on crime. Not PC to say, but . . .

Beyond all this, we need a good discussion of how much immigration WE NEED. Not how many people want to come here, but how many and what sort WE need. I see nothing wrong with a bit of selfishness when it comes to protecting our national defense, our cultural values, our jobs, and our tax resources. Do WE need one million legal immigrants? Off the top of my head, I would say, no. What types of immigrants are they? By far, today, the majority are of the low-skill "family reunification" type. Do WE need that? I, for example, find it absurd that an adult immigrant can file for his or her adult siblings and their family members. That sets up an endless cascade of "family reunification." We no longer enforce the "public charge" provisions of our immigration law; that needs to restart ASAP. Do WE need hundreds-of-thousands of unskilled and low wage-earning immigrants? Do WE need immigrants who adhere to a totalitarian murderous cult that passes as a religion? Do WE want to replicate the German, French, and Scandinavian experience with bogus refugees? I doubt all that very much.

Engineers, scientists, artists, etc., sure. As far as I am concerned, come on over. People who want to contribute and become American? Genuine refugees? Welcome, and I don't care about your color. That said, however, we do have the right to ask what does OUR country need? While we figure this out, I favor a suspension of immigration for a couple or so years until we get our chaotic immigration system in order. We have the right and even obligation to do this.

It should go without saying and, in fact, prove a most jejune thing to say, but immigrants have made an invaluable contribution to this country. Nobody I know is anti-immigrant. My parents are immigrants; my wife is an immigrant. We, however, are entitled, as are the people of Britain, France, Australia, Germany, etc., to decide calmly without hysterics and getting mau-maued by the grievance and PC industries, what sort of nation we want to have, and whom we want living in it. That is not racist or xenophobic or any other trite label one cares to generate. That is genuine concern for OUR people.

I, for one, care more for OUR poor in Detroit than for THEIR poor in Dhaka.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Thinking Aloud About Conservatism . . .

Just some thoughts. I am not deliberately seeking to be heretical. These are just thoughts; they are not complete, and I will be thinking about all this much more. A work in progress.

For at least the past 45 years, I have considered myself a conservative, even a libertarian--well, libertarian with an asterisk (I believe in a large and fearsome military establishment). For part of my early life, I was a vaguely centrist, apolitical sort, but one who thought that America and the West were pretty much the best places to live. My great epiphany came while studying at UCLA in the early 1970s. I was appalled by the liberal mindset, even back then, which sought to denigrate America and its history, to ridicule and demean the great achievements of Western Civilization, and to point to some other system as "better." I had lots of doubts about this line of thinking, but just did not have the intellectual confidence to speak up and offer a counterargument. That aforementioned epiphany took place at the student bookstore where I happened to pick up an issue of William F. Buckley's The National Review and one of Norman Podhoretz's Commentary. I don't remember what exactly I read that night in those magazines, but, whatever it was, it made me realize it was OK to oppose the stifling liberal/progressive paradigm. I went on a reading binge of conservative thinkers from Europe and America, and basically ran a parallel education course for myself along with the leftist stuff unloaded on me daily in class.

As part of that autodidactic process, I read a very illuminating book, not by a conservative. It's one now hard to find in bookstores (available, however, on Amazon), but worth seeking, Social Sciences as Sorcery, by a leftist Polish-British author, the late Stanislav Andreski. Whatever his own personal political predilections, he so thoroughly demolished the faux intellectual pretentiousness and absurd writing style of so much modern social science that it subsequently proved tough for me to take seriously many of my classes in sociology, political-science, anthropology, and even history. Immensely liberating. Read it. Even more important, have your kids in university read it.

Sorry for the long wind-up. Here's the pitch: I find more than a little boring and even irritating the ongoing and intense debate over whether somebody or another is a "true" conservative. Much of it reminds me of the debates one saw in communist-socialist movements as different factions argued over which held truer to St. Karl's vision. These debates often turned bloody as various factions of the left, e.g., Stalinists, Trotskyites, Anarchists, Fascists, turned on and murdered each other.

Conservatives now appear doing some of the same--no murdering, however, at least not yet. I tire of the virulent tweets, the purple-prose articles, the angry televised debates, and the vile insults to-and-fro in arguments over the conservative credentials of, say, Trump vs Cruz vs Rubio vs whomever. It does little in terms of practical politics but to benefit the progressives busily destroying our country day-by-day, institution-by-institution.

