Palin was right. Our foreign policy “elite” was, as is pretty much always the case, wrong.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Fernandez explains why Obama making speeches about red lines in Syria or Ukraine is a bad thing:
“During the height of the Cold War it was believed that having to emphasize the obvious represented a failure of policy. Deterrence had to be self-evident; a daily thing. You didn’t go on the air to issue bloodcurdling warnings. You didn’t have to because stability was there, part of the normal like the air or the earth. The Russian president only had to look at the his daily briefing to know that the USAF was flying and hence that the day could begin as peacefully as the previous one. . . . When an American president has to issue veiled warnings to Vladimir Putin — say something that Putin should know as second nature — then something terrible has happened. Some upset has occurred. A thing that was previously there to keep the floor level has gone missing. Why else should President Obama have to make a pointless observation on TV to communicate something that Putin should know from the moment he puts on his socks in the morning?”
Obviously, the thing that has gone missing is backbone. Putin knows Americans lack the will to fight a war for Ukraine and that Obama’s threats are meaningless bluster. That’s a destabilizing change in the geo-political world, it invites behaviors previously kept locked down. China gets wind of this and realizes the implications, Obama’s Pivot To The Far East might be in jeopardy.
One of the most important things Reagan did to face off the Soviets (via their Polish communist puppets) in 1981 was not to warn anyone about anything; it was to invite an asylum-seeking ambassador to the White House. It showed resolve – Reagan poked a finger in the commies’ eye, both nuanced and very, very in the eye.
That was a shot across the bow.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
New thinking for the military.
We’re keeping the fantastically expensive and kludgy F-35 plus all 11 Carrier Battle Groups but we’re going to cut the A-10 Warthog, since we’ll never again need a tank-buster. And the U-2 is obsolete in the satellite era. Oh, and we don’t need 100,000 people.
I get that we don’t want to be preparing to fight the last war. But what war are we preparing to fight?
Back in 1987, the great historian Edward Luttwak wrote The Pentagon and the Art of War, a comprehensive critique of US military strategy at a time when we’d just endured five straight military failures (Vietnam, the Mayaguez incident, Desert One and Lebanon) and one unnecessarily costly victory (Grenada).
The conclusion? The US didn’t really have a strategy; our military was designed to fight the Cold War as a rematch of World War 2, and our military was not really suited for the threats we faced or the society we had.
The book tied in with a wave of thinking in political and military circles that led to the epic reforms of the late eighties, based on the world as it was at the time.
I’m not convinced that the cuts Obama is proposing have anything to do with the world we live in.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Iran, fresh off its triumph getting President Obama to drop sanctions, is expanding its purview. A desert nation sends its fleet into the Atlantic Ocean.
I’d be worried if I hadn’t looked closely at the photo (expand for a better view). That boat is so low to the water, the fender is floating instead of hanging. The curve of the hull makes it look about 25 feet long. This isn’t even as large as a normal fishing vessel, it’s more like a Boston Whaler.
And the weapons those sailors are pointing have such short barrels they can’t possibly hit anything over 100 yards away, especially from the rolling deck of a boat on an ocean. Okay, maybe it’s a Small Boat Repel Boarders drill, something they practice in case the Captain’s Launch is attacked. But usually nations brag about the big ship that the Captain’s Launch comes from, not the little boat that ferries him to shore. Unless that’s the biggest boat they have, in which case I’m doubly unimpressed.
On the other hand, President Obama just gave a nation of Islamic Fundamentalists the green light to develop nuclear weapons. How big a boat do you need to float a nuke into Tel Aviv Harbor?
True about the nukes – and the general value of little boats in asymmetric warfare. The terrorists who killed 169 in Mumbai a few years back came to town on a stolen fishing boat.
But just in the interest of accuracy – I’m from North Dakota, and we’re a maritime people – the Iranians have been building a blue-water Navy.
Iran is building modern warships – plenty of nations are selling them technology. But the Iranian navy is the least of the west’s problems.
It made the news last year – a number of ghastly gang rapes in India that outraged the parts of the nation that were capable of outrage.
The BBC reports that some Indian women are taking the sensible approach – within the bounds of India’s patriarchical and confusing gun laws, anyway – and arming themselves.
There are really two stories, here:
Parallels: It’s interesting to see that India – which is behind only the US in numbers of private guns in circulaation, mostly unregistered – has some of the same battle lines as the US does.
