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One Hundred Days of Leftist Savagery

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

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Merkel Refuses to be Talked Down From the Ledge

German Chancellor Angela Merkel just let the world know that her country and Europe can no longer "completely rely" upon the US and UK and that this has become quite clear these past few days, i.e., during President Trump's visit to Europe. She criticized Brexit and the US "failure"to reaffirm its commitment to the Paris Climate accord. She said Europe needs to stand together and "that we Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands for its own defense."

This has produced a torrent of prog chatter on both sides of the Atlantic trying to show how President Trump has destroyed the Western alliance, something, of course, which Putin and Russia have long sought.

I will use a highly technical, quasi-legalistic diplomatic term in response to Merkel, et al: Crap!

If anybody has destroyed or at least seriously degraded the Western alliance it is Merkel and her progressive ilk. It is they who have opened the flood gates to a torrent of jihadis and produced the security and demographic nightmares that characterize today's Europe.

It is, of course, the EU which has for years sought to downplay NATO, promote the EU as a political, military and economic rival and as an alternative to the "Anglo-Saxons," going so far as to produce even its own currency, the Madoff-like euro.

As I noted many years ago --2011, to be exact--
The EU as currently structured is a scheme that has as its political purpose to reestablish Europe as the center of the world, and dim the light of those braggarts with their Coca-Cola, cowboys, Hollywood, aircraft carriers, and comic books on the other side of the Atlantic. Many years ago, as the EU monster was growing and making ugly noises, I told a German diplomat friend that "France sees the EU as an anti-American project led by French politicians, protected by British troops, and paid for by German taxpayers." That was in the early 1980s; I wasn't too far off.

If you go to the EU's official websites you see lots of bragging about all that the EU has "done," e.g., ended the Cold War, brought peace to Europe, etc. It is written sort of like an Obama speech. It's, of course, rubbish. The EU has basically done nothing except create an enormous bureaucratic Frankenstein and come up with the ultimate Procrustean bed, the Euro.
Except for a handful of Europeans, the UK, Greece (surprise!), Estonia, and Poland (of course), the rest are not meeting their defense commitments. The Germans and the French did not like the blunt Trump telling them this in his blunt way.

So as Germany goes into its election cycle, Merkel has decided to seek votes among the anti-American, anti-British slice of the electorate, and to endorse the revolutionary idea of Europe doing what it is already doing: going to hell real fast.

Merkel is committed to a Jack Kevorkian policy for Europe.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Snapshot of Our Present Condition

A beautiful sunny day here in southern California. Took the dogs for a long walk just before 6 am and they are now happily chomping on kibble and chicken strips. The Diplowife is at the gym. I am waiting for the electrician to come check a faulty outlet that is playing havoc with the pool filter, so this is the perfect moment to write about how horrible most things are. Not all things, just most.

President Trump is back in the USA from his first foray abroad as President. I think he did a tremendous job. He was flexible and accommodating where needed, and tough and blunt also where needed. I didn't see any missteps of any significance. He has firmly established himself as the major player on the world scene. He does not intend, clearly, to lead from behind. The vacuum that has existed for the past eight dreadful years has been filled, and unlike many of these sorts of trips, I think this one will have lasting and positive consequences. More on that in a later post.

The jihadis, of course, continue their onslaught. We have seen them target, attack and murder children in Manchester, England, and target buses of Coptic Christians on their way to prayer in Egypt. This aside, naturally, from the routine jihadi mayhem that now hardly gets reported in places such as Yemen, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, etc. The media finds the mass murder of brown people in remote places easy to ignore, and, besides, it doesn't fit the narrative they want us to swallow about Islam, its peaceful nature, and how Muslims suffer from Western Islamophobia. We all know, of course, that the two greatest crises facing Western civilization are our antipathy towards hijabs and our unfounded belief that Islamism is a violent death cult. The biggest threat facing people in Manchester, for example, is that long-predicted anti-Muslim backlash that's coming any day now. It's imminent, absolutely, just like the anti-Muslim backlashes that took place in New York, Orlando, San Bernardino, London, Paris, Madrid, Brussels, and so many other places with no valid reason for fearing or resenting Islamism and its totalitarian preachings.

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło is one of the few making sense. She gave a marvelous and blunt speech in parliament in the wake of the Manchester massacre,
We are not going to take part in the madness of the Brussels elite . . . We want to help people, not the political elites. 
Where are you headed Europe? Rise from your knees and from your lethargy or you will be crying over your children every day. 
If you can’t see this – if you can’t see that terrorism currently has the potential to hurt every country in Europe, and you think that Poland should not defend itself, you are going hand in hand with those who point this weapon against Europe, against all of us. 
It needs to be said clearly and directly: This is an attack on Europe, on our culture, on our traditions. 
Do we want politicians who claim we have to get used to the attacks, and who describe terrorist attacks as incidents, or do we want strong politicians who can see the danger and can fight against it efficiently?
Here in the USA, thank God, all of our major problems have been solved so we can spend hours, days, weeks, months fretting over "collusion" between the Trump campaign and administration with Russia. What form this "collusion" took place and what evidence there is to support such a charge, well, those are unknowns, or to put it more plainly and in the pseudo-legal jargon that has taken over our daily speech, there is no evidence. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. Rien.

But yet, but yet, the Washington Post and other major media outlets are full of stories of how the "scandal" grows! It is now apparently illegal to talk to Russia. It was fine for Obama to talk to and give away the store to the Iranians, and to do the wave at a ball game with mass murderer Raul Castro, but Heaven help us if Trump wants to talk to the Russians about terrorism! It's not like he's selling them 20% of our uranium supply in exchange for some $500,000 speaking fees and a contribution to the Clinton Trump Foundation. That would never happen.

The Social Justice Warriors continue their war on common sense. There are just too many examples. One, of course, is their insistence on bizarre WOMAN STRONG comic book characters--they, of course, ignore real strong women such as the Polish PM. I laugh at the present controversy over the all-woman showing of what seems to be an idiotic film, "Wonder Woman." You have here a movie made by rich elite people all around the world in places where they get tax breaks for making movies. I am going to go out on a limb and make a bold prediction, that this movie will bomb just like the all woman version of "Ghost Busters," and when it bombs we will hear endless speeches about mysoginy and Trump . . . bold prediction, that.

Well, that's enough for now. I hear my dogs barking so either the electrician has shown up or the social justice police are here to cart me away.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Manchester Massacre: The No Surprise List

ISIS is claiming credit for the attack and massacre in Manchester that targeted children and teenagers. No surprise.

Also no surprise is that the suspected suicide bomber is the child of Muslim refugees, this time from Libya. That's the reward Western societies get for their generosity, tolerance, and adherence to "diversity."

Also, of course, no surprise is that even while British parents are still frantically looking for their missing children or discovering that their kids have been blown apart by a "nail bomb," the progressive dolts are already putting out messages of support and love for . . . Muslims in Britain, because we all know that the greatest issue with these terror attacks by Muslims is that we might blame Muslims for them. No surprise.

Another in the "no surprise" category, the murdering savage was "known to authorities."

And, of course, the bombing took place at a concert by some minor American celebrity known as Ariana Grande whose greatest prior achievement apparently was being caught on video licking doughnuts in a pastry shop and expressing her hatred for America. I guess that didn't get her any points with ISIS. Progressives please note: They will kill you, too.

It seems that in the immortal words of the criminally stupid Mayor of London, we just have to get used to these sorts of things. Terror attacks are like traffic jams, garbage collector strikes, and noisy neighbors, just things to be tolerated as part of life in the cities of the West. Nothing to see here. No surprise.

And here at home, well, the press and Congress are going on and on about Russia. No surprise.

Feel free to add to the "no surprise" list.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Arc de Trump: President Off to a Very Fine Start

He did very, very well.  If there were any justice or sense of fairness in the main stream media outlets of the world, Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia wold be hailed as a major success for America and the West.

His first speech abroad as President was a carefully drafted and well-delivered blend of diplomatic boiler-plate AND a good dose of tough and clear straight-talk. I know, I know, friends and others have pointed out that Trump didn't use the exact phrase "radical Islamic terror" but he came close enough, and his audience knew damn well about whom he was talking.

He did a masterful job of telling the Muslim world, well the Sunni part of it, at least, that if ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko, Hamas, etc., are not following the tenets of Islam, it is up to the Islamic world to say so, and act in accordance. I thought he also did a good job of following through on the principles laid out by Tillerson to the effect that our values are one thing, our policies might be another.   

I suspect that SecState Tillerson, with his long experience working with the Kingdom, gets at least some of the credit for the stunning reception given Trump by the Saudis. They clearly went out of their way to show him and America great respect and to acknowledge that there has been a change for the positive in Washington since the end of the dismal Obama misadministration.