In my view, a person can support an opposing candidate, have a different view than mine, and not be vile and despicable. Old fashioned, I know. I can't keep up with the times.

In recent years, we saw a remarkable phenomenon in the US, which initially gave me hope that we had reached a point in our modern history where we fought back against progressive encroachment. I refer to the Tea Party movement; it seemed a genuinely revolutionary grassroots movement that boldly challenged the ruling progressive orthodoxy. It had no established hierarchy, no well-developed infrastructure, and certainly no agreed upon leaders. It was a movement, unlike most on the left, that came from the heart and soul of the people. This movement was ridiculed and feared by the media and the other Democratic Party run institutions in the country, and, even, alas, by the old guard Republican Party itself. On this last point, note the treatment meted out to Sarah Palin and others who seemed too close to this new grassroots conservatism; the Republican Party elite, the official arbiters of what could and could not pass as conservatism, pretended to be embarrassed by the movement but, in fact, felt threatened by it. It was popular conservatism built around resentment for the arrogant ruling elite regardless of party; the endless demands made on ordinary people by that elite; and the ever-growing interference in all aspects of life by government run by, you guessed it, that same elite. I am not normally enamored of "populism" as a political philosophy or movement as it all too often ends up as a totalitarian ruin, e.g., the French Revolution, the Third Reich, Peronist Argentina. This movement, however, drew inspiration from one of the few successful political revolutions on the planet, the American Revolution, and had as its objective taking government away from the mandarins, and then--surprise!--having the state leave us alone! It could have been called the Greta Garbo movement. The Tea Party had some remarkable successes, and for a time it appeared that it would transform the Republican Party into a true conservative party that stood for individual rights and a smaller, less-intrusive government.

So what happened? How and what did the politicians put into positions of power by the Tea Party do?

Not too well. In fact, not much changed in DC. The corruption of power, well, corrupted. The Republican Party instead of getting transformed by the Tea Party victors in its ranks, transformed them into Republicans or made sure that they could get nothing meaningful done. Obamacare? Survived. A host of clearly illegal Presidential orders? Remained. Crippling budget deficit? Grew. Use of government agencies as pawns of the progressive movement? Continued. The gutting of the military? Worsened. Our delusional foreign policy? Even more delusional. The flood of illegal aliens? Unabated. And on, and on, and on.

I see the whole debate about "who is truly a conservative" as another of those "paralysis by analysis" exercises. We have, for example, the establishment GOP and the supposed conservative movers and shakers gnashing their teeth and rending their garments over whether Donald Trump is a conservative. We even have prominent conservatives telling us they would rather see Hillary "Benghazi" Clinton in the White House than Trump; somehow that would preserve the purity of the conservative cause. What four more years of progressive lunacy emanating from the White House would do to the country . . . ah, well, harrumph, a topic for another day, I guess . . .

Folks, get over it. Nobody politically viable is a "pure" conservative. Reagan, the best president of my lifetime, certainly wasn't. Would it have been better to leave Carter in office for another four years while we hunted up a pure conservative? The Soviets would have appreciated that.

The situation, frankly, now proves so dire that I gladly would take a chance on a nationalist populist as president. The trick will be for a vigilant public to ensure that this new president holds to his promises to defend the borders, restore the military, preserve the second amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights, have a nationally beneficial immigration policy, instill some fiscal responsibility in government, and basically leave the rest of us the hell alone. As I have said before, the
goal should be a government in which 95%-98% of the time it makes no difference to the average American citizen who is president. The US President should matter more to foreigners than to Americans.
Dreams . . .

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The National Socialist Democratic Party: It Is As It Was

The media and the expert "pontificates" are all abuzz about "violence" at Trump rallies. The Democratic candidates, of course, have blamed Donald Trump's "heated" rhetoric for the "violence"; GOP candidates Rubio and Cruz have been not far behind with the same line of reasoning.

Total rubbish.