On the one hand, the hysterical gun-grabbers, with their downright delusional views on what “security” means. Their anti-gunners are as big a pack of ninnies as ours are (with emphasis added by me):
“I am horrified, shocked and angered,” says Binalakshmi Nepram, founder of the Women Gun Survivors Network in the north-eastern state of Manipur, who says it’s the government’s responsibility to ensure the security of its citizens.
“It’s ridiculous that the state is talking about arming women… The authorities saying, ‘Hey woman, come there’s a new gun for you which will make you safer,’ is an admission of failure on their part.”…Nepram, whose organisation has been studying gun violence in eight Indian states for a number of years, says having a gun doesn’t “make you safer, it actually enhances your risk”.
“Our research shows that a person is 12 times more likely to be shot dead if they are carrying a gun when attacked,” she says.
And on the other, smart people who know what’s really up – like this Indian top cop who echoes the opinion of Detroit’s chief of police:
Ram Krishna Chaturvedi, the chief of police for Kanpur and several nearby districts, thinks it does.
“It is definitely a good idea. If you have a licensed weapon, it increases your self-confidence and creates fear in the minds of criminals,” she says
Now, we live in the US. As the media reminds us, there are a lot of guns out there – almost all of them in the hands of law-abiding citizens. And there are private firearms companies that are more than happy to fill the demand, which has been unprecedented for the past five years (even as crime rates plummet).
Design By Government Committee: The BBC piece leads with the introduction of a “pistol for women”, by the Indian Ordnance Factory (a state-run gun works in the city of Kanpur).
The plant’s spokesman says:
“It’s small, it’s lightweight, it weighs only 500g [1.1lb], and it can easily fit into a lady’s purse.”
[Plant manager Abdul] Hameed speaks enthusiastically about the .32-calibre revolver, praising the “special titanium alloy body, the pleasing-to-the-eye wooden handle”.
“The six-shot gun is easy to handle and it can hit its target accurately up to 15m [50ft],” he explains, pointing out the word “Nirbheek” engraved on the barrel.
If you’re a gun geek, the profile looks familiar.
In other words, the Indian government has scaled down a 125-year-old design, replacing the docile but effective .455 cartidge with the .32 popgun round – itself barely more powerful than a .22 caliber plinking gun. And it scaled “down” to a little over a pound.
Oh, yeah – and it costs $1,900, brand new.
In comparison, a typical little .380 caliber pocket pistol weights in around 10 ounces unloaded, and fires a round with almost double the hitting power of the puny .32.
And you can buy almost five of the Kahrs for the price of one of the Indian pieces.
Just saying – yay, free enterprise.
And I want to set up a SIG sales territory in Mumbai.
Myth: The French are unimaginative.
Fact: There’s a great idea here for some Minnesota conservative group.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
My three-year-old granddaughter wanted a sucker. I said “No, you can’t eat a sucker in the car, you’ll make a mess.” She said “I won’t eat it, I just want to hold it.” Okay, fine, you can hold it.
Next thing I know, it’s unwrapped. “You’re not supposed to eat that.” “I’m not eating it, I just want to smell it.”
Pretty soon, her tongue is blue. “You’re not supposed to eat that.” “I’m not eating it, I only had one lick.”
Next thing I know, her face and hands are sticky, her coat is sticky, the car-seat is sticky and the sucker is stuck to the carpet on the floor. “I told you not to eat that, now look what you’ve done, you’ve made a mess.”
“It was an accident.”
Sure, it was a totally predictable outcome and any sensible person should have seen it coming. I never should have given in to her demand in the first place, I should have taken the sucker and let her wail and cry about it. That’s not the part that puzzles me.
What I want to know is: how did she manage to teach her technique to the Iranians so they could outwit John Kerry and Barak Obama, without me knowing about it?
Or did Kerry learn it from Jimmy Carter, who learned it from some other grandchild 35 years ago?
There’s little I can say about the passing of Nelson Mandela that many others haven’t already said better.
I watched a little of CNN’s wall-to-wall coverage yesterday – and was struck not so much by the elegiac coverage of Mandela and his life (deservedly so) as by the ninety seconds’ revisionist hate hate that the likes of Christiane Amanpour were directing back at Ronald Reagan.
Of course, history records the fact that Reagan opposed legislation that would have confronted the Pretoria government over apartheid. It was the only veto of his that the Democrats ever overrode.
The left has tried to portray this as racism, then and now.
That, of course, relies on hindsight.
The ANC was far from above terrorist activity, before and during Mandela’s imprisonment; his wife Winnie was fingered in numerous murders, kidnappings, assaults and other human rights violations, and she vocally endorsed the practice of “necklacing” political opponents (jamming a car tire around them and lighting them on fire – a particularly hideous form of premeditated murder).