The President leaves Saudi Arabia with the wind at his back. I think he's going to get a great reception in Israel, and that the Israelis will appreciate what he has accomplished in his first visit to the Muslim world.

When I get home I will do a more thorough look at the visit. Now, I must ready for another sojourn onto the streets of Manhattan. My credit card has not yet maxed out . .  .

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Democrats Resurrect Stalin and Beria

Sitting in my hotel room in Manhattan while the Diplowife and the Diplodaughter spend what's left in my bank account, I was reading a great CATO post from 2010, "The Criminalization of Almost Everything," and ran across this wonderful paragraph,
Alan Dershowitz discusses his time litigating cases in the old Soviet Union. He was always taken by the fact that they could prosecute anybody they wanted because some of the statutes were so vague. Dershowitz points out that this was a technique developed by Beria, the infamous sidekick of Stalin, who said, “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.” That really is something that has survived the Soviet Union and has arrived in the good old USA. “Show me the man,” says any federal prosecutor, “and I can show you the crime.”
Does this sound familiar?

It seems that anything the progs don't like should be considered a criminal offense.

How many of us could survive with our finances, reputation, and soul intact from an open, endless investigation by powerful agents of the state with unlimited resources and powers of coercion? Nobody, that's who.

On the Trump-Russia investigation, for example, please find the crime. None exists. All that we have is politically motivated speculation joined with politically motivated citing of politically motivated anonymous "sources" making increasingly outlandish and politically perfectly timed allegations.

When, however, we turn to actual crimes committed by the Democrat high and mighty, e.g., "Fast and Furious," unsecured servers used to transmit classified information, then, well, no such investigations or prosecutions are to be undertaken.

It seems, therefore, that it is the progressives who have come under the influence of Moscow and two of its most famous past denizens, Joseph Stalin and Lavrentiy Beria.

I think we need an investigation . . .

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Heading East

Blogging might be a bit on the light side for a few days. I am flying back to my ol' hometown of New York City.

Born there many years ago. Worked at the UN, too.

Haven't been there in several years.

Going to see the wonders wrought by Blasio Rule.

I will have my IPAD with me, but . . . .

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Attack Continues: Russia, Part 397 . . .

I have written before that the lefties are out to sabotage the President and make America look ungovernable unless the progressives are firmly in charge. We see manifestations of this sabotage every day, and the ferocity grows. The idea being, of course, that eventually even the strongest Trump supporter will get tired and just give up, and say "OK. OK. Let's put somebody else in . . . "

The most recent iteration, as of this writing, is a return to the Russian meme whereby Donald Trump and his administration are portrayed as puppets of Moscow, dancing to Putin's will. The latest allegation, as of this writing, is the claim that in the course of a meeting among the President, the Russian Ambassador, the Russian Foreign Minister, the US SecState, and the US National Security Advisor, our President gave away incredibly sensitive classified information to the Russians, revealing sources and methods and burning the foreign ally who had provided the information. You can go read all the gory and dreary back-and-forth details on this; I don't have the energy to go through it all. The President's enemies, yawn, are calling for his impeachment; we are hearing the "traitor" word, etc.

Let me give you my conclusion: Bullsh*t!

I hope that's not too legalistic.

On that subject, let's get all the legal and quasi-legal mumbo-jumbo out of the way. Our President has the right and duty to meet foreign officials, to discuss matters of concern to the United States, and to seek their cooperation in those matters. That includes meeting the Russians. Neither the Constitution nor the law prohibits meeting the Russians. Russia is a big, important, and difficult country. There is nothing wrong with talking to the Russians and trying to find areas of common agreement and cooperation. Every President since FDR has done it; in fact, let us also remember Teddy Roosevelt's working out a peace deal between Japan and Russia. It's tough work and, usually not too successful, but worth the effort. We should not be afraid of the Russians; we can handle them.

The President, under the law, furthermore, can say, reveal, or share anything he wants. Material is classified if the President says it is; it is not classified if the President says it is not. Yep, that simple.

The details of a private conversation by a US official with a foreign official normally are classified. Usually, that is. When it's the President, well, it's Schrödinger paradox, to wit, the cat is both alive and dead (here); the conversation is both classified and unclassified. The ultimate authority is not the Attorney General, the FBI Director, or the Washington Post--it's not even poor Schrödinger. No, it's the President. Under our laws, our President has the power to determine if that cat is alive or dead. Nobody else. So, I repeat, if the President wants to say something to a foreign official, he can; if he wants to "share" or "give away" the most sensitive information, he can. There ain't nothing the lawyers can do about it. Good? Bad? I don't know. It's the law. The President has the ultimate authority to decide what is or is not classified.

It seems that the conversation with the Russians was about getting them to be more helpful combatting ISIS in Syria and elsewhere. It seems the conversation also mentioned the ban on laptops on flights from certain airports. Now, of course, that topic has been in the media for weeks; both the US and UK governments, for example, publicly have explained that laptops will not be allowed in the cabins of certain flights. This is not classified information. That cat is dead.

NSA McMaster came out and flatly said that the Washington Post/NY Times account of the conversation which had Trump giving away the store was "false." McMaster was in the conversation; the anonymous sources upon whom the MSM drew for their "bombshell" report were not--unless those are Tillerson, McMaster, or the two Russians (doubtful, no?) Who would have done it? Lots of suspects. The journalists might have made up their account--it's possible--I think, however, the culprits likely are members of the permanent bureaucracy that prepared the briefing papers, the talking points, and the Memorandum of Conversation. This is another attempt to bog Trump in the swamp.

McMaster also said the President did not know the sources or methods of the information discussed so he couldn't have given them away. That produced an avalanche of snide progressive snickering about the President not being briefed because he's some sort of irresponsible dope. Note to progs. The Presidential briefing papers normally do not contain the source and methods of the information. It was the same for Obama. The source can be described as a " foreign government source," a "source who has reported reliably in the past," as one who "has generally reported reliably," as a "new untested source," or some other phrase describing analysts' confidence in the information and the source. The President, of course, can ask for the source and methods, but that is rarely done.

I find very troubling that the NYT revealed the country that provided the intel on the ISIS activities being discussed. That is classified and actionable. Find that leaker and prosecute him/her. I repeat, that was not revealed by President Trump; that was by the very journalists decrying the "release of classified information."

Let us not forget, as I have written often, that the progressives have infiltrated the bureaucracy of government from top to bottom. There is a palpable hatred for Trump within that bureaucracy; he wasn't supposed to win! I am willing to bet, for example, that easily 80% of State Department bureaucrats voted for Hillary Clinton--easily 80%, and probably closer to 90%.

Sabotage is all they have left on the left . . .

Monday, May 15, 2017

People of Venezuela Continue to Pay the Price of Socialism

That price is growing.

I find amazing how little press reporting we are getting from the major outlets on the crisis in Venezuela. Casual observers would get the impression that Venezuela is having riots and other disturbances only because the price of oil has collapsed. The media, in the main, can't bring themselves to admit that the collapse underway on Venezuela is the direct consequences of some 18 years of Chavez-Maduro-Castro socialism.

Socialism always comes with a huge butcher's bill; the people who eat the chops and steaks, however, are never the ones who get called on to pay it.

The high oil prices of a few years ago helped paper over the disastrous economic policies pursued by the socialists. Free stuff for everybody--well, everybody who supported the regime, that is--was possible while the mega-bucks poured in; folks could ignore the rampant corruption, the enrichment of the Chavez family and a bevy of narco-dealing politicos, generals, and senior bureaucrats. The high prices also, for a time, covered up the consequences of the corruption and ineptness in the nationalized oil industry, and the use of Venezuela's petro-dollars to buy Chavez favor abroad. All that's over, and the buzzards have come home to roost and feast.

The thuggish Maduro hangs onto power by completely gutting what was left of Venezuelan democracy, using the power of the gun to stifle the rumblings of the empty bellies of his people. That strategy seems to be running out of steam. The unrest grows in Venezuela and Maduro's incompetence becomes more and more pronounced. As I noted before, he can't even do dictatorship right. 

I think we are beginning to move into the final chapters of this sad story. The opposition is growing ever more bold. We see that opposition not only taking to the streets but also calling on Venezuela's military to restrain Maduro (here, here) and help put an end to the crisis.

Now, of course, the military leadership is extremely corrupt; many of those leaders have gotten quite wealthy thanks to socialism, and, undoubtedly, many of them fear what could come after a Maduro collapse. That said, there are probably some thoughtful military officers who have serious doubts about pulling the trigger in favor of Maduro, a Maduro who looks increasingly weak, lost, and internationally isolated. I could see a scenario wherein some senior military tell Maduro he must go away, put him on a plane to Cuba, and then present themselves as heroes to the people.