Violence at a Trump rally, oh, I see. In fact, I don't. It seems that in our Brave New World words and actions are the same; "micro aggressions" can lead to pajama boy hysteria and fisticuffs; and, of course, we are allowed, when politically correct and convenient, to blame the victim. Gotta keep up, folks, gotta keep up. It seems it's ok to blame Trump for "violence" at his rallies because of his provocative stance on an issue of great concern to the progressive pajamistas, e.g. illegal aliens. Wonder if that would work if we were to blame a rape victim for getting raped because of her "provocations"? That only works if the rapists are Muslim "refugees," I guess.

You can like Trump, you can hate him, you can feel indifferent about him. I don't care. You can consider him a blowhard, a conman, a fraud, or a savior. Again, I don't care; you have a right to your opinion and to express it. Ain't that what America is all about? Correction: Ain't that what America is supposed to be about? That's what I learned. I guess I am getting old.

Is anybody out there surprised? We, after all, are dealing with the Democratic party, the party of genocide (Andrew Jackson, anybody?), slavery, secession, Jim Crow, the KKK, lynch mobs (here and here), Palmer raids, internment camps, fraudulent voting, and speech-silencing codes. They are as they always have been.

There was not a riot at a Trump rally in Chicago; there was a riot aimed against a Trump rally. The lynch mob mentality remains alive and well among the Democratic leadership and their leftist enablers.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

On Gratitude

Sorry for the break in blogging; took a bit of a rest as I'd hit political overload.

As noted before, I thought it a mistake for 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to come out against Donald Trump: without endorsing any other candidate, he urged Republican voters to adopt strategies to prevent Trump's gaining the 2016 GOP nomination. He blasted Trump as a fraudster and a fake with little to no business sense or executive abilities. Judging from subsequent developments, it seems Romney's attack on the front-runner, indeed has backfired, giving Trump even more of the rebel patina that appeals to many voters in this Year of the Justifiable and Great Anger. Electoral results since the Romney Rant show that Trump has gained strength.

In response to Romney, Trump mockingly noted how in 2012, Romney asked for and received Trump's endorsement. Governor Romney, as the video record shows, happily took Trump's support, praising him as a very successful businessman who understood the economy. How things have changed. Trump seemed to bemoan Romney's lack of gratitude.

All this made me think about "gratitude."

Finding myself reluctant to write yet another screed on domestic politics, and being a somewhat narcissistic sort, I provide the following little tale drawn from the Vast Lore of the Diplomad. As my life gets less and less interesting, I rely on the Betamax in my head to run select episodes from Back in the Day. I try to keep the aging, fading tapes dry and clean, but you never know when or what imperfections might appear on screen. Like a Hallmark Channel movie, I only guarantee "based on a true story." Hey, free "entertainment," right? I, however, do try to "Be Kind and Rewind."

The year of this particular tape? 1978. The place? Madrid, Spain. Why? I am an American, that's why! Sorry, default answer got triggered. OK, pardon me; let me explain the setting.

After graduating UCLA in 1974, I received a scholarship for graduate work at Brandeis University. Thrilled and astounded that real people would give me real money, I jumped into my trusty 1970 Dodge Challenger (wish I had that car now) and raced pedal-to-the-metal 3, 000 miles from the UCLA campus in Westwood, California to the Brandeis campus in Waltham, Massachusetts. At Brandeis, I would study international relations in the Department of Politics, which back then was highly rated--well, at least by the Department of Politics at Brandeis. The Department had its share of leftoid cranks, e.g., a rabid admirer of Castro, Peron, and Pol Pot, but also some serious folk from the Prince Von Metternich/Henry Kissinger/Hans Morgenthau school of political realism concerned about American security in the face of increasing Soviet aggressiveness.

I proved a mediocre student, not fully in gear, alienated from the largely liberal crowd in Massachusetts, unhappy with the unrelentently grim weather, and wracked by doubts about spending my life in academia. Despite all that, I managed an MA, passed the PhD oral exams, and won a small grant in 1977, to study the development of political parties in post-Franco Spain. I went to Madrid, ran about for a year interviewing a host of Spanish politicians, and wrote two or three draft chapters of a PhD thesis--I found these a few years later and promptly trashed them (EMBARRASSING!) Never finished the thing: please believe me, the world of science and letters has not suffered for that. Instead of landing a PhD, I grew a beard, shaved it off, then grew a handlebar mustache, wrangled a gig in the Foreign Service, and conned Her Majesty the Queen of Jarandilla into agreeing to marry me. All OK substitutes, I think, for a PhD.