If a group using rhetoric like the ANC’s were operating in the US today, being on Janet Napolitano’s watch list would be the least of their legal worries.
And the track record of Mandela’s contemporaries was pretty ghastly. Robert Mugabe’s revolt against white rule was successful – at the price of pretty much destroying Zimbabwe, which remains a less onerous place then North Korea today only because of the incompetence of the state’s agents. Other similar nationalists in places like Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Angola and the Congo/Zaire created vastly more trouble than they solved.
So Mandela’s greatest accomplishment was not that he toppled white rule – that was going to happen eventually one way or another, by war, ballot or negotiation. It was that he managed to do it without plunging South Africa into the nightmarish miasma of misery that’s attended the rule of virtually all of his contemporaries; that he and the transitional government he led accomplished the job of changing South Africa without descending into (much of) the orgy of retributive violence that greeted the assumption of black rule in Zimbabwe, or the wholesale destruction of economies, societies and uncounted masses of lives in Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique, and a raft of other sub-Saharan nations.
Reagan, it is fair to say, got Mandela wrong. It is not, however, fair to say there wasn’t ample precedent for believing South Africa could have turned out much worse than it did.
And the post-apartheid story is not only still being written – it’s not that great for South Africa. The ANC’s post-Mandela leadership has proved corrupt and incompetent. As most of sub-Saharan Africa slowly claws it’s way to sustainability, South Africa is in economic decline. Hindsight in view of South Africa’s current reality makes Mandela look as much a hero of principled competence as the statuesque moral lesson that’s leading all the newscasts today.
Which is a great elegy for a historic hero; that his reality match his legend.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Might be time to buy oil futures, regardless what Al Gore thinks. Barak Obama as a Jimmy Carter re-run is looking like a best-case scenario. Remember the oil embargo in 1973? Might be time for another.
Representative Chris Van Hollen, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Democratic leadership, told Reuters’ Washington Summit on Tuesday that the Saudi moves were intended to pressure Obama to take action in Syria.
‘We know their game. They’re trying to send a signal that we should all get involved militarily in Syria, and I think that would be a big mistake to get in the middle of the Syrian civil war,’ Van Hollen said.
‘And the Saudis should start by stopping their funding of the al Qaeda-related groups in Syria. In addition to the fact that it’s a country that doesn’t allow women to drive,’ said Van Hollen, who is close to Obama on domestic issues in Congress but is less influential on foreign policy.
Gasp. They don’t let women drive? I guess they don’t respect human rights like say Iran, or North Korea, so they can’t be negotiated with like those nations can. And where was Van Hollen last month, when invading Syria was a fierce moral imperative?
They had me at “don’t allow women to drive”.
Tom Gross at NRO notes a facet about the late Lou Reed – who passed away Sunday after a long battle with liver failure – that has gotten rare mention in the media; he was one of New York’s few arts intelligentsia who were staunchly pro-Israel:
I mention Reed’s Jewishness because not a single obituary I have read of him in the mainstream press mentions it, when for Reed it was an important factor.
Reed, who died yesterday of liver failure at the age of 71, was born Lewis Allan Reed to a Jewish family in Brooklyn. He said that while “he had no god apart from rock ‘n’ roll” his Jewish roots and standing up for Israel meant a lot to him. He was a frequent visitor to the country, last performing in Tel Aviv in 2008, and his aunt and many cousins live in Haifa and other Israeli towns.
Reed even had an Israeli spider named after him to thank him for his support for the country.
Like Gross, I remember his “Good Evening Mr. Waldheim”, from 1989′s New York album.
By way of going after the former UN Secretary General (who’d served in the SS during World War 2, Reed rips into Jesse Jackson – famous for supporting Farrakhan and the PLO, and for his “Hymietown” jape, noting that some of the civil rights workers murdered in the sixties in the deep south were Jewish.
Ted Nugent, famous gonzo guitarist and gun nut, says that armed, law-abiding citizens are likely the only coherent way that open societies have to protect against “soft target” terror attacks like the massacre Westgate Mall in Nairobi:
“Societies have to think about how they’re going to approach the problem,” Noble said. “One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves are so secure that in order to get into the soft target you’re going to have to pass through extraordinary security.”
Noble’s comments came only moments after the official opening of the 82nd annual gathering of the Interpol’s governing body, the General Assembly. The session is being held in Cartagena, Colombia, and is being used to highlight strides over the last decade in Colombia’s battle against the notorious drug cartels that used to be the real power in the country.