Let's hope this can be resolved quickly and with minimal suffering. Socialism already has claimed enough victims over the past century.

No need to add to the tally.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Comey Goes

It was just a matter of time. I think we all knew that sooner or later FBI Director James Comey would get the boot. I would speculate that had Hillary Clinton won the election, Comey would have been gone within a week to the cheers and applause of the same Democrats now moaning about Comey getting the Trump boot.

What was Comey's "crime"?

Forget the contradictory statements about the Russians, forget even, if you can, about the weird "investigation" into Hillary's home-brewed server, forget about WikiLeaks, also forget about Comey's lackadaisical attitude towards the leaking of classified information. All those are reasons to dump Comey, no doubt, but, I think Comey's greatest sin was that we all know who he is.

Most people would be hard-pressed to name an FBI Director since J. Edgar Hoover. That's how it should be. The FBI Director is meant to be a relatively obscure personage operating in that weird twilight zone intersection of fighting national and international crime and countering foreign espionage. The FBI Director should not, IMHO, be a media personality much less an obvious political actor, or at least, that's the way it was. The Director, I think, is not meant to be casting long shadows over our national elections with lengthy and, frankly, bizarre press conferences about ongoing investigations. It all went to his head, and he ignored his real duties. I have written before (here) that he simply made a mess of the FBI and its reputation,
The investigation of the Clinton Crime Family and, in particular, that of SecState Clinton's use of a private email server for classified information, and her use of the State Department as her and Bill's ATM leaves much to be desired. I, for example, cannot understand how an apparently morally upright and professionally competent Director, such as James Comey, did not go public with a resignation slammed down on the President's desk when Attorney General Lynch met "secretly" with Bill Clinton on that Arizona tarmac days before the FBI was to wrap-up its initial investigation into the Hillary Clinton email scandal. I do not understand how Comey could have made the public statement that he made on July 5 when he gave Hillary Clinton a pass on her scandalous, unethical, dangerous, and illegal use of a private server for official work. I do not for a second believe, despite what Comey said at the time, that nobody, including presumably Lynch, Obama, and the Clintons, knew Comey would recommend no indictment. I knew it the minute Lynch announced beforehand that she would accept whatever recommendation the FBI made. Right. Sure thing. Did Donna Brazile send you an email? 
The FBI leadership made a hash of the investigation into Clinton. It was such a hash, that, reportedly, Comey's desk received a large number of outraged letters of resignation from agents justifiably angry over what Comey had done. He needed an excuse to try to save his reputation, when along comes Huma Abedin's husband El Perverso Anthony Carlos Danger Weiner. Apparently, an investigation into his "sexting" with a minor girl revealed tens-of-thousands of emails on his computer which MIGHT have relevance to the original investigation into Hillary's emails. So, reboot: A public reboot via a vague letter to the Congress that requires a lot of reading between the lines.
As noted in that same October 2016 piece, the Democrats had a point when they started calling for Comey's head. We have even heard from Hillary Clinton that she now blames Comey for her loss of the election--wait, wait, I thought it was mysoginists, or white supremacists, or voter suppression, or Russia, or . . . . But now, well, yes, the same Dems then livid about Comey being in office, are now livid that he's out of office. Go figure . . .

President Trump did the right thing by booting Comey. Timing? There was never going to be a "good" time to take a major decision such as this one. If he had fired Comey the day after the inauguration would Dem outrage have been less? If he had fired him a year from now? Two years from now? If he had kept him in office? The OUTRAGE generator would have cranked out the same voltage--or to conjure a different image, the alligators get testy when you try to drain the swamp . .  .

I repeat, the President did the right thing. He now needs to pick a Director who will restore the FBI's reputation and effectiveness. Ironically, he might just have to pick a media star in order to counter the damage wrought by the last one.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

La mort de la France?

The answer to the somewhat pompous question in the title is, "Maybe not quite yet, but keep the life support equipment handy."

The French presidential election turned out pretty much as expected; well, in fact, Macron did better than expected taking some two-thirds of the valid votes cast (a pretty good initial analysis of the voting is found in the UK Telegraph here. ) Macron took a stunning 90% of the valid votes in Paris. He did somewhat less well in the countryside, but turned in an impressive electoral victory, nevertheless. I don't know the internal dynamics of French politics very well, so I am not in a position to say that Le Pen's loss and Macron's win were due to message, personality, organization, or the thousand other "factors" that pundits pull out of the air to explain an election result. We will wait on the wise ones to tell us.

Just a few observations from geographically distant California. I would note that Le Pen's followers are not rioting or claiming that Macron is illegitimate. I thought they were the fascists? Hmm . . . I wonder if the reverse would have been true? I also note that Macron was preparing his own "the Russians did it" line of defense should Le Pen have won.

I also note, that our own Hillary Clinton sent out a Tweet that read,
"Victory for Macron, for France, the EU, & the world. Defeat to those interfering w/democracy. (But the media says I can't talk about that)" 
I guess that means, forgive my crudeness and lack of knowledge about the "settled science" on such matters, that Marine Le Pen does not have a vagina? What happened to "the special place in hell for women who do not support other women"? Will Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright be taking up residence in that "special place"? The "media" doesn't let the poor baby "talk"? Ah, more pathos, more self-pity, more bathos . . .. Sorry, didn't mean to make the French election about the US.

Turning back to France, I see this as a possible Petain moment. (Or maybe this?)

Will Macron be the new Petain?

Will he acquiesce in the occupation of democratic France by a hostile force driven by a totalitarian ideology?

It sure seems that way.

Hope Macron proves me wrong.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Tillerson at State: Sounds Like He Gets It

I would urge all of you to read the address made by SecState Rex Tillerson at the Department on May 3.  Read the text itself, not the rather ignorant press reports about it, e.g., here and here, which seem to rely entirely on reactions either by hard-core bureaucrats or outright Obamistas. It's a remarkable speech in its clarity and, must be noted, one of considerable gutsiness as Tillerson must have known how it would be twisted and maliciously misinterpreted. It also, ahem, happens to reflect just about everything I have ever said and thought about how we should run US foreign policy--here, for example.

It is a speech which could have been written by Hans Morgenthau or Henry Kissinger. It is a return to a foreign policy with the goal of preserving and promoting the national interest. That "national interest" is more narrowly defined than we have become accustomed to in the last few disastrous years.  Clearly Tillerson sees the State Department as working to protect, above all, the nation's security and economic interests. That's how he interprets President Trump's vow to make "America First." There is no airy and, in the end, dangerous promise to "bear any burden," or to make the "world safe for democracy." He makes the excellent observation that
So let’s talk first about my view of how you translate “America first” into our foreign policy. And I think I approach it really that it’s America first for national security and economic prosperity, and that doesn’t mean it comes at the expense of others. Our partnerships and our alliances are critical to our success in both of those areas. But as we have progressed over the last 20 years – and some of you could tie it back to the post-Cold War era as the world has changed, some of you can tie it back to the evolution of China since the post-Nixon era and China’s rise as an economic power, and now as a growing military power – that as we participated in those changes, we were promoting relations, we were promoting economic activity, we were promoting trade with a lot of these emerging economies, and we just kind of lost track of how we were doing. And as a result, things got a little bit out of balance. And I think that’s – as you hear the President talk about it, that’s what he really speaks about, is: Look, things have gotten out of balance, and these are really important relationships to us and they’re really important alliances, but we’ve got to bring them back into balance.
So whether it’s our asking of NATO members to really meet their obligations, even though those were notional obligations, we understand – and aspirational obligation, we think it’s important that those become concrete. And when we deal with our trading partners – that things have gotten a little out of bounds here, they’ve gotten a little off balance – we’ve got to bring that back into balance because it’s not serving the interests of the American people well. <...>
He goes on to make the simple but, frankly, brilliant observation that,
Now, I think it’s important to also remember that guiding all of our foreign policy actions are our fundamental values: our values around freedom, human dignity, the way people are treated. Those are our values. Those are not our policies; they’re values. And the reason it’s important, I think, to keep that well understood is policies can change. They do change. They should change. Policies change . . .  our values never change. They’re constant throughout all of this.
There, faithful readers, you have the core of the issue. Our values and our policies are not necessarily the same. That is brutal truth. It is this observation by Tillerson that has led lefties and bureaucrats to come crashing down on him, calling him "clueless" and so on. They ignore, of course, that that's how we used to do foreign policy. We certainly, for example, did not share the values of the USSR's Stalin, but we made alliance with him against Nazi Germany. We did not share the values of China's Chang Kai-Shek but made common cause with him against Imperial Japan, etc. Those are things which seem to get "forgotten."