Plans for a fast small wedding went out the window as parents and other relatives became involved. One was my late mother. She must have been General Grant in a previous life; she seemed always organizing giant enveloping pincer movements. She descended on us from her large mansion in San Marino, California, and ruled that certain things had to occur before the Queen and I could marry. One such, for reasons mysterious, consisted of a courtesy call on my mother's Aunt Matilda, whom she had not seen in some 30 years. We apparently had to secure Matilda's "blessing" for our nuptials. Matilda, who lived somewhere in the outskirts of Madrid, was well into her 90's, and had as her caregiver a spinster daughter, Isabel, well into her 70's. Crucial to the moral of this tale is that Matilda's other daughter, Ana, had died quite young many years before.

It took several days in pre-Google world to locate Aunty. The Madrid phone book proved useless since she did not have a phone. My mother found her by talking to old friends and distant relatives, who knew somebody, who knew somebody else, who might know somebody, who knew where Matilda, if alive, might live. Mother should have worked for the DEA: the elusive leaders of the Cali Cartel would have been located in a flash. Anyhow and somehow, arrangements appeared for a visit to Matilda and her surviving daughter.

We bought a map (no GPS then), rented a SEAT 1500 from Avis, and the three of us headed onto Madrid's fearsome M-30 beltway in search of the elusive Matilda. I remember the trip lasting for what seemed forever. We suffered horrendous traffic, road construction, bad map reading, a flat tire, and a maze of confusing side roads that poked into thickets of hideous and very tall apartment buildings. These depressing almost identical grayish concrete towers looked as though designed by a Soviet architect. Although probably no more than twenty or so years old, they appeared ancient and rundown--almost as bad as what one used to see on the I-95 driving south into New York City. It took a great amount of time and questioning of local residents to locate Aunt Matilda's dire tower.

We parked and walked to Matilda's building. A small tremulous elevator slowly lifted us to nearly the top floor. On the way up, I, of course, hummed "Waltzing Matilda." My mother did not get it. We knocked on Matilda's door, and a small frail old lady opened it. My mother immediately launched into a boisterous multiple-kiss greeting of Matilda only to learn that this was Isabel. Aunt Matilda, herself, awaited in the tiny crowded "living room." Matilda could not stand, had difficulty hearing, and seemed as confused as I as to the purpose of our visit. I don't think she knew exactly who my mother was. She, however, made it clear from the start that she could not give us newlyweds any money. We ate stale cookies from an old tin box, drank strong coffee served by Isabel, and engaged in vapid conversation. The sound track, fortunately, for most of that dreary afternoon has disappeared. A few relevant snippets, however, survive.

Matilda insisted on telling us her life. As noted above, most details have faded away but I was struck by the constant references to her departed daughter. At one point she said, "Yes, Ana died and I got left with this one." Well, "this one," Isabel, visibly winced and stared into her coffee cup. Matilda made similar remarks several more times in the course of the visit. So much so that my mother intervened to praise Isabel for her selfless devotion to her mother, and to urge Matilda to show gratitude for having such a child. Matilda wrinkled her nose, looked down, and said, "Yes, I suppose one must be grateful for whatever little God lets us have." We soon after left the darkening apartment and its toxic atmosphere, rode shaky down to the ground floor, got the car, and slowly made our way back to the hotel. I never could get a straight story from mother as to why we paid this call. She took that reason with her.

Over the many subsequent years, the Diplowife and I have commented on Matilda's attitude towards Isabel, and her lack of gratitude for what Isabel had done. This daughter, in essence, had given up having a life of her own to devote herself to caring for her ungrateful and even nasty mother.

I have seen this phenomenon in international relations when, for example, American politicians bemoan the lack of gratitude shown by country X or Y for the sacrifices made by the USA, "If it weren't for us, you'd be eating foie and speaking Esperanto!" As Americans, however, we should appreciate how a lack of gratitude also contributed greatly to the creation of our own country. Lest we forget that the American colonies did not show much gratitude to the British Crown after it slaughtered, at considerable cost, France's North American empire on the Plains of Abraham. Once the British defeated the French, we not only did not want to pay for the war, but, in fact, wanted the Crown to leave, too. Go ahead Brits shout it out, "If it weren't for us, you'd be speaking French!"