The secretary general, an American who previously headed up all law enforcement for the U.S. Treasury Department, told reporters during a brief news conference that the Westgate mall attack marks what has long been seen as “an evolution in terrorism.” Instead of targets like the Pentagon and World Trade Center that now have far more security since 9/11, attackers are focusing on sites with little security that attract large numbers of people.
Wait – “Noble?” I thought it was Ted Nugent…
…oh, I can’t keep a straight face. It’s not Ted Nugent. It’s Ronald Noble, who is in charge of Interpol.
And if Interpol – an agent of international statism – is finally twigging to the idea that the citizens are their own best last line of defense (short of absurd levels of “security”, which we all know means “Security Theater”, and for the most part immense sacrifice of freedom.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my various liberal lawyer friends, it’s this; when I see news of the filing of an absurd lawsuit demanding a bizarre amount of money for an insane claim, take a step back and a deep breath. A filing does not equal a judgment; while the occasional batspittle-crazy judgment happens, the vast majority of bizarre lawsuits end in a dismissal on summary judgment; a judge determines that no actual matters of law are involved, so there’s no need for a trial.
And the bizarre cases that appeared in a splash of laughter and anger disappear, unlamented and
Over the weekend, the word got out among the usual circles about a Swiss proposal to give every single citizen a $2,600 monthly government-paid income.
There were two reactions from among Americans I’d broadly call “conservative”; mockery, and a little bit of head-scratching.
We’ll look into the head-scratching first.
The Big Fix: In his classic book Parliament of Whores, P.J. O’Rourke noted that if we just gave the money we currently spend on social welfare to people whose income is below the poverty line, we could bring every person in the United States up to the poverty line, and save money. We’d do something that eighty years of “progressive” social policy has “tried” and failed to do; eradicate poverty, at least in a literal, personal-financial sense.
The Swiss “plan” – assuming it also involved eliminating other poverty entitlement programs – might be a huge step toward simplifying poverty entitlements and, perversely, saving money…
The Swiss Reality- …if there were the slightest chance of it becoming law.
The Swiss federal system allows the National Assembly – the Swiss parliament – to refer bills dealing with major government issues – taxes, spending and big policy issues – to a national vote, very, very easily.
Switzerland, like Minnesota, is starkly divided along what we’d call “red/blue” lines; the big cities, Zürich and Basel and Geneva, are every bit as clogged with socialist bobbleheads as Minneapolis or Duluth. But the cantons (states) of greater Switzerland tend to be very conservative. The largest party in the National Assembly is the “Swiss People’s Party” (Scheweizerische Volkspartei, or SVP in German), a center-right party that, unlike many European “conservative” parties, could be recognized as “conservative” by an American Tea Partier. The SVP leads a coalition of center and right-leaning parties that don’t quite have a majority of the Parliament – 94 out of 200 seats in the lower house – but would require absolute unity among their opposition to effectively beat.
But this isn’t even a parliamentary referendum. Swiss law allows citizen petitions with 100,000 signatures – out of a population of 8 million citizens, or roughly 2% of the voting population - to force a referendum.
Andthatis how this proposal got on the ballot.
On the one hand, it allows well-organized grass-roots groups to make a big electoral splash by getting the darnedest hare-brained ideas onto the national ballot.
On the other? They almost always get beaten. A “grassroots” group of Swiss got an initiative to abolish the Swiss military onto the ballot in 2011. It got a slew of headlines.
And it lost by about a 3:1 margin.
The election of Jesse Ventura shows that if times are good enough, you can get up to 37% of any population to suspend their good judgement on a lark, when they don’t think it matters that much.
But here, we’re talking money.
This initiative is going to generate a lot of headlines, and a fair amount of mockery from American, left and right, who don’t get how Swiss democracy works…
…and, soon, a 2:1 electoral defeat.
Remember the spring of 2009? Obama and his hope’nchange had just been inaugurated – so everyone was still blaming Bush for everything.
And at the Humphrey Center, a conclave of journalist fanboys attended a shinding with Village Voice journo Seymour Hersh, hosted by Walter Mondale at the Humphrey Center, to pimp Hersh’s upcoming book claiming that Bush and Cheney used Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) as their personal hit squad (while not noting that JSOC was a creation of the Carter Administration in which Mondale served as vice president).
I’m thinking his next shinding in the Twin Cities might be a little sparser in attendance; Hersh is now claiming that Obama used JSOC to falsify the narrative of the Bin Laden raid.