There, of course, is a highly cynical motive to some of the bureaucratic criticism which we must underline. By divorcing values and policies, Tillerson threatens the livelihood of an enormous swath of foreign policy bureaucracy.

In my 34 or so years at State, for example, I saw how the "human rights" bureaucracy grew and grew. It grew so much that much of it had to housed in annex buildings around DC. The human rights bureaucracy became an enormous and loud machine that consumed evermore of State resources, hopelessly confused important decision-making, made it increasingly difficult to prioritize our goals, and become a funding source for all sorts of lefty NGOs around the world. It provided employment and influence to thousands of people, and, frankly, produced little in the way tangible benefit to the national interest. Every policy decision had to pay homage to the human rights bureaucracy and its allied vested interest groups.

Likewise other chunks of the State bureaucracy in the trade and commerce arena, for example, became almost advocates for foreign countries and their interests rather than ours. We want "deliverables" to these countries to make them happy and "like" us. This is the mentality, I would note, that also affects, better said, infects our Embassies and regional bureaus. If Tillerson can begin to turn that around, he will be a very consequential SecState.  

Monday, May 1, 2017

One Hundred Days of Leftist Savagery

Apologies for the gap in blogging. Life gets in the way of living, or maybe the other way round. I don't know. Had to deal with a number of issues, mostly involving cars. Yes, the Diplomad has revealed himself a coward. No longer able to withstand the daily Diplowife assault on my mini fleet of three classic cars, I have begun the painful process of liquidating them. In fact, if you go to the Laguna Classic Cars website (www.lagunaclassiccars.com) you will see my red 1973 Mach 1 proudly displayed for sale. It will soon be joined by my blue 1966 Oldsmobile and, later, the green 1976 Cadillac. Sigh. I, however, did not go down without a fight. I bought myself a beautiful Jeep Wrangler Unlimited from a wonderful family owned dealer, BlackStar Off Road, and insisted that it have a six-speed manual transmission. Ha! The Diplowife says she cannot drive manual, so there . . . my own safe space . . .

While all that important stuff was going on, of course, the rest of the world carried on.

The pundits are on and on about Trump's first 100 days. This "C-Days" benchmark is one of the silliest in American politics, and has extended overseas to comments on other governmental leaders' first 100 days. I used to hear it in Spain and elsewhere from people who had no idea of the origins of that 100-Day measure. This 100-day obsession comes from FDR's first 100 days during which, with overwhelming strength in the Congress, the disaster of the Great Depression weighing down and panicking the country, and, lest we forget, a much later inauguration date (March 4) which gave him more time to prepare, he rammed through a huge packet of legislation, the New Deal, that laid the foundations for the massive welfare state we now--depending on your views--enjoy or endure. So now the progs have decreed that we "MUST" judge our presidents by what they do in their first hundred days, and compare it to FDR's record. As I have said before about progressives and "words",
Words have meaning, and the left is very good at ever so subtly altering the meaning of words so that over time those words no longer mean what they meant. Words, of course, are the bullets of intellectual debate. If you allow your opponent to select your ammo for you, well, let's just say you are at a disadvantage.
Other than Lincoln, no other president took office encountering such widespread and well-coordinated antipathy, nay, sabotage. From the moment the shocked media meisters had to confront Trump's victory on November 8, the assault commenced. There was no "give the guy a chance," no "honeymoon," no "wait and see." We heard that Trump was not the "legitimate" president because Clinton had "won" the popular vote (Thank you, Mexico!) The chattering class conveniently "forgot" that the President is elected by the electoral college; that we have 51 separate elections in this country--one District of Columbia, 46 states, four commonwealths--to determine who becomes our president. They then turned on the electoral college itself, threatening and encouraging state electors pledged to Trump to switch either to Clinton or to somebody else. That, of course, turned into a disaster for Trump's opponents when it all backfired, and in the main it was Clinton electors who defected. Since and just before the election, the progs have been, as I have written quite a few times, beating the "Russia hacked the election" drum. This has had various versions but all were aimed at showing that somehow Putin wanted Trump to win and managed to get just what he wanted. Trump's opponents, i.e., the Obama misadministration, clearly engaged in a massive surveillance operation against Trump and his staff using the "looking for Russians" excuse. Suddenly the progressives were worried about Russia and our national security! How touching.

Opponents tried to disrupt the inauguration, and have engaged in a consistent pattern of street violence and thuggery aimed at intimidating Trump supporters and trying to give the impression that the country is ungovernable unless the progressives are in charge. Nothing is off limits, including Trump's family, in this assault on the new president. Unprecedented coarseness, violence, and fake news are all arrows in the progressive quiver and being unleashed on Trump and supporters daily.

OK, that said, what can we say about the first 100 days of President Trump?

He's done very, very well, certainly better than  his opponents. His executive orders reversing much of the environmental and anti-energy nonsense of the past and the elevation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to Justice on the Supreme Court alone are worth the price of admission. We cannot exaggerate the importance of the Gorsuch victory. This gives us the chance to reverse a lot of the progressive "lawfare" tactics and undo much of the idiotic and destructive "gun control" and anti-free speech legislation and rulings. It should give Trump the ability to rein-in the criminally stupid 9th Circuit and other progressive judges and reverse their rulings on matters such as immigration and sanctuary cities. AG Sessions has taken exactly the right approach by announcing his DOJ is going after the MS-13 and other international gangsters who have taken root in the US thanks to our lax immigration policies. Illegal border crossings, even without the WALL, are way down in the first months of Trump, all because he has changed to the tone coming from DC. The economy is breathing a sigh of relief with the stock market into record territory, and companies, notably manufacturers, announcing plans to keep or open plants in the US. Granted much of that depends on Trump getting his tax and budget bills through, and that's where he has to work. There is, despite some odd behavior by some prominent Republicans in Congress, also a real chance to get those bills passed, and to undo the Obamacare disaster once and for all.

Trump has proven very adept at foreign affairs. The whole tone has changed. He speaks clearly and acts quickly and decisively. He is having the desired effect. I think we will get a renegotiation of NAFTA, for example, and the revitalization and refocusing of NATO. The Iranian and North Korean regimes, I think, will begin to realize that things have changed and that craziness will no longer be tolerated. ISIS is taking a pounding, and I think is on the road to defeat--at least in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, how it fares in its other bases in Europe, well, that depends on the Europeans. Relations with Russia will improve, as Putin realizes that he can no longer get away with what he was doing while Obama was in office. China also seems more cooperative on the North Korea issue.

Trump is keeping his promises, to the shock and chagrin of his opponents. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment has to been to reveal clearly the fascistic nature of the progressive "movement" in the US. That's my take away from the first hundred days.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Le Séisme?

French election results seem to confirm the two surviving candidates of the crowded first round of Presidential voting as Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. As of this writing, a bit over 2% separates first-place finisher Macron from Le Pen. That means, absent some last minute vote surge by one of the other approximately 3,570 candidates, Macron and Le Pen will do battle May 7 to see who becomes the next President of France.

Macron, of course, is now the new darling of the French and global media, who now portray him as the last chance to save France from the Le Pen apocalypse. Those more familiar with French politics than I please feel free to correct me, but it seems that both candidates project a vaguely non-establishment aura, although young Macron, born in 1977, has a record as a former Socialist Minister for the Economy (2014-2016) and, presumably, will have to explain/defend France's lackluster economic performance during his tenure. Le Pen, labelled by almost all the press as "far right," despite a lack of evidence for that label, has run a very populist campaign with many of the same themes that we saw Trump use in his successful drive to the White House. The MSM, of course, are calling for unity against Le Pen, and the pollsters predict Macron will beat her handily next month. That happened to her father in 2002, when the establishment factions joined forces to defeat him, but we'll see if the past is prologue.

Whether this new Le Pen wins or not, however, we, in my view, have seen a seismic event in French politics. The established political parties of the Fifth Republic got sidelined. Le Pen's performance, in particular, has sent a mighty shiver down the collective spine of the globalist elite who run the EU, the World Bank, the IMF, the UN, etc, -- perhaps even more so than the "surprising" Trump victory in the US. I also would note that Marine Le Pen's possession, presumably, of a vagina gets her no support from the Progs. "Far right" vaginas don't count.

Why do I say this has the potential to prove even more of an earthquake than Trump's win?