Gratitude, therefore, in personal relationships and in relations between and among nations seems at best an evanescent commodity. A "lack of gratitude" is a common human attribute. We probably should not make too much of it. I have concluded that "gratitude," at best, consists of something that we might earn for a while but we should neither expect nor seek it--perhaps a useful motif for child rearing.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Nancy Reagan

We all are self-absorbed, even narcissistic. Whenever anybody dies whom we know or have heard of, we think about how that death affects us. Funerals, of course, are at least as much for the living as they are for the departed.

In that tradition, I relate the following . . .

Getting my Mustang ready for a run to the nearby McDonald's for my morning iced coffee, I heard that Nancy Reagan had died at age 94. It proved more of a shock than I would have expected. I have never made secret my admiration and appreciation for Ronald Reagan, the man who saved the Free World in spite of itself, but had never given too much thought to his wife, Nancy Davis Reagan, or so I thought. It, however, turns out, judging from the sadness and sense of loss I felt on hearing the news of her passing, that I had.

Nancy Reagan was a patriot, a great FLOTUS, and a person of consequence.

She had a major, some say critical, part in getting her husband to run for President, especially after his loss in 1976 to Gerald Ford, and in helping him drive the stake into the heart of the Soviet beast. She played the role of First Lady with intelligence, grace, wit, charm, and a steely resolve--nobody better mess with her hubby. She seemed both regal and one of us: not easy to do. She understood the age of modern media perhaps better than anybody in the White House before or since, and knew how to stage her appearances for maximum effect. It was a masterful performance. We will all miss her.

All this leads, of course, to some more narcissistic reflexion.

I worked for Ronald Reagan's daughter, the late Maureen Reagan, for a couple of years and developed a close although at times testy relationship with her. I met her when I served at the US Misison to the UN, and she became US Representative to the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). I got to travel all over the world with her, wrote dozens of speeches for her, and helped her negotiate many, many resolutions. It was a lot of work, and a lot of fun.

One fine day, now some 30 years ago, Maureen who was in DC called me in New York to get some information for her. I can't remember exactly what it was, but it involved calling some foreign diplomats, getting their views on a burning issue of the day, coordinating speeches with the UK Mission, and coming up with a suggested plan of action for the CSW meeting the following week in Vienna. She asked me to call her back with an unclassified version of the conversations, and gave me a private number to a direct line to the family quarters at the White House. She told me to phone at 8 pm.

At 8, on the nose, I called. She answered; I launched into a rapid fire account of my activities, "OK, this is what I found out . . . for our meeting in Vienna we need to be ready for this and that . . .." I went on for a bit and then noticed an unusual silence on the other end of the line. Maureen usually would chime in and interrupt with comments and questions. A very calm voice said, "I gather you want to speak to Maureen Reagan? This is Nancy Reagan."

The floor dropped out from beneath my young bureaucratic feet. I had visions of opening US Consulate Yakutsk.

Maureen took the phone and started our conversation anew. I, however, kept apologizing for having disturbed her step-mom.

An exasperated Maureen finally said, "Lewis! Just forget it! OK?"

But, I never did.

Nancy Reagan, thanks for everything. You had a good run. RIP.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The March 3 GOP Debate: Mixed Results

One thing for sure, FOX News certainly knows how to put on a show. The production values, and the showmanship are light years ahead of what we see from any other network in the world. The FOX on-air personages are all attractive, witty, and well-informed; all the shows have excellent camera work; the latest high tech is in use; in sum, no expense spared. Murdoch needs to be congratulated for saving the TV news industry. I think we can consider Rupert Murdoch the news industry's Sir John Monash.

OK, now that I have made my pitch for a job at FOX, let me turn to the debate.

The one big thing I did not like at all, not one bit, was how obvious it was that it was "Get Trump!" night. The questions, including lots of the "gotcha" variety, were geared to trip up and embarrass him. The moderators argued with Trump, and had graphics all set to go to contradict his major talking points. No other candidate got that treatment. In general, I think Trump handled most of it well, although he stumbled--unnecessarily--on a couple issues (more on that).