The book will also discuss Hersh’s view that the U.S. media hasn’t committed enough resources to investigative journalism.
Hersh tells The Guardian that the ‘pathetic’ U.S. media ‘is afraid to pick on this guy (President Obama).’
“It’s pathetic, they are more than obsequious,” Hersh said of the American media. “They are afraid to pick on this guy (Obama).”
“It used to be when you were in a situation when something very dramatic happened, the president and the minions around the president had control of the narrative, you would pretty much know they would do the best they could to tell the story straight,” he said.
“Now that doesn’t happen anymore. Now they take advantage of something like that and they work out how to re-elect the president.”
Now, we need to be clear about a few things up front; Sy Hersh is as a rule no more based in reality than Minnesota Progressive Project.
And yet liberal media types revere him, along with Bob Woodward, as the acme of the craft.
I’m guessing that’ll change, and the US media will start devoting resources to investigating…
Just a hunch.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
My wife watched the whole thing last night. I sat down at 9:30 to see the last half-hour. 15 contestants left. I looked at the line-up and picked the one in the yellow dress because she had the biggest chest. Yep, right on the money. So what’s the point of the rest of the contest?
I watched the last 5 contestants answering dopey questions, as if that final answer would the clincher that would help the judges decide. But they didn’t all answer the same question, of course, so no apples-to-apples comparison. How does that make sense?
Ms. Minnesota was asked something like ‘We’ve seen politician’s wives supporting their husbands lately, have they taken Stand By Your Man too far?’ and she said “No, because marriage is a life-long commitment so they should stand by their men. But their men ought to shape up.’ Yeah, she was the first loser to be sent home. What was wrong with that answer — not feminist enough?
Another was asked about Syria and chemical weapons. The contestant was against them and in favor of world peace. Well, duh, we all are. Nice, safe answer to an idiotic question. A third was asked about Miley Cyrus and twerking. She was against them, too, and also in favor of world peace. Ask a stupid question . . . .
Look, drop the questions, get out the measuring tape, lift your arms, girls, and let’s get this show on the road. We could have been done in 15 minutes and had time for a Rambo re-run.
As for the morons complaining that the winner is not American enough, two thoughts: one, none of us is “from here” originally, we’re a nation of immigrants and pretty girls can be descended from immigrants as easily as natives so STFU; and two, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to learn many of the bigoted comments are coming from leftists obeying Berg’s Seventh Law.
The American idiots who bagged on her were, pretty much to a person, morons.
The curious bit is the contortions this is sending Indians into. Nina Davuluri, Miss America, was born in Syracuse, but her parents were from India. While American liberals think America is the only place where skin color matters, the divide between light and dark-skinned Indians is a deep and ugly one. Indians are noting that there is no way Ms. Davuluri could ever be crowned Miss India; she’s just too dark.
How Doakes from Como Park emails:
Libya will let reporters interview the terrorists who blew up our consulate in Benghazi, but not FBI agents who want to arrest them. The area where the terrorist live is too dangerous.
One word, Mr. President: Noriega.
Carter is actually looking pretty good in comparison these days.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Complaints about how the Obamacare Outreach contracts were awarded.
The complainers’ logic escapes me: only Blacks can reach out to to other Blacks to give them free stuff, they won’t accept it from Whites? Or do you fear White Minnesota Democrats are 1963 racists who will intentionally exclude Blacks from the free stuff, Jim-Crow style? Is this about race at all, or is it about who gets the taxpayer-funded make-work job?
Obama says bombing Syria will prevent Assad from using chemical weapons again, which will deter everybody else from acquiring and using them, which makes our own children safer in the long run.
Condensed version: bomb Syria, for the children.
New “study” proves federally funded early childhood education programs will save Minnesota 4.8 billion in prison costs.
Look for details on this – Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom is involved so we know it’s anti-gun.
A guy with a sawed-off shotgun arrested in Burnsville.
You see, this is why we need universal background checks, to prevent guys like this from carrying sawed-off shotguns into banks and convenience stores. Because although he’s already a career criminal who ignored half-a-dozen laws to commit this crime, he’ll surely obey the next law. Or the one after that. Or the one . . . .
So is that too many dead eagles, or not enough? How many dead eagles is too many dead eagles, if the goal is to achieve energy independence? You want green energy or not?
It’s empty (except for FBI investigators still trying to figure out what happened there a year ago when a bunch of film critics chased us away) so no important American officials killed this time. But bombs are used to send a message (see: Johnson in Vietnam, Obama in Syria). The message Al Qaeda sent with this bomb: “And don’t come back!”