France arguably is the mother of modern progressivism; it is the French who gave us the concept of "right" and "left"; it is the French Revolution, not its elder American sister, that has served as the model for revolution for the past two hundred years all over the world. Prog talk (To the ramparts!) is full of references--see Marx--to the French Revolution of 1789, and to the Paris revolts of 1832, 1848, and 1968. The progs are drawn to the grotesque dramatics and hypocrisies of the French Revolution, where terror, mass murder, and imperial wars were launched in the name of freedom and brotherhood. Why? Because there was a self-annoited arrogant "intellectual" elite in charge of all things, in charge, most notably, of shaping the sans-culots into progressive killing machines at the beck-and-call of the revolutionary elite. Progs see themselves as the inheritors of that elite. Lest we forget, France, more than any other country, is the producer of the original cigarette-smoking, beret-wearing "radical intellectual," e.g., Camus, Sartre, de Beauvoir, who questioned and derided everything about the very bourgeois society that gave them fame and, in many cases, riches.

In rides Le Pen. For all her flaws as a campaigner, she has thrown a massive stink bomb, perhaps even bigger than her father's, into the progressive world. She has shown, again, that underneath the PC culture, underneath the censorship, and the atmosphere of ridicule for those who believe in something other than the state, there is a living breathing body of citizens and voters who will not be silenced, who want to see an end to the destruction of their country and culture. Progressivism is skating on thin ice. That is the message, and while the progs might well manage to patch over the holes in the ice this time, what about the next time? And the next?

Let's see what happens.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Diversity is Our Strength, Part 2

OK, I've written about this before (here) and in light of what just happened on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in the once magnificent city of Paris, I will repeat a lot of it.

First, of course, condolences to the slain officer and best wishes to the wounded. Second, I hope the shooter rots in hell, and, of course, congratulations to the cop who sent him there. I wrote last February that,
"Diversity is Our Strength" seems something that the pig rulers in Orwell's Animal Farm would have posted with their original seven commandments. This phrase gets repeated regularly with such conviction and energy by the proper thinkers and politicos in North America, Western Europe, and Oceania that one hesitates to ask "Why? Why is it our strength?" <. . . >"Diversity" must now join that legion of words appropriated and deformed almost beyond recognition by our progressive overlords. It joins "gay," "liberal," "male," "female," "fascist," "racist" and many more words that now form the core of modern progressivism's narrative. All perfectly good words that now have become unrecognizable and put into the service of the progressive "vision." < . . . > We see in the ongoing debate over immigration in the West that the proper thinkers want ever more "diversity." < . . . > The progressives seek to destroy our culture, and replace it with . . . what exactly? The progs can't or won't say, but we can certainly get a glimpse of what's to come if they succeed. Has "diversity" of the progressive kind made Europe a stronger and a better place to live? I think that hundreds of victims of Islam in Paris, Nice, Brussels, London, etc., might have an interesting answer to that.
Another round of murder at the hands of the usual suspects. I already have heard the apologists pointing out, as they did after a couple of similar shootings in the USA, that the miscreant who did the killing and terror was "native born," not an immigrant. True, but his Islamist ideology was imported, his orders to kill were imported, in sum, and above all, his personal identification was not with the country and culture of his birth, it was with fellow "radicalized" followers of Islam living in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, North Africa, etc.

And it is culture that's the key. Race and racism bores me. I hate discussions about race, and put great distance between racists and myself. Talk about race tells you little to nothing useful. I note, for example, that several of the soldiers on the streets of Paris are black, they look very professional and presumably are willing to take a bullet for France. We are involved in a massive war over culture that we are losing. Until such time that we reassert our pride in our culture, and hold up its values as superior, we will continue to be plagued by the sort of criminality we saw yet again on the streets of Paris. The Melting Pot was the idea; we need to get back to it. The perverted cultural "diversity" of progressivism is a formula for murder and chaos.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Climbing out of the Obama Foreign Policy Hole (Part 2)

A bit over three years ago I posted a piece titled "Climbing Out of the Obama Foreign Policy Hole." It was one of several in which I surveyed the disaster that was our foreign policy under the late, unlamented Obama misadministration, and provided some general prescriptions, and made the following observation,
our president should matter more to foreigners than to us. We hear nonsense from progressives about the president "running the country." Wrong! Our presidency was not designed to run the country--anybody who thinks that it was has not read the Constitution. The executive branch is not the country. The president must concentrate on the executive branch and the main tasks assigned it by the Constitution. Instead of promoting disastrous health care initiatives, listening to every phone call in Iowa, using the IRS to suppress dissent, beating up on Israel, yammering about fictitious global climate change, or demanding a costly and pointless relabeling of food products in the supermarket, the President should focus on his primary responsibility, the national defense. We must have a military capability second to none, and, in fact, greater than any foreseeable coalition of powers that might oppose us. We must stand with our allies; our word must be a gold coin; our enemies and friends must know we say what we mean and mean what we say, to wit, we have the biggest gun and will pull the trigger. The enemy is real and dangerous--a look at the forcibly altered NYC skyline should be proof enough of that. The "end of history" silliness should have died in the rubble of the Twin Towers.
I had written one earlier than that, some four years ago (time flies!) in which I also focussed on,
the disaster that is Obama's foreign policy, a policy of defeat. In its defense, let me say that to call it a policy designed for America's defeat gives it too much credit. My experience at State and the NSC, has shown me that most Obamaistas are not knowledgable enough to design anything. Foreign policy for the Obama crew is an afterthought. They really have little interest in it; many key jobs went vacant for months at State, DOD, CIA, and the NSC. The Obama foreign policy team is peopled by the "well-educated," i.e., they have college degrees, and as befits the "well educated" in today's America, they are stunningly ignorant and arrogant leftists, but mostly just idiots. They do not make plans; they tend to fly by the seat of their pants using a deeply ingrained anti-US default setting for navigation. They react to the Beltway crowd of NGOs, "activists" of various stripes, NPR, the Washington Post and the New York Times. Relying on what they "know," they ensure the US does not appear as a bully, or an interventionist when it comes to our enemies: after all, we did something to make them not like us. Long-term US allies, e.g., Canada, UK, Israel, Japan, Honduras, Colombia, on the other hand, they view as anti-poor, anti-Third World, and retrograde Cold Warriors. Why else would somebody befriend the US? Obama's NSC and State are staffed with people who do not know the history of the United States, and, simply, do not understand or appreciate the importance of the United States in and to the world. They are embarrassed by and, above all, do not like the United States. They look down on the average American, and openly detest any GOP Congressman or Congresswoman  . . . They have no problem with anti-American regimes and personages because overwhelmingly they are anti-American themselves
As we come up on the 90th day of the Trump administration (Only three months! Time crawls!) are we making progress in climbing out of the hole Obama made for us?

I think the answer is, "yes."

In just a scant ninety days, Trump has reestablished the USA as a force with which to be reckoned. It is a remarkable achievement, and one done solely on the basis of leadership. Even under the miserable Obama reign, the USA was the world's foremost economic and military power--at least on paper. We, however, had Obama, Clinton, and Kerry as the architects of a bizarre foreign policy which in essence assumed that the US had to atone for past sins, and should adopt a foreign policy worthy of perhaps Liechtenstein (I mean no offense to Liechtenstein), and not worry about whether America was "winning." We caught an eight-year "glimpse" into what a post-America world would look like. As I have said before, (herehere, for example) Russia parlayed its much weaker hand into a winning one on the basis of superior leadership on the part of Putin and Lavrov; they, and all our other rivals, knew how to take advantage of the foreign policy clown car careening around in DC.

You can have aircraft carriers, stealth bombers, the US Marine Corps, and an awesome fleet of nuclear subs but if leadership is missing, you got blather, you got convoluted word salads, you got angst, you got, well, you got dystopian Obama World in which our enemies ran amok while we ran amuck. To repeat, what was missing was American leadership. That's no longer the case.

As I have noted before, you can like Trump or not, you can agree with him or not, but the man makes decisions, and moves on. I don't see the "flip-flops" that some of his old critics greet with the same glee that  some of his old supporters bemoan. If these first three months are any indication, I think he will prove a master negotiator and game changer in the foreign policy arena. Trump is not flip-flopping, the world is; it is coming his way, not the other way round.

The Russians and the Chinese certainly have taken note of the change in Washington, and I suspect that the regimes in Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela, and the fetid leaders of ISIS and the other radical Islamist death cults have, as well. We can see positive change all around; we see it in the willingness of the Chinese to work much more energetically to control Krazy Kim and deal with the unbalanced nature of our bilateral trade, we see it in the Russian acquiescence to our blasting their Syrian ally, we even see it on our border where illegal crossings have plummeted as the coyotes fear the new sheriff.