So who "won" the debate? Kasich, I think, did very well, and confirmed in my mind that he is bidding for the slot of Trump's VP. He gave good, solid answers, refused to attack anybody, and refused to participate, most notably, in the moderators' efforts to get him to slam Trump. One (snarky?) observation about Kasich: his answers were good and his vision solid if we were in 1988. He has not caught onto the anger in the country and the falling public confidence that government can solve problems. For his part, Trump also avoided attacking Kasich. Something's up, I think. Other than that, I don't think anybody really won this debate. Cruz and Rubio did fine, but broke no new ground, and I doubt they convinced many if any who were undecided. Rubio had the funniest line, his crack about yoga, but in general the debate was rather sour and humorless.

Trump took some hits, no doubt about it. Cruz, Rubio, and, as noted above, the moderators came after Trump, especially his business record, bringing up the story of Trump University and the law suits involved there, his use of H-1B workers in his hotels in Florida, and his line of clothing made in Mexico and China. They also raised the issue of his "off-the-record" comments to the NYT re immigration, his previous opposition to "assault weapons," and his donations to Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton. Trump seemed flustered at times and did not give good answers to some of these attacks. I don't know the story of Trump University and won't touch that one, but certainly on some of the other issues he could have noted that years of progressive policies have it made it essential for businessmen to donate to all political parties, and made it very difficult to open and operate businesses in the US: in other words one must make rational decisions within an irrational system. Instead, he seemed ill-prepared and came off looking like what his opponents sought to make him look like: a shifty somewhat slimy businessman. I thought he did OK on the "assault" weapon ban issue, noting simply "I changed my mind." His mentioning of the need to be "flexible," a reasonable position, might have hurt him with some of his supporters who saw him as an uncompromising, Rock of Gibraltar bulwark against the flood of migrants. We'll see what the post-debate polls say.

For me the big loser was Mitt Romney, whose prior-day attack on Trump went barely noticed. The whole point of that attack, and of those of the extreme "Stop Trump" movement, was badly undermined by the debate's last question, to wit, "Will all of you support the GOP nominee, even if it is Donald Trump?" All answered yes, with both Rubio and Cruz elaborating on what a disaster it would be to have Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in the White House.

And that's what I know . . .

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Romney Joins the Pope in Endorsing Trump

Big mistake by the "stop Trump" forces.

Wheeling out Romney to dump on Trump was an error on par with the Pope's getting involved.

First, a disclaimer, or clarification, or the fine print. I like Romney. I think him a decent man, and one who would have been a very good president. Our country and the West would be in much better shape today if Romney had won in 2012. I had a very minor role on Romney's foreign policy team and did my best from my lowly position to get the campaign to sharpen its message on foreign affairs, especially on Benghazi--to no avail. His campaign was dominated by "the oh-so-clever-ones" who think things to death, and analyze until they paralyze. The papers we sent up to Romney were wordy "on the one hand, but on the other hand" expositions of little to no use in a campaign. They read like something written for a transition team, not a campaign team. It was impossible to get Romney's main handlers to recommend that he go after Obama and Clinton hard on Benghazi and the rest of the misadministration's foreign policy disasters. They thought that was "too politicizing" and "unbecoming." Well, what happened, happened.

I am not sure what the anti-Trump forces thought they were doing by bringing out Romney to deliver the hit. He gave a good speech, a sharp speech, one much better and more pointed than any he gave in 2012 on Obama, but to what end? Is it to provide 20 or 30 soundbites for DNC use in the general campaign? By refusing to endorse anybody, is he out to urge a deadlocked convention that would have to turn to Romney or some other "establishment" figure? Why now? If Romney felt so strongly about it, why didn't he speak up two, three, four months ago? Lots of questions.

One humble prediction: Trump's numbers will go up, as they did after the Papal intercession.

Trump's reply was, on the face of it, quite bizarre. I have just finished watching his rambling "response" in Maine to Romney. It was weird . . . except, except, perhaps, that he also sent the message that Romney is irrelevant and not worth responding to in a serious manner. Maybe Trump is a lot smarter than many think? Possible, eh? Throw that out for the Academy's consideration.