“Hit the road, Barack”.
(SCENE: MITCH is driving down Thomas Avenue in Saint Paul, heading for the glamorous part of the street, when his phone rings. He looks; the Caller ID on the screen says “Avery LIBRELLE”).
MITCH: (Sotto voce) Criminy. Not Avery again.
(MITCH picks up the phone): Hello?
LIBRELLE: Mitch? I need you to come down to the courthouse and bail me out of jail.
MITCH: Jail? Huh? What happened?
LIBRELLE: Well, Mitch, I shot a gun. At a person.
MITCH: Huh? You hate guns. You are a gun-control activist. You don’t even own a gun…
LIBRELLE: I know. It was one of yours.
MITCH: Back up. What?
LIBRELLE: It was your gun.
MITCH: (Visiblly confused, pulling his car over to the curb in front of the “Prada On Thomas” boutique) OK, this is getting weird. How did you get a gun from me?
LIBRELLE: I was at your house.
LIBRELLE: I needed some coconut oil, so I used that key that you used to leave hidden outside for your kids.
MITCH: What the…that disappeared years ago.
LIBRELLE: Yeah, but you weren’t using it.
MITCH: Well, not right at that moment, because I was at work.
LIBRELLE: Well, it was for A Better Minnesota. Anyway – we’re getting side-tracked here. I was digging through your pantry when I saw a couple of people cutting through your neighbor’s yard. I hate it when people do that, so I figured I’d send them a message.
MITCH: (Pulled over to the side of the road) You WHAT?
LIBRELLE: I opened your gun safe and took out that little cowboy gun. I figured I’d send a message.
MITCH: Oh, for the love of…my .22 revolver?
LIBRELLE: Whatever. I figure that sending a message would punish them. So I went out on your back stoop and yelled “NEVER WALK THROUGH PEOPLES’ YARDS AGAIN!”, and pointed the gun sort of at them, but not very close, and squeezed the trigger.
MITCH: I…I…I can’t believe this…
LIBRELLE: Either could I. The “Kick”, I think you call it, almost broke my hand.
MITCH: So to warn off someone walking through a back yard…
MITCH: …that was not mine…
MITCH: …you broke into my house, took my gun, and shot at them?
LIBRELLE: Yes. But in my defense, it did look like an unbelievably small gun.
MITCH: Criminy, Avery. Lethal force is one of those things that you only use when the danger to you is immediate and and lethal. And you never point a gun at someone or something you don’t intend to destroy.
LIBRELLE: But they crossed a red line!
MITCH: What red line?
LIBRELLE: The one I was thinking as I watched them cross into your neighbor’s property.
MITCH: Using lethal force is something you can only do if your life is in immediate threat of death or great bodily harm! Not to “send a message”. And if the force you use is “unbelieveably small”, then – any County Attorney will tell you – the threat to you must not have been all that big in the first place. There are other ways to deal with threats aren’t immediately lethal to you.
LIBRELLE: Bla bla bla. Are you going to bail me out for A Better Minnesota or what? Because we need to talk about the public health threat your guns pose to us neighbors.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Everybody who works for President Obama must echo the party line, from the Vice-President down to the UN Ambassador. They have no choice.
But here are some of the people outside the Administration, who think it’s a good idea for America to go-it-alone and start a war against Syria:
This list of names alone convinces me it’s a stupid idea.
Note to Joe; you left out Ellison.
Last week – voters toss a carbon-taxing, border-opening, “War on Womyn”-pimping government in Australia, ushering in a conservative government.
And in Norway – yes, Norway – a center-right coalition toppled the socialists.
I know – “conservative” is relative around the world. There was a time when the conventional wisdom was that European “conservatives” were like American Democrats.
That was before American Democrats became the extremist party, of course.
If, as Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum wish, the Obama Administration drags us to war in Syria, the big victims will likely be the nation’s Alawites (Assad is an ethnic Alawite) and the nation’s beleaguered Christian minority.
Why do Betty “Blood and Guts” McCollum and Keith Ellison hate Christians and Alawites?
Last night, I caught a bit of Hugh Hewitt. His line is that we need to start convincing Congress to support some sort of action in Syria. Not so much to “support the President”, but to support some sort of decisive action against Syria.
Hugh’s a smart guy, and a great friend of mine and of the NARN broadcast.
But he’s wrong on this one. So are all the Republicans who are getting rolled into supporting this idea – Boehner, Cantor, McCain.
Hugh’s point is that we can’t stand by and watch children getting murdered, especially the ghastly murders we saw on YouTube last month. There’s scarcely a person among us, especially parents, who didn’t see that video and want to load up the B52s and go all Jack Bauer on the perps.
Whoever they were.
The Motives: We’re assured it was Assad – by the same intelligence services that have been covering the President’s butt for the last year in re Benghai, and that have a worse record than the Macalester football team. Others aren’t so sure it was Assad.
I’m sure not. Think about it. Assad was slowly but surely winning his war against the rebels; by most accounts, the rebels’ tide peaked last year, and has been ebbing. Armed by his Russian and Iranian benefactors, supported by the same parts of Syrian society that support the Mullahs’ in Iran – the not-so-photogenic rural crowd that doesn’t speak English as a second language and doesn’t make it onto NPR stories about life in Syria – Assad was slowly winning the war, block by bloody block. It wasn’t pretty – but “bloody and ugly” can serve a dictator just as well as fast and surgical.
There’s plenty of evidence that chemical weapons have been used many times in the Syrian Civil War, by both sides, in small, “surgical” attacks, away from the public eye.
So with the war swinging his direction, what was, exactly, Assad’s motivation to launch a large, carpet-bombing raid with Sarin in Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar – densely-populated rebel-controlled suburbs of Damascus?
Where all of the world’s media are, ensuring the attack would receive (by police-state standards) saturation coverage?
Eggs For the Omelet: Now, the Assad family has all kinds of blood on its hands. There’ve been countless massacres under the Assad family’s control of Syria. One might surmise that all of them have been done at such a time and place and magnitude as to avoid drawing untoward Western scrutiny, since until the civil war started you probably had little to no idea of Syria’s human rights record. Right?
And then, suddenly, 1,400 dead people, 400 of them children, killed right where all the cameras area.
Assad isn’t above doing it – but what would be the point of bringing down the opprobium of the entire world just as the war is starting to swing his way?
But the extreme elements of the “rebels?” Killing their own people has been a treasured part of the extremist playbook for centuries. The French, Russian and Chinese revolutions are clogged with tales of extremists killing their own people, or allowing them to be killed, for propaganda purposes. It serves several purposes; it’s grade A grist for the propaganda mill, and if you do it right, you get rid of some of the “allies” that you’ll need to dispense with to solidify your own faction’s control (see Marat, the Mensheviks, Ernst Röhm). All of them – especially the children – are eggs that regrettably must be broken to make the omelet.
I think the case against the “rebels” makes a lot more sense than the one against Assad.
Politics:Leaving aside the actual incident? Obama is playing the GOP for fools. And they’re obliging.
If it succeeds, of course, Obama – aided by his compliant Praetorian Guard in the media – will engineer a Caesarian triumph. The NYTimes will proclaim that it’s Obama’s victory. That’d happen whether he gets Congressional approval or, for that matter, if he’d disregarded Congress and charged in with guns blazing.
By seeking Congressional approval – and going through the charade of being seen to “want” GOP buy-in – Obama is setting up the GOP up to take the blame when the action turns into a fiasco. As it pretty likelly will – more below.
This, as Obamacare spirals into full debacle mode, as the IRS and Benghazi and NSA and Fast and Furious scandals are begging for attention, and as the economic “recovery” starts to look more and more like a high-functioning coma.
The Fiasco Within: George Patton summed up the goal of war pretty well. You kill the enemy as fast and as violently and as constantly as you can, so that the war ends as soon as possible, with victory. You know your objective, and you kill whatever it takes to achieve it, because it’s in acheiving the objective that the war ends with as many of your people as possible alive.
And I picture Patton – or really any soldier worthy of the uniform – looking at Obama’s puling, PR-focus-grouped “plan”, replete with “sending messages” and “degrading capabilities” and “punishing the regime”, and puking his guts out with revulsion.
You do not risk American lives to “send messages”.
You do not parlay American blood and treasure to rap a gangster thug across the knuckles and mess with his networks.
You do either, or both, to win the war, provided that the war was worth fighting in the first place; that American security and interests were genuinely, tangibly threatened, in a war that makes and keeps this country safer.
So why are we flirting with an action that could open a huge regional war – and blow up what’s left of our economy to boot? What’s the objective that’s worth so much American blood and treasure?
Even our military has a hard time explaining. And that’s a huge problem.
On the other hand, some of our greatest, most rational minds on the subject of military action – Victor Davis Hanson among ‘em – can spell out the case against intervention in so many ways you’re tempted to say “enough with the overkill”.
Wag The Boehner: This action is the tail wagging the dog. I strongly suspect that it’s an epic deception – and whether it is or isn’t, it’s being manipulated by the Administration for political purposes, to give a war-weary public something else to hold against Republicans in 2014, just in time to give Obama control of the House.
And John Boehner and Eric Cantor are aiding and abetting it.
Are they doing it for all the right reasons – to avenge the dead children. Who doesn’t want to keep the children safe? Everyone!
Sure. And so they’ll go down in history – having been brutally manipulated into a colossal mistake, for all the right reasons.
Brits have been fighing, and dying, alongside Americans in the Middle East for over 20 years now.
But if you stand up Obama? Time to bring in the bouncers:
British military chiefs are being ejected from US meetings about Syria in the first direct consequence of David Cameron’s refusal to join military action.
The role of senior British officers based at US Central Command in Tampa, Florida, has been downgraded because they cannot be trusted with high-level intelligence about a conflict with which they are no longer involved, military sources say.
Say what you will about the idea of the war itself.
But this is further evidence that Obama isn’t just the worst president of my lifetime, but perhaps the dumbest.
The democratic and legislative process of our allies – sovereign nations all…:
So when Prime Minister David Cameron was unable to muster the votes in Parliament for support for a strike in Syria — even one limited to stopping the future use of chemical weapons — shock could be heard in the voices of senior White House officials who never saw the British rejection coming.
“Bungled by Cameron,” said one.
“Embarrassing,” said another. “For Cameron, and for us.”
Now Mr. Obama is left to cope with miscalculations on both sides of the Atlantic.
…are there for the mocking by our current pack of ruling fratboys.
Say what you will about Dubya. He spent like a lib, after all.
And say whatever you’d like about Iraq. Well-advised? Perhaps not, in retrospect.
But when we went to war with Iraq, we did it with 40 other nations and the UN.
For better or worse – and I think it’s largely “better” – I’ve tried to keep a high level of cultural literacy, not only about the US but around the world. At most, I’m a jack of many cultural trades, and goodness knows a master of none, but I do try.
One positive upshot is that I know – again, for better or worse – that different cultures see things differently than we do, sometimes for reasons that may baffle us, but that make perfect sense to them for reasons that, again, baffle us.
Downside? You find out that many foreigners are just as stupid as many Americans are.
Earlier this week Chris Lane, an Australian baseball player going to college in Oklahoma was murdered by a couple of teenagers; the teenagers were reputedly bored and looking for something to do, and murdering Lane apparently scratched that itch for them.
And in a burst of non-sequitur worthy of Heather Martens or Jim Backstrom, Tim Fischer – a former Austrialian deputy Prime Minister and a prime mover in the disarmament of Australians during their spasm of gun control in the nineties – has urged a boycott of the US by Ozzy tourists:
“Tourists thinking of going to the USA should think twice,” Fischer said.
“This is the bitter harvest and legacy of the policies of the NRA that even blocked background checks for people buying guns at gunshows.
Fischer is toking from the same bong that Jim Backstrom and Heather Martens are bogarting:
- While I’ve seen no information as to where the “youths” got the gun, I’m going to suspect that it was via a source that would not be subject to a background check in any state, or any country, anywhere in the world.
- For that matter? The shooters were all, every last one of them, minors. None of them can legally own or carry a firearm. The NRA is all about keeping guns away from people who legally must not. And five’ll get you ten there’s at least one criminal record among the bunch.
- Take a look at the few policies that actually have had a positive effect on violent crime; the NICS database in the form it was enacted, sentence enhancements for using guns in crimes, and of course concealed carry. All the ones that actually work were supported by the NRA. Every. Single. One.
Fischer keeps dragging on the bong:
“I am deeply angry about this because of the callous attitude of the three teenagers (but) it’s a sign of the proliferation of guns on the ground in the USA,” Fischer continued.
“There is a gun for almost every American.”
And yet the crime rate plummets.
And yet the crime rate is lowest in the places with the most guns in the hands of the law-abiding, and highest where that right is the most abridged.
Oh, make no mistake; there are parts of the US I don’t advocate Ozzy tourists coming to. Places where the culture has been so degraded by the devaluation of family, of social institutions, and cultures that glorify violence and devalue human life – which describes Moonshine Holler, Kentucky and Meth Circle, Suburbia as much as Crack Boulevard in Detroit.
The NRA didn’t bring us any of those, Mr. Fischer.