I am optimistic that we have begun the long climb out of the Obama foreign policy hole.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Taxes

Sorry for the lag in blogging.

I have been engaging in that annual American ritual know as "Paying Taxes." I always delay, put it off, I don't know I guess in the expectation that it will all hurt less if I wait . . . but, no. I took a huge hit this year, much more than I had expected.

I don't mind paying as long as we spend my money on things like this,

US drops LARGEST non-nuclear bomb in combat for FIRST time 

THE United States has dropped a Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb – the largest non-nuclear weapon in its arsenal – on an ISIS tunnel target in Afghanistan.
The bomb – twice the size of the nuke dropped on Hiroshima – was dropped on Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, the Pentagon has confirmed.
The blast radius is believed to be over 300 meters and the weapon is described as "the father of all bombs".


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Thoughts on Over There & Over Here: A Bit of Hope, but . . . .

It's a tired cliche, I know, but, here goes, the world's a mess, well, most of it.

Much is just the usual and ageless human inability to get along, but a lot of it, a great deal of the contemporary mess, results from progressivism and the cruel and inhuman policies it promotes and the delusions it fosters.

Most of  Europe, once the very core of Western civilization and of what most of us considered the civilized world, is in a rapid slide with only a few glimmers of hope that the avalanche can be halted. The delusional "politics of diversity" continue to exact victims on a daily basis. Jumped up jihadis driving trucks into crowds, placing bombs in airports and railway stations, slashing passers-by, etc., have become as London's criminally idiotic Muslim mayor put it, a "part and parcel" of life to which we must adjust.

These members of the Muslim Murder Machine are, of course, precisely those whom the tolerant "progressive" societies of Western Europe welcomed with open arms and wallets. While the dopey youth of Europe run about with their "COEXIST" slogans, the murderous youth of Islam laugh at, rape, rob, and murder them. Europe and the West, in general, as I wrote a long time ago, are clearly not at war with Islam, but we certainly are under attack from Islam. They are at war with us--a war they have waged for some 1400 years.

We see some hope-inducing signs that Europeans have begun to awaken from their progressive induced slumber. We, for example, saw the ballot success of Brexit, which was not driven primarily by economic issues but by,
something much, much more important . . . reclaiming the soul of Britain; preserving and restoring that which made Britain, notably England, one of the world's greatest countries, a nation of stunning consequence. It is about deciding whether the great British traditions and innovations that have made our modern world are worth saving or should be discarded . . . I think that the British, not known for welcoming invaders, have had enough. Well, those who are still British and appreciate their country and its history. Let us not forget that there was a deliberate Labour policy to alter irreversibly the social composition of Britain so as to make it much less British.
The progressive counterattack to nullify Brexit has been, as expected, as undemocratic and dishonest as it has been fierce, but it seems losing. Britain looks firmly headed for the door, and away from the lethal embrace of the EU and its deadly delusions. We live with the hope that Britain will become Britain, again, and give up the mad fantasies driving it toward becoming a sharia-besotted, metric using, offshore Muslim ghetto.

The Eastern Europeans, a people schooled in the hard realities of life, and who know a thing or two about invaders, do not seem fooled by the progressive siren song of "diversity is our strength." The Poles and the Hungarians, most notably, have proven very strong resisting the Islamic invasion and have been hammering the EU to recognize reality before it destroys them all. In the Netherlands and France, too, we see stirrings of popular revolt against the progressive world order. The terrific Dutch politician Geert Wilders is slowly but steadily increasing his political clout within Islam-besieged Netherlands and bringing a refreshing Nigel Farage-sort of common sense to the national debate. The fiery Marine Le Penn, too, has brought common sense back into the French political equation; she, however, faces a withering attack from the world's progressive elite, who attempt to dismiss her with the catch-all label "far right." I wish her well, but the decay in France is so pronounced that I have doubts she can succeed in reversing it. I still find incredible that after the enormous bloody slaughters suffered by the French people at the hands of the Muslims whom they welcomed into their country, so many continue willfully blind to the brutal reality. As Orwell noted, "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."

As I have stated many times before, there is an "arc of insanity that runs from Mauritania to Iran." Delusional policies emanating from Obama's Washington aimed at reducing Western influence and empowering the Muslim masses have further aggravated the traditional strife in the Middle East. The latest manifestation, of course, is the suffering and woe we see in Syria and Iraq which are direct consequences of the deliberate elimination of Western power in the region, and the "empowering" simultaneously of mad murderous Shia Iran and mad murderous Sunni organizations such as ISIS. The results we see in daily news reports. As we see in Egypt today, the region's Christians are being murdered and otherwise eliminated just as the Jews were previously. Muslims apparently do not believe that "diversity is their strength," diversity is only for our countries.

Here at home, progressives are reeling but regrouping after their unexpected loss in the November election, an election which has given us a dash of Brexit-type hope here in the USA. As noted before, they are conducting a campaign of sabotage against President Trump. Relying on the useful idiots pumped out by our decrepit institutions of higher "learning," the effort to delegitimize and paralyze Trump is fierce and unrelenting. The progressive left, of course, has struck what I have previously called a Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Islam. As I also noted, in a subsequent piece,
Progressivist policies are now second only to the Koran as the greatest support to international Islamic terror. The Progressive hatred for Western Civilization makes a perfect match with Islam's hatred for Western Civilization. As noted before, in effect, what we have is a Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Progressivism and Islam. We see in Germany, for example, this Progressive hatred translated into the active encouragement of Muslim "immigration" into the heart of Europe--perhaps as many as one million, mostly young men, in the past few months. The results are catastrophic, and we are only seeing the beginning. Even before this latest "refugee" crisis, we had hundreds of thousands of Muslim immigrants living in Europe, many if not most on some sort of public assistance--just like the murdering brothers in Boston--and seething with hatred for the "white dude" culture that took them in, feeds them, gives them housing, etc. The Progressive hatred for our Civilization is so complete that even when Muslim "refugees" attack favored constituencies of Progressives, e.g., women, Progressives make excuses for the Muslims and advise women to "cover up" and "keep an arms length" from men. Progressive media is full of stories worrying about the potential "backlash" against the "refugees" because of the stories (oh so carefully worded) of mass rapes and assaults by the "refugees." 
As stated previously (here, for example), the Gates of Vienna have been breached, well, better said, opened from the inside. Our political betters have decided to transform fundamentally our culture into a copy of the savage cultures where Islam rules--and we are not to resist.
The progressives use their dominance of the media, the universities, and the courts to block perfectly common sense measures to try to prevent further importation into the USA of the sort of murderous nonsense we see in Europe and saw in Boston, Orlando, and San Bernardino--to name just three. The struggle in the US against the ravages of progressivism will be a long and hard one, and one made even harder if we allow the globalist sorts to drag us into silly wars where we have few if any vital interests at stake. There is, after all, an apparently insatiable desire by progressives for pointless strength-draining wars. As I predicted about our then-impending operation in Libya, progressives,
love to send America's youth off to war but only if there is no U.S. interest to be protected or furthered--and, of course, liberals themselves don't have to tote a gun. The Euros, the Arabs, the gathered lefties of the world will be happy, well, until that first CNN/BBC/MSNBC report comes in on an errant US bomb that crashes into a school, a bus, a senior citizen's home, or, of course, that jeep-full of Spanish and Italian journalists. Then the attack on the US and its "trigger-happy" military will begin.

Friday, April 7, 2017

On Syria: The Morning After

Mixed thoughts, conflicting views on the military action against Syria. That means this post will likely ramble on a bit more incoherently than is even my wont.

I wrote just yesterday that, "Clearly events are pushing Washington to do 'something' about Syria and Assad." A few hours after that post went up, we saw that "something." It was, as I had speculated we might in that same post, "a hail of death and destruction on his air force."

From initial reports (here, for example) it seems that the cruise missile strike on Shayrat air base, a facility used jointly by Syria and Russia, proved effective; the 59 sea-launched Tomahawks hit their designated targets in a remarkable demonstration of US military prowess, technology, and firepower. Let's put it this way: nobody else could have done it--not Europe, not Russia, not China, not Israel. I also must express admiration for Trump's decision-making style. He listened to his people, digested the info provided, quickly decided to hit Syria, and then turned to deal with the visiting Chinese President (more on that). That is a marked difference from the dithering and endless specifying of the recently closed and tiresome eight-year play Obama Agonistes. Trump makes decisions, and moves on. That is a plus for the Presidency of the United States, the country, and the beleaguered community once known as the West. You can like him or not, you can agree with him or not, but the man is a leader.

Was the attack on Syria, merely symbolic as some (here and here, for example) have claimed? Really? I want to find the brave soul who says that while having nearly 60,000 pounds of precisely targeted high explosives rain down on him. I am no military guru and don't play one on the web, but I think this strike was more than symbolic. It, presumably, was also much more robust than what hapless Secretary John "Xmas in Cambodia" Kerry had in mind when he  talked about giving Assad one week to turn over his gas stores and then threatening him with an "unbelievably small" attack, which, in fact, never materialized. Kerry later claimed a deal to have Russia remove Syria's gas stores--same sort of deal to prevent Iran's nukes . . . The Trump attack might--we have to wait for the formal damage assessment--have put a serious crimp in Assad's offensive ability and willingness. It might also prompt the Russians to keep him on a shorter leash (more on that).

Was the attack on Syria the opening salvo in yet another war? I have written repeatedly that in the Middle East we have to get out of the "regime change" business. We have right now, as far as I know, no replacement for Assad, and do not have a clear understanding of what much of his opposition consists. I think, I hope, I trust that President Trump knows that. To remove Assad and have him replaced, for example, by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or some other apocalyptic lunatic would hardly comprise progress. I don't think we are seeing the start of a new war; I doubt that President Trump would commit to a full-blown offensive against Assad when the end-game remains so murky, fraught with peril, and, frankly, so marginal to core US interests. I have stated repeatedly that the Israelis who presumably would have the most interest in killing off Assad and his evil clan, have not, despite having the ability to do so. They know how power vacuums get filled in the region. One job for President Trump will be to resist calls for "regime change" from the likes of Senator McCain, Hillary Clinton, and others who seem incapable of learning what that actually means.

How will our opponents view this? Russia is clearly unhappy. I expect that the quickness and ferocity of the US response might have caught the Russians by surprise. They might well see the arrival of Trump on the scene as a sign that their free ride in the region is over. They will come to miss the days of Obama and Kerry.

Putin, however, is not a mad man or a crazy "all on black" gambler. His government issued the expected condemnations, but the response, actually, has been rather subdued. Whatever the Russians say, they must appreciate that our military gave theirs a short-lead heads-up so that they could move assets out of the target area. As far as I know, Secretary Tillerson is still on for his visit to Moscow next week. The world has not come to an end. Russia probably will now try to exercise a bit more control on Assad in exchange for propping him up. I suspect that the price for Russian support just went up. We'll see if Assad and Russia learn to tread more carefully in the future. If they don't? We will have to decide just how important Syria is to us.

China, North Korea, and Iran must not be happy campers this morning. I wonder how pleased the Chinese president is to have been in Florida with President Trump when the US attacked Syria. There must be a mix of chagrin and admiration for Trump. The lessons for Iran and North Korea could not be clearer. Trump apparently will act without a lot of warning. Fat Boy Kim must be eating a lot of Ben & Jerry's as comfort food right now. The Mad Mullahs are probably gathered and wondering what has happened to the cushy deal they previously had with the USA.

Now to some basics. I have written before wondering why it is that death by gas strikes us as more horrific than, say, death by napalm or by a .223 round. As I noted in the just linked piece which I wrote almost four years ago,
Despite the temptation, the US did not use gas against well-entrenched Japanese troops in the Pacific, even when gas likely could have saved many American lives. FDR did not want to be known as the President who used gas--he, of course, was developing an atomic bomb . . .
We wouldn't use gas against Japan but used two atomic bombs to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not to mention burning nearly all of their other cities to the ground, and flushing their troops out of caves with flame throwers--all justifiable, by the way.

Would we have bombed Assad, if he had merely used conventional explosives delivered by either artillery or aircraft to kill 80 civilians? Are those killed by gas more dead than those killed by explosives? Last July, vacationers in the beautiful French city of Nice were attacked by a jumped up jihadi driving a large truck; he killed over 80 persons. I saw no visible French retaliation against the Muslim world or truck makers.

OK, I don't want to push this too far, but let me just conclude with a question: Is Assad, despicable as he is, and his alleged use of gas a threat to the United States? We, as noted above, will all have to decide, I guess.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Syria: The Siren Song of War

The press is full of reporting about what apparently is a horrific sarin gas attack in Syria (here, here, and here, for example). US Ambassador to the UN Haley gave an impassioned and eloquent address slamming Russia and the Assad regime for the attack. President Trump also let fly a not very subtle threat to the Assad regime in the wake of the attack which came during Jordan King Abdullah's visit to Washington. The calls of "Assad must go!" and for some sort of US action in Syria are increasing in the media and in the political world.

I wrote in this humble blog some 3½ years ago that then Secretary Kerry, for all his blathering on and on about Assad and gas, was not at all serious about addressing the issue (here); about Neville Chamberlain Obama's "Red Lines" and his "Peace in Our Time" agreement with Russia on Syrian gas (here), an agreement, of course, which was supposed to end the Assad regime's ability to conduct gas attacks; and even a post where I expressed some doubts about the gas attack reports.

Clearly events are pushing Washington to do "something" about Syria and Assad. Let me state, yet again, that Assad is, as was his his father, a pencil-necked murdering SOB. Let us not forget that it was progressive politicos, e.g., Nancy Pelosi, who thought Assad a "reformer" with whom we could deal. Nobody else was fooled by Assad, except, of course, for the progressive media types who hailed Assad as a reformer with Western proclivities and a beautiful wife. With a confused (understatement) multiparty civil war now underway in Syria, Assad faces serious challenges to the survival of his Baathist Shia minority regime. He receives considerable backing from Russia, eager to reinsert itself as a major player in the Middle East, and from his fellow Shia thugs in Iran, who want to keep a Shia-controlled regime in power on the border with Israel.

Before we do "something" about Assad, let's hope that the President is getting good intel about what is and is not happening in Syria. Perhaps our intel agencies can be distracted from what apparently has been their primary mission for the past eight years, i.e., listening to every phone in America and smearing the Democrats' political opponents, to developing as accurate a picture of events in Syria as possible. I don't want us marching into a war on the basis of NGO and press reports--please, remember to "Remember the Maine!"

Did Assad/Russia carry out a gas attack? What's the evidence pro and con? If so, what's that say about the "deal" Kerry brokered with Moscow? Why would Assad use gas when other just as lethal means are at his disposal and attract less attention, especially when Abdullah is in Washington? And above all, what US interests are threatened? Do we want to knock Assad off his perch? Who or what would fill the vacuum? Let's remember Libya, shall we? Are we risking a shooting war with Russia over Syria? America First, remember?

Talk to Russia. Find out what their game is in all this. What do they want aside from looking like Assad's saviors? How willing are they to risk a shooting war with us over Assad? Unfortunately, the climate right now in Washington is not conducive to serious, adult conversations with the Russians. The media seem to want a US-Russia confrontation, and it's a brave politician who says, "Stop the Russia nonsense. We need to deal with these people."

Talk to Israel. If there's one country in the world that would like to see Assad and his family roast in hell it's Israel. They've had long experience with the Assad clan, fighting them in open wars and in bloody covert actions of various types. The Israelis have had for years the ability to knock out the Assads, but never have done it. They similarly had the ability to kill Arafat but never used it. They know something crucial about the Middle East: what you have and know is probably better than what you don't have and don't know. An evil, murdering but presumably rational actor such as Assad is better to have in power than some member of the apocalyptic murdering evil ISIS or some other Islamic death cult.

If the evidence ("Slam dunk"?) comes in that Assad did use gas, and we determine that key interests of ours are at stake--including our credibility, if we keep talking--then we have means to curtail Assad without necessarily destroying his horrid regime. We, for example, can unleash a hail of death and destruction on his air force or his gas stores; we can also cause him great economic damage via a variety of means. Then let him know and the Russians, too, that there's more death and destruction from where that came if certain activities do not cease.

Bottom line: Do we have the ability to "repeal" Assad? Yes. Do we have the ability to "replace" Assad? I doubt it. What comes after Assad could make us miss Assad a great deal.

I worry that we might have yet another administration sidetracked by war, and prevented from carrying out vital reforms at home needed to preserve our prosperity, culture, and national strength.

Monday, April 3, 2017

On Spying, Again

The details keep coming out fast and furious. I've written several prior posts about Russian spying and the story that the Russians "hacked" the election to favor Trump. Please review my golden words (here, here, and here, for example) if you have the stomach. I will make a few quick observations in light of recent developments.

Let me cite something I wrote almost three weeks ago,
The Dems claim that Trump is in bed with the Russians; Trump denies it and countercharges that the Dems had him under surveillance. We have here a problem. If the Dems have official intel on Trump's connections with Russia, how did they get it? . . . I think there was surveillance of Russian activity, probably by the NSA, and it found nothing to show that Trump had contacts with the Russians; the Obamistas and the Clintonistas then made up the accounts of Russian interference.
We now have coming out that former National Security Advisor Susan "video killed our people" Rice was apparently involved up to her neck in the Obama administration's surveillance of the Trump campaign and, later, of the Trump transition team. As more information appears, the details will change so let's keep to a bird's eye view.

It seems Rice demanded that names of Americans, apparently those working for Trump, be "unmasked" and sent around to the various intel agencies in Washington. Those Americans had their names collected, it is claimed, incidental to legitimate surveillance of foreign targets, especially Russians. Rice, it seems, asked that the names be shared around--no explanation given. Her actions seem (that word) of a piece with one of Obama's last executive decisions allowing NSA raw data to be distributed to all intel agencies.

Why would they do this?

Well, simply put, it's a way of not leaving your own fingerprints on the inevitable leak of those names. If you pass around politically loaded names to hundreds of people, you know, you absolutely know, that the names will leak, and it becomes very difficult to find the leaker. The names, I repeat, will leak and this leak gives the aura of a massive criminal enterprise underway by the Trump people to sell out the USA to Russia. It is an act of sabotage of President Trump of the grossest kind.

We still have no evidence of the Russians hacking the election to favor Trump. No evidence has been provided as to why the Russians would want Trump to win. No evidence has been provided of how the Russians would know something the pollsters did not, to wit, that Trump would, in fact, win the November election. Above all, there is no evidence that Trump or his cohorts were in league with Russia--what would they get out of it?

I think, furthermore, that my initial impression that the Democrats made up the story proves the best explanation. They told a big lie. This Russia story provided the excuse to conduct surveillance of Trump and his campaign and his transition teams. Just as the Obama people sold guns to Mexican drug cartels and then sought to blame the "gun trafficking" on the second amendment ("the drugs flow north but the guns flow south"), they justified their surveillance of political opponents with the Russia story. The overwhelming conceit was that they just assumed Hillary would win the election and the story would remain buried. Once they saw she had lost--presto!--Obama's executive order spreading the info all over town making it hard to find the culprit leaker/unmasker.

This is getting very nasty, and the Trump-Russia story is blowing up in the face of the Dems.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

President Maduro: Can't Even do Dictatorship Right . . .

Turns out Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, the Curly Howard of Latin America, can't even do dictatorship right. The country, holder of the world's largest proven oil reserves, is in an unprecedented social, economic and political meltdown as it experiences the inevitable results of nearly 20 years of socialism.

Just a couple of days ago, I noted how Maduro had ordered his compliant Supreme Court to declare the Congress in contempt of the Constitution and had the judges strip the legislators of their powers and immunities, i.e., meaning they can be arrested at will for their words and deeds in Congress. In the wake of the domestic and international outrage this action provoked,  Maduro "convinced" the Court to take another look. Like the obedient little worms they are, the judges nullified their own ruling.  Maduro grandly declared "the crisis is over!"

No, President Maduro, the Ralph Kramden of Latin America, the crisis is not over. It's building up a head of steam. The only thing worse than being a dictator is being a bumbling one. Maduro has shown that he can be beaten and forced to retreat in the most embarrassing sort of way. The opposition will take note as will many in his immediate circle already getting sweaty palms over their prospects for the future. I note that with Trump in power in the USA, a cushy exile in Miami, the traditional resting ground for disgraced Venezuelan elite, is not very likely. To the moon!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Venezuela: The Curtain Opens on the Penultimate Act

I have written many times here that the situation in Venezuela was a slow-motion coup. When I was at the OAS I used to label it in Spanish, "un golpe a camera lenta" (a coup filmed with a slow-motion camera). This would infuriate the Venezuelan representative, Ambassador Roy Chaderton Matos, and get him to unleash a string of anti-American, anti-Catholic, and anti-Semitic insults--he saw Venezuela assailed by Jewish plotters working with Washington and the Vatican (no kidding).

Well, I can't use the phrase "slow-motion coup" any longer. Venezuela's thuggish President Maduro has dropped all pretense of respecting democratic institutions and processes, and got his thuggish Supreme Court to (essentially) dissolve the Congress and give the Presidency all powers.

Maduro is the unchallenged captain of the Titanic after its encounter with the ice. The country is sinking in a sea of critical shortages, corruption, debt, and violence, and Maduro is only concerned with having on to his bit of power. Like Satan in Paradise Lost he has decided that it is "better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven." And that is what Venezuela, potentially one of the world's richest countries, has become under less than 20 years of socialism.

Venezuela is collapsing, almost quite literally. Its people have ever fewer basic food items, medicine is a luxury, the currency is worthless, police and fire services are virtually non-existent, gasoline is in short supply, electric power is erratic and increasingly rare, and Caracas is the world's most dangerous city. Even Venezuela's neighbors, who bear a considerable amount of guilt for enabling the schemes of Chavez and Maduro, are becoming concerned. The United States, of course, missed many opportunities to put an end to this hideous state of affairs both under Bush and under Obama.

It, however, appears that now Washington is taking a tougher stance--how that will play out, we'll see. Even the OAS, usually asleep at the switch, has begun to stir; the Secretary General, leftist Luis Almagro, has denounced developments in Venezuela, referring to them as a "self-inflicted coup." He has called for Venezuela to be suspended from the OAS. Maduro's traditional buddies, the dying and dead Castro brothers, are in no real position to help him out, and even the Chinese are tiring of pouring money into a bottomless pit.

Maduro and his thieving clique must go, or when the curtain rises on the last act of this horrid little Greek-style tragedy there will be blood. Lots of it.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Happy Independence Day, UK!

Almost a year ago, I wrote in this little blog about the forthcoming Brexit vote. I noted that,
the British, not known for welcoming invaders, have had enough. Well, those who are still British and appreciate their country and its history. Let us not forget that there was a deliberate Labour policy to alter irreversibly the social composition of Britain so as to make it much less British.
I sorta predicted Brexit would win, noting that whenever the progressive establishment keeps calling a vote as "too close to call" that usually means the progressives crazies will lose. Brexit won the referendum despite the establishment media pile on and the decades of Labour devised social engineering in immigration and education that seeks to undermine British society. I also noted in that same piece that the vote would be over not economic issues but social and cultural ones,
At the risk of being reprimanded and corrected by this blog's one or two British readers, I offer that the force driving the pro-Brexit movement is not solely or even mostly about economics, or finance, or currency exchange rates. It is about something much, much more important. It is about reclaiming the soul of Britain; preserving and restoring that which made Britain, notably England, one of the world's greatest countries, a nation of stunning consequence. It is about deciding whether the great British traditions and innovations that have made our modern world are worth saving or should be discarded.
I think I was right about that. I also in subsequent pieces (here for example) worried that the establishment counterattack would be not long in coming and be fierce,
We've seen lots of stories about a petition launched immediately after the Brexit victory calling for a second referendum on the basis, I guess, that the people who voted for Britain to "Leave the EU," didn't understand that "Leave the EU" meant "Leave the EU." All sorts of breathless accounts of how this petition drew signatures from thousands, tens-of-thousands, hundreds-of-thousands, millions even of Britons who felt defrauded and had not understood for what they had voted. Look, I am no expert on things computerish and internetish but, I have serious doubts about that petition. In this age of hacktivists, spambots, and web pranksters, can we really take such a petition seriously? Nothing suspicious at all over how quickly the list of signatories grew? Just saying
I had strong doubts about PM Theresa May who took over from the hapless David Cameron in the wake of the vote. I wasn't at all sure that the new PM, clearly not a Brexiteer, would follow through and execute the will of the British voters. The establishment counterattack mentioned before, of course, was fierce and for a time it seemed that May, in Thatcher's immortal phrase, would go "wobbly" in the face of it. At least from the outside, it looked as if the progs and their world order allies would manage to nullify the vote. It seems, however, that she withstood the slings and arrows--or maybe found herself with no other choice--and has signed the Article 50 notification informing the EU that Britain is leaving. The reaction from the EU has been as expected, with the bureaucrats of the EC, the EU's bureaucratic arm, wailing that one of the EU's biggest cash cows is walking out of the barn. It seems, so far, at least, that May is holding tough in the face of EU threats and demands, and I hope she doesn't yield too much to demands re EU citizens, trade, and court rulings.

Leaving is a complex process, and the progs want to make it as complex, time-consuming, painful, and downright difficult as they can. My two-cents of advice to the British: hang tough and keep it simple, to wit, you're leaving whether or not the EU likes it. Remember, the EU needs you more than you need the EU.

Anyhow, congratulations to the people of Britain who will experience a rebirth of freedom.