The punchline. I had been sitting uncomfortably on the fence re the GOP candidates. After listening to the Romney speech and the other "establishment" types, and hearing the anchor pundits, the pundit anchors, and all the other assorted wise ones, I have jumped off the fence. I have landed in Trump's farm. He is not perfect, far from it. I might even change my mind, but for now I support Trump.

I don't know if Trump will be terrible; I do know that what we have right now is horrible beyond words. I can't bear the thought of a Hillary presidency. I know, I know. I have seen the advice about letting the Dems have the White House, and the GOP will hold the Congress, and thus freeze Hillary in place. Don't buy it. We have seen what has happened over the past few years when the Dems did not have the Congress; we have seen the enormous damage that a progressive President can do even without Congressional approval. In addition, we have seen that the GOP members of the Washington Cartel refuse to fight Obama on what counts. So, I don't want another Democratic White House.

For now, I'll go with Donald Trump.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

GOP Better Get Its Act Together

Ok, Ok, already. I don't really know. If I have engaged in "microaggressions" or violated somebody's "safe space" just insert, "I don't really know" every time you read something of mine below with which you disagree. The "I" in that phrase, by the way, refers to me, not you, dear reader.

Let's look at the state of politics in our beleaguered nation.

Super Tuesday. Was it really that "Super"? I don't know. The highly-paid media pundits seem to think so, and the Twitterverse is on fire about it, so, then, who am I to say otherwise? Nobody, that's who. That, of course, doesn't stop me from saying my piece.

On the Democratic side, Gangster Hillary won seven contests and Comrade Bernie won four. Has Hillary got the nomination locked up? Seems so, but . . . the phrase, the phrase . . . I assume that some time in the process, the FBI will get to vote on Hillary, and that might affect how things turn out . . . the phrase, please, the phrase. Emailgate doesn't seem to be going away . . . but, yes, you know what to put here . . .

On the GOP side, things seem even more confused. Did Trump and his seven victories put it away for him on this Super Tuesday? Does either Cruz or Rubio have a viable path to the nomination? Insert the phrase. The pundits seem to be saying "yes" to the first and "no" to the second, but . . . .

I refuse to predict who will get the nomination on the GOP side, and have tossed my poorly functioning Made-in-China crystal ball into the recycle bin (because, of course, I love Gaia, polar bears, and snail darters.)

My concern is more deep than just who gets the Republican nod next July in Cleveland.

I am worried by the savagery with which Republicans, candidates and supporters, are going at each other. This is not good. Look, I know the GOP leaves a lot to be desired, and have written about that (here and here, for example.) I thought the Tea Party rebellion was a great thing and the tragedy was that the clueless GOP establishment did not take it seriously enough or managed to co-opt it instead of the other way round, as I naively had hoped. Some Tea Party stars, e.g. Senator Rubio, and even Governor Palin, let the side down, plain and simple. The GOP has done nothing with its Congressional majority exempt give in to Obama and his media echo chamber. I grant you all that.

The fact, remains, however, unless we go through a Whig-like destruction of the GOP and the rebirth of a new viable party, those of us opposed to the insanity that has become the Democratic Party have one option. Our system is just not construed for third parties, certainly not on a national basis. The Democrats are a threat to our national survival. There. It is that simple. Their economic, foreign, defense, immigration, and "social justice" policies have but one end result--no crystal ball needed. I refer, of course, to the end of the United States as a powerful, prosperous, and free country. The destruction is already far advanced; look back over the wreckage of the past 7-plus years of Democratic rule and tell me you disagree. Think Detroit. In addition, of course, as I have mentioned before (here) the Democrats are going to conduct electoral fraud on an unprecedented level; rest assured, the polls will be crowded with non-US citizens voting unchallenged.

Can a GOP victory reverse this? It's possibly a start, maybe, insert the phrase. Look, I do not know if Trump, Cruz, or Rubio will be a great or a lousy president. I do know--no crystal ball needed--that four to eight years of Hillary will be a disaster, the tipping point will be reached.

For that reason I will support the GOP nominee. The current debate within the GOP makes it increasingly difficult for the GOP to win. The brutal personal assaults are leaving all sorts of ammo and weapons on the floor which the Dems will pick up. We need to take it down a notch or two, or we will have yet another disaster in